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Part 1: World History
From mythology to Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal.
The titans shape Azeroth after banishing the elementals & the Old Gods and construct the Well of Eternity at the world's center, then task the titan-forged keepers with its protection. After their departure, the titans are betrayed and killed by Sargeras, who creates the Burning Legion and sets on a mission to undo their work. Ages past, the keepers empower the dragon aspects to become Azeroth's new protectors. Not long after, internal conflicts ravage the keepers' unity and Loken emerges as the ruler of Ulduar, where he fabricates the Tribunal of Ages to replace the Discs of Norgannon as his own record of history. Yogg-Saron exploits the chaos to discretely infest the Forge of Wills with the curse of flesh, which slowly creeps into the titan-forged populations and gives rise to the first mortal races.
The world-shaping titans have ever protected the Great Dark from the demons of the Twisting Nether. When they learn of the void lords & their ability to negate existence itself, Sargeras defects from the Pantheon on the grounds that any trace of the spreading corruption must be indiscriminately eradicated, a point of view much opposed to their benevolent ideals.
- The first known titan to have awakened is Aman’Thul. He started touring the Great Dark in search of others of his kind, giving rise to the Pantheon.
- Led by passion and benevolence, they would shape a million worlds while constantly looking for other nascest titans and guarding their creation against evil entities that loomed over the cosmos.
- Demons of the Twisting Nether were a constant threat across the Great Dark, which the Pantheon stood up against with Sargeras and his apprentice Aggramar in the vanguard.
- To counter their ability to respawn in the Nether, Sargeras started banishing the demons into a prison he named Mardum.
- The Pantheon was well aware of the void lords, intangible entities who sought to devour the whole universe. However, the full extent of their indirect influence wasn't known until Sargeras discovered a planet whose very World Soul was being corrupted from the inside by parasitic creatures (the Old Gods), spawned by the void lords, and who had sink their tentacles deep into it. The corrupted World Soul could be twisted beyond repair to become an unstoppable tool of destruction.
- In his fury, Sargeras struck the corrupted World Soul with his enormous sword, utterly obliterating it. This rash decision, however, brought nothing but disgrace upon him and Discord to the Pantheon, stemming from their speculation that the World Soul could've been saved and healed. When they couldn't reach an agreement on the real magnitude of the void lords' threat, Sargeras sorrowfully walked away and deserted the Pantheon.
The Pantheon continue their world-shaping duty as they arrive on Azeroth by imprisoning the Old Gods (the void lords’ creation) and its native elemental lords.
- Before the Pantheon arrived on Azeroth, it used to be a battlefield of the planet's elementals who descended into complete chaos after Azeroth's World Soul exhausted its spirit element (the fifth element, which nurtures order and tranquility).
- Ragnaros the Firelord, Therazane the Stonemother, Al’Akir the Windlord and Neptulon the Tidehunter fought each other with the armies of their elemental children for the conquest of Azeroth for millenia.
- The elemental lords kept fighting until the void lords’ manifestation plagued the planet’s surface, giving birth to the Old Gods and their Black Empire, consisting of races they spawned: the n’raqi (the faceless ones) and the aqir (insectoids).
- For the first time ever, the elemental lords finally united to stand against the common enemy, but gradually found themselves outnumbered, and were eventually defeated and enslaved by the Old Gods.
- When the Pantheon first found Azeroth, they found in it a World Soul more radiant than any they had ever seen.
- To restore order to Azeroth without potentially damaging the planet by their colossal forms, the titans created armies of metal and rock soldiers, known as the titan-forged.
- A few select titan-forged were imbued with titanic powers by the Pantheon members themselves, who would act as leaders for their titan-forged brethren. Those leaders became known as the keepers.
|Keeper(s)||Imbuing Titan||Given Powers|
|Highkeeper Ra & Keeper Odyn||Aman'Thul, the Highfather of the Pantheon||To oversee their brethren|
|Keeper Freya||Eonar, the titan patron of all firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Keepers Loken & Mimiron||Norgannon, the titan lore keeper and email@example.com|
|Archaedas||Khaz’goroth, the Titan shaper and forger of the firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Keepers Thorim & Hodir||Golgannethemail@example.com|
- Using the massive powers granted by the titans, the keepers and their armies successfully defeated the thundering armies of the enslaved elemental lords. However, they could not be killed permanently as they were a fundamental part of Azeroth, so they were instead banished into the Elemental Plane.
|Element||Elemental Lord||Banishment (within the Elemental Plane)|
|Water||Neptulon||The Abyssal Maw|
- The titan-forged now focused all their efforts on the Old Gods, but still couldn’t defeat Y’Shaarj. And so, titan Aman’Thul reached with his own hand from the sky to pull the Old God from the planet’s crust. However, he left a huge wound by doing so, and thus it was decided to imprison the three remaining Old Gods, lest they risk Azeroth’s destruction.
The titans oversee the keepers as they mend and shape Azeroth's landscapes. The Well of Eternity is enchanted at the center to nurture life, while the World Forges are installed (near the two poles) to strengthen the World Soul and create new generations of titan-forged. Keeper Freya links Azeroth to the Emerald Dream, which acts as an evolutionary blueprint for its flora and fauna.
- At the heart of ancient Kalimdor, the raging chasm of arcane radiation left after Y’Shaarj’s removal was mended by the keepers until it settled into a tranquil lake known as the Well of Eternity, which would act as a fountain of life for the continent.
- Keepers Archaedas and Mimiron crafted two extraordinary machines, the World Forges, that would strengthen Azeroth's World Soul.
- Ulduar was constructed in the Storm Peaks to house the newly installed Forge of Wills alongside Yogg-Saron's prison.
- Keeper Odyn was appointed as the the Prime Designate -due to his heroic acts in the war- to watch over it.
- An expedition was led by Ra to install the Forge of Origination in the South of Azeroth, accompanied by several titan-forged races: the anubisath giants, the leonine tol'vir and the indomitable mogu.
- Ra's expedition discovered some remnant fragments from Y'Shaarj's shattered body, amongst which was its black heart.
- Intending to study the heart to learn more about the evil that lurks in the void, the keepers entrusted the mogu with watching over the Vault of Y'Shaarj, where it was kept.
- The Forge of Origination was installed and activated in the fortress of Uldum, which acted as the Southmost base of titan operations.
- The two Forges had a last-resort protection mechanism that could purge all life should it fall to corruption, allowing it to start anew.
- Ra took the rest of his followers Northwest and built the fortress of Ahn'Qiraj atop C'Thun's underground prison.
- When his work was done, keeper Ra left his followers, and would from then on monitor them distantly while roaming Azeroth's Southern reaches.
- Once both World Forges were working, the keepers used them to create a new generation of titan-forged races and started shaping Azeroth's landscapes with them.
- Keeper Freya linked Azeroth to the Emerald Dream, a parallel, mirror-image plane of Azeroth that would influence and guide the evolution of its organic life.
- Keeper Freya focused her life-growing efforts on regions most affected by the Well of Eternity's life-giving energies, which included Un'Goro Crater, Sholazar Basin and Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
- The most significant of the animals Freya grew were the Wild Gods, who frequented Mount Hyjal with her.
- Freya bound the spirits of the Wild Gods to the Emerald Dream itself, binding their health and vitality to those of Azeroth itself.
- The proto-dragons emerged from the mutation of some of the elementals who had escaped banishment.
- Aman'Thul commissioned constellar Algalon the Observer to act as Azeroth's celestial guardian, giving him the ability to activate the World Forges to purge life should it fall to corruption.
- The Discs of Norgannon were crafted by Loken and Mimiron, an artifact that would transcribe and keep a record of Azeroth's history as it took place.
- The world then settled into a period of flourishment and peace. Before long, the proud founding keepers largely lost their interest in this outside world, with all of their time and attention being focused on managing their machines and watching over their vaults in Uldum and Ulduar.
With the world secured and ordered, the titan Pantheon leave it in the hands of the keepers, then depart forever.
The Pantheon cross paths with Sargeras, who betrayed them and raised the Burning Legion. He now believes indiscriminate eradication to be the only way to save susceptible worlds from being corrupted and made to serve the void lords' will. He unleashes his fury and the Pantheon's members fall before him one by one. Then, he embarks on his mission to undo the titans' work and purge any planet that could act as a foothold for the void lords.
- After leaving the Pantheon and meditating alone for so long, Sargeras became firmly convinced that creation itself was fundamentally flawed, and that the only way to save from inevitable corruption is to remove it from begin.
- To help him accomplish his goal, Sargeras shattered Mardum, setting all the demons free on the condition of joining his Burning Crusade. The fel energy flux released from the explosion engulfed his body with chaotic fires, which would define his form for ever after.
- When Sargeras and the Pantheon met again, he offered them the choice of joining the Burning Crusade, or being extinguished alongside the void lords’ creations.
- Aman’Thul tried to bring Sargeras back to reason by informing him about Azeroth (the World Soul) and all the potential it had in defeating the void lords. Sargeras seemed to listen carefully at the start, but eventually did not hesitate to unleash his fury upon his brethren.
- The battle between Sargeras and the Pantheon raged near Nihilam until Sargeras successfully obliterated all of the titans’ bodies, although their souls managed to survive and secretly escape by Norgannon’s sorcery.
- With heaps of savage demons at his disposal, Sargeras needed followers with intellect and a strategic vision to act as his army generals, which he found in the eredar race who dwelt on the planet Argus.
- Of the eredar’s three leaders, Sargeras succeeded in getting Archimonde and Kil’jaeden to join his cause. The eredar who escaped his corruption and devious plan were led by Velen; they were helped by the naaru and left the planet on a ship known as the Gendar. They became known as the draenei, or the “exiled ones”.
Ages past the titans' departure, the keepers charge the five Dragon Aspects with guarding Azeroth, defying Prime Designate Odyn's wishes in his disdain of the Aspects. Odyn ends up raising the Halls of Valor to elect his own guardians from fallen vrykul: the Valarjar.
- The keepers did not show up again until keeper Tyr helped five especially brilliant proto-dragons take down Galakrond, a cannibalist proto-dragon who had grown into gargantuan proportions and dominated the frozen North of Kalimdor.
- When the five proto-dragons proved their worthiness by defeating Galakrond, the keepers imbued them with portions of the powers they themselves had previously received from the titans.
- Keeper Tyr lost his iron hand to Galakrond during the conflict, which was later replaced by a silver hand.
- The dragons' new powers transformed their shapes and elevated their intelligence. They would ever since become known as the Dragon Aspects, and each would have a breed of their color, known as a dragonflight, which would assist in the undertaking of their assigned duties.
- From that day on, the Dragon Aspects and their flights would act as Azeroth's defensive vanguard in absence of the keepers, who turned back into their isolated affairs.
|Dragonflight||Dragon Aspect||Imbuing titan||Task|
|Red||Alexstraza||Eonar||Guarding all life|
|Green||Ysera||Eonar||Guarding the Emerald Dream|
|Black||Neltharion (AKA Deathwing)||Khaz'goroth||Guarding earth & its deep places|
- Odyn, Prime Designate of the keepers, was opposed to the charge of the Dragonflights.
- When his wish was defied by the other keepers, he resolved to create his own army to carry the mantle of Azeroth's guardians.
- Odyn called upon vrykul sorceress Helya, who used all of her power to transport a wing from Ulduar up to the skies to become the Halls of Valor.
- In a moment of zeal, he forced Helya to become the first Val'kyr, giving her the ability to guide the souls of dead vrykul warriors back to his Halls of Valor, but also cursing her to be stuck in this form for eternity, which she resented.
- Ever since, Odyn would look upon the vrykul from his palace and choose those who died glorious deaths to live again as Valarjar warriors in the Halls of Valor.
After not hearing from their creators, the titans, in a very long time, the keepers are gradually filled with despair. The imprisoned Yogg-Saron senses it and uses its psychic abilities to manipulate Loken, stirring conflict and shattering the keepers' unity. In the wake of this chaos, Yogg-Saron infects the Forge of Wills with the curse of flesh, which would slowly contaminate the titan-forged for ages to come.
- As the ages went by and the keepers didn't hear anything from their creators, the titans, feelings of despair started haunting them. Although the keepers didn't know the horrifying truth of the titans' death on the hands of Sargeras, this extended absence was enough to carry a similar toll on them.
- From its deep titanic prison in Ulduar, Yogg-Saron was constantly on the lookout for any weak points it could exploit to wreak havoc upon the world and bring the Old Gods' vision closer to fruition. It sensed the despair that had befallen the keepers, and so it started echoing its manipulative whispers in the head of Loken, the most troubled of the keepers.
- Loken used to have a secret affair with his brother Thorim's mate, a vrykul named Sif. She eventually cut her ties with him to protect the keepers' unity, an act that he didn't take kindly. When he confronted her about it, he accidentally unleashed his enormous titan-imbued powers and killed her.
- Surprisingly, Sif's spirit appeared in front of Loken and forgave him, then urged him to erase the evidence.
- Loken moved Sif's body to the frigid wastes of the Storm Peaks and told his brother Thorim that she was murdered by Arngrim's ice giants. He then watched as his furious brother killed Arngrim and led his storm giants into a war of retaliation.
- Loken followed Sif's increasingly malicious commands by harshly condemning Thorim for giving in to his anger. Having reached the peak of his mental breakdown, Thorim left Ulduar and ventured far away, leaving it all to Loken.
- Despite the growing dubiousness of Sif's advice, Loken continued to carry it out, creating a new army of his own from the Forge of Wills and using it to end the conflict between the ice and storm giants.
- Loken noticed that the curse of flesh was spreading across the ranks of his new titan-forged. Having become so dependent on Sif, his first instinct was to seek her immediate council. However, for the first time ever, she didn't show.
- At that moment he realized that this malevolent spirit he had been taking orders from was not Sif's at all. In fact, it was merely an illusion created by Yogg-Saron, who had instilled the curse of flesh into the Forge of Wills while Loken and Thorim were busy fighting.
- From that moment onward, it became Loken's sole purpose to prevent the news of his wrongdoings by any means from reaching the Pantheon, even if he had to conspire with Yogg-Saron itself.
To complete his rewriting of history and hide his atrocities from the Pantheon, Loken starts eliminating the other keepers one by one, sealing Odyn in the Halls of Valor and subduing the others. Only Tyr and Archaedas escape his wrath.
- To cover up his atrocious exploits before the Pantheon's return, Loken started eliminating the keepers one by one.
- He freed Helya from the Val'kyr curse in exchange for using her sorcery to permanently seal Odyn and the Valarjar inside the Halls of Valor.
- She then founded her own realm on a piece of land directly beneath the Halls of Valor, known as Helheim. The darkness of her heart would shroud that realm and transform the vrykul spirits who find their way there into malevolent Kvaldir.
- Next, Loken killed Mimiron while investigating the Forge of Wills as the possible source of the curse of flesh, and made it look like a work accident. Mimiron was resurrected by his faithful mechagnomes, but the trauma he had suffered was so severe that he would would lock himself up inside Ulduar and work on his clockwerk machines for the rest of his days.
- Having embraced Yogg-Saron's powers, Loken defeated Freya at the Temple of Life while his fire giants Ignis and Volkhan overran Hodir's Temple of Winter. The two defeated keepers were compelled by Yogg-Saron to take over a garden and a chamber within the halls of Ulduar.
- Tyr and Archaedas, the last keepers standing, knew that they couldn't lead a direct assault against Loken, so they went into hiding within the Storm Peaks.
- With his conquest over the Storm Peaks complete, Loken declared himself new Prime Designate. He disabled the Forge of Wills (which was tainted by the curse of flesh) and banished many of the titan-forged. He then sat inside the empty halls of Ulduar and sealed it, then started contemplating his fate.
- The real threat, however, was Yogg-Saron, who was working to free itself from the prison of Ulduar.
- Meanwhile in the South, Ra had been meditating in isolation. The moment the Pantheon's souls arrived on Azeroth and infused themselves with the keepers' ages ago, Ra was the only to realize that it was the last remnant of his creators' being.
- News of such massive conflict and turmoil must've traveled across the land, yet no word from Ra (who had been in the South) or about his whereabouts ever reached Loken, which made him suspicious. After sending some of his own titan-forged to investigate Ra's base of operations in the South, he learnt that Ra had indeed been missing for some time. Inadvertently, Loken's expedition spread the curse of flesh to the titan-forged of the South: the tol'vir, mogu and anubisath.
- Ra went missing when he had gone to store the last remnants of his creator Aman'Thul in a mountain vault that became known as the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, then moved to the catacombs to meditate over his knowledge while his titan-forged continued their watching duty.
Over generations, the curse of flesh fully manifests across titan-forged populations. With the keepers' absence, conflicts start breaking out amongst the now-mortal beings. Meanwhile in Storm Peaks, Tyr and Archaedas steal the Discs of Norgannon from Loken, which contain a full record of all of his wrongdoings. The two rally some vrykul, earthen and mechagnomes and venture south.
- Loken's betrayal of the keepers left many titan-forged in exile. These populations spread out carrying with them the curse of flesh. Among them, there were the earthen who dug underground, and the vrykul who maintained a clan-based, nomadic lifestyle on the surface.
