The Death Knight class campaign has the best story of any of the class campaigns I have completed. I’m pretty sure the things that happen during it will eventually impact everyone in Azeroth.
This is a class campaign overview because I wanted to write about it. I also know not everyone plays a death knight (though you all should), so here is a write up of their class story just for you!
I was immersed in this story on my main and didn’t take many screenshots because I was busy experiencing all the things. The story was good enough for me to want to repeat it. I decided to do it all again so I could get screenshots for this post. Ryannde is my fourth DK alt. She will be starring in this recap.
As soon as you reach Dalaran in the Broken Isles, the Lich King talks to you telepathically. He tells you that destiny is calling and you need to meet Duke Lankral in Krasus’ Landing.
Duke Lankral is heading up a troop of death knights who are getting ready to leave for battle. He will ask you to choose which artifact weapon you want to pursue. Ryannde is leveling as frost because I feel like the Blades of the Fallen Prince story contributes more to the overall death knight story than that of the other two weapons.
Once you are on the quest for the Blades of the Fallen Prince, you get a death gate which will port you to Archerus. Darion Mograine greets you and reiterates that the Ebon Blade is not under the control of the current Lich King. However the Ebon Blade is willing to work with him to overcome the Burning Legion.
The Lich King has asked for you in particular to serve as his “hand”. To facilitate this, Archerus is docked onto Icecrown Citadel–which is pretty cool. After they drop you off, Archerus and the death knights are heading out to the Broken Isles.
The Lich King talks to you again and bids you to enter ICC. Once inside, you need to collect four fragments of Frostmourne. These fragments are guarded by various lost souls. Apparently Arthas gave paladins special treatment when he killed them and Bolvar is continuing the tradition with their trapped souls. He especially wants to punish the four named paladins that are guarding the fragments.
When you have all of the fragments, you will find the rest of Frostmourne on the Lich King’s platform.
You must channel your power into the fragments and the hilt to form the twin blades. Once you complete this, the Lich King yells that now the swords will be able to drink the souls of his enemies. The Lich King then tells you that in order to control the swords you must purge them of any spirits that remain. So inside the blades you go.
Ghostly Echoes of Ner’zhul and Arthas are in there having a conversation. Apparently The Echo of Ner’zhul has plans for the Echo of Arthas and you are interrupting them. You must fight Arthas to purge the swords of his memory. Once the Echo of Arthas is dead, Ner’zhul runs off and the swords belong to you.
Touching the swords teleports you back into the real world. The Lich King calls you up to his throne and puts his mark on you. (Nothing bad could come of that, right?) Then he sends you back to Archerus where you are proclaimed the Deathlord of the Ebon Blade.
Almost immediately the Lich King starts talking to you again. That mark apparently made it even easier for him to get inside your head. (Doh!) He wants to reform the Four Horsemen in order to fight the Burning Legion because heroes are not enough to save the world.
“Salvation will come at a price the living cannot pay.”
You get to be the lucky person to raise these horsemen because you have the Lich King’s mark. Among other things, it has granted you his power to raise the dead.
The first person the Lich King wants as a horseman is General Nazgrim. Darion Mograine gives you the quest for this after mentioning that the Four Horsemen were not ordinary death knights. He feels like Nazgrim will be a worthy choice as the first new horseman. He also mentions that raising him will probably anger the Horde.
You meet Thassarian outside of Orgrimmar at Nazgrim’s grave. Thassarian comments that Nazgrim was one of the finest warriors the world has ever known. He feels like Nazgrim deserves peace but agrees that it is more important to save the world and raise him from the dead. Nazgrim is surprisingly enthusiastic about becoming a death knight. He doesn’t really question anything but how long it has been since his death.
When you return to Archerus, Nazgrim and Thassarian become your first two class champions.
At level 103 you will get a quest for horseman number two. Once again the Lich King telepathically tells you who he wants. This time the target is King Thoras Trollbane of Stromgarde. The Lich King wants him for his strength in battle. He thinks Trollbane will be even stronger in undeath.
