|Kil'jaeden the Deceiver|
|Title||The Deceiver, The Beautiful One (coined by Ner'zhul for the orcs), Legionlord|
|Race(s)||Man'ari eredar, Eredar warlock|
|Character class||Warlock, Sorcerer|
|Position||Supreme commander of the Burning Legion, Chief lieutenant of Sargeras|
|Location||Sunwell Plateau (in-game)|
|Status||Active, Defeatable (WoW)|
|Relative(s)||Velen (formerly best friend, now arch-nemesis), Archimonde (fellow legion commander and best friend)|
|Student(s)||Ner'zhul, Gul'dan, Illidan Stormrage|
Kil'jaeden (pronounced Kill-Jay-Den) is a powerful eredar demon lord and is the acting leader of the Burning Legion. Elected twenty-five thousand years ago as the chief lieutenant of Sargeras, he was ranked above the now-deceased demon lord, Archimonde. While Archimonde had led the Legion's armies, Kil'jaeden's agenda was to assimilate every race possible into the folds of the Burning Legion. Since the apparent banishment of Sargeras, he has assumed the role of supreme commander.
He is also the creator of the Lich King.
Destroyer's offer and the flight of Velen
Twenty-five millennia ago, the world of Argus was the home of the wondrous eredar civilization, a race of natural magic-wielders. Kil'jaeden, respected for his intelligence, a genius among a race of geniuses, quickly rose to become one of the three most prominent leaders of the eredar, along with his colleague Archimonde and best friend, Velen.
Kil'jaeden had loved Velen as a brother. Eredar society was shattered when these three leaders were contacted by Sargeras the Destroyer. Sargeras offered a deal: in exchange for their loyalty, the eredar would gain untold power and prestige. Kil'jaeden and Archimonde readily accepted, though Velen held back.
As the eredar were preparing to receive their new powers, Kil'jaeden learned that Velen and his followers had sided with Sargeras's enemies, the naaru, and were in the process of fleeing Argus. Enraged by this "betrayal" Kil'jaeden loosed his new powers and minions on the "Exiled Ones", or draenei, and relentlessly pursued them across the cosmos for five thousand years... but Velen was as cunning as the Deceiver, and the draenei soon vanished.
Orcs, the oath, and the Deceiver's revenge
Following the failure of the invasion of Azeroth, some fifteen thousand years after accepting Sargeras's offer, Kil'jaeden was ordered to find a mortal army, that could be used to invade worlds en masse. Kil'jaeden prowled the Nether for millennia for the perfect soldiers. Then, one day, Kil'jaeden's favored servant, Talgath, stumbled upon a world that showed signs of the draenei's magic. Though they initially assumed it was just another one of the planets the draenei briefly stopped upon, further investigations quickly discovered that the draenei had actually settled there, even going so far as to give it an Eredun name: Draenor, meaning "Exiles' Refuge".
Sharing the "Exiles' Refuge" with his nemesis were a race of shamanistic beings called "orcs". Intrigued by their potential, Kil'jaeden realized that they were exactly what he was looking for.
Going straight to the Horde's most respected leader, and using the guise of the orcs' sacred ancestors, Kil'jaeden tricked the elder shaman, Ner'zhul, into thinking that the draenei were plotting against the orcs, and subtly introduced warlock magic and bloodlust to the clans.
Soon, the clans began to launch successful skirmishes and raids against the draenei, believing it to be their ancestors' will that they be exterminated. However, plans faltered when Ner'zhul travelled to Oshu'gun, was shown the truth about his new patron, and attempted to undo his actions. Kil'jaeden, however, was already aware of Ner'zhul's actions and stripped the elderly shaman of his power, investing the greatest and darkest of warlock magicks into Ner'zhul's betrayer: his erstwhile apprentice, Gul'dan. Eventually, as the Elemental Spirits refused to grant their powers to the shaman, these warlock powers would overtake the orcs.
Gul'dan's indomitable lust for power and his selfish personality made him the perfect pawn for the demon. After proving the orcs' ability to fight the draenei, Mannoroth's blood was given to the orc chieftains to drink, and they degraded into a horrible bloodlust. As both a test of his new minions and as revenge to his wayward brethren, Kil'jaeden ordered Gul'dan to finish the slaughter of the draenei in one climactic battle at Shattrath City. The attack was a brutal massacre with much of Shattrath being destroyed. To all appearances, Kil'jaeden's pawns had finally triumphed over the Exiled Ones.
