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The Scarlet Crusade is a religious organization dedicated to the eradication of the undead. They are a major adversary of the Forsaken, and several quests in Tirisfal Glades involve attacks on Scarlet Crusade troops, leaders, and strongholds.
The Scarlet Crusade maintains several bastions throughout the former lands of Lordaeron, namely the Scarlet Monastery, Hearthglen, Tyr's Hand, the fortified cathedral of Stratholme, and several smaller camps and watchtowers spread throughout the area.
It is also the only hierarchy left of the Kingdom of Lordaeron after its destruction by the Scourge. After the attack on the Scarlet Enclave, the Scarlet Crusade renamed itself to the Scarlet Onslaught and operates in Northrend.
The Scarlet Crusade is a group of warriors dedicated to the destruction of all undead, and an example of what happens when mad zealots take over a good cause. The Crusade’s members are mostly soldiers — many are Knights of the Silver Hand — who saw such devastation wrought by the Scourge that they resort to extreme measures to destroy the undead. After the disbanding of their brotherhood and the culling of Stratholme, many Knights of the Silver Hand remained in Lordaeron for reasons ranging from missing the fleeing boats, to a sense of duty to clear their homeland of the undead.
In the Western Plaguelands, the Scarlet Crusade strikes against the Scourge from Hearthglen. They hunt the undead in Lordaeron with a frightening zeal. They commonly attack the living who wander too close to their holdings. These paladins have a frightening policy: When in doubt, assume the worst. Many innocent mortals have been killed through misunderstandings, or simply for good measure. Those who question their leaders or policies are assumed to be undead sympathizers and are slain.
While the Alliance is in agreement that the Scourge needs to be eradicated from Lordaeron so they can return home, few Alliance members would agree with the methods used by the Scarlet Crusade. They are the natural enemies of the Scourge and the Forsaken, but they have made themselves the enemy of any who cannot quickly and definitively prove their mortality.
Despite its excesses, the Crusade is a powerful force in the eastern kingdoms, having already destroyed several undead encampments in Lordaeron and defeated a number of dangerous Liches as well as the Dreadlord Beltheris.
The Scarlet Crusade sees no difference between the Forsaken and the Scourge and battle the Forsaken zealously.They distrusts any non-Human races, although there once were other races, such as High Elves and Dwarves, in their ranks.They may end up alone on the continent — or more likely, die trying.
After Lord Uther the Lightbringer was betrayed and killed by his former apprentice Arthas Menethil, the Knights of the Silver Hand were devastated by the Scourge's undead armies. Isillien was formerly a priest of the Holy Light in Lordaeron, assigned to be the liaison for the Knights of the Silver Hand. There he worked closely with the elder High General Abbendis (the father of the younger Abbendis) and his youthful charges, tutoring the young paladins in their quest for truth. Priests and paladins fought as the Scourge attacked the city, but they fled as Lordaeron fell around them. Some whisper it was the wounds both men received in battle, or perhaps just the shock of seeing their whole purpose destroyed, but since that day both Isillien and Abbendis had become quite insane. Isillien and Abbendis wandered the area as the Scourge defiled the land, destroying what undead they could, gathering what warriors would join them. They had but one concern: eradication of all that had destroyed Lordaeron.
Among the group were the high-ranking officers Isillien, the Abbendises (father and daughter), Renault Mograine, Taelan Fordring and Balnazzar (who had possessed the corpse of Saidan Dathrohan) have been said to have helped found the Scarlet Crusade, an order of knights focused on the singular goal of defeating the Scourge in all its forms.
Taelan Fordring, one of Isillien’s protégés, adored his tutor and his general. He offered his family’s keep and land, untouched by the undead, for their base of operations. The Crusade gained members whose lives had been ruined by the Scourge. Most members have seen a loved one die and, more often than not, be raised to fight alongside her murderer. Isillien became the spokesman for the group, his ravings gaining more followers than repelling them — and who could argue with the man that the undead were evil?
