The Lore behind Warcraft: Dawn Of Chaos and the Important events that occurred during the First War.
The dawn of a new age fast approaches. The time has come at last when the wheels of war shall turn anew, the earth shall tremble and be churned to dust under the fevered footsteps of mighty armies, and all mankind shall flee or stand against the rushing tide. The fires of hell shall rain down from the skies, the legions of the damned shall scourge all life from the land, and a great kingdom shall fall beneath the press of sword and flame. I have seen this in my dreams, and I know that the time has finally come.
I am Medivh.
Once I was the last guardian against the clawing rage of the Great Dark Beyond, once the sole savior of mankind. No more. All shall be consumed by darkness and shadow, and the silence of death shall settle over the blasted lands of Azeroth.
The Age of Chaos is at hand..'
Events Before and During the WarEdit
The Shadow FallsEdit
In the year 559, the court conjurer of Azeroth, Nielas Aran, fathered a son with a mysterious stranger visiting the court of King Adamant Wrynn III. She named him Medivh, 'Keeper of Secrets,' and vanished shortly after. Medivh was an unusually quiet and introspective child, but he found an unlikely kinship with the son of the King's Champion, an older boy named Anduin Lothar. When King Wrynn and his young wife Lady Varia produced an heir in the year 564, it marked the beginning of a new era for the kingdom. Despite the marked difference in their ages, the three favourite sons of Azeroth, Lothar, Medivh, and Llane, seemed marked at birth with a common destiny. The two younger boys grew up together and spent their formative years under the prudent and measured care of Lothar, who developed a strong affection for the brash Crown Prince and the contemplative prodigy. When Medivh turned twelve years of age, just hours after the sacred ceremony that marked his Age of Ascension to adulthood, he awoke his father with guttural screams of unspeakable agony and horror. When the conjurer placed his hand on Medivh's fevered brow, the boy's eyes flashed with unholy fire in a backlash of psychic energy that was enough to wake the clerics from their sleep as far away as the Abbey in Northshire Valley. Medivh fought as if possessed, and father and son remained locked in a deadly embrace as the conjurer tried in vain to combat the impossible energies pouring forth from the boy's twisted consciousness. Within hours nearly a hundred clerics had arrived in Stormwind, and it was only through the combined efforts of cleric and conjurer that the writhing conduit of energy Medivh had become could be contained. After nearly a day had passed, both the boy and his father let out one final united gasp and collapsed. The conjurer was dead before he struck the floor, and Medivh had fallen into a deep sleep. With the permission of the king, who had become the boy's warden with the death of his only known parent, the clerics took the comatose child back to Northshire Abbey with them to tend his senseless body and determine the cause of his madness. At Northshire Medivh was ministered by the ancient but brilliant Abbot of Northshire, Alonsus Faol, who charged his apprentice Uther with watching the boy day and night for signs of life. Medivh would remain catatonic in the valley for six years, during which his grieving friends took every possible opportunity to visit and pray for their lost companion. These six years were not uneventful for Lothar and his Prince; the two became adventurers whose renown was without equal, and they made names for themselves as strong and eager defenders of the land. Llane grew close to Lothar's sister, Rienna, and it was not long before it became apparent the two were deeply in love. For his own part, Lothar lingered often with the King's young wife, who was in fact only five years older than Lothar himself. The two had an easy friendship which the King was not at all disapproving of; he often remarked that if not for the circumstance of his own marriage, they might have made a match themselves. The bond between the two families grew fast and solid, and the rumour grew that when Llane became King of Azeroth, Lothar would almost naturally serve as his Knight Champion. In far less time than any could have imagined, this would be proven true. Medivh awoke suddenly in the year 577 and vanished from his rooms at the Abbey. In Stormwind, Prince Llane and his parents were celebrating his Age of Ascension ceremony in the royal audience chamber, and it was during the sumptuous banquet which followed that Medivh made manifest his return. The massive iron doors of the hall were thrown open, the alerted guards stopped in their tracks as though time itself had frozen around them, and the cloaked form of the newly awakened conjurer floated gently into view as though carried on an unseen breeze. To the astonished royal couple Medivh made pleasant, if ironic, greetings and congratulations, then turned his attention to the dumbstruck prince, who was staring in disbelief at the friend he had never expected to speak with again. Medivh seemed imbued with an unnatural aura of vitality and strength; his eyes sparkled madly as if comprehending some vast and unimaginable joke, and his mouth twisted into a wry grin that seemed like it had witnessed the fall and futility of all that lived and found it no great matter. The young prodigy was changed. Seeming to have completely