The Curse of Ner'zhul
The elder shaman Ner'zhul was once among the greatest spiritual leaders of the orcs. Deceived by the demon Kil'jaeden, he set in motion the events that led to the orcs' corruption and the creation of the bloodthirsty Horde. Yet ultimately Ner'zhul refused to give his people fully to the demonic ranks of the Burning Legion.
The demon lord Kil'jaeden punished Ner'zhul for his defiance, destroying his aging body and torturing his spirit. The demon then offered Ner'zhul a final ultimatum: serve the Legion unconditionally or suffer eternal agony. With little other choice, Ner'zhul pledged to obey Kil'jaeden and was reborn as a terrifying and vastly powerful agent of the Legion – the Lich King.
Ner'zhul's spirit was magically shackled to a suit of ancient armor and bound to the mighty runeblade Frostmourne. To ensure Ner'zhul's obedience, Kil'jaeden sealed the armor and blade within a specially crafted block of ice collected from the far reaches of the Twisting Nether. This frozen crystal was then cast into the ripe and unsuspecting world of Azeroth, settling in the desolate, snowy wastes of Northrend.
Among the abilities bestowed upon the Lich King was lordship over death itself. From within his Frozen Throne, Ner'zhul summoned a number of undead to serve him and tested his army against the nerubians of Azjol-Nerub and their mighty spiderlord, Anub'arak. Although the War of the Spider raged for years, many nerubians who fell in battle quickly became bound to the Lich King's iron will. Anub'arak himself was eventually ambushed and slain, rising again to join Ner'zhul's ranks as a fearsome crypt lord.
The Lich King appeared to be faithfully serving his master, but he had in fact hatched a cunning and subversive plan. To that end, he created a small fissure in his prison, pushed Frostmourne through it, and directed his minions to carry the runeblade away from the Frozen Throne. Ner'zhul intended to use the sword as bait for a mighty champion: a loyal subject who would free him and serve as a vessel for his restless spirit. While Frostmourne was positioned to serve its future purpose, the Lich King dutifully proceeded with his demon master's true agenda...
Since arriving on Azeroth, the Lich King had been formulating an insidious plague of undeath, a terrifying disease meant to annihilate humanity and create an army faithful to the Burning Legion. To expedite the spread of this contagion, the Lich King recruited a powerful ally in the ambitious mage Kel'Thuzad, a senior member of Dalaran's ruling council.
Under the Lich King's watchful gaze, Kel'Thuzad created the Cult of the Damned, a group of humans to whom he promised social equality and eternal life on Azeroth. The cultists spread the plague throughout Lordaeron's northern villages, amassing a host of mindless undead. Kel'Thuzad looked upon the growing army and named it the Scourge, for at the Lich King's whim it would surely scour humanity from the face of the world.
To be continued...