As you increase your artifact knowledge level more chapters of the weapon's history will be revealed. Chapters will be added at the following artifact knowledge levels: 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 23, 25.
SAGA OF THE VALARJAR
Etched by Fjornson, stonecarver of the Valarjar.
Strom'kar, the Warbreaker
STROM'KAR, THE WARBREAKER
Human history is not complete without mention of Strom'kar. With this blade, a visionary warlord named Thoradin united his race into a single nation. He led his people to victory against the trolls in one of the greatest wars humankind has ever fought. He changed the destiny of the world. Strom'kar's stroy is one of violence and bloodshed, of cunning and desperation. And, ultimately, of bravery and sacrifice.
The early human tribes had many legends about giants who had once walked among them. These mighty beings had many names, but the most common attributed to them was "vrykul." The folktales said that the giants watched over humans as parents would watch over sons and daughters. The vrykul taught their primitive children the ways of foraging, of masonry and smithing, and of making war.
By the time of Warlord Thoradin, the vrykul of the human lands had long since died out. What little remained of their presence included weapons they had left behind. The humans treated these arms as sacred heirlooms and symbols of their tribes. But the blade later known as Strom'kar would become much more than that.
In Thoradin's hands, it would become a symbol of all humanity.
From chapter eight of The One True Human Kingdom, by the historian Llore:
"Even as the brutish Amani trolls raided and pillaged, the human tribes bickered and squabbled with each other. Only Warlord Thoradin and his Arathi tribe recognized the folly of their ways. If they did not unite, the moss-skinned trolls would crush humankind and desecrate its ancestral lands."
"So it was that Thoradin declared himself king and set out to bring the tribes to heel. Many he won to his side through the marriages of his sons and daughters. Others, through promises of wealth and land."
"But some closed their ears to words of diplomacy. They spoke only the language of violence."
"Fortunately, Thoradin knew that language well."
For weeks, Thoradin and his warriors struggled to conquer the rugged mountain people known as the Alteraci. Though the upstart king was confident he could subdue the tribe if given enough time, he knew the cost would be very high. To prevent unnecessary bloodshed, he changed his tactics.
Thoradin shed his battle armor and painted his chest with Arathi tribal symbols. With only Strom'kar in hand, he marched up the mountain and challenged the Alteraci leader, Ignaeus, to a duel.
Before long, Ignaeus emerged from the forest, skin dyed red with his own tribal marks, blade sharpened and hungry for death. He dwarfed Thoradin in size and strength, but the Arathi leader had other advantages. He had chosen the duel on a day when thick fog enveloped the mountains. Using the weather to his advantage, Thoradin eluded Ignaeus's wild swings and disarmed his bigger foe.
Ignaeus was at Thoradin's mercy, but the Arathi leader did not strike. He plunged Strom'kar into the damp earth and extended the hand of peace. On that day, he won the Alteraci to his side.
The only human tribe powerful enough to end King Thoradin's dream of unity dwelled in Tirisfal Glades. A great warrior named Lordain led the region's noble people. They would not submit to shows of force like the Alteraci. To win their loyalty, Thoradin needed to appeal to their religious beliefs.
Thus Thoradin and his personal guards made a pilgrimage to the region's shrines and sacred groves. At each site, the king performed rituals as was the custom of Lordain and his kin. Thoradin even wore a pendant of the silver hand, an image held sacred by Tirisfal's humans.
At the end of the pilgrimage, Thoradin met with Lordain. The king pledged that if the tribe joined him, he would adopt their mystic ways and spread them among the Arathi. To seal his promise, Thoradin ran his palm along Strom'kar's edge and mixed his blood with the earth of Tirisfal.
The histories record Thoradin as saying, "Between our people, let this be the only blood we spill."
And so it was, Lordain and his people bent the knee to King Thoradin.
From chapter fourteen of The One True Human Kingdom, by the historian Llore:
"Thoradin and other early human warlords held their swords and axes sacred. Many believed that the spirits of their ancestors lived on in their weapons. With this in mind, it's quite extraordinary that Thoradin convinced all of the human tribal leaders to lend him their personal blades."
"Arathi blacksmiths took shards of metal from each of these weapons and added them to Thoradin's greatsword. It was an act of brilliance, for it secured the eternal loyalty of the tribes. Who would ever rise up against Thoradin and risk striking the sword that contained their own ancestors?"
"When the work was done, Thoradin renamed his sword Strom'kar, the Warbreaker."
With the human tribes united, King Thoradin set out to found a new capital. According to one legend, he discovered his answer in a dream. In it, he saw his father wearing the pelt of a black wolf. He told Thoradin of an arid land southeast of Tirisfal Glades. If the king built his capital there, his people would prosper.
