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Azerothian Heroes are the countless millions of men and women, of all races and affiliations, who have fought and in many cases died in the defense of Azeroth against many threats that are both foreign and domestic. Because of these heroes and their bravery Azeroth continues to survive against all the odds where lesser worlds would have fallen before the power of the adversaries that have been lined up against them.
The Azerothian Heroes are men and woman of all ages and all races, with even those that are not native to the planet such as the Orcs and the Draenei are counted among their number. While there are many lesser races, such as the Earthen and the Tol'vir that have fought in Azeroth's defense the main races that are perhaps the most common are the Blood Elves, Darkspear Trolls, Draenei, Dwarves, Forsaken, Gnomes, Goblins, High Elves, Humans, Night Elves, Orcs, Pandaren, Tauren and Worgen
Loyalties for the heroes of Azeroth are split between various factions. Two factions, the Alliance and the Horde are the most prominent but they are backed up on many occasions by brave heroes who represent forces such as the Argent Crusade, Cenarion Circle, Earthen Ring and the Knights of the Ebon Blade. There are also many who choose to remain neutral or independent of any faction, but in many cases they still answer the call to arms when their homes and lives are at stake.
The power of the heroes of Azeroth varies from individual to individual. Some are rank and file soldiers or protectors who find strength in the shields and swords that fight at their sides, others are one man (or woman) armies capable of slaughtering incredible amounts of enemies. Some find strength within their own bodies and minds, others rely on the use of magical weapons and armor. No matter how powerful the hero, what is known is that they often come together and in doing so, have been capable of defeating some of the greatest threats known to Azeroth, threats which without the aid of these heroes, would have conquered the known world with relative ease.
It is unclear as to when or where the heroes of Azeroth first came into prominence. Some claim that they rose to power after the coming of the Burning Legion, but others credit the heroes of Azeroth to far earlier victories. It is agreed however that regardless of prominence, the heroes of Azeroth aided in many of the great struggles including the battle against the Orc Horde during the First and Second Wars, as well as the defeat of the combined Scourge and Burning Legion armies at Mount Hyjal.
In the years after their significant rise to prominence, they were responsible for cleansing Ragefire Chasm of corruption and putting down the Stockade Riots. They destroyed the Defias Brotherhood and beheaded its leader Edwin VanCleef. They slew the troll Zalazane and liberated much of Gnomeregan from the leader of the Leper Gnomes, Sicco Thermaplugg.
When far greater threats arose to challenge the heroes of Azeroth, they answered the call. They entered the Molten Core and banished the Firelord Ragnaros back to the elemental plane of fire, they invaded Blackrock Mountain and beheaded the great black wyrm Nefarian, as well as his sister Onyxia within the distant land of Kalimdor. When the Silithid Empire arose from the desert sands, it was these heroes that lead the charge into the heart of the insect legions, where they encountered the first of many Old Gods and butchered the unholy creature where it rested and finally when the Scourge reared its ugly head once more, it was these legendary heroes who invaded the Dread Citadel Naxxramas, slaying all the foul abominations within before finally returning victorious with the phylactery of Kel'Thuzad, Arch-Lich of the Scourge and Leader of the Cult of the Damned.
The Outland Campaign
When the Dark Portal reopened after many years of dormancy spilling forth legions of demons to invade the lands of Azeroth, it was the heroes of Azeroth along with the combined forces of Nethergarde and Stonard who drove the demons back. Joined by the Blood Elves, who had joined the forces of the Horde, and the Draenei who had been welcomed into the Alliance, the Heroes of Azeroth followed the unholy devils into the world that they came from. They emerged into the shattered realm of Outland, which was controlled by the Burning Legion and the forces of Illidan Stormrage and once there the heroes challenged each of these adversaries, while also reuniting with heroes and people long thought lost. Illidan Stormrage, Kael'thas Sunstrider, Lady Vashj and even the great demon lord Kil'jaeden all fell before the blades of these great heroes during the campaign which lasted many long months with battles happening both in the shattered landscape of Outland, as well as in locations closer to home.