- It wasn't long after the keepers' disappearance that Northern Kalimdor became a free land ripe for conquest, and Loken's fire giants Ignis and Volkhan were a pioneering force to seize this opportunity. The two enslaved the Winterskorn vrykul clan and used it to secure the Storm Peaks for their own.
- The Winterskorn began showing symptoms of the curse of flesh during the war, which warranted Volkhan and Ignis to compensate for it by recruiting new powerful entities into their army. To meet that end, they raised an army of molten giants and enslaved proto-dragons that the Winterskorn vrykul can use as beasts of war.
- The earthen were among the primary victims of this vicious annihilation. Their survivors sought refuge in the company of Tyr, Archaedas and their mate Ironaya (who were still in the Storm Peaks, hiding from Loken).
- The only force that could stop the Winterskorn's menace was the Dragon Aspects, who were called upon by Tyr. They ended the war and cast a spell that induced sleep on the Winterskorn's warriors, wherein the curse of flesh would consume their bodies until they wake up centuries later.
- At Tyr's command, the victorious company sought to gather intelligence about Loken. Tyr turned up before Ulduar's gates. When Loken came out to slam him with whatever arguments he had, others sneaked into the city and stole the Discs of Norgannon, an artifact containing a complete record of history since the Pantheon's departure.
- With the record in their hands, the three fled and ventured with their company of vrykul, earthen and mechagnomes far far into the south, where Loken's wrath wouldn't reach them.
Loken sends two C'Thraxxi (faceless) monsters to retrieve the Discs of Norgannon from Tyr, who meets them at Tirisfal Glades. He stops them by sacrificing his life, ensuring a long-lasting peace for the vrykul, earthen and mechagnomes. When the retrieval fails, Loken fabricates the Tribunal of Ages. The first glimpse of humanity is seen, & the first trolls appear around the Well of Eternity in Ancient Kalimdor.
- When Loken found out that his Discs of Norgannon were stolen by Tyr, he was struck by panic. If Tyr reveals his wrongdoings to the Pantheon, he would pay a very grim price.
- Loken set the two C'Thraxxi behemoths, Zakazj and Kith'ix, free and sent them after Tyr and his company; they delightfully obeyed. They met Tyr and the others at a glade in the east of Kalimdor.
- Tyr commanded the others to move on as he stood to hold the two C'Thraxxi off on his own. After six days of frenetic combat, Tyr made the ultimate sacrifice, expending his own life to unleash a huge torrent of arcane energy that would defeat both of his foes.
- The explosion was so powerful and radiant that it could be seen from miles away. When Archaedas and Ironaya saw it, they came back to the site to find only the bodies of Tyr and Zakajz. Kith'ix, who had barely survived the encounter, ventured to the far West, where he would remain missing for thousands of years.
- The site was named Tirisfal ("Tyr's Fall" in vrykul) in his honor, and Tyr's silver hand was elected as a memorial atop his grave. (Unfortunately, this memorial is nowhere to be seen in WoW as of BfA.)
- The vrykul were the most moved by Tyr's sacrifice, and decided to make a home out of Tirisfal, guarding Tyr's grave until the end of their days.
- Archaedas and Ironaya continued with the earthen and mechagnomes until they settled at the eastern-most titan-forged vault on Kalimdor: Uldaman, where they would store the Discs of Norgannon in the underground city and dedicate their time to expanding it.
- With Tyr's death, Loken was assured that Archaedas and Ironaya alone wouldn't attempt a full-out assault against him. However, he still had to deal with the risk posed by the Discs of Norgannon. He eventually decided to fabricate a historical record of his own: the Tribunal of Ages.
- As a final measure, he altered the titan communication devices in Ulduar so that his death would be the only means to contact constellar Algalon.
- After the world settled into a tenuous peace, the vrykul dominated Kalimdor's northern half, but continued to experience the increasing effects of the curse of flesh. At some point, women of the Dragonflayer clan started giving birth to small and weak children, as seen in quest: The Echo of Ymiron.
- King Ymiron of the clan handled the associated panic by killing the malformed children, while also urging the vrykul to forget about the creators who abandoned them, the keepers.
- Those who wanted to protect their children traveled south into the fabled land of Tirisfal, where they degenerated generation after generation into the human race.
- Many of the titan-forged suffered a similar fate elsewhere: The mechagnomes, earthen, tol'vir, mogu and giants all descended into beings of flesh and blood, marking the success of Yogg-Saron's plan.
- Meanwhile in the heart of ancient Kalimdor, near the Well of Eternity, a new savage race started gaining strength and numbers, called the trolls. Although they were only of average intelligence, they were extremely ferocious and could regenerate lost limbs. These savages would dominate Kalimdor for ages to come.
The Troll empire of Zuldazar rises in the heart of Kalimdor. The once dormant aqir awaken to try and impose the Old Gods' rule once again, but are instead chased by the trolls into Ahn'Qiraj and Ulduar in opposite corners of the world. In Southern Kalimdor (present-day Pandaria), a mogu named Lei Shen subdues keeper Ra and steals his powers, becoming the Thunder King. His tyrannical rule over the region persists until he invades Uldum, where the tol'vir kill him by triggering the Forge of Origination's life-eradicating mechanism. Before long, the pandaren revolt and overthrow the mogu using unarmed combat techniques devised by a pandaren named Kang, whose followers later become known as the peacekeeping Lorewalkers. As the ages go by, the Well of Eternity's energies empower a troll tribe with increased intelligence and virtual immortality, becoming known as the night elves. Their empire thrives on the Well's shores; but when an elite sect of them known as the Highborne meddles with the arcane energies it holds, they cause a cosmic ripple effect that attracts Sargeras himself. When the Legion mounts a full-might attack using the Well as a dimensional portal, Malfurion Stormrage sacrifices it to stop the invasion, causing a Sundering that submerges most of Kalimdor under the sea.
Taken from the Classic section:
On the recovering world, the Highborne are exiled from the night elf society on Kalimdor for their magic addiction. On the new continent of Lordaeron in the Eastern Kingdoms, they build the Kingdom of Quel'Thalas and form a great Alliance with men, whom they teach in the ways of the arcane. The human settlements multiply and expand to constitute the seven kingdoms we know today. The line of Guardians is established to protect Azeroth from agents of the Burning Legion.
Taken from the Classic section:
Meanwhile on Draenor, the spiritual and honorable orc clans are secretly infiltrated by the Legion. Demonology gradually replaces their shamanistic traditions, causing their landscapes to die with its foul energies. The Legion's influence culminates when most orc clans drink Mannoroth's blood to gain immense strength, inadvertently falling into a blind fury and becoming a great weapon in the Legion's hands. The blood-frenzies orcs eradicate most of the draenei and march through the Dark Portal into Azeroth.
Taken from the Classic section:
The Orcish Horde makes its way through Azeroth's landscapes, laying waste to the Kingdom of Stormwind in the First War. In Lordaeron (North of the Eastern Kingdoms), the humans, high elves, dwarves and gnomes of the region unite in the Alliance of Lordaeron, and the Second War commences. As the Horde lays siege to the Alliance capital city, an inner conflict forces them to fall back, ultimately losing the war at Blackrock Spire. However, the Alliance makes one last move by sending an expedition to Draenor. When the Horde's new warchief opens a multitude of portals, Draenor is shattered into Outland. The Dark Portal collapses and the expedition is lost there.
Part 2: Contemporary Events
From World of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos until now.
Based on Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos.
Medium detail: Available
Max detail: Available
Thrall frees orc prisoners in Lordaeron & sails with them to Kalimdor as instructed by a mysterious prophet (Medivh), where they form the new Horde. Soon after, the continent of Lordaeron is annihilated by the Legion's Plague of Undeath. Arthas retrieves Frostmourne & joins the Scourge, & Archimonde is summoned. On Kalimdor, the curse of Mannoroth's blood takes hold of Grom & the Warsong orcs, & Medivh appears to inform Thrall & Jaina Proudmoore (leader of Lordaeron's human survivors) about the Legion. At his urging, they unite & stop the Warsong, & Grom (having regained sanity) kills Mannoroth alongside Thrall, setting orcs free from the curse forever. As the Legion's presence manifests on Kalimdor, Tyrande Whisperwind awakens Malfurion Stormrage & the druids, & frees Illidan Stormrage the betrayer, who achieves an astounding victory using forbidden demonic powers which Arthas revealed to him. The three factions unite against the Burning Legion in the Battle of Mount Hyjal & defeat Archimonde. However, the taint of corruption remains, & so does the Scourge. Arthas & Illidan disappear.
Prologue: Exodus of the Horde
A mysterious prophet (Medivh) starts appearing across the continent of Lordaeron to warn everyone of an impending doom. Thrall heeds his call by rallying the orcs and sailing to Kalimdor, assembling the Darkspear trolls into his new Horde on the way.
- Roughly 13 years after the orcs' defeat in the Second War, Thrall broke free from his human detention in internment camps and started a movement with Grom Hellscream to free and rally other orcs in Lordaeron.
- Some time later, when Thrall was with a small force in the Arathi Highlands, he saw an enigmatic prophet (Medivh) in a vision, as seen in cinematic: Thrall's Vision. This prophet appeared later to instruct him to rally the Horde and that destiny awaited them in Kalimdor.
- Taking up the prophet's advice, Thrall gathered the Horde and prepared to make their way across the Great Sea.
- Grom Hellscream turned out to have been captured by humans, and Thrall quickly stepped in to save him, then stole the human ships of the harbor to sail across the Great Sea.
- Halfway along their journey to Kalimdor, Thrall's ships were beset by a fierce storm near the Maelstrom and forced to take shelter on a small island.
- There the orcs met the Darkspear troll leader Sen'jin, who told them of a human outpost that attacked his tribe night and day on the island.
- Fearing for the Horde and the Darkspear Trolls' safety, Thrall and his warriors assaulted the human base. But before they were done, murlocs raided both busy parties, seeking out sacrifices for their rituals.
- Thrall was then imprisoned within the murlocs' fiery dungeon. He learned from a troll headhunter, with whom he shared a cell, that the murlocs planned to sacrifice them both to a sea witch.
- Fortunately, though the murlocs were strangely advanced, they were unaware of Thrall's shamanistic abilities, and the warchief was able to escape and free his warriors.
- However, by the time Thrall was out, Sen'jin was already undergoing the sacrifice ritual.
- Thrall and his warriors were able to kill the murloc sorcerer and stop the ritual, but it was too late for the troll leader.
- The dying Sen'jin revealed a vision: That Thrall would lead the Darkspear tribe to greatness. Thrall then offered the remaining trolls a place in the Horde for the kindness they had shown the orcs.
- The Horde, with the Darkspears now assembled into it, escaped the sea witch's wrath and fended the murlocs off just enough to repair their ships, and then made their way to the shores of Kalimdor.
Human/Alliance Campaign: The Scourge of Lordaeron
In Lordaeron, the humans ignore the prophet (Medivh) as Prince Arthas & Uther Lightbringer tirelessly work to prevent Lich King Ner'zhul's Plague of Undeath from overrunning the country. Prince Arthas soon learns that the demon Mal'Ganis is leading the Scourge, and faces him in Stratholme before incinerating it to purge the Plague.
- A mysterious prophet (Medivh) appeared during a council in the throne room of king Terenas Menethil II to urge him to escape an impending doom by leading his people to Kalimdor. King Terenas defied his advice.
- With recent orc breakouts from internment camps, Blackrock orcs started raiding the towns of Lordaeron, which saw prince Arthas Menethil and his mentor, Uther Lightbringer, working hand in hand to stop them at Strahnbrad.
- Only weeks later, Arthas was joined by his lover, Jaina Proudmoore, to investigate a much more sinister threat: The Plague of Undeath.
- After engaging undead forces at the town of Brill, they encountered skeletons, a necromancer, an abomination made out of stitched corpses and a granary that contained grain infected with the Plague.
- The grain crates bore the seal of Andorhal, the primary distributer of grain throughout Lordaeron.
- They soon learnt that the necromancer was Kel'Thuzad of the Cult of the Damned, who was orchestrating the Scourge operations in the area for the sake of Lich King Ner'zhul.
- The two chased him to Andorhal, where they learnt that the town's grain crops had been infected and were already shipped to other towns.
- Before being killed, Kel'Thuzad revealed to Arthas that Lich King Ner'zhul and the Scourge were actually being led by Mal'Ganis, a nathrezim demon who was stationed at Stratholme.
- Jaina and Arthas set off to Stratholme but stopped at Hearthglen on the way, just to discover that the Plague of Undeath was not only killing people, but was also turning them into undead. Arthas held the hostiles off while Jaina went to call Uther.
- While traveling to Stratholme, the mysterious prophet (Medivh) appeared before Arthas to redeliver the warning he had given king Terenas earlier; that Lordaeron is facing an impending doom, but Arthas refused to abandon his land.
- When they arrived at Stratholme, they found that the grain had already been distributed. Since the people of Stratholme would soon become undead, Arthas ordered Uther and his men to purge the city, as seen in dungeon: Culling of Stratholme.
- Horrified, Uther rebuked him by saying he would not follow such an order even if Arthas were already king, which led to Arthas accusing him of treason and relieving him and his paladins of their duties.
- Jaina couldn't bear the sight of Arthas' actions and departed with Uther.
- While purging the city, Arthas met Mal'Ganis, who escaped and lured him into Northrend, a bait that Arthas would rashly take. Stratholme remains burning to this day.
After burning Stratholme, Arthas is baited by Mal'Ganis into Northrend, where he burns his ships and retrieves Frostmourne, giving away his free will and sealing his fate to serve the Lich King. By the time he kills Mal'Ganis, he turns his people to undead and goes back to Lordaeron to annihilate it.
- Arthas sailed with his men to Northrend. As they ventured onland from Daggercap Bay, Arthas accidentally ran into old friend Muradin Bronzebeard and members of explorers' league, who were in search of an artifact known as Frostmourne.
- While they were searching, an emissary from Lordaeron arrived with orders from Uther and Terenas, instructing Arthas and his men to return home as seen in quest: The Truth Shall Set Us Free.
- When Arthas returned to his base, the men had abandoned their posts and were making their way through the forest towards their ships.
- Arthas had no intention of leaving before Mal'Ganis was destroyed.
- With the help of some indigenous mercenaries, he managed to reach and burn his ships before his men got to them.
- When his men arrived, Arthas betrayed the mercenaries by accusing them of destroying the ships.
- Stranded in Northrend, Arthas' men had no choice but to fight for victory.
- When Arthas and Muradin found Frostmourne, Muraden could immediately tell that the blade was cursed, but Arthas was adamant. When the weapon broke free, Muradin was struck by a shard of ice and lost consciousness.
- Arthas discarded his holy warhammer, Light's Vengeance, then picked Frostmourne up and returned to his base, leaving Muradin for dead.
- With Frostmourne in hand, Arthas confronted Mal'Ganis after defeating his army, who told him that the voice he had been hearing since he picked up Frostmourne was that of Lich King Ner'zhul.
- Arthas answered that the voice was instructing him to destroy Mal'Ganis, much to the dreadlord's surprise.
- After slaying the dreadlord, Arthas fled into the frozen north, leaving his troops to fend for themselves. Arthas soon lost the last remnants of his sanity.
- Arthas became the first of Lich King Ner'zhul's death knights and slaughtered many of his own men and turned the rest into undead.
Undead/Scourge Campaign: Path of the Damned
Arthas returns to Lordaeron as a leader of the Scourge. He kills his father, King Terenas Menethil and retrieves Kel'Thuzad's remains on Tichondrius' command. He kills Uther Lightbringer to retrieve the urn that housed his father's remains, which he uses to carry Kel'Thuzad's remains to Quel'Thalas, where he would resurrect him.
- Months after his campaign in Northrend, Arthas returned to Lordaeron and killed his father (as seen in cinematic: Arthas' Betrayal) and unleashed the Scourge upon Lordaeron (capital city).
- With the city secured, Arthas raised his horse, Invincible, to serve him in undeath, and went to Vandermar village at Lich King Ner'zhul's bidding to meet Tichondrius.
- Tichondrius explained to Arthas how he felt no remorse for his atrocities because Frostmourne stole his soul, and how everything tied up to the nathrezim's greater scheme.
- Arthas assembled members of Cult of the Damned who were hiding in Vandermar, and ventured to Andorhal where he was to recover Kel'Thuzad's corpse.
- He confronted the paladin guarding the crypt, Gavinrad the Dire, the very paladin who had given Arthas his holy warhammer at his induction ceremony into the Silver Hand.
- After killing Gavinrad, he recovered the remains of the necromancer. This brought Kel'Thuzad's ghost into being, and he secretly instructed Arthas not to trust the dreadlords, an advice that Arthas would quietly contemplate.
- Kel'Thuzad's remains were badly decomposed and needed to be taken to the mystical Sunwell in Quel'Thalas to be revived.
