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War against the Lich King
War against the Lich King
Conflict: War against the Scourge
Place: Northrend
Outcome: Tactical Scourge Defeat
Commanders and Leaders:
  • Alextrasza the Lifebinder
  • 35,000 Argent Crusaders
  • 5,000 Knights of the Ebon Blade
  • 1,000 Dragons
  • 15,000 Kirin Tor Magi
  • 120,000 Alliance Soldiers
  • 125,000 Horde Soldiers
  • ~ 2,000,000 Undead
  • 15,000 Vrykul

15,000 Scarlet Soldiers

Casualties and Losses:
  • 13,800 Argent Crusaders
  • 2,800 Ebon Knights
  • 100 Dragons
  • 800 Kirin Tor Magi
  • ~ 50,000 Alliance Soldiers
  • ~ 53,000 Horde Soldiers

~ 800,000 Undead ~ 10,000 Vrykul

13,000 Scarlets

The War against the Lich King was a conflict fought in the frozen wastes of Northrend where the Grand Alliance, New Horde, Order of the Ebon Blade, Argent Crusade, Kirin Tor and Dragonflights banded together to fight the forces of the Undead Scourge. It resulted in the defeat and death of Arthas Menethil in late 30 L.C..

Prelude to War

During the harvest season of 29 L.C., odd crates arrived in Booty Bay that was distributed throughout the Grand Alliance and New Horde. An odd sickness surrounded them, and it was not long before roaches infected with the Plague of Undeath erupted from them - spreading the disease throughout Stormwind City and Orgrimmar.

Healers of the Argent Dawn mobilized to the major cities in Azeroth to heal the infected. As it spread, the plague grew resistant to healing magics and its incubation period shortened drastically.

Many infected by the plague succumbed to its effects, turning to shambling zombies that attacked the living. The Argent Dawn sent its full forces to combat the outbreaks; with Argent recruiters, quartermasters and emissaries making their way to the capital cities. The recruiters sent men and women of all races to Light's Hope Chapel to for assignments against the Undead Scourge forces appearing numerously around the World. 

Reports reached Stormwind, Orgrimmar and Light's Hope that Prince Tenris Mirkblood, a San'layn, was hiding in the Tower of Karazhan - using it as a base of operations for the Scourge invasions. As adventurers ventured out to defeat the blood prince, what seemed to be endless numbers of plagued vermin swarmed Orgrimmar and Stormwind City. Azeroth was in chaos.

The tide of undead overwhelmed the Argent healers, and most were forced to pull back. The incubation time of the plague had fallen to near instant zombification. With help from the Royal Apothecary Society and the Naaru, the New Horde and Grand Alliance set about ways of curing the Plague. 

Plagued vermin and residents continued to attack the living, spreading the plague rapidly. By the middle of the fifth day of the outbreak, the Plague subsided after a cure was found and quickly distributed by the Argent Dawn. Though the undead still launched attacks upon the cities, the plague no longer spread to their inhabitants. The zombies were eventually vanquished - allowing the Alliance and Horde to plan counter-attacks against the Undead Scourge.

Battle for Light's Hope Chapel

See main article: Battle for Light's Hope Chapel

In October of 29 L.C., after having ravaged the nearby Scarlet Enclave, a force of 10,000 Undead Scourge under the command of Highlord Darion Mograine and his lieutenants Orbaz Bloodbane, Thassarian and Koltira Deathweaver assaulted the last bastion of resistance in the Eastern Plaguelands: Light's Hope Chapel. The Chapel was the base of operations of the Argent Dawn, and was defended by 300 defenders of the Light. The Scourge managed to kill a third of the defenders, but the tables started to turn when Tirion Fordring arrived. The Death Knights were forced to stand down, only for the Lich King himself to make an appearance.

After he incapacitated Fordring, Arthas was attacked by all those who remained, but remained unfazed and pushed them away. Mograine threw his sword, the Ashbringer, to Fordring, and as it was cleansed, he charged at Arthas with it. He was forced to flee, for he knew he didn't stand a chance against the Ashbringer on the holy ground of the chapel.