Some had reason to pause when Isillien’s young page was found with Isillien’s knife through his heart, and the priest calmly reported that the page had died that afternoon while hunting, and the undead had raised him and sent him back as an assassin. He was so convincing that the incident cemented the fear for most: if a freshly killed and raised undead can look just like a regular human, they had no idea who among them may or may not be with the Scourge. After a month of quarantine, all priests and warriors with the Crusade were declared clean. The elder Abbendis and Isillien felt that although they had a good base, they really needed to attack the Scourge where they were the thickest: in the Eastern Plaguelands. Isillien took on the title of Grand Inquisitor and control of the Western Crusade, while the elder Abbendis led the majority of the forces to Tyr’s Hand in the east to strike at Stratholme. As they established their bases and took in many more warriors, they destroyed any undead they found.
Frequently, groups of refugees fleeing the undead also fell beneath their furious swords. As the Grand Inquisitor claims, one cannot be too careful. All undead — good, evil or neutral, Scourge or Forsaken — are the rivals of the Scarlet Crusade. The undead are abominations and must be destroyed before the land and the people can heal. They count the Alliance and the Church of Holy Light as their allies, but these organizations quickly distance themselves from these fanatics, and instruct all travelers to give a wide berth to any Crusaders.
Not long after its formation, the Crusade attempted a strike against the Scourge base in Northrend, and built a fleet specifically for that purpose. The attempt failed, although the Crusaders reached as far as the mouth of Icecrown Glacier. There were many casualties among the high ranks of the Crusade, including its first and only Grand Admiral, first Captain General and first Chief Assassin.
In Wrath of the Lich KingThis section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.There was, however, one region of the Eastern Plaguelands which had been remarkably untouched by the plague that had despoiled the remainder of northern Lordaeron. This region was appropriately known as the Scarlet Enclave, consisting of the Scarlet capital of Tyr's Hand and the towns of Havenshire and New Avalon. These towns came under the protection of the Crusade forces stationed in Tyr's Hand, led by High General Brigitte Abbendis - the last survivor of the Crusade's original founders.
All that changed with the arrival of Acherus in the skies above the Enclave. In short order, the Scourge had established a base camp in the Ebon Hold's shadow and began their campaign of destruction. As the death knights of Acherus began to march on Havenshire, Abbendis claimed to receive visions from the Light, instructing her to take the most faithful of her troops and journey to Northrend. This became known among the Scarlet troops as the "Crimson Dawn", a revival of the Crusade and its "holy mission".
The Fall of the Scarlet Enclave
By that point, the death knights had laid waste to Havenshire and were now seeking to find out more about this "Crimson Dawn" mentioned in New Avalon's registry, taken from the town hall after they murdered New Avalon's Mayor Quimby. They discovered that a courier had been sent from Hearthglen by High Commander Galvar Pureblood, informing Abbendis that an army of Crusaders from Hearthglen and Tirisfal were being assembled to reinforce the Enclave and battle the forces of Acherus. One of the death knights, disguised as the courier (having murdered the real courier, taking his clothing and Pureblood's message), delivered the message to Abbendis. Realizing that the Plaguelands were lost, Abbendis ordered "the courier" to return to Pureblood, inform him to turn his armies around and prepare for the journey to Northrend. She gave "the courier" a copy of her diary, claiming it would explain everything. It was at this point that she declared that the Scarlet Crusade was no more - that they were now the Scarlet Onslaught.
The message never reached Pureblood, and his forces were annihilated by the Scourge as a result. With the combined army marching to their doom, High General Abbendis boarded her flagship, the Sinner's Folly, and set sail for Northrend, leaving the Crusade to its fate.
