Record of Defias Activity

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Defias chain of command

The following is a composite account of all known activities of the Defias Brotherhood up to and including their involvement in the World of Warcraft game. Almost everything listed below either occurs or is otherwise documented in-game.

Early history

  • The human Edwin VanCleef grows up in the city of Stormwind. He trains as a rogue alongside his childhood friend, Mathias Shaw. Eventually VanCleef joins the society known as the Stonemasons, establishing a network of clandestine contacts.
  • The Horde wins the First War, seizing control of the kingdom of Stormwind and driving its inhabitants into exile. The city of Stormwind itself is burned to the ground.
  • Six years later, the Alliance of Lordaeron achieves supreme victory over the Horde and is able to reclaim its holdings.
  • Terenas Menethil, king of Lordaeron, offers to rebuild the ruined city of Stormwind. To accomplish this reconstruction, heavy taxes are introduced among all the member nations of the Alliance.
  • The newly reformed Stormwind House of Nobles contracts the remaining Stonemasons to perform the physical rebuilding of the city using the resources raised by Terenas.
  • After several years, the project is completed. The Stonemasons then approach the House of Nobles seeking payment for their work. The Nobles, however, admonish the Stonemasons for not performing the service to the Alliance out of the kindness of their hearts.
  • Alienated and enraged, many of the Stonemasons rally behind Edwin VanCleef. VanCleef makes impassioned pleas to the Nobles for payment, but the Nobles continue to refuse.
  • After much argument and debate, VanCleef and his followers leave Stormwind, going into hiding in the nearby wilderness.

Origins of the Brotherhood

  • VanCleef's followers soon form a secret organization called the Defias Brotherhood.
  • Needing a base for their plans, the Defias cultivate a hideout in the heart of the Deadmines cave system in southern Westfall, concealing the entrance inside a barn in the town of Moonbrook. VanCleef names Bazil Thredd his second-in-command.
  • Utilizing many of his contacts from his Stonemason days, VanCleef lures more members into the Defias. The Brotherhood begins to change its form from alienated Stonemasons to a coalition of brigands and thieves.
  • Stationing his men at key points along the main river that runs through the kingdom, VanCleef is able to create a network of communication and transport that stretches from the Redridge Mountains west to Stormwind, and south as far as Booty Bay.
  • Around this same time, VanCleef makes valuable contacts inside the House of Nobles itself; most notably in the form of Lord Gregor Lescovar. Though Lescovar and his lackeys refuse to be made VanCleef's subordinates, the two men manage to reach an uncomfortable agreement, and begin working to destroy Stormwind from within.
  • Goblin engineers are contracted by VanCleef to work in the Deadmines, building mechanical Harvest Golems that resemble scarecrows.
  • VanCleef also buys out the Riverpaw gnolls, hiring them as thugs and stationing them throughout Westfall.
  • At some point, the Stormwind army mysteriously disappears to fight the Horde in foreign lands. This departure leaves Stormwind and its provinces of Goldshire, Lakeshire, Darkshire and Westfall completely defenseless. VanCleef knows the time has come to make his move.

Conquest of Westfall and Elwynn

Underground Operation

  • The Defias are now ready to proceed with the next phase of the plan. Steel, copper and other minerals are harvested in large quantities from the captured mines and collected in the Deadmines. Wood timber felled in Westfall and materials gathered in Redridge (perhaps by the Redridge Gnolls) are also stored in the caves, as are minerals harvested within the Deadmines themselves.
  • VanCleef contracts a number of Goblin Shipbuilders, stationing them within the Deadmines. There the goblins begin construction on VanCleef's secret weapon of mass destruction: a giant Juggernaught, modeled on the orcish warships used during the Second War. The Lumbermaster Sneed constructs a Mast Room within the mines, using the space to create masts and wooden rigging for the Juggernaught.
  • A team of Goblin Craftsmen are called upon to create a massive Goblin Foundry in the mines. The foundry is used to process ore into metals used in the construction.
  • The Defias enter into an agreement with the Bloodsail Buccaneers of southern Stranglethorn Vale. The Bloodsail leader, Fleet Master Firallon, sends a crew of his pirates led by Captain Greenskin the goblin to man VanCleef's new vessel.

