Nathrezim

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"Dread lord" redirects here. For the Warcraft III unit, see Dread Lord (Warcraft III).
Nathrezim
Vartimathras TCG.jpg
Faction/Affiliation
Character classes
Racial leader(s)

IconSmall Dreadlord.gif Mephistroth (presumably)
Formerly:
IconSmall Nathrezim.gif Tichondrius
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif Anetheron

Racial mount
Primary language(s)
Secondary language(s)

Various

Dreadlord animation from Warcraft III.
"That's the problem with the nathrezim - at least an infernal has the courtesy of announcing its presence."[3]
Thalanir Dawnrise, sin'dorei scholar.

Nathrezim (called dread lords[4] or dreadlords[5][6][7] in the Common tongue[8]) are intelligent and cunning demons who once fought Sargeras and after the Titan's fall they eagerly joined his Burning Legion. "The mysterious beings of the Burning Legion called the dreadlords are also known racially as the Nathrezim. Little is known of their homeworld and even that is rumor."[9] They act as tacticians and lieutenants upon the field of battle in time of war, as well as being emissaries and agents for the fiery lords of the Legion, notably Kil'jaeden. During the Third War, they served as the Lich King's jailors, on the behest of Kil'jaeden, and commanded the Plague that swept through Lordaeron.

They are known to be extremely manipulative and masters of trickery; they sometimes refer to themselves as thal'kituun in their language, meaning the unseen guests.[8]

Lore

Dreadlords are psychic vampires who feed on the weak-minded and often use their victims as slaves, they have dead, grey skin like a corpse, no hair, and two sharp canines jutted down their mouth.[10] Little is known of their past, but it is said they were once an enlightened and powerful race with unmatched summoning abilities.[11] They are cunning and extremely skilled at magic—on par with the Eredar—they were also deadly fighters.[10] They and the ered'ruin, infernals, and Sayaad were demonic even before Sargeras corruption, in fact they were responsible for it. Their demonic magics can drain the life of their victims, and they have been reported to devour the souls of their slain victims. They can amass a swarm of flying carrion insects, and have been known to put their enemies to sleep. They prefer to work from the shadows, corrupting slowly, as opposed to assaulting their enemies directly. This makes the Dreadlords the perfect henchmen for the most cunning of demons, Kil'jaeden the Deceiver.

Masters of trickery, deceit, and guile, take pride in the fiendish destruction they have wrought on Azeroth. Affiliated with the Burning Legion for centuries, the dreadlords — also termed nathrezim — acted as commanders of undead legions during the Burning Legion’s second invasion, slaughtering thousands with their unnatural hordes. The dreadlords lost much power when several of their most influential members fell to the Forsaken armies under Sylvanas Windrunner's banner. Now the dreadlords seem almost a myth, a story told to frighten children. People feel safer when they think the dreadlords a remote tale; some instead comfort themselves with the lie that the great Varimathras is the only surviving dreadlord. More practical sorts know that evil never truly dies and that just because they cannot see something does not mean it is not there.

Dreadlords invariably stay behind the scenes and affect change through proxies. Adventurers might go their whole lives and never realize a dreadlord has acted against them in countless, seemingly unrelated ways. Only after much exertion and investigation do the heroes uncover the dreadlord behind a plot. Even then, the task of tracking and slaying a dreadlord can overwhelm the most competent hunter of evil. Dreadlords live in heavily fortified lairs or march at the center of an army. They most often are arcanists, but some dreadlords favor the physical arts of the rogue or warrior.[7] They also act as intelligence agents and interrogators, likely when not commanding on the field of battle or manipulating things behind the scenes.[12]

