The Emerald Nightmare (or the Nightmare for short) is a mobile area of corruption within the Emerald Dream. Despite the defeat of Xavius and the removal of much of the nightmare through the course of the events described in Stormrage, players will get to experience the Nightmare in Val'sharah with the release of the expansion  Legion (NYR).

Nature of the Nightmare

The Emerald Dream is not a place of total perfection. It can be shaped and twisted by dreams, usually without a sleeper’s knowledge. Sadly, nightmares are themselves a crafting of the subconscious and have given rise to their own place within the Dream. The Nightmare, as the denizens call it, is not a specific location, but a constantly roaming effect that travels about unpredictably.

The skies above the Nightmare are constantly clouded, creating a gloomy, depressing zone that weakens and deadens everything it touches. The beautiful green vegetation is twisted into brown decay, while ordinarily peaceful creatures are corrupted into shadowy, mutated versions of themselves known as Corrupted Ones. The Corrupted Ones are vicious and cruel, hunting anything they can, even after they leave the Nightmare’s affected zone.

Worse still, some dream-travelers who enter the Nightmare — or are engulfed by its movements — become trapped in the Emerald Dream. They cannot leave, so their bodies back on Azeroth remain in a permanent sleep, slowly starving to death unless tended by helpful aides. While trapped, they are known as the Unwaking; they are also corrupted, and will do anything to get back home. The Nightmare is believed to be slowly growing in size and power.

Encounters

  • Ursoc – Ursoc is one of the Wild Gods. Patron of the furbolg, and closely linked to the druidic power of shapeshifting, the ancient great bear has long been a protector of Azeroth. But as Ursoc slumbered at his shrine in the Grizzly Hills, the world around him was plunged into corruption, and he awoke to torment and nightmare, consuming and twisting his being.
  • Nythendra – Nythendra was once a member of the Green Dragonflight charged with guarding the world tree, Shaladrassil. When Xavius' corruption of the Nightmare consumed Shaladrassil, it consumed the sleeping guardian as well. Nythendra is now nothing more than a skeletal version of herself, swarming in pestilence, ready to devour anyone or anything foolish enough to enter her lair.
  • Dragons of Nightmare – The Emerald Dream was entrusted to Ysera for safekeeping, and the mightiest of her green dragon brood were assigned to stand watch over four portals that connected directly to Azeroth. But even before the Cataclysm, these dragons began to show signs of corruption. Now, the path to the Nightmare's core runs through the dragons' lair.
  • Xavius – Once a powerful mage, and a councilor to Queen Azshara, Xavius forged a pact with Sargeras to enable the Legion's first invasion of Azeroth. Cursed and tormented in the wake of that defeat, Xavius plots vengeance against the world from within the Rift of Aln. Those who venture into the Nightmare will face the full extent of his power, and his true form - a grotesque and distended monstrosity.
  • Il'gynoth, Heart of Corruption – Lodged in the hollows of a now-decrepit world tree, Il'gynoth is a manifestation of the horrors that lie at the heart of the Nightmare. It is a mass of corruption - a thing that should not be. Its tendrils seep through the ground, emerging in countless horrifying eyestalks and limbs.
  • Elerethe Renferal – Elerethe, once a mighty druid and adept shapeshifter, was led down a dark path by the belief that she was betrayed by her closest allies. Her consciousness now resides in the nightmare, damning her to an existence of fear, confusion, and hatred.
  • Nithogg – The great dragon Nithogg was once of the Thorignir, having left the brood shortly after they swore fealty to the titan keepers. Nithogg believed that one day he would be more powerful than even the keepers, and refused to be their subject. Instead, he took up roost in the mountain Nastrondir, where he raises his brood and terrorizes the nearby lands whenever the mood strikes him.
  • Cenarius – The demigod Cenarius is the father of druidism in Azeroth, and one of Azeroth's oldest and most powerful protectors. His disturbing slumber within the groves of Val'sharah was the first sign of the depth of the growing threat from within the Nightmare. That dark power now has complete hold over him, and he may lie beyond hope of redemption.
  • The Soultakers – Sent by Helya to raid the crypts of noble vrykul kings, this trio of raiders and their crew has found their way into the Tomb of the Old Kings and seek to claim the souls that rest there.
  • Shar'thos – This guardian of the glades has been beset by the Nightmare's corruption. Where once he breathed life into the woods, he now leaves a trail of decay and destruction in his wake.
  • Levantus – Her abyssal slumber disturbed, Levantus surfaced to find the isles teeming with strange demons. The fel magic seeping into the surrounding waters have left her in an extremely ornery mood.
  • Humongris – Humongris has always had the dream of wielding magic. After finding he had no aptitude in the arcane arts, Humongris instead settled for wielding a wizard. Humongris sought out and captured the mage Padawsen and now wields him as a wand, using threats of violence and a tightening grip to hurl magic around the battlefield.
  • Calamir – A being of immense magical power, Calamir was called forth by the ancient exemplars in their howling rage. Imbued with the powers of Fire, Frost, and Arcane, Calamir eradicates those who dare to stand in his way.
  • Na'zak the Fiend – The alpha of the Fal'dorei, this terrifying monstrosity lurks deep within the Falanaar Tunnels. As he churns through the rubble, he uncovers ley-infused stones and feeds upon their arcane energy to sustain himself, biding his time for more worthy prey.
  • Drugon the Frostblood – Drugon the Frostblood has terrorized the tribes of Highmountain from atop its frozen peaks for ages. Now, seeing opportunity in the chaos, this powerful ettin descends from his perch to claim the region for himself.
  • Ana-Mouz – This foul imp mother rests deep within Felsoul Hold, immersed in a pool of pure Fel energy. Her children swarm around her, as she soaks in the fetid air and corrupts anything that comes within her grasp.
  • Flotsam – Flotsam emerged from the ocean depths to sate his hunger. The first to cross his path were the swamp murlocs of Shipwreck Cove, which Flotsam devoured by the dozens. Despite consuming most of their tribe, these creatures worshipped the giant as a god, and continued feeding him family and friends until the beast passed out. When he awakens, Flotsam will expand his menu to include everyone within the region.
  • Withered J'im – Cast out from the sanctuary of Suramar, this nightfallen wandered the coastline as his body deteriorated, and his sanity along with it. Just as he was about to lose the last vestiges of personhood, he sensed a radiating energy from a nearby cave. Within, he found a shard of power originating from the Nightwell itself. It sustains and empowers him, but also warps the flow of time and space nearby. It has broken his mind completely. Now, no one enters the cave of Withered J'im. Even fools know better.

