The Future of the Sha: Right Under Our Noses

So, in Patch 5.0 we were faced with the six Sha primes, of which Fear was the strongest, all were defeated, Pandaria was changed forever but saved. Hooray!

Except, if you’ve been paying attention, the Sha are the last whispers of a seven-headed Old God. And we’ve only seen six. However, if there is a seventh Prime, no one knows about it. How could they? Shaohao was a being of ‘pure light’ when he cleansed himself of the six. The only logical solution is that he was never affected by the mystery seventh Sha. So what is it, if Shaohao didn’t encounter it?

I have no idea. The tremendous list in an earlier post gives some potential candidates, but it could be anyone’s guess.

What I do know is why there are no records of the seventh Sha. And it’s all part of the floating mystery that is Shen-zin Su. And in order to get there, we have to understand the mind of a Sha.

Sha are beings created from negative emotion, whose sole purpose is to curse others with that same emotion, and gain power by feasting upon the spread of these emotions – emotions that can build walls, crush empires, and halt armies. It’s not surprising that Garrosh wants this power. But if you are a Sha just after the short-lived reign of Shaohao, not only are you imprisoned, but your sphere of influence just shrunk massively with the introduction of the Mists. Having tasted power after another empire freed you and bent you to their will, of course you want to take over the world. But if you’re limited to a continent with the technology capable of keeping you captive, then you have no options.

Until someone comes along and breaks the Mists. Which Liu Lang did with his ingenious choice of an immortal dragon turtle.

There’s no trace of this missing Sha. It may not have been imprisoned. It may have simply waited and hidden for the right moment after it was freed from the Engine of Nalak’sha.

Of course, this makes more sense when you realise that it’s entirely possible the Sha freed themselves.

Impossible, no? It’s not like C’thun or Yogg-Saron did anything similar. The Sha are the last remnants of an Old God, the most powerful beings to have lived on Azeroth. The Old Gods are able to communicate across the length and breadth of a planet, as Yogg-Saron is part of an alliance of three of them. The loss of the effects of the Sundering would have been a blow to the Sha, if not for the fact that they freed themselves thousands of years earlier.

All it takes is a simply whisper in the corner of a simple mortal’s brain, and they follow your word. C’thun did it with the Silithid, and thus the Sha made the Mogu via the Well of Eternity (or should I say, the Terrace of Endless Springs) – then nudged them in the direction of the Engine. The Mogu got an empire, the Sha got freedom, and the Mogu never realised. They would later use the Sha as weapons, but they never mastered the Primes. Because the Primes were never there to master.

So, after our missing Sha was freed, rather than take over a chunk of Pandaria it chose to wait. And wait it did, for a chance to escape Pandaria.

There is of course, no evidence that a Sha could have gotten onto Shen-zin Su. At least, not when he was young and you could keep track of the land on his back.

But there is evidence. Two huge tribes of Hozen. A statuette of Mogu origin. Ten-thousand years of Lorewalkers and Elders. Saurok who only appear when darkness threatens the entire isle. When the Alliance and Horde arrive.

Conveniently, at the same moment the Alliance and Horde release the Sha on Pandaria. But the Sha on the Wandering Isle was free, right?

Nope. I lied to you.

Oh, Sha number 7 is free, yes. But its presence would be fairly obvious if it did not lock itself away again. But Shen-zin Su is too obvious to possess. The same goes for Liu Lang. But the leader of the isle would be a networking hub – a way into everyone’s minds. Even when he’s gone.

Does it not seem a bit odd that pandaren elders can grow trees out of wood that’s been dead for over a century? I doubt most druids would be able to keep the wood from decaying for that long, let alone bring it back to life. That’s right. Bring it back to life. Not grow something new out of it, actually resurrect it. This is an extremely rare occurrence with druidic magic – what magic is allowing this to happen?

What magic indeed, I wonder. The powers of the Sha have raised the dead more than once. But I’m more concerned with how this looks. Perhaps it’s just coincidence, but all the elder’s staves are… kypari trees. Where did they get kypari wood from? How are these trees so small compared to those on Pandaria, when some have been growing for 9000 years?

Because there is one special tree, the least tree-like of all. A tree held by Liu Lang for over a century.
Two things struck me when I took a long look at that tree. The first we’ve already discussed.
How can you plant an umbrella and have it regrow, never mind regrow and look like a giant sha-infested umbrella? You pop a Sha in it for long enough for it to become part of the Sha, and thus something it has to be freed from by the Alliance and Horde’s arrival. The Sha uses the umbrella to absorb the wisdom of all the Elders, and their powers. The Sha eats the Elders before their trees outgrow it, making it stronger. Through proximity to the Elders, the Sha sees all the members of the Isle who come to pay homage, and it learns of their deepest emotions.
The second is that it looks really, really familiar.
I rest my case. The Sha keeps itself strong by feeding off the emotions of those who come to see the Elders, and from them it learns the current state of the isle. But if it needs to interfere more directly, how can it? It’s a tree.
That looks like Sha corruption to me, folks. What we have here is a carefully-cultivated scheme to keep a Sha prime hidden until the point in time where there is the most emotion to feed off.
What’s that? Alliance and Horde war? Zeppelin crash? Shen-zin Su in pain? Pandaren trainees leaving to participate in the war and experience the world?
Why, what a good time to break free! The arrival of the Alliance and Horde can cause the Sha’s freedom. By having interacted with so many pandaren on the isle from such a young age, the Sha is guaranteed power from all of these trainees, Huojin and Tushui, going off to destroy and fight and feel. And if that plan fails, what better way to sustain yourself than by leeching off the Well of Eternity?
We know how this works. Something gets into the Well, the Well mirrors it. Trolls become elves, lizards become saurok, and in the Singing Pools people become deceased animals.

But the rest of the Sha seem pretty much bound to Pandaria. There’s no way to get them out. Unless Shen-zin Su can go back. But the great turtle is old and can no longer swim straight. It’s unlikely he’ll go back to his birthplace unless he himself is dying.

Well, there goes the escape route. I guess we’re alright then. There’s no other way out of Pandaria.



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