In the nathrezim's eyes, malice is the ultimate gift. To torment another creature with physical and moral agony offers something superior to happiness or contentment. Dreadlords prefer to turn their talents to psychic assault and manipulation, seeking to dissolve the bonds that unify individuals, groups, and nations and leave their mortal victims floundering amidst chaos and decay. A nathrezim-occupied world eventually abandons higher morality as irrelevant to the context in which its inhabitants find themselves, joining the dreadlords in their callous worship of the maligned. Although fierce warriors, nathrezim prefer a leadership role, standing behind a wall of ghouls or other allies and retreating when their enemies press too close. This is particularly true of the weaker nathrezim, whose magical abilities cannot always prevent their swift, bloody execution by a determined fighter, wizard, or rogue.[6] A dreadlord engages in melee combat only when convinced he holds the upper hand. A dreadlord studies his opponent first and learns her weaknesses. Then he remains at range, unleashing his most powerful spells on his enemy.[7]

The nathrezim have a war-centered culture with an emphasis on codes of conduct. It is forbidden for one of the Nathrezim to kill another, a law broken only once, by Varimathras when he was ordered to kill his brother Balnazzar by Sylvanas Windrunner. However, the killing was either staged or a failure, for Balnazzar is still alive today and secretly rules the Scarlet Crusade. The Nathrezim serve as both the tacticians and field commanders of Archimonde and the henchmen of Kil'jaeden.

Nearly all dreadlords choose to study both the arts of war and the arts of magic. Almost all have the ability to summon an Infernal, while a few choice dreadlords can create a doomguard from their fallen foes. Some of them, such as Mal'Ganis, are proficient at necromancy. It is important to note that the Nathrezim are not as talented in magic as the eredar — whereas the eredar have become adept at almost all forms of magic, the nathrezim show talent for only a handful of types.

Although none of the nathrezim encountered in the Third War were actually seen to fly, accounts from the War of the Ancients clearly state that they flew without using magic. Using magic to fly is draining, and is not something a dreadlord would do under normal circumstances (though an eredar would have little difficulty).

Though many dreadlords were killed in the War of the Ancients and Third War, the continued existence of Balnazzar and the recent discovery of Mal'Ganis's revival suggest that the Nathrezim are immortal, or at least much, much more difficult to kill than previously thought.

After adventurers dealt with Mal'Ganis on behalf of the Knights of the Ebon Blade and Balnazzar twice for the Argent Dawn and the Argent Crusade, the Argent Crusade now takes any report that a nathrezim is "dead and gone" with a grain of salt. Indeed, they state that a nathrezim killed in a conventional manner in the mortal plane only sends it back to the Twisting Nether. Until a way is found to permanently kill (and confirm) that a nathrezim is no more, the Argent Crusade considers any defeated nathrezim known to them to be alive and active; by name, this includes the brothers Balnazzar, Varimathras and Detheroc.[13]

Languages

Dreadlords can apparently understand any tongue psychically. Dreadlords can speak with any creature that has a language.[7] However, since they are members of the Burning Legion, it can be assumed they would speak Eredun most of the time.

Info from the official site

From WorldofWarcraft.com:

While his confusion and misery deepened, Sargeras was forced to contend with another group intent on disrupting the Titans' order: the Nathrezim. This dark race of vampiric demons (also known as Dreadlords) conquered a number of populated worlds by possessing their inhabitants and turning them to the shadow. The nefarious, scheming Dreadlords turned whole nations against one another by manipulating them into unthinking hatred and mistrust. Sargeras defeated the Nathrezim easily, but their corruption affected him deeply.
In his fury, Sargeras shattered the prisons of the eredar and the Nathrezim and set the loathsome demons free. These cunning creatures bowed before the dark Titan's vast rage and offered to serve him in whatever malicious ways they could. From the ranks of the powerful Eredar, Sargeras picked two champions to command his demonic army of destruction. Kil'jaeden the Deceiver was chosen to seek out the darkest races in the universe and recruit them into Sargeras' ranks.
Kil'jaeden's first move was to enslave the vampiric Dreadlords under his terrible power. The Dreadlords served as his personal agents throughout the universe, and they took pleasure in locating primitive races for their master to corrupt and bring into the fold. First amongst the dreadlords was Tichondrius the Darkener. Tichondrius served Kil'jaeden as the perfect soldier and agreed to bring Sargeras' burning will to all the dark corners of the universe.

Defeating a dreadlord

The dreadlords defeated are sent back to the Twisting Nether
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.

