Kael'thas Sunstrider

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For strategy on the Tempest Keep and Magisters' Terrace encounters, see Kael'thas Sunstrider (tactics) and Kael'thas Sunstrider (Magisters' Terrace tactics).
NeutralKael'thas Sunstrider
Image of Kael'thas Sunstrider
Title The Sun King,
Lord of the Blood elves,
Crown Prince of Quel'Thalas
Gender Male
Race Blood elf
Character class Blood mage, Archmage
Affiliation(s) Kael'thas' forces (Burning Legion)
Former affiliation(s) Alliance of Lordaeron, Quel'Thalas, Kirin Tor, Dalaran, Alliance Remnants, Illidari
Occupation Lord of the blood elves, Master of Tempest Keep, Uncrowned King of Quel'Thalas, Servant of Kil'jaeden
Location Buried on Quel'Danas (lore);[1]
The Tempest Bridge, Tempest Keep or Grand Magister's Asylum, Magisters' Terrace (WoW)
Status Deceased (lore);[2] killable (WoW)
Relative(s) Anasterian Sunstrider (father), Dath'Remar Sunstrider (great-great-grandfather)
Mentor(s) Kil'jaeden, Illidan Stormrage, Anasterian Sunstrider, possibly Grand Magus Telestra
Companion(s) Al'ar (phoenix),  [Swift White Hawkstrider] (mount)
"You may not care for your subjects, but I care for mine. I have lost far, far too much in dealing with humans. I stand only for the elves now - for the sin'dorei. The children of the blood."

Kael'thas Sunstrider was the Prince of Quel'Thalas, the last of the Sunstrider dynasty, as well as a senior member of the Kirin Tor. After the Fall of Quel'Thalas, Kael'thas led what remained of his people, the sin'dorei, in the service of the Alliance. Striving to placate his people's addiction to magic, he later covertly allied with Illidan Stormrage, but betrayed him to the Burning Legion when its master, the demon lord Kil'jaeden, enticed Kael with the promise of salvation for the blood elves.[3] He was branded a traitor after his allegiance to the Legion was revealed, losing the support of many of his people. Slain in the Tempest Keep, he would be brought back by his demon masters and return to Azeroth a shadow of his former self. Kael'thas' purpose was to summon Kil'jaeden through the Sunwell, but his plans were foiled by the Shattered Sun Offensive and the sacrifice of Anveena Teague. He was defeated by their forces in Magisters' Terrace.

Biography

Dalaran

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Jaina and Kael'thas in Dalaran

The only son of Anasterian Sunstrider, king of Quel'Thalas,[4] Prince Kael'thas was also a powerful mage and member of the Six, the shadowy high council of the Kirin Tor.[5] Prior to the Second War, he and the other members of the high council questioned Khadgar about the orcs and the events in Karazhan that led to the death of Medivh.[6] Kael alongside Krasus and Antonidas battled against death knights who stole the Eye of Dalaran. However, the death knights escaped with the help of the black dragonflight.

Despite his status as both Quel'Thalas' royal prince and his place on the Council of Six, Kael'thas proved himself an approachable individual, and quickly took to Lady Jaina Proudmoore. His charm and "perfectly" handsome features impressed the young sorceress, though his regality and her longing for Prince Arthas Menethil of Lordaeron had her rebuke his advances - such as traveling to visit the beautiful elven homeland, Quel'Thalas, where magic was even more commonplace than Dalaran. Arthas, in turn, came to view the older and more powerful Kael with jealousy, knowing that if push came to shove, Kael would end up victorious. Later, Arthas himself was to visit Dalaran to study, and Jaina began a relationship with him. Kael'thas did not take kindly to this, and upon discovering it simply feigned mild surprise that Arthas would be so secretive about having a woman such as Jaina.

Kael'thas was opposed to the notion of upkeeping the internment camps, viewing the orcs' inability to control their dependency on demon blood as a testament to their lack of formidability as a people. This brought him into conflict with Antonidas, Jaina and Arthas, who had come to believe that sentient individuals - lethargic or not - should be shown mercy, and that the orcs were not beyond salvation.

Kael'thas took an issue with the human Nathanos Marris being admitted to the Farstriders, and sent a letter to Quel'Thalas demanding Sylvanas to dismiss Nathanos from the ranger corps. Despite this opposition, however, Sylvanas persisted, and her response was simply that Nathanos would be a loyal ally.

Such minor ponderings, however, would soon become the least of Prince Kael'thas' concerns.

Third War

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Armed with his Verdant Spheres, Kael'thas became a blood mage.
Kael'thas Sunstrider, blood mage.
Kael'thas' sword, Felo'melorn, as an Artifact.

As a member of the Council of Six, Kael was present when Kel'Thuzad was expelled from Dalaran.[7]

After a dramatic turn of events, the treacherous Prince Arthas ravaged his own homeland, and led an attack on Quel'Thalas. His brutal conquest of the elven kingdom resulted in the utter destruction of Silvermoon City, the defiling of much of the high elven forests, the annihilation of the legendary Sunwell (thus forcing a withdrawal-based lethargy on the elves), the total slaughter of around 90% of the high elven race[8], and the killing of Kael's father, High King Anasterian Sunstrider.

