Not much is known about the magic-like rituals practiced by the human tribes prior to their unification by King Thoradin. Some speculate that witch doctors or shamans used very basic elemental magic. Others claim that only alchemical rituals were practiced.
With theories arising that humans are the descendants of the brutal and savage vrykyl of Northrend, one can only imagine the barbaric rituals that might have been practiced by early humans.
The ancient high elves of Quel'Thalas were in open war with the trolls in what is now Lordaeron. On the verge of defeat, they sent ambassadors to Strom to plead for assistance from the human king, Thoradin. In exchange for support, the elves agreed to instruct one hundred humans in the use of magic.
Through the military might of Stromgarde, and the magic wielded by the elves and new human mages, the trolls were soundly defeated. This great conflict was later dubbed the "Troll Wars."
With the absence of trolls in the northlands, the elves of Quel'Thalas bent their efforts towards rebuilding their homeland. The victorious armies of Arathor returned home to southlands of Strom.
The human society of Arathor grew and prospered, yet Thoradin, fearful that his kingdom would splinter apart if it overextended itself, maintained that Strom was the center of the Arathorian empire. After many peaceful years of growth and commerce, mighty Thoradin died of old age, leaving Arathor's younger generation free to expand the empire beyond the lands of Strom.
The original hundred magi, who were tutored in the ways of magic by the elves, expanded their powers and studied the mystic disciplines of spell-weaving in much greater detail. These magi, initially chosen for their strong wills and noble spirits, had always practiced their magic with care and responsibility.
However, they passed their secrets and powers onto a newer generation that had no concept of the rigors of war or the necessity for self-restraint. These younger magicians began to practice magic for personal gain rather than out of any responsibility towards their fellows.
The Rise of Blood MagicEdit
The use of arcane magic exploded in the ancient empire, and its corrupting properties fueled a growing power hungry upper class of wizards.
A number of those mages did not originally consider blood magic a school of its own, when it was discovered approximately fifty years after the end of the Troll Wars. Rather, they saw it as a means to achieve greater power in any school of magic.
It was common practice, at one time, for a magister to keep a number of slaves on hand so that, should he undertake the working of a spell that was physically beyond his abilities, he could use the blood of his slaves to bolster the casting.
Over time, these mages discovered types of spells that could only be worked by blood - and the demand for slaves grew. Many of these slaves died horrific deaths at the hands of their masters, who bled them out to power their dark magics. This savagery continued for decades in secrecy.
Rhalfor the BlackEdit
One such mage was a high nobleman in the courts of Strom. Known as Rhalfor the Black, the bloodmancer's lust for power soon outgrew the capacity of his many blood slaves. Rhalfor began abducting citizen and nobleman alike from the streets of Strom to drain them of their blood for his spells.
Swayed by public outcry, King Thoradin's son and successor, Emperor Vintian, led a task force of legionaires to oust the blood mage.
Rhalfor the Black ruled over his estate north of Strom, a small fortified castle tower. As Emperor Vintian approached, Rhalfor rallied his fellow bloodmancers to his castle's defense. For two weeks, the blood mages of the black tower and the Empire's Legionaires clashed in a terrible stalemate.
This changed when a small group of mages loyal to the emperor joined the fray. The mages helped breach the walls of Rhalfor's tower, and in a final climactic battle, Rhalfor the Black was slain.
The Tower of ArathorEdit
After the fall of Rhalfor the Black, Emperor Vintian outlawed the practice of blood magic in the Arathorian Empire, among many law reforms pertaining to mages.
For their efforts, the mages who assisted in the defeat of the blood mages were appointed as the enforces of mage law and keepers of the arcane - the first circle of magi. Emperor Vintian had a tower constructed on Rhalfor's burned out estate that would serve as an arcane academy. It would later be known as the Tower of Arathor.
