Banner of the Scarlet Crusade
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The Scarlet Crusade is a religious order formed after the Third War by the remnant of the Order of the Silver Hand and the remaining forces of the Kingdom of Lordaeron. They are a major adversary of both the Scourge and the Forsaken. Their primary goal is the eradication of the undead occupying Lordaeron and the reclamation and resettlement of the Kingdom.
The Crusade maintained several bastions throughout the former lands of Lordaeron, namely the Scarlet Monastery, the cities of Hearthglen and Tyr's Hand, the fortified Scarlet Bastion of Stratholme, and several smaller camps and watchtowers spread throughout the area. Before the Shattering, the Scarlet Crusade was one of the only hierarchies left of the Kingdom of Lordaeron after its destruction by the Scourge, the other being the Argent Dawn. After the Scourge attacked the Scarlet Enclave in the year 27, the elite forces of the Scarlet Crusade formed an offshoot known as the Scarlet Onslaught and operated in Northrend until their eventual defeat.
The Scarlet Crusade has fallen on hard times since the fall of the Lich King, having lost many of their former bastions of power in Lordaeron to the Argent Crusade and the Undead. Despite these losses, the Scarlet Crusade continues to operate in small chapters, occupying the Scarlet Monastery and smaller outposts in the Tirisfal Glades. While the Crusade is no longer the vast order it once was, the ideas that it was founded upon have proven harder to kill.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Formation
- 1.2 Transition into zealotry
- 1.3 Golden age of the Crusade
- 1.4 Attack on Northrend
- 1.5 Beginning of the Decline
- 1.6 Further losses
- 1.7 Loss of leadership
- 1.8 War against Naxxramas
- 1.9 Death of the Grand Crusader
- 1.10 Massacre of the Scarlet Enclave
- 1.11 Decline of the Scarlet Crusade
- 1.12 Resurgence and second defeat
- 2 Military
- 3 Territory
- 4 Organization
The Scarlet Crusade came into being after the Civil War in the Plaguelands, when Scourge fought Dreadlord for control of the plagued territory of Lordaeron. The remaining Paladins of the Silver Hand after Arthas's disbandment of the Order took on a Leadership role of the remaining forces of the Kingdom. In desperate need of a new weapon against the unyielding hordes of undead, Highlord Alexandros Mograine journeyed south towards the Kingdom of Ironforge, bringing with him a fantastic relic. A crystal of pure and divine light, transformed by the hands of his brethren from a dark crystal brought to Azeroth from the Orc Homeworld. Using this Crystal, the Highlord beseeched the Dwarven King Magni Bronzebeard to forge for the Silver Hand a weapon that could destroy the undead. Pouring all of his fury into the creation, Bronzebeard created a magnificent Sword from the Crystal, that emitted and radiated pure light. This sword would become known as The Ashbringer. Upon returning to Lordaeron, the situation had worsened. The young and impressionable Paladin Taelan Fordring offered his family's hereditary lands of Hearthglen as sanctuary for the Order of the Silver Hand. The elder High General Abbendis and the Priest Isillien felt that although they had a good base, they really needed to attack the Scourge where they were the thickest. Led by Highlord Alexandros Mograine, the Order began to marshal the surviving Human communities, extending the Order's influence from Tirisfal Glades to the Plaguelands. The surviving city of Tyr's Hand, a city of churches and devout citizens who had steadfastly barred their doors to the undead accepted the Silver Hand's offer of alliance, adding the city to their forces. Isillien took on the title of Grand Inquisitor, while the elder Abbendis led the majority of the Order's forces to Tyr's Hand in the east to strike at Stratholme.
During this time, the nature of the Order began to change, making a slow, but notable transition from preserving the Kingdom of Lordaeron to a holy and zealous Crusade to purge not only the undead, but all threats to Humanity wherever they could be found. As they established their bases and took in many more warriors, they destroyed any undead they found. The Lord Commander Saidan Dathrohan, Grand Inquisitor Isillien, Taelan Fordring, and High General Abbendis became the heads of this new movement. Alexandros Mograine, previously Highlord of the Silver Hand, took position as Highlord of the Scarlet Crusade, and became overall leader of the nascent Crusade. The Crusade then struck out east, taking note of the growing threat of so-called "liberated" undead calling themselves the Forsaken. Highlord Mograine determined that they needed to be destroyed before they could become a threat, but first required a forward base within Tirisfal Glades, where these Forsaken were strongest. The Monastery of Tirisfal once served as a peaceful, idyllic retreat of the Church of the Holy Light, which had served host to many members of the Scarlet Crusade in their youths. Under the direction of Mograine and the younger Abbendis, the peaceful monastery was transformed into a stronghold of the Scarlet Crusade.
