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Warcraft History

World of Warcraft Time Line

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Timeline Chapters
Kaldorei awaken

Chapter One - The Beginning

Life on Azeroth is nasty, brutish and short. Yet the world was not always torn by war and scarred by conflict. There was a time in which the world teemed with life and vitality. People lived in peace and balance with their surroundings, and wonderous magical beasts roamed the wilds and skies uncontested. It was a time before the arrival of the arrival of the Burning Legion.

Ten thousand years before Orcs and Humans clashed in the First War, the world of Azeroth had only one massive continent - surrounded by the infinite raging seas. That landmass was home to a number of disparate races and creatures, all vying for survival among the savage elements of the waking world. At the 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 Well actedas a mystical fount, sending its potent energies across the world to nourish life in all its wonderous forms.

The shimmering power drew the greatest tribe in the land, a race called the Kaldorei. These ancient people named the great land Kalimdor and settled near the vortexof cosmic energy. After several ages spent in peace and learning, the Kaldorei grew in power and wisdom so that they soon outstripped the other humanoid races of Azeroth.

The Well of Eternity was key to the Kaldorei's advancement. This connection did not come without a price, ultimately both beneficial and malevolent. In studying the Well's energies, the Kaldorei were infused with its power, becoming immortal and gleaning mastery over the creatures of the land. In time, they learned to manipulate the powerful energies directly. Thus did the study of arcane magic begin.

Some Kaldorei believed that abusing the Well's arcane energies could only lead to ill, but their words of caution were ignored as their bretheren flew headlong into the study of magic. Their greatest wizards and sorcerers built beautiful cities, crafted amazing magical devices, and reshaped their world to better suit their needs. One of the greatest of their sorcerers was Azshara, a gifted woman who seemed to know more about magic than anyone aliveeven though she never studied a single treatise on the subject - as if she understood magic at its most primal level. Before long, Azshara was crowned the Sorceress-queen of Kalimdor. She gathered about her the Highborne, those Kaldorei of the upper classes who most reveled in magic. The Highborne soon acted as Azshara's chosen sect and vererated her as a goddess.

Malfurion & Illidan are born
Tyrande is born
The Burning Legion invades Kalimdor

Chapter Two - The Burning Legion

The mighty Highborne became haughty and decadent as they grew in power. Unknown to them, their abuse of and obsession with the Well's otherworldly energies attracted the attention of a terrible race of creature that fed upon magic. These beings, demons of the Burning Legion, dwelled in an extraplanar reality called the Twisted Nether. Sensing the sudden bloom of magical energies on Azeroth, these demons were drawn to Kalimdor like flies to a corpse. The barrier between realities kept the demons from feeding directly upon the Well's energy. Not to be denied, Sargeras, the dark titan and lord of the Burning Legion, exerted an unholy influence upon the nobles of Kalimdor. As Sargeras began his subtle manipulations, his lieutenants Archimonde the Defiler and Mannoroth the Destructor prepared the infernal minions to strike.

Queen Azshara and her Highborne servitors, overwhelmed by the terrible ecstasy of magic, fell victim to Sargeras's undeniable power. To show their alligiance, the Highborne aided there queen in opening a portal within the depths of the Well of Eternity. Though insufficient to allow Sargeras entry, it was enough for the Burning Legion to begin its assault.

The warrior-deamons stormed through the Well of Eternity and laid siege to the Kaldorei 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. A band of burning, blood-letting killers called the Doomgaurd marched across Kalimdor's fields, slaughtering everyone in its path. Even packs of wild, demonic fel stalkers ravaged unopposed across the countryside.

Nature rose up in shock and anger against this violent intrusion from beyond. The seas roiled as demonfire rained from the skies. The Kaldorei were shaken enough from their arcane haze to recognize the severity of this threat. They did what they could, but the Burning Legion was the manifestation of destruction. Cites were blown apart like fallen leaves, and the night elves were pushed back as the demons savaged their once idyllic realm.

Malfurion, Tyrande and Cenarius destroy the Well of Eternity

Chapter Three - War of the Ancients

It fell to a young Kaldorei scholar, Malfurion Stormrage, to find salvation for his people. Malfurion had long felt incensed by the growing corruption of the upper calss. His own brother, Illidan, practiced the Highborne's magics, but Malfurion convinced him to forsake his dangerous obsession and help battle the invaders. The young priestess Tyrande Whisperwind agreed to accompany the brothers.

The three heros met with the reclusive demi-god Cenarius, who brought the aid of the powerful dragons. Led by the great red leviathan Alextrasza, the dragon flights agreed to engae the demons while Malfurion looked for a way to banish them from the world.