In the case of nathrezim, it should be noted that they posses the ability to reform themselves after being defeated (in some situations), to that end certain terms should be given context-specific meanings for the purpose of explaining this ability. To "kill" a dreadlord typically implies that their body is slain but their spirit endures, capable of regenerating its lost physical form after a particular amount of time or some other condition has been met. The complete eradication of a dreadlord, both in body and spirit, is generally thought of as "destroyed", representing a final end to their existence in both forms.

Considering that more than one nathrezim has been killed and yet returned, dying by conventional means may even be considered a reasonable tactic (if held back as an ace up their sleeve) by them to fool mortals. It may likely be that only nathrezim themselves and their superiors in the Burning Legion know how to permanently kill them, and using this knowledge is what may be considered forbidden for nathrezim.

It is also notable that many high ranking dreadlords have cheated death, or can be seen to be immortal unless vanquished in a particular fashion (similar to homage of the species, the vampire). Both Mal'Ganis and Balnazzar have returned in Warcraft lore after being "killed" once before; Mal'Ganis having been felled by Arthas and his new-found Frostmourne, Balnazzar by Varimathras in a situation which may have been a set-up on the part of the dreadlords involved. Both dreadlords reappear at later times in the story of World of Warcraft as having possessed the bodies of high ranking members of either the Scarlet Crusade or Scarlet Onslaught in order to manipulated events related to either faction. At a point after his revival Balnazzar was defeated (and apparently decapitated) by adventuring heroes, but managed to return once more. Mal'Ganis has not yet been vanquished since his rebirth despite attempts by the Knight of the Ebon Blade.

Other dreadlords, such as Tichondrius, Detheroc, and Varimathras have also been defeated in lore but have not shown any signs of revival since. Tichondrius is seen to have been defeated by Illidan Stormrage after the latter had been imbued with the power of the skull of Gul'dan. Detheroc was defeated in battle with the Forsaken, Sylvanas herself claiming to have "torn him to bloody shreds". Lastly Varimathras was defeated by the might of Thrall, Sylvanas and several additional individuals.

With this in mind one could theorize that a dreadlord can be destroyed in one of two ways:

  • Complete destruction of the body, as in the case of Detheroc and possibly Varimathras (given the Forsaken's experience with dreadlords it would be reasonable to guess they might take this precaution, having done similarly before with Detheroc). Mere decapitation does not seem to be sufficient, as demonstrated by Balnazzar.
  • By being vanquished by a being possessing magic power significantly greater than their own, as in the case of Tichondrius (though it is unknown as to whether this power is required to be fel in nature as it was in the case of Illidan; Arthas was not able to completely destroy Mal'Ganis with Frostmourne, though having just found the runeblade his power would likely have been nowhere near his full potential at the time).

Neither of these methods can be completely confirmed but the fact that none of the above-mentioned dreadlords, who were killed in either fashion, have yet to return is cause for considerable speculation. Given that many dreadlords have simply remained hidden for long periods after being defeated it is difficult to be certain as to whether they can be destroyed at all, regardless of the method used. It is possible dreadlords killed in either fashion mentioned above have simply been reborn somewhere else in the Twisting Nether and their rebirth is simply not known to the beings of Azeroth and Outland.

Notable

The names of individual eredar and pit lords are not commonly known, as the former have not been seen in great numbers on Azeroth and the latter are never encountered in a situation where their names will be remembered. However, Archimonde relied heavily on the dreadlords during the Second Invasion, as they are useful as mages, strategists, and warriors (they were also on Azeroth already and required the least energy to summon). Many of the nathrezim became known during this period. Many of Kil'jaeden's dreadlords watched over the Lich King and aided him at times, while some of Archimonde's dreadlords commanded the Scourge after the invasion commenced.

