Know Your Lore: The Fall of Argus, Part 1
The homeworld of the Eredar. The birthplace of Velen and the Draenei. The seat of the Burning Legion. A world on the border between the Twisting Nether and the Great Dark Beyond. Argus is, was, and will be one of the most pivotal worlds in existence. The heart of the Burning Legion’s portal network, the Sargerite Keystone allows one to travel to Argus itself, but to do so is to challenge the Legion in the very heart of its power, to face its full wrath.
But before it was the heart of the Legion, it was something else. For many generations, Argus was home to a wise civilization of master Arcanists, with a past going back beyond recorded history. Silver rivers flowed on its surface, great trees and glittering mountains dominated the landscape. Before the coming of the Legion, Argus was a living world. Now, it is blasted and seething, with fel corruption so strong that fragments of the world fly off into the void, Legion ships orbiting the destruction.
How did Argus become what it is today?
The Golden Age
The Eredar of Argus were among the most intelligent and powerful mortal races in existence. Much of their history was lost with the coming of Sargeras, but the existence of relics such as the ata’mal crystals hints at long distant contact with the Naaru in their past. (25,000 years ago, when Velen first meditated upon the ata’mal crystal and contacted the Naaru, his people had already forgotten the distant origins of the crystal and did not know of the Naaru, hinting at an even greater antiquity for the stone.) The Eredar civilization was highly orderly and cohesive, ruled by two beings at the time it first attracted the attention of the Fallen Titan Sargeras — Kil’jaeden and Velen. They were known as the Second Duumvirate, implying that at least once before rulership of their people had been shared by two Eredar.
Sargeras at that time sought a solution to the problem of controlling the Legion of demons he was assembling. The Fallen Titan was enormously powerful, but demons are a chaotic and disorganized lot by their very nature. Sargeras, no matter how powerful and no matter how threatening, couldn’t be everywhere at once supervising every aspect of the host of demons he’d assembled. He needed a way to impose enough order on the chaos to make it a suitable implement to his goal of expunging all life from the universe.
The Eredar were perfect. Intelligent, powerful, and above all desperately hungry for knowledge, and with a society that prized working together in a cohesive way, he knew they would provide a backbone for his forces. But as they were, they were useless to him. Their society was a peaceful utopia. Velen and Kil’jaeden ruled jointly — any flaws the one had, the other compensated for. How would Sargeras corrupt these people into his service?
The answer was, as it so often is, via Warlocks.
The First Man’ari
On Argus in the years prior to the coming of Sargeras, there was a Mage named Thal’kiel. He was the leader of an order called the Wakeners, and among his devotees was an ambitious and talented acolyte named Archimonde. Some whispered that Archimonde had ambitions far in excess of his master, but Thal’kiel dismissed these as jealous rantings. He and the Wakeners were far too busy working on new ways to channel Argus’ impressive arcane magics, devising the very cities of their homeworld, and reaching out to probe the mysteries of the cosmos entire.
Like all Eredar, Thal’kiel hungered for knowledge. He sent his will out into infinity, his spells peeling back layers of existence. One such quest brought him into contact with a powerful energy — the fel — and a dark presence that began whispering to him of what he could do with such unfathomable power. And Thal’kiel listened well.
When he next emerged he brought with him the lore to summon demons. This he imparted to the Wakeners, for Thal’kiel now despised all the works of his old life and the arcane. He was devoted to fel magic, the summoning of demons, and the new era he foresaw for his people. So sure of this was Thal’kiel that he arranged a demonstration of his new pets for the Duumvirate — but while Thal’kiel had expected Kil’jaeden and Velen to be thrilled by his demonstration of power and knowledge, they were not. Instead, Velen forbade Thal’kiel from ever summoning a demon again, decrying the fel magic as accursed.
To a being who had never known failure, much less on this scale (Thal’kiel had designed and built half of Argus by this point) this rebuke shattered what little was left of the Eredar he’d been. Retreating into his private chambers, he emerged shriveled and filled with an endless rage. He determined that he would drag Argus into the new age he saw in the fel, and soon his Wakeners toiled day and night to summon and conceal a host of demons. An army with one purpose — the overthrow of the Duumvirate and the installation of Thal’kiel as dictator of Argus.
Archimonde the Hero
Only one of the Wakeners did not wish to aid Thal’kiel in his plans, and that was his apprentice Archimonde. On the evening before the Wakeners’ planned coup, he went to the Duumvirate and revealed everything — his master’s plans, the army of demons, and how to bypass the Wakeners’ wards. Why did he do this? Some say it was ambition, but if it was, he managed to disguise this from both Kil’jaeden and Velen, who seemed to accept his sincerity and even allowed him to lead the counterattack on the Wakener’s fortress.
Archimonde led a group of magi to the lair of his former master, disabled the wards, and disrupted the Wakeners in their rituals. Both they and their demons were defeated, and Thal’kiel was decapitated by Archimonde himself. He brought the head back, and the rest of the Wakeners were put to the sword as a warning to others of the price of consorting with demons. The word Man’ari (the unnatural one) was used instead of Thal’kiel’s name when referring to him, so great was his dishonor. And Archimonde was hailed as a hero and a savior. He had his master’s head preserved and even kept it in his demesne, the materials used allowing it to act as a channel for magic. Because Archimonde was still fascinated with what he’d seen while serving Thal’kiel and, like all Eredar, his hunger for knowledge was strong. He wanted to understand the powers his master had displayed.
Archimonde in time rose to a position of equality with Velen and Kil’jaeden, a triumvirate that ruled all of Argus. He’d eclipsed his master. And yet, he wasn’t satisfied.
Next week, the coming of the glorious one and the confirmation of Thal’kiel’s new era.
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