Ashbringer, Blade of the Scarlet Highlord, is the sword of former Highlord Alexandros Mograine of the Scarlet Crusade. The blade was named after Mograine (The Ashbringer) and his uncanny ability to smite the undead to nothing but a flurry of ash. Mograine was betrayed and murdered by his son, Renault, using the sword. Mograine was resurrected as a death knight by archlich Kel'Thuzad, and he still possesses Ashbringer, although it has been defiled by his murder and transformed into .
Ashbringer is one of the most hyped and lore-rich items thus far in the World of Warcraft, but is not yet known to be obtainable by players. The known item statistics are certain to change if it is introduced. While the sword's story has been slowly revealed since World of Warcraft's inception, it will have a pronounced role in Wrath of the Lich King.
Ashbringer will be featured in an eponymous issue of the World of Warcraft comic book to be released on September 10th, 2008.
Origin of Ashbringer
- Main article: Ashbringer/Old Hillsbrad Event
While venturing in Blackrock Spire (probably during its assault in the Second War), Highlord (then Commander) Mograine of the Silver Hand claimed a mysterious dark crystal from a dead orc lieutenant. The crystal was the "living embodiment of shadow," and originated from Draenor.
Mograine kept the crystal a secret until the first whispers of the Scourge reached Lordaeron. He revealed it to the other leaders of the Silver Hand, suggesting that they search for the crystal's polar opposite - a manifestation of the Light itself - to be used against the impending undead holocaust. Mograine's peers, appalled at the sight of this dark crystal, attempted to destroy it with a holy spell. Unexpectedly, the crystal absorbed the spell and became its antithesis, the very crystal of pure light that Mograine suggested moments before. It was decided that from this crystal a weapon would be forged that would smite the undead with such power that only a cloud of ash would remain in its wake—The Ashbringer.
Fall of the Ashbringer
- Main article: Corrupted Ashbringer/Scarlet Monastery Event
After the Silver Hand was dissolved following Arthas' betrayal, the remaining leaders formed the Scarlet Crusade. Mograine was appointed to the head position of Highlord, and Ashbringer became the most lethal weapon in the Crusade's arsenal - so much so that it quickly garnered the attention of Kel'Thuzad. Balnazzar, in the newly possessed body of Grand Crusader Saidan Dathrohan, sought to use the Crusade as a machine against the Scourge and rectify the Burning Legion's past failure to defeat the Lich King. Mograine, however, potentially jeopardized his plans. Balnazzar made a pact with Kel'Thuzad to eliminate the Highlord: the bane of the Scourge would be destroyed, and Balnazzar's reign would continue unchecked. He corrupted Mograine's son, Renault, and made plans to set a trap for the Highlord. Renault led his father and High Inquisitor Fairbanks to Stratholme, where the legions of the Scourge awaited them. Renault fled and hid while Mograine and Fairbanks fended for themselves. Fairbanks eventually became trapped alive under a pile of corpses. Mograine alone continued to smite thousands of the undead with ease, but was eventually wearied and dropped his blade in fatigue. Renault came out of hiding to exploit his father's vulnerable state. He took up Ashbringer and slew his father, which simultaneously corrupted the blade by using it for such a treacherous act. Unable to wield the corrupted sword, he left it with his father's body, and reported to the Crusade that it had been lost.
Meanwhile, Kel'Thuzad resurrected Mograine as one of his death knights and reclaimed his corrupted blade. Since then Mograine has resided in Naxxramas, driven mad by his corruption. Taelan Fordring has succeeded him as Highlord. Renault has risen in rank to Commander of the Scarlet Monastery, and Balnazzar gained authority over the Scarlet Crusade and began to corrupt it further into the zealous faction it is today. Followers of the Crusade believe that the "chosen one" who finds Ashbringer will be the harbinger of the Crusade's triumph.
In World of Warcraft
Ashbringer has been subject to intense speculation since the release of World of Warcraft, but is not currently known to be acquirable. Rumors have been fueled by data-mined graphics and item statistics, as well as NPC's alluding to its existence.