Malfurion was convinced that the Well of Eternity was the demons' umbilical link to the physical world and insisted that it should be destroyed. As the Well was also the source of the night elves' immortality and powers, his companions were shocked by the rash notion. Yet Tyrande saw the wisdom of Malfurion's theory and helped convince Cenarius and their dragon comrades to storm Azshara's temple.

Illidan was unnerved at the thought of never again wielding magic... and resentful that Tyrande had chosen romance with his brother rather than himself. Fear and jealousy curdled as Illidan vowed to protect the Well's powers by any means necessary.

Malfurion found his brother missing, but assumed only that he could not face the thought of destroying the Well. Though heartbroken by Illidan's departure, Malfurion committed to his course. The Highborne were in the midst of summoning Sargeras when Malfurion's forces struck, but they were far from surprised. Illidan had already whispered to Azshara of the plan, and she unleashed her mighty powers upon the attackers. Tyrande fell even as she made to strike the mad queen, sending Malfurion into a murderous rage. The battle between Malfurion and Azshara threw the Highborne's carefully crafted spellwork into chaos. The vortex within the Well's depths spun out of control and the Well of Eternity collapsed upon itself.

With its link to the well severed, the Burning Legion was flung back into the primal chaos from whence it came. In the ages that followed, they would become stuff of legend.

Malfurion & Cenarius imprison Illidan within an underground chamber

Chapter Four - Sundering of the World

The seas rushed in to fill the gaping wound left by the Well's implosion. Kalimdor was sundered into a handful of seperate 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 that came to be called the Maelstrom. It stood throughout the passing centuries as a chilling testament to the terrible catclysm that forever shattered the utopia once enjoyed by the night elves.

A handful of night elves survived the explosion- including Malfurion, Tyrande, and Cenarius, miraculously enough. they sailed upon crude rafts to the only landmass in site; the holy mountain Hyjal. Azshara and her acolytes were smashed to the bottom of the raging sea, but other Highborne survived the sundering. Though Malfurion mistrusted them, he was satisfied that they could cause no real mischief without the Well's energies.

The night elves climbed the slopes of Mount Hyjal to the wooded bowl nestled between the mountain's enormous peaks. A small, tranquil lake awaited them, but, to their horror, the lake's waters were fouled by magic.

Malfurion did not know at the time, but Illidan was present at the fight against the Highborne. He hid in the shadows, taking advantage of the confusion of battle to fill seven vials with the Well's shimmering waters. Having survived the Sundering, Illidan fled to Mount Hyjal and poured one of the vial's contents into the mountain lake. The Well's potent energies quickly ignited and coalesced into a new Well of Eternity. Illidan intended it as a gift to future generations, but Malfurion was outraged. Arcane power was inately chaotic, and use of the Well's energies would lead to a repeat of the horrors just endured by the night elves. Illidan denied his brother's accusations and refused to relinquish his magical powers.

With Cenarius's help, Malfurion sealed his own brother with in a vast underground chamber. The Well was not so easily handled. Fearing that its destruction would unleash another catastrophe, the night elves looked for a way to protect it. The three great dragons, Alextrasza, Ysera, and Nozdormu-helped them create Nordrassil, the World Tree. Sustained by the Well's magic but divine rather than arcane in origin, Nordrassil obscured the existence of the Well of Eternity and protected the world against any further threats from the Burning Legion.

Nordrassil is created
Malfurion & Cenarius imprison Illidan within an underground chamber

Chapter Five - Seclusion of the Night Elves

In the aftermath of the Burning Legion's first assault on the world of Azeroth, the surviving Kaldorei on Mount Hyjal vowed never again to tamper with arcane magic. They set about building a new empire, one at peace with the world and with nature. Over the next several thousand years, the Kaladorei became masters of manipulating the gentler and more divine magic of nature.

Yet some Highborne who survived the Sundering still felt that arcane magic was not inherently dangerous, if used with proper control and moderation. Like Illidan before them, they fell victim to the withdrawal that came from the loss of their coveted magics. They were tempted, once more, to tap the energies of the Well of Eternity. Malfurion and the druids warned the Highborne that any use of arcane magic would be punishable by death. In turn, the Highborne unleashed a terrible magical storm in an ill-fated attempt to convince the druids to rescind their law. Unable to bring themselves to slaughter so many of their kin, the druids instead exiled the reckless Highborne from their lands. The Highborne -or Quel'dorei, as Azshara had named them in ages past-were glad to be rid of their conservative cousins. Though none knew what awaited them, they eagerly boarded ships and braved the waters of the Maelstrom.

As the Quel'dorei departed, the Kaldorei wove a powerful drudic spell to close their borders within an eternal mist. There they remained for thousands of years, hidden by the mist and by the swirling seas of the Maelstrom, untouched by time and the creatures of the waking world.

