For gathering professions, see Profession. For the World of Warcraft Comic installment, see The Gathering.

The invitation.

This article contains lore taken from Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

The Gathering was an event in the Arathi Highlands of the Eastern Kingdoms that occurred after the Argus Campaign but before the Burning of Teldrassil. When it happened, it was a historic event that allowed both Forsaken and humans to mingle in peace,[1] but the cease-fire was short-lived. The event ended tragically.


King Anduin Wrynn sent an invitation to the Horde Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner via Alonsus Faol, who was originally raised as a Forsaken. Alonsus traveled to the Undercity and delivered the missive to Sylvanas's champion, Nathanos Blightcaller.[2] The Champion of the Banshee Queen immediately traveled to meet with Sylvanas as she was discussing the creation of Azerite weapons with Jastor Gallywix at Gallywix's Pleasure Palace.

The invitation asked Sylvanas for a one day, 12-hour cease-fire, from dawn until dusk, in the Arathi Highlands so that family and friends torn apart by Arthas Menethil's Scourge rampage during the Third War could once again meet. She initially rejected the idea because of her own experiences trying to reconnect with her living sisters, Alleria and Vereesa, and how all it did was stir up ghosts best left at peace, and proceeded to crumple the missive. However, Nathanos convinced her it was an opportunity to "gift" this event to her people so that when she wanted to conquer Stormwind, her people would be more admissible to the idea, either because they would hate the living even more or, he theorized, they would see it as an opportunity to bring the loved ones they thought they'd never see again into the Forsaken. Sylvanas agreed that Nathanos made a good argument, uncrumpled the missive, and accepted the invitation. She, however, stated that only the members of the Desolate Council would attend the meeting. Sylvanas also saw this as an opportunity to befriend King Anduin and then eventually use that to take Stormwind City.[3]

Sylvanas then returned to the Undercity to lay specifics of the meeting - each member of the Desolate Council was to provide five names of people in Stormwind. The Banshee Queen, Blightcaller, and 200 dark rangers were to be stationed at Thoradin's Wall, while 200 Alliance soldiers at Stromgarde's walls. 25 Forsaken priests and 25 human priests mounted on bats were to be patrolling the meeting field located halfway from both structures. At its center were to be Archbishop Faol and his assistant, a disguised Calia Menethil, leading the meeting. In case of a sudden retreat, a horn was to be sounded and the respective faction banner was to be lifted, saying the participants to return to the Thoradin's Wall and Stromgarde Keep immediately. In terms of exchanging gifts, each item was to be examined and placed on a table. The items would then be collected, checked and later distributed. Touching their counterparts was also allowed.[4] The topic for discussion was their previous shared life. The Forsaken's existence with Sylvanas in the Undercity and humans' current life in Stormwind was not to be discussed and the two priests were to make sure of it.[5] The rules did not include spies so Anduin used SI:7 and Sylvanas the Deathstalkers to observe and report the opposite faction's actions.[6]

The event initially had no particular label to it, other than being referred to as "a gathering," but as Anduin and Calia were organizing the invitations for the human participants, they found themselves calling it "the Gathering."[7]

Just prior to the start of the meeting, Warchief Sylvanas and King Anduin met in the middle of the field. He wanted her to confirm that she would harm no Alliance member, which she complied she wouldn't. While unintended on his part and to her shock at his courage to do so, he also bluntly asked whether she had betrayed his father at the Battle for Broken Shore. Once she stated that Varian's fate was sealed no matter what she did due to the Legion's numbers, he indicated his satisfaction and in turn, promised no harm to any Horde member.[8]

The event

The participants left Thoradin's Wall and Stromgarde and walked towards the spot of the meeting. As they arrived, they placed their gifts on tables and waited. Faol gave them last a chance to leave and five humans did so. Alonsus then called the names of the participants and they reunited. Some, however, left upon being called. Calia, joyful, thanked the Light for this moment.[1] She then joined Elsie Benton, the Desolate Council's Prime Governor, and prompted her to wave to the young Stormwind king standing on the walls of Stromgarde Keep. Upon witnessing this, Anduin understood this was Wyll Benton's wife, waved back and even bowed. As Sylvanas witnessed this, she almost sounded the horn to retreat but stopped herself.

As the day went, Parqual Fintallas recognized Calia Menethil beneath her hooded cloak and saw it as a reason and opportunity to defect into the Alliance. He asked Calia for a blessing and whispered to her, saying, "We need you now. It's time. You'll see. Be ready." Shortly after, Parqual, his daughter Philia, and the Felstone family began to casually walk towards Stromgarde Keep, where the Alliance were stationed. As Calia saw this unfold she realized what was happening, and deciding that she had to take responsibility as heir to the throne to lead the people of Lordaeron, revealed her true identity and took it upon herself to try to convince the other Forsaken on the field to join the Alliance, first speaking with Elsie.

