|House of Volkihar|
Coat of Arms
A round shield adorned with spikes, a blade, a horned skull, scrolls and enchanted with blood magic.
“The most diverse ancestral tribes have as a point of convergence parasitic beings that feed on the vital force of living creatures, the vampires. Despite the great legends that classify vampires and all those who seek them in search of their power as cursed parasites and miserables, few know of the true origin of these people, of my people.”
The House of Volkihar has been around for many generations. Dating further back to the times before the Sundering. This house was once known as Queen Azshara's personal espionage force, and their signature weapon was the use of blood magic in their endeavours. The house was destroyed by the Nathrezim and the only survivor, Vance Volkihar, was cursed by them to spend the rest of his days as a formless creature made by pure blood energy whose essence lies in the need to feed on the vital force of everything that exists, the first azerothian vampire.
In the past, the House produced the most cunning assassins, scouts, rangers and rogues, as well as the only known blood mages at the time. While the other houses were bound together by bloodline, the house of Volkihar were bound by duty and desire for forbidden knowledge. After the curse, Vance Volkihar found out that the curse is actually a blessing, granting new powers, such as shapeshifting, and a way to share the curse with others, which he used to bolster the house army with new brothers and sisters. The only known way to identify a Volkihar vampire is through its unique blood-colored eyes.
The Volkihar vampires are immortal shapeshifting creatures. These cunning individuals, adept at manipulating opponents, are masters of life draining and charming spells. They utilize necromancy, blood magic, void magic and subtlety to fulfill their duties. Although very powerful, they are not invincible. Their strength depends on the form he takes, becoming susceptible to its weaknesses, abilities, illnesses, etc. If a Volkihar vampire is killed, its energy will immediately reappear in another location to recover.
The Volkihar vampires are cold, extremely unpredictable, logical, sarcastic and direct. They are always concentrated on realizing their duties and keeping their disguises. They, most of the times, dress in red, grey and black garments. They have assimilated the Nathrezim and Venthyr shared culture and contributed with their own. Skilled in a variety of magic schools, they often make use of their vampiric skills, shape-shifting abilities and possess great mental influence over living minds.
War of the Ancients
These beings were originally a Highborne clan that proudly served as Queen Azshara's personal espionage force. They were a recluse house due to their ways of acting. Before the Burning Legion arrived on Azeroth, they sent the Dreadlords to find a way to invade the planet. The Volkihar spies discovered this threat and got slaughtered by the Nathrezim, with only one survivor, Vance Volkihar, who contracted a curse known as Sanguinare Vampiris, a disease that cause the victim to develop a kind of vampirism.
Vance then became a formless creature that only ressembled his elven body, soaked with blood magic, vulnerability to sun and the need of blood draining to keep its form. In the abscence of blood to drain, Volkihar vampires can drain different types of magic from various sources, although it's less effective than blood draining. He then returned to live with the kaldorei and swore he would get his revenge destroying the Nathrezim.
Vance started to rebuild the house while doing Azshara's biddings, but then he found out she was actually allied with the Burning Legion and the Nathrezim, Azshara had Xavius drew on the Well of Eternity's power to construct within its depths an immense portal that would allow the Burning Legion entrance into Azeroth. Vance and some of his house brothers tried to join the Kaldorei Resistance, however Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind were suspicious of them, and refused their help. Consequently, the house decided to hunt the dreadlords by themselves, while the Kaldorei resistance tried to close the portal of the Burning Legion.
With these preparations made, Sargeras began to send his agents through the budding portal. First came packs of vampiric felhounds and their retainer Hakkar the Houndmaster. These demonic canines stealthily spread across the world's single continent, Kalimdor, and attacked any mages who were not of the Highborne. With their tentacles, they'd drain every drop of mana from these wielders of the arcane, then devour whatever flesh was left. Their work impressed Xavius and Azshara, reaffirming their loyalty to the Legion's incredible power.
Soon the Legion's main troops emerged; the staunch felguard who formed the primary infantry of the Legion, the wrathguard who struck skillfully with magic and blade, and the menacing terrorguard and doomguard who oversaw the efforts of the soldiers and summoned terrifying infernals like meteors from the sky. Slowly but surely the demonic armies marched out from the night elf capital, Zin-Azshari, killing and destroying everything in their path. However, it wasn't long before they were met with resistance.