forgotten the King and Queen, Medivh drew from his billowing robes a delicate and ornately decorated hourglass and presented it to the Prince. Llane took it as if in a dream, and stared at the falling sands. Though the stream of dust was constant and swift, somehow the top never seemed to fully empty into the bottom, as though some trick of magic hidden to the eye guaranteed balance between both hemispheres. As the Prince gazed transfixed, the low and even tones of the conjurer explained the nature of his gift. As long as the fortunes of the people of Azeroth remained happy and secure, as long as the hearts and souls in the kingdom were dedicated to the loyal service of their King and Queen, as long as the land of Azeroth pulsed with the healthy lifeblood of the earth, the sands would never run out. They represented the souls and fate of every living thing in the entire kingdom, their victories and failures and the vicissitudes of their lives chronicled by the flowing streams of dust. It was, Medivh explained, his way of repaying in small part the kindness he had sensed from his friends even during his long dark sleep, for the concern and love they had dedicated to him. The wizard took his leave of the royal family with a flourish and a deep, humble bow, but before he departed he locked eyes with his childhood companion and spoke once more. His voice dripping with ominous warning, Medivh seemed to grow ancient and terrible, and Llane recoiled in fear: "Mind the sands, my Prince." When the last flutter of his long robes had faded from view, the great doors slammed shut and the guards sprang once again to life, unconscious of the lost time or of the mysterious visitor who had caused it.
The Age of ChaosEdit
Within a few short years a dark shadow had fallen over Azeroth. It began with feelings of vague unease, minor rebellions against the authority of the King, more consistent and urgent grumblings by the peasantry, and a general irritation and eagerness for bitter argument amongst the people. Crops began to wither on the vine apropos of nothing, disease ravaged the smaller and poorer communities with no immediately apparent cause, and even the weather itself became mercurial, freezing the skin during the height of the harvest, wreaking havoc with torrential rains during the fall, and sometimes scorching the land with withering heat during what should have been winter. The eastern swamps became all but uninhabitable, now crawling with deranged and vicious beasts lurking just below the surface of the blackened muck, dragging unwary travelers to their deaths. Blackrock Mountain, a massive volcano which had lain dormant for centuries, suddenly erupted and hurled a cloud of solid black ash into the skies that settled over the entire eastern region and blasted the surrounding lands relentlessly, scouring them of all life. After these disasters the borders of the Kingdom of Azeroth essentially stopped at the edge of the great forest of Elwynn, with few habitations between the last great settlement of Grand Hamlet and the beginning of the eastern swamps, which now became known as the Black Morass. The conjurers and clerics of Azeroth consulted with Medivh, who had taken up residence in the ancient tower of Karazhan near the heart of the kingdom. The Magus, who had taken a young apprentice named Khadgar from the mage-kingdom of Dalaran not long before, offered the boy's services but could not supply more than an evasive explanation for the change. It seemed to the assembled mystics that Medivh was carrying a far greater burden, and they took their leave of him with the apprentice in tow as soon as it was polite to do so. In the midst of this chaos, Prince Llane married Rienna Lothar to the pleasure of both families. Their happiness would be short-lived. One black and tempestuous night in the year 583, Llane awoke with a start. An ominous feeling had settled in the pit of his stomach which he could not explain, and which would not be banished. He found himself hurrying to his private library where his gift, the hourglass, was kept, and a dreadful feeling of impending destruction grew unbidden in his thoughts. The cold night did not compare in the least to the chill that stole over his heart when he found the final sands trickling to the bottom of the glass. The young Prince rushed to his father's chambers but found the King already awake and pacing the throne room, a look of blank emptiness etched across his features. They had both felt it. Together, father and son watched the last grains of sand tumble to the bottom of the hourglass. The crash at the city gates was so terrible that they felt it in their bones. Within moments the courtyards were filled with a roiling carpet of viridian hellspawn, hideous to look upon and full of an unearthly rage. Guttural, unintelligible cries poured from their massive champing jaws, like utterances from the darkest pits of hell. In hardly an instant the castle guards were torn to shreds before the might of the invaders, and the air was heavy with smoke from the burning city and the screams of the helpless townsfolk. Stormwind City, the mightiest bastion of human strength in all the world of Azeroth, was in flames before an hour of battle had passed. In desperation, King Wrynn charged Lothar with the care of his wife and two sons and ordered them to flee through hidden passages out of the castle and to wait for him at Northshire Abbey, promising to meet them there when the