Defias chain of command

The following is a composite account of all known activities of the Defias Brotherhood up to and including their involvement in the World of WarCraft game. Almost everything listed below either occurs or is otherwise documented in-game.

Spoiler Alert! The following reveals major plot details from the Warcraft series. Read at your own risk!

Early History

  • The human Edwin VanCleef grows up in the city of Stormwind. He trains as a rogue alongside his childhood friend, Mathias Shaw. Eventually VanCleef joins the society known as the Stonemasons, establishing a network of clandestine contacts.
  • The Horde wins the First War, seizing control of the kingdom of Stormwind and driving its inhabitants into exile. The city of Stormwind itself is burned to the ground.
  • Six years later, the Alliance of Lordaeron achieves supreme victory over the Horde and is able to reclaim its holdings.
  • Terenas Menethil, king of Lordaeron, offers to rebuild the ruined city of Stormwind. To accomplish this reconstruction, heavy taxes are introduced among all the member nations of the Alliance.
  • The newly reformed Stormwind House of Nobles contracts the remaining Stonemasons to perform the physical rebuilding of the city using the resources raised by Terenas.
  • After several years, the project is completed. The Stonemasons then approach the House of Nobles seeking payment for their work. The Nobles, however, admonish the Stonemasons for not performing the service to the Alliance out of the kindness of their hearts.
  • Alienated and enraged, many of the Stonemasons rally behind Edwin VanCleef. VanCleef makes impassioned pleas to the Nobles for payment, but the Nobles continue to refuse.
  • After much argument and debate, VanCleef and his followers leave Stormwind, going into hiding in the nearby wilderness.

Origins of the Brotherhood

  • VanCleef's followers soon form a secret organization called the Defias Brotherhood.
  • Needing a base for their plans, the Defias cultivate a hideout in the heart of the Deadmines cave system in southern Westfall, concealing the entrance inside a barn in the town of Moonbrook. VanCleef names Bazil Thredd his second-in-command.
  • Utilizing many of his contacts from his Stonemason days, VanCleef lures more members into the Defias. The Brotherhood begins to change its form from alienated Stonemasons to a coalition of brigands and thieves.
  • Stationing his men at key points along the main river that runs through the kingdom, VanCleef is able to create a network of communication and transport that stretches from the Redridge Mountains west to Stormwind, and south as far as Booty Bay.
  • Around this same time, VanCleef makes valuable contacts inside the House of Nobles itself; most notably in the form of Lord Gregor Lescovar. Though Lescovar and his lackeys refuse to be made VanCleef's subordinates, the two men manage to reach an uncomfortable agreement, and begin working to destroy Stormwind from within.
  • Goblin engineers are contracted by VanCleef to work in the Deadmines, building mechanical Harvest Golems that resemble scarecrows.
  • VanCleef also buys out the Riverpaw gnolls, hiring them as thugs and stationing them throughout Westfall.
  • At some point, the Stormwind army mysteriously disappears to fight the Horde in foreign lands. This departure leaves Stormwind and its provinces of Goldshire, Lakeshire, Darkshire and Westfall completely defenseless. VanCleef knows the time has come to make his move.

Conquest of Westfall and Elwynn

Underground Operation

  • The Defias are now ready to proceed with the next phase of the plan. Steel, copper and other minerals are harvested in large quantities from the captured mines and collected in the Deadmines. Wood timber felled in Westfall and materials gathered in Redridge (perhaps by the Redridge Gnolls) are also stored in the caves, as are minerals harvested within the Deadmines themselves.
  • VanCleef contracts a number of Goblin Shipbuilders, stationing them within the Deadmines. There the goblins begin construction on VanCleef's secret weapon of mass destruction: a giant Juggernaut, modeled on the orcish warships used during the Second War. The Lumbermaster Sneed constructs a Mast Room within the mines, using the space to create masts and wooden rigging for the Juggernaut.
  • A team of Goblin Craftsmen are called upon to create a massive Foundry in the mines. The Foundry is used to process ore into metals used in the construction.
  • The Defias enter into an agreement with the Bloodsail Buccaneers of southern Stranglethorn Vale. The Bloodsail leader, Fleet Master Firallon, sends a crew of his pirates led by Captain Greenskin the goblin to man VanCleef's new vessel.