Possibly around this time, the Highborne of Suramar who had watched as their city was used by the cunning nathrezim as an experiment in the creation of an undead army, responded to an attempt by the Legion to create a second portal in the depths of the Temple of Elune. Using the Pillars of Creation, the court of the Grand Magistrix Elisande sealed the tomb, and proceeded to create a massive barrier surrounding the still intact sections of the city, sealing themselves off from the conflict and leaving the dreadlords on the outside of the barrier ready to be slaughtered by Vance and the Volkihar rangers, who were hunting them.
On the shores of the Well, the Kaldorei Resistance, some time travelers adventurers from the far future and Illidan rejoined with Malfurion who needed them to distract Mannoroth long enough for him to complete the reversal of the portal. Illidan Stormrage, Tyrande, and the time travelers agreed and fought through the Legion's minions and killed Varo'then, before attacking Mannoroth. Though the pit lord attempted to stop them with all his might, Illidan briefly used fel magic to enhance himself and the time travelers enough to hold out for a few more crucial seconds. The group's efforts succeeded and the portal within the Well of Eternity reversed, pulling demons from all corners of Kalimdor back through it, even mighty Mannoroth. The Dragon Soul fell from the spell matrix, but was stopped from being lost by the surprise appearance of the one dragon Aspect who'd been absent until now; Nozdormu, the bronze dragon. He quickly vanished with the artifact as the portal began to destabilize. Unwilling to accept his first ever defeat, Sargeras angrily tried to force himself through the collapsing portal but was unable to do so and forcibly ejected back into the Nether.
This was not the end of things, however. Fearing for the Well, Illidan slipped away to the very edge and filled five small vials with its water. His fear soon proved to be well-founded, as the stresses placed on the Well of Eternity had reached a breaking point with the collapsing portal. As a result, the earth quaked, and the entire Well began collapsing into the portal as well. As the races of Azeroth sought shelter with the aid of the dragons, the very land itself collapsed and broke, being dragged into the angry torrent the collapsing Well had become. The sky darkened around the Well's remains as massive amounts of the landmass were ripped apart and swallowed by its implosion. As the portal finally closed completely, and the implosion ended, the seas came rushing in to fill the massive wound in the earth. When at last this great event, the Sundering, came to an end, nearly eighty percent of Kalimdor's landmass had been blasted apart. All that was left was a handful of separate continents surrounding a vast new ocean. At the center of the new sea, where the Well of Eternity once stood, was a tumultuous storm of tidal fury and chaotic energies. This terrible scar, known as the Maelstrom, would never cease its furious spinning. It would remain a constant reminder of the terrible catastrophe... and the Utopian era that had been lost forever.
As for Queen Azshara and her Highborne, the entire city of Zin-Azshari was protected from the Sundering by the Queen's magic and remained as one single landmass as the ocean rushed in around her. Even she could not hold out for long, and her spell began to fail as she began to tire. But it was not the end for them. The Old Gods spoke to them, their dark whispers filling the minds of Azshara and her servitors. They promised survival in exchange for loyalty, and Azshara, devastated by her previous god's failure, agreed. When her spell failed and water flowed into the palace, it filled the lungs of the Queen and her Highborne, but they did not drown. Instead, the Highborne twisted and changed, transforming into the serpentine naga. Azshara's form changed too, twisting and growing into a great monstrosity that reflected the wickedness she'd always held in her heart. Since Vance was not in Zin-Azshari, he was one of the few Highborne who survived the fall of Azshara and her followers.
Exile of the Highborne
When the night elves adopted druidism, they outlawed the practice of arcane magic. The use of its dangerous powers was punishable by death. However, many Highborne survived the Sundering and grew restless. They suffered from magical withdrawal, and 7,300 years before the invasion of the Horde through the Dark Portal, they spoke against Malfurion Stormrage and the Druids. resulting in the Highborne’s exile. By now the Highborne were glad to be rid of their conservative cousins and free to practice the arcane with impunity. None knew what lay beyond the Maelstrom, but they eventually found the Eastern Kingdoms and formed their own magical realm. They abandoned the concepts of Elune and nocturnal activity, embracing the sun instead. They would soon become known as the high elves.
