House of Ravencrest

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Sigil of the House of Ravencrest
These demons think us easy prey. Today they will learn that the kaldorei stand down to no one.
Warriors, you pledged your blades to the House of Ravencrest. Today, we take up arms and fight!
Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest

The House of Ravencrest[1] was a prominent night elf noble house during the era of the Kaldorei Empire on Old Kalimdor. Though not of the Highborne caste, the very highest echelon of kaldorei society, the Ravencrest clan nevertheless occupied a position of great influence in the realm. The house was known to be quite ancient, and from their imposing seat at Black Rook Hold to the east of the capital of Zin-Azshari, the Ravencrests remained loyal servants to the venerated Queen Azshara throughout her long reign.[2]

The most famed member of House Ravencrest, Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest notably led the Kaldorei Resistance during the infamous War of the Ancients against the encroaching Burning Legion. Kur'talos's assassination during the conflict, and the war's subsequent chaotic conclusion, led to the virtual end of House Ravencrest as a prominent force. Despite this, the Ravencrest line continued to modern times through certain surviving members, such as Illysanna Ravencrest.

The Rooksguard served the House of Ravencrest as its elite military force, specifically as protectors of Black Rook Hold.

History

Beginnings

Black Rook Hold, ancestral seat of House Ravencrest

The exact origins of House Ravencrest are unknown, though they had been a powerful faction among the kaldorei for thousands of years. The Ravencrests' ancestral seat—Black Rook Hold—was established centuries before the War of the Ancients, when an unknown Ravencrest lord chose to have the fortress carved from a great mountain of black stone. Located east of Zin-Azshari, the hold was expanded and improved upon by successive generations of Ravencrests, reaching completion in the lifetime of Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest, at which point it was even said to have rivaled the palace of Queen Azshara herself. The crest of a black raven soared over the fortress, and the structure itself resembled a rook chess-piece, thereby lending the location its name.[3]

War of the Ancients

At the onset of the War of the Ancients, when the demonic Burning Legion invaded Kalimdor, the majority of kaldorei who were not slain initially formed what became known as the Kaldorei Resistance, with the goal of stopping the demons. As the most senior authority figure outside the capital, and as head of a large portion of the night elves' military, Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest took charge as head of the Resistance. A skilled tactician, levelheaded commander, and inspiring leader, Kur'talos was unique among the kaldorei ruling classes.[4]

Though he, like many in the Kaldorei Empire, despised the pompous Highborne, he was unflinchingly loyal to Queen Azshara. Despite evidence that the Queen had been involved in bringing the Legion to Azeroth in the first place, Kur'talos and the vast majority of Resistance fighter were adamant on rescuing the Queen from the treacherous Highborne.

Throughout the conflict, Kur'talos's leadership delivered many victories to the Resistance, though they were eventually pushed back to Black Rook Hold itself. Believed to be able to withstand the demons, the fortress was used to cover an evacuation of the nearby city of Suramar. Later in the campaign, Queen Azshara, frustrated with what she saw as Kur'talos's defiance, ordered his assassination. Stabbed from behind during a battle with the demons by an agent of the Queen, Kur'talos's death proved to be a great blow to the Resistance. When the war finally ended with the Great Sundering, Kalimdor was torn apart and the night elves now found themselves isolated on a new continent.

From that point onward, night elf society underwent a series of drastic changes that saw the removal of aristocratic classes. Although the last member of the Ravencrest line to occupy a position of major authority, Lord Kur'talos was survived by his daughter, Illysanna, who endured the war. For his heroism during the war against the Burning Legion, Kur'talos Ravencrest remains the most famous and celebrated member of the house to date.

Following the Sundering, Black Rook Hold was thought lost with the rest of Old Kalimdor, though this later proved untrue.

Legion

Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.

House Ravencrest banner

When the Burning Legion launched its third invasion of Azeroth, it sparked a war in the Broken Isles. It was subsequently revealed to many that the ancient Ravencrest seat at Black Rook Hold had in fact survived the Great Sundering. Now located in the region known as Val'sharah, the fortress quickly became a target of the demons. During a ritual the orc warlock Gul'dan succeeded in raising the spirits of all those who had once made their home in Black Rook Hold, including Kur'talos Ravencrest and many of his descendants. These ghosts were made to see the Legion's enemies as invading demons, and thus forced to relive the horrors of the War of the Ancients.[5]

During the war, however, champions of the Alliance and Horde assaulted Black Rock Hold, succeeding in defeating many of the spirits and reaching Kur'talos, who was being manipulated by a dreadlord disguised as the sorcerer Latosius. In the ensuing fight, Kur'talos saw through the demons' illusion, reacting with horror at their impending victory. He proceeded to summon the souls of his ancestors to aid in the fight against 'Latosius', now revealed to be Dantalionax. This combined force ultimately proved sufficient to defeat the demon, and end the Legion's influence in Black Rook Hold.

Kur'talos's daughter Illysanna Ravencrest, who had since taken the path of the demon hunter, returned to Black Rook Hold after the Legion seized control there.[6] Becoming caught up in the demons' illusion herself she attacked those assaulting the hold, believing she was defending her ancestral home, and was subsequently slain.

Known members

Name Status Location
Neutral  Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest Deceased Black Rook Hold
Mob  Lady Velandras Ravencrest Deceased Black Rook Hold
Mob  Lord Etheldrin Ravencrest Deceased Black Rook Hold
Mob  Illysanna Ravencrest Deceased Black Rook Hold

Notes

  • It is unknown, following the death of Illysanna, whether any of the Ravencrest bloodline yet live. If not, then it would mean that the House Ravencrest has become extinct.

References

  1. ^ Kur'talos Ravencrest yells: Warriors, you pledged your blades to the House of Ravencrest. Today, we take up arms and fight!
  2. ^ The Well of Eternity
  3. ^ War of the Ancients Trilogy
  4. ^ War of the Ancients Trilogy
  5. ^ Amalgam of Souls Dungeon Journal
  6. ^ Illysanna Ravencrest Dungeon Journal