Transition into zealotry
With their power base firmly established in Lordaeron, the Scarlet Crusade undertook their greatest challenge yet. The City of Stratholme was the largest City in Lordaeron, and had been the first conquest of the wayward Prince Arthas. The City had shouldered in flames since its destruction and the undead had long since moved in to occupy the ruins, raising every citizen the Prince had slain as undead. The Crusade forces led by Highlord Mograine moved to conquer the City and remove the Scourge's capital in Lordaeron. During the attack, a collapsing building separated Highlord Mograine's old friend, Lord Commander Dathrohan from the Crusade's forces. Ducking into the ruins of the Silver Hand Barracks for a respite, Dathrohan was accosted by the Dreadlord Balnazzar, thought dead by so many after his public 'death' at the hands of Varimathras. In truth, the two Dreadlords had been working together to stage a plot to take control of the entire Plaguelands, and Dathrohan was to become their tool. Though he tried to resist, Balnazzar drank in Dathrohan's life, and began to masquerade as the venerable Paladin.
After the battle, Balnazzar began manipulating the organization to serve his own ends. The Dreadlord began to propagate the early warning signs of paranoia and xenophobia to be found in the Crusade. However, he needed to remove a serious threat to himself: Alexandros Mograine and the Ashbringer. As Saidan Dathrohan, he became a trusted mentor to Alexandros's oldest son Renault, playing on his desire for approval and recognition. Balnazzar fed Renault's fears and craving for approval until he eventually managed to convince him to betray his father. Playing upon his Father's perceived favoritism for his younger son, Darion, Renault led his father and High Inquisitor Fairbanks into Stratholme, where Renault had told Alexandros that Darion had been captured by the undead, where they were set upon by the Scourge. Though Alexandros fought bravely, and many undead fell before his blade, he eventually dropped the Ashbringer, which Renault used to stab his father through the back before fleeing. Fairbanks, who had been buried beneath the undead bodies and thought slain, eventually returned to the Scarlet Monastery and tried to tell the others what had happened. Yet the Crusaders, spurred on by Dathrohan, feared the High Inquisitor had become infected with the Plague of Undeath. Fairbanks was quarantined, and would eventually succumb to the Plague, yet his words had not fallen on deaf ears. Those who heeded the warnings of Fairbanks about the treachery that was being born within the Scarlet Crusade would depart the order, and led by Lord Maxwell Tyrosus would soon enough create their own order, thus was born the Argent Dawn.
Golden age of the Crusade
After Alexandros Mograine was murdered, Dathrohan began to consolidate his power over the Crusade. As promised for his misdeeds, Renault Mograine was promoted to Scarlet Commander, and became head of all Crusade operations in Tirisfal. Grand Inquisitor Isillien and Taelan Fordring became the regional Commanders of Hearthglen, establishing control over the northern half of the Western Plaguelands. In the Eastern Plaguelands, High General Abbendis became Commander of the City of Tyr's Hand, combating the Scourge in their own territory. Dathrohan himself crowned himself Grand Crusader, and took command of all Scarlet Crusade assets from the City of Stratholme. Through blood and tears, the Scarlet Crusade carved out a corner of the cursed city for themselves, occupying the former barracks of the Silver Hand, renaming it the Scarlet Bastion.
For the next four years, the power of the Scarlet Crusade would expand. From all over Lordaeron, surviving Humans would desperately seek the safety of one of the Scarlet Crusade's fortified cities. For the most part, these refugees were taken in, given shelter, and after a period of quarantine, assigned a task in the military or civilian labor force of the Crusade in exchange for their protection. The Scarlet Crusade would attempt to establish diplomatic ties with the recently formed Grand Alliance, considering them and the Church of the Holy Light as their allies. Scarlet Crusade Emmisaries would be sent to Human towns and cities as near as Southshore in Lordaeron and as far South as Stormwind, to as far west as Kalimdor, where they would find political haven with the Alliance's allies. These Emissaries would funnel fresh and untainted recruits from the South to join the Crusade in the North for years to come. For all this success, the Scarlet Crusade continued their spiral into paranoia. For every two human survivors the Scarlet Crusade would save, there was always one they would kill on suspicion of infection. Grand Inquisitor Isillien in particular began to adore the Grand Crusader's now Pro-human, xenophobic agenda. Isillien became the spokesman for the group, his ravings gaining more followers than repelling them.
The Scarlet Crusade also gained an invaluable asset in the form of the Scarlet Enclave, a corner of Lordaeron adjacent to Tyr's Hand containing the towns of Havenshire and New Avalon miraculously untouched and untainted by the plague. Here would come to dwell a vast portion of the Scarlet Crusade's civilian population, establishing farmlands, horse breeders, naval ports and mining operations. So large and prosperous did the Scarlet Enclave become, that it would continue to sustain the entire Crusade's war effort well into their twilight years.
