|Previous: Dance of the Laughing Skull|
|Next: Finale of Beyond the Dark Portal|
|Battle of Hellfire Peninsula|
|Campaign: Human Campaign|
|Place: Hellfire Peninsula, Draenor|
|Outcome: Creation of Outland, sealing of the Dark Portal|
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The Bitter Taste of Victory is the final level of the Alliance campaign in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal.
The Battle of Hellfire Peninsula, as it became known, was the last confrontation between the forces of the Alliance Expedition, led by the Archmage Khadgar of Dalaran, and the Horde of Draenor led by Ner'zhul. It led to the sealing of the Dark Portal and left a lingering question of the Expedition's fate, and the fate of Draenor itself, for twenty years afterwards.
Khadgar has discovered that although the Book of Medivh was stolen from Ner'zhul, the ancient Shaman has learned enough of its secrets to conjure his darkest spell. Over the blood red skies of Draenor, huge dimensional rifts appear, crackling with the cosmic energy of the Twisting Nether. Alleria's scouts report that Ner'zhul and his followers escaped through the largest of the new rifts as Draenor felt the first of its death throes. The tremendous energies emitted from the converging rifts have succeeded in breaking down the fabric of reality in Draenor; unleashing massive earth quakes and tidal waves upon its shores. Unless the Dark Portal is closed on both worlds, Azeroth will be subject to an enormous backlash of energy resulting from Draenor's catastrophic discorporation. Using the combined powers of the Book of Medivh and the Skull of Gul'dan, you must return Khadgar to the Dark Portal and seal the rift between Azeroth and the doomed world of Draenor, forever.
Invasion of the Shadowmoon
Sometime after the Battle of the Dark Portal, the Shadowmoon Clan under Ner'zhul worked to reopen Medivh's gateway between Azeroth and Draenor, and steal artifacts from the humans' world that could be used to open portals to new worlds. Before crossing to Azeroth, the Horde of Draenor took the Skull of Gul'dan from a captain of the Bonechewer Clan who wore it as a symbol of his station. With the Skull in their possession, Ner'zhul and his forces reopened the Dark Portal and crossed into Azeroth, attacking Nethergarde Keep on their way to New Stormwind. Upon arriving in Stormwind, the Horde laid siege to the city and stole the Book of Medivh from the Royal Library. Teron Gorefiend, first of the Horde's death knights, was sent to Dalaran to take the Eye of Dalaran. And finally, Ner'zhul obtained the Jeweled Scepter of Sargeras from the Broken Isles. With the artifacts in his possession, Ner'zhul fled back to Draenor.
The Alliance responds
After Ner'zhul's raids, King Terenas ordered the formation of an expedition that would cross the Dark Portal into Draenor and destroy the Horde once and for all. Khadgar, Lord of Nethergarde, and his friends Turalyon, Danath Trollbane, Kurdran Wildhammer and Alleria Windrunner assembled an army to go through the Dark Portal. Though Khadgar's armies gained the upper hand with victories at Auchindoun and Fortress Shadowmoon, they were unable to stop Ner'zhul from opening his portals.
Khadgar and Turalyon realized that the energies tearing Draenor apart would cause a backlash that would affect Azeroth. The five commanders grimly agreed to remain behind with their forces and seal off the Dark Portal. Obtaining the Book of Medivh with the aid of the treacherous Laughing Skull Clan and battling the Black Scourge, Deathwing, to obtain the Skull of Gul'dan, Khadgar cast the incantation that sealed the Dark Portal, seemingly forever, and saved Azeroth from Draenor's cataclysmic end.
The fate of the Expedition and of Draenor itself remained unknown for two decades; to the Alliance, they were all presumed dead, and memorialized accordingly in Stormwind. But the Expedition had in fact survived the destruction of Draenor, seemingly abandoned on a hostile world. The Sons of Lothar, as they called themselves, continued the fight against what remained of the Horde of Draenor, as well as the arriving forces of the Burning Legion under Magtheridon and, later, the legions of Illidan Stormrage.
Twenty years after the battle, Kazzak the Supreme located an artifact to open the Dark Portal and travel to Outland, which has become the front lines in the war against the Burning Legion. New expeditions were sent to investigate this relatively new land, but the remnants of the Sons of Lothar still remained desperately trying to hold the invading demons...