Kaldorei close thier border within an eternal mist
Quel 'Thalas and the Sunwell are established

Chapter Six - Settlement of Lordaeron

The Highborne braved the dangers of the Maelstrom and came upon the land that humanity would someday call Lordaeron. There, they set to establishing their own magical kingdom -Quel 'Thalas- and rejected the night elves' percepts of moon worship and nocternal activity. Forever after, they would be known only as the "high elves".

As part of their new start, the Quel'dorei created a new mystic well from which they would draw their arcane power. this font was born of one of the vials that Illidan had drawn from the first Well of Eternity and that was taken by the Highborne after his imprisonment. In keeping with the high elves' casting aside the night culture, they called this new font the Sunwell. Though potent indeed, the Sunwell lacked the full power of the Well of Eternity. Mighty though the Quel'dorei magic was, it did not bestow the immortality their cousins enjoyed. Combined with their day-oriented culture, high elf society soon grew significantly different from what they once knew on Kalimdor.

Some of the elves, wary of the Kaldorei's warnings, felt that their use of magic might draw the attention of the banished Burning Legion. They decided to mask their lands within a protective barrier that would prevent anyone from sensing magic within their borders while not restricting their use of it. They constructed huge, monolithic runestones at various points around Quel'Thalas that marked the boundries of the magic barrier. In addition to the runestones, the Convocation of Silvermoon was founded. This group of seven of the greatest high elf lords vowed to watch over and protect their new homeland.

As their empire grew, the high elves skirmished constantly with the savage forest trolls of Zul'Aman. The green-skinned humanoids were disorganized and primitive, but their cunning earned them a place as the most dangerous enemy the high elves faced for many, many years. The high elves also learned that they shared their new continent with humans, but left them to their own crude culture for some time.

The Human Kingdom of Arathor is established

Chapter Seven - Rise of the Humans

The humans lived a nomadic life for many years until the rise of the Arathi. This tribe saw the potential in uniting the individual human tribes, particularly when faced with the increasing danger of troll warbands. The Arathi brought other human tribes under their ruleover the next few years, eventually establishing the nation of Arathor with the massive fortified city of Strom as its capital.

Word of the new nation reached the high elves, who were increasingly hard pressed to keep the trolls at bay. The high elves made contact with the humans, beseeching them for aid. The humans agreed to an alliance with the elves in exchange for being taught how to use magic. The united forces of humans and high elves defeated the trolls so decisively that the troll race never again approached the dominance it once enjoyed.

The growth of Arathor also brought the humans in contact with the dwarves, who had long lived in underground realms. High elf and dwarf cultures were so different that little trust was shared between the two, but the humans formed a bond with dwarf race. In time, the humans settled so much of Lordaeron that the single empire of Arathor eventually fragmented into different kingdoms, each developing its own beliefs, governments and lifestyles.

The Guardians of Trisfal are established

Chapter Eight - Guardians of Tirisfal

As the human and elven cultures mingled, humans displayed an astounding natural affinity for magic - indeed, many human wizards eventually outstripped the skills of their high elf teachers. These human mages were greedy and careless, however. Each new generation became more obsessed with mystic power and grew conceited and aloof.

Once more, the abuse of magic attracted the Burning Legion. The first demons who slipped back onto Azeroth were relatively weak and easily defeated, but rumors soon spread throughout the human and high elf lands. The descendents of the original Quel'dorei remembered the tales of their ancestors, and the Council of the Silvermoon entered into a pact with the Magrocrat lords of Arathor. they formed a secret order called the Guardians of Tirisfal, after the secret forested glade in which the wizards met. The Guardians kept quiet the true threat of the Burning Legion to prevent mass panic and revolution.

The Guardians carried on as a unified, though largely secret force even as the human kingdoms fragmented. Some time later, the foremost Guardian, a human woman named Aegwyn, learned that a number of demons had settled on the northern continet of Northrend. The demons hunted dragons to drain the mighty creatures of their magic. With the aid of the dragons, Aegwyn destroyed the demon forces. Even as the last demon fell, Sargeras appeared before Aegwyn to warn her that the Burning Legion would return. Enraged and overconfident, Aegwyn destroyed Sargeras's physical form with ease. Fearing that his spirit would linger, she sealed the ruined carcass in one of the ancient vaults of Kalimdor deep beneath the sea.

Alas, when Aegwyn unleashed her power, Sargeras infected her with a portion of his own spirit. The taint passed on to her own child Medivh years later. As ignorant of the infection as his mother was, Medivh gained renown for his magical prowess even as a youth. His childhood in the southern kingdoms of Stromwind was innocuous otherwise - that is, until he turned 14. Then his inherent arcane power clashed with the dormant spirit of Sargeras. Medivh fell into a coma for many years. When he awakened, so did the soul of Sargeras. The demon began to pervert Medivh's mind and soul to his own foul ends.