Kil’jaeden, like the rest of the eredar warlocks, felt the presence of Medivh when he began his astral roaming. Kil'jaeden, relatively pleased with the Horde's destruction of the Draenei, took this as a sign that Sargeras required his energies elsewhere. The Eredar demon retreated from Draenor, abandoning the Horde. Aware that the time had come to unfold his stratagem, Medivh manipulated Gul'dan into opening the Dark Portal and sending the Horde deep into Azeroth. He promised Gul'dan a home for his people, and plenty of inhabitants to slaughter to satisfy their blood lust. Medivh's agendas were nearly fulfilled as the Horde made their way into Azeroth, spreading their dark, demonic energies wherever they went. They heralded the destruction that would wipe out any resistance that could be offered to defend against the Legion, destroying the Kingdom of Azeroth, almost completely subjugating Khaz Modan, and enslaving the mighty Alexstrasza.
However, two events occurred that would inevitably doom the orcs' invasion to failure. The first was the assassination of Medivh, which in turn caused the great spirit of the Dark Titan in him to be banished to the Abyss. The second, ironically, was caused by Gul'dan's lust for power, the same trait that had originally been used to corrupt the orcs. Gul'dan facilitated the Horde's fall in the Second War by seeking out the Tomb of Sargeras which, as told to him by Sargeras himself through Medivh, he believed would give him all the powers held by the Dark Titan before his demise eight hundred years before. As a result of his actions, Orgrim Doomhammer lost nearly half his standing forces and the orcs lost their one chance of wiping out the last bastion of human power for good. Given enough time to regather and reorganize, the humans followed with a fierce counter-attack that ultimately won them the war. The orcs had failed.
The Lich King
Kil'jaeden, infuriated, knew that the time had come to take matters into his own hands. Recalling the Nathrezim's experiments with undead during the War of the Ancients, and realizing that it was free will that led to the downfall of the orcs (the betrayals of Doomhammer, the Stormreaver and the Laughing Skull clans), he formulated a most sinister plan: Why not create an army of enslaved undead, under the control of a single cunning mind cowed in fear to the Legion?
Calling in an unpaid vendetta, the Deceiver found Ner’zhul within the Twisting Nether, and, seeking vengeance against the shaman's defiance, tortured the orc for an impossibly long time, destroying his body piece by piece until finally, nothing remained but the shaman's tortured soul. Kil'jaeden offered the remnant of the soul a choice: remain in eternal pain in the eredar torture dimension, or become the ruler of an army of undeath. Ner'zhul, predictably, chose the latter, and was transformed into the Lich King. Recalling Ner'zhul's previous duplicity and Gul'dan's failure, Kil'jaeden took no chances whatsoever. He refused to give the Lich King a body, instead sealing specially forged armor, along with the Lich King's soul, into the Frozen Throne. Just in case Ner'zhul wasn't daunted by immobility, he dispatched the Dreadlords to make sure he stayed on task.
The Lich King was to succeed where the orcs had failed: His undead servants would wipe out any potential resistance, and raise the unfortunate fallen as undead legions. The Scourge was just that, and wiped out Quel'Thalas and much of Lordaeron to prepare for the Legion's invasion. By the time Archimonde entered Azeroth, the remaining forces of Lordaeron were no match for them.
However, the Lich King, aware of the eredar's hatred for the immortal elves, betrayed the Legion by breaking the pact he had forged with Kil'jaeden which bound him to the latter's will. In informing Illidan of the Skull of Gul'dan through his pawn Arthas, he facilitated the death of one of the Legion's greatest tacticians, Tichondrius, and dealt the first blow against the Legion that led to the ultimate fall of their forces in the Battle of Mount Hyjal.
Although Kil'jaeden was infuriated at the failure and death of Archimonde, he knew better than to take reckless vengeance. Aware that the Lich King had grown out of his control, he then went about to acquire a new pawn. He found Illidan, and told him that, despite his part in the Legion's downfall, The Deceiver was willing to offer him a chance at power. Illidan was informed that if he destroyed the Frozen Throne, thus killing the Lich King, that Kil'jaeden would reward him with power beyond his imagination (whether or not Kil'jaeden actually intended to do so is a moot point). He gave Illidan the Orb of Kil'jaeden to aid him in his task.
Illidan first gained the allegiance of the naga, who helped him first flee from Kalimdor and then later seek out the Eye of Sargeras. With it, they performed an arcane ritual to tear Northrend, the base of the undead Scourge, apart. Thus, the minions of Kil'jaeden came full circle, back to the power of the Dark Titan.