Arrival in Northrend
Upon reaching the shores of Northrend, Abbendis established a new base in Dragonblight which she named New Hearthglen. From there, the remainder of the Scarlet Onslaught forces began rebuilding and planning their assault on The Lich King and his minions. Relying heavily on the advice of Barean Westwind, Abbendis undertook a campaign to locate Light's Vengeance in Dragonblight. Believing that the former weapon of Arthas would be a fitting key to his demise, Abbendis invested her remaining forces into finding its location. In addition, her visions from "The Light" continued to influence her decisions, leading even some among the Onslaught to begin questioning her sanity. All of this came to an end, however, when the Onslaught found itself facing Alliance and Horde adventurers also working to stop The Scourge. Abbendis herself was killed in battle, and Grand Admiral Westwind was revealed to be Mal'Ganis in disguise, as well as the likely source of Abbendis' "visions". As a result, the Scarlet Onslaught found itself again bereft of leadership, with most of its forces in Northrend now destroyed as well. Their new campaign against the Scourge had ended at The Lich King's doorstep, cut short almost before it began. Not long after, however, Arthas would be defeated by the combined might of Alliance, Horde, and Argent Crusade forces.
In CataclysmThis section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.With the exposure of Balnazzar and Mal'Ganis, much of the senior leadership supposedly eliminated, the Lich King's defeat and Tirion Fordring retaking his old town of Hearthglen for the Argent Crusade, the Scarlet Crusade has become a shadow of its former self.
It has been discovered that the Crusade has completely lost Stratholme with Balnazzar shedding his disguise and killing the remaining Scarlet Crusaders within the city. Balnazzar then used his necromantic powers to resurrect them, as the Risen. A similar fate has befallen the Scarlet presence in Tyr's Hand. Hence, in an ironic twist of fate, many of the Scarlet holdouts have literally become what they sought to destroy.
In Mists of PandariaThis section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.During the war between the Alliance and Horde that continued to spread across the world, the Scarlet Crusade still remained active in Tirisfal Glades and now claimed the Scarlet Monastery as their primary base of operations. Now led by the High Iniquistor Sally Whitemane, the Crusade concentrated on recruiting new members and keeping their mission alive. Along with Durand, who replaced Renault Mograine as Scarlet Commander, Sally and Durand were responsible for the operations inside the Monastery and surrounding countryside. With the final defeat of the Lich King, they turned their attention to the nearby Undercity and the reclamation of Tirisfal Glades.
With a history of constant defeats, and now much of their former leadership being undead, the Scarlets decided to purge their past and begin anew. With this in mind, Whitemane tasked Flameweaver Koegler to burn every page out of every book in their library. In addition, Lilian Voss - a former member of the order and now an undead assassin - wanted to put an end to the Scarlet Crusade. To this end, Voss recruited heroes from both the Alliance and Horde to enter the Monastery and kill Whitemane. The remaining Scarlet forces tried to defend the Monastery, but were ultimately eliminated, including Durand and Whitemane themselves. Perhaps suffering the final defeat of the order, the remaining members of the Scarlet Crusade retreated from the Monastery and went into hiding. As of the Siege of Orgrimmar, it's believed that the Scarlet Crusade may finally be gone.
- Note: The following information represents the Scarlet Crusade at the peak of their power.
The Scarlet Crusade is structured much like the military. The male Abbendis and Isillien were the leaders. Abbendis was the official head of the Scarlet Crusade. He considered himself the arm of the Crusade while Isillien is the heart. Abbendis guided the military attacks of the Crusade from Tyr’s Hand in the Eastern Plaguelands, communicating frequently with Isillien, who guides the priests in the Crusade in their new roles as inquisitors, based in the Western Plaguelands. He is in charge of questioning undead and mortals alike to ferret out whatever information he can on the movement and settlement of the undead. Isillien acts as the leader of the priests and guides the inquisitions in the west along with his impressionable paladin Taelan, while Abbendis controlled the warriors in the east.
