LIBRAM OF ANCIENT KINGS
As recorded by Sister Elda, Head Archivist.
The Silver Hand
THE SILVER HAND
The Silver Hand has existed since before recorded history. The world-shaping titans gave this mighty hammer to Keeper Tyr, who used it to help liberate Azeroth from the wicked Old Gods.
Over the ages that followed, the Silver Hand served as a testament to the bravery and sacrifice of the keeper. Now this legendary artifact rests in your keeping. Wield it well, and honor Tyr's memory.
Long ago, the legendary titans crafted stone- and iron-skinned giants to make war on the Old Gods and free Azeroth from their oppressive will.
The giants were led by beings known as the keepers, and the mightiest of these commanders was named Tyr. Armed with an immense hammer, Tyr helped his kin break the strength of the Old Gods and their dark armies. He forged a glorious new destiny for Azeroth.
Tyr was a warrior without equal, but his greatest trait was his conviction. He never gave up. He never strayed from his titan-bestowed quest. The mere sight of his argent hammer on the battlefield inspired courage in everyone who fought at his side.
From the writings of an order known as Tyr's Guard, recounting Keeper Tyr and Keeper Odyn's mythic battle against Ragnaros the Firelord:
"Ragnaros retreated to the heart of his lair, where he was most powerful, and waited for his enemies to come to him. He called fire from the sky to waylay Tyr and Odyn. Smoke descended on the land, and it became like night.
"A single brilliant light shone in the darkness-the silvery glow of Tyr's great hammer. It drifted to and fro, sometimes forward and sometimes back. The erratic movements confused Ragnaros. He gradually let his guard down, believing Tyr and Odyn were too cowardly to face him in battle.
"It was exactly what the keepers had been waiting for.
"Like a bolt of lightning, Tyr pierced through the smoke and scored a blow against Ragnaros with his hammer. Odyn then flanked the staggered Firelord, and the two keepers overwhelmed their foe."
From chapter three of The Age of Galakrond, by the historian Evelyna:
"As great a warrior as Tyr was, he did not always escape his battles unharmed. An example of this was his confrontation with the monstrous proto-dragon named Galakrond.
"Countless years after the keepers defeated the Old Gods and imprisoned them beneath the earth, Galakrond emerged to rule the skies of the world. A fierce hunger compelled the proto-dragon to eat everything in his path.
"When Tyr learned about the creature, he feared Galakrond would soon devour all nature. He gathered five other proto-dragons to wage war on him.
"Though the five proto-dragons would eventually vanquish Galakrond, their initial attacks on him went poorly. Tyr's new allies did not always work together. Even when they did, Galakrond proved too mighty for the combined strength of the keeper and the proto-dragons.
"In one battle, Tyr himself grappled with Galakrond and pummeled the beast with his hammer. The blows had little effect. Tyr's weapon was knocked from his grasp, and Galakrond consumed the keeper's hand.
"Only with the help of his five winged allies did Tyr escape with his life."
From chapter nine of The Age of Galakrond, by the historian Evelyna:
"Keeper Tyr worked with a giant named Jotun to replace his appendage. They mined a vein of pure silver deep within Azeroth. Jotun used the metal to forge a hand for his injured companion.
"Tyr was in awe of Jotun's craftsmanship, and he asked the giant for one final favor: to reforge his warhammer so that it would incorporate the image of his new hand. The giant did so, but he inquired why the keeper wanted to draw more attention to his wound.
"Tyr replied that he did not consider his argent hand a reminder of defeat. For him it was a symbol of the sacrifice he had made to defend Azeroth, and he wanted the world to see it that way as well.
"When Jotun finished reshaping the hammer, Tyr named his weapon the Silver Hand."
As the ages passed on Azeroth, the unity between Tyr and his fellow keepers crumbled.
Keeper Loken fell under the sway of the imprisoned Old God Yogg-Saron. The once-noble giant turned on his kin, leaving many of them incapacitated or imprisoned. Loken's betrayal ignited chaos among the earthen, vrykul, and other titan-forged creatures who served the keepers.
Only Tyr and a handful of his closest allies eluded Loken's wrath. Though they planned to strike down the corrupted keeper, they first needed to find a refuge for the earthen and their other innocent servants. Tyr rallied the titan-forged to his side and ventured south in search of a place that was safe from Loken's reach.
The journey was harsh, and many of the titan-forged worried for the future. Only the sight of Tyr leading the way, his legendary hammer always in hand, gave them the hope they needed to continue.
