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Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider serves the demon lord known as Kil'jaeden the Deceiver. But Kil'jaeden is not the only one skilled at deception.

Deceiver on FFnet :||: Deceiver on Ao3

The prologue was posted in March 2012: the remaining chapters began to appear in 2014.

Note that the Author's Notes contain chapter spoilers!

Apologies for all the placeholder text: this post is a work in-progress as my notes are currently a scattered mess.

I welcome questions and love discussion, but due to its length, comments on this post are disabled so that inboxes don't get clogged. Please comment here.

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The genesis of the story

This is one of the very few stories/characterizations that had a very precise genesis for me. ~ Back in 2007, flying through Burning Crusade quests to get my Black Temple attunement, the Warden's Cage scene between Akama and Illidan in Shadowmoon Valley made a deep impression on me. (For those not familiar, the scene appears in connection with the quest "The Secret Compromised"  which you get in Serpenshrine Cavern from a broken NPC named Seer Olum. I'll replicate a portion of it here)

Akama says: But, sire! You have misjudged my actions... I do have knowledge of someone close to you who plans to betray you. It is that dog, Kael'thas! He has allied with Kil'jaeden and intends to replace you as Lord of Outland!
Illidan's Presence says: I do not sense lies in your voice, Akama. That Kael'thas would betray me does not come as a big surprise - I'm not as oblivious as some would think. That one of your own was involved with him puts your loyalties into question.
Illidan's Presence says: Send your Ashtongue into Tempest Keep and slay his most prized possession, the phoenix known as Al'ar. I must know that you're not on his side. Do not think of betraying me, Broken. We both know who owns your soul!

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This formed my initial perception of Kael and Illidan as mutually distrustful, even contemptious, of each other.

I was subsequently surprised by the number of Illidan/Kael'thas shippers, though, and wondered what I was missing. (Beyond the obvious "aesthetically opposite and thus look hot together" thing.)  I played through WC3, and though I had an "Ah-ha!" moment, it didn't change my fundamental assessment of their interactions.

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Source material
The Warcraft games are the source and foundation for a majority of WoW's lore. Deceiver draws most heavily on Warcraft III and the second expansion (called "Burning Crusade" and abbreviated BC) to World of Warcraft. If you don't want to download and play Warcraft III (now free through Battle.net), I recommend searching Youtube for WC3 cinematics and cutscenes (if for no other reason than its terrific voice work). Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos has just under five hours of material (the "pre-WoW movie" by Scrotus Maximus I used is 4:48:12), and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne has just under four (3:52:26).  For those unable to access YouTube, I'll note which chapters of each campaign were the most relevant to each chapter of the story.

I've also drawn freely on other canon and non-canon Blizzard material, including novels, manga, short stories, comics, and the old RPG guides.

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Overall Structure
The story is set in Magister's Terraace. Each chapter opens with a combat emote from Selin Fireheart, Vexallus, Priestess Delrissa, Kael or Kil'jaeden, and provides a jumping off point—first for undead Wretched Kael's acidic commentary to the "heroes" (i.e., the reader) battling their way through the dungeon to kill him, and then for the extended flashback that makes up the remainder of each chapter.

I had originally planned for the story to be only 5 or so chapters; however, I soon found that, given the amount of material I planned to cover, what would have resulted would have been a fic with a tiny prologue followed by four HUGE chapters (of 20K words or more each). Since 20,000 words does not feel like a 'chapter' to me, after some experimental posting I resigned myself to breaking the fic into smaller chapters. (I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about all the structure and chapter juggling I did at first, though if you're really interested, drop me a comment or a PM.)

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Two years between between the Prologue and the next chapter?
Lots of reasons for this. I wanted a rock-solid outline; I wanted to untangle canon timelines; I needed time to play WC3. And, to be honest, I've  dragged my feet on writing and posting this story since 2010, because I was afraid—no matter how mild I made Kael's non-love for Illidan—that I couldn't tell the story without it being seen as bashing the Illi'thas shippers. This is certainly not my intent: I am writing because I think that my version of the story has some merit. I'm not trying to piss anyone off; I'm just trying to write something which attempts to account for all of Kael's behavior without Face-Heel Turning him or claiming that he was a villain all along.