Kael'thas learned of this while in Dalaran, and a remorseful Jaina attempted to console him. Kael'thas lashed out at her, berating her for her relationship with such a butcher, and made one final allusion to the fact that she had chosen such a monster over him. Cursing humanity, viewing himself as a fool for ever assuming that humans could aid him, Kael'thas stated that his people had thus been reborn, by the blood of those who are forced to serve her "beloved" in death. With his father gone, Kael'thas knew that leading his people was now his duty alone.[9] Kael'thas abandoned Dalaran to its fate, and rushed to the aid of his people. Once he entered the forests he sent Rommath to Lor'themar, to inform the elves about the coming of the prince.

Organizing the survivors, Kael'thas evacuated as many of his people as he could, and came to burn several of the defiled forests in an act of scorched earth, to spite the Scourge invaders.[citation needed]

Kael'thas arrived in Silvermoon to an icy reception. His prolonged absence had been noted, and the populace was downtrodden, fearing the prince would abandon them. Kael first met with Lor'themar Theron, who had rallied the elves in his absence, and was shown to the body of his father. Kael performed a Thalassian blessing, and told his father that he was lost without him; that Anasterian was the king, not him. He asked his father for the strength to lead their people forward, and watched that night as Anasterian was cremated on a funeral pyre.

Kael'thas then left to observe the defiled Sunwell, and witnessed the dark, twisted energies pulsating from it. Fearing a further catastrophe and an attack of the Amani trolls, Kael'thas rallied a group of volunteers to destroy the corrupted Sunwell. He took three mooncrystals with him to this end, all three of which survived the sealing of the Sunwell, albeit altered. Kael took them into his possession thereafter.[10] Though he had saved his people from continued exposure to the dark energy, the destruction of the Sunwell resulted in a withdrawal-based lethargy for the elven race.[11]

Kael'thas renamed his shattered people "blood elves" in honor of their fallen brethren, and resolved to see Quel'Thalas shine once again.

Though King Anasterian had removed Quel'Thalas from the Alliance prior to the undead onslaught, Kael rejoined what was known as the "remnants of the Alliance" battling the Scourge in Lordaeron. Though this alliance was Kael's best bet for vengeance upon the Scourge, he came under the bigoted scrutiny of its prejudiced leader, Grand Marshal Garithos, who had long despised the elves.

Kael'thas took a number of his most powerful followers to join the New Alliance, though the majority of his people remained behind in Quel'Thalas. Kael'thas commanded the great ranger, Lor'themar Theron, to safeguard the shattered elven kingdom, to protect their exhausted people, and to keep what remains of Quel'Thalas untainted from the Scourge. Before leaving, he found the broken runeblade  [Felo'melorn], which he later reforged.

Kael'thas officially decreed that his father would be the last king of Quel'Thalas, and was styled as the "prince," the "Lord of the Blood Elves," and "the Sun King" variously thereafter.[1]

The hunt for Illidan

WC3RoC logo 16x32.png This section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.

Kael'thas Sunstrider in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.

Following the destruction of Silvermoon, Kael began to notice an emptiness within himself and his brethren, an insatiable hunger and disharmony. However, there was no time to deal with that, as Kael had other duties.

Kael'thas Sunstrider in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.

Kael and his soldiers were stationed in the Silverpine Forest when a disturbance began to rile up the undead in and around Dalaran. They had begun to raid the outposts Kael had established, so he gathered up his forces to seek refuge in the relative safety on the other side of the River Arevass.

As he was loading the supply wagons, he was met by two unexpected strangers, Maiev Shadowsong and Tyrande Whisperwind. These night elves had pursued Illidan Stormrage for three days across the sea. Kael guessed that perhaps Illidan was behind the disturbances at Dalaran, and when he told them his tale, Tyrande immediately offered her assistance, thinking that he could help them track down Illidan. Maiev believed it to be a waste of time, but reluctantly agreed. With the protection of the night elves and their Mountain Giant allies, Kael quickly made his way to Pyrewood Village to retrieve his buried supply caches. As they gathered more reinforcements, Maiev asked Kael where the rest of his brethren were, and he told them of the destruction of Quel'Thalas. Tyrande empathized, but warned that vengeance and rage was not a pleasant road to walk.

As they arrived in Pyrewood, the undead were lying in wait and ambushed the caravan. Kael, Maiev, Tyrande and their forces battled off the first attackers, but as the second wave advanced, they realized that the caravan would never survive another assault. Maiev and Kael rushed the caravan across the bridge, while Tyrande stayed to fend off the undead alone. As she called upon the powers of Elune to protect her, the bridge fell away, and Tyrande was swept down the river. Kael wanted to pursue her, but Maiev stopped him, saying that she was a warrior and knew the risks. Maiev then demanded that Kael honor their bargain, and help her capture Illidan.

Kael and Maiev tracked Illidan to Dalaran, where Kael's scouts found him performing a strange ritual with a mysterious gem. Malfurion came and told them that Illidan's spell was using the Eye of Sargeras to break Northrend apart. Immediately, they advanced upon his location, while Kael defended their bases from the voracious undead. After freeing the paladin Magroth the Defender from the Naga, he pledged to help them. When Illidan's spell was interrupted, Malfurion approached his brother and condemned him for his part in Tyrande's death. Kael, perplexed, suggested that it was premature to assume she was dead, and was vehemently silenced by Maiev.

