#1 - Feb. 6, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Blizzard Post

The age of the dragons is over. Azeroth’s ancient guardians struggle to find new purpose in a world plagued by uncertainty. Author Richard A. Knaak explores the history of the Dragon Aspects in this five part mini-series, which takes place at a moment in time before they’d been granted their powers, when they were called upon to band together against the proto-dragon Galakrond.

Kalecgos, youngest of the former Dragon Aspects, has been hit especially hard by the changes brought about by the death of Deathwing. Having lost his great powers, how can he—or any of his kind—still make a difference in the world?

The answer lies in the distant past, when savage beasts called proto-dragons ruled the skies. Through a mysterious artifact found near the heart of Northrend, Kalecgos witnesses this violent era and the shocking history of the original Aspects: Alexstrasza, Ysera, Malygos, Neltharion, and Nozdormu.

In their most primitive forms, the future protectors of Azeroth must stand united against Galakrond, a bloodthirsty creature that threatens the existence of their race. But did these mere proto-dragons face such a horrific adversary alone, or did an outside force help them? Were they given the strength they would become legendary for . . . or did they earn it with blood? Kalecgos’s discoveries will change everything he knows about the events that led to the dawn of the Aspects.

Check out the teaser below for the first part of Dawn of Aspects which arrives on February, 19.

Author: Richard A. Knaak
(World of Warcraft: Stormrage, Warcraft: War of the Ancients trilogy)
Format: Five Part Serialized eBook (available in English only)

World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects

Part I Excerpt

And then... a sound louder than thunder stilled not only the sisters, but every proto-dragon in the vicinity.

The sound erupted again, shaking the rocky ridges upon which Malygos and many of the other hunters perched. Several of the proto-dragons were cowed, and Kalec felt even Malygos fight not to prostrate himself.

Only then did Kalec realize that the incredible noise was a gigantic roar.

A vast region of the overcast sky broke away, descending with astonishing swiftness. The velocity caused the clouds to quickly scatter, revealing a sight that truly could daunt not only a proto-dragon, but even the most powerful of Kalec's own kind.

This was supposed to be a proto-dragon, but so immense was its size that not even a dragon could be chosen for an adequate comparison. Kalec could think of no creature save one that could be used… and that would have meant comparing Galakrond to himself.

Even though Kalec had never seen the gigantic Galakrond in the flesh, the remote possibility that he would not have recognized this titanic being had been eliminated by Galakrond's name racing over and over through Malygos's mind. In addition, through his host's brief glimpse away from the Father of Dragons to the other proto-dragons, Kalec saw that not one of the hunters remained in the sky. Galakrond now commanded the world above, and there was no proto-dragon foolish enough to challenge that rule.

He swooped down, passing over the entire region in a matter of seconds. In Galakrond's wake there came a vicious wind that even tore several proto-dragons from their roosts and sent more than one meal toppling to the ground far below. Galakrond's roar was no less ground-shaking miles away, forcing Malygos and the sisters to grip their perches tighter.

For such a colossal creature, Galakrond turned with remarkable agility. Once more, he passed over the now-panicking herd, but this time with intent. Galakrond seized up two caribou in each of his much larger hind paws and scooped up another whole in his gargantuan maw, then rose up. The grazer in his mouth vanished down his gullet and a moment later so did both of those in his left hind paw. By the time Galakrond leveled, all five of his catches were well on their way down to his stomach.

The Father of Dragons...Kalec could still not believe the stunning image.

But five was not enough. Galakrond veered back and lunged toward the scattering prey. This time, however, he suddenly pulled back. Confused at first, Kalec watched as the bending of the vast wings during the halt created a windstorm that sent dozens of beasts rolling uncontrollably.

Before several of the caribou could rise to their feet, Galakrond plucked them up. With at least eight claimed that Kalec could see, the Father of Dragons soared back into the clouds.

It was not until several seconds after Galakrond's departure that the first proto-dragons dared move. There was no renewal of the hunt; not only were the caribou scattered so far and wide that pursuit would have required too much effort, but most of the proto-dragons were still too shaken up by Galakrond's startling manifestation. Some took to the sky themselves and fled for calmer climes. Others remained subdued.

The Father of Dragons… Kalec could still not believe the stunning image. To witness Galakrond alive was something he could never have imagined.

The blue knew little of Galakrond save that he had been one of the largest beings to roam Azeroth and that he had represented the shift from proto-dragon to true dragon. It was not that Galakrond had actually fathered all true dragons—that was a myth somehow spread millennia ago—but that after him had come the five Aspects and their respective dragonflights. Proto-dragons had all but vanished after that.

There were other legends concerning Galakrond, but, in truth, Kalec understood that only his three counterparts knew the truth. He had never thought to ask them about the Father of Dragons, but now wished that he had.

Yet, Kalec's momentary awe soon gave way again to his anger and frustration—and growing concern—over his being trapped in these ancient visions. Each one seemed more and more lifelike, as if his own time were the fantasy and this scene now were the true present.

Not for the first time, he tried to will himself back, but nothing changed. He continued to be an insignificant, unnoticed phantasm trapped within Malygos. Not even Alexstrasza or Ysera—both of whom in the future would have abilities that should make them sense his presence—so much as glanced in curiosity at the male beside them.

I will be free! Kalec abruptly roared, though his roar went unheard by any save himself. Bereft of a throat—or a body—he felt like nothing but a memory remembered by no one.

Laughter filled his—or rather, Malygos's—ears. Kalec at first thought that someone mocked him, but instead, the laughter was aimed at the other proto-dragons by a charcoal-gray male a bit larger than most, who actually sneered at the others.

"Little hatchlings!" he bellowed. "Afraid of the sky! Afraid of the ground! Galakrond laughs at you for being afraid, and I, Neltharion, do, too!"

Some of the proto-dragons hissed at the gray male, but no one challenged him. By their glances, they knew him to be strong and able to back up his taunt. Even those proto-dragons who clearly had little more intelligence than their prey appeared to know better than to fight—

Neltharion? The name finally penetrated. Kalec sought in vain to seize control of Malygos's body as the newcomer, still laughing, flew off. Where Galakrond had been a startling, unsettling thing of legend, this gray male represented a danger to the future of all life on Azeroth. If there was a creature more evil than Neltharion, Kalec could not think of one.

Of course, by the blue's time, the gray male would be better known by his more apt title… Deathwing.