Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual
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|Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual|
January 1, 2002
NOTE: The following information is taken directly from the Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual.
The following article serves as an authentic copy† of the original Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual. All material written in this article is of copyright ©2002 by Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. The author of this article claims no right of the material written.
† The Authors section has been removed to preserve only the lore-related source information.
- 1 Humans: the Alliance of Lordaeron
- 1.1 Human History
- 1.2 Human Hero Units
- 1.3 Human Units
- 1.4 Human Structures
- 2 Orcs: the Horde
- 2.1 Orcish History
- 2.2 Orc Hero Units
- 2.3 Orc Units
- 2.4 Orc Structures
- 3 Undead Scourge
- 3.1 Undead History
- 3.2 Undead Hero Units
- 3.3 Undead Units
- 3.4 Undead Structures
- 4 Night Elves: the Sentinels
- 4.1 Night Elf History
- 4.2 Night Elf Hero Units
- 4.3 Night Elf Units
- 4.4 Night Elf Structures
- 5 Maps
- 6 Demons
- 7 Bestiary
- 7.1 Creatures of Lordaeron & Northrend
- 7.2 The Creatures of Kalimdor
- 8 Heroes and Villains
- 8.1 Antonidas
- 8.2 Archimonde
- 8.3 Cairne Bloodhoof
- 8.4 Grom Hellscream
- 8.5 Illidan Stormrage
- 8.6 Jaina Proudmoore
- 8.7 Kel'Thuzad
- 8.8 Mannoroth
- 8.9 Malfurion Stormrage
- 8.10 Muradin Bronzebeard
- 8.11 Prince Arthas
- 8.12 Thrall, Son of Durotan
- 8.13 Tichondrius
- 8.14 Tyrande Whisperwind
- 8.15 Uther the Lightbringer
- 9 External links
Humans: the Alliance of Lordaeron
(since the end of the second war)
Aftermath of the Second War
The devastating Second War against the orcish horde left the Alliance of Lordaeron in a state of shock and disarray. The bloodthirsty orcs, led by the mighty warchief, , not only smashed their way through the dwarf-held lands of Khaz Modan, but had razed many of Lordaeron's central provinces as well. The unrelenting orcs even succeeded in ravaging the elves' remote kingdom of Quel'Thalas before their rampage was finally stopped. The Alliance armies led by Sir , , and Admiral pushed the orcs south into the shattered land of Azeroth – the first kingdom to fall before the orcs' ruthless onslaught.
The Alliance forces under Sir Lothar managed to push Doomhammer's clans out of Lordaeron and back into the orc-controlled lands of Azeroth. Lothar's forces surrounded the orcs' volcanic citadel of Blackrock Spire and laid siege to their defenses. In a last-ditch effort, Doomhammer and his lieutenants staged a daring charge from the Spire and clashed with Lothar's paladins in the center of the Burning Steppes. Doomhammer and Lothar squared off in a titanic battle that left both mighty combatants battered and drained. Though Doomhammer narrowly succeeded in vanquishing Lothar, the great hero's death did not have the effect the warchief had hoped for.
, Lothar's most trusted lieutenant, took up Lothar's bloodstained shield and rallied his grief-stricken brethren for a vicious counterattack. Under the ragged standards of both Lordaeron and Azeroth, Turalyon's troops slaughtered the bulk of Doomhammer's remaining forces in a glorious, but terrible rout. There was nothing left for the ragged, scattered orc survivors but to flee to the last standing bastion of orcish power – the dark portal.
Turalyon and his warriors chased the remaining orcs through the festering Swamp of Sorrows and into the corrupted Blasted Lands where the dark portal stood. There, at the foot of the colossal portal, the broken horde and the rugged Alliance clashed in what would be the last, bloodiest battle of the Second War. Outnumbered and driven mad by the curse of their bloodlust, the orcs inevitably fell before the wrath of the Alliance. Doomhammer was taken prisoner and escorted to Lordaeron while his broken clans were rounded up and hauled north - back to Lordaeron.
Only a few months after Nethergarde's completion, the energies of the dark portal coalesced and opened up a new gateway to Draenor. The remaining orc clans, under the leadership of the elder shaman, , charged forth into Azeroth once again. Intent on stealing a number of magical artifacts that would increase Ner'zhul's power, the orcs planned to open up new portals in Draenor that would allow them to escape their doomed red world forever.
Convinced that Ner'zhul was planning a new offensive against the Alliance, King Terenas of Lordaeron sent his armies into Draenor to end the orcish threat once and for all. Led by and General , the Alliance forces clashed with the orcs across the burning landscape. Even with the aid of the elven Ranger Alleria, the dwarf Kurdran and the veteran soldier Danath, Khadgar was unable to prevent Ner'zhul from opening his portals to other worlds.
The tremendous magical storms caused by the portals' converging energies began to tear the ravaged world apart. Ner'zhul, followed only by his most trusted servants, managed to escape through one of the portals as Khadgar fought desperately to return his comrades to Azeroth. Realizing that they would be trapped on the dying world, Khadgar and his companions selflessly decided to destroy the dark portal so that Azeroth would not be harmed by Draenor's violent destruction. By all accounts, the heroes were successful in destroying the portal and saving Azeroth – but whether or not they escaped the death throes of Draenor remains to be seen.
After the destruction of the second dark portal, the Alliance succeeded in rounding up most of the renegade orc clans still left in Azeroth. The orc internment camps, built shortly after the Second War, were filled to capacity and guarded around the clock. Though the newly arrived Warsong clan had so far escaped the Alliance's wrath, there was only one group – the Dragonmaw clan – that was large enough and strong enough to upset the delicate peace that had settled over Lordaeron.
The Dragonmaw clan, led by the insidious warlock, Nekros, had conquered and held a great portion of northern Khaz Modan using dragons and small units of foot soldiers. Nekros maintained his hold over the Dragonqueen, , and her red dragonflight by use of a powerful artifact known as the Demon Soul. Based in the ancient dwarven stronghold of Grim Batol, Nekros built up a sizeable army and planned to reunite the failing horde. But, despite the warlock's power, the intervention of the reckless mage, , threw Nekros' plans awry. Rhonin and his companions, aided by dwarven resistance fighters, succeeded in destroying the Demon Soul and freeing Alexstrasza from the orcs' control. The vengeful red dragons incinerated the Dragonmaw clan and effectively put an end to the last bastion of orcish power in the world.
With the death of Nekros, the last of the orcish warlocks – the orcs left to wallow in the crowded internment camps – slipped into a crippling lethargy. Stripped of their will to fight or even die, the orcs lost all sense of themselves as warriors – and the last traces of the proud culture that had birthed them.
The Alliance Splinters
In the years following the horde's defeat, the leaders of the various Alliance nations began to bicker and argue over territorial holdings and decreasing political influence. King Terenas of Lordaeron, the patron of the Alliance, began to suspect that the fragile pact they had forged during their darkest hour would not stand for long. Terenas had convinced the Alliance leaders to lend money and laborers to help rebuild the city of Stormwind that was destroyed during the orcish occupation of Azeroth. Those taxes, coupled with the high expense of maintaining and operating the numerous orc internment camps, led many leaders – of Gilneas in particular – to believe that their kingdoms would be better off seceding from the Alliance.
To make matters worse, the brusque high elves of Silvermoon rescinded their allegiance to the Alliance, stating that the humans' poor leadership led to the burning of their forests during the Second War. Though Terenas tactfully reminded the elves that nothing of Quel'Thalas would have remained if not for the hundreds of valiant humans who'd given their lives to defend it, the elves stubbornly decided to go their own way. In the wake of the elves' departure, Gilneas and Stromgarde pulled stake and seceded as well.
Though the Alliance was falling apart, King Terenas still had allies that he could count on. Both Admiral Proudmoore of Kul Tiras and the young King, of Azeroth, remained committed to the Alliance. Also, the wizards of the Kirin Tor, led by the Archmage , pledged Dalaran's steadfast support to Terenas' rule. Most pleasingly, perhaps, was the pledge of the mighty dwarven King, , who vowed that the dwarves of Ironforge would forever owe a debt of honor to the Alliance for liberating Khaz Modan from the horde's control.
A New Generation
Years passed as tensions abated and a lasting peace settled over Lordaeron. King Terenas and the Archbishop worked ceaselessly to rebuild the kingdom and bring aid to the remaining nations of the Alliance. The southern kingdom of Azeroth grew prosperous again and reestablished itself as a military power under King Wrynn's visionary leadership. , the supreme commander of the Paladin Order, kept the peace in Lordaeron by settling civil disputes and quelling demi-human uprisings throughout the realm. Admiral Proudmoore, whose mighty fleets patrolled the trade lanes hunting pirates and marauders, maintained order on the high seas. But it was the exploits of a newer generation of heroes that captured the imagination of the populace.
King Terenas' only son, Arthas, had grown into a strong, confident young man. The young Prince was trained as a warrior by – brother to King Magni of Ironforge – and despite his youth, was considered to be one of the finest swordsmen in Lordaeron. At the tender age of nineteen Arthas was inducted into the Order of the Silver Hand under the command of Lord Uther. The kindly Uther, who had been like a brother to King Terenas for years, considered the Prince more of a favored nephew than a pupil. Though headstrong and somewhat arrogant, none could dispute Arthas' bravery and tenacity. When the troll warbands of Zul'Aman began raiding the settlements along the Quel'Thalassian border, Arthas was quick to hunt down the savages and put an end to their rampage.
Yet despite his heroics, the citizenry of Lordaeron obsessed over the young Prince's personal life. Rumors of a budding romance between Arthas and Lady had surfaced and set the kingdom ablaze. Jaina was the youngest daughter of Admiral Proudmoore, a childhood friend of Arthas. However, the beautiful, yet shy young woman was also the star pupil of the Kirin Tor – the Wizard Council of Dalaran. Tutored by the revered Archmage, , Jaina was heralded as a prodigy and excelled at magical research and investigation. Despite the rigors of their duties, Arthas and Jaina managed to maintain a close relationship. Given King Terenas' age and deteriorating health, the citizenry was pleased to see that their beloved Prince would marry and carry on the royal bloodline.
Embarrassed by the public attention, Arthas and Jaina kept their affair as private as possible. But Jaina, committed to her studies in Dalaran, knew that their romance could not last. She had studied the ways of magic her whole life and knew that her true calling was the pursuit of knowledge – not the trappings of the throne room. Much to the frustration of Lordaeron's citizenry, the two lovers reluctantly parted ways and refocused themselves on their duties.
The Shadows Return
After nearly thirteen years of peace, the rumors of war began to circulate once again. The King's agents reported that a young, upstart warchief had arisen and rallied the few remaining orc clans into an elite fighting force. The young warchief was intent on tearing down the internment camps and freeing his people from their bondage. The "new horde" as it was dubbed, had brazenly attacked the northern city of Stratholme in an attempt to rescue one of its captured warriors. The horde even destroyed Durnholde – the fortress that oversaw the security of the internment camps – and murdered the officers who ran it. King Terenas sent Uther and his paladins to quell the warchief's uprising, but the crafty orcs could never be found. The young warchief proved to be something of a tactical genius – and evaded Uther's best efforts to corral his hit and run attacks.
Amidst the strain of the new orc uprising, King Terenas was disturbed to hear ill news on another front. Rumor held that a number of supposed "death cults" had formed in the northern provinces. The cults attracted the disenfranchised and disheartened citizens of Lordaeron, offering them "eternal life" on earth as an alternative to servitude to the King. After many years of peace and quiet, King Terenas knew that troubles were only just beginning for his land. He took some comfort in the fact that Lordaeron had endured every trial that had ever come its way – and that its defenders, both new and old, would see it safely through to a new dawn...
Human Hero Units
The Archbishop, , prior to the Second War, founded the Order of the Knights of the Silver Hand. The holy knights, or paladins, as they are commonly called, led the battle against the evil orcs and helped to save the lands of Lordaeron from ruin. Though it has been nearly fifteen years since the end of the Second War, the paladins still work selflessly to protect humanity from the gnawing jaws of evil. Empowered by the Light, these mighty warriors brandish both their warhammers and holy fire in the battle against all who would trample the meek and innocent.
- HOLY LIGHT
By channeling the positive energies of the Light, paladins can form a wave of healing energy to mend their comrades' wounds. This holy energy is also capable of causing damage to the undead and their dark masters.
- DIVINE SHIELD
Empowered by the Light, paladins can surround themselves with an impenetrable barrier of positive energy. While they are encased in it, physical and magical attacks cannot do them any harm.
- DEVOTION AURA
The mere presence of a powerful paladin can instill great courage and inner strength in those around them. This powerful, spiritual surge actually increases the defensive capabilities of those gathered near the paladin.
By invoking the grandeur of the Light, mighty paladins can bring recently slain comrades back to life – enabling them to fight on for justice, freedom and the glory of Lordaeron.
Hailing from the magical kingdom of Dalaran, the Archmagi represent the pinnacle of magical power. Weaving their intricate enchantments, these crotchety old wizards defend humanity with all the magical powers at their disposal. Mounted atop their trusty unicorn steeds, the Archmagi brandish magical blades and ancient staves that serve to channel their fierce energies in battle. Though gruff and slightly aloof, these experienced wizards are a heartening sight upon any battlefield where the fate of humanity lies in peril.
One of the Alliance's most feared spells, Blizzard has become even more effective and deadly since its original inception during the First War. Calling down shards of freezing ice to batter and rend their enemies, Archmagi have been known to route entire armies using this spell.
- SUMMON WATER ELEMENTAL
By use of this spell an Archmage can summon and control a powerful elemental comprised of water and air vapors. These creatures, capable of hurling torrents of rock-solid water at their enemies, cannot remain in the physical world for long. Thus, after a short length of time, they will vanish and return to their base liquid forms.
- BRILLIANCE AURA
Some Archmagi are so powerful that their very presence enhances the energies of the spellcasters around them. These magical synergies manifest in an aura of brilliance, which increases the younger spellcasters' energy pools so that they can cast spells more often.
- MASS TELEPORT
This extremely powerful spell allows the Archmage to teleport himself and his army to any friendly units or buildings in the world. However, due to the delicate nature of Mass Teleport, Archmagi can only teleport to places where someone they know currently is.
The mountain kings, or 'Thanes' as they are known in Ironforge, are the mightiest dwarven warriors of Khaz Modan. Wielding both enchanted warhammers and battle-axes, these fierce fighters live to test themselves against worthy opponents. Unconcerned with their race's preoccupation with mechanical devices and the mining precious minerals, mountain kings live only for battle. Dedicated to safeguarding the Alliance that saved their kingdom during the Second War, the mountain kings can be counted upon to rally behind any banner that stands between freedom and the ever-looming shadow of evil.
- STORM BOLT
The dwarves of the Aerie Peaks often practice hurling hammers, for sport and for war. But, only the mountain kings of Ironforge can hurl a hammer so hard that it stuns their enemies senseless. Thus, the Storm Bolt is one of the most dangerous and powerful attacks of the mighty mountain kings.
- THUNDER CLAP
First used by to decimate a swathe of invading gnolls in the Alterac Mountains, this powerful ability allows the mountain kings to slam the ground and cause destructive shockwaves of energy to damage their nearby enemies.
Mountain kings who learn the Bash technique strike with such fury that their normal attacks can often stun and crush an enemy.
By focusing the energies of the dwarves' "newly discovered enchanted heritage", the mountain kings can grow in size and strength – and take on the physical characteristics of carved stone. In this form, they are impervious to magical attacks and have greatly increased durability.
Peasants are the hard-working and stouthearted citizens of Lordaeron. They serve as the backbone of the Alliance by mining the gold and harvesting lumber necessary to build up Lordaeron's military defense forces. Roused by the tales of the orcs' atrocities during the Second War, the peasants have learned to use both pick and axe to defend their communities if threatened.
- CALL TO ARMS
Peasants of the Alliance have the ability to arm themselves at any town hall so that they can better fight off invading armies. Though the peasants are capable of saving their towns from surprise attacks on their towns, they are always glad to give up their weapons and go back to their regular duties.
The vast ranks of the Alliance armies have been replenished since the devastating battles of the Second war. Trained in the arts of swordsmanship, the stoic Footmen of the Alliance serve as Lordaeron's first line of defense. Armed with broadswords and heavy kite shields, footmen are capable of breaking any enemy charge.
By placing their shields at a precise angle and bearing down against oncoming opponents, footmen can deflect incoming fire from enemy piercing attackers. Though this tactic does slow the footman's movement, it is an invaluable skill when employed against piercing attackers.
