Lore: The Heart of the Lich King
Recently, I transcribed the first pages of World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden. The book to be published on April 21 introduces a very key feature of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion’s storyline that reveals Arthas was wounded in the duel against Illidan, and after he merged with Ner’zhul, Arthas went into a long sleep where the orc, the prince and the boy (Matthias Lehner) brewed an inner-turmoil during his long dark dream. The answer to end this long dreamscape was to cast his own heart out to strip away his weakness.
If you read the book preview, and experience the Icecrown quests with Matthias Lehner you will see a big tie-in between the book and the in-game quests. Probably a connection with what might happen in the Lich King dungeon encounter. Some fans do not have yet the Wrath of the Lich King expansion or don’t play WoW at all. If you don’t mind heavy spoilers, watch the two videos below showing you the quests given by the child Matthias Lehner (Arthas Menethil anagram). You get to control Arthas and use his abilities in two quests. You fight Illidan too. More interesting is what happens when Tirion Fordring—wielding the Ashbringer—faces Arthas the LIch King at the Cathedral of Darkness in Icecrown.
At the bottom of this page, you may read the transcript of all the questline.
Video 1: Army of the Damned
Video 2: The Hunter and the Prince
Opportunity (Horde)—Exploiting an Opening (Alliance)
Koltira Deathweaver: We recently came upon schematics that indicate a weakness in Icecrown Citadel. An opening in its defenses, both figuratively and literally.
The captured diagrams show an orifice leading several hundred feet into the ground. We’re unsure of its purpose, but our scouting has revealed it to be of high importance to the Scourge.
Speak to Sergeant Kregga below Icecrown Citadel, she’s leading the attack on the site.
Seargeant Kregga: Just in time, (name). Koltira spoke highly of you. Perhaps you’ll be able to push the scales in our favor.
Sergeant Kregga: We’ve one shot at dealing some damage to this place—let’s make sure we get it right.
We’ve acquired potent, Scourge-made, saronite bombs. But we must secure this area before we can set them off.
We’re going to need to get the Scourge defenses under control quickly, before reinforcements arrive.
Help my men out and come back when you’re ready for some fireworks.
Sergeant Kregga: You made quick work of the Scourge, (name). Let’s finish what we came to do here.
Seargent Kregga: This is probably as under-control as this situation is going to get. Let’s do this, (Name).
I need someone to light the fuse on those bombs and it looks like you’re the one to do it.
Yourself: These bombs look pretty potent. They should at least put a dent in the surrounding structure.
A Short Fuse
Yourself: As you light the fuse, you notice that it is consumed by fire far quicker than you would expect.
The bombs are about to go off and your best chance at surviving is to lean towards the pit and hope the fall doesn’t kill you.
Note: Once the bomb explodes, your character is catapulted into the pit landing into a pool within the Forgotten Depths. A pulsing ice crystal floats inside the pool.
Object: This pulsing object is covered in a thick layer of ice. It shimmers strangely beneath the water.
A Voice in the Dark
The object is not a crystal at all, but some form of organ, encased in ice.
As you touch it, your hand reels in horrible pain. You feel as if your hand has been cut, yet there is no visible wound.
As you collect your thoughts, you hear a young boy’s voice nearby.
“You really shouldn’t have done that.”
Time to Hide
Matthias Lehner: You shouldn’t have touched it. But now that you did, he’s going to come looking for you.
And he’ll find you. Unless you hide yourself from him.
Bring me blood from the faceless ones if you want to live!
Matthias Lehner: Did you get the blood? What are you waiting for? You have to rub it on you!
Quick! Or he’ll see you!
Matthias Lehner: You should leave now. You’ll find a portal behind me. It’ll take you to the surface.
We’ll meet again. He’ll be looking for you.
It’s only a matter of time until he finds you.
Koltira Deathweaver: (Name)! We thought you were dead!
We lost a few men in that explosion… but we sure put a hurt on the Scourge. They’re scrambling their forces back to the citadel and leaving big gaps in their defenses. It’s time to push forward.
Koltira Deathweaver: The Scourge is still reeling from our attack, (name). Now is the time to capitalize on our momentum.
The strategically important valley below us is wide open. We’ve located a disassembled demolisher vehicle in what we believe is working condition in the southeastern corner of the Valley of Lost Hope area.