Not long after the Outland Campaign, the Undead Scourge once again saw their time to strike. They invaded Stormwind and Orgrimmar, as well as many other locations around Azeroth itself. The Alliance and Horde answered the Lich Kings attempt at invasion with one of their own, spearheading assaults on both ends of the continent of Northrend. Joined by the Knights of the Ebon Blade and the Argent Crusade, they brought justice to the Lich King, as well as the forces of Malygos and his Blue Dragonflight who had begun a war with the other flights over control of the magical forces of the world. In the depths of the Titan Prison of Ulduar, the heroes of Azeroth fought and killed yet another Old God but finally, after a tournament to show the strength of the heroes of the world, the invasion of Icecrown Citadel commenced.
Lead by the Ashen Verdict, a group formed from both the Knights of the Ebon Blade and the Argent Crusade, and reinforced by the heroes of Azeroth, the allied forces invaded the citadel of the Lich King before finally challenging him at the Frozen Throne where his reign began. With the aid of Tirion Fordring, the Lich Kings runeblade Frostmourne, was shattered and the Lich King, unable to defend himself from the onslaught of the heroes he had plagued for so long, was finally slain. His end was not however, the beginning of an era of peace as the heroes thought it might have caused, for far greater threats began to stir, content to take the place of the Lich King as the destroyer of the world..
The Cataclysm - The Twilight Hammer Conflict
After the fall of the Lich King and the close of the Northrend Campaign, peace was nowhere to be found. Rising in the place of the now defeated Scourge was the Twilight's Hammer Cult. This cult, dedicated to the power of the Old Gods was heralded by the Black Leviathan, Deathwing, and when he broke free from the Plane of Earth and into Azeroth the very fabric of the world was shattered. Tidal waves and earthquakes ruined much of the known world and freakish gravitational anomalies and storms continued to rage as the Twilight's Hammer began their nefarious plans for the destruction of the world for their dark masters.
Once again the heroes of Azeroth rose to the challenge and they were joined by new races who had suffered as a result of the Cataclysm. The Goblins, former residents of Kezan, joined the Horde through the aid of Thrall and the Gilneans, many of whom had been afflicted with the Worgen Curse, had rejoined their old allies within the Alliance. Together they invaded the Twilight Bastion, defeating the Ogre, Cho'gall who lead the Twilight's Hammer in their devoted service to the Old Gods that they served. They entered the heights and depths of Blackrock Mountain once again. Defeating a newly risen Nefarian and Onyxia, as well as their mother Sinestra. When the Firelord brought his citadel from the Plane of Fire to destroy Mount Hyjal the heroes of Azeroth answered with fire of their own. They invaded the Plane of Fire, defeated the leader of the Druids of the Flame along with many of the devils that lived within the fiery realm before they finally put the Firelord Ragnaros to the sword. This time, having been defeated within his own elemental plane there was nowhere for him to be banished to. Ragnaros the Firelord was dead.
The Cataclysm ended with the defeat of Deathwing. The Black Leviathan, in an act of desperation, attacked the Wyrmrest Temple and brought many servants of the Old Gods from the dark depths where they resided. As expected, the heroes of Azeroth once again came to the aid of the planet. Defeating the darkness that had been summoned before taking the fight to Deathwing himself who, with the aid of Thrall and the other Dragonflights, was severely weakened by the Dragon Soul. In the end, the final battle ended where the Cataclysm had begun, within the chaotic waves of the Maelstrom. There the heroes of Azeroth put a dangerously corrupted Deathwing to the sword, finally ending the chaos that he had begun with the aid of the Leviathans of the remaining Dragonflights.
The Pandaria Campaign
The Pandaria Campaign began almost immediately after the defeat of Deathwing, although the continent in which the main battles were fought was not discovered by either the Alliance or the Horde at first. Conflict between both factions had reached a boiling point during the war against the Twilight's Hammer, with the new Warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream, pushing for total conquest even when such things were oppossed by his own advisors. Part of that conquest involved the destruction of Theramore, a city which the Alliance had used as a staging ground for their own invasions into the horde territories of Kalimdor.