Malfurion, realizing he had been duped, left Maiev entangled in vines while he and Illidan set off to save Tyrande. Maiev eventually freed herself and set off in pursuit, while Kael'thas was left in the ruins of Dalaran.

The rise of the blood elves

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See also: Alliance RemnantsNew Alliance

Kael found the Grand Marshal Garithos at Dalaran, who dismissed his story of the night elves as a fanciful excuse. Garithos, Kael's commanding officer, harbored a poorly-hidden disdain for all non-human races. Garithos informed Kael that a strikeforce was encroaching on Dalaran, and that he was going to head them off at the mountains. Kael was quick to volunteer his assistance, but Garithos had other plans. He explained that a second force was believed to be approaching from the east, and that the arcane observatories needed repairs so that they could be used to spot them. Kael did as ordered, but when he came to Lordamere Lake, he found the shipyard ruined, and had no route across the water. Lady Vashj, a naga witch, soon arrived to offer her aid, citing their common ancestry. Vashj gave him boats, which Kael used to ferry his troops to the outlying observatories.

When Garithos returned from the front, he condemned Kael for consorting with the naga, despite the prince's assurances that they were not a threat to the Alliance. Garithos warned Kael that he would not tolerate treason before leaving Kael to keep things in line at Dalaran. An emissary sent by Garithos arrived the next day with further orders, reporting that the observatories had detected an undead force in the west. Kael was to defeat them, though the emissary also recalled his foot soldiers, cavalry, and support teams to the front lines. Kael was left with only his fellow elves to aid him, and the undead were quick to overtake the outposts across the river. Once again, Lady Vashj arrived with her naga, and though Kael was wary of accepting her offer, she insisted that without her help, he and his brethren would surely fall. Realizing that it would be impossible to survive without these reinforcements, Kael accepted. Together they defeated the undead.

Kael'thas, trapped in the Dungeons of Dalaran.

After the battle, Kael told Vashj about how his people felt an emptiness ever since Quel'Thalas was destroyed. Vashj explained to Kael that just like the naga, his people were addicted to magic. Without the Sunwell to give them a constant supply of magical energies, they would surely suffer a fatal withdrawal. Kael heard Garithos approaching, and bid Vashj to flee, but Garithos' men saw the naga escaping and arrested Kael and his people for treason. Garithos smugly told Kael that he now had all the proof he needed to deal with him and the other elves as he felt they deserved, and he had them all imprisoned in the Dungeons of Dalaran.

Vashj crept in through the sewers of the dungeons and freed Kael, then helped him free his brethren. Vashj promised him escape from his human oppressors through Kel'Thuzad's interdimensional portal, where her master, Illidan, was waiting on the other side. As they neared the exit, Kael met his former comrade, Jailor Kassan, who he was forced to slay in order to escape. Upon leaving the dungeons, the blood elves and naga fled through the portal Archimonde used to enter the world of Azeroth, and into a new world.

Kael found himself on the barren lands of the Hellfire Peninsula, and Vashj revealed that this Outland was once the orcish homeland of Draenor. They searched for Illidan for days, until Vashj caught a familiar scent on the winds. Maiev had captured Illidan and was escorting him back to her base in a prison wagon. Kael and Vashj's forces quickly rushed into the fray and battled Maiev's army in order to retrieve the unconscious Illidan and return him to their base, where they could undo the magical lock that kept him caged.

Illidan was pleased with the tenacity of all his servants, new and old alike, and told them of the situation in Outland. To flee from his vexed master, Kil'jaeden, Illidan had fled to Outland only to find it overrun by Magtheridon and his fel orcs, reinforced by demons arriving through Ner'zhul's dimensional gates. Kael had hoped Illidan might be able to cure the blood elves of their addiction to magic, and asked if he could help them. Illidan sadly told him that there was no cure for their condition, but promised Kael that if he joined him, he would provide the blood elves with enough magical energies to keep their hunger sated forever. Upon hearing this, Kael pledged his loyalty to Illidan.

Kael and Vashj protected Illidan as he went about closing the interdimensional gateways. Kael discovered a camp of draenei being assaulted by orcs, and lent them his aid. He was greeted by Akama, the Elder Sage, who offered his allegiance to Illidan. Finally, the time came to assault Magtheridon's Black Temple. Illidan, Kael, Vashj, and Akama all led their forces against Magtheridon's fortress, infiltrating it and finally defeating Magtheridon in his own throne room.

As Illidan stood triumphant, Kil'jaeden descended from the fiery sky and rebuked Illidan for his insolence in trying to hide. The demon gave him one last chance to save himself - destroy the Frozen Throne, or face his eternal wrath.

Assault on the Frozen Throne

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Kael'thas, along with Vashj and Akama, became one of the leaders of Illidan's forces.

Kael and his new allies returned to Northrend, where they were immediately met by Anub'arak and his troublesome race. Though they kept them at bay, Illidan's forces slowly advanced on the Icecrown Glacier.

The blood elves, thirsty for vengeance, attacked the newly arrived Arthas in a large-scale Dragonhawk ambush. Arthas was able to push them back, with the help of his nerubian ally, Anub'arak, and was greeted by a familiar sight - Kael'thas, brandishing a reforged  [Felo'melorn]. After a heated exchange, Arthas charged the elven prince, though Kael'thas teleported out of the fray for the time being. Arthas fled into Azjol-Nerub, and after his ascent out of it, Kael'thas attacked him once more.

