Sargeras was far more cunning and devious than Aegwynn had ever thought possible, and when she killed his avatar, it released his spirit, which promptly transferred to Aegwynn's body and lay in wait for hundreds of years. When Medivh was conceived, Sargeras moved from Aegwynn's body to the newly forming child and rested there within Medivh, waiting until the time was right to strike.
Medivh had a relatively happy and uneventful childhood in Stormwind, raised with Llane Wrynn
, the prince of the kingdom, and Wrynn's friend Anduin Lothar. The three boys were well suited to each other, though the bookish Medivh had a harder time keeping up with the more active and muscular boys. He studied magic with his father Nielas and took to it aptly enough, casting spells and conjuring with little effort, largely due to his bloodline. But on the eve of Medivh's 14th birthday, he was struck by nightmares, evil creatures that chased him through his dreams. He woke up in a cold sweat and went to his father's room for help -- and when Nielas touched his son, the powers his mother had buried within him awoke.
The backlash from the resultant explosion of magical energy killed Nielas instantly and sent the 14-year-old boy into a deep coma that allowed the slumbering Sargeras to take over. Sargeras kept the boy in this coma for 20 years, during which he worked on Medivh's mind, manipulating his powers and twisting his thoughts. At age 34, Medivh awoke -- no longer a boy on the brink of manhood, but a man passing into middle age. Twenty years he'd lost -- and those 20 years were the formative years of a man's life, the years in which he learns what it is to be a man and what his place is in the world around him. Gone in an instant.
Medivh awoke and seemed to be fully in control of his senses, despite the inexplicable coma that had puzzled his friends and the priests that had watched over his unconscious form over the past 20 years. Assuring everyone he was fine, Medivh resumed his magical studies, eventually taking up residence in a remote tower called Karazhan. Medivh did not build Karazhan -- nobody recalls who built the tower originally, but there are records of an explosion that carved out the rocks of Deadwind Pass and weakened the fabric of reality in the area. That, combined with the unusual nexus of ley lines concentrated on the tower, was more than enough to attract Medivh to the tower and its unusual properties.
The dark whispers of Sargeras tormented the mage, who began a desperate bid to learn everything -- all things magic, all things powerful -- in an effort to grow his own burgeoning powers. Medivh craved power, focused on obtaining as much of it as he could -- but how much of that was Medivh and how much the Dark Titan that dwelled within him? Whether it was mage or demon that sought out these things, Medivh didn't seem to care about where he got his power from, even going so far as to deal with the Burning Legion directly. As his frantic race for knowledge continued, Medivh realized the one thing standing in his way and preventing him from achieving all he desired was the humans of Azeroth. Thus decided, he began to research a way to rid the world of them entirely.
It was because of this that Medivh sought out Gul'dan, leader of the Shadow Council on the planet Draenor. He made a deal with Gul'dan
, promising that he would reveal the location of the Tomb of Sargeras if Gul'dan and his armies would come to Azeroth and wipe out the human population. This is why Medivh opened the Dark Portal and let the orcs into Azeroth -- to relentlessly slaughter every last vestige of humankind. Obviously, this was not Medivh's idea but the idea of Sargeras, whose lieutenant on Draenor had been working with the orcish Horde in order to prepare them for the invasion.
The Dark Portal, Medivh's corruption and Aegwynn's stubborn refusal to turn the powers of the Guardian over to someone of the Council's choosing were all ultimately machinations of Sargeras and the Burning Legion, a second bid to take over the planet that had been denied them during the War of the Ancients. The Burning Legion was fiendishly clever and had engineered the perfect way to take over the world -- and one man who had been denied 20 years of his life was at the center of the plot. Her son's strange behavior did not, however, escape Aegwynn's notice, and she confronted Medivh to try and convince him that what he had done was unspeakably wrong.
The two fought, and Aegwynn was defeated by her son and subsequently banished to the far off continent of Kalimdor, unable to do anything to stop her son's corruption. A member of the blue dragonflight
also approached Medivh, visiting the tower of Karazhan to try and show the mage the error of his ways. Unfortunately, Medivh proved far too strong for Arcanagos, and he was burned from within, with nothing remaining of the blue but charred bones and ash. And then the Kirin Tor, who had been curious about this man who'd spent the majority of his life in a coma, sent an apprentice to him.
The apprentice's name was Khadgar
, and though Medivh was at first abrupt and rude to him, Khadgar soon found himself in Medivh's good graces. The tower of Karazhan was a fascinating riddle to the young apprentice. Teeming with power, Medivh's home was also the source of rips in reality that caused spontaneous visions of both past and future. Medivh's library was gigantic and contained many tomes and spellbooks that were thought lost or destroyed. Khadgar worked on reorganizing the library and met another strange visitor to the Guardian's tower, a half-orc named Garona
who served as emissary between Medivh and the Horde. Garona was unlike any other orc Khadgar had seen -- clever, quick-witted and observant. Garona caught the eye of Medivh as well, and the two had a brief affair that resulted in Garona's pregnancy, unknown to either of them at the time.