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 Notes on Prologue/Chapter 1

  • NPC Count: 8
  • OC count: none
  • I don't have much to say about the Prologue itself. Given the themes of betrayal in the narrative, I wanted the initial publish date for the story to be the Ides of March. Granted, the 300 or so words had to wait 2 years before the had company, but that wasn't my initial intent
  • For much of the flashback material in Chapter 1 I am very indebted to Wanda von dunyav, who both shared her own long-pondered thoughts about the Sunstriders under Anasterian as well as toss ideas around in chat for hours. She is one in a very short line of fandom friends who I cherish with all my heart.
  • Eldin Sunstrider is a randomly-generated battlemage name in WC3: TFT, but giving Kael a brother to converse with was too enticing to pass up. (And hey, so what if MN shot the idea down by saying in BotH that Kael was Anasterian's only son? I'm going to pretend he meant to say "only surviving son.")
  • I decided that the royal palace -- Sunstrider Spire -- was in the western half of Silvermoon.
  • The Dungeon Journal says that Telestra is "rumored" to have taught Kael; this seemed an interesting avenue to wander down.
  • The haughty Champion Vranesh who currently rides around SMC was originally the one Selin was meant to serve, but as BotH mentions Vranesh as being "young" (and after I came up with my elf age calculator) I invented a Vranesh Senior.
.

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Chapter 2 notes
  • Source: Warcraft Legends, vol 5
  • NPC Count: 2
  • OC Count: 2
  • Prince Nallorath was the best friend of the half-elf Alodi, the first guardian.
  • I've decided to put Kael's arrival in Dalaran sometime during Aegwynn's time as Guardian. (The starting date date is either 1050 or 850 BCE, depending on which source you consult, and obviously went until Medivh awoke from his coma around 31 BCE.)
  • Elf Ages: Taking the description of Anasterian as "white haired" at 3000, and (somewhat arbitrarily) mapping that to a human age of 80 yields a conversion formula of (human age)*(38.5)  = quel'dorei age. ~ Thus human 16 is elf 616, 30 is 1155.   (For my purposes I decided that Kael was born @ 1100BCE,  bringing him to Dalaran during Aegwynn's tenure as Guardian at (16-17) and making him 29 (elf-1100) at the time of the First War.
  • And now, a small rant: The Ultimate Visual Guide is supposed to be the canon timeline now, but when it moved up certain events related to the Third War by 4 years, it certainly borks a lot of things on the timeline I'd been piecing together since 2008. ~ For example, previous sources said Archimonde was summoned to Dalaran in year 25; this meshed nicely with Medivh being killed by Lothar and Khadgar in year 3 or 4 ( the First War having started in year 0) and Aegynwn taking 21 years to get enough power to rez Medivh in time for him to help out with the Battle for Mt. Hyjal. ~ Now, however, they’ve moved Archimonde trashing Dalaran to year 21. Obviously, the 17 year old, newly-arrived-in-Karazhan Khadgar didn’t kill Medivh immediately on his arrival! ~ (Happily, though, claiming that Aegwyn “only” had 17 years (instead of 21) to rebuild her power isn’t that bad of a revision.) ~ BOTTOM LINE: I wound up hammering out my own slightly smudgy version of the timeline for this story; in places where I felt on shaky ground, I tried to avoid stating precise intervals of time. Note that, prior to WoW, Medivh's coma was canonically either 6 years or 20 years. Aegwyn set his powers to awaken on his "maturity" (which is vague enough to cover anything from 12 to 21. A 20 year coma also seems excessive, unless there was a reason to have him awaken in middle age (perhaps the target was the "messiah age" of 33?)

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Chapter 3 notes
  • Source: Warcraft Legends
  • NPC Count: 4
  • OC Count: --
  • This chapter is headcanon and speculation heavy.
  • Canonically, Alodi was half-elf, but there's no information on his parentage.
  • There is no evidence that Kael and Aegwynn ever met, but I liked the idea.
  • There's also no evidence that Telestra and Aegwynn were acquainted, but with my headcanon of Telestra being Alodi's mother, it seemed reasonable to posit a friendship where they supported each other through the grief of losing a child.
  • Telestra and Anasterian is also headcanon.
  • EDIT Nov 2015: Originally this chapter went with the canonical detail that it was Anasterian who sent elves to Dalaran to teach magic to 100 humans (in exchange for Thoradin's assistance against the trolls). However, as I was working on chapter 15 and looking at my timeline, seeing that this event canonically took place in 2800 BCE -- when Anasterian was, what, only 200? -- and combined with his canonical isolationism, made me decide to headcanon that it was Anasterian's father, the unnamed Sunstrider king who succeeded Dath'remar, who sent the elves to Dalaran. (It still fits in with the Telestra backstory: a young mage sent away because she spent too much time flirting with Prince Anasterian.) ~ Thus Anasterian became a prince in the anecdote Eldin tells Kael in this chapter, and rather than Kael's mother (who I headcanon as Second Consort) Anasterian becomes betrothed to Eldin's mother. 