Fighting Back

  • The first blow to the Defias Brotherhood's power base occurs in Northshire Valley, where the locals under the leadship of Marshal McBride manage to wrest control of the Echo Ridge Mine from the Defias-employed Kobolds. Believing the Kobolds to be a nuisance unto themselves, however, the liberators fail to connect the vermin with the Defias.
  • Agitated by the actions of the Defias, Marshal McBride places a bounty on their ringleader in Northshire Valley, one Garrick Padfoot, which leads to his death. Padfoot's band is driven off from the Northshire Vineyards soon after.
  • Next, the Defias lose control of the Fargodeep Mine just south of the town of Goldshire, as adventurers set out to explore the mine at the behest of Marshal Dughan, and collect candles and gold dust from the Kobolds for William Pestle and Remey Two-times. Similar conditions also result in the liberation of the distant Jasperlode Mine in eastern Elwynn.
  • The Defias scoundrel Dead-Tooth Jack steals the tabard of a Stormwind Marshal, using it as a disguise that fools the near-blind Marshal Haggard. Jack tricks Haggard into giving up his Marshal's badge, but this ironically leads to Jack's end; for Haggard enlists a local warrior to deal with the brigand and reclaim the badge.
  • Mathias Shaw, leader of the Stormwind intelligence organization known as SI:7, plots a successful infiltration of the Defias dock site at Jerod's Landing, leading to the recovery of valuable Defias shipping information.
  • The notorious Defias warlock, Surena Caledon also meets her death in the days following the Elwynn offensive, as the warlock coven in Stormwind declares her life forfeit. She and her lover, Erlan Drudgemoor are slain by one of the coven's junior members, and Surena's choker is recovered on the orders of Gakin the Darkbinder, the warlock who once instructed Surena. The choker is then used by Gakin in an incantation to summon and subdue a voidwalker.
  • Around this time, VanCleef's second-in-command, Bazil Thredd is captured and placed in the Stormwind Stockade.
  • Meanwhile, the rogue Wiley the Black manages to infiltrate the Defias organization, learning much about their goals and endeavors. He remains quiet, however, out of fear.
  • Perhaps most damaging to VanCleef's agenda comes the death of Morgan the Collector, who was stationed with Caledon and Drudgemoor in Elwynn Forest. Morgan had served as VanCleef's chief lieutenant in Elwynn and he effectively ran the Elwynn operation, facilitating the transport of gold and other materials from the Elwynn mines to the Deadmines. Morgan's communications were carried by the Riverpaw Gnolls, because Morgan believed this would keep them from being discovered by agents of Stormwind. That plan failed, however, as a raid upon the gnoll camp in Forest's Edge resulted in Marshal Dughan recovering a particularly damaging message from Morgan, including a schedule of shipments. In short order, the leaked information leads to Morgan's assassination and the end of the Defias mining operation in Elwynn Forest.

The People's Militia

  • Meanwhile, the People's Militia based at Sentinel Hill are facing their own Defias problems. The locals have been run off their family farms, and the township of Moonbrook has been completely overrun by the Defias brigands.
  • Gryan Stoutmantle, leader of the Militia, is driven to desperation by the grim events, and finally contacts the rogue known as Wiley the Black, based in Lakeshire. Though fearful of the Defias, Wiley owes Stoutmantle his life, and so consents to share what information he knows of the Defias. Wiley reveals the true scope of the Defias operations, which he claims stretch from Stormwind all the way to Booty Bay. He accurately claims that the Defias control every mine in Elwynn and Westfall, and that they are using the resources from these mines to fund a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Additionally, Wiley hints that the Defias are in fact related to the Stonemasons that rebuilt Stormwind City. Stoutmantle has this connection confirmed to him by Mathias Shaw of SI:7, a childhood friend of Edwin VanCleef's and something of an expert on the Stonemasons. Still, Stoutmantle seeks further proof of VanCleef's guilt.
  • This proof comes with the interception of a Defias Messenger bearing instructions from VanCleef himself. His note claims that their mysterious project is nearing completion, and that the time has come to strip everything that isn't nailed down in their other holdings. The note is retrieved for Stoutmantle, who can no longer deny VanCleef's involvement with the Defias and orders his assassination.
  • Around this time, a Defias Traitor is captured attempting to steal Farmer Saldean's wagon. In exchange for his life, the traitor betrays his Defias brothers and reveals the exact location of the entrance to VanCleef's hideout in the Deadmines.
  • Stoutmantle at last contracts a party of adventurers, who infiltrate the Deadmines on his orders, causing massive damage to the mining, smelting and ship construction operations going on there and finally succeeding in assassinating Edwin VanCleef.

