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The Light is a mysterious and benevolent force in the universe. Light and Shadow are the most fundamental forces in existence. They are bound together on a cosmic scale, although contradictory by their very nature. One cannot exist without the other. Pure Light and Shadow exist in a realm outside reality's borders, but shades of their presence are found in the physical universe. Holy magic is what Light manifests as, while shadow magic is what Shadow (also referred to a "the Void") appears as.
Wielding the Light is a matter of having willpower or faith in one's own ability to do it. The Light is often said to bring about feelings of positive emotion—hope, courage, comfort—and the like. Shadow abilities are just the opposite, able to impart feelings like despair, doubt, and panic.
Before life began, before even the cosmos took shape, there was Light ... and there was Void. However, great torrents of living energy flitted through the mirror depths of the Light, in the form of a boundless prismatic sea swelling across all existence unfettered by the confines of time and space, their movements conjuring a symphony of joy and hope. As the Light's ocean expanded, some of its energies faded and dimmed, leaving behind pockets of cold "nothingness". From the Light's absence in these pockets of seemingly cold "nothingness", a new power coalesced and came to be. This power was the Void, a dark and vampiric force driven to devour all energy, to twist creation inward to feed upon itself. Moving against the Light's flowing waves, the Void grew and spread its influence. These two opposing yet inseparable energies had a mounting tension between each other which eventually ignited a series of explosions, rupturing creation's fabric. The physical universe was stated to be born in that moment.
The most unstable energies coalesced into an astral dimension known as the Twisting Nether. Light and Void collided and bled together at the edges of this realm, throwing it into turmoil. The cataclysmic birth of the cosmos also flung shards of Light throughout reality. These shards suffused the matter of myriad worlds with the spark of life, giving rise to creatures of wondrous and terrible diversity.
Denizens of the Cosmos
Angels are what the naaru represent. The naaru are benevolent creatures of living holy energy. They are perhaps the purest expression of the Light that exists in the Great Dark Beyond. The naaru have vowed to bring peace and hope to all mortal civilizations and waylay the dark forces of the Void that seek to engulf creation.
The naaru seem to have a darker side to them. These dark naaru seem to be composed of both holy energy and shadow energy. Presumably, these energies can become unstable and coalesce into nether and/or bleed together.
Demons are evil immortals who feed upon life and magic. They had been formed as a result of the Light and Void energies that had bled together at the borders of the Twisting Nether. Presumably, they can be formed from a dark naaru's Light and Void energies bleeding together at the borders of the Nether.
The gnomes have had an interest in the Light since they joined the Alliance, but they were so focused on technology and, later, the retaking of Gnomeregan that studying the Light didn't feel necessary to them; the dwarven priests and paladins of Ironforge served as the only connection to the Light they needed. Now that the gnomes have reclaimed a foothold in Gnomeregan and begun rebuilding their culture outside of Ironforge, however, they've recognized the importance of having followers of the Light in their own ranks. In addition, researching new methods of purifying irradiated gnomes has led to radical advances in Light-based technology!
The undead are former mortals who have died and become trapped between life and death. For the undead wielding the Light requires such a great deal of willpower that it is exceedingly rare, especially since it is self-destructive. When undead channel the Light, it feels (to them) as if their entire bodies are being consumed in righteous fire. Forsaken healed by the Light (whether the healer is Forsaken or not) are effectively cauterized by the effect: sure, the wound is healed, but the healing effect is cripplingly painful. Thus, Forsaken priests are beings of unwavering willpower.
It is difficult to say if there are long-term effects on an undead who is in regular contact with the Holy Light in a positive way. There are no known records of undead wielding the Holy Light before the Third War. There are reports, however, that some Forsaken have slowly experienced a sharpening of their dulled senses of touch, smell, etc., as well as an increase in the flashes of positive emotions that have otherwise become so rare since their fall into undeath. Unfortunately, this may be the cause of the Forsaken priesthood's increased attempts at self-destruction; regaining these senses would force the priests to smell their own rotting flesh, taste the decay in their mouths and throats, and even feel the maggots burrowing within their bodies.