During one of the intense naval battles that was fairly common for both the Alliance and Horde fleets at the time, the island of Pandaria was discovered by both factions. Both Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream ordered advanced scouting parties to secure the land, and so the heroes of Azeroth were once again called into action. Both factions were aided this time by the Pandaren from the Wandering Isle, who had encountered the Alliance and the Horde quite by accident.
The invasion of Pandaria, if one could really consider the landfalls of both factions as an invasion, took a heavy toll on the land. While the native Pandaren easily befriended the heroes of Azeroth, the heroes at the behest of their commanders within the Alliance and Horde caused a great deal of destruction, which tested the patience of the Shado-Pan, the closest thing the Pandaren had to a military which was lead by Taran Zhu.
Despite his protests, however, the heroes of the Azeroth proved their worth, at least for a time by helping the Shado-Pan beat back the Mantid, a race of insectoids very similar to the Silithid that they had defeated many years before. They invaded the citadel of the Mantid Army and killed the Queen of the Mantid, who had been driven mad by fear and paranoia. Following this, the heroes of Azeroth aided the Shado-Pan in the defeat of the Mogu lead by the Thunder King, who had been risen from the dead by the Zandalari trolls.
The defeat of the Thunder King should have signaled the end of the Pandaria Campaign, for the greatest of Pandaria's threats had been defeated, or at least that was the thought, but it was not the reality for a new threat would rise up in its place. This threat would be none other than the Warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream, who in his desire for power and conquest, destroyed the Vale of the Eternal Blossoms and caused both the Alliance and the Horde to come after him for his crimes against both factions. The heroes of the Azeroth challenged the Warchief of the Horde and laid siege to Orgrimmar before finally defeating the Warchief in the vaults and caverns that Garrosh had carved out underneath Orgimmar itself.
A new Warchief was appointed after the defeat of Garrosh with the troll Vol'jin taking over leadership of the Horde, a cease-fire between the Horde and the Alliance was declared and Garrosh, now disgraced was taken to Pandaria in chains to stand trial for his many atrocities.
Following the defeat of Garrosh Hellscream, the former Warchief of the Horde was brought to the Temple of the White Tiger in Pandaria, to stand trial for the many atrocities that he had committed during his reign. The trial was a lengthy one, but due to the machinations of both Kairozdormu, an infinite dragon and Wrathion, the only living son of Deathwing, the former leader of the Horde was able to escape, passing through into a portal which none could follow. The leaders of the Horde and Alliance, alarmed and outraged by the escape, vowed to find the Orc before he could cause any more harm, but they would not be prepared for where, or when Garrosh would strike from.
Unknown to the leaders of the factions, Kairozdormu had transported Garrosh Hellscream into an alternate Draenor, one that had not yet been corrupted by the influence of the Burning Legion. Originally intending to use Garrosh as a tool for his own ends, Kairoz revealed his grand plan to the former Warchief, only to have the Orc turn on him and kill him as a result. Free from the machinations of the Infinite Dragonflight, Garrosh journeyed to the ancestral home of the Warsong Clan in the hills of Nagrand, where he told his father and the Warchief of the Clan, Grommash Hellscream, of the future that would befall the Orc race.
Gaining the support of the Warsong Clan, Garrosh began to assemble the other Clans into a large unstoppable force. The majority of the Draenor clans pledged their support, including the Blackrock, Shadowmoon, Thunderlord, Burning Blade and Bleeding Hollow clans. Only one clan outright refused to join the coalition of the clans, that clan being the Frostwolf, who were determined to remain neutral to the coming conflict, an answer which did not sit well with Grommash Hellscream, or the other chieftains. Before this new coalition of Orc clans could see to their greater plans, however, they had to avert the fate of their people and save them from the machinations of Gul'dan and the Burning Legion.
To this end, they planned an ambush for Gul'dan and his demon allies, pretending to remain oblivious to what was happening as to not arouse suspicion from either party. Grommash Hellscream and the rest of the Horde assembled at a nearby mountain peak, where Gul'dan waited with his as yet unseen demonic master. Offered a horn filled with demon blood, Grommash initially moved to drink from the horn before he upended the blood back into the well it had come from, thus refusing the 'gift' that was bestowed upon him. This, in turn, roused the Annihilan, Mannoroth and sprung the trap with Garrosh Hellscream unleashing siege attacks on the mountain peak. The battle was over as quickly as it had begun, with Grommash's axe, Gorehowl, buried in the skull of the demon lord and Gul'dan captured by the new Iron Horde.
