|The Undead Scourge|
The Crest of the Scourge
Base of Operations:
Theater of Operations:
Mostly passive, some Active.
The Undead Scourge was the largest undead faction that inhabited the world of Azeroth. Created initially as a weapon to prepare for the next invasion of the Burning Legion, they broke free from their demonic masters after their defeat at Mount Hyjal and, under the rule of the Lich King, built up their power and numbers on the icy continent of Northrend. Defeated during the Northrend Campaign by the combined forces of the Alliance, Horde, Argent Crusade and Knights of the Ebon Blade, they have since fallen into a state of dormancy, although elements of the Scourge still remain a constant threat.
At one time controlling the majority of Northrend, much of the Plaguelands and even portions of Kalimdor, the Scourge was considered to be a terrifying and insidious enemy without equal and was one of the most dangerous forces the races of Azeroth had ever faced.
History of the ScourgeEdit
The Scourge was (and in many ways still is) one of the largest military forces within the world of Azeroth. Created by the Lich King, who was at the time the being previously known as the Orc Shaman Ner'zhul, the Scourge's purpose was to destroy or 'scourge' the world of Azeroth of any who could oppose the soon to invade armies of the Burning Legion. In order to do this however first the Lich King would need an army, so he created the first Plague of Undeath and swept it across the icy continent of Northrend, raising those that succumbed to the magical affliction as undead soldiers firmly under his control. With this fledgling army at his command, Ner'zhul planned for his eventual conquest of the southern lands, however his plans were disrupted by the largest force on the frozen continent, the Nerubian Empire, a race of spider like creatures that rallied against his new army.
The War of the SpiderEdit
- See main article: War of the Spider
The Nerubians however were not immune to the enhanced necromantic abilities that Ner'zhul wielded, and so with every death the Nerubians suffered the undead host grew in strength and power, with Crypt Fiends quickly joining the ranks of the Scourge followed by the Crypt Lords, the fallen Kings of the Nerubian Empire. Eventually as more and more of their number were raised as undead servants, the Nerubian Empire buckled and collapsed, with the Nerubian cities of Azjol-Nerub and Ahn'Kahet becoming bastions of the Scourge and the Nerubian survivors forced to scatter to avoid their own demise.
The Third War: The Reign of ChaosEdit
- See main article: Third War
Following the collapse of the Nerubian Empire, Ner'zhul put his plans for the invasion of Lordaeron into motion. To do this however, he would need a foothold on the shores of the land, and so using his mental abilities he sent out a call to any who sought to use the powers of darkness and necromancy. Many individuals from many different races answered his call but one in particular, Kel'Thuzad, former Archmage of the Kirin Tor, drew his attention specifically. Taking the elderly man's soul in exchange for power and obedience, he charged him with a simple task. Go to the lands of Lordaeron and create a cult of followers who would do anything that the Lich King asked of them. Returning to the lands of humanity, Kel'thuzad did as he was instructed, his charismatic charm and promises of a society free from the trappings of mortality quickly spreading among the citizenry of Lordaeron. Three years after his return from Northrend the Cult of the Damned was born, and after growing to a significant size, prepared the initial steps of the invasion.
The invasion would come to be as successful as Ner'zhul had hoped it would be. The human Kingdom of Lordaeron fell to the power of the Plague of Undeath. The process was sped up significantly by the corruption and enslavement of Prince Arthas Menethil who upon pledging his own loyalty to the Lich King, returned to Lordaeron and not only killed his own father, Terenas Menethil II, but then lead the Scourge to kill many of Lordaeron's former champions including his former mentor Uther Lightbringer and the Archmage Antonidas of Dalaran. Then with the aid of Kel'thuzad, now a Lich, they summoned the true leader of the invasion of Azeroth into the world, Archimonde, Eredar Lord and Commander of the Burning Legion's vast armies. Archimonde, seeing that Kel'thuzad and Arthas had played their parts, gave control of the Scourge to the Dreadlords.