The Crusade has thirteen generals leading the lower ranks: 2,000 troops based in Hearthglen and 10,000 based in Tyr’s Hand. The generals were not only chosen by the ranks they had in the war, but also by their dedication to the cause. Few make it very high in the ranks if they do not have a burning fervor to destroy all undead. Veterans who have fought the Scourge before are quickly promoted. Any dissent in the ranks is considered to be caused by undead infiltration, for the Crusade cannot fathom a reasonable mortal having any disagreement with the elimination of the undead. Such individuals are considered to be undead themselves, or worse, deranged undead sympathizers. Thus the organization of the Scarlet Crusade is flawless, as the crusaders work with one mind towards one goal. If they do not work with total agreement, it is at least complete fear of their superiors that keeps them in line. It's based in the Plaguelands, but hunts undead everywhere it can in northern Lordaeron. With the death of the elder Abbendis fighting the scourge, his daughter took over as High General.
Currently, the head of the Scarlet Crusade is Grand Crusader Saidan Dathrohan. Serving beneath him are Demetria (the Scarlet Oracle), High General Abbendis, Grand Inquisitor Isillien, Highlord Taelan Fordring, and Crusader Lord Valdelmar. The grand crusader handles the grisly, prolonged siege of Stratholme. Abbendis commands military assaults and assists the grand crusader in the siege, while Isillien handles interrogations and intelligence in the west.
Membership in the Scarlet Crusade is high, relative to the human population of the region. The strong sense of abandonment, futility and fear runs high in all humans on Lordaeron, and the Scarlet Crusade feeds that fear with reassurance that the evil will fall while the good remain untainted. The Crusade attracts mostly warriors, people who find in this post-war state that living by the sword is the only way to survive. They feel the need for a strong community where their skills will be utilized, and the Scarlet Crusade maintains that they need strong warriors for their cause. Some priests are drawn to the righteous eradication of the undead, but they often see the Crusade for the zealots they are and rethink their entry. This, of course, is considered suspicious, and they are often slain for their misgivings.
The biggest problem prospective members encounter is assuring the Crusaders that they are not undead themselves. Since the Grand Inquisitor was almost killed by his own page (so the story goes), the group is incredibly paranoid about the undead infiltrating their ranks. There is, however, one undead in their ranks: (High Inquisitor Fairbanks). However, he has been locked away in a secret room. Why the crusaders haven't killed him yet remains a mystery. The supposedly common knowledge that undead are hideously deformed and easy to discern from the living makes no difference to these people; they believe necromancers are capable of disguising the undead as living. Thus, new members (if they survived alerting the Crusade to their desire to join) are quarantined for 30 days to see if they begin to exhibit signs of the plague or being an undead. They are visited by the Grand Inquisitor or the High General during this time and are "questioned". No Scarlet Crusader discusses his quarantine and initiation.
Membership is comprised chiefly of human warriors, ex-paladins, priests and paladins (dark or otherwise), scarlet knights, scarlet inquisitors, Scarlet Chaplains, Scarlet Crusaders and scarlet battle mages professions, although hunters and mages also exist among their ranks.
Most military forces fight conservatively and hoard their members, but the crusaders take no care for their own lives. They wade into battle with zealous fervor, slashing and hacking until they either fall or vanquish all enemies.
Only the backing of the priests and paladins keep the order alive, both literally and figuratively. The impassioned speeches and charismatic leadership of the order’s healers motivates their troops into battle, and their healing magic keeps their zealots whole. The military training of the order’s paladins serves the crusade well, as the paladins train the members in basic troop formations and simple tactics that increase their odds of survival.
Generally, members of the Scarlet Crusade don’t bother flanking their enemies, as they’re used to fighting undead that are slow and easy to strike and immune to backstabs. Scarlet Crusade units fight in tight formations. They form rings whenever possible, standing shoulder to shoulder, so no one member risks being surrounded by a shambling mob of undead. If forced to disperse, members try to pair up and fight back to back.
Paladins and priests freely use their healing abilities and spells in combat, not only to bolster their own troops, but to harm undead enemies. Paladins and priests try not to use their turn undead ability, as their goal is to destroy their enemies, not scatter them. If overwhelmed by superior numbers, though, or confident in their ability to destroy nearby undead with a turn attempt, the commanders call upon their holy power. Many Scarlet Crusade priests can rebuke undead; they force their undead foes to cower long enough for the knights to do their work.
