Strom continued to act as the central hub of Arathor, but as with Dalaran many new city-states arose across the continent of Lordaeron. Gilneas, Alterac, and Kul’Tiras were the first city-states to arise, and although they each had their own customs and commercial workings, they all held to the unifying authority of Strom.
Under the vigilant watch of the Order of Tirisfal, Dalaran became the chief center of learning for magicians throughout the land. The Magocrats who ruled Dalaran founded the Kirin Tor, a specialized sect that was charged with cataloguing and researching every spell, artifact and magic item known to mankind at the time.
Gilneas and Alterac became strong supporters of Strom and developed mighty armies that explored the mountainous southern lands of Khaz Modan. It was during the period that humans first met the ancient race of Dwarves and traveled to their cavernous subterranean city of Ironforge. The Humans and Dwarves shared many secrets of metal-smithing and engineering and discovered a common love for battle and storytelling.
The city-state of Kul’Tiras founded upon a large island south of Lordaeron, developed a prosperous economy based on fishing and shipping. Over time, Kul’Tiras built up a mighty fleet of merchant vessels that sailed throughout the known lands in search of exotic goods to trade and sell. Yet even as the economy of Arathor flourished its strongest elements began to disintegrate.
In time, the Lords of Strom sought to move their estates to the lush Northlands of Lordaeron and leave the arid lands of the south. The heirs of King Thoradin, the last descendants of the Arathi Bloodline, argued that Strom should not be abandoned and thus incurred the displeasure of the greater citizenry, who were likewise eager to leave.
The Lords of Strom, seeking to find purity and enlightenment in the untamed north, decided to leave their ancient city behind. Far to the north of Dalaran, the lords of Strom built a new city-state which they named Lordaeron. The entire continent would take its name from this city state. Lordaeron became a mecca for religious travelers and all those who sought inner peace and security.
The descendents of the Arathi, left within the crumbling walls of ancient Strom, decided to travel south, past the rocky mountains of Khaz Modan. Their journey finally ended after many long seasons. And they settled in the northern region of the continent they would name Azeroth. In a fertile valley they founded the Kingdom of Stormwind, which quickly became a self-sufficient power in its own right.
The few warriors still left in Strom decided to remain and guard the ancient walls of their city. Strom was no longer the center of the empire. But it developed into a new nation known as Stromgarde. Though each of the city-states became prosperous in its own right, the empire of Arathor had effectively disintegrated. As each nation developed its own customs and beliefs, they became increasingly segregated from one another. King Thoradin’s vision of a unified humanity had faded at last.
—Book found at Scholomance, Caer Darrow
Thanks to Freeman
The Undead’s beginnings upon Azeroth do not truly begin with the corruption of Prince Arthas-it began long before that event. The events that brought downfall of Lordaeron were long set in motion before that point; it began with the coming of the orcish clans and the burning legion.
The orcs of Draenor (the world which they originally came from) were noble and shamanistic. They were powerful warriors, strong of body and will. It was for these reasons that the Burning Legion sought them out. Kil’jaeden, a demon of great power among the Legion, wished to enslave the orcish clans and use them as his army against the worlds the Burning Legion had yet to conquer.
Kil’jaeden came to the leader of the clans, a powerful shaman named Ner’zhul. He promised Ner’zhul untold mystical power and knowledge if he made a pact with the demon that would enslave the clans to the Burning Legion. This pact sealed not only their fate but that of their world forever.
As time passed, Ner’zhul realized the fate of the clans at the hands of the Burning Legion, and the orc shaman began to defy Kil’jaeden. The demon, angered by Ner’zhul, turned to the shaman’s own apprentice, Gul’dan, who was far more corruptible than Ner’zhul.
It was Gul’dan who was responsible for the decline of shamanism throughout the clans. The promise of power and control over one’s enemies made his offers even more tempting. With Kil’jaeden’s help, Gul’dan began his manipulation of the clans. The orcs, once noble, became corrupt, mindless savages. With the introduction of demon blood into their bodies, the orcs were even more ruthless and barbaric.
Even though Kil’jaeden had corrupted Gul’dan after his failure with Ner’zhul, Kil’jaeden hated the shaman and vowed to enforce their original pact. Kil’jaeden captured Ner’zhul and began an incredibly slow physical torture on the shaman. While Ner’zhul begged for death, Kil’jaeden reminded Ner’zhul that their original pact was still binding. Kil’jaeden killed the orc but only physically. Kil’jaeden held the orc shaman’s spirt fast before it could find its way to the Twisting Nether.