This however was not the end of the Lich King's involvement in the war. Ever resentful of his Legion Masters, Ner'zhul devised a plan and used his truly loyal servants, Arthas and Kel'thuzad to carry it out. He ordered Arthas to seek out the Demon Hunter Illidan Stormrage on the distant continent of Kalimdor, and give him vital information, this information lead Illidan to destroy the dreadlord Tichondrius and absorb the powers of the Skull of Gul'dan, greatly weakening the Legion and giving the forces of the Horde, Alliance and the Kaldorei the opportunity to defeat Archimonde as he besieged Mount Hyjal. The resulting battle, which saw many slain on both sides, finally culminated in the destruction of Archimonde and the shattering of the Legion and Scourge forces. The Third War had ended, not only in favor for the mortal armies but also for the Scourge forces loyal to the Lich King who were now free of demonic control.
The Lich King EndangeredEdit
Shortly after the fall of the Legion at Mount Hyjal, Kil'jaeden, another Eredar lord and the creator of the Lich King sought out Illidan Stormrage. He presented him with an offer, destroy the Lich King and be granted the powers of a demon lord. Illidan, ever hungry for power, accepted the offer and gathered his allies, the serpentine Naga lead by Lady Vashj. They sailed from Kalimdor, pursued by the Warden Maiev Shadowsong, to the island ruins of Suramar which had been raised from the ocean depths by the Orc Warlock Gul'dan many years earlier. On the island, Illidan recovered a powerful demonic artifact known as the Eye of Sargeras from the Tomb of Sargeras and then left the ruins behind, sailing to the ruined kingdom of Lordaeron. There he and his allies prepared a powerful magical spell to fracture the Frozen Throne, the prison which Ner'zhul was forced to remain in.
The spell while almost successful was interrupted at the last moment by Illidan's brother, Malfurion Stormrage, who was aided by the Warden Maiev Shadowsong and the human forces loyal to Kael'thas Sunstrider. While the Frozen Throne was not destroyed it was however fractured, the energies of Ner'zhul leaking from the prison, slowly weakening him much like a slow poison. In turn this also weakened the most powerful of Ner'zhul's servants, Arthas, who had fashioned himself as King of Lordaeron and had set himself to the task of purging the remnants of humanity from his lands. The fracturing of the Frozen Throne however caused Arthas to shift his priorities, more so when large portions of his army rebelled against him, lead by the Dark Ranger Sylvanas Windrunner. He returned to Northrend, where he was aided by the Crypt Lord Anub'arak who sped his progress to Icecrown by taking him through the hidden passages of Azjol-Nerub.He emerged from the underground kingdom to find the forces of Illidan Stormrage, Lady Vashj and Kael'thas Sunstrider preparing to besiege Icecrown Glacier. The Lich King, seeing his most powerful servant so close, infused him with what power he could, invigorating the death knight and allowing him to take the fight to Illidan and his armies. The resulting battle saw the decimation of Illidan's forces and the Demon Hunter narrowly defeated in single combat. Following this destruction, Arthas ascended the narrow path to the very peak of Icecrown, and once there he freed Ner'zhul, shattering the Frozen Throne with runeblade Frostmourne before placing the Lich King's helmet, also known as the Helm of Domination on top of his head. The act, fused the pair together, giving Arthas, now the Lich King, the mental abilities of Ner'zhul and his power of control over the undead.
Sitting down on what was left of the Lich King's former prison, Arthas encased himself in ice and became dormant, his mental powers working to control the Scourge, ordering them to built his empire around Icecrown Glacier, which after a time, would soon become the imposing Icecrown Citadel, the seat of the Scourge Empire.
The Scourge Empire ExpandsEdit
The years that followed the defeat of Illidan Stormrage saw little activity in a global scale from the Scourge. The forces of the undead cemented their control over the ruined lands of Lordaeron, now known as the Plaguelands, but were consistently harried by the forces of the Alliance and the Horde, along with two zealous groups of crusaders, the Scarlet Crusade and the Argent Dawn. The Scourge during this time also attempted to expand into Kalimdor, entering into an alliance with the Quillboar of the Southern Barrens. No real progress was made by either side in these endeavors. The enemy forces in the Eastern Kingdoms could not oust the Scourge from the lands, and the Scourge could not fully take control of the southern barrens as they intended.
