|Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider|
Kael'thas in Outland
Kael'thas Sunstrider was the Prince of Quel'Thalas, the last of the Sunstrider dynasty, as well as a senior member of the Kirin Tor. After the fall of Quel'Thalas, Kael'thas led what remained of his people, the sin'dorei, in the service of the Alliance. Striving to placate his people's addiction to magic, he later covertly allied with Illidan Stormrage, but betrayed him to the Burning Legion when its master, the demon lord Kil'jaeden, enticed Kael with the promise of salvation for the blood elves.
He was branded a traitor after his allegiance to the Legion was revealed, losing the support of Quel'Thalas. Defeated in the Tempest Keep, he would be brought back by his demon masters and return to Azeroth a shadow of his former self. Kael'thas' purpose was to summon Kil'jaeden through the Sunwell, but his plans were foiled by the Shattered Sun Offensive agents and the sacrifice of Anveena Teague. He was defeated by their forces in Magisters' Terrace.
The only son of Anasterian Sunstrider, king of Quel'Thalas, Prince Kael'thas was also a powerful mage and member of the Six, the shadowy high council of the Kirin Tor. Prior to the Second War, he and the other members of the high council questioned Khadgar about the orcs and the events in Karazhan that led to the death of Medivh. Two years later, Kael'thas alongside Krasus and Antonidas battled against death knights who came to steal the Eye of Dalaran. However, the death knights escaped with the help of the black dragonflight.
Despite his status as both Quel'Thalas' royal prince and his place on the Council of Six, Kael'thas proved himself an approachable individual and quickly took to Lady Jaina Proudmoore. His charm and "perfectly" handsome features impressed the young sorceress, though his regality and her longing for Prince Arthas Menethil of Lordaeron had her rebuke his advances - such as traveling to visit the beautiful elven homeland, Quel'Thalas, where magic was even more commonplace than Dalaran. Arthas, in turn, came to view the older and more powerful Kael with jealousy, knowing that if push came to shove, Kael would end up victorious. Later, Arthas himself was to visit Dalaran to study, and Jaina began a relationship with him. Kael'thas did not take kindly to this, and upon discovering it simply feigned mild surprise that Arthas would be so secretive about having a woman such as Jaina.
Kael'thas was opposed to the notion of upkeeping the internment camps, viewing the orcs' inability to control their dependency on demon blood as a testament to their lack of formidability as a people. This brought him into conflict with Antonidas, Jaina and Arthas, who had come to believe that sentient individuals - lethargic or not - should be shown mercy and that the orcs were not beyond salvation.
Kael'thas took an issue with the human Nathanos Marris being admitted to the Farstriders, and sent a letter to Quel'Thalas demanding Sylvanas dismiss Nathanos from the ranger corps. Despite this opposition, however, Sylvanas persisted, and her response was simply that Nathanos would be a loyal ally.
As a member of the Council of Six, Kael was present when Kel'Thuzad was expelled from Dalaran.
After a dramatic turn of events, the treacherous Prince Arthas ravaged his own homeland and led an attack on Quel'Thalas. His brutal conquest of the elven kingdom resulted in the utter destruction of Silvermoon City, the defiling of much of the high elven forests, the tainting of the legendary Sunwell (thus forcing a withdrawal-based lethargy on the elves), the total slaughter of around 90% of the high elven race, and the killing of Kael's father, King Anasterian Sunstrider.
Kael'thas learned of this while in Dalaran, and a remorseful Jaina attempted to console him. Kael'thas lashed out at her, berating her for her relationship with such a butcher, and made one final allusion to the fact that she had chosen such a monster over him. Cursing humanity, viewing himself as a fool forever assuming that humans could aid him, Kael'thas stated that his people had thus been reborn, by the blood of those who are forced to serve her "beloved" in death. With his father gone, Kael'thas knew that leading his people was now his duty alone. Kael'thas abandoned Dalaran to its fate and rushed to the aid of his people. Once he entered the forests he sent Rommath to Lor'themar Theron, to inform the elves about the coming of their prince.
