Banner of the Scarlet Crusade
Base of operations
The Scarlet Crusade was an organization formed after the Third War by remaining paladins of the Order of the Silver Hand and soldiers of the Kingdom of Lordaeron. Their goal was the purgation and reclaimation of Lordaeron from the forces of the Scourge.
The Crusade maintained several bastions throughout the former lands of Lordaeron, namely the Scarlet Monastery, Hearthglen, Tyr's Hand, the fortified cathedral of Stratholme, and several smaller camps and watchtowers spread throughout the area. It was also one of the only hierarchies left of the Kingdom of Lordaeron after its destruction by the Scourge. After the attack on the Scarlet Enclave, the elite of the Scarlet Crusade renamed itself to the Scarlet Onslaught and operated in Northrend until its eventual destruction as well.
It was rendered defunct after the annihilation of the majority of their forces in the eastern parts of Lordaeron and the collapse of the leadership's upper echelons. While some of them remained in the Monastery, they eventually found their end as well.
History of the Crusade[edit | edit source]
Early history[edit | edit source]
After Lord Uther the Lightbringer was betrayed and killed by his former apprentice Arthas Menethil, the Knights of the Silver Hand were devastated by the Scourge's undead armies. Isillien was formerly a priest of the Holy Light in Lordaeron, assigned to be the liaison for the Knights of the Silver Hand. There he worked closely with the elder High General Abbendis (the father of the younger Abbendis) and his youthful charges, tutoring the young paladins in their quest for truth. Priests and paladins fought as the Scourge attacked the city, but they fled as Lordaeron fell around them. Some whisper it was the wounds both men received in battle, or perhaps just the shock of seeing their whole purpose destroyed, but since that day both Isillien and Abbendis had become quite insane. Isillien and Abbendis wandered the area as the Scourge defiled the land, destroying what undead they could, gathering what warriors would join them. They had but one concern: eradication of all that had destroyed Lordaeron.
Among the group were the high-ranking officers Isillien, the Abbendises (father and daughter), Renault Mograine, Taelan Fordring and Balnazzar (who had possessed the corpse of Saidan Dathrohan) have been said to have helped found the Scarlet Crusade, an order of knights focused on the singular goal of defeating the Scourge in all its forms.
Taelan Fordring, one of Isillien’s protégés, adored his tutor and his general. He offered his family’s keep and land, untouched by the undead, for their base of operations. The Crusade gained members whose lives had been ruined by the Scourge. Most members have seen a loved one die and, more often than not, be raised to fight alongside her murderer. Isillien became the spokesman for the group, his ravings gaining more followers than repelling them — and who could argue with the man that the undead were evil?
Some had reason to pause when Isillien’s young page was found with Isillien’s knife through his heart, and the priest calmly reported that the page had died that afternoon while hunting, and the undead had raised him and sent him back as an assassin. He was so convincing that the incident cemented the fear for most: if a freshly killed and raised undead can look just like a regular human, they had no idea who among them may or may not be with the Scourge. After a month of quarantine, all priests and warriors with the Crusade were declared clean. The elder Abbendis and Isillien felt that although they had a good base, they really needed to attack the Scourge where they were the thickest: in the Eastern Plaguelands. Isillien took on the title of Grand Inquisitor and control of the Western Crusade, while the elder Abbendis led the majority of the forces to Tyr’s Hand in the east to strike at Stratholme. As they established their bases and took in many more warriors, they destroyed any undead they found.
Frequently, groups of refugees fleeing the undead also fell beneath their furious swords. As the Grand Inquisitor claims, one cannot be too careful. All undead — good, evil or neutral, Scourge or Forsaken — are the rivals of the Scarlet Crusade. The undead are abominations and must be destroyed before the land and the people can heal. They count the Alliance and the Church of Holy Light as their allies, but these organizations quickly distance themselves from these fanatics, and instruct all travelers to give a wide berth to any Crusaders.
Not long after its formation, the Crusade attempted a strike against the Scourge base in Northrend, and built a fleet specifically for that purpose. The attempt failed, although the Crusaders reached as far as the mouth of Icecrown Glacier. There were many casualties among the high ranks of the Crusade, including its first and only Grand Admiral, first Captain General and first Chief Assassin.
Wrath of the Lich King[edit | edit source]
There was, however, one region of the Eastern Plaguelands which had been remarkably untouched by the plague that had despoiled the remainder of northern Lordaeron. This region was appropriately known as the Scarlet Enclave, consisting of the Scarlet capital of Tyr's Hand and the towns of Havenshire and New Avalon. These towns came under the protection of the Crusade forces stationed in Tyr's Hand, led by High General Brigitte Abbendis - the last survivor of the Crusade's original founders.