Though the hearty knights of Azeroth were destroyed during the First War, the shining knights of Lordaeron still continue to serve amongst the warriors of the Alliance. Wading into combat astride their noble warhorses, the knights are renowned for cutting bloody swathes through enemy ranks. The knights' speed and mobility mark them as some of the most versatile warriors of the Alliance.
Despite the high elves' official departure from the Alliance, some elves still remain true to their former human and dwarven allies. The altruistic priests of Quel'Thalas refused to abandon their roles as healers and agreed to remain in Lordaeron despite the edicts from their reclusive masters in Silvermoon. The high elven priests use their Light-given powers to heal the wounded and bolster the spirits of Lordaeron's fighting elite.
- INNER FIRE
The mages of Dalaran discovered a way to bring out the potential of the warrior's fighting spirit and essentially wreathe them in their own spiritual energies. This has had the overall effect of making the Alliance warriors more resistant to damage and better able to deal damage.
- DISPEL MAGIC
Many wars have been turned by this simple spell that allows priests to counter the spells of some of the most accomplished wizards. While not necessarily flashy, this spell's effects should never be underestimated.
The positive energies of the Light can be channeled to create a healing energy wave. This technique, developed first by the high elves, and later taught to humans, has remained relatively unchanged since its original discovery.
As with the elven priests, the elven sorceresses who remained in Lordaeron paid little heed to their race's departure from the Alliance. These female magic users, serving as agents to the Kirin Tor of Dalaran, use their arcane powers to aid the Alliance in times of peril. Although their powers are not always used directly in combat, the sorceresses are able to aid their comrades with a wide array of specialized conjurings and magical effects.
The Kirin Tor has developed a technique that envelops a person in a field that reduces kinetic energy. This spell actually pulls the energy directly from the creature trying to move and attack, and channels it into the ground, causing the creature to have reduced attack and movement speeds.
This form of illusion has come back into widespread use since the days of the Second War. It creates a magical field around a person that does not impede the passing of light. Thus, normal people simply see directly through the invisible person. However, any attempts to attack or cast spells while invisible will cause the invisibility to dissipate.
Long ago, this spell was considered to be the ultimate insult to the enemy. It has the ability to turn any enemy into a mere sheep for a limited duration of time.
One of the Archmage's greatest powers is his ability to summon mighty Water elementals to aid his comrades in combat. These mindless, hulking forms of water can take massive punishment from enemy units while delivering tremendous blows in return. Water elementals were a favorite tool of the Conjurors of Azeroth during the First War, and now the enchanted creatures have come to aid the defenders of freedom once again.
Armed with their innovative exploding shells, the stalwart mortar teams of Ironforge are capable of blasting apart enemy ranks from long range. These fearless dwarves are masters of explosive devices and relish in pounding fortified enemy emplacements to dust.
The flare is a chemically charged shell that, when fired by a dwarven mortar team, can reveal areas and enemies that are difficult to see, or otherwise cloaked by invisibility or Shadowmeld.
The brave dwarven Riflemen have faithfully protected their mountain kingdom of Khaz Modan ever since the battle of Grim Batol. Yet, as new threats arose to threaten their hard-won freedom, they offered their expert skills and tenacity to the Alliance. Using the legendary single-shot Blunderbuss Long Rifles, riflemen are excellent marksmen and can shoot both land based and airborne opponents.
The ingenious dwarven engineers, taking a nod from their inventive gnomish cousins, constructed the ultimate airborne scout vehicle. The gyrocopters are small but versatile flying machines that can cover great distances at speed and evade enemy ground forces. Though the contraptions are somewhat rickety, they are armed with mounted cannons and bombs, and piloted by the daring – if not insane – dwarven pilot corps.
These cumbersome, heavily armored vehicles are mobile siege weapons piloted by brave and sometimes reckless dwarves. Their heavy weaponry is too cumbersome to target enemy units and can only be used on buildings.
The daring dwarves of the Wildhammer clan have responded once again to the call and brought the mighty gryphons of the Aerie Peaks to aid the Alliance in its time of need. Armed with their trusty, lightning-powered Stormhammers, the fearless wilddwarves seek to keep the skies of Lordaeron free from enemy forces. The proud gryphons share their riders' implacable resolve and stand as noble symbols of the Alliance's fortitude.
The town hall is the nerve center of any human community and serves as the primary exchange for gold. It is also a center for training loyal peasants in their particular vocations, whether it be lumber harvesting, building construction, or gold mining. In time the town hall can be upgraded to stronger fortifications.
Vital to any human Village, the Farm provides sustenance for troops and citizens. The uncanny ability of these skilled farmers to harvest almost any landscape under the harshest conditions is highly regarded in the lands of Lordaeron. The number of troops sustainable at any village is dependent upon the amount of land harvested by the small farms.
The barracks are the staging area and bunking quarters for most human troops. It is within the barracks' walls that footmen are taught the art of shield defense. Here, dwarves and humans train side by side, united by the threat of their common enemy.
Scout towers may be constructed at almost any location to provide continuous on-site observation. The towers are also the first necessary step in human town defense. These structures may later be upgraded to guard or cannon towers.
- MAGICAL SENTRY
This enhancement is used to allow towers to see units that are invisible. Everything seen through the sentry's effect is much sharper and more vibrant than what the naked eye can perceive.
These brick towers provide the first line of defense against enemy invasion. The arrows that fly from these bastions are renowned for their deadly accuracy.
With the study and understanding of gunpowder, scout towers may be modified to house cannon. The artillery provides increased bombardment of attacking forces, limited only by the restriction of being unable to attack flying invaders. Rows of these sturdy towers provide a formidable defense against even the most aggressive assaults.
At the blacksmith, the dwarves refine their mastery of gunpowder. It is also at this building where more effective steel-forging methods are researched and perfected. Human troops depend upon the blacksmith to provide both increasingly effective weapon blades and more impenetrable plates of armor.
The master masons of the human lumber mills strive constantly to improve structural integrity. The site is also a processing mill for lumber harvested from the surrounding landscape. The wood harvested is used in everything from raw building materials to weapon handles.
The Workshop is a hideaway where dwarven smiths labor amid smoke and steel to create their unique innovations. Flying gyrocopters are assembled at this location, as well as heavily armored steam tanks. Artillery is thoroughly researched here, providing ammunition for the mobile dwarven mortar teams.
With the advancement of human technology and the need to support growing numbers of fighting troops, the town hall may be upgraded to a keep. In addition to adding heavier fortification, the keep allows for the introduction of the mage class into human society. The keep can later be upgraded even further, to a Castle.
Tutored in the Halls of Magic at the mystical city of Dalaran, sorceresses and priests diligently study their mysterious arts within the depths of the arcane sanctum. Over time, continuous study provides additional reserves of mana and the mastering of ever more difficult spells. It is also here that magical sentries may be called to allow the human towers to detect invisible enemy invaders.
Made from materials provided by the Kirin Tor, the Altar of Kings acts as a harness for the derelict life forces of fallen human champions. It is only at this site, once erected, that heroes may be resurrected to do battle once again. The specifics of this building's magical properties are among the most guarded secrets in all the human realms.
Castles represent the pinnacle of advanced human civilization. With this advancement comes the ability to support stables for housing the war-steeds of the heroic knights. This progression also allows the building of gryphon aviaries.
The greatest achievement to come from the alliance of dwarves and humans is quite possibly the taming and training of the mighty, noble Gryphons. Following years of failed attempts, dwarven riders finally succeeded in gaining the trust of the aloof Gryphons. Together with the humans, dwarven riders gave the greatest care, providing lodgings that would most closely resemble the Gryphons' aeries among Lordaeron's Aerie Peaks.
Orcs: the Horde
(since the end of the second war)
Gul'dan and the Betrayal
During the final days of the Second War, as the horde's victory over the Alli'ance[sic] seemed almost assured, a terrible feud erupted between the two most powerful orcs on Azeroth. The nefarious warlock, , master of the clandestine Shadow Council, led a number of renegade clans against the might of , the warchief of the horde. As Doomhammer prepared his final assault against the Capital City of Lordaeron, an assault that would have crushed the last remnants of the Alliance, Gul'dan and his renegade clans abandoned their posts and set out to sea. The bewildered Doomhammer, having lost nearly half of his standing forces to Gul'dan's treachery, was forced to pull back and forsake his greatest chance at victory over the Alliance.
The power-hungry Gul'dan, obsessed with obtaining godhood itself, set out on a desperate search for the undersea Tomb of Sargeras that he believed held the secrets of ultimate power. Having already doomed his fellow orcs to become the slaves of the Burning Legion, Gul'dan thought nothing of his supposed duty to Doomhammer. Backed by the Stormreaver and Twilight's Hammer clans, Gul'dan succeeded in raising the Tomb of Sargeras from the sea floor. However, when he opened the ancient, flooded vault, he found only crazed demons awaiting him.
Seeking to punish the wayward orcs for their costly betrayal, Doomhammer sent his forces to kill Gul'dan and bring the renegades back into the fold. For his recklessness, Gul'dan was torn apart by the maddened demons he had set loose. With their leader dead, the renegade clans quickly fell before Doomhammer's enraged legions. Though the rebellion had been quelled, the horde was unable to recoup the terrible losses it had suffered. Gul'dan's betrayal had afforded the Alliance not only hope, but also time to regroup... and retaliate.
Lord Lothar, seeing that the horde was fracturing from within, gathered the last of his forces and pushed the horde south, back into the shattered heartland of his homeland, Azeroth. There, the Alliance forces trapped the retreating horde within their volcanic fortress of Blackrock Spire.
Though Lord Lothar fell in battle at the Spire's base, his lieutenant, , rallied the Alliance forces at the eleventh hour and pushed the horde back into the abysmal Swamp of Sorrows. Turalyon's forces succeeded in destroying the dark portal, the mystical gateway that connected the orcs to their dark, red homeworld of Draenor. Cut off from its reinforcements in Draenor and fractured by incessant infighting, the horde finally buckled in upon itself and fell before the might of the Alliance forces.
The scattered orc clans were quickly rounded up and placed within guarded internment camps. Though it seemed that the horde had been defeated for good, some remained highly skeptical that peace would last. , the former apprentice of Medivh, convinced the Alliance high command to build the fortress of Nethergarde that would watch over the ruins of the dark portal and ensure that there would be no further invasions from Draenor.
Ner'zhul and the Shadow Clans
As the fires of the Second War died down, the Alliance took aggressive steps to contain the orcish threat. A number of large internment camps, meant to house the captive orcs, were constructed in southern Lordaeron. Guarded by both the paladins and the veteran soldiers of the Alliance, the camps proved to be a great success. Though the captive orcs were tense and anxious to do battle once more, the various camp wardens, based at the old prison-fortress of Durnholde, kept the peace and maintained a strong semblance of order.
However, on the hellish world of Draenor, a new orcish army prepared to strike at the unsuspecting Alliance. The elder shaman, – the former mentor of – rallied the handful of clans still left on Draenor under his dark banner. Ner'zhul planned to open a number of portals on Draenor that would lead the horde to new, unspoiled worlds. To power his new portals, Ner'zhul needed a number of enchanted artifacts from Azeroth. To procure them, Ner'zhul reopened the dark portal and sent his ravenous clans charging through it.
The new horde, led by veteran chieftains such as Grom Hellscream of the Warsong clan, and of the Bleeding Hollow clan, surprised the Alliance defense forces and rampaged through the countryside. Under Ner'zhul's surgical command, the orcs quickly rounded up the artifacts that they needed and fled back to the safety of Draenor.
King Terenas of Lordaeron, convinced that the orcs were preparing a new invasion of Azeroth, assembled his most trusted lieutenants. He ordered General and the mage, , to lead an expedition through the dark portal to put an end to the orcish threat once and for all. Turalyon and Khadgar's forces marched into Draenor and repeatedly clashed with Ner'zhul's clans upon the ravaged Hellfire Peninsula. Though neither side gained ground, it was clear that Ner'zhul would not be stopped from completing his nefarious plans.
Ner'zhul succeeded in opening his portals to other worlds – but he did not foresee the terrible price he would pay. The portals' tremendous energies began to tear the very fabric of Draenor apart. As Turalyon's forces fought desperately to return home to Azeroth, the world of Draenor began to buckle in upon itself. Grom Hellscream and Kilrogg Deadeye, realizing that Ner'zhul's mad plans would doom their entire race, rallied the remaining orcs and escaped back to the relative safety of Azeroth. As Hellscream and Deadeye hacked their way through the human ranks in a desperate bid for freedom, the dark portal suddenly exploded behind them. For them, and the remaining orcs on Azeroth, there would be no going back....
Ner'zhul and his Shadowmoon clan passed through their newly created portals, as massive volcanic eruptions began to break Draenor's continents apart. The burning seas rose up and roiled the shattered landscape as the tortured world was finally consumed in an apocalyptic explosion.
Though Grom Hellscream and his Warsong clan managed to evade capture, Deadeye and his Bleeding Hollow clan were rounded up and placed in the internment camps in Lordaeron. Yet, despite the costly uprising, the camps' wardens soon re-established control over their brutish charges.
However, unknown to the Alliance's agents, a large force of orcs still roamed free in the northern wastes of Khaz Modan. The Dragonmaw clan, led by the infamous Warlock, Nekros, had maintained its control over the Dragonqueen, , and her Dragonflight by using an ancient artifact known as the Demon Soul. With the Dragonqueen as his hostage, Nekros built up a secret army within the abandoned dwarf stronghold of Grim Batol. Planning to unleash his forces and the mighty red dragons on the Alliance, Nekros hoped to reunite the horde and continue its conquest of Azeroth. Yet, a small group of resistance fighters, led by the human mage, Rhonin, managed to destroy the Demon Soul and free the Dragonqueen from Nekros' command.
In their fury, Alexstrasza's dragons tore apart Grim Batol and incinerated the greater bulk of the Dragonmaw clan. Nekros' grand schemes of reunification came crashing down as the Alliance troops rounded up the remaining orc survivors and threw them into the waiting internment camps. The Dragonmaw clan's defeat signaled the end of the horde – and the end of the orcs' furious bloodlust.
Lethargy and Internment
As the months passed, more orc prisoners were rounded up and placed within the internment camps. As the camps began to overflow, the Alliance was forced to construct new camps in the plains of south of the Alterac Mountains. To properly maintain and supply the growing number of camps, King Terenas levied a new tax on the Alliance nations. This tax, as well as increased political tensions over border disputes, created widespread dissention[sic] amongst the leaders of the Alliance. It seemed that the fragile pact that had forged the human nations together in their darkest hour would break at any given moment.
Amidst the political turmoil, many of the camp wardens began to notice an unsettling change come over their orc captives. The orcs' efforts to escape from the camps or even fight amongst themselves had greatly decreased in frequency over time. The orcs were becoming increasingly aloof and lethargic. Though it was difficult to believe, the orcs – once held as the most aggressive race ever seen on Azeroth – had completely lost their will to fight. The strange lethargy confounded the Alliance leaders and continued to take its toll on the rapidly weakening orcs.
Some speculated that some strange disease, contractible only by orcs, brought about the baffling lethargy. But the Archmage, of Dalaran, posed a different hypothesis. Researching what little he could find of orcish history, Antonidas learned that the orcs had been under the crippling influence of demonic power (or warlock magics) for generations. He speculated that the orcs had been corrupted by demonic powers even before their first invasion of Azeroth. Clearly, demons had spiked the orcs' blood, which in turn granted the brutes unnaturally heightened strength, endurance and aggression.
Antonidas theorized that the orcs' communal lethargy was not actually a disease, but a long-term racial withdrawal from the volatile Warlock magics that had made them fearsome, bloodlusted warriors. Though the symptoms were clear, Antonidas was unable to find a cure for the orcs' present condition. Many of his fellow mages, as well as a few notable Alliance leaders, argued that finding a cure for the orcs would be an imprudent venture. Left to ponder the orcs' mysterious condition, Antonidas' conclusion was that the orcs' only cure would have to be a spiritual one...
During the dark days of the First War, a cunning human officer named found an infant orc abandoned in the wilds. The infant orc, whom Blackmoore aptly named , was taken to the prison-fortress of Durnholde. There, Blackmoore raised the young orc as a favored slave and gladiator. Intending to train the young orc to be not only a peerless warrior, but also an educated leader, Blackmoore hoped to use Thrall to take over the horde, and thereby achieve dominion over his fellow men.
Nineteen years passed and Thrall grew into a strong, quick-witted orc. Yet his young heart knew that a slave's life was not for him. Many things had transpired in the world outside the fortress as he grew to maturity. He learned that his people, the orcs – whom he had never met – had been defeated and placed into internment camps in the human lands. Doomhammer, the leader of his people, had escaped from Lordaeron and gone into hiding. He knew that only one rogue clan still operated in secret, trying to evade the watchful eyes of the Alliance.