But, due to interferences from Illidan's brother, Malfurion Stormrage, the Eye was instead destroyed before Illidan managed to destroy The Frozen Throne. Having failed Kil'jaeden, Illidan instead went on to rescue Tyrande from the scourge along with his brother. Aware of Kil'jaeden's capabilities, he fled to Outland to evade capture, during which he gained the loyalty of one more former highborne race, the blood elves. With his new servitors, Illidan eventually moved against the pit lord Magtheridon by destroying the dimensional gates Ner'zhul had opened decades before. The stratagem was meant to keep Kil'jaeden and his minions away from Outland and would have stopped Magtheridon from calling in reinforcements. Without any further demonic aid to strengthen his standing forces, Magtheridon was quick to fall before Illidan and his followers.
But Kil'jaeden was no fool. Because of Draenor's former importance as the homeworld of the orcs and the refuge of the draenei (and Magtheridon himself an agent of the Legion), Kil'jaeden kept at least half an eye on the torn planet. Quickly uncovering what had happened (or perhaps watching all along), the Deceiver once again appeared in front of Illidan and commanded him to return to the icy continent to finish what he had started (citing that his new servitors showed "some promise"; while Kil'jaeden probably didn't buy Illidan's story, he knew that his best bet in destroying the traitor still lay in Illidan), and told him that if he failed again, he would face his "eternal wrath."
However, Illidan failed and the Lich King persists, having cheated the Deceiver by merging with Arthas. For now, Kil'jaeden's vengeance is embodied in the mighty fel reaver Doomwalker, who lays siege to the gates of the Black Temple. The Lord of the Legion has made plans elsewhere…
In Warcraft III
Kil'jaeden appears in a few cutscenes in Warcraft III and is placeable in the Warcraft III World Editor. Here, he has two models, one looks like a retextured burning Archimonde and the other looks like a huge burning eredar.
In World of Warcraft
- Main article: Kil'jaeden (tactics)
Kil'jaeden made his World of Warcraft appearance with the release of the Sunwell Plateau, the 25-man raid introduced in patch 2.4.0. He appears as a combination of man'ari eredar and the winged, horned daemon appearance as seen in the manual to Warcraft II.
Players face off against Kil'jaeden himself, who is still being summoned into Azeroth through the Sunwell itself by his new lieutenant, Kael'thas Sunstrider. Anveena, the embodiment of the Sunwell's energies, is held in an arcane barrier, her powers being drained to feed the portal, but later in the encounter she is sacrificed to weaken the Deceiver, who can then successfully be banished back into the Nether.
It can be noted that, at the end of the fight, Kil'jaeden does not die. Instead the magics of the Sunwell simply react against him, and he is pulled back through it and into the Twisting Nether.
During the events of Blizzcon, 2010, Chris Metzen said, in reply to a question about Kil'jaeden, "...but now he's dealing with completely different emotions." He explained that back then he "...wanted to eradicate all life, and it wasn't really personal...Now it's personal. We will likely see him...AGAIN." This suggests the return of The Deceiver looms above us.
It is his very large necklace that rips off and lands on the surface of the Sunwell after he sinks in that is looted by players.
Kil'jaeden seems to have no problem keeping his ego from dominating judgment. He is surprisingly forgiving to failed servitors, provided they aren't complete failures. Kil'jaeden possesses an extremely long-term mindset, and views individual events as nothing more than single links in the thousand-year long chains of his schemes. Perhaps because of this outlook, Kil'jaeden is extremely tenacious and rarely lets short-term defeats or missteps prevent him from reaching his goals. If one method of completing a scheme is prevented for whatever reason, he simply finds other ways to proceed. However, he also has a long memory when it comes to individuals who, either intentionally or unintentionally, obstruct his plans. Kil'jaeden does not forget those who hinder him in any way, and often comes back to brutally punish them later, in his own time. His bidding is typically carried out by minions or intermediaries, and Kil’jaeden rarely meets individuals face to face. When he does, it is usually to force them to his will or to slay them once and for all.
He consistently allows those who serve under him chances to redeem themselves, a policy which acts to cement their loyalty. Kil'jaeden also takes the excuses and explanations of those who serve under him with careful consideration and merit. These policies are in direct contrast to Archimonde's approach, which can be summed up as "succeed or die."