Kil’jaeden placed Ner’zhul’s spirit within a block of ice gathered from the Twisting Nether. While it was trapped within the ice, he infused into it even more power. The loss of his body and the introduction of such incredible power was the defining line in Ner’zhul’s transformation.
Kil’jaeden hurled the block of ice through dimensions back to Azeroth, where it landed in the continent of Northrend, introducing this great evil to our world. Ner’zhul was gone forever; in his place was a throne of ice and hatred. The once respected shaman leader had become the incredibly powerful Lich King.
Because Kil’jaeden did not trust the Lich King, he sent his dread lords to watch over the spirit and ensure that the Lich King followed his orders. The vampiric servants came to Azeroth willingly, drawn to the destruction and power of the Lich King and the potential genocide of a planet’s entire race.
Over a decade passed. During this time, the Lich King used his vast powers to gain control over the minds of the creatures of Northrend, whom he commanded to erect a great citadel over his frozen throne. Now that all of Northrend was under his domination, the Lich King knew he needed to begin his inflitration of Lordaeron. Trapped within the ice, the former orc shaman began seeking more minds to manipulate and control. His call reached out across the continents.
The Lich King’s summons did not go unnoticed. Especially by a small handful of powerful individuals. Among them was the Archmage Kel’Thuzad, who was a powerful member of the ruling body of Dalaran, the Kirin Tor. His pursuit of all types of magic violated the Kirin Tor’s policies against learning dark magics. Kel’Thuzad abandoned the Kirin Tor, and all his ties to conventional thought and vowed to learn as much as he could from the Lich King.
A pact was struck between the two. Kel’Thuzad would receive immortality and immense power in return for servitude to the Lich King. Kel’Thuzad’s first task was to use his wealth and influence in Lordaeron to found the Cult of the Damned. The Cult promised equality and eternal life to all its members as long as they swore an oath to Ner’zhul the God of the Cult of the Damned.
Ner’zhul then created artifacts that were designed to spread the plague among the human civilizations of Lordaeron. He gave them to Kel’Thuzad, and ordered the wizard to spread them across the land. His Cult followers were to protect the artifacts at all costs.
Once in place, the plague began to seep into the land and affect its ignorant citizens. As Kel’Thuzad watched, the Lich King’s army grew quickly and he soon gained control over large portions of the land. This army became known as the Scourge, for its sole purpoes was to scour humanity from all of Azeroth.
—Book found at Scarlet Monastery
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Ten thousand years before the orcs and humans clashed in their First War, the world of Azeroth cradled ony 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 incandscent 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 Elune, 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 Cenarius, 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 expaned 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 breathren. 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 highborne found that they could use their newfound powers to either create or destroy at their leisure. The hapless highborne 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, Azshhara and her highborne began to practive their spellcraft with reckles abandon. Cenarius and many of hte 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 highborne. The haughty, aloof upper class became incresingly 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 Highborne 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 highborne and his beloved Queen. Though he could not conceive the evil that was to come, he knew that th enight elves’ lives would soon be changed forever.
With the absence of trolls in the northlands, the elves of Quel’Thalas bent their efforts towards rebuilding their glorious homeland. The victorious armies of Arathor returned home to southlands of Strom.
The human society of Arathor grew and prospered, yet Thoradin, fearful that his kingdom would splinter apart if it overextended itself, maintained that Strom was the center of the Arathorian Empire. After many peaceful years of growth and commerce, mighty Thoradin died of old age, leaving Arathor’s younger generation free to expand the empire beyond the lands of Strom.
The original hundred magi, who were tutored in the ways of magic by the elves, expanded their powers and studied the mystic disciplines of spell-weaving in much greater detail. These magi, initially chosen for their strong wills and noble spirits, had always practiced their magic with care and responsibility: however, they passed their secrets and powers onto a newer generation that had no concept of the rigors of war or the necessity for self-restrain.
These younger magicians began to practice magic for personal gain rather than out of any responsibility towards their fellows. As the empire grew and expanded into new lands, the young magicians also spread out into the southlands. Wielding their mystical powers, the magicians protected their breathren from the wild creatures of the land and made it possible for new city-states to be constructed in the wilderness. Yet, as their powers grew, the magicians became ever more conceited and isolated from the rest of society.
