Battle of Mount Hyjal

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This article is about the lore of the battle. For the raid instance, see Battle for Mount Hyjal (instance). For other usages, see Battle of Mount Hyjal (disambiguation).
Previous: Siege of Dalaran
Concurrent: Invasion of Kalimdor
Next: Ascension of the Lich King
Battle of Mount Hyjal
Battle of Mount Hyjal
Conflict: Third War
Date: 21 ADP[1][2]
Place: Mount Hyjal
Outcome: Decisive allied mortal victory
Belligerents


Commanders and leaders


Strength


Casualties and losses
  • Massive
  • Annihilation of almost the entire demon and undead forces


The roots will heal in time... as will the entire world. The sacrifices have been made. Just as the orcs, humans, and night elves discarded their old hatreds and stood united against a common foe, so did Nature herself rise up to banish the Shadow... forever. As for me, I came back to ensure that there would be a future, to teach the world that it no longer needed Guardians. The hope for future generations has always resided in mortal hands.
And now that my task is done, I will take my place... amongst the legends of the past.
Medivh the Guardian, at the conclusion of the battle

The Battle of Mount Hyjal[5][6][7][8][9] (or the Battle for Mount Hyjal)[10] was the final bloody conflict that concluded the Third War.[11] The battle was the culmination of years of fighting between the various mortal forces of Azeroth and the demonic and undead armies of the Burning Legion, and saw the demons' invasion end in decisive failure.

Specifically, the event took place as part of the invasion of Kalimdor phase of the war, where Archimonde struck directly at the World Tree Nordrassil on Mount Hyjal as part of his endgame. The battle began when a mortal coalition of night elves, Alliance, and New Horde elements arrayed themselves before the World Tree to halt Archimonde's advance. Though they were unable to stand against the Legion indefinitely, they aimed to buy time for Malfurion Stormrage to prepare a proper defense.

After terrible fighting, the conflict would end dramatically when Archimonde himself finally did reach Nordrassil. An army of wisps, called by Malfurion, was successful in igniting the World Tree's enchantments in a large explosion, vaporizing the demon commander. In addition to closing the Third War, this victory also marked the end of the Age of Chaos, and the Legion's greatest defeat since the War of the Ancients. For many years, relations between the mortal races would be defined by their cooperation at Mount Hyjal, which saved Azeroth from certain destruction.

History

Prelude: the Third War

Nordrassil on Mount Hyjal, the Legion's ultimate prize

The night elves cultivated a peaceful, naturalistic existence along the slopes of Mount Hyjal and its nearby areas under the leadership of Tyrande Whisperwind and the Sisterhood of Elune, protected by the Sentinels. For many long years, Tyrande oversaw night elven governance, ever vigilant for signs of further demonic incursions.

The Battle of Mount Hyjal itself was preceded by many months of conflict and suffering. The Burning Legion had finally launched its second invasion of Azeroth, sparking what became the Third War as it rampaged across the Eastern Kingdoms and, eventually, Kalimdor. In addition to vast demonic armies, the Legion also fielded the Undead Scourge which it had created to weaken the world's defenses. By the time the demons reached Mount Hyjal, they had already defeated all major nations in the Eastern Kingdoms, the Wild Gods of Kalimdor (including Cenarius), and any other opposition it had encountered. Their main objective was the power of the second Well of Eternity[12] underneath the World Tree Nordrassil. Archimonde the Defiler commanded the invasion, and he hoped to complete Azeroth's conquest by ushering forth the Dark Titan Sargeras himself. Although the refugees from the Eastern Kingdoms also came to Hyjal, they did not work with the night elves, as Tyrande believed that they brought the Legion to Kalimdor. As such, Archimonde was certain about victory. However, he did not sense the presence of the former Guardian Medivh.[2]

As the Legion's invasion unfolded, another force worked in secret to undermine its victory. Medivh, brought back to life following his death in the First War, had been freed from all demonic influence and now took steps to unite Azeroth's races against the Legion. He would subtly manipulate the various mortal factions into coming face-to-face with one another on Kalimdor. Their leaders would meet one day before the attack[13] on Mount Hyjal and agree on a unified approach. The brokers of this agreement, in addition to Medivh, were Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage of the night elves, Jaina Proudmoore of the Alliance, and Warchief Thrall of the Horde. Together, these factions readied themselves for a battle to preserve their very world.[14]

