A featured questline in Patch 3.3, the story of Quel'delar is available to any player who attains the Battered Hilt, which can drop from any mob in the Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons. But what's the story behind this ancient and powerful weapon?
Long ago, the night elves and the five Dragonflights worked together with great ceremony to forge a set of incredibly powerful prismatic swords, intended to be the first line of defense against any evil that would challenge the races of Azeroth: Quel'serrar, the High Blade, and Quel'delar, the Sister Blade.
Quel'serrar was gifted to the night elves, but ultimately nearly destroyed. For thousands of years it remained partially intact with the Shen'dralar of Eldre'thalas, who anticipated that one day it'd be possible to reforge the blade. Only recently did this occur, with heroes reforging the blade in the flames and black heart of Onyxia, broodmother of the Black Dragonflight. The blade's triumphant return to its full glory brought great joy to the night elves, who thought the blade lost forever.
Its sister blade, however, followed a different path.
This writeup contains spoilers from the Quel'delar questline and should be avoided if you want to be surprised when Patch 3.3 launches.
Quel'delar was carried with reverence by the night elves that eventually became the first high elves, presented as an heirloom among the people. The last known warrior to officially wield the blade was Thalorien Dawnseeker, who used it to great effect defending his beloved city of Silvermoon against all attackers -- trolls, orcs, and others, until the Third War. As Arthas and the Scourge marched on Quel'thalas, Thalorien valiant fought against their teeming masses, but was eventually overcome and slain. Quel'delar was lost.
The high elves proved hardier than expected, though, and rebuilt Silvermoon under the clever and ruthless rule of Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider, renaming themselves the blood elves in honor of their fallen brothers and sisters. During the reconstruction efforts, a veteran warrior named Lana'thel discovered Quel'delar buried amongst the rubble. With the weapon in the rightful hands of an elven warrior again, Quel'delar seemed to be on its way back to its former glory.
Lana'thel attempted to rekindle that glory by following Kael'thas to Northrend to defeat Arthas and avenge the deaths of her people, but things didn't go quite as planned. Arthas ultimately defeated Kael'thas and Illidan both, and Lana'thel found herself alone against the Lich King. She fought bravely, but was slain by Arthas. Using Frostmourne's powers, he raised Lana'thel as Blood Queen Lana'thel, first among his San'layn darkfallen.
Though nearly completely under Arthas' control, Lana'thel couldn't help but remember flashes of her life in Silvermoon each time she saw her weapon. Giving in to despair, she shattered Quel'delar into pieces and spread them across the frozen north, never to be recovered.
The hilt remained, however, discarded among the armaments of Icecrown Citadel. Discovered by heroes battling through Arthas' stronghold, it was brought to the elves of Northrend in an effort to discover its clearly spectacular origins.
Through the efforts of the Sunreavers and the Silver Covenant, both legitimate and unscrupulous, the blade's origins were revealed in recovered ancient texts. Krasus of Wyrmrest Temple confirmed that the weapon was Quel'delar, and Kalecgos of the Blue Dragonflight stepped in to protest the handing over of such a powerful weapon to mortals. Alexstrasza, the Dragonqueen, convinced him that there would be no better hands for the weapon to be in.
It was decided. Quel'delar was to be restored by whatever means necessary. The Blood Queen, however, had no desire to see her bloodstained past return to her in the form of the weapon. She disgraced the blade at Quel'delar's rest in Icecrown, vowing that it would never serve another.
The elves refused to give up on Quel'delar. They reforged the blade with infused saronite from Arthas' Pit of Saron, shaping it with the hammer of Forgemaster Garfrost upon his defeat. The blade was tempered in the crucible of the Forge of Souls, but its ancient power did not return. The weapon did exhibit some signs of life, though, and pulled the heroes toward the Halls of Reflection, Arthas' private quarters.
In the halls, the soul of Uther the Lightbringer chastised the heroes, saying that reforging Quel'delar from saronite, blood of Yogg-Saron, was dangerous. Each moment it was in the Halls, it fed off of Frostmourne's evil energies. The only way to cleanse the blade of its evil taint was to bring it to the Sunwell, deep within Silvermoon City.
Ranger-General Halduron Brightwing, guarding the entrance to the Sunwell, first denied entrance to the heroes, worried about what could happen if visitors were allowed to run rampant. Realizing the gravity of regaining a blade like Quel'delar, though, he sent the heroes to gain the blessing of the blade's last true owner -- Thalorien Dawnseeker. Visiting Thalorien's remains, the heroes were plunged into a vision of Thalorien's last stand, aiding him against the waves of Scourge. His spirit finally at rest, Thalorien granted his blessing to allow Quel'delar into the Sunwell and to finally gain a new owner.
The heroes purified Quel'delar in the light of the newly-restored Sunwell. Regent-Lord Lor'themar Theron and Grand Magister Rommath watched in awe as the blade was finally restored to its full power. Theron attempted to wield the blade, but was promptly struck by it and flung across the room. Quel'delar, as the captain of the guard pointed out, chooses its own master, and it chose the hero that reclaimed it.
Quel'delar was reborn, ready to avenge Quel'thalas for the final time.
Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.