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- "Dread lord" redirects here. For the Warcraft III unit, see Dread Lord (Warcraft III).
Nathrezim (called dread lords or dreadlords in the Common tongue) are intelligent and cunning demons who were discovered and recruited to the ranks of the Burning Legion by Sargeras, the dark titan. "The mysterious beings of the Burning Legion called the dreadlords are also known racially as the Nathrezim. Little is known of their homeworld and even that is rumor. They act as tacticians and lieutenants upon the field of battle in time of war, as well as being emissaries and agents for the fiery lords of the Legion, notably Kil'jaeden. During the Third War, they served as the Lich King's jailors, on the behest of Kil'jaeden, and commanded the Plague that swept through Lordaeron.
They are known to be extremely manipulative and masters of trickery; they are thal'kituun, the unseen ones.
Dreadlords, masters of trickery, deceit, and guile, take pride in the fiendish destruction they have wrought on Azeroth. Affiliated with the Burning Legion for centuries, the dreadlords — also termed nathrezim — acted as commanders of undead legions during the Burning Legion’s second invasion, slaughtering thousands with their unnatural hordes. The dreadlords lost much power when several of their most influential members fell to the Forsaken armies under Sylvanas Windrunner’s banner. Now the dreadlords seem almost a myth, a story told to frighten children. People feel safer when they think the dreadlords are just a remote tale; some instead comfort themselves with the lie that the great Varimathras is the only surviving dreadlord. More practical sorts know that evil never truly dies and that just because they cannot see something does not mean it is not there.
Dreadlords invariably stay behind the scenes and affect change through proxies. Adventurers might go their whole lives and never realize a dreadlord has acted against them in countless, seemingly unrelated ways. Only after much exertion and investigation do the heroes uncover the dreadlord behind a plot. Even then, the task of tracking and slaying a dreadlord can overwhelm the most competent hunter of evil. Dreadlords live in heavily fortified lairs or march at the center of an army. They most often are arcanists, but some dreadlords favor the physical arts of the rogue or warrior.
In the nathrezim's eyes, malice is the ultimate gift. To torment another creature with physical and moral agony offers something superior to happiness or contentment. Dreadlords prefer to turn their talents to psychic assault and manipulation, seeking to dissolve the bonds that unify individuals, groups, and nations and leave their mortal victims floundering amidst chaos and decay. A nathrezim-occupied world eventually abandons higher morality as irrelevant to the context in which its inhabitants find themselves, joining the dreadlords in their callous worship of the maligned. Although fierce warriors, nathrezim prefer a leadership role, standing behind a wall of ghouls or other allies and retreating when their enemies press too close. This is particularly true of the weaker nathrezim, whose magical abilities cannot always prevent their swift, bloody execution by a determined fighter, wizard, or rogue. A dreadlord engages in melee combat only when convinced he holds the upper hand. A dreadlord studies his opponent first and learns his weaknesses. Then he remains at range, unleashing his most powerful spells on his enemy.
They are suspected to be the only race known to be originally demonic (although another kindred race, the Tothrezim, is mentioned in the RPG books). Their demonic magics can drain the life of their victims, and they have been reported to devour the souls of their slain victims. They can amass a swarm of flying carrion insects, and have been known to put their enemies to sleep. They prefer to work from the shadows, corrupting slowly, as opposed to assaulting their enemies directly. This makes the Dreadlords the perfect henchmen for the most cunning of demons, Kil'jaeden the Deceiver.
The nathrezim have a war-centered culture with an emphasis on codes of conduct. It is forbidden for one of the Nathrezim to kill another, a law broken only once, by Varimathras when he was ordered to kill his brother Balnazzar by Sylvanas Windrunner. However, the killing was either staged or a failure, for Balnazzar is still alive today and secretly rules the Scarlet Crusade. The Nathrezim serve as both the tacticians and field commanders of Archimonde and the henchmen of Kil'jaeden.
Nearly all dreadlords choose to study both the arts of war and the arts of magic. Almost all have the ability to summon an Infernal, while a few choice dreadlords can create a doomguard from their fallen foes. Some of them, such as Mal'ganis, are proficient at necromancy. It is important to note that the Nathrezim are not as talented in magic as the eredar— whereas the eredar have become adept at almost all forms of magic, the nathrezim show talent for only a handful of types.
Although none of the nathrezim encountered in the Third War were actually seen to fly, accounts from the War of the Ancients clearly state that they flew without using magic. Using magic to fly is draining, and is not something a dreadlord would do under normal circumstances (though an eredar would have little difficulty).
