|Previous: Second War|
|Place: Continents of Lordaeron, Quel'thalas, Kalimdor, Mount Hyjal|
|Outcome: Destruction of Lordaeron, Dalaran, Silvermoon, the Sunwell, and the World Tree|
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The Third War was a conflict between the mortal races against the Burning Legion. Unlike the previous wars, the Third War took place in both the Eastern Kingdoms, and Kalimdor. In the war, the ancient Night elves were reintroduced to the world. Its events were chronicled in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.
After their defeat in the Second War, the Old Horde's old warchief, Ner'zhul was captured by Kil'jaeden for his failure. As punishment, the Deceiver destroyed Ner'zhuls body, and tortured his spirit until he agreed to serve the Legion once again. His soul bound to a suit of armor which was then bound to the Frozen Throne, Kil'jaeden hurled his creation towards Azeroth where it smashed into Icecrown Glacier. Thus the first major player of the Third War, the Lich King was born. Once on Azeroth, the Lich King took over Northrend he had the Necromancer Kel'Thuzad take the Plague of Undeath to Lordaeron.
Before the start of the war, the prophet Medivh came to Thrall in a dream. Medivh told the young warchief that he must rally the Horde and move them across the sea to Kalimdor. Trusting the prophets words, and wishing to find a new home for his people, Thrall listened to his call, fought his way through Lordaeron's troops and sailed east.
Scourge of Lordaeron
Disturbance in the North
A rumor had started to travel around Lordaeron of a mysterious plague had gripped the northern lands, the majority of Lordaerons attention was focused on the Horde's flight and rebelling orc clans. When Medivh appeared before King Terenas telling him just as he told Thrall; to save his people, he must travel east, the Terenas told him he would defend his kingdom. To do so, he sent his own son Arthas Menethil, who was dealing with the rebelling orcs with Sir Uther the Lightbringer north to investigate. Jaina Proudmoore from the Kirin Tor was sent from Dalaran to aid in the investigation.
Cult of the Damned
Upon reaching the north, Jaina and Arthas discovered Andorhal's granary's were infected with a plague that kills all who are infected. By the time Jaina and Arthas reached Brill, a undead army was created there. After defeating the undead army, they hunted down and attacked Kel'Thuzad. The necromancer told Arthas that he served a dreadlord named Mal'Ganis, and that he was responsible for the Scourge. Enraged, Arthas vowed he would kill Mal'Ganis and they traveled to Stratholme to confront him.
Rise of the Scourge
While in Hearthglen, Arthas and Jania's forces were attacked by legions of undead. Arthas had Jaina search for Uther while he and his forces remained to protect the town from the Scourge. It was then he learned the truth behind the plague. The plague didn't just kill those infected, he turned them to the undead Scourge. Before his army was wiped out, Uther and his knights arrived and saved the town. Not long after this battle, Arthas was met by Medivh, who warned the prince to travel east to Kalimdor. Like his father, Arthas refused saying his place was with his people. Jaina believed the prophets words but Arthas would not agree to it. They continued to Stratholme to deal with the threat of the Scourge.
Culling of Stratholme
Upon arriving to Stratholme, they discovered that the grain had already been distributed amongts the town. Arthas not wanting to deal with an entire army of undead ordered Uther and his paladins to destroy the town. Uther was appalled by this, saying he wouldn't follow the order even if he was king. For his defiance, Arthas disbanded the Knights of the Silver Hand and called all those still loyal to Lordaeron to come with him. Uther took his followers and left, and Jaina quickly followed. Abandoned by his teacher and friend, Arthas continued to Stratholme and slay the town.
Upon arrival, Arthas met Mal'Ganis himself. The two had a race of sorts for the lives of the town, Arthas wished to destroy them, Mal'Ganis wished to corrupt them. When the town was in ruin, Arthas demanded a final showdown with Mal'Ganis. Mal'Ganis however slipped away vowing to meet him in Northrend.
After the Culling, Jaina and Uther returned to Stratholme to bury the dead. Jaina was met by Medivh who told her Arthas would only die if he went to Northrend. The prophet then told Jaina to travel east to Kalimdor, a request she answered too.
Rise of the Death Knight
After arriving in Northrend, Arthas discovered the brother of Magni Bronzebeard, Muradin. Upon arriving at Northrend, Muradin's expedition was attacked by the undead and was cut off from the rest of the world. He had come to Northrend to obtain the runeblade Frostmourne. When word from Lordaeron called Arthas's men back home, the prince used mercenaries to burn their ships before turning his forces on mercenaries. With no way to get home, he told his men that their only way home was to get the Frostmourne. When he finally found the blade, he and Muradin learned that the blade was cursed. Arthas accepted this curse and took the blade, though Muradin was killed in the process. With the Frostmourne, Arthas lead an assult on a Scourge base where Mal'Ganis was stationed and killed the Dreadlord. With the cause of his madness dead, Arthas fled to the wilderness of Northrend leaving his men to fend for themselves.
