The Wake of Quel'Thalas
The Coming of the Scourge
“Pitiable wretch, can’t you see? Death itself marches on your kingdom! Now step aside, and watch as you and your people wither away.”
Since its founding,
Quel’thalas had never once been successfully invaded. Those who’d fought their way to Thalassian Pass found themselves blocked and under a hailstorm of arrows; those daring enough to scale the kingdom’s mountainous borders found themselves at the top, their efforts wasted as Ban’dinoriel impeded their entry. Trolls had tried and failed countless times, and the even orcs, who’d lain waste to the human kingdoms far to the south, were unable to break the kingdom’s defenses.
It had long been believed that Quel’thalas could never fall.
Rumors of an undead plague had reached the ears of the Farstriders’ Ranger-general, Sylvanas Windrunner, but nothing could’ve prepared her for what she’d beheld at Thalassian Pass. Before her and her rangers, there stood an army of undead, many whose twisted forms no longer resembled the people they’d once been. Zombies and ghouls made up the front lines, backed by hulking abominations, whose flesh had been sewn together from the remains of dozens of unraisable soldiers.
And before them all, saddled atop his skeletal steed, sat Arthas Menethil—fallen prince of Lordaeron. Below his horse’s feet, the earth turned black and cracked and writhed in agony.
Sylvanas fired an arrow, only for it to be stricken out of the air. In the same motion, Arthas rose his twisted blade and his army of the dead surged forth, routing the elven defense and felling the elves’ gate in Thalassian pass.
The Ranger-general, who’d narrowly escaped her own demise, only just had the time to evacuate the outlying villages—those outside the reach of Ban’dinoriel. Believing she’d spared her peoples’ lives, she and her closest companions chose to make their final stand; they could not live to see undeath run rampant in their high home, and Arthas and his army of the dead had to be stopped.
Sylvanas Windrunner fell, and the undead Scourge pressed onward.
South of Silvermoon, Grand Magister Belo’vir was the next to face the fallen prince. Safely behind the protective barrier Ban’dinoriel, he goaded the Scourge and declared, “prince of Lordaeron, your reign has ended. Return to the land from whence you came, or see your army reduced to ash.”
The grinning elf’s expression changed as Arthas produced three radiant gemstones. It defied all logic; those stones, which empowered the barrier and projected its power across the elves’ kingdom, were hidden and layered under countless enchantments of magical concealment. He watched in awe as those gemstones cracked under the princes’ gauntlet. Ban’dinoriel fizzled away before their very eyes. Without any other option, Belo’vir and his fellow magisters retreated, leaving the land and its people to their fate.
“We must inform the Convocation,” thought the Grand Magister, making for the Sunwell Plateau as fast as he could. “Without the gemstones, Ban’dinoriel will need the full magisters’ might to repel the invaders.”
On the Island of Quel’Danas, home of Sunwell and Sunwell Plateau, all was silent.
Not a soul to be found.
Meanwhile, Silvermoon was under siege. Without Ban’dinoriel, the city was helpless. Its people, who’d grown complacent in the absence of conflict and scarcity, knew not how to handle the onset of warfare, much less how to fight.
The Scourge’s assault began with catapults, hurling the corpses of the elves’ brethren over the city’s walls. Once the piles grew, necromancers took line and raised the dead en masse, inciting panic and striking chaos from within. As disorder arose, abominations sauntered up to the city’s gates and begun breaking them down, where never-ending swarms of undead poured through and started decimating all within their sight.
Silvermoon fell in hours, and Arthas waded through the rubble.
Arriving in the Sunwell’s chamber, what Belo’vir and his peers found reduced them to tears. The bodies of half of the Convocation of Silvermoon laid strewn across the floor, many half-submerged in the Sunwell’s enchanted waters. Someone… somehow, had betrayed them. The gemstones destroyed and the Convocation in ruins, it would be impossible to invoke Ban’dinoriel’s power.
Not moments later, King Anasterian Sunstrider, son of the late Dath’remar, arrived to find a grieving Belo’vir. They shared a quiet moment before the king delivered his fateful news, “Silvermoon has fallen. The undead will be upon us before long. Arthas, he’s created a bridge of ice and marches on Quel’Danas as we speak.”
Knowing full and well what would become of them, king and Grand Magister took to their peoples’ sides and rallied them for a final stand.
Anasterian was the first to fall, the second to be slain by Arthas’ own hands (the first, Sylvanas). They dueled for several minutes, trading blows before the fallen prince ran the elves’ king through the chest. His blade, Felo’melorn, fell out of his hands—unscarred from the battle.
Finally, the elves stood and fell. The few who’d survived that day did so out of cowardice. They watched from afar as Arthas entered Sunwell Plateau, and suddenly,
a flash of brilliant light.
All at once, a chill rolled up the spines of every living elf, and soon waves of exhaustion rolled over them. it didn’t take long for many to realize what’d happened: the Sunwell, their most prized possession, had been defiled.
There are no accounts of what emerged from the Sunwell. Many speculate, but all are most certainly wrong. What’s known is, apparently, Arthas had gotten what he’d come for. Not a moment later, his army of the dead turned southward—departing from the elves’ home.
What he left behind were ruins. Husks. The shattered remains of an empire.
Kael’thas, son of Anasterian, arrived from Dalaran, the humans’ city of magic, as quickly as he could. Presented with Felo’melorn, the new king renounced his title and declared that his people should be reborn. Calling them sin’dorei, or ‘blood elves’, he told them that without the Sunwell’s power, their kingdom would be forever lost. To reclaim that power, he and what remained of the elves’ army must travel south, in search of… something. Anything.
In his place, Lor’themar Theron, second in command to Sylvanas Windrunner, would rule as the Regent Lord; perhaps his firm leadership would maintain peace in Kael’thas’ absence.
To this day, Kael’thas has yet to return to Quel’thalas.
Can Lor’themar overcome the vacuum of power in Quel’thalas?
Will life ever flourish in the elves’ kingdom again?