- Tichondrius sent Arthas to recover a mystical urn, which could be used to transport Kel'Thuzad's remains. However, the urn was in the keeping of the Knights of the Silver Hand.
- Arthas killed two paladins, Ballador the Bright and Sage Truthbearer, then faced Uther the Lightbringer, who explained that the urn held the ashes of his father, King Terenas.
- The two engaged in a duel with Uther initially having the upper hand, knocking Arthas down and sending Frostmourne flying from his hands. As Arthas awaited the killing blow, the sword seemed to find its way into his hands and he was granted more power by the Lich King. The battle had begun to turn in Arthas' favor and Uther, covered in blood from his wounds, fell to his knees and told Arthas he hoped there was a special place in hell waiting for him.
- Arthas replied that he intended to live forever, then delivered the killing blow. He seized the urn and abandoned his father's remains for the sake of Kel'Thuzad's, then began the long journey to Quel'Thalas.
In Quel'Thalas, Arthas manages to push all the way to the elven capital of Silvermoon, killing the king & Ranger-General Sylvanas Windrunner & raising her as a banshee, and resurrecting Kel'Thuzad. The two lead their Scourge army to Dalaran, where they successfully summon Archimonde. Jaina escapes with Lordaeron survivors to Kalimdor (having finally believed the prophet), then Dalaran is razed completely. Having summoned Archimonde, the Legion now needs the Scourge no more, and Arthas and Kel'Thuzad disappear.
- In Quel'Thalas, Arthas met heavy resistance from the elves, rallied by Ranger-General Sylvanas Windrunner.
- She ultimately died at his hand and was resurrected as a banshee, after he had completely twisted her soul to become a servant of the Lich King.
- Although Sylvanas tried to warn Silvermoon before the Scourge's arrival, Arthas faced minimal resistance as he cut his way through the rest of Eversong Woods and the city of Silvermoon, leaving a permanent trail known as the Dead Scar and ultimately killing king Anasterian Sunstrider.
- Arthas then used the Sunwell to bring Kel'Thuzad back as an undead lich.
- As the pair traveled to Alterac, Kel'Thuzad explained to Arthas the full extent of the "second invasion" (of the Burning Legion) and Lich King Ner'zhul's plan. Basically, the Legion needed new allies to open the portals required to transport their gargantuan leaders and their troops en masse from the Nether.
- Arthas and Kel'Thuzad went to the Alterac Mountains to destroy encampments of Blackrock clan orcs who had taken control of a demon gate, which the lich would use to speak to the demon lord Archimonde.
- The Scourge destroyed the orcs, and after Kel'Thuzad received orders from Archimonde, they set off to the powerful seat of the world's mages, the city of Dalaran.
- When the Scourge arrived at Dalaran's doors, Jaina and Antonidas realized that the prophet (Medivh) had been right. Antonidas encouraged Jaina to take as many survivors of Lordaeron as she could find and sail west for Kalimdor. Jaina decided to follow his words and made preparations.
- In Dalaran, Archimonde instructed Arthas and Kel'Thuzad to acquire the spellbook of Medivh, which would allow Kel'Thuzad to summon Archimonde into Azeroth.
- Despite the Kirin Tor's valiant efforts to repel the invasion, the Scourge fought through their magical defenses and fortifications, killed the Archmage Antonidas and claimed the Book of Medivh.
- Arthas and his troops repelled the mages' vast counterattack as Kel'Thuzad began the lengthy summoning of the demon lord.
- Once Archimonde arrived, he proclaimed that Lich King Ner'zhul was of no further use to the Legion, and Tichondrius was placed in command of the Scourge.
- Arthas was left to wonder what would become of him and Kel'Thuzad, but the lich replied that all was going as the Lich King had foreseen.
- The pair disappeared as Archimonde took his revenge on the city, destroying Dalaran with a single powerful ritual.
Orc/Horde Campaign: The Invasion of Kalimdor
The new Horde makes a chaotic landing on Kalimdor. Thrall stumbles upon and immediately befriends the local tauren, then reunites with Grom and the Warsong just to find them warring with the humans who arrived from Lordaeron. Thrall sits off to meet the Oracle at Stonetalon Peak alone, leaving his troublesome friend, Grom, behind to guard the camp at the mountain's base.
- The orcs' arrival on Kalimdor was rough and chaotic, with many ships barely making it. Thrall slowly roamed the coast to gather the survivors, but Grom was nowhere to be found.
- This new land had many strange new creatures, but the most brutal were the centaurs, particularly in their treatment of the tauren.
- When Thrall battled a group of centaurs who were attacking tauren, he was unexpectedly greeted by Cairne Bloodhoof, chieftain of the Bloodhoof tribe.
- Impressed by their fierce but noble behavior, Cairne offered to help him find the destiny of his people.
- Thrall informed Cairne about the centaur army he had seen advancing to the North, and they quickly set out in their direction as Cairne's village was in danger, managing to defend it from the centaurs in time.
- Since the centaurs had driven off all the game in the region, the Bloodhoof tribe would need to abandon their home and travel to Mulgore if they hoped to avoid starvation.
- Cairne agreed to tell the location of the Oracle, who would help the orcs with their quest for destiny, if they would help protect Cairne's caravan to Mulgore. Thrall agreed to these terms and escorted the tauren on their lengthy journey, protecting them and their lumbering kodo beasts from marauding centaurs.
- Cairne told Thrall of the mystical Oracle of Stonetalon Peak, who could help them find their destiny in these strange lands. Thrall, glad at having made a new friend in the foreign land, thanked Cairne gratefully, and they parted ways as allies.
- When Thrall arrived at the base of Stonetalon Peak, he was shocked to find Grom Hellscream and the Warsong clan battling humans under the command of Jaina Proudmoore.
- Her forces had cordoned off much of the path going up the mountain, and Thrall suspected that hiring some goblins to ferry them up the mountain in zeppelins would allow them to bypass any defenses.
- As Thrall tried to make his way stealthily up to the goblins, the impatient Hellscream unexpectedly provoked the humans, who retaliated by attacking him and Thrall's forces, creating a messy situation.
- When Thrall confronted Grom, the latter argued that "a true warrior" would have fought the humans without question instead of trying to sneak past them and avoid battle.
- Thrall worried that Grom's impetuous bloodlust would lead to nothing but trouble, and so he ordered his friend and his Warsong clan to remain behind in Ashenvale as he journeyed up the mountain. Grom reluctantly agreed.
While Thrall is away, the night elves attack Grom's forces in Ashenvale to protect the forest, which alerts demigod Cenarius who unleashes his unstoppable fury on them. Grom coerces his Warsong clan to drink from a demonic blood fountain, which empowers them to kill Cenarius, but they soon become mind-controlled by demon pit lord Mannoroth.
- When Grom's orcs began gathering lumber in Ashenvale for the new Horde's settlement, the night elves were angered and attacked without explanation.
- Although the Warsongs managed to hold up, especially with the aid of goblin shredders, by doing so they caught the attention of the demigod Cenarius.
- Cenarius was determined to avenge the deaths of the night elves who had fallen against the Warsong clan. So, and to protect the forest from any further desecration, he attempted to slaughter the orcs.
- Cenarius appeared to know something of the history of the orcs and was convinced they were "demon-spawned wretches" who deserved only death.
- In an exchange with the demigod during one skirmish, Grom vehemently told him that the orcs no longer served any demons, but Cenarius didn't believe him and continued his ongoing effort to kill them all.
- The orcs quickly discovered that Cenarius was invulnerable to conventional attacks. Death at Cenarius' hands seemed inevitable, until they discovered a nearby fountain of blood.
- This fountain was the work of Mannoroth, who had seen Cenarius as a formidable obstacle in the Legion's way. The demon poured his blood into the fountain on a suggestion from Tichondrius, hoping that the orcs would once again drink it and become sufficiently re-energized with demonic power to kill Cenarius.
- The fact that the fountain of blood was full of demonic energy was no secret, yet Grom coerced the members of his Warsong clan to drink from it for the sake of victory.
- Driven again by the demonic energies, Grom attacked the demigod Cenarius' forces. Even the demigod himself was killed by the demon-enhanced orcs.
- Although victorious, Grom and the Warsong clan soon lost all of their ability to reason, and found themselves puppets in the hands of Mannoroth once he stepped out of the shadows to command them.
Thrall, Cairne Bloodhoof and Jaina Proudmoore cross paths atop Stonetalon Peak, where the Oracle reveals himself to be the prophet Medivh. He explains to them that the world is being invaded by the Burning Legion and their instrument, the Scourge. The three leaders unite against the bloodlusted Warsong clan. After securing and cleansing Grom with a magic ritual, he sacrifices his life killing Mannoroth and freeing the orcs from the curse.
- Thrall made his way up the mountain but was surprised to find his path crossing that of Cairne once again.
- Thrall would not be able to access the summit without any air support. So, Cairne suggested that they ally with the wyverns of Stonetalon Mountains, which they did after freeing them from a group of vile harpies.
- At Stonetalon Peak, Thrall and Cairne found the Oracle's chamber, but they also found Jaina Proudmoore, which led to a brief standoff. However, the moment the Oracle appeared, he revealed himself to be the prophet that Thrall and Jaina had met in Lordaeron, Medivh.
- He told Thrall about Grom's corruption, and that the orcs and humans must join forces or be destroyed. Reluctantly, Thrall agreed, desperate to save Grom.
- They returned to the Barrens to find that Grom had corrupted the Warsongs with Mannoroth's blood again, and he moved against them as the demonic invasion of Kalimdor began.
- An epic battle took place between the Warchief and Hellscream's forces as the fires of falling infernals lit up the night sky.
- Thrall, with the help of Cairne and Jaina, fought his way through the ranks of blood-maddened chaos orcs, determined to reach Hellscream at all costs.
- With the help of the three factions united, Grom was captured and the curse he bore was purged with magic.
- Grom, realizing what he had done, was instantly apologetic, and he and Thrall immediately set out to face Mannoroth in a canyon carved by the falling infernals.
- In a two on one battle, Mannoroth easily subdued Thrall but Grom managed to land a killing blow on him, planting his axe into the pit lord's chest. Mannoroth exploded in Grom's face, mortally wounding him as seen in cinematic: The Death of Hellscream.
- Grom's heroic sacrifice released the orcs from Mannoroth's bloodlust forever.
- Grom's tombstone is located in Demon Fall Canyon in Southeast Ashenvale, Kalimdor.
Night Elf Campaign: Eternity's End
On the night elves' end, Tyrande mobilizes a batch of her Sentinels to secure Ashenvale, just to run into a full-scale Scourge invasion. She responds by waking up Malfurion & the druids, and freeing Illidan from his prison to assist them.
- The Shadowleaf Sentinels, led by Shandris Feathermoon, returned to Mount Hyjal to report with sorrow that Cenarius had been murdered by green-skinned invaders who had arrived from across the sea.
- Tyrande gathered her Sentinels once again and ventured down to secure Ashenvale.
- After raiding a joint Alliance-Horde outpost, swarms of undead suddenly started pouring into the settlement, and the orcs and humans were quickly overrun.
- Tyrande withdrew her forces, knowing that her small detachment could not handle such staggering numbers.
- However, they were quickly followed and cornered by Archimonde himself, and Tyrande escaped by melding into the shadows.
- Tyrande knew that the time had come to awaken the druids once again. Leaving Shandris to defend the forests of Ashenvale, she made haste for the Barrow Dens in the Moonglade, where she awakened Malfurion Stormrage, her lover.
- Malfurion believed that Archimonde's primary motivation was to assault Nordrassil, the World Tree, to steal its energies and become a god.
- Together, they awakened the Druids of the Talon in Winterspring, then proceeded back to the base of Mount Hyjal where they entered the Barrow Deeps to find the Druids of the Claw.
- However, they soon came to an elven door, and Malfurion recognized it as the door to the prison where his brother Illidan had been confined ten thousand years ago. Tyrande thought that they should free him, speculating that he might be the perfect force to stop the demons.
- Despite Malfurion's objection, she proceeded to repel the prison's defenses and set Illidan free, defying both Malfurion and warden Maiev Shadowsong.
- Illidan, still in love with Tyrande, professed he would battle the demons for her sake but not for the glory of the night elves.
- Malfurion was still opposed to Tyrande's decision, contending that the release of Illidan was a catastrophic mistake. He displayed the same disdain he had for his brother when he had first dabbled with demonic magic ten thousand years ago. Disappointed by Malfurion's prejudice, Illidan left him behind when he embarked with a force of night elves to hunt Legion agents in Felwood.
On his mission in Felwood, Illidan runs into Arthas, who guides him to the Skull of Gul'dan. Believing the Skull's powers to be a powerful instrument, Illidan claims them to become half demon and defeats Tichondrius, but gets banished by the night elves as punishment.
- While in Felwood, Illidan encountered Arthas, champion of Lich King Ner'zhul, and they engaged in combat. The two opponents were equally matched and soon came to an impasse.
- Illidan stopped the duel and demanded to know why Arthas had tracked him down. Arthas responded openly, telling Illidan about the Skull of Gul'dan, the demonic artifact that had corrupted Felwood. He explained that if the artifact was destroyed, the corruption of the forests would halt.
- To ensure that Illidan would take the bait, Arthas spared no detail of the Skull's power, adding that his master knew of Illidan's thirst for power. Although Illidan did not trust Arthas, he nevertheless sought the Skull and its power out.
- It took Illidan enormous efforts to obtain the Skull. Then, driven by necessity and the belief that its powers could at last redeem him in the eyes of Tyrande, he shattered the demonic seal and claimed the Skull's powers to himself own.
- Illidan's act transformed him into a half-demon and granted him enormous powers, which allowed him to ultimately crush Tichondrius.
- When Tyrande and Malfurion were alerted that Illidan was being confronted by Tichondrius, they rushed back to help, just to see what he had done.
- Both of them were shocked, and Malfurion was so angered that he banished his brother forever.
- Feeling betrayed despite his sacrifice, Illidan muttered "So be it... brother", and left the night elf lands.
Archimonde leads the main and final Scourge invasion against the mortal races to claim the powers of the World Tree Nordrassil, and seems to gain an overwhelming advantage over all their defenses at the start. However, as he reaches the tree itself, Malfurion springs a deadly trap that kills him and deals massive damage to the Tree in the process, but it would eventually heal.
- Soon, Malfurion brought Tyrande to a hillock in Ashenvale, where they met the leaders of the outlanders (Jaina Proudmoore of the humans & Thrall of the orcs). Tyrande sent them away, asserting that they had no place being there.
- Suddenly, a powerful mage appeared in the commotion and revealed himself to be Medivh, the Last Guardian of Tirisfal. He told them that Archimonde was a leader of the eredar with powers beyond any of them, and that they would only be victorious if they joined forces.
- With the death of Cenarius still fresh in her mind, Tyrande felt wary but soon realized that she had little choice. So, together they planned their defense of Hyjal. Tyrande also tasked the elf girl Pained with assisting Jaina.
- Tyrande, Malfurion, and Shandris helped to defend Jaina Proudmoore's base until it was finally overrun, then they moved to reinforce Thrall's forces.
- Finally, Archimonde came upon the night elven settlement at the gates and destroyed it all. Everything was going according to plan.
- Archimonde, feeling over-confident by his victories, proceeded to attack the World Tree and disregarded the Ancestral Guardians who had begun to gather around the World Tree's roots.
- At Malfurion's command, the Ancestral Guardians amassed and began their assault on Archimonde. As a result, Archimonde was destroyed and the World Tree was heavily damaged. At last, the mortal races attained victory against impossible odds.
- The Scourge/Legion's defeat at this battle marked the end of the Third War.
- In the wake of the titanic battle, the allies went their separate ways. Jaina's people settled on the isle of Theramore.
- Thrall founded the territory of Durotar, and Tyrande and Malfurion took their people back to Ashenvale to begin healing the damage done by the Burning Legion.
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The Legion compels Illidan to destroy the Lich King in exchange for unspeakable powers. Tyrande & Malfurion join Maiev in the hunt for Illidan, but Tyrande is lost during the journey when Malfurion is abscent. In Dalaran, Illidan fails to destroy the Lich King, and instead joins Malfurion to save Tyrande. Illidan leaves to Outland after rescuing her. In Dalaran, Kael’thas Sunstrider is pushed by the Alliance commander Garithos to fight the Scourge against impossible odds. When Lady Vashj and her naga appear to save him, Kael and the blood elves are deemed traitors and imprisoned. Lady Vashj reappears to rescue them, leading them to Outland where they pledge their allegiance to Illidan and help him reclaim Outland from Magtheridon, uniting with Akama and his draenei in the process. In Lordaeron, Sylvanas leads the Forsaken to independence after Arthas flees and the dreadlords are defeated. After arriving in Northrend, Arthas seeks out Lich King Ner’zhul, whose powers had been waning, with Anub’arak’s help. He defeats Illidan at Icecrown’s base before uniting with Ner’zhul to become a new Lich King. Illidan returns to Outland defeated.