The Legion would suffer several additional defeats at the hands of mortal forces in the lead-up to the Battle of Mount Hyjal. Included in this was the loss of the Skull of Gul'dan in Felwood, and the deaths of Mannoroth and Tichondrius, two of Archimonde's most powerful lieutenants. Nevertheless, the invasion continued unhindered, with Azgalor and Anetheron simply taking the places of the fallen commanders.[15]

Soon, the deciding moment of the war would arrive. As the Legion began its ascent of Mount Hyjal, thousands of night elf Sentinels and druids gathered near Hyjal Summit. Despite the druids' best efforts, the Wild Gods were still reeling from the death of Cenarius, and did not join in Hyjal's defense. The elves were joined by many dryads and keepers of the grove.[2]

Archimonde's ascent

Archimonde lays waste to the night elven defenses
To arms, my brethren! To arms, brave orcs and humans! Twilight falls -- and the enemy awaits!
Malfurion Stormrage[15]

In preparation for the inevitable assault, Malfurion Stormrage devised a plan to defeat Archimonde and his forces. With the other leaders' agreement, he planned to ignite the enchantments placed within Nordrassil by the Dragon Aspects at just the right moment, triggering a massive detonation. This, however, would require time to put into place, and the mortal armies were tasked with delaying the Legion's advance long enough to buy time. The Horde, Alliance, and night elves quickly built up defensive bases along the path leading to the World Tree, where they were joined by additional allies in the form of the dark trolls of the Shadowtooth clan and the Barkskin furbolgs.[15] Both Jaina and Shandris Feathermoon initially scouted Archimonde's army.

Driving the demonic and undead army up Hyjal's slopes, Archimonde and the Legion first encountered the Alliance base consisting of human refugees from Lordaeron, dwarves of Khaz Modan and Aerie Peak, high elven survivors from Quel'Thalas, and members of the 7th Legion.[16] Led by Lady Jaina Proudmoore, these units acted as the first line of defense in the battle, and fought desperately to hold the invaders at bay. Ultimately, after some time and a stubborn defense, this position would fall to Archimonde, with Jaina herself teleporting to safety after meeting the demon commander in person.[15]

The Horde's base further up the slope now became the front line, and Warchief Thrall prepared to defend the position for as long as possible. Owing a blood-debt to the orcs for their assistance, the tauren joined this force on Mount Hyjal;[17] also among the orcs and tauren were the Darkspear trolls. As the demons crashed against Horde lines, Hamuul Runetotem was stirred by the dedication of the night elven druids and was inspired by them.[18] During the fighting, Thrall would order the orc Broxigar and a group of warriors to hold a vital pass in the area. The Legion soon assaulted the path mercilessly, and only Brox himself would survive, earning him legendary status.[19]

Like the humans, the Horde put up a stalwart defense of the mountain. Their base was protected by goblin land mines, and they succeeded in holding out for some time against the onslaught. Eventually, however, they too would be overwhelmed by the sheer force of the demonic assault. Like Jaina, Thrall also came face-to-face with Archimonde, and was teleported to safety just in time. Though Archimonde was angered by the resistance, each mortal base that fell allowed the undead army to expand, and the attack to gain more momentum.[15] Only the night elves themselves now stood between the Defiler and the ancient World Tree.

The night elf druid Broll Bearmantle and his daughter Anessa would play a notable role in the battle as fighting continued to rage. At one moment, Broll's command was to cut off from the main force. Drawn by his hidden core of druidic power, a group of demons led by Azgalor attacked him. He called the trees to aid him, giving his group time to regroup with the main army. Already fighting for hours and tired, the remaining elves were overwhelmed by Azgalor. Some mystics then reported that the pit lord stuck the Idol of Remulos with his weapon, Spite, and corrupted it with fel energy, blasting and killing Anessa. Despite Broll's loss, his sacrifice saved many other lives and contributed greatly to the victory.[20]

Eternity's end

Archimonde moments before his defeat

Eventually, the Legion would march on the night elven base near Hyjal's summit. All of the remaining defenders congregated there in a last ditch attempt to hold back the tide. As with the Alliance and Horde, the night elves were ultimately forced to give ground to Archimonde. Thousands of defenders died to hold back relentless tide of undead and demons, and were inevitably overcome once again.[2] In shattering the final obstacle blocking the path to Nordrassil, Archimonde now believed he had won the day. Unbeknownst to the demon lord, the defenders of Mount Hyjal had secured enough time for Malfurion to enact his plan.

