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The Last Guardian
by Jeff Grubb
The main human kingdom of the early era of Warcraft was Stormwind, it was the only human kingdom explored in Warcraft I, and its lands are the main focus of this story. It is ruled by King Llane Wrynn, and its military led by his childhood friend, Anduin Lothar. The two spent much of their childhood with Medivh Aran, who was the most powerful of the trio, and a potent magician. As he aged, Medivh fell into a coma for the majority of his youth, and when he awoke, left the protected regions of the kingdom for the abandoned tower, Karazhan.
The book begins with an apprentice mage, Khadgar, arriving at Karazhan. He had been dispatched from the mage-ruled city of Dalaran to become the magus's personal apprentice, and to discover more about the mysterious mage. During the first month following his arrival, Medivh explains to him that the fabric of reality in Karazhan is weak, and that “While with a clock, each tick comes in succession of another, Karazhan is like an hourglass, where all the grains of sand fall into the bottom, but not always in the same order,” and as such, there are visions from the future and the past.
Khadgar works hard to earn the status of apprentice, mostly by organizing Medivh's chaotic library. This was a feat none of the other aspirants achieved; most left after being unsettled by the tower's prophetic visions or Medivh's erratic behaviour. During this time, Medivh makes several long trips outside the tower.
Upon earning the right to being Medivh's apprentice, the two mount atop a gryphon and fly to a swampy region of the kingdom, the Black Morass. While in the Black Morass, there are several war parties of green-skinned savages known as Orcs, one of which shoots Khadgar down. Khadgar dispatches of a few grunts, but eventually his magical ability is exhausted, just as he is cornered by an Orc warlock. Fortunately, Medivh swoops in to slay the remainder of the party. The two then make their way back from the heavier concentrations and rendezvous with Anduin Lothar and his troops.
The next few months involve Khadgar doing work about the castle while receiving some training from Medivh. Ultimately, Medivh takes an extended leave from Karazhan in which he lets Khadgar freely study. Khadgar spend most of this time trying to control and command the visions of Karazhan, and invokes one of Medivh's mother, Aegwynn, battling a horde of demons, and Sargeras, a fallen Titan, (creators of Azeroth, Draenor, and the rest of the universe), also known as the Destroyer of Worlds.
Upon Medivh's arrival, he is immediately summoned to Stormwind, where he brings along Khadgar. When they enter the great city, they are greeted by Lothar who reveals that two of the court conjurers summoned a demon, which killed them both. Medivh asks Lothar to leave the room while he speaks with Khadgar privately, where he explains the history of the magic, and many events thousands of years in the world's past. He comes to explain, that after a catastrophe that nearly destroyed the world, there was a council of powerful magi who elected to grant their powers to a single entity responsible for guarding the world against demonic threats. After they had aged considerably, the Council of Tirisfal would retake the power and search for a new Guardian. After thousands of years, and dozens of Guardians, Medivh's mother, Aegwynn was chosen as a Guardian. She saw how politically involved many of the council members had become, and decided it was time to take away their power to choose the next Guardian. She took it upon herself to use magic to extend her lifespan, and through fighting more demons than any others, discovered that there was a large force in the icy continent of Northrend, hunting the green dragons. She sought to end their hunt, and freed the dragons, destroying them, and Sargeras (the vision Khadgar had). After many battles with the Burning Legion, she fathered herself a child from the Stormwind court conjurer, and member of the Council of Tirisfal, Nielas Aran, and bore Medivh.
After hunting down the demon loose in the city of Stormwind, Medivh returned to Karazhan with Khadgar, where he fell into a second (but much shorter) coma, this one lasting only a few weeks. During this time, Khadgar once saw to the Magus's quarters to see how he fared, and during this time, he saw the image of Sargeras watching over Medivh as well.
Shortly after he awoke, an emissary arrived at the tower and spent much time with Medivh, which made Khadgar slightly jealous. One day he decided to attempt his vision summoning spell, and he spotted the emissary observing him. He raced after the emissary, angered that it was spying on him, and chased it down the tower, where he pulled off its hood to reveal it was a female Orc. After a short brawl, Khadgar retreated to the Magus's observatory where they spoke about the Orc, who was, in truth, a half-orc.
Khadgar and the half-orc, Garona, spent many hours studying together in the library, she trying to learn more about the human kingdoms, claiming they were for peace talks, and Khadgar so he could better understand the orcs. Garona claimed that, being half-orc, all the Orcs saw her whiter skin, shorter tusks, and softer complex. All the humans, like Khadgar, saw her green skin, her tusks, and her savagery, and that none would take have her be a part of their society.
Khadgar and Garona eventually happened upon a conversation about the Orcs' entry into Azeroth; the Dark Portal. Eventually Garona coaxed Khadgar into using his vision spell to show them both how it was opened. It revealed the Orc Arch-warlock Gul'dan, awaking from a dream to a vision of a hooded figure who promised the Orcs a new world to conquer, his last comment being, “Do not worry, I have everything under control, for I am the Guardian,” with a toss back of his hood, revealing it was Medivh.
Shortly following this vision, Medivh arrived in the library and confronted them, a ward that would protect from demons, holding him off. During this time, Khadgar was able to conjure another vision, this one of Aegwynn confronting Medivh on his catastrophic actions. During this vision, Medivh breaks down and begins to cry out towards the vision, and Garona and Khadgar escape to Stormwind on a gryphon. They are forced off their gryphon when Medivh called it back to Karazhan, and hiked the rest of the way to Stormwind after a confrontation with both an orcish raiding party, and a human regiment. Once in Stormwind, Khadgar speaks with Lothar and Llane about the Magus's betrayal, and that there is more inhabitting his body than Medivh and the Guardian's powers. They go on to Karazhan together, to do battle with the Magus. Afterwards it is revealed that Medivh was being possessed by Sargeras.
(I don't imagine him as such he's depicted above in Hearstone but it is a food for thought. The picture of the man is vivid regardless.)