The Guardian, Aegwyn defeats Sargeras
Kil'jaeden corrupts the orcs of Draenor

Chapter Nine - The World of Draenor

Azeroth was not the only world subjected to the depredations of the Burning Legion. Elsewhere in the Great Dark Beyond was Draenor, a lush world home to a shamenistic, clan-based society of orcs and another race, the peaceful draenei. Sargeras's second in command, the deamon Kil'jaeden, discovered Draenor sometime after the Sundering of Azeroth. This new world offered a great opportunity for the Burning Legion if cultivated properly.

Of the two races, Kil'jaeden saw that the orcs were more suitable for corruption. He seduced the orc shamen Ner'zhul in much the same way that Sargeras brought Azshara under his control. Using the brute as his conduit for corruption, the demon spread battle lust and savagery throughout the orc clans. Before long, a spiritual race was transformed into a bloodthirsty people.

Kil'jaeden then urges Ner'zhul to take his people the last step, to give themselves over entirely to the Burning Legion. Yet the mighty shamen somehow resisted the demon's command - there were some lines even a battle-enraged orc would not cross. Kil'jaeden needed a mortal to open a gateway to Azeroth and settled on a talented novice named Gul'dan. The young orc became an avid student of demonic magic and grew to be a powerful warlock. He taught other young orcs the arcane arts, and soon the last of the orc's shamenistic traditions were replaced with a terrible new magic that reeked of doom.

The warlocks quickly ran things in the form of a Shadow Council that acted as "advisors" to the clans' chieftans. Kil'jaeden knew his orcs were almost ready, but he wanted to be certain. He had the orcs summon Mannoroth - the living vessel of destruction and rage - and perform a ceremony in which the clan chieftans drank of the pit lord's blood. Consumed with the curse of bloodlust, the orc clans united in a single Horde and wiped out the draenei.

Gul'dan forms the Shadow Council
The Dark Portal is opened

Chapter Ten - Warcraft: Orcs and Humans

With the only opponents of any significance eradicated and the warlock's energy twisting and blackening the once fertile lands of Draenor, Gul'dan grew nervous. With no foes to face, the orcs would soon turn on one another. Gul'dan's power, however, was sufficient to reach across the barrier of worlds and look for a way out.

On Azeroth, Medivh had been resisting Sargeras's corruption as best he could. Medivh's lifelong friends sensed the change in him, but their growing awareness could not stop Medivh's decent into madness. Finally, Medivh fell victim to Sargeras's power. Not long after, Gul'dan's consciousness touched that of Medivh - now possessed by Sargeras. The two made a bargain to lead the Horde to Azeroth.

The mortal orcs would be far easier to bring onto Azeroth than the demons of the Legion. Once there, the Horde would soften up any resistance and generate the arcane power necessary to bring the Legion through. With the warlocks working on Draenor and Medivh on Azeroth, the gateway was opened between the worlds. The Horde came through near the human kingdom of Stormwind and launced the first strike of what proved to be a devestating war. During the stuggle that followed, Lord Anduin Lothar, a friend of Medivh's since youth, foresaw the destruction of the world if he did not take a drastic step. With the aid of Medivh's own apprentice, Khadgar, Lothar slew his old friend, destroying Sargeras's spirit and freeing Medivh's at last.

Led by the cunning Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer, the orcs carried on relentlessly against the human forces, crushing all resistance in the southern kingdom of Stormwind. Lothar rallied the remnants of his armies and launched a massive exodus across the sea to the northern kingdom of Lordaeron.

After 5 grueling years of war, the Horde finally conquers the nations of Azeroth and Khaz Modan, then claims Blackrock Spire as its base of operations.

Medivh is slain by Khadgar
The Horde launches a new campaign into Lordaeron

Chapter Eleven - Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness

Lothar met with the leaders of the seven nations of Lordaeron. They agreed that the orcs would eventually wipe out all of humanity if left unchecked. The Alliance of Lordaeron was formed, a union of human nations with support from the high elves and dwarves. Lord Lothar was appointed as the Supreme Commander of the Alliance forces.

In the south, the orcs brought ogre allies from their home world and conscripted the native forest trolls of Azeroth. They launched a new campaign that ended up raging across the continents of Lordaeron, Khaz Modan and Stormwind. The battles of the Second War ranged from traditional land wars to naval conflicts and even to massive aerial dogfights. Despite the Horde's relentless savagery, the Alliance managed to push the Horde armies back into Stormwind, the first kingdom to fall to the Horde's hands.