The two appeared to be fairly evenly matched; Felo'melorn proving an adequate counter to the mighty Frostmourne. However, the tides began to turn, and despite Kael's vicious assault of both powerful fire spells and Felo'melorn's precision, Kael'thas was pushed back by Arthas - the death knight empowered further by the Lich King's proximity. Knowing that he could not win this battle, and forced into the snow, Kael'thas once again teleported himself away, deeming that he had bought Illidan enough time.[12] Kael successfully withdrew, but Felo'melorn was lost in the battle.

As such, Arthas was left with only one more obstacle - Illidan himself.

After fierce combat, Arthas managed to get the best of Illidan, and Illidan's twitching body was tossed to the ground. Kael and Vashj were left leaderless on the snowy slopes of Icecrown as Arthas claimed his destiny. Together they took Illidan's unconscious body with them as they fled back to Outland.

A month later, when Magtheridon was being moved to Hellfire Citadel he accompanied the Illidari into the fortress. A week later, Lady Malande reported that Kael took his forces to close a Legion's portal in Netherstorm.[13]

The Burning Crusade

TBC This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.

Kael'thas and his lieutenants in Tempest Keep.

Kael'thas, together with 15% of the blood elven people, made the journey into Outland with his new allies. With the goal of finding a lasting method to sate the elven addiction, and claiming a new homeland for the sin'dorei, Kael'thas thus put his plans into motion. However, he had not forgotten about his people still in Azeroth. Grand Magister Rommath, a powerful Archmage who had served Kael'thas' ambitions faithfully, was sent back to reclaim Quel'Thalas with a contingent of magisters - and to spread Illidan's teachings of draining magical power, teachings smoothly attributed by Rommath to the blood elven scion. Kael'thas named Lor'themar Theron Quel'Thalas' regent, to safeguard the country until the prince's return to lead their people. Emboldened by the reclamation of shining Quel'Thalas, and the prince's promises of a glorious future, the blood elves began to work towards their own great journey - to reunite with their prince in the promised haven of Outland.[14] Rommath informed him about the possible alliance with the Horde.[15]

Kael'thas in his citadel of Tempest Keep.

Kael'thas, with some of his most powerful servants, claimed the magic-rich area of Netherstorm as his base of operations in Outland. Displaying his long-severed ties to the Kirin Tor, Kael'thas ordered the callous destruction of the local Kirin'Var Village and its residents. Kael'thas himself claimed the citadel of Tempest Keep as his own, and was able to overcome its powerful defenders - including a naaru, named M'uru, whom Kael'thas sent back to Silvermoon for his people to feed upon.

His attack on Tempest Keep also led to the outmanned draenei being forced to flee in a vessel, the Exodar, though several of Kael'thas' agents were able to give pursuit. Upon the draenei vessel's crash into Azeroth itself, Kael remained in touch with his underlings and instructed them to create a portal - the Sun Gate - capable of allowing reinforcements from Tempest Keep to arrive and slaughter the draenei.[16]

Kael'thas later sent Voren'thal the Seer and his forces to attack Shattrath City and the Sha'tar, though Voren'thal threw down his weapons and defected. This betrayal was a devastating blow to Kael'thas, as Voren'thal's ranks included some of the most gifted magisters and scholars he had led into Outland.

He had in his possession one of the Vials of Eternity, granted to him by Illidan, as did Vashj.[17]

An unholy alliance

The Scryers soon discovered that Kael'thas had entered into an alliance with the Burning Legion. Dissatisfied with the limits of arcane magic, the prince began consuming fel energy to acquire even greater power. Kil'jaeden, the leader of the Burning Legion, began to secretly entice Kael'thas with promises of salvation for the blood elves.[18]

Kael'thas, aware of Illidan's insanity (brought on by his defeat at the hands of Arthas Menethil at Icecrown, nearly four years earlier), "switched paymasters accordingly" according to Magister Theledorn. Kael's decision to ally himself with the Burning Legion not only led him to betray Illidan, but also the Horde and his own people - the many blood elf pilgrims and adventurers traveling from Azeroth. At Manaforge Ara, agents of the Burning Legion bearing orders from Kael mingle with his Sunfury servitors.

The Scryers, recognizing that Kael's mad bid for power would lead the blood elven race to doom, continued to fight against Kael'thas and his forces in the hope of saving their people.

The Cipher of Damnation

Through spying on the Earthen Ring and their activities in Shadowmoon Valley, Kael'thas gained the knowledge of  [The Cipher of Damnation]. The Cipher of Damnation was used by Gul'dan to sunder the orcs' connection to the spirits of the land, and may have been the same as (or similar to) the spell uttered by Thaurissan when he summoned the fiery destroyer Ragnaros to Azeroth.

Khadgar and A'dal discovered the plans of Kael'thas, and requested help from any able-bodied adventurers to prevent Kael'thas from ever using the Cipher of Damnation.[19] Through their efforts the cipher was recovered, depriving Kael'thas of a powerful weapon. These brave adventurers were granted the key to Tempest Keep, and sent to dispatch Kael'thas himself.