Alexia Ironknife, Bardu Sharpeye, Caretaker Alen, Narain Soothfancy, Commander Eligor Dawnbringer, Shen'dralar Zealots and all make references to Ashbringer. Information from these NPC's implies Nat Pagle and Prince Tortheldrin know the location of Ashbringer, and are even willing to tell the player; however, they have never shared their knowledge.
The rumors regarding an acquirable Ashbringer persisted until Eyonix confessed that it is not in-game:
The caster legendary being referred to is , which was added in Patch 1.11. The item statistics of Ashbringer found in the game files will be updated before the sword is made available to players.
- Main article: Corrupted Ashbringer
Upon wielding the blade, the player becomes friendly with the Scarlet Crusade (although it does not appear in the reputations window) and hated with the Argent Dawn. A scripted event can be triggered upon entering the Cathedral in the Scarlet Monastery.
Scarlet Commander Mograine welcomes the player as the crusaders bow before him or her. Unexpectedly, Highlord Mograine's spirit appears in full Dreadnaught, revives Fairbanks and smites and kills his son (Renault, the Scarlet Commander) for murdering him. Fairbanks proceeds to tell the story of Renault's betrayal and that the Corrupted Ashbringer is beyond redeeming. Luckily, Mograine has another son who resides in Outland and has the ability to forge a new Ashbringer. Fairbanks does not give any quests.This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
Players may find Highlord Darion Mograine of the Knights of the Ebon Blade in the Eastern Plaguelands. He is confirmed to be a son of Highlord Alexandros Mograine. Darion appears to be wielding Corrupted Ashbringer. During the Battle for Light's Hope Chapel, Darion tosses Ashbringer to Tirion Fordring, which then appears to become cleansed, after which it is used to demonstrate the power of the Light.
According to Commander Eligor Dawnbringer, who conducts a briefing on Naxxramas, Alexandros Mograine disappeared after the first confrontation in Naxxramas:
- "The final Death Knight, Lord Mograine, was the finest warrior that the Death Knights had ever seen. However, after the events in Azeroth, he vanished without a trace. It is yet to be seen who Kel'Thuzad has appointed in his place."
On the Blizzcon demonstration realm, players encountered the dying Ares the Oathbound of the Order of the Silver Hand within the Utgarde Catacombs, one of the wings of Utgarde Keep. Ares gave a quest,  , which required players to retrieve a "sacred artifact" from another location in the dungeon. Once retrieved, he asked the player to return it to Lord Irulon Trueblade in Valgarde. Trueblade told the player that the weapon will be used by Tirion Fordring - the new Highlord of the Silver Hand - in the Silver Hand's campaign against the Scourge, perhaps even using it against the Lich King himself. A nearby cleric then unmasked himself as Fordring and equipped the artifact, which was revealed to be Ashbringer.
Rumors and speculation
Role in Wrath of the Lich King
Knowing that Mograine's spirit was freed from his body, it is unknown if Morgraine will appear again in "new" Naxxramas, or if Corrupted Ashbringer will drop again.
Some believe that Ashbringer is the Light's answer to Frostmourne, and that the two may eventually contend with one another: Frostmourne in the hands of Arthas, Ashbringer in the hands of Tirion Fordring or the player.
Identity of Mograine's second son
The identity of Mograine's son remained a mystery throughout the Burning Crusade. Although Fairbanks' comments imply that he was a member of the Alliance Expedition during the Second War, with the introduction of Wrath of the Lich King, it was revealed his son is Highlord Darion Mograine.
Until the introduction of Wrath of the Lich King, the most popular candidate for Mograine's son among players was David Wayne, due to the fact that he is a weaponsmith (and could thus forge a new Ashbringer) and makes reference to leaving the Alliance Expedition because he believes he is meant to be part of "something larger." He also has red hair like the two known Mograines.
The crystal from which the original Ashbringer was created is likely related to the naaru, and may in fact be a naaru.
The naaru life cycle is one of reincarnation. When a naaru's physical form is damaged, it becomes "darkened." The naaru will persist in this state until they slowly regenerate their powers from the Light over many years, after which they will be "reborn" into their "Light" form again. The crystal shown by Highlord Mograine in Old Hillsbrad demonstrates similar properties: a holy spell was cast on the dark crystal and it became a crystal of light. Furthermore, the crystal was described as a living embodiment, suggesting that it is alive, or at least sentient -- possibly a darkened naaru. If the crystal is not a darkened naaru, then it is almost certainly closely associated with them, perhaps one of the Ata'mal Crystals.