In the aftermath of the battle, the Order of the Silver Hand and the Argent Dawn merged to become the Argent Crusade, while the remaining Death Knights of Acherus became the Order of the Ebon Blade.

Battle for the Ebon Hold

See main article: Battle for the Ebon Hold

Following the Battle for Light's Hope Chapel, the newly-born Knights of the Ebon Blade returned to Acherus to discover that the Lich King left a sizeable amount of forces in the necropolis. Within the Heart of Acherus was the dreaded abomination, Patchwerk.

Even with the hordes of Val'kyr and Abominations left in the Ebon Hold, the battle itself was relatively short. The Lich King had underestimated the Death Knights, Patchwerk was eventually defeated, and the Death Knights retook the necropolis.

Afterward, several Death Knights left the Ebon Blade and returned to fight alongside their home factions.

Invasion of Northrend

In December of 29 L.C., the forces of the Grand Alliance and New Horde launched separate invasions of the continent of Northrend, establishing footholds in the Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord. The dwarven expedition known as the Explorers' League sailed with the Alliance, hoping to find clues of their past and aiding the fight against the Lich King.

Early Battles of the War

The conflict in the Howling Fjord.

The early battles of the war were fought mostly defending the newly established bases in Northrend. Both the Scourge and their new-found vrykul allies attacked the expeditions, causing many casualties and nearly driving both the Horde and Alliance from Northrend's shores. The Horde and the Alliance chose to focus their efforts on the vrykul, laying siege to Utgarde Keep and other vrykul villages around Northrend to both weaken the overall might of the Scourge and to gain a strategic advantage over the other faction. Eventually, the forces of the Lich King were rebuked and both the Alliance and Horde pushed deeper into the continent.

On the Offensive

Moving deeper inland on the Dragonblight, the Alliance established Wintergarde Keep as their main base of operations. The fortress soon came under attack by the Scourge necropolis, Naxxramas, which sent forth wave after wave of undead against its defenders. After the lower tiers of the fortress were overrun, Adventurers were enlisted to take down the necropolis and save Wintergarde.

At that point, the Lich King had begun to attack the dragon shrines in the region, raising the corpses of dead dragonkin into undead in the form of frost wyrms, emberwyrms, and magmawyrms. Adventurers did what they could to put a stop to the new threat, fighting alongside the living dragonflights to take down their undead counterparts. Freed of the immediate danger of attack, both factions sent their best to face the Lich King directly at Angrathar the Wrathgate.

Angrathar, the Wrathgate

See main article: Angrathar, the Wrathgate

As the forces of the Alliance and Horde closed in on Icecrown Citadel's back gate, Arthas Menethil greeted them with an army of undead. After a climactic battle, the Forsaken unleashed the Forsaken Blight, killing living and unliving alike.

Battle for Undercity

See main article: Battle for the Undercity

After the Forsaken's apparent betrayal, both the Grand Alliance and New Horde launched attacks upon Lordaeron - eventually seeing Grand Apothecary Putress defeated. Lady Sylvanas Windrunner had fled to Orgrimmar earlier after nearly killed by a traitorous faction of her people led by her former ally, Varimathras. While the Alliance forces entered through the sewer area with the intent to slay the Grand Apothecary, the Horde entered through the main elevator shafts - which had been disabled during the coup d'état.

After slaying their targets, the two factions encountered each other in the Royal Quarter. A battle was about to begin, but Lady Proudmoore's timing prevented it from happening, freezing all of the forces present and teleporting the Alliance soldiers to Stormwind.

To make sure there wouldn't be anymore similar incidents, a legion of the Kor'kron Guard was sent to the Undercity to guard it.

After this point in the war, the distrust and animosity between the Alliance and Horde became too great. While the ultimate goal of defeating the Lich King had not changed, the two factions ceased cooperating, had begun fighting against one another as well.

War in Icecrown

Nearly a month after the Battle for the Undercity, the war against the scourge had ground to a bloody stalemate. Every Horde, Alliance and Argent soldier that fell in battle was soon raised as a servant of the Lich King.