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Chapter 4 notes
  • Source: mostly gamepedia entries :p
  • NPC Count: 10
  • OC Count: --
  • The idea that Eldin could have a hereditary disease was suggested by Wandavon.
  • I extrapolated Kael's canonical abjuration and enchantment skills into an involvement in the creation of the Eye of Dalaran.
  • Telestra's absense is headcanon, as is she and Aegwynn being subjected to the Kirin Tor equivalent of Damnatio memoriae
  • It is canonical that Kael was invited to join the Six around the time of the Second War, but thus far there's no information that I know f about who he replaced. I've worked out the changes in the roster as best I could here.
  • Although it's canon (or near) that Kael is on the Council of Six during the Second War (likely expelled when arrested by Garithos) there's no clear timeframe when he might have joined. I've headcanoned that he was invited not long after the death of Medivh.

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Chapter 5 notes
  • Source:
  • NPC Count: 8
  • OC Count: --
  • At the time I wrote this chapter I still had not read the Arthas novel (nor Tides of War)
  • As far as I know, the idea that Kael's feelings for Jaina were entirely one-sided and unwelcome is an interpretation that comes primarily from the Arthas novel, despite Arthas' taunt in WC3 that he "stole" Jaina from Kael'thas.

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Chapter 6 notes
  • Source:
  • NPC Count: 5
  • OC Count: --
  • The "Dalaran is dying bits" came from the way Dalaran looked in WC3; it seemed a bit deserted and ghost-townish. Plus, it was a great irony - convince the elves to stay in Dal, which seems like a good idea because it might have saved a few when Arthas destroyed Silvermoon, but then a few days later Archimonde levels Dalaran..

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Chapter 7 notes
  • Source:
  • NPC Count: 15
  • OC Count: 1
  • Arthas is considered Terenas’ sole heir since Calia’s fate is unknown (and idk if she could have inherited the throne anyhow)..

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Chapter 8 notes
  • Source:
  • NPC Count: 28
  • OC Count: 6
  • The Sanctuary (previously called The Haven, but changed due to Dragon Age: Inquisition) is my headcanon for the origin of Deatholme. It was based in part on the “elf village” that Arthas destroys at the beginning of the Undead campaign in WC3. The idea that the Scourged nerubians Arthas brought back from Northrend tunneled into Quel’Thalas was inspired by the proximity of Stratholme and Deatholme (on some maps they are north/south adjacent, and on others northwest/southeast), and by the presence of the Terrorweb tunnel from the banks of the Throndil into Plaguewood.
  • In Blood of the Highborne Halduron fortuitously shows up at An'daroth just in time to save Lor'themar from the undead; Kael's conversation with Halduron near the end of this chapter is my personal headcanon for that serendipity.
  • Calculating the number of undead at the Thalassian Gate:  I set my character to "walk" and paced the gate: length, approximately 45 paces (calling this a foot; I'll switch to meters in a sec); width of the main corridor, 16-18 paces; depth of the alcoves, 16 paces. This makes the area approximately a circle, 45 feet in diameter, giving square footage of 1590. Subtracting a bit for the columns, I arrived at 1400 SF, which is 130 square meters. ~ After looking at the crowd density analysis at (http://www.gkstill.com/Support/crowd-density/CrowdDensity-1.html) I decided on a density of 1.5 undead per square meter (to account for the size of the aboms); this works out to 195 undead. I shaved a few more off that number to arrive at Pathaleon's 187.

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Chapter 9 notes
  • Source:
  • NPC Count: 13
  • OC Count: 2 (mentioned only)
  • Runestones: there are 4 canonically in WoW, but 5 in WC3. I've gone with 5 ( assuming the 5th is to the east of Shan'dor, nearer the troll villages.)
  • BotH, once again my bane, has Liadrin exposit that Deatholme wasn't constructed until Arthas had been gone for years: I've ignored that detail.
  • I have an anagram program that I play around with. The names "Anasterian" and "Antonidas" have seven letters in common: if those letters are struck out from both names, all that's left are the letters  e  r  a  o  d … , from which you can make quite a few words and phrases:  "o, dare" "o, dear" "a redo" and "adore" to name four. (I love anagrams.)
  • Kael as phoenix (and burning the forest that became the Scorched Grove)  has been a key scene for this story almost since it was conceived, although originally "the burning of the forests of QT" was slated for the end of chapter 2. *guffaws*

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Ch. 10 notes.

