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Ashbringer

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For the characters with the title "The Ashbringer", see Alexandros Mograine or Tirion Fordring. For the comic book mini-series by Wildstorm, see World of Warcraft: Ashbringer.
The Ashbringer in its original state.
The Ashbringer in the TCG.

The Ashbringer is a powerful sword known for its use against the undead. It shares its name with its original wielder, Alexandros Mograine, former Highlord of the Silver Hand, who was known as "The Ashbringer."[1] Reports vary as to whether the sword was named after Mograine, or vice-versa.

The Ashbringer was originally forged by Magni Bronzebeard, who was filled with rage after learning that Arthas had betrayed and murdered Magni's brother, Muradin Bronzebeard (Muradin had, in fact, survived, but this would not be known by anyone else, including an amnesiac Muradin, until years later). He thus harnessed all of his rage, fury, the desire for vengeance, and willed them into being with each strike of his hammer. When he was finished, he gave Mograine the finest blade that had ever been crafted by his hand. [2]

Alexandros' oldest son, Renault betrayed and murdered him using the sword, transforming it into the  [Corrupted Ashbringer]. Alexandros was resurrected as a death knight and kept it in his possession until his younger son Darion entered Naxxramas and killed him. Darion later discovered his father's soul had become corrupted and tied to the blade, and plunged it into his own heart to save him. Though his father's soul was redeemed, Darion became a death knight himself. The sword was eventually purified after Darion betrayed the Lich King and relinquished it to Tirion Fordring.[3]

While the sword's story has been slowly revealed since World of Warcraft's inception, it has a more pronounced role in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.

The Ashbringer is featured in a titular four-part series of the World of Warcraft comic book.[4]

Contents

History

Mograine gazes upon the dark crystal.

Forging

See also: Old Hillsbrad Ashbringer event

During the assault on Blackrock Spire in the Second War, Highlord Mograine of the Silver Hand claimed a mysterious dark crystal from a dead orc warlock. The crystal was the "living embodiment of shadow," and originated from Draenor.[5] Upon touching it, Mograine's hand became tainted, It transformed into a hand like undead that could not be healed.[6]

Mograine kept the crystal a secret until the first whispers of the Scourge reached Lordaeron. He revealed it to the other leaders of the Silver Hand, suggesting that they search for the crystal's polar opposite — a manifestation of the Holy Light itself — to be used against the impending undead holocaust. Mograine's peers, appalled at the sight of this dark crystal, attempted to destroy it with a holy spell. Unexpectedly, the crystal absorbed the spell and became its antithesis, the very crystal of pure light that Mograine suggested moments before. It was decided that from this crystal a weapon would be forged that would smite the undead with such power that only a cloud of ash would remain in its wake — The Ashbringer.[5]

Mograine and Fairbanks traveled to Ironforge, where King Magni Bronzebeard forged the blade himself upon The Great Anvil, infusing it with rage and vengeance for his brother Muradin Bronzebeard whom was believed to have fallen before Frostmourne.

Death knight Highlord Mograine, as seen in Naxxramas.

Fall of the Highlord

See also: Corrupted Ashbringer/Scarlet Monastery Event

After the Silver Hand was dissolved following Arthas' betrayal, the remaining leaders banded together to fight the undead of the now-Plaguelands. The Ashbringer became the most lethal weapon in their arsenal — so much so that it quickly garnered the attention of Kel'Thuzad. Balnazzar, in the newly possessed body of Grand Crusader Saidan Dathrohan, sought to secretly manipulate the remnants of the Silver Hand for the purposes of the Burning Legion. After Mograine stated his intentions to attack the Undercity, Balnazzar put plans into motion to eliminate the Highlord in order to protect his brother, Varimathras, who in turn was manipulating Sylvanas Windrunner and her Forsaken.

Balnazzar made a pact with Kel'Thuzad to eliminate the Highlord: the bane of the Scourge would be destroyed, and the dreadlords' agendas would continue. He corrupted Mograine's son, Renault, and made plans to set a trap for the Highlord. Renault led his father and High Inquisitor Fairbanks to Stratholme, where the legions of the Scourge awaited them. Renault fled and hid while Mograine and Fairbanks fended for themselves. Fairbanks eventually became trapped alive under a pile of corpses. Mograine alone continued to smite thousands of the undead with ease, but was eventually wearied and dropped his blade in fatigue. Renault came out of hiding to exploit his father's vulnerable state. He took up the Ashbringer and slew his father, which simultaneously corrupted the blade by using it for such a treacherous act. Meanwhile, Kel'Thuzad resurrected Mograine as one of his death knights of Naxxramas and reclaimed his corrupted blade. Renault became Commander of the Scarlet Monastery, and Balnazzar gained complete authority over the Scarlet Crusade.

