Thursday, September 11, 2008
The Lich King
Yes, the Lich King. He's the focal point of the upcoming expansion, and he was an undeniable focus of the lore leading up to World of Warcraft. But who is he? Why is he? And what does he really want? Why have we not heard anything from him recently, other than the undead that roam the plague lands? Let's start at the beginning.
Back on Draenor, about 70 so years ago, the orcs lived peacefully with the Draenei. The orcs were a shamanistic clan society who met yearly for festivals with the other clans. Each clan had a lead shaman, but the head of all shaman was Ner'zhul. It was Ner'zhul that was deceived by Kil'jaeden into thinking the Draenei were a threat and must be eliminated, so Ner'zhul started teaching the shaman to be warlocks, and things went down hill from there. However, before the Draenei were completely wiped out, Ner'zhul realized the deception, but it was too late. His apprentice, Gul'dan, was all too eager to please Kil'jaeden, and took over in leading the orcs to nearly wipe out the Draenei and build a portal to Azeroth, where they would continue their reign of terror. Ner'zhul was not killed after refusing to help Kil'jaeden anymore. He was kept around, and closely watched by Gul'dan.
Eventually, the orcs destroyed Shattrath. A few Draenei were able to hide out in Zangarmarsh with Velen, and the orcs concentrated on building their citadel and portal on the Hellfire Peninsula. Blackhand and Gul'dan organized all of this and then lead the orcish horde through the portal to Azeroth. Ner'zhul stayed behind at the Black Temple. During the second war, the portal was destroyed from the Azeroth side, and the resulting explosion on the other side injured Ner'zhul, who retreated with his clan to the Shadowmoon Valley. The clans fell to fighting each other and were in disarray. Eventually Ner'zhul was roused by Teron Gorefiend, who had discovered how to create other portals. Ner'zhul, using items that were obtained for him from Azeroth began to seek the power of these portals. One of the items he had recovered was the skull of Gul'dan and the evil forces of now dead apprentice affected Ner'zhul. In his madness for power, he ordered members of the horde into the unstable portal. It was through this recklessness, and the resulting distortions from the many portals opened, that Draenor was destroyed and became Outland.
As for Ner'zhul, after entering the portal he was captured by Kil'jaeden and tormented endlessly until little of his physical body was left. It seems Kil'jaeden had never forgiven him for going back on his oath on Draenor. After all of this, Ner'zhul agreed to serve Kil'jaeden again. Kil'jaeden took what was left of the spirit of Ner'zhul and put it into a suit of armor which he then incased in ice and placed in Northrend on Azeroth. Ner'zhul ceased, and the Lich King was born, his power magnified many times. The idea was for the Lich King to weaken the masses of Azeroth for the impending entry of the Legion. To make sure he obeyed, Kil'jaeden set several Dreadlords over the Lich King to watch him.
Eventually, the Lich King drew Kel'thuzad to his will and created the Cult of the Damned which spread the plague throughout Lordaeron. Terenis Menethil, the King of Lordaeron sent his son, Arthas, to investigate, which lead Arthas to Northrend. Here the Lich King continued his plan, coaxing Arthas to take up the cursed sword, Frostmourne. Arthas slew Kel'thuzad, but was submitted to the will of the Lich King. Upon returning to Lordaeron, Arthas slew his father, and the city was lost to the Scourge. After that, Arthas summoned back the Kel'thuzad as a Lich so that he could summon Archimonde and the Legion to Azeroth. This happened, but the combined might of the people of Azeroth proved too much, and Archimonde was defeated at Mount Hyjal.
With the Legion defeated, the Lich King was free to reign as he saw fit, and not as a lackey of the Legion, but he feared retaliation, and rightly so. Kil'jaeden found and used Illidan to fight against the Lich King. The Lich King in turn called upon his pawn, Arthas. In the end, Arthas won out, defeating Illidan before the Icecrown Citadel. Illidan fled to Outland, and Arthas ascended the mountain where he broke the frozen thrown and put on the armor of the Lich King, becoming once with the spirit that had once been Ner'zhul.
This is where things were when WoW began. The Lich King was newly bound to the man that had been Arthas. He still controlled the undead scourge that was ravaging Azeroth, but his power was diminished, and he now had the forsaken, a rebellious faction of the scourge led by Sylvanas Windrunner, to contend with as well. The people of the world were dealing with the black dragon flight and the many different troll threats, as well as the silithid of the old gods. With the opening of the portal, the Burning Legion was once again the first and foremost foe. The adventurers of Azeroth poured into Outland to relinquish control of that land from Illidan and the Burning Legion. Now with Kil'jaeden being forcefully kept out of this world, the Lich King has decided it is time to make his move.
We don't know what will happen, but something will cause us to turn our eyes to Northrend and recognized the threat that is the Lich King. And that he still hungers for power and control, and the destruction of all life.