The Story So Far (Wrath of the Lich King)
This article is a copy of "Wrath of the Lich King: The Story So Far", an official article by Blizzard Entertainment. It presented the story implemented in the second expansion, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. The original article, formerly located at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/wrath/townhall/story.html, did not survive the overhaul of the World of Warcraft Official Website.
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Winds of Change: From Dark Horizons to a Beacon of Hope in the World of Warcraft
Outland was once Draenor, home to both the draenei and the orcs. Shortly after reaching Azeroth and joining the Alliance, the draenei were instrumental in convincing their new allies to venture back into the broken land beyond the portal.
Likewise, the blood elves urged their new allies within the Horde to journey into the realm where their beloved prince, Kael'thas Sunstrider, had come to reside. The prince had sent his people a message beckoning them onward, promising deliverance and future salvation. Thus it was that adventurers from Azeroth flooded into the blasted landscape. The blood elves soon learned that the salvation promised by Prince Kael’thas was a lie, that the prince pursued his own terrifying agenda. The paradise they believed Outland would be was instead a perilous realm of unending conflict.
Rather than see the prince’s plan reach fruition, Outland’s heroes defeated him and then set out to dethrone Outland’s malefic ruler: Illidan the Betrayer. They began by overcoming one of Illidan’s top lieutenants, the naga witch, Lady Vashj. The emboldened fighters then stormed the gates of the Black Temple and confronted Illidan himself. They waged a fierce and desperate battle and ultimately killed the Betrayer, wresting Outland from his iron grip.
The adventures of Outland proved particularly rewarding for the orcs of Azeroth, who reconnected with their ancestral forebears, the Mag'har. Led by Garrosh Hellscream, son of the legendary Grom Hellscream, the Mag’har embody the lost heritage of the orcs and may yet herald a return to the Horde’s former glory.
For the draenei, the return to Outland provided a chance to reclaim regions of their former home, face old enemies, and learn at last the fate of those left behind.
In Quel'Thalas, the kingdom of the blood elves, antagonists from the past reemerged. The troll warlord Zul'jin, embittered by the orcs’ abandonment during the Second War and the Horde’s recent acceptance of blood elves into its ranks, turned against his former allies. Within the walled fortress of Zul'Aman, Zul’jin directed the Hex Lord Malacrass to infuse the spirits of ancient animal gods into living troll warriors.
Once again, intrepid heroes stepped in to conquer the fearsome troll army. Yet despite the bloodshed in the elven kingdom, it was in the heart of Quel’Thalas that hope shone brightest after a hard-fought battle at the site of the Sunwell.
Having survived his defeat in Outland, Kael’thas had returned to the ruins of the elves’ ancient fount of power, the Sunwell. There he did the unthinkable, openly siding with the demonic Burning Legion, which sought to usher the demon lord Kil'jaeden into the world through the fountain’s magical depths.
Horde and Alliance forces banded together in the face of impossible odds and vanquished Kil’jaeden, once again protecting Azeroth from the Legion’s Burning Crusade. In the aftermath of victory, the draenei prophet Velen sanctified the legendary Sunwell using the power of the Holy Light. With the Sunwell’s rebirth, the Blood Knights – an order of blood elf paladins who once wielded the Light by force–have decided instead to embrace it and to forge for themselves a new identity as they lead their people into a more promising future. This future may soon be thrown into question, however, for an immensely powerful, dark, and brooding presence awakens in the snowy wastes of a distant land....
Northrend: The Roof of the World
Long before the Great Sundering of the world, a malign insectoid race known as the aqir fought bitterly against the savage trolls. In time the troll armies split the aqir empire in half. The aqiri armies that fled to the northern wastes founded the kingdom of Azjol-Nerub, and eventually their race came to be known as nerubians.
The nerubians discovered traces of another civilization in the north as well: the vrykul, who were descended from giants. Yet the vrykul’s fortresses and villages lay silent and deserted while the barbaric race slumbered beneath the earth.
In the wake of the Sundering the frozen north split off into a separate continent called Northrend. Though isolated from the rest of the world, the nerubian empire thrived... until the coming of the Lich King and the War of the Spider.
Commanded by the demon lord Kil’jaeden to spread a plague of undeath among the mortal races, the Lich King was granted immense power, yet locked within an icy cask that came to be called the Frozen Throne.
Over the next several years the nerubians fell to the Lich King’s wrath. The events of the Third War played out, and in their aftermath, Prince Arthas shattered the Frozen Throne and merged with the Lich King.
As the Lich King sat once more in quiet reflection, an eerie stillness settled over his macabre fortress of Icecrown. Even so, life stubbornly pressed on across the primordial continent.
Proto-dragons, the long-forgotten forbears of the dragon species, emerged from the mists of the north. Steadfast races such as the bovine taunka and the walrus-like tuskarr survived in the face of adversity. Even the Drakkari ice trolls continued to carve out an existence in the inhospitable realm.
Just as life on Northrend seemed to reach a tenuous equilibrium, the Lich King stirred from his Frozen Throne and sent his Scourge minions to swarm across the land, destroying everything and everyone in their path. The slumbering vrykul awakened soon after, pouring from the ancient fortress of Utgarde Keep, bent on conquest.
The blue Dragon Aspect, Malygos, also emerged from his long seclusion, launching a merciless war against mortal practitioners of arcane magic. This conflict has raised the red dragonflight’s ire and sown widespread chaos.
The Horde and Alliance have both responded to the threat of the Scourge, establishing bases in the Borean Tundra and the Howling Fjord. Both factions amass their armies even now, all too aware that the final confrontation with the Lich King is about to begin. And failure could mean the end of life for all of Azeroth.