Disclaimer: I don't own World of Warcraft. If I did, I wouldn't be complaining about the portrayal and clothing of female characters in the series…
World of Warcraft: A Day at Home
Alexstrasza the Lifebinder, Ruler of the Red Dragon Flight and occasional Ruler of all of the Dragons in Azeroth, reclined back in her chair, a smile on her face. Outside of the comfort of her personal room in the Ruby Dragon Shrine she could hear her children enjoying themselves, giggling and laugh as they played in the gardens below. She could hear some of the older, more mature dragons chiding them and trying to keep their dignity, but carefully thrown snowballs from outside the bounds of the shrine where the weather of Northrend kept the ground frosted over all year round interrupted them. The older dragons, some ancient, lost their carefully practiced poise at that moment and shrill shrieks of joyful terror and booming laughter erupted from below. A few snowballs even flew past her magically closed window, making her smile. A large, boulder sized snowball came dropping down from the sky, making a large thumping sound. She heard the throaty laughter of one of the larger dragons booming from above. She decided everyone deserved to have some fun after all the terrible things they'd been through lately.
Alexstrasza picked up a cup of tea and blew on it, heating up the cool liquid with some dragon fire. She sipped on it, enjoying the soothing smell. She was currently in her mortal guise, looking very similar to what was known as a Blood Elf, although her form included a pair of large dragon horns. She could have made the horns go away, but she liked how they reminded all who saw her what she was. On the other hand, taking mortal guise was a good way to reassure others in situations where she had to work with them, no reason for a large, toothy dragon to scare them unduly. Mortals also didn't tend to build their buildings to a dragon's scale. In the Ruby Dragon Shrine each hallway and room took into account the need for a large bulk, making the whole complex massive. Mortal guise did allow her to work with some of the gifts or acquisitions she owned that were made for mortal hands. It was also a nice way to relax.
Currently the Lifebinder was wearing a soft robe made of some type of fur that had been gifted to her a long time ago by the Night Elves, grateful for her assistance in a minor matter. Her feet were similarly wrapped in some soft, warm slippers. She didn't need the assistance of fur to warm up, even in mortal guise, but sometimes it was just nice to indulge in comforts.
Alexstrasza ignored the flurry of snowballs that pounded into one of the dragons, bringing him to the ground where the children started to get their gleeful revenge with as many snowballs as they could manage. Instead she picked up a scrying orb that had been a recent gift from Kalecgos, the Leader of the blue Dragon Flight. Kalecgos had said that the orb worked slightly different than others she'd seen before. It was of a new type that tapped into the leylines to bring out information and could present it as both runes and pictures. She'd been busy lately and unable to explore the gift, but she planned to do so now.
"Google, activate," said Alexstrasza, repeating the words Kalecgos had told her.
The scrying orb started to glow a soft blue color. The words, 'Initiating start-up sequence' appeared in the orb. The words disappeared and was replaced with a colorful logo that spelled out the word 'GOOGLE'. Below it was a box to input information into and above it was the words 'Text' and 'Images'. Kalecgos had told her the basics of operating the orb so she knew vaguely what everything was used for. Everything about the orb was voice activated so she could just speak and the orb would listen, or so she'd been told.
"Google, image mode," commanded Alexstrasza. The orb obeyed and the word 'Images' glowed to indicate it was the chosen option. Alexstrasza smiled at the interesting bauble in her hand. Kalecgos really was a clever dragon. The Lifebinder thought briefly about what she should look for but was interrupted by more laughter from outside, a snowball splattering against her window's magical shield. A soft smile touched her lips and she knew what to search for. "Google, Ruby Dragon Shrine."