If you can get the remaining parts from the Scourge scavengers, you should be able to get it running again. A single working demolisher can wreak havoc on the enemy’s ground units.
Object: The demolisher has suffered much damage.
The Demolisher has seen better days, but the structure hasn’t suffered any permanent damage. The parts you obtained should be enough to get it running again, at least temporarily.
Do your Worst
Matthias Lehner: You’re going to use this machine against the Scourge? You’re not going to win against them like that.
You can destroy hundreds… even thousands of them. But you won’t win. Not out here.
When you’re done playing with your machine, meet me to the north. There is an old army encampment. What I will show you will teach you a little bit about who you’re up against.
Use the Refurbished Demolisher to destroy 150 Decomposed Ghouls, 20 Frostskull Mages and 2 Bone Giants in the Valley of Lost Hope. Speak to Matthias Lehner at the First Legion Forward Camp when you’ve completed this task.
Matthias Lehner: You see? You killed your fair share, but for every one you destroyed, another rose from the dirt to take its place.
You don’t know what you’re up against, (name). Let me show you.
Army of the Damned
Matthias Lehner: You probably think you’re quite strong—fighting these undead and crushing their bones beneath your war machines.
That is nothing compared to the strength it took to create them.
I saw the prince do it himself. I can show you how it happened… if you’d like.
Matthias Lehner at the First Legion Forward Camp wants you to raise an army of 100 Ghoulish Minions
Matthias Lehner: The prince’s true power wasn’t his ability to make armies out of corpses… that was easy
But killing his own men, with whom he’d shared many battles… the prince’s true power was his ability to do what had to be done.
Matthias Lehner: Do you see now? Sending your men against the prince’s armies just swells their numbers.
I don’t expect you to understand… you’ll probably just end like the others. You’d best return to whoever sent you. They might be worried.
Koltira Deathweaver: There you are. Nice work down in the valley. The carnage was visible all the way up here.
Are you ok? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.
Koltira Deathweaver: We need to keep our momentum going. Let’s not give the Scourge forces any respite.
Sindragosa’s Fall lies east just beyond the Valley of Lost Hope. The Cult of the Damned operate there, under close supervision of the Lich King’s undead Vrykul lackeys.
It is a place of great power, possibly a blue dragonflight graveyard. The feared Frostbrood are raised there from the bones of blue dragons.
An attack there would have great impact on the enemy’s access to Frost Wyrms. Are you up to it, (name)?
Koltira Deathweaver aboard Orgrim’s Hammer wants you to slay 5 Wyrm Reanimators, 8 Cultist Corrupters and 3 Vrykul Necrolords at Sindragosa’s Fall.
Koltira Deathweaver: Hail, (name).
You’ve done well, (name). You might want to rest for a while. You look a little pale.
Where Dragons Fell (Horde)
Matthias Lehner: A whole brood of blue dragons fell here. And now, one by one, they’re being raised by his servants.
He raised the biggest of them all himself. Bring me some bone dust from the whelps and I’ll show you exactly how he did it.
Matthias Lehner: Did you get the dust, (name)?
Note: Before you, Arthas the Lich King phases in replicating the Wrath of the Lich King cinematic intro where he rises Sindragosa from the ice ground.
Matthias Lehner: Even the mighty wyrms had to heed his call. How is a simple mortal like you going to resist him?
Time for Answers
Matthias Lehner: You have a lot of questions, (name). You’re the only one who can see me because you touched something that once belonged to him… don’t you remember?
You don’t know what it is? Well I can’t just tell you… that would make him really mad. He’s not just a prince anymore… he’s the king!
Meet me at the Court of Bones, north of Icecrown Citadel and you can see for yourself.
Matthias Lehner: There you are. I started to wonder whether you’d show up.
Matthias Lehner: Before the prince became a king, he fought many battles… but only one where he came close to dying.
It was fought right here. After you let me show you what happened, you’ll understand everything.
Find a bloodstained stone and pick it up from the floor. You’ll see what happened.
Note: You become Arthas the Death Knight and you fight Illidan the Betrayer, reliving the duel from Warcraft III: Frozen Throne.
Matthias Lehner: After that fight, the prince realized what was holding him back was that he was still human… he could still feel… he could still bleed. He still had a heart.
