Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate

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Wrath of the Lich King Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate
Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate
Conflict: War against the Lich King
Place: Angrathar the Wrathgate, Dragonblight
Outcome: Tactical victory for Varimathras's Forsaken faction, major defeat for the Alliance and Horde
Belligerents
Commanders and leaders
Strength
Casualties and losses
  • Very heavy (no red dragons harmed)
    • 5,000 Alliance casualties[2]
    • 4,000 Horde casualties[2]
  • Heavy
Did you think we had forgotten? Did you think we had forgiven?
Behold, now, the terrible vengeance of the Forsaken!
Death to the Scourge! And death to the living!
Grand Apothecary Putress, before unleashing the New Plague

The Battle of Angrathar the Wrath Gate[3][4] (or the Battle of the Wrathgate[5] and the Battle of the Wrath Gate)[1] was a major engagement at the Wrathgate fortress on the border with Icecrown in Dragonblight, originally between the Undead Scourge and a united force of Alliance and Horde, as part of the war against the Lich King. The conflict was one of the largest in the war, and ultimately saw a tremendous loss of life for the Alliance-Horde army.

The battle's massive casualties mainly result from the actions of Grand Apothecary Putress and his allies, who betrayed the Horde and all present by unleashing the New Plague on the gathered forces. Though the Scourge suffered equally from the plague (and the Lich King himself almost perished) the true damage was done to the mortal factions present, both in terms of physical losses and the shattering of trust that resulted from the subsequent events.

Tactically, the battle achieved little in the overall campaign, though the invasion of Icecrown was likely delayed, and another route to the region had to be used. The result also deprived the Alliance and Horde of key leaders, most notably in the form of Bolvar Fordragon and Dranosh Saurfang. The Battle for the Undercity would lead on directly from the events at the Wrathgate, and introduced a new, tense, dimension to the war in Northrend.

History

Opening

Since the beginning of the war against the Lich King, the forces of the Alliance and Horde had launched massive, separate invasions of the continent of Northrend, the home of the Undead Scourge. With the ultimate goal of ending the Lich King and the Scourge threat, both factions subsequently succeeded in establishing footholds on either end of Northrend, in the Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord, before gradually pushing further inland. Although neither faction fully trusted the other, both agreed to a general truce when their respective armies gathered in northern Dragonblight before the imposing fortress of Angrathar the Wrathgate.

The planned assault would represent the first major attempt to gain entry to the Scourge's main base in Icecrown, with the Wrathgate acting as the main gateway to the region. Each faction established a major base near the Wrathgate itself in preparation for the attack, the Alliance's Fordragon Hold and the Horde's Kor'kron Vanguard. In command of both sides' armies were two of their greatest heroes in the campaign: Highlord Bolvar Fordragon and Warlord Dranosh Saurfang each took charge of the gathering Alliance and Horde armies respectively.

After cutting of Azjol-Nerub and Naxxramas[6] and when all necessary arrangements had been made, the mortal armies opened the attack, and began investing the fortress proper.

Battle for the Wrathgate

The Alliance army deploys.
Bolvar Fordragon and Dranosh Saurfang fight together against the Scourge.

The Alliance forces initiated the assault, and engaged the mixed Scourge forces guarding the gateway to Icecrown. Before long, Bolvar Fordragon himself personally joined the attack, and began cutting through the undead ranks. In response, the Wrathgate itself opened to reveal a large force of frost vrykul and other undead, who immediately charged the Alliance forces issuing a battlecry in their own tongue. Bolvar and his forces responded in kind, though they began to become slightly overwhelmed by the sheer force of the attack.[7]

At this point, Dranosh Saurfang committed the Horde forces mounted on wolves to the fight, who reinforced Fordragon's troops and stabilized the front. Together, the combined army succeeded in wiping out the Scourge present and reformed before the Wrathgate fortress. Bolvar Fordragon then issued a challenge to the Lich King out loud, calling for Arthas to come forth and face justice for his many crimes. In response, the Wrathgate slowly opened and the Lich King stepped forth to confront the mortals.

Raising more undead from the ground, the Lich King rebuked his enemies' accusations, and vowed to make them all suffer himself. Enraged, Dranosh Saurfang charged the Lord of the Scourge, who quickly shattered the orc's weapon and killed him, before absorbing his soul into the blade Frostmourne. Before Bolvar could strike, the confrontation was interrupted by the voice of Grand Apothecary Putress from a cliff near the battle. The Grand Apothecary chastised the gathered forces, Alliance, Horde, and Scourge alike, telling them they would now suffer the revenge of the Forsaken. Catapults stationed on the cliff subsequently unleashed numerous explosive barrels of New Plague on the gathered masses, rupturing and immediately killing dozens of soldiers and Scourge present.