Hundreds of images appeared in the orb. She was happy to see beautiful renderings of her beloved home drawn in many different styles and from all angles. She grimaced slightly as she browsed through the images and found a few of the period of time that the Ruby Dragon Shrine had been destroyed by the Scourge. One image had her home on fire, the Ruby leaves framed by ruby fire. Another had her dead children scattered about in a macabre tableau. She sighed, knowing all too well that the ugly and the sad existed as well and happened as often as the good. She also knew that the reminders were good, but nothing came out of dwelling on them. So she focused instead on the happy pictures, spending hours browsing through and studying the beautiful renderings of the Ruby Dragon Shrine.
After a while of browsing an idea occurred to Alexstrasza. She looked around and assured that no one had walked in one her whispered, "Google, Alexstrasza the Lifebinder."
After a few moments pictures of her appeared in the orb, but she was shocked by what she saw. She'd expected to be appealing to her vanity, pictures of her glorious conquests, victories and deeds in the service of Azeroth. Instead she was greeted by hundreds of pictures of herself in what looked like a metal bikini. In some pictures she was just standing there looking lifeless. In others she was in a large variety of sexy poses.
As she browsed more and more pictures she felt herself getting more and more furious. The absurdity of such an outfit was beyond belief. Why would anyone wear such a thing? It offered no protection to anywhere that mattered, and she wasn't exactly sure how it all stayed on. She wondered if the artists were attempting to portray her as confident, but she felt they'd instead made her look stupid. Why would a being of such majesty and power stoop to looking like a slave off to auction dressed as a pleasure maiden? The design was ridiculous! Proper armor led to proper intimidation which led to avoiding fights, this armor completely missed that point! At least they portrayed her horns correctly, but that felt like an attempt at making her seem 'exotic'. It wasn't sexy, stylized, impressive or any other adjective she found the artists describing it as she searched, just uncomfortable looking and baffling.
Alexstrasza was baffled by the horrific treatment the artists subjected her to. After all she'd done for Azeroth…after all she'd gone through…after all she'd lost… It was all a sick and disturbing joke. There was no respect for her and as she poured further and further into research she realized for no other woman either.
Alexstrasza ran through each of her siblings, once powerful dragon aspects. Her sister, Ysera, the Dreamer and ruler of the Green Dragon Flight, was portrayed much as she was, only minor details changed in the clothes with some scraps on cloth covering the gaps over her thighs unlike what it did with Alexstrasza. But it was still a chainmail bra and underwear, silly looking and apparently the fashion among mortal and even some undead women based on all the art by this 'Blizzard'. The so called Dark One, ruler of the undead Forsaken, Sylvanas Windrunner, was dressed up in the exact same clothes as Ysera and someone had the gall to comment and call her outfit 'unique'. Ysera stayed asleep in the Emerald dream to preserve all life and this is how she was treated…
What might have been worse, a blow to the gut, was the treatment that her three brothers received. Nozdormu, the Timeless one and ruler of the Bronze Dragon Flight, was portrayed in an intricate skirt of unbelievable weave and decoration. He had a single piece of armor on his right shoulder, a beautiful, bronze dragon. The rest of his chest was bare, decorated with tattoos. He stood strong and he stood regal in all the images, not portrayed as an object of desire but as his own person, despite his state of partial undress. He cut an impressive figure that was at odds with the disappointing portrayals of both his sisters.
And there was both of the betrayers, Malygos, the Spell-weaver and ruler of the Blue Dragon Flight, and Neltharion, the Earth-Warder and ruler of the Black Dragon Flight, also now known as Deathwing. Malygos was portrayed as wreathed in blue light standing tall and strong, covered completely in sleek silver armor with glowing blue crystal and cloth throughout. Neltharion was a large imposing man covered in magma and slabs of rock, looking capable of taking on the whole world, which fit his deeds perfectly. Both were traitors that in their own ways had betrayed the trusts given to them and almost destroyed Azeroth. Deathwing had almost led the world to ruin several times in addition to his final attempt that had just recently led his final death. Both were tall, both were strong, and both were dressed fittingly for their stations. Their designs actually contained the uniqueness that was claimed for Ysera and herself.
