King Ymiron of the Vrykul
The Vrykul are a race of half-giant humanoids that live within the frozen continent of Northrend. Originally servants of the Titans, at some time before the commencement of the Northrend Campaign they began to serve the Lich King, supplying his Scourge army with living and unliving soldiers while loyally worshiping the former human as their death god.
Not all Vrykul pledged themselves to the Lich King however, with several factions of the proud race remaining fiercely independent. Of these factions there are two which stand out. The Kvaldir, who exist as an entirely aquatic variation of their race and the Brunnhildar Frost Vrykul who directly oppose the Lich King and remain loyal to their Titanic Watcher patron Thorim. Vrykul are the ancestors progenitors of Humanity.
Vrykul are a Titanforged race, like many other races on the planet they were created by the Titans when they remade the world after sealing away the Old Gods beneath the earth in their prison facilities. A large race of half-giant humanoids, these beings spread across the northern reaches of Kalimdor, claiming territories in what would, many centuries later, be known as the continent of Northrend. Despite the large amount of territory that they claimed in the northern reaches of the continent however, it is clear that they were, as a species, largely isolated from the other races of the world. Prior to the Northrend Campaign there were no records of their existence even in story and myth, implying that they either remained entirely undiscovered by the other races during the pre-sundering period or that all records of their existence were lost after the sundering shattered Kalimdor into the continents that exist in the present day.
What is known however is that sometime before the first invasion of the Burning Legion, which would bring about the Sundering, the Vrykul were affected by the Curse of Flesh along with the other Titanic races. A permanent, chaotic spell effect which mutated all the races that loyally served the titans, this curse slowly affected the beings that were constructed from metal or stone, changing them into mortal creatures of flesh. The Mechagnomes, Earthen, Tol'vir, Giants and Mogu were all greatly affected, their metal and stone skins being transformed completely. Complicating matters, a number of now flesh and blood Vrykul continued to degenerate further, afflicting their offspring. This turned their young into weak, sickly beings incapable of basic feats of strength which were common among true Vrykul children.
The birthing of these 'abominations' was something that disturbed the Vrykul greatly, to the point where their reigning king, Ymiron, decreed that they were to abandon the Titan Pantheon that they once served, claiming they were responsible for the curse, and that all the stunted offspring were to be killed immediately with severe punishment being handed out to any Vrykul who disobeyed. While many of the deformed were killed by the King's decree, many Vrykul disobeyed and refused to kill their own children. Knowing that discovery would mean not only their death but also the death of their children, they took the infants far away from the territories of their people and left them to survive on their own, but not before passing on the skills they needed to survive, along with the stories of their people. These deformed Vrykul became the first known humans to exist and their descendants would eventually form the seven kingdoms of humanity starting with the early Arathorian Empire.
The fate of the Vrykul splits after the Sundering of the world, with many entering stasis to survive the destruction and others taking to the sea to form unique cultures of their own. The Vrykul of Northrend entered a form of hibernation where they continued to live without aging until they were reawakened some time before the Northrend Campaign. Another large population of Vrykul survived the Sundering and thousands of years ago left Northrend's shores to discover the land of Stormheim, which they would settle permanently. Hundreds more Vrykul still would take to the seas to find new lands to settle, or remaining permanent seafaring nomads.
The Vrykul were dealt a heavy blow during the Northrend Campaign, with many of their settlements raided by forces that arrived in Northrend seeking to punish the Lich King. Many of their leaders including King Ymiron and Queen Angerboda were slain by adventuring heroes. Despite the massive loss of life and the deaths of the heroes that they regarded with such high esteem, the Vrykul race still exists with significant numbers not including the Kvaldir who remain beneath the waves.
Vrykul appear as very large humans, well over eight feet in height with a weight to match. They appear to be rather muscular in general, although this varies greatly between male and female Vrykul and what role each Vrykul plays within their individual clan based society. Males have the most prominent muscle mass and seem to fill the warrior role within the clans, while the females appear to take the less physical roles, with many wielding potent magic although they also serve as hunters to a lesser degree.
