The Warcraft Lore series is a collection of articles delving deep into the history of many important Warcraft figures and events. Since World of Warcraft’s story is ongoing in the famous MMORPG and in some new novel publications, I will try to constantly update these articles. My main sources are Warcraft books and comics, Warcraft 1 / 2 /3, World of Warcraft, WoWWiki, WoWpedia, YouTube and some theory-crafting sites. The following article will inform you about the Dreadlord Balnazzar.
“Know that I am Balnazzar. Know, as I drink your life, that I will take up residence in this weak shell your soul once called home. Know that I will corrupt and destroy everything and everyone you have ever loved.”
Let me know in the comments about any errors or inconsistencies you may find. Feedback is greatly appreciated. Enjoy!
Prologue (Pre Warcraft Era)
During the attack of the Alliance on Outland, a terrified Ner’zhul opened multiple portals to other worlds in order to escape. Upon entering one of the portals, he was captured by Kil’jaeden. The eredar tortured the poor shaman until he broke his spirit completely. Eventually, Ner’zhul agreed to serve the Legion once more and he was resurrected as a spectre. Five dreadlords (Tichondrius, Mal’Ganis, Balnazzar, Detheroc and Varimathras) bound Ner’Zhul’s spirit to a set of armor creating the first Lich King. In the same time they constructed a fortress in Icecrown (later known as Icrecrown Citadel) to serve as a jail.
Ner’Zhul before opening several portals and tearing Draenor apart
The Lich King was originally created for the sole purpose of weakening Azeroth’s defenses, prior to the Third War. Balnazzar and his demonic brethren were also dispatched to Azeorth to hasten the Lich King’s task by any means necessary. However, the clever spirit of Ner’zhul managed to trick the dreadlords into allowing him to hurl Frostmourne out of the Frozen Throne. Many years later, Arthas found the cursed sword, setting Ner’zul’s revenge plan in action.
Balnazzar is a Dreadlord. Dreadlords, commonly known as Nathrezim, are intelligent and cunning demons who usually act as intelligence agents, interrogators and emissaries for the fiery lords of the Burning Legion, notably Kil’jaeden, as well as tacticians and lieutenants upon the field of battle in times of war. While they are powerful foes on the battlefield, they prefer to turn nations against each other through manipulation and guile. In addition, should they die, their spirit returns to the astral plane known as Twisting Nether. They die permanently only if they are slain inside the Twisting Nether.
A group of Dreadlords
The Hunt for Arthas (Warcraft 3 Era)
Balnazzar, Varimathras and Detheroc, stayed in the Eastern Kingdoms and were not aware of Archimonde’s “death” at the Battle for Mount Hyjal. Several months after the defeat of the Burning Legion, Arthas interrupted a Dreadlord meeting, informing the Nathrezim about Archimonde’s destruction. The fallen prince also stated that their deaths would complete the circle as he attacked the three Dreadlords. Balnazzar and his brothers managed to teleport at Tirisfal Glades before Arthas could strike.
Safe withing the forest of Tirisfal Glades, Balnazzar began to create a plan to destroy the Lich King. Knowing that Ner’zhul was slowly losing his power, he contacted Sylvanas Windrunner in an attempt to recruit the Banshee Queen as an ally against Arthas. Sylvanas, hungry for vengeance, accepted the Dreadlord’s offer and prepared her soldiers (the Forsaken) to attack the prince.
Arthas informs Balnazzar and his brothers about the Legion’s defeat
When Arthas arrived in the ruins of the capital city of Lordaeron, Balnazzar trapped the Lich King’s champion and separated him from Kel’Thuzad and his army. As the Dreadlord teleported away, several servants of the Burning Legion were summoned inside the city, with the sole purpose of killing Arthas. However, the prince managed to defeat Balnazzar’s forces and escape via a secret shortcut.
Sylvanas’ Ambush (Warcraft 3 Era)
Arthas hid within the forest, glad that he had escaped the Dreadlord’s ambush. Unfortunately for him, this hunt was far from over. Sylvanas, aided by a group of Banshees, attacked and incapacitated the fallen prince. Seconds before the ranger-general was about to pierce Arthas’ black heart, Kel’Thuzad, followed by a battalion of necromancers, intervened, saving the Lich King’s champion and chasing Sylvanas away.
