Know Your Lore: Katherine Proudmoore
Not many heads of state in Azeroth have been married to their predecessors, much less held the position themselves for over a decade before seeing it passed on. Of the seven original kingdoms of Humanity, only one nation has seen a continuity in leadership from the time of the Second War until now while still retaining their land, and that nation is Kul Tiras. And the woman who holds the title of Lord Admiral of Kul Tiras when Battle for Azeroth starts has done so at great cost to herself — she’s lost her husband, saw one child die, another vanish and a third seem to betray everything their family and their house stood for.
But there’s more to Katherine Proudmoore than loss. Just as there is more to Kul Tiras than ships or the sea, there is more to this woman — widow to one Lord Admiral, mother of another, and holder of the title herself since Daelin’s death — than just her losses.
This Know Your Lore will be covering events in the Alliance storyline for Kul Tiras, so if you haven’t finished those yet and wish to do so unspoiled turn back now.
Witness to a world gone mad
We don’t know much about Katherine’s early life — we don’t know her family before her marriage to Daelin Proudmoore, for example. But when the Orcs came through the Dark Portal to threaten the Eastern Kingdoms, Katherine was already a seated monarch. The Lord Admiral of Kul Tiras is what a King would be for other nations, and that made her essentially the Queen of Kul Tiras. She and Daelin had three children, two sons — Derek and Tandred — and a daughter, Jaina.
Derek died fighting in the Alliance Navy during the Second War, a death Katherine had to learn about from a letter as her husband was too busy leading the Alliance Navy to return home in person. We don’t know for sure how this affected her, but what we do know is that after the War, Katherine fought for Jaina to be trained not as a sailor but as a Mage. She successfully convinced Daelin to allow their daughter to be tutored in Dalaran. As the Alliance essentially fell apart, Stromgarde and Gilneas withdrawing, Kul Tiras looked to its own security again but did not forsake old friendships. Katherine viewed the relationship between Jaina and young Arthas Menethil and gave it her tacit blessing.
Perhaps in a different world Lordaeron and Kul Tiras were united by a marriage between the heirs to their respective thrones. In the world we’ve witnessed, Lordaeron was destroyed, Terenas Menethil murdered by his own once-promising son, and Jaina fled to the west with ships loaded with refugees. Katherine might have expected many things, but what happened next wasn’t one of those things.
A death and a betrayal
When Daelin took the Kul Tiran fleet west after Jaina, Katherine likely expected him to return with her, or at least with news of her. When the remnants of the fleet did return, however, Daelin Proudmoore wasn’t with them. Those sailors who survived the Horde counterattack on Theramore told her a story almost too painful to believe. Jaina had aided the Orcs in their attack on the city, and allowed Daelin’s death. Not just Daelin, either — many in the fleet that chose to stay loyal to their Lord Admiral had died as well, including the husband of Katherine’s dear friend Priscilla Ashvane.
The shock of the news caused Katherine to blame herself. Jaina was always a brilliant child and she’d done all she could to see that Jaina’s brilliance was nurtured. Now, she felt that she hadn’t done enough to teach her daughter humility and a sense of proper loyalty to her people. This belief was nurtured by her close friend and confidant Lady Ashvane, who was herself embittered by the death of her husband.
Katherine went so far as to petition the Alliance for redress, but she was rebuffed, and so she took Kul Tiras out of the Alliance. At that time the Alliance mostly consisted of Stormwind and the Dwarves and Gnomes, with the Night Elves joining shortly thereafter. King Varian viewed Daelin’s death as a result of his own hotheaded attempt to make war on the Horde by himself.
Worsening troubles and the daughter of the sea
Katherine Proudmoore assumed the title of Lord Admiral, but not all was well in Kul Tiras. Both the Stormsong and Waycrest families had become focused on their own concerns. The Stormsongs didn’t visit Boralus for an extended period and the Waycrests kept to their manor house. Meanwhile, the Tidesages claimed to have lost contact with the Kul Tiran fleet, which included Priscilla’s last remaining son Tandred. Kul Tiras itself also became insular — having left the Alliance after the end of the Third War, they didn’t concern themselves with events such as the rise of the Lich King, Deathwing’s attacks or even the war in Pandaria.
But their isolation allowed their problems to fester. Sir Cyrus Crestfall likened it to an infection. In Katherine’s case, that infection was born out of the pain of her losses, and her own feeling of guilt, easily played upon by Priscilla Ashvane. When Jaina returned to try and bring Kul Tiras into the Alliance, Katherine coldly denounced her. You are no daughter of mine. So saying, she tore the amulet Jaina had been wearing, the one Daelin had worn to Theramore on the journey that led to his death, from her daughter’s neck. And then she allowed Priscilla Ashvane to do what she would with Jaina.
The Ashvane treachery
But Priscilla Ashvane was far from the friend and confidant she appeared to be. Stockpiling Azerite-infused weapons and gunpowder, she planned to arm the Irontide Raiders and use the pirates to seize control of Kul Tiras. Beyond that, she came within a few moments of convincing Katherine to step down as Lord Admiral and pass the title on to her. Katherine was exhausted by all the losses, and by the seeming curse on the Proudmoore family that had caused all of Kul Tiras’ woes, or so she believed.
When Priscilla’s treachery was revealed and Lady Ashvane escaped, Katherine found herself at the lowest point in her life. Her family was all gone, all seemingly dead, and she was haunted by dreams of Jaina burning. It took a confrontation with Genn Greymane, the only other surviving ruler from the years of the Second War, to teach Katherine that as long as Jaina still lived she had hope to reconcile with her daughter. It was a chance Genn could never have with his son.
And so Katherine Proudmoore enlisted the aid of the same Alliance Emissary who’d traveled to Kul Tiras with her daughter to help in the search for Jaina, and answers. Next week, we’ll talk about Fate’s End, Thros, and the return of Lady Ashvane, as well as the return of Kul Tiras’ Lord Admiral.
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