As the plague spread through the battlefield, many Horde and Alliance attempted to flee, though Bolvar Fordragon was cut off and trapped. The Lich King, believing it to be the work of Sylvanas Windrunner, was also in serious danger of succumbing to the plague, and only barely managed to escape back through the Wrathgate. As the remnants of the mortal army had either escaped or perished, Bolvar lay dying on the battlefield. Gazing into the distance towards Wyrmrest Temple, the Highlord could see a party of red dragons flying to the battlefield.

Upon arriving, the dragons breathed flames over the battlefield itself, cleansing it of the deadly plague, and destroyed the remaining catapults and forces loyal to Putress nearby. Following this, they once again departed and returned to the temple some distance away.

Aftermath

Immediately after the battle's end, the Dragon Aspect Alexstrasza and her consort Korialstrasz arrived in front of the Wrathgate and spoke with some of the Alliance and Horde champions who survived the engagement. Alliance survivors would recover Bolvar Fordragon's shield (though his remains were absent) at the behest of Alexstrasza and return it to King Varian Wrynn.[8] Though the two red dragons were aware of the true fate of the Highlord, they chose not to share this information with the mortals at this time.[9]

The Battle of the Wrathgate had major repercussions for all parties involved. In the aftermath of the conflict, it was revealed that Putress had in fact been acting under the orders of the dreadlord Varimathras, who had betrayed Sylvanas Windrunner and the majority of the forsaken and taken control of the Undercity with a faction of supporters. The Horde would ultimately gather a force to retake the city, led by Warchief Thrall, Sylvanas, and Vol'jin, from Varimathras and his allies. Seeing not just actions of Putress, but also the actions of the Horde as a whole, as an outright betrayal, the Alliance led by King Varian, Jaina Proudmoore, Broll Bearmantle, and Valeera Sanguinar launched their own assault on the Undercity, seeking to take back the Ruins of Lordaeron.

The outcome of what would become known as the Battle for the Undercity, though it would see Varimathras and his faction defeated, led to an official declaration of war between the Alliance and Horde, seriously hampering the ongoing war against the Scourge in Northrend.

Doused by the Forsaken plague and then exposed to the red dragons' flames, Highlord Bolvar Fordragon was not truly killed at the battle before the Wrathgate. Incapacitated on the battlefield, the paladin was quickly recovered by the Scourge on the orders of the Lich King himself, and was taken deep into Icecrown to be tortured by the Lord of the Scourge. None of the mortal races were aware of Bolvar's real fate until the eventual assault on Icecrown Citadel at the end of the war.

The remains of Dranosh Saurfang too were recovered by the Scourge. Saurfang would be reanimated by the Lich King as the Deathbringer, the Scourge's most powerful death knight.[10] As with Bolvar, Dranosh's fate would also be confirmed during the final assault on Icecrown Citadel, where he defended the fortress's upper reaches from the invaders.

Having failed to take the fortress and suffered a massive loss of life (the Alliance forces alone had lost almost 5,000[11]), the mortal campaign against the Lich King had been dealt a heavy blow. The Alliance in particular was known to have lost more troops to the New Plague attack than to the actual fighting against the Scourge.[12] Alliance and Horde forces in the nearby area were left in total disarray and panic, with chaos reigning in Fordragon Hold and the Kor'kron Vanguard.[13]

An alternate land route via the Valley of Echoes ultimately had to be forged, though the invasion of Icecrown nevertheless followed before long. The damage done to relations between the Horde and Alliance by the events of the Wrathgate would lead to further clashes and disasters in the campaigns to come,[14][15] and make long-term cooperation between the two impossible. King Varian would directly cite the perceived betrayal at the Wrathgate in his refusal to work with the Horde when the Old God Yogg-Saron returned.[16]

Gallery

Fan art

Transcript

Upon the completion of the quest B [74] Return To Angrathar, a cutscene plays showing the battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate. The cutscene can be repeated by speaking to Alexstrasza, who stands on the fiery battlefield.