Darion Mograine is disturbed by this choice because even a king’s rest is not respected by the Lich King. The Ebon Blade have already angered the Horde and now he fears they will anger the Alliance as well. He agrees to do it though and sends Nazgrim and Thassarian ahead to help you.
You meet Nazgrim and Thassarian inside Stromgarde Keep. Prince Galen Trollbane is in command there. He is reluctant to give you his father’s sword which you need to open up the vault where his father is buried. Galen gives you a quest to murder some trolls and steal their stuff. If you do that for him he will give you the sword.
Once you kill the trolls and bring Prince Galen the head of their leader he decides not to help you after all. Instead he runs off and sics all his guards on you. Nazgrim and Thassarian are pissed because the dude is really obnoxious. They tell you to get his sword by whatever means necessary.
Every mob in Stromgarde is now hostile. As long as you don’t pull too many you’ll be fine though. Prince Galen is hiding in a church. Kill his ass and get the sword. From there you enter the vault and are able to raise King Thoras Trollbane.
King Thoras Trollbane is more concerned about his son and the fate of his kingdom than anything else. He is upset to learn that Stromgarde has fallen. Thassarian convinces him that he can still make a difference if he joins the Ebon Blade to help save the world. Trollbane agrees and becomes the second horseman. Once you all return to Archerus, Trollbane becomes a class champion.
Thassarian then has a personal request for you. He is upset that Koltira Deathweaver has been imprisoned for years somewhere inside the Undercity. Sylvanas has refused to negotiate with the Ebon Blade for his release and Thassarian is tired of it. He wants you to help him rescue Koltira.
You meet Thassarian outside the sewer entrance to the Undercity. This starts an instanced scenario. You will still be PvP flagged if you are Alliance but you won’t run into enemy players. As soon as you enter the sewers, Nathanos Blightcaller can be heard yelling, “You merely prolong the inevitable. Succumb. She will free your misguided soul!”
I assume he is yelling this at Koltira because why else would that line be in the scenario? Thassarian seems to think so too because he yells at you to follow him quickly. You battle your way through ghouls and guards and eventually get to the chamber where Koltira is being held.
Koltira is trapped in a tiny cage. He is shocked to see Thassarian because it has been so long. After you release him, Koltira says he doesn’t want to speak about what he’s endured. He just wants to get the hell out of there. Once you are all back at Archerus, Koltira becomes your fourth class champion.
The next horseman the Lich King wants you to raise is High Inquisitor Sally Whitemane formally of the Scarlet Crusade. He wants her because her zealous power of will is necessary to strengthen the bond of the Four Horsemen. Darion Mograine notes that Whitemane was never considered a hero in life but he also acknowledges her connection to the Light was stronger than that of any paladin. Death has a way of quelling the madness of the mind so she will probably serve the Ebon Blade well.
You meet Thassarian inside the Scarlet Monastery. It is still inhabited by members of the Scarlet Crusade and they are plagued by the undead. Your job is to kill them because Thassarian thinks the only good Scarlet Crusader is a dead Scarlet Crusader. Nazgrim and Trollbane are also there causing mischief.
When you finally raise the High Inquisitor from the dead, she isn’t very happy about it. Her death has been full of anguish and she doesn’t understand why she must live again. Sally Whitemane demands to know why you have done such a thing to her. Thassarian tells her the Day of Reckoning is at hand because the Burning Legion has come to destroy the world. He says she will have no peace but the Ebon Blade is offering her a chance to atone for her crimes. Sally Whitemane says she doesn’t believe such a chance exists for her, but she agrees to fight because of her hatred for the Burning Legion. She becomes your fifth class champion.
The final horseman is the one the Lich King wants to lead them. The leader he has chosen is Tirion Fordring.