  • Source: Although I used or paraphrased almost all of the relevant dialogue from WCIII (Sentinel campaign Chapter 6, 7 and Finale; Alliance Campaign chapter 1 and chapter 2) I did skip some of the optional content such as Kael retrieving his hidden caches of gold in order to hire mercenaries and the mountain giants.
  • NPC Count: 25
  • OC Count: 5. Garithos' lieutanants Saxon, Swift, and Tierny; Ambermill leaders Amelia and William
  • Before the use of the mooncrystals as the source of Kael's verdant spheres was canonized in Blood of the Highborne (and before Rowling did horcruxes), I'd had the headcanon that the verdant spheres were related to the soul-gem like fel crystal prisons (e.g., in the Crystal Watch quest Varedis Must Be Stopped!)  and that they contained bits of Dar'Khan's soul (inadvertently splintered on his death).
  • Kael and Garithos do have a few things in common, don't they? Fathers killed while the son was off fighting elsewhere, being put in charge because no one else was left,
  • Just a reminder that this story is more RPG-scale than MMO scale in terms of geography.
  • Location of the blood elf encampment: Okay, so I really wanted to  nail down—at least in my head—a precise location for Kael's camp. When Kael first appears in WC3 he seems to be occupying a settlement (possibly an abandoned village) near enough to Dalaran that undead from the ruins are "hounding [his forces] day and night." He also mentions that they planned to retreat across the river (presumably in a south-westerly direction, away from Dalaran.) The River Arevass, although absent from WoW, was canonically near Pyrewood Village.  Since in WoW both Ambermill and Pyrewood remained untaken by the Scourge (and perhaps their inhabitants would have been grateful for Kael's protection), in the end, my headcanon is that he might have been in Ambermill (perhaps even helped them set up their shields?) ` I didn't want to pin down an exact location, but in my head I was pretty much picturing the layout of the Ivar Patch and the geography of Olsen's Farthing in roughly the place where the Forsaken Front is now.  Another reason for putting Kael's base @ Ambermill: although Tyrande, Maiev and Malfurion are shown making landfall further north — almost directly west of the center of Lordamere Lake — it seems reasonable to me that they all would head southeast from there as Maiev tracked Illidan toward Dalaran (which does allow them to run into Kael somewhere around the Ambermill area)
  • The NE camp shown in WC3 is NE of Dalaran.
  • How many survivors? The information I found said that of the pre-Scourge high elf population, 90% were killed by Arthas. 90% of survivors became blood elves; 10% stayed high elves. Of the blood elves, 15% went to outland with Kael, 85% stayed behind to rebuild SMC and QT. ~ Now, Wowwiki says that there are 25,000 "true" high elves left (no source cited), but working backwards from that gives an initial population of 2.5 million high elves… meaning that 33,000 elves went to Outland with Kael. This seems a bit much to me. ~ I have a feeling that, in much the same way that the RPG distances and travel times are much greater than the MMO distances and travel times, so the population numbers might also be off by an order of magnitude (or even 2). For example, positing 2500 remaining high elves (instead of 25,000) from an initial population of a quarter-million leads to  @19K elves in SMC/QT post-Scourge, and a bit over 3K going to Outland with Kael.
  • Note: Antherann, Andorath, and Theraldis would later be the three San'layn to resurrect Arugal.
  • Almost every early version of this chapter involved Krasus (in disguise, as he was in the Sunwell manga) but what the plot would have required him to do didn't jibe with the characterization he's had so far developed in the story, so that idea was scrapped.
  • Timing once again; it took Jaina and thrall months to go from EK to Kalim, but Illidan only 3 days to go from Kalimdor to EK?  I guess Thrall and Jaina were sailing against the current… or else Illidan used magic. (Considering that Maiev was chasing him, I'll go with the magic theory.)
  • Finding info on sword repair was tough. What's in the story is the result of my understanding of forge-welding as based on  this reference material ,   and watching youtube videos such as Denis Frechette's, and some quick correspondence with people from blacksmithing forums. Because I then also tossed in a smidge of creative license, any errors or implausibilities of blacksmithing theory or practice are mine.
  • As noted above, as much as possible I drew upon the dialog from WC3's Sentinel and Alliance campaigns for the interactions between Kael and the night elves.
  • WINDRUNNER SPIRE AND THE DEATH OF SYLVANAS: According to Golden’s novel, War Crimes, Windrunner Spire was the “final stand” where Arthas killed Sylvanas.~ I am choosing to bypass this canon for two reasons: 1) First off, WC3 has the final stand  between Arthas and Sylvanas taking place on the outskirts of Silvermoon. Granted, WC3 might no longer be considered canon, but as The Dead Scar suggests his path was pretty much straight north from Deatholme to the Sunwell, and given the geography of southern QT, I just can’t see Arthas making a detour to the Spire to kill her there. To me it's much easier to imagine Sylvanas and her contingent of her rangers coming over from the Spire to put themselves in Arthas' path to fight him, but I just don’t see it happening the other way around.  ~ 2) My guess as to why Golden had Arthas kill Sylvanas at the Spire was to explain why her necklace wound up there, but I think other explanations work just as well.  Considering that many of the banshees seem to have returned to their "home" at the Spire after Arthas left Quel'Thalas, I don't think my headcanon — that someone found the necklace on the path of the Dead Scar and took it back to the Spire as a sign of respect for who Sylvanas had been in life — is that much of a stretch.