Alexstrasza put the scrying orb back down in its holding base, probably doing so a little harder than she should have as the table, of very sturdy make by the dwarves, still shook under the force she applied. The Lifebinder leaned back in her chair and gave a heavy sigh, closing her eyes. She regretted it immediately, the images she'd witnessed flashing through her mind, twisting and mixing into a soul crushing picture. She'd supported the mortals only to find time and again that her trust was misplaced, but still she'd tried. She'd felt with the fall of Deathwing and with the loss of the power the Titans had given the Dragon Aspects that the time of mortals had started. But if this is what it led to then maybe her hopes and trust had been betrayed.
She sighed again, trying to fight away the despair. Cries of joy reached her ears from outside her room. Alexstrsza opened her eyes and stood up slowly. She walked over to the window and saw a strange sight. A brown skinned orc girl was running around with a young dragon child, practically a baby, one of her new grandchildren born just within the year, on her back. The dragon child gave a shriek of delight, urging the orc girl to run faster.
Standing to the side watching with smiles on their faces was the dragon Lirastrasza in her High Elf form and two orcs that Alexstrasza immediately recognized. Stripped on his armor and weapons, neither needed in the Shrine, was Golluck Rockfist, still large and carrying himself with confidence. He had been the Horde Ambassador to the dragon coalition known as the Wyrmwrest Accord during the battles against Malygos and the Lich King, and later against Deathwing. He had an unmatched passion to work with the dragons, particularly those of her flight to make up for the sins and torments early orc leaders had perpetrated on her and her children. Next to him was a large brown skinned orc man who Alexstrasza recognized just from stories told to her by Golluck as Herzal Shatterfang, Golluck's partner. Herzal had apparently earned his name in the dangerous land of Outlands, through the Dark Portal, when he'd punched a Gronn in the face and knocked out several of its teeth.
"Your daughter has a strong pair of legs," complimented Lirastrsza.
"That she does," replied Golluck proudly. It was the orc equivalent of saying thank you but also meant much more and Lirastrasza inclined her head in acknowledgement of it. "The youngling there has a nice set of lungs, I bet they'll grow up large and strong."
"Yes, Ellastrasza definitely shows promise, although there are still many years of childhood before her before we really know for sure."
"Among the orcs, this would be a good sign so far," commented Herzal. "Juhani for example shows all the signs of being a great warrior in the future. Although the future feels more uncertain now, the traits needed more complicated than when I was a child I admit. What about you dragons, what's taken as good signs?"
Alexstrasza listened a while longer as Lirastrasza explained to Golluck and Herzal the fine points of a dragon's life cycle. They in turn commented on and compared her words with how orcs took such things. All three were engaged and animated, a type of energy Alexstrasza had almost forgotten Lira could show after so many years of painful struggle dragging down the Red Dragon Flight. Eventually her attention drifted over to where Juhani and Ellastrasza were playing in the snow, trying to build a person out of it. Ellastrasza wasn't old or practiced enough yet to shift to a mortal form where she'd have access to hands, dragon claws not being quite suited for the work. Instead she observed as Juhani rolled the snow into large balls and lifted them up to stand on each other to Ella's instructions. With three balls of descending size stacked on top of each other Juhani and Ella went scrambling into the warmer sections of the Ruby dragon shrine, picking up pebbles, grass and sticks which they used to give the snow orc eyes, a Mohawk and arms. They stuck a final stick into the mouth of the snow orc, calling for the attention of the adults.
"Fathers!" called Juhani. "Look at this!"
"Very impressive," complimented Herzal. "Is that supposed to be a pipe or something in their mouth?"
"No, it's something better!" cried Juhani. She bent down and lifted up Ella who giggled under the orc's touch and in mischief of the joke they were apparently sharing. Ella was lifted up right up to the tip of the stick and took a deep breath. A small flame burst out of the dragon's mouth, igniting the stick. The fire slowly ran down the stick and Alexstrasza smiled as she realized what she was seeing. Juhani turned back to the adults, Ella cradled proudly in her arms. "The orc is breathing fire!"