Darion Mograine is very upset by this. He tells you that the Lich King demands too much. Tirion Fordring deserves more than a life of anguish and undeath. He finally says that he will obey your will but cautions that there will be no redemption from such a terrible act. Rightous blood will stain the hands of the Ebon Blade forever. It is very clear that he does not want to do this. Mograine puts the fate of the world over the fate of the Ebon Blade though and starts making preparations to attack Light’s Hope Chapel.
You meet up with Darion Mograine and the three horsemen outside of Light’s Hope Chapel. This is very reminiscent of the end of the death knight starter zone. You are about to attack the Silver Hand and invade the paladin class hall to get to Tirion Fordring’s body. It’s an evil act and it feels bad to do it.
You go to a crypt behind the chapel and raise some ghouls to distract the paladins. After they are busy fighting the undead, you enter the chapel to find Darion Mograine choking Lord Maxwell Tyrosus. The three horsemen are all with him. Darion tells you to go below and find Tirion’s body in the Hall of Champions. Lord Maxwell yells that the Light will not allow it but you enter the paladin class order hall anyway.
Once there you kill all the paladins that stand in your way. Eventually you find Lady Liadrin guarding Tirion’s tomb. She tells you to turn back from your unholy mission or be purged by the Light. You are forced to fight her.
Lady Liadrin is badly wounded by you but not killed. She can no longer fight but she still yells at Darion when she sees him enter the Hall of Champions with the three horsemen. Liadrin calls him a monster.
Darion walks past her up to the tomb and replies that without monsters there can be no heroes. Then he tells you that it is time to raise Tirion Fordring. You approach the tomb and start raising the dead. Darion proclaims that at last the Four Horsemen shall have their leader. And then everything goes to hell.
The Light objects heavily to what you are doing. Lady Liadrin laughs and calls you all fools. She asks if you really thought the Light would allow this? Darion Mograine is shocked and frozen up by the tomb. You get thrown backwards into the other death knights and all of you are stunned by the Light.
Lady Liadrin reminds you that even the Lich King had no power there. She tells Darion that the Light protects the chapel. Darkness cannot abide within the Light! The Light increases around you as she says this and it looks like all the death knights are about to be incinerated. Darion yells back at her. “NO! I will not allow the Ebon Blade to fall!” He somehow manages to summon a deathgate and pulls all of you through it before you are destroyed by the Light.
You arrive back at Archerus unharmed. The three horsemen are all gathered around a fallen figure. Darion Mograine has been killed by the Light. Nazgrim says that something must be done before it’s too late. Whitemane tells him that the Light has ravaged Mograine’s body and that nothing can be done to help. Trollbane muses that even in a life of war he has never seen such an act of sacrifice.
Then the Lich King starts talking to you. He notes that Darion Mograine has sacrificed more for the Ebon Blade than any other. Death is for the living and has no power over the damned. The Lich King tells you that your Fourth Horseman lies before you. It is time to command him to rise.
So you raise Darion Mograine from the dead. He is now a death knight twice over. Mograine embraces his role as leader of the Four Horsemen with suspicious enthusiasm. His previous doubts seem to have been erased. Instead Mograine says that he should have known it was his destiny to lead the Four all along. He tells you that so long as he leads them, the Four Horsemen will be loyal to you.
After this event, the Four Horsemen await commands. Sometimes they go on missions but never directly interact with you again. Darion Mograine is no longer a leader of the Ebon Blade and becomes one of your class champions. I get the strong impression that you, the Deathlord, are now its main leader.
This comes into play during the death knight mount quest. As before, when I did this on my main I was paying too much attention to the story to get good screenshots. I’m not even sure I can do this quest again on an alt, so I decided to tell you what happens without leveling Ryannde all the way through the Legionfall stuff. The following screenshots were grabbed from Wowhead’s youtube video of this quest.
While you’ve been busy with the Broken Shore, the resident lich of Archerus, Amal’thazad, has been working on a secret project with the Lich King. He has inscribed runes that will deepen your connection and make it easier for you to talk mentally to the Lich King. (Wait…what? This sounds like a terrible idea.) Now you can instantly feel the Lich King’s icy presence in your mind when he talks to you!