Defeated

Prince Kael'thas was ultimately cornered in his reinforced sanctuary of Tempest Keep, The Eye. He was defeated, though the timely arrival of Priestess Delrissa had allowed him to escape death. His image appeared in Shattrath, berating A'dal for not finishing the job with the same efficiency that he had claimed Tempest Keep.

Silence descends upon Shattrath.
A'dal's thoughts invade your mind.
Kael'thas Sunstrider has been defeated by <name> and <his/her> allies.
The time to strike at the remaining blood elves of Tempest Keep is now. Take arms and let A'dal's song of battle empower you!
A fiery symbol of the Sunfury, a rising phoenix, appears in front of A'dal, and then an image of Kael'thas Sunstrider appears in front of the symbol, facing the naaru.
Kael'thas Sunstrider yells: Your monkeys failed to finish the job, naaru. Beaten but alive... The same mistake was not made when we took command of your vessel.
Kael'thas Sunstrider yells: All for what? Trinkets? You are too late. The preparations have already begun. Soon the master will make his return.
Kael'thas Sunstrider yells: And there is nothing you or that fool, Illidan, can do to stop me! You have both served me in your own right - unwittingly.
Kael'thas laughs.
Kael'thas Sunstrider yells: Lay down your arms and succumb to the might of Kil'jaeden!

The Sun King returns

Kael'thas' appearance after his defeat in Tempest Keep.
Kael'thas as he appears in the Magisters' Terrace.

Despite his defeat in Tempest Keep, Kael'thas survived the ordeal with the aid of Priestess Delrissa and continued to advance the plans of his dark masters. His appearance, however was changed because of fel magic:[20] his skin was sickly pale, and a crystal was lodged in his chest, and one of his Verdant Spheres is gone, having been taken by those who defeated him previously. Having collected the necessary energies from his manaforges in Netherstorm, Kael'thas returned to Quel'Thalas to reinvigorate the Sunwell - not as the source of his people's magic, but rather as the mystic portal that will allow him to summon his new master, Kil'jaeden, much as the Well of Eternity was used to summon Sargeras ten millennia before.[21]

Kael'thas made his return to Quel'Thalas, and briefly assaulted Silvermoon City personally with his felblood elves to retrieve M'uru. The Blood Knight matriarch, Lady Liadrin, witnessed this herself and traveled to Shattrath - renouncing her loyalty to House Sunstrider and offering to fight alongside the Sha'tar for Silvermoon's sake.[22]

Following this, the combined forces of the Scryers and the Aldor formed the Shattered Sun Offensive, dedicated to ending Prince Kael'thas' dark ambitions. Kael'thas took up residence in the Magisters' Terrace, reinforced the isle with his last loyal servitors and Burning Legion assistance, and abducted the mortal avatar of the Sunwell - Anveena, who had been placed under blood elf protection in Quel'Thalas.

Inside the Terrace, heroes assisted by Kalecgos battled their way to the twisted prince's inner sanctum. Kael'thas made his final stand, a shadow of his former self, and was cut down by the Shattered Sun Offensive, who claimed his head. Unlike his final thoughts in Tempest Keep, he did not meet his end with a cry for his homeland upon his lips; but with raving insanity instead wished only a violent death upon his killers.[23]

Aftermath

The betrayal of Kael'thas sent shockwaves throughout the Kingdom of Quel'Thalas, and as Kael'thas was the last known member of the Sunstrider dynasty, Regent Lord Lor'themar Theron has become the sole leader of the blood elves. His once noble goals for his people aside, Kael'thas is now reviled as a traitor, who attempted to sell both his people and himself to the Burning Legion. His death brought an unhappy end to the Sunstrider dynasty, casting a bitter pall over the blood elves left behind. Kael's allegiance to the Legion severely hampered blood elf relations with the other races of Azeroth, connections Lor'themar had to take steps to repair.[24]

Ironically, Kael'thas' increasingly desperate quest to relieve his people of their addiction would ultimately bear fruit. With the "blessing" of the Burning Legion, his own followers were permitted to gorge themselves on colossal amounts of fel power, thus becoming known as "felblood elves" in the process. His actions in abducting M'uru indirectly led to Prophet Velen using M'uru's "heart" to revitalize the Sunwell - that had been defiled by both the Scourge and Kil'jaeden. As such, Kael'thas' people have the Sunwell returned to them, now a mixture of both arcane and holy power.

Rommath, who was perhaps left the most shattered of all after Kael'thas' betrayal, mentioned that Kael'thas had been buried on Quel'Danas.[1]

Legacy

Kael'thas and his downfall have been referenced several times since The Burning Crusade.

WotLK This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.

Grand Magus Telestra, rumored to be Kael'thas' mentor, defected from the Kirin Tor to the Blue Dragonflight when Malygos reminded her of the unfair treatment Kael received while imprisoned in Dalaran.

Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

High Examiner Tae'thelan Bloodwatcher mentioned that the prince's statues still stand within Silvermoon City. He used Kael as an example of past mistakes he feels his people are still living in the shadow of, and states that the time has come for this to change.

A vision of Kael'thas Sunstrider with his brethren.

