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Northeastern Blasted Lands
Nethergarde Keep, also known as the Citadel of Nethergarde, was a Dalaranian fortress of dour mages and paladins, built to keep watch over the Dark Portal. It stood on a high bluff along the only road into the Blasted Lands, a road often traveled by both the Horde and the Alliance as they prepared to do battle with the demonic forces in the region.
Nethergarde Keep was a heavily defended Alliance town located in the Blasted Lands. Although technically it was a castle like Northwatch Hold in the Barrens, none of the guards were PvP-enabled except the Gryphon Master and a few questgivers. Before its destruction in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, it had two barracks, a mage tower and a blacksmith. Its defenses were no match for the armies of the Iron Horde.
Nethergarde Keep was built after the Second War — following the destruction of the first Dark Portal — at the behest of Archmage Khadgar to ensure that there would be no further invasions from Draenor.
The construction of Nethergarde was funded by the various kingdoms of the Alliance of Lordaeron (though some more willingly than others), and constructed by the Stonemasons Guild under the supervision of Edwin VanCleef. The archmages of the Kirin Tor, along with the help of King Terenas, Thoras Trollbane and the young king of Stormwind Varian Wrynn, convinced the members of the Alliance that the high costs involved with constructing the fortress was well worth it considering the dangers involved with a possible "second invasion". It was primarly staffed by members of the Kirin Tor.
Khadgar was master of Nethergarde until the reconstruction of the Dark Portal by Ner'zhul, and his clans, on Draenor. When the orcs began attacking Azeroth once more, they besieged the Keep. Khadgar and his friends Turalyon, Danath Trollbane, Alleria Windrunner, and Kurdran Wildhammer rallied their troops and led the Alliance Expedition through the Dark Portal in order to destroy the Horde and seal off the Portal once and for all. When Ner'zhul opened more portals, which began to tear Draenor apart, the five leaders remained behind to seal it from Draenor in order that the backlash would not affect their beloved world of Azeroth.
For twenty years thereafter, the Dark Portal was silent.
World of Warcraft
This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.
After the Portal was sealed, the mages of Dalaran kept Nethergarde in operation both for the Kirin Tor and the Alliance. They focused their efforts on studying the effects that the Portal's energy had on what had become known as the Blasted Lands - the mutations to the wildlife and the tainting of the soil. When Dalaran was destroyed by Archimonde during the invasion of the Burning Legion, Nethergarde's continued survival depended on support from the nearby Kingdom of Stormwind, and by warriors of the Alliance who traveled into the Blasted Lands.
The keep was supplied by a caravan from Stormwind.
This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.
Then Lord Kazzak, the demon commander in Azeroth, found an artifact to reopen the Dark Portal, and join the Legion's ranks in Outland. With the way to Outland open again, Nethergarde became a major hub of activity between Stormwind and the Dark Portal. Alliance, Horde and the Argent Dawn came to help.
This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.
In the years following the War against the Lich King, the southern wall of the keep was opened. After the shattering, which largely destroyed the eastern mountain range, this allowed direct access to the Shattershore. To the west, the Horde has retaken the fortress of Dreadmaul Hold, putting the Alliance forces of Nethergarde Keep into direct conflict over territory and resources.
Warlords of Draenor
This section concerns content related to Warlords of Draenor.
Nethergarde Keep was destroyed when the Iron Horde invaded through the Dark Portal. It was their first target and the Alliance was not prepared for their advanced weapons. After the fall, the Horde from Dreadmaul Hold took the opportunity and attacked. They defeated them at first, but after reinforcements arrived even they fell to their fire power and soon after the Iron Horde conquered Dreadmaul Hold as well.
- Marshtide Watch, Swamp of Sorrows (0:39)
- Surwich, Blasted Lands (1:32)
- Darkshire, Duskwood (1:32)
- Stormwind City, Elwynn Forest (3:10)
- Morgan's Vigil, Burning Steppes (3:29)
Quest givers & enders
In the RPG
This place is a single building, a medium-sized keep, full of uptight perfectionists found in the very north part of the Blasted Lands guarding the sole road in and out. It was built to watch over demons and ogres that would abuse the power of the Dark Portal. The stronghold was home to about 300 members of the Alliance.
Notes & trivia
- In the "Deathwing" mission of Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, Alliance prisoners in violet appear. They may have been prisoners from Nethergarde Keep.
- In an early draft of the zone, Nethergarde Keep was more similar to its Lands of Conflict counterpart and was defending the road instead of being far from it like it currently is in World of Warcraft.
Nethergarde Keep during the Invasion of Draenor.
Nethergarde Keep besieged by the Horde of Draenor.
Nethergarde Keep, as seen in the cinematic of Warcraft II: The Dark Saga.