On the occasion of the upcoming release of Malfurion in a series of articles we remind more or less forgotten facts related to the Emerald Dream.
There are many indications of the power of the Nightmare that plagues the Emerald Dream. None, however, so clearly demonstrates the power of the taint as when it struck the very guardians of the dream dimension, the green dragons.
Though Ysera, one of the dragon Aspects and mistress of dreams, was the undivided ruler of the realm, even she could not stop the spread of the Nightmare. Using all the power she had received from the titanic Guardians millennia ago, and enlisting the aid of her entire family, she could only slow its growth. The situation grew more hopeless by the moment, especially as many of Ysera's most powerful and devoted dragons succumbed to the Nightmare's madness and confronted their former mistress. The Dreamer's undying devotion and love for all creation was replaced by hatred and a desire to degrade the entire world. Of the Nightmare's many conquests, there are five dragons whose deeds left their mark on the world after their foul transformation.
Lethon was once a loyal servant of Ysera. However, his service came to an end when he fell into the clutches of the Emerald Nightmare. The nightmare's dreamlike tendrils burrowed deep into his flesh, discoloring his dragon scales and turning them from the pure green of nature to the rotten hue of corruption. The spectres of Nightmare merged with Lethon, granting him dominion over the elaborate and sinister shadows he commanded to harass those he had so fiercely defended. With such terrifying powers, Lethon became one of the Nightmare Lord's most dangerous servants.
The beautiful Emeriss once represented corruption. The graceful dragoness gave herself over to the power of the Nightmare, which filled every cell of her body, leaving absolutely nothing of her former self. Her eyes turned white and her body decayed as if afflicted with leprosy. From that moment on, Emeriss was accompanied by an unmistakable aura of the stench of death, and the dragoness herself took to torturing and warping all who fell into her paws.
Taerar did not easily succumb to the corruption, fleeing from it into the farthest and unexplored recesses of the Emerald Dream, but even there he was unable to take refuge from the Nightmare, which not only possessed the majestic dragon, but did so to an extent beyond what it had done to his companions. The Nightmare's degenerate powers infused him, tearing at his material flesh and transforming him into an unstable and ethereal specter, or specters, for the few survivors of the alteration claimed to have faced not one, but multiple reflections of the dragon.
The corruption also affected one of Ysera's closest servants, the dragoness Ysondre. Though unlike the others the Nightmare did not warp her outward appearance, Ysondre descended into madness and began to pose as serious a threat as her brothers and sister.
However, all of the above gains pale in the face of the Nightmare's infiltration of the thoughts of the great Eranikus, Ysera's own chosen and partner. Though a powerful viper in a green lineage second only to his spouse in strength, he proved too weak (or too trusting of his own power) to refuse the Nightmare's lords. Abandoning his former mission, he came to be known as the Tyrant of Sleep. Fortunately, the prayers of High Priestess Tyrande Whisper of the Wind and her sisters of the Order were able to entreat Eluna to restore Eranikus' free will and banish the taint of sleep from his thoughts. At first he longed to return to the Emerald Dream and once again stand beside his mistress in the battle against corruption, but he was soon overcome with doubt and fear of returning, of Ysera's reaction when he failed, and most of all of his renewed confrontation with the Nightmare, which could once again cloud his thoughts. Terrified of this, he secluded himself far from his clan, and though Nightmare lost his most powerful servant, he still succeeded in removing Ysera's favorite and second most powerful green dragon from his path.