Attack on Northrend
At some point, the Scarlet Crusade launched a grand expedition to Northrend, committing a significant portion of their combined assets to the cause. The goal of the expedition was presumably to attempt to destroy the Lich King and end the Scourge at its source. The resources committed to the invasion included the first Captain General of the Scarlet Crusade, its Chief Assassin and Grand Admiral of the Scarlet Fleet.
The expedition was a noted disaster. The Crusade's expeditionary force made it far, as far as the mouth of Icecrown Glacier itself, where Captain General Orman of Stromgarde was lost. After his loss, the Crusade's forces were pushed back. Chief Assassin Invar One-Arm was lost upon Northrend's shores, never to be seen again, and Grand Admiral Barean Westwind was reported killed off of the Frozen shores of Northrend. Whatever men and resources managed to make it back into Scarlet Crusade command in Lordaeron were enough to note the campaign as a total failure. Monuments to the Heroes lost in the Campaign were raised in the Scarlet Monastery, and the Crusade refocused its attention on purging the undead from Lordaeron.
Beginning of the Decline
The decline of the Scarlet Crusade's power in Lordaeron did not come fast at all. The first blow struck to the Crusade's hitherto constantly expanding power base came from the Forsaken, who destroyed a Scarlet Crusade encampment in Deatknell and had killed a Scarlet Crusade messenger carrying important documents for the regional captains of the Tirisfal Glades Crusaders. This somewhat serious leak of information allows the Forsaken to target the regional command structure and loosen their grip upon the region. Despite this setback, the Scarlet Crusade remained firmly entrenched within the Scarlet Monastery and was not seen as a significant blow.
Around this time, the Scarlet Crusader Raleigh the Devout grew disillusioned with the Crusade under Dathrohan, and defected, taking up refuge in Southshore. Much later, new Scarlet Crusade recruits sent to Raleigh by Scarlet Emmisaries for an official escort to the Scarlet Monastery were urged by the defector to attack the Monastery itself in an attempt to kill the overzealous commanders. These attacks, while serious, only cost the Crusade lives and time, while at the same time, the Dreadlord Varimathras, Archlord of the Undercity, commanded Forsaken Agents to attack the Monastery in a carefully orchestrated plot with his brother Balnazzar, secretly possessing Saidan Dathrohan, to gain control of the Plaguelands. While these combined attacks were serious and cost the Scarlet Crusade the lives of some of their most skilled leaders, The Scarlet Monastery yet stood as a much-needed bastion of the Crusade in the west.
The Scarlet Crusade east of Tirisfal remained as strong as it had ever been, controlling vast, fortified cities built around their faith. In the Plaguelands, the Scarlet Crusade had much more focus on battling the Scourge rather than Forsaken. In one brutal attack on Hearthglen, the Scarlet Crusade was forced to contend with a massive Scourge invasion, temporarily losing the outer walls and ramparts to the advancing Scourge. While reinforcements led by High Inquisitor Whitemane were dispatched from the Scarlet Monastery to relieve Hearthglen, High General Abbendis, who had come west from Tyr's Hand to aid in the defense of the City, was killed in the siege whilst saving his daughter, Brigette.
Meanwhile, as Hearthglen was being relieved by forces from the Monastery, The Argent Dawn Paladin Darion Mograine had brought the Corrupted sword of his Father, Ashbringer, to the Scarlet Monastery to see his Brother, Scarlet Commander Renault Mograine. Yet Renault flew into a rage upon seeing the sword, feeling tormented by Darion and the deeds he had done to his Father which corrupted the blade. Whilst beating Darion into submission, the spirit of his murdered father, Highlord Alexandros Mograine, emerged from the blade. Taking Ashbringer in hand, Alexandros's corrupted spirit approached Renault in the midst of his troops, who begged his Father for forgiveness. Alexandros struck his son down with the Ashbringer, before granting his son forgiveness.
After the events at Hearthglen and the Scarlet Monastery, Taelan Fordring, the long-admired son of Tirion Fordring who had been essential to the foundation of the Crusade, was promoted to Scarlet Commander to replace Renault Mograine. Eventually, Taelan would rise to become Lord of his Ancestral lands as Highlord of the Scarlet Crusade, the de jure second in command of the Scarlet Crusade after the Grand Crusader, while Grand Inquisitor Isillien and the newly promoted High General Brigette Abbendis remained his de facto superiors.