Sylvanas caught wind of the defection as it unfolded before her as she stood, watching, on Thoradin's Wall, and called back the Forsaken on the field. Shortly thereafter, one of her priests came to her having identified the unhooded Calia, on the field. Sylvanas let loose her dark rangers on bats and ordered them to kill all Forsaken present in the field, including those running back towards Thoradin's Wall. In response, Calia became determined to shield them with the Light from Sylvanas as best she could, even if it cost her life.[9]

Sylvanas proceeded to mount her own bat and shot Calia in the heart through the back before Anduin could reach her.[10]


The victims of the Gathering, buried in a graveyard in Arathi.

For the Horde

The Desolate Council members who were rejected by their living relatives and returned to Sylvanas before the Gathering began were spared the slaughter. Sylvanas remarked that they were now truly desolate and that she trusted them.[10] After word of the slaughter reached the Undercity, the Forsaken demanded answers from Sylvanas. In turn, she had Annie Lansing reveal how her own mother had callously rejected her at the Gathering, that Anduin had allowed Calia Menethil to be present on the field as a priestess, and how Calia had encouraged the fallen members of the Desolate Council to defect to the Alliance. When someone in the crowd revealed that she had killed those attempting to return to the Forsaken, Sylvanas remarked that she wouldn't put the rest of the Forsaken at risk due to being uncertain of their loyalty, how the Forsaken must be protected above all costs, and that she would ensure any sacrifice to protect them. By reforming her actions as a defense of the Forsaken as a people, Sylvanas was able to sway the majority of the Forsaken to her cause.[11]

Meanwhile, Varok Saurfang felt Sylvanas' decision to kill the defectors as appropriate since they were traitors to the Horde. He did feel that she shouldn't have executed those returning because of what she thought they would do.[12]

For the Alliance

Guided by the naaru Saa'ra, Anduin and Faol were able to use the light return Calia to life as an undead. Upon her resurrection Anduin questioned her actions on the field, wondering she had been deceiving him to be allowed to attend. However Calia was able to reassure the young king that she merely followed her heart and had genuinely wanted to help Parqual and the others, that she had not truly understood how her actions could have sparked a war.[13] With his heart made clear, Anduin personally led the Alliance in returning to the Arathi Highlands and buried the deceased at an unnamed graveyard. Following this, in a private conversation between Genn and Anduin, the young king revealed that Sylvanas' actions at the Gathering had convinced him that she was truly lost.[14]

Sometime later Anduin would decide that the appropriate response against Sylvanas for her actions at the Gathering would be to order SI:7 to sneak many of their spies within Orgrimmar. However this decision would end up backfiring against the Alliance as while the sheer numbers and sightings of the Alliance spies forced the guards of Orgrimmar into a state of paranoia, Sylvanas and Saurfang were able to use their presence to their advantage by tricking the Alliance into believing that the Horde intended to conquer Silithus. Believing the information to be genuine, Tyrande Whisperwind sent the Sentinels to prevent this from occurring and with the bulk of the night elf military away the Horde focused on their true target - the conquest of Teldrassil itself.[15]

Scarlet Opportunity

Propaganda by the Scarlet Brotherhood claims that the massacre never actually occurred and that Anduin and Sylvanas staged the event in order to drum up sympathy for the Forsaken and to lure out, murder, and raise Calia.[16][17]


Alliance Connection Horde
 Wyll Benton
(represented by  Anduin Wrynn)
Husband and wife  Vellcinda Benton
 Philia Fintallas Daughter and father  Parqual Fintallas
 Emma Felstone Mother and sons  James Felstone
 John Felstone
 Jacob Felstone
 Osric Strang Friends and professional rivals  Tomas Gray
 Jago Lovers  Wilmer
Unknown Mother and daughter  Annie Lansing
A Stormwind guard Speculated married couple or siblings A Forsaken woman
  • Many other unnamed participants.


  1. ^ a b Before the Storm, chapter 31
  2. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 19
  3. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 20
  4. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 22
  5. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 29
  6. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 28
  7. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 24
  8. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 30
  9. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 33
  10. ^ a b Before the Storm, chapter 34
  11. ^ World of Warcraft: Sylvanas, chapter 27
  12. ^ World of Warcraft: Sylvanas, chapter 28
  13. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 35
  14. ^ Before the Storm, Epilogue
  15. ^ A Good War
  16. ^  [The Traitor King]
  17. ^  [The Would-Be Queen]