One of the bits that will happen in the Pandaria storyline with Neltharion is that Chen Stormstout asks if this war truly is what the Last Great Emperor of Pandaria meant. So, Neltharion returns to Kun-Lai Summit and ascends to the top of Mt. Neverest where he finds an old Pandaren named Hao Pham Roo. He then helps the old Pandaren up the slope of Seeker's Folly.
Once they near the end, Hao reveals himself as the spirit of Emperor Shaohao, who tells him that he has purged himself of his negative emotions, but held tightly to pride, the most insidious of the Sha manifestation. It was this pride that created the mist. Shaohao believed that his people, his land were above the worries of the other races and when the Burning Legion came to Azeroth, and the Well was destroyed, and the continents broke, Pandaria floated away towards the South Pole and the mist shrouded it.
However, Shaohao tells Neltharion that he too holds tightly to pride. Neltharion denies this, saying he is no proud of anything he has done. Shaohao says to the Earth-Warder that the pride that Neltharion holds onto comes in the form of self pity and that he mistakes what he considers himself being humble is just another form of that pride. Shaohao states that dragons are a race who holds to pride tightly, no matter what form it takes, and dragons have the hardest time of letting that pride go and truly feeling humility. No matter any problems and failures Neltharion has gone through, the beatings or the pain and agony he suffered under the Old Gods, he still has not learned humility and he wears the self pity like a badge.
Now, this bit shall soon come in the second book. I still have to get Nel to Pandaria first.
For those of you who don't know why the Earth-Warder has white streaks, or that glowing blue eye...this is your update. Spoiler warning...
In about a couple of chapters of Pandaria: Rise of the Sha, after Garrosh assaults Northwatch Hold with his Molten Giants, Neltharion finally returns to Theramore after visiting his brother Nozdormu in Tanarsis.
Neltharion discovers that the Horde is coming for Theramore and that Jaina has called for help from King Varian and many members of the Kirin Tor for Dalarand. Among those is of course Ronin, who Neltharion greats like an old friend. (As to why, go read Murozond's Gift. Neltharion and Ronin become drinking buddies at the end. It's cute.)
Neltharion also sees Kalecgos in Theramore, and questions why he's there. Then, Kalecgos tells him he's lost the Focusing Iris, and Neltharion berates the young Aspect and tells him that Neltharion's older brother Malygos would NEVER loose such a valuable artifact. And of course, this kinda angers Kalecgos, and it reaffirms the whole issue Neltharion has with Kalecgos and how he really does not agree with Norgannon's choice of the new Aspect, that is an Aspect who was appointed and not created.
Neltharion also tells Jaina that while he is an Aspect, and must remain neutral in the fight between the Alliance and the Horde, which again makes Calia's eyes roll, the Earth Aspect and his Black Dragons will defend Theramore Isle. Because Theramore is the new home of the Black Dragonflight, or at least the uncorrupted part of it. But only defend. Neltharion will not assist in any offensive tactics.
Finally, the siege of Theramore begins and Jaina, with the help of two Dragon Aspects, the Black Dragonflight, and the Alliance, successfully defend the island from attack. However, Neltharion sees a problem, noticing that the numbers that Kalecgos had reported to Jaina a few days earlier, were not there during the fight, in fact, the numbers of Horde attackers were rather small. Neltharion then flies off to the entrance of Dustwallow Marsh and sees the enormous numbers that Kalecgos had claimed, but they were not moving.
And of course, he sees Garrosh Hellscream there as well as other leaders of the Horde, like Baine Bloodhoof and Vol'jin. The Horde parts, allowing the massive Aspect to land, with a few of them scared witless of course, and Neltharion converses with Garrosh, demanding to know why the Warchief would attack a settlement that has a peace accord with the Horde. Garrosh of course just says it's because he's grown tired of looking at the Alliance eyesore and as they converse, Neltharion is distracted to Garrosh's true plans and the reason as to why he did not send all of his soldiers into the fight.
The little battle at Theramore was nothing more than a front for a devastating blow and Neltharion finally sees what is heading for Theramore. There, flying upon an airship––a very oddly crafted airship that looks a little bit more like an airship built by the damned Fire Nation rather than a bunch of goblins, being suspended in the air by electromagnetism instead of hydrogen and it makes its way back towards Theramore.
Neltharion leaps up into the air to stop the ship, and the ship fires on him. However, the bullets do not do much to him, but it does annoy Neltharion enough not to think rationally and once more distract him to what they plan to do. Finally, they release their bomb upon Theramore, the mana bomb built with the Focusing Iris and it detonates over the city.
Neltharion is caught in the mana blast, the shockwave knocks him down, and he tries to protect himself with his wings, but his left eye is exposed. When, the battle is over, and the Horde leaves, Neltharion awakens, completely dazed by the mana blast, his left eye glowing and his beard streaked with silver due to the fact he had absorbed some of the mana radiation from the bomb. His left eye is also now blind. He goes back to Theramore to find it completely destroyed, various anomalies fluctuating around it and the only one who was still alive was Jaina. He finds her fighting off some orcs who were sent into retrieve the Focusing Iris and he steps on them. Jaina takes the Focusing Iris with her and she and Neltharion wonder off in a daze from Theramore and towards the south.
And this is why Neltharion now has a striped beard.
Also, another little spoiler warning. When Neltharion and Jaina set out to destroy Orgrimmar with a massive tsunami of water elementals, Thrall attempts to stop them. He then sees what has happened to Neltharion, the color of his beard and the fact he has this one blue-white glowing, blind eye, Thrall then recalls what he had seen at the Hour of Twilight when he went with Nozdormu to find the Dragon Soul and bring it forward. Thrall recalls seeing Neltharion fighting off hordes of both Burning Legion and Old God forces all by himself, as his brothers and sisters, the other Aspects perished during the fight. All that is left is Neltharion and he valiantly fights to the bitter end, never giving up. But, this Neltharion of the future has a streaked white beard and his left eye is blind. Seeing Neltharion after the event in Theramore, Thrall realizes how close to that dismal future Azeroth is coming towards and he warns Neltharion of this.
And this is where Thrall attempts to ask Neltharion what it truly means to be the Earth-Warder, which then makes Neltharion question himself in regards to the war between the Alliance and the Horde. Finally, Neltharion decides to take a side, and he goes off with Jaina, and is then later joined by Kalecgos and they face the sea battle as the Alliance attempts to break Garrosh's sea blockade.
And this half ends with Neltharion telling Varian that he fights for the Alliance, but he does not state that his dragons will. Only Neltharion fights for the Alliance. However, Neltharion then tells Varian that he only fights with the Alliance against the Horde so long as Garrosh remains as Warchief, because the Earth-Warder does have some hope, despite seeing his home destroyed, that perhaps peace can still be made.
And that's why Neltharion looks the way he does. Just in case I get those questions. And something tells me I will anyway, which only proves you guys really don't read stuff.
Emperor Shaohao and Neltharion/Deathwing © Blizzard (Nel's beard is mine)