Loss of leadership
The losses incurred by the Scarlet Crusade had done nothing to ease their xenophobic nature. If anything, the climate was perfect for the Dreadlord Balnazzar, still in the guise of Saidan Dathrohan, to foster the paranoia and suspicion of the Scarlet Crusade into a frenzy, transitioning their fear from infection and undeath to fear of anyone who did not bear the holy icon of the Scarlet Crusade. It was in this climate that the long exiled Paladin, Tirion Fordring, who had survived in the wilds of Lordaeron for years since his banishment, had finally been motivated by the deeds of Darion Mograine, who had sacrificed himself to save his Father Alexandros's soul at Light's Hope Chapel, to save the Soul of his Son Taelan from the paranoia and zealotry that had gripped the Scarlet Crusade.
Assembling a package filled with honors and momentos from the noble days of the Order of the Silver Hand and the Fordring family, Tirion sent this package to his Son by means of a disguised messenger at Hearthglen. Upon realizing it was his long thought dead Father who had sent the package, Taelan Fordring renounced the Scarlet Crusade, realizing how far it had fallen from its noble roots, and struck out on a heartfelt purpose to reunite with his father. Battling his way through Hearthglen past Scarlet Crusaders he had commanded mere moments ago, Taelan Fordring had almost escaped the Hearthglen territory when Grand Inquisitor Isillien himself appeared at the boarder of Scarlet Crusade controlled territory and ridiculed the young Fordring for succumbing to his Father's filthy bloodline, lamenting that he had had great intentions for the Scarlet Highlord, but that the Grand Crusader has ordered his death for his defection. The two founders of the Crusade battled until at last Tirion Fordring arrived to meet his son just in time to witness Isillien strike the younger Fordring and rob him of his life. In a righteous rage at Isillien for becoming the worst of the Crusade to embrace the fanaticism that had consumed it, Tirion struck Isillien down, costing the Scarlet Crusade two of their high leadership in the same day, bitterly remarking that a hundred more men like him were waiting to take his place. Fordring held the body of his son and wept, vowing on the death of his son that the Knights of the Silver Hand would be reborn into a force of righteousness in the world.
War against Naxxramas
While up until this moment, the elimination of certain key Scarlet Crusade leaders had suited Balnazzar's purpose in tightening his vice over the Crusade, recent losses had put the Crusade into an uncomfortable position, and disturbed by the Grand Crusader Dathrohan's lack of action, several suspicious eyes now turned towards him. In a move decidedly unsanctioned by the Grand Crusader, an entourage of Scarlet Crusade forces led by Scarlet Commander Marjhan entered into an alliance with the Argent Dawn, the very same order that had broken from the Crusade's ranks in order to make a united stand against the returned armies of Kel'thuzad and his Necropolis of Naxxramas positioned over the Plaguelands.
The accord made between the Crusade and the Dawn was an uneasy one. At several times was the topic of the Ashbringer brought up, only to be thrown back in the face of the Crusade as the very reason for the Dawn's existence, none having forgotten the deeds of Renault Mograine that killed Alexandros Mograine. Despite tensions and the surly natures of the Crusaders present, the alliance proved fruitful. The best soldiers either side could equip were given armaments of the finest quality and sent into the Dread Necropolis, emerging with the Phylactery of Kel'thuzad as a prize. Despite reports of these same champions returning the Phylactery to the Argent Dawn, members would later mention never having received the Phylactery.
Death of the Grand Crusader
Grand Crusader Dathrohan's inactivity during the Naxxramas Scourge Invasion had done nothing to inspire trust in him. Indeed, High General Brigette Abbendis and other remaining leaders of the Crusade now looked upon the Grand Crusader with open suspicion. Despite these tensions, The Grand Crusader continued to handle the grisly prolonged siege of Stratholme for control of the City. It was during this Siege that fighters of Azeroth, at last exhausted of patience of Dathrohan's increasingly unhinged regime, invaded Stratholme and attempted to remove the Grand Crusader as a factor. At the moment of his death, however, the Paladin's remains were at last discarded and the deception unmasked as the Dreadlord Balnazzar, having manipulated the Scarlet Crusade behind the scenes from the moment he had caused the death of Alexandros Mograine.
Exposed as a Demon at last, Balnazzar put up a furious fight, calling upon his abilities of plague and shadow that he had kept hidden for years, but was ultimately defeated by the Invaders, who took proof of his remains to the Argent Dawn. The Grand Crusader's death, while timely, had come too little, too late. The Scarlet Crusade at this point was firmly set in the ways he had impressed upon them, being used as pawns in a Dreadlord's mad schemes. Despite this, his loss was not felt too keenly by the Crusade as a whole, Brigette Abbendis, the last remaining founder, having grown wary and tired of his erratic behavior.
