Naga in Warbringers
The serpentine naga (sometimes pluralized as nagas) are some of the most formidable villains of Azeroth. Masters of sorcery, the naga were formerly Highborne night elves, members of Queen Azshara's court in the War of the Ancients. They were transformed into naga by the Old Gods, more specifically N'Zoth, and now haunt the seas of Azeroth building a great civilization on the ocean floor.
They have since stayed out of major world affairs for over 10,000 years, but more recently, they have been rising up to the surface for nefarious purposes, in service of their queen. They notably answered the call of Illidan Stormrage after the Battle of Mount Hyjal and sent an expedition led by Lady Vashj to ally with the Illidari.
Birth of the nagaEdit
Over 10,000 years ago, Ancient Kalimdor was the domain of the large Kaldorei Empire led by Queen Azshara. She ruled from the capital city of Zin-Azshari with her loyal followers known as the Highborne who was the highest-ranking caste of night elf nobility. These privileged nobles became obsessed with the Well of Eternity and abused its arcane magics until their activities caught the attention of Sargeras, the dark titan. He promised the Highborne that he would remake the planet Azeroth into a paradise and that they would be rewarded with great power for serving him. At Sargeras' command, the Highborne created a portal in the Well in the hope that Sargeras would be able to enter Azeroth himself. The Highborne's efforts brought about the first invasion of the Burning Legion, but the ensuing War of the Ancients seemed to do the opposite of what Sargeras had promised. Demons poured from the queen's jeweled palace and laid waste to most of the city. Death and devastation followed the demonic army as it spread outward. The other night elves, together with many unlikely allies rallied in the Kaldorei Resistance, and put up a surprising defense and managed to close the portal. This added magical stress was too great for the Well of Eternity, which imploded with disastrous consequences. As if struck by a giant hammer, the Well was driven downwards by the impact and collapsed in on itself until it was finally obliterated, piercing the planet's molten core, and creating the raging Maelstrom.
During the destruction wrought by the Great Sundering, Queen Azshara and her Highborne loyalists were gathered at her palace in Zin-Azshari. As the waters swallowed them into fathomless depths of the Maelstrom, Azshara's quick thinking saved them: she managed to make a pact with the Old God N'Zoth, swearing allegiance to it in order to survive. As soon as she agreed, Azshara became the first naga - a cursed and irrevocably warped scaly, serpentine, water-breathing creature. Her loyal servants transformed with her. The naga hearts became as black as the deepest ocean trenches, and hate enveloped their thoughts.
One of the most powerful among these twisted abominations was the queen's former handmaiden, Lady Vashj. Hidden from the world, Azshara, Vashj and her servants would quietly build the naga capital of Nazjatar and their new empire in the cold darkness at the bottom of the sea, beneath the swirling waters of the Maelstrom. Azshara herself expanded with hate and rage, becoming a massive monstrosity, reflecting the wickedness and malice that had always hidden within her core. With patience and cunning, they expanded their dominion over the oceans. They would rebuild their power and it would take over ten thousand years before the naga would reveal their existence to the surface world.
Transformed into the monstrous naga, the former night elves found they were able to survive the ocean's depths. Even so, the naga knew they had little chance of reclaiming the lands that the Highborne had once dominated. Bitterly resentful at their enforced banishment to the sea, they resolved to bide their time until they could retake their rightful place in the surface world.
The naga resurfaced in the time around the Third War. One of the ﬁrst sightings of naga took place when Warchief Thrall rescued the Darkspear trolls from a tribe of murlocs on a stormswept isle in the Great Sea. The murlocs worshiped a creature they called sea witch - Zar'jira.
A group led by the naga sea witch Lady Vashj answered to a summon from Illidan Stormrage to aid him in his quest to destroy the Frozen Throne right after the Third War. Lady Vashj joined her forces with Illidan's as they were sent by the Old Gods. She brought snapdragons and dragon turtles and assisted Illidan with his mission on the Tomb of Sargeras on the Broken Isles and in Dalaran in Lordaeron where they were pursued by the Watchers led by Maiev Shadowsong.
Kael'thas Sunstrider, prince of the newly-dubbed Sin'dorei, encountered Lady Vashj, who offered her help to battle the Scourge. Kael'thas agreed, but when the blood elves' human commander, Othmar Garithos, discovered this alliance, he denounced the blood elves. He believed naga were vile and inhuman, and the blood elves must also be treacherous for consorting with them. Garithos imprisoned Kael'thas and the rest of the blood elves and sentenced them to death. Before he could carry out this sentence, Lady Vashj helped them to escape. The two forces fought together and eventually joined Illidan in Outland.
