Generally speaking, the human race on Azeroth is in a sorry state. Led by a corrupt aristocracy ... manipulated by a dragon ... cheating contractors out of their pay for rebuilding the city ... and the only truly respected human leader is practically in exile due to her friendship with Thrall. How did the noble humans get where they are? What happened to the line of the kings of Stormwind?
Who: Llane Wrynn, Varian Wrynn and Anduin Wrynn.
What: The past three kings of Stormwind.
History: The first known member of the Wrynn dynasty is Landen Wrynn, who ruled the then-kingdom of Azeroth. We know he's a historical footnote simply because his court conjuror -- Nieles Aran, who is not some simple jester -- is a lot more famous than he is. Wrynn was succeeded by Adamant Wrynn III, which shows that the line of Wrynns probably goes back a heck of a lot longer than Landen. Under Adamant's rule, Azeroth was peaceful and wealthy, until the day when it suddenly wasn't. The culprit wasn't a recession, but the invasion of a rather large number of orcs from the Dark Portal. Adamant died of natural causes shortly after the First War began, and his only son, the twenty-year-old Llane Wrynn, inherited the throne.
Llane Wrynn is the first king of Stormwind to be a real part of Warcraft lore. Wrynn was known for his childhood friendships with Anduin Lothar and the court conjuror's son, Medivh. They spent many happy days leveling to adulthood in STV, back when there was only one faction and no one could get ganked. One day, Medivh -- already showing great wizardly prowess along with an uncanny ability to deliver useless, vague premonitions -- gave Llane an hourglass that represented the peace and prosperity of the kingdom. Years later, the hourglass ran out, and the orcish hordes invaded Azeroth. Llane and his mom decamped to Northshire Abbey, where they killed kobolds and took their candles.
When Adamant Wrynn died, Llane took over the throne. He led a fairly successful campaign against the orcs over the next ten year, pinning them into the Swamp of Sorrows and driving them back to near the Dark Portal. However, such luck couldn't last. When Blackhand took over the Horde and started pushing towards Stormwind, Llane prepared for a long siege of the city. However, his stay was cut short when the assassin Garona Halforcen snuck into town and cut out his heart. Mmmm ... heart.
Sometime while conducting the war, Llane took time to father a son, Varian. While still a young child, he saw his father murdered and his city, Stormwind, razed by orcs. Anduin Lothar gathered the city's remaining population into boats, where they set sail for the kingdom of Lordaeron to the north. During his time in Lordaeron, Varian became good friends with Prince Arthas Menethil. Bad idea. No one who is friends with Arthas ever gets to have a quiet life.
After Lothar's death and the retaking of Stormwind, Varian was crowned king. He hired a group of stonemasons to rebuild the city, and the inhabitants of Stormwind gradually resumed their everyday lives. Varian even married and had a child, who he named after his father's best friend -- Anduin. But with no direct threat to unite them, the kingdoms of the Alliance began to splinter away from each other. Varian stated that Stormwind would always be part of the Alliance and would always defend Lordaeron. This was probably a bad decision, given the whole Arthas-crazy-destruction-zombies thing. Varian made the (also poor) decision not to pay the stonemasons who rebuilt the city for their work. Angry at the king and nobles, the stonemasons formed a grudge against all Stormwind citizens. They created a gang called the Defias Brotherhood to rob humans and build awesome ships beneath mountains, however impractical they may be.
One day, while en route to Theramore for a
slap fight diplomatic meeting with Jaina Proudmoore, Varian was kidnapped by the Defias. Way to go, Stormwind Secret Service. A questline suggested that the black dragonflight had aided the Defias, and that he was being held on Alcaz Island near Theramore. Before Ahn'Qiraj was added, you could even see the king being held prisoner in the sewers under Alcaz Island. Unfortunately, you were not a bad enough dude to rescue the king, so you probably just got kicked around by level 63 elites.
With Varian missing, Bolvar Fordragon took the reins of Stormwind. His advisor, Lady Katrana Prestor, suggested that he crown Anduin Wrynn and run the city as Regent-Lord until the boy was of age. Weekly, Bolvar discovers that Prestor is the dragon Onyxia and has a huge fight while the boy sits in the middle and smiles blankly, never learning anything. That boy ain't right. (Actually, Anduin is a rather polite young lad who's concerned about his dad. I also can't kill him no matter how many AOEs I rain down upon his general area.)
So what happened to Varian?: This was pretty much a mystery until the WoW comic book came out. Somehow, Varian Wrynn lost his memory and found himself on the shores of the Barrens. He was snatched up by a gang of Horde slavemasters while fighting a crocodile, and made to join a professional arena team with an excessively-RPing night elf druid and a bitchy blonde blood elf rogue who fought constantly.
Varian became a hero to the fighters, known as a tough and fearless man who simply could not remember his past. Eventually, the group headed to Thunder Bluff, where Varian began to have memory flashbacks: his wife and child, the city of Stormwind burning, etc. The druid Hamuul Runetotem renamed Varian Lo'Gosh, after a legendary wolf god, and gave him and the night elf the means to escape. Then Varian and the night elf set off to save the night elf from some corruption of his forms ... or something. I wasn't really paying attention by that point in the comic, as it was all mindless fighting and no Grimtotem lore revelations.
Anyway, it looks like Varian will probably recover his memory at some point and try to go back to Stormwind. Whether Onyxia and the Stormwind nobles will let him, however, remains to be seen. I just hope the night elf and the blood elf don't hook up, and if they do, I hope it's really uncomfortable.
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