Massacre of the Scarlet Enclave
For all the Scarlet Crusade's losses, they had continued to keep a firm hold upon the Scarlet Enclave. The pristine corner of Lordaeron having swelled with civilian refugees and Scarlet Crusade Soldiers with the flagging state of their other strongholds in Lordaeron. As the Lich King awakened from his dormant state, it was decided that the Scarlet Enclave had remained as a blemish upon his Kingdom of death for long enough, and arrived personally in the Necropolis Acherus to orchestrate the Crusade's downfall.
With the future of the Scarlet Bastion in Stratholme uncertain, the Scarlet Enclave became more essential than ever to the survival of the Scarlet Crusade. High General Abbendis and her leadership corp arrived in the Scarlet Enclave to personally lead the defense against the Scourge. New Avalon and Havenshire, however, faced an assault the likes of which the Scourge had never mustered. Death Knights led the invading forces in numbers never before seen, bringing the direct power of the Lich King to bear against the Crusader's forces.
Against the power of the Death knights of Acherus, High General Abbendis made a call for reinforcements from Tirisfal Glades and Hearthglen, emptying the Scarlet Monastery and Plaguelands of Crusaders and leaving the strongholds with a skeleton crew, intending to bring the full might of the Crusade against the Scourge. As the situation worsened however, the Town of Havenshire fell to the Scourge, increasing their numbers and costing the Scarlet Crusade a significant portion of their fleet. A cold appraisal of the situation led Abbendis to conclude that the Plaguelands were lost, and that the Crusade's only hope for success laid in destroying the Scourge in Northrend. Abbendis sent a hasty missive to the Scarlet High Commander Galvar Pureblood to turn his troops around and set sail for Northrend. The missive never reached Pureblood, the courier having been replaced with an infiltrating Death Knight, and the several thousand strong host of Scarlet Crusaders and war material that arrived in the Scarlet Enclave were led into a trap prepared by the Scourge. Beset upon by Frost Wyrms summoned forth by the Lich King and helmed by the Death knights of Acherus, the vast body of the Scarlet Crusade perished that day, whilst High General Abbendis abandoned the Crusade to its fate, sailing to Northrend to form an offshoot of the Scarlet Crusade to be renamed the Scarlet Onslaught.
Decline of the Scarlet Crusade
With the loss of so many men and resources following the massacre at the Scarlet Enclave, The Scarlet Crusade's power base in Lordaeron was broken. The pulling of so many Scarlet Crusaders from Hearthglen to defend the Scarlet Enclave left it severely under-defended and vulnerable to capture by the Argent Crusade, recently victorious from their campaign against the Lich King in Northrend. In the Eastern Plaguelands, the slain Dreadlord Balnazzar recovered from his infuriating defeat and finally lost his patience, and carved a swath of death through his own former base of operations, killing every remaining Scarlet Crusader and reanimating them as his own private army of undead known as "The Risen." A similar fate was visited upon the City of Tyr's Hand, having survived the Massacre of the Scarlet Enclave, yet falling to the same undeath as the Risen of Stratholme. Eventually Tyr's Hand would fall under the sights of the Argent Crusade's Brotherhood of the Light. The City and the undead Crusaders within it would fall beneath the Argent assault, and the City would be taken by the Argent Crusade.
The Scarlet Crusade had managed to hold on to their holdings in Tirisfal, however. Surviving Crusaders from the East made for their remaining holdings in the West, expanding their holdings westward into a small, new fortress called the Scarlet Palisade. High Priest Benedictis Voss of the Crusade took leadership of Scarlet Crusade forces outside of the Monastery at this time. The Scarlet Monastery as well had remained in the hands of the Crusade, under the Leadership of High Inquisitor Sally Whitemane, who took control of the Scarlet Crusade as its highest ranked remaining member. Several years passed, with the Crusade castling up in their remaining strongholds and preparing for a fight to the death. During this time, morale hit an all time low. For many Crusaders, incessant fanaticism was the only escape from their increasingly bleak situation. Several Crusaders went renegade from the Order, attempting to restore it to Noble roots, only to delve into a deeper form of insanity. Eventually, High Priest Voss was killed by his own daughter Lillian Voss who had become undead, and the renegade Crusaders were killed.
