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Kael'thas Sunstrider

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Energy. Power. My people are addicted to it... a dependence made manifest after the Sunwell was destroyed. Welcome to the future. A pity you are too late to stop it. No one can stop me now! Selama ashal'anore!
~ Kael'thas, in-game inside The Eye.

Kael'thas Sunstrider is a character in the Warcraft series. He is one of the protagonists in Warcraft 3 : The Frozen Throne and the secondary antagonist in World Of Warcraft : The Burning Crusade.

History

Past

Kael’thas was the prince of the high elves of Quel’thalas and was one of the Six, the high council of the Kirin Tor. At one point, he fell deeply in love with Jaina Proudmoore, but was left heartbroken when he discovered her heart belonged to Arthas Menethil. When the Undead Scourge invaded the high elf kingdom, Kael was not present at the capital of Quel’thalas to fight back, but evacuated as many of his people as possible. He assumed leadership of what remained of the high elves and renamed his people the Sindorei or “blood elves” to remember their fallen comrades. After the Burning Legion invaded and the Scourge completely took over Lordaeron, Kael and his people ended up serving under Garithos, the xenophobic grand marshal of the remainder of the Alliance forces. Kael also noticed he and his people were suffering from a strange emptiness and hunger that they didn’t know how to deal with.

Helping to Stop Illidan

Kael and his people were stationed in the Silverpine Forest near Dalaran, but after Illidan Stormrage and his Naga took over the city for their ritual, the dead were riled up and began attacking them. Kael decided to move his people across the river Arevass where it was safer, but as they were loading their supply carts, they were approached by the night elves, Tyrande Whisperwind and Maiev Shadowsong, who’d come hunting Illidan.

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Kael's caravan being aided by the night elves

 Kael explained their situation and Tyrande offered to help escort him and his people in exchange for aiding the night elves in taking Illidan down. Kael agreed and they headed out with the blood elf telling her what’d happened to Quel’thalas and his people. Tyrande gave him her condolences, but warned him not to let vengeance consume him or it could lead him down a dark path. Kael and the others fought their way through the undead raiders and eventually arrived in the town of Pyrewood just before the bridge across the Arevass. However the undead had been waiting and ambushed them with Kael and his allies managing to fend off the first wave, but couldn’t hold off the oncoming next wave. Tyrande told Kael and the others to get across while she held the undead back and she called on the power of Elune, holding them off before the bridge collapsed, sweeping her away. Kael wanted to save Tyrande, since the river would lead into the heart of the undead territories, but Maiev declared she’d known the risks and demanded he keep his word and help her take down Illidan. Kael and the blood elves went to Dalaran with the night elves and his scouts reported that the naga were performing a strange ritual with an odd gem.

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Kael confronting Illidan with the Night Elves

 Malfurion arrived to inform them that Illidan was destroying Northrend with his ritual and Kael aided them in stopping the fallen night elf’s plans. Malfurion confronted Illidan, blaming him for Tyrande’s death, Maiev having told him he’d been torn apart by the undead. Kael said that was premature to assume as Tyrande had merely been swept away in the river and Maiev tried to silence him. However Malfurion realized the warden had deceived him and left with Illidan to find Tyrande while Kael went to meet up with Garithos.

Finding a New Purpose

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Kael being reprimanded by Garithos

After meeting up with Garithos, Kael was scolded for arriving late and when he tried to explain what happened, the excuse was dismissed. Garithos told Kael that an undead strike force was moving towards them and he was going to head them off. The blood elf was ready to go fight, but Garithos informed him that they believed another strike force was on the way and Kael would be helping repair the arcane observatories of Dalaran in order to locate it. Annoyed at such a minor task, Kael nevertheless oversaw repairing the observatories. However, when he arrived at Lordamere Lake, with no way to cross it, Lady Vashj, one of the Naga, approached him to offer assistance. She pointed out that they shared Highborne ancestry and produced boats Kael used to ferry his troops across. However, Garithos returned from the front and condemned Kael for associating with the naga. The blood elf protested they were not a threat but Garithos said if it happened again, he would consider it treason. The next day, an emissary from the Grand Marshall arrived and informed Kael that there was indeed a large undead force approaching Dalaran. However, he called all his foot soldiers, cavalry and support teams to aid Garithos on the front lines. Kael was left with only his fellow elves to fight them and he angrily demanded to know what he was expected to defeat the undead with. The emissary coolly replied for him to be creative before leaving.

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Kael being approached by the Naga

As to be expected, all the outlying bases across the river were overrun by the undead but the naga again came to the blood elves aid. Kael was resistant but Vashj stated they would be wiped out on their own and he accepted their help.  They managed to defeat the undead forces and Kael told Vashj his people had felt a strange emptiness within them after the destruction of Quel’thalas. The naga witch said his people were addicted to magic, just like hers, and with the Sunwell gone, they were at risk of wasting away. Kael saw Garithos’ forces were approaching and told Vashj to get herself and the naga out of there. Unfortunately, the Grand Marshal’s soldiers saw the naga slipping away and Garithos eagerly had Kael and the blood elves arrested.