History

The origins of the Emerald Nightmare was not entirely clear, although it is speculated that it is somehow connected to theOld God named N'Zoth. While some believe that the Nightmare is born of the Old Gods themselves, others believe that the powerful deity Hakkar the Soulflayer, the ancient Gurubashi Blood God, is the evil power behind the Emerald Nightmare. Hakkar is an old god to the trolls.[2] (LoC 59)  Dwarven explorer Brann Bronzebeard speculates that Hakkar is an Old God or son of an Old God.[3] (HPG 185)  The connection between Hakkar, the Green Dragonflight and the Emerald Dream is also hinted to adventurers in the Sunken Temple and, more subtly, in the serpentine theme of the Wailing Caverns.

The reasons why the nightmare has become so strong in recent years was long unknown.

Although Xavius did not create the Nightmare, he came to rule over it it as the Nightmare Lord. Xavius orchestrated the corruption of the Emerald Dream by manipulating Fandral Staghelm into planting a branch of Xavius's own tree intoTeldrassil, ensuring that the new world tree would be corrupted from the start. His plans culminated in a daring attempt to bind Azeroth and the Emerald Dream into one plane, seizing control of Azeroth's residents while they slept and giving shape to their nightmares. Xavius himself was a minion of a powerful yet ancient evil (confirmed to be N'zoth). Despite Xavius' defeat at the hands of Malfurion Stormrage and his allies, the Nightmare was not entirely destroyed following its master's defeat.