Resurgence and second defeat
Deep within the sizable Scarlet Monastery, the Scarlet Crusade endured. The increasingly militant actions of the Forsaken following the Cataclysm had driven many Human survivors from across the Plaguelands to Hillsbrad into the Order, the Monastery possessing enough supplies and grounds to allow an entrenched army to dig in indefinitely. Licking their wounds, the Crusade began to slowly rebuild under the direction of High Inquisitor Whitemane. New leaders were appointed to raise a new generation of Crusaders to wage a war against not only the undead, but anyone foolish enough to stand in their way, years of indoctrination having convinced them that they remained the only pure force for righteousness on Azeroth. Despite these preparations and an impressive amount of success in replenishing their forces so quickly, a vengeful Lillian Voss, bitter over both her abandonment by her Father and at Necromancers for her unliving state, led an initiative to purge the Monastery of Crusaders by the dozen.
Even with this painful loss, the Scarlet Crusade had not seen its last days. The Crusade continued to return to and occupy the Scarlet Monastery, banding together under the leadership of the seasoned Knight Michael Goodchilde. For a time, the Scarlet Crusade was left to rebuild with what few members and resources it had left to it, but the vengeance of the Death Knights of Acherus would not abandon their hatred of the Scarlet Crusaders. Embittered from their constant warfare with the Crusaders, the Death knights, having since formed an organization of free-willed Death Knights known as the Ebon Blade, and massacred every Scarlet Crusader they could find within the Monastery, claiming the corpse of the deceased High Inquisitor Whitemane as their prize. However, so long as the Scarlet Monastery remains standing, the Scarlet Crusade will likely always emerge to rebuild.
The armed forces of the Scarlet Crusade were formed from the remnants of the Knights of the Silver Hand, the Lordaeronian Army and local militias, and as a result were primarily comprised of legions of footmen, archers and cavalry that were supported by paladins, priests and battle-mages. They were traditionally led by the High General of the Scarlet Crusade, themselves advised by the Captain General of the Scarlet Crusade and the Ranger Captain of the Scarlet Crusade, though the Grand Crusader remained the highest authority as with every branch of the Crusade. The last High General of the Scarlet Crusade was Brigitte Abbendis.
The Crusade maintained communication across the plagued lands through a courier system. Both individual messengeres and armed escorts were used at the height of the Scarlet Crusade's golden age.
The Crusade's military forces was split in three divisions across the three primary regions of northern Lordaeron. Regional commanders reported to the Grand Crusader within Stratholme.
- The Tirisfal Regional Command was comprised of the Scarlet forces of the Tirisfal Glades led by Commander Renault Mograine from the Scarlet Monastery.
- The Westweald Regional Command was comprised of the Scarlet forces of the Western Plaguelands led by Highlord Taelan Fordring from Mardenholde Keep.
- The Eastweald Regional Command was comprised of the Scarlet forces within the Eastern Plaguelands led by High General Brigitte Abbendis from Tyr's Hand.
At its height, the Scarlet Crusade maintained a sizeable fleet of ships known as the Scarlet Fleet. They were traditionally led by the Grand Admiral of the Scarlet Fleet. The last Grand Admiral of the Scarlet Fleet was Barean Westwind. Primarily based out of King's Harbor in the Scarlet Enclave, most of the ships were lost along with Grand Admiral Westwind off the Frosen Coast during a disastrous expedition to Northrend, and what remained of the fleet in King's Harbor was either destroyed by the Death Knights of Acherus or commandeered by the nascent Scarlet Onslaught during their own exodus to Northrend when the Enclave was destroyed.
The Scarlet Inquisitors were attached to the military throughout its campaigns, serving as confessors, moral support, and other responsibilities that one might expect from a priest of the Church of the Holy Light and ensuring that the morale of their brethren remains high, as well as ruthlessly interrogating and torturing prisoners, being responsible for detecting treachery and corruption in their own ranks and ensuring that the regular soldiers and officers obeyed orders and still conformed to the Scarlet ideology. The Scarlet Inquisitorius was last led by Grand Inquisitor Isillien.
Once, the Scarlet Crusade held vast swathes of land across northern Lordaeron. Though it is currently but a shadow of its former self, Scarlet remnants cling to its few remaining holdings within the Tirisfal Glades.
The Crusade's territory was split between four primary regions within Lordaeron. At the height of the Scarlet Crusade's power, provincial governments were typically led by a member of the Crimson Legion or someone who was nominated or overseen by a senior member of the Legion. Regions such as the Scarlet Enclave boasted important civilian populations, allowing for more local and centralized civilian governments such as New Avalon's democratically elected mayor-council.
Province of Tirisfal
The Province of Tirisfal was the largest provincial allotment under the control of the Crusade, as a result of being comprised primarily of scattered outposts and holdings across the Tirisfal Glades.
Due to the presence of the Solliden Farmstead, it held an important role in the Scarlet Crusade and supplied the rest of the Crusade with fresh, untainted food. Though it primarily served to feed the Crusade in western Lordaeron, the importance of the Solliden Farmstead increased after the destruction of the farmlands of the Scarlet Enclave, whereupon it was needed needed to feed the Crusade across northern Lordaeron.