Thoradin sought out the land from his dream, a region known today as the Arathi Highlands. As the story goes, the king spied a black wolf roaming the barren terrain. On that spot, Thoradin used Strom'kar to carve out the boundaries of his city in the dirt. Then he set his masons to work.
So arose Strom, mighty capital of the first human kingdom.
Thoradin was not a king to sit idle on his throne, just as Strom'kar was not a sword to sit idle in its sheath.
The Arathi military patrolled the far-flung borders of the human territories, repelling Amani troll incursions. King Thoradin took part in many of these skirmishes, often at great risk to his own life.
One account tells of a brutal Amani ambush that struck Thoradin's forces. The trolls routed the humans, separating the king from his warriors. Though he was outnumbered ten to one, Thoradin did not flee. He did not beg. He did not cower. No true Arathi would stain his honor with such craven acts.
Thoradin sharpened Strom'kar's edge on the skulls of his enemies and painted its steel with their blood. When the guards finally reached him, they found their king standing over ten broken Amani corpses.
From chapter twenty-nine of The Warring Tribes and the Rise of Arathor, by the historian Evelyna:
"To defeat the Amani, Arathor and the high elves of Quel'Thalas forged an alliance. King Thoradin marshaled over twenty thousand human soldiers and launched his armies at the trolls. The decisive battle unfolded at Alterac Fortress. The Amani host besieged the stronghold. While the humans defended the fortress from the onslaught, the high elves smashed into the troll rearguard."
"Thoradin waded through the Amani warbands with the rest of his soldiers, Strom'kar hacking down troll after troll. Once the king knew his forces had worn the enemy thin, he revealed his secret weapon."
"One hundred human magi emerged from Alterac Fortress. Alongside elven sorcerers, they pooled their power and unleashed a single terrible spell on the Amani. A column of fire ripped down from the heavens and blasted through the trolls. The howling torrent of flame burned the Amani to ash."
"Thus the Troll Wars ended, with human and elf triumphant."
After the Troll Wars, Thoradin embarked on a diplomatic mission to Quel'Thalas and secured humanity's bond of loyalty with the high elves. The king created a military pact so that each side would help the other if the Amani ever threatened their lands again. He also carved out new territorial borders with the elves and drew up trade agreements to foster the prosperity of Arathor for generations to come.
Before Thoradin left Quel'Thalas, the elves gave him a gift. Their greatest blacksmiths and enchanters toiled over Strom'kar and imbued it with extraordinary power. Thoradin marveled at the masterwork of the elves. The new Strom'kar gleamed with an otherworldly beauty. It weighed almost nothing in Thoradin's hands, and no matter how often he used it, the edge never seemed to dull.
As his years wore on, a grizzled Thoradin abdicated his throne in peace. He broke tradition and kept Strom'kar as his own. Though some bristled at what they considered an act of greed, Thoradin retained the blade for practical reasons. Strom'kar had become a symbol of kingship. Thoradin wanted Arathor's citizenry to see his bloodline as the legitimate rulers, not simply whoever wielded the sword.
Free from the burden of leadership, Thoradin spent much of his time studying ancient ruins in Tirisfal Glades. He became obsessed with the origins of humankind and with the tales of giants who once walked the land. Thoradin learned to use Strom'kar's enchantments to locate hidden places of power.
During one of his journeys in Tirisfal, Thoradin and a retinue of his followers entered mysterious catacombs buried beneath the earth. According to the legends, none of them were ever seen again.
Many strange tales exist about what befell Thoradin, but the truth is the strangest of them all. In Tirisfal Glades, he discovered two long-lost subterranean chambers. One belonged to the noble keeper Tyr. The other, to a monstrosity known as Zakajz, a bloodthirsty servant of the malevolent Old Gods.
Before written history, Tyr had sacrificed himself to defeat Zakajz in a battle that shook the heart of Azeroth. The keeper's allies buried both combatants at the site of their mythic confrontation, and they sealed the tomb with magical wards to prevent anyone from disturbing what lay inside.
Unaware of the great darkness locked beneath the earth, Thoradin instructed the magi in his retinue to break the seals. They succeeded... and, in so doing, their arcane spellwork inadvertently resurrected Zakajz. As the lumbering creature tore through Thoradin's followers, the former king did not flee. He did not beg. He did not cower. No true Arathi would stain his honor with such craven acts.
Thoradin sharpened Strom'kar's edge one last time, burying the sword into Zakajz's skull. The blade's elven enchantments forced the horror into a deep slumber and prevented it from regenerating.