Though the Alliance was heartened by its success, the Horde's defeat hinged on the warlock Gul'dan. A mighty orc warrior named Durotan warned Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer of Gul'dan's ties to the demon Kil'jaedon and the warlock's plans for godhood. Aware of the degree of corruption that lay within his people, Orgrim realized theat Gul'dan must be stopped or he would destroy orcs and human alike.

Gul'dan sought out the legendary Tomb of Sargeras, believing the power of godhood awaited him there. The warlock used his infernal powers to raise the tomb from the sea floor - creating a new, volatile island chain in the process. Doomhammer sent much of his army after the traitorous warlock. Gul'dan entered the raised tomb nevertheless, but he did not find the power he sought. Rather, he unwittingly released a swarm of demons that tore the warlock and much of the Horde forces to shreds. Then the Alliance struck, pushing the shattered Horde back through the Dark Portal. The Dark Portal is destroyed, though the rift between worlds remains.

Though the Alliance defeated demon and orc alike, victory was bittersweet: mighty Lothar had fallen in the battle at Blackrock Spire.

Orcs unable to flee through the Dark Portal are rounded up and placed into interment camps under the supervision of Aedelas Blackmoore.

The Alliance pushes the Horde back to through the Dark Portal, but King Lothar falls in battle
Rhonin foils Nekros & Deathwings plans

Chapter Twelve - Day of the Dragon

Nekros, warlock of the Dragonmaw clan, continues to use the Red Dragonflight of Alexstraza to stage hit and run attacks on Human forces in Lordaeron from his base in Grim Batol. Nekros retains control over Alexstraza with the Demon Soul.

The Kirin Tor attempt a last-ditch effort to eradicate the Orcish threat through a covert mission including the mage Rhonin, the Elven Ranger Vereesa, and the Dwarf Falstad, to destroy the Demon Soul and release the Dragonflight.

The mission succeeds, not only in destroying the last major Orcish clan in Azeroth, but also in foiling the plans of Deathwing, who hoped to use the Demon Soul to defeat the other Dragon Aspects and claim Azeroth as his own.

Ner'zhul reopens the Dark Portal

Chapter Thirteen - Beyond the Dark Portal

The grieving Alliance rebuilt its shattered homeland, and surviving orcs were hunted down and hearded into internment camps. Khadgar, Medivh's former apprentice, was ordered to watch over the ruins of the Dark Portal.

Some orcs who escaped back to Draenor began plotting revenge. The shamen Ner'zhul, however, held no interest in revenge or the schemes of demons. He decided to open a new Portal to a world where his people could rebuild their society. To do so without the aid of demons (thereby breaking the pact he had made with Kil'jaeden that began the corruption of the orc race), he needed several magical artifacts from Azeroth.

Ner'zhul re-opened the Dark Portal and sent several warriors to recover the relics. Khadgar's men failed to stop the orcs, and the warriors returned to Draenor with the relics in hand. Thinking the orcs were preparing a new attack, the Alliance ordered Khadgar and his troops through the Portal to stop the Horde once and for all.

Unaware of the Alliance's plans, Ner'zhul opened a number of new Portals that would lead to uncorrupted worlds. To Ner'zhul's shock, the existence of two Portals on a single world began to tear Draenor apart. Great earthquakes and storms shook Draenor to its core. Khadgar's forces fled back to Azeroth and destroyed the Dark Portal, lest Azeroth be consumed by the chaotic energies. Ner'zhul leeds his orcs through the second Portal. As the last orc fled through the Portal, the potent magic at last overwhelmed the ravaged world of Draenor in a final catastrophic explosion.

The remnant world of draenor, will later be known only as Outland.

Khadgar takes his army to Draenor
Draenor is destroyed
Thrall becomes Warchief the Horde

Chapter Fourteen - Lord of the Clans

In the aftermath of the First War, a human soldier named Blackmoore found an orc infant alone on the battlefield. The child, son of Durotan, was the sole orc survivor. Blackmoore named the infant Thrall and took him home to Durnholde. The human raised the orc as a favored slave, intending to train him as a powerful but educated warrior. Blackmoore desired to use Thrall to make orcs tractble to human rule, but Thrall escaped before his training had finished.

Thrall searched out his people and was dismayed to find them lethargic and directionless on thier reservations. He decided to track down the last free chieftan, Grom Hellscream, who continued to lead his Warsong clan in an underground war. Thrall located Hellscream and learned from him of another clan far to the north that could teach him something of his heritage. Thrall ventured north, were he encountered the Frostwolf clan. From them, he discovered his heritage as the son of Durotan and the clan's rightful leader.

Thrall was taught the ways of the shamen and showed a natural affinity for the spirit magic. In the course of his training, Thrall also discovered that the orcs' lethargy was caused by a racial "addiction" to the demon magics. With the warlocks slain during the Second War, the orcs were suffering a kind of withdrawal from the demons' arcane influence. He came to realize that his people must restore their spiritual ties or they would waste away to nothing. soon after, Thrall left the Frostwolf clan to free the other captive clans, restore their heritage, and ensure their future survival.