Another group of naga led by Lady Darkscale attacked Kul Tiras forces in Dustwallow Marsh and while many were killed the Darkscale took prisoners for an unknown reason. Soon afterward Lady Darkscale, Scilla Murkshadow, and the rest of their naga forces were slain by the combined might of Jaina Proudmoore, Rexxar, Rokhan, and Chen Stormstout, who was trying to find any survivor of the attack in order to determine what human force was attacking Durotar.
World of WarcraftEdit
More recently naga has begun to reappear around the coasts of the world, creating settlements on land, most noticeably in the ruins of their old cities in the region of Azshara. It seems as though they are now followers of the Old Gods, as they have made alliances with the Twilight's Hammer cult and the corrupted satyrs. They have claimed several stretches of coast on both continents, for example in Darkshore, Ashenvale, Desolace, Feralas, Dustwallow Marsh, Azshara, Hillsbrad Foothills, Arathi Highlands and Stranglethorn Vale. They have significant numbers and pose a serious threat to anyone standing in their way.
The Burning CrusadeEdit
The Outland tribes of naga have begun draining the water of the Zangarmarsh lakes and marshes with steam pumps. The pumps are all connected through underground drains to Coilfang Reservoir, where Vashj and her underlings reside, turning Serpent Lake into a giant water sink for the rest of Zangarmarsh. Due to the Cenarion Expedition's meddling, the naga operating the steam vaults end up at war with the druids, at the orders of Lady Vashj. The plan was to take control of all the waters of Outland, and through them, its people. The sea witch was later killed and her forces defeated by adventurers on behalf of the Cenarion Expedition.
Naga attack at the coasts of the Azuremyst Isles.
Pearl of PandariaEdit
A sea witch who looks like (though is not stated to be) Lady Naz'jar, ordered Zhahara Darksquall to find the continent of Pandaria, believing it holds the future of Azeroth. However, Zhahara herself was obsessed with finding the Wandering Isle and the Pearl of Pandaria. To aid her, Zhahara enlisted the help of Rahjak, Blokk, and Rumblefitz. Zhahara's machination to obtain the Pearl of Pandaria led her into conflict with Strongbo, Li Li Stormstout, and Chen Stormstout which ended in Zhahara's demise.
Wrath of the Lich KingEdit
In the Borean Tundra, tribes of naga have made a fort in Northrend in Riplash Ruins. From here, the naga are making ominous attempts at melting the polar ice caps in order to flood the world and create an entirely underwater empire for their revered empress, Queen Azshara.The naga plans in Northrend did not come to fruition, as the kvaldir have slaughtered most of them, feeding them to a mighty sea creature.
While the naga of Serpentshrine Cavern in Outland were loyal to Illidan through Lady Vashj, the naga in Cataclysm ultimately report directly to Queen Azshara herself. Queen Azshara appears in Darkshore as a sea witch (marking her first appearance in-game). Azshara's master N'Zoth commanded her to take the seas, both for revenge against Neptulon for defying him and so that they could splinter the world's nations into isolated enclaves by halting sea travel. While exploring the Naz'jar Battlemaiden quests in Vashj'ir, the nature of Lady Vashj's mother and her former stronghold were discovered, and above all the naga executed their plan to usurp Neptulon's control of the Abyssal Maw. Neptulon was abducted by Ozumat following the events of the naga invasion, and this abduction leaves the Abyssal Maw leaderless and Azshara very well placed as one of the most potent forces in Azeroth's oceans and perhaps beyond.
Although Azshara uses a recycled model, the naga in Cataclysm did get some new models and skin colors.
Queen Azshara has sent a force led by Tidemistress Athissa to Azsuna on the Broken Isles to retrieve the Tidestone of Golganneth. Azshara herself appears before Prince Farondis when Farondis tries to save an adventurer captured by the naga and tries to convince him to kneel before her, but Farondis fights Azshara off. The naga at the Eye of Azshara summon a creature known as the Wrath of Azshara after retrieving the Tidestone of Golganneth.
Naga at Azuregale Bay in Suramar are enslaving vrykul with merciless ones.