Months later Arthas returned the Lordaeron to get his just rewards. When he greated Teranas, he took up his sword and killed his father. Arthas then named himself King of Lordaeron and gave the land to the Scourge. Weeks later, Arthas, now a Death Knight under the orders of the Lich King was given the task to bring the dead necromancer Kel'Thuzad back from the dead. To do so, Arthas had to take his remains to a place where powerful lay magic could be found. To do so, Arthas killed his former mentor Uther for the urn he was carrying. The urn carried the ashes of his father, to which Arthas simply disposed of and placed Kel'Thuzad remains inside. The only lay magic close to them was the Sunwell of the High elves. To revive Kel'Thuzad, the Scourge traveled to Quel'Thalas
Fall of Quel'Thalas
Upon reaching the boarders of Quel'Thalas, the Ranger-General Sylvanas Windrunner became a quick thorn in the death knights plan. However despite the mighty elf gates, the destruction of a important bridge and many well trained rangers, the Scourge plowed their way through Quel'Thalas's defenses on their way to Silvermoon, and from there the Isle of Quel'Danas and the Sunwell. Before Sylvanas could warn Silvermoon of the Scourge invasion, her camp was raided and she was taken prisoner. Arthas tortured her and before giving her the peace of death, used his power to turn her into the first banshee making her a slave to the Scourge. With Silvermoons defenses destroyed, the Scourge entered Silvermoon and slaughtered all the High elves in the city. When Arthas reached the Sunwell, he placed Kel'Thuzad's remains in the waters thus turning him into a lich. With this business done, Arthas had the Scourge kill all the High elves of Quel'Thalas.
With Kel'Thuzad revived, they had to do their job for the Dreadlords. The Scourge traveled south to Dalaran to obtain a the Book of Medivh and use it to summon Archimonde himself to Azeroth. The Kin'Tor failed preventing the Scourge from stealing the spellbook and with it Kel'Thuzad summoned Archimonde to Azeroth. Archimonde's first order of business when entering the world was to destroy Dalaran with his great power. From this point and for the rest of the war, Archimode the Field Commander of the Legion , lead the invasion of Azeroth himself, and planned to destroy Nordrassil, the World Tree at Mount Hyjal
Flight to Kalimdor
After fleeing the Eastern Kingdoms, the Horde was scattered sailing past the Maelstrom. Some of the ships landed in a chain of islands near the Maelstorm where they met the Darkspear Trolls and aided them escape to Kalimdor. When they reached and regrouped on Kalimdor, Thrall sent Grom Hellscream to the north to collect lumber.
Meanwhile, before Arthas had returned to Lordaeron with the Scourge, Jaina Proudmoore brought thousands with her to Kalimdor following Medivh's request. Upon reaching Kalimdor, they spot the orcs of the Horde. Believing the Horde followed them to Kalimdor, Jaina began to to battle them. Grom Hellscream retaliated. Desperate to find a safe haven for the survivors, Jaina lead the people up the Stonetalon Mountains.
Meanwhile, Thrall began his search for the rest of the Horde, and eventually came across the Taurens, and their leader Cairne Bloodhoof. After helping Carine repel invading Centaurs, Carine told Thrall of a prophet up on Stonetalon that could aid the Horde in their journey.
Upon reaching the Stonetalon, Thrall and Jaina met the prophet who called doom long before the Scourge of Lordaeron, Medivh. Medivh asked that the Horde, and the Alliance work together, forgetting their old hatreds to battle a new more powerful enemy.
After attacking a human settlement against Thralls orders, Grom Hellscream and the Warsongs were ordered to clear forest and collect lumber for the Horde. However by doing so, they gained the outrage of the Night elves. After battling the night elves, their demigod Cenarius stepped in personally to deal with the Warsong Clan.
After fighting a lost battle, the orcs realized that they couldn't kill Cenarius my conventional means. Cenarius saw the orcs as demon spawn and therefore only their total eradication would satisfy him. To defeat them, Grom and the followers drank the blood, from the Pit Lord Mannoroth. Energized and turned into Fel Orcs, the Warsong successfully attacked and killed Cenarius. Despite their victory, they were once again under demon control, and thus the control of the Burning Legion.