The Arathorian city-state of Dalaran was founded in the lands north of Strom. Many fledgling wizards left the restraining confines of Strom behind and traveled to Dalaran, where they hoped to use their new powers with greater freedom.
These magicians used their skills to build up the enchanted spires of Dalaran and reveled in the pursuit of their studies. The citizens of Dalaran tolerated the magicians' endeavors and built up a bustling economy under the protection of their magic-using defenders.
Yet, as more and more magicians practiced their arts, the fabric of reality around Dalaran began to weaken and tear. The sinister agents of the Burning Legion were lured back into the world by the heedless spellcasting of the magicians of Dalaran.
Though these relatively weak demons did not appear in force, they did sow considerable confusion and chaos within the streets of Dalaran. Most of these demonic encounters were isolated events, and the ruling Magocrats did what they could to keep such events hidden from the public.
The most powerful magicians were sent to capture the elusive demons, but they often found themselves hopelessly outmatched by the lone agents of the mighty Legion.
After a few months the superstitious peasantry began to suspect that their sorcerous rulers were hiding something terrible from them. Rumors of revolution began to sweep through the streets of Dalaran as the paranoid citizenry questioned the motives and practices of the magicians they had once admired.
The Magocrats, fearing that the peasants would revolt and that Strom would take action against them, turned to the only group they felt would understand their particular problem: the elves.
Upon hearing the Magocrats' news of demonic activity in Dalaran, the elves quickly dispatched their mightiest wizards to the human lands. They studied the energy currents in Dalaran and made detailed reports of all demonic activity, concluding that although there were few demons loose in the world, the Legion itself would remain a dire threat so long as humans continued to wield magic.
The Guardians of TirisfalEdit
The Council of Silvermoon, which ruled over the elves of Quel'Thalas, entered into a secret pact with the Magocrat lords of Dalaran. They informed the humans that so long as they used magic, they would need to protect their citizenry from the malicious agents of the Burning Legion.
The Magocrats proposed the notion of empowering a single mortal champion who would utilize their collective powers in order to fight a never-ending secret war against the Legion.
It was stressed that the Guardians and the Legion were kept secret for fear of public outcry and paranoia. The elves agreed to the proposal and founded a secret society that would watch over the selection of the Guardian and help to stem the rise of chaos in the world.
The society held its secret meetings in the shadowed Tirisfal Glades, thusly naming themselves the Guardians of Tirisfal. The mortal champions who were chosen to be Guardians were imbued with incredible powers of both elven and human magic.
Though there would only ever be one Guardian at a time, they held such vast power that they could single-handedly fight back the Legion's agents wherever they were found in the world.
As the generations passed, Guardians defended the masses of humanity from the invisible threat of the Burning Legion throughout the lands of Arathor and Quel'Thalas, passing on their powers to new guardians appointed by the council. Arathor grew and prospered while the use of magic spread throughout the empire. Meanwhile, the Guardians kept careful watch for signs of demonic activity.
Shortly after the dwarves made first contact with humans, the Arathorian Empire was rocked by a bloody civil war that stemmed from both an oppresive emperor and a religious schism in the church of light. Mages from the circles of the newly formed city-states took part in the war under service to their respective kings. Tureth Trollbane, brother of the reigning Emperor, Roigal, eventually toppled the dictator, but not before thousands had perished in the war and the city-states had declared their independance from the empire.
Circles of PowerEdit
Throughout the newly formed eastern kingdoms, mage circles sprung up in service to their newly empowered kings. The magocrats of Dalaran formed the Kirin Tor.
In the kingdoms of Stormwind, Alterac, Lordaeron, and Kul Tiras, lesser circles of magi rose to enforce the mage laws of old and categorize the arcane wonders of Azeroth. The circles all operated by the laws established by the Arathorian Empire, so in a sense, the empire lived on through the mage circles.
As the politics and rivalries of the human nations waxed and waned, the line of Guardians kept its constant vigil against chaos. One of the last of these Guardians was Aegwynn, a powerful sorcereress who slew many demons across Azeroth.