Organizing the survivors, Kael'thas evacuated as many of his people as he could and came to burn several of the defiled forests in an act of scorched earth, to spite the Scourge invaders.
Kael'thas arrived in Silvermoon to an icy reception. His prolonged absence had been noted, and the populace was downtrodden, fearing the prince would abandon them. Kael first met with Lor'themar, who had rallied the elves in his absence, and was shown to the body of his father. Kael performed a Thalassian blessing and told his father that he was lost without him; that Anasterian was the king, not him. He asked his father for the strength to lead their people forward and watched that night as Anasterian was cremated on a funeral pyre.
Kael'thas made no excuses for being absent in Quel'Thalas's darkest hour. He resolved to prove himself to the elves and do whatever he could to rebuild their kingdom. It was hard as he had always felt distant from his people. They were largely insular and isolationist and he was quite the opposite. He wanted to see the world, interact with other races and learn new ideas. Despite this, he loved his people and kingdom.
Kael'thas then left to observe the defiled Sunwell, and witnessed the dark, twisted energies pulsating from it. Fearing a further catastrophe upon the elves and the land, and an attack of the Amani trolls, Kael'thas rallied a group of volunteers to destroy the corrupted Sunwell. He took three mooncrystals with him to this end, all three of which survived the sealing of the Sunwell, albeit altered. Kael took them into his possession thereafter. Though he had saved his people from continued exposure to the dark energy, the destruction of the Sunwell resulted in a withdrawal-based lethargy for the elven race.
Kael'thas renamed his shattered people "blood elves" in honor of their fallen brethren and resolved to see Quel'Thalas shine once again.
Though King Anasterian had removed Quel'Thalas from the Alliance prior to the undead onslaught, Kael rejoined what was known as the "remnants of the Alliance" battling the Scourge in Lordaeron. Though this alliance was Kael's best bet for vengeance upon the Scourge, he came under the bigoted scrutiny of its prejudiced leader, Grand Marshal Garithos, who had long despised the elves.
Kael'thas took a number of his most powerful followers to join the Alliance resistance, though the majority of his people remained behind in Quel'Thalas. Kael'thas commanded the great ranger, Lor'themar Theron, to safeguard the shattered elven kingdom, to protect their exhausted people, and to keep what remains of Quel'Thalas untainted from the Scourge. As such, Kael appointed Lor'themar as regent lord. Before leaving, he took his family's shattered runeblade Felo'melorn into his possession, planning to one day reforge it into a symbol of hope and power his people could again be proud of - a reminder that even in the face of overwhelming hardship, the blood elves would not be broken. In time, Kael'thas succeeded, and the mighty royal blade was reforged.
Kael'thas officially decreed that his father would be the last king of Quel'Thalas, and was styled as the "prince," the "Lord of the Blood Elves," and "the Sun King" variously thereafter.
The hunt for Illidan
Following the destruction of Silvermoon, Kael began to notice an emptiness within himself and his brethren, insatiable hunger and disharmony. However, there was no time to deal with that, as Kael had other duties.
Kael and his soldiers were stationed in the Silverpine Forest when a disturbance began to rile up the undead in and around Dalaran. They had begun to raid the outposts Kael had established, so he gathered up his forces to seek refuge in the relative safety on the other side of the River Arevass.
As he was loading the supply wagons, he was met by two unexpected strangers, Maiev Shadowsong and Tyrande Whisperwind. These night elves had pursued Illidan Stormrage for three days across the sea. Kael guessed that perhaps Illidan was behind the disturbances at Dalaran, and when he told them his tale, Tyrande immediately offered her assistance, thinking that he could help them track down Illidan. Maiev believed it to be a waste of time but reluctantly agreed. With the protection of the night elves and their Mountain Giant allies, Kael quickly made his way to Pyrewood Village to retrieve his buried supply caches. As they gathered more reinforcements, Maiev asked Kael where the rest of his brethren were, and he told them of the destruction of Quel'Thalas. Tyrande empathized but warned that vengeance and rage was not a pleasant road to walk.