demons had been repelled. No living man saw him again. In the end, the Brotherhood of the Horse managed to rout the invaders at the eleventh hour and forced them to flee into the eastern swamps, from whence they had apparently issued under cover of darkness and storm. The few who survived identified themselves as Orcs; those who tended toward quiet reflection, such as the Abbot of Northshire, wondered which was more disconcerting, that the creatures had appeared as if from thin air, or that they understood and spoke the human language. In any event, though the damage to both city and keep was incalculable, by mid 584 Stormwind was prepared to receive her Prince once again. Llane lingered a while longer in Northshire on account of Rienna, his wife, who had been stricken ill on the night of the attack and had progressively worsened since, despite the best efforts of the clerics. Only when she herself implored him to go, and Lothar promised to watch over his sister personally, did Llane reluctantly agree to begin the voyage back to the stricken capital. The mysterious storm that had borne the Orcs so stealthily to their target had not abated in the least; in fact, it had worsened considerably, and advance scouts reported that it seemed to have settled over the Great Sea which separated the lands of Lordaeron and the island kingdom of Kul Tiras from Azeroth to the north. Miserable and half dead from the cold rain, Llane and his escort arrived in the waning weeks of what should have been summer and took up reference in the ruined Keep. On the 13th day of Dumon, 584, at the age of twenty years Llane was pronounced King of Azeroth in a cheerless ceremony presided over by a seemingly endless torrent of freezing rain. The next day Lothar arrived at Stormwind, barely able to convey in his own stoic grief that his sister, the Queen, had passed away giving birth to a child. The two men, King and Champion, stood on the ramparts of the Keep for almost a week watching the swollen waters of the moat lake smash against the surrounding mountain cliffs. Their silhouettes against the storm-enshrouded moon were constant companion to the night watch, who often turned from their duties to stare at the imposing figures, which barely moved an inch during their wretched vigil.
The Wrath of Gul'DanEdit
The storm over the Great Sea worsened with every passing day, taking the form of a persistent series of hurricanes which roamed across the Great Sea as though directed by some malevolent intelligence. They seemed to crawl along the waters as though relentlessly searching for something, which would have been considered laughable but that intrepid sailors from Kul Tiras during the storm's early weeks managed to penetrate nearly to the eye of the storm and discovered a vast fleet of massive clumsy ships filled with black-skinned brutes, canvassing the vast clearing at the heart of the maelstrom. Those few lucky explorers to survive their encounter with the creatures learned that they called themselves the Stormreaver Clan and that they answered to a being known as Gul'dan; the sailors were allowed to survive only to convey the message that to trespass into the storm was to invite death. Soon such voyages became altogether impossible anyway, as whatever malicious power had created the storm grew in strength so that the skies of Kul Tiras were always black and surging with obscene rains. The sailors named it the Stormreaver Maelstrom after its unfriendly denizens, in mind of the massive storm at the centre of the world which seemed its only equal in ferocity. Once it became obvious that the storm was blocking passage to Azeroth, as it extended straight across the gulf and even onto the mainland of Khaz Modan, concerned nobles from Lordaeron and Kul Tiras began calling for an expedition to determine the plight of their sister kingdom. King Terenas Menethil of Lordaeron agreed to stand as moderator over the local kings of Stromgarde, Alterac, and Kul Tiras to determine a solution. While the governments argued seemingly without end, the aged Lord Maemnon Blackmoore began loudly decrying the cowardice of the Knights of Lordaeron in not immediately sailing to Azeroth's aid, a cry soon echoed by his son, Aedelas. The noble defenders of Azeroth bore this criticism with ill grace as a courtesy to Blackmoore's standing, but when spring arrived with no solution in sight the Knights had had enough. A young and proud warrior by the name of Turalyon, who had from the first been in favour of instant action, declared that he would be willing to lead an expedition of volunteers through the Maelstrom, and sarcastically suggested that the Blackmoores, as such strong advocates of courageous behaviour, would be pleased to join him. Lord Maemnon was suddenly stricken ill a month before the proposed voyage, and unkind words were soon circulated to the effect that the Blackmoore had been agitating merely to enhance their own reputation, never dreaming that their cowardice would be tested by anyone foolish enough to actually sally forth into the storm. In the face of such criticism, the younger Aedelas Blackmoore was unable to refuse Turalyon's invitation without irreparable damage to his image, and reluctantly agreed to fund a ship of his own to sail alongside the brave knight's. On 18 Cotios of 597, three years after the Maelstrom had opened, the two ships set sail into the heart of the storm. Dissent immediately occurred between Blackmoore and