Remembering Northrend ~ Part 2
In our first installment, we went through the Spider War, and Arthas Menethil's first visit to this cursed frozen land. The Lich King had set up his kingdom here, at the very top of the world, in Icecrown. From here, he led Arthas to deceive Illidan Stormrage, and help him become more powerful, and demonic, as well as set up the Legion's downfall in secret.
The Lich King was initially part of the Legion's plans to conquer this world - the scourge was to decimate all living things within it, then pave the way for an easy Legion invasion. However, Ner'zhul, being the wise Shaman he is, also foresaw what would happen and how to manage to get into a position of power. First, he needed the Legion to be defeated, along with its leader, Archimonde.
Upon hearing of Archimonde's defeat thanks to the combined forces of the Alliance and the Horde, Prince Arthas came back to Lordaeron to reclaim his 'kingdom' as his own, but this is where the trouble started. The Lich King, thanks to Illidan's sorcery, started losing power, and with this, the undead scourge started rebelling against his will. This posed a great problem to the new self-proclaimed King Arthas, as his forces and even one of his best servants, Sylvannas Windrunner, started to defy the Lich King's will.
The Lich King then beckoned Arthas to come back to Northrend one more time, and unite with him to obtain true power. After many hardships faced by fighting the renegade Dreadlords still in Lordaeron and Sylvannas Windrunner herself, Arthas escaped with the help of Kel'thuzad, and gathered his troops to head back to Northrend.
Warcraft 3's Map On Arthas's Return
This time, however, right as he arrived back in this snowy region, he was attacked by Prince Kael'thas and his scout party. Sent here by Illidan, they were getting ready to defeat the Lich King once and for all, before Arthas had a chance of seeing him. Lady Vashj and Illidan were also nearby with the main forces.
Arthas, having being weakened by the Lich King's power loss, stood no chance against Kael'thas's forces, however, Anub'arak the great Cryptlord came to help him and welcome him back, sent by the Lich King himself. With his aid, he was able to fend off Kael's initial forces and begin climbing the mountain to the summit where the Lich King resides.
Along the way, Arthas and Anub'arak defeated a powerful Blue Drake named Sapphiron. Initially intending to use his ancient artifacts to aid them in their ascent, Arthas also expended enough energy to transform the dragon's remains into one of his best servants -- the Frostwyrm Sapphiron. Sapphiron, now an undead dragon, aided Arthas and Anub'arak in their assault as they moved up.
It was evident that they would not beat Illidan, Vashj and Kael'thas to the summit that easily since they were already settled, and it was here that Anub'arak suggested they take a small shortcut through the kingdom of Azjol-Nerub. Arthas, seeing no other choice, agreed to do so.
Upon arriving to the gates of Azjol-Nerub, Arthas and company were attacked by the remainder of Muradin's dwarves, led by Bael'gun. After a hard fight, Arthas and Anub'arak passed by Bael'gun's forces as well as many still uncorrupted nerubians. Bael'gun warned them both that something sinister had awoken through the path they were taking, but they had no time to waste, so they pressed onward.
Within the Azjol-Nerub depths, Arthas and Anub'arak fought ancient evils unknown to many, some resembling the Old Gods like C'thun. Finally, they reached the Icecrown Plateau.
The final battle was fought here between Illidan, Kael'thas, Vashj and Arthas's scourge. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the proximity to the Lich King empowered the scourge and returned Arthas his former power. Anub'arak and Arthas obtained control of the center of the mountain, and Arthas was able to access the Lich King's throne.
Before that, though, Illidan Stormrage stood before him. They had a short duel at the bottom of the stairs leading to the Lich King's seat. In a moment of carelessness, Illidan was slashed across the chest by Arthas and defeated, yet spared - Arthas had bigger things to worry about.
Climbing the stairs to the Lich King's throne, Arthas overheard many of his past life's events, from his father's voice, to Uther's voice, to Mal'ganis's, and finally, the Lich King's whispering, "Return the blade... complete the circle... release me from this prison!"
Upon shattering the Frozen Throne, Arthas took the Lich King's helmet, and put it on - "Now, we are one!" - Fusing themselves together, Arthas obtained complete control over the scourge.
The Lich King remains waiting for the perfect time to strike back at the world ever since. Illidan left Northrend, defeated, and rebuilt his forces in Outland, trying to empower himself enough to have a rematch. Northrend has not been visited again by anyone as it is a land full of dangerous monsters, and more importantly, the homeland of the undead scourge that threatens the world once more.
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