Night Elf (Sentinel) Campaign: Terror of the Tides
After the Legion's defeat on Mount Hyjal, Illidan enters a pact with Kil'jaeden to destroy the Lich King, who was now free from the Legion's influence and could lead the Scourge as his own. With his new naga followers, Illidan sails to Broken Shore to retrieve a powerful Legion artifact that would aid him with his quest, but Maiev catches his trail.
Trivia: Illidan's Retcon
- After nearly ten thousand years in prison, Illidan Stormrage was freed in the Third War, but was banished from the night elf society after making a pact with the Legion and becoming half-demon. Now that the war has ended and the Legion were defeated, Kil’jaeden approached him once again to task him with destroying the Lich King, the Legion's former hand in Azeroth and who was now free to run amok. This deal presented an opportunity for Illidan to redeem himself in the eyes of the Legion.
- Illidan summoned Lady Vashj and her naga from the depths of the sea, who became loyal followers to him.
- His former jailor, warden Maiev Shadowsong, embarked on a quest to hunt him down starting at the shores of Azshara.
- During the skirmishes, Maiev was surprised to learn that the serpent race known as the naga, which wasn't native to Kalimdor, seemed to be well acquainted with the night elves.
- Illidan managed to escape off the shores of Kalimdor, forcing Maiev and her forces to sail across the Great Sea after him, starting from the port of Nendis.
- Maiev’s forces chased Illidan to the Broken Isles, which had not been mapped by the night elves. They concluded that the isles had recently been raised from the bottom of the sea.
- To Maiev’s shock, the isles were also where the ancient city of Suramar was, which was thought to had sunk in the Sundering thousands of years ago.
- Illidan was after the Eye of Sargeras, an artifact that would ensure the Lich King’s demise.
- Skeletal remnants from the Stormreaver, Twilight Hammer and Blackrock clans were still fighting since their death on the hands of the demons guarding Sargeras' Tomb.
- Maiev slew the skeletons at the request of a skeleton named Drak'thul, who told her of the story of the Broken Isles, which entails Gul'dan raising them from the seafloor (during the Second War, as seen in the Warcraft 2 tl;dr) to claim the powers of Sargeras for himself. His greed unleashed the demons guarding the tomb upon him and his followers.
- As Maiev entered the Tomb of Sargeras, she had to battle both demon guardians and Illidan’s naga.
- She met Lady Vashj along the way, who revealed to her the true nature of the naga, having themselves been night elves before the Sundering.
- When Maiev and her forces reached the tomb’s central chamber, they found that Illidan had already claimed the Eye of Sargeras. He used its powers to bury all Maiev’s forces alive, including her lieutenant, Naisha. Maiev blinked out and emerged as the only survivor.
After her defeat in the Tomb of Sargeras, Maiev summons Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind, but Illidan merely stalls them before sailing off to Dalaran with the Eye of Sargeras.
- Malfurion was inspecting Felwood's corruption when a messenger from Maiev arrived. He and Tyrande set sailed to assist in capturing Illidan.
- Albeit grievously wounded, Maiev stood her ground with the forces she had remaining in the Tomb just long enough for Malfurion and Tyrande&rsquo to arrive.
- The three night elf leaders came to face off with Illidan, who was in possession of the Eye of Sargeras. But he ended up stalling them just a little longer with his royal guard, before departing to join Lady Vashj, who went to Dalaran in advance to prepare for the ritual which would destroy the Lich King.
- On Tyrande's last glimpse of Illidan, he told her that to follow him was to invite disaster, and that what he did was for the good of all. She replied that she saw then that it had been a mistake to release him, and then he fled.
- Illidan arrived in Dalaran to unite with Lady Vashj and her naga, who had begun the final preparations for the mighty spell which would tear apart the Lich King's realm.
- However, his three pursuers have also arrived on Lordaeron’s shores. Soon, they united with Prince Kael'thas and his blood elves to confront Illidan once and for all.
After landing in Lordaeron, Malfurion goes to call upon the spirits of the forest while the others meet Kael'thas Sunstrider and escort his caravan. During a Scourge raid at a river crossing, Tyrande falls while fending enemies off and gets swept into hostile territory. Fearing that trying to save her might jeopardize the pursuit of Illidan, Maiev lies when Malfurion returns, telling him that she witnessed Tyrande’s certain death.
- The night elf forces in Illidan's pursuit arrived at Lordaeron: Malfurion and his druids, Tyrande and her sentinels and Maiev and her guards.
- Malfurion left Maiev and Tyrande to commune with the land and look for answers.
- They soon ran into Kael'thas Sunstrider and his blood elves, who had not seen Illidan but said that the undead at Dalaran seemed unsettled and were hounding them very frequently.
- The night elves offered Kael’thas protection for his caravan in exchange for help in capturing Illidan.
- This was the first contact in which the night elves learned of the high elves’ (now blood elves) suffering and the destruction of Quel’Thalas and Silvermoon on the hands of the Lich King and his Scourge.
- After the caravan crossed the Arevass river, Tyrande stood behind it on the bridge to fend off a Scourge attack, but ended up destroying it in a starfall spell and getting herself swept down the stream.
- Malfurion was still absent, so it fell down to Maiev and Kael’thas to save her. The latter knew that the stream would lead her to the heart of undead territory. However, Maiev rejected his prompt to save her, stating that Tyrande is a soldier who knew the risks and that he had to honor his end of the agreement by helping them to capture Illidan.
- Away in Silverpine Forest, Malfurion called upon the forest’s ancient spirits and implored them to reveal Illidan's truth to him.
- His meditation was interrupted by a vision where he saw Northrend being torn apart, and then Illidan holding the Eye of Sargeras and praising its unstoppable power, then declaring that his master's (Kil’jaeden’s) enemies will be undone.
- Malfurion quickly reconvened with Maiev near Dalaran, who, having still held a grudge against Tyrande for releasing Illidan in the first place, told him that she had seen Tyrande "torn apart with [her] own eyes" to deter him from pursuing her and to have him co-operate in capturing Illidan instead.
- Driven mad with grief, Malfurion resolved to destroy Illidan once and for all, even as his brother's mighty spell entered its final stage.
In Dalaran, Malfurion, Maiev & Kael'thas prevent Illidan from using the Eye of Sargeras to destroy Icecrown. Maiev's treachery is exposed after that and the brothers Stormrage band together to save Tyrande. Malfurion then pardons Illidan and lets him depart to Outland, but Maiev continues the pursuit.
- By the time the caravan arrived at Dalaran, Illidan had already breached the city and was about to begin channeling the spell that would doom the Lich King and his Scourge.
- Using the incredible demonic magic of the Eye, Illidan started channeling a spell which began to literally tear apart the continent of Northrend, the seat of Lich King Ner'zhul's power. Having initiated the spell, Illidan banished four naga summoners and set them to channel it, whilst he marshalled his forces into defense of the ruins.
- The caravan's arrival marked the start of a three-way conflict over the city, with the elves (led by Malfurion, Maiev and Kael’thas), naga (led by Illidan) and Scourge all involved.
- During the battle, the elves freed a paladin by the name of Magroth the Defender; one of the last of the order of the Silver Hand, who fought beside them. (In World of Warcraft: Legion, Magroth’s ghost makes an appearance in the death knight frost artifact scenario.)
- Before the spell could be completed, the elf attackers killed the four summoners and destroyed the Eye of Sargeras, sending the naga forces into disarray.
- After interrupting Illidan's ritual, Malfurion seized him with entangling roots.
- Maiev convicted Illidan of war crimes and sentenced him to death. But before she carried out her sentence, Illidan revealed that the target of his destructive ritual was Icecrown, the stronghold of the Lich King, their common enemy.
- When Malfurion questioned the plausibility of Illidan's exorbitant measures, and blamed him for Tyrande’s death, Kael'thas interrupted to inform them that Tyrande had been swept away in a river and could still be alive.
- Malfurion immediately changed sides, having learnt that Maiev had lied to him in order to capture Illidan and deter him from finding Tyrande.
- He freed Illidan from the entangling roots to grip Maiev with them instead, and the two brothers rushed back to river Arevass to save their common love.
- The two brothers carried out a co-ordinated rescue in which the naga rushed down the river to find Tyrande while Malfurion’s slower-moving forces cut Scourge reinforcement lines to make the operation easier.
- When Illidan and the naga arrived before Tyrande, she thought at first that he was there to kill her personally, but instead he and his naga attacked the undead and set her free.
- Malfurion and Tyrande were overjoyed by their reunion, and Malfurion admitted that if Illidan had not aided him, he wouldn't have been able to save her. He then allowed his exiled brother to walk away.
- Illidan traveled to Outland, but Maiev stopped at nothing short of following him there to fulfill her own definition of justice.
Human (Alliance/Blood Elf) Campaign: Curse of the Blood Elves
In Dalaran, remaining blood elves are left by the abusive Alliance command to fend for themselves against the overwhelming Scourge offensive. When they’re offered help by Illidan’s naga under Lady Vashj’s leadership, they desperately take it. The present human Alliance commander deems this treason and imprisons the blood elves after the battle is won.
- In the war-torn city of Dalaran, the human Grand Marshal Garithos summoned prince Kael’thas to contemptuously remind him of the blood elves’ allegiance to the Alliance.
- He tasked them with repairing arcane observatories to monitor Scourge actions, some of which were scattered across isles throughout Lordamere Lake.
- Upon learning that the nearby Goblin shipyard had been destroyed by ghouls, Kael’thas had to accept the generous assistance offered by Lady Vashj, who had been lying around in Lordamere Lake with some of Illidan’s naga.
- After having activated several arcane observatories, Kael’thas ran into Garithos in a lull to the west, where the latter warned the elves against consorting with the “inhuman” naga, which would be considered treachery.
- The next day, Garithos sent an emissary that ordered Kael and all of his blood elves to pull back to the west at the front line, leaving them virtually defenseless.
- When the blood elves’ very existence was on the line, Lady Vashj and her naga reappeared to ward the Scourge off.
- With both forces combined, they managed to reclaim their outposts and slay the dreadlord in charge of the Scourge, but Kael and the blood elves were then at risk of being prosecuted by Alliance commander Garithos for consorting with the naga.
- Vashj encouraged Kael to abandon his prejudiced human commander and lead his people to a destiny of power and glory.
- Kael then told Vashj that ever since Quel'Thalas was destroyed, he and his people have been suffering from a strange, inexplicable hunger. Vashj explained that this hunger was brought about by their addiction to magic. With the Sunwell’s destruction, Kael and his people were cut off from their ancient source of power, rendering them mortal.
- Vashj made the horrifying notion of using demonic magic as a substitute, but the conversation was interrupted with the distant marching of Garitho’s forces.
- Although the naga fled, they were nonetheless spotted by Garithos, who was quick to pass the judgement. In his own words, addressing Kael: “I never trusted you vainglorious elves. It was a mistake to accept you into the Alliance in the first place.” He then proceeded to jail them in Dalaran’s dungeons in preparation for execution.
Vashj reappears to rescue the blood elves from execution and together they flee to Outland, marking the blood elves’ separation from the Alliance and the change of Kael’thas Sunstrider’s allegiance towards Illidan Stormrage instead.
- Lady Vashj showed up again to rescue the blood elves, thus shifting their allegiance in favor of Illidan.
- The blood elf and naga armies fought guards, experimental Kirin Tor creatures as well as ghosts of the archmages killed by Arthas.
- Kael and Lady Vashj were forced to kill Kassan, the Dungeons' warden and an old friend of Kael, in order to reach a dimensional portal, the one opened by Kel'thuzad to release the Burning Legion, where they crossed into Outland.
- Having arrived in Outland, Kael and Vashj began their quest for finding Illidan, with hopes that he would cure the blood elves of their eternal hunger for magic.
In Outland, Kael'thas and Vashj free Illidan from Maiev's grasp, then venture on Illidan's quest to reclaim Outland from Magtheridon's grasp. Illidan gains the allegiance of Akama and his draenei on their way to Black Temple, where they succeed in overthrowing the Legion pit lord Magtheridon. After Illidan declares himself the new Lord of Outland, Kil’jaeden’s form appears in a stormy sky to order him to carry out his duty in vanquishing the Lich King, which his new followers pledge to assist in.
- After three days of searching for Illidan in the barren wasteland that is Hellfire Peninsula, Kael’thas, Lady Vashj and the blood elves discovered that Maiev had already arrived in Outland and managed to capture Illidan and put him in a cage.
- A tug of war ensued between the night elves and blood elves as each side tried to get hold of Illidan’s cage and pull it towards their end, until Kael and Lady Vashj managed to break him free.
- In their first encounter, Kael'thas and his blood elves pledged their allegiance to Illidan as the latter promised them a new source of magic, and revealed to them his deal with the Burning Legion to become a true lord amongst theirs, should he destroy the Frozen Throne.
- With blood elf and naga forces on his side, Illidan continued his conquest of Outland by closing the dimensional portals that pitlord Magtheridon was using to summon demonic reinforcements.
- While seeking more gateways, Illidan encountered a group of fel orcs besieging a Draenei village. When he saved the village, Akama and his tribe pledged their support and loyalty to him in return.
- With their forces bolstered, the Illidari were able to destroy the fel orc bases nearby and close the remaining dimensional gateways, ensuring that Magtheridon would be unable to receive reinforcements.
- With Magtheridon’s supplies cut, Illidan began his march on the former’s citadel, Black Temple, with Kael’thas' blood elves, Lady Vash’s naga and Akama’s broken draenei under his command.
- Akama led his shadowy followers through the Black Temple’s sewers, where they destroyed the crystals powering the war machines that Illidan and Kael were facing outside, allowing them to overrun the gates.
- The battle raged throughout the temple between Illidan’s followers and Magtheridon’s fel orcs and demonic minions, and concluded with Illidan bringing the pit lord to his knees.
- In his shock, Magtheridon asked Illidan if he was sent by the Burning Legion to test him. Illidan laughed and replied that he had come to replace him.
- Illidan declared himself Lord of Outland, and the remaining fel orcs and demons bowed down to their new master.
- Before long, the skies above the Black Temple clouded and the spectral form of Kil'jaeden appeared, demanding that Illidan completes his task of destroying the Lich King.
- Illidan Stormrage turned towards his new lieutenants and said that perhaps hiding in Outland was not the most prudent decision, and asked if they would follow him into the cold heart of death itself, to which they pledged their commitment. They then began their march upon Northrend.
- As with Maiev Shadowsong, Magtheridon was originally thought dead, but instead Illidan held him captive underneath the Hellfire Citadel, using his blood to create more fel orcs.
Undead (Scourge/Forsaken) Campaign: Legacy of the Damned
Civil war erupts in Lordaeron as the Scourge splinters into three factions: Arthas and Kel'Thuzad (loyal to Lich King Ner’zhul), Banshee Queen Sylvanas Windrunner and her Forsaken, and a third group still loyal to the Burning Legion, led by the dreadlords (nathrezim) who are unaware of the Legion's defeat on Mt. Hyjal. Arthas flees the scene, evading Sylvanas’ vengeance, in response to the Lich King’s summoning of him to Northrend.
- Arthas continued his purge of the remaining humans in Lordaeron by dividing his army into three, led by Sylvanas, Kel’Thuzad and himself.
- While crushing whatever human and Silver Hand resistance lingered within the city, Arthas was briefly struck by a mysterious pain, and soon got ordered by Lich King Ner’zhul to return to Northrend, as danger was allegedly drawing near the Frozen Throne.
- Sylvanas was secretly summoned by dreadlords Varimathras, Detheroc and Balnazzar (who had been serving Arthas since the Legion’s defeat at Mt. Hyjal) to discuss overthrowing Arthas Menethil and the Lich King Ner’zhul.
- Sylvanas stated that the Lich King was losing his control over her mind, to which they answered that he was getting weaker.
- While the dreadlords wanted to free themselves from Arthas and the Lich King’s grasp, Sylvanas agreed to help “in her own way” to avenge her people against Arthas.
- Before returning to Lordaeron to prepare for his departure to Northrend, Arthas admitted to Kel’Thuzad that his powers were actually waning.
- When Arthas entered the throne room, he found Balnazzar, Detheroc, and Varimathras waiting. The doors slammed shut and a horde of ghouls attacked him. Balnazzar gloated that the Dreadlords had reclaimed their control of the Scourge.
- Kel’Thuzad and Arthas agreed to flee the city, before the latter fended off the ghouls and escaped, gathering whatever undead were still loyal to him while fighting off hostiles and demons throughout Lordaeron’s streets.
- At the gates, Arthas and his company were intercepted by two abominations, which were immediately possessed and slaughtered by banshees sent by Sylvanas Windrunner, who led Arthas to safety, leaving Lordaeron under the dreadlords’ control.
- In the wilderness, Arthas suddenly heard the Lich King whispering to him that Sylvanas deceived him, but the warning came just a moment before Arthas' minions died and an arrow struck him.
- Sylvanas Windrunner appeared to tell Arthas about the slow, agonizing death this arrow was going to grant him, in retaliation of what he had done to her people, the high elves of Quel'Thalas.
- Kel’Thuzad appeared with a legion of skeletal magi to drive Sylvanas and her minions off, but before disappearing, she vowed to hunt Arthas down.