As they arrived in Pyrewood, the undead had been lying in wait and ambushed the caravan. Kael, Maiev, Tyrande and their forces battled off the first attackers, but as the second wave advanced, they realized that the caravan would never survive another assault. Maiev and Kael rushed the caravan across the bridge, while Tyrande stayed to fend off the undead alone. As she called upon the powers of Elune to protect her, the bridge fell away, and Tyrande was swept down the river. Kael wanted to pursue her, but Maiev stopped him, saying that she was a warrior and knew the risks. Maiev then demanded that Kael honor their bargain, and help her capture Illidan.
Kael and Maiev tracked Illidan to Dalaran, where Kael's scouts found him performing a strange ritual with a mysterious gem. Malfurion Stormrage came and told them that Illidan's spell was using the Eye of Sargeras to break Northrend apart. Immediately, they advanced upon his location, while Kael defended their bases from the voracious undead. After freeing the paladin Magroth the Defender from the Naga, he pledged to help them. When Illidan's spell was interrupted, Malfurion approached his brother and condemned him for his part in Tyrande's death. Kael, perplexed, suggested that it was premature to assume she was dead and was vehemently silenced by Maiev.
Malfurion, realizing he had been duped, left Maiev entangled in vines while he and Illidan set off to save Tyrande. Maiev eventually freed herself and set off in pursuit, while Kael'thas was left in the ruins of Dalaran.
The rise of the Sin'dorei
Kael found the Grand Marshal Garithos at Dalaran, who dismissed his story of the night elves as a fanciful excuse. Garithos, Kael's commanding officer, harbored a poorly-hidden disdain for all non-human races. Garithos informed Kael that a strikeforce was encroaching on Dalaran and that he was going to head them off at the mountains. Kael was quick to volunteer his assistance, but Garithos had other plans. He explained that a second force was believed to be approaching from the east and that the arcane observatories needed repairs so that they could be used to spot them. Kael did as ordered, but when he came to Lordamere Lake, he found the shipyard ruined, and had no route across the water. Lady Vashj, a naga witch, soon arrived to offer her aid, citing their common ancestry. Vashj gave him boats, which Kael used to ferry his troops to the outlying observatories.
When Garithos returned from the front, he condemned Kael for consorting with the naga, despite the prince's assurances that they were not a threat to the Alliance. Garithos warned Kael that he would not tolerate treason before leaving Kael to keep things in line at Dalaran. An emissary sent by Garithos arrived the next day with further orders, reporting that the observatories had detected an undead force in the west. Kael was to defeat them, though the emissary also recalled his foot soldiers, cavalry, and support teams to the front lines. Kael was left with only his fellow elves to aid him, and the undead was quick to overtake the outposts across the river. Once again, Lady Vashj arrived with her naga, and though Kael was wary of accepting her offer, she insisted that without her help, he and his brethren would surely fall. Realizing that it would be impossible to survive without these reinforcements, Kael accepted. Together they defeated the undead.
After the battle, Kael told Vashj about how his people felt an emptiness ever since Quel'Thalas was destroyed. Vashj explained to Kael that just like the naga, his people were addicted to magic. Without the Sunwell to give them a constant supply of magical energies, they would surely suffer a fatal withdrawal. Kael heard Garithos approaching, and bid Vashj to flee, but Garithos' men saw the naga escaping and arrested Kael and his people for treason. Garithos smugly told Kael that he now had all the proof he needed to deal with him and the other elves as he felt they deserved, and he had them all imprisoned in the Dungeons of Dalaran.
Vashj crept in through the sewers of the dungeons and freed Kael, then helped him free his brethren. Vashj promised him an escape from his human oppressors through Kel'Thuzad's interdimensional portal, where her master, Illidan, was waiting on the other side. As they neared the exit, Kael met his former comrade, Jailor Kassan, who he was forced to slay in order to escape. Upon leaving the dungeons, the blood elves and naga fled through the portal Archimonde used to enter the world of Azeroth, and into a new world.