Though many dreadlords were killed in the War of the Ancients and Third War, the continued existence of Balnazzar and the recent discovery of Mal'ganis's revival suggest that the Nathrezim are immortal, or at least much, much more difficult to kill than previously thought.
Dreadlords can apparently understand any tongue psychically. Dreadlords can speak with any creature that has a language. However, since they are members of the Burning Legion, it can be assumed they would speak Eredun most of the time.
Info from the official site
- While his confusion and misery deepened, Sargeras was forced to contend with another group intent on disrupting the Titans' order: the Nathrezim. This dark race of vampiric demons (also known as Dreadlords) conquered a number of populated worlds by possessing their inhabitants and turning them to the shadow. The nefarious, scheming Dreadlords turned whole nations against one another by manipulating them into unthinking hatred and mistrust. Sargeras defeated the Nathrezim easily, but their corruption affected him deeply.
- In his fury, Sargeras shattered the prisons of the eredar and the Nathrezim and set the loathsome demons free. These cunning creatures bowed before the dark Titan's vast rage and offered to serve him in whatever malicious ways they could. From the ranks of the powerful Eredar, Sargeras picked two champions to command his demonic army of destruction. Kil'jaeden the Deceiver was chosen to seek out the darkest races in the universe and recruit them into Sargeras' ranks.
- Kil'jaeden's first move was to enslave the vampiric Dreadlords under his terrible power. The Dreadlords served as his personal agents throughout the universe, and they took pleasure in locating primitive races for their master to corrupt and bring into the fold. First amongst the dreadlords was Tichondrius the Darkener. Tichondrius served Kil'jaeden as the perfect soldier and agreed to bring Sargeras' burning will to all the dark corners of the universe.
Defeating a dreadlord
In the case of nathrezim, it should be noted that they posses the ability to reform themselves after being defeated (in some situations), to that end certain terms should be given context-specific meanings for the purpose of explaining this ability. To "kill" a dreadlord typically implies that their body is slain but their spirit endures, capable of regenerating its lost physical form after a particular amount of time or some other condition has been met. The complete eradication of a dreadlord, both in body and spirit, is generally thought of as "destroyed", representing a final end to their existence in both forms.
It is also notable that many high ranking dreadlords have cheated death, or can be seen to be immortal unless vanquished in a particular fashion (similar to homage of the species, the vampire). Both Mal'Ganis and Balnazzar have returned in Warcraft lore after being "killed" once before; Mal'Ganis having been felled by Arthas and his new-found Frostmourne, Balnazzar by Varimathras in a situation which may have been a set-up on the part of the dreadlords involved. Both dreadlords reappear at later times in the story of World of Warcraft as having possessed the bodies of high ranking members of either the Scarlet Crusade or Scarlet Onslaught in order to manipulate events related to either faction, such as the remains of the Scarlet Crusade being reanimated by Balnazzar into The Risen (And undead faction located in one of Stratholme's instances). At a point after his revival Balnazzar is defeated (and apparently decapitated) by adventuring heroes and is presumed by many to have been permanently destroyed, Mal'Ganis has not yet been vanquished since his rebirth despite by the Knight of the Ebon Blade.
Balnazzar's death has been changed with the new expansion, Cataclysm. After defeating him, players will see Commander Eligor Dawnbringer approach the corpse and claim that the dreadlord was not fully defeated, as his spirit was cast back into the Twisting Nether.
Tichondrius was defeated by Illidan Stormrage after the latter had been imbued with the power of The Skull of Gul'dan. However, Tichondrius once again appears as a raid boss in the story of the Legion expansion.
Other dreadlords, such as Detheroc, and Varimathras have also been defeated in lore but have not shown any signs of revival since. Detheroc was defeated in battle with the Forsaken, Sylvanas herself claiming to have "torn him to bloody shreds". Lastly Varimathras was defeated by the might of Thrall, Sylvanas and several additional individuals.
