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The Well of Tranquility

The Ritual of Balance[1] (also referred to as the ceremony[2][3] or simply the ritual[4]) is a ritual meant to help a worgen control the worgen curse by attaining balance between man and wolf. It does not purge the curse from their veins, but it tempers the fury in their hearts and eases their bloodlust.[1] The ceremony forces you to confront your doubts and fears, the anchors that weigh you down, and overcome them.[3] It is commonly used by worgen, but others of great rage can take it as well, such as the human king Varian Wrynn.[4]

The Gilneans were the first to undergo the ritual, and discovered there are those who require more effort to come to grips with themselves than others.[4] Halford Ramsey and the Gilnean adventurer needed to complete the ritual before they could use human form.[3][5] Darius Crowley could not complete the ritual because he held on to the regret, and thus could not use human form.[3] Genn Greymane was able to use human form before the ritual to keep his affliction secret, and had to attempt it more than once.[2]

The ritual was given to worgen under Tal'doren in Gilneas,[3] and again in a secluded clearing in Teldrassil.[4]

Background

War of the Satyr

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Main article: War of the Satyr

Upon their creation, Malfurion believed the Druids of the Scythe had given in to his rage without the balance of rational thought, but believed they were misguided, flawed, and confused by Goldrinn's great fury. Unwilling to destroy them, and with no other options, the archdruid used the Scythe of Elune to banish the wayward druids to the Emerald Dream.[6]

Invasion of Gilneas

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Main article: Invasion of Gilneas

Some night elves had sensed Archmage Arugal's spell pulling the wolf-beasts from the Emerald Dream, and they had set out to Gilneas to investigate.[1] As the worgen Wolf Cult began to grow in Gilneas, Belysra Starbreeze arrived in secret to advise and help Genn Greymane, who had been bitten while hunting worgen, and to investigate if Alpha Prime - the first worgen - was among the worgen summoned. Together, they kept her presence and his affliction a secret from the nation, and king attempted and failed the ritual at least once.[2] One day before the attack, two night elves were seen investigating Tal'doren. Belysra continued to teach the king about the War of the Satyr, in turn learning the rumors of the growing Wolf Cult and grew to believe Alpha Prime was indeed in Gilneas.[6]

As the Wolf Cult attacked the city, her suspicions were confirmed. She met and spoke to Alpha Prime, who was orchestrating the attack from Greymane Court. She was saved by Halford Ramsey, who had been abducted and bitten by the Wolf Cult three days prior, and was now stuck in worgen form and struggling to maintain control. During the attack, Genn Greymane managed to stay calm, and thus maintain his human masquerade.[7]

After the attack, the human Gilneans fled to Duskhaven, while Belysra took Halford Ramsey to Tal'doren. There, she convinced Halford and other worgen bitten by the Wolf Cult to take the Ritual of Balance, bringing balance to as many as possible.[3] Even as the Horde's invasion was underway, the night elves performed a ceremony called the Ritual of Balance to bring harmony to many of the worgen. The Ritual of Balance also brought peace to Gilneas's divided population.[1]

Fury of the worgen

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Some Gilneans failed the Ritual of Balance, which drove them mindless rather than help them, and had to be put down. When they evacuated to Teldrassil, living in the woods until the summit, a secluded clearing was prepared accordingly.[4] Genn led Varian through the same Ritual of Balance that he and other worgen had used to control their rage. It worked, and or the first time in years, Varian Wrynn felt at peace with himself.[1]

Ceremony

Preparations

Moonleaf as seen in game

While in Gilneas, the ritual was performed under Tal'doren for its calming properties. While living in the forests of Teldrassil, it was performed in a clearing deep in the forest, away from the Gilnean camps. Both locations included three simple wells of moonwell water. Each well is overseen by a druid, a friend can serve as a guide, and the ceremony must be overseen by the pack. For if the worgen fails, and goes mad with grief, they must be put down.[4] The worgen is given a  [Moonleaf] to eat, a symbol of both nature and the Mother Moon. It is long and silvery and tapers at the point. Rather than bitter, it has a soft, soothing texture and is easily swallowed once chewed.[4] These simple leaves grow around Tal'doren by Elune's grace and are meant to help the mind understand the need for balance and the soul so permanently earn mastery over the beast.[8]