Highlord Bolvar Fordragon walks among his troops out of the lower level of Fordragon Hold toward the Court of Skulls.
Alliance Soldier 1: Highlord Bolvar! Thank the Light!
Alliance Soldier 2: For Lordaeron!
Alliance Soldier 3: For the Alliance!
Bolvar roars as he and his men charge into the undead.
Highlord Fordragon: Back, you mindless wretches!
The gates open and Scourge vrykul, shouting in their native tongue, charge out as the lesser undead fall back.
Highlord Fordragon: Fight on, brothers!
As the battle continues, Dranosh Saurfang observes the conflict from the ledge of the Kor'kron Vanguard overlooking the field and raises his axe to rally his soldiers.
Dranosh Saurfang: Rise up, sons of the Horde! Blood and glory await us!
Back at the battle, Bolvar glances up at the sound of an orcish horn and Dranosh shouting "Victory or death!" in orcish as he and his troops arrive.
Dranosh Saurfang: Lok'tar ogar! For the Horde!
Horde army: FOR THE HORDE!
Bolvar and Dranosh fight side-by-side.
Highlord Fordragon: I was wondering if you'd show up!
Dranosh Saurfang: I couldn't let the Alliance have ALL the fun today!
Dranosh swings his axe, killing three undead vrykul in one slash. The vrykul forces dispatched, Bolvar and Dranosh approach the gate with their combined army grouped together behind them. Dranosh glances at Bolvar, apparently giving him the lead to speak.
Highlord Fordragon: Arthas! The blood of your father, of your people, demands justice! Come forth, coward, and answer for your crimes!
The gate rumbles and opens again as Dranosh growls, revealing the Lich King, Frostmourne in hand.
The Lich King: You speak of justice? Of cowardice? I will show you the justice of the grave and the true meaning of fear.
As the Lich King approaches, undead legions rise behind him.
Dranosh Saurfang: Enough talk! Let it be finished!
Dranosh charges, roaring. The Lich King swings Frostmourne, shattering Dranosh's axe and killing the orc instantly. Bolvar and the Horde army can only watch in horror as his body falls to the ground. Frostmourne consumes the soul of the slain orc. When Bolvar next speaks, there is no mistaking the seething anger in his voice.
Highlord Fordragon: You will pay for all the lives you've stolen, traitor.
The Lich King: Boldly stated, but there is nothing you can—
An explosion and a green cloud, accompanied by screams of pain behind Bolvar interrupts the confrontation.
The Lich King: What?
Laughter emanates from the heights above both the Wrathgate and the Kor'kron Vanguard as Grand Apothecary Putress approaches the ledge.
Grand Apothecary Putress: Did you think we had forgotten? Did you think we had forgiven?
As he speaks, Forsaken catapults roll into view on both sides of him.
Grand Apothecary Putress: Behold, now, the terrible vengeance of the Forsaken!
The Lich King: Sylvanas...
The catapults fire, unleashing plague bombs onto the battlefield.
Grand Apothecary Putress: Death to the Scourge! And death to the living!
The plague explodes across the field, killing Scourge, Alliance and Horde soldiers alike.
Highlord Fordragon: Fall back!
The forces not killed by the plague flee from the Wrathgate as many more die around Bolvar. Even the Lich King is affected as he falls to his knees, coughing and hacking. With a roar, Arthas comes to his feet and retreats from the field, back into Icecrown Citadel.
The Lich King: This isn't over.
The gate closes. Putress laughs.
Grand Apothecary Putress: Now, all can see this is the hour of the Forsaken.
Putress leaves. On the field below, Bolvar falls to his hands and knees, wretching, then glances up towards Fordragon Hold to where he had left the Alliance adventurer to stand guard.
Highlord Fordragon: (thinking) We're finished. No escape... for any of us.
Bolvar glances towards Wyrmrest Temple and sees dragons approaching. Finally, he rolls to his back as he succumbs to the plague and appears to die just as the dragons, members of the Red flight, arrive. The dragons incinerate the Forsaken catapults and the plague clouds as well as most of the Forsaken before flying back to the temple.

Videos

Notes

The video file can be found in the Warcraft install directory listed below, and is watchable using the ffdshow codec pack, freely available on the internet or with the VLC Media Player.

Mac OS X

/Applications/World of Warcraft/Data/enUS/Interface/Cinematics

Windows Vista

C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft\Data\enUS\Interface\Cinematics

Windows 7/Windows XP

C:\Program Files\World of Warcraft\Data\enUS\Interface\Cinematics

References