- Kel’Thuzard assured King Arthas that the arrow’s effect would wear off, and that he would watch upon Lordaeron and see to it, upon Arthas’ request, that his legacy endures.
With Arthas’ departure, Sylvanas stabs the dreadlords in the back with the considerable numbers of undead that she controls to ensure total domination of the region of Lordaeron. After defeating them one by one, she emerges as the nominal ruler of Lordaeron, and names her followers the Forsaken.
- Following Arthas’ escape from Lordaeron, the factions that remained were those of Sylvanas and the dreadlords.
- Varimathras approached Sylvanas and offered her joining forces with the dreadlords, but she betrayed him by using her banshees to possess the leaders of several other factions, including bandits, gnolls, murlocs, forest trolls and the Stonemaul ogres.
- Out of her hatred towards forest trolls, she ended up killing them and their chieftain, Zul’rogg.
- Using her combined forces, she surrounded Varimathras and forced him to surrender.
- To appeal his own death, Varimathras offered Sylvanas his loyalty in addition to tactical information which would help her defeat Detheroc and Balnazzar.
- Thanks to intelligence from Varimathras, the dreadlord she defeated and recruited, she attempted to assault a base the other dreadlords had established in Eastern Plaguelands, which also included Garithos and his resistance, now under Detheroc’s mind control.
- Having conducted the assault at night, Sylvanas took her enemies by surprise and soon gained control of the base.
- With Detheroc seemingly slain, Garithos was freed from mind control.
- Garithos and Sylvanas entered into an alliance to free Lordaeron from Balnazzar, the last dreadlord.
- After Garithos departed the conference, Varimathras asked Sylvanas if she really intended to give the humans their land back, which she denied.
- Sylvanas marched with her undead army, Garithos and his human army and Varimathras, the defeated dreadlord, to the gates of Lordaeron city, where they were to face the last dreadlord, Balnazzar.
- Balnazzar was no fool; he had reinforced the former human capital extensively and gathered a huge army to defend it.
- With Sylvanas and Varimathras attacking from the front and Garithos attacking from the rear with aid from reinforcements from Ironforge, Sylvanas’ army made its way in and Balnazzar was captured.
- Sylvanas ordered Varimathras to kill Balnazzar, as a last test for the dreadlord's loyalty to her.
- Despite his protests that the Nathrezim are forbidden from harming one another, he eventually did it seemingly.
- Garithos then ordered them out of "his" city, but Varimathras killed him too upon Sylvanas’ request.
- Other Alliance personnel either fled or were killed.
- With Lordaeron, the Plaguelands and the rest of the Scourge army in her grasp, Sylvanas declared herself ruler of the region, and renamed the free-willed undead who pledged themselves to her the Forsaken.
In Northrend, Arthas meets Anub’arak & sets off for the Frozen Throne. When Illidan's naga and blood elves hinder them, they take a dangerous shortcut via Azjol-Nerub. At the Icecrown Glacier, Arthas emerges victorious from his conclusive faceoff with Illidan and ascends the throne, merging with Ner’zhul to become a new Lich King that reigns over all undead (except for the forsaken). Illidan bails out to Outland and settles in Black Temple until his death.
- Three weeks after his escape from Lordaeron, Arthas landed on Northrend’s shores, where he discovered that a force of “blood elves” were there to avenge the scar Arthas had inflicted upon their kingdom of Quel’Thalas.
- Arthas met Anub’arak, traitor king of the kingdom of Azjol-Nerub, who was sent by Lich King Ner’zhul for Arthas’ aid.
- While fighting their way against elf forces, Arthas ran into prince Kael’thas Sunstrider, who informed him that Lord Illidan Stormrage was the one behind this; who rallied the blood elves and planned to bring the Lich King down.
- Arthas found time to enter Sapphiron’s lair, kill him, and raise him as a frost wyrm.
- When King Arthas declared that he would not be able reach the Lich King in Ice Crown before his powers completely waned, Anub’arak proposed taking a shortcut via the underground tunnels of the vast kingdom of Azjol-Nerub.
- Before making their way through the tunnels, Arthas and Anub’arak destroyed the naga and blood elf bases guarding the entrance, learning that Lady Vashj had sworn her allegiance to Illidan too.
- During their descent into Azjol-Nerub, the Scourge encountered dwarves from Muradin Bronzebeard’s expedition to Northrend, who themselves were skirmishing against the Nerubians as well.
- The expedition’s leader, Baelgun Bronzebeard, warned them of the awakening of something dark before being killed. That thing turned out to be faceless ones and the Forgotten One, which Arthas and Anub’arak had to slay after a tedious effort.
- It was revealed that Anub’arak betrayed his own kingdom by siding (along with some of his followers) with Lich King Ner’zhul.
- As Scourge fled from the faceless ones, a tunnel collapse separated Arthas from Anub’arak. Lost in the dark with his powers on the verge of fading away, Arthas had to face the last challenge before his final test, but managed to impress Anub’arak nonetheless by navigating the maze and reuniting with him on the ground of Icecrown at the exit.
- Upon Arthas’ arrival at the Icecrown Glacier, Lich King Ner’zhul whispered to him that Frostmourne had been locked inside the Frozen Throne, where he sat dormantly. When he removed the blade and gave it to Arthas during the Scourge of Lordaeron, it left a fracture in the Throne that the Lich King's powers were seeping from. That’s why Arthas himself was growing weaker.
- Ner’zhul explained that Kil’jaeden, his very creator, has sent his agents, Illidan joined by the naga and the blood elves, to end him. He urged Arthas to reach the Icecrown Glacier before Illidan did or the Scourge would be undone.
- At the Icecrown Glacier, a race started between Arthas and Illidan’s forces to retrieve the four obelisks required to open the Lich King’s prison.
- A battle raged between the Scourge (led by Arthas and Anub’arak) and Kil’jaeden’s agents (led by Illidan, Kael’thas and Lady Vashj) back and forth across the zone, with both sides losing then reacquiring each of the obelisks.
- Although the undead were outnumbered, the biting cold and Arthas' considerable military prowess eventually turned the tide against Illidan. The blood elves and the naga were routed and Arthas claimed all four obelisks, allowing him to approach the Frozen Throne.
- In a last effort to stop him, Illidan confronted the death knight at the entrance. After a short fight, Arthas cut Illidan down, leaving him badly wounded in the snow. The Scourge triumphed.
- Arthas ascended the Glacier and struck the Frozen Throne with Frostmourne, merging with Ner’zhul to become a new Lich King.
- From his Icecrown fortress, the Lich King would spend the coming years rebuilding his forces to conquer the rest of the world.
- Illidan crawled back to Vashj and Kael, who then retreated with their remaining forces back to Outland. He would then settle in Black Temple until the time of his death on the hands of Maiev and Akama.
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Political tensions persist as factions adapt to their new borders and neighbors, while simultaneously fighting on various fronts to preserve the world’s power balance. The Forsaken join the Horde and the night elves join the Alliance. King Varian Wrynn is kidnapped, and his young son Anduin rules in his place under the influence of Onyxia in disguise, who’s later discovered and killed. In Blackwing Lair, Nefarian experiments with the combination of different dragonflights to bolster his army, but his lair is raided before he launches any invasions. The qiraji launch an invasion on Kalimdor, which halts only when C’Thun himself is killed in his fortress in Ahn’Qiraj. Another warfront arises against the Lich King’s necropolis of Naxxramas, a Scourge stronghold stationed in Lordaeron, which eventually falls and is later relocated to Northrend.
In the Plaguelands, the order of the Silver Hand is divided after being infiltrated by Balnazzar, giving rise to the Argent Dawn and the fanatical Scarlet Crusade. Alexandros Mograine is killed and raised by the Scourge as a death knight.
The Plaguelands. After Arthas and Ner’zhul merged into a new Lich King, Kel’Thuzad became the Scourge commander in most of the Plaguelands, while Sylvanas and her followers stayed in Undercity.
Alexandros Mograine. The remnants of the order of the Silver Hand regrouped. Among them was Alexandros Mograine, a paladin who was the original wielder of the Ashbringer, a weapon crafted in Ironforge and infused with holy light, which turned any undead it touched into ash. Alexandros’ deeds spread across the land and he gained the same title as his blade.
Ashbringer & The Scarlet Crusade. With his dreadlord brethren defeated, Balnazzar’s command over the undead was limited. He had to keep to the shadows until he managed to infiltrate the order of the Silver Hand by killing Saidan Dathrohan and assuming his form. Using his Nathrezim mind tricks, he compelled Alexandros’ eldest son, Renault Mograine, to murder his own father with the Ashbringer. Alexandros’ body was then retrieved by the Scourge and he was raised as a death knight, and the Ashbringer was distorted into an unholy shadow of its former glory. Alexandros’ death divided the order of the Silver Hand into the noble Argent Dawn and the fanatical, corrupt Scarlet Crusade who were in Balnazzar’s grasp.
In Quel’Thalas, the Sunwell’s energies keep leaking out after the damage Kael did to. To prevent them from being harnessed by evildoers, the dragons shape them into a human avatar named Avneena Teague and give her false memories. In Southern Kalimdor, Cho’gall captures Garona Halforcen and mind controls her to become one of his followers.
Kalec & Avneena Teague. In Quel’Thalas, arcane energies continued to spiral out after Kael’thas Sunstrider’s destruction of the Sunwell. Fearing unwanted attention, Malygos sent his servant Kalecgos to investigate. Red dragon Korialstrasz, who was the first to take notice, gathered as much of the leaked energy as he could and shaped them into a human avatar named Anveena Teague, whom he gave false memories to hide her existence from potential pursuers. That, however, came after the Lich King had already taken notice and sent high elf traitor Dar’Khan Drathir to collect this power for the Scourge. Although the traitor found Avneena at last, he was neutralized and she ended up staying in Quel’Thalas under Lor’themar Theron’s protection. Kalecgos would then watch over her in the guise of a half-elf named Kalec, keeping her true identity a secret from the world.
Garona & Cho’gall. In Southern Kalimdor, Garona relentlessly hunted Twilight Hammer cultists, vowing never to stop until she killed Cho’gall. After various failed attempts to ambush her, Cho’gall decided to lure her in by sending his cultists away and waiting alone for her, knowing that she would not waste the opportunity to strike when he’s visibly exposed. Garona came as expected and fought the ogre magi toe-to-toe, but was overpowered despite severely wounding him. Having been subjected to Guldan’s mind control in the past, Cho’gall took advantage of Garona’s lingering vulnerability to transform her into his own assassin. Cho’gall then refocused his attention on his quest to awaken the Old Gods. He took Garona and his remaining cultists to the sun-scorched desert of Silithus, where he heard an Old God’s name whispered in his mind: C’thun.
In Kalimdor, the night elves establish the city of Darnassus atop a brand new World Tree, Teldrassil. Thrall establishes Durotar, a new permanent home for his Horde, in a zone he called Orgrimmar in northeastern Kalimdor. Farther to the south, Jaina and her followers establish the city of Theramore in Dustwallow March.
A New World Tree. With Nordrassil’s destruction in the Third War, the night elves were once again subject to disease and aging. Although planting a new world tree is a very risky undertaking, Archdruid Fandral Staghelm was adamant on doing it to restore the night elves’ immortality, but secretly also to try and resurrect his fallen son. To bypass Malfurion’s opposition, he ambushed the archdruid in his sleep and sent him into a coma, plummeting his spirit deep into the Emerald Dream.
Planting of Teldrassil. Fandral had already failed once by planting Andrassil in Grizzly Hills thousands of years ago, which had been corrupted from within and had to be cut down. But by learning from his mistakes, he managed to plant a healthy tree this time, which he did in Darkshore with the druids of the Cenarion Circle. The tree was named Teldrassil and became home to the city of Darnassus. But because the tree was planted without the help of the Dragon Aspects, it became prone to the influence of the Emerald Nightmare. Fandral went to great lengths to hide the Nightmare’s manifesting corruption from the night elves, which was assisted by the small-scale conflicts of the satyr and furbolg populations in the area.
The Founding of Durotar. Having defeated the Burning Legion, Thrall settled on a strip of desolate, barren land along Kalimdor’s eastern shores, which he named Durotar after his father, Durotan. The Horde built their main stronghold there, which Thrall named Orgrimmar after his mentor, Orgrim Doomhammer. The Darkspear trolls settled in the Echo Isles to the southeast. The nomadic tauren tribe built a permanent settlement called Thunder Bluff west of Durotar. Although the Horde’s first years in these arid lands proved quite difficult, Thrall considered it to be a penance for the damage the orcs had wrought on this world decades ago. The founding of Durotar caught the attention of Rexxar, a lonesome beastmaster who survived on his own for years. He cautiously joined the new Horde.
Jaina’s Settlement. Jaina Proudmoore, human leader and former ally to the Horde in the Third War, moved farther south and settled in Dustwallow Marsh, where she established the city of Theramore. Thrall and Jaina retained their communications and renewed their fickle truce, declaring a mutual respect for each other’s territories.
Admiral Daelin Proudmoore arrives in Theramore with his Kul Tiran fleet and declares war on the Horde despite their peace treaty with Jaina. After his complete rejection of reason, Jaina steps aside and allows the Horde to kill him, ending further bloodshed. The Forsaken are welcomed into the Horde.
Cycle of Hatred. Jaina’s father, Admiral Daelin Proudemoore, arrived on Kalimdor’s shores with a massive Kul Tiran fleet. Having lost his son to the Orcish Horde during the Second War, he defied the peaceful treaty his daughter had made with Thrall and declared war. His complete obstruction of any chance to negotiate made disaster seem inevitable, rekindling a cycle of hatred that had run for a generation.
Jaina’s Betrayal. Thrall asked Jaina to do the unthinkable, and that is to allow Horde soldiers passage to Theramore to strike Daelin down and end the conflict without any unnecessary bloodshed. Having witnessed the Horde’s valor and bravery against the Burning Legion in the Third War, Jaina was severely torn apart. She knew that this endless factional warfare only weakened the mortals while their common enemies gained strength. At last, devastated, Jaina stepped aside, urging Thrall only to spare the lives of as many of her people as possible. Rexxar was the one to land the killing blow, and the Horde peacefully retreated from the city as agreed upon. Without Daelin’s leadership and resolve, the Kul Tiran fleet turned away and sailed back home, but they would never forget what Jaina did. When the Alliance ignored their cry for vengeance, the Kul Tirans isolated their kingdom.
The Forsaken & The Horde. In Lordaeron, Queen Sylvanas Windrunner and her Forsaken struggled to defend their newly-reclaimed kingdom. The fanatical Scarlet Crusade had discriminately vowed to eradicate all undead while the Scourge surrounded them from other sides, and Quel’Thalas rejected Sylvanas’ advances despite her giving her life for their defense. She sent emissaries to both the Horde and Alliance, the latter of which never returned. However, the Horde was in fact sympathetic, as the orcs themselves had historically been the victims of corruption. This relationship also proved strategically beneficial to the burgeoning new Horde, by providing them a foothold in the ruins of Lordaeron in the Eastern Kingdoms. And so, Thrall welcomed the Forsaken into the Horde.
The city of Gnomeregan is irradiated and taken over by Thermaplug, and the majority of gnomes relocate indefinitely to Ironforge. Onyxia infiltrates Stormwind under the guise of Katrana Prestor and kidnaps King Varian Wrynn, leaving his son Anduin and lord regent Bolvar to rule in his stead.
Fall of Gnomeregan. Vicious troggs swarmed the underground gnome city of Gnomeregan. Gifted engineer Sicco Thermaplugg proposed purging the city with a bath of nuclear radiation and reclaiming it once the troggs were gone. When his bomb went off, however, it killed a majority of the city’s population. As it turned out, he always viewed High Tinker Gelbin Mekkatorque’s leadership as a barrier to the great gnomish inventions that could potentially expand their nation. Thermaplug then remained in the city while the surviving gnomes took refuge in Ironforge, where they established Tinker Town. Retaking Gnomereggan would become a long term goal and Mekkatorque would lead the gnomes to assist the Alliance, the faction on which they now depend.
Katrana Prestor. With the fall of Lordaeron and the isolation of Gilneas and Kul Tiras, Stormwind became the new center of power for the Alliance. Onyxia noticed this and was eager to see the Alliance crumble, and so she infiltrated Stormwind keep as a noble woman named Katrana Prestor. She made allies with the Defias Brotherhood, an old enemy of the Stormwind ruling party.
King Varian Wrynn. Katrana sent the Brotherhood to kidnap King Varian Wrynn during a diplomatic mission to Theramore. She was then about to cast a powerful spell and turn him into a puppet in her quest for power over Stormwind. However, Varian escaped and plunged into the sea before her spell was complete, where the waves would carry him to Kalimdor’s distant shores. Although he was free, the spell left his mind in tatters; he had no memory of himself, his name, or that he was king.