Fighting Back

  • The first blow to the Defias Brotherhood's power base occurs in Northshire Valley, where the locals under the leadship of Marshal McBride manage to wrest control of the Echo Ridge Mine from the Defias-employed Kobolds. Believing the Kobolds to be a nuisance unto themselves, however, the liberators fail to connect the vermin with the Defias.
  • Agitated by the actions of the Defias, Marshal McBride places a bounty on their ringleader in Northshire Valley, one Garrick Padfoot, which leads to his death. Padfoot's band is driven off from the Northshire Vineyards soon after.
  • Next, the Defias lose control of the Fargodeep Mine just south of the town of Goldshire, as adventurers set out to explore the mine at the behest of Marshal Dughan, and collect candles and gold dust from the Kobolds for William Pestle and Remey Two-times. Similar conditions also result in the liberation of the distant Jasperlode Mine in eastern Elwynn.
  • The Defias scoundrel Dead-Tooth Jack steals the tabard of a Stormwind Marshal, using it as a disguise that fools the near-blind Marshal Haggard. Jack tricks Haggard into giving up his Marshal's badge, but this ironically leads to Jack's end; for Haggard enlists a local warrior to deal with the brigand and reclaim the badge.
  • Mathias Shaw, leader of the Stormwind intelligence organization known as SI:7, plots a successful infiltration of the Defias dock site at Jerod's Landing, leading to the recovery of valuable Defias shipping information.
  • The notorious Defias warlock, Surena Caledon also meets her death in the days following the Elwynn offensive, as the warlock coven in Stormwind declares her life forfeit. She and her lover, Erlan Drudgemoor are slain by one of the coven's junior members, and Surena's choker is recovered on the orders of Gakin the Darkbinder, the warlock who once instructed Surena. The choker is then used by Gakin in an incantation to summon and subdue a voidwalker.
  • Around this time, VanCleef's second-in-command, Bazil Thredd is captured and placed in the Stormwind Stockade.
  • Meanwhile, the rogue Wiley the Black manages to infiltrate the Defias organization, learning much about their goals and endeavors. He remains quiet, however, out of fear.
  • Perhaps most damaging to VanCleef's agenda comes the death of Morgan the Collector, who was stationed with Caledon and Drudgemoor in Elwynn Forest. Morgan had served as VanCleef's chief lieutenant in Elwynn and he effectively ran the Elwynn operation, facilitating the transport of gold and other materials from the Elwynn mines to the Deadmines. Morgan's communications were carried by the Riverpaw Gnolls, because Morgan believed this would keep them from being discovered by agents of Stormwind. That plan failed, however, as a raid upon the gnoll camp in Forest's Edge resulted in Marshal Dughan recovering a particularly damaging message from Morgan, including a schedule of shipments. In short order, the leaked information leads to Morgan's assassination and the end of the Defias mining operation in Elwynn Forest.

The People's Militia

  • Meanwhile, the People's Militia based at Sentinel Hill are facing their own Defias problems. The locals have been run off their family farms, and the township of Moonbrook has been completely overrun by the Defias brigands.
  • Gryan Stoutmantle, leader of the Militia, is driven to desperation by the grim events, and finally contacts the rogue known as Wiley the Black, based in Lakeshire. Though fearful of the Defias, Wiley owes Stoutmantle his life, and so consents to share what information he knows of the Defias. Wiley reveals the true scope of the Defias operations, which he claims stretch from Stormwind all the way to Booty Bay. He accurately claims that the Defias control every mine in Elwynn and Westfall, and that they are using the resources from these mines to fund a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Additionally, Wiley hints that the Defias are in fact related to the Stonemasons that rebuilt Stormwind City. Stoutmantle has this connection confirmed to him by Mathias Shaw of SI:7, a childhood friend of Edwin VanCleef's and something of an expert on the Stonemasons. Still, Stoutmantle seeks further proof of VanCleef's guilt.
  • This proof comes with the interception of a Defias Messenger bearing instructions from VanCleef himself. His note claims that their mysterious project is nearing completion, and that the time has come to strip everything that isn't nailed down in their other holdings. The note is retrieved for Stoutmantle, who can no longer deny VanCleef's involvement with the Defias and orders his assassination.
  • Around this time, a Defias Traitor is captured attempting to steal Farmer Saldean's wagon. In exchange for his life, the traitor betrays his Defias brothers and reveals the exact location of the entrance to VanCleef's hideout in the Deadmines.
  • Stoutmantle at last contracts a party of adventurers, who infiltrate the Deadmines on his orders, causing massive damage to the mining, smelting and ship construction operations going on there and finally succeeding in assassinating Edwin VanCleef.