The seat of the Province of Tirisfal is the Scarlet Monastery, formerly ruled by Scarlet Commander Renault Mograine and High Inquisitor Sally Whitemane. Following the death of Commander Mograine, Commander Durand took joint leadership along with High Inquisitor Whitemane until they too were slain. At the height of the Scarlet regime, the Scarlet Monastery was both a military headquarters and a center of worship of the Light in western Lordaeron.
In spite of the heavy casualties, the destruction of the chain of command and the decimation of the Scarlet ranks at the hands of the Forsaken and the Ebon Blade, Tirisfal is the last region that still maintains a notable Scarlet presence across northern Lordaeron.
The Province of Tirisfal was last led by High Commander Michael Goodchilde.
Province of Hearthglen
The Province of Hearthglen was located in the northern region of the Western Plaguelands. Its territory stretched from the town itself to the limits of the Northridge Lumber Mill, bordering with the ravaged farmland of Dalson's Tears. The presence of the Northridge Lumber Mill made Hearthglen a crucial part of the Crusade war effrot, supplying them with lumber to build their fortifications and settlements. This also made them a target of sabotage by the Alliance and Horde, who set termites upon the mill to delay lumber shipments.
The seat of the region was Mardenholde Keep, from where Highlord Taelan Fordring ruled from until his attempted desertion and death at the hands of Grand Inquisitor Isillien. Due to the Grand Inquisitor's death shortly afterwards, governorship was instead granted to High Commander Galvar Pureblood.
Hearthglen was a major population center, boasting numerous facilties such as stables and a smithy along with the civilian personnel to run them. The reigning provincial governor was also assisted and advised by High Protectors and a High Clerist, and in addition it was the center of the Scarlet judicial system, with an officiated Scarlet judge present in the town under Highlord Taelan Fordring's authority. Prisoners and deserters of note were shipped to Hearthglen where they were sentenced to death and executed.
The Province of Hearthglen was last led by High Commander Galvar Pureblood.
Province of Tyr's Hand
The Province of Tyr's Hand, also known as the Scarlet Enclave, was comprised of the uncorrupted lands on the eastern shores of the Eastweald. The breadbasket of eastern Scarlet Lordaeron, the establishment of Havenshire and New Avalon reduced the stress placed upon the Solliden Farmstead and the supply routes to Tirisfal, allowing them to supply forces in Stratholme with greater ease. In addition, the city of Tyr's Hand served as the center of operations for the High General of the Scarlet Crusade, and the Scarlet Basilica served as the primary center of worship within eastern Lordaeron.
Havenshire and New Avalon were both destroyed after the end of the war in Outland. Discovered by the Scourge at last, the hidden enclave was beset upon by the necropolis Acherus, and the newly-formed Death Knights of Acherus were put to the test under the supervision of the Lich King himself. The resulting devastation utterly destroyed the Scarlet Enclave and those who escaped went on to form the offshoot known as the Scarlet Onslaught, taking the fight to Northrend under the leadership of High General Brigitte Abbendis.
Though Tyr's Hand itself was miraculously spared from the Scourge's wrath due to their devastating losses at the Battle for Light's Hope Chapel that resulted in the Lich King himself retreating and the desertion of most of the Death Knights of Acherus, it eventually fell. Through unknown ways, the inhabitants of Tyr's Hand fell to undeath, turning into the Risen. They were subsequently destroyed by members of the Brotherhood of the Light, who claimed the town for the Argent Crusade.
The Province of Tyr's Hand was last led by Crusader Lord Valdelmar.
Province of Stratholme
The Province of Stratholme was the headquarters of the higher echelons of the Crusade and the elite troops of the Crimson Legion under the direct leadership of the Grand Crusader. Located within the heart of the Scourge in the Eastern Plaguelands, the crusaders of Stratholme fought tooth and nail from their hold in the Scarlet Bastion against the Scourge forces under Baron Rivendare. The Province of Stratholme's territory technically included the entirety of the city and the outlying territories, but it was heavily contested by both Rivendare's forces within the city itself and by the forces in the Plaguewood.
Stratholme was lost when the Crimson Legion was decimated and raised into undeath as the Risen by the Dreadlord Balnazzar.
The Province of Stratholme was last led by Grand Crusader Saidan Dathrohan.
