Your Death Knight starting experience is instanced -- and thus has its own unique loading screen. As you progress through the story, you will be seamlessly transported from instance to instance, so the environment around you will change as the storyline progresses.
You start your new un-life in Ebon Hold, a Scourge citadel hovering over the Eastern Plaguelands. When you log on, the first thing you see is Arthas, the Lich King, ready to offer your first quest.
"All that I am: anger, cruelty, vengeance -- I bestow upon you, my chosen knight. I have granted you immortality so that you may herald a new, dark age for the Scourge." Arthas instructs you to meet Instructor Razuvious.
While under control of the Lich King you are his eyes and ears. His voice echos in your head. (If you're the sort of person who plays with the sound off -- you should think about turning it back on.) And, as this buff implies, he's always watching.
This is what happens to the Death Knights who didn't quite make the cut -- they're chained in the center of Ebon Hold and used for target practice.
Hmm, don't I remember killing this guy an expansion ago? Probably not polite to bring it up.
As a newly-risen Death Knight, you are unarmed, but Razuvious is here to help.
Pick a sword, any sword... but don't bother shopping around too much -- everyone winds up with the same weapon in the end.
Once you've grabbed a sword from the weapon racks scattered about the hold (sorry, there's only one weapon choice), you can take it to a Runeforge (there are several around the room) to create the Runeforged Blade Razuvious asked you for.
As Razuvious paces around Ebon Hold, necromancers will raise the scattered corpses to create new Death Knights. Razuvious personally inspects each Death Knight before sending them on to Arthas.
Razuvious approves of this new Death Knight, and instructs it to be equipped properly.
Once approved and outfitted, Razuvious sends this eager new Knight to Arthas for further instruction.
Congratulations! You've created your first Runeblade (a quite respectable blue-quality sword) and are given the skill to forge your weapons with powerful enhancements at a runeforge.
It wouldn't do to take this new sword into battle without properly runeforging it. Razuvious instructs you to try your hand with your new runeforging ability.
Though it seems a bit... colorful... for the act of a Death Knight, forging runes into this new blade gives great buffs that you can change any time. (Or at least any time you're at a runeforge).
Apparently Death Knights yearn for... death. Razuvious commands you to slay an unworthy Death Knight initiate.
Not everyone takes well to being made a Death Knight. If you sympathize for this poor Orc, just remember: it's him or you.
Once you have defeated an unworthy initiate, Razuvious deems you "ready," and sends you to Arthas for further duties.
Before raining death and destruction down on the Scarlet Crusade town below, you're going to need to do some reconnaissance work.
Whoa, Arthas, don't point that thing at me! Ahem, where were we? Right! Arthas commands you to use the Eye of Acherus to scout out the town below.
The Eye is little more than a transparent cloud which speeds down towards the town below. Once it gets close, you gain full control over its movement.
Though the Scarlet Crusade in the town will be able to see the Eye if you get too close, it wasn't terribly challenging to scout out the marked buildings. The easiest way seemed to be to hover over the roof (hovering in front of or to the side of the building would likely attract guard attention) while the Eye channels a spell to gather information.
"My final judgment has been passed: Death. To. All." Arthas, apparently a fan of dramatic pauses, sends you to Mograine to begin the assault on the Scarlet Crusade below.
This is the lower level of Ebon Hold, occupied by Highlord Mograine and Baron Rivendare, the later of whom you may know from previous exploits into Stratholme.
They make such an adorable couple!
The undead life is terribly melodramatic. "The horns of war will soon echo across this land, waking the dead and calling forth the Scourge war machine," Mograine tells you, "Woe unto those that would stand in our way!" You're commanded to report to the gryphon master to travel to the town below and begin the assault.
Okay, so it looks like a dead canary, but it does get you from point A to point B.
Blood Elves are scary. Undead are scary. This makes Undead Blood Elves very scary. Valanar, commanding the Scourge's ground forces, talks about local cuisine... of the human variety.
A text found on the ground near Valanar explaining the Death Knight credo. Page one.
A text found on the ground near Valanar explaining the Death Knight credo. Page two.
A text found on the ground near Valanar explaining the Death Knight credo. Page three.
A text found on the ground near Valanar explaining the Death Knight credo. Page four.