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Jaina Proudmoore conjured a vision of the Kirin Tor's past, citing Kael'thas as one of its greatest traitors. Aethas Sunreaver likened the callous leadership of Garrosh Hellscream to Kael's own in the prince's insanity, viewing their methods similar and their potential effect on the sin'dorei as equally catastrophic; just as the blood elves broke way from Kael'thas, Aethas believed they must heed the lesson learned from the prince's downfall, and never walk down that path again.

Legion This section concerns content exclusive to Legion.

Lady Liadrin referenced Kael'thas and his betrayal to the Burning Legion when she dealt with the Nightborne and Nightfallen of Suramar, drawing parallels to her own people's struggles. The Nightborne leader Elisande erroneously believed that the sin'dorei would have understood her choice to ally with the Legion, when it was this very action that led them to turn against Kael'thas. Like Kael, she felt that serving the Legion would save her people; and like Kael, this decision led to her death.

Personality

Kael'thas was a cunning and powerful mage, as well as a gifted tactician and an accomplished warrior. He was hailed as a true champion of the blood elf people and a defender of their race's ancient heritage, but eventually fell prey to the dark influences of Kil'jaeden while sojourning on Outland,[25] having been enticed by the demon lord with the promise of salvation for his people.[26]

Proud and astute, the crown prince of Quel'Thalas could be both an amiable and a ruthless man. He proved himself approachable, but he also advocated drastic measures (such as the extermination of the lethargic orcs) that were at odds with the Kirin Tor's ethics.[27] The prince was imposing to some and charming to others, and almost always regal and composed. The Third War's brutal aftermath had a huge effect on Kael, who would assume the mantle of leadership in his murdered father's place and find himself having to deal with the many problems his equally beleaguered people were faced with. Overcome with hatred for the Scourge, on the receiving end of racism from the New Alliance, and balancing the weight of a nation on shoulders weary from the addiction ravaging his people, Kael had become a much more desperate leader by the time he left Azeroth for Outland.

As Kael'thas fell further into despair and addiction, his actions became much bolder and more questionable; while Kael once derided the notion of trusting demons and considered the idea of draining demonic magic to be "madness," he would go on to do both himself, falling prey to Kil'jaeden the Deceiver. Following this, Kael's actions became more callous and cruel. Though judged as being on the path to madness by this point, he retained enough self-awareness to keep his dark dealings and draining of demons a secret from his people back on Azeroth, knowing most would be horrified if they knew the truth.[28] By the time of his revitalization, Kael, now a shadow of his former self with fel burning in his very veins, had no qualms even with attacking his own kingdom. Like fellow prince Arthas, Kael was characterized as having a thorough love for his homeland and its people; but also like Arthas, the extremes he went to for them destroyed most of what he was in the process.

Kael loved his father, Anasterian, but the two did not always see eye-to-eye. While Kael felt loyalty and duty-bound to the Alliance,[29] his father rescinded his own allegiance to it, and recalled the elves to their enchanted kingdom after the Second War. Kael remained in Dalaran despite this, and his father worried whether Kael'thas truly understood that it would one day fall to him to rule Quel'Thalas.[30] Kael was left shattered by Anasterian's death, and strove to make his father's memory proud.[31]

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.

Before Kael left shattered Quel'Thalas, he managed to salvage the skull of his father, Anasterian, from the ruins of Quel'Thalas.[32] The skull is among the artifacts that the red and green dragonflights thought would be needed to restore the Sunwell. [33]

Quotes

The Frozen Throne

For gag quotes see: Quotes of Kael'thas Sunstrider.
Arthas: "Are you still upset that I stole Jaina from you, Kael?"
Kael: "You've taken everything I've ever cared for, Arthas. Vengeance is all I have left."[35]
  • "Pity I wasn't there to stop you. It's been a long time, Arthas."

Arthas: Rise of the Lich King

  • "Arthas Menethil. I would spit at the thought of your name in my mouth, but you aren't even worth that."
  • "You may not care for your subjects, but I care for mine. I have lost far, far too much in dealing with humans. I stand only for the elves now - for the sin'dorei. The children of the blood."
  • "Jaina loathes you now, Arthas. You sicken and disgust her. Anything she felt for you has long since turned into hatred."
  • "You're good at killing noble, elderly men. At least you faced my father on the battlefield. What of your own, Arthas Menethil?"
  • " [Felo'melorn] is stronger than ever - as am I. As are the sin'dorei. We are stronger for having been broken. Stronger and filled with purpose. And that purpose is to see you fall."

Blood of the Highborne

  • "Elor bindel felallan morin’aminor ("Sleep forever in quiet serenity"). I knew this day would come... but I never dreamed it would come so soon. I fear I am not ready, Father. You are the king. You will always be the king. I only ever wanted to make you proud. Grant me the strength to be the man you hoped I would be. Grant me the strength to carry us through this time of despair. Grant me the strength now to lead our people true. Elu’meniel mal alann ("May peace calm your heart")."
  • "The time has come! May the light of the sun guide us to the very end! If fate allows, we will rejoin you with new promise for the future of us all! If we do not return... then may you all find eternal peace!"
  • "We must put this misery behind us. We must enter a new chapter! And so I say to you that, as of this day, we are no longer high elves! In honor of the blood that was shed throughout this kingdom, in honor of the sacrifices of our brothers and sisters, our parents, and our children, in honor of Anasterian... as of this day we will take the name of our royal lineage! As of this day, we are sin'dorei! For Quel'Thalas! Hail to the sin'dorei!"