The turning point came when forces of the Scarlet Crusade and the Argent Dawn allied together for the sake of their common goal, defeating the Scourge. At this time Kel'thuzad had finally made his return to the Plaguelands, ruling from within the Dread Citadel of Naxxramas. Serious impacts were made against the Scourge during this time, with Baron Rivindare, one of the more powerful Lords of the Damned, slain and his head removed and taken to Light's Hope Chapel, the home of the Argent Dawn. On top of this, a powerful strike force would then invade the citadel of Naxxramas, and lay waste to not only the Scourge's forces, but also put an end to Kel'thuzad, killing the leader of the Cult of the Damned and taking his phylactery.The phylactery however, never arrived at Light's Hope, having been taken by an agent of the Lich King who had wormed his way into the forces of the Argent Dawn. This prevented the true death of Kel'thuzad who would return a few years later to lead the Scourge once more from Naxxramas.
The Northrend Campaign BeginsEdit
- See main article: War against the Lich King
The Northrend Campaign officially began as the Lich King mobilized his forces for an all out war. Starting with invasions of Stormwind and Orgrimmar, the capitals of the Alliance and the Horde respectfully, he drove both forces to focus their attention on Northrend to finally bring an end to the Scourge once and for all. He recalled Naxxramas to Northrend, but sent Acherus, another dread citadel in it's place. This citadel and it's armies, lead by Darion Mograine, laid waste to the Scarlet Crusade in the region with a vast army of Death Knights and Frost Wyrms. The Scarlet Crusade was decimated, a large portion of it's forces also sailing to Northrend as the forces of the Scourge turned their attention to the Argent Dawn.
The Battle for Light's Hope Chapel was considered the first major turning point against the Scourge. The vast army of undead charged against the beleaguered forces of the Argent Dawn but were destroyed, not by vast numbers, but by the holy energies which infused the very land that they fought upon. The exiled paladin Tirion Fordring, arrived during the carnage which saw the Lich King himself arrive on the field, eager to destroy one of the last surviving paladins of the Silver Hand despite his status as an exile. The result of the Lich King's gambit, which was to willingly sacrifice his Death Knights in exchange for a shot at killing Tirion, saw a result that the Lich King himself did not expect. Tirion Fordring claimed the blade known as the Ashbringer and used it to strike the Lich King, the holy power of the blade, possibly combined with the land which they themselves stood upon, giving the paladin the ability to land a significant blow upon the Lord of the Scourge, causing the Lich King to withdraw from the area and return to Northrend.Following this, the surviving Death Knights who were betrayed would form their own faction known as the Knights of the Ebon Blade and Tirion Fordring would unite the forces of the Silver Hand and the Argent Dawn into the Argent Crusade. They to would join the forces of the Alliance and the Horde in their pursuit of justice against the Lich King. All eyes it seemed had turned to Northrend.
The Close of the CampaignEdit
The Northrend Campaign waged for many long years, and saw the Scourge progressively lose ground to the combined forces of the Alliance, Horde, Argent Crusade and Knights of the Ebon Blade. The Scourge however was not passive in it's defeat and the death of Drannosh Saurfang at the Battle of the Wrathgate was a serious blow to the Horde morale. Bolvar Fordragon would also fall during the battle, but to betrayal from a faction within the Forsaken, not to the blade of the Lich King.
The campaign would only heat up as the months progressed. The Argent Tournament, created by Tirion Fordring, now Highlord of the Argent Crusade, was created as an act of unification between the Alliance and the Horde, but also as an act of defiance against the Lich King's power, and while the Lich King did intervene and attempt to destroy the champions arrayed against him, he only aided in the weakening of his own empire with one of his most loyal champions Anub'arak, falling to the champions of the Crusade.