The memory of Ana, Halford Ramsey's sister, asking for forgiveness

The worgen must then drink from each of the wells with a small mug. The visions can be taken one at a time, or in one sitting. The Well of Tranquility helps to rekindle the peace and joy of childhood. The Well of Balance keeps the mind and body as well, enabling the worgen to stand with both parts unified for the struggle ahead. The Well of Fury enhances the first two while helping to build the strength needed to confront and command one's rage, that which most risks the ritual ending in failure. In Gilneas and Teldrassil, these wells were kept by Talran, Vassandra, and Lyros respectively.[4]

The guide sits in front of the worgen, and the pack circles around. The worgen is to focus, close their eyes, and begin by looking into their memories for points most relevant to their life, including childhood, trauma, and choices. Memories are not only remembered, but also relived.[4] The worgen can be guided into the ritual, but how they come through it depends much upon them. To conquer yourself— your own worst foe— requires tranquility, balance, and, last and by no means easy, ultimate mastery of your fury. Three struggles, not one.[4] The visions force you to confront your doubts and fears, the anchors that weigh you down, and overcome them.[3]

Visions

During the first vision if of tranquility, one might find themselves a child once again, with memories of siblings or parents. The visions will appear vivid, but events may not play out exactly as they had. Varian Wrynn relived his happy childhood, as well as the death of his father, assassinated by Garona.[4] Halford Ramsey saw long-buried memories of tragedy and childhood trauma are relived as well, such as the death of a parent or sibling.[3] The worgen must accept what had happened, and embrace what had been before to attain tranquility.

The vision of balance follows the worgen into adulthood, to relive another set of memories. Varian saw the struggles and depression of his youth, and relived first love, thereby balancing out. He was forced to relive her death as well, killed by a stray rock during riots in Stormwind.[4] Halford Ramsey relived the moment he discovered his beloved sister, hanging in the barn.[3] Again the worgen must accept both the good and the bad, and move on from it.

The third and final challenge, the vision of fury, hones in on the source of one's rage.[4] What often leads to true hate, true fury, is not malice, but the loss of something wonderful; the fear of losing that which you clutch so tightly, and it is suffering that has driven countless over the millennia to lose their way.[2] For Halford Ramsey, this was the grudge against his sister's memory, and he had to forgive her to move on.[3] For Varian Wrynn, the fear of losing his only son, Anduin.[4] In the ritual, the worgen must master their rage and give it purpose, harnessing it as controlled fury.

Outcomes

The ritual has a high success rate, but there are no guarantees.[3] Some fail and go mad with grief, and are put down by the Gilneans.[4] Others simply cannot complete it, and may attempt again later.[2] If successful, the ritual may help a worgen control the worgen curse to a degree. It does not purge the curse from their veins, but it tempers the fury in their hearts and eases their bloodlust.[1] Upon completion, Halford Ramsey awoke in human form.[3] Varian awoke, no longer felt rage towards the Gilneans, and instead led the charge against Garrosh Hellscream in Ashenvale.[4]

Trivia

  • The ritual has been explained in greater detail in at least four sources.
  • The Ritual of Balance does not require the Scythe of Elune or Tal'doren.
    • Belysra offered the ritual to Greymane again two days before the attack.[2] The Scythe of Elune arrived after the attack, and had just been liberated mere days ago from Duskwood.[3]
    • After evacuating to Teldrassil, the Gilneans used a clearing in the forest for the ritual, and the Scythe is neither seen nor mentioned.[4]
  • The ritual is not required to use human form, but can help, and may be required for some.
    • Genn Greymane was bitten while hunting worgen,[9] and was able to use human form to keep it a secret.[2]
    • Worgen members of the Wolfcult in Northrend used human form before the ritual was created.[10]
    • Worgen members of the Wolf Cult in Gilneas used human form before the night elves arrived.[11]

References

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