Following the defeat of Mannoroth and Gul'dan, the Iron Horde continued to finish the construction of the Dark Portal, a device which could link worlds through a powerful magical gateway. Originally intended to be the device which saw the Fel Blood corrupted Horde assault an alternate Azeroth, Grommash and Garrosh instead used it for their own ends, attuning the gate to connect to the Azeroth which Garrosh had escaped from with the help of Kairozdormu. Using the energies of Gul'dan and his two greatest lieutenants, the warlocks Teron'gor and Cho'gall, as well as a magical shard which Garrosh had used to kill Kairoz, the connection was established and the Iron Horde poured forth from their world into an unprepared Azeroth.
The sudden invasion of the Iron Horde resulted in much of the territory around the Portal being captured. Most notably, Nethergarde Keep, a bastion which had watched over the Dark Portal for many years, was destroyed and the nearby Horde outpost of Okril'lon Hold was captured and turned into an outpost for the Iron Vanguard. In response to this brazen and savage attack, various Azerothian Heroes lead by Thrall and Vindicator Maraad established footholds in the Blasted Lands. From there they worked hard, sending aid to the front and clearing out the overrun fortifications to pave the way for the Alliance and Horde to retake their fallen bases. After defeating the leader of the Iron Vanguard in the Blasted Lands, the Heroes then aided in the defeat of Warlord Zaela who had taken refuge within Blackrock Spire where she attempted to create a device to decimate the city of Stormwind, a plot which was defused by the might and tenacity of the Heroes that challenged her.
With the Iron Horde threat in Azeroth mostly contained, the time came to take the fight to their new enemy. Archmage Khadgar of the Kirin Tor chose from among the Azerothian Heroes, a small, elite operational force. This force, aided by the Archmage, Vindicator Maarad, and Thrall, broke through the enemy lines once an opening had presented itself. The group of heroes managed to force their way through the Dark Portal and entered the alternate Draenor from which the Iron Horde had come from.
Taking up a defensive position at the Dark Portal, Khadgar and the Azerothian Heroes fought valiantly to prevent the Iron Horde from sending any more of their forces into Azeroth. They closed the Dark Portal by breaking the seals which held Gul'dan, Teron'gor and Cho'gall in place, but even with that small victory, the bulk of their number had been slain and they were forced to withdraw from the Dark Portal, braving the jungle that surrounded the large stone monument. Fighting their way through villages, arenas, camps, and foundries, the Heroes soon found a massive siege device capable of physically destroying the Dark Portal which would permanently prevent the Iron Horde from invading Azeroth again. After a pitched battle at the base of the weapon, the cannon was fired, shooting a large Iron Star into the side of the Dark Portal. The resulting explosion shattered the side of the structure, and without that key support, the entire structure collapsed. This earned a renewed appearance of the leaders of the Iron Horde who had already encountered Khadgar's forces as they fought through the jungle, as well as the Warchief Grommash Hellscream, who rallied his massive Iron Horde to finish off the Heroes. With no alternative, these individuals ran for the nearby docks where several ships were waiting. Almost all of the Azerothian Heroes who had initially pushed through into Draenor were slain in the fighting, but many more managed to make it to the ships and were thus able to escape certain death.
Each force took a separate ship and parted ways. The forces of the Horde, led by Thrall and the blind shaman Drek'thar, traveled to the ancestral home of the Frostwolves, Frostfire Ridge. Meanwhile. the forces of the Alliance led by Vindicator Maraad and Exarch Maladaar traveled to Shadowmoon Valley where the great Temple City of Karabor, the capital of the Draenei, would potentially offer them refuge. Assisting both factions willingly, Archmage Khadgar arrived at both locations to summon reinforcements from Stormwind and Orgrimmar into Draenor and began construction of two Garrisons, Lunarfall for the Alliance and Frostwall for the Horde.