When fighting living opponents, the Scarlet Crusade varies its tactics only slightly. The Crusade rarely takes on hordes of living enemies; when they do engage the living, it is usually to target individuals or small groups. Members of the Crusade do use flanking maneuvers when fighting the living. They’re most concerned with preventing the escape of their prey, as living opponents move much faster than undead, and often panic. Mounted knights run down fleeing enemies, while the foot soldiers remain behind to engage slower targets. Foot soldiers also use trip attacks to reduce the odds that their prey will escape.
- Main article: Crimson Legion
An elite force of the Crusade is the Crimson Legion, led by the Grand Crusader himself. Throughout the Scarlet Crusade, three different symbols are persistent. The Crusade's official banner is a modified flag of Lordaeron, with the "L" painted in red to symbolize the blood of the living. This "L" letter looks like "C" on the Scarlet Crusade flags. The modified Symbol of the Light seems to mark sanctuaries and holy places. Additionally, whilst the organization counts many non-combatants and line soldiers amongst its ranks, real Crusaders can be identified by the Scarlet Flame on their tabard.
- Main article: Scarlet Renegades
A resistance comprised of former members of the Scarlet Crusade, they chose to stand against the corruption and evil of the Scarlet Crusade. Seeking forgiveness and redemption, these Renegades sided with the noble Alliance and hope to one day reform the Scarlet Crusade to its former glory as a pure order against the foes of humanity.
The Western Crusade’s headquarters are in the rural area of Hearthglen, the inheritance of Taelan Fordring. Their main headquarters are in the Eastern Plaguelands in the small community of Tyr’s Hand. They command from the Scarlet Basilica. The community is also host to several churches including a newly built Scarlet Monastery, a massive building that draws refugees looking for safety.
Most Crusaders are based in Tyr's Hand where Isillien has declared the Eastern Plaguelands to be the focus of the Crusade's attacks. In the ruins of Stratholme the Scarlet Crusade has established a more or less permanent foothold from which it wages constant battle upon the Scourge within the city in the small outpost known as the Scarlet Bastion.
In Tirisfal Glades a peaceful Monastery was converted into a stronghold of the fanatical Scarlet Crusade, Scarlet Monastery. The Crusaders are intolerant of all non-human races, regardless of alliance or affiliation. They believe that any and all outsiders are potential carriers of the undead plague - and must be destroyed. Reports indicate that adventurers who enter the monastery are forced to contend with Scarlet Commander Mograine - who commands a large garrison of fanatically devoted warriors. However, the monastery's true master is High Inquisitor Whitemane - a fearsome priestess who possesses the ability to resurrect fallen warriors to do battle in her name.
"The Alliance races have many problems currently, the greatest of which is the loss of their homeland to the undead, the Horde, the demons and various monsters. Their once proud populations are either dead, undead or in hiding. They don’t even have much of a base to call their own except for the remote city of Stormwind, too far away to deal with the problems of Lordaeron with any real effectiveness. The elimination of the Scourge is any reasonable mortal’s goal, but the Scarlet Crusade considers the many mortals it kills in its quest as acceptable losses. To the Alliance, the Crusade’s single-mindedness is madness. So, no, the Alliance does not condone the Scarlet Crusade’s actions, but sees the problems caused by this organization as akin to having a stain on your shirt while your house is on fire. Until the greater problems are dealt with and the homeland is retaken, the Crusade will be free to act as it wishes. Besides they are, despite their mad zealotry, doing a good job with eradicating the undead from Lordaeron">
Though the Crusade's ranks are all human, it is not openly welcomed by the Alliance. However, its mission appeals to most within the Alliance, who generally agree that the undead need to be removed from Lordaeron so its citizens can return home. As news of the Crusaders' rising madness compete with tales of their good deeds and names of heroes amongst their ranks, especially the less informed peasants of regions far away from former Lordaeron still view this organization as a stalwart defender against the undead threat. Such as Darkshire, who is especially affected by the Undead. In part, this is true, as the Crusade has indeed rescued refugees and defended civilian settlements in the Plaguelands many times, including a project to re-settle villages that have been destroyed by the Scourge during the war. Also, Scarlet Crusaders are protecting the Solliden Farmstead and its inhabitants, making it one of the few places in northern Lordaeron where the native farmfolk have survived to this day and also one of the few places in Lordaeron where they can get food that unaffected by the plague of undeath.