It was Thoradin's last great act. At the moment of his strike, he suffered a mortal wound from Zakajz. The warrior who united humankind died that day, Strom'kar stained with the blood of one final enemy.
Warswords of the Valarjar
- Main article: Warswords of the Valarjar ( & )
ODYN'S FURY, HELYA'S WRATH, WARSWORDS OF THE VALARJAR
Keeper Odyn believed the natural creatures of this world were too weak, too soft, and too short-lived to be trusted. You have already shown him his folly, and none of us has any doubt that you will continue to do so.
Now you will carry Odyn's prized weapons in defense of Azeroth. Go forth and forge your legacy.
Keeper Odyn was inspired to create and army of titan-forged champions, the Valarjar, and set them to protect Azeroth against the multitude of threats he knew it would face. But his dream was thwarted, and his Valarjar were contained for thousands of years.
Before Odyn was imprisoned, he crafted two blades. They were meant to aid the greatest among the Valarjar.
Instead, they fell into he hands of his enemies.
In ancient days, Odyn oversaw the creation of the Halls of Valor, a sanctuary for the spirits of the mightiest vrykul who had given their lives in glorious battle. He had led the armies of the Pantheon against the Old Gods, and he knew there would always be a need for brave, fearless champions to face the forces of evil.
The most talented blacksmiths among the vrykul were asked to create weapons and armor for these peerless warrios. Keeper Odyn was awed by the work of one smith; his shields were light and strong, truly astonishing in the hands of a skilled fighter.
Odyn tasked him to try someting new. "Focus not only on mere defense," the keeper said, "but also on the poetry of aggression."
The smith heeded Odyn's words and soon presented the keeper with two of the finest warswords ever made on a vrykul forge. Odyn did not merely accept them; he blessed them with his power.
Odyn hung these warswords in the Halls of Valor and let them motivate the Valajar, his champions. "These will be carried into battle by only the greatest among you," Odyn said. "So go, then. Prove yourself worthy."
It would be many years before someone rose to the challenge.
The first-and-only Valarjar to carry these weapons into battle was named Ingvar. He was a renowned fighter when he was alive, and a legendary warrior after his death.
Always aggresive, Ingvar led a raiding party to investigate a cave that seemed to be dripping with dark magic. Inside they found something terrible: a pack of creatures that had been corrupted by the Old Gods. When the Old Gods' war against the titan-forged had been all but lost, C'Thun quietly lashed out worldwide, seizing the minds of whatever the entity could touch.
Ingvar and his comrades were frighteningly outnumbered. But they did not run. Most of the vrykul fell in minutes, but Ingvar remained standing. Though badly wounded, he fought his way through the cave and destroyed every enemy inside.
After his last breath, the Val'kyr Helya sent his spirit to the Halls of Valor, where Odyn welcomed him with open arms.
Ingvar's death had been a noble sacrifice that resulted in victory against incredible odds. Keeper Odyn declared him a paragon among the Valarjar and bestowed upon him these warswords. In times of great peril, Ingvar was always the first to lead the Valarjar into the fray.
But all too soon, his acts of heroism came to an end.
When Odyn had set out to realize his vision for the Halls of Valor and the Valarjar, he had needed to create Val'kyr, spirits capable of preserving worthy souls for all time. Helya had not been interested in becoming a Val'kyr. No one had volunteered, in fact. Odyn had transformed her and others into Val'kyr against their will.
For many years, Helya had no chance to seek vengeance. When the opportunity arose, she took it without hesitation.
Keeper Loken had fallen under the sway of madness, but he was clever. He knew Odyn and his Valarjar would be formidable enemies, so he approached Helya with a proposition. He would break Odyn's control over her; in exchange, she would trap Odyn and his champions within the Halls of Valor.
Helya's anger burned deep within her, and she accepted. The plan worked almost flawlessly. Odyn was entirely unprepared for Helya's rebellion, and he and nearly all his Valarjar were neutralized, confined to their sanctuary in the sky.
Only a few Valarjar were outside of the Halls of Valor when Helya attacked. One of them was Ingvar.
He took these warswords and immediately retaliated, hoping to defeat Helya and free Odyn.
As a Val'kyr, Helya had tremendous control over the spirits of the deceased. Champion or not, Ingvar understood that he was facing a fight he likely would not win.
But he had these warswords, imbued with Odyn's power. There was no one else to make the attempt.
Ingvar found Helya and tried to strike her down. In his hands, these swords nearly overwhelmed her. But in the end, she overpowered his spirit and smote him into oblivion. His swords fell to Azeroth, among the few Valarjar artifacts that were not trapped within the Halls of Valor.
Helya kept them as a memento of her victory over Keeper Odyn.