The second Arathorian city-state of Dalaran was founded in the lands north of Strom. Many fledgling wizards left the restraining confines of Strom behind and traveled to Dalaran, where they hoped to use their new powers with greater freedom. These magicians used their skills to build up the enchanted spires of Dalaran and reveled in the pursuit of their studies.
The citizens of Dalaran tolerated the magicians’ endevours and built up a bustling economy under the protection of their magic-using defenders. Yet, as more and more magicians practiced their arts, the fabric of reality around Dalaran began to weaken and tear.
The sinister agents of the Burning Legion, who had been banished when the Well of Eternity collapsed, were lured back into the world by the heedless spellcasting of the magicians of Dalaran. Though these relatively weak demons did not appear in force, they did sew considerable confusion and chaos within the streets of Dalaran.
Most of these demonic encounters were isolated events and the ruling Magocrats did what they could to keep such events hidden from the public. The most powerful magicians were sent to capture the elusive demons, but they often found themselves hopelessly outmatched by the lone agents of the might Legion.
After a few months the superstitious peasantry began to suspect that their sorcerous rulers were hiding something terrible from them. Rumors of revolution began to sweep through the streets of Dalaran as the paranoid citizenry questioned the motives and practices of the magician tey had once admired. The Magocrats fearing that the peasants would revolt and that Strom would take action against them, turned to the only group they felt would understand their particular problem: The High Elves.
Upon hearing the Magocrats’ news of demonic activity in Dalaran, the elves quickly dispatched their mightiest wizards to the human lands. The elven wizards studied the energy currents in Dalaran and made detailed reports of all demonic activity that they beheld. They concluded that although there were only a few demons loose in the world, the Legion itself would remain a dire threat so long as humans continued to wield the forces of magic.
The Council of Silvermoon, which ruled over the elves of Quel’Thalas, entered into a secret pact with the Magocrat Lords of Dalaran. The elves told the Magocrats about the history of Ancient Kalimdor and of the Burning Legion. A history which still threatened the world. They informed the humans that so long as they used magic, they would need to protect their citizenry from the malicious agents of the Legion.
The Magocrats proposed the notion of empowering a single mortal champion who would utilize their powers in order to fight a never-ending secret war against the Legion. It was stressed that the majority of mankind could never know about the Guardians or the threat of the Legion for fear that they would riot in fear and paranoia. The elves agreed to the proposal and foundeda secret society that would watch over the selection of the Guardian and help to stem the rise of chaos in the world.
The society held its secret meetings in the shadowed Tirisfal Glades, where the high elves had first settled in Lordaeron. Thus, they named the secret sect the Guardians of Tirisfal. The mortal champions who were chosen to be Guardians were imbued with incredible powers of both Elven and Human magic. Though there would only ever be one Guardian at a time, they held such vast power that they could single-handedly fight back the Legion’s agents wherever they were found in the world.
The Guardian power was so great that only the Council of Tirisfal was allowed to choose potential successors to the mantle of Guardianship. Whenever a guardian grew too old, or wearied of the secret war against chaos, the Council chose a new champion, and under controlled conditions, formally channeled the Guardian power into its new agent.
As the generations passed, Guardians defended the masses of humanity from the invisible threat of the Burning Legion throughout the lands of Arathor and Quel’Thalas. Arathor grew and prospered while the use of magic spread throughout the empire. Meanwhile, the Guardians kept careful watch for signs of demonic activity.
The Chief Warden of the internment camps, Aedelas Blackmoore, watched over the captive orcs from his prison-stronghold, Durnholde Keep. One orc in particular had always held his interest: the orphaned infant he had found nearly 18 years before Blackmoore had raised the young male as a favored slave and named him Thrall. Blackmoore taught the orc about tactics, philosophy, and combat. Thrall was even trained as a gladiator. All the while the corrupt warden sought to mold the orc into a weapon.
Despite harsh upbringing, young Thrall grew into a strong, quick-witted orc, and he knew in his heart that a slave’s life was not for him. As he grew to maturity, he learned about his people, the orcs, whom he had never met: after their defeat, most of them had been placed in internment camps. Rumor had it that Doomhammer, the orc leader, had escaped from Lordaeron and gone into hiding. Only one rogue clan still operated in secret, trying to evade teh 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.