One small part subbornly stayed in the Rift of Aln, and Malfurion could only seal off the vicinity around the rift until a time that another war would be in their favor.[4] The Nightmare's influence in the Barrens following the Cataclysm suggests that the evil controling the Nightmare may have taken advantage of the event to attempt to infect Azeroth once again.[5]

Many druids are called to the Emerald Dream to help fight back its effects. So far, the green dragons have done what they can, though they dare not risk becoming themselves corrupted. The Eye of Ysera has not yet been approached by the Nightmare, but some fear that one day it will.

In Legion

Xavius and his satyr forces within Val'sharah are working to bring the Nightmare into the world.

The Emerald Nightmare is revealed to be still active, with its source being located at the tainted World Tree, Shaladrassil in Val'sharah at the Broken Isles. Xavius has been revealed to have re-established his ties to the Burning Legion and attempts to use the Nightmare to corrupt the world, while his satyr underlings roam the tainted glades of Val'sharah.

In the RPG

 This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.

The Emerald Nightmare was created using the twisted thoughts and fears of sleeping beings' subconscious minds to corrupt the Emerald Dream. The Nightmare travels slowly through the Dream, leaving corrupted, vicious animals and Unwaking travelers in its path. Many druids were called to the Emerald Dream to help fight back its effects. The green dragons did what they could, though they dared not risk becoming themselves corrupted. The Eye of Ysera had not yet been approached by the Nightmare, but some feared that one day it will.[6]

The Emerald Dream is not a place of total perfection. It can be shaped and twisted by dreams, usually without a sleeper's knowledge. Sadly, nightmares are themselves a crafting of the subconscious and have given rise to their own place within the Dream. The Nightmare, as the denizens call it, is not a specific location, but a constantly roaming effect that travels about unpredictably. The skies above the Nightmare are constantly clouded, creating a gloomy, depressing zone that weakens and deadens everything it touches. The beautiful green vegetation is twisted into brown decay, while ordinarily peaceful creatures are corrupted into shadowy, mutated versions of themselves known as Corrupted Ones. The Corrupted Ones are vicious and cruel, hunting anything they can, even after they leave the Nightmare's affected zone.

Worse still, some dream-travelers who enter the Nightmare — or are engulfed by its movements — become trapped in the Emerald Dream. They cannot leave, so their bodies back on Azeroth remain in a permanent sleep, slowly starving to death unless tended by helpful aides. While trapped, they are known as the Unwaking; they are also corrupted, and will do anything to get back home. The Nightmare is believed to be slowly growing in size and power.[6]

Notes

At BlizzCon 2010, Chris Metzen said that it was the Old God N'Zoth who was responsible for the Emerald Nightmare.[7] However, World of Warcraft: Chronicle would later indicate that it was actuallyYogg-Saron's corruption of the world tree Andrassil that sowed the Nightmare's seeds. It is worth noting that Chronicle states all of the Old Gods gained access to the Emerald Dream through Andrassil, and Yogg-Saron merely spread the first seeds of the Nightmare.

Memorable quotes

  • Malfurion Stormrage says: I fear for the worst, old friend. Within the Dream we fight a new foe, born of an ancient evil. Ysera's noble brood has fallen victim to the old whisperings. It seems as if the Nightmare has broken through the realm to find a new host on Azeroth.
  • Eranikus, Tyrant of the Dream yells: My redemption? You are bold, little one. My redemption comes by the will of my god.
  • From the novel Stormrage: ...many, regretfully, were like Lethon and Emeriss, and could not survive without the Nightmare; they melted away as the shadow satyrs had. For that and who they once had been, Malfurion mourned them.

Memorable Quotes

  • Malfurion Stormrage says: I fear for the worst, old friend. Within the Dream we fight a new foe, born of an ancient evil. Ysera's noble brood has fallen victim to the old whisperings. It seems as if the Nightmare has broken through the realm to find a new host on Azeroth.
  • Eranikus, Tyrant of the Dream yells: My redemption? You are bold, little one. My redemption comes by the will of my god.
  • From the novel Stormrage: ...many, regretfully, were like Lethon and Emeriss, and could not survive without the Nightmare; they melted away as the shadow satyrs had. For that and who they once had been, Malfurion mourned them.

The One Responsible For It

Metzen said that in Cataclysm, a third named Old God will show up. Its name is N'Zoth and it is responsible for theEmerald Nightmare.

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