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