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Kil’jaeden is the powerful eredar leader of the Burning Legion and the creator of the Lich King. He is the secondary, but true antagonist in Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne and the primary antagonist in World Of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.
25,000 years ago, Kil’jaeden (greatly respected for his intelligence) was one of the leaders of the wondrous civilization of Eredar on the planet Argus alongside Archimonde and Velen. Though Kil’jaeden and Velen had been as close as brothers, their union and society was shattered when the trio of leaders received contact from Sargeras. He made them an offer, swear loyalty to him and the eredar would receive great power and prestige. While Kil’jaeden and Archimonde eagerly accepted this offer, Velen held back.
When the eredar were preparing to receive their new power from Sargeras, Kil’jaeden discovered that Velen had gathered a group of followers, sided with the dark Titan’s enemies, the naaru, and planned to flee from Argus. Enraged at his former brother for this betrayal, Kil’jaeden unleashed his power upon Velen and his followers, now known as the “Exiled Ones” or draenei. The demon lord pursued them across the universe for five thousand years, but he was matched in terms of cunning by Velen and the draenei vanished.
Meeting with the Orcs
After the failed invasion of Azeroth, Kil’jaeden received an order to find a mortal army that could invade en masse. After he prowled the Nether for millennia, his servant, Talgath, discovered a planet with signs of draenei magic. At first, Kil’jaeden originally though it was just a planet the Exiled Ones had stopped at briefly, further inspection revealed that they had actually settled there. They even gave it a Eredun name, Draenor, which meant “Exiles Refuge”. Also living there, were a shamanistic race known as orcs and Kil’jaeden soon realized that they were what he had been looking for. Kil’jaeden went to the orc elder shaman, Ner’zhul, and tricked him into thinking that the draenei were plotting against the orcs.
He also subtly introduced warlock magic and bloodlust to the clans. Believing it was the ancestors will, they began assaulting the draenei with great success so as to exterminate them. However Ner’zhul discovered the true nature of his new patron and tried to undo his actions. Kil’jaeden was already aware of what he was up to, thanks to the betrayal of the orc’s apprentice, Gul’dan. The demon lord stripped Ner’zhul of his powers and placed the most powerful dark warlock magic into Gul’dan. As the Elemental Spirits refused to grant their powers to the shaman, the warlock powers would become dominant amongst the orcs.
Gul’dan proved a perfect pawn for Kil’jaeden due to his lust for power and selfishness. After the orcs proved their fighting skill against draenei, the orc chieftains were given blood from Mannoroth. They plunged into a state of horrible bloodlust and, as a test for the Legion’s new minions, Kil’jaeden gave Gul’dan the order to finish off the draenei. The orcs attacked the Exiled Ones in one last assault on Shattrath City and it was a massacre, making it seem as if Kil’jaeden had triumphed over his old enemies.
When Medivh began his astral roaming, Kil’jaeden felt his presence along with the rest of the eredar warlocks. Taking this as a sign that Sargeras needed him elsewhere, he retreated from Draenor, leaving the Horde behind. Now knowing the time had come for his strategy to unfold, Gul’dan was manipulated by Medivh to open the Dark Portal.
The Orcish Horde found their way into Azeroth, after the Guardian promised a home for them and plenty of inhabitants to satisfy their bloodlust. The orcs succeeded in destroying the Kingdom of Azeroth, almost subjugating Khaz Modan, and enslaving Alexstrasza. However the death of Medivh and Gul’dan’s failed attempts to claim Sargeras’ power resulted in the orcs’ failure.
Creating the Lich King
Kil’jaeden knew it was time to take matters into his own hands and remembered the experiments with the undead done by the Nathrezim. He realized that it had been free will that had resulted in the orcs failure and decided to create an army of undead slaves that could be the Burning Legion’s harbingers. Kil’jaeden found Ner’zhul in the Twisting Nether and, calling in an unpaid vendetta, tortured the orc, destroying his body piece by piece until the only thing left was his tormented soul. Kil’jaeden then offered Ner’zhul’s soul a choice, remain in eternal torment or become the king of the undead. His choice was the latter and he became the Lich King, whom Kil’jaeden took no chances with.
The demon lord imprisoned the Lich King with specially forged armor into the Frozen Throne instead of giving him a body and sent the dreadlords to keep him on task. The new Undead Scourge succeeded where the Orcish Horde had failed and ravaged Quel’thalas and much of Lordaeron as they prepared for the Burning Legion’s arrival. When Archimonde arrived in Azeroth, the humans were no match for the Legion’s forces. However the Lich King plotted against his demonic master and broke the pact that kept him bound to Kil’jaeden. He sent his champion, Arthas, to inform Illidan Stormrage of the Skull of Gul’dan, bringing about the death of one of the Burning Legion’s greatest lieutenants, Tichondrius. This was the first blow against the Legion that helped bring about its defeat at Mount Hyjal.
