Welcome once again my friends to the lore that never ends, we're so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside Know Your Lore.
Last week, we covered the events after the end of the Second War, when Ner'zhul and Teron Gorefiend led an attack on the Azerothian nations which held artifacts the former elder shaman believed he could use to open new portals on Draenor. These portals would be the salvation of the orcs who were doomed to a slow death as fel corruption slowly consumed the land.
In response to the Horde of Draenor's attacks (led by Gorefiend, Kilrogg Deadeye and Kargath Bladefist) and their theft of artifacts like the Book of Medivh and Eye of Dalaran, King Terenas Menethil ordered Turalyon and Khadgar to lead an expedition beyond the Dark Portal itself to determine what the Horde had planned.
This week, the Alliance Expedition takes the fight to the Horde, and we once again remind you that if you played through these events in WCII, things may have changed in the lore since. Please bear with us as we reconstruct the events surrounding the Alliance Expedition to Draenor. The Sons of Lothar against the Horde of Draenor.
Although Khadgar had himself destroyed the Dark Portal on the Azeroth side (and caused a massive explosion that nearly killed Ner'zhul and delayed the Horde's plans for two years) the hole in space that allowed travel between Draenor and Azeroth had not been so easily destroyed as the stone archway. Ner'zhul and Gorefiend had used the power of the Skull of Gul'dan (liberated from the Bonechewers for that purpose) to open the gap and send Hellscream, Gorefiend and Bladefist through to meet up with Deadeye on their various missions. Now, Khadgar and the Alliance heroes Turalyon, Alleria Windrunner, Kurdran Wildhammer and Danath Trollbane led a force of Alliance military through that selfsame gap between worlds, arriving on the already decaying Hellfire Peninsula.
During the siege on the Citadel, Alleria and Turalyon either started or restarted a relationship (depending on which source you read) which would apparently continue past these events.
Upon arriving in Hellfire, the Alliance heroes immediately began surveying the land and learned of the shipyards at Zeth'Kur and the massive fortress known originally simply as 'the Citadel' and more commonly as Hellfire Citadel. The members of the Expedition, who had taken the name Sons of Lothar in honor of Anduin Lothar, constructed Honor Hold as a base of operations while preparing to strike at the Horde and retrieve the artifacts taken by them. The Sons of Lothar moved to lay siege to Hellfire Citadel itself, but while Khadgar defeated and decapitated Ner'zhul's loyal ogre mage servant Dentarg in a battle of magic, the elder shaman himself was nowhere to be found, as he had already fled the Citadel with the stolen artifacts. Well, almost all of them: the ancient black dragon Deathwing had demanded and received the Skull of Gul'dan as payment for whatever aid he'd provided Ner'zhul and his Horde.
So the Sons of Lothar were forced to divide their forces. Khadgar, Alleria and Turalyon would go across to the island where Deathwing was said to lair, while Danath, Kurdran and the other half of the Sons chased directly after Ner'zhul, Gorefiend and Kilrogg Deadeye as they made their way to the Shadowmoon ancestral lands and the despoiled Temple of Karabor, now the fortress of the Shadowmoon clan.
Kurdran was struck down while pursuing Ner'zhul from the air, and an angry Danath made alliances with the native Draenei (making him possibly the first human to ever see one) in order to pursue the fleeing Horde into the Bleeding Hollow Clan's converted fortress, formerly the temple of Auchindoun. While Ner'zhul and Gorefiend managed to escape, Kurdran was freed, and Danath met Kilrogg Deadeye in single combat. Danath survived for sure. While Deadeye seemed to have died there, he was also reported slain during the fighting later at the site of the Dark Portal and even was said to have made it back to Azeroth alongside Hellscream. A talented orc. If we assume that his battle with Danath (buying time for Ner'zhul and Gorefiend to escape) did indeed end in his death, then his death there helped break the back of the Bleeding Hollow clan as well.
Meanwhile, Khadgar, Alleria and Turalyon made their way to Deathwing's island lair, where they found ogres at war with black dragons and made use of the ogres in order to defeat the ogres. They managed to penetrate Deathwing's lair and even did battle with the fallen Aspect of Earth, retrieving the Skull of Gul'dan in the process. It's hard to understand how even so potent a group as Khadgar, Alleria and Turalyon could have defeated Deathwing... unless, of course, Deathwing wanted them to, which might even explain why he demanded that Ner'zhul grant him the Skull of Gul'dan in the first place. That of course leaves us with further questions. Did Deathwing want to cause the destruction of Draenor? Did he intend to leave black dragonflight eggs behind to be exposed to the result? Were the creation of the nether dragons just another step in Deathwing's millennia old experiments to create new dragonflights, such as the Chromatics? It's impossible to know for sure, but we do know that Deathwing somehow escaped the destruction of Draenor unscathed, and that the creation of the nether dragons led directly to the 'curing' of Malygos (and thus the Nexus War) and the rise of the twilight drakes. What, exactly, was the aid Deathwing provided that was worth trading away the Skull of Gul'dan in Ner'zhul's eyes? Why did Deathwing agree to aid the Horde at all? And, if he was actually beaten by Khadgar, Alleria and Turalyon, how did Deathwing survive to return to Azeroth well in advance of the closing of the Dark Portal?
With the Skull of Gul'dan in hand, the three Alliance heroes made haste to rendezvous with Danath, Kurdran and the rest of their forces in an attempt to stop Ner'zhul from using the knowledge and artifacts. Despite laying siege to the Black Temple, however, they were too late and Ner'zhul completed the ritual, opening portals that threatened to shake Draenor to pieces and perhaps even Azeroth through the connection of the Dark Portal. Gorefiend fell in combat against Turalyon, although his already slain spirit apparently survived to eventually reclaim his undead body. Grom Hellscream (and maybe or maybe not Kilrogg Deadeye) fought their way past the Alliance forces and into Azeroth before the Dark Portal was sealed by Khadgar, using the Skull of Gul'dan and the Book of Medivh, handed to him by one of Ner'zhul's servants who the former shaman had struck down before fleeing through his own unstable creations.
In the end, Ner'zhul destroyed Draenor. The portals he was so eager to open led him into the hands of Kil'jaeden and the Burning Legion, and caused his eventual return as the Lich King. The heroes of the Alliance used other portals to escape the destruction and eventually returned to what was left behind, the continent floating in space today called Outland. Believed dead, each of these heroes was memorialized by the Alliance until 20 years passed and their true fates were determined. While today, we know that Kurdran, Danath and Khadgar still live, the final fate of Alleria and Turalyon remains unknown: they are known to have a surviving child, the half-high elven paladin Arator the Redeemer.
The legacies of the Alliance Expedition and its battle with the Horde of Draenor are many: there would be no Lich King, no Grom Hellscream in the wilds of Azeroth waiting to meet a young Thrall, and indeed no Outland without them. If not for the expedition's decision to seal the Dark Portal Azeroth, too, might have been destroyed. No nether dragons, and without them no twilights, no Nexus War, and perhaps Malygos himself would still be alive. Would Quel'thalas have fallen with Alleria there, assuming there had even been a Lich King to send a certain death knight against it? For good and for ill, the effects of the Alliance Expedition are still being felt today.
Next week: we look at the events of a day of a dragon and the splintering of the Alliance of Lordaeron.