The resourceful yet inexperienced Thrall decided to escape from Blackmoore's fortress and set off to find others of his kind. During his journeys Thrall visited the internment camps and found his once mighty race to be strangely cowed and lethargic. Having not found the proud warriors he hoped to discover, Thrall set out to find the last undefeated orc chieftain, Grom Hellscream.
Despite being constantly hunted by the humans, Hellscream still held onto the horde's unquenchable will to fight. Aided only by his own devoted Warsong clan, Hellscream continued to fight an underground war against the oppression of his beleaguered people. Unfortunately, Hellscream could never find a way to rouse the captured orcs from their stupor. The impressionable Thrall, inspired by Hellscream's idealism, developed a strong empathy for the horde and its warrior traditions.
Seeking the truth of his own origins, Thrall traveled north to find the legendary Frostwolf clan. Thrall learned that had exiled the Frostwolves during the early days of the First War. He also discovered that he was the son and heir of the orc hero, – the true chieftain of the Frostwolves who had been murdered in the wilds nearly twenty years before...
Under the tutelage of the venerable shaman, Drek'Thar, Thrall studied the ancient shamanistic culture of his people that had been forgotten under Gul'dan's' evil rule. Over time, Thrall became a powerful shaman and took his rightful place as chieftain of the exiled Frostwolves. Empowered by the elements themselves and driven to find his destiny, Thrall set off to free the captive clans and heal his race of demonic corruption.
During his travels, Thrall found the aged warchief, Orgrim Doomhammer, who had been living as a hermit for many years. Doomhammer, who had been a close friend of Thrall's father, decided to follow the young, visionary orc and help him free the captive clans. Supported by many of the veteran chieftains, Thrall ultimately succeeded in revitalizing the horde and giving his people a new spiritual identity.
To symbolize his people's rebirth, Thrall returned to Blackmoore's fortress of Durnholde and put a decisive end to his former master's plans by laying siege to the internment camps. Yet, during the liberation of one camp, Doomhammer fell in battle. Thrall took up Doomhammer's legendary warhammer and donned his black plate-armor to become the new warchief of the horde. During the following months, Thrall's small but volatile horde laid waste to the internment camps and stymied the Alliance's best efforts to counter its clever strategies. Encouraged by his best friend and mentor, Grom Hellscream, Thrall worked to ensure that no orc would be cast into slavery – either by humans or demons – ever again.
Orc Hero Units
Though their numbers are few, the seasoned blademasters represent an elite fighting force within the horde. These skilled swordsmen were once part of the ill-fated Burning Blade clan that consumed itself in the throes of demonic corruption. With their clan scattered and broken, the proud blademasters swore a grim oath to free themselves and their brethren from demonic control once and for all. Under 's command, the blademasters have once again joined the horde and serve as the young warchief's personal guard. Though blademasters are masters of stealth and guile, they value personal honor above all else.
By focusing their warrior energies, blademasters can become living cyclones of fighting rage. Spinning their great blades faster than the naked eye can see, they are capable of simultaneously damaging any enemy troops in their vicinity.
- CRITICAL STRIKE
By channeling their potent powers in one focused strike, blademasters can cause even greater damage to their enemies.
- MIRROR IMAGE
One of the blademasters' more mystical abilities is to create duplicate phantom images of themselves. Though the phantom images can move about freely of their own volition, they are not true entities unto themselves.
- WIND WALK
So adept and agile are the blademasters that they can move so quickly that they appear to be invisible to the naked eye.
Far Seers are ancient orcs who represent the pinnacle of shamanistic power. These powerful shamans are counted amongst 's closest advisors and are constantly in tune with the workings and maneuverings of the horde. Farseers are not only tied to the elements of the earth and sky, but are also adept at foretelling the future. Their wisdom is outshined only by their courage and ferocity in combat. When the enemies of the horde advance, the farseers mount their loyal dire wolves and wade into battle wielding all the elemental powers of their shamanistic birthright.
- CHAIN LIGHTNING
Farseers have the ability to cast bolts of lightning so powerful that they continue to seek out enemy troops in a wide area of effect. The raging bolts continue to strike new victims until the spell's energies finally deplete.
Part of the Far Seers' power over nature is the ability to command the fury of the earth. When roused, farseers can cause the earth to quake violently. When called with precision, can cause heavy destruction to enemy structures and slow hapless foes.
- FAR SIGHT
Far Seers have the uncanny ability to percieve distant places and events through a form of spirit sight. This ability allows them to anticipate enemy movements and maintain the element of surprise for the horde's fighting forces.
- FERAL SPIRIT
One of the farseers' most otherworldy powers is their ability to call forth powerful wolven apparitions. As the Farseer gains experience, more powerful wolves may be summoned to his side.
These elder tauren warriors lead their tribes in daily life as well as in battle. Ceremoniously adorned with the ancient totems of their tribes, chieftains uphold the honor and simplicity of the proud tauren culture. When roused by battle, the gigantic chieftains employ enormous halberds that are capable of tearing through solid trees with one mighty swipe. The chieftains are fascinated by the orcs, especially their young leader, . They see an opportunity to help the orcs return to their traditional roots by providing a strong example of honor and courage through all tauren warriors.
- ENDURANCE AURA
So heartening and stirring are the mighty chieftains that they exude an aura of strength and courage to all who accompany them. The chieftains' auras help their comrades to run and attack more quickly.
The tauren chieftains hold such sacred bonds with their Earthmother that they can actually be reincarnated after they die in combat. Though this ability is very rare, it makes the wise, benevolent chieftains a dangerous foe to threaten.
The mighty chieftains can swing their totems so hard that their impacts create powerful linear shockwaves that can damage any enemies bold enough to stand before them.
- WAR STOMP
The tauren's massive totem can impact the ground with such force that every enemy within a wide radius of the chieftain is damaged and stunned for a short period of time.
The label of peon denotes the lowest station amongst those in the orcish horde. Inferior in all skills of import, these dredges are relegated to menial tasks such as harvesting lumber and mining gold. Their labor is also required for the construction and maintenance of buildings necessary to support the vast undertakings of the horde. Downtrodden, but exceedingly loyal, the orc peons toil endlessly to provide for the greater horde.
Peons can repair ruined or damaged orc structures through use of this valuable skill.
Whenever Peons attack enemy structures, they can use this ability to gain resources to support more troops and build additional structures.
Grunts are the first and last line of the horde's defense. These powerful fighters arm themselves with mighty battle-axes and display all of the savagery and cunning of their race. In past generations, grunts were characterized by their depravity and brutality. But now, under the visionary leadership of , they more closely resemble their savage, yet noble warrior ancestors.
Whenever Grunts attack enemy structures, they can use this ability to gain resources to support more troops and build additional structures.
Though the horde allied itself with the evil forest trolls during the Second War, the alliance was short lived due to the horde's eventual defeat. But , on one of his many journeys, befriended a tribe of shadowy trolls from the steamy jungles of Stranglethorn.
These cunning warriors are trained from birth to hunt, track and trap the most dangerous beasts in the wilds and possess the uncanny ability to regenerate lost health. In times of war, however, headhunters relish turning their mighty spears on the enemies of the horde without hesitation. Capable of hurling their deadly spears at distant enemies, troll headhunters provide invaluable cover fire for the other warriors of the horde.
- TROLL REGENERATION
Like all trolls, headhunters can regenerate lost health over time. This racial ability makes the trolls fearsome opponents and often allows them to spring back into combat even though they've suffered grievous wounds.
The marauding, wolf-riding raiders were once considered to be the most honored warriors of the horde. Yet, just prior to the Second War, disbanded the raiders. Now, after many long years, the young warchief has decided to train a new generation of wolf riders. These mighty warriors carry hefty warblades into combat and rely greatly upon the cunning and ferocity of their faithful dire-wolf mounts to defeat their enemies.
Raiders carry hand-sewn nets with which they can ensnare enemies. Though creatures will eventually break free from the nets, they are unable to move while caught. Flying creatures that are ensnared are brought to the ground.
Whenever raiders attack enemy structures, they can they can use this ability to gain resources to support more troops and build additional structures.
The colossal kodo beasts of the Kalimdor plains are valued allies of the orcish horde. The mighty beasts were charged with carrying the orcs' pounding war drums into battle. The huge kodos, serving as symbols of orcish might and valor, also use their enormous size and strength to scatter enemy forces. When enraged, kodos are fond of devouring their enemies whole.
Kodos are capable of swallowing enemy units whole. Enemy units can free their devoured comrades if they kill the kodo before the victim has been digested.
- WAR DRUMS
The heartening rhythm of the orcish war drums drives the warriors of the horde to fight with greater strength and passion. Any allied warriors who hear the pounding drums gain bonuses to their already considerable fighting skills.
Under the leadership of , the orcs have rediscovered their ancient shamanistic traditions. In an attempt to rid the horde of its demonic corruption, Thrall banned the use of warlock magic and necromancy. Now, all orc magic users practice shaman magic that draws its power from the natural world and the elements of the earth. Powerful shamans can call lightning from the sky and rouse the earth itself to devour legions of their enemies.
Shaman can cause such overwhelming bloodlust in their brethren that affected warriors actually increase in size and power for short periods of time.
- LIGHTNING SHIELD
The shamans' lightning shields, when cast on fellow warriors, create a barrier that damages any nearby ground units.
Shaman can purge any magical spells or enchantments from their comrades or enemies with their ability to purge. Though purge can be useful to remove negative enchantments or curses, it taxes the recipient to such a degree that the unit's movements are slow and painful.
Although they are savage and cunning in the extreme, the troll witch doctors have aligned themselves with the horde out of pure necessity. These dastardly magic users are adept at manipulating the chemical processes within their fellow warriors in order to augment their combat abilities.
- HEALING WARD
This strange tribal ward allows any friendly who comes in contact with it to heal their wounds and replenish their strength.
- SENTRY WARD
Through this mysterious ward, witch doctors can keep watch over important areas for as long as the ward exists. Even though the wards will vanish in time, they are invaluable tools that enable the witch doctors to keep a constant eye on their surroundings.
- STASIS TRAP
Only activated when enemy units cross its threshold, the stasis trap emits a strong shock of dark energy that immobilizes its victims and renders them helpless for a short duration of time.
The mighty tauren of the Kalimdor plains have pledged their allegiance to the new horde out of respect for their courage and honor. The bold tauren seek only to safeguard their quiet culture from the deathly fires of the Burning Legion. When roused, tauren are fierce fighters and use their mighty totems to smash their enemies into the dust of the plains.
Tauren warriors can pulverize enemies by smashing their totems on the ground, creating tremendous shockwaves that ripple out and cause damage in a wide area of effect.
The orcish catapult has always been a standing asset to the horde. Capable of hurling fiery projectiles over great distances, the catapults have been the doom of many Alliance regiments. Catapults serve as the horde's greatest siege weapon.
The sentient wyverns of Kalimdor were eager to ally themselves with the shamanistic horde. Impressed by the orcs' commitment to honor and victory, the wyverns allowed the orcs to ride them into combat against those who would disturb the tranquility of Kalimdor and its denizens. The wyverns, who share a common ancestry with both dragons and gryphons, use their powerful claws and razor-like fangs against both airborne attackers and ground troops, while their riders may hurl envenomed spears at the enemy.
- ENVENOMED WEAPONS
Wyvern riders carry envenomed spears that have been coated with the lethal venom from Stranglethorne's giant jungle snakes. When pierced by these spears, the riders' enemies are weakened and slowly eaten alive as the vile poison courses through their bodies.
The great hall is the core stronghold of any orc clan. Using this structure, orcs process lumber and gold from mining operations are processed. Raw materials pilfered from enemy camps are added to the war chest. In time, the great hall can also be more heavily fortified.
Barracks provide lodging for the orc troops. Sometimes a place of dissension within the lower ranks, the barracks houses not only orcs, but also bloodthirsty trolls. Here catapults are assembled and readied for war.
These structures serve dual purposes: they act not only as farms for the harvesting of various roots and crops, but also as fortified bunkers for the peon workers to hide in during times of attack. Increasing numbers of these structures provide food to support the amassing of additional troops.
An invention of the crafty trolls, this structure maximizes potential by serving as a mill for lumber as well as a forge for weapons smithing. Here weapons and armor are tirelessly reworked for maximum efficiency. Trolls here can also create one of their most useful fortifications: spiked barricades.
As clan technology advances, necessity dictates stronger fortifications and the ability to process the increasing income derived from pillaging enemy forces. This advancement enables the introduction of the shaman caste within the orc ranks. In time, the stronghold can be further modified to accommodate clan development.
Once used to channel the demonic energies of the Burning Legion, these altars have been retooled by troll masons. Using the rediscovered elemental abilities of the shamans, these altars serve as a kind of "gate" to revive fallen warriors. When a hero dies, his spirit can be recalled at these altars to continue service for the horde.
Using their kinship with the creatures of the wild, shamans and wyverns have struck a beneficial alliance. The deadly wyverns attack units both on land and in the air with equal efficiency. Raiders and giant kodo beasts, who have also been recruited into the ranks of the horde through shamanistic influence, are trained at this facility.
The spirit lodge is a place of quiet contemplation where shamans and troll witch doctors meditate and refine their mastery of arcane magic. Having abandoned their practice of necromancy, magic users within the horde have found different ways to combat their enemies. Witch doctors manipulate chemicals within the body and in the environment, while shamans command the forces of nature.
Once orc technology reaches its height, construction of the Fortress may begin. Far more formidable than even the stronghold, the fortress provides a siege-resistant command base. With the addition of spiked barricades, a Fortress may daunt even the most hostile foe.
The horde's mighty watchtowers serve as the last line of defense for most orc towns. These sturdy structures were created to not only stand guard over various orc holdings, but to detect and identify invisible or magically cloaked enemies as well.
The proud, noble tauren, having allied with the orcish horde, reside here and hone their abilities through contact with their spirit totems. This structure allows the mighty tauren to make use of the Pulverize ability, a technique that damages enemy forces and adds a unique tool to the tauren's already wide-ranging arsenal.
The Shaman, Ner'zhul: Origin of the Lich King
The orcish clans, bound by a noble, shamanistic culture for thousands of years on the world of Draenor, knew nothing of corruption or spiritual decay. But the sinister agents of the Burning Legion sought to forge them into a voracious, unstoppable army. The cunning demon, , second in command of the Legion, saw that the savage warriors had vast potential for murder and bloodshed – and set out to corrupt their tranquil society from within.
Kil'jaeden appeared to the orcs' most respected leader, the elder shaman , and told him that he would bestow upon the orcs great power and make them the undisputed rulers of their world. He even offered the old shaman untold mystical knowledge if he agreed to bind himself and his people to the Legion's will. Calculating and power hungry by nature, Ner'zhul accepted Kil'jaeden's offer and made a Blood Pact with the demon. By doing so, Ner'zhul had sealed the orcs' fate and damned them to become the unwitting slaves of the Burning Legion.
As time passed, Kil'jaeden recognized that Ner'zhul did not have the will or the brazen audacity to follow through with his plan of forging the orcs into a bloodthirsty horde. Ner'zhul, realizing that his pact with Kil'jaeden would only lead to his race's annihilation, refused to help the demon any further. Enraged by the shaman's defiance, Kil'jaeden swore to take vengeance upon Ner'zhul, and corrupt the orcs despite him. Kil'jaeden found a new, eager apprentice to lead the orcs on the path to oblivion - Ner'zhul's own nefarious protégé, .
With Kil'jaeden's help, Gul'dan succeeded where his teacher had faltered. The evil, power-hungry orc not only abolished the ancient practice of shamanism – which he replaced with the study of demonic warlock magics – but united the orc clans into the volatile horde that Kil'jaeden had envisioned. Ner'zhul, powerless to stop his former apprentice, could only watch as Gul'dan masterfully transformed the orcs into mindless agents of destruction.
Years passed as Ner'zhul brooded silently upon the red world of Draenor. He watched as his people staged the first invasion of Azeroth. He heard the tales of the orcs' Second War against the Alliance of Lordaeron. He bore witness to the treachery and corruption that seemed to be destroying his people from within. Despite Gul'dan's masterminding the horde's dark destiny, Ner'zhul knew that he himself was responsible for setting it all in motion.
Shortly after the end of the Second War, the news of the horde's defeat reached the orcs who had remained in Draenor. Ner'zhul, knowing that the horde had failed its mission to conquer Azeroth, feared that Kil'jaeden and the Legion would take dire action against the remaining orcs. To escape Kil'jaeden's imminent wrath, Ner'zhul opened a number of mystical portals that lead[sic] to new, unspoiled worlds. The old shaman rallied the remaining orc clans and planned to lead them through one of the portals, and into a new directed destiny.