Lord Regent Bolvar. Onyxia returned to Stormwind, where she would continue to influence the kingdom’s affairs under the guise of Katrana. His young son, Anduin Wrynn, was crowned king, with legendary paladin Bolvar Fordragon acting as lord regent to manage the kingdom’s affairs until Anduin came of age. Although the people grieved over the king’s disappearance, neither Anduin nor Bolvar believed that Varian was dead.
World of Warcraft begins
Factional skirmishes resume in Alterac, Arathi and Ashenvale, all while the Horde and the Alliance contend once again with old, common state enemies like the centaur in Kalimdor and the gnolls in the Eastern Kingdoms. A new generation of adventurers emerges; they would eventually rise up to be Azeroth’s future champions.
Factional Skirmishes. The armistice between the Horde and the Alliance was still tenuous at best and skirmishes soon started flaring up across Azeroth in such locations as Alterac Valley, Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin. However, threats from outside the Horde and Alliance were just as alarming, if not more. The quilboar in Mulgore, the gnolls in Elwynn Forest and the centaur in Durotar all pillaged and threatened regular citizenry. Unbeknownst to everyone, that unrest was partially stirred up by the Old Gods, who had always found ways to manipulate surface dwellers from the depths of their underground prisons.
Adventurers of Azeroth. This strife was stood up for by ordinary citizens who embarked on journeys across Azeroth. Some fought for honor and justice, some to avenge their faction, some for greed, and some to become glorious and esteemed warriors. Some traveled alone, while some formed mighty guilds that rose together against the darkness. As the years went by, these adventurers would rise to be Azeroth’s champions whenever the world was at risk.
In the depths of Blackrock Mountain, Ragnaros the Firelord prepares his slave army of Dark Iron dwarves to start conquering the surface. To coerce other dwarf clans, Dark Iron leader Dagran Thaurissan kidnaps Moira Bronzebeard, daughter of Ironforge’s king. But instead of being intimidated, she sympathizes with his resolution to free his people from Ragnaros and the two fall in love.
Dark Iron History. About 230 years before the opening of the Dark Portal, the Dark Iron dwarves were driven out of Ironforge in the war of the Three Hammers. A few years after settling in Redridge Mountains, their leader, Thaurissan, launched a new assault against Ironforge. When the assault failed, he attempted to summon Ragnaros the Firelord from the elemental plane in a bid to save his people. Instead, the blast of Ragnaros’ reemergence scorched a portion of Redridge into the present-day Burning Steppes and killed many Dark Irons, destining the others to a lifetime of servitude to Ragnaros. The Dark Irons have since resided in Shadowforge City in Blackrock Mountain.
Dagran Thaurissan. In the present, the Dark Irons were ruled by Emperor Dagran Thaurissan, a descendant of the sorcerer-thane who originally unleashed Ragnaros. Although he opposed Ragnaros’ enslavement of his people, he still appreciated the powers that the Firelord had bestowed upon him.
The Army of Ragnaros. Ragnaros ordered Dagran to prepare the Dark Irons for a new war, which gave Dagran hope of freeing his people, if he could unite the other dwarf clans after defeating them in battle and then conspiring to overthrow Ragnaros.
Moira Bronzebeard. Dagran kidnapped Princess Moira Bronzebeard, daughter of Ironforge’s king, Magni Bronzebeard. Her father would not risk her life by invading Blackrock Mountain. However, Moira was not intimidated by her predicament and surprised Dagran with her wit and strong will. The two seemed to exchange sympathy over Dagran’s wish to free his people and over Magni’s distrust of female rulers despite her being the rightful heir. The two fell in love and married after a few months.
When an Alliance task force storms the depths of Blackrock Mountain and kills Dagran, Moira spreads rumors of the disarray engulfing Ragnaros’ army, attracting honorable champions and treasure seekers to opportunely lead a direct assault on his Molten Core, where he is extinguished from Azeroth for the time being.
Blackrock Depths. Once rumors of Moira’s affair with Dagran reached King Magni, he refused to believe any of them and sent a team of Alliance champions to rescue Moira. The champions made it to the depths of Shadowforge City and slew Dagran, but Moira was infuriated and refused to return with them. Instead, she announced her pregnancy with Dagran’s child and declared her will to carry out his dream of freeing the Black Iron dwarves.
Moira’s Scheme. With Dagran’s death, Ragnaros was keen to test Moira’s loyalty to him. However, the Alliance attack on Shadowforge City left him busy trying to reestablish control over the Dark Irons. Moira seized the opportunity to quietly let the word out about the untold spoils hidden in Ragnaros’ cave in addition to his brief vulnerability due to the recent death of his lieutenant Dagran.
Molten Core. The Hydraxian Waterlords, the fire elementals’ natural enemies, recruited heroes who were brave or greedy enough to answer the call and assisted them through the invasion of Ragnaros’ headquarters within the mountain: the Molten Core. Ragnaros’ legendary strength was not enough to outfight the champions, who banished him back to the elemental plane and consequently set the Dark Iron dwarves free, with Moira as their rightful and respected ruler.
After ages of hostility from centaur war parties, the Horde finally trace the cause of their behavior to Maraudon, where their mother, Theradras, turns out to have been controlling them. The Horde also discovers a manifestation of the Emerald Nightmare in Dire Maul and sends a raiding party to cleanse it.
The Centaur of Maraudon. In Kalimdor, the war between the tauren and the centaur raged for ages. However, at a certain point, it became clear to the Horde that the centaur were fighting within their own populations as often as they fought outsiders, which seemed to stem from an underlying corruption. The Horde banded up with the Magram, a tribe which was unaffected by said corruption, and traced its source to Princess Theradras in Maraudon. Together with her fallen mate, Zaetar, Theradras created the centaur, and the two were controlling the corruption to expand centaur territory. Killing them off set the centaur free.
Dire Maul. In Feralas, following an increase of ogre raids, the ruins of Eldre’Thalas (now known as Dire Maul) drew the Horde’s attention. They had become an ogre stronghold after the Second War, but they also now harbored two sources of corruption. One source was a manifestation of the Emerald Nightmare, a section of the Emerald Dream corrupted by the Old Gods. The second source came from a group of Highborne elves known as the Shen’dralar, who were concealed deep within the ruins and were feeding on the energies of a demon they had imprisoned. When the Horde raided Dire Maul, they killed the Shen’dralar’s leader and spared his remaining followers, who have since been reformed.
With Ragnaros purged from the depths of Blackrock Mountain, the power balance shifts in favor of Nefarian who ruled the Mountain’s upper half. Nefarian made horrific experiments on dragons to create a new superior breed known as the chromatic dragonflight. Moira alerts the world of this looming danger, and the Horde responds by raiding Neltharion’s lair and slaying him before the eggs hatch.
Factions of Blackrock Mountain. In Blackrock Mountain, uncertainty reigned as the different factions vied for dominance after the banishment of Ragnaros. While Ragnaros had controlled the lower half of Blackrock Mountain, which was now left to the Dark Irons, the upper half belonged to Deathwing’s son, Nefarian, and his black dragons. Ragnaros and Nefarian both served the Old Gods, but they were never truly allies. Nefarian kept his presence in upper Blackrock shrouded by relying on his allies for protection; the “true Horde,” more commonly known as the Dark Horde.
The Dark Horde. The Dark Horde are remnants of the Orcish Horde who did not acknowledge Orgrim Doomhammer as Warchief after he slew Blackhand in a mak’gora around the end of the First War. Their allegiance to Nefarian was based on an empty promise that the black dragons would assist them in their war against Thrall’s denounced new Horde.
Nefarian’s Experiments. Nefarian’s primary concern was the empowerment of the black dragonflight to fulfill his greater goals. The most prominent aspect of his campaign was his brutal and boundless experimentation with captured dragons to create the most powerful breed, which eventually produced the chromatic dragonflight. He prepared a clutch that would hatch an entire generation of this new flight, but his campaign was in a vulnerable state until these eggs hatched.
Blackwing Lair. Moira knew she had a narrow time window to act. Having witnessed the valor of the heroes of Azeroth against Ragnaros before, she sent word to Orgrimmar that the Dark Horde had allied with the black dragonflight and were determined to challenge Thrall’s Horde. The news caused an uproar in the Horde, who soon sent a group of their strongest warriors to storm Neltharion’s fortress in Blackrock Mountain. Nefarian was slain and his head was taken to Orgrimmar as proof of victory.
The Emerald Nightmare’s emergence in more spots around the world weakens the green dragons, who are closely bound to the Emerald Dream. The fanatic Atal’ai trolls take advantage of that to retake Sunken Temple and resummon the Loa of Blood. Hakkar is eventually defeated at Zul’Gurub on the hands of Horde warriors.
Wailing Caverns. Corruption was creeping in Teldrassil, the world tree planted by Fandral Staghelm. Soon, the emergent Emerald Nightmare started manifesting around Azeroth. The Cenarion Circle (then led by Fandral Staghelm) widened their enlistment to include non-elves in their effort against the emergent corruption. The Horde mounted a mission to purge the Nightmare from the Wailing Caverns and rescue a group of druids who were trapped there.
Sunken Temple. The green dragons were subtly being affected by the Nightmare, which made them disoriented and vulnerable. The Atal’ai trolls took this opportunity to retake Sunken Temple in Swamp of Sorrows, and resumed their gruesome rituals to try once again and summon Hakkar, Loa of Blood. The trolls exploited the Emerald Nightmare’s effect to drag the green dragons deeper into the depths of madness and corruption. The Cenarion Circle sent an Alliance force to cleanse the temple (dungeon: Temple of Atal'Hakkar). However, the rituals’ ripple effect had already spread, and corrupted green dragons started emerging from the Emerald Dream to wreak havoc all around Azeroth. There was no cure for these dragons and most had to be killed, mounting a very heavy toll on the green dragonflight that day.
The Loa of Blood. The Zandalari trolls viewed themselves as spiritual leaders and custodians of their entire race. They believed that Hakkar’s return would herald a dark time for them. When survivors from the Atal’ai infiltrated Zul’Gurub, the capital of the Gurubashi trolls in Stranglethorn Vale, and tried to summon Hakkar once again, the Zandalari were swift to alert the Horde. The Horde warriors had to hack their way through masses of Atal’ai and their mind-controlled followers. Although they couldn’t kill the Atal’ai leader, Jin’do the Hexxer, until after Hakkar had already been summoned, they managed to vanquish him after a brutal and costly battle.
Cho’gall frees Old God C’Thun; its qiraji and silithid army soon starts mounting attacks on nearby settlements. The Horde and Alliance unite to start a joint war effort that opens the gates of Ahn’Qiraj and kills C’Thun in the depths of its underground fortress.
Cho’gall and C’thun. The Emerald Nightmare’s spread had so far been a symptom of the Old Gods’ reemerging power, yet few could trace it back to them. Cho’gall and the Twilight Hammer had a grand scheme of releasing the Old Gods from their prisons, starting with C’Thun in Ahn’Qiraj. Unable to penetrate the formidable Scarab Wall surrounding the fortress, Cho’gall had to sacrifice plenty of his Twilight Hammer cultists in a great ritual that remotely released C’Thun from its prison. Cho’gall then departed to continue bolstering the Twilight Hammer in order to release other Old Gods, infiltrating every faction in Azeroth like an unseen plague. With its bonds broken, C’Thun awakened its followers, the silithid and the qiraji, and rallied them for war.
The War Effort. C’Thun’s awakening was immediately felt as druid outposts in Silithus came under attack from swarms of silithid and qiraji. With C’Thun’s unstoppable conquest of Azeroth looming on the horizon, Warchief Thrall and Regent Lord Bolvar Fordragon came to the agreement of combining Horde and Alliance efforts to strike back against C’Thun, appointing Varok Saurfang as a leader to the offensive.
Gates of Ahn’Qiraj. After retrieving the scattered fragments of the ancient Scepter of the Shifting Sands from around the world, Varok marched his armies to the gates of Ahn’Qiraj and opened them, which released a flood of insectoids. As Horde warriors held the line atop the ground, Alliance champions ventured deep into C’Thun’s underground prison and withstood its maddening whispers until they finally managed to kill the Old God. This sent a warning to the two remaining Old Gods that the mortals were capable of defending Azeroth when they joined forces.
In the Plaguelands, Darion Mograine kills his death knight father, Alexandros Mograine, and retrieves the Ashbringer, which is now corrupted and possessed by Alexandros' spirit. After learning from Tirion Fordring that his father’s spirit can only be set free by an act of compassion, he sacrifices his own life during a Scourge attack on Light’s Hope Chapel to release his father’s spirit and thwart the undead attack. Darion’s body, however, is retrieved by the Scourge and he’s later raised as a death knight.
Paladins of the Plaguelands. The Plaguelands, where the fallen kingdom of Lordaeron once was, were now deadly lands of shambling undead and tortured spirits. While the Scarlet Crusade continued their zealous purge of undead and whoever stood in their path or questioned their ways, another order stood up to them. The Argent Dawn, composed mostly of paladins who were sickened by the Crusade’s acts, became a bastion of hope for those who were still fighting the Scourge in the Plaguelands.
Darion Mograine’s Quest. Among the Argent Dawn’s paladins was Darion Mograine, the youngest son of the fallen paladin Alexandros Mograine. When Darion learnt that his father’s spirit was held captive inside the floating Scourge necropolis of Naxxramas, he ventured to the formidable levitating fortress with a bunch of volunteers. Their quest culminated in the faceoff with the four horsemen led by Alexandros himself, having been raised as an undead death knight. After an intense fight that nearly killed him, Darion barely defeated his father and retrieved the corrupted Ashbringer.
Alexandros and Tirion Fordring. Darion discovered that the spirit of his tortured father had possessed the corrupted Ashbringer. Darion fulfilled his father’s wish by dueling his brother, where Alexandros's spirit erupted from the Ashbringer and beheaded Renault in an act of justice. But that did not free his spirit, and so Darion sought out Tirion Fordring, who lived in exile at the time. Tirion revealed to him that the blade could only be cleansed by performing an act of compassion of greater extent than the treachery that had defiled it, a sentiment that Darion could not understand.
Light’s Hope Chapel. After Darion returned to Light’s Hope Chapel, the site came under attack by the Scourge and the Argent Dawn soon became greatly outnumbered, putting their entire existence at stake. In their darkest hour, Darion finally understood the meaning of Tirion’s words. Having died due to betrayal, the only act that could free Alexandros Mograine was an act of ultimate sacrifice.
Darion Mograine’s Fate. As the Argent Dawn made its last stand, Darion took the corrupted Ashbringer and impaled himself upon it. This selfless act did not just free his father, but it also awakened the souls beneath the chapel, who unleashed their vengeful fury and laid waste to the invading Scourge. However, having sacrificed himself, Darion’s body was retrieved by the retreating Scourge, who would later raise him as an undead death knight.
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With their old allies gone and geographically replaced by the Forsaken, the blood elves of Quel’Thalas join the Horde. The Draenei crash-land in Northern Kalimdor and join the Alliance. The Dark Portal is reopened by Lord Kazzak, granting the Legion an entry route to Azeroth from Outland. The Alliance and Horde counterattack by venturing into Outland. Thrall finds Garrosh Hellscream, Grom’s son, and takes him back to Azeroth. Prince Kael’thas Sunstrider, who settled in Outland and had long burnt his bridges with Azeroth’s alliances, conspires to summon lord Kil’jaeden to lead the Legion into Azeroth himself. The Sunwell is restored with the heart of the naaru M'uru.
- The blood elves of Quel’Thalas found themselves cut off from the rest of the world when the bordering Lordaeron region, previously held by their old human allies, became a battlefield for Scourge agents and the Horde-aligned Forsaken. After regent Lor’themar Theron’s failed negotiations to rejoin the Alliance, the blood elves joined the Horde instead.
- Since the Legion’s arrival on Draenor, the draenei had to avert one disaster after another, first being eradicated by the blood-frenzied orcs and then getting caught up in Illidan and the blood elves’ conquest of Outland. When Prince Kael’thas seized Tempest Keep, the draenei managed to sabotage one of its wings, the Exodar, and sail off into the Nether. They crash-landed north of Kalimdor on Azeroth and soon joined the Alliance when they discovered the history they shared with the night elves against the Legion.
- Illidan, now proclaimed as the Lord of Outland, was anticipating the Legion to return and retaliate considering his failure to destroy Arthas/the Frozen Throne as per their pact. He began bolstering his army by creating fel orcs using the blood of pit lord Magtheridon, who was imprisoned in Hellfire Citadel, the fel orcs’ main stronghold. When the fortress was breached and finally claimed by the champions of Azeroth, Magtheridon met his demise along with Kargath Bladefirst, the fel Horde Warchief.
- Kael'thas eventually abandoned Illidan’s cause and joined Kil'jaeden. Having gone completely mad, he believed that siding with the Legion was the blood elves’ path for redemption and sent home for the blood elves of Quel’Thalas to join him. However, when the blood elves finally ventured into Outland alongside the rest of the Horde, Kael’thas’ lies were exposed and he met his first defeat at Tempest Keep.