All that changed with the arrival of Acherus in the skies above the Enclave. In short order, the Scourge had established a base camp in the Ebon Hold's shadow and began their campaign of destruction. As the death knights of Acherus began to march on Havenshire, Abbendis claimed to receive visions from the Light, instructing her to take the most faithful of her troops and journey to Northrend. This became known among the Scarlet troops as the "Crimson Dawn", a revival of the Crusade and its "holy mission".
The Fall of the Scarlet Enclave[edit | edit source]
By that point, the death knights had laid waste to Havenshire and were now seeking to find out more about this "Crimson Dawn" mentioned in New Avalon's registry, taken from the town hall after they murdered New Avalon's Mayor Quimby. They discovered that a courier had been sent from Hearthglen by High Commander Galvar Pureblood, informing Abbendis that an army of Crusaders from Hearthglen and Tirisfal were being assembled to reinforce the Enclave and battle the forces of Acherus. One of the death knights, disguised as the courier (having murdered the real courier, taking his clothing and Pureblood's message), delivered the message to Abbendis. Realizing that the Plaguelands were lost, Abbendis ordered "the courier" to return to Pureblood, inform him to turn his armies around and prepare for the journey to Northrend. She gave "the courier" a copy of her diary, claiming it would explain everything. It was at this point that she declared that the Scarlet Crusade was no more - that they were now the Scarlet Onslaught.
The message never reached Pureblood, and his forces were annihilated by the Scourge as a result. With the combined army marching to their doom, High General Abbendis boarded her flagship, the Sinner's Folly, and set sail for Northrend, leaving the Crusade to its fate.
Cataclysm[edit | edit source]
With the exposure of Balnazzar and Mal'Ganis, much of the senior leadership supposedly eliminated, the Lich King's defeat and Tirion Fordring retaking his old town of Hearthglen for the Argent Crusade, the Scarlet Crusade has become a shadow of its former self.
It has been discovered that the Crusade has completely lost Stratholme with Balnazzar shedding his disguise and killing the remaining Scarlet Crusaders within the city. Balnazzar then used his necromantic powers to resurrect them, as the Risen. A similar fate has befallen the Scarlet presence in Tyr's Hand. Hence, in an ironic twist of fate, many of the Scarlet holdouts have literally become what they sought to destroy.
Organization[edit | edit source]
The Scarlet Crusade is structured much like the military. The male Abbendis and Isillien were the leaders. Abbendis was the official head of the Scarlet Crusade. He considered himself the arm of the Crusade while Isillien is the heart. Abbendis guided the military attacks of the Crusade from Tyr’s Hand in the Eastern Plaguelands, communicating frequently with Isillien, who guides the priests in the Crusade in their new roles as inquisitors, based in the Western Plaguelands. He is in charge of questioning undead and mortals alike to ferret out whatever information he can on the movement and settlement of the undead. Isillien acts as the leader of the priests and guides the inquisitions in the west along with his impressionable paladin Taelan, while Abbendis controlled the warriors in the east.
The Crusade has thirteen generals leading the lower ranks: 2,000 troops based in Hearthglen and 10,000 based in Tyr’s Hand. The generals were not only chosen by the ranks they had in the war, but also by their dedication to the cause. Few make it very high in the ranks if they do not have a burning fervor to destroy all undead. Veterans who have fought the Scourge before are quickly promoted. Any dissent in the ranks is considered to be caused by undead infiltration, for the Crusade cannot fathom a reasonable mortal having any disagreement with the elimination of the undead. Such individuals are considered to be undead themselves, or worse, deranged undead sympathizers. Thus the organization of the Scarlet Crusade is flawless, as the crusaders work with one mind towards one goal. If they do not work with total agreement, it is at least complete fear of their superiors that keeps them in line. It's based in the Plaguelands, but hunts undead everywhere it can in northern Lordaeron. With the death of the elder Abbendis fighting the scourge, his daughter took over as High General.
Currently, the head of the Scarlet Crusade is Grand Crusader Saidan Dathrohan. Serving beneath him are Demetria (the Scarlet Oracle), High General Abbendis, Grand Inquisitor Isillien, Highlord Taelan Fordring, and Crusader Lord Valdelmar. The grand crusader handles the grisly, prolonged siege of Stratholme. Abbendis commands military assaults and assists the grand crusader in the siege, while Isillien handles interrogations and intelligence in the west.
Membership[edit | edit source]
Membership in the Scarlet Crusade is high, relative to the human population of the region. The strong sense of abandonment, futility and fear runs high in all humans on Lordaeron, and the Scarlet Crusade feeds that fear with reassurance that the evil will fall while the good remain untainted. The Crusade attracts mostly warriors, people who find in this post-war state that living by the sword is the only way to survive. They feel the need for a strong community where their skills will be utilized, and the Scarlet Crusade maintains that they need strong warriors for their cause. Some priests are drawn to the righteous eradication of the undead, but they often see the Crusade for the zealots they are and rethink their entry. This, of course, is considered suspicious, and they are often slain for their misgivings.