Constantly hunted by the humans, Hellscream nevertheless held onto the Horde’s unquenchable will to fight aided only by his own devoted Warsong Clan. Hellscream continued to wage 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 Gul’dan 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 Durotan, the true chieftain of the Frostwolves who had been murdered in the wilds nearly twenty years before.
Under the tutlelage of the venerable shaman Drek’Thar, Thrall studied his people’s ancient shamanistic culture which 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 an dheal his race of demonic corruption.
During his travels, Thrall found the aged warchief Orgrim Doomhamer, 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. This victory was not without its price: 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 his clever strategies. Encouraged by his best friend and mentor, Grom Hellscream, Thrall worked to ensure that his people would never be slaves again.
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 grace of Elune, Malfurion, Tyrande and Cenarius 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 Sargeras and his Legion had been ripped from the world by the Well’s destruction, Malfurion and his companions were left to ponder the terrible cost of victory.
There were many Highborne who did survive the cataclysm unscathed. They made their way to the shores of the new land along with the other night elves. Though Malfurion mistrusted the HIghborne’s 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, Malfurion 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 Malfurion and the night elves. In his mad bid to maintain the flows of magic in the world, Illidan had poured his vials, which contained 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 Malfurion hunted him down. Malfurion 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 ruthless schemes would eventually lead, Malfurion decided to deal with his power-crazed brother once and for all. With Cenarius’ help, Malfurion sealed Illidan within a vast underground Barrow-prison. Where he would remain chained and powerless until the end of time. To ensure his brother’s containment, Malfurion empowered the young warden, Maiev Shadowsong, to be Illidan’s personal jailor.
Concerned that destroying the new Well might bring about an even greater catastrophe, the night elves resolved to leave it be. However, Malfurion 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.
As the politics and rivalries of the seven human nations waxed and waned, the line of Guardians kept its constant vigil against chaos. There were many Guardians over the years, but only one ever held the magical powers of Tirisfal at any given time. One of the last Guardians of the age distinguished herself as a mighty warrior against the shadow.
Aegwynn, a fiery human girl, won the approbation of the Order and was given the mantle of Guardianship. Aegwynn vigorously worked to hunt down and eradicate demons wherever she found them, but she often questioned the authority of the male-dominated Council of Tirisfal.
She believed that the ancient elves and the elderly men who presided over the council were too rigid in their thinking and not farsighted enough to put a decisive end to the conflict against chaos. Impatient with lengthy discussion and debate, she yearned to prove herself worthy to her peers and superiors, and as a result frequently chose valor over wisdom in crucial situations.
As her mastery over the cosmic power of Tirisfal grew, Aegwynn became aware of a number of powerful demons that stalked the icy northern continent of Northrend. Traveling to the distant north, Aegwynn tracked the demons into the mountains. There, she found that the demons were hunting one of the last surviving dragonflights and draining the ancient creatures of their innate magic.
The mighty dragons, who had fled from the ever-advancing march of mortal societies, found themselves too evenly matched against the dark magics of the Legion. Aegwynn confronted the demons, and with help from the noble dragons, eradicated them. Yet, as the last demon was banished from the mortal world, a great storm erupted throughout the north.
An enormous dark visage appeared in the sky above Northrend. Sargeras, the demon king and lord of the Burning Legion, appeared before Aegwynn and bristled with hellish energy. He informed the young Guardian that the time of Tirisfal was about to come to an end and that the world would soon bow before the onslaught of the Legion.
The proud Aegwynn, believing herself to be a match for the menacing god, unleashed her powers against Sargeras’ avatar. With disconcerting ease, Aegwynn battered the demonlord with her powers and succeeded in killing his physical shell. Fearing that Sargeras’ spirit would linger on. Aegwynn locked the ruined husk of his body within one of the ancient halls of Kalimdor that had been blasted to the bottom of the sea when the Well of Eternity collapsed.
Aegwynn would never know that she had done exactly as Sargeras had planned. She had inadvertently sealed the fate of the mortal world, for Sargeras, at the time of his corporeal death, had transferred his spirit into Aegwynn’s weakened body. Unbeknownst to the young Guardian, Sargeras would remain cloaked within the darkest recesses of her soul for many long years.
Book found at Scarlet Monastery
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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, Orgrim Doomhammer, 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 Anduin Lothar, Uther the Lightbringer, and Admiral Daelin Proudmoore 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.