The Scarlet Crusade is a Stratocracy, a form of government in which the state and military are the same entity, and government positions are always occupied by officers and military leaders. The elder Abbendis and Isillien were the two mot prominent leaders, Abbendis being considered the arm of the Crusade while Isillien was the heart, fulfilling functions of Military and Religious matters. Abbendis guided the military attacks of the Crusade from Tyr’s Hand in the Eastern Plaguelands, communicating frequently with Isillien, who guides the priests in the Crusade from Hearthglen in their new roles as inquisitors, based in the Western Plaguelands. Isillien is in charge of questioning undead and mortals alike to ferret out whatever information he can on the movement and settlement of the undead. Isillien acts as the leader of the priests and guides the inquisitions in the west along with his impressionable paladin protégé Taelan, while Abbendis controlled the warriors in the east. The Crusade has thirteen generals leading the lower ranks: over 2,000 troops based in Hearthglen and 10,000 based in Tyr’s Hand. The generals were not only chosen by the ranks they had in the third war, but also by their dedication to the cause. Few make it very high in the ranks if they do not have a burning fervor to destroy all undead. Veterans who have fought the Scourge before are quickly promoted.
Any dissent in the ranks is considered to be caused by undead infiltration, for the Crusade cannot fathom a reasonable mortal having any disagreement with the elimination of the undead. Such individuals are considered to be undead themselves, or worse, deranged undead sympathizers. Thus the organization of the Scarlet Crusade is flawless, as the crusaders work with one mind towards one goal. If they do not work with total agreement, it is at least complete fear of the undead and contamination that keeps them in line. The Scarlet Crusade is based in the Plaguelands, but hunts undead everywhere it can in Azeroth. With the death of the elder Abbendis fighting the scourge, his daughter took over as High General.
Despite their increasingly small numbers, the members of the Scarlet Crusade never falter, turn aside, or retreat. The Scarlet Crusade fights directly and it fights to the death. Most military forces fight conservatively and hoard their members, but the crusaders take no care for their own lives. They wade into battle with zealous fervor, slashing and hacking until they either fall or vanquish all enemies. Only the backing of the priests and paladins keep the order alive, both literally and figuratively. The impassioned speeches and charismatic leadership of the order’s healers motivates their troops into battle, and their healing magic keeps their zealots whole. The military training of the order’s paladins serves the crusade well, as the paladins train the members in basic troop formations and simple tactics that increase their odds of survival.
Generally, members of the Scarlet Crusade don’t bother flanking their enemies, as they’re used to fighting undead that are slow and easy to strike and immune to backstabs. Scarlet Crusade units fight in tight formations. They form rings whenever possible, standing shoulder to shoulder, so no one member risks being surrounded by a shambling mob of undead. If forced to disperse, members try to pair up and fight back to back. Paladins and priests freely use their healing abilities and spells in combat, not only to bolster their own troops, but to harm undead enemies. Paladins and Priests try not to use their turn undead ability, as their goal is to destroy their enemies, not scatter them. If overwhelmed by superior numbers, though, or confident in their ability to destroy nearby undead with a turn attempt, the commanders call upon their holy power. Many Scarlet Crusade priests can rebuke undead; they force their undead foes to cower long enough for the Scarlet Knights to do their work.
=The Scarlet Crusade Today
Both before and after the recent loss of High Inquisitor Whitemane and High Commander Goodchilde in the Scarlet Monastery, the Scarlet Crusade began shifting their operational parameters, changing their tactics from moving as vast organized armies to operating in smaller Crusading Chapters of various strengths and sizes. This isolates each Chapter from the next so that the entire Crusade cannot be compromised as a whole with the loss of any one Chapter. This has resulted in a number of Scarlet Crusade chapters being created with their own power structure and leadership, as well as a wide spectrum of Puritan to Radical Chapters who follow both the original methods of Highlord Mograine, and the Paranoid learnings of the later Crusade.
Several Chapters of the Scarlet Crusade avoided corruption due to their separation and have now returned to take up the mantle of the flame.
- Scarlet Hammer
- Scarlet Enclave
- Scarlet Vigil
- Scarlet Salvation
- Scarlet Brigade
- Scarlet Consecration
- Scarlet Advent
- The Third Scarlet Legion
The Army of the Truthful remain as purists to the Scarlet Crusade's radical doctrine, preaching the incendiary rhetoric from the Book of Flame. These embittered men and women seek to wrest Lordaeron back into their grasp through terroristic means, and unite humanity under the kingdom's banner once again.
The Flock of Embers are a small, radical organization of holy fire worshipping zealots that staunchly denounce all those that believe in other forms of worship, such as shamanism and the cult of Elune. Their doctrine, the 'Path of Flame' declares the world as an unholy cesspool needing to be cleansed, and calls upon all who join the Flock and absolve the world of sin through fire and ash. Situated in places where unholiness dwells deepest, the Flock is widespread, but their devotion and piety unite them across the world.