Lore

  • When the Flames settle, we shall see who still stands![36]
  • Lord Illidan awaits!

The Burning Crusade

Main article: Kael'thas Sunstrider (tactics)#Quotes
Main article: Kael'thas Sunstrider (Magisters' Terrace tactics)#Quotes
Kael'thas as seen in the Black Temple Trailer.

Black Temple Trailer

Originally appeared in The Frozen Throne, then repeated (in flashback) in the Black Temple trailer.
Illidan Stormrage: Magtheridon lures scores of hapless demons through them daily.
Kael'thas Sunstrider: Then we must seal them permanently.

Sunwell Trailer

Kael'thas narrates the trailer for "Fury of the Sunwell", which is patch 2.4.0.

It was called the Sunwell...

A sacred fount of untold power, it saturated every fiber of our being. In the warmth of its glow, we thrived...until the shadow of death fell upon us.

Only after the Sunwell's destruction did we realize how dependent we'd become upon its magic, how much we needed to feed! In the wake of our devastation, I named our people "sin'dorei" - blood elves. My people turned to me for answers. I promised them a cure. Strangely, we found deliverance in the demon Illidan. Illidan offered new sources of arcane power, and so I joined him in Outland - pledging to return one day to lead our people to glory!

But Illidan's agenda was short-sighted. I grew impatient. In secret, I began harvesting what energies I could. I had a brief taste of TRUE power...before it was taken from me!

But...all is not lost. The Sunwell's essence endured, kept hidden by those who sought to protect it. Now, I have returned with the knowledge that sacrifices must be made before we can reclaim our birthright. I have forged a new alliance. Soon, the blessed rays of the Sunwell will shine once again, and usher into this world the one...who will deliver us all.

Magisters' Terrace

  • Don't look so smug! I know what you're thinking, but Tempest Keep was merely a set back. Did you honestly believe I would trust the future to some blind, half-night elf mongrel? Oh no, he was merely an instrument, a stepping stone to a much larger plan! It has all led to this... and this time you will not interfere!
  • My demise accomplishes nothing! The master will have you! You will drown in your own blood! The world shall burn! Aaaghh! (Last words spoken)

The phrase "merely a setback" has become a common utterance by players discussing potential future dungeons and raids, often with the joking implication that Kael'thas will somehow return.

TCG

  • "Welcome…to the future. A pity you are too late to stop it. No one can stop me now! Selama ashal'anore!" [37]

About him

  • "I may question Prince Kael'thas' loyalties, but never his style." -Elrodan[38]

Heroes of the Storm trailer

"My people lost everything. Their light was extinguished, replaced by a hunger for magic... and vengeance. We became the blood elves. Now, I will fight for my homeland. Selama ashal'anore. I am Prince Kael'thas, and the time for a reckoning has come!"

Notes and trivia

  • "Contrary to popular belief, Kael'thas's favored, and usually final, utterance to his enemies was actually 'PYROBLAST!'."[39]
  • Kael'thas appeared in nearly every campaign within Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne, with The Founding of Durotar being the sole exception.
  • Kael'thas was voiced by Quinton Flynn in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne[40], World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade[41] and Heroes of the Storm.
  • Prior to venturing to Outland, Kael had blue eyes.[42]
  • Al'ar was the beloved pet of Kael'thas Sunstrider, who often boasted that death would never claim it. Perhaps he was right.[43]
  • Kael was one of the most renowned practitioners of abjuration magic. He created a Mana Shield variant (known as Shock Barrier) that was practically unsurpassed among the residents of Dalaran.[44]
  • Kael was able to control gravity, like his rumoured mentor Telestra.
  • Kael was also considered one of the foremost masters of enchanting. He not only mastered the creation of potent magical weapons, but also learned to manipulate these objects remotely, allowing them to fight on their own. This allowed the prince to fight as if he was defended by several skilled guardians, even when he was completely by himself.[45]
  • His line "Tempest Keep was merely a setback!" has become infamous amongst players, usually using a version of the line for a joke about one antagonist or another returning yet again. This line has subsequently been used by a few other NPCs.
  • Kael'thas is the owner of several verdant spheres, one of which can be obtained by players as a quest starting item.
  • The betrayal of Prince Kael'thas to the Burning Legion was met with many negative reactions, as Kael had seemingly gone from a "well-intentioned leader" to a "pawn of the Burning Legion" with little explanation. The issue was brought up during the 2010 BlizzCon, where Blizzard stated that a number of years ago Micky Neilson wrote an 80 page long novella explaining the path of Kael'thas. The novella in question was actually Blood of the Highborne, which does not touch upon this plot thread, though Neilson is in the process of writing a Kael story which most definitely will.[46] It will pick up right after Blood of the Highborne.[47]
  • Kael'thas once judged the orcs for how poorly they were dealing with their lethargy, cut off from the power that had once sustained them. Ironically, this very fate would later befall Kael'thas and his entire race.
  • In addition to the list of affiliations above, Kael'thas was also loosely (if not earnestly) allied with Thrall's Horde for a brief period, if only as Quel'Thalas's sovereign. Kael was kept up to date on the state of negotiations by Rommath, and it is strongly implied in Blood of the Highborne that Kael himself was the source of information mentioned in one of Lor'themar's letters that confirmed the presence of uncorrupted orcs still on Outland; Kael's regent used this as a bargaining chip with the Horde.
  •  [Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider's Gold Coin] can be fished from the Dalaran fountain. His father King Anasterian displayed concern for his son's loyalty - which Anasterian worried was torn between the Kirin Tor fully and Quel'Thalas.[48]
  • A medallion with Kael's image was found by Sylvanas in the beach of Quel'Thalas. She picked it up and threw it to the sea.[49]
  • Kael'thas is implied to have had a fairly poor relationship with Sylvanas Windrunner, who was not above defying his orders.[50] This enmity is referenced in Heroes of the Storm, where the two snipe each other with scathing comments, even if they are allies.
  • Kael'thas is the first character to appear as the end boss of two instances within the same expansion, and to drop two unique mounts (not including bosses that drop a different mount based on tier difficulty in the same instance).
  • According to senior art director Samwise Didier, Kael'thas was "based off" former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach.[51]