The Brotherhood After VanCleef

  • Rather than ending the Defias threat, however, VanCleef's death only makes the Brotherhood more mysterious and difficult to track.
  • Shortly before his death, VanCleef pens a hasty letter to fellow former Stonemason Baros Alexston, presumably begging Alexston's support of the Defias. As a city architect, Alexston has valuable connections to the House of Nobles which might have made people like Lord Gregor Lescovar obsolete.
  • VanCleef does not live long enough to send the letter; however, his killers deliver to Alexston. Predictably, Alexston wants nothing to do with VanCleef's mad schemes. After all, it was the Defias who ran off Alexston's family from their farm in Westfall; one would hardly expect him to be sympathetic to the Defias or their aims.
  • Alexston suggests that the prisoner Bazil Thredd, might be of use in recovering information on the Defias, since Thredd had been VanCleef's second-in-command prior to the former's capture and imprisonment in the Stockade. Getting information out of Thredd, however, might be difficult...

The Stockade Riots

  • For many months, the Defias underboss Bazil Thredd had no visitors as he languished in the Stormwind Stockade, and it was presumed by his jailors that he had outlived his usefulness to the Defias Brotherhood. All that changed shortly before the death of Edwin VanCleef, however, when Thredd began to receive frequent visits from the assassin Marzon the Silent Blade (under the alias of Maelik).
  • Marzon then facilitated a sort of three-cornered conversation, carrying messages between Thredd, VanCleef and Lord Gregor Lescovar the Noble. As VanCleef's Stormwind support, Thredd and Lescovar masterminded a grand uprising within the Stockade, planned to ensure the mass breakout of Thredd and many other Defias underlings.
  • Nikova Raskol's teenage grandson Mac was working as a guard in the Stockade when riots began. Mac had previously chastised the Defias inmates for creating their iconic crimson masks out of fabric ripped from their pillowcases; as punishment for this, he was one of the first casualties of the riots, stabbed in the back by the men he had disciplined.
  • In orchestrating the riots, Thredd succeeded in inducting many of the other prisoners into the Defias Brotherhood, including those who might not have been a part of the Brotherhood prior to the riots. Among these were:
  • Though the chaos cause by The Stockade uprising is significant, it is not enough to win the inmates' escape, and the revolt is eventually put down. Thredd and the other ringleaders are killed during the fighting.

The Attack

  • After Thredd's death, investigation commences regarding his mysterious contact, Maelik. Mathias Shaw correctly identifies Maelik as an alias of the assassin Marzon, known to be under the employ of the Noble Lord Gregor Lescovar. Though this points to Lescovar as being in league with Thredd and VanCleef, his Noble status makes the Lord effectively invulnerable from the likes of Shaw who work 'within the system'.
  • In order to bring Lescovar to justice, Shaw enlists the aid of his peer and rival, the secretive spymaster Elling Trias. Unlike Shaw, Trias heolds no official connection to Stormwind and is free to do as he likes. Moreover, the secrecy surrounding Trias' true profession, aided by the cover of his successful cheese shop, gives him the ability to operate outside the law.
  • As it happens, Trias has had his own agent (the gnome Tyrion) observing Lescovar for weeks. At Trias's instruction, Tyrion organizes a meeting in the gardens of Stormwind Keep between Lescovar and Marzon, niether of whom appear to know that both Thredd and VanCleef are dead. Marzon bears a message to Lescovar from VanCleef himself, warning that Gryan Stoutmantle's men have been seen 'snooping around'. In the middle of the meeting, Lescovar and Marzon are ambushed by one of Trias's operatives, and killed.
  • In reward, Baros Alexston secures an audience between Lescovar's killer and the King of Stormwind, Varian Wrynn where he receives a ring - the  [Seal of Wrynn] - as a sign of the city's gratitude.