The naga and sea giants at Felrage Strand on the Broken Shore are corrupted by fel and share their encampment with members of the Burning Legion while enslaving soldiers from the Armies of Legionfall. Their leader Lady Ssathara made a pact with the demons and her followers went willingly, but unaware of the price they must pay. Despite the apparent oddity of naga serving the demons when Azshara and N'Zoth are opposed to the Legion, there are different groups of naga with different motivations, just like humans. Ssathara says that the demons provide greater power than Azshara can.
More naga are present in the Tomb of Sargeras, led by Harjatan and Mistress Sassz'ine. They entered the tomb to secure the Tidestone of Golganneth from the adventurers, on Azshara's orders.
Battle for AzerothEdit
The naga are attacking the coastlines of Zandalar and Kul Tiras. In Stormsong Valley they summon the Pride of Azshara to destroy a levee. In Nazmir they are draining Krag'wa's frog children to sate their magic addiction, attacking Horde forces at Naz'agal, and gathering titan relics on the Sundered Span. In Zuldazar they seek an ancient power at Atal'Gral and Azerite at the Dreadpearl Shallows. In Vol'dun they are battling the tortollans in the north.
Following the Battle of Dazar'alor, the naga attack both the Alliance and Horde on shores across the Great Sea. After which both the Alliance and Horde investigate the Crucible of Storms.
They drag prisoners to Nazjatar and the Alliance and Horde follow when the sea parts by the use of the Tidestone of Golganneth, the local enemies of the naga ally with the Alliance and Horde. Queen Azshara serves as the final boss of the Eternal Palace raid in Nazjatar.
Naga are divided into castes, such as the warrior caste.
Turtles are feared by the naga, who consider them bad luck and give them a wide berth on the shores of Azshara.
The naga revere Queen Azshara as a demigod. Skar'this the Heretic instead worships the naga's enemy, Neptulon, something which he was imprisoned for. The Bloodwash naga formerly worshipped Neptulon and lived in relative peace with the nearby Rockpool murlocs, but recently the Bloodwash turned their back on him, choosing only to worship Azshara. They have littered their settlements with likenesses of Azshara carved out of seastone. They have also erected altars where they worship their god.
Characteristics & AbilitiesEdit
In general, naga are scaled humanoids with the lower bodies of large serpents. Naga can breathe water or air, and some naga have recently emerged from the ocean's depths. Yet most naga have continued to dwell in the ocean's depths, beneath the site of the original Well of Eternity.
As former Highborne, the naga's past abuse of the Well has not been without additional consequences. The Highborne were obsessed with the Well, and the naga has been exposed to the Well's residual magics for millennia. Consequently, the modern naga are addicted to magic.
Naga tend to be long-lived, much like the night elves, blood elves, and high elves. Some naga have even gained immortality as part of their mutations. However, most immortal naga are women rather than men. Naga women are tall and slender, with fine scales and angular features, and often have at least four arms, though not all do. For some reason, Naga women have proven better than naga men at maintaining pre-Sundering memories and personalities. As a result, naga women are intellectually and magically superior to their male counterparts, and naga society is matriarchal. While males are more suited for melee combat, female naga are incredible sorcerers, commanding the power of water and ice at their fingertips.
Bigger and physically stronger than naga women, naga men are relatively bestial in appearance. A male naga's head resembles that of a dragon, and he has a muscular humanoid torso. The scales that cover his body are larger and thicker than those that cover the body of a naga woman.
As naga, they no longer much resembled elves of any sort. The females have some vague similarities remaining, mostly in their slimmer, upper torsos and their faces, which retained the long, narrow design of night elves. Their arms ended in long, taloned fingers. The males had degenerated even more than the females, their heads low and reptilian, with teeth that jutted out from both the top and bottom of the long maw like a crocodile. Their eyes were deep set and narrow, and their crests and fins, which jutted as sharply as spears in places, were of a darker gold and brown shade. Their torsos were less in contrast to their serpentine lower bodies, being also scaled and segmented. Even their arms, massive compared to most creatures their size, were covered so.
Naga wield scimitars and tridents.
It is often whispered in dark corners of naga hide — a material so fine, so exquisite to the touch that goblins of sophisticated taste will spend any amount of moolah to get their hands on some. Their hides are described as being "rubbery" and somehow feeling artificial. Naga can shed their skin.
Naga biology includes an air bladder that helps with buoyancy while swimming. These bladders are used as part of an old tonic by vrykul fishermen to move easily underwater.
Naga lords like High Warlord Naj'entus have stony arms and shells fused to their skin. This may be resultant of their mutations, or they may be a different subspecies altogether.