Other

  • Kael was a wizard and fighter in the Warcraft RPG, which was changed to a mage and warrior in the World of Warcraft RPG.
  • Kael'thas Sunstrider, Prince of Quel'Thalas Silvermoon City Tempest Keep Sunwell Plateau, is one of the characters featured in Blizzard Outcasts: Vengeance of the Vanquished, the fighting game that was "announced" as part of 2014 April Fools. His description reads: "The prodigal son of Quel'Thalas hails from a dynastic lineage that boasts centuries of arcane knowledge and equitable rule. Under his guidance, an entire race of addicts was forced to call themselves "Blood Elves."" His abilities are "Felbright Scholar", "Reversal of Misfortune" and "Conflagration of Hatred". His quote is "I did it for me".
  • Kael is a playable character in Heroes of the Storm.
  • In the League of Explorers adventure of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Kael'thas' crown is located in the Hall of Explorers wing. Sir Finley Mrrgglton calls it "the magic of a mad mage made manifest."[52]

Speculation

Questionmark-medium.png
This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

Race?

The pale skin of his model on Quel'Danas may imply that he has become either a Wretched or a Felblood, but it is likely meant to reflect his corruption from the fel magic burning in his veins.

Gallery

Heroes of the Storm
Fan art

Videos

References

  1. ^ a b c In the Shadow of the Sun
  2. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 146
  3. ^ The Burning Crusade Townhall/The Isle of Quel'Danas
  4. ^ Blood of the Highborne, chapter 3
  5. ^ Tides of Darkness, ebook pg. 147
  6. ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 102-112
  7. ^ Road to Damnation
  8. ^ http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/race/blood-elf
  9. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, 248-249
  10. ^ Blood of the Highborne
  11. ^ http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/game/race/blood-elf
  12. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, 360-365
  13. ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 4 & 5
  14. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia - Blood Elves
  15. ^ Blood of the Highborne
  16. ^  [Translated Sunhawk Missive]
  17. ^ The Vials of Eternity
  18. ^ The Burning Crusade Townhall/The Isle of Quel'Danas
  19. ^ The Tempest Key
  20. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
  21. ^ http://wow.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=402753
  22. ^ Lady Liadrin
  23. ^ N [70D] Hard to Kill
  24. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide - pg 156
  25. ^ Magisters' Terrace lore blurb - Kael'thas Sunstrider
  26. ^ The Burning Crusade Townhall/The Isle of Quel'Danas
  27. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
  28. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Blood Elves
  29. ^ "Curse of the Blood Elves: A Dark Covenant", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
  30. ^  [King Anasterian Sunstrider's Silver Coin]
  31. ^ Blood of the Highborne
  32. ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 115
  33. ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. ??
  34. ^ "Curse of the Blood Elves: A Dark Covenant", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
  35. ^ "Legacy of the Damned: A Symphony of Frost and Flame", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
  36. ^ http://entertainment.upperdeck.com/wowminis/en/gallery/featuredmini.aspx?aid=5683
  37. ^ World of Warcraft Trading Card Game: Servants of the Betrayer. Blizzard Entertainment. 213.
  38. ^ Mount Journal entry for  [Swift White Hawkstrider]
  39. ^  [Marquee Bindings of the Sun King]
  40. ^ Quinton Flynn e-mail.jpg Private e-mail
  41. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0940530/
  42. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
  43. ^ Mount Journal entry for  [Ashes of Al'ar]
  44. ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Abjuration
  45. ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Enchantment
  46. ^ Blizzcon 2010 - Quests & Lore 1/4
  47. ^ Neilson on Twitter
  48. ^  [King Anasterian Sunstrider's Silver Coin]
  49. ^ War Crimes, chapter 21
  50. ^  [Quel'Thalas Registry]
  51. ^ Samwise Didier on Twitter (2017-03-19).
  52. ^ Rafaam Unleashed dialogue
  53. ^ a b Kael'thas Hero Week
Preceded by:
Anasterian Sunstrider
(High King of Quel'Thalas)
Position:
Lord of the Blood Elves
(Co-ruler with Lor'themar Theron, Regent of Quel'Thalas)
Succeeded by:
Lor'themar Theron
(Regent Lord of Quel'Thalas)