The end of the campaign was brought about by the creation of the Ashen Verdict and the Siege of Icecrown Citadel. Breaching the defenses of the Lich King's bastion of damnation, the forces of the Ashen Verdict, along with the Alliance and the Horde decimated the elite forces of the Scourge including some of the most powerful and ancient beings that the Lich King had at his disposal. The final blow, would come atop the very spire of Icecrown Citadel, where a small force of champions would rally with Tirion himself at the foot of the Frozen Throne. There they engaged the Lich King, and while the battle seemed to turn in favor of the Lord of the Scourge, a last valiant act by Tirion Fordring saw the runeblade of the Lich King, Frostmourne, completely shattered and the souls of the many hundreds he had slain released from their prison. The champions of the light, along with Tirion Fordring and the spirit of King Terenas Menethil II, brought an end to the Lich King's reign at the foot of the Frozen Throne. Arthas Menethil was dead.
Before the spirit of Terenas departed however, he left Tirion with a dire warning. He informed the righteous paladin that control of the Scourge must never be lost, that there must always be a Lich King to control the vast armies of the damned. Preparing to sacrifice his own life to control the armies of the Scourge, he was interrupted by none other than Bolvar Fordragon, who had been raised from death after the events of the Wrathgate. The Lich King, who had tried to break him and force him to serve the Scourge, had been unable to shatter the former champions will and thus, Bolvar remained himself, although permanently disfigured by the events surrounding his death. Taking the charge of controlling the Scourge upon himself, he became the new Lich King, the eternal Jailer of the Damned. Tirion was charged with keeping the secret that the Lich King was dead, for Bolvar believed that as long as people knew there was a Lich King, that they would always live in fear of the Scourge.
The Northrend Campaign, after many years of constant warfare, had finally come to a close, and so to, had the reign of the Scourge Empire.
The Scourge TodayEdit
- See main article: Scourge Holdouts
The Scourge as of the events of the Pandaria Campaign is a shadow of its former self. The new Lich King has thus far kept his promise to keep the Scourge controlled and, to that end, the majority of the armies of the damned remain dormant; however, the threat of the Scourge has not been entirely stamped out. Many of the more intelligent undead found themselves free of the Lich King's mental domination upon his death and are now free. While the undead forces commanded by the intelligent undead are but a fraction of the armies the Scourge commanded during its prime, they are none the less considered threats by the Argent Crusade and the Ebon Blade, who seek to wipe out the last vestiges of the Scourge and their Cult followers.
Furthermore the Cult of the Damned still remains an active organization in the Plaguelands, and still works to further the goals of the original Scourge, which are the plaguing of the land and the extermination of all life. While their numbers are significantly diminished and their leader Kel'Thuzad has vanished, they are still one of the most dangerous, and perhaps the largest, of the Scourge aligned factions that exist in Azeroth.
As of the return of the Burning Legion, the Lich King, Bolvar, entered into a pact with the Ebon Blade. The Death Knights of Acherus once more act in the nam eof hte Lich King if the Scourge remains confined to Northrend. As part of the agreement, the Lich King offered assistance to the Ebon Blade to obtain powerful artifacts to use against the Legion.
The champion of the Ebon Blade obstained shards of Frostmourne to forge new weapons. Once found, the Lich King grants his blessing to the champions, whose orders are to be obeyed as if they were his own.
Weapons and ArsenalEdit
The main weapon of the scourge is the ability to raise the dead back to life with the use of Necromancers (And later on Val'kyr) to bolster the ranks of their armies. When fresh undead are risen, they use whatever weapons they have at their disposel, if it is a steel sword or even a wooden plank or simply (In most cases) their claws to kill the living.
Summoning undead isn't the only weapon they use, stitched abominations and meat wagons are one of the many weapons they use to put fear into their enemies and to lay waste to strong fortifications that light infantry cannot get through. Most notable examples of their creations is the abominations and the flesh giants that are made of stitches corpses sewn together from the enemies they killed. Meat wagons desecrate large structures with infectous pounds of flesh that spread the plague upon impact.