- The re-opening of the Dark Portal provided an opportunity for the orcs of Azeroth to reconnect with their roots which they had been severed from after the Portal collapsed some twenty years ago. They met their ancestral forebears, the Mag'har, who embodied the lost heritage of the orcs and were led by Garrosh, son of the legendary Grom Hellscream. Garrosh has since become an important member of the Horde.
- The denizens of Azeroth did not fail in imposing their dominance over the realm of Outland. While the constant conflict between the Horde and Alliance waxed and waned, the two factions managed to defeat agents of the Burning Legion and Illidan alike one after the other. After the fall of Hellfire Peninsula, Azeroth’s champions slew Lady Vashj, who was still loyal to Illidan, and defeated her naga in Zangarmarsh, and would soon push their way into Shadowmoon Valley where Illidan himself awaited in Black Temple. Having already lost many of his trusted lieutenants, Illidan’s influence was beginning to wane. The resulting window of opportunity permitted Akama, an elder sage of devolved draenei known as the Broken, to rebel against the self-styled "Lord of Outland." Along with Illidan's former jailor, the stoic night elf Maiev Shadowsong, Akama helped a group of heroes infiltrate Illidan's seat of power and put an end to the Betrayer's reign once and for all.
- While conflicts raged across the newly rebridged world of Outland, Zul’jin prepared his troll army in Zul’Aman for a new war. The troll warlord never forgot the Orcish Horde’s abandonment of his cause to retake Quel’Thalas during the Second War, where the Highborne had long defiled the Amani trolls’ ancient holy grounds. Upon hearing that these newly christened "blood elves" had become part of the Horde in his absence, the infuriated Zul'jin declared war on both Horde and Alliance. While the eyes of the world were focused on Outland, a number of champions spearheaded the assault against the troll empire, seizing their treasures and killing Zul’jin.
- The defeated Kael'thas Sunstrider returned to Quel’Thalas, where he intended to use the Sunwell’s energies to summon demon lord Kil’jaeden into Azeroth. Aided by a joint task force of blood elves and draenei, the Shattered Sun Offensive, Horde and Alliance heroes narrowly stopped both Kael'thas and Kil'jaeden, purifying the Sunwell with the help of the draenei prophet Velen, and thus ending the Legion’s presence between Azeroth and Outland.
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The Lich King reawakens and mobilizes his forces, striking Stormwind and Orgrimmar. The Alliance and Horde both launch massive war campaigns, sending armies to Northrend to defeat the Scourge once and for all. The Knights of the Ebon Blade are established by defectors from the Lich King’s armies. The Argent Crusade is established and Argent Tournament is held in partnership to elect the best soldiers from the Alliance and Horde to lead the final assault into Icecrown Citadel, led by Tirion Fordring and Darion Mograine. The Lich King is defeated.
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Thrall passes his position as Horde Warchief on to Garrosh Hellscream and goes on a quest to uncover the reason Azeroth’s elements were becoming increasingly agitated. The Cataclysm unfolds with Deathwing’s emergence from the Elemental Plane, permanently altering many of the world’s landscapes. Alliance and Horde tensions reach new heights as both try to recover from their costly War on the Lich King, including the Wrathgate betrayal. The worgen of Gilneas join the Alliance and the goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel join the Horde. The mortals take the fight to Azeroth’s raging elements by venturing into the Elemental Plane itself, which culminates with the destruction of Ragnaros and Al’Akir. In the final attack against Deathwing, the Dragon Aspects expend what they have left of the titan-given power to kill the black dragon, leaving Azeroth’s defense from then on to the mortals.
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With Deathwing gone, Warchief Garrosh Hellscream escalates the Horde-Alliance conflict, attacking Theramore and destroying it completely. As the conflict rages around the world, a naval battle shipwrecks Horde and Alliance survivors, including Anduin Wrynn, on Pandaria, which was undiscovered at the time. Both factions establish ties with the local pandaren, who need help combating the Sha, while the Alliance scrambles to find Anduin. The Zandalari trolls reunite with their old mogu allies and resurrect Thunder King Lei Shen. Vol'jin goes into hiding after a failed assassination attempt by Garrosh. In the neutral city of Dalaran, the Sunreavers get involved in the Horde's theft of the Divine Bell. When Jaina Proudemoore finds out, she mobilizes the Kirin Tor and Silver Covenant against them in what becomes known as the Purge of Dalaran. The Alliance emerges victorious, expelling Horde-aligned mages and ending the blood elves' ongoing negotiations to return to the Alliance. Garrosh takes the stolen Divine Bell to Kun Lai summit to redeem its powers, but is stopped by prince Anduin Wrynn, who destroys it with help from the SI:7. With their ancient king revived, the mogu start a conquest to restore their former glory as rulers of the continent. The pandaren establish the Shado-pan to lead an assault on Throne of Thunder, where Lei Shen is defeated for good. Vol'jin returns from his hiding and rallies the Darkspear trolls to start a rebellion against Warchief Garrosh. As Garrosh's loyalists push them back, they retreat to the Barrens and reassemble with support from Thrall and Alliance forces who entered a tenuous truce with them. In Pandaria, Garrosh's quest for power culminates when he retrieves the heart of Y'shaarj, which unleashes widespread corruption in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. He returns to Orgrimmar with the heart's powers in his grasp, ready to elevate his genocidal war against the Alliance and Darkspear rebellion into unprecedented new heights. Having consolidated their forces earlier, the rebels, backed by major Horde and Alliance leaders, make it to Orgrimmar and infiltrate Garrosh's fortress. With the entire world up against them, Garrosh and his loyalists don’t hold out for much longer, eventually losing the battle. During his trial in Pandaria, a bronze dragon named Kairoz escaped with Garrosh into Draenor 35 years ago (back to 4 BDP) in an alternate timeline.
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Garrosh Hellscream lands in an alternate timeline Draenor 34 years in the past, roughly four years before the opening of the Dark Portal, and meets his father, Grom Hellscream. With modern technology Garrosh brought from Azeroth, together they form the Iron Horde and quickly unite Draenor’s clans under their banner. When Gul’dan assembles them to drink Mannoroth’s blood, Grom rejects it and kills the pit lord with Garrosh’s help. In time, they take complete control of Draenor, subjugating the ogre city of Highmaul and constructing massive fortresses like Blackrock Foundry and Hellfire Citadel. The Iron Horde then opens the Dark Portal and invades Azeroth to fulfill Garrosh’s agendas. After razing Nethergarde Keep, the Alliance and Horde retaliate by assembling their champions and sending them through the portal under Khadgar’s leadership. As the Azerothian offensive advances, the Iron Horde’s warlords are slain one by one, and Garrosh himself is killed by Thrall during the Siege of Grommashar, the Warsong clan’s stronghold. Gul’dan takes this opportunity to usurp the Iron Horde and summon the demonic Burning Legion to Draenor. The remaining warlords join him with the exception of Grommash Hellscream, who relents and gets imprisoned by Gul’dan. Khadgar eventually leads Azeroth’s champions through the Legion stronghold of Hellfire Citadel, where Gul’dan summons the demonic general Achimonde. After a valiant effort, the demon lord is brought down. But just as he falls, he casts a spell on Gul’dan and hurls him through a portal, for his business with the Legion is far from finished.
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As conflict raged across the Broken Isles, the Burning Legion focused its efforts on Karazhan, Medivh's ancient seat of power, hoping to find anything they could use to keep the tide of battle moving in their favor. Khadgar and a small band of heroes were successful in stopping this menace, which gave the forces still fighting on the Isles the momentum they needed to strike. Heroes, aided by First Arcanist Thalyssra, Tyrande, and Lady Liadrin, led an insurrection against Grand Magistrix Elisande, regent of the ancient city of Suramar. With the city liberated, the heroes then struck at The Nighthold—ending Gul'dan's reign of terror at last. Azeroth's champions now possess the Eye of Aman’Thul—and the power they need to close the Tomb of Sargeras forever. Azeroth’s greatest heroes return to the Broken Shore and strike at the Tomb of Sargeras, where Kil'jaeden is killed and the Tomb is sealed. Illidan opens a massive rift that makes Argus show up in Azeroth’s sky. The draenei lead the assault on the Burning Legion’s homeworld of Argus aboard the Vindicaar, uniting there with the Army of the Light. At last, the souls of the titans themselves stand in their ethereal forms by Azeroth’s adventurers as they come to face off with Argus the Unmaker, the world soul of the demonic world of Argus. As they bring it down, the Legion’s invasion comes to a halt, and Sargeras, just as he reaches Azeroth, is pulled away and imprisoned, but only after he sinks his colossal sword in Silithus.
Vault of the Wardens. Following the battle for Draenor, the deceitful Gul’dan found himself on the Broken Isles, where he was to fulfill his end of the pact he had made with the Legion. Gul'dan invaded the Vault of the Wardens with the help of the traitorous former Watcher Cordana Felsong. In desperation, the wardens released the Illidari; demon hunters that use fel power, to help fight against the Burning Legion. Despite this, Gul'dan was successfully able to steal the body of Illidan Stormrage, which he would later animate as an avatar for the spirit of Sargeras.
Return of the Burning Legion. Gul’dan, tormented by whispers of Kil’jaeden the Deceiver, opened the Tomb of Sargeras and with it a gateway for the Burning Legion to invade Azeroth. The warlock bent the denizens of the Broken Isles to his will, including the ancient nightborne city of Suramar and their leader, Grand Magistrix Elisande, dedicating the city’s immense source of energy, the Nightwell, to the Legion’s cause. The Legion started mounting attacks across Azeroth.
Battle for Broken Shore. The Alliance, Horde and Argent Crusade prepared to launch an invasion with naval, air, and ground forces on the Tomb of Sargeras on the Broken Shore. However, the united armies greatly under-estimated the size of the Legion force and the majority of the Argent Crusade was destroyed before the Horde and Alliance arrived. Their efforts ultimately failed, costing High King Varian Wrynn and Warchief Vol’jin their lives (succeeded by Anduin Wrynn and Sylvanas Windrunner, respectively). Miscommunication led to many within the Alliance believing that the Horde intentionally abandoned them during the battle, inflaming tensions between the two factions to a boiling point once again.
The Illidari. The Burning Legion made assassination attempts in Orgrimmar and Stormwind as the faction leaders gathered to mourn the Warchief and the High King, but the Illidari intervened and were as such accepted as allies among the two factions.
Pillars of Creation. Khadgar began researching ways to sever the Legion from their source of power at the Tomb of Sargeras, consulting with the newly awoken Magni Bronzebeard. Magni declared that his innate connection with the land during his slumber had allowed him to communicate with the nascent titan slumbering within Azeroth. Only by using the five Pillars of Creation, incredibly powerful titan artifacts, could the forces of Azeroth seal the Tomb of Sargeras and stop the Legion.
Sylvanas’ Quest. While the search for the Pillars of Creation went on, Sylvanas took the Forsaken fleet to Stormheim. Using a magical lantern that she had retrieved in a deal with Helya, she attempted to subjugate Eyir to create more Val’kyr for the forsaken. However, Genn Greymane, who had been tracking her, intervened, snatching the lantern and smashing it, thwarting Slyvanas’ quest for immortality.
Return to Karazhan. As conflict raged across the Broken Isles, the Burning Legion focused its efforts on Karazhan, Medivh's ancient seat of power, hoping to find anything they could use to keep the tide of battle moving in their favor. Khadgar and a small band of heroes were successful in stopping this menace, which gave the forces still fighting on the Isles the momentum they needed to strike.
Suramar & Illidan’s Resurrection. After locating the first four Pillars, the heroes received a distress call from exiled Nightborne from Suramar, where Gul'dan had besieged their home and seized control. Champions of both Horde and Alliance liberated the Nightborne and their home and killed Gul'dan at the Nighthold, claiming the last Pillar of Creation and restoring Illidan to life.
Breaching the Tomb. With Illidan’s assistance, the armies of Azeroth established a foothold on the Broken Shore. After fighting back the invasion forces, the champions entered the Tomb of Sargeras to end the Legion's presence on Azeroth. They faced and killed Kil'jaeden, but Illidan used the opportunity to open a rift between Argus and Azeroth, setting the stage for the champions to invade Argus.
Raising a King. Meanwhile, Anduin Wrynn, plagued with doubt regarding his ability to be a worthy successor to his father, reclaimed Varian's compass with the help of Alliance champions. Venturing to the entrance of the Tomb, where Varian had fallen, Anduin recovered Varian's sword Shalamayne and, with the help of Genn, Velen and even Varian's spirit, found within himself the confidence and determination to serve the Alliance as its High King.
Shadows of Argus. Velen summoned the Alliance and Horde to travel aboard The Vindicaar. They traveled to the surface and quickly met the Krokuun, the surviving Broken Draenei that were left on Argus. Shortly thereafter, they encountered the surviving members of the Army of the Light, including Turalyon and Alleria. The combined forces gained ground on Argus and rescued the dormant prime Naaru, Xe'ra. However, Illidan destroyed her after she attempted to remake him as her prophesied chosen one.
Soul of Argus. Magni arrived and was able to communicate with the world soul of Argus: through it, he learnt that Sargeras had captured the essences of his fellow titans, and sought to revive them under his control.
The Legion’s Defeat. The champions invaded Antorus, the Burning Throne, and freed the spirits of the remaining titans, who in turn forced the world soul of Argus to manifest. Thoroughly corrupted and suffering, the champions were forced to kill it, just to see that Sargeras was at Azeroth and prepared to take it for himself. Sargeras was pulled away by the titans, but he hurled his sword into Azeroth as a final act of spite. The champions returned home, with Illidan staying behind to face Sargeras inside his prison.
Discovery of Azerite. While Sargeras was defeated, his giant sword remained; champions absorbed its corrupting poison into their artifacts, which greatly weakened them but bought the world of Azeroth time. However, the titan's blood had been erupting to the surface in the form of a crystalline substance called Azerite, which has tremendous magical potential. Both factions, still honoring their heroes and mourning their dead, were unwilling to let the other faction have sole access to this miracle substance, and prepared for war again.
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The Horde and Alliance resume warring when Sylvanas pushes hard to monopolize Azerite, a new substance that appeared after Sargeras stuck his colossal sword in Kalimdor. Slyvanas burns Teldrassil, and claims most of Kalimdor. The Alliance retaliates by attacking Undercity and capturing Varok Saurfang. The Alliance reunites with Kul Tiras while the Horde establishes ties with Zandalar. The Alliance attacks Dazar’alor to destroy the Zandalari fleet, killing King Rastakhan. While Tyrande and Malfurion lead a battle to retake Darkshore from the Horde, Varok Saurfang escapes Alliance captivity. Doubtful of his allegiance, Sylvanas dispatches assassins to get rid of him, dividing the Horde. Sylvanas imprisons Baine for interfering with her plans and Thrall returns to join the opposition. In the heart of the sea, Azshara traps Horde and Alliance ships at the naga city of Nazjatar. Jaina and Lor’themar lead the champions of both factions to kill Queen Azshara in her palace, but they fail to do so before she frees Old God N’Zoth. They then realize that the factional conflict was keeping them busy from their common enemy, and so leaders of both factions unite to overthrow Sylvanas. At the gates of Orgrimmar, Saurfang challenges her to a mak’gora but is hopelessly outmatched. After Sylvanas delivers the killing blow, she deserts the Horde, proclaiming that they had been nothing but a means for fulfilling her agendas. The Horde then replaces the position of Warchief by a council. With the truce still in place, the champions of Azeroth attack N’Zoth at the city of Ny’alotha. When the Old God’s corruption proves too powerful, Azeroth’s world soul intervenes and grants the champions the might they need to kill N’Zoth. In Northrend, Sylvanas confronts Lich King Bolvar to piece together the bargains she had made with Azshara, N’Zoth and death itself. She defeats Bolvar and splits the Helm of Domination in two, shattering the sky and opening a rift to the Shadowlands.
The deep cracks Sargeras’ sword created in the earth leak out a new substance called Azerite. Sylvanas’ attempt at monopolizing this new substance quickly escalates into an all out war which reaches new heights when she burns Teldrassil, delivering a devastating blow to the Alliance’s presence in Kalimdor. The Alliance retaliates by launching an all-out assault on Undercity and captures Varok Saurfang.
War of Thorns. At the end of Legion, the mad titan Sargeras was imprisoned, but not before plunging his sword into the planet Azeroth. This not only devastated a massive area (much of the desert zone of Silithus is now cracked and scorched), but badly wounded the gestating titan inside. While the heroes managed to ablate the worst of the damage (at the cost of the majority of their artifact weapons' mythic power), the world was still wounded and bleeding a substance called "Azerite," which has great magical potential.
The Burning of Teldrassil. The Horde Warchief, Sylvanas Windrunner, attempted to consolidate Horde power on Kalimdor and gain a monopoly on Azerite (which was primarily found at the southern end of the continent). Her campaign to do so ended with Teldrassil burned and the major Night Elf holdings on the continent seized.
Battle for Lordaeron. The Alliance made a retaliatory strike against Sylvanas’ home base, the Undercity, which was formerly the human capital of Lordaeron. After a long, drawn-out battle that pushed the Horde leadership all the way to the throne room, Sylvanas retreated after covering the Undercity in disease and toxins, rendering it uninhabitable.