The Brotherhood After VanCleef

  • Rather than ending the Defias threat, however, VanCleef's death only makes the Brotherhood more mysterious and difficult to track.
  • Shortly before his death, VanCleef pens a hasty letter to fellow former Stonemason Baros Alexston, presumably begging Alexston's support of the Defias. As a city architect, Alexston has valuable connections to the House of Nobles which might have made people like Lord Gregor Lescovar obsolete.
  • VanCleef does not live long enough to send the letter; however, his killers deliver to Alexston. Predictably, Alexston wants nothing to do with VanCleef's mad schemes. After all, it was the Defias who ran off Alexston's family from their farm in Westfall; one would hardly expect him to be sympathetic to the Defias or their aims.
  • Alexston suggests that the prisoner Bazil Thredd, might be of use in recovering information on the Defias, since Thredd had been VanCleef's second-in-command prior to the former's capture and imprisonment in the Stockade. Getting information out of Thredd, however, might be difficult...

The Stockade Riots

  • For many months, the Defias underboss Bazil Thredd had no visitors as he languished in the Stormwind Stockade, and it was presumed by his jailors that he had outlived his usefulness to the Defias Brotherhood. All that changed shortly before the death of Edwin VanCleef, however, when Thredd began to receive frequent visits from the assassin Marzon the Silent Blade (under the alias of Maelik).
  • Marzon then facilitated a sort of three-cornered conversation, carrying messages between Thredd, VanCleef and Lord Gregor Lescovar the Noble. As VanCleef's Stormwind support, Thredd and Lescovar masterminded a grand uprising within the Stockade, planned to esnure the mass breakout of Thredd and many other Defias underlings.
  • Nikova Raskol's teenage grandson Mac was working as a guard in the Stockade when riots began. Mac had previously chastised the Defias inmates for creating their iconic crimson masks out of fabric ripped from their pillowcases; as punishment for this, he was one of the first casualties of the riots, stabbed in the back by the men he had disciplined.
  • In orchestrating the riots, Thredd succeeded in inducting many of the other prisoners into the Defias Brotherhood, including those who might not have been a part of the Brotherhood prior to the riots. Among these were:
  • Though the chaos cause by the Stockades uprising is significant, it is not enough to win the inmates' escape, and the revolt is eventually put down. Thredd and the other ringleaders are killed during the fighting.

The Attack

  • After Thredd's death, investigation commences regarding his mysterious contact, Maelik. Mathias Shaw correctly identifies Maelik as an alias of the assassin Marzon, known to be under the employ of the Noble Lord Gregor Lescovar. Though this points to Lescovar as being in league with Thredd and VanCleef, his Noble status makes the Lord effectively invulnerable from the likes of Shaw who work 'within the system'.
  • In order to bring Lescovar to justice, Shaw enlists the aid of his peer and rival, the secretive spymaster Elling Trias. Unlike Shaw, Trias heolds no official connection to Stormwind and is free to do as he likes. Moreover, the secrecy surrounding Trias' true profession, aided by the cover of his successful cheese shop, gives him the ability to operate outside the law.
  • As it happens, Trias has had his own agent (the gnome Tyrion) observing Lescovar for weeks. At Trias's instruction, Tyrion organizes a meeting in the gardens of Stormwind Keep between Lescovar and Marzon, niether of whom appear to know that both Thredd and VanCleef are dead. Marzon bears a message to Lescovar from VanCleef himself, warning that Gryan Stoutmantle's men have been seen 'snooping around'. In the middle of the meeting, Lescovar and Marzon are ambushed by one of Trias's operatives, and killed.
  • In reward, Baros Alexston secures an audience between Lescovar's killer and the King of Stormwind, Varian Wrynn. At the audience, however, the agent is received not by the king but by the Noble Lady Katrana Prestor, who explains that the king is away on a diplomatic mission.

