Deathknell, so named for the custom of tolling the church bells at the passing of a person of a the town, is a major center of Forsaken recruitment within the Tirisfal Glades. Sylvanas Windrunner's Val'kyr companions alongside her Deathguard administrate the ruins, as it is the site where a great many corpses are brought to become the backbone of the Forsaken legions.
Prior to its reclamation by the Forsaken, the settlement was once called Vandermar Village. Vandenmar, much like Goldshire in Stormwind, was rather prosperous prior to the coming of the orcs, due not only to its proximity to gold, but Major Kingdoms as well. Gold was scarce in Lordaeron, even in the height of the Alliance's power. Thus, Vandenmar grew substantially after it was discovered.
Second War Edit
During the Second War, Ogrim Doomhammer marched his troops into Lordaeron, intent on destroying the human kingdom and ensuring the Horde's dominance over the continent. Vandermar was surrounded by mountains, and attempts to invade the strategic location would likely have proved far to costly. As a result, Doomhammer decided to block off the area, cutting the Kingdom off from supplies, and leaving the citizens to starve until the siege was lifted.
While Vandenmar survived the war, it suffered in it's aftermath, losing many sons and daughters on the battlefield and its connection to Gilneas. However, it was repopulated in the years following.
Third WarEditDuring the Third War, many acolytes of the Cult of the Damned lived in hiding in Vandermar Village. The village was safe from aggressors (save for a handful of bandits) and for a long period of time, Vandermar Village remained unscathed while the Scourge rampaged through Lordaeron.
After returning from Northrend and succeeding his father through regicide, Arthas Menethil was summoned by Tichondrius to the outskirts of Vandermar Village. Tichondrius instructed Arthas to rally the acolytes of the Cult of the Damned in order to reanimate Kel'Thuzad. Arthas rode in, rallying the Cult of the Damned and destroying the village in the process. During his battles with Vandermar's garrison of soldiers, Arthas bolstered his forces by reanimating the dead bodies recently laid to rest in the Vandermar Village cemetery. As such, it was likely the first village in the Eastern Kingdoms he destroyed.
Post Third War Edit
The ruins of Vandermar remained a major Scourge base in the months following Archimonde's defeat, as Arthas' minions haunted its remaining mine. However, when the Lich King began to lose his grasp over the Scourge, Vandermar included. Inspired by the resistance of Sylvanas Windrunner, those with free will were able to retake Lordaeron and Tirisfal Glades from the Scourge. The village was renamed Deathknell, in what would become the typical morbid fashion of the Forsaken.
As the Scourge's will continued to wane, the once mindless slaves of Vandermar were freed to such an extent that the Banshee Queen ordered her soldiers to refrain from killing them, instead imprisoning them in the crypt below. Later, it became common practice to send those that showed some semblance of sentience to the crypt, where they would be initiated into the Forsaken, or burned on the spot.
Unfortunately, the mine, one of the few sources of wealth for the Forsaken, was overtaken by a major spider infestation. Many recruits test their mettle against the nightweb to this day.
In addition, a detachment of the Scarlet Crusade set up camp southeast of the village and staged frequent attacks against the citizens of Deathknell as well as against the Scourge. Vital information often passes between this encampment and the Scarlet Monastery far to the east, leading many to question the exact motives of the human forces in the area.
By the end of the War Against the Lich king, these Scarlet Crusaders were since killed off, and likely raised into undeath by the Forsaken.
The Cult of the Forgotten Shadow has taken the Church of the Holy Light in the village, where it trains its former priests in the Dark Arts and administers the indoctrination of the newly reanimated residents. When the priests of the Cult are made aware of a new soul brought into the blessing - or the curse - of undeath, they rush to toll the bells in mockery of the old tradition of the death knell.Deathknell remained a major center of Forsaken recruitment in the years following the Arthas' demise. A number of Val'kyr defected from the Scourge, and thereafter raised countless undead, bolstering the Forsaken's ranks to an unprecedented amount. Bodies either dug from the ground or retrieved from the Forsaken's numerous expansive campaigns were wheeled in on Meat Wagons, where they were prepared and raised.