Upon his return south, Thrall encountered the aged Warchief Ogram Doomhammer, who had lived as a hermit since the end of the Second War. Doomhammer sensed Thrall's power and honor and wasted no time naming him the new Warchief of the Horde. Thrall set about freeing his people, his forces swelling with each new clan released from the prisons and reservations.

Perhaps even more significantly, Thrall's heroism and mystic power reawakened the orcs' spiritual heritage. Those who joined Thrall cast aside the last taint of demonic influence and embraced their shamanistic roots once more.

Ner'zhul is transformed by Kil'jaeden into the Lich King

Chapter Fifteen - Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos

Beckoned by a mysterious prophet, Medivh reborn, Thrall leads the Orcish Horde across the sea to the land of Kalimdor.

The prophet travels to Lordaeron to warn King Terenas of the Undead plague and the coming of the Legion, but the King refuses to act, believing the Alliance's internal matters are a greater priority.

Shortly before Draenor tore apart, Kil'jaeden captured the shamen Ner'zhul and his followers as they attempted to escape from the dying world. The vengeful demon was not about to let the orc get away with breaking their pact. He tortured Ner'zhul, slowly tearing his body to pieces, but keeping the shamen's spirit intact. Ner'zhul pled for mercy more than once, but Kil'jaeden reminded the orc of their blood pact. He still had a use for the willful shamen.

The orcs' failure to conquer Azeroth forced Kil'jaedon to create a new army. This new force could not be allowed to fall prey to the same petty rivalries and infighting that had plagued the Horde. It would need to be merciless and singleminded in its mission.

Kil'jaeden offered the tortured spirit of Ner'zhul one last chance to serve the Legion...or suffer eternal torment. Driven near to madness with agony already, Ner'zhul agreed.

His spirit was placed within a specially crafted block of diamond-hard ice gathered from the far reaches of the Twisted Nether. Encased within the frozen cask and warped by Kil'jaeden'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 Lich King was born.

Ner'zhul's loyal death knights and warlock followers were also transformed, the wicked spellcasters ripped apart and remade as skeletal liches. Kil'jaeden insured that even in death, Ner'zhul's foloowers would serve him unquestioningly.

Remade in undeath, Ner'zhul was commmanded 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 is Ner'zhul accomplished his dark missionof scouring humanity from the world, he would be freed from his curse and granted a new, healthy body to inhabit.

Though Ner'zhul appeared agreeable, 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 he required a constant watchful eye. Kil'jaeden called upon his elite demon guard, the vampiric Dreadlords, to police Ner'zhul. Tichondrious, the most powerful and cunning of the Dreadlords. warmed to the challenge. Kil'jaeden cast Ner'zhul's icy cask back into Azeroth, followed by his minions. the hardened crystal streaked across the night sky and smashed into the artic continent of Northrend and buried itself deep in the Icecrown glacier. The frozen crystal, warped and scarred by its violent decent, resembled a throne...and Ner'zhul's vengeful spirit stirred within it.

Kel'Thuzad establishes The Cult of the Damned

Chapter Sixteen - Rise of the Lich King

From the confines of the Frozen Throne, Ner'zhul reached out with his vast consciousness and touched the minds of Northrend's inhabitants. He enslaved the minds of many with ease - among them ice trolls and wendigo - and drew their evil brethren into his growing shadow. Ner'zhul quickly devastated the mortal population of Northrend with his plague, and with each fatality his undead armies grew.

A handful of powerful individuals heard the Lich King's mental summons, most notably the archmage Kel'Thuzad of the magical nation of Dalaran. Kel'Thuzad abandoned the ways of his people to pledge his soul to the Lich King before the Frozen Throne. Kel'Thuzad's first mission was to 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. Under disguise, the wizard used illusion and persuasion to lull the downtrodden, disenfranchised masses of Lordaeron and established the Cult of the Damned. Its members, many turned from the philosophy of the Holy Light, were promised eternal life in return for their obedience.

With Kel'Thuzad's success, the Lich King made the final preparations for his assault. Ner'zhul placed his energies into a number of portable artifacts and ordered Kel'Thuzad to distribute these plague-cauldrons among cult-controlled villages. The cauldrons would then act as plague-generators, sending the plague seeping out across the unsuspecting farmlands and cities of northern Lordaeron.

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. As the plague spread, Kel'Thuzad looked upon the Lich King's growing army and named it the Scourge - for it would soon march upon the gates of Lordaeron and scour humanity from the face of the world.