Before he could execute his plan, Ner'zhul was forced to deal with an Alliance expeditionary force sent to Draenor to destroy the orcs forever. Ner'zhul's loyal clans managed to hold the Alliance forces at bay while the old shaman opened the raging, magical portals. To his horror, Ner'zhul realized that the portals' tremendous energies were beginning to rip the very fabric of Draenor apart. As the Alliance forces pushed the orcs further back into the hellish world, Draenor began to buckle in on itself. Realizing that the battling clans would never reach the portals in time, Ner'zhul selfishly abandoned them and escaped with his elite followers in tow. The evil group of orcs crossed through their chosen portal just as Draenor blew apart in an apocalyptic explosion. The old shaman believed he'd been lucky to escape death...
Ironically, he would live to regret his náiveté.[sic]
Kil'jaeden and the New Deal
Just as and his followers entered the Twisting Nether – the ethereal plane that connects all of the worlds scattered throughout the Great Dark Beyond – they were ambushed by and his demonic minions. Kil'jaeden, who had sworn to take vengeance on Ner'zhul for his prideful defiance, tortured the old shaman mercilessly by slowly tearing his body apart piece by piece. Kil'jaeden kept the shaman's spirit alive and intact – leaving Ner'zhul painfully aware of his body's gross dismemberment. Though Ner'zhul pleaded with the demon to release his spirit and grant him death, the demon grimly replied that the Blood Pact they had made long ago was still binding – and that he would make use of his wayward pawn once again.
The orcs' failure to conquer Azeroth as the Legion intended, forced Kil'jaeden to create a new army to sew chaos throughout the kingdoms of the Alliance. This new army could not be allowed to fall prey to the same petty rivalries and infighting that had plagued the horde. It would have to be dogged, merciless, and singleminded in its mission. This time, Kil'jaeden could not afford to fail.
Holding Ner'zhul's tortured, helpless spirit in stasis, Kil'jaeden gave him one last chance to serve the Legion or suffer eternal torment. Once again, Ner'zhul recklessly agreed to the demon's pact.
Ner'zhul's spirit was placed within a specially crafted block of diamond-hard ice gathered from the far reaches of the Twisting Nether. Encased within the frozen cask, Ner'zhul felt his consciousness expand ten thousand fold. Warped by the demon's chaotic powers, Ner'zhul became a spectral being of unfathomable power. At that moment, the orc known as Ner'zhul was shattered forever, and the was born.
Ner'zhul's loyal death knights and warlock followers were also transformed by the demon's chaotic energies. The wicked spell casters were ripped apart and remade as skeletal Liches. The demons had ensured that even in death, Ner'zhul's followers would serve him unquestioningly.
When the time was right, Kil'jaeden patiently explained the mission for which he had created the Lich King: Ner'zhul was to spread a plague of death and terror across Azeroth that would snuff out human civilization forever. All those who died from the dreaded plague would arise as the undead... and their spirits would be bound to Ner'zhul's iron will forever. Kil'jaeden promised that if Ner'zhul accomplished his dark mission of scouring humanity from the world, he would be freed from his curse and granted a new, healthy body to inhabit.
Though Ner'zhul was agreeable and seemingly anxious to play his part, Kil'jaeden remained skeptical of his pawn's loyalties. Keeping the Lich King bodiless and trapped within the crystal cask assured his good conduct for the short term, but the demon knew that he would need to keep a watchful eye on the Lich King. To this end, Kil'jaeden called upon his elite demon guard, the vampiric Dreadlords, to police Ner'zhul and ensure that he accomplished his dread task. , the most powerful and cunning of the Dreadlords, warmed to the challenge, fascinated by the plague's severity and the Lich King's unbridled potential for genocide.
Icecrown and the Frozen Throne
cast 's icy cask back into the world of Azeroth. The hardened crystal streaked across the night sky and smashed into the desolate, arctic continent of Northrend, burying itself in the deep, shadowed hallows of the Icecrown glacier. The frozen crystal, warped and scarred by its violent descent, came to resemble a throne, and Ner'zhul's vengeful spirit stirred within it.
From the confines of the Frozen Throne, Ner'zhul began to reach out his vast consciousness and touch the minds of Northrend's native inhabitants. With surprising ease, he enslaved the minds of many indigenous creatures, such as ice trolls and the fierce wendigo - and drew their evil brethren into his growing shadow. He found that his psychic powers were almost limitless, and used them to create a small army that he housed within Icecrown's twisting labyrinths. As the mastered his growing powers under the Dreadlords' persistent vigil, he discovered a remote human settlement on the fringe of the vast Dragonblight. Ner'zhul decided to test his powers and his dread plague on the unsuspecting humans.
Ner'zhul sent the plague of undeath, which had originated from deep within the Frozen Throne, out into the arctic wasteland. Controlling the plague with his will alone, he drove it straight into the human village. Within three days, every human soul in the settlement was dead. Yet, in a surprisingly short amount of time, the dead villagers began to rise as zombified corpses. Ner'zhul could feel their individual spirits and thoughts as if they were his own. The raging cacophony in his mind caused Ner'zhul to grow even more powerful – as if their spirits provided him with much needed nourishment. He found it was child's play to control the zombies' actions and steer them to whatever end he wished.
Over the following months, Ner'zhul continued to experiment with his plague of undeath by subjugating every human inhabitant of Northrend. With his army of undead growing daily, he knew that the time for his true test was nearing.
For ten long years, built up his power base in Northrend. A great citadel was erected above Icecrown and manned by growing legions of the undead. Yet, as the extended his influence over the land, a lone, shadowy empire stood against his power. The ancient, subterranean kingdom of Azjol-Nerub, which had been founded by a race of sinister humanoid spiders, sent their elite warrior-guard to attack Icecrown and end the Lich King's mad bid for dominance. Much to his frustration, Ner'zhul found that the evil Nerubians were immune to not only the plague, but to his telepathic domination as well.
The Nerubian spider lords commanded vast forces and had an underground network that stretched nearly half the breadth of Northrend. Their hit and run tactics on the Lich King's strongholds stymied his efforts to root them out time after time. Ultimately, Ner'zhul's war against the Nerubians was won by attrition. With the aid of the furious Dreadlords and his innumerable undead warriors, the Lich King invaded Azjol-Nerub and brought its subterranean temples crashing down upon the spider lords' heads.
Though the Nerubians were immune to his plague, Ner'zhul's growing necromantic powers allowed him to raise the spider warriors' corpses and bend them to his will. As a testament to their tenacity and fearlessness, Ner'zhul adopted the Nerubians' distinctive architectural style for his own fortresses and structures. Left to rule his kingdom unopposed, the Lich King began preparing for his true mission in the world. Reaching out into the human lands with his vast consciousness, the Lich King called out to any dark soul that would listen...
Kel'Thuzad and the Cult of the Damned
There were a handful of powerful individuals, scattered across the world, who heard the Lich King's mental summons. Most notable of them was the Archmage, , of the magical nation of Dalaran. Kel'Thuzad, one of senior members of the Kirin Tor – Dalaran's ruling council – had been considered a maverick for years due to his insistence on studying the forbidden arts of necromancy. Driven to learn all he could of the magical world and its shadowy wonders, he was frustrated by what he saw as his peers' outmoded and unimaginative precepts. Upon hearing the powerful summons from Northrend, the Archmage bent all of his considerable will to communing with the mysterious voice. Convinced that the Kirin Tor was too squeamish to seize the power and knowledge inherent in the dark arts, he vowed to learn what he could from the immensely powerful Lich King.
Forsaking his fortune and prestigious political standing, Kel'Thuzad abandoned the ways of the Kirin Tor and left Dalaran forever. Prodded by the Lich King's persistent voice in his mind, he sold his vast holdings and stored away his fortunes. Travelling alone over many leagues of both land and sea, he finally reached the frozen shores of Northrend. Intent on reaching Icecrown and offering his services to the Lich King, the Archmage passed through the ravaged, war-torn ruins of Azjol-Nerub. Kel'Thuzad saw firsthand the scope and ferocity of 's power. He began to believe that allying himself with the mysterious Lich King would not only be wise, but potentially fruitful.
After long months of trekking through the harsh arctic wastelands, Kel'Thuzad finally reached the dark glacier of Icecrown. He boldly approached Ner'zhul's dark citadel and was shocked when the silent undead guardsmen let him pass as though he was expected. Kel'Thuzad descended deep into the cold earth and found his way down to the bottom of the glacier. There, in the endless cavern of ice and shadows, he prostrated himself before the Frozen Throne and offered his soul to the dark lord of the dead.
The Lich King was pleased with his latest conscript. He promised Kel'Thuzad immortality and great power in exchange for his loyalty and obedience. Kel'Thuzad, eager for dark knowledge and power, accepted his first great mission – to go into the world of men and found a new religion that would worship the Lich King as a god.
To help the Archmage accomplish his mission, Ner'zhul left Kel'Thuzad's humanity intact. The aged, yet still charismatic wizard was charged with using his powers of illusion and persuasion to lull the downtrodden, disenfranchised masses of Lordaeron into a confidence. Once he had their attention, he would offer them a new vision of what society could be – and a new figurehead to call their king....
Kel'Thuzad returned to Lordaeron in disguise, and over the span of three years, he used his fortune and intellect to gather a clandestine brotherhood of like-minded men and women. The brotherhood, which he called the Cult of the Damned, promised its acolytes social equality and eternal life on Azeroth in exchange for their service and obedience to Ner'zhul. As the months passed, Kel'Thuzad found many eager volunteers for his new cult amongst the tired, overburdened laborers of Lordaeron. Surprisingly, Kel'Thuzad's goal to pervert the citizens' faith in the Holy Light towards belief in Ner'zhul's dark shadow was easily attained. As the Cult of the Damned grew in size and influence, Kel'Thuzad made sure to keep its workings secret from the authorities of Lordaeron at every turn.
The Forming of the Scourge
With 's success in Lordaeron, the made the final preparations for his assault against human civilization. Placing his plague energies into a number of portable artifacts called plague cauldrons, ordered Kel'Thuzad to transport the cauldrons to Lordaeron where they would be hidden within various cult-controlled villages. The cauldrons, protected by the loyal cultists, would then act as plague generators, sending the plague seeping out across the unsuspecting farmlands and cities of northern Lordaeron.
The Lich King's plan worked perfectly. Many of Lordaeron's northern villages were contaminated almost immediately. Just as in Northrend, the citizens who contracted the plague died and arose as the Lich King's willing slaves. The cultists under Kel'Thuzad were eager to die and be raised again in their dark lord's service. They exulted in the prospect of immortality through undeath. As the plague spread, more and more feral zombies arose in the northlands. Kel'Thuzad looked upon the Lich King's growing army and named it the Scourge – for soon, it would march upon the gates of Lordaeron...and scour humanity from the face of the world.
An Heir Apparent...
Though the Dreadlords were pleased that 's true mission had finally begun, the himself brooded within the tight, shadowy confines of the Frozen Throne. Despite his vast psychic powers and his complete dominion over the undead, he longed to be free of his icy prison. He knew that would never release him from his curse. And, due to his great power, he knew that the demons would destroy him as soon as his mission was completed.
Still, he had one chance for freedom – one chance to escape his terrible curse. If he could find a suitable host – some hapless dupe who was torn between darkness and light – he could possess that body and escape the confines of the Frozen Throne forever.
Thus, the Lich King sent his vast consciousness out once again and sought out the perfect host...
Undead Hero Units
While on Draenor, commanded a number of orcish warlocks and spellwielding death knights. Yet, when and the Legion captured these sorcerers after that world's destruction, they were transformed into twisted, spectral aberrations of their former selves. These newly born liches possessed tremendous magical powers, yet their immortal, undead bodies were bound to the iron will of Ner'zhul. As payment for their undying loyalty to Ner'zhul, the granted them control over the furious elements of Northrend. Now, the liches wield frost magic along with their own considerable necromantic spells.
- FROST NOVA
Liches can call upon the freezing energies of Northrend to do their bidding. Using a single enemy as the focal point for their dire spell, liches can cause an explosion of frost to burst from the targeted creature that will damage everything around it. Creatures harmed in this way have trouble moving, incapacitated by the freezing ice that stiffens their joints.
- FROST ARMOR
An allied creature can be encased in a protective armor of ice. Creatures attacking the Frost Armor have difficulty moving due to the jolt of freezing cold that moves through their bodies.
- DARK RITUAL
By destroying one of his own minions, the Lich is able to absorb the energies of his lesser comrade, replenishing his dark magical powers. The lich can absorb the energies of his undead army by casting a Dark Ritual on them. Though this destroys the lich's lesser comrades, it releases their energies back into the lich and replenishes the Lich's power.
- DEATH AND DECAY
The swirling negative energies known as the Death And Decay spell are favored by the liches for their power to decompose, rot and destroy everything within them. Not even the strongest warriors or the most durable structures can stand the full effects of Death And Decay.
Death knights were once heroic, virtuous defenders of humanity. However, they were corrupted by the subtle machinations of the and lured to his dark standard. These former heroes were given untold power and the promise of immortality in exchange for their loyalties. Although they retained their humanity, their twisted souls were bound to the Lich King's will for all time. Bestowed with black, vampiric runeblades and shadowy steeds, death knights now serve as the Scourge's mightiest generals.
- DEATH COIL
Death knights can call upon the forces of darkness at will, causing bolts of death to issue from their hands. While doing considerable damage to the death knights' enemies, the Death Coil also heals their undead brethren.
- DEATH PACT
Through the sacrifice of his followers, a death knight can absorb their unholy energies and convert them into health for himself.
- ANIMATE DEAD
Arguably the death knights' most horrific power is their ability to raise recently slain corpses into an army of the undead, no matter what their allegiance in life may have been. Though they are brought back for a time, the death knights' recalled warriors will eventually fall, never to be raised again.
- UNHOLY AURA
All death knights can learn to exude a dark, raging battle aura that causes allied creatures around them to move and regenerate life more quickly.
Dreadlords are incredibly powerful demons who wield the powers of darkness and mental domination. These cunning, malefic beings once served as the demon 's most trusted lieutenants. Yet, at Kil'jaeden's request, the vampiric Dreadlords were sent to watch over the , , and ensure that he carried out his orders to sow chaos in the mortal world. Though Dreadlords have been known to revel in the gore of single combat, they generally prefer to manipulate and beguile their enemies from the shadows.
- CARRION SWARM
Dreadlords control the creatures of the night, and some of them have even mastered the ability to call swarms of bats and insects to strike at their unsuspecting enemies.
Through the mastery of subversion and hypnosis, Dreadlords have learned to put their enemies into a sudden, trance-like sleep. Though this mystical sleep will wear off in time, a sharp jab from either a friend or an enemy will always awaken the hapless sleeper.
- VAMPIRIC AURA
Those who are fortunate enough to have a powerful Dreadlord as an ally can gain the benefits of his Vampiric Aura. This dark, unholy aura causes the Dreadlord's allies to actually gain life by spilling their enemies' blood.
The Dreadlord marks the pinnacle of his dark powers with the devastating ability to summon a fiery infernal. At his call, the infernal will streak down from the sky, stunning and wounding nearby enemy forces when it crashes to the earth. The infernal, engulfed in searing flame, will then rise to do the dreadlord's bidding.
Acolytes are human beings who have given themselves over to the power of and the Scourge. These bitter, fanatical men and women will stop at nothing to promote the Lich King's will and maintain the secrecy and dominance of the Cult of the Damned. They view their own deaths and the possibility of becoming undead as the ultimate rewards for the service to Ner'zhul.
The unsummoning of buildings allows the acolytes of the Scourge to reduce fully constructed buildings to their base forms of matter and energy. Some of this matter and energy is lost in the conversion, as are most things that are pulled through The Great Dark Beyond.
Acolytes who wish to serve as the eyes and ears of Ner'zhul are capable of shedding their bodies and taking on the forms of invisible Shades.
Ghouls are the basic warriors of the undead Scourge. These lumbering, rotting corpses were once innocent townsfolk who have made the final transition into true undeath. Ghouls have great stamina and revel in combat with living beings. Ghouls are ravenous cannibals who can regenerate their health by eating the flesh of fallen warriors.
Ghouls that are wounded can consume the flesh of the newly dead to replenish their own lost health.
Though they retained their humanity after making their pact with death, necromancers became some of the most terrifying agents of the Scourge. These dark, nefarious men were once thought to be aspiring geniuses by the Magocracy of Dalaran. However, their insatiable lust to delve into the dark arts drove them to forsake their very souls. , the , granted these malevolent sorcerers true power over the dead in exchange for their obedience. The shadowy necromancers have the power to raise skeletal warriors from the grave and bestow a number of dark enchantments upon their fellow warriors.