The two ambushes for Arthas (Balnazzar & Sylvanas)
Even with Arthas alive, Balnazzar was satisfied. He took full control over Lordaeron and the Plaguelands and managed to expand the Burning Legion’s territory. He also dispatched his brother Varimathras to renegotiate with Sylvanas into bringing her into their new order. Unfortunately for the Nathrezim, Sylvanas attacked and defeated Varimathras. The Dreadlord offered to serve Sylvanas eternally in exchange for his life. Sylvanas accepted and spared Varimathras, an action that she would later regret during the Wrath of the Lich King Expansion.
Lord Garithos and Balnazzar’s End (Warcraft 3 Era)
Soon, a new threat appeared as Lord Garithos’ forces managed to push the Undead deep into the Plaguelands. This annoyed Balnazzar, who sent Detheroc to take care of the situation. Detheroc’s insane powers of mental domination allowed him to completely enslave Garithos and his army that now fought alongside the Undead. However, Sylvanas Windrunner, with the help of her pet Dreadlord Varimathras, managed to kill Detheroc, freeing the Grand Marshal and his men from the mind control.
Varimathras “kills” Balnazzar
Sylvanas explained Garithos that she was no longer under the influence of the Lich King and she offered to help him reclaim the lands from Balnazzar. Garithos accepted the Banshee’s Queen offer and together they made an alliance to face the cunning Dreadlord. Balnazaar found himself fighting a war in two fronts and he was quickly defeated. After their victory, Sylvanas, Varimathras and Garithos approached the injured Balnazzar. Sylvanas ordered Varimathras to kill his brother as a testament to his loyalty to her. Varimathras was reluctant as killing another Nathrezim was forbidden but, in the end, he murdered his brother in cold blood.
The Stratholme Incident (Post Warcraft 3 Era)
Unknown to Sylvanas, Balnazzar survived, having staged his death with his brother. After Arthas took up the mantle of the Lich King and Sylvanas rebelled against him by creating the Forsaken, the Scarlet’s Crusade commander Abbendis decided to completely eradicate the undead threat from the Plaguelands. He gave Isillien the rank of the Grand Inquisitor while he led an attack in the undead city of Stratholme. During the attack on the city, one of the first Paladins, Saidan Dathrohan was seperated from his brethren. Balnazzar seized the opportunity and attacked Saidan.
Balnazzar attacks Saidan Dathrohan in Stratholme
Saidan was strong but he was no match for the dreadlord. Balnazzar killed the holy man and possessed his body, determined to destroy and corrupt the Scarlet Crusade from the inside. In addition, the attack on Stratholme failed, and the crusaders were forced to retreat back to Tyr’s Hand. In the same time, they built a huge monastery to serve as their base of operations in the Eastern Kingdoms, the Scarlet Monastery. Another paladin of the order, Lord Maxwell Tyrosus proposed that Night Elves, Dwarves and Gnomes should also be able to join the Scarlet Crusade. However, Abbendis refused stating that the “lesser” races have nothing to do with the fate of Lordaeron.
Soon, Balnazzar began manipulating the organization to serve the Burning Legion’s ends. However, there was a huge threat that he had to eliminate. Alexandros Mograine was killing countless of the Scourge’s soldiers and the Dreadlord was afraid to face him in a one versus one duel. He started talking a lot with Alexandros’s son Renault, playing on his desire for approval and recognition. The cunning Nathrezim managed to make Renault hate his father and envy his brother, Darion Morgraine. After many weeks of manipulation, Renault finally betrayed his father and stabbed Alexandros in the back.
Grand Crusader Dathrohan (Vanilla World of Warcraft – Cataclysm Expansion)
After Alexandros’ death, Balnazzar took full control over Stratholme and the Plaguelands. His disguise was only revealed when a group of adventurers raided the live side of Stratholme and attacked Grand Crusader Dathrohan (possessed by Balnazzar). However, the Dreadlord managed to escape a second time. When the Deathwing created the Cataclysm, Balnazzar seized the opportunity and slaughtered all the Scarlet Crusaders inside Stratholme. He then proceeded to raise them as the Risen, a new type of undead monstrosities. Luckily, this time, the armies of Azeroth managed to kill the Dreadlord sending him back to the Twisting Nether.
The Twisting Nether
Balnazzar’s Return (Legion Expansion)
When Gul’dan prepared to attack the army of Azeroth in the Broken Shore, he began to cast a summoning spell outside the Tomb of Sargeras. When the ritual was complete, several of the Burning Legion’s lieutenants appeared next to him, Balnazzar included. The Dreadlord later led an attack against the Priests of Netherlight Temple but he was defeated by High Exarch’s Turalyon lieutenant, Lothraxion. As the temple is located deep into the Twisting Nether, Balnazzar was finally killed for good.
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