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Chapter 11 Notes

  • Source:
  • NPC Count: 19
  • OC Count: 1; Voldranus ( mentioned but not seen)
  • As noted at the end pf the chapter, in general I used WC3 dialogue verbatim and unedited (occasionally tossed in some interstitial bits.) The exception is the conversation between Vashj and Kael on their second meeting, where I took some of Kael's lines and gave them to Vashj, and overall condensed the exchange to avoid the use of the phrase "addicted to magic" which some have found problemmatic.
  • Two feet as good as four? In the previous chapter I did describe Tyrande's sabercat mount while mentioning that Maiev was on foot, mostly to underscore Maiev's badassery; however, I've avoided mentioning mounts in this chapter because oddly enough, in WC3 few NPCs have them. (In the campaigns that provided material for these chapters only Malfurion and Tyrande have them; Maiev, Kael, and Illidan are on foot.)
  • I did sort of skip over the step of having Malfurion formally introduced to Kael (he was referred to only as "the archdruid" in the previous chapter) but I feel that most people reading this far would know who he is. (It is interesting to me that, as far as I can remember,  no NPC refers to him by name in the WC3 campaings I'm reprising. Maiev calls him Shan'do; Illidan calls him brother; Tyrande calls him "beloved." Only the loading screens and dialogue labels tell us his name.)
  • There doesn't seem to be a clear cause in WC3 of why Illidan's spell goes poof: in WC3 Malfurion and the others appear on the terrace above Illidan after the Eye of Sargeras disappears. I theorize distraction leading to loss of concentration.
  • I added some material between the departure of Tyrande, Malfurion, Illidan and Maiev at the end of the Sentinel Campaign "Terror of the Tides" and the meeting between Garithos and Kael that opens the Alliance campaign "Curse of the Blood Elves."
  • The observatory repair in WC3 is accomplished by Generic Peasants: I substituted Telonicus
  • The elf metalsmith "Voldranus" that Kael and Telonicus reminisce about is named for the Italian volcano-god Adranus-Volcanus.
  • Kael is listed in WC3 as a blood mage. Everybody blood mage!
  • The emissary in WC3 (chapter "A Dark Convenant") who brings the orders that send Kael on the suicide mission uses the high elf appearance — eyes so blue they literally "smoke" — but curiously he does not have elf ears. I couldn't find a plausible way to work this in, but considering the later high elf vs. blood elf situation, there might be material to be mined.

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Ch. 12 notes.

  • Source: WC3:TFT Alliance Campaign Chapter 3, "The Dungeons of Dalaran"
  • NPC Count: 23
  • OC Count: --
  • According to WC3, Kael spent 2 days in the dungeons.
  • Death by deprivation of food and water usually takes 4-5 (but can take as long as 2 weeks; dehydration is the cause of death).  Hunger and thirst pangs cease after 24-72 hours (when the body begins to salvage what it can from its own tissues.)
  • In WC3 each freed 'lieutenant' apparently went to free other prisoners, since Vashj and Kael are generally seen fighting alone.
  • WC3 has a secret level during Kael's escape in which a generic Engineer offers to salvage Dalaran's defense towers, something that I gave  to Telonicus. (In WC3 building the towers unleashes Jindo, a level 15 Pandaren with over 5,000 HP and a squad of 20 pandaren (Kael at that point in the game is @level 10 with 1,200 HP).
  • Although the story has Kassan unarmed when he comes to parley, in WC3 he is carrying a large axe. (Kael's forces don't fight and kill him until later).
  • The naga's ability to draw water through the earth and into the prison from Lordamere Lake is meant to foreshadow Zangermarsh (and was also inspired by the spring in Stranglethorn Vale).
  • Most of the "official" materials I've seen refer to Al'ar as male (and Garuda is also male), but as there are some enticing arguments for the phoenix being female, I've avoided specifying Al'ar's gender.

 

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 Ch. 13 notes..