By this time, countless wisps had assembled in and around the mighty boughs of the World Tree, though Archimonde paid them little mind. The demonic commander began to scale the tree, preparing to draw its energies into himself. The wisps did not attack the Defiler, but instead waited for Malfurion to use the Horn of Cenarius. When the druid raised the horn and its call echoed through the region, the mass of wisps channeled their energy into Nordrassil as one, igniting its ancient enchantments and power. A devastating explosion erupted from the World Tree, shaking the continent to its core. Archimonde and the majority of his forces were instantly vaporized in the shockwave, along with much of the surrounding forest, leaving only his skeleton.[21]

In mere moments, the Legion's second invasion of Azeroth was shattered, and its hopes of harnessing the Well of Eternity crushed. The mortal armies responded immediately to the reversal, furiously assaulting what remained of the demon and undead forces.[22][23] By the time the final fighting had ceased, most invading forces on Kalimdor had been eradicated. Medivh himself quietly observed the victory celebrations from afar, satisfied that Azeroth had been saved from destruction. He was confident that the victory achieved in the Battle of Mount Hyjal—and the cooperation of the various mortal races—proved the world needed no more Guardians; Azeroth's people were now capable of defending themselves. As his power was waning, he knew that his time on the physical plane was ending and vanished.[24]

Aftermath

Main articles: Ascension of the Lich King, Invasion of Durotar
Mortal allies
Theramore official art 05.jpg
Theramore (top) and Orgrimmar (bottom), both founded by the victors of the Battle of Mount Hyjal

The Battle of Mount Hyjal marked the end of the Third War, the likes of which had been unseen since the War of the Ancients over 10,000 years before. The Burning Legion had been decisively defeated, and its plans to take Azeroth dealt a severe (if temporary) blow. As the world began to recover from the devastation wrought in the conflict, the Age of Chaos would be concluded, while the New Age began.

Though preserved, Nordrassil had been greatly weakened by the explosion that ended the battle; the World Tree's roots would survive and begin growing again shortly after the event, though the process was slow. The loss of Nordrassil's enchantments would have another major consequence. Without these gifts, the night elven people no longer possessed their immortality, a terrifying concept after millennia free from disease and aging. They had, however, acknowledged this necessity when formulating the plan, and accepted it as a sacrifice needed to preserve the world. Fandral Staghelm and other druids would later attempt to make up for this loss by growing the World Tree Teldrassil. Though they were successful, Teldrassil did not posses the Aspects' blessings, and so did not provide any gifts of immortality.[25]

The Horde found themselves with an open future at the conclusion of the battle and the war. The orcs would return to the central Barrens and settle on the eastern coast, establishing Durotar and its capital city, Orgrimmar. Broxigar continued to serve Warchief Thrall, though he was left with guilt at not dying with his warrior brothers on Mount Hyjal.[26][27] At the same time, the tauren who had taken part in the battle returned their new home in Mulgore.[28] Inspired by what he witnessed during the battle, Hamuul Runetotem would seek out Malfurion Stormrage and eventually receive the touch of nature as his student. Hamuul soon mastered the druidic arts, and would become an Archdruid in his own right.[29]

Jaina Proudmoore too would lead her Lordaeron remnants of humans, dwarves, and high elves away from Mount Hyjal to Dustwallow Marsh in the south. There, they established the port city of Theramore, which quickly became a major influence in Kalimdor. Pained, assigned by Tyrande Whisperwind to guard Jaina during the battle, remained with Lady Proudmoore, having never been officially released from that duty, though Jaina told her she was free to go.[30] In light of what they had achieved together, a non-aggression pact was signed between the Horde and Alliance on Kalimdor.[5] Much hatred remained between the two factions, and tensions stayed high, but they also collaborated on several occasions, such as when the proud veterans of the 7th Legion would later participate in the Ahn'Qiraj War as a part of the Might of Kalimdor.

After the battle at Mount Hyjal, a furbolg would take the corrupted Idol of Remulos to Thistlefur Hold in Ashenvale.[31] Tyrande and Malfurion remained in Hyjal and began rebuilding. Most of the surrounding woodlands were in ruins, with Nordrassil's roots also being damaged and withered. Though it would heal in time, the enchantments from the Dragon Aspects were gone, and the night elves were now mortal. Druids also began to find it more difficult to enter the Emerald Dream,[2] and they considered this period a dark time.[32] The night elves would later move back into Ashenvale and begin healing that region as well.[33] For years to come, some remained unable to deal with Malfurion's decision.[34]

The events at Mount Hyjal continued to affect the legendary Broll Bearmantle for many years. As a result, he would succumb to his own anger, lose his connection to the druidic spirits, and leave his people. Eventually, he joined the Crimson Ring as a gladiator,[20] and later accompanied Lo'Gosh to Theramore in order to meet Lady Proudmoore. The sorceress felt that Broll has since reconciled himself with the events at Hyjal, and is now at peace.[31]

When Hyjal was invaded for a second time during the Cataclysm, this time by the Twilight's Hammer cult and their masters, the Shadowtooth clan was wiped out. The fate of the Barkskin furbolgs is unclear.