Turalyon, 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.
Book found in Scarlet Monastery.
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As the high elves fought for their lives against the trolls’ fierce onslaught, the scattered, nomadic humans of Lordaeron fought to consolidate their own tribal lands. The tribes of early humanity raided each other’s settlements with little heed for racial unification or honor.
Yet one tribe, known as the Arathi, saw that the trolls were becoming too great a threat to ignore. The Arathi wished to bring all of the tribes under its rule so that they could provide a unified front against the troll warbands.
Over the course of six years, the cunning Arathi outmaneuvered and outfought the rival tribes. After every victory, the Arathi offered peace and equality to the conquered people; thus, they won the loyalty of those they had beaten. Eventually the Arathi tribe came to include many disparate tribes, and the ranks of its army grew vast.
Confident that they could hold their own against the troll warbands or even the reclusive elves if need be, the Arathi warlords decided to construct a mighty fortress city in the southern regions of Lordaeron. The city-state, named Strom, became the capital of the Arathi nation, Arathor. As Arathor prospered, humans from all over the vast continent traveled south to the protection and safety of Strom.
United under one banner, the human tribes developed a strong, optimistic culture. Thoradin, the king of Arathor, knew that the mysterious elves in the northlands were under constant siege by the trolls, but refused to risk the safety of his people in defense of reclusive strangers. Many months passed as rumors of the elves’ supposed defeat trickled down from the north. It was only when weary ambassadors from Quel’Thalas reached Strom that Thoradin realized how great the troll threat truly was.
The elves informed Thoradin that the troll armies were vast and that once the trolls had destroyed Quel’Thalas, they would move on to attack the southlands. The desperate elves, in dire need of military aid, hastily agreed to teach certain select humans to wield magic in exchange for their help against the warbands.
Thoradin, distrustful of any magic, agreed to aid the elves out of necessity. Almost immediately, elven sorcerers arrived in Arathor and began to instruct a group of humans in the ways of magic.
The elves found that although humans were innately clumsy in their handling of magic, they possessed a startling natural affinity for it. One hundred men were taught the very basics of the elves’ magical secrets: no more than was absolutely necessary to combat the trolls. Convinced that their human students were ready to aid in the struggle, the elves left Strom and traveled north alongside the mighty armies of King Thoradin.
The united elf and human armies clashed against the overwhelming troll warbands at the foot of the Alterac Mountains. The battle lasted for many days, but the unflagging armies of Arathor never tired or gave an inch of ground before the troll onslaught. The elven lords deemed that the time had come to release the powers of their magic upon the enemy.
The hundred human magi and a multitude of elven sorcerers called down the fury of the heavens and set the troll armies ablaze. The elemental fires prevented the trolls from regenerating their wounds and burned their tortured forms from the inside out.
As the troll armies broke and attempted to flee, Thoradin’s armies ran them down and slaughtered every last one of their soldiers. The trolls would never fully recover from their defeat, and history would never see the trolls rise as one nation again. Assured that Quel’Thalas was saved from destruction, the elves made a pledge of loyalty and friendship to the nation of Arathor and to the bloodline of its king, Thoradin. Humans and elves would nurture peaceful relations for ages to come.
Book found at Scarlet Monastery.
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Once Kel’Thuzad was whole again, Arthas led the Scourge south to Dalaran. There the lich would obtain the powerful spellbook of Medivh, and use it to summon Archimonde back into the world. From that point on, Archimonde himself would begin the Legion’s final invasion. Not even the wizards of the Kirin Tor could stop Arthas’ forces from stealing Medivh’s book, and soon Kel’Thuzad had all he needed to perform his spell.
After ten thousand years, the mighty demon Archimonde and his host emerged once again upon the world of Azeroth. Yet Dalaran was not their final destination. Under orders from Kil’jaeden himself, Archimonde and his demons followed the undead Scourge to Kalimdor, bent on destroying Nordrassil, the World Tree.
In the midst of this chaos, a lone, mysterious prophet appeared to lend the mortal races guidance. This prophet proved to be none other than Medivh, the last Guardian, miraculously returned from the Beyond to redeem himself for past sins. Medivh told the Horde and the Alliance of the dangers they faced and urged them to band together.
