We've covered almost all of the dragonflights here on Know Your Lore; check out the articles on the Red, Black, Green, Blue, Bronze, Netherwing and Twilight flights for more information on each respective flight. The dragonflights of Azeroth are all intricately tied together as you can see from the articles -- what one flight does tends to directly affect or somehow involve the others. Today we're going to look at the one exception to that general rule: the Plagued Dragonflight.
What? Plagued? There's a plagued dragonflight? Why yes, there is -- small in numbers, mostly died out, but it exists and can count as a flight of its own. Where can we find these dragons, and where did they originate? To answer that question, we have to go back to the opening days of the Third War and visit with a charming group of individuals called the Cult of the Damned.
Once upon a time, there was an entity known as the Lich King, formed out of the spirit of a former orc leader as a servant for the Burning Legion. At this point, the Lich King still lacked a body, imprisoned within the Frozen Throne, so he commanded his forces telepathically. After gaining a foothold in Northrend, the Lich King used these powers to search telepathically for individuals around the world who would make suitable minions to help spread the plague across Azeroth.
Upon reaching Northrend, he realized far too late the folly of his actions -- the Lich King was not a benevolent being seeking to give him the knowledge he so desperately craved, but a soulless creature intent on wiping out all life on Azeroth. Left with no choice, he swore to serve the Lich King in all things, and was promised immortality and great power in return for his first assignment -- to go back to the lower continents and found a new religion, one that would worship the Lich King as a god. He left aboard the citadel of Naxxramas to fulfill the Lich King's wishes, and headed back south, to Lordaeron.
It didn't take long for him to acquire a substantial amount of followers, promising his acolytes eternal life on Azeroth in exchange for their devotion to the Lich King. The Cult of the Damned, as it came to be called, grew rapidly in numbers, keeping themselves secret for a few years while the Lich King prepared for his assault. With loyal followers from several villages, it was easy for Kel'Thuzad to distribute plague cauldrons, portable devices engineered to distribute the plague of the Lich King among the mortals that weren't so easily swayed.
The plague worked all too well -- citizens fell, raised as mindless zombies in the service of the Lich King. Unfortunately, Jaina Proudmoore, a mage of the Kirin Tor, and Arthas Menethil, son of King Terenas Menethil, discovered the plague. Immortality has many faces -- and Arthas quickly killed Kel'Thuzad. But the Cult of the Damned had established a firm foothold in Lordaeron by that time, and as Arthas struggled to fight it, he too fell under the thrall of the Lich King, eventually taking up the sword Frostmourne and becoming a willing servant to the Scourge.
His first task, of course, was to raise Kel'Thuzad from the dead -- and he succeeded by using the Sunwell to power the spell that revived the necromancer as an undead lich, thereby delivering the immortality that was promised. Immortality of sorts, anyway. While everyone knows what happened to Arthas next -- his rebellion against the Burning Legion, the ultimate merging with the Lich King, some people are still unfamiliar with the continued workings of the Cult of the Damned. Now fully under the Lich King's control and no longer tied to the Burning Legion, the Cult continued to spread the plague via the plague cauldrons scattered across the Eastern and Western Plaguelands.