Kael found himself on the barren lands of the Hellfire Peninsula, and Vashj revealed that this Outland was once the orcish homeland of Draenor. They searched for Illidan for days, until Vashj caught a familiar scent on the winds. Maiev had captured Illidan and was escorting him back to her base in a prison wagon. Kael and Vashj's forces quickly rushed into the fray and battled Maiev's army in order to retrieve the unconscious Illidan and return him to their base, where they could undo the magical lock that kept him caged.
Illidan was pleased with the tenacity of all his servants, new and old alike, and told them of the situation in Outland. To flee from his vexed master, Kil'jaeden, Illidan had fled to Outland only to find it overrun by Magtheridon and his fel orcs, reinforced by demons arriving through Ner'zhul's dimensional gates. Kael had hoped Illidan might be able to cure the blood elves of their addiction to magic and asked if he could help them. Illidan sadly told him that there was no cure for their condition, but promised Kael that if he joined him, he would provide the blood elves with enough magical energies to keep their hunger sated forever. Upon hearing this, Kael pledged his loyalty to Illidan.
Kael and Vashj protected Illidan as he went about closing the interdimensional gateways. Kael discovered a camp of Draenei being assaulted by orcs and lent them his aid. He was greeted by Akama, the Elder Sage, who offered his allegiance to Illidan. Finally, the time came to assault Magtheridon's Black Temple. Illidan, Kael, Vashj, and Akama all led their forces against Magtheridon's fortress, infiltrating it and finally defeating Magtheridon in his own throne room.
As Illidan stood triumphant, Kil'jaeden descended from the fiery sky and rebuked Illidan for his insolence in trying to hide. The demon gave him one last chance to save himself - destroy the Frozen Throne, or face his eternal wrath.
Assault on the Frozen Throne
Kael'thas, along with Vashj and Akama, became one of the leaders of Illidan's forces. Kael and his new allies returned to Northrend, where they were immediately met by Anub'arak and his troublesome race. Though they kept them at bay, Illidan's forces slowly advanced on the Icecrown Glacier.
The blood elves, thirsty for vengeance, attacked the newly arrived Arthas in a large-scale Dragonhawk ambush. Arthas was able to push them back, with the help of his nerubian ally, Anub'arak, and was greeted by a familiar sight - Kael'thas, brandishing a reforged [Felo'melorn]. After a heated exchange, Arthas charged the elven prince, though Kael'thas teleported out of the fray for the time being. Arthas fled into Azjol-Nerub, and after his ascent out of it, Kael'thas attacked him once more.
The two appeared to be fairly evenly matched; Felo'melorn proving an adequate counter to the mighty Frostmourne. However, the tides began to turn, and despite Kael's vicious assault of both powerful fire spells and Felo'melorn's precision, Kael'thas was pushed back by Arthas - the death knight empowered further by the Lich King's proximity. Knowing that he could not win this battle, and forced into the snow, Kael'thas once again teleported himself away, deeming that he had bought Illidan enough time. Kael successfully withdrew, but Felo'melorn was lost in the battle.
As such, Arthas was left with only one more obstacle - Illidan himself.
After fierce combat, Arthas managed to get the best of Illidan, and Illidan's twitching body was tossed to the ground. Kael and Vashj were left leaderless on the snowy slopes of Icecrown as Arthas claimed his destiny. Together they took Illidan's unconscious body with them as they fled back to Outland.
A month later, when Magtheridon was being moved to Hellfire Citadel he accompanied the Illidari into the fortress. A week later, Lady Malande reported that Kael took his forces to close a Legion's portal in Netherstorm.