Over several millennia, Helya claimed as many souls of slain vrykul as she could, and her ranks of Kvaldir--corrupted, undead vrykul--continued to swell.
Helya began to go after the souls of not just the heroic vrykul dead but also the living. Any vrykul who seemed poised to learn the truth about the conflict between Helya and Odyn became a target, and she had her Kvaldir slay them with ruthless efficiency.
She started to raise her own champions, the Helarjar of Helheim, and she had them search Azeroth for her enemies.
Any spirits that ended up in Helya's care suffered greatly. Helheim was torment for vrykul heroes, who found themselves transformed into Kvaldir even if they had been worthy of entering the Halls of Valor as Valarjar.
Many of these vrykul became more dangerous in death than they had been in life. Empowered by Helya and afraid of disappointing her, they zealously obeyed her commands.
Eventually, one of these Kvaldir caught Helya's attention. Vigfus Bladewind distinguished himself in battle against vrykul, and Helya decided that he was worthy to bear these swords for all time.
What better way to end the lives of Odyn's faithful than with two of his prized creations?
Vigfus Bladewind used these swords to kill many vrykul heroes over the years. Helya even committed some of her own power into the blades, just as Odyn had. Not only did their lethal potential increase, but they made it easier for Helya to claim their victims' souls.
In truth, it is her power that makes these weapons truly magnificent. Her power, laced with her hatred, crashes endlessly against Odyn's spirit. The tension between those energies will forever permeate these blades, threatening to overwhelm whoever carries them into battle. A single lapse in the heat of combat could result in oblivion.
Never forget that.
Helya's champion, Vigfus Bladewind, carried these weapons for millennia, spilling untold amounts of heroic blood.
On occasion, Helya would test him to see if he was still truly worthy of her favor. She would give him unwinnable fights. Sometimes she would make him battle other exceptional Kvaldir, or she would order him to raid vrykul settlements without any help.
With these weapons in hand, he never failed.
In the moments before Bladewind's destruction, he asked Helya for aid. She granted it to him, pouring even more of her spirit into these weapons. A measure of that extra power remains, and it will for all eternity.
These weapons were forged to assist mighty warriors who fight without fear. They turn bloodlust into power, and only one with an indomitable will can hope to control them. If they are ever wielded against Azeroth again, the world may not survive.
If they are used to defend it, the world may never fall.
Scale of the Earth-Warder
SCALE OF THE EARTH-WARDER
These magnificent artifacts were forged from a scale of the Earth-Warder, Neltharion. As you might imagine, obtaining it came at a high cost.
This sword and shield have endured countless battles, wielded by a legendary vrykul warrior and king. Thanks to your help, his spirit can rest in peace, but his armaments now pass to you. May they bring you the same victories they brought him.
When Odyn created the Halls of Valor, countless vrykul sought to prove themselves worthy of joining the ranks of his mighty valarjar. Perhaps none went to such lengths as the one who would become king: Magnar Icebreaker. His victories in battle were beyond measure, and the strength of his deeds inspired others to seek their own heroic legacy.
Many of his greatest deeds were accomplished with two legendary artifacts: the Scale of the Earth-Warder and the Scaleshard. Obtaining them nearly cost Magnar his life, but their power carried him to heights even he never imagined were within reach.
Magnar's comrades gave him the name "Icebreaker" after his successful campaign in Northrend. While hunting nests of nerubians, Magnar discivered a way to surprise the enemy. Cracks in glacier walls could be turned into tunnels, allowing him to dig deep into enemy strongholds and assault them from within.
As he traveled across Azeroth, Magnar saw many powerful creatures, but none enraptured him so much as Neltharion, the Dragon Aspect of Earth. Vrykul and dragons rarely had reason to interact, but over the years, Magnar never failed to watch in awe when Neltharion flew overhead. With Neltharion's lair close to the vrykul home of Stormheim, Magnar began to wonder what might be waiting inside. What marvels would the Earth-Warder's den hold? What power could the vrykul obtain?
His curiosity would become an obsession.
Magnar Icebreaker convinced a raiding party of vrykul warriors to accompany him into Neltharion's lair. They waited until they saw the Dragon Aspect leave his mountain, and then they carefully crept inside. They hoped they would find treasure or artifacts; what they found instead was a host of enemies.
Though Neltharion was gone, many of his kin remained. A colossal fight broke out in the smaller side caverns beneath Highmountain, pitting the vrykul invaders against impossible odds. Magnar led his party in a frantic run for an exit, but before they could escape, Neltharion returned to his lair.