Mograine also states that the crystal is from Draenor. The naaru had not yet arrived on Draenor via Tempest Keep before the Second War, leaving only a few naaru as the possible source of the crystal—K'ure, who resides in Oshu'gun, or D'ore, who was injured in Oshu'gun's crash upon Draenor centuries before, currently interred in Auchindoun. D'ore himself tells the player:
D'ore:"Without the void, the Light cannot exist."
Which are suspiciously similar to words used by Mograine:
Commander Mograine: "Can good exist without evil? Can there be light without dark?" 
After Kil'jaeden's defeat at Sunwell Plateau, Velen and Lady Liadrin arrive at the Sunwell. Velen uses the remaining "spark" of M'uru to reignite the Sunwell. Liadrin's experience upon being filled with the Sunwell's energies is not unlike that of Mograine's when touching the Ashbringer crystal:
Lady Liadrin: "Blessed ancestors! I feel it ! So much love ... so much grace ... there are ... no words ... impossible to describe!"
Commander Mograine: "I... It... It is beautiful. What I felt when I touched it... The Light coursed through me and I through it... It healed my spirit."
Their similar experiences, along with the new knowledge that a naaru's essence can be consolidated, suggests that the spark of another naaru may have been the crystal from which Ashbringer was forged.
It should be noted that M'uru's spark appears identical (although larger) to the dark Ashbringer crystal, although this may be coincidental.
Ashbringer may have been originally intended to be in the game much earlier. Parts of the quest line can be pieced together.
Nat Pagle learned of the location of Ashbringer and wrote about it in his book, , of which players only have the last page. Shen'dralar zealots in Dire Maul say that Prince Tortheldrin knows the location of Ashbringer and is willing to tell the player if one were to bring him the Head of Nefarian. Also in Dire Maul is the full (albeit unreadable) copy of Nat's book, , which can be found in dusty tomes. The Prince, being a historian and bibliophile, likely read Pagle's book, learned of the Ashbringer's location, and discarded the book in Dire Maul where the player finds it.
The zealots' words suggest that Ashbringer was likely to be the legendary item associated with Blackwing Lair but was changed to , which requires from Blackwing Lair. This is supported by the fact that Ashbringer's original item ID was changed to host Thunderfury.
Additionally, at one time, could be looted from Large Vile Slimes in The Weeping Cavern of Western Plaguelands. Lengthy discussion on the official forums has led to the premature yet popular conclusion that Timolain is the name of the mage referred to by Bardu Sharpeye and Alexia Ironknife, and therefore is the crafter of the Ashbringer.
The implementation of Ashbringer was likely delayed so that the story could be fleshed out with the addition of Naxxramas, and appears to have been further delayed to be included in Wrath of the Lich King.
An "Ashbringer" meme has developed on the official forums. Posts that raise questions about Ashbringer, particularly where one may obtain it, often solicit a response of "the Ashbringer..." in reference to the Old Hillsbrad event. Indeed, this response is used alongside "It's a trap!" and "Fool! You've activated my trap card!" whenever players feel a post is not worthy of a real response.
- Alexandros Mograine
- Darion Mograine
- Renault Mograine
- Ashbringer Quotes
- Old Hillsbrad Event: The Origin of Ashbringer
- Scarlet Monastery Event: Retribution of the Ashbringer
- ^ a b Medievaldragon 2008-06-16. :: Blizzplanet :: World of Warcraft: Ashbringer # 1 by Wildstorm. Retrieved on 2008-06-17.
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. Blizzard Entertainment. Old Hillsbrad Foothills. Highlord Mograine.
- ^ Boubouille 2007-08-10. The Asbringer... Again.. Retrieved on 2007-08-21.
- ^ a b What the Soul Sees, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. Blizzard Entertainment. D'ore.
- ^ A Secret Revealed, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. Blizzard Entertainment. K'ure.
- ^ Boubouille 2008-03-01. New PTR Build - Item changes and boss spoilers. Retrieved on 2008-03-06.