Rise of Quel'Thalas
Dath'remar Sunstrider led the high elven fleets across the world for many long years. Their goal was to find places of considerable ley power for them to build their new homeland. After landing on the Lordaeron continent, they moved inland and formed a settlement in the Tirisfal Glades. After a few years, however, many were driven insane. The belief at the time was that something evil slept beneath the Glades, so the high elves abandoned the region and moved northwards. They wandered the land for years.
Around this time, they had become completely severed from the life-giving energy of the Well of Eternity. This meant that they were vulnerable to the elements and had not received immortality from Nozdormu and the World Tree. They had shrunk in height and their skin had become a peach hue similar to most dwarves and humans.
After many more years, the high elves discovered a land in the northern forests which suited them, and founded the kingdom of Quel'Thalas. The House of Volkihar and the House of Windrunner founded the Farstriders, led by Ranger-general Talanas Windrunner. Unfortunately, they would learn that Quel'Thalas was founded on a sacred and ancient troll city. The Amani trolls began to attack the elven settlements in retaliation. Although the Amani outnumbered them ten to one, the elves utilized magic to its fullest effect and defeated the trolls.
Soon, Quel'Thalas became a shining monument to high elven prowess. It was crafted in the same style as the halls of Kalimdor, with the addition of integrated magic and a brighter color scheme. Although they did not worship it, a great respect was maintained for nature. The high elves were careful to interweave their cities and architecture with their natural surroundings, creating a truly beautiful and tranquil land.
To sate their hunger for great magical power, the high elves created the Sunwell. It became the source of their power as the Well of Eternity had been in Kalimdor, although the Sunwell was much weaker, and the elves were forewarned of the dangers. As the high elves became more powerful, they cast an enchantment on the forests that bathed Quel'Thalas in eternal springtime, in defiance of the kingdom's location on the extreme north of the continent. From that point on, all high elves had access to the Sunwell's powers from anywhere on Azeroth. Over time, the high elves came to regard the Sunwell's waters as holy. Magic became part of their genes centuries before, but the Sunwell's unique energies became part of them acutely.
Fall of Quel'Thalas
Peace in Quel'Thalas continued for almost three thousand years until the Second War. The orcish Horde came through a portal from the world of Draenor at the advent of the First War, and defeated the Kingdom of Stormwind. They then brought ogres into Azeroth, and allied with the goblins and forest trolls, turning their sights on the north. When the humans proposed an Alliance of their seven nations, the Wildhammer and Ironforge dwarves, the gnomes, and the high elves, the elves were honor-bound to join it. Under Anasterian Sunstrider, they were the least enthusiastic of the alliance and put forth only a token army.
Years later, the Scourge came forth. Its commander, Arthas Menethil, obliterated the leading nation of Lordaeron and then turned their sights on Quel'Thalas. Their goal was to revive a human man named Kel'Thuzad, who could summon the demon-lord Archimonde into Azeroth. To do this, they required a source of considerable ley magic and chose the Sunwell. This time, there would be no human army to rescue them. The high elven army, led by the Ranger General at the time, Sylvanas Windrunner, made counter attacks every time the scourge advanced. Despite their tactics and magic, the elves were pushed back from the outer, to inner elf gates. Finally, Arthas and his army, as well as new banshees, including Sylvanas, advanced on Silvermoon and crushed the defenders. Anasterian himself was killed by the Scourge, along with his ruling council.
The Sunwell was used to resurrect Kel'Thuzad and fouled with evil in the process. Only about ten percent of the entire race survived the genocide. Several defenders were raised into zombies while some deceased magisters were raised into spectres and left at the defiled Sunwell. Some of them were lucky enough to be away from Quel'Thalas at the time (housed in Dalaran or had traveled to Kalimdor with Jaina), but the majority of those who survived only did so by defending themselves or hiding.Soon, Dalaran, with the second greatest concentration of high elves, was destroyed as well. Dalaran's defeat was swift and complete, and most of the high elves there died under Archimonde's attacks. With Prince Kael'thas away and Silvermoon left in ruin, Vance decided to leave Quel'Thalas to find a new path for the himself and his house. He, then, traveled through the ruins of Lordaeron and eventually found the last human stronghold, the Kingdom of Gilneas.