The Missing Diplomat

  • In truth, the King's mission has gone awry. The king himself has been captured! This is of course a closely guarded secret within Stormwind, as is the fact that the King is the diplomat who's gone missing. The Defias are suspected to have been involved, although any further information is classified.
  • One of the few who knows part of the truth is Bishop DeLavey, an advisor to the king. Through the aid of his assistant Thomas, whom he has set up as an altar boy within the Cathedral of Light, DeLavey discreetly enlists the aid of an adventurer in investigating the diplomat's disappearance. His other options exhausted, DeLavey sends his new agent to his contact, Jorgen, who in turn sends the agent to Elling Trias with a letter of introduction.
  • Trias, though irritated at DeLavey and Jorgen's presumption, promptly takes the matter into his own hands. His own contact, Watcher Backus, has been planted within the ranks of the Night Watch in Darkshire, and has been keeping watch over Defias activity in the area for some time.
  • Backus recounts a large gathering of Defias some time previous, out at the farmstead called Addle's Stead in the middle of the night. Investigation of the farm leads to the recovery of a Defias Docket, the contents of Backus claims are too complex to be anything short of legitimate.
  • Trias makes more sense of the Docket, recognizing the name of 'Fist' among the Defias mentioned. 'Fist' is revealed to be an alias of Dashel Stonefist, a dwarf scoundrel who resides in Stormwind's Old Town.
  • 'Fist' at first resists capture, but yields when overpowered. He cryptically refers to two Defias grand plans: Plan A, and Plan B. Plan A can be assumed to be the Deadmines project, and it is this plan in which 'Fist' claims to have participated. Plan B, with which 'Fist' claims to be less connected, involved an inside man named 'Slim' in Menethil Harbor.
  • 'Slim', a.k.a. Tapoke "Slim" Jahn is tracked down in Menethil's Deepwater Tavern, where he gives up yet another name connected to the operation: Hendel. Slim's role was to secure Hendel, the Defias agent, on board the king's ship as it left Menethil and headed to Theramore, where the king planned to meet with Jaina Proudmoore.
  • Thanks to the assistance of Mikhail, keeper of the Deepwater Tavern, Private Hendel is at last located within the ranks of the Theramore marines led by Commander Samaul.
  • As Trias's operative nears his quarry, the truth of the whole plot reaches the ears of Jaina Proudmoore, and she and her closest allies set out to capture Hendel. Together, Jaina and Trias's agent subdue the man, and the sorceress spirits him away to her tower in Theramore, where he awaits interrogation.
  • Perhaps sensing that they were near to being discovered, King Varian Wrynn's jailors remove him from where he had been held on Alcaz Island. His whereabouts since remain unknown...

A Note About Timing

The quest system in World of WarCraft unfortunately gives little indication of time, and so the general time frame for the above events is largely subject to speculation. The later portion of the events, however, from VanCleef's death on, probably occur within a very short time of one another. Both The Stockade Riots and The Attack clearly occur soon after VanCleef's death, since Marzon and Lescovar do not appear to have heard that VanCleef is dead. Further, when Lady Prestor receives Lescovar's killer following The Attack, the King is already missing, meaning the Missing Diplomat chain is intended to occur around the same time (perhaps immediately after). Since 'Fist' refers to the Deadmines project and the king's kidnapping as Plan A and Plan B, it can be inferred that while Plan B was carried out after Plan A fell apart with VanCleef's death, it was definitely planned and orchestrated well before and therefore was likely VanCleef's doing.

Compared to these two plots, both of which threaten all of Stormwind, it would appear that the Stockade uprising organized by Thredd and Lescovar was merely intended merely as a side project, which explains why VanCleef did not have a very heavy hand in it.

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