  • Source: WC3: TFT Alliance Campaign Chapter 4, "The Dusts of Outland"
  • NPC Count: 28 appearing; 4 additional mentioned
  • OC Count: --
  • Al'ar While the source of many names in WoW have already been identified, Kael's phoenix apparently hasn't given up its secret.  Alar is Spanish for "wing," but that's an overly literal name for a bird. I didn't have much success poking at other languages until a friend who knows Arabic told me that there's al-'ar (العار) , which means "shame, humiliation, or ignominy," and al-ar (الأر), which simply means "land" (which to me, of course, could mean "the spirit of the land of Quel'Thalas").  ~ I realize, of course, that it's entirely possible that Al'ar is simply an anagram for a "Lara" somewhere, but I admit I like contemplating the extra meanings.
  • Al'ar's feet: I did find a mention somewhere that Al'ar has no feet and thus cannot land (or perch falcon-like, as in ch 12). Oops! Add to the list of small canon details I'm ignoring.
  • in WC3 Kael and Vashj "wander aimlessly" for three days and get lost, then just happen to come upon Maiev's camp just as Maiev and her warriors are returning with caged Illidan. I changed this a bit.
  • When Maiev appears at the end of the Sentinels campaign in WC3 and pursues Illidan into the portal he'd opened in Silverpine (t=2976), she has about a half-dozen wardens with her.
  • Kael doesn't actually kneel in WC3 when he pledges the elves to Illidan, but Illidan's command to "rise" doesn't make much sense otherwise.
  • The emerald Eye of Jennala was the first mooncrystal of the Key of the Three Moons, which controlled Ban'dinoriel.
  • So the whole burning crystals thing is sort of a jumble of head-scratchy bits that don't entirely make sense. We have what look like yellow-green fel crystals on Sunstrider Isle, which makes perfect sense at the beginning of BC 2.0. However, subsequent quest text and tweets assert these existed in that form (and were being fed by demonic energy!) prior to Arthas' rampage, which smacks to me of implicitly retconning Sunstrider association with the Legion prior to Outland. ~  Uh, how about no? Shall I say it again: FUCK NO.
  • Like the high elf eyes, I've made the crystals blue and arcane before the Scourge invasion, dark gray-violet while the Sunwell was polluted, and then had them slowly fading and dulling until they were recharged with fel energy from Outland.
  • Akama/Broken: yet another thing I managed to shoehorn into the timeline. Info taken from the BC Town Hall on the Draenei.
  • Black Temple, Black Citadel, Hellfire Citadel:  Like the burning crystals, YAM (Yet Another Mess™). The entire snarl is laid out here. I had happy to see that I'd arrived at the most common fan theory, which was that Black Citadel = Hellfire Citadel. As I personally didn't care for Blizzard's Because I Said So™ solution — 'Black Citadel was actually Black Temple all along, it was just moved to SMV and then an entirely new citadel built in its place to which Magtheridon's body was dragged'… Wait, what? — after lengthy discussions with Bryn and Mipeltaja I decided to keep the fan theory and claim that Magtheridon used both spaces — he was, after all the Lord of Outland — and that, after being defeated in his northern stronghold (and fel orc factory) in Hellfire Citadel (and chained in the basement), his southern stronghold in Shadowmoon at the former Temple of Karabor (aka Black Temple) was taken over by Illidan. This incorporates most of WC3 without any silly moving of entire buildings or draggings of entire pit lords.
  • The famous "Merely a setback" meme, often erroneously attributed to Kael'thas, actually came from Illidan: his first non-flashback line to Kil'jaeden in WC3 is "Kil'jaeden! I was merely set back. I was attempting to bolster my forces. The Lich King will be destroyed, I promise you!" I edited it here slightly so as not to spoil that scene in the story with levity :p.
  • Illidan's love speech was partly inspired by this quote I came across on the quotemadness tumblr: "The way to love someone is to lightly run your finger over that person’s soul until you find a crack, and then gently pour your love into that crack." (attributed to Keith Miller.

