Know Your Lore: The haunting legacy of Lord Admiral Daelin Proudmoore
Lord Admiral Daelin Proudmoore once led the entirety of the Alliance naval forces during the Second War. His life came to an unexpected end when his own daughter — Jaina — stood aside and let the Horde strike him down. It’s that moment that still weighs heavy in the thoughts of most residents of Kul Tiras. Daelin wasn’t just a leader – he was respected and beloved. The fact that he died was shocking – the fact that he died because of his daughter’s inaction was nigh-inconceivable.
And even though he’s long gone, Daelin haunts the world still. He lives on in the hearts of the people of Kul Tiras, who still mourn his loss to this day. And his words of warning still linger and tear at the heart of his only daughter, who quietly shelved her regret for years only for it to return, full force, on the eve of Battle for Azeroth.
The Second War
Daelin Proudmoore readily agreed to bring Kul Tiras into the Alliance of Lordaeron during the Second War. As a longtime friend of Anduin Lothar, Daelin took what had happened to Stormwind and King Llane seriously. The Horde was a threat that needed to be addressed and dealt with – and Kul Tiras had an absurdly powerful navy. In their first skirmishes with Horde ships, Proudmoore and his fleet easily tore the primitive Horde vessels apart.
He might’ve ended the Horde right then and there, were it not for the Dragonmaw. Having enslaved the Dragonqueen Alexstrazsa, the Orcs of the Dragonmaw were using her children as deadly mounts. Daelin and his men were used to naval warfare – they had no experience with aerial combat. Fortunately, they eventually managed to recruit the Wildhammer Dwarves, whose gryphons were more than capable of dealing with the Horde’s red dragons.
Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the losses from piling in. One of those losses was Daelin’s son, Derek, burned to death in dragon’s flame. And although the Alliance would eventually win the Second War, the memory of his son’s death would never fade…nor would his hatred for the Horde that killed him.
But Daelin had another child, his daughter Jaina. At a relatively early age, she started showing a talent for magic. Daelin’s wife, Katherine, wanted to send her to Dalaran to study, but Daelin wasn’t particularly enchanted by the idea. Still, he eventually relented, and escorted her to the Eastern Kingdoms himself. There, she studied, and also fell in love — she was even briefly engaged to Prince Arthas for a time.
Even though the Alliance of Lordaeron splintered after the Second War, Daelin and Kul Tiras remained an ally of Lordaeron, continuing to trade and patrol the seas. So news of the plague that hit Lordaeron came as a shock – and the destruction of Lordaeron was equally devastating. There were few survivors to be found, the land overrun by demons and legions of undead.
There was word, however, from Southshore – the Horde were stealing ships from the port city, and setting out across the sea. The sea was Daelin’s domain, and he set off in swift pursuit, but his fleet was hit by a massive storm. While some ships were swept off to the Darkspear Islands, Daelin and the majority of the fleet returned to Kul Tiras. Jaina was no longer in Lordaeron – but she hadn’t returned home, either. Instead, she set sail for Kalimdor with survivors from the fallen capital.
And that’s exactly where the Horde was headed, too.
There was little else to do – Daelin Proudmoore needed to save his daughter from the same fate his son had suffered, and prevent the Horde from gaining a foothold on another continent. So he gathered his strongest men and once more took to the seas, this time to the coasts of Kalimdor. There, he set his men to the task of hunting down and taking care of any Horde they happened to find. As for Daelin, he headed for Theramore.
Although initially delighted to find his daughter alive and well, delight quickly turned to fury when he realized who was with her. Allies of the Horde – Rexxar, Rokhan, and Chen Stormstout – were all inexplicably keeping company with his daughter. Daelin immediately demanded their arrest, but Jaina not only refused, she retreated. She helped the Horde escape.
It was inconceivable. Obviously, something had happened to Jaina – and she would need to be dealt with in due time. But first, the Horde needed to be wiped from Kalimdor, and Jaina had a convenient island citadel to use as a staging ground. He usurped control of Theramore and set to work…but he wasn’t working for long. Eventually, the Horde returned. They destroyed his ships and fought their way through the city.
And the rest is history – Jaina stood aside, aided the Horde in their mission, and watched as they struck her father down.
When news of the Lord Admiral’s death eventually reached Kul Tiras, the initial reaction was shock — and then a bloodthirsty cry for vengeance. But no one answered their cry. Distracted by the fall of Lordaeron and the fallout from the plague, the remaining Human kingdoms had their own concerns to deal with. Kul Tiras, it seemed, was on its own.
Embittered and angered, the people of Kul Tiras turned their fury toward another target: Jaina. It was her inaction, her betrayal that led to Daelin’s death. As for the rest of the Alliance, Kul Tiras simply turned away. It wasn’t quite the same as building a wall, like Greymane had. But as far as the nation of Kul Tiras was concerned, the rest of the world could go hang.
They would never forget their fallen leader. And they would never forget who was responsible for his death. Jaina – his own daughter – and of course, the Horde.
Anchored in the past
Was Daelin Proudmoore evil? I don’t think so. We, as players of the game, have the luxury of seeing all sides of a story at once. We played through the Horde campaign in Warcraft 3; we saw that Thrall’s new Horde was of a different caliber than the one that preceded it. We saw Thrall enter into a tentative alliance with Jaina – we saw the Horde and Alliance join forces to fight back the Burning Legion at Hyjal. We saw those first hesitant bonds of peace between Orgrimmar and Theramore. We saw that Thrall was willing to try to reach out, where his predecessors struck without mercy.
Daelin Proudmoore didn’t see any of that. The Second War was a brutal and bloody affair that resulted in the death of his eldest son. As far as Daelin knew, the Horde had been locked away in internment camps after the war – the first news he’d heard of their escape was that they were stealing ships from Alliance towns. And the fact that the Horde was headed directly to where Jaina had fled likely struck a note of panic in Daelin’s heart.
Daelin wasn’t evil – he was mired in the past, stuck in his perception of the original Horde. That old Horde was gone. It moved on — Daelin did not. All he knew was that the Horde was on the move, and that spelled disaster in the First and Second Wars. His daughter was theoretically plunked right in the middle of all that chaos, the last place he ever wanted her to be.
Her protests and insistence that the Horde was anything but evil fell on deaf ears, and his insistent warnings of the Horde’s dangerous nature fell on deaf ears as well. He knew what the Horde was. After all, hadn’t he lived through a war with them and seen their brutality first hand? Hadn’t he lost a son to them? She knew what the Horde was — hadn’t she lived through a war with them, and seen their courage with her own eyes? Hadn’t she saved the world with them?
In Warbringers: Jaina, it seems as though Jaina has finally come to terms with what her father was trying to tell her. We watched Jaina mourn her father in Warcraft 3, plaintively asking his corpse why he wouldn’t simply listen to her. We’ve watched Jaina struggle ever since with her quest for peace between factions. And we watched as it all came crashing down around her when Theramore was destroyed in the blink of an eye due to the murderous actions of the Horde Warchief, and realized perhaps she should have been the one listening after all.
In that moment, Daelin was right.
Jaina’s return to Kul Tiras isn’t going to be easy. They still blame her for Daelin’s death – and well they should. She was responsible for his demise, and she knows it. But she also knows that she must make amends, if the Alliance has any hope against the Horde in Battle for Azeroth. Perhaps her whispered words were enough to set her father’s spirit at ease…but will they be enough to soothe the fury of an outraged nation? We’ll find out in a few short weeks.
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