Rise as a Dark Ranger
While the Gilnean Kingdom was unaware of the death cults and the undeath plage outside of the Greymane Wall, Vance, in a human form, contacted Lord Darius Crowley and warned about the imminent threat and offered help. At the peak of their strength, the Scourge relentlessly assaulted the Greymane Wall and threatened to devour all Gilneas. Their number was small at first, but it increased over time and they did not flag. King Greymane's armies held the wall for days against a massive sea of undead hordes, but for every undead that fell, another took its place. Fearing it would break, King Genn Greymane opened the gate and Gilnean soldiers poured from Gilneas into Silverpine Forest. The Scourge, however, defeated the soldiers, including Vance, and raised them into undeath. During this time, Vance learned through the San'Layn the Vampiric Drain spell, which he could cast or apply as a poison in weapons to turn other beings into vampires.
Around some point, the weakened Ner'zhul began to lose control of the minds of Vance and a number of undead. Some undead, including Vance, broke free from the Lich King's control and left the Scourge under the leadership of Sylvannas Windrunner. When Sylvanas regained her physical body, she realized that the natural world would never respond to her wishes again. Angered, she turned to the arts that were becoming more and more natural to her: Necromancy. She altered her elven ranger teachings into a new form and taught her followers. Thus, the dark rangers were born. Vance was naturally skilled in the techniques Sylvannas was presenting, so he had no problem mastering them.
After taking over the Undercity for the Forsaken, Vance was sent to Acherus, where he would keep pretending to serve the Lich King. During the Battle for Light's Hope Chapel, the power of Light freed the death knights from the Lich King's grasp. The freed death knights took Acherus from the Scourge and formed the Knights of the Ebon Blade under the command of Highlord Mograine. The Ebon Blade sent many of its freed death knights back to their respective factions. Vance decided not to return to the Undercity because he could not trust having the dreadlord Varimathras as a leader. So, he returned to Gilneas.
Back to Gilneas
Vance returned to Gilneas as a Dark Ranger and met with Darius Crowley, who said that King Genn Greymane refused to help the Alliance to fight the Lich King (because he was using all his forces to contain the secret Worgen threat). Unable to remain idle as his king went about what Crowley considered to be "tyranny", the nobleman sent a platoon of his own soldiers, in the form of the Gilneas Brigade, to aid the Alliance, as well as Lady Jaina Proudmoore's expedition to Kalimdor. Following this, Genn had tried to reason with the noble, to make it clear that this wall was the way forward, and to explain why assisting the Alliance was so wrong. But Crowley refused, and insisted that he was doing what was best for the future of Gilneas, that he would end the King’s “tyranny”. The king angrily confronted Crowley, accusing him of committing treason against Gilneas, while Crowley, unrepentant for his actions, started a rebellion against Greymane, gathering like-minded Gilneans including his daughter Lorna and Tobias Mistmantle in forming the Northgate Rebellion. The resulting civil war weakened the kingdom and split the populace into two groups, "royalist" and "rebel". The rebellion officially ended when Crowley and his leading allies, including Vance, were captured by Greymane's forces. Vance was kept prisioner in chains at the dungeons of the Stoneward Prison, where he began to train som rebells into the blood magic.
Immediately following the defeat of the rebellion, a period of relative peace ensued for Gilneas. Some time after, however, the worgen infiltrated the kingdom and began terrorizing the forests of Gilneas. Fearful of causing panic following the end of the brutal civil war, and aware of the fragile state Gilneas had now found itself in, Greymane and several other nobles began discreetly hunting down and killing the wolf men. The worgen numbers only continued to grow, however, and soon they began attacking Gilneas City itself. Countless worgen swarmed the city's districts and began to overwhelm its inhabitants. Unable to withstand the invasion alone, Vance, Crowley and his Northgate Rebels were released from imprisonment on Greymane's orders. Vance and Crowley, understanding that the only shot for the surviving Gilneans to reach the safety of Duskhaven was for the worgen's attention to be kept on Gilneas City, decided to remain behind with a group of their followers at Light's Dawn Cathedral to serve as a distraction.