Jaded by generations of hate, the orcs and humans would have none of it. Medivh was forced to deal with each race separately, using prophecy and trickery to guide them across the sea to the legendary land of Kalimdor. The orcs and humans soon encountered the long-hidden civilization of the Kaldorei.
The orcs, led by Thrall, suffered a series of setbacks on their journey across Kalimdor’s Barrens. Though they befriended Cairne Bloodhoof and his mighty tauren warriors, many orcs began to succumb to the demonic bloodlust that had plagued them for years. Thrall’s greatest lieutenant, Grom Hellscream, even betrayed the Horde by giving himself over to his baser instincts.
As Hellscream and his loyal Warsong warriors stalked through the forests of Ashenvale, they clashed with the ancient night elf Sentinels. Certain that the orcs had returned to their warlike ways, the demigod Cenarius came forth to drive Hellscream and his orcs back. Yet Hellscream and his orcs, overcome with supernatural hate and rage, managed to kill Cenarius and corrupt the ancient forestlands.
Ultimately, Hellscream redeemed his honor by helping Thrall defeat Mannoroth, the demon lord who first cursed the orcs with his bloodline of hate and rage. With Mannoroth’s death, the orcs’ blood-curse was finally brought to an end.
While Medivh worked to convince the orcs and humans of the need for an alliance, the night elves fought the Legion in their own secretive ways. Tyrande Whisperwind, the immortal High Priestess of the night elf Sentinels, battled desperately to keep the demons and undead from overrunning the forests of Ashenvale. Tyrande realized that she needed help, so she set out to awaken the night elf druids from their thousand-year slumber.
Calling upon her ancient love, Malfurion Stormrage, Tyrande succeeded in galvanizing her defenses and driving the Legion back. With Malfurion’s help, nature herself rose up to vanquish the Legion and its Scourge allies.
While searching for more of the hibernating druids, Malfurion found the ancient barrow prison in which he had chained his brother, Illidan. Convinced that Illidan would aid them against the Legion, Tyrande set him free. Though Illidan did aid them for a time, he eventually fled to pursue his own interests.
The night elves braced themselves and fought the Burning Legion with grim determination. The Legion had never ceased in its desire for the Well of Eternity, long the source of strength for the World Tree and itself the heart of the night elf kingdom. If their planned assault on the Tree was successful, the demons would literally tear the world apart.
Book found at Nijel’s Point
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In the ancient times, after the Titans departed Azeroth, their children, known as the earthen, continued to shape and guard the deep recesses of the world. The earthen were largely unconcerned with the affairs of the surface-dwelling races and longed only to plumb the dark depths of the earth.
When the world was sundered by the Well of Eternity’s implosion, the earthen were deeply affected. Reeling with the pain of the earth itself, the earthen lost much of their identity and sealed themselves within the stone chambers where they were first created. Uldaman, Uldum, and Uldur. These were the names of the ancient Titan cities where the earthen first took shape and form. Buried deep beneath the world, the earthen rested in peace for nearly eight thousand years.
Though it is unclear what awakened them, the earthen sealed within Uldaman eventually arose from their self-imposed slumber. These earthen found that they had changed significantly during their hibernation. Their rocky hides had softened and become smooth skin, and their powers over stone and earth had waned. They had become mortal creatures.
Calling themselves dwarves, the last of the earthen left the halls of Uldaman and ventured out into the waking world. Still lulled by the safety and wonders of the deep places, they founded a vast kingdom under the highest mountain in the land.
They named their land Khaz Modan, or “Mountain of Khaz”, in honor of the Titan shaper, Khaz’goroth. Constructing an altar for their Titan father, the dwarves crafted a mighty forge within the heart of the mountain. Thus, the city that grew around the forge would be called Ironforge ever after.
The dwarves, by nature fascinated with shaping gems and stone, set out to mine the surrounding mountains for riches and precious minerals. Content with their labors under the world, the dwarves remained isolated from the affairs of their surface-dwelling neighbors.
Book found at Hall of Explorers
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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, Ner’zhul, 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 Khadgar and General Turalyon, 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.
Book found at Scarlet Monastery
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Satisfied that the small world had been ordered and that their work was done, the Titans prepared to leave Azeroth. However, before they departed, they charged the greatest species of the world with the task of watching over Kalimdor, lest any force should threaten its perfect tranquility. In that age, there were many dragonflights.