The first thing he did when he became king was to rid of himself of it. He threw it down the pit where we first met. And you, (name), were the first person to touch it since.
Matthias Lehner: Now you know what you’re up against, (name). An opponent who no longer knows pain… remorse… or humanity. An opponent who will do anything to get what he wants.
The heart was his weakness and now he knows you’ve found it.
If you’re going to go back for it, you’d best bring help. He will not leave it unguarded again.
Koltira Deathweaver: Little kid’s ghost… Arthas’s heart… you’d better slow down… you’re making my head spin.
Koltira Deathweaver: There were rumors about the events you speak of among the Death Knights. I always expected the story to be more… symbolic.
We must warn others, but we must be discrete. As soon as the Lich King knows we’re making our move, he’ll move the location of the heart—we’ll never get a chance like this again.
The Horde and the Alliance have been infiltrated by the Cult of the Damned before. The Ebon Blade operates too close to the Scourge.
We have to speak to Tirion Fordring and his Argent Crusade.
Tirion Fordring: Heavy words, (name). If it were somebody else saying them, I’d be likely to judge them insane.
Tirion Fordring: Just this morning, my scouts informed me of a Cult of the Damned procession leaving from Icecrown Citadel to the Cathedral of Darkness, bearing an artifact.
And now I learn that it might be Arthas’s own heart… a thing containing the last bit of his remaining humanity.
This is a sign of the Light. As long as such an artifact exists, there is a chance that Arthas Menethil can become a man again!
Meet me at the cathedral’s entrance. Be sure to bring a cultist’s hood—we’re going incognito.
Tirion Fordring, at the Crusader’s Pinnacle, wants you to obtain and wear a Cultist Acolyte’s Hood and meet him at the entrance of the Cathedral of Darkness, northwest of Icecrown Citadel
Note: At the Cathedral of Darkness, once you acquire the Cultist Acolyte’s Hood, walk to the bonefire on the right side of the door. There is Tirion Fordring disguised with other Argent Dawn agents.
Tirion Fordring: There you are. Are you ready then? Once we start, there is no turning back.
You: I’m ready, Highlord.
Tirion Fordring: It’s time. May the Light give us strength.
Note: Tirion and the Argent Crusade agents walk slowly into the Cathedral of Darkness, and stand near a table close to the altar where the Heart of Arthas has been brought by the Cult of the Damned. Arthas the Lich King walks in.
Tirion Fordring: Keep yours head down and follow my lead.
Tirion Fordring: Here it comes. Stand ready.
The Lich King is here. May the light guide our blades.
Arthas the Lich King: Uninvited guests? Did you think you’d go unnoticed inside my dominion?
I must confess—you were not altogether unexpected. I hope you find your final resting place … to your liking.
Tirion Fordring: You sound a little too confident. Especially considering the way our last encounter ended.
Arthas the Lich King: Last time we met, you had the advantage of fighting on holy ground. You’ll find that our situation has been … reversed.
Tirion Fordring: That might be, but I don’t need to stand on holy ground to run that disembodied heart of yours with the Ashbringer.
Arthas the Lich King: I call your bluff. You’re a paladin after all. Your obsession with redemption goes beyond the inane.
You surely wouldn’t destroy humanity’s only chance to redeem its most wayward son. You’d sooner die!
Tirion Fordring: The heart … the last remaining vestige of your humanity. I had to stop it from being destroyed. I had to see for myself. And at last I’m sure …
Only shadows from the past remain. There’s nothing left to redeem.
Note: Tirion Fordring charges with blazing-speed toward Arthas’ ice-encased heart … and destroys it. An immense flash of light blinds everyone. Tirion is knocked unconscious by this, while Arthas the Lich King is badly hurt, falling to his knees … barely holding himself with Frostmourne.
Arthas the Lich King: Arrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh !!!!!!
Disguised Crusader: Tirion’s down. Defend him with your lives !
Arthas the Lich King: You … will pay for that, old man. Slay them all !
Note: The Cult of the Damned surrounds the Argent Crusade agents and clash in combat. The Cult of the Damned is decimated with the sudden assistance of Highlord Darion Mograine and his Ebon Blade Knights. Darion opens a death gate to facilitate everyone’s escape from the Cathedral of Darkness back to the Crusader