Generally, the actions of the Scarlet Crusade are tolerated out of ignorance, and both the Alliance and the Church of Holy Light distance themselves from the Crusade's activities officially, but without trying to interfere. In fact, the Scarlet Crusade, who counts both the Alliance and the Church amongst their allies, maintains contacts to both by several emissaries - examples can be found in the Cathedral of Light in Stormwind and in the Alliance outpost of Nijel's Point.
The Scarlet Crusade has killed countless refugees fleeing the horrors of the Scourge, regarding them as possible carriers of the plague or even undead sympathizers (many were carriers), and their growing zealotry has started to make the Crusade enemies all over Azeroth. Most Crusaders tend to think that anyone unassociated with their cause should have no business in the Plaguelands and thus are behaving suspiciously if they enter this region. Travelers are advised to stay clear of Scarlet Crusaders regardless of whether any undead are in the party. The Scarlet Crusade can be friend or foe, but it is generally the enemy of anyone who cannot prove that he or she is alive — qualifications and interpretation being subject to change without notice.
Books and other texts
- News From The North
- Priestly Preening: Be Like Your Betters
- Turning the Other Cheek
- Musings of the High General
Corruption from Within
No one in the crusade is aware that Dathrohan is a demon - they simply believe him to be a holy knight obsessed with the destruction of the undead. To maintain his charade, Balnazzar keeps a low profile, letting Isillien and Abbendis run the Scarlet Crusade. His agents actively recruit new members for the crusade, and his ranks grow steadily. Should anyone find out his true nature, however, the Scarlet Crusade could potentially fall apart overnight ... and the undead would become the only power in the Plaguelands. However, it seems that Abbendis has started to suspect him being more than a human.
Some Crusaders who have begun sensing the corruption within the Crusade have left the ranks of the order to found the Argent Dawn. These warriors are generally regarded as traitors by the Scarlet Crusade, especially since the Argent Dawn also counts Forsaken amongst its ranks - but Kel'Thuzad's recent assault on Azeroth has forced the two organizations into a reluctant alliance with each other. Both sides have been able to shelve their mutual dislike in order to fight back the new horrors of the Scourge in Naxxramas, but tensions are high and there is only a superficial allegiance between them. Tirion has likely betrayed this Alliance nearly as much as the Crusade has if any cases exist.
Notable Members of the Scarlet Crusade
Leadership, Upper Echelon
|(Corpse possessed by )||Scarlet Throne, Scarlet Bastion||Stratholme|
|Road from Tyr's Hand to Stratholme||Eastern Plaguelands|
|(Died fighting the scourge.)|
|(Killed by )||Hearthglen||Western Plaguelands|
|(Killed by )||Mardenholde Keep, Hearthglen||Western Plaguelands|
|Scarlet Basilica, Tyr's Hand||Eastern Plaguelands|
Leadership, Lower Echelon
Ranks and Classes
Interestingly, whereas Commander Marjhan points out the cooperation of her troops with the Argent Dawn is not sanctified by the Grand Crusader, she also makes clear that she is not acting on her own but has been sent to help. Since Isillien is already dead at this point, this leaves only High General Abbendis as a possible source of this order. It might be that the General is now starting to secretly work against the Grand Crusader, maybe influenced by the recent death of her long-time partner Isillien and/or a rising suspicion against the Grand Crusader.