The Burning Crusade
Kael'thas, together with 15% of the blood elven people, made the journey into Outland with his new allies. With the goal of finding a lasting method to sate the elven addiction, and claiming a new homeland for the sin'dorei, Kael'thas thus put his plans into motion. However, he had not forgotten about his people still in Azeroth. Grand Magister Rommath, a powerful Archmage who had served Kael'thas' ambitions faithfully, was sent back to reclaim Quel'Thalas with a contingent of magisters - and to spread Illidan's teachings of draining magical power, teachings smoothly attributed by Rommath to the blood elven scion. Kael'thas named Lor'themar Theron Quel'Thalas' regent, to safeguard the country until the prince's return to lead their people. Emboldened by the reclamation of shining Quel'Thalas, and the prince's promises of a glorious future, the blood elves began to work towards their own great journey - to reunite with their prince in the promised haven of Outland. Rommath informed him about the possible alliance with the Horde.
As Illidan prepared his army of demon hunters to assault Argus, Kael'thas became alienated. Several of his followers had left him to join Illidan to be trained as demon hunters and he believed he could harness fel magic just as they did to sate his addiction. Soon, the fel gnawed at his mind, causing him to become more paranoid of his people, believing them to think of him as a failure. Many believed that fel magic made him unstable. He believed his travel to Outland to have been a mistake since he was no closer to finding a cure to the addiction than before and the suffering of the blood elves had only increased. He was too prideful to return to Quel'Thalas without a cure, yet also deeply ashamed and angered of his own inability to find one. In this state of emotional turmoil, the prince was contacted by Kil'jaeden. The demon lord told him of more effective ways to harness fel energy and that Illidan had withheld them from him because he did not deem them worthy, only tools in the war against the Legion. In return for teaching Kael'thas, Kil'jaeden simply asked him to abandon Illidan. The prince refused, but doubts began to plague his consciousness.
Kael'thas sent Voren'thal the Seer and his forces to attack Shattrath City and the newly arrived Sha'tar. Kael'thas had requested that demon hunters would join the fray, but Illidan refused him, greatly angering the prince. Before the battle even started, Voren'thal threw down his weapons and defected. This betrayal was a devastating blow to Kael'thas, as Voren'thal's ranks included some of the most gifted magisters and scholars he had led into Outland. The prince saw Voren'thals betrayal as a sign of his own failures to his people and a rift began to grow between him and Illidan that widened as the demon hunter had only eyes for his planned assault against Legion worlds. Believing that Illidan planned on abandoning the blood elves and enticed by the demon lord's promises of salvation for his people, Kael'thas turned to Kil'jaeden as his new benefactor.
Kael'thas, with some of his most powerful servants, claimed the magic-rich area of Netherstorm as his base of operations in Outland. Displaying his long-severed ties to the Kirin Tor, Kael'thas ordered the callous destruction of the local Kirin'Var Village and its residents. Kael'thas himself claimed the citadel of Tempest Keep as his own and was able to overcome its powerful defenders - including a naaru, named M'uru, whom Kael'thas sent back to Silvermoon City for his people to feed upon by opening a portal with the technology of the Keep. He maintained these portals to send mana cells harvested from the Netherstorm to Quel'Thalas, still appearing as the benevolent prince.
His attack on Tempest Keep also led to the outmanned draenei being forced to flee in a vessel, the Exodar, though several of Kael'thas' agents were able to give pursuit. Upon the draenei vessel's crash into Azeroth itself, Kael remained in touch with his underlings and instructed them to create a portal - the Sun Gate - capable of allowing reinforcements from Tempest Keep to arrive and slaughter the draenei.
As the forces of the Alliance and Horde began pouring into Outland, Kael'thas and his followers originally accepted the blood elven pilgrims. However, these new arrivals were given menial tasks and treated little better than slaves, until Voren'thal's Scryers discovered that Kael'thas had entered into an alliance with the Burning Legion through the revelations of Sunfury deserters. Despite this revelation some other elves still decided to join their prince, prompting a recruitment war between Kael's forces and the Scryers.
During this time he had in his possession one of the Vials of Eternity, granted to him by Illidan, as did Lady Vashj.
