few years ago in the pre-beta WoW days, while I sat in my decrepit PC throne flipping through WoW fansites and forums, a playable race was being finalized. At the time, it had yet to be announced to the public. We had only snippets of information and MMO and Blizzard fanboys alike sat drooling in anticipation. I suspect many keyboards had to be replaced. What we did know about one of these upcoming races was this: being promised to us by a Blizzard representative was one race that would make every other race look like choirboys. Blizzard had promised us a playable race that explored the darker aspect of the Warcraft universe. They delivered to us the Forsaken.
I suppose not everyone has played what I believe to be the greatest playable race yet. If you fall under that category, for shame! The Forsaken have arguably the most enjoyable quest lines, ranging from stealing pumpkins to poisoning puppies (oh no! the puppies!). However, I'll get more into their quests later. To uncover a race, we must start at the beginning: their history.
Corpse Armies, and Fanboys
Most Forsaken fanboys will tell you one thing more than anything else. They will especially say this directly to your face should they discover that you play one. Elves suck. Unfortunately, and perhaps unbeknownst to them, they are treading the thin line of hypocrisy. You see... Forsaken history begins with an elf, a high elf that was once well known as the ranger, Sylvanas Windrunner. If Ner'zhul was the first being of the Scourge, then Sylvanas was most undoubtedly the first of the Forsaken. She was the first undead to ever break free of the Lich King, Ner'zhul's will. What followed was the birth of a new order, a new army that was intent on not only destroying their enemies the Scourge, but also finding a comfortable niche for themselves in the world of Azeroth... even if it meant that comfortable niche was completely devoid of all life. Before we continue on that note, how is it that a proven high elf ranger could fall to lead an army of animated corpses? Read on my friend, read on!
Woe is Her
During the invasion of the Burning Legion a noble if not arrogant paladin known as Arthas fell to the corruption of the Lich King's power. He sought out and intended to destroy the Lich King and the Scourge. In one successful attack Arthas and his forces managed to destroy the Scourge necromancer, Kel'Thuzad. That was but one accomplishment dotting a list complete with failures, and in the end it proved to be too taxing for the young paladin. The Lich King was able to consume and corrupt the young paladin with ease in his weakened state. In a cunning ploy, the Lich King led Arthas to the unhallowed blade named Frostmourne. Falsely believing that the sword would help save his people, Arthas tossed down his paladin's hammer and took up the blade as his new weapon. In doing so, the sword gradually consumed what was left of Arthas' humanity. Not long after he claimed Frostmourne, Arthas transformed from Arthas the paladin, to Arthas the death knight. From then on he was the Lich King's chosen champion forever cursed to serve the collective Scourge.
In their continued conquest Arthas and his Scourge forces pressed an invasion against the Sunwell, a pool akin to the night elf Moonwells from which magic energies were drawn and shaped. It was at the Sunwell where Arthas resurrected the necromancer, Kel'Thuzad, whom he had slain in his previous life. Upon touching the magically imbued waters with the necromancer's remains the Sun Well became blackened with a heavy taint that twisted the high elves magic beyond repair. It was there within the forests of Quel'Thalas that surrounded the Sun Well that he crossed swords with Sylvanas Windrunner, a skilled ranger and protector of the forest. Despite her prowess with a bow Arthas proved the victor. And yet, the paladin turned death knight would not let her suffering end there. Sylvanas pleaded with Arthas to let her die before the final blow was struck. Unfortunately for the ranger, it was no longer in Arthas' character to show mercy. He slew Sylvanas and then brought her back to breathe as a banshee to serve the Lich King. And for a time, she did serve.
Some time later Arthas, Kel'Thuzad, and Sylvanas returned to Arthas' homeland... Lordaeron. Upon entering the throne room of his father, King Terenas, Arthas was greeted and welcomed home. If only the King had known what events had transpired since Arthas' departure from Lordaeron, a certain grim fate may have been averted. The death knight killed his father, and renounced his kingship over Lordaeron. He gave birth to a new kingdom that he would lord over; one of rotting flesh, exposed bone, and dark magics. Lordaeron was a haven of undeath now. Like each nation the Scourge touched, it would never be the same again.