But during one particularly disturbing vision in the halls of Karazhan, Khadgar saw that it was Medivh who was responsible for the orcs that had come to Azeroth, that Medivh had deliberately brought the Horde to Azeroth and fully intended that they wipe out the human race. Meanwhile, Medivh grew more and more mad, absent-minded and crazed. Khadgar and Garona sought out Llane Wrynn, now king, and Anduin Lothar to tell them what had been discovered and convince the two men that their childhood friend suffered from a corruption darker than anyone had realized.
Anduin led a troop of soldiers to Karazhan, where Medivh waited for his turncoat apprentice's return. In thanks for his betrayal, Medivh magically aged Khadgar from age 17 to an old man -- a fate eerily similar to the fate that had befallen Medivh when he'd slipped into the 20-year coma. Khadgar managed to injure Medivh, but it was Anduin Lothar who struck the final blow, severing Medivh's head from his body and banishing Sargeras' spirit back to the nether.
The last Guardian of Azeroth was dead ... sort of. After all, how often do these heroes truly die?
The spirit of Medivh watched over the world and foresaw the downfall of Lordaeron, the corruption of Arthas and the return of the Burning Legion. But Medivh's spirit was no longer chained to that of Sargeras, and he desperately wanted to stop what was coming to pass. This was his fault: The Burning Legion's advance, the horrors of the First and Second wars, Anduin's death, Llane's death -- all of it rested on his hands. And regardless of the fact that it was Sargeras' manipulations that had urged him on, Medivh still felt incredibly guilty and ashamed of what he had done. To that end, Medivh's spirit sought out his mother Aegwynn. Aegwynn used the last of her great powers to resurrect her son.
Medivh knew without a shadow of a doubt that if he showed his face to any who would recognize him, he would be killed on sight. And so he took the form of a raven and flew to Lordaeron to deliver a warning, masquerading as a lone prophet with visions of a terrible future that would soon come to pass. His first stop was the Warchief Thrall, and he gave the young orc a terrible vision of fiery infernals raining from the sky as Alliance and Horde warred with each other below. Upon awakening, the unnerved orc saw the prophet, who told him that his destiny lay over the oceans on a distant continent called Kalimdor and that if he truly sought peace for his people, he should lead them there. Thrall sensed the truth of the prophet's words and immediately began assembling his people to set sail. Unfortunately, the humans of Azeroth weren't so easily convinced.King Terenas Menethil
dismissed Medivh's prophecies as the ramblings of a madman, sealing his fate at the hands of his son. Antonidas
, leader of Dalaran and the Kirin Tor, followed suit. But a young mage named Jaina Proudmoore
overheard the conversation between Medivh and Antonidas and sensed that perhaps this prophet was right. It wasn't until after Prince Arthas Menethil's purging of Stratholme that Jaina saw the prophet again -- and when he spoke to her and told her to go to Kalimdor, she believed him. Jaina gathered as many people as would follow her and set sail for Kalimdor.
As both human and orc forces converged on Kalimdor, Medivh appeared once again in their dreams -- and in the dreams of the leader of the night elves, Malfurion Stormrage. He revealed his identity to the three of them, confessing that it was his actions that had brought the orcs and the Burning Legion to Azeroth and insisting that the three armies must combine if they had any hope of stopping the Burning Legion.
Jaina, Thrall and Malfurion were convinced, and the three armies converged to defend the World Tree Nordrassil from the Legion's advances. As Archimonde
, one of Sargeras' lieutenants, approached the World Tree, Malfurion called the spirits of nature with the Horn of Cenarius. The spirits swarmed around the helpless lieutenant and detonated, destroying the Burning Legion's hopes of conquest and Nordrassil, home to the night elves and source of their immortality, as well.
The world was safe, the Legion shattered, and though Arthas and the Scourge still loomed as an eventual threat, Medivh was reassured that what he'd done was enough. Thrall and Jaina spoke of tenuous alliances, and it seemed as though the world of Azeroth was large enough for both Alliance and Horde, as long as the two worked together. Satisfied, the last Guardian of Azeroth vanished, taking his place among "the legends of the past."
Medivh's current whereabouts are unknown. After his resurrection, Medivh sought out and absorbed most of the latent power in Karazhan, his now-deserted home. The tower crumbled as a result and now holds the tiniest fraction of the power that it did when Medivh still dwelled within its walls. The spirits of Medivh's past still wander the halls -- his father's ghost, the remnants of Arcanagos, Medivh's former butler Moroes -- all echoes of a time ages ago. Also present are the visions and ghosts of times long before Medivh, when great banquets were served and balls were held.
Medivh, however, is nowhere to be seen -- his mother Aegwynn was discovered by Jaina Proudmoore years after his resurrection, but the Guardian himself seems to have disappeared. Though it has been stated in the World of Warcraft
comic series that Medivh is "gone," how likely is it that one of the most powerful men on Azeroth has disappeared for good? The threat of the Burning Legion is no longer as dire as it was during the Third War, but perhaps we have not seen the last of the last Guardian. And when Sargeras and his army turn their gazes once more to Azeroth's surface, they'll find him again, watching over Azeroth and protecting it from harm until time, at last, runs out.
For more information on the people, places and history mentioned here, check out other Know Your Lore columns, such as:
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Warcraft games to enjoy
World of Warcraft, a little history goes a long way toward making the game a lot more fun. Dig into even more of the lore and history behind the
World of Warcraft in WoW Insider's Guide to Warcraft Lore