Within the Vrykul species there are several subspecies all of which are significantly different from their fellows in other areas. While some are true Vrykul who have simply adapted to their changed environment, others are either automated constructs, undead or an as of yet unclassified lifeform. The known sub-species of Vrykul are as follows:
Vrykul Clans Edit
Vrykul society is organized into Clans. These Clans are led by a Jarl or a Thane who serves as the Clan's leader and guiding figure. Clans in a Vrykul dominated region will report to a King or Queen who is recognized as absolute ruler of the Vrykul under their purview. Typically, Vrykul accept outsiders into their Clans, but only Vrykul are afforded this privilege. Other races that wish to join them must undertake grueling challenges to prove they are worthy to stand with the half-giants, if they are not simply killed on sight.
Some notable clans include:
Iron Vrykul are the original form of Vrykul, created from the Forge of wills at the dawn of Azeroth to serve as guardians and protectors of Azeroth. Over time, the curse of flesh began afflicting the Iron Vrykul. Leaving to generations of flesh. Eons later, a new generation of Iron Vrykul would be create from the Forge of Will when the corrupted Titan Keeper Loken reactivated the forge, churning out legions of Iron Vrykul corrupted by Saronite. These Vrykul fought for the Old God Yogg-Saron until the Keepers of Ulduar were restored and the Old God was defeated. They have since been repaired by Mimiron and Thorim and have been integrated into the defenses of Ulduar.
The Frost Vrykul are a variation of the Vrykul which have adapted to the cold climates within the northern most regions of Northrend. Unlike their fellow Vrykul in the southern areas, the Frost Vrykul have blue skin and are covered in ice with many of the males sporting icicles which hang from their beards and armor. The Frost Vrykul almost exclusively serve the Lich King with two exceptions those being the Brunnhildar and Sifreldar clans. These two clans are fanatically loyal to their Titan patron Thorim and are comprised entirely of female Vrykul with men captured from southern clans being used only for manual labor and breeding. It is unknown if there are any male Frost Vrykul of these clans.
The Kvaldir are perhaps the most mysterious of the Vrykul variations. Strictly located in the coastal regions and within the deep seas, the only tie they have to their Vrykul brothers and sisters is their general shape. They have green skin and hair and are covered in algae, barnacles and seaweed. Interestingly enough, when the Kvaldir are slain they do not leave behind a corpse, they simply dissolve, leaving only their possessions behind along with any seaweed and barnacles which were attached to their forms. Rumored to be the Vrykul who were blasted beneath the seas during the sundering, some are loyal to the elemental lord Neptulon and are often in fierce combat with the Old Gods and their naga servants beneath the oceans of the world.
- See main article: Val'kyr
One of two variations of undead Vrykul. The Val'kyr are almost angelic in appearance, sporting ethereal wings and almost transparent bodies. Comprised entirely of females who were selected for service by the Lich King, they once served as his messengers as well as potent necromancers which not only raised many corpses for service within the Scourge army, but also punished any Vrykul who died in battle, raising them as undead Varguls. After the fall of the Lich King, the remaining Val'kyr joined the Forsaken Queen Sylvanas Windrunner and have since been aiding her in the resurrection of new soldiers for her own armies.
The second of two variations of undead Vrykul. The Vargul are mostly the dishonored remains of Vrykul who have failed to ascend during the challenge at the village of Jotunheim and become Ymirjar. Although any Vrykul of significance who falls in combat is also raised to serve the Lich King in this wretched form of undeath. They are at best, decomposing corpses, with their bones showing and most of their skin and muscle having been destroyed by the reanimation procedure and are treated as such, although their extreme resilience to pain have ensured that they retain a place within the Lich King's forces.
The Valarjar ("warriors of the storm") are an army of ascended vrykul who serve Keeper Odyn in the Halls of Valor. Chosen by Odyn, the strongest vrykul have their spirits lifted to the Halls by the Val'kyr where they fight eternal, shiny and gold. The Valarjar can be given either mighty, golden Stormforged bodies, or become Val'kyr themselves with power over life and death. This army was originally created as an equivalent to the Dragon Aspects, who Odyn judged unworthy for the task of protecting Azeroth, until the Val'kyr Helya cursed the Keeper and his army to be trapped within the Halls for ages. Despite this, the Valarjar fought alongside the other orders during the Burning Legion's third invasion of Azeroth. A section of the Halls, named Skyhold, served as their order hall. The spell that kept them imprisoned was lifted with Helya's recent death, freeing Odyn and his golden warriors for good.