The War for Arathor Unification was the war which formed the Empire. The War was one of the largest that consumed the nations of humanity that resulted in mass destruction of property and the loss of much preserved knowledge in Alterac and Dalaran.
Causes of WarEdit
There are many contributing factors to the war. The isolation of the High Elves was one main contributing factor. Stormwind was the largest and most powerful nation in the south, with Lordaeron in the north as a counterweight.
The advisors of the Emperor some of them ambassadors from nations such as Dalaran wanted magical power that the High Elves kept away from humanity such as the Sunwell. Many of Dalaran's most power hungry mages wanted the High Elves to surrender their secrets to humanity, and lobbied the King of Stormwind for assistance. The Convocation suspects that these mages may have been Infinite Dragonflight members in disguise.
The Infinite Dragonflight was possibly also causing political disturbances in Khaz Modan, influencing the advisors of King Magni Bronzebeard. They planted ideas that Stormwind was secretly supporting the Dark Iron Clan and wanted the wealth of the Dwarven cities especially with the Dwarves having enormous stocks of precious gems and metals that Stormwind would desire.
In Stormwind, the King's advisors also were claiming that the Dwarves were hoarding the trade between Stormwind and Khaz Modan. It was suspected that since the Dwarves had a massive amount of gold, far more than Stormwind, that there was huge economic consequences should the Dwarves flood Stormwind with money, buying out businesses. The Merchant Guilds of Stormwind, for more practical economic reasons wanted the King to make a firm stand against the Dwarves.
The Gnomes, also with the growth of military ambitions was seen as the next logical target if they were to attack the Dwarves. The Gnomes had advanced technologies but physically were inferior to Humans in terms of physical strength. The seeds of suspicion by the Humans against the other races was clear, and the Infinite Dragonflight bred these suspicions to the King. Some didn't even require the Infinite Dragonflight to make manipulation relevant. The Mage Khadgar was one of the most vehement supporters of an attack against the other non-human races. Chancellor Lothar also was a very powerful voice who supported military actions.
The Infinite Dragonflight orchestrated attacks on the humans by impersonating High Elves, Dwarves and Gnomes on human kingdoms. They had suspected by sending spies into the human nations such as Stromgarde and Gilneas that there were movements of humans in the political world to strike against non-human races because it seemed that the non-Humans were deliberately isolating humanity and withholding magic, gems and metals, and technology against humanity. The nations of Gilneas and Stromgarde were adamant supporters of Stormwind, and also believed that the Elves, Gnomes and Dwarves were conspiring against the human nations.
The false attacks that the Infinite Dragonflight made against the human nations were the straw that broke the camel's back. These attacks were final piece of evidence that the Stormwinders needed for justification for war.
Invasion of AlteracEdit
Interestingly, the first nation to fall, was not a High Elven, Dwarf or Gnome nation, it was rather the peaceful human nation of Alterac. The justification that the Stormwinders made for this was that Alterac's University was one of the most influential centers of learning, and some of that learning included some forms of High Elven arcane practices, Dwarven Metallurgy and Gnome Engineering. The King of Stormwind demanded that Alterac surrender its knowledge to the kingdom of Stormwind, but the Alterac University refused, giving Stormwind justification for sending military forces to "confiscate knowledge in the name of human progress".
Stormwind promised the cities of Hillsbrad and Southshore wealth and a portion of Alterac's wealth. Stormwind launched its attacks from its protectorates and quickly seized control of Alterac's capital city and the university. Many nations protested this, such as Dalaran who even dared to send its own forces against Stormwind's. Alterac fell quickly and now Dalaran was now on the potential target list. The Kirin Tor sent out its own ambassadors to the nations of Lordaeron, and Kul Tiras and even to the other non-human races to find if these attacks were true.