- RAISE DEAD
Through the powers of Ner'zhul, the corpses of the recently slain can be raised again as skeleton warriors. Though relentless and fearless, these mindless automatons of death soon fall apart and fall to dust.
- UNHOLY FRENZY
With their unholy powers, necromancers can greatly accelerate a creature's movement and attack rates. Those under the influence of this spell find themselves moving so quickly that their bodies begin to burn and ache, slowly dying from the effects of their unholy frenzy.
Drawing dark energies directly from Ner'zhul, necromancers can cause their enemies' muscles to suddenly spasm and quake – leaving them immobile and effectively helpless.
The twisted, mutilated bodies of the abominations are comprised of multiple dead limbs and body parts from many different corpses. These enormous warriors, scarred by loose stitchings and putrid, open sores, love to carve flesh and tear their enemies apart. The slow-moving and dull-witted abominations constantly drip blood and smell like disease-ridden slaughterhouses. They carry large cleavers into combat and wield various sickle-bladed hooks on their disproportionate limbs.
- DISEASE CLOUD
A cloud of festering rotten flesh-vapors follows the abominations wherever they go. The vile cloud is renowned for rotting living flesh upon contact. This nameless disease is often spread to meat wagons, thus allowing the contraptions' rotting ammunition to deal further damage to the enemies of the Scourge.
Banshees were once beautiful female elves who fell before the power of the Scourge. Their restless spirits were left to wander the world in silent, tortured lamentation. Then, the gathered them together and gave them terrible voices so that the living would finally hear their bitter anguish. Thus, the banshees have pledged themselves to 's cause and now serve as valuable agents of the Scourge. On certain nights, when the moon is full, their unnerving, unholy screams can be heard in the icy winds blowing from the north.
By channeling the powers of their unholy screams, banshees can cause their enemies to temporarily lose their honed combat skills. As a result of this terrible curse, the victims of this spell find themselves unable to hit their targets.
- ANTI-MAGIC SHELL
By melding the powers of necromancy and the warped music of their screams, banshees can form protective shells around any creatures. The uncanny "shell" makes those creatures impervious to all magics for a short period of time.
Banshees have an unsettling ability to force their way into the bodies of living creatures, thus replacing the creatures' spirits with their own. While this ability causes the banshees' bodies to dissipate, it does give them permanent control over their new forms.
The dreaded gargoyles of Northrend are voracious flying creatures who revel in slaughter and mayhem. Brought from the frozen north by the armies of the , these strange, wiry flyers have rough, crystalline hides which protect them from all manner of attacks. In times of great peril, gargoyles can land and condense their hides into a stone-like surface. Though they are unable to attack in this state, they can take time to regenerate their wounds and replenish their energies.
- STONE FORM
The voracious gargoyles of Northrend are capable of condensing their crystalline hides to make themselves nearly impervious to any forms of attacks. Though they must land and remain motionless while in this state, Stone Form does allow them to recoup their energies for battle.
The cunning crypt fiends were once the lords of the ancient spider kingdom of Azjol-Nerub that ruled over the arctic land of Northrend in ancient times. However, the destroyed the crypt fiends' civilization and took control of the frozen continent. Now the vile fiends command their spider underlings in the name of their master, . These aberrant creatures are capable of summoning swarms of vile insects and projecting web-like strands to incapacitate and harm their enemies.
The crypt fiends of Azjol-Nerub have always been adept at catching flying creatures in their powerful webbing. Though creatures captured in this webbing will eventually break free and may still defend themselves, they are immobilized while caught in the crypt fiends' webs.
In ages past, venerable dragons nearing death flew to the land of Northrend to die. To this day there are entire dragon graveyards littered with massive petrified bones and skulls. When , the , took control of Northrend, he used his powerful magics to raise the ancient dragon skeletons from the dead. Now the skeletal dragons radiate cold power and think of nothing other than serving their dark master. Frost wyrms have a cold-based breath weapon that can shatter entire buildings. They are also quite fond of devouring their hapless enemies whole.
- FREEZING BREATH
Ner'zhul's vicious frost wyrms hold the frosts of Northrend within their skeletal hearts. By inhaling a great deal of air, frost wyrms can expel blasts of freezing cold so extreme, that they pull all the moisture from the air around a building and freezes it solid.
One of the strangest and most dire tools utilized by the Scourge is the dreaded meat wagon. This rickety contraption is used to collect and store recently slain corpses from the field of battle. At any time, corpses can be pulled from the meat wagon and raised into undead warriors. When upgraded, the Meat Wagon can also fling diseased corpses at enemy units with its crude catapult device. An invaluable support vehicle for the Scourge, the meat wagon strikes fear and woe into the hearts of even the most resolute defenders.
Called forth from the grave by the insidious necromancers, skeletal warriors are mindless slaves of the Lich King's powers. These lumbering fighters are highly resilient and tireless. When operating in great numbers, skeleton warriors serve as an invaluable part of the Scourge's combat force.
Called forth from the depths of the sacrificial pits, shades are vile, wraith-like creatures who exist only to serve their dark lord, . The invisible shades are virtually undetectable by normal sight, making them ideal scouts and spies for the Scourge. Though they cannot attack the living, they are still considered valuable assets to the Lich King's forces.
The necropolis serves as the central command structure of the undead army. Lumber harvested by ghouls is processed and loyal acolytes train for tasks from their undead masters. Even when unattended, the vengeful spirits of the dead protect the necropolis from enemy attackers. In time this structure can be further modified to become the halls of the dead.
At this site, undead minions are summoned into the service of the Scourge. Here gargoyles are made animate and given deadly attack capabilities. Ghouls are trained to cannibalizing fallen foes to renew strength. Crypt fiends are empowered to cast their inescapable webs.
Servants of the Undead tirelessly study the arcane arts in an effort to imbue weapons and armor with unholy power. The graveyard, like the necropolis, is able to process lumber for weapon and armor construction. This building also pulls fresh corpses from deep within the earth, exhuming them for use by the vile necromancers.
These towers of the ancient spider kingdom of Azjol-Nerub are called into service once again to provide a source of raw energy for undead forces. Several ziggurats are required to sustain a high number of Scourge warriors. In time, these towers can be further empowered to provide protection.
Once infused with the restless spirits of the vengeful dead, spirit towers present a formidable defense. The wraiths of the tower attack with supernatural efficiency, and quickly add enemy forces to the ranks of dead. Multiple towers in an undead city will chill the heart of even the most courageous foe.
As the presence of the Undead in the living world grows stronger, further modifications to the command structure become necessary. Transforming a necropolis into the halls of the dead gives the Scourge power to raise more ancient structures and advance their cruel efficiency. With continued advancement, the halls of the dead may be further modified.
Once used by the orcish horde to channel demonic energies, the Scourge has now reclaimed this powerful edifice. From the Temple the insidious necromancers emerge to animate fallen corpses and the tormented spirits of the banshees are called into service.
Meat at the slaughterhouse is used to serve the twisted purpose of the malevolent Scourge. Grotesque, monstrous abominations are pieced together and instilled with the single purpose of killing. Meat wagons are constructed to lob plague-infected body parts at the enemy.
This structure serves as a channeling nexus for the Scourge's dark restorative powers. When a hero falls in battle, his essence may be recalled to this site, where it is given new, unholy life. Provided that the building stands and resources are sufficient, undead heroes will not stay dead for long.
When the powers of the Undead in the living world become fully manifested, further modifications to the halls of the dead become necessary. Building of the black citadel allows the Scourge to operate at peak efficiency. Along with this modification comes increased fortification, making the black citadel a truly formidable stronghold.
The boneyard is the home of the frost wyrms, once magnificent dragons now reduced to skeletal frames, manipulated by the dark magic of the Scourge to serve the . Frost wyrms have a crippling ability to cast their freezing breath onto enemy forces and buildings. In large numbers, frost wyrms present a truly dominating force.
The sacrificial pits of Azjol-Nerub were used long ago to sacrifice enemy forces in exchange for success in battle. Undead forces may be sacrificed at this location to call forth a shade, an invisible wraith capable of spying on the enemy, detectable only through magic.
Night Elves: the Sentinels
Night Elf History
The Kaldorei and the Well of Eternity
Ten thousand years before the orcs and humans clashed in their First War, the world of Azeroth cradled only one massive continent surrounded by the infinite, raging seas. That land mass, known as Kalimdor, was home to a number of disparate races and creatures, all vying for survival amongst the savage elements of the waking world. At the dark continent's center was a mysterious lake of incandescent energies. The lake, which would later be called the Well of Eternity, was the true heart of the world's magic and natural power. Drawing its energies from the infinite Great Dark beyond the world, the Well acted as a mystical fount, sending its potent energies out across the world to nourish life in all its wondrous forms.
In time, a primitive tribe of nocturnal humanoids cautiously made their way to the edges of the mesmerizing, enchanted lake. The feral, nomadic humanoids, drawn by the Well's strange energies, built crude homes upon its tranquil shores. Over time, the Well's cosmic power affected the strange tribe, making them strong, wise and virtually immortal. The tribe adopted the name Kaldorei, which meant "children of the stars" in their native tongue. To celebrate their budding society, they constructed great structures and temples around the lake's periphery.
The Kaldorei, or night elves as they would later be known, worshipped the moon goddess, , and believed that she slept within the Well's shimmering depths during the daylight hours. The early night elf priests and seers studied the Well with an insatiable curiosity, driven to plumb its untold secrets and power. As their society grew, the night elves explored the breadth of Kalimdor and encountered its myriad denizens. The only creatures that gave them pause were the ancient and powerful dragons. Though the great serpentine beasts were often reclusive, they did much to safeguard the known lands from potential threats. The night elves believed that the dragons held themselves to be the protectors of the world, and that they and their secrets were best left alone.
In time, the night elves' curiosity led them to meet and befriend a number of powerful entities, not the least of which was , a mighty demi-god of the primordial forestlands. The great-hearted Cenarius grew fond of the inquisitive night elves and spent a great deal of time teaching them about the natural world. The tranquil Kaldorei developed a strong empathy for the living forests of Kalimdor and reveled in the harmonious balance of nature.
Yet, as the seemingly endless ages passed, the night elves' civilization expanded both territorially and culturally. Their temples, roads, and dwelling places stretched across the breadth of the dark continent. Azshara, the night elves' beautiful and gifted Queen, built an immense, wondrous palace on the Well's shore that housed her favored servitors within its bejeweled halls. Her servitors, whom she called the Quel'dorei or "high-borne," doted on her every command and believed themselves to be greater than the rest of their lower-caste brethren. Though Queen Azshara was loved equally by all of her people, the high-borne were secretly hated by the jealous masses.
Sharing the priests' curiosity towards the Well of Eternity, Azshara ordered the educated high-borne to plumb its secrets and reveal its true purpose in the world. The high-borne buried themselves in their work and studied the Well ceaselessly. In time they developed the ability to manipulate and control the Well's cosmic energies. As their reckless experiments progressed, the high-borne found that they could use their newfound powers to either create or destroy at their leisure. The hapless high-borne had stumbled upon primitive magic and were now resolved to devote themselves to its mastery. Although they agreed that magic was inherently dangerous if handled irresponsibly, Azshara and her high-borne began to practice their spellcraft with reckless abandon. Cenarius and many of the wizened night elf scholars warned that only calamity would result from toying with the clearly volatile arts of magic. But, Azshara and her followers stubbornly continued to expand their burgeoning powers.
As their powers grew, a distinct change came over Azshara and the high-borne. The haughty, aloof upper class became increasingly callous and cruel towards their fellow night elves. A dark, brooding pall veiled Azshara's once entrancing beauty. She began to withdraw from her loving subjects and refused to interact with any but her trusted high-borne priests.
A young, brazen scholar named Furion Stormrage, who had spent much of his time studying the Well's effects, began to suspect that a terrible power was corrupting the high-borne and his beloved Queen. Though he could not conceive the evil that was to come, he knew that the night elves' lives would soon be changed forever...
The high-borne's reckless use of magic sent ripples of energy spiraling out from the Well of Eternity and into the Great Dark Beyond. The ripples of energy streamed out into the Twisting Nether and were felt by terrible alien minds. , the Great Enemy of all life, the Ravager of Worlds, felt the potent ripples and was drawn to their distant point of origin. Spying the primordial world of Azeroth and sensing the limitless energies of the Well of Eternity, Sargeras was consumed by an insatiable hunger. The great, dark god of the Nameless Void resolved to destroy the fledgling world and claim its energies as his own. Sargeras gathered his vast, demonic army, known as the Burning Legion, and made his way towards the unsuspecting world of Azeroth. The Legion, comprised of a million screaming demons, all ripped from the far corners of the universe, roiled and burned at the thought of conquest. Sargeras' lieutenants, the Defiler and the Destructor, prepared their infernal minions to strike.
, overwhelmed by the terrible ecstasy of her magic, fell victim to Sargeras' undeniable power, and agreed to grant him entrance to her world. Even her high-borne servitors gave themselves over to magic's inevitable corruption and began to worship Sargeras as their god. To show their allegiance to the Legion, the high-borne aided their Queen in opening a great, swirling portal within the depths of the Well of Eternity.
Once all his preparations had been made, Sargeras began his catastrophic invasion of Azeroth. The warrior-demons of the Burning Legion stormed into the world through the Well of Eternity and laid siege to the night elves' sleeping cities. Led by Archimonde and Mannoroth, the Legion swarmed over the lands of Kalimdor leaving only ash and sorrow in its wake. The demon warlocks called down the searing Infernals that crashed, like hellish meteors, into the graceful spires of Kalimdor's temples. The Doomguard, a band of burning, bloodletting killers, marched across Kalimdor's fields slaughtering everyone in their path. Even packs of wild, demonic Felhounds ravaged the countryside, unopposed. Though the brave Kaldorei warriors rushed to defend their ancient homeland, they were forced to give ground, inch by inch, before the fury of the Legion's onslaught.
The Sundering of the World
It fell to the young scholar, Furion Stormrage, to find help for his beleaguered people. Stormrage, whose own brother, Illidan, practiced the high-borne's magics, was incensed by the growing corruption amongst the upper class. Convincing Illidan to forsake his dangerous obsession, Furion set out to find and muster a resistance force. The young, beautiful priestess, Tyrande, agreed to accompany the brothers in the name of . Though both Furion and Illidan shared a secret love for the idealistic priestess, Tyrande's heart belonged to Furion alone. Illidan resented his brother's budding romance with Tyrande, but knew that his heartache was nothing compared to the pain of his magical addiction...
Illidan, who had grown dependent on magic's empowering energies, struggled to keep control of himself and his overwhelming hunger to tap the Well's energies once again. However, with Tyrande's patient support, he was able to contain himself and help his brother find the reclusive demi-god, Cenarius. Cenarius, who dwelt within the sacred Moonglades of the distant Mount Hyjal, agreed to help the night elves by finding the ancient dragons and enlisting their aid. The dragons, led by the great, red leviathan, , agreed to send their mighty flights to engage the demons and their infernal masters.
Cenarius, calling on the spirits of the enchanted forests, rallied an army of ancient tree-men and led them against the Legion in a daring ground assault. As the night elves' allies converged upon Azshara's temple and the Well of Eternity, all-out warfare erupted. Despite the strength of their newfound allies, Furion and his colleagues realized that the Legion could not be defeated by martial strength alone.
As the titanic battle raged around Azshara's capital city, the delusional Queen waited in anticipation for ' arrival. The Lord of the Legion was preparing to pass through the Well of Eternity and enter the ravaged world. As his impossibly huge shadow drew ever closer to the Well's raging surface, Azshara gathered the most powerful of her high-borne followers. Only by linking their magics together, in one focused spell, would they be able to create a gateway large enough for Sargeras to enter.
Furion, convinced that the Well of Eternity was the demons' umbilical link to the physical world, insisted that it should be destroyed. His companions, knowing that the Well was the source of their immortality and powers, were shocked by the rash notion. Yet Tyrande, seeing the wisdom of Furion's theory, convinced Cenarius and their dragon comrades to storm Azshara's temple and find a way to shut the Well down for good.
Knowing that the Well's destruction would prevent him from ever wielding magic again, Illidan selfishly abandoned the group and set out to warn the high-borne of Furion's plan. Due to the madness brought on by his addiction and the stinging resentment towards his brother's affair with Tyrande, Illidan felt no remorse at betraying Furion and siding with Azshara and her ilk. Above all else, Illidan vowed to protect the Well's power by any means necessary.
Heartbroken by his brother's departure, Furion led his companions into the heart of Azshara's temple. Yet, as they stormed into the main audience chamber, they found the high-borne in the midst of their final dark incantation. The raging communal spell created an unstable vortex of power within the Well's raging depths. As Sargeras' ominous shadow drew ever closer to the surface, Furion and his allies rushed to attack.