Using the Soul Gem Jaina created, Thrall and Jaina managed to pull the demonic taint off Grom, if only for a while. Thrall and Grom challenged Mannorth, and though Thrall was easily defeated, Grom managed to deliver the killing blow, killing Mannorth and freeing the orcs.
Return of the Night Elves
When it became evident that the Burning Legion was still a threat, Tyrande lead her Sentinels into the trees, fleeing a wave of undead which had destroyed a human and orc camp. As they fled, they were cornered by dreadlords, and Archimonde. Tyrande believed with the Defiler return the only way to defeat the Burning Legion was to use the forces of old, the sleeping druids and their leader Shan'do Malfurion Stormrage. After waking Malfurion, the next order of business was to awaken the rest of the Druids of the Talon.
Malfurion knew correctly that Archimonde would attack Mount Hyjal. In their quest to freeing the druids, they discovered the prison that held Illidan Stormrage. Tyrande believed that the Betrayer could be a powerful ally against the Burning Legion. Furion continued alone to awaken the Druids, who had grown feral. Furion had to use the Horn of Cenarius to free them of their madness.
Tyrande continued her quest to free Illidan. She fought her way through the Warden's guards freeing Illidan. Tyrande placed her trust in Illidan, believing his power would help them against the Legion. Eager to prove himself, Illidan vowed he would show his brother the demons had no hold over him. Shortly after, the death knight Arthas found and battled with Illidan, before telling him about the Skull of Gul'dan, the artifact responsible for corrupted the night elves coveted forest. Artas played to Illidans thirst for power, and he took the bait willingly.
After fighting his way to the through the demons, Illidan reached the and consumed the power of the skull. When Furion and Tyrande found the new demon-night elf hybrid Furion banished Illidan for his demon corruption.
Battle of Mount Hyjal
After Illidans banishment, Medivh called Furion and Tyrande to a secret grove, where he had Thrall and Jaina meet them. Medivh revealed that he was the one who helped Burning Legion create the Dark Portal and allowed the Horde to invade Azeroth. And after he was slain, for his crimes he has return to right his wrongs and protect Azeroth from the Legions return. Medivh asked that the mortal races unite to defeat the Legion, as it was the only way to be certain of the demons defeat.
To prepare for the demons attack, three camps were built around Mount Hyjal. Malfurion decided on the planned to use the power of the World Tree itself to destroy Archimonde. Malfurion lead his forces back up the summit to to make the necessary preparations for Archimonde. Jaina and Thrall used whatever night elves Tyrande could spare to fortify their bases. Archimonde first tore his way through the human base, and then through the orcs. Before Thrall escaped death, he managed to hurt Archimonde. With the two bases destroyed, Archimonde stormed through the night elf gate protecting the summit.
With Archimonde at the World Tree, Furion used the Horn to call on the ancient spirits in the area to attack the demon. In an instant, they detonated into a massive explosion that destroyed the Defiler, his entire demon army with him, and the World Tree. The price for this defeat was the night elve's immortality, but the Third War was over.
The Third War left Lordaeron destroyed, the night elves mortal, and brought the near extinction of the high elves. No large group of humans would ever regain control Lordaeron, though the Argent Dawn and the Scarlet Crusade has been fighting the Scourge. Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider of the high elves returned to his ruined city and renamed his people, blood elves in memory of their fallen comrades. The blood elves would eventually retake much of Quel'Thalas, and in time would even reactivate the power of the Sunwell. After the war, Sylvanas would break free of the Lich King's control, and form the Forsaken. The Forsaken would then take over the city of Lordaeron, making their home its its sewers, known as calling it the Undercity.
The political scene of the current Azeroth was greatly influenced by the Third War. Under the Warchief Thrall, the orcs, tauren, and darkspear trolls were brought together on Kalimdor to become the new Horde, to which the Forsaken would later join. A peace agreement was made between between the Horde and the Alliance after the war, and Thrall has made it his job to make sure nothing happens to break this already stressful pact.
Without Lordaeron, the rebuild city of Stormwind would become the base of the Alliance, with the Ironforge dwarves becoming their closet geological allies. The gnomes of Gnomeregan were dealing with their own issues with the trogg invasion of their city. Because a invasion of troggs failed in comparison to the might of the Scourge, the gnomes decided they would fight their war alone. In the end they were forced to flee Gnomergan and their king Gelbin Mekkatorque settled in Ironforge with the dwarves. And due to their lose of immortality, the night elves had no choice but to form an alliance with the other races to survive. Because of the already animosity with the orcs for killing Cenarius the night elves sided with the Alliance.