Legion forces
Archimonde's remains at the base of Nordrassil

The Burning Legion's forces on Azeroth were completely routed following the conflict at Mount Hyjal, with the vast majority destroyed either in Nordrassil's detonation, or in the ensuing fighting. Despite the totality of the defeat, a number of demons on Azeroth did survive, while the Undead Scourge under the Lich King remained active far to the north in Northrend.

Surviving demons gathered into small groups scattered around Azeroth. These elements were able to communicate with one another through some means, and they occasionally acted in a coordinated manner. Some demons continued to spread fel corruption in the world, or chose to guard sites of power; while others were assembling in specific locations to further some unknown design.[35] Zmodlor[36] and Amnennar the Coldbringer[37] were two such figures that eluded defeat.

As Legion power on the planet crumbled, the mighty demonic weapon known as the Glaive of the Aspects was shattered and the glaive shards were hidden away for safekeeping. Lord Kazzak was forced to withdraw and eventually led the remaining demons to Blasted Lands. Years later, before leaving for Outland, Kazzak commanded Highlord Kruul to find its shattered fragments, a deed he eventually succeeded in.[38]

The Undead Scourge had fought alongside the Legion during the Battle of Mount Hyjal, but its loyalty was fickle. The Lich King secretly waited for an opportunity to break free from his demon masters, and their defeat on Kalimdor served as the perfect chance. Having subtly been sabotaging the invasion for some time, the Lich King now broke all contact with the Legion, firmly ignoring their attempts to control the Scourge. The death knight Arthas Menethil, narrowly escaping the events at Hyjal, answered the Lich King's call by rallying all remaining Scourge on Kalimdor and returning to the Eastern Kingdoms. The loss of the undead marked the final failed attempt by the Legion to salvage the invasion.[39]

The Hederine demons were seemingly the last remnants of demonic forces directly from the battle, and resided in Darkwhisper Gorge. They would eventually be wiped out by the Twilight's Hammer cult by the time of the Cataclysm.[40] Not all demons defeated at Mount Hyjal would perish. The satyr Tyrus Blackhorn, a servant of Archimonde, was notably imprisoned at the mountain's summit following the Defiler's end.[41]

11 years after the battle, the Burning Legion invaded Azeroth for the third time. As a smaller part of this, the demons once more targetted Nordrassil. The assault was led by Destromath who destroyed much of the Well of Eternity. The druids from the Dreamgrove with the help of Alliance and Horde adventurers halted the demons.[42]

Known named combatants

Mortal allies
Legion forces

* Killed physically but not permanently destroyed.

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

During the Third War, Felwood was the point to which the demons summoned their infernals to lay siege to Mount Hyjal.[43] When the night elves gathered in Hyjal, the village Auberdine in Darkshore was almost completely abandoned.[44] Following Archimonde's death, the Doomguard became leaderless, becoming mercenaries.[45]

Dragons of the red, blue, and bronze dragonflight arrived here to guard the recovering World Tree.

The blue dragons discovered that the waters of the Well of Eternity were draining: The demons have created an underground tunnel system below the well, and drain the powerful waters into their tunnels to use for their own purposes. The dragons in humanoid form inside the tunnels, and their companions discovered that the demons are led by an eredar warlock who plans to consume the water in a ritual in an attempt to gain enough power to resurrect Archimonde.[46]

