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Edwin VanCleef
Edwin vancleef.jpg




Stormwind Icon.png Stormwindian




Kingpin of the Defias Brotherhood
Stonemason Guildmaster (formerly)


Stormwind Icon.png Kingdom of Stormwind (formerly)

RedSkullBanner.png Defias Brotherhood




Vanessa VanCleef, daughter

"The House of Nobles - no, the entire kingdom of Stormwind will pay for their crimes against the Stonemasons."

–Edwin VanCleef

Edwin VanCleef was a human architect and engineer, considered by many to be one of the greatest of his trade in history. The unquestioned criminal kingpin of the Defias Brotherhood, he turned to crime after the House of Nobles continuously failed to adequately compensate the Stonemason's Guild for their work on Stormwind City, and was considered one of the greatest threats to the safety of the Kingdom of Stormwind until his death.

The elected guildmaster of the Stonemason's Guild, VanCleef was one of the chief architects involved with the reconstruction of Stormwind City following the end of the Second War, as well as the construction of Nethergarde Keep in order to keep a watchful eye on the Dark Portal. A childhood friend of Mathias Shaw, future spymaster and head of SI:7, the latter taught him the tricks of the rogue trade.

Following the reconstruction of Stormwind, the House of Nobles refused to pay the Stonemasons adequately for their work while they in turn asked for greater compensation, both parties being manipulated by the influence of Lady Katrana Prestor. Due to the House of Nobles' increased budget spending in the kingdom's expanded military presence from Elwynn to Stranglethorn, Stormwind found itself in great debt and was unable to pay the Stonemasons the promised amount. VanCleef spoke out to the House of Nobles demanding payment, only for them to order the disbanding of the Stonemason's Guild.

Incensed, VanCleef and his followers took to the streets in what came to be known as the Stonemason Riots, which resulted in the death of Queen Tiffin after she was struck by a misguided stone in the chaos. Fleeing Stormwind, VanCleef and his followers formed the Defias Brotherhood, leading them to the relatively unprotected region of Westfall where they made their hideout, deep in the Deadmines of Moonbrook. He taught the Defias the tricks he learned from Shaw in his youth and recruited more people using his old Stonemason contacts, turning the Defias from alienated Stonemasons into the infamous gang of brigands and thieves, naming Bazil Thredd as his second-in-command. From the Deadmines, he began establishing his forces and made alliances. Goblin engineers were hired to craft the Harvest Golems they would use to terrorize the people of Westfall, the Riverpaw gnoll clan was bought out and used as thugs stationed throughout Westfall, and he made a valuable contact in Lord Gregor Lescovar of the House of Nobles, with whom he came to an agreement to destroy Stormwind from within.

With the onset of the Cold War, the armies of Stormwind pulled out of the outlying regions of the kingdom, leaving them completely defenseless. Seizing the moment, VanCleef's forces spilled out of the Deadmines, taking complete control over Moonbrook and driving most of the farmers away from Westfall. Deploying their Harvest Golems and brigands, they took complete control over Westfall. What little resistance remained of the people of Westfall were the determined Saldean family that refused to give up their land to the Defias, and the People's Militia that formed under Gryan Stoutmantle at Sentinel Hill. With the successful takeover of Westfall, VanCleef turned his eyes to Elwynn Forest. He first sent the Riverpaw to establish a foothold in the region of Westridge on the forest's edge, followed by sending Defias gangs into the forest. With the later capture of the mines of Elwynn, kobold gangs were commissioned to undertake mining operations. VanCleef's expansion reached even the outer regions of Duskwood and Redridge.

With the plentiful resources coming into the Deadmines, the next phase of VanCleef's grand scheme commenced. VanCleef hired goblin craftsmen to build a great Juggernaught-class vessel based on models crafted for the Orcish Horde by ogres during the Second War, and VanCleef entered into an alliance with the Bloodsail Buccaneers, acquiring a pirate crew sent by Fleet Master Firallon.

However, the Defias Brotherhood soon began to decline as the people of Stormwind started fighting back in earnest. VanCleef himself met his end when Gryan Stoutmantle hired adventurers to delve into the Deadmines and kill him, decapitating him and bringing his head back to Stoutmantle as proof of the deed. Despite his death, the Defias continued its operations without him, later participating in the kidnapping King Varian Wrynn while he was travelling to Theramore Isle to meet with Ladt Jaina Proudmoore and leading into Operation: Missing Diplomat. His death was witnessed by his daughter Vanessa, who vowed to avenge her father and would later reform the Defias Brotherhood following the Shattering.

Edwin VanCleef's notorious fame and legacy lasted long after his death. Rumors and legends said that the master criminal had in fact survived the assassination attempt on him, with Mathias Shaw himself reportedly noting that the man was his equal. Stories said that his overall common peasantry laborer appearance could have allowed him to switch places with someone else, with Gryan Stoutmantle mistakenly believing that the head brought to him was that of the criminal mastermind. However, with the second rise of the Defias Brotherhood driven by his daughter's desire to avenge Edwin, most rumors were squashed, though some conspiracy theorists still hold the opinion that Edwin VanCleef is still out there, planning his return.

The Kingdom of Stormwind
Lands Azeroth Stormwind City (King's Country) · Blasted Lands (Nethergarde Keep) · Duskwood (Darkshire · Myrewood · Raven Hill) · Elwynn Forest (Eastvale · Goldshire · Northshire · Westridge · Stonewind · Greyhallow) · Redridge Mountains (Lakeshire · Ridgegarde · Stonewatch) · Swamp of Sorrows (Marshtide Watch) · Westfall (Kingsburg · Moonbrook · New Borough · Sentinel Hill)
Overseas Balor · Gillijim's Isle · Diua Islands · Dustshire · Kingsland · Leonia · Lion's Landing · Valgarde · Valiance Keep · Veridia
Organizations Government House of Nobles · Night Watch Militia · People's Militia · Stormwind Constabulary · Order of the Lion · Stormwind Trading Company
Military Stormwind Army (The First Regiment) · Stormwind Navy · Stormwind Guard · Stormwind Marine Corps · Stormwind Air Corps · SI:7 · Brotherhood of the Horse · Stormwind Royal Guard · Highguard
Other Church of the Holy Light · Defias Brotherhood
Notable Figures Varian Wrynn · Tiffin Wrynn · Anduin Wrynn · Bolvar Fordragon · Katrana Prestor · Mathias Shaw · Edwin VanCleef · Reginald Windsor · Gryan Stoutmantle · Halford Wyrmbane · Jes-Tereth · Catherine Rogers · Julianne Tremblade
Events First War · First Defias Conflict · Stonemason Riots · Return of King Wrynn