Upon hearing rumors of demonic activity in Northrend, Aegwynn journeyed there and came face to face with an avatar of the Burning Legion's demon king: Sargeras the Destroyer.
Sargeras informed the young Guardian that the world would soon bow before the onslaught of the Legion.
The proud Aegwynn, believing herself to be a match for the menacing god, entered battle with the demon king and destroyed his physical form. Thinking she had bested the lord of the legion, Aegwynn sealed Sargeras's remains in the ruins of a sunken island fortress. Unbeknownst to Aegwynn, Sargeras's spirit had sealed itself in a dark corner of Aegwynn's soul, brooding for an opportunity to strike.
The Last GuardianEdit
Foolishly set in her belief that she had defeated Sargeras, Aegwynn hunted his minions for nearly 900 years. Thinking herself above the Council of Tirisfal, she planned to channel her Guardian power to her own child.
After seducing Nielas Aran, the court conjurer of Stormwind, Aegwynn soon bore a child. Naming the boy Medivh, which means "keeper of secrets" in the high elven tongue, Aegwynn believed that the boy would mature to become the next Guardian.
Unfortunately the malignant spirit of Sargeras, which had been hiding inside her, had possessed the defenseless child while it was still in her womb. Aegwynn had no idea that the world's newest Guardian was already possessed by its greatest nemesis.
Certain that her baby was healthy and sound, Aegwynn delivered young Medivh to the court of Stormwind and left him there to be raised by his mortal father and his people. She then wandered into the wilderness and prepared to pass into whatever afterlife awaited her.
Sargeras bided his time until the youth's power manifested itself. By the time Medivh had reached his teenage years, he had become very popular in Stormwind for his magical prowess.
When Medivh reached the age of fourteen, the cosmic power inside him awakened and clashed with the pervasive spirit of Sargeras that lurked within his soul. Medivh fell into a catatonic state which lasted for many years. When he awakened, Sargeras fully possessed Medivh and prepared to use the power of Tirisfal to grant the Burning Legion an invasion of Azeroth.
Taking full control of Medivh, Sargeras ushered in the orcish horde through the dark portal in what is now the Blasted Lands. The orcs quickly overtook the kingdom of Stormwind, but not before Medivh's physical shell was killed by a strike team led by Anduin Lothar and Medivh's former apprentice, Khadgar.
The Stormwind Circle of Magi was all but destroyed, with many of its conjurers perishing at the hands of the orcs in their attept at defending the kingdom.
Rallying the survivors of the sacked kingdom, Lord Anduin Lothar led a mass evacuation of Stormwind by sea to Lordaeron, where he would call for an Alliance to stand against this new threat.
The human kingdoms, elves, dwarves and gnomes banded together and made their stand against the orcish horde. The mages of Dalaran were employed as battlemages, but met their match in the ogre magi and orcish warlocks employed by the horde. Through great sacrifice, the alliance triumphed over the orcish horde, eventually liberating Stormwind from their grasp.
Aftermath of the WarEdit
With the high costs of rebuilding after the orcish wars, many of the Alliance nations returned to their old rivalries and political battles. The high elves isolated themselves in their homeland, bitter at the destruction of their magical forests.
The circles of magi slowly began to replenish their ranks in their respective kingdoms. Seeds of distrust sewn by Medivh's betrayal led to harsher laws and safeguards on mages throught the Eastern Kingdoms to prevent demonic influence and magic use.
In the blasted lands, the Alliance constructed Nethergarde Keep to act as a fortress for mages and paladins to watch over the dark portal.
When the portal reopened at the beheadst of the orcish warlock, Ner'zhul, the Alliance led an invasion of draenor to crush the orcs once and for all. Desperate and on the verge of defeat, Ner'zhul caused a cataclysmic destruction of Draenor by opening dozens of portals to other dimensions, closing the portal to Azeroth in its wake.