Battle Aftermath. Although Undercity was no longer inhabitable, the Alliance captured High Overlord Varok Saurfang during the battle. The Horde then had almost complete control over Kalimdor, while the Alliance had near-total dominion over the Eastern Kingdoms. With further conflict inevitable, the two factions went to the continents of Kul Tiras and Zandalar where they attempted to recruit new allies in order to turn the tides of war.
As the war rages on, both factions attempt to recruit more allies, with the Alliance reuniting with their old allies in Kul Tiras. To rival their massive armada, the Horde establishes ties with Zandalar so they can use King Rastakhan’s Golden Fleet.
Jaina’s Exile. In Kul Tiras, the Alliance's initial attempt to gain the nation's assistance ended disastrously when Katherine Proudmoore, Lord Admiral of Kul Tiras and mother to Archmage Jaina Proudmoore, not only refused the Alliance's request for aid but also ordered Jaina arrested and exiled for her role in the death of her father, Daelin Proudmoore, in the aftermath of the Third War.
Establishing Relations. It quickly became apparent that Kul Tiras had become mired in corruption and outside threats, so Anduin and Genn Greymane sent Alliance champions to aid the Kul Tirans and earn their trust. Aiding them in this quest were Flynn Fairwind, a "retired" privateer, and Taelia Fordragon, the idealistic daughter of Bolvar Fordragon, former High Lord of Stormwind and current Lich King of the Undead Scourge.
Restoring Kul Tiras. The Alliance was successfully able to earn the trust of Kul Tiras by combating the pirates of the traitorous Ashvane Trading Company in Tiragarde Sound, the Naga and corrupted agents of Queen Azshara in Stormsong Valley, and the occult forces of the ancient, ghostly warlord Gorak Tul in Drustvar. After these threats were defeated, Katherine was left despondent at her inability to lead her people, and resolved to help the Alliance find Jaina and reconcile with her.
Lord Admiral Jaina. The Alliance eventually tracked Jaina to the prison island of Fate's End, where Gorak Tul, having survived the events of Drustvar, had kidnapped her and was tormenting her with visions of her past failures. The Alliance champions and Katherine destroyed Gorak Tul once and for all and rescued Jaina, who was finally able to let go of the hate, anger and obsession with the past that defined her ever since the destruction of Theramore. The Alliance and Proudmoores then united to defend the capital city of Boralus from a massive pirate siege, after which Jaina was named Lord Admiral and pledged Kul Tiras' navy to the Alliance.
In Zandalar, the Blood Trolls revive G’huun, an artificial Old God accidentally created by the titans millennia ago. Although the Old God is defeated, the Alliance soon attacks Dazar’alor to destroy the Golden Fleet and dismantle the Horde-Zandalari alliance, killing King Rastakhan in the battle.
The Horde and the Zandalari. Meanwhile, in Zandalar, the Horde sought to earn the trust of King Rastakhan so they could use his legendary Golden Fleet against the Alliance. To this end, they assisted Rastakhan and his court in dealing with local threats in Zuldazar, fighting maniacal Blood Trolls in Nazmir, and facing off with serpentine Old God cultists in Vol'dun.
G’huun & Uldir’s Seal. Throughout their journey, the Horde gradually learnt about an eldritch being known as G'huun, an artificial Old God accidentally created by the titans and the patron deity of the Blood Trolls. The Blood Trolls and the Faithless Sethekk sought to free G'huun from his prison of Uldir so they could use him to rule Azeroth, and to this end they resurrected G'huun's champion, the C'thrax Mythrax, to destroy Uldir's seal.
Zul’s Betrayal. Rastakhan's own chief adviser, the prophet Zul, was revealed to be the Blood Trolls' secret leader and launched an armed revolt against Rastakhan. With the Horde champions' help, Rastakhan was able to defeat Zul and his forces, but not before Mythrax destroyed Uldir's seal. With the seal broken, G'huun's full power began to manifest. Champions of both the Horde and the Alliance ventured deep within Uldir and faced G'huun's champions, including Mythrax and a resurrected Zul, before finally slaying the Blood God himself.
The Golden Fleet. With G'huun's threat eliminated, the Horde and Alliance returned their focus to the war. While the Horde procured the Scepter of the Tides, a legendary artifact capable of controlling the seas, the Alliance dismantled a potential alliance between Sylvanas and the vampiric San'layn Elves. The Alliance began to gear up for a preemptive strike against Zandalar, with the goal of crippling the Golden Fleet before it could be used against the Alliance and driving a wedge between the Zandalari and the Horde.
Battle for Dazar’alor. Eventually, the Alliance finished its preparations and launched an attack on the Zandalari capital of Dazar'alor, their goal being to sever the budding alliance between the Zandalari and the Horde by dismantling the Golden Fleet and capturing King Rastakhan. Despite Anduin and Jaina's desire to capture him alive, Rastakhan was overwhelmed by the power of his pact with the loa Bwonsamdi, and the Alliance champions were forced to slay him. Enraged by Rastakhan's death, Horde champions launched a vicious counterattack on the withdrawing Alliance forces, which ended with both Jaina and High Tinkerer Mekkatorque gravely wounded.
While Tyrande and Malfurion lead a battle to retake Darkshore from the Horde, Varok Saurfang escapes Alliance captivity. Doubtful of his allegiance, Sylvanas dispatches assassins to get rid of him, which starts a growing divide within the Horde.
Battle for Darkshore. On Kalimdor, Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage grew impatient regarding liberating Darkshore from the Horde's control, ultimately choosing to begin the offensive on their own, against Anduin's advice. In order to maximize their chances, Tyrande underwent a ritual to turn herself into the Night Warrior, the avatar of Elune's most wrathful and warlike aspects. To counter this, Sylvanas ordered several Night Elven heroes who had fallen in the Burning of Teldrassil to be raised as Dark Rangers to bolster her forces.
Saurfang’s Escape. As the battle for Darkshore began, both the Alliance and Horde were blindsided by a new development: High Overlord Varok Saurfang, who had been defeated and captured in the Battle of Lordaeron, had suddenly escaped Alliance captivity and was on the run. Sylvanas sent Horde champions to track Saurfang down, ostensibly to extract him.
A Divided Horde. It quickly became apparent that the search party Sylvanas had sent for Saurfang was in fact an assassination squad, as Sylvanas suspected him of colluding with the Alliance in an attempt to dethrone her. While some Horde champions chose to side with Saurfang and help him escape the assassins, other champions remained loyal to Sylvanas and reported Saurfang's and the dissenting champions' treachery to her.
After the Horde’s defeat in Darkshore, Sylvanas resurrects Derek Proudmoore as Forsaken to use him against his sister Jaina, which infuriates other Horde leaders, widening the divide even more. Baine Bloodhoof helps Derek escape to be united with Jaina and is imprisoned upon his return. Saurfang goes to confront Thrall in Outland and bring him back to stand against Sylvanas. The two unite with other rebels and rescue Baine; the Horde remains divided.
Resurrection of Derek Proudmoore. As the Alliance leadership debated their next move, Sylvanas, infuriated by the Horde's defeat at Darkshore, resurrected Jaina's long dead brother Derek Proudmoore as a Forsaken with the intent to use him as a sleeper agent to destroy the Proudmoore family from within, an act that horrified the surviving Horde leaders.
Dissension within the Horde. Unable to tolerate Sylvanas' dishonorable tactics, Baine Bloodhoof turned against her and, with the help of Forsaken priest Arthur Zelling, smuggled Derek out of Horde territory with the intent of returning him to Jaina. While Derek was successfully returned to the Alliance, Baine's "treachery" was discovered by Sylvanas and her loyalists, resulting in Zelling being executed and Baine imprisoned.
Thrall Returns. After escaping from Stormwind prison with Anduin's help, Saurfang traveled to Nagrand in Outland to seek out the aid of Thrall, who had gone into hiding during the last invasion of the Burning Legion. After initially refusing to aid the Horde and remaining in hiding with his family, Thrall was eventually convinced to fight after he and Saurfang were attacked by two Forsaken assassins sent by Sylvanas.
Lor’themar’s Initiative. Sometime later, Lor'themar Theron, Regent Lord of the Blood Elves, learnt that Baine would soon be put to death for his actions against Sylvanas. Unwilling to allow this, Lor'themar enlisted Horde champions to find Baine and save him from execution. As the loyalist Horde champions rushed to report Lor'themar's "treason" to Nathanos Blightcaller, the rebel Horde champions met up with Saurfang and Thrall to rescue Baine, who was being held in Garrosh Hellscream's former Underhold.
An Unexpected Alliance. As the Horde champions arrived, they received unexpected backup from Jaina, Spymaster Mathias Shaw, and Alliance champions, who also sought to rescue Baine as Anduin believed his survival to be critical to eventual peace between the Horde and the Alliance. Did you know? This reunion and unexpected alliance between Thrall and Jaina was somewhat similar to the way the Horde and Alliance united in the Third War.
Baine’s Rescue. The combined forces fought their way through Sylvanas' forces and successfully extracted Baine to Thunder Bluff. In the aftermath, as Thrall bitterly noted how every attempted reconciliation between the Alliance and the Horde ultimately ended in complete failure, Jaina assured him that this time, there was hope for true change after how much they have all changed.
In the heart of the sea, while Alliance ships chase a fleet that Sylvanas sent for unknown purposes, Azshara creates a massive gap in the ocean to reveal the naga city of Nazjatar, trapping both fleets on the exposed ocean floor and forcing them to work together. Jaina and Lor’themar lead the champions of both factions to kill Queen Azshara in her palace, but they fail to do so before she frees Old God N’Zoth. Jaina and Lor’themar then realize that the factional conflict was keeping them busy from their common enemy, and so leaders of both factions unite in Dustwallow Marsh and prepare to overthrow Sylvanas.
The Enchanted Dagger. Meanwhile, the Shrine of Storms in Stormsong Valley, which had laid dormant after Alliance champions had routed Queen Azshara's forces there, suddenly started brimming with new activity. Xal'atath, an Old God-touched dagger that had played a role in the war against the Burning Legion, was found by the champions of the Horde and the Alliance.
N’Zoth’s Challenge. Xal'atath compelled the champions to deliver powerful relics to N'Zoth, the last Old God and patron of Queen Azshara, who challenged the champions to test their mettle against his champions in the deepest parts of the Shrine of Storms. The champions reluctantly accepted N'Zoth's challenge and reclaimed the relics to defeat his champions. In the aftermath of the battle, to the champions' shock, the spirit that had once inhabited Xal'atath was gone, having been freed by N'Zoth. Horde Champions decided to bring the now inert dagger to Sylvanas, much to the Alliance's concern.
Rise of Azshara. Later, Sylvanas sent Nathanos Blightcaller, Lor'themar Theron, and Thalyssra out to sea with the remnants of the Horde fleet for unknown purposes. Hearing of this, the Alliance sent its own fleet led by Jaina and Genn Greymane to pursue them. However, in the middle of the pursuit, Queen Azshara used the Tidestone to reveal the underwater Naga capital Nazjatar, trapping both the Horde and Alliance fleets and forcing them to work together to survive against the Naga onslaught. Working with Alliance and Horde Champions, they were able to retake the Tidestone and use it to open the way to Azshara's palace.
The Eternal Palace. Under the leadership of Lor'themar and Jaina, Horde and Alliance champions breached Azshara's palace, fighting their way through her strongest servants before finally confronting the Naga Queen herself, who suddenly stole the Heart of Azeroth and used its accumulated power to break N'Zoth's seal.
N’Zoth Unbound. After a titanic battle, Azshara was defeated, but before the champions could finish her off, N'Zoth broke free of his prison and pulled her into the Void, ominously declaring that "all eyes shall be opened".
A Temporary Truce. Realizing that the war between the Alliance and the Horde had all along been a distraction from N'Zoth's master plan, Jaina and Lor'themar resolved to overthrow Sylvanas, then unite their forces for a final stand against the Old God.
At the gates of Orgrimmar, Saurfang challenges her to a mak’gora but is hopelessly outmatched. After Sylvanas delivers the killing blow, she deserts the Horde, claiming that they had been nothing but a tool for fulfilling her agendas. The Horde then replaces the position of Warchief by a council.
Heroes of Azeroth. With their numbers dwindling, the remaining Horde and Alliance leaders decided to regroup in Dustwallow Marsh. Anduin, Saurfang, Jaina, Thrall, the Horde champion Rexxar, Lor'themar, Mayla Highmountain, and Zekhan rallied their remaining soldiers for one final stand against Sylvanas. Though Saurfang was hesitant, the Alliance king assured him that their fight wasn’t just to protect themselves, but also to protect Azeroth.
Saurfang’s Challenge. The combined Horde and Alliance forces marched upon the gates of Orgrimmar, the Horde capital, where they planned to overthrow Sylvanas. When they arrived, they were met with dozens of Forsaken guards ready to defend their queen. Saurfang called out Sylvanas in a challenge of Mak'gora, a fight to the death for the leadership of the Horde.
Mak’gora at the Gates of Orgrimmar. With Thrall's blessing and Anduin's legendary blade Shalamayne, Saurfang fought one on one against Sylvanas but was hopelessly outmatched. As she prepared to finish him, Sylvanas mocked the old soldier, claiming that all hope would die with him. Saurfang retorted that while she had destroyed many things, she had never destroyed hope. He managed to land a single blow before an enraged Sylvanas killed him with a blast of unknown dark magic.
Sylvanas’ Bargains. Before she escaped alone, she declared that she never truly cared for the Horde and had seen them all as pawns to her own personal gains, losing the trust of her soldiers. While a memorial was held in Saurfang's honor, Sylvanas regrouped with her remaining loyalist champions at Windrunner Spire and prepared for her bargains with Azshara, N'Zoth, and Death to bear fruit.
Preparations. As the Alliance and the Horde both prepared for N'Zoth's invasion, they agreed to an armistice, officially bringing their war to an end. Tyrande, however, refused to be satisfied until Sylvanas was dead, which worried Anduin and Shandris Feathermoon, despite Jaina's reassurance that she had the Kul Tiran fleet scouring the seas, and Shaw sending spies to every dark corner of Azeroth.
The Horde Council. Meanwhile, the Horde leaders agreed to retire the title of Warchief in favor of a council filled with representatives of each Horde race. For his role in starting the war and for his continued black market dealings in Azerite, Jastor Gallywix was ousted as Trade Prince of the Bilgewater Cartel Goblins and replaced with Gazlowe of Ratchet.
With aid from Wrathion and the truce still in place, the champions of Azeroth use a special magical cloak to protect themselves from N’zoth’s corruption while attacking it in the city of Ny’alotha. When the Old God’s corruption proves too powerful, Azeroth’s world soul intervenes and grants the champions the might they need to kill N’zoth.
Wrathion Visits Stormwind. Sometime later, Wrathion, grandson of Deathwing, arrived in Stormwind, offering to help against N'Zoth as an advisor. Despite his fury over how Wrathion began the chain of events that led to the Burning Legion's Third Invasion and subsequently Varian's death, Anduin agreed to accept his aid. Wrathion explained that N'zoth intended to recreate the Black Empire.
Visions of N’Zoth. To stop N’Zoth, Wrathion proposed to create a magical cloak for champions of the Horde and Alliance that would allow them to enter Ny'alotha and defeat the Old God without the risk of corruption. As the champions of the Alliance and Horde worked to both complete the cloak and prepare for the final battle, N'Zoth's forces began launching raids across Azeroth, seeking to bring all that they could under their master's thrall.
Ny'alotha, the Waking City. Eventually, the Alliance and Horde champions laid siege to Ny'alotha, defeating N'Zoth's mightiest servants before confronting the Old God himself. Despite a titanic battle, N'Zoth's corruption proved too powerful and was on the verge of taking full control over the Champions. However, at the last moment, Azeroth's titan soul herself intervened and granted the champions a surge of power, allowing them to overcome N'Zoth's corruption and destroy him and Ny'alotha once and for all.
In Northrend, Sylvanas confronts Lich King Bolvar to piece together the bargains she had made with Azshara, N’Zoth and death itself. She defeats Bolvar and splits the Helm of Domination in two, shattering the sky and opening a rift to the Shadowlands.
Bolvar’s Death Knights. As Azeroth returned to a period of relative peace, in Icecrown, Bolvar realized that the final battle against Sylvanas was close at hand, and so bean raising a new generation of Death Knights to serve as his vanguard against the Banshee Queen.
Enter the Shadowlands. With her pieces in place, Sylvanas traveled to Northrend and confronted the Lich King, Bolvar Fordragon, atop Icecrown Citadel. She easily disposed of the Scourge forces and took charge against the Lich King. With her newfound dark magic, she bound him in chains and stripped him of the Helm of Domination, claiming Fordragon to be unfit to wear it. Bolvar warned her that putting on the helm would imprison her forever, but she retorted that simply existing in this world was her prison. Instead of placing the helm on her head, she pulled it apart and snapped it in two, causing the sky to shatter above the Citadel, revealing a portal to the Shadowlands, the land of the dead.
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