Seeking to free his father, Darion Mograine led a mission into Naxxramas with a small party of Argent Dawn members. Upon finding him, Alexandros was unresponsive to his son's pleas and attempts to redeem him, forcing Darion to reluctantly kill him. Darion then came into possession of the Corrupted Ashbringer. He immediately heard his father's voice through the Ashbringer, which led him to a portal and back to the Plaguelands. The voice then led Darion to Renault at the Scarlet Monastery where he confronted his brother, who lashed out and attempted to kill him. Before Renault was able to deal the final blow, the Corrupted Ashbringer acted on its own, emitting an aura of green flames which took on the form of Alexandros, garbed in Dreadnaught armor. Renault begged for forgiveness and was quickly decapitated by his father, who then said he was forgiven. The spirit of Alexandros then retreated back into the blade.

Some time later, during a Scourge assault on Light's Hope Chapel, Darion impaled himself with the corrupted Ashbringer in attempt to free his father. He was resurrected as a death knight and became Highlord of the Death Knights of Acherus.

In World of Warcraft, it was stated that Alexandros is one of the founders of the Scarlet Crusade. The comic later depicted the formation of the Scarlet Crusade occurring after Alexandros' death, in which case he would have never been a member.

In World of Warcraft

Main article: Ashbringer (item)

The Ashbringer has been subject to intense speculation since the release of World of Warcraft. Rumors have been fueled by data-mined graphics and item statistics, as well as NPCs alluding to its existence.

At the launch of the World of Warcraft, the only reference to the Ashbringer by name was made by Caretaker Alen. It was hinted at further with the introduction of Dire Maul. Alexia Ironknife, Bardu Sharpeye, Caretaker Alen, Narain Soothfancy, Commander Eligor Dawnbringer, Shen'dralar Zealots and [Nat Pagle's Guide to Extreme Anglin'] all make references to the Ashbringer. Information from these NPCs implies that the Asbhringer was somehow lost and that Nat Pagle and Prince Tortheldrin know the location, and are even willing to tell the player; however, they have never shared their knowledge.

The mystery surrounding the Ashbringer created great interest and discussion among players, who searched for a hidden or unlockable quest that would reward the Ashbringer. Rumors regarding an acquirable Ashbringer persisted until a European CM admitted that it was not in-game, quickly followed by Eyonix's confirmation:

Blizz.gif
European CM Response on Ashbringer! | 2006-02-24 19:15 | Eyonix
It's true that currently Ashbringer is not in the game, although one day in the future it will be, but not until after there is an awesome legendary item for casters. ;)

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The caster legendary item being referred to was [Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian], which was added in patch 1.11.0.

Corrupted Ashbringer equipped on the back of Highlord Darion Mograine in Acherus during the Scarlet Enclave.

Corrupted Ashbringer

Main article: Corrupted Ashbringer, non-canon[7]

Players encountered the resurrected Highlord Mograine in the original Naxxramas as a death knight of the four horsemen. He wielded the  [Corrupted Ashbringer], which could be looted from the Horsemens' cache (It is not obtainable in the current incarnation of Naxxramas.)

Upon wielding the blade, the player becomes friendly with the Scarlet Crusade (although it does not appear in the reputations window) and hated with the Argent Dawn. A scripted event can be triggered upon entering the Cathedral in the Scarlet Monastery.

Scarlet Commander Mograine welcomes the player as the crusaders bow before him or her. Unexpectedly, the spirit of his his father, Highlord Mograine, appears in full Dreadnaught armor, and smites and kills the son for his betrayal and murder. The Highlord frees High Inquisitor Fairbanks' spirit from his undead form and disappears. Fairbanks proceeds to tell the story of Renault's betrayal and that the Corrupted Ashbringer is beyond redeeming. Luckily, Mograine has another son who resides in Outland and has the ability to forge a new Ashbringer. Fairbanks does not give any quests.

Events from World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade did not reveal Mograine's other son in Outland, however, and the Ashbringer's fate would prove to be different in the next expansion.

Wrath of the Lich King

WotLK This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.

Tirion Fordring wields Ashbringer after the Battle for Light's Hope Chapel.

Players can find Darion Mograine within Acherus, with the Corrupted Ashbringer and the title of Highlord of the Knights of the Ebon Blade during the Scarlet Enclave instance for the death knight starting area.

At the Lich King's command, Darion launched an attack on the Argent Dawn at Light's Hope Chapel. In the battle that ensued, Corrupted Ashbringer began to turn on Darion. When the death knights were forced to surrender, Tirion Fordring revealed that the Lich King knowingly sent Darion and his knights into a trap. Shortly thereafter, the Lich King himself appeared. Darion relinquished the Ashbringer to Tirion, which became purified in his grasp, forcing the Lich King to retreat.

In Howling Fjord, Alliance players can complete a quest to retrieve a  [Sacred Artifact] from Utgarde Catacombs. Upon returning it to Valgarde, a nearby cleric will unmask himself as Tirion Fordring and equip the artifact, which is revealed to be the Ashbringer. The dialogue explains that Tirion was convinced by his advisors to travel to Valgarde in disguise, while Ares the Oathbound was entrusted to transport the sword separately to Northrend. This was a security precaution to protect the leader of the Crusade, should the Lich King's forces go after the sword's keeper in an attempt to kill Tirion. Fordring can later be seen wielding the Ashbringer in Icecrown.

Baron Rivendare has replaced Alexandros Mograine as one of the four horsemen of Naxxramas.