The biggest problem prospective members encounter is assuring the Crusaders that they are not undead themselves. Since the Grand Inquisitor was almost killed by his own page (so the story goes), the group is incredibly paranoid about the undead infiltrating their ranks. There is, however, one undead in their ranks: (High Inquisitor Fairbanks). However, he has been locked away in a secret room. Why the crusaders haven't killed him yet remains a mystery. The supposedly common knowledge that undead are hideously deformed and easy to discern from the living makes no difference to these people; they believe necromancers are capable of disguising the undead as living. Thus, new members (if they survived alerting the Crusade to their desire to join) are quarantined for 30 days to see if they begin to exhibit signs of the plague or being an undead. They are visited by the Grand Inquisitor or the High General during this time and are "questioned". No Scarlet Crusader discusses his quarantine and initiation.
Membership is comprised chiefly of human warriors, ex-paladins, priests and paladins (dark or otherwise), scarlet knights, scarlet inquisitors, Scarlet Chaplains, Scarlet Crusaders and scarlet battle mages professions, although hunters and mages also exist among their ranks.
Military[edit | edit source]
Despite their increasingly small numbers, the members of the Scarlet Crusade never falter, turn aside, or retreat. The Scarlet Crusade fights directly and it fights to the death.
Most military forces fight conservatively and hoard their members, but the crusaders take no care for their own lives. They wade into battle with zealous fervor, slashing and hacking until they either fall or vanquish all enemies.
Only the backing of the priests and paladins keep the order alive, both literally and figuratively. The impassioned speeches and charismatic leadership of the order’s healers motivates their troops into battle, and their healing magic keeps their zealots whole. The military training of the order’s paladins serves the crusade well, as the paladins train the members in basic troop formations and simple tactics that increase their odds of survival.
Generally, members of the Scarlet Crusade don’t bother flanking their enemies, as they’re used to fighting undead that are slow and easy to strike and immune to backstabs. Scarlet Crusade units fight in tight formations. They form rings whenever possible, standing shoulder to shoulder, so no one member risks being surrounded by a shambling mob of undead. If forced to disperse, members try to pair up and fight back to back.
Paladins and priests freely use their healing abilities and spells in combat, not only to bolster their own troops, but to harm undead enemies. Paladins and priests try not to use their turn undead ability, as their goal is to destroy their enemies, not scatter them. If overwhelmed by superior numbers, though, or confident in their ability to destroy nearby undead with a turn attempt, the commanders call upon their holy power. Many Scarlet Crusade priests can rebuke undead; they force their undead foes to cower long enough for the knights to do their work.
When fighting living opponents, the Scarlet Crusade varies its tactics only slightly. The Crusade rarely takes on hordes of living enemies; when they do engage the living, it is usually to target individuals or small groups. Members of the Crusade do use flanking maneuvers when fighting the living. They’re most concerned with preventing the escape of their prey, as living opponents move much faster than undead, and often panic. Mounted knights run down fleeing enemies, while the foot soldiers remain behind to engage slower targets. Foot soldiers also use trip attacks to reduce the odds that their prey will escape.
Crimson Legion[edit | edit source]
An elite force of the Crusade is the Crimson Legion, led by the Grand Crusader himself. Throughout the Scarlet Crusade, three different symbols are persistent. The Crusade's official banner is a modified flag of Lordaeron, with the "L" painted in red to symbolize the blood of the living. This "L" letter looks like "C" on the Scarlet Crusade flags. The modified Symbol of the Light seems to mark sanctuaries and holy places. Additionally, whilst the organization counts many non-combatants and line soldiers amongst its ranks, real Crusaders can be identified by the Scarlet Flame on their tabard.
Locations[edit | edit source]
The Western Crusade’s headquarters are in the rural area of Hearthglen, the inheritance of Taelan Fordring. Their main headquarters are in the Eastern Plaguelands in the small community of Tyr’s Hand. They command from the Scarlet Basilica. The community is also host to several churches including a newly built Scarlet Monastery, a massive building that draws refugees looking for safety.
Most Crusaders are based in Tyr's Hand where Isillien has declared the Eastern Plaguelands to be the focus of the Crusade's attacks. In the ruins of Stratholme the Scarlet Crusade has established a more or less permanent foothold from which it wages constant battle upon the Scourge within the city in the small outpost known as the Scarlet Bastion.
In Tirisfal Glades a peaceful Monastery was converted into a stronghold of the fanatical Scarlet Crusade, Scarlet Monastery. The Crusaders are intolerant of all non-human races, regardless of alliance or affiliation. They believe that any and all outsiders are potential carriers of the undead plague - and must be destroyed. Reports indicate that adventurers who enter the monastery are forced to contend with Scarlet Commander Mograine - who commands a large garrison of fanatically devoted warriors. However, the monastery's true master is High Inquisitor Whitemane - a fearsome priestess who possesses the ability to resurrect fallen warriors to do battle in her name.
References[edit | edit source]
Adapted from Wowpedia .