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Kael imprisoned in the Dalaran dungeon

They were imprisoned in the Dalaran dungeons to be executed in the morning. Kael was left to despair until Vashj once again came to his rescue, killing his guards and freeing him from his cell. Kael thanked her for her aid and she told him they could escape through the portal Kel'Thuzad made when he summoned Archimonde They could use it to reach Outland where her master, Illidan, would be waiting. With little other options available, Kael and Vashj moved through the dungeons, freeing the blood elves and fighting off the guards, including Kael’s former comrade, Jailor Kassan. The naga and blood elves fled into the portal, escaping to Outland and Vashj told Kael they were in what was once Draenor, home dimension of the orcs. They began searching for Illidan, marching for days with no signs of anyone, until they found Maiev and her wardens transporting Illidan in a prison cage towards the night elf camp. Quickly intervening, they managed to get the cage back to their base and broke the magic lock keeping Illidan imprisoned. Vashj introduced Kael to her master and Illidan explained to Kael that he’d come to Outland to flee Kil'jaeden after he’d failed to destroy the Lich King as he asked. The blood elf asked if he could cure them of their magic addiction and Illidan said there was no cure, but he would reward the blood elves’ loyalty with all the magic they needed to sate their addiction. Kael swore himself and his people to Illidan and sent Rommath to spread word to his people of their new ally. So as to defeat Magtheridon the pitlord who controlled Outland, Kale and Vashj aided Illidan in closing the dimensional gates he used to summon demons to reinforce his armies. As they were doing so, Kael noticed a draenei camp being attacked by fel orcs and destroyed the base from which they were attacking. Their leader, Akama, also pledged himself to Illidan and aided Kael and the others in attacking Magetheridon’s fortress, bringing him down. However Kil’jaeden appeared to confront Illidan about trying to escape him and the fallen night elf made the excuse he’d merely been gathering more forces for a direct assault on the Frozen Throne. Thus, Kael and the blood elves accompanied Illidan in marching on Northrend to destroy the Lich King.

Siege on Icecrown

Kael and his allies made their slow march towards the Icecrown Glacier, establishing fortifications to hold off anyone who came after them. Soon enough, Arthas, who’d been warned by the Lich King of his peril, arrived and Kael showed up to confront him after he’d destroyed a small blood elf base. Kael said Illidan’s army was vast and Arthas would never reach the Lich King in time, stating this was vengeance for Quel’thalas and other insults before teleporting away. However, Arthas and his ally, Anub'Arak, used the ancient passages of Azjol’Nerub to arrive at Icecrown as Illidan’s forces prepared to attack it. Kael and Vashj informed Illidan that their forces were in place and they could now destroy the Frozen Throne. Kael and the others did their best to aid Illidan in claiming the four obelisks that would open the Icecrown Throne Chamber, but ultimately, Arthas managed to claim them and open the way to the Lich King. Illidan tried to fight him, only to be struck down, and Kael and Vashj took their grievously wounded master back to Outland.

Shifting Loyalties

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Kael and his lieutenants

Kael remained in Outland in command of the Blood Elves, seemingly still loyal to Illidan but slowly started to realize how unstable and psychotic his master was becoming. Thus, Kael became loyal to the Burning Legion, turning on even his own people who refused to go along with this. He at one point tried to gain control of the Cipher of Damnation, a weapon that Gul'dan used to cut the orc’s off from the spirits of nature. However, a group of adventurers managed to deprive him of it and were then sent to take down Kael. They seemingly killed him, but he soon revealed himself to still be alive and declared his master, Kil’jaeden, would soon return and no one would be able to stop him.

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Kael twisted by his allegiance to the Burning Legion

Kael continued working to aid his dark masters, undergoing demonic transformation as he did so, and eventually returned to Quel’thalas. Using energies gathered from manaforges, Kael planned to restore energy to the Sunwell in order to summon Kil’jaeden to Azeroth. However, the Blood Knights that Kael attacked aided in taking down their former prince and eventually, he was killed and beheaded by adventurers.

Personality

Kael is bitter and solemn, driven there by the ruination of his people and the addiction for magic they suffer from. However, he is pragmatic, doing whatever he must in order to aid his people, even if it means violating previous taboos like feeding on demonic magic. But this has slowly made Kael more and more unstable, willing to do anything to feed his magic addiction. He still seeks to help his people but he is quite happy to slaughter any who get in way to do what he feels is right, losing what honor and goodness he had left in him.

Powers

Kael is an extremely talented mage, mostly using fire based magic. He primarily fights with Verdant Spheres, three orbs that orbit around him, which increase his fire magic and draw power from demon spirits trapped within them. Kael launches them like projectiles at his opponent. He can also drain magical energy from others, primarily from demons, to sate his magical hungers and has taught his people to do so as well.

Trivia

  • Some believe that Kael is indeed still alive with speculation being he has disguised himself as Archmage Aethas Sunreaver. Given that there are instances of enemies in World of Warcraft who have supposedly been beheaded only to turn out to be alive, it is somewhat plausible
  • It is unclear whether or not Kael officially took the title of king of the blood elves as he is the last of the royal Sunstrider line, but has seemingly never received his crown.

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