The Missing Diplomat

  • In truth, the King's mission has gone awry. The King himself has been captured! This is of course a closely guarded secret within Stormwind, as is the fact that the King is the diplomat who's gone missing. The Defias are suspected to have been involved, although any further information is classified.
  • The Defias first attempt to apprehend the King at some point previous, by use of an underground tunnel connected somehow to Stormwind (possibly the Deeprun Tram, or even the Stockade). The dwarf Dashel Stonefist, a.k.a. 'Fist', successfully switches out the rosters of guards in the tunnel, allowing the Defias agents to infiltrate the area where the King will be. However, the infiltrators have a run of bad luck and a group of adventurers from Stormwind intervene, allowing the King to elude capture.
  • Their contingency plan is more successful. While the King and his retainers board ship in Menethil Harbor, Tapoke "Slim" Jahn helps Private Hendel of the Theramore marines to acquire station aboard the King's ship.
  • With Hendel in position and other, unknown allies of the Defias (possibly either Strashaz Naga or members of the Black dragonflight) waiting closer to Theramore, the trap is sprung. The King is captured a few miles offshore from Theramore, where he intended to meet with Jaina Proudmoore. The King is imprisoned temporarily in an underground cell on Alcaz Island, guarded by Naga warriors.
  • Back in Stormwind, Bishop DeLavey attempts to discreetly investigate the King's disappearance. Through the aid of his assistant Thomas, whom he has set up as an altar boy within the Cathedral of Light, DeLavey enlists the aid of an adventurer in investigating the diplomat's disappearance. His other options exhausted, DeLavey sends his new agent to his contact, Jorgen, who in turn sends the agent to Elling Trias with a letter of introduction.
  • Trias, though irritated at DeLavey and Jorgen's presumption, immediately suspects Defias involvement and promptly takes the matter into his own hands. His own contact, Watcher Backus, has been planted within the ranks of the Night Watch in Darkshire, and has been keeping watch over Defias activity in the area for some time.
  • Backus recounts a large gathering of Defias some time previous, out at the farmstead called Addle's Stead in the middle of the night. Investigation of the farm leads to the recovery of a  [Defias Docket].
  • The contents of the Docket lead Trias to 'Fist', who in turn fingers 'Slim', who in turn fingers Hendel.
  • DeLavey's agent apprehends Hendel in Theramore just as news of the plot reaches Lady Proudmoore, and she takes the traitor into custody.
  • Some time after, the King escapes from his cell on Alcaz Isle and attempts to swim to safety; however, he loses his memory and washes up in Durotar. Though his exploits continue after this point, the Defias have no real further involvement. You can read more about the ensuing events here.

The Dawning

Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.
  • For several years, the Brotherhood has been silent until a cataclysmic event occured. Majority of homeless and poor people of Stormwind have been migrating into Westfall, some of them were blaming Varian for their current situation.
  • The Furlbrows and their horse Old Blanchy have been murdered. Stormwind begins an investigation under Lieutenant Horatio Laine.
  • As the investigation goes further, their informant, Two-Shoed Lou supplies them with an intelligence regarding the case, related to Jangolode Mine. A mysterious shadowy figure is speaking to the local ogre foreman, Glubtok, offering him wealth and power.
  • Later, one of the adventurers co-operating with Laine eavesdrop on a band of local thugs that were involved in the crime, eventually blowing his cover and eliminating them. After returning to Furlbrow's Pumpkin Farm, Lou is found dead, and local residents too scared to say anything about it.
  • Later, Salma Saldean reveals that four years ago, a little girl walked right into their farmhouse and collapsed on the floor. She apparently suffered a temporary amnesia. They named her Hope.
  • A dangerous worgen was captured while terrorizing the local countryside. He speaks of the "dawning".
  • A goblin named Helix Gearbreaker enters Westfall. SI:7 immediately starts to track him.
  • Adventurers sent by the Westfall Brigade eavesdrop on a conversation between Helix and the shadowy figure. They speak about the worgen admiral imprisoned in Sentinel Hill and that they free him during the "dawning". She wants him to call for the people, and then meet them in Moonbrook.
  • The Westfall Brigade scours Moonbrook for any information relating to the shadowy figure. The stumble on a mysterious propaganda, and local thugs that are carrying red bandanas.
  • The shadowy figure is holding a rally in Moonbrook.
  • Thoralius the Wise supplies adventurers with his incense burner that allows them to see what happened five years ago during the attack on the Deadmines. It is revealed that VanCleef had a daughter named Vanessa.
  • When the news reach Gryan Stoutmantle, an uprising begins at Sentinel Hill. The actual mastermind behind the plot was no one other than Vanessa, living under the name of Hope Saldean. She frees Admiral Ripsnarl and burns Sentinel Hill to the ground. The Defias Brotherhood is reborn and once again poses a serious threat to the Kingdom of Stormwind.

A Note About Timing

The quest system in World of WarCraft unfortunately gives little indication of time, and so the general time frame for the above events is largely subject to speculation. The later portion of the events, however, from VanCleef's death on, probably occur within a very short time of one another. Both The Stockade Riots and The Attack clearly occur soon after VanCleef's death, since Marzon and Lescovar do not appear to have heard that VanCleef is dead. Then, when Lady Prestor receives Lescovar's killer following The Attack, the King is already missing, meaning the Missing Diplomat chain is intended to occur around the same time (perhaps immediately after). It can be further inferred that while the kidnapping was carried out after the Deadmines project fell apart with VanCleef's death, the abduction was planned well before that time and therefore was likely VanCleef's brainchild.

Compared to these two plots, both of which threaten all of Stormwind, it would appear that the Stockade uprising organized by Thredd and Lescovar was intended merely as a side project, which explains why VanCleef did not have a very heavy hand in it.