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Chapter 14 Notes: Arthas and Northrend
:
  • Source: WC3: TFT Scourge Campaign Chapter 8, "A Symphony of Frost and Flame"
  • NPC Count: 31 appearing; 13 additional mentioned
  • OC Count: 4 (Salandriel and Erellion Sunblaze; Nilo and Taran Dawnstrike)
  • "Three hundred of your people": I did some population number-crunching last year and came up with a total of 3,360 blood elves in Outland by the end of Burning Crusade (this would include both those who joined the Scryers as well as those who joined Kael's various forces in Outland and later on Quel'Danas.
  • Illidan's unnamed students would have included, at the very least, the night elf demon hunters Altruis, Alandien, Theras, and Netharel.
  • Azeroth can be seen from two places within the Black Temple raid instance: from Supremus' courtyard, and from the Temple Summit where the Illidan encounter takes place.  If what you see as you stand on Illidan's platform in Black Temple were really Azeroth, it would mean that Azeroth and Draenor are far closer than the earth is to the moon. Granted, having them relatively close does make it more plausible that Azeroth is the place that The Exodar crashes, but the two planets don't need to be within tossing distance of each other for that to have happened.
  • WC3 refers to Arthas' 'fleet' but isn't clear about how many ships he took to Northrend. He is not shown making landfall, but one other is at the dock when Arthas bids farewell to Kel'Thuzad In Lordaeron, so I went with two.
  • OBELISK THE TORMENTOR: In WC3, ASoFaF is the culmination of the Scourge campaign (and in fact of Warcraft III itself). You play as Arthas, and in that campaign your end goal is to reach Lich King Ner'zhul atop the Frozen Throne. To do so, you need to access the Throne Chamber at the base of the Throne by activating obelisks at the cardinal points of the compass. Illidan's forces are guarding/have activated two obelisks; you need to defeat Illidan's forces and control all 4 obelisks in order to win. ~ I've taken a slight liberty with this; instead of having Illidan's forces activate the obelisks they guard, I've just said that they try to keep Arthas from them
  • I also invented a bit to explain how it is that Arthas/Ner'zhul knows how to activate the obelisks (but I feel it's plausible that Kel'Thuzad would have researched the topic for his master) -- oh and that line Kael quotes? Shi lok gu'ul enkil za'ar... was derived from Shi lok GUL enkilzar! which is You are NOT prepared! in Demonic
  • Kael's speech was inspired by Shakespeare's  “The Feast of St Crispin” speech from Henry V, Act IV, Scene 3
  • Arthas' first two lines to Kael are from WC3; the rest is invented, although it is canon that Arthas turned the blood elves that died in Icecrown Glacier into San'layn
  • Death Knight King Arthas seems to have been extra-cruel to blood elves he killed (Sylvanas, the San'layn) so I don't think it's unreasonable to posit he was working out a bit of a personal vendetta.
  • In the video movie of wc3 that I used,  the line "The third obelisk has been activated! Only one more remains! Riseup, my warriors!" actually occurs before the fight with Kael, not after. Artistic license.
  • I drew upon avalanche survivor accounts for Kael's temporary snow burial.
  • Vorath, from the TCG, does shadow damage like every other San'layn caster; however, I thought it'd be fun to say that Vorath had a bit of an arcane mage toolkit, since we have a frost-mage BP (Keleseth), a fire-mage BP (Taldaram), a warlock BP (Navarius), and a shadow priest BP (Valanar) — even though technically Vorath is a Blood Lord and not a Blood Prince.

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Ch. 15 notes.

  • Source: BC quests and the Sunwell Manga
  • NPC Count: 20 appearing; 39 additional mentioned
  • OC Count: none!
  • Timelines are my bane, although it's partly a frustration of my own making. I like knowing the sequence and duration of events, so that when characters make offhand comments like "three weeks ago" I can feel it's reasonable accurate. ~ I can sometimes get around this by being vague about duration (the order of events is usually much easier to suss out, especially if there are dependencies. For example, if a bunch of events depend on the Dark Portal being open, well then, those events do have to happen after a canonical opening.
  • According to the gamepedia article on Thalassian, "Elor bindel felallan morin'aminor" means "Sleep forever in quiet serenity" (per a Sean Copeland tweet).
  • Kael's grandfather: I wrote a bit more about this in the note I added to chapter 3, but yeah, I'm headcanoning this too. Anasterian would have had to have been only 200 or so when he negotiated (in 2800 BCE) with the humans  for help with the Amani and in return sent elves to teach 100 humans the secrets of magic. Considering how isolationist Anasterian seems to have been, I think it's just as easy to attribute this to the unknown Sunstrider that ruled between Dath'remar and Anasterian.  
  • Duskwalker: my own creation, a sort of cross between a rogue and a dark ranger.
  • Forsaken: I asked JackofNone about the meaning of this appellation, and in return a wonderful meta post came into being: 
  • Thanks once again to Mipe for allowing me to bounce endless ideas at them
  • The second of each of the two red-curtained arches in the Shrine of the Eclipse has just enough space for a narrow, single person bedroll. I have screenshots to prove it,

 

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Ch. 16 notes.