Holy Light by some cultures, it is also a non-theistic religious form of philosophy with adherents among the Alliance and some members of the Horde. The organization closest related to the Light is the Church of the Holy Light.
The followers of the Holy Light do not worship any gods. Instead, it is a philosophy, training its followers to seek perfection within themselves. It is very much an active practice of virtue rather than a passive worship. Those who follow it closely gain spiritual awareness and guidance, allowing them to lead others.
The Holy Light teaches that there is a connection between the self and the universe. This connection manifests as what we feel through both senses and emotions. When a person is moved, through seeing something breathtaking or feeling love for another, that emotion connects him to the universe. Experiencing the emotion ensures that he exists, as something within him felt the emotions or processed the sensual awareness. Because he exists, so must the universe that gave him that feeling. From there, he can act upon the universe, causing more changes to create feeling in others. Thus, the followers of Holy Light seek to make the world a better place by being true to their own emotions.
The next step in recognizing this connection between the self and the universe is developing the goodness within and without. If one wishes for happiness, one must work to better the universe to make others happy. Experiencing the glory and beauty of the world will in turn tap into the inner beauty and glory within one's soul. However, giving in to greed, despair, and unhappiness will only darken the universe. The Holy Light is the glory of the universe reflected upon the soul and mirrored back onto itself.
Holy Light practitioners consist mainly of humans and draenei. There were once many high elves and dwarves practicing the philosophy, but their numbers have dwindled in recent years. As high elves traveled further into the darkness of their arcane magic addiction, some fell from the Holy Light. Others continue the worship in the form of priests and paladins. The dwarves have replaced the Light with the study of their progenitors, the titans. The night elves are too new to the Alliance and too entrenched in their own worship of Elune and the other Ancients to consider the Holy Light in large numbers, and it is unheard of to think of Horde races following the philosophy with the notable exception of a few trolls such as Zabra Hexx.
Identity of the Light
While most followers of the Holy Light do not worship any gods, the power apparently does come from some sapient being, or beings, or force, known simply as the "Light" for lack of a better description. ()))) One source of the Light (though not the only one) is the race of beings known as the Naaru. During the draenei's exodus from Argus, Velen and his followers were imbued with Light-given knowledge and powers by this (otherwise unknown) race of incorporeal beings.
The young High General Abbendis seems to believe that the Light is some kind of sapient entity with a will, which it expresses in ways that that are not meant to be understood. She writes that it calls to her in the The Path of Redemption and The Diary of High General Abbendis, saying "Come to me...". She believes that it is able to take notice of believers' good deeds, works and prayers. She states that the force of its voice has clarity and sense of purpose. However, the entity that calls her may be something else far more sinister, as she discusses in her diary that it commands her to abandon the Scarlet Crusade to its doom, an act she believes is dishonorable.
God was the original belief in the Warcraft game-play series, as the Humans were known as devout monotheists. Strangely enough, the religion, Church of the Holy Light, became non-theistic. God would be ultimately diminished in the notion of the Warcraft universe, as well as the nature of Angels is diminished. This was probably for marketing purposes, as the Church of The Holy Light was obviously heavily based on the "real-life" Christian God and it could possibly off-put some people.
History of worshipping The Light
Lordaeron was the home of the Church of the Light, influencing both Lordaeron and Quel'Thalas with its teachings. The Church birthed the Knights of the Silver Hand; but the Knights and the Holy Light were unable to stop the Scourge, as Lordaeron and the Knights fell underneath the decayed boots of the undead. The Church now has a new central location in Stormwind, but there is little in the form of organized study and worship of the Light on Kalimdor. The Draenei have also, apparently, followed the Light for over twenty-five thousand years, but little is known of how similar or different their practices may be to those of the Azerothian races. From what we have seen by a certain Draenei speaker in Shattrath, proper worship of the Light included purging infedels which is something usually associated more with the Scarlet Crusade. But we can also think that the Scarlets follow a certain form of Light worship as opposed to the popularized or "Argent" interpretation. But going into that would mean a whole debate on what The Light wants its followers to do.