You get to go up to the roof of Archerus and see a ghostly image of the Lich King on his throne. He tells you about a vision he has had of an undead army marching across Northrend in search of a great power. But when he tries to find that power he senses nothing. The Lich King tells you to go to Northrend where he will show you what he has seen.
In Northrend you find a small ice burg north of the Shadow Vault in Icecrown. Once you arrive, the Lich King shows you his vision. He tells you that somewhere the bones of an ancient mighty dragon exist. Arthas could never find them but the Lich King feels entitled to own the bones.
“It is ours by right.”
His icy presence invades your mind again and he says that the dragons must know the resting place of their kin. He tells you to find a member of the bronze dragonflight and ask. You are not to be merciful. Then his icy presence fades.
You get to Wyrmrest Temple and torture a poor bronze dragon in the form of a gnome. He tells you he doesn’t know anything except that a glacier like that used to exist. You should talk to Teriol, the blood elf dragon on the outside of the temple. He might know more.
Teriolstrasz is pissed when you confront him. He calls you death-bringer and says you will never find what you seek. Then he turns into a red dragon and kicks you out of Wyrmrest Temple.
The Lich King pops right back into your head at this point. He says that the red dragons know something and are probably hiding it in their Sanctum. He tells you to go into the Ruby Sanctum and find their secrets. The Lich King gives you a choice of killing every dragon in the Ruby Sanctum or sparing as many as you like. If you kill them all, he tells you that you are empty inside just like him.
Since they took the feat of strength out for killing all of the dragons, I am going to assume that the red dragonflight was not canonically wiped out by the Ebon Blade. But they were directly attacked and I’m sure there will be consequences.
Eventually you find a book inside the sanctum that shows the location of a hidden glacier where a red dragon died. The Lich King invades your mind again when you read the book and his presence is now overwhelming.
He tells you that the bones of a great red dragon are full of life even decades after the dragon dies. The Lich King intends for you to consume this life essence, blight it, and then raise the dragon. He tells you to find the glacier to the north. It is your destiny. Then his presence fades from your mind.
The jumping off point to find this glacier is the ice burg you visited earlier. From there fly north into the blizzard and hold onto your reins. You will enter a fatigue zone but keep going and you will find the lost glacier.
You land in a snowy wasteland and your supplies are frozen so you can’t eat to restore health. Deathstrike is your friend here!
The Lich King tells you that the time has come to test your will. If you fail to survive, he will be taking control of Archerus.
“Arthas may have sought revenge on the citadel, but I have…other plans.”
He doesn’t go into detail as to what those plans are. You are forced to fight feral undead as you make your way across the glacier. Eventually you find a green area surrounding a dragon skeleton that is swarming with the feral undead. The Lich King can sense the spark of life there and wants you to spoil it with decay.
You need to kill the feral undead that have been feeding on the life energy coming from the bones of the dragon. Killing them allows you to consume that energy. The Lich King tells you to bend the dragon’s life energy to your desires.
“Pervert it with your darkness.”
And you do. You raise the dragon from a crack in the ice almost exactly like Arthas raised Sindragosa in the Wrath of the Lich King trailer.
After that you have a shiny new mount, and if you are like me, a lot of questions.
See at the end there, the Lich King never really seems to leave your mind. He pops in and comments on stuff occasionally but his presence only fades. So…as a death knight how free are you? You have betrayed the Horde, betrayed the Alliance, betrayed the paladins, betrayed the dragons and maybe killed off an entire flight of them, all because the Lich King told you to.
Darion Mograine is no longer free. I would argue that none of the Four Horsemen are. They agreed to their new roles too easily. In fact they remind me a lot of how some Forsaken react to Sylvanas after being raised by her Val’kyr. As the leader of the Ebon Blade, you aren’t acting like you have complete independence from the Lich King either. You survived his test of will but still did as he bid you.
I am curious to see where Blizzard is going to go with this story. I feel like the Lich King is doing too many shady things to ignore forever. I’ll expand on this idea in future post.