Nearly all of Tyr's followers traveled south, but not Jotun. Inspired by the keeper's ideals of personal sacrifice, the giant stayed behind to distract Loken and help mask his allies' escape.
Jotun succeeded, but he was punished for his heroics.
When Loken learned that many of the titan-forged had fled south, he captured Jotun and twisted his mind. The cursed giant was forced to search the lands surrounding Ulduar and destroy Tyr, anything that symbolized his power, and anyone who followed his ideals.
As his first act, Jotun shattered the anvil he had used to craft Tyr's hand and reshape his warhammer.
From the writings of Tyr's Guard, recounting Tyr's death:
"Loken awakened two of the Old Gods' most powerful generals and sent them after Tyr. These enormous creatures were called the C'Thraxxi. They stormed south and caught up with Tyr and the titan-forged refugees in the land we know as Tirisfal. Or, as the vrykul called it, 'Tyr's Fall.'
"Tyr stood against the C'Thraxxi alone. It would be his final-and greatest-hour.
"Tyr called upon all the lessons he had learned in battle. He wielded the Silver Hand as if it were an extension of his own body. The C'Thraxxi slashed at his metal hide, but Tyr's hammer shielded him in holy power and mended his wounds. The battle dragged on, with neither the keeper nor his enemies giving any ground.
"Tyr knew there was only one way to secure the safety of his allies. He unleashed his immense powers, igniting an explosion of arcane magic that blasted a massive crater in the earth. Tyr and one of his foes were killed instantly. The other, on the verge of death, retreated from the battle site."
After Tyr's sacrifice, his allies entombed the fallen keeper and the dead C'Thrax where they lay. None of the titan-forged felt worthy of taking up their leader's hammer, and they buried it with his corpse.
Tyr's followers then enchanted the tomb with protective wards. They bound the Silver Hand to these magical seals, thereby preventing anyone from touching it in the future.
Of all the titan-forged who had come south, the vrykul were the most moved by what Tyr had done to protect them. They decided to stay in the region and stand vigil over the keeper's tomb.
An excerpt from Legends of the Silver Hand, by the historian Evelyna:
"At some point in Azeroth's distant past, humanity emerged in Tirisfal Glades. The iron-skinned vrykul who lived there slowly died off. Many of them suffered from the curse of flesh, a strange malady that transformed them into creatures of flesh and blood.
"Yet one group of vrykul lasted longer than the others. They formed a secretive group-Tyr's Guard-to protect Keeper Tyr's tomb. The vrykul of this order knew that they would not live forever, and so they inducted some of the fledgling humans into their ranks.
"The vrykul taught the human members of Tyr's Guard the history of the fallen keeper, his tenets of self-sacrifice and justice, and the truth of what lay within the tomb."
In the ancient days, the only humans ever to breach Tyr's tomb and bypass its protectors were following the legendary human king Thoradin. After the elderly ruler abdicated his throne, he became obsessed with his race's history. Thoradin's curiosity eventually led him to discover Tyr's final resting place.
When Thoradin arrived at the tomb, Tyr's Guard confronted him. A tense standoff ensued. The former king was accompanied by a powerful retinue of guards and learned sorcerers. Though the members of Tyr's Guard did not want them to disturb the gravesite, they also did not want bloodshed.
Thoradin and his followers forced their way past Tyr's Guard. Much of what happened next is shrouded in rumor. It is said that Thoradin and his retinue ventured into the darkened catacombs, and they were never seen again.
Tyr's Guard knew that Thoradin's magi had broken the tomb's wards in their foolish quest to explore the gravesite. The order's members made a vow that day-they would not enter the catacombs again, for fear that further meddling could awaken the C'Thrax buried inside and unleash its evil on the world.
For thousands of years, Tyr's Guard continued its sacred duty. New members came and went, and over time they adopted more techniques to help them protect Tyr's tomb. In particular, the defenders felt an affinity toward paladins, holy warriors who arose to battle the orcish Horde in the Second War.
The members of Tyr's Guard learned how to wield the Holy Light, and they became mighty paladins. Yet even this newfound power could not save the order from the undead Scourge.
When the Scourge swept over the human kingdom of Lordaeron, Tyr's Guard crumbled. Only a few brave members, led by a paladin named Travard, remained to uphold their ancient vows.
Many have tried to break Truthguard. Vrykul war bringers, mighty giants, and even the wicked minions of the Old Gods. This shield has turned them all aside, and not a scratch mars its gleaming surface.