With Dalaran working actively to under mind the efforts of Stormwind, the supporters of Stormwind who were in the Kirin Tor were expelled from Dalaran. The Dalaranian Exiles worked to bring Gilneas and Stromgarde into a formal alliance with Stormwind. Stormwind launched its first attacks against the Dwarves and Gnomes in Dun Morogh. Since Kul Tiras had not made any form of alliance or aggression they chose to remain neutral, Gilneas was able to launch naval strikes against the Dwarves and Gnomes. Stromgarde attacked from the north while Stormwind came from the south. The Dwarves of Ironforge defended their capital city well, but the Gnomes faced worse. Luckily masses of the Gnomes were able to escape to Ironforge, and deliberably sabotaged their own city of Gnomeregan. Many Gnomes however remained within Gnomeregan to fight the Stormwind troops in urban underground warfare, something that human soldiers had never done before.
The lineages of Stormwind, Gilneas and Stromgarde were all linked by the Arathor line of heritage. Arathor was the first great human nation. An official agreement was signed that former the New Arathi Empire, which was officially later shortened simply to The Empire. Under the terms of this Empire, Stromgarde and Gilneas would be relatively autonomous with its leadership still with its kings. To show its supremacy, King Llane Wrynn I declared himself Emperor. To much fanfare of his own people, Emperor Wrynn I issued an official ultimatum to the nation of Kul Tiras to surrender or it would mass its forces for a huge assault on Kul Tiras that Stormwind promised would completely destroy its prized navy.
The Elves of Silvermoon were aware of what was happening and requested that Dalaran, Lordaeron and Silvermoon form an alliance. Lordaeron remained neural but Dalaran agreed, and the Alliance opposed the Empire as two powerful entities against each other. However with the Empire already eliminating the threat of the Dwarves, the Gnomes, Alterac, and now Kul Tiras eliminated, many of the refugees attempted to leave their lands for the only lands they were aware of, Kalimdor.
By this time, due to Kul Tiras having to surrender its navy, many of the refugees had little method of escape. The Elven Navy was preoccupied with ferrying people to the secret sanctuary of Theramore that was founded at the same time that the Dwarven and Gnome strongholds had fallen.
At this time, Medivh, who was safe in his tower of Karazhan began reaching into the Twisting Nether for assistance from any force that would help them. He established contact with a Shamanistic race called the Orcs from another world not too far from Azeroth. Being the Guardian of Tirisfal he was blessed with vast magical powers and within the hidden Black Morass of the Swamps of Sorrows, Medivh constructed an trans-dimensional gateway to the Orc home world of Draenor.
Gul'Dan, the apprentice of another Shaman named Ner'zhul with a scouting party of Orcs came through the portal and met with Medivh, with him was the Prophet Velen and a regiment of Draenei Priests and Paladins. Secretly, Gul'Dan was smuggled to Silvermoon where he met with many members of the Alliance. Velen suspected that there was more to the Imperial conquests than simply the lust for riches and lands. There was great sympathy that the Draenei had for the human races since they too worshiped the Holy Light. Gul'Dan was unsure of how the Humans would react to their shamanistic lives in Draenor but Velen persuaded him to accept them. The Orcs and Draenei went back through the portal and brought with them many refugees.
The Northern WarEdit
Lordaeron, Dalaran and Silvermoon were the only remaining forces that stood within the path of the Empire. Lordaeron was unofficially supporting the war effort of resistance by the Alliance. Dalaran's Kirin Tor surrounded their capital city with a vast and powerful arcane shield. Imperial forces from Gilneas attacked the Dalaranian town of Ambermill. Though the mages of Dalaran were physically no match for any Imperial Soldier, the mages were powerful casters and defended Ambermill astoundingly well but waves upon waves of Imperial forces eventually crushed the mages in Ambermill. Dalaran itself was unlikely to fall so Imperial Armies besieged the city for two years.
The Imperial Armies matched north, surrounding the lands of Lordaeron. The Lordaeronian Armies also were mobilized, facing the Imperial forces off in a statemate. Though they were not officially at war with each other, Lordaeron knew that they would inevitably face the Imperial Armies and conscripted their people from cities like Stratholme and Andorhal to bolster the Lordaeron Army ranks.
Fall of the ElvesEdit
With the assistance of the new Imperial Navy, a huge naval expedition was launched from Kul Tiras to Quel'Thalas. The Imperial forces made landfall at three locations, one daring even to bombard Silvermoon. The Elven Dragonhawk riders clashed with Imperial Griffinriders in the skies as Gnomish flying machines bombed Silvermoon. The Imperial Troops made landfall near the Blackened Woods (in the main Warcraft Universe, the Ghostlands) and from there they started attacking the outlying Elven townships. The Imperial Mages began experiments on the Elven Runestones that the Elves used to conceal their magic.