Recruiting the Betrayer
Kil’jaeden was infuriated at the Burning Legion’s defeat and Archimonde’s death, but he knew better than to take a reckless attempt at revenge. He began looking for a new pawn and appeared before Illidan, making him an offer, despite his part in the Legion’s downfall. If he destroyed the Frozen Throne (and the Lich King along with it), Kil’jaeden would give him unimaginable power and gave him the Orb of Kil’jaeden to help him. It is unknown whether or not he actually planned to uphold this deal. Illidan gained the allegiance of the naga, who helped him escape Kalimdor and find the Eye of Sargeras. Using this powerful item, they began performing a powerful arcane ritual that would tear apart Northrend, the Undead Scourge’s base.However Illidan’s brother, Malfurion, managed to stop the ritual, thus putting an end to that plan. After helping his brother rescue Tyrande from the undead, the demon hunter knew he needed to escape Kil'jaeden’s wrath and gained the alliance of the blood elves. With both the blood elves and naga at his side, Illidan went to Outland and engaged the pit lord, Magtheridon. After first closing the dimensional gates within the realm so as to prevent the pit lord from bolstering his forces, Illidan and his forces succeeded in overthrowing Magtheridon. But Kil’jaeden was not going to let the Betrayer escape him so easily and because he kept a close eye on Outand (since it was made from the remnants of Draenor), he knew exactly where Illidan was and what he had been doing.
Kil'jaeden appeared before the Betrayer, who said that he wasn’t trying to escape, but was actually trying to bolster his forces since his only option now was a frontal assault on the Icecrown Citadel. It was unlikely that Kil'jaeden believed this story, but he knew that Illidan was still his best bet in destroying the Lich King. After saying that his new servitors showed promise, the Deceiver ordered Illidan to go to Northrend and finish his task.
World of Warcraft
Kil’jaeden appears in Sunwell Plateau, being summoned through the Sunwell by Kael'thas Sunstrider.
Anveena, the embodiment of the well’s energies, is weakened to feed the portal but is sacrificed later to banish him back to the Nether. Upon his defeat and return to the Nether, he leaves behind his necklace for players to loot.
Kil’jaeden is easily able to keep his ego under control, so that it doesn’t dominate his judgment. He is quite forgiving of failure in his minions but only if it is not a complete loss. Kil’jaeden is extremely crafty and cunning and has a very long mindset, viewing each individual event as links in the chain of his plots. He does not let any minor or short-term defeats set back his plans and if one way of completing his scheme fails, he simply finds another one. If someone hinders him, Kil’jaeden will be completely unforgiving of them and they will face brutal punishment at his hands.
Very rarely do his foes meet him face to face, since he usually relies on his minions to do his dirty work. Kil'jaeden will only meet with someone if he wants to bend them to his will or to destroy them once and for all. His giving of multiple chances to those who fail him is to keep them loyal and takes excuses with consideration and merit, a direct contrast to Archimonde’s zero tolerance for failure. Kil'jaeden thinks of Velen as his archenemy despite the two of them once being close as brothers. Thanks to his ability to control his arrogance, he may be able to enact a terrible vengeance on the draenei.
Kil’jaeden is able to frequently shift between several forms and tries to assume a form that those around him will trust or be awestruck by. He is highly skilled at using a combination of subtle coercion and intimidation to attain his goals. Kil’jaeden’s exact powers are unknown, but he seems to be a master of illusions and has shown the ability to control his size, though this is unlikely to be the limit of his shapeshifting.
Kil'jaeden seems to be rather powerful, since he is able to enslave the dreadlords, a feat requiring great magical power and cunning. Velen had stated that even before the eredar’s joining with the Burning Legion, Kil’jaeden was superior to both Archimonde and himself in terms of arcane power. Being a warlock, he is highly skilled in demon magic, as well as magic related to darkness and fire.
- Kil’jaeden has been seen leaving fiery tracks when he walks, a trait seen in beings possessing great demonic power.
- His appearance differed between Warcraft II, where he was shown as a horned winged demon, and Warcraft III, where he appeared as a red-skinned eredar. In World of Warcraft, his appearance was a combination of the two.
- After Kael’thas’ defeat at Tempest Keep, he mentions that he serves a new master, that will “return”. However Kil’jaeden had not been on Azeroth before the events of Sunwell Plateau.
- In Outland there exists a mountain known as the Throne of Kil’jaeden, which is currently guarded by his lieutenant, Doom Lord Kazzak. This mountain is where the orcs took in the blood of Mannoroth.
- There is an item called the Mark of Kil’jaeden, which give reputation with the Aldor.
- His appearance seems to be derived from Satan’s appearance in the Divine Comedy done by Gustave Doré.