In the months that followed the initial invasion of the Iron Horde, the Azerothian Heroes, lead by Khadgar, Thrall, and Maraad, claimed multiple victories against the forces of Grommash Hellscream. Many of the Warlords, including Ner'zhul, Kargath, and Blackhand fell before well coordinated military strikes of the Alliance, Horde and their respective allies, the Draenei forces lead by the Exarch Council and the Frostwolves lead by Durotan. Not all battles were without loss, however, as was the case with the Siege of Shattrath City. The Iron Horde, lead by Blackhand and Orgrim Doomhammer, invaded the city with a significant armed force, in response a coalition was formed lead by Khadgar, Dutoran, and Maraad. The battle was a bloody one, but the Iron Horde forces were eventually broken, but not before Blackhand claimed the lives of Vindicator Maraad and Orgrim Doomhammer, who had turned on his Warchief in response to his many atrocities.
With the Iron Horde weakened both in raw manpower and controlled territory, the Warlock Gul'dan finally acted on his plans to subdue Grommash Hellscream and claim the Iron Horde for himself. Using powerful fel magic, he defeated Grommash and lured the last remaining warlord, Kilrogg Deadeye to his side, with the Bleeding Hollow chieftain willingly drinking demon blood. Other Orcs followed suit, and soon Gul'dan had control over the entire Iron Horde, which he began to convert into a new Fel Horde in service of the Burning Legion. He opened portals into the Twisting Nether, summoning powerful demons to corrupt the land and lay waste to any who resisted and claimed Hellfire Citadel, the last remaining bastion of the Iron Horde for himself. Leading the demon forces that invaded Draenor, was none other than Archimonde, the leader of the Burning Legion armies.
In response to this new threat, the Azerothian Heroes invaded the Tanaan Jungle. They established their own fortified outposts close to Hellfire Citadel and started the slow process of dismantling the Fel Horde operations in the area. Once weakened, the Citadel itself was invaded with many of Gul'dan's lieutenants being cut down by the coalition forces, including the reanimated remains of Mannoroth. Grommash was found during the invasion, but rather than being executed for his crimes against Azeroth and the native Draenei, he was released and turned his axe against the Fel Horde and its masters.
Finally, after a long siege, Archimonde was cut down, his spirit forced to return to the twisting nether, but not before he apparently eliminated Gul'dan who had attempted to flee rather than be captured or killed by the forces that had just defeated the commander of the Burning Legion. While Khadgar remained skeptical of the death of Gul'dan, expecting him to return later, the forces of Draenor had finally triumphed over the Burning Legion. All that remained was for the remnants of the Fel Horde to be purged from Draenor, and for Grommash Hellscream to face the punishment that he deserved. For the Azerothian Heroes, their task was done, they could now return home.
The Burning Legion Invasion
Following the return to Azeroth after the defeat of the Iron Horde and the Burning Legion on Draenor, it did not take long for an old enemy to return and cause more chaos that the various races of the world would be forced to deal with. The Burning Legion, still sore over their defeat on Draenor, launched an entirely new invasion of Azeroth with strength not seen since the Third War. Emerging from the Tomb of Sargeras thanks to the efforts of Gul'dan, the Burning Legion quickly established a foothold, but the initial invasion had not gone unnoticed by the forces of Azeroth, and so many rushed to stop the Legion before they could successfully prepare themselves for a long campaign. The Argent Crusade, led by Highlord Tirion Fordring, was the first group to put boots on the ground, but sadly for the Crusade, the Burning Legion was more prepared than they anticipated and their forces were decimated, with the Highlord being captured by Gul'dan. The Alliance and the Horde soon followed, but as with the Argent Crusade, they too were decimated, their first waves of forces crashing on the Broken Shore and being forced to fight for their lives until reinforcements could arrive.