The Alliance first learned of this new trouble through fragments of rumors about "death cults," then increasing appearances of undead. Uther Lightbringer and the Knights of the Silver Hand, a brotherhood of holy paladin warriors, investigated the infected regions in hopes of finding a way to stop the plague. Despite the knights' efforts, the plague continued to spread and threatened to tear the Alliance apart. Indeed, one of their number, Prince Arthas, so feared the threat he took increasingly extreme steps to conquer them. This fear and resolve proved his ultimate defeat. He tracked the plague's source to Northrend, intending to end the threat. Instead, Prince Arthas fell to the Lich King's tremendous power - his soul stolen by the cursed blade Frostmourne - and became the greatest of his death knights. Arthas then led the undead Scourge on a rampage throughout the continent of Lordearon, destroying Quel'Thals and murdering his own father.

Kel'Thuzad summons Archimonde

Chapter Seventeen - Return of the Burning Legion

After crushing the majority of alliance forces, Arthas and Kel'Thuzad (now a lich) led the scourge to Dalaran. Even the wizards of Kirin Tor lacked sufficient power to stop the undead from stealing the spellbook of Medivh from the city. With this artifact, Kel'Thuzad had all he needed to summon forth the Burning Legion. The mighty demon Archimonde and his host emerged at last upon the world of Azeroth. Yet Dalaran was not their final destination. Instead, they would head for Kalimdor and Nordrassil, the World Tree.

In the midst of the chaos, a lone prophet had 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 his past sins. He told the Horde and the Alliance of the dangers they faced and urged them to band togather. Orcs and humans would have none of it, so Medivh dealt with each seperately, using prophecy and trickery when necessary to guide them across the sea, past the dangers of the Maelstrom, and to the legendary land of Kalimdor.

The forces soon encountered the long-hidden Kaldorei civilization. The night elves reacted to the news of demonic invasion with grim determination. The Burning Legion had never ceased for its desire in the Well of Eternity. long the source of strength for the World tree and itself the heart of the night elf kingdom. If successful, the demons would literally tear the world apart.

Even as the mortal races understood the full import of the threat, the Burning Legion followed the undead Scourge to Kalimdor. The continent was no longer hidden from detection, and the demons did not hesitate to lay siege to the World Tree that grew over the Well of Eternity.

Corrupted by the subtle manipulations of Mannoroth the Destructor and Tichondrius the Darkener, Grom Hellscream's Warsong clan slays Cenarius, one of the principle defenders of Ashenvale and the World Tree.

Having fled Lordaeron, Jaina Proudmoore and her band of Human followers form a pact with Thrall to free Grom Hellscream from Mannoroth's blood curse.

Grom Hellscream falls in battle to Mannoroth. However, he manages to slay the demon before he dies, freeing himself and the Horde from the Burning Legion's curse.

The Scourge and Archimonde seek out the Well of Eternity
Grom Hellscream dies while killing Mannoroth
Jaina, Thrall, Malfurion & Tyrande successfully defend the World Tree from Archimondes assault

Chapter Eighteen - The Battle of Mount Hyjal

Under Medivh's guidance, Jaina Proudmoore and Thrall, leaders of the human and orc forces respectively, realized that they must put aside their differences. Similarly, the night elves, led by Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind, agreed that they must unite against the demons if they hoped to suceed in defending the World Tree.

Unified in purpose, the races of Azeroth worked togather to strengthen the World Tree's energies to the utmost. Empowered by tremendous spiritual energies, Nordrassil held the power to destroy Archimonde and sever the Legion's anchor to the Well of Eternity. The final battle shook the continentof Kalimdor to the roots. Unable to draw power from the sundered Well, the Burning Legion crumbled under the combined might of the mortal armies.

Though victory was theirs, the mortal races found themselves in a world shattered by war. The Scourge and the Burning Legion had all but destroyed the civilizations of Lordaeron - and had almost finished the job in Kalimdor.

The orcs, led by Warchief Thrall, have found a new homeland on the continent of Kalimdor and spirit brothers in the race of tauren who lent their aid in the climactic battle. The once unstoppable juggernaut of the Horde became a loose coalition of orcs, tauren and others dedicated to survival and prosperity rather than conquest. Their peace was short lived, regrettably, when new Alliance forces arrived from Lordaeron some months later. The fleet was under the command of Grand Admiral Daelin Proudmoore - father of Jaina Proudmoore, a hero of the Second War, and a staunch enemy of the Horde.

The Prophet reveals himself to be Medivh, the sorcerer who once opened the Dark Portal. He has come to finish his guardianship of Azeroth and pass on the mantle of stewardship to the Humans, Orcs and Night Elves, who have at last formed a truce. The World Tree slowly begins to heal...