Azshara, having received Illidan's warning, was more than prepared for them. Nearly all of Furion's followers fell before the mad Queen's raging powers. Tyrande, attempting to attack Azshara from behind, was caught off guard by the Queen's high-borne guardsmen. Though she vanquished the guardsmen, Tyrande suffered grievous wounds at their hands. At seeing his love fall, Furion went into a murderous rage and resolved to end Azshara's life.
As the battle raged inside and outside of the temple, Illidan appeared from the shadows near the shores of the great Well. Producing a set of specially crafted vials, Illidan knelt and filled each with the Well's shimmering waters. Convinced that the demons would crush the night elves' civilization, he planned to steal the sacred waters and keep their energies for himself.
The ensuing battle between Furion and Azshara threw the high-borne's carefully crafted spellwork into chaos. The unstable vortex within the Well's depths finally exploded and ignited a catastrophic chain of events that would sunder the world forever. The massive explosion rocked the temple to its foundations and sent massive quakes ripping through the tortured earth. As the horrific battle between the Legion and the night elves' allies raged around and above the ruined capital city, the surging Well of Eternity buckled in upon itself and collapsed.
The resultant catastrophic explosion shattered the earth and blotted out the skies...
Mount Hyjal and Illidan's Gift
As the aftershocks from the Well's implosion rattled the bones of the world, the seas rushed in to fill the gaping wound left in the earth. Nearly eighty percent of Kalimdor's landmass had been blasted apart, leaving only a handful of separate continents surrounding the new, raging sea. At the center of the new sea, where the Well of Eternity once stood, was a tumultuous storm of tidal fury and chaotic energies. This terrible scar, known as the Maelstrom, would never cease its furious spinning. It would remain a constant reminder of the terrible catastrophe and the utopian era that had been lost forever...
The few night elves that survived the horrific explosion rallied together on crudely made rafts and slowly made their way to the only landmass in sight. Somehow, by the graces of , Furion, Tyrande and had survived the Great Sundering. The weary heroes agreed to lead their fellow survivors and establish a new home for their people. As they journeyed in silence, they surveyed the wreckage of their world and realized that their passions had wrought the destruction all around them. Though and his Legion had been ripped from the world by the Well's destruction, Furion and his companions were left to ponder the terrible cost of victory.
It was clear that Azshara and her elite high-borne followers had been smashed to the bottom of the raging sea. Still, there were many high-borne amongst the survivors who made their way to the shores of the new land. Though Furion mistrusted the high-bornes' motivations, he was satisfied that they could cause no real mischief without the Well's energies.
As the weary mass of night elves landed upon the shores of the new land, they found that the holy mountain, Hyjal, had survived the catastrophe. Seeking to establish a new home for themselves, Furion and the night elves climbed the slopes of Hyjal and reached its windswept summit. As they descended into the wooded bowl, nestled between the mountain's enormous peaks, they found a small, tranquil lake. To their horror, they found that the lake's waters had been fouled – by magic.
Illidan, having survived the Sundering as well, had reached Hyjal summit long before Furion and the night elves. In his mad bid to maintain the flows of magic in the world, Illidan had poured his vials, containing the precious waters from the Well of Eternity, into the mountain lake. The Well's potent energies quickly ignited and coalesced into a new Well of Eternity. The exultant Illidan, believing that the new Well was a gift to future generations, was shocked when Furion hunted him down. Furion explained to his brother that magic was innately chaotic and that its use would inevitably lead to widespread corruption and strife. Still, Illidan refused to relinquish his magical powers.
Knowing full well where Illidan's treacherous schemes would eventually lead, Furion decided to deal with his power-crazed brother once and for all. With Cenarius' help, Furion sealed Illidan within a vast underground chamber – to remain chained and powerless until the end of time. Concerned that destroying the new Well might bring about an even greater catastrophe, the night elves resolved to leave it be. However, Furion declared that they would never practice the arts of magic again. Under Cenarius' watchful eye, they began to study the ancient arts of druidism that would enable them to heal the ravaged earth and re-grow their beloved forests at the base of Mount Hyjal.
The World Tree and the Emerald Dream
For many years, the night elves worked tirelessly to rebuild what they could of their ancient homeland. Leaving their broken temples and roads to be overgrown, they constructed their new homes amidst the verdant trees and shadowed hills at Hyjal's base. In time, the dragons that had survived the great Sundering came forth from their secret abodes.
the red, the green, and the bronze descended upon the druids' tranquil glades and surveyed the fruits of the night elves' labors. Furion, who had become an arch-druid of immense power, greeted the mighty dragons and told them about the creation of the new Well of Eternity. The great dragons were alarmed to hear the dark news and speculated that as long as the Well remained, the Legion might one day return and assault the world once again.
Furion and the three dragons made a pact to keep the Well safe and ensure that the agents of the Burning Legion would never find their way back into the world.
Alexstrasza, the Life-Giver, placed a single, enchanted acorn within the heart of the Well of Eternity. The acorn, activated by the potent, magical waters, sprung to life as a colossal tree. The mighty tree's roots grew from the Well's waters and its verdant canopy seemed to scrape the roof of the sky. The immense tree would be an everlasting symbol of the night elves' bond with nature, and its life-giving energies would extend out to heal the rest of the world over time. The night elves' named their World Tree, Nordrassil, which meant "crown of the heavens" in their native tongue.
Nozdormu, the Timeless, placed an enchantment upon the World Tree that ensured that as long as the colossal tree stood, the night elves would never age or fall prey to sickness or disease.
Ysera, the Dreamer, also placed an enchantment upon the World Tree by linking it to her own realm, the ethereal dimension known as the Emerald Dream. The Emerald Dream, a vast, ever-changing spirit world, existed outside the boundaries of the physical world. From the Dream, Ysera regulated the ebb and flow of nature and the evolutionary path of the world itself. The night elf druids, including Furion himself, were bound to the Dream through the World Tree. As part of the mystical pact, the druids agreed to sleep for centuries at a time so that their spirits could roam the infinite paths of Ysera's Dreamways. Though the druids were wary of losing so many years of their lives to hibernation, they selflessly agreed to uphold their bargain with Ysera.
Exile of the High Elves
As the centuries passed, the night elves' new society grew strong and expanded throughout the budding forest that they came to call Ashenvale. Many of the creatures and species that were abundant before the Great Sundering, such as furbolgs and quilboars, reappeared and flourished in the land. Under the druids' benevolent leadership, the night elves enjoyed an era of unprecedented peace and tranquility under the stars.
However, many of the original high-borne survivors grew restless. Like Illidan before them, they fell victim to the withdrawal that came from the loss of their coveted magics. They were tempted, once again, to tap the energies of the Well of Eternity and exult in their magical practices. Dath'Remar, the brash, outspoken leader of the high-borne, began to mock the druids publicly – calling them cowards for refusing to wield the magic that was theirs by right. Furion and the druids chaffed of Dath'Remar's arguments and warned the high-borne that any use of magic would be punishable by death. In their insolence, Dath'Remar and his followers unleashed a terrible magical storm upon Ashenvale in an ill-fated attempt to convince the druids to rescind their law.
The druids, unable to bring themselves to slaughter so many of their kin, decided to exile the reckless high-borne from their lands. Dath'Remar and his followers, glad to be rid of their conservative cousins at last, boarded a number of specially crafted ships and set sail upon the seas. Though none of them knew what awaited them beyond the waters of the raging Maelstrom, they were eager to establish their own homeland where they could practice their coveted magics with impunity. The high-borne, or 'Quel'dorei' as Azshara had named them in ages past, would eventually set shore upon the eastern land men would call Lordaeron. They planned to build their own magical kingdom - Quel'Thalas - and reject the night elves' precepts of moon worship and nocturnal activity. Forever after, they would be known only as the "high elves."
The Sentinels and the Long Vigil
With the departure of their wayward cousins, the night elves turned their attention back to the safekeeping of their enchanted homeland. The druids, sensing their time of hibernation nearing once again, prepared to sleep and leave their loved ones and families behind. Tyrande, who had become the First priestess of , asked her love, Furion, not to leave her for 's Emerald Dream. But, Furion, honor bound to enter the changing Dreamways, bid the priestess good-bye and swore that they would never be apart so long as they held true to their love.
Tyrande, left alone to protect Kalimdor from the dangers of the new world, assembled a powerful fighting force from amongst her night elf sisters. The fearless, highly trained warrior women who pledged themselves to Kalimdor's defense became known as the Sentinels. Though they preferred to patrol the shadowy forests of Ashenvale alone, they had many allies upon which they could call in times of urgency.
The demigod, , remained nearby in the Moonglades of Mount Hyjal. His sons, known as the Keepers of the Grove, kept close watch on the night elves' land and regularly helped the Sentinels maintain peace in the land. Even Cenarius' shy daughters, the dryads, appeared in the open with increasing frequency.
Though the task of policing Ashenvale kept her busy, Tyrande felt lost and alone without Furion at her side. As the long centuries passed while the druids slept, her fears of a second demonic invasion grew more palpable. She could not shake the unnerving feeling that perhaps the Burning Legion was still out there, beyond the Great Dark of the sky plotting its revenge upon the night elves and the world of Azeroth.
Night Elf Hero Units
The enchanted keepers are the favored sons of the demigod, . Like their lesser dryad sisters, the keepers appear to be half night elf and half stag. They have enormous antlers and manes of leaves that flow down their backs. Their right hands are disfigured and twisted like the gnarled rootclaws of the treants. Keepers possess many strange powers over nature and the animals. Though they typically remain within the sacred Moon Glades of Mount Hyjal, the keepers always heed the call to arms when the lands of Kalimdor are threatened.
- ENTANGLING ROOTS
The sons of Cenarius are favored with the ability to cause roots to erupt from the ground and entrap enemy forces. These roots not only keep the enemy immobile, but also inflict damage.
- FORCE OF NATURE
This ability allows the keeper to call forth allies from the surrounding forest. These stout treants will do as the keeper wills until the magic that animates them expires and the trees return once more to the earth.
- THORNS AURA
While this aura is active, any forces that engage the keeper or his allies in hand to hand combat will be damaged by a druidic flurry of razor sharp thorns and brambles.
In a demonstration of his ultimate communion with nature, the keeper may call down a mighty shower of rain that will restore health to all friendly forces within its range for its entire duration. The keeper is also healed by the majestic powers of nature that are unleashed.
The fearless leaders of the Sentinel army, the priestesses of the moon epitomize the power and grace of their race's ancient moon goddess, . The priestesses, equipped with silvery, glowing armor, ride the fearless Frostsaber tigers of Winterspring into battle. Charged with the safekeeping of the night elf lands and armed with magical energy bows, the priestesses will stop at nothing to rid their ancient land of evil.
Empowered by the goddess Elune, night elf warriors possess the ability to completely blend in with their surroundings between sunset and sunrise, rendering them invisible to their enemy. This effect, however, can only be achieved while the warriors are standing completely still.
The scout is an owl that may be sent to any area of the map for observation purposes and to reveal invisible enemies. The owl will only reveal for a limited amount of time.
- SEARING ARROWS
Calling upon the powers of the Moon Goddess Elune to imbue her arrows with searing magical energy, the priestess is able to fire deadly volleys at any foe.
- TRUESHOT AURA
The commanding presence of the priestess boosts the morale of her warriors, enabling their attacks to strike with heightened accuracy and power.
At the peak of her experience, the priestess may call down a furious shower of falling stars that cause massive destruction amongst enemy forces. This catastrophic power, given to the priestess by Elune herself, achieves its full duration as long as the priestess stays in the spell's vicinity.
Demon hunters are dark, shadowy warriors who are shunned by the greater night elf society. They made a pact, long ago, to fight against the forces of chaos using its own terrible powers against it. These mysterious warriors ritually blind themselves so that they develop spectral sight that enables them to see demons and undead with greater clarity. They wield demonically charged warblades in battle and even call upon demonic energies to augment their formidable combat skills. Although they are counted as some of the mightiest warriors within the night elves' society, the demon hunters are always maligned and misunderstood for making their selfless pact with darkness.
With evasion, the demon hunter gains the advantage of being able to dodge enemy strikes. Although this does not work against every strike, it is nonetheless a powerful defensive tactic.
The demon hunter's mastery of dark powers allows him to create a fiery shell around his body that inflicts damage on nearby enemies. This ability, however, takes tremendous concentration to use and will quickly drain the demon hunter of power if used too often.
- MANA BURN
The demon hunter may channel his demonic energies into a bolt of negative energy that will burn away an enemy's mana reserves.
At the height of his powers, the demon hunter may change into demon form for a limited amount of time. While in this form the demon hunter not only possesses the ability to hurl fireballs, but also enjoys increased regeneration and health.
Night Elf Units
Wisps are ancient spirits of nature that inhabit the forestlands of Kalimdor. Legends say that Wisps are actually the disembodied spirits of deceased night elves, but these rumors have yet to be proven. The wisps act in unison with the night elves and serve to strengthen the demigod-like trees known as the Ancients. Beckoned by the night elves, Wisps are capable of animating various trees and expanding themselves into rough-hewn structures of living wood and stone.
All Wisps possess the ability to self-terminate, negating any magical effects in the immediate area, and draining enemy forces within the vicinity of mana.
Archers compose the first rank of the Sentinel army. These brave warrior women are expert marksmen and use the concealing forests of Kalimdor to their advantage. Their lightning-quick ambushes are legendary, for few warriors can match the proud archers' speed and cunning. Like all night elf women, archers have the ability to Shadowmeld at night.
Empowered by the goddess , night elf warriors possess the ability to completely blend in with their surroundings between sunset and sunrise, rendering them invisible to their enemy. This effect, however, can only be achieved while the warriors are standing completely still.
Huntresses are the elite cadre of the Sentinel army. Drawing their strength from the moon goddess, , these warrior women ride the feral Nightsaber panthers into battle. Huntresses are strong and swift, and merciless to those who would defile the sanctity of Ashenvale Forest. Like all night elf women, Huntresses are able to Shadowmeld at night.
Empowered by the goddess Elune, night elf warriors possess the ability to completely blend in with their surroundings between sunset and sunrise, rendering them invisible to their enemy. This effect, however, can only be achieved while the warriors are standing completely still.
This ability enables the huntress to see through the eyes of her owl familiar, allowing her to spy on enemy positions. The owl will perch at a tree permanently, unless the tree is destroyed.
The enchanted dryads are the daughters of the demigod, . The playful, frolicking creatures vaguely resemble centaurs (their cursed cousins), but have bodies more akin to woodland fauns. Swift and sure, the dryads are at peace with all of the children of the forest. Though they abhor unnecessary violence, the dryads will defend the wildlands of Kalimdor with their lives if need be.
- ABOLISH MAGIC
The daughters of Cenarius can gain the ability to abolish all harmful magic and undo the works of enemy sorcerers who recklessly wield their powers in an affront to nature.
- MAGIC IMMUNITY
With this ability, the dryad herself is immune to magic in all forms. This is an innate ability that does not rely upon stored mana and does not diminish over time.
These ancient druids have adopted the totem of the bear and use the powers of their totem to defend their society from any external threats. When not in hibernation, they are fond of assuming bear form and roaming in seclusion throughout the wildlands of Kalimdor. When riled, the druids of the claw display ferocious power and stamina. Their magical spells augment their allies' fighting skills and bravery as well.
- BEAR FORM
The power of their spirit totem allows the druids of the claw to assume the form of a mighty bear. In battle, the ferocity of these beasts is legendary.
This power allows the druid of the claw to heal over time. This ability may be used on the druid himself, or on nearby allies who have been wounded over the course of battle.
Tapping into the primal forces of nature and the raw power of his totem, the druid of the claw can roar during battle, encouraging his allies to inflict increased damage upon the enemy.
These secretive druids have adopted the totem of the storm crow. Their primary role in society is information gathering and intelligence. They have the ability to transform into storm crows and fly over the field of battle to scout and deliver orders to distant troops. Their magical abilities are capable of channeling even the winds to fight against the enemies of Kalimdor.
- CROW FORM
The druid of the talon may use the power of his spirit totem to transform into a giant storm crow. While in this form, the druid can fly, enabling him to cross almost any terrain.
Using his totem's power to channel the chaotic forces of the wind, the druid of the talon may create a furious cyclone that will lift enemy forces high into the air and then drop them back onto the ground, where they will be slowed for a limited amount of time.
- FAERIE FIRE
This ability, when cast, strips an enemy unit of its armor for a limited duration of time. While the spell is active, the druid may observe the enemy no matter how great a distance may separate them.