Destruction of Frostmourne

During the final battle against the Lich King in Icecrown Citadel, while himself and brave heroes fight against the master of the Scourge, Tirion Fordring was frozen in a block of ice created by the Lich King. Asking the Light for one final blessing, which was answered, Tirion leapt towards Arthas and, with one mighty swing of the Ashbringer, shattered the dreaded Frostmourne, releasing the souls trapped within.

Cataclysm

Tirion holds the Ashbringer firmly in his grasp, a statue dedicated to the great hero in Hearthglen.

Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

After the victorious march on the Icecrown Citadel, Tirion returned to his old home - Hearthglen. There, he began establishing a new Argent Crusade base, and the Ashbringer, the sword that shattered the Frostmourne itself, serves as a symbol of a new dawn for everyone.

Rumors and speculation

Questionmark-medium.png
This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

The crystal

The dark crystal from which the Ashbringer would be crafted, before and after its purification.

The crystal from which the original Ashbringer was created is likely related to the naaru, and may in fact be a naaru.

The naaru life cycle is one of reincarnation. When a naaru's physical form is damaged, it becomes "darkened."[8] The naaru will persist in this state until they slowly regenerate their powers from the Light over many years, after which they will be "reborn" into their "Light" form again.[9] The Ashbringer crystal demonstrated a similar duality: a holy spell was cast on the dark crystal and it became a crystal of light. Furthermore, the crystal was described as a living embodiment, suggesting that it is alive, or at least sentient — possibly a darkened naaru. If the crystal is not a darkened naaru, then it is almost certainly closely associated with them, perhaps one of the Ata'mal Crystals.

Mograine also stated that the crystal is from Draenor. The naaru had not yet arrived on Draenor via Tempest Keep before the Second War, implying that only the naaru aboard Oshu'gun could be the possible source: K'ure, D'ore, another unnamed naaru, or simply an artifact on board. D'ore himself tells the player:

D'ore:"Without the void, the Light cannot exist."[8]

Which are suspiciously similar to words used by Mograine:

Commander Mograine: "Can good exist without evil? Can there be light without dark?" [5]

M'uru's spark above the Sunwell.

After Kil'jaeden's defeat at Sunwell Plateau, Velen and Lady Liadrin arrive at the Sunwell. Velen uses the remaining "spark" of M'uru to reignite the Sunwell. Liadrin's experience upon being filled with the Sunwell's energies is not unlike that of Mograine's when touching the Ashbringer crystal:

Lady Liadrin: "Blessed ancestors! I feel it ! So much love ... so much grace ... there are ... no words ... impossible to describe!"[10]

Commander Mograine: "I... It... It is beautiful. What I felt when I touched it... The Light coursed through me and I through it... It healed my spirit."

Their similar experiences, along with the new knowledge that a naaru's essence can be consolidated, suggests that the spark of another naaru may have been the crystal from which Ashbringer was forged.

It should be noted that M'uru's spark appears identical (although larger) to the dark Ashbringer crystal, although this may be coincidental. In the comic, it is both shown as and referred to as a sphere.

Old questline

The Ashbringer may have been originally intended to be in the game much earlier. Parts of what seems to be a scrapped quest line can be pieced together.

Nat Pagle learned of the location of the Ashbringer and wrote about it in his book,  [Nat Pagle's Guide to Extreme Anglin'], of which players only have the last page. Shen'dralar zealots in Dire Maul say that Prince Tortheldrin knows the location of the Ashbringer and is willing to tell the player if one were to bring him the  [Head of Nefarian]. Also in Dire Maul is the full (albeit unreadable) copy of Nat's book,  [A Thoroughly Read Copy of "Nat Pagle's Extreme' Anglin."], which can be found in dusty tomes. The Prince, being a historian and bibliophile, likely read Pagle's book, learned of the Ashbringer's location, and discarded the book in Dire Maul where the player finds it.

The zealots' words suggest that the Ashbringer was likely to be the legendary item associated with Blackwing Lair but was changed to  [Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker], which requires Elementium Ingots from Blackwing Lair. This is supported by the fact that the Ashbringer's original item ID was changed to host Thunderfury.

Additionally, at one time,  [Timolain's Phylactery] could be looted from Large Vile Slimes in The Weeping Cavern of Western Plaguelands. Lengthy discussion on the official forums led to the premature yet popular conclusion that Timolain is the name of the mage referred to by Bardu Sharpeye and Alexia Ironknife, and therefore is the crafter of the Ashbringer in original questline. Bloodmage Thalnos was also speculated to be the crafter of the Ashbringer at one point, as the Scarlet Crusade has no affinity for the arcane.

The implementation of the Ashbringer was likely delayed so that the story could be fleshed out with the addition of Naxxramas. As of Wrath of the Lich King it is still not available to players, and as Tirion Fordring now wields it himself it seems unlikely that it ever will be.

BlizzCon 2009

It was revealed during a Class Panel discussion that players wouldn't be able to purify the  [Corrupted Ashbringer], and the events of Wrath of the Lich King bore this out. At the moment, there's no Light-based player-obtainable Legendary weapon.

See also

References