"An amazing display," called down Alexstrasza, clapping her hands. The gathered orcs and dragons looked up in surprise at her, unaware she'd been watching from her room. Ella waved at her grandmother and Juhani just stared up in stunned silence at the fabled Ruler of the Dragons. Golluck and Herzal both gave deep bows.
"You honor the children with your praise," said Golluck. "And us with your presence. If you are not busy, I would like to request an audience with you."
"I would be happy to fulfill that request," replied Alexstrsza with a smile. "Lirastrasza, could you please settle the children somewhere so they don't catch a cold and escort Golluck and Herzal up to the meeting chamber?"
"I would be happy to my Queen," bowed Lira.
Alexstrasza turned away from the window and walked back to her chair. She studied the scrying orb on its stand, her thoughts drifting back to what she'd seen in it. Those images competed with the happy scenes she'd just witnessed and the faint remembrance of joy she'd heard from her family prior to looking into the orb. She gave a sigh and dropped the rope to the ground. In another moment she was completely clothed in her magical armor, splendid and regal like usual. Maybe if it had been an ambassador from the Alliance she'd have but on something less intimidating but she knew Golluck would appreciate the gesture and feel comforted knowing he was working with someone who radiated strength and confidence. She wondered at the sobering differences in her armor, which was the same she wore whenever in mortal guise, and how the artists in the scrying orb had portrayed her. No skin showed and while ornate in places it was also sturdy with no strange gems or spikes, and completely practical.
The Ruler of the Dragons put the scrying orb out of her mind for a later conversation with Kalecgos. She walked down the large halls of the Ruby Dragon Shrine and smiled as she heard the sounds of Lira trying to restrain the excited pair of Ella and Juhani to something dignified, Golluck and Herzal's booming laughs filling the halls. Despite her earlier worries Alexstrsza felt that the future of Azeroth might indeed be looking very bright.
Author's Rant: *This is an old rant from before Legion came out.*
This fic was inspired by me being reminded just how horrible Alexstrasza's outfit is as I played a Death Knight through Wrath of the Lich King again and saw her on top of Wrymwrest Temple. It never fails to get me that that monstrosity is what they decided to dress up the Ruler of the Red Dragon Flight in. I feel this is much worse if you know her backstory and she was raped to supply the Orcs with mounts. She is a cosmic chew toy so often that it's lampshaded in one of the books and everyone is impressed how she keeps going and is a decent person after all of it. You know, right before Garrosh spits at her and tells her he doesn't accept her forgiveness and would do it all again, to remind us how horrible he is. I like WoW lore on a small scale, but if you start zooming out and putting it all together it's a catastrophic mess that makes no sense and is kind of horrible to think about all the implications. Which is why there's changes to titles in here to make them gender neutral and to fix up some issues.I'd like to stay as close to the lore as possible, and it's all pretty close but following it to the letter would drive me insane.
Reading the wowwiki article on Sylvanas they actually claim that her current design is unique except that it kind of bears a resemblance to Alexstrasza. This is a baffling statement because not only is Alexstrasza's outfit the exact same with some cloth removed on the pants (you can find many, many images of that style used on fan work of Sylvanas by the way) but it's the exact same outfit Ysera wears in mortal form.
The whole thing makes me sick but I wouldn't write about it if I didn't actually like WoW, I'd just stop playing or reading the books. So, if anyone interested and/or talented enough wants to draw fan art of Alexstrasza, Sylvanas or Ysera in proper clothes and armor, I put out the request. If someone sends me some for Alexstrsza or Sylvanas I'll use the first ones I get as cover art for my two fics. I'll make sure to include proper credits too. If I get a lot I might link to it all on either the fics or my profile page, so feel free to flood me with it if inspiration strikes. ;)