The Cult of the Damned was formed during the opening days of the Third War, during which the Scourge was working to establish its foothold on Lordaeron. The Scourge, under command of the Lich King, was to weaken the world of Azeroth in preparation for the arrival of the Burning Legion, whose mission was (and remains still) to destroy all life and order in the Universe. The wretched Lich King, during the time of the Third War, was yet an unwilling servant of the Legion. Even so, he commanded his minions telepathically from the confines of his prison-throne. Reaching out with his mind, he contacted many men, orcs, and elves who already held in their hearts a lust for power.
Most prominent among these sinister few was a powerful Archmagus called Kel'Thuzad, member of the ruling council of the Kirin Tor in Dalaran. Though he served the light, Kel'Thuzad held in his mind a fascination for the sinister ways of the Dark Arts. In men, it is known that the mind can oftentimes deceive the soul...
Using the powers at his disposal, the charismatic Archmagus-turned-Necromancer formed the Cult of the Damned, whose sole purpose was to serve the will of the Lich King. Luring disenfranchised peasants and workers into the Cult's service through the promise of social equality and immortality, Kel'Thuzad undermined Lordaeron's defenses by utilizing his peasant workforce to spread the insidious Plague of Undeath. Contained within Plague cauldrons throughout the region, the Plague transformed many of the nation's citizens into undead creatures under the control of the Lich King. Eventually, Lordaeron fell to the Scourge, betrayed by many of its own people who were in the service of the Lich King.
Not long after, as the Burning Legion was defeated upon the summit of Mount Hyjal, the Lich King earned his freedom from the Legion, and regained his control over the Scourge. Today, the Cult of the Damned continues to help fulfill the will of the Lich King throughout the world, undermining both the Alliance and the Horde races whenever possible, doing what they can to turn more races to war amongst themselves. After all, for every human or orc who falls on the battlefield, the Scourge gains another potential recruit.
The History of the Cult
After the Lich King gained control of Northrend and defeated the Empire of Azjol-Nerub during the War of the Spider, he began to set his eyes south, toward the target given to him by Kil'jaeden, Lieutenant of the Burning Legion, and the Lich King's overlord and creator. Reaching out with his vast telepathic capabilities, the Lich King contacted many individuals in throughout the world who would make suitable minions to begin the spread of the Scourge southward.
Chief among the men and women who heard the Lich King's call was Kel'Thuzad, Archmagus of Dalaran. Forsaking his position as senior member of the Kirin Tor, the ruling council of the magocratic nation, Kel'Thuzad made the long journey northward, toward the icy land of Northrend, traveling alone the entire way. Upon arriving at Northrend, the old Archmagus gazed in awe upon the vast ruins left following the War of the Spider, and realized that siding with the Lich King would be a more intelligent decision than he had at first thought.
Soon after, Kel'Thuzad arrived at the Frozen Throne, his path unbarred by the undead guardians of the Scourge, and there he offered his soul to Ner'zhul. In exchange for loyalty and obedience, the Lich King promised the Archmagus immortality and great power. To aid his new servant in his appointed task of setting the stage for the Scourge's coming to Lordaeron, the Lich King left Kel'Thuzad's humanity intact. Although old, the Archmagus was still very charismatic, and such a trait would prove useful in assembling more and more of Lordaeron's easily-swayed citizens toward the shadow of the Lich King.
For three years Kel'Thuzad worked, preaching his new religion to the masses, promising them immortality and an ideal society free of all the burdens the existing one forced upon its citizenry. Many of Lordaeron's overworked laborers and disenfranchised masses were taken in by this charismatic individual, and willingly sold themselves into service to the Lich King. Kel'Thuzad also used his fortunes and those of his fellow Cult members to taint and corrupt men in positions of power, bringing them into the Cult through favors and gifts. Eventually, many of Lordaeron's northern towns were completely under the control of the Cult of the Damned and so, it became time for the Lich King to act.
Imbuing a number of cauldron-like artifacts with the energies of the Blight Plague, the Lich King constructed a number of these Plague cauldrons which would spread the Plague over wide areas. Securing these magical devices safely within many of the Cult's towns to the north, the Blight Plague quickly spread, wiping out their parent towns and turning the citizens into undead creatures in service to the Lich King. Though, for the Cultists, joining the ranks of the undead was a welcome reward.
As the Plague spread further and the forces of the Scourge battered the people of Lordaeron relentlessly, the once-great nation inevitably began to fall to the Scourge. The vast weight of undead created by the Blight Plague, supported by the invasion of the Burning Legion, was a substantial force to combat. Augmented by the death of Lordaeron's King Terenas at the hands of his own son, Arthas, the newly anointed Death Knight, the siege proved too much for Lordaeron's remaining defenders to hold off. However, the success of the Scourge, now under the command of the Burning Legion, was soon halted upon the slopes of Mount Hyjal, as the races of the world united against undead horde. It was at Hyjal that Archimonde, one of the Legion's Lieutenants and leader upon Azeroth, was slain. The Legion fell into disarray. Unguided by a central leader, its forces scattered.
Following the defeat of the Legion, the Scourge once again fell into the Lich King's control. Although many of the Scourge were lost during the battle of Hyjal, and more during the Frozen Throne affair when the Forsaken broke away from the Scourge, the forces of the Lich King remained strong, its efforts still aided by the loyal Cult of the Damned. Although their motives are unclear, under the shadowy ministration of the Lich King, the Cult of the Damned continues its work, which it seems, is never finished.
The Cult of the Damned in WoW
The current activities of the Cult of the Damned are unknown. While the Cult is certainly still active, spreading its influence among both the Horde and Alliance, its true objective is hidden, the Lich King's next move has yet to be revealed. What we do know is that the Cult will never tire in its mission to undermine the defenses of the living races through subterfuge and sabotage. So long as the Lich King remains, the hidden hand of the Cult will be an ever-present threat to both the Horde and the Alliance. As the only Humanoid boss in Naxxramas, Grand Widow Faerlina is likely a high-ranked member of the Cult.
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