The Cipher of Damnation
Through spying on the Earthen Ring and their activities in Shadowmoon Valley, Kael'thas gained the knowledge of The Cipher of Damnation. The Cipher of Damnation was used by Gul'dan to sunder the orcs' connection to the spirits of the land and may have been the same as (or similar to) the spell uttered by Thaurissan when he summoned the fiery destroyer Ragnaros to Azeroth.
Khadgar and A'dal discovered the plans of Kael'thas, and requested help from any able-bodied adventurers to prevent Kael'thas from ever using the Cipher of Damnation. Through their efforts the cipher was recovered, depriving Kael'thas of a powerful weapon. These brave adventurers were granted the key to Tempest Keep and sent to dispatch Kael'thas himself.
Prince Kael'thas was ultimately cornered in his reinforced sanctuary of Tempest Keep, The Eye. He was defeated, though the timely arrival of Priestess Delrissa had allowed him to escape death. His image appeared in Shattrath, berating A'dal for not finishing the job with the same efficiency that he had claimed Tempest Keep.
The Sun King returns
Despite his defeat in Tempest Keep, Kael'thas survived the ordeal with the aid of Priestess Delrissa and continued to advance the plans of his dark masters. His appearance, however, was changed because of fel magic: his skin was sickly pale, and a crystal was lodged in his chest, and one of his Verdant Spheres is gone, having been taken by those who defeated him previously. Having collected the necessary energies from his manaforges in Netherstorm, Kael'thas returned to Quel'Thalas to reinvigorate the Sunwell - not as the source of his people's magic, but rather as the mystic portal that will allow him to summon his new master, Kil'jaeden, much as the Well of Eternity was used to summon Sargeras ten millennia before.
Kael'thas made his return to Quel'Thalas through a portal in Throne of Kil'jaeden, and briefly assaulted Silvermoon City personally with his Felblood Elf to retrieve M'uru. The Blood Knight matriarch, Lady Liadrin, witnessed this herself and traveled to Shattrath - renouncing her loyalty to House Sunstrider and offering to fight alongside the Sha'tar for Silvermoon's sake.
Following this, the combined forces of the Scryers and the Aldor formed the Shattered Sun Offensive, dedicated to ending Prince Kael'thas' dark ambitions. Kael'thas took up residence in the Magisters' Terrace, reinforced the isle with his last loyal servitors and Burning Legion assistance, and abducted the mortal avatar of the Sunwell - Anveena, who had been placed under blood elf protection in Quel'Thalas.
Inside the Terrace, heroes assisted by Kalecgos battled their way to the twisted prince's inner sanctum. Kael'thas made his final stand, a shadow of his former self, and was cut down by the Shattered Sun Offensive, who claimed his head. Unlike his final thoughts in Tempest Keep, he did not meet his end with a cry for his homeland upon his lips; but with raving insanity instead wished only a violent death upon his killers.
The betrayal of Kael'thas sent shockwaves throughout the Kingdom of Quel'Thalas, and as Kael'thas was the last known member of the Sunstrider dynasty, Regent Lord Lor'themar Theron has become the sole leader of the blood elves. His once noble goals for his people aside, Kael'thas is now reviled as a traitor, who attempted to sell both his people and himself to the Burning Legion. His death brought an unhappy end to the Sunstrider dynasty, casting a bitter pall over the blood elves left behind. Kael's allegiance to the Legion severely hampered blood elf relations with the other races of Azeroth, connections Lor'themar had to take steps to repair.
Ironically, Kael'thas' increasingly desperate quest to relieve his people of their addiction would ultimately bear fruit. With the "blessing" of the Burning Legion, his own followers were permitted to gorge themselves on colossal amounts of fel power, thus becoming known as "felblood elves" in the process. His actions in abducting M'uru indirectly led to Prophet Velen using M'uru's "heart" to revitalize the Sunwell - that had been defiled by both the Scourge and Kil'jaeden. As such, Kael'thas' people have the Sunwell returned to them, now a mixture of both arcane and holy power.
Rommath, who was perhaps left the most shattered of all after Kael'thas' betrayal, mentioned that Kael'thas had been buried on Isle of Quel'Danas.