Yet there were five flights that held dominion over their brethren. It was these five flights that the Titans chose to shepherd the budding world. The greatest members of the Pantheon imbued a portion of their power upon each of the flights’ leaders. These majestic dragons (as listed below) became known as the Great Aspects, or the Dragon Aspects.
Aman’Thul, the Highfather of the Panteon, bestowed a portion of his cosmic power upon the massive Bronze dragon, Nozdormu. The Highfather empowered Nozdormu to guard time itself and police the ever-spinning pathways of fate and destiny. The stoic, honorable Nozdormu became known as the Timeless One.
Eonar, the titan patron of all life, gave a portion of her power o he Red leviathan, Alexstrasza. Ever after, Alexstrasza would be known as the Life-binder, and she would work to safeguard all living creatures within the world. Due to her supreme wisdom and limitless compassion for all living things, Alexstrasza was crowned the Dragonqueen and given dominion over her kind.
Eonar also blessed Alexstrasza’s younger sister, the lithe green dragon Ysera, wih a portion of nature’s influence. Ysera fell into an eternal trance, bound to the waking Dream of Creation. Known as the Dreamer, she would watch over the growing wilds of the world from her verdant realm, the Emerald Dream.
Norgannon, the titan lore keeper and master-magician, granted the Blue dragon, Malygos, a portion of his vast power. From then on, Malygos would be known as the Spell-weaver, the guardian of magic and hidden arcanum.
Khaz’Goroth, the Titan shaper and forger of the world, bestowed some of his bast power upon the mighty black wyrm, Neltharion. The Great-hearted Neltharion, known afterwards as the Earth-warder was given dominion over the earth and the deep places of the world. He embodied the strength of the world and served as Alexstrasza’s greatest supporter.
Thus empowered, the Five Aspects were charged with the world’s defense in the Titans’ absence. With the dragons prepared to safeguard their creation, the Titans left Azeroth behind forever. Unfortunately it was only a matter of time before Sargeras learned of the newborn world’s existence …
Book found at the Explorer’s League Library—Iron Forge
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Ner’zhul, the Lich King, knew that his time was short. Imprisoned within the Frozen Throne, he suspected that Kil’jaeden would send his agents to destroy him. The damage caused by Illidan’s spell had ruptured the Frozen Throne; thus, the Lich King was losing his power daily. Desperate to save himself, he called his greatest mortal servant to his side: the death knight Prince Arthas.
Though his powers were drained by the Lich King’s weakness, Arthas had been involved in a civil war in Lordaeron. Half of the standing undead forces, led by the banshee Sylvanas Windrunner, staged a coup for control over the undead empire. Arthas, called by the Lich King, was forced to leave the Scourge in the hands of his lieutenant, Kel’Thuzad, as the war escalated throughout the Plaguelands.
Ultimately, Sylvanas and her rebel undead (known as the Forsaken) claimed the ruined capital city of Lordaeron as their own. Constructing their own bastion beneath the wrecked city, the Forsaken vowed to defeat the Scourge and drive Kel’Thuzad and his minions from the land.
Weakened, but determined to save his master, Arthas reached Northrend only to find Illidan’s naga and blood elves waiting for him. He and his nerubian allies raced against Illidan’s forces to reach the Icecrown Glacier and defend the Frozen Throne.
Book found at Southshore
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Kil’jaeden cast Ner’zhul’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 deep within the Icecrown glacier. The frozen crystal, warped and scarred by its violent descent, came to resemble a throne, and Ner’zhul’s vengeful spirit soon 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 little effort, he enslaved the minds of many indigenous creatures, including ice trolls and fierce wendigo, and he drew their evil brethren into his growing shadow. His psychic powers proved to be almost limitless, and he used them to create a small army that he housed within Icecrown’s twisting labyrinths.
As the Lich King mastered his growing abilities under the dreadlords’ persistent vigil, he discovered a remote human settlement on the fringe of the vast Dragonblight. On a whim, Ner’zhul decided to test his powers on the unsuspecting humans.
Ner’zhul cast a 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, everyone in the settlement was dead, but shortly thereafter, 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.
Book found at Scarlet Monastery
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There were a handful of powerful individuals scattered throughout the world who heard the Lich King’s mental summons from Northrend. Most notable of them was the archmage of Dalaran, Kel’Thuzad, who was one of senior members of the Kirin Tor, Dalaran’s ruling council. He 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 resigned himself to learn what he could from the immensely powerful Lich King.