Crowley's group was eventually surrounded and overrun by the worgen and Crowley became a worgen himself. However, his sacrifice allowed the Gilnean refugees to successfully reach Duskhaven. Krennan Aranas — the royal alchemist of King Genn Greymane — created a special potion that when drank by a worgen, helped them bring back balance between their human and beast sides; in other words, it returned human consciousness to the cursed worgen. Thus a group of captured worgen were treated and joined the Gilneans just before the Forsaken invasion started. The Gilnean forces under the command of Liam Greymane started fighting their way through Gilneas City, destroying Forsaken forces positioned there. Soon they were attacked by a large number of abominations. The villagers of Emberstone brought artillery cannons, however, which helped in defeating them. After Liam's forces met and united with Lord Crowley's worgen forces around Stoneward Prison, the Forsaken unleashed upon the Gilneans one of their most powerful creations — the flesh beast known as Gorerot. However, the worgen took control of Forsaken catapults and used them to take down Gorerot quickly. Soon Liam and Crowley caught Sylvanas herself at the Greymane Court, while his father came and attacked from the other side. As the tide was turning against Sylvanas, she used her dark powers to stun everyone in the immediate area and aimed a poisoned arrow at Genn Greymane. Liam jumped in front of the bowshot, saving his father from certain doom. As Sylvanas fled the scene, Liam died with the knowledge that the city had been freed from Forsaken control.
Later on, Sylvanas Windrunner met with General Warhowl, envoy of Warchief Garrosh Hellscream. Sylvanas told him that Gilneas was under control and consented to not use the Forsaken Blight, as its development had been banned after the incident at the Wrathgate. As the emissary left, however, Sylvanas told High Executor Crenshaw to deploy the new plague as planned, despite Garrosh's command. At the dawn of the next day, despite the wishes of Garrosh Hellscream, the Forsaken used their Blight on Gilneas. What the Forsaken didn't know, however, was that the population was already being evacuated through a secret passage to Keel Harbor, where there were night elven boats departing to Darnassus. While the worgen distracted the Forsaken using bombing bats they had recovered, destroying some of their Blight catapults and thinning out the Forsaken ranks, the rest of the Gilnean populace escaped. In the final moments of the evacuation, King Genn and the Crowley family paid their final respects to the deceased Liam Greymane and made a promise to him to liberate Gilneas one day.
In service for the Alliance
Gilneas was left in ruins, both by the Forsaken invasion and by the Cataclysm ripping the very land apart. Civilians were evacuated to Darnassus following the destruction of the Horde gunship, while a large amount of the soldiers and volunteers remained in Gilneas under the leadership of Darius Crowley. Crowley's forces formed the Gilneas Liberation Front and their mission is to purge the Forsaken from their lands and retake all of Gilneas for the Alliance. After the Gilneans settled in Darnassus, the Gilnean people rejoined the Alliance and King Genn Greymane journeyed to Stormwind — the political and military capital of the Alliance. With Genn's homeland turned into a war zone and his heir slain; Genn began making plans and coordinating with the Alliance to retake his homeland.
With a strong position in the Alliance, Vance was looking for someone in the Alliance with whom he could share his story and ensure freedom to recruit people willing to be turned into vampires and help him rise the House of Volkihar. Vance then contacted who he had fought alongside in the past, King Gr peopleeymane, who understood him and considered Vance a hero of war, and gave him total freedom within the Alliance. After all that, The, now rebuilt House of Volkihar, considers Gilneas its home and the Gilneans its people, and he fights for them whenever necessary. The Volkihar vampires collaborate with both the Gilnean Army and SI:7 as scout masters, acting as dark stalkers and infiltrators, gathering secrets and informations about the enemies, as well as retrieving artifacts or eliminating targets. These actions earned Vance the title of "Baron of Secrets".
After Sylvanas Windrunner destroyed the Helm of Domination, Bolvar Fordragon was no longer the Lich King. Taking direct leadership of the Knights of the Ebon Blade as their new Highlord, Bolvar and the death knights work with the forces of the Alliance and Horde against Sylvanas and the Jailer within the Shadowlands. Some Volkihar member ventured in the Shadowlands to hunt Sylvannas and put an end into her treachery.