Kil'jaeden regards Velen, who was once closer to him than a brother, as his arch-nemesis, and has spent millennia in a fury over what he perceives as Velen's betrayal, much to the confusion of his servitors and Archimonde. Even in this vendetta, however, Kil'jaeden was able to keep his ego safely out of the equation, thereby making his vengeance upon the draenei perhaps more terrible than that visited upon any of the Legion's other foes...
Kil'jaeden the Deceiver has a highly adaptable physical presence and frequently shifts among several forms. He usually tries to assume whatever shape the people around him will trust the most or be the most awestruck by. He attains his goals through a combination of subtle coercion and blatant intimidation.
The exact powers at the Deceiver's command are unknown. As his ultimatum to Illidan and his appearance to Ner'zhul and the orcs exemplifies, he is a master of illusions. Kil'jaeden has also shown ability to control his overall size (an ability shared by Archimonde), but that may not be the limit to his shapeshifting abilities. Though these are the only powers observed in recent years, assuming that these cantrips are the limits of his power is a grave mistake. He is credited with enslaving the Dreadlords, a feat that would have required immense cunning and awesome magic, and his rank within the Legion and the eredar are listed as higher than Archimonde's. Even prior to the eredar's transformation, Velen acknowledged that Kil'jaeden was his, as well as Archimonde's, superior in matters of the arcane. With the death of Archimonde and most of the leaders of the Burning Legion during the Third War, it is likely that Kil'jaeden has become the most powerful demon in existence.
However, Kil'jaeden's full powers lie not within the boundaries of physical and magical ability, but in the mind. His unrivaled cunning placed him first in position in the ranks of the Burning Legion, and so aptly gave him the title of the Deceiver. He managed the corruption of the orcs with very little magical expenditure, a plan executed almost entirely by manipulation.
Like most demons, Kil'jaeden's original position in Warcraft lore was a minor one; in this case, he was the tutor of Gul'dan, one of the major characters in Warcraft II. After the role of Sargeras was built up from a footnote to that of the major lore antagonist, Kil'jaeden's role was also increased, to the extent that he is now one of the most significant behind-the-scenes villains. In fact, only Sargeras himself holds a more constant and terrifying presence within the lore (the Old Gods having acted against Azeroth directly).
- In Warcraft III, Kil'jaeden leaves fiery track marks when he walks, like Illidan. This visual feature appears to be common to demons of great power, and may not have any other connotation.
- In Warcraft II, Kil'jaeden was shown as a horned, winged daemon, while in Warcraft III he was shown as a red-skinned eredar. In his appearance in World of Warcraft he appears to combine elements of the two, sticking daemon wings on an eredar body, thus making him the only winged eredar in Warcraft lore (thus the difference of appearance between Warcraft II and Warcraft III is not a retcon).
- It is worth noting that, after Kael'Thas' defeat at Tempest Keep, he mentions that he serves a new master that will "return", but Kil'Jaeden has never been on Azeroth before the events of Sunwell Plateau.
- There is a mountain in the Hellfire Peninsula in Outland north of Thrallmar known as the Throne of Kil'jaeden. The mountain was named by Gul'dan, after he gathered the orcs there to partake of the blood of Mannoroth. Today, Doom Lord Kazzak, one of Kil'jaeden's lieutenants, resides there after reopening the Dark Portal from Azeroth.
- Minions of the Burning Legion who reside in Terokkar Forest and Nagrand drop Marks of Kil'jaeden that can be turned in for reputation with the Aldor.
- Kil'jaeden's unique model seems to be based on Gustave Doré's depiction of Satan for Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy.
The corruption of Kil'jaeden and Archimonde is similar to Lucifer's conversion to Satan, whose arrogance and insane quest for power was punished by turning him and his followers into fiends.
- ^ Shadows & Light, ?
- ^ Shadows & Light, ?
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual, 93.
- ^ a b Shadows & Light, 60.
- ^ Shadows & Light, 154.
- ^ a b Rise of the Horde, 82.
- ^ Rise of the Horde, 80.
- ^ Shadows & Light, 61.
- ^ a b Manual of Monsters, 112.
- ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 28.
- ^ "Curse of the Blood Elves: Illidan's Task", Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Blizzard Entertainment.
| Preceded by:|
Lord of the Legion (conjointly with Archimonde)
| Succeeded by:|
| Preceded by:|
Kil'jaeden and Archimonde (conjointly)
Lord of the Legion (alone)
| Succeeded by:|