But Truthguard is more than just a simple armament. It is the embodiment of justice, nobility, and honor. Bear this shield as you would a torch in the darkness. Bring light to those without hope, and burn away the shadows that seek to engulf your world in death and despair.
Earthen poems and vrykul epic sagas speak of Truthguard emerging in a time of war, when armies forged of iron marched across the north and made even mountains tremble.
The main aggressors of this war were the fearsome Winterskorn vrykul. Their goal was to dominate the lands surrounding Ulduar and put all who opposed them to the blade. The Winterskorn were a people who relished violence, and few relished it more than Yrgrim. He stood at the clan's bloody vanguard, leading brutal raids against the good-natured earthen who dwelled in the region.
Strange that someone so obsessed with wanton killing would one day wield Truthguard, a symbol of justice and honor. But the paths that fate weaves are often strange.
From a set of earthen tablets titled The Winterskorn War:
"The clang of sword against shield rumbled like thunder through the cavern. The Winterskorn's enchanted blades cleaved through the earthen's stone skin with ease, lopping off limbs and sending heads rolling.
"When the Winterskorn cornered the few surviving earthen at the back of the cavern, the lead vrykul charged forward with his sword poised to strike. His body came apart before he ever reached his prey.
"Another Winterskorn had cut him down. He moved quick as lightning then, sword arcing through the rest of his warrior kin.
"'Follow me and live,' the vrykul said after his killing was done. 'Stay and this place will be your tomb.'
"Later, the earthen asked this Yrgrim why he had saved them.
"'The battle lust has lifted from my eyes, and I have seen truth,' Yrgrim replied. 'Killing for the sake of killing... conquering for the sake of conquest... there is no honor in such things. There is only shame and regret.'"
Yrgrim led the earthen survivors to Keeper Tyr, the one being he believed could save them from the Winterskorn. The vrykul warrior did not expect a reward for doing so. Quite the opposite. Yrgrim had murdered scores of innocent earthen, and he thought Tyr would execute him for his transgressions.
According to one vrykul legend, these are the words Tyr spoke to Yrgrim: "I cannot wash the blood from your hands. No one can. All I can offer you is a way forward. Stand by my side. Hunt the wicked with the same ferocity you once used to hunt the earthen. Do this and you will find the path to redemption."
On that day, Yrgrim swore an oath to the twin moons that he would serve Tyr and embody his noble ideals. In return, the keeper gifted the vrykul with a shield unlike any ever made.
Its name was Truthguard.
From the vrykul saga The Forging of Truthguard:
"Three strikes it took Keeper Archaedas to shape Truthguard. With the first hammer fall, rivers of magma spilled from the icy mountains. With the second, the sky howled and lightning set the heavens aflame. With the third, a single ray of sunlight pierced the storm clouds and whispered over Truthguard's surface.
"From afar, Keeper Tyr and the giantess Ironaya watched the work unfold. They had each given of themselves to make Truthguard. Tyr had chiseled off a piece of his silver hand to imbue the shield with righteous power. Ironaya had hewn a stone disc from her hide and etched it with runes of protection."
Truthguard saw its first battle in the waning days of the Winterskorn War.
While searching the frozen wastes for earthen whom he could lead to safety, Yrgrim stumbled across a small raiding party of Winterskorn. The vrykul knew of this "deserter." They cursed Yrgrim's name and howled for his blood.
Yrgrim calmly offered a challenge: if any of the vrykul could knock the shield from his grip, he would surrender. But if the Winterskorn failed, they would lay down their arms and listen to Yrgrim's words.
One after another, the vrykul charged Yrgrim, and their enchanted blades glanced off of Truthguard without making so much as a dent.
"You fail because you fight for cruelty and injustice," Yrgrim said to the bewildered vrykul. "So long as such wicked thoughts guide your hand, you will never become the champions you hope to be." Then he told them of all he had learned from Tyr, of the noble tenets of justice that now governed his life.
And one after another, the vrykul joined Yrgrim's cause and cast their enchanted blades aside.
The Winterskorn War was only a symptom of a much greater problem: Keeper Loken. He had fallen to darkness and imprisoned many of his fellow keepers within the hallowed halls of Ulduar. But why had he done such terrible things? What could have driven a noble being like Loken to abuse his power?
Truthguard found some of the answers.
At Tyr's behest, Yrgrim stalked the outskirts of Ulduar with his shield and confronted a small number of Loken's servants. Some were massive fire giants. A few others were iron-skinned vrykul whose only purpose was dealing death. Yrgrim bested them, one and all. When his opponents were on their knees, he forced them to look at their own reflections in Truthguard's surface.