Retcons

  • Although the battle was said to have happened in Year 20 in the first timeline published by Blizzard in 2004,[47] The World of Warcraft cinematic changed it to 21 when it described that four years (from Year 25) passed since the united forces defeated the Burning Legion.[48] This would also be confirmed in a The Burning Crusade quest which state that it was some 5 years (from Year 26) since the Legion was defeated on Hyjal.[49]
  • Before World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, it was said that druids empowered the World Tree with the night elven immortality and the energies of countless night elf spirits.[22]
  • In previous lore, the wisps destroyed Archimonde, causing the World Tree Nordrassil to explode.[50][51] The Ultimate Visual Guides state that the wisps surrounded Archimonde[12] but caused the tree to explode. The force of the blast then obliterated Archimonde.[11] World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3 also reinforces the new version.
  • Originally, Archimonde's objective was Nordrassil's energies as mentioned by Malfurion[52] and Matoclaw.[53]
    • Arthas: Rise of the Lich King slightly clarified it by stating that to destroy Azeroth, they plan to consume the concentrated, powerful energies contained within the elves' Well of Eternity. To accomplish this, they had to destroy the World Tree Nordrassil.
    • Ultimate Visual Guides then stated that Archimonde's goal was to rip off Nordrassil and take control of the second Well of Eternity.[54]
    • World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3 ultimately confirms that the Legion's goal was the second Well of Eternity. With its power, Archimonde could summon rest of the Legion and consume Azeroth.[55]
    • In The RPG Icon 16x36.png Warcraft RPG, pg. 31, The Legion goal was Nordrassil, but also the Well which was the source of strength for the World Tree.
  • It is said that thanks to the Dragon Aspect's blessings the second Well of Eternity would no longer act as a beacon to demons, nor could the Legion easily use it as a gateway into Azeroth.[56] The original History of Warcraft chapter previously said that when Nordrassil unleashed the primal fury, it severed Legion's anchor to the Well of Eternity.[23]

Notes & trivia

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.

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ Timeline (Ultimate Visual Guide)
  2. ^ a b c d e World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 80
  3. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 84: "The Lich King had seen the defeat at Mount Hyjal as an opportunity to break free of the Legion, and he wasted no time."
  4. ^ H [110] On The Prowl
  5. ^ a b The Founding of Durotar: To Tame a Land
  6. ^ N [70R] The Vials of Eternity
  7. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 19
  8. ^ Night of the Dragon, chapter 1
  9. ^ Stormrage, chapter 24
  10. ^ a b  [Skysec's Hold]
  11. ^ a b Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 47
  12. ^ a b Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 36
  13. ^ Twilight of the Gods description
  14. ^ The Last Guardian (interlude)
  15. ^ a b c d e Twilight of the Gods
  16. ^ High Commander Halford Wyrmbane#Quotes
  17. ^ Races - Tauren
  18. ^ The Comic Volume 4 - The Gathering
  19. ^ The Well of Eternity, chapter 9
  20. ^ a b The Comic Volume 1: Balancing the Scales
  21. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, chapter 21
  22. ^ a b The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Tyrande Whisperwind
  23. ^ a b The Battle of Mount Hyjal (History of Warcraft)
  24. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 81
  25. ^ Races - Night elf
  26. ^ The Well of Eternity, chapter 3
  27. ^ Stormrage, pg. 5
  28. ^ Races - Tauren, archived page
  29. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 129
  30. ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 4
  31. ^ a b The Comic Volume 1: Blood (comic)
  32. ^ A [5] Crown of the Earth
  33. ^ Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne Game Manual#Chronicle
  34. ^ Wolfheart, chapter 25
  35. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Burning Legion
  36. ^ DeCandido, Keith R.A.. "Epilogue", Cycle of Hatred, 238. ISBN 978-0-7434-7136-7. “You yourself said that Zmodlor wasn't the only demon left behind after the Burning Legion was driven back.” 
  37. ^ Amnennar the Coldbringer#Dungeon Journal
  38. ^ Raid - Doom Lord Kazzak, web archive
  39. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 84
  40. ^ N [81] The Greater of Two Evils
  41. ^ N [81] If You're Not Against Us...
  42. ^ N Druid [98 - 110] Cleansing the Mother Tree
  43. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 16
  44. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 12
  45. ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 115
  46. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 17 - 18
  47. ^ Timeline (from official site, 2004)
  48. ^ Seasons of War
  49. ^ H [61] Eradicate the Burning Legion
  50. ^ Eternity's End
  51. ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 175
  52. ^ "Eternity's End: The Druids Arise", Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Blizzard Entertainment. Malfurion Stormrage: "No doubt Archimonde will make his way to Hyjal Summit and attack the World Tree. If he succeeds in draining the tree's energies, this world will be doomed.".
  53. ^ If You're Not Against Us...#Notes
  54. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 36 & 47
  55. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 76
  56. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 112
  57. ^ H [110] On The Prowl
  58. ^ Shards of the Alliance
  59. ^ Battle for Mount Hyjal#Infinite dragonflight
  60. ^ N [70R] An Artifact From the Past
  61. ^ Caverns of Time flash page
  62. ^ The Caverns of Time#Notes