Kael'Thas introduces the Blood Elves

Chapter Nineteen - Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne

The Orcs, who have settled in the Barrens of southern Kalimdor, travel north and create the new nation of Durotar.

Jaina Proudmoore and her group of Human survivors of Lordaeron also settle in the Barrens, erecting the island citadel on Theramore Isle.

The remaining High Elves of the Alliance, greiving the loss of thier homeland and people, embark on a path of vengeance to bring justice to the Scourge and Burning Legion. The once High Elves, begin referring to themselves as "Blood Elves", led by Kael 'Thas. The blood elves join forces with the naga, led by Vashj.

Arthas begins seeing visions of Ner'zhul's Frozen Throne in Northrend. The Lich King orders Arthas to return to Northrend to defend it from unknown attackers. While in Northrend Arthas joins forces with Anub'arak, an undead Nerubian.

Vashj introduces the Naga
Illidan begins his attempts to destroy the Lich King but is thwarted by Maiev

Chapter Twenty - Illidan, Kael and Maiev

Kil'jaeden the Deceiver appears to Illidan and orders him to destroy the Frozen Throne, as the demonlord is aware that the Lich King has betrayed him. To this end, Illidan raises the ancient Naga race from the sea and sails to the Broken Isles of the Maelstrom. The Naga are the descendants of Queen Azshara's High-Borne, and they are quite willing to pledge their loyalty to Illidan. The Broken Isles contain legendary Tomb of Sargeras, and inside Illidan claims the powerful demonic artifact known as the Eye of Sargeras. Illidan plans to use the Eye to destroy the Icecrown Glacier from afar and bypass the Scourge completely.

Traveling to the ruined city of Dalaran, he attempts to put his plan into action. However, his plans are interrupted when Malfurion and Tyrande, along with the Warden Maiev Shadowsong, destroy the Eye before the spell can be completed. Realizing that he can no longer destroy Ner'zhul from afar, Illidan decides to flee Azeroth. He opens a dimensional portal to Outland and departs, but Maiev, consumed with rage and obsessed with apprehending Illidan, follows the Betrayer into the portal. Furion and Tyrande return to Kalimdor.

Kael and his Blood Elves march on to Grand Marshal Garithos' base, where they are to receive new orders. After completing a series of menial tasks assigned by Garithos, the Blood Elves stumble upon a group of Naga led by Lady Vashj. Vashj offers to assist the Blood Elves, since their races share a common heritage and a common foe in the Undead. However, Garithos does not approve of the Naga-Blood Elf alliance, and imprisons the Elves as traitors to the Alliance.

While awaiting their executions, Kael and his Elves are freed from Dalaran's prisons by Vashj, and both races escape the dungeons to the streets of Dalaran, where they escape into Outland through the very portal that brought Archimonde into Azeroth.

Upon arriving in Outland, the Naga and Blood Elf forces rescue Illidan from Maiev Shadowsong's army and consult with their leader. Illidan has decided to destroy the Pit Lord Magtheridon and claim Outland for his own, in order to hide from Kil'jaeden's wrath. While Illidan's armies (with the aid of the remaining Draenei) accomplish this task, they are unable to hide from Kil'jaeden, who orders Illidan and his forces back to Northrend to destroy the Frozen Throne, or risk suffering the consequences of failing the demonlord.

Illidan travels to Northrend to destroy the Lich King
Sylvanas breaks free of the Scourge and founds the Forsaken

Chapter Twenty One - Arthas and Sylvanas

As the Lich King's powers weaken, a group of Dread Lords seizes control of the majority of Scourge forces in Lordaeron and attempts to depose King Arthas. While they succeed in toppling the Capital, Arthas escapes and heads to Northrend to defend the Lich King from Illidan's forces.

Sylvanas Windrunner, once the Ranger-General of the High Elf forces in Quel'Thalas, is now an Undead Dark Ranger. With the weakening of Ner'zhul, Sylvanas reclaims her independence and sets out to leave her own mark on the world. By turning one of the Dread Lords to her side, she is able to topple the other two and break free of the Scourge. Now calling themselves the "Forsaken", Sylvanas' group lies in wait in the Plaguelands of Lordaeron, planning against King Arthas and the Scourge...

After reaching Northrend, Arthas is assisted by a Crypt Lord named Anub'arak as he attempts to reach the Frozen Throne before Illidan does. Despite facing many dangers in the dark tunnels of Azjol-Nerub, the Death Knight successfully reaches the Icecrown Glacier. Defeating Illidan's forces and opening the prison, Arthas confronts Illidan one-on-one. The power of Frostmourne wins out, and Arthas enters the glacier. Upon freeing the Lich King from his prison, Arthas' body is possessed by the Undead king, and the two evil beings are now joined.

The Lich King and Arthas become one

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June 5, 2006