The shield's righteous power caused the lies and half-truths that clouded their minds to melt away. They saw, for the first time, that Loken had used them as his pawns. Yrgrim's adversaries revealed many details about the fallen keeper, but one was more troubling than the rest...
Loken had succumbed to Yogg-Saron, the malevolent Old God shackled within Ulduar.
An excerpt from an unfinished book on the dwarves' origins, by Royal Historian Archesonus:
"Tyr vowed to defeat Keeper Loken, but he needed time to plan. He also needed to find a refuge for the innocent earthen, mechagnomes, and vrykul who dwelled around Ulduar. As Tyr led these creatures south in search of a safe haven, he ordered his loyal servant Yrgrim to stay behind. The noble vrykul would hold off any of Loken's minions who tried to prevent the refugees from fleeing.
"Yrgrim, fabled Truthguard in hand, obeyed his master. It was the last time he would see Tyr alive.
"Three fire giants soon emerged to hunt down the refugees, but Yrgrim barred their way. They swarmed the lone vrykul and battered Truthguard. Not even the fists of giants could dent the shield.
"Yrgrim waited until his foes wore themselves ragged against Truthguard, and then he went on the offensive. He slammed the shield against the giants until their molten bodies crumbled and their blood ran like rivers of fire over the land."
While Yrgrim battled the fire giants, Keeper Loken unleashed ancient horrors who had been locked within Ulduar. These were the C'Thraxxi, monstrous servants of the Old Gods. They crawled from their underground chambers and slipped past Yrgrim, eager to exterminate Tyr and his motley followers.
Yrgrim sensed the C'Thraxxi's foul presence as they passed by, and he raced south in pursuit of the creatures. By the time he finally caught up to them, it was too late...
Tyr had stood against the C'Thraxxi alone, and he had paid the ultimate price to defeat them. His followers would name the site of his valiant sacrifice Tyr's Fall, which in the vrykul tongue translated to "Tirisfal."
Yrgrim laid the first stone of the tomb that would serve as Tyr's final resting place. He and his allies labored over the construction in silence, hearts filled with bittersweet reverence. When the work was done, the refugees set off south in search of a safe haven, but Yrgrim did not follow.
He jammed Truthguard into the earth and swore to stand vigil over his master's tomb. It was the least he could do to honor Tyr's sacrifice. Moved by Yrgrim's decision, the other vrykul joined him.
For many years, Yrgrim remained in Tirisfal with Truthguard at his side. He urged his allies to dedicate themselves to the pursuit of justice and nobility, just as he had. In this way, Tyr's ideals would live on in more than stories. They would live on through the actions of Yrgrim and the other vrykul.
Once Yrgrim had taught the Tirisfal vrykul all he could, he departed from the region. His battles had whittled away at his iron hide, and he longed to find a noble champion who could take up Truthguard.
Yrgrim's quest eventually led him and his great shield to the land known as Stormheim.
Stormheim was home to many mighty vrykul, and Yrgrim was sure he would find someone capable of bearing Truthguard. He constructed an arena to test the mettle of the local fighters. Challenger after challenger faced off against Yrgrim, but none could meet his high standards.
In time, no one remained to face Yrgrim's trials. He abandoned his arena, but not his search. He held onto hope that he would find a successor someday.
Yrgrim built a vast tomb and locked himself within. There, he waited for a hero. Someone strong of will and pure of heart. Someone worthy of bearing Truthguard, as Tyr would have wanted.
You now possess one of the most iconic and renowned weapons ever created.
Once the bane of the undead (then, for a time, one of the Scourge's greatest assets), the Ashbringer has been instrumental in the rise and fall of lords, empires, and kings, living and undead alike. It has stood for both good and evil, and now it rests within your hands.
Wield it well.
Few known artifacts or relics are capable of rivaling the Ashbringer's legendary pedigree.
Its origins have been traced to the Second War between orcs and humans. There, on the field of battle, the renowned highlord Alexandros Mograine came into possession of a dark orb.
Though Alexandros considered the artifact to be a living embodiment of shadow, he also believed that it might one day be forged into a weapon of righteousness.
Alexandros's vision would become a reality, and that weapon would become the Ashbringer.
It is said that deep within the hallowed halls of Ironforge, the Ashbringer was crafted by the dwarf king Magni Bronzebeard, a peerless weaponsmith.
For King Magni, it was a dark time; he grieved over the recent loss of his brother Muradin.
Legend holds that King Magni infused the full weight of his rage and sorrow into the Ashbringer's forging, resulting in a weapon of untold vengeance and devastation.
