Friday, September 18, 2009

Warcraft Race Origins: Forsaken

For today's look at the lore origins of World of Warcraft's playable races, we will be discussing Azeroth's most chaotic and least trustworthy race, the Forsaken.

The existence of the Forsaken can ultimately be traced back to the poor decisions of a single Orc, Ner'zhul. Corrupted by a host of evil artifacts and physically obliterated by Kil'jaeden, the surviving portion of Ner'zhul's spirit became the evil entity known as the Lich King. More a force than a person, the Lich King was charged by Kil'jaeden with destabilizing Azeroth in preparation for the Burning Legion's invasion. Toward that end, the Lich King began to create a massive army of all manner of reanimated corpses known as the Scourge.

To speed the growth of his undead army, the Lich King conjured a terrible disease called the Plague of Undeath and used his magical prowess and the aid of other malefic forces to spread it across Azeroth. The biological attack was outstandingly effective, wiping out many populations. Especially hard hit were the Humans, who saw there numbers drop by as much as 50%. Every loss amongst Azeroth's mortal races grew the Lich King's power and it was feared that the entire world was doomed.

On the heals of the spreading Plague, Arthas Menethil, the Human prince of Lordaeron, set about tracking down the Lich King in Northrend. Ultimately he was successful, but not before losing his mind and soul along the way. Rather than destroying the Lich King, Arthas freed the entity from the influence of Kil'jaeden's Burning Legion and assumed it into himself. Thus the Lich King and Scourge of modern Azeroth was born.

Kil'jaeden was not keen on letting such a powerful slave slip through his fingers. To eliminate Arthas and bring the Lich King back under the Burning Legion's control, Kil'Jaeden backed the twisted Night Elf Illidan Stormrage as he launched an attack on the Lich King's Frozen Throne. To repel Illidan's advance, Arthas was forced to abandon his new base of operations in the catacombs of Lordaeron and head for Northrend.

Though Arthas defeated Illidan, the Lich King was sufficiently weakened and distracted that a group of Scourge were able to shake off his enslaving magical influence. Led by the powerful former Elf general Sylvanas Windrunner, now reborn as a banshee, the newly liberated undead quickly grew in numbers. Named the Forsaken by Sylvanas, the former Humans and Elves claimed the sewers beneath Lordaeron as their home dubbing it the Undercity. Hating Arthas and the Scourge above all else, the Forsaken forged a tenuous pact of convenience with the Horde to better combat their sworn enemies.

The Forsaken are currently living some of the most important moments of their history. The battle against Arthas is presumably nearing a conclusion and it will be interesting to see where destiny next carries the Forsaken. The Forsaken are also facing extreme internal and external pressure following the recent insurrection and the skeletons it uncovered. It will be interesting to see if the Forsaken's tenuous alliance with the Horde survives the coming Cataclysm and perhaps, as things move forward, the factions true intentions will ultimately be revealed.

Warcraft Race Origins: Gnomes
Warcraft Race Origins: Trolls
Warcraft Race Origins: Night Elves
Warcraft Race Origins: Tauren
Warcraft Race Origins: Humans
Warcraft Race Origins: Orcs
Warcraft Race Origins: Dwarves
Warcraft Race Origins: Draenei
Warcraft Race Origins: Blood Elves
Warcraft Race Origins: Worgen
Warcraft Race Origins: Goblins

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