The Argent Dawn, despite its "alliance" with the Scarlet Crusade, seems to hate the Scarlet Crusade more than the Scourge. At Chillwind Camp Nathaniel Dumah tells you how he fled from the Scourge when they attacked his family's Lumber Mill, and when the Scarlet Crusade drove them all away he returned for revenge against the Scarlet Crusade, however why he wants revenge against the Crusade for driving out the Scourge from his family's lumber mill doesn't quite make sense. At the same time Duke Nicholas Zverenhoff seems to also want to undermine the Scarlet Crusade in the face of an overwhelming Scourge offensive. This seems illogical if the Scourge really is in a position to sweep aside all opposition, to destroy its most dedicated enemy during the offensive.
Why people who claim that they have only one goal, destroying the Scourge would want to destroy their only reliable official ally in that quest during a vital battle against a Scourge offensive seems to indicate the Scourge might not have as much power as is generally thought, especially because Duke Nicholas Zverenhoff also says that the Scarlet Crusade isn't doing any good for anybody. On the other hand if the Scourge is as World of Warcraft and players say it is this could just indicate that the Argent Dawn is not as pure as it believes itself to be.
Another example of Scarlet Crusade/Argent Dawn hostility is in the Death Knight quest . In this quest after raiding a Scarlet Crusade prison house, you discover that there are a number of Argent Dawn prisoners there, with apparently most of them already dead. It is also suspected that the Argents captured Scarlets as well. It is likely that although the two had an alliance, it wasn't a sound one and each side probably had spies.
Korfax references idiocy and a lack of leadership in the Scarlet Crusade, which may indicate the Balnazzar really has been doing nothing and High General Abbendis and Grand Inquisitor Isillien have sole leadership of the Crusade, as if there was no Grand Crusader.
Kirrik the Awakened in Terokkar Forest speaks of the Naaru's teachings of the Light in a more radical way than its Azeroth followers admit - that all non-Light worshipping beings ought to be destroyed. This appears to support the Scarlet Crusade's open hostility towards races other than humans. Where they have previously been seen as far too zealous, perhaps the Crusade is following its religion better than the Light-worshippers in the Argent Dawn, Sha'tar, and even Alliance.
"... Those who have not given themselves over to the Light are mere servants of evil.
They must be destroyed."
It is possible that the Scarlet Crusade has become corrupted for reasons other than bad leadership. While Grand Inquisitor Isillien himself seems to have become corrupted from his once-holy path, as shown in the quest In Dreams. High General Abbendis seems to remain pure, and she knows of the impurity of her troops, wishing she could afford to use only the holy. In addition to this, Saidan Dathrohan is secretly Balnazzar in disguise, so it is likely he is attempting to bend the Crusade to his will. As noted in , Admiral Barean Westwind states after Abbendis dies that she "served her purpose".
In addition to this, Abbendis seems to think there is something "odd" about him. Thus, while the original intentions of the leadership seem to have been pure, a failure to purify their upper echelons seems to have been their undoing. How they managed to take these positions is unknown, as it is well documented that the Crusade often purges their own ranks. Surely even the upper ranks would be checked.
Annihilation of the Crusade?
While not officially stated, it would appear that the Scarlet Crusade and the Scarlet Onslaught have seen their last days. With various Horde and Alliance raids on Scarlet outposts (throughout quests involving the various zones and instances in the Eastern Kingdoms and in Northrend), many of the leaders of this organization are dead. The Upper Echelon has been destroyed with only one leader now alive, while the Lower Echelon, whose only remaining member is Grand Admiral Barean Westwind, has been completely annihilated with the revelation of who he really is, and his subsequent retreat.
Indeed, out of all the named characters that make up the Crusade and the Onslaught (grand total of 49) all but 14 have been killed in various quests (or in pre-WoW lore in the case of the first High General Abbendis). With the deaths of the majority of the leadership, it remains to be seen who will lead the Crusade/Onslaught.