Treants are enormous enchanted beings whose bodies are born of the living trees of Kalimdor. They guard the forests of Kalimdor and are counted as some of the eldest beings alive. Treants are tremendously strong and resilient to even the strongest blows. In time of peril, they can be seen emerging from their shadowy forests to protect the land from evil and corruption.
Hippogryphs are ancient, magical beasts whose bodies resemble both stags and ravens. They patrol the skies above Kalimdor and viciously attack any enemies of the wilds that they encounter. The intelligent hippogryphs have given their allegiance to the night elves in honor of , demigod, who stands as the protector of nature and all of its creatures.
In the heat of battle, night elf archers can call upon the mighty hippogryphs to carry them into the air. The archers who mount the flying beasts are capable of firing their arrows from the hippogryphs' backs. The brave creatures respond to the female riders as if they shared an empathic bond.
The mysterious chimaeras of Ashenvale Forest are deadly, territorial beasts who have developed an empathic bond with the night elf race. The fearsome, two-headed chimaeras fly above the dark forests spewing forth their terrible breath upon all who would defy the sanctity of Kalimdor. Just the sight of these dark, massive beasts is enough to drive most enemies to retreat.
Crafted from the sturdy ashenwood trees, the night elves' ballistae are deadly siege machines built to fling heavy bolts of ironwood at both enemy forces and structures. Ballistae are considered an invaluable asset to the night elf Sentinels due to their mobility and accuracy in tense combat situations.
Night Elf Structures
The mighty tree of life is an enchanted sapling of the World Tree, Nordrassil, from which the night elves draw their life energies. This mysterious ancient is the key to the night elves' immortality and harmonious coexistence with nature. Nordrassil's energy, channeled through the tree of life, allows the night elves to benefit from its powers regardless of the vast distances that might separate them.
- EAT TREE
The night elf ancients possess the ability to consume nearby trees to restore vital health. When ancients are being attacked, resorting to this technique can prove to be a powerful healing tactic.
All ancients may root and uproot. This ability provides the ancients with the mobility to either attack or relocate when the need arises.
- ENTANGLE GOLD MINE
It is necessary for the tree of life to entangle a gold mine with its massive roots before nearby wisps will be able to harvest from it. As long as the mine is entangled, gold from the mine may be processed to fuel the night elf economy.
Moon Wells are hallowed repositories of the sacred waters of the Well of Eternity, the pool of energy that gives life to the mystical World Tree. When additional water is added, these wells nourish the night elf troops with their life sustaining waters. Additional moon wells become necessary as the night elf forces grow in number.
- REPLENISH MANA AND LIFE
Using the concentrated waters of the Well of Eternity, Moon Wells can replenish both the mana and health of friendly forces that drink from it. At nighttime, the well's waters regenerate to be used again the next day.
Embodied in this ancient guardian are the spirits of courage and determination that are necessary to propel the will of the night elves. Calling upon the long-forgotten energies of conflicts from ages past, this guardian provides a link to the brutal side of nature and the cycle of life and death that rules all creation.
- EAT TREE
The night elf ancients possess the ability to consume nearby trees to restore vital health. When being attacked, resorting to this technique can prove to be a powerful healing tactic.
All ancients may root and uproot. This ability provides the ancients with the mobility to either attack or relocate when the need arises.
This hall is a place where the materials of war are imbued with the night elves' mystical enhancements. Wood and steel are fashioned into the stout armor using established traditions and methods stretching back thousands of years, as the spirits of the Ancient Guardians are invoked and their blessings bestowed upon each completed work.
The early purpose of these primeval guardians was to defend the resting places of the druids as they slept. Called now into service for the Third War, these wardens dedicate their existence to the defense of their brethren and the forested lands of Ashenvale. These mighty ancients can also hurl enormous boulders at any enemies who threaten the tranquility of the night elves' villages.
- EAT TREE
The night elf ancients possess the ability to consume nearby trees to restore vital health. When being attacked, resorting to this technique can prove to be a powerful healing tactic.
All ancients may root and uproot. This ability provides the ancients with the mobility to either attack or relocate when the need arises.
With the passage of time, a tree of life may grow into a tree of ages, tempering the balance of nature and forging a bond strong enough to allow advanced development within the night elf community. With this evolution comes increased knowledge, wisdom and awareness.
- EAT TREE
The night elf ancients possess the ability to consume nearby trees to restore vital health. When being attacked, resorting to this technique can prove to be a powerful healing tactic.
Ancients of the wind are able to tap into the more feral side of nature. The ancient of the wind allows contact with the stoic druids of the talon. This site also provides a location for the taming of the mighty hippogryphs.
- EAT TREE
The ancients of lore are the keepers of wisdom, and the living keys necessary to unlock nature's most guarded secrets. Contact with the venerated druids of the claw is only made possible through the existence of this enlightened sentinel. The knowledge of this ancient is necessary also to enable communion with the enigmatic, free-spirited dryads.
- EAT TREE
So powerful is the night elf bond with nature, that even upon their death, their life energies may be recalled, and their spirit made tangible in the waking world once again. For this to occur, a nexus must be constructed, a channeling place to collect and restore life energies. This place is the altar of elders.
Once a tree of ages reaches its full maturity, it evolves into a tree of eternity. This is the highest level of growth, and the strongest possible bond with the World Tree and the Well of Eternity. At this point the night elf community is at its height, drawing freely from the tree's nearly unlimited power.
Only with the evolution of the tree of eternity do the feral chimaeras feel content to allow for training and enhancement through night elf intervention. This kinship is necessary to fully realize the benefits of the chimaera alliance.
Origin of the Burning Legion
The Titans and the Ordering
No one knows exactly how the universe began. Some theorize that a catastrophic cosmic explosion sent the infinite worlds spinning out into the vastness of the Great Dark – worlds that would one day bear life-forms of wondrous and terrible diversity. Others believe that the universe, at it exists, was created as a whole by a singular, all-powerful entity. Though the exact origins of the chaotic universe remain unclear, it is clear that a race of powerful beings arose to bring order to the various worlds and ensure a safe future for the beings that would follow in their footsteps.
The Titans, colossal, metallic-skinned gods from the far reaches of the cosmos, came forward and set to work on the worlds they encountered. They shaped the form of their worlds by raising mighty mountains and dredging out vast seas. They breathed skies and raging atmospheres into being – all part of their unfathomable, far-sighted plan to create order out of chaos. They even empowered primitive races to tend to their works and maintain the integrity of their respective worlds.
The Titans, ruled by an elite sect known as the Pantheon, brought order to a hundred million worlds scattered throughout the Great Dark Beyond during the first ages of creation. The benevolent Pantheon, seeking to safeguard their structured worlds, was ever vigilant against the threat of attack from the vile, extra-dimensional entities of the Twisting Nether. The Nether, an ethereal dimension of chaotic magics that connected the myriad worlds of the universe together, was home to an infinite number of malefic, demonic beings, who sought only to destroy life and devour the energies of the living universe. The pure-hearted, altruistic Titans, unable to conceive of evil or wickedness in any form, struggled to find a way to end the demons' constant threat.
Sargeras and the Betrayal
To combat the demonic entities that made their way into the Titans' worlds from the Twisting Nether, the Pantheon elected their greatest warrior, , to act as their first line of defense. Sargeras, a noble giant of molten bronze, carried out his duties for countless millennia, seeking out and destroying the demons wherever he could find them. Over the eons, Sargeras encountered two powerful demonic races, both of which were bent on gaining power and dominance over the physical universe.
The Eredar, an insidious race of devilish sorcerers, used their warlock magics to enslave a number of worlds that they had invaded. The indigenous races of those worlds were mutated by the Eredar's chaotic powers and turned into demons themselves. Though Sargeras' nearly limitless powers were more than enough to defeat the vile Eredar, he was greatly troubled by the creatures' corruption and all-consuming evil. Unable to fathom such depravity and spite, the great Titan slipped into a brooding depression. Despite his growing unease, Sargeras sought to rid the universe of the warlocks for all time, by trapping them within a vacuous corner of the Twisting Nether.
As his confusion and depression deepened, Sargeras was forced to contend with another group intent on disrupting the Titans' order. The Nathrezim, a dark race of vampiric demons (also known as Dreadlords) set out to conquer a populated world by possessing its inhabitants and turning them to the shadow. The nefarious, scheming Dreadlords had turned whole nations against one another by manipulating them through unthinking hatred and mistrust. Though Sargeras defeated the Nathrezim easily, their corruption affected him deeply.
The noble Sargeras, unable to process the raging doubt and despair that overwhelmed his senses, lost all faith in not only his mission, but the Titans' vision of an ordered universe, as well. Sargeras began to believe that the concept of order itself was folly – and that chaos and depravity were the only absolutes within the dark, lonely universe. Though his fellow Titans tried to persuade him of his error and console his raging emotions, he disregarded their theories as delusional. Storming from their ranks forever, Sargeras set out to find his own place in the universe. Though the Pantheon was sorrowful for his departure, they would never believe just how far their lost brother would go.
As Sargeras' madness consumed the last vestiges of his noble spirit, he began to rationalize that the Titans were truly responsible for creation's failure. Deciding, at last, to undo their works throughout the universe, he set out to form an unstoppable army that would set the physical universe to the flame.
Even Sargeras' titanic form distorted from the corruption that plagued his once noble heart. His eyes, hair and beard erupted in flames and his bronze, metallic skin split open to reveal an endless furnace of hate and flame.
In his madness, Sargeras shattered the prisons of the Eredar and the Nathrezim and set the vile demons free. The cunning demons, bowing before the dark Titan's vast rage and power, offered themselves to him and swore to serve him in whatever malicious way they could. From the ranks of the powerful Eredar, Sargeras chose two champions to lead his demonic army of destruction.
the Deceiver was chosen to seek out the darkest races in the universe and lure them to Sargeras' shadow. The second champion, the Defiler, was chosen to lead Sargeras' vast armies into battle against any who would stand against the dark Titan's will.
Kil'jaeden's first move was to enslave the vampiric Dreadlords under his terrible power. The Dreadlords, serving as his elite guard and agents throughout the universe, took pleasure in their work by locating primitive races for their master to corrupt and bring into the fold. First amongst the Dreadlords was the Darkener. Tichondrius served Kil'jaeden as the perfect soldier and agreed to promote Sargeras' burning will to all the dark corners of the universe.
The mighty Archimonde also empowered agents of his own. Calling upon the malefic Pit Lords and their barbarous leader, , he hoped to forge a fighting elite that would scour creation of all life.
Sargeras, seeing that his armies were amassed and ready to follow his every command, launched his raging forces into the vastness of the Great Dark. He referred to his growing army as the Burning Legion. To this date, it is still unclear as to how many worlds they consumed and burned on their unholy crusade across the universe.
The Ordering of Azeroth
Apparently unaware of ' mission to undo their myriad works, the Titans continued to move from world to world, shaping and ordering them as they saw fit. Along their journey they came across a small world that's inhabitants would later name Azeroth. As the Titans made their way across the chaotic, primordial landscape, they encountered a number of hostile, elemental beings. The elementals, worshipping a race of unfathomable evil beings known only as the Old Gods, vowed to drive the Titans back and keep their world inviolate from the invaders' metallic touch.
The Pantheon, troubled by the Old Gods' penchant for evil, sent their forces to make war upon the elementals and their dark masters. Though the elementals fought and raged, their powers could not stop the mighty Titans. The Pantheon shattered the Old Gods' citadels and chained the five evil beings far beneath the surface of the world. Without the Old Gods' power to keep their raging spirits bound to the physical world, the elementals dissipated and bled back into the earth itself. With the elementals' departure, nature calmed, and the world settled into a peaceful harmony. The Titans, seeing that the threat was contained, set to work.
The Titans empowered a number of races to help them fashion the world. To help them dredge out the fathomless caverns beneath the earth, they created the dwarves from magical, living stone. To help them dredge out the seas and lift the land from the sea floor, they created the immense, but gentle sea giants. For many ages the Titans moved and shaped the earth, until at last, there remained only one perfect continent. At the continent's center, the Titans crafted a lake of scintillating energies. The lake, that they named the Well of Eternity, was to be the fount of life for the world. Its potent energies would nurture the bones of the world and empower life to take root in the land's rich soil. Over time, plants, trees, monsters and creatures of every kind began to thrive on the primordial continent. As twilight fell on the final day of their labors, the Titans named the continent Kalimdor – "land of a[sic] eternal starlight."
Satisfied that the small world had been ordered and that their work was done, the Titans prepared to leave Azeroth behind. Yet, before they departed, they decided to empower the greatest newborn species of the world to watch over Kalimdor should any force ever threaten its perfect tranquility. Each remaining member of the Pantheon imbued a portion of its power to the five great dragons awoken in that mythic age. the Life-Binder, the Spell-Weaver, the Dreamer, the Timeless, and Neltharion the Earth-Warder were all empowered by the Titans' vast powers and charged with the world's defense.
With the dragons prepared to safeguard their creation, the Titans left Azeroth behind forever. Unfortunately for them, and the small, newborn world they had shaped, it was only a matter of time before Sargeras learned of its existence...
Felhounds are demon hounds used by the Pit Lords to sniff out sources of magic wherever they be found. Felhounds, who feed upon magic itself, are fond of draining the energies of hapless wizards and then ripping their bodies to shreds.
Born of the Eredar race, warlocks are absolutely corrupt and unimaginably powerful. Their chaos magics have burnt out whole worlds and annihilated countless species over the aeons. taught the orcs the secrets of warlock magics, but the orcs could never master the powers of entropy and destruction as well as the wicked Eredar. Under 's command, the warlocks serve as the Legion's tacticians and strategists.
The fearsome Doom Guard serve as 's personal escorts. Although they are often called upon to perform a number of duties for the Legion, their loyalty lies with him alone. These monstrous, fiery warriors are nearly immune to magic and can defeat entire armies with their sheer strength alone.
The Pit Lords who serve under the Destructor are some of the most cruel, barbarous butchers to ever roam the trackless wastes of the Twisting Nether. These hulking engines of hate and death love only to kill and bring sorrow to all living creatures. Fanatically loyal to Mannoroth, the Pit Lords will stop at nothing to see the will of the Legion upheld.
These mindless giants of flame and fury are summoned by the warlocks' Inferno spell. Falling to earth as green, molten meteorites, infernals exist only to destroy every living thing in their path. Though their lifespans are limited, the mighty infernals have been known to destroy entire cities before their energies dissipated back into the Great Dark Beyond.
Creatures of Lordaeron & Northrend
Human bandits prey upon hapless travelers and soldiers alike. These lawless rogues think only of theft and burglary and enjoy causing great pain to their victims as well. Though the Alliance has offered large bounties towards the capture of these wretched men, they always find a way to slink back into the shadows of the wilds.
The blue Dragonflight, ruled by , the lord of magic, was all but devastated by the evil and his black Dragonflight. Though there are few great blue dragons left in the world, their magical powers are awesome to behold. Native to Northrend, the few blues stay relatively close to the great Dragonblight, where they commune with the ancient dragon spirits who died in ages past. Their freezing breath and gargantuan claws have been the death of many hapless travelers in Northrend.
The red Dragonflight, ruled by the Dragonqueen, , is a noble and honorable group of creatures. They consider themselves the protectors of all life, and in many ways they are. More often than not, they are found protecting sacred areas and items, seeking to keep them from lesser beings who might be hurt by their energies. Their breath is a fearsome stream of fire, and they have been known to swallow enemies whole and slowly digest them over the course of a day. Their most hated enemies are the black dragons ruled by the great, dark leviathan, .
These wretched individuals were once counted as the most devout amongst the clergy of Lordaeron. But, after years of constant war and suffering, they have lost their sense of the holy Light. Now they exist only to spread their frustration and negativity to their fellow men and women.
Ghosts are tortured spirits who writhe in the agony of undeath. Unable to realize that are no longer alive, they roam the trackless wastes between the Twisting Nether and the physical world, seeking release from their eternal suffering. Though they are not necessarily evil, they hunger for physical contact, often causing great harm to any living beings they touch.
Gnolls are one of the younger races of Lordaeron. Indigenous to both the Alterac Mountains and the Redridge Range far to the south, these hyena-like humanoids are extremely aggressive and are often found quarreling amongst themselves. Though relatively intelligent compared to most beasts, they are not very bright by human standards. They have been known to manipulate each other into fights over ridiculous things like "whose shadow is larger." It has often been stated that the gnolls would be quite a fearsome race, if they ever stopped tearing each other to pieces long enough to organize themselves into an army.