The Elves held back the Imperial Armies for enough time for Medivh to reopen the gateway to Draenor. He sent word to secret Alliance Cells all over the Empire that a new rift was opened and it would be the last time that the gateway would be present for them to escape. Theramore was already established in Kalimdor but it was nearly impossible for anyone to reach Theramore.
Quel'Thalas and Dalaran fallEdit
Medivh reached into Draenor and requested aid from the Draenei and the Orcs. Gul'Dan and Farseer Nobundo, Velen's chief advisor came through the portal and fortified it heavily with hundreds, then thousands of troops from Draenor to protect the portal. The Draenei and the Orcs escorted huge caravans of humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, trolls, and other races into Draenor. When the Empire caught hold of this, they had to divert massive amounts of troops southwards. The trip took them weeks. This was enough relief on Silvermoon for the Elves to flee their capital and take up refuge in the forests. Silvermoon was abandoned. The Elves warned the Lordaeronians to also flee their capital the best they could. Dalaran's shield was broken and the city fell soon after as the waves of troops were moving southwards.
Sylvannas Windrunner, who was secretly in contact with the Imperial Court offered a bargain to them, that she would provide them with locations of the High Elven bases of guerilla attacks if she would be named regent of Quel'Thalas after the king would be killed. The Emperor agreed and in a political maneuver, Sylvanas sent her sisters, other Ranger-Generals of Quel'Thalas away, one to Theramore and the other to the portal. Sylvanas cared little for those establishments as she wanted to make herself ruler of Quel'Thalas. When the Imperial Armies approached Silvermoon, she personally shot the king through the heart with a poisoned arrow. She marched into the Prince's quarters with her own cadre of Spellbreakers, she knew that power was hers. Secretly, Sylvanas went to the Sunwell and took several vials of the powerful waters for herself, similarly to how Illidan did, but unlike Illidan, she consumed one of the vails into her own being infusing herself with vast powers of magic.
When the Emperor discovered that Medivh was allowing offworld beings to enter Azeroth the ministers of the Empire launched a huge propaganda campaign showing that the non-humans had conspired to invade the Empire. Due to the ignorance of the people, they believed them and the Imperial ranks swelled with eager propagandized volunteers.
Dalaran's fall isolated Lordaeron. As the Imperial Armies moved southwards to attempt to stop the mass exile of people to the portal. Lordaeron took what opportunity the had with the relief of troops to also send its people to more harsh lands such as the Hinterlands and more sympathic regions of the Empire such as Kul Tiras. The Empire, on the way back to moving its troops, invaded Lordareron fiercely. The Kingdom of Lordaeron fought back valiantly and held off the Imperial Forces for a very long time. Since the Lordaeron lands were vast and rich they were able to hold off well.
Meanwhile in the south, the Draenei and the Orcs, met the Imperial Armies face to face. The Imperial Forces, stunned by the resiliance of these Green and Blue skinned beings from another realm were furious to see former human soldiers, proudly wearing the Tabards of their nations of Alterac, Kul Tiras, Dalaran and Lordaeron, fighting side by side with the Orcs and Draenei. The refugees were safe in Draenor, and the Orc and Draenei retreated behind the portal. Medivh closed it from Draenor, sealing it off from Azeroth.
The Fall of LordaeronEdit
Lordaeron was faced with a war of attrition against the Empire. With the Portal closed, there was no forces in the south to oppose Imperial rule, the Empire's armies again raced upwards north. Slowly Lordaeron was being strangled as the Imperial Forces kept the siege active against the Lordaeron cities.
King Terenas Menethil II vowed that he would not allow his people to suffer much longer, but knew that surrender was the only method left. When the Lordaeron Armies surrendered, the Empire wanted to make an example of Lordaeron's defiance and Imperial troops razed the capital city down, even storming the central keep and murdered the King and his general, Uther Lightbringer.