The forces of the Alliance launched a focused ground

The Skybreaker in Icecrown.

attack from Crystalsong Forest upon the eastern gate into Icecrown, bringing advanced siege engines to bear against the saronite barrier. Soon after the opening of the attack, however, frost wyrms and gargantuan abominations descended upon the siege, destroying the Alliance siege engines and slaughtering every soldier unfortunate enough to not escape in the retreat.

To counter the devastating air superiority of frost wyrms, both the Alliance and Horde engineered massive airships lined with cannons and brass plated armor. The Alliance's Skybreaker flew over the jagged terrain of Icecrown, patrolling the skies for undead drakes.

The Argent Tournament

Highlord Tirion Fordring of the Argent Crusade, in an attempt to stem the losses to the scourge, hosted a grand tournament to reveal the strongest champions who would take the fight directly to Icecrown Citadel.

The tournament, which would come to be known as the Argent Tournament, was brought to northern Icecrown on Arthas's very doorstep.

King Varian Wrynn gave his full support to Lord Tirion and his tournament despite the Argent Crusade's cooperation with the Horde. For weeks, the champions fronted by the Alliance, Horde, Argent Crusade and Ebon Blade practiced their skills in combat and horsemanship against one another. In the tournament ring, champions were pitted against captured creatures and each other in gladiatorial combat.

Fall of Anub'arak

The organizers of the tournament sent many of the champions into the field against the forces of the scourge to test their mettle. The Argent Crusade expanded their lines outward from the Tournament grounds, sacking several small cultist outposts.

The expansion and tournament soon earned the

The Lich King arrives.

attention of the Lich King himself. During one of the daily tourneys held in the Crusader's Arena, a phantom of the lord of the scourge descended from the sky. After chastising the Argent Crusade for building their coliseum atop his nerubian holdings, the phantom vanished.

The ground rumbled beneath the arena floor, and it collapsed - sending the competing champions falling into Icecrown's depths. The survivors of the fall fought through wave after wave of undead nerubians in a seemingly endless battle for survival.

Pushing deeper into the ruined kingdom, the champions found the leader of the undead nerubians, Anub'arak - one of the Lich King's most trusted Lieutenants. Challenging him to battle, the champions of the Argent Tournament slew the nerubian king after a long and arduous battle.

Eventually making their way to the surface, the champions were hailed as heroes at the Argent Tournament grounds and were lavished upon with a chest full of rewards. The heroes who slew Anub'arak would lead the charge in the final siege of Icecrown Citadel.

Siege of Icecrown Citadel

See main article: Siege of Icecrown Citadel

With the concerted efforts of the Argent Crusade and Order of the Ebon Blade, the forces of good breached the gates of Icecrown Citadel and stormed the keep. As the Siege continued the troops of the Ashen Verdict, Horde and Alliance relentlessly fought their way up the levels of the Citadel.  The Alliance and Horde Champions broke away from the main fight and chose to take their gunships to the top level of the citadel, bypassing more of Arthas' Scourge. As they flew into the sky they engaged in a terrible taxing battle from their gunships, it was thought at this point that the champions of both the Alliance and Horde had lost half their numbers, landing upon different areas of the Upper Citadel the Champions moved to continue to engage the forces of the Scourge. Both sides agreed upon a temporary truce as they reached the Doors to the Inner Citadel where they fought and killed Dranosh Saurfang, who had been raised into undeath at Angrathar. The Champions of The Argent Tournament continued to fight their way through the Citadel, taking minor losses along the way and slaying some of Arthas' most trusted Lieutenants. 

Finally, the Champions reached the Seat of Arthas Menethil, the Frozen Throne. Aided by Tirion Fordring and the Ashbringer, the champions fought valiantly against the Lich King, eventually slaying him and shattering Frostmourne. Years later, rumors still circulate to this day about what happened in the shadows of the Frozen Throne. Some say Tirion was encased in ice, frozen for much of the battle until the Light gave him the strength to break free. Another rumor entails that Arthas had slain the champions during the melee, however Tirion, with great aid from the light, rose the champions from their doom. After this act, they proceeded to shatter Frostmourne, which in turn dealt a crippling blow to the now leaderless Scourge.