The Balnir Farmstead has a past mystery … a place that holds a dark secret that no one but Prince Arthas Menethil knows. A secret that would be dragged within for years. A secret that would forever damn his soul.
My copy arrived today by mail. It is now official. Garona is half-draenei according to World of Warcraft # 15. For the first time, the official comic book has a Cast of Characters section at the back, on the last page. The profile for Garona says:
“An orc-draenei half-breed, trained from childhood as an assassin.”
Many years ago, ex-WoW Community Manager Katricia had a slip of tongue and claimed Garona to be half-draenei. This has been a long debated topic among lore scholars. But now the debate has been put to rest. The return of Garona and the revelation of her half-human son has made the comic book become a magnet for World of Warcraft lore enthusiasts. The new story arc has made this comic book very interesting. You should subscribe or pick this issue soon to get hooked to the series. Those wondering who Meryl is, this is his profile:
“A powerful undead mage , he has survived for thousands of years by the strength of his own magic. An original member of the now defunct Council of Tirisfal, he is now Med’an’s guardian and mentor.”
From the creative minds of Wildstorm’s World of Warcraft comic book writer Walter Simonson (Mighty Thor) and Chris Metzen, Blizzard has released a loregasmic preview teaser of World of Warcraft # 15. After King Varian Wrynn decapitated Onyxia’s corpse to display her head in Stormwind, Garona makes her appearance for the first time since the events from Warcraft: The Last Guardian. The preview reveals that shortly after Garona assassinated King Llane, she found out about her … pregnancy. She gave the baby to an ancient human mage, named Meryl, to raise him. It is now confirmed that Garona was cursed by Sargeras to betray and do things against her will. Therefore, she couldn’t bare to rise her own child for fear she would kill him.
This plot brings about so many intriguing questions. Who is the father of Garona’s baby? Medivh? Khadgar? King Llane? On the other hand, Meryl is described as undead, but one who has lived by sheer will and through the use of his own magical powers to prolong his life for milennia; he exists even before Ner’zhul created the Scourge. Is Meryl one of the previous Guardians of Tirisfal?
Garona’s baby has grown up, and there is a prophecy behind him found in a scroll digged from Hellfire Peninsula. This child is to become the savior of Azeroth. Do you feel the vibe that this guy, Med’an, is the heir of Medivh? Watch the PDF preview and get that HOT comic book at a newsstand near you!
This issue will be on newsstands on January 21.
In stores 1/21.
The road back to Theramore begins in issue #15 of the ongoing series. After the events of the last arc, King Varian and Prince Anduin must return home. But who will return with them? And what role will Garona Halforcen play in this next quest? Check out the preview pages.
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
The front cover of the upcoming WARCRAFT LEGENDS VOL. 3 is now available. This manga book will hit bookstores on March 17, 2009 at the price of $10.99. Part three of this trilogy, continues the adventures of the tauren Trag Highmountain (from Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy) now an undead. The three stories within the manga are written by Richard A. Knaak, Christie Golden and Dan Jolley.
Christie Golden is known to be a World of Warcraft player on an RPG server. It would be interesting to see her take on a goblin disguised as the Greatfather Winter. This is also the first time we see Hemet Nesingwary in a printed story outside the game.
The exciting Warcraft: Legends adventure continues with this latest installment of stories set in the Warcraft universe. From the critically acclaimed team of Richard Knaak and Jae-Hwan Kim (Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy) comes part three in the continuing adventures of Trag Highmountain, the heroic tauren reborn as one of the undead. In “Crusader’s Blood,” a blood elf mage and a forsaken warrior embark on a quest of vengeance against a ruthless Scarlet Crusade captain.
From acclaimed writer Christie Golden comes the tale of a down-on-his-luck goblin named Krizz looking for a way to make some easy coin
A new audiobook has been announced by Tantor Media Audiobook. World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal was co-written by Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden. The audiobook is slated for May 2009. A narrator hasn’t been appointed, but hopefully it is Dick Hill again. The other three audiobooks were the first Warcraft books in the series. It’s great to see that recent books are getting the audiobook treatment and opens the possibility that more will be converted.
You can pre-order World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal audiobook here.
Richard A. Knaak sends heads up that Tantor Media Audiobooks has released a new Warcraft: Day of the Dragon Audiobook MP3 Sample, narrated by Dick Hill, for those fans who would want to listen to a three-minutes recording prior to purchasing it. The Audiobook will be available in a few days on December 29, 2009. You may listen to the MP3 Sample here.
Our recent interview with Dick Hill, if you missed it. It contains a different 4-minutes sample provided to us by Dick Hill.
Richard A. Knaak updated his blog today extending his offer of shipping book signed copies of World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, Warcraft: War of the Ancients Trilogy Archive and the Diablo Archive. These will do a very special gift for a loved one or a friend who is into Warcraft lore. Knaak confirmed the release date for the Warcraft: Day of the Dragon audiobook is on December 29th, 2008. An audiobook sample (MP3) may be found here.