Golems are magically wrought automatons of varying types of stone. Most Golems can be found in and around Dalaran, for the mages there created them to perform manual labor and guard their mystical holdings. Certain renegade wizards have also been known to create their own Golems to protect their secret dens and lairs. Most Golems are magically protected from spells, so that enemy mages cannot turn them against their creators. Golems are generally thought to be mindless. However, there have been documented cases of Golems roaming freely, without their masters to control them. Where these vagabond constructs go or what they seek is a complete mystery.
Kobolds are a race of sniveling, rat-like humanoids who infest the deep tunnels of the Alterac and Redridge Mountains. Cowardly and pathetic by nature, they can be riled to action when backed into a corner. Kobolds have limited intelligence and usually try to stay away from populated areas where other, larger races dwell.
Though relatively new to Lordaeron, it is purported that Murlocs are actually a very ancient race of Azeroth. These creatures have steadily been moving in-land from their oceanic dwelling places, even adapting to fresh-water lakes and rivers in order to populate areas they would not normally be found in. Though they continue to inhabit more areas of Lordaeron, their supposed intelligence is debatable due to the fact that their guttural language is impossibly difficult to decipher. However, their use of weaponry and uncanny fighting abilities imply a rather sinister racial intellect.
The Nerubian spider-men once ruled over the kingdom of Azjol-Nerub that stretched like a great web beneath the desolate glaciers of Northrend. However, the crushed their dark empire and sent them skittering into the arctic wastelands. Though there are few pockets of Nerubian warriors left, they still seek to gain vengeance upon and reclaim their subterranean kingdom.
Ogres are one of the few races that are not indigenous to Azeroth. They were actually brought from the world of Draenor during the First War a generation ago. Ogres are not the stupid, lumbering two-headed beasts they once seemed to be. In fact, many of the ogre lords have rallied the remnants of their people that were scattered when the horde fell. Though their plans are unknown, there is no doubt that these powerful, deceptively intelligent warriors will gather their forces once more.
Forest trolls are one of the most ancient indigenous races of Lordaeron whose civilization actually predates that of the high elves by several thousand years. They are vile creatures for the most part, practicing voodoo, ritual sacrifices, and in some cases - though never documented, cannibalism. Though forest trolls are never friendly, they have a particular hatred for the high elves, whom they consider the despoilers of their ancient homelands. However, their hatred does end with the elves, they hold all the races in contempt and will only work with others if it means the possible elimination of a more hated enemy. The forest trolls worked briefly with the orcish horde during the Second War, but quickly abandoned their orcish allies after the horde's defeat.
Like their evil forest troll cousins, ice trolls revel in carnage and wickedness. Driven into the desolate wastes of Northrend in ancient times, the ice trolls carved out a meager society for themselves amongst the cold stone and lifeless plains. Cannibalistic by nature, ice trolls are renowned for their love of eating their recently slain enemies raw. Their social structure is very similar to that of their forest dwelling cousins.
The indigenous wendigo of Northrend are exceedingly voracious creatures. Solitary by nature, wendigo rarely live amongst others of their kind. Cannibalistic and savage, these hulking, fur-covered humanoids are highly territorial and do not take kindly to intruders stumbling into their hunting grounds.
Though most contemporary human and high elven mages bow to the sovereignty of Dalaran and the Kirin Tor, there are a great many who choose to delve into the secrets of magic by themselves. Considered to be non-sanctioned renegades by the Kirin Tor, these rogue mages strive to expand their knowledge of magic and spellcraft beyond the constraints of what most other wizards believe to be safe or morally acceptable.
Wolves are indigenous to many parts of Azeroth. They live on every known continent and have a wide variety of sub-species and social habits. Though most wolves are hostile towards humans and demi-humans who encroach upon their territories, there are a few unique wolf packs who have befriended demi-human counterparts (like the orcs, for example).
The Creatures of Kalimdor
These wretched tree-creatures were once proud, immortal defenders of Ashenvale forest. Yet, when the Burning Legion invaded the world in ages past, its demonic energies corrupted many of the ancient tree-men and drove them into shadow. Now these tortured creatures live only to spread their corruption and hatred of all living things.
Though the black Dragonflight was nearly annihilated in ages past, a few of the evil creatures have made their homes in the dry, desolate wastes of the Barrens. With their lord, , either missing or dead, the black dragons seek to appease only themselves. The creatures are immensely powerful and cruel and revel in mortal suffering. The black dragons are the enemies of every other Dragonflight, especially the great red dragons of Lordaeron.
The enchanted, ethereal green dragons live only to serve the forces of nature and uphold the balance between mortal creatures and the ever-evolving world. The green Dragonflight, ruled by the dreaming goddess, , holds a special love for the night elves and their druids. Though most green dragons live within the mystical dimension known as the Emerald Dream, a few of the graceful creatures still roam the shadowy paths of Ashenvale forest.
Legend holds that the primitive, barbaric centaurs are actually the bastard off-spring of the night elf demigod, . Whether or not this is true, it is certain that they are savagery and brutality incarnate. These horse-men ceaselessly terrorize the Barrens of Kalimdor and maraud the villages and cities of the lands indigenous peoples. The tauren claim that the centaur have always existed to scourge the land.
Furbolgs are hulking, simple-minded bear-men who live within the savage corners of Ashenvale forest. Though they have no special love for war or murder, their tribes have become increasingly hostile as of late. The night elves, concerned by the once peaceful race's condition, have attempted to help the furbolgs settle their tensions. But the mighty bear-men retreat ever-further into their territories and fall deeper into the rage that is overtaking their race.
These vile, unscrupulous winged women live only to cause mischief and sorrow. Hailing from the windy Stonetalon Mountains, the harpies are masterful at ambushing hapless caravans and foolish travelers alike.
These subterranean beasts share a common ancestry with the mighty kodo beasts. However, they have adapted to life beneath the earth by evolving a number of natural defenses and abilities.
The giant, slow-moving kodo beasts of the Barrens are one of the most intriguing species of Kalimdor. Though gentle and ponderous by nature, these mighty beasts become fierce enemies when threatened or attacked. Many kodos hold a special bond with the benevolent tauren race.
It is said that some rare kodos are bound to the spirits of the sky and storm. Thus, the tauren have legends about those they call Lightning Lizards, Thunder Lizards and Storm Walkers. Whether or not these behemoths actually have supernatural powers remains to be seen.
Though Murlocs abound along the rugged coastal regions of Kalimdor, there is a mutant strain of the race that has emerged in recent months. Though it is unclear what has caused the creature's strange mutations, many agree that something dark and sinister is awakening deep beneath the raging Maelstrom. The mutant Murlocs have been so corrupted that they have been known to turn on their own brethren under duress.
These lumbering, misshapen creatures are beloved by the night elf druids and treants alike. They are benevolent by nature, but fearsome when roused or angered. Though they stay away from populated areas, they are often found in the serene glades of Mount Hyjal.
Quillboars are a race of primitive boar-men that have razor sharp spines protruding from their muscular, hunched backs. These resilient, fearless creatures inhabit the central Barrens of Kalimdor in the labyrinthine maze of thorns called Razorfen Downs.
These strange creatures share an elemental heritage, but have been corrupted by the powers of chaos. Now they exist as tortured masses of semi-sentient goo. No one knows what their motivations are or if there is any specific ecology behind their existence.
Though many scholars believe that all spiders trace their roots back to the ancient kingdom of Azjol-Nerub, the giant spiders of Kalimdor have made a claim to the shadowy corners of Ashenvale Forest. Though not necessarily evil, wild spiders can become fearsome opponents if they feel their nests have been defiled.
Satyrs were once night elves who practiced the magical arts in the days before the War of the Ancients. These magically corrupted night elves, having given themselves over to the will of the Legion, became terribly cursed. Though they retained a portion of their magical power, their bodies were warped and twisted into those of beasts. Now the satyrs exist only to harry their hated night elf cousins and obey the will of the Legion – which they believe will one day return.
These avian creatures are found throughout the Barrens – seeking carnage upon which to feed. The mottled scavengers have been known to aid the vile harpies from time to time – drawn by the promise of freshly slain flesh and blood.
Heroes and Villains
|Occupation:||Human Archmage - Head of the Kirin Tor of Dalaran|
|Affiliation:||The Kirin Tor|
Antonidas is the head of the Kirin Tor, the conclave of wizards that rules over the magical kingdom of Dalaran. This venerable Archmage is reputedly one of the most powerful wizards in the world. Though his failing health prohibits him from spending to much time away from his beloved city, his apprentice, , serves as his eyes and ears in the world. Antonidas looks forward to the day when he will hand his power and mantle of leadership over to Jaina, who he feels will make a most impressive Archmage.
|Occupation:||Eredar Overlord of the Legion Forces|
|Affiliation:||The Burning Legion|
Archimonde the Defiler was one of the first demons to rally behind when the Burning Legion was formed. Archimonde is heartless and brutal, but very cunning and far sighted. The colossal demon wields limitless warlock magics and primal strength to lay waste to any who would oppose his fiery will. In his heart of hearts, he seeks to become a god and wield powers that rival those of Sargeras himself. After ten thousand years of waiting, he is prepared to invade the world of Azeroth once again. Though he is committed to carry out the invasion in Sargeras' name, he may have ulterior motives in mind for the world and its innate magics.
|Occupation:||Tauren Warrior - Chieftain of the Bloodhoof Tribe|
The mighty chief of the Bloodhoof tauren, Cairne is a peerless warrior and a wise leader of his ancient people. Though slowed somewhat by the weight of age, Cairne still possesses the strength and valor of twenty men. This greathearted giant knows that his people are in grave danger of extermination from the marauding centaurs. However, he has never given up hope of one day finding a way to lead his people to a new land where they can make their home and live in peace.
|Occupation:||Orc Warrior - Chieftain of the Warsong Clan|
Grom Hellscream is the last surviving orc chieftain from Draenor. Having led his mighty Warsong clan to countless victories over the humans, Hellscream despaired at the lethargy that overcame his race after the Second War. Hellscream was one of the first orcs to fall victim to the demons' curse on his race. He has struggled with the rage and bloodlust within his heart for many long years. Now, under 's visionary, idealistic leadership, Hellscream believes that he and his people can finally be freed from the demons' corrupting influence.
|Occupation:||Night Elf Demon Hunter - Former Sorcerer|
In the dark days, before the War of the Ancients, Illidan was one of the few non-high-borne practitioners of magic. Though his older brother, Furion, warned him that magic was an evil, corrupting power, Illidan steadfastly refused to give up his coveted art. Over time, the noble night Elf lost his soul to a dependency for magic's chaotic energies. Though Illidan used his dark powers to aid his brother against the demons of the Burning Legion, he ultimately betrayed his people by siding with the evil and her followers. After the war ended and the landmass of Kalimdor was shattered forever, Illidan created a new Well of Eternity to ensure that his coveted, corrupting magic would not disappear from the world. For his sin, his brother, Furion, commanded that he be chained beneath the earth for all time. Illidan has remained caged in darkness ever since.
|Occupation:||Human Sorceress - Special Agent of the Kirin Tor|
Perhaps one of the most gifted sorceresses to train in Dalaran for generations, Jaina is a bright, inquisitive young woman who constantly strives to expand her powers and knowledge of magic. Her father, Admiral Proudmoore of Kul Tiras, was one of the great heroes of the Second War. Jaina feels constant pressure to live up to her father's name, but wishes only to study and follow her path of magical investigation. Like Arthas, Jaina was deeply hurt when her affair with the young Prince ended. However, she never let her disappointment interfere with her studies or her rigorous investigations. Her mentor, the Archmage , has claimed that she may become the greatest sorceress humanity has ever produced.
|Occupation:||Human Necromancer - Leader of the Cult of the Damned|
Kel'Thuzad was one of the greatest Archmagi of Dalaran. He was one of the members of the Kirin Tor and a dear friend of the Archmage . However, his lust to delve into the dark arts of necromancy made him an outcast amongst his fellow wizards. Heeding the call of the god-like , Kel'Thuzad traveled to Northrend and offered his soul to . The Lich King commanded the dark wizard to create a cult that would facilitate the creation of a grand, undead army. Kel'Thuzad used his powers and vast fortune to found the Cult of the Damned – the sinister group that would bring Ner'zhul's dark will to fruition...
|Occupation:||Demon King of the Pit Lords|
|Affiliation:||The Burning Legion|
Mannoroth the Destructor is a being of pure hate, malice, and rage. He is the ultimate living engine of destruction, seeking only to raze and murder everything in his path. It has been speculated that he has some significant ties to the orcish race – that he may be the original source of their bloodlust and corruption, but this has yet to be proven. Mannoroth has waited ten thousand years to return and finish the job he started during the War of the Ancients. Now, at last, his time for vengeance has come.
|Occupation:||Night Elf Arch Druid|
Furion was the first night elf to oppose the evil and her demon-worshiping high-borne. He, along with his brother Illidan and the demi-god , led the battle against the Burning Legion during the War of the Ancients. He was the first to forsake magic and adopt the tenets of druidism. He has been the spiritual leader of the night elves for over ten thousand years and has worked to safeguard his people's fragile culture – even from within the trance-like state of the Emerald Dream.
|Occupation:||Dwarven Prospector - Former Ambassador of Ironforge|
|Affiliation:||The Alliance, Explorer's Guild of Ironforge|
Muradin is the brother of King of Ironforge. During the dark days of the Second War, Muradin served as the liaison between Lordaeron and the dwarves' realm of Khaz Modan. While at the court of Lordaeron, Muradin befriended the youthful Arthas and taught him how to master fighting blades of every type. Muradin was one of the first dwarves to establish the Explorer's Guild, a group dedicated to archaeology and exploration of the unknown world. Though Muradin rarely has a chance to visit Khaz Modan or Lordaeron anymore, he is a firm supporter of the dwarves' alliance with the humans.
|Occupation:||Human Paladin - Crown Prince of Lordaeron|
|Affiliation:||The Alliance, Knights of the Silver Hand|
The only son of King Terenas, Arthas is an idealistic, yet somewhat rash, young man who dreams of one day succeeding his father as King of Lordaeron. Arthas became an apprentice paladin at nineteen and has served as a favorite pupil of ever since. Though Arthas loves the kindly Uther as an uncle, he longs to take command of his own destiny and become a hero like those brave veterans who fought the orcs during the Second War. Despite the heartache he felt when his brief affair with the sorceress came to an end, Arthas has remained remarkably committed to his roles as both the Prince of Lordaeron and as a holy paladin. He has a deep reverence for the holy Light and wants nothing more than to safeguard his beloved people from harm.
|Occupation:||Orc Shaman - Warchief of the Horde|
Thrall is the only son of the orc chieftain, , who was killed by assassins during the First War. As an infant, Thrall was found by human soldiers and raised as a slave and gladiator. Educated and trained in the arts of war, Thrall yearned for freedom and a chance to know his own people. The inexperienced Thrall escaped from bondage and set off to find others of his kind.
Thrall found the lethargic orcs and vowed to free them from their imprisonment and their demon curse. Studying the orcs' ancient rites of shamanism, Thrall learned how to wield the fury of the storms and earth. He succeeded in rallying his people and freeing them from the human internment camps. For his honor, optimism and courage, Thrall was unanimously elected to be the new warchief of the orcish horde.
|Affiliation:||The Scourge, Burning Legion|
Tichondrius the darkener is an insidious demonic Dreadlord who revels in shadow and suffering. Though he honors the wishes of his master, , he resents his duty to watch over and police the , . He believes that the Lich King will ultimately betray the Legion and attempt to free himself from its power. Tichondrius is, above all, a very good soldier. Though his own desire for power and conquest is fierce, he carries out his duties with calculated precision and care.
|Occupation:||Night Elf Priestess of the Moon - Leader of the Sentinel.|
Tyrande is an ancient night elf princess and high priestess of the moon goddess, . In ages past, she aided Furion and in their battle to save Kalimdor from the Burning Legion. As well as being Elune's high priestess, she is the leader of the Sentinels a group of warrior women who have sworn to protect Kalimdor's shores while their male counterparts, the druids, sleep in the trance-like Emerald Dream. Tyrande is a fiery warrior and holds certain resentment for shouldering the defense of her land while the druids sleep. Her undying love for Furion Stormrage has given her strength and courage enough to face the centuries alone and uphold her sacred charge to defend Kalimdor from any threat.
|Occupation:||Human Paladin - Leader of the Knights of the Silver Hand|
Uther was the first of the paladins blessed by the Archbishop Faol, prior to the Second War. He is a weathered veteran, respected as one of the greatest warriors in human history. Though it has been many years since war endangered his beloved Lordaeron, Uther has never tired in his duty to protect his land from demi-human threats and social unrest. The great-hearted leader of the paladins is perhaps the greatest general the Alliance has ever known. Only his wish to see Arthas become worthy of his father's crown has kept him from retiring and taking his due rest.