Name Role Condition
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [??] Anetheron Second Lord of the Nathrezim, killed in the battle of Mount Hyjal Unknown*
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif Azagrim Slain by Chieftan Hargal. Unknown*
IconSmall Nathrezim.gif [47] Balnazzar Presumed slain, but is secretly alive and leading the Scarlet Crusade Defeatable
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [46] Lord Banehollow Leader of the Shadow Council at Jaedenar in Felwood Defeatable
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif Beltheris Slain by the Scarlet Crusade Unknown*
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [70] Culuthas Renegade from the Legion, ruler of the Ruins of Farahlon in Netherstorm Defeatable
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif Dalvengyr Laid siege to Dalaran, but was slain by Kael'thas Sunstrider's forces Unknown*
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif Detheroc Briefly held Lordaeron's capital before being defeated by Sylvanas Windrunner Unknown*
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [22] Diathorus the Seeker Leader of the demons stationed at Demon Fall Canyon in Ashenvale Defeatable
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif Ganthrifal Tried to control Gaval Moch, a ruined castle in Silverpine Forest Alive
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [22] Gorgannon Stationed in Demon Fall Canyon in Ashenvale Defeatable
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [62] Lord Hel'nurath Ruler over the world of Xoroth Defeatable
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif Kathra'Natir Contained by Meryl Felstorm Alive
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [70] Lothros Lieutenant of Illidan Stormrage at Illidari Point Defeatable
IconSmall Nathrezim.gif Mal'Ganis Temporary Scourge general, discarded by the Lich King in favor of Arthas Menethil, currently disguised as Scarlet admiral Barean Westwind Defeatable
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif Mephistroth Third Lord of the Nathrezim. Remains in the Twisting Nether Alive
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [69] Pentatharon Leader of a scavenging crew. Stationed in Netherstorm Defeatable
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [57] Razelikh the Defiler Stationed in the Blasted Lands Defeatable
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [??] Sathrovarr the Corruptor Battles the half-elf form of Kalecgos in the Sunwell Plateau Defeatable
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [60] Solenor the Slayer Previously stationed in southwestern Silithus disguised as a gnome; was part of the Hunter Epic Quest chain Unknown*
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif Talnivarr the Sleeper Imprisoned Dreadlord found in Outland Arena Alive
IconSmall Nathrezim.gif Tichondrius the Darkener First Lord of the Nathrezim, killed by Illidan. Unknown*
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [??] Vagath Jailor of Maiev Shadowsong, servant of Illidan. Defeatable
IconSmall Nathrezim.gif [??] Varimathras Former Majordomo of Sylvanas, leader of the Forsaken. Stationed in the Undercity until his death during H [74] The Battle For The Undercity. Unknown*
IconSmall Dreadlord.gif [95] Xanatos the Defiler Stationed in Talador. Defeatable

* Assumed in the Twisting Nether

Other dreadlords: Bleakill, Fearoth, Darthias, Dethecus, Maldibion, Nochthitus, Rashgarroth, Aramachus, Lorthiras, Zenedar, Mullioch, Algammon, Necros, Nerothos, Zilfallon, Terrodar, Ven'Gyr.

Note: Some of these are the randomly assigned names for the Dreadlords in Warcraft III.

Notes

References

  1. ^ The Sundering, chapter 13, p 455 (ebook). "Nathrezim and Eredar cast monstrous spells, but they were caught between defending against the dragons and fighting the Moon Guard. The warlocks could not do both. They perished more often than they slew, mostly under the unyielding flame of a leviathan’s breath."
  2. ^ The Demon Soul, chapter 14, p 396. "Brox had found the necromancers. The two Nathrezim had done the abominable, successfully raising the dead they and their comrades had so brutally slaughtered."
  3. ^ Scheming Nathrezim - WoW TCG
  4. ^ Dread Lord (Warcraft III)
  5. ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 112
  6. ^ a b Manual of Monsters, pg. 117
  7. ^ a b c d Monster Guide, pg. 50
  8. ^ a b Death is Contagious
  9. ^ Proof of Demise: Mal'Ganis
  10. ^ a b The Demon Soul
  11. ^ N Warlock [90] An Unusual Tome
  12. ^  [Scepter of the Nathrezim]
  13. ^ N [47D] The Dreadlord Balnazzar
  14. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 96
  15. ^ https://twitter.com/loreology/status/496675134111887361