Last time, I left off with Cleitus surveying the changed landscape of Havenshire. New commanders enter into the picture now (along with another look at that falling-to-the-Scourge taint in earth and sky)...
...including one familiar to many WoW players, Baron Rivendare, usually seen in his stronghold at the end of the undead wing of Stratholme:
It turns out that I'm regrettably short on screenshots for many of the specific quests that follow. But then they're more interesting to play than might show in pictures, too: they take the death knight against various opponents in the same general context. There's the slaughter of any available defenders and citizens within New Avalon's walls, then the unraveling of some mysteries about what the Scarlet Crusaders are up to. It emerges piece by piece that the leaders and select followers are heading off on an unknown mission. The death knight has to torture information out of Scarlet troops, then get shipping records to clarify what's going on, and finally go in disguise to get documents from the general on the spot, so as to learn that the leaders are following a vision given to General Abbendis to the then-still-mysterious lands of Northrend.
Along the way, the death knight is also pushed to demonstrate their allegiance to the Lich king and the Scourge, including executing prisoners, one of whom has some significance for the death knight. This is the night elf version, which is more poignant than the blood elf one, though the overall thrust is the same:
This is Cleitus in disguise so as to go get the General's documents. It's a good thing that the Scarlets are so zelaous that they will just assume that the glowing eyes and bloody runeforged sword are, er, tokens of holiness or something. The Scarlet Crusade is better at the courage thing than the clue thing.
The Scarlet scheme revealed, Cleitus returns to the Ebon Hold once more to deliver the news and find out what's next. The third wave brings the end to New Avalon. The Light King is now down at ground level to direct the assault:
The weapon of choice for this last wave is the undead wyrm. The death knight gets to rain down fire from above:
In terms of mechanics, the dragon works much like the cannon (and therefore like other vehicles, including trucks ("It flies like a truck." "Fine. What is a truck?")), with the death knight tilting and panning the dragon to aim its fiery breath:
The defenders aren't helpless. They have large ballistas, squads of riflemen, and mages all doing their best. It's quite a challenge.
But the outcome is never really in doubt. The defenders slain, Scourge troops move in for the slaughter, and the Lich King dispatches the death knights on hand to help with an assault on Light's Hope Chapel, a nearby stronghold for both the Scarlet Crusade and the Argent Dawn. It's an eclectic force, too, with some of the very largest things I've yet seen in the game:
As Mograine gives the word to begin the assault, many, many, many ghouls pull themselves out of the ground, wave after wave of them:
The ensuing fight is a glorious rumble. At least, it is until the Scourge's forces find themselves unable to advance, thanks to one man:
Cleitus had no idea who this guy was, but I do. He's one of the two main characters in Chris Metzen's short novel Of Blood and Honor. In that story, set after the collapse of the Horde and the closing of the Dark Portal at the end of the Second War, paladin Tirion spares the life of elderly orc Eitrigg, who in turn saves him from the emerging Scarlet Crusade's kill-them-all zeal. Eitrigg is in WoW time the senior advisor to Horde leader Thrall and giver of good counsel at some key moments. Tirion, on the other hand, appears in WoW in a quiet exile in the middle of the Plaguelands, where he sets characters on a remarkable quest chain I'll write up another time. It ends with Tirion paying a large tragic price for having stood by a long time and vowing to re-make the collapsed Order of the Silver Hand.
Now he's here, having brought together members of the Argent Dawn and the Scarlet Crusade into a new organization, the Argent Crusade. And he's got access to the power of something hidden beneath the chapel, strong enough to confront Mograine with a vision of himself as he was as a boy, yearning to fight the undead along with his father. Mograine realizes that he doesn't matter to the Lich King any more than, say, the victims of New Avalon, and gets more than a little annoyed. At this point, enter the Lich King himself to deliver a smackdown on Tirion:
To everyone's surprise, except perhaps Tirion's, it doesn't work. The death knights present now turn on the Lich King, since being disposable trash isn't really what they were after. The Lich King flees without admitting that that's what he's doing, and Tirion speaks once again, telling those who remain that even now there's a chance for them to do their world some good.
But first there'll be some cleanup to do, which I'll cover in the fourth and last part of this.