Turalyon, the former willing to brave the Orcish blockade at the eye of the storm for momentary relief from the driving wind and rain, while the latter was content to take his chances with the weather. The two ships separated not long after leaving harbour, and though Turalyon sought refuge in Kul Tiras for repairs near the end of the month-long voyage he was unable to locate the massive island kingdom in the tumult of the storm. By the time his ship, the Hope, was within sight of the shores of Azeroth the storm was pounding her hull so relentlessly that it became clear some malicious force intended to prevent their ever reaching the beleaguered kingdom. The Hope was dashed to pieces against the rocks of the Isle of Balor, where in a momentary burst of lightning Turalyon thought he saw a massive spire of rock as black as the bottom of the raging sea, surrounded by watchfires burning in the night. Clinging to the wreckage of their ship, the brave sailors and soldiers of Lordaeron floated hopelessly along the current away from the island, consigning themselves to the will of the fates as all their supplies and equipment were pulled to the bottom of the Great Sea. Impossibly, the survivors of the wreck managed to reach the mouth of the hidden harbour of Stormwind before the storm rose up behind them in such an awful display of wind and water that it was clear there would be no further voyages. To their amazement, upon being rescued from the surf, Turalyon and his comrades saw the vast bulk of the Black Raven, Blackmoore's ship, tethered at the docks with hardly any damage evident upon her hull. Claiming to have navigated the ship himself while his cowardly companions sought refuge from the storm below, Blackmoore crowed over his undamaged stores of money, armour, weapons and foodstuffs in private with the astonished knight.
The Great WarEdit
The reinforcements from Lordaeron, though few, were welcomed by the King and Champion. By now, after ten years of conflict with the bloodthirsty Orcs, Azeroth welcomed any form of aid for the awesome responsibility of defending humanity from the heartless beasts. Turalyon and his seasoned knights took up residence in the southwestern town of Sentinel Hill to manage its Academy, training the green soldiers in hopes of bolstering the falling numbers of the regular army. After ten years of ceaseless conflict Azeroth's coffers and morale alike were all but depleted, and it was only this unfortunate circumstance that would have persuaded Llane and Lothar to grant the position of Warden of Grand Hamlet to Blackmoore. Though contentious and often drunk, Blackmoore had in his possession a well-outfitted force and the equipment to supply hundreds more, as well as a reputation for conservative management which would serve him well on the border. He established a garrison outside of the town and immediately set to work securing the borders of Elwynn, which had been all but lost to Azeroth. In the interceding years, the three childhood companions had renewed their friendship and brought strength of arms and hope to their warriors in the field. Traveling across the plains of Azeroth with the King's Guard in tow to wherever the fighting was the worst, the two powerful warriors and the increasing aloof wizard drove the Orcs back at every turn from their ancestral lands. Behind Llane's bluff and hearty exterior and Lothar's carefully crafted stoic expression, however, lurked the shadow of considerable concern for their friend. Day by day Medivh seemed to drift farther away from his fellow men and the situation at hand, spending more and more time in solitude and nursing secret cares that he refused to share. On one occasion Lothar awoke at night to an unexpected chill in the air, and found the young prodigy perched alone on a craggy outcropping, his arms outstretched towards the northward storm, weeping into the wind. When accosted Medivh turned to face his oldest friend with an expression of indescribable horror, and the fire that Nielas Aran had glimpsed over two decades ago was dancing furiously in his eyes. In a moment it was gone, and he collapsed in tears into Lothar's arms, seeming shrunken and twisted as if he were a thousand years old. In bits and pieces over a warm fire the two warriors learned that their companion had inherited some awful responsibility from his mother, the mysterious stranger of Adamant Wrynn's court, and that he was the caretaker of a power that frightened even him. Day and night he fought against the demons that threatened to overcome the mortal realm, and it was this burden that saw him retreating bit by bit from the world of men to grapple with his private horror alone. Thought they offered whatever small comfort their friendship could provide, neither Lothar nor Llane could effect any serious change in Medivh's dark and brooding humour. Despite the personal tragedies that beset them all, they put up a brave face to their comrades and purported to treat the massive conflict as an adventure on a grand scale. They could not allow their charges to see the indecision and fears that they wrestled with daily. The morale of their people depended upon their leaders showing a united, fearless front to the Orcish invader, and they bore that burden dutifully. They forced their cares to one side during the day, and rallied against the darkening tide; it was only at night that Llane stopped to ponder the emptiness that had rested in his breast since the