|Former affiliation(s)||Burning Legion|
|Location||Sealed within the Maw of the Damned|
Netrezaar, originally known as Crystalsmith Netrius, was a highly skilled eredar smith who created the in order to drain the life essence of the demon lord Kil'jaeden, whom he was obsessed with. However, Netrezaar's apprentice, Gorelix, discovered the plot and revealed it to Kil'jaeden. As punishment, Netrezaar's spirit was bound within his beloved axe and cursed to a fate worse than death: the weapon's metals would leave him racked with hunger, but the more souls the Maw consumed, the worse Netrezaar's hunger would grow.
On the eredar homeworld of Argus, Netrius was a gifted smith who adored his master, Kil'jaeden, and spent his entire life seeking his lord's approval. The crystalsmith was among the eredar who gathered in Mac'Aree when Kil'jaeden told his people of the offer that Sargeras had presented to Kil'jaeden and his fellow rulers. Netrius believed that Kil'jaeden would usher in an era of prosperity for the eredar and be remembered as their greatest leader.
When Kil'jaeden joined the demonic Burning Legion, Netrius was one of the first to follow his path, as he considered pledging himself to the Legion to be the ultimate expression of his loyalty. Upon joining the Legion, the fel flames remade both Netrius' mind and body, and he took up a new name: Netrezaar. Even his feelings toward Kil'jaeden changed as his admiration twisted into a dangerous obsession, and Netrezaar became fixated on the idea of creating a weapon to consume the demon lord's life force.
Netrezaar's work won much renown in the Legion, his blades and war machines bringing ruin to entire civilizations. However, most of these were merely experiments in the quest for his true life's work, and Netrezaar spent years searching for exotic ores that could draw out Kil'jaeden's essence. On Nihilam, the Doom World, where Sargeras had long ago slaughtered his titan brethren, Netrezaar discovered that the planet's metals had been infused with otherworldly properties. The ore had become nearly indestructible, could reflect brief images of the ancient battle and, most importantly, had gained the ability to leech away the life essence of any being that touched it.
Netrezaar used this ore to craft his masterpiece, which he christened the . He tested it on two of the dozens of mo'arg under his command, slowly cutting their flesh to observe the axe's life-draining properties. The Maw worked just as planned and channeled the mo'args' vital energies into the eredar. However, one of the mo'arg survived: Gorelix, Netrezaar's most devoted follower. The experiment had left him shriveled and disfigured, and the admiration he had once held for Netrezaar darkened into hatred. Knowing that he did not have the physical strength to rise against his master, Gorelix began observing Netrezaar's every move in search of a weakness. Gorelix discovered that his master never used the Maw of the Damned in battle, despite its great power, and kept it hidden from all other demons, save his mo'arg servants.
Eventually, Netrezaar decided that the time had come to use the Maw on Kil'jaeden. He planned to present the axe as a gift to his master and then strike when the demon lord least expected it. When Gorelix learned of this, he realized the true purpose of Netrezaar's axe and warned Kil'jaeden of the impending betrayal. When Kil'jaeden met with Netrezaar as planned, the demon lord struck before the smith had a chance to present his "gift", using his magics to lock Netrezaar's spirit in place while Gorelix took up the Maw of the Damned. Gorelix used the axe to inflict his vengeance upon his former master, slowly cutting away at the screaming smith's flesh until only bone remained.
Kil'jaeden cursed Netrezaar with a fate worse than death. Locking the traitor's howling spirit within his own skull, the demon lord ordered Gorelix to fuse the bone onto the axe. The weapon's metals would constantly drain Netrezaar's spirit, leaving him racked with hunger, but no amount of life force would ever satisfy him. To the contrary, the more Netrezaar consumed, the worse his pangs of hunger would grow. Kil'jaeden gifted the axe to Gorelix as a reward for his loyalty and gave him only one specific order: keep Netrezaar's spirit fed to continue his torture.
Gorelix used the Maw of the Damned in the service of the Legion for countless years, but despite the immense power it gave him, there where times when he did not use the axe. Sometimes, he would observe from a distance while the Legion besieged a world, describing the battle and the lives lost in great detail to Netrezaar's spirit to taunt him. When the Maw began to physically tremble in Gorelix's hands, he knew that his former master's spirit was suffering, and he found as much satisfaction from these acts of torture as he did from consuming his enemies' life force.
While in Gorelix's care, the Maw claimed countless victims and devoured an entire world, but still it hungered for more, and even the demons began to fear the weapon and its cursed prisoner. Netrezaar is the only one who knows how many lives the Maw has ended. His eternal hunger is so great that he cannot distinguish between friend and foe, and he would gladly consume the Legion's souls should the axe fall into the hands of an enemy of the Legion. Whether Netrezaar's hunger will ever die is unknown.
- When Gorelix is killed by a blood death knight seeking to claim the Maw of the Damned, he curses the knight and their allies with his dying breath, saying "Netrezaar... take... you..."
|Spirit of Netrezaar||Echo of Crystalsmith Netrius|