Lordaeron became the new capital of the Scourge, and in Arthas' absence it was led by three Dreadlords: Detheroc, Balnazzar, and Varimathras. Arthas returned to Lordaeron a second time after carrying out the will of the Lich King across Azeroth. Upon his return he proclaimed himself King of Lordaeron, and thanked the Dreadlords for watching over the kingdom for him. The three Dreadlords opposed his decision to rule what they believed was not his to take control of. They retreated for now, biding their time and plotting in secret to remove Arthas from the throne by force. They realized, however, that it was a feat not readily accomplishable by themselves, especially with Kel'Thuzad by Arthas' side. The Dreadlords turned to the now dark ranger Sylvanas for aid. She agrees to help them, if not over-willingly, perhaps hinting at her own separate agenda?
As Arthas continued to quell the human resistance in Lordaeron, he received dire word from the Lich King that the Frozen Throne (where the Lich King resides) was under attack, and Arthas' aid was required immediately; although before Arthas could head out, he had a surprise waiting for him. The Dreadlords staged an attack on him in his very Capital, but Arthas outwitted them and escaped. He met Kel'Thuzad outside of the city and they headed to the docks. Sylvanas and the other banshees that followed her managed to set up a trap for Arthas. Sylvanas' banshees offered to escort Arthas to the boats, and Arthas readily agreed. Not knowing Sylvanas was part of Dreadlords' scheme, Arthas did not suspect anything. When they were in an isolated glade in Tirisfal, the banshees turned on Arthas and Sylvanas revealed herself.
Sylvanas fired a poisoned arrow into Arthas, wounding him, but before she could finish her work Kel'Thuzad appeared with more of the Scourge and drove them off. This was when Sylvanas achieved her independence and no longer fought for the Scourge, an important mark in the Forsaken history. Arthas' power had waned to the point that Sylvanas was under no one's control anymore.
The Might of a Dreadlord
Sylvanas returned to Lordaeron to inform the three Dreadlords that Arthas had escaped certain doom. Wary of what their futures hold, the Dreadlords offered to invite Sylvanas into an alliance in hopes that should Arthas return, she would be there to assist the Dreadlords in dealing with him one final time. To their dismay, Sylvanas refused to join the alliance. So greatly did it insult them that the Dreadlords decided to kill the dark ranger. Varimathras saw to it that it would be he who would send the killing blow, and so he set out alone to hunt down and murder the former ally of the Dreadlords.
Despite his terrible might, he could not overcome the dark ranger, and instead fell to her and her forces. Sylvanas had charmed a nearby band of Ogres and Bandits, and had overpowered the Dreadlord. Fearing for his life, he pleaded Sylvanas to allow him to serve her, offering his in-depth knowledge of the remaining two Dreadlords that occupied Lordaeron. Together, they overcame Balnazzar and Detheroc and claimed the undead forces there as their own, and Lordaeron as their home.
The Cadavers That Could
In the Scourge's desire to dominate all of Azeroth, a deadly plague was produced and spread throughout the human nations and towns within. An incalculable amount of humans died from the engineered plague the Scourge devised. Many returned from death to serve the Scourge under the Lich King's control. Some rejected the Scourge; some were returned with their will still intact. It was these that Sylvanas rallied under a single flag: the Forsaken. She found a purpose for them, as well as a home, and they worshipped her for it.
Just as in any nation, the Forsaken have a hierarchy and a successful society built around that hierarchy. In a relatively short time span, they converted a war torn nation of disease, decay, and chaos into a focused and functioning body capable of thriving for a long period of time.
It took Sylvanas some time to come to terms with her new form and freedom. In appearance she was no different than before, and no doubt she shaped her own abilities to allow her to maintain her appearance indefinitely. However, inside she was something else entirely... her compassion for the people she loved was stripped from her, as well as her desire to generally... well, do good. Sylvanas despised what she had become. She held only fierce hatred in her heart, and an insatiable desire for revenge. Not revenge on the Lich King, but on the death knight Arthas. Although they are one and the same now, it is unknown whether that knowledge is available to Sylvanas. With Varimathras by her side and an army of Forsaken at her command, Sylvanas was poised to ensure that her vengeance would be met. Anyone who tried to interfere was brushed aside without care, either ignored or worse yet, killed. And the Forsaken do have their interferences, but we'll delve into that book pile later.
- Written by, Oaph with Mogrin
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