Many remaining paladins who served the Silver Hand and now make their home in Kalimdor are attempting to form a new Church, but the going is slow. As the study of the Holy Light was more of a philosophical pursuit than a faith, the destroyed Church in Lordaeron resembled a library instead of a house of worship. Its texts were destroyed along with the Church, many of them burned, most of them buried under thousands of pounds of rubble. What with the wars, settling a new Alliance stronghold and dealing with frequent skirmishes, the remaining scholars and priests have found little time to work on transcribing old information into new books for initiates. Most young followers of the Holy Light learn by experience at the heel of a more experienced person instead of in libraries surrounded by texts.
Some self-appointed sages are taking up the mantle of rewriting the pontifications on the Holy Light, but there is no regulation or overseer. There are fresh looks at old ideas, as well as old ideas copied word for word by diligent old priests with perfect memories. As one would expect, sometimes these old scholars clash when someone realizes that the texts are beginning to contradict one another. This is the tension within the Church; younger priests feel the Third War gave the Holy Light a chance to renew itself just as the Alliance was renewing itself on Kalimdor, while others demand to keep the old traditions.
Secular citizens care little for the debates, but prefer that their rituals to remain the same. With everything around them changing, faith represents one of the few constants.
Soldiers of The Light
It is possible that the clerics and some Knights of the Silver Hand found their basis of "God" from one of the creation myths of Azeroth, as well as knowledge of the "angels". Several references (including a reference in World of Warcraft within the in-game book "Mythology of the Titans") state that some in Azeroth believe that the universe was created by "a singular, all-powerful entity" (though several other creation myths are given as well). ()
Though not explicitly stated it is probable that what is called "Shadow" magic by the inhabitants of Azeroth is itself a fundamental force directly opposed to the holy light, if this were true it would go a long way in explaining the fundamental building blocks of the Warcraft world as being based on a sort of dualism, meaning that the universe was created by the fusing of two diametrically opposed impersonal forces.
Or perhaps the Light, as seen by Abbendis, is not a person but a thing that grants power and teaches morals and values. A god, by definition, doesn't have to mean THE god when used in a sentence. The nether has also been used in the place of "hell" by some characters. Warcraft III spoke of a Hell implying an afterlife for the damned, which must mean there was one for the good. That also implies a being who judges their eternal soul for the afterlife.
It has been recently revealed that Elune the moon goddess was the forebear of the Light. The first of the light, from her flowed the light of creation which formed the Naaru and brought to life the first Titans. The Naruu were sent throughout the cosmos to bring life and light and hope to the Great Dark Beyond. Elune chose the planet of Azeroth, (recently revealed as possibly the strongest most powerful titan soul to have ever been) to stay after the forming of The Great Dark Beyond. Why this is, is unsure, but it is speculated, that it is because Azeroth is the last living Titan soul and she has taken it upon herself to watch over Azeroth and do what she can to nurture this planet and the abundant life upon it.
The High Elves
It is speculated that High Elves are among the most powerful priests and paladins on Azeroth, given their connection to the newly purified Sunwell. The elves are especially adept in utilizing magic in combat, combining their prowess in casting and their inherent connection to the Sunwell, they could likely be some of the most effective healers and light-wielders on Azeroth. This is not so of Blood Elves in regards to their fel-taint.
The perspective of the practitioners of the Holy Light may be closely linked to agathism in its philosophy, where the end result is good, even with the evil in between. It is also tied to holism, process theology , psychometrics (on oneself), humanistic psychology, transcendentalism, and theological overoptimism. The philosophy shows characteristics of real-world philosophies and religions, such as Transcendence, Pantheism, and the Society of Friends (Quakerism).
- Many similarities can be observed between Light and Khala of StarCraft. These include:
- Both Light and Khala are powers to the Draenei and Protoss
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 62
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide pg. 21
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg.16 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 30-31 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 31 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 24-25 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 39 on iBooks
- ^ a b Ask Creative Development/Round 2
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 27-28 on iBooks
- ^ Ask Creative Development/Round 1
- ^ APG, #
- ^ W3Man, 133
- ^ Chapter I: Mythos - The Titans and the Shaping of the Universe (: US, EU)