death of his father and wife, or Lothar allowed himself to shed tears over the clawing grief that accompanied thoughts of his lost sister. As the years crawled painfully onward, Lothar made frequent voyages to Northshire to consult with the aged Abbot, who had taken him under his wing as though the Great Knight were a favourite son. Faol became convinced that a black and malevolent force based on the storm-tossed island of Balor was to blame for the growing tempest encircling Kul Tiras and blocking Azeroth from all external aid. He brought his own considerable powers to bear against this force and managed to diminish the effects of the storm on the mainland; the rains cleared over Stormwind, and Northshire Valley bloomed with life like a verdant river basin. The constant struggles with this unseen enemy exhausted the Abbot, however, and he took what comfort he could from the company of his favourite pupils whenever the battle could spare them. The wisdom and advice of the ancient Abbot was not the only consolation of Lothar's visits to Northshire; over the decades of their acquaintance the Lion of Stormwind had become greatly attached to the Queen Mother, Lady Varia, who returned the feelings in kind. For a few brief hours in the midst of the chaotic struggle they were able to shed their cares and walk the flowing woods of the valley, and it was only these short visits that comforted Lothar's heart as he considered the hard task ahead of him. While in Northshire Lothar dedicated a portion of his most pious nights to the defense of Northshire and placed Uther at their head, girding the cleric apprentice in strong armour and teaching him the methods of war. The Northshire Protectorate took shape rapidly, and the clerics soon learned to be at home with their brothers in fate who had taken up sword and shield in the defense of their beloved valley. The Abbot was pained at this separation from his disciple, but forced himself to acknowledge the reality that his men of faith could not long protect themselves against the onrushing tides of darkness without taking up arms.
The Storm BreaksEdit
As the battle raged over Azeroth, even the three indomitable heroes became wearied and jaded to their task. Medivh was the first to depart, sequestering himself in his tower of Karazhan to join the Abbot in combating the rising power at Balor. Though he sent his aide, Khadgar, to represent him, Lothar keenly felt the loss of his oldest friend. Not long after Llane was forced to return to Stormwind to deal with matters of state and to take part in the upbringing of his son, Varian, who he eventually consigned to the care of the Abbot. Lothar alone of the inseparable childhood companions was left to directly fight the war against the Orcs, but his indefatigable nature forced him to press onward, fighting the hopeless battle without rest or relief. Though the war seemed more hopeless with every passing day, Lothar steeled himself against the fears that crept over his hardening heart, allowing himself no time for reflection or grief. The line was held, though only barely. Azeroth owed its continued existence to the perseverance of the Great Knight, and the watchful care of the Guardian at Karazhan. The three friends still aided each other in their grand effort, though their comradeship would never again be renewed. Medivh brooded in his tower and made fewer public appearances with each passing day, going in turns from dark and furious to calm and apologetic as though his emotions changed with the wind. In the waning days of the year 592 report came from Redridge Keep, the traditional outpost of the Lord Warden, the King's brother, that they had been discovered and were in need of aid. The Keep stood watch over the blasted Blackrock Valley and since the war began had served as a sentinel against Orcish invasion. A cunning Warchief, Blackhand the Destroyer, had seized control of the Orcish Horde in recent months, and used the profane magicks of his dark advisor to discover the location of the garrison. Llanden Wrynn, brother of the King, demanded permission to lead a host to the defense of the outpost. Llane reluctantly agreed, loathe to part with his brother for such a dangerous mission and already weary with the toll of war; Llanden took an entire division of the Brotherhood of the Horse to battle with him. Two months later a half-dead rider arrived with grave news: unable to fully break the siege against the Keep, Llanden had attempted to draw the Orcs away from their target with his army and had led them on a chase through the narrow jagged passes of the Redridge Mountains. They had not yet returned, and the garrison feared they had been vanquished. Llane and Lothar grimly awaited further news, and eventually it arrived just as the year reached its close: Llanden's body was borne to Stormwind from Northshire Abbey, where his attendants had managed to bring him after a month of pursuit through the dusty and inhospitable mountains. As his brother lay in state in the castle courtyard, Llane gave one final order, to withdraw all troops from the front and defend Stormwind City as the last bastion of hope in Azeroth. He retreated to his private quarters and refused to give audience to anyone, even his closest companion. As the armies slowly retreated and mass nomadic refugee camps formed in the wreckage of ruined towns, Anduin Lothar, the Lion of Stormwind, hatched a daring final plan to save his kingdom from destruction.