Leaving behind 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. Traveling 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 Ner’zhul’s power. He began to realize that allying himself with the mysterious Lich King might be both wise and 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 undead guardsmen silently 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. Eager for dark knowledge and power, Kel’Thuzad 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 state of trust and belief. Then, 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. It was surprisingly easy for Kel’Thuzad to achieve his goal: namely, to transfer the citizens’ faith in the Holy Light into belief in Ner’zhul’s dark shadow. As the Cult of the Damned grew in size and influence, Kel’Thuzad made sure to hide its workings from the authorities of Lordaeron.
With Kel’Thuzad’s success in Lordaeron, the Lich King made the final preparations for his assault against human civilization. Placing his plague-energies into a number of portable artifacts called plague-cauldrons, Ner’zhul 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.
Book found at Southshore
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Around the time of Medivh’s birth on Azeroth, Kil’jaeden the Deceiver sat and brooded amongst his followers within the Twisting Nether. The cunning demonlord, under orders of his master, Sargeras, was plotting the Burning Legion’s second invasion of Azeroth.
This time he would not allow any mistakes. Kil’jaeden surmised that he needed a new force to weaken Azeroth’s defenses before the Legion even set foot upon the world. If the mortal races, such as the night elves and dragons, were forced to contend with a new threat, they would be too weak to pose any real resistance when the Legion’s true invasion arrived.
It was at this time that Kil’jaeden discovered the lush world of Draenor floating peacefully within the Great Dark Beyond. Home to the shamanistic, clan-based orcs and the peaceful draenei. Draenor was as idyllic as it was vast.
The noble orc clans roamed the open prairies and hunted for sport, while the inquisitive draenei bulit crude cities within the world’s towering cliffs and peaks. Kil’Jaeden knew that Draenor’s denizens had great potential to serve the Burning Legion if they could be cultivated properly.
Of the two races, Kil’Jaeden saw that the warrior orcs were more susceptible to the Legion’s corruption. He enthralled the Elder orc shaman, Ner’zhul, in much the same way that Sargeras brought Queen Azshara under his control in ages past. Using the cunning shaman as his conduit, the demon spread battle lust and savagery throughout the orc clans.
Before long, the spiritual race was transformed into a bloodthirsty people. Kil’jaeden then urged Ner’zhul and his people to take the last step: to give themselves over entirely to the pursuit of death and war. Yet the old shaman, sensing that his people would be enslaved to hatred forever, somehow resisted the demon’s command.
Frustrated by Ner’zhul’s resistance, Kil’jaeden searched for another orc who would deliver his people into the Legion’s hands. The clever demonlord ffinally found the willing disciple he sought – Ner’zhul’s ambitious apprentice, Gul’dan. Kil’jaeden promised Gul’dan untold power in exchange for his utter obedience.
The young orc became an avid student of demonic magic and developed into the most powerful mortal warlock in history. He taught other young orcs the arcane arts and strove to eradicate the orcs’ shamanistic traditions. Gul’dan showed a new brand of magic to his breathren A terrible new power that reeked of doom.
Kil’jaeden, seeking to tighten his hold over the orcs, helped Gul’dan found the Shadow Council, a secretive sect that manipulated the clans and spread the use of warlock magics throughout Draenor. As more and more orcs began to wield warlock magics, the gentle fields and streams of Draenor began to blacken and fade. Over time, the vast prairies the orcs had called home for generations withered away, leaving only red barren soil. The demon energies were slowly killing the world.
Months passed, and 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 sought of Alterac Mountains. To properly maintain and supply the growing number of camps, King Terenas levied a new tax on the Alliance nations.
This tax, along with increased political tensions over border disputes, created widespread unrest. 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 archmage Antonidas 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 the demonic power for generations.
He speculated that the orcs had been corrupted by these powers even before their first invasion of Azeroth. Clearly, demons had spiked the orcs’ blood, and in turn the brutes had been granted unnatural heightened strength, endurance and aggression.
Antonidas theorized that the orcs’ communal lethargy was not actually a disease, but a consequence of racial withdrawal from the volatile warlock magics that had made them fearsome, bloodlusted warriors.Thought the symptoms were clear, Antonidas was unable to find a cure for the orcs’ present condition. Then too, 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’ cure would have to be a spiritual one.
—Book found at Eastvale Logging Camp—Elwynn Forest