  • Source: Netherstorm and Quel'Danas quests, mostly
  • NPC Count: 20 appearing; 5 additional mentioned
  • OC Count: 2
  • A thank you to little-ojousama for blue dragon and surge needle research.
  • According to the quest given by Exarch Larethor at Magister's Terrace: "The Legion and Kael'thas' forces are becoming increasingly intertwined. This concerns me very deeply. From what we can gather Selin Fireheart and Priestess Delrissa work closely together to unite the two armies."
  • The names of the two ethereal OCs (who are modelled on one of WoW's other "odd couples'):  Loistavat can mean either "glowing" or "excellent" - kind of similar to the english world "brilliant" — "siteet" can describe all sorts of bindings, including social connections.. So you have a name that could just as easily be read as "Excellent Connections" as "Glowing Bandages" ~ Kajo or Kajastus for the other one (meaning a more distant glow, like that of a dawn) ~ "Varkaus" which literally means theft "Takaisinotto", meaning repossession?  They are a "marriage" of a thief and a repossesser. Thus when Kajastus says "Siteet is Varkaus. I am Takaisinotto" what he's really saying is "Siteet is a thief. I am a repossessor.
  • M'uru Canonically first seen by Astalor on the Tempest Bridge, in the "sapped naaru" image the undarkened top of M'uru's head is light gold/champagne color.

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Placeholder for Ch. 17 notes.

Author's Notes, Chapter 17: Tempest Keep and Kirin Var Village

:
  • Source: Primarily various Burning Crusade quests and flavor text, with some inferences drawn from Wrath of the Lich King quests.
  • NPC count: 21 appearing; 20 additional mentioned.
  • OC count:  None: "Sirona Sorrowsun" is actually Sironas.
  • I refer to Master Daelis Dawnstrike as a Farstrider, but if he was put in charge of Kael's forces — which would have included newly-minted Blood Knights — then he might have worn the BK tabard even though he's an archer ( i.e., a Farstrider)
  • I wasn't certain when the gnomes officially joined the Alliance (my lore experts say @time of the Second War, but they were occupied with internal troubles at the time of the Third), and whether Kael canonically would have known of them, but since we already had Nima in an earlier chapter  I'm adding a mention here, even if only as a brief hat-tip.
  • Although Xevozz's affiliation isn't stated, the red energy/purple robe model is used by the Zaxxis ethereals, a group that will later break away from the Consortium (presumably after  after Ambassador Solannas' death, when diplomatic relations between the elves and the Consortium soured). Though I didn't state it outright, my headcanon is that Pathaleon got his infamous projector ("Wanted: Pathaleon's Projector") when Xevozz was still with the Consortium (although the quest—now redacted —claimed that Pathaleon acquired the projector from "Zaxxis rebels.")
  • The description of the mana bomb and its use is from the quest "The Unending Invasion." Morran says that the mana bomb landed "in the officer's quarters to the northwest"; but the fragment (55, 87)  is almost directly west of him (57, 86).
  • The various quests related to the Violet Tower in Kirin Var Village reveal that Ar'kelos is giving off a dampening field that prevents Archmage Vargoth from using his magic, which is why Vargoth can't simply just kill the golem himself.  In the quest "The Keymaster" Vargoth has this to say: "It doesn't surprise me that Kael'thas has put the key to this ward in the hands of someone like Commander Sarannis. Prince Kael'thas is a great many things, but he is no simpleton. In order to break this curse once and for all, you must enter Tempest Keep and claim the keystone."
  • The "Glacious sapphire" winds up in the possession of Kanthin the Summoner
  • Vargoth claimed that Kael attacked Kirin Var with an interdimensional vessel: in Vargoth's journal he says that Kael used "thousands of troops" and more than one "dimensional ship" in addition to the mana bomb, but this is likely the exaggeration of a panicked moment; Kael likely had only dozens or hundreds, and only one ship — the fleeing Exodar.
  • There are references that state that KVV was destroyed before the Exodar escaped Outland, which only makes sense if Velen et al hid out on the Exodar until most of Kael's forces were at KVV.
  • Sironas' TCG card says "The draenei's fatal flaw is their trusting nature."
  • Sironas' original model was a draenei wearing what looked like PvP Warlock gear 
  • During the quest "What We Don't Know" (where you disguise yourself as a blood elf to extract information from a Sunhawk agent) it's claimed that Sironas had been living among the draenei for 'a very long time.' I find this is bit puzzling, since if KJ knew where the drae were, why didn't he move against them? My headcanon is that he wanted to capture (not kill) Velen, and so was taking his time.

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last edited 4 July 2016


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