The Dragon Aspect, enraged at the trespassers, unleashed a single lethal breath of fire. There was nowhere to hide and nowhere to run. In desperation, Magnar grabbed a piece of debris from the ground--it was one of Neltharion's cast off scales. It saved Magnar's life. The blast of flame parted around the black scale but the sheer force carried Magnar out of the lair, sending him tumbling down the slopes of Highmountain.
Magnar was badly wounded, but he survived.
A black dragon's wrath was not easily shrugged away. It took years for Magnar to recover from his injuries.
He spent the time examining the scale he had taken from Neltharion's lair. He was in awe of its resiliency. It had saved him from a fiery death without being so much as scratched or singed. Magnar wanted the scale to be forged into a lasting armament, but no vrykul blacksmith knew how to sculpt something so unusual.
As Magnar recuperated, he began to study the art of blacksmithing. If nobody else knew how to unlock the scale's potential, he would learn to do it himself.
Few understood Magnar's motivations. Most vrykul sought a place in the Halls of Valor through glory on the battlefield, not by working a blacksmith's forge. In time, Magnar would become known as a respectable smith in his own right. The edges of his blades were often sharper and more precise than those of his peers.
They needed to be. Magnar knew he would only have one opportunity to craft Neltharion's scale into a worthy shield.
When the time came, Magnar retreated to his forge and began to work. Days later, he emerged. In his grasp were two armaments unlike any the vrykul had ever seen. One was a shield of unimaginable endurance. The other was a sword, polished to a fine edge. It was the last time Magnar created a weapon.
He would never need another.
Magnar was already a respected warrior. With his new sword and shield in his hands, he became a legend. Tempered by his disastrous venture into Highmountain, he approached his campaigns with thoughtfulness and discipline, and against his newly forged power, the enemies of the vrykul stood little chance.
Other vrykul flocked to his side with each victory, believing that Magnar's astonishing feats would usher them all into the Halls of Valor as Valarjar, immortal champions.
Before long, Magnar was leading a sizeable portion of the vrykul people. Only a few years after forging his armaments, he was known as King Magnar Icebreaker.
Magnar Icebreaker eventually returned his sights to the region where he had made his name: Northrend. Remnants of the insectoid nerubian armies were once again emerging from their caves, seeking to seize Ulduar and the titan machinery within it.
Against Magnar, they did not get far. The king led his people against the nerubians, pushing them back to the entrance of Azjol-Nerub itself. So thorough was the nerubians' defeat that they ceased all aggression for millennia.
No vrykul doubted that Magnar would ascend to the Halls of Valor upon his death. And even though Helya had sealed away Keeper Odyn and the Valarjar, she wondered if Magnar's spirit would be strong enough to make the journey anyway.
King Magnar Icebreaker had his sights focused firmly on the city of Stormheim, now occupied by Highborne elves. The vrykul believed that their path to a glorious afterlife with Odyn would be cleared if they once again held their ancestral home.
Helya and her followers knew this ambition would provide their best opportunity to bring down Magnar... and with luck, his soul would be dragged to Helheim, not the Halls of Valor.
The vrykul launched a massive attack on Stormheim, surprising the Highborne with their ferocity. For weeks the two sides skirmished. Magnar led the charge. The Scale of the Earth-Warder protected him from the elves' arcane reprisals, and the vrykul's assault scored immediate victories, building enough momentum to push the Highborne out of the city entirely.
The elves' last chance to reclaim the city happened at Nightborne Pass. The Highborne rallied their forces for a final counterattack, clashing with the vrykul in a brutal, confined brawl.
In the end, the vrykul stood victorious. The Highborne were forced to flee for their lives. They never made a claim upon Stormheim again.
But it was then, at the moment of Magnar's biggest triumph, that betrayal fell upon him.
Mere moments after the vrykul secured their victory over the Highborne, the servants of Helya struck. Traitors arose within the vrykul's ranks to slaughter Magnar's closest confidants... and his son, Hruthnir. Amid the chaos, more of Helya's followers, the Helarjar, arrived to make sure Magnar was killed.
After seeing his son butchered, Magnar was consumed with rage. He became a whirlwind of death, killing every enemy within reach. Countless Kvaldir and traitorous vrykul had fallen to his blade before, finally, they brought him down. His people were able to rally and prevent the Helarjar from claiming Stormheim, but they were too late to save their king.
In death, Magnar's spirit lingered. His rage stopped him from making the journey to the Halls of Valor... but it also kept his soul from Helya's grasp.
For thousands upon thousands of years, he burned with righteous fury, hovering between the life long past and the afterlife he deserved. But now he is free, reunited with his son in the presence of Odyn.
His armaments remain on Azeroth, destined to bring glory and honor to whoever wields them next.
- Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): Added.