World-soul (sometimes world soul) is the name given to the powerful, nascent soul of a titan. The first and most vulnerable stage of a titan's life, world-souls originate as masses of energy spun out into the Great Dark Beyond at the moment of its creation, eventually finding comfort in the warmth of a sun. In time, a planet coalesces around the newly-formed world-soul, protecting it as it grows. The soul slumbers for ages within the planet's fiery core, suffusing the planet with their energies as generations of life live and die upon it before eventually awakening as a living world. World-souls only exist within a small number of planets scattered throughout the Great Dark.
Speaking to a world-soul is not like speaking to a mortal, which is why Azeroth needs Magni Bronzebeard as her Speaker. Magni says that Azeroth does not speak to him in words but in feelings, like the feeling of a crumbling mountain range, a deep dark sea, or a sunrise.
The first known world-soul to awaken was Aman'Thul. When he awoke, he set out to find others of his kind, rousing them from their slumber until they matured into full-fledged titans and joined him in his search. Aman'Thul and his siblings would become known as the Pantheon, and together they would order countless worlds in the hopes of finding more of their kind. Despite their efforts, the titans discovered fewer and fewer world-souls during their travels. They were not disheartened, however, for they knew that they had only explored but a small corner of the immeasurably vast Great Dark Beyond.
The void lords, jealous of the titans' power, had always wanted to corrupt one of them and make it their own. However, the titans were too powerful and completely oblivious to their efforts of corruption, which proved futile. The void lords instead decided to go after titans when they were still in their most fragile, vulnerable state when they were still slumbering world-souls. They pooled their energy to create the Old Gods, charged to find and corrupt nascent titans throughout the Great Dark. Not knowing which planets contained world-souls, the void lords hurled their creations out into the cosmos in the hopes that some would smash into a planet that contained one.
On each world they encountered, the Pantheon employed techniques to ascertain whether a world-soul was present.
- They would first pacify the world's raging elemental populations.
- Then, they would reshape the world, forming great mountains, fathomless seas, and roiling skies.
- Lastly, the Pantheon would seed myriad life-forms across the newly ordered world. In doing so, the Pantheon hoped to call forth the world-soul and help bring it to maturity. Most of the time, however, the worlds visited by the Pantheon proved inert.
Inert or not, the Pantheon had vowed to maintain and protect all worlds they visited. To do so, they empowered primitive life-forms to uphold the integrity of their ordered worlds. The Pantheon also embedded colossal machines in the surface of these worlds. Through these devices, the titans could monitor them, and purge them of life should their evolutionary paths succumb to disorder.
To aid the Pantheon, Aman'Thul called upon a mysterious race known as the constellar. These celestial beings observed the many worlds ordered by the titans, staying vigilant for any sign of instability. When it was necessary, the constellar could initiate a fail-safe procedure to scour life from a world in the hopes of resetting its evolutionary process.
Sargeras and the unnamed world-soul
Traveling in a cold corner of the Great Dark Beyond, the titan Sargeras stumbled upon a world-soul. To his horror, he saw that the planet had been almost completely infested by the Old Gods, and the nascent titan's tranquil dreams had turned into horrific nightmares. After learning of the void lords' plans from the black world's nathrezim inhabitants — that if the Old Gods succeeded in corrupting a world-soul, it would awaken as an unspeakably dark creature who would devour all of creation — Sargeras cleaved the corrupted world in two, instantly killing the nascent titan within.
When he returned to the Pantheon to tell of his discovery, Sargeras was chastised by his brethren, who insisted that they may have been able to save the world-soul without killing it. It was this event that later led Sargeras to form the Burning Legion in an attempt to prevent the void lords from ever spawning a dark titan.
After Sargeras' departure, his colleague, Aggramar, continued his work. One day, as he was wandering in the Great Dark, Aggramar heard the tranquil dreams of the most powerful world-soul yet discovered: Azeroth. To his horror, he discovered that the planet had already been claimed by the Old Gods, though the defenseless titan within remained as yet untouched. After Aggramar and Eonar convinced their brethren to save Azeroth from corruption, the Pantheon crafted the titan-forged to do battle against the Old Gods, before eventually imprisoning them deep beneath the surface of the planet.
Star Augur Etraeus
Star Augur Etraeus showed the class order armies, who led the assault on the Nighthold, the monstrosities of the universe. He used his stellar observatory to project desolate regions of the Great Dark Beyond, where at least three planets entirely consumed by the Old Gods could be seen (see the picture above). These are not necessarily planets with world-souls, as the Old Gods were sent to as many worlds as possible in order to find one containing a soul.
It's not only the Void who sought the corruption of a world-soul for their own purposes. The Jailer, an entity of Death, also sought the use of a world-soul to use as a weapon. In this case, though, his intention was to have it disable the Arbiter of the Shadowlands and allow a steady stream of souls to flow into his prison, the Maw. To this end he had his ally Denathrius command his most loyal minions, the nathrezim, to convince Sargeras to corrupt the world-soul Argus with the power of Death. For Sargeras, this offered him greater control over the regenerative abilities of demons killed outside the Nether. But for the Jailer it was just another step in his ages long plan to reforge reality. Ultimately the nathrezim were successful in their task and, upon his death at the hands of mortals, Argus' death corruption prevented him from returning to the Plane of Order and instead sent him into the Shadowlands where he disabled the Arbiter.
The nathrezim, for their part, further planned to convert Argus into an Eternal One to serve under the Jailer forever, but their plot was foiled by the Maw Walker and the covenants.
It was also demonstrated by Zovaal that world-souls have other uses besides creating titans, corrupt or otherwise. They are a source of immense power, with the particularly potent world-soul Azeroth being of greatest interest to others. It was shown that Azeroth, at least, contained enough energy to power the Machine of Origination in Zereth Mortis' Sepulcher of the First Ones. This device of the mysterious First Ones was used in the original ordering of the cosmos after their creation, and Zovaal sought its use in recreating reality to serve his will. Though the plot was foiled by the Maw Walkers, it gives some insight into other potential uses world-souls have.
- ^ World Soul (subzone)
- ^ : Tal-Galan says: Ah, yes... You have a connection to a unique world soul, as it was foretold!
- ^ A Thousand Years of War - Part Two: The Emerald Star
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 21
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 23
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 24