Knaak: First off, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all those who celebrate it! I wish everyone a very great New Year, too!
Second, due to the overwhelming response and the request for other items, beginning JANUARY, I
DC Wildstorm Comics have provided us with solicitations for World of Warcraft # 17 (March 2009) where King Varian and Thrall will meet for the first time in Theramore. This will fill up the gap of what happened during The Battle for the Undercity questline. It seems Garona Halforcen has returned to make things worse for the Horde when a pact of peace is about to crumble, climaxing later on at the Wrathgate.
On another note, Wildstorm has also announced the World of Warcraft: Ashbringer # 1-4 comic book limited series will be reprinted as a hardcover on May 27, compiling all four issues within. Good news for those who missed the standalone issues. A reminder that the Ashbringer comic book was written by Blizzard Enrtertainment’s Creative Design team member: Micky Neilson, who also wrote The Road of Damnation (Kel’Thuzad), The Unbroken (Akama) and Starcraft: Uprising (Kerrigan).
WORLD OF WARCRAFT #17
Jeff Grubb is a legend among fantasy authors for his decades of experience in the field. He has worked for Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), Magic the Gathering, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Spelljammer, Al-Qadim, Marvel Universe, Pokemon, Thieves’ World, Wizkids, DC Heroclix and the Star Wars Miniatures: Rebel Storm.
In the Blizzard Entertainment worlds, Jeff Grubb will always be remembered along with Richard A. Knaak as the pioneers of the Warcraft novels. Jeff Grubb wrote Warcraft: The Last Guardian (2001) – the story about Medivih, Khadgar, Garona and Lord Lothar. The story was based in the First War, inspired by Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (RTS game, 1994).
As reported a few days ago, I interviewed Dick Hill thanks to Richard A. Knaak. Dick Hill is the professional narrator and actor that worked on the Warcraft: Day of the Dragon audiobook (Dec 2008). The Warcraft: Lord of the Clans audiobook (Feb 2009) and Warcraft: The Last Guardian audiobook (Aprill 2009).
As a follow up to the audiobooks interview, I contacted Jeff Grubb to get his feedback concerning the reprint of his Warcraft: The Last Guardian in the audiobook format. Read the interview below.
Jeff Grubb: I am delighted to hear that Last Guardian is becoming an audiobook and that Richard “Dick” Hill is going to read it. I’ve been listening to more and more audiobooks on my commute – wrapped up the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin books and just finished “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union”. I’ve become a fan of the format, and pleased to see how well my story has held up over the years.
Medievaldragon: Are you ever writing a new Warcraft or Starcraft book? The fans, and myself, miss you badly. It was a great work.
Jeff Grubb: I enjoyed my experiences writing for Warcraft and Starcraft, and should the opportunity present itself, would be glad to do so again. At the moment, however, my day job is building exciting worlds, characters, and situations for Guild Wars at ArenaNet, and while they have been very understanding about me continuing my freelance writing, they have given me the hairy eyeball when the subject of working with their biggest competitors come up. So for the moment, I must demure.
Medievaldragon: I have some random thoughts for you that I would want you to share with fans. You quit WoW some months ago, and I am not sure if I read you returned to play with some friends afterwards. How do you feel about Khadgar in Shattrath City? Garona Halforcen is making its return in the DC Comics World of Warcraft # 15-16 too. Both follow-ups bring so many great memories from your book. Dan Liberty might show up in the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty video game. I was a sad panda after finding out a few years ago you worked at that Pokemon gig, and later you joined the Guild Wars development team at some point. You would have done so much for the Warcraft universe at Blizzard Entertainment in my opinion. Hope to see you soon back in the Warcraft / Starcraft franchises.
Jeff Grubb: I played WoW heavily for a while, then quit, then came back earlier this year with a group of friends, then quit again. My big problem is that I play with Real World friends, who would then either outlevel me or quit to get their lives back, either option leaving my character an orphan. I had characters scattered around a half-dozen servers. As a result, I never got to end-game content – and never got to Shattrath. I’m glad to see that Khadgar survived and is pulling the races together, and wondered what happened to Garona. If Daniel Michael Liberty makes it to Starcraft II (Originally I named him Danny, but he turned into a better character when everyone called him Mike), that would be great as well. My general attitude to my characters is to do my best by them, and not to feel bad when others continue their stories.
I also never say never, so I may yet come back to Azeroth.
Medievaldragon: Really hope you do. Thanks a bunch for responding to a community that loves and misses your work and legacy for the Warcraft franchise. Karazhan, Moroes, Khadgar, Medivh, Aegwynn, Garona, Black Morass. Great memories.