With this in mind one could theorize that a dreadlord can be destroyed in one of two ways:
- By being decapitated after death, as in the case of Balnazzar, Detheroc and possibly Varimathras after death (given the Forsaken's experience with dreadlords it would be reasonable to guess they might take this precaution, having done similarly before with Detheroc though it has been hinted by Eligor Dawnbringer that Detheroc may still be alive somewhere in the Twisting Nether)
- By being vanquished by a being possessing magic power significantly greater than their own, as in the case of Tichondrius (though it is unknown as to whether this power is required to be fel in nature as it was in the case of Illidan; Arthas was not able to completely destroy Mal'Ganis with Frostmourne, though having just found the runeblade his power would likely have been nowhere near his full potential at the time)
Neither of these methods can be completely confirmed but the fact that none of the above-mentioned dreadlords, who were killed in either fashion, have yet to return is cause for considerable speculation. Given that many dreadlords have simply remained hidden for long periods after being defeated it is difficult to be certain as to whether they can be destroyed at all, regardless of the method used. It is possible dreadlords killed in either fashion mentioned above have simply been reborn somewhere else in the Twisting Nether and their rebirth is simply not known to the beings of Azeroth and Outland.
The names of individual eredar and pit lords are not commonly known, as the former have not been seen in great numbers on Azeroth and the latter are never encountered in a situation where their names will be remembered. However, Archimonde relied heavily on the dreadlords during the Second Invasion, as they are useful as mages, strategists, and warriors (they were also on Azeroth already and required the least energy to summon). Many of the nathrezim became known during this period. Many of Kil'jaeden's dreadlords watched over the Lich King and aided him at times, while some of Archimonde's dreadlords commanded the Scourge after the invasion commenced.
|First Lord of the Nathrezim and considered as the most powerful Dreadlord of all, killed by Illidan Stormrage, and now a boss in The Nighthold||Defeatable|
|Second Lord of the Nathrezim, brother of Tichondrius and Mephistroth, killed in the battle of Mount Hyjal||Deceased*|
|Current Lord of the Nathrezim, brother of Tichondrius and Anetheron, currently a boss in Cathedral of Eternal Night.||Defeatable|
|||Presumed slain, but is secretly alive and leading the Scarlet Crusade||Defeatable|
|||Leader of the Shadow Council at Jaedenar in Felwood||Defeatable|
|Slain by Scarlet Crusade||Deceased|
|||Renegade from the Legion, ruler of the Ruins of Farahlon in Netherstorm||Defeatable|
|Laid siege to Dalaran, but was slain by Kael'thas||Deceased|
|Briefly held Lordaeron's capital before being defeated by Sylvanas Windrunner; Now believed to be in the Twisting Nether||Alive (presumed)|
|||Leader of the demons stationed at Demon Fall Canyon in Ashenvale||Defeatable|
|Tried to control Gaval Moch, a ruined castle in Silverpine Forest||Alive|
|||Stationed in Demon Fall Canyon in Ashenvale||Defeatable|
|||Ruler over the world of Xoroth||Defeatable|
|Contained by Meryl Felstorm||Alive|
|||Lieutenant of Illidan at Illidari Point||Defeatable|
|Temporary Scourge general, discarded by the Lich King in favor of Arthas, currently disguised as Scarlet admiral Barean Westwind||Defeatable|
|||Leader of a scavenging crew. Stationed in Netherstorm||Defeatable|
|||Stationed in the Blasted Lands||Defeatable|
|[??]||Battles the half-elf form of Kalecgos in the Sunwell Plateau||Defeatable|
|||Stationed in Southwestern Silithus disguised as a Gnome, part of the Hunter Epic Quest||Defeatable|
|Imprisoned Dreadlord found in Outland Arena||Alive|
|[??]||Jailor of Maiev Shadowsong, servant of Illidan.||Defeatable|
|[??]||Majordomo of Sylvanas, leader of the Forsaken. Stationed in the Undercity until certain events in Wrath of the Lich King, and now a boss in Antorus, the Burning Throne.||Defeatable**|
Other dreadlords: Bleakill, Fearoth, Darthias, Dethecus, Maldibion, Nochthitus, Rashgarroth, Aramachus, Lorthiras, Zenedar, Mullioch, Algammon, Necros, Nerothos, Zilfallon, Terrodar, Ven'Gyr, Razelikh, and Lothros.
Note: Some of these are the randomly assigned names for the Dread Lords in Warcraft III.
- The nathrezim are called nathrezite two times in Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, it is unknown if it's a misspelling or an alternate name.
- In Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Nathrezim had long demon tails, but in World of Warcraft, they are non-tailed demons.
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Illidan, pg. 156
- ^ a b Monster Guide, pg. 50
- ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 118
- ^ Lothraxion
- ^ Dread Lord (Warcraft III)
- ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 112
- ^ a b Manual of Monsters, pg. 117
- ^ a b c d Monster Guide, pg. 50
- ^ a b Death is Contagious
- ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 96