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- “Rooksguard, send these devils back to their dark masters! For Azshara! For Kalimdor!”
- — Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest rallies the Rooksguard
The Rooksguard were an elite force of night elf soldiers who served the House of Ravencrest during the time of the Kaldorei Empire. Based in the Ravencrest ancestral seat of Black Rook Hold, the Rooksguard acted as a personal army to the masters of the hold.
The force has likely been in existence since the first members of House Ravencrest began carving out the fortress that would become Black Rook Hold, and since then have taken an active role in both the hold's and family's protection. This notably included the defense of Black Rook Hold when it was attacked by the demonic Burning Legion during the War of the Ancients. Outside this, the Rooksguard also fought as part of the Kaldorei Resistance throughout the same war to thwart the Legion's invasion.
The Kaldorei Empire
Based upon a rigid class system where the aristocracy ruled, the Kaldorei Empire hosted a large number of noble lord and ladies, as well as princes and princesses, who each held great power among kaldorei society. The House of Ravencrest, one such noble house, based itself east of the capital of Zin-Azshari in a great fortress carved out over numerous generations, thousands of year ago. Named Black Rook Hold, this is presumably where the force who guarded it, the Rooksguard, obtained their name. The Rooksguard were notable as a well-trained force that heeded the command of the master of Black Rook Hold and the House of Ravencrest, which were forever intertwined.
It is unclear whether, prior to the War of the Ancients, the Rooksguard took an active part in the Kaldorei Empire's wars, or if they were simply charged with manning and protecting Black Rook Hold. If they did accompany members of House Ravencrest to battle, which is entirely possible, then they may have taken part in many of the defining conflicts of the time, such as the night elves' prolonged wars with the troll tribes to the south.
When the War of the Ancients broke out, the demons of the Burning Legion began their first invasion of Azeroth and began laying waste to much of the Kaldorei Empire. Before long, a resistance was established to oppose the demons, and was headed by Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest, lord of Black Rook Hold and leader of the Rooksguard. As such, the Rooksguard would have accompanied Lord Ravencrest during many of the ensuing battles, with all of the remaining kaldorei military might being mustered to this end, even including the Sisterhood of Elune.
The role of the Rooksguard became most notable when the Resistance forces were finally pushed back to Black Rook Hold itself. Despite the overwhelming power and numbers of the Legion Lord Ravencrest, the Rooksguard, and several other important figures prepared to defend the fortress, hoping to buy time for the evacuation of nearby Suramar City. In the following battle, the Rooksguard put up a stalwart defense against the demons, but suffered extremely heavy casualties in the process, with more than half being outright slain during the fighting. Despite this, and with the aid of the sorcerer Illidan Stormrage, the Burning Legion was driven temporarily from the hold.
As the war progressed, the Kaldorei Resistance continued to be forced back, having to abandon Black Rook Hold, before eventually turning the tide against the demons and advancing towards Zin-Azshari again. During one battle with the Legion, however, Lord Kur'talos was assassinated, stabbed from behind, by an agent of Queen Azshara, who ordered his death. Ravencrest's death dealt a grave blow to the resistance, and he was succeeded by the less-skilled noble Desdel Stareye. Without a leader, it is likely that the Rooksguard simply remained a part of the resistance army until the war's conclusion.
After the end of the War of the Ancients and after ancient Kalimdor was shattered in the Great Sundering that followed, the kaldorei found themselves isolated on a new continent, where they went about founding a new nation and society. With the House of Ravencrest as a faction no longer in existence (though some family members remained alive) it is likely that whatever remained of the Rooksguard disbanded.
This section concerns content related to Legion.
Thousands of years following the War of the Ancients, the Burning Legion invaded Azeroth once more, beginning its third invasion on the world. Although thought to have been lost along with much of the rest of the Kaldorei Empire, it was revealed that Black Rook Hold had in fact survived the Sundering and remained intact on the Broken Isles. Shortly after the demons' arrival, an orc warlock loyal to the Legion known as Gul'dan performed a ritual within the Hold which, as an added effect, raised all the spirits of those who had once defended and lived there, including that of Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest himself and his Rooksguard. Made to see the Legion's enemies as demons, the spirits were trapped believing that the War of the Ancients was still ongoing, forever reliving its horrors.
Eventually, a force of champions from the Horde and Alliance ventured deep into Black Rook Hold itself, defeating large numbers of its undead Rooksguard defenders. They ultimately reached Lord Ravencrest himself who finally saw through the demons' illusions during the battle, and used the power of his ancestors to help the champions break the Legion's influence on the fortress. With this achieved, the Burning Legion's spell over the Hold's spirits was broken--temporarily.
Eventually, more undead soldiers begin to appear from Black Rook Hold. Jarod Shadowsong discovers that this assault is led by Lord Erdris Thorn, who was a key commander of Lord Ravencrest's forces and who was actually risen later than the soldiers that had come from the hold so far. Jarod and the adventurer travel into Black Rook Hold, where they discover Lorgos the Resurrector reviving Rooksguard soldiers and tricking them into thinking the people of Bradensbrook are demons. Several Rooksguard are freed and put to rest, and Lorgos is killed, but Erdris - still under the Legion's spell - vows to raise his own army. Jarod sends the adventurer to report to the Council of Six in Dalaran while he scouts the hold for Erdris, saying that he will call for aid when the time to strike arrives.
- The Black Rook Breastplates worn by some members of the Rooksguard were made of the same rock as Black Rook Hold.
Theryssia may have been a part of the Rooksguard.