When the second wave for both factions arrived, the Alliance and the Horde could finally push into the Black City, a region which had been rapidly constructed by the Burning Legion. There they rescued what few Argent Crusaders remained in cages, all while fighting their way toward the Tomb of Sargeras where the demonic portal allowing the Legion entry into their world was located. Before they could reach the Tomb however, they were forced to deal with one of the Legion's monstrosities, a large demon by the name of Krosus who had already apparently killed Highlord Fordring by scorching him with felfire before Gul'dan dropped his body into the fel liquid that Krosus waded through. The beast was large, larger than anything they had fought on Draenor and could smash the Alliance and Horde champions into the earth with his massive fists, but the Alliance and Horde fought on regardless, determined to kill the creature which had defeated the Highlord. Eventually, after a long battle, the Alliance and Horde forces were victorious and Krosus disappeared into the fel liquid, although it was not clear if the beast had truly been slain or if he was just waiting for a second chance to destroy the forces that had opposed him.
With Krosus defeated, the time to engage Gul'dan and the Burning Legion at the portal was at hand. The Horde took the flank, preparing to cover the Alliance from the upper ridge, while the Alliance took the fight directly to Gul'dan. The battle was fierce for both sides, but while victory seemed to be within reach, as the Alliance cut down demon after demon. Sadly, the same could not be said for the Horde. Battered by wave after wave of demons, they began to succumb, but resistance from the Horde collapsed completely when the Warchief, Vol'jin, was stabbed through the chest by a spear that had been wielded by a felguard. Not wishing to see the warchief fall, Sylvanas Windrunner grabbed the body of the warchief who gave her a simple order, not to let the Horde fall. With that order given, Sylvanas did the only thing she could and sounded the retreat, summoning her Val'kyr to rescue those who had been defeated and escaping to her ship. Unfortunately, this left the Alliance without the support they so desperately needed, and many among the Alliance, unaware of what had transpired on the ridge, thought that the retreat was a dishonorable ploy by Sylvanas to destroy the Alliance leadership. Quickly being overrun, King Varian Wrynn ordered the Alliance to fall back onto a gunship which had just arrived to provide fire support, but sadly for Varian, Gul'dan was not quite finished with the forces that had directly challenged his master. Using his considerable command over the fel, he summoned a massive fel reaver to catch the Alliance gunship, which it successfully did, at least for a time, until Varian heroicly sacrificed his own life to release the airship from the fel reaver's grasp. The Alliance gunship escaped, leaving Varian to fight alone, and while he put up a valiant effort, slaying several demons, he was eventually overwhelmed and destroyed by Gul'dan, leaving the Alliance to mourn the loss of their King.
Following the disastrous events on the Broken Shore, the Legion began their invasion in earnest, summoning demons and demonic structures in key locations around Azeroth. The Alliance and the Horde, still reeling after the defeat on the Broken Shore, were hard pressed to stop them, but they ultimately succeeded as coalitions of various orders and guilds formed together to combat the Legion in campaigns that covered vast regions of the world. While they were at times successful, they eventually were forced to withdraw to Dalaran as the citadel of the Kirin Tor came under siege by multiple Burning Legion ships. Facing a choice between teleporting the city or being destroyed, the Council of Six chose to teleport the city from its location above Karazhan to the Broken Isles, where the fight against the Legion would be focused. The teleport was a success, although it required substantial magical energy, and Dalaran quickly emerged above the Broken Isles, ready to serve as a base of operations for the Azerothian Heroes for their war against the Burning Legion. Following the relocation of Dalaran, a select few of the Azerothian Heroes stepped forward to lead their comrades in the struggle to come. These strong heroes all fought on the Broken Shore during the disastrous engagement there, and with the help of the Orders they joined, they gained powerful weapons and were chosen to serve as leaders among men. These heroes are:
- The Deathlord, Leader of the Knights of the Ebon Blade
- The Illidari Master, Leader of the Demon Hunters.
- An Archdruid of the Cenarion Circle
- The Huntmaster of the Unseen Path
- An Archmage of the Tirisgarde
- The Grand Master of the Order of the Broken Temple
- The Highlord of the Order of the Silver Hand
- The High Priest of the Conclave
- The Shadowblade of the Uncrowned
- The Farseer of the Earthen Ring
- The Netherlord of the Council of the Black Harvest
- The Battlelord of Skyhold
Although these twelve show great promise, it remains to be seen if they will ultimately be successful against the endless threat of the Burning Legion.