The Scourge of LordaeronEdit
Years passed after the traumatic events of the orcish wars. Orcs languished in prison camps and the former nations of the Alliance rebuilt themselves.
Shortly after an uprising that led to the escape of a majority of the orcs, contact with the human settlements of Northrend was mysteriously cut off. Soon, reports of undead spread throughout the nation of Lordaeron. Lordaeron's king, Terenas Menethil, did not heed the Kirin Tor's warning that the undead threat would spread to his own lands.
Within weeks, the undead scourge gripped Lordaeron's countryside. Paladins and mages were called to arms to fight the plague, but the scourge's magical nature was too strong for even the most powerful wizards of Dalaran to counterract.
It was then found that Kel'Thuzad, one of the ruling mages of Dalaran, was communing with a demon and lich - spreading the undead plague. Prince Arthas Menethil of Lordaeron and Lady Jaina Proudmoore of Dalaran killed Kel'Thuzad, but the zombified victims of the scourge ravaged Lordaeron to its near destruction.
When the city of Stratholme was found to be infected by the scourge, Prince Arthas ordered the entire city's population to be purged, and led the culling of Stratholme. Hundreds were slaughtered, and the Stratholme Circle of Magi was razed to the ground.
Arthas then took the Lordaeron fleet to Northrend to confront Archmage Antonidas, ruler of the Kirin Tor, rallied the mages of Lordaeron to Dalaran, where they devised means to combat the scourge. The sorcerer's league devised an aura that damaged all undead that passed through it.
When Arthas returned from Northrend, he was a blackened soul of his former self. Against the reccomendations of the Lordaeron Magi, King Terenas Menethil welcomed Arthas into his castle, where the traitor summarily slaughtered all who could not escape the capital city.
Turning his army north, Arthas razed Quel'Thalas to the ground, murdering thousands of innocents and converting them to mindless zombies. Even Dalaran could not withstand the scourge, as it too fell when Arthas and his army breached its magical barriers.
The Burning LegionEdit
The scourge was merely an introduction to a great invasion by the Burning Legion, who rained infernals down upon Lordaeron. Lady Jaina Proudmoore, heeding the call of a mysterious prophet, led the survivors on a mass exodus to Kalimdor. The ragtag surviving mages of Lordaeron joined her.
The humans discovered the fugitive orcs shortly after landing in Kalimdor, where a tentative peace was declared as they awaited the Burning Legion's pursuit from Lordaeron.
It was then that the joined forces of humans and orcs discovered the night elves - who at the time considered the joined army intruders in their land. The elves ruthlessly attacked the human and orcish settlements, unaware of the legion's impending doom. Unsurprisingly, a number of orcs turned to demonic magic to combat the elves. It was not long before the demon-tainted orcs broke off from the alliance and joined the very forces of the legion!
The mysterious prophet showed himself once more to the respective night elven, human and orcish leaders, calling for peace.
At an even tenser peace, the night elves, humans and orcs joined forces to combat the Burning Legion as they arrived in Kalimdor. Through cooperation, the alliance halted the legion's advance and saved Azeroth from eminent destruction.
With Lordaeron and Dalaran effectively destroyed, the surviving human mages became disjointed from the union that had lasted since the Arathorian Empire. The mages of Dalaran shut themselves off from the rest of Azeroth. The rest found solace in the nations of Stormwind, Kul Tiras, and Theramore.
New Mage OrderEdit
As civil war gripped Lordaeron amongst the scourge, the surviving circles of magi rebuilt themselves. Many mages of Lordaeron fled to Stormwind during the outbreak of the scourge, and Stormwind soon became a center for arcane study.
Jaina Proudmoore founded her own academy in her mage tower in Theramore. The mages of Dalaran worked diligently to repair the damage wrought by Arthas's invasion. Kul Tiras's mage circle was slower to recover, a many left to join the mages of Theramore.