So it is written, that when confronted by undead forces, Highlord Alexandros Mograine dispatched them with ease. The blade in his hand felt like an extension of his own flesh, a beautifully lethal instrument of pure destruction.
And as it carved a swath through his Scourge enemies, this new weapon left naught in the aftermath but charred bone and swirling ash.
Thus was the Ashbringer given its name.
In the hands of Alexandros Mograine, the Ashbringer rained unparalleled fury upon the marauding Scourge armies, decimating the undead in numbers beyond reckoning.
So it was that over the course of time, the man and the weapon seemed as one. Ashbringer became a name of legend, attributed not just to the fearsome blade but also to the relentless knight who wielded it.
From the testimony of Fairbanks, advisor to Highlord Alexandros Mograine, shortly before his execution:
"It was outside of Stratholme that we were surrounded by undead. Their numbers were unfathomable. Wave after wave washed over us... and yet Alexandros stood tall, unbowed and unbroken, a rock for them to break against.
"Alexandros's end came not from the undead but from his own son-the treacherous one, Renault, who took up the Ashbringer and stabbed his father in the back."
A recounting of the battle at Naxxramas by Darion Mograine, as told by Atticus Krohl:
"Deep within the floating undead citadel of Naxxramas, I discovered what had truly become of my father. Alexandros's spirit had been tortured and broken; he had been raised as a death knight to defend the very Scourge that he had once labored to destroy.
"They had scoured from him all that was good, leaving behind only a bitter, rotten shell. In defense of my own life, I was forced to end his cursed existence, or so I thought.
"The blade you see, the Ashbringer... it spoke to me in my father's voice."
From the Liber Monasterium:
"And so it was that Darion Mograine, driven by the voice of his father, bore the Ashbringer to the Scarlet Monastery, where he learned of his brother Renault's treachery.
"The vengeful phantom of Alexandros Mograine manifested out of the Ashbringer. Renault begged for forgiveness, and he was dealt a vicious sweep of the corrupted blade, separating his head from his shoulders.
"'You are forgiven,' was Alexandros's reply."
An excerpt from The Battle for Light's Hope:
"The Argent Dawn amassed at Light's Hope Chapel against the swarming multitudes of Scourge. Battle was joined, and though each and every one of us fought bravely, it seemed there could be no hope of victory.
"In our darkest hour, in an effort to free his father's condemned soul, Darion Mograine plunged the Ashbringer into his own chest.
"It was then that the souls of the myriad champions buried beneath Light's Hope lashed out in a devastating blast of purest Light. In that instant, our enemies were undone."
There are scores of firsthand accounts of the Second Battle for Light's Hope Chapel. They differ in some ways, but on many points, they correspond. What is known is that several years after his sacrifice at the first Battle for Light's Hope, Darion Mograine returned... this time as would-be conqueror, a death knight in the Lich King's service.
He faced off against his onetime ally, a former Knight of the Silver Hand, Tirion Fordring. Ultimately Darion was subdued even as the dreaded Lich King himself, Arthas, appeared on the battlefield.
In an apparent act of contrition, Darion threw the Ashbringer to Tirion, who purified it with his touch. Tirion then focused his full efforts on the Lich King, who was forced to retreat after a single mighty blow from the uncorrupted Ashbringer.
In the aftermath of the Second Battle for Light's Hope, the Ashbringer remained in the possession of Tirion Fordring, highlord of the Argent Crusade. In order to draw out the greatest champions of Azeroth, Tirion instituted a contest of strength and battle prowess known as the Argent Tournament.
In time, Tirion's Argent Crusade successfully breached the main gate of the Lich King's stronghold of Icecrown Citadel. As they laid siege to Icecrown's defenses, the highlord created a pact with Darion Mograine and his Knights of the Ebon Blade, resulting in the Ashen Verdict-a united order bent on destroying the Lich King.
The final assault on Icecrown Citadel now ranks among the most legendary military campaigns in recent memory.
Marching alongside some of the greatest champions of Azeroth, Tirion Fordring continued his crusade against the Scourge, staging an all-out attack on the Lich King's seat of power.
There, Tirion once again confronted Arthas, and all fell silent as the clash of steel rang out across the icy wastes. At the culmination of a fevered battle, the Ashbringer shattered Arthas's infamous sword, Frostmourne, in a single blow.
Arthas was defeated at last, and the purified Ashbringer took its place among the most celebrated and renowned weapons in all of Azeroth's history.
- Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): Added.