The magical floating city of Dalaran has long been a haven for mages and has served as a base for the defense of Azeroth on more than one occasion.
Most, if not all, notable mages on Azeroth have studied or lived in Dalaran at some point in their lives.
Dalaran was first constructed as a trading outpost in the great human kingdom of Arathor. It eventually gained autonomy as a self-ruling city around 2,700 years before the invasion of the Orcish Horde from the Dark Portal. A city of wealth, Dalaran attracted many people from across the kingdom. One such individual was a mage named Ardogan, who would be elected ruler of the city. Under his governments, Dalaran would become a full-fledged city-state as well as a haven for the human mages of Arathor who were viewed with growing suspicion by the rest of the kingdom.
With so many magi in the city, they decided to remake it into a center of learning. They magically expanded Dalaran in size and scope, turning the once-simple trading outpost into a gleaming city of spires and vast libraries. Within a few years, the city vastly grew in population, with the magic powers of the city’s magi ensuring the growth of trade and industry and making crime almost nonexistent. There was just one problem. The magi of the city used magic so frequently and unchecked that they unknowingly sent waves of arcane energy through the Twisting Nether and attracted the attention of demons who infiltrated Dalaran. The magocracy—or governing body of mages—struggled to combat these demons while keeping their existence a secret in order to prevent panic and keep their reputation. Desperate, they sought help from the magicly-gifted high elves of Quel’Thalas to the north. The elven magi determined that the only way to prevent a greater invasion was to place limits on the use of magic in the city. Knowing that this would be impossible to enforce without causing a riot, the mageocrasy of Dalaran and the elven Council of Silvermoon formed the secret order of the Council of Tirisfal to combat the demons. This council would eventually create the position of Guardian after a dreadlord named Kathra’natir infiltrated Dalaran and proved to be more than the Council could handle. This resulted in them opting to infuse an individual with extra magical power to protect the world from demons more effectively.
The governing body of Dalaran would eventually become known as the Kirin Tor and operated out of a tower known as the Violet Citadel. Here, they researched and cataloged spells and artifacts to increase knowledge and guard against ones considered dangerous. The Kirin Tor in turn was led by the Council of Six. At one point, they became very interested in the mysterious and reclusive Guardian, Medivh and sent some of their mages to spy on him in his tower of Karazhan. When that failed, they sent Khadgar to be Medivh’s apprentice and keep an eye on him. After the First War and the sacking of the kingdom of Stormwind by the Orcish Horde, the leader of the council, Archmage Antonidas attended the Council of Seven Nations. This was a gathering of the leaders of the various human kingdoms to talk about unifying their forces against this never-before-seen enemy. From meetings such as this, the first version of the Alliance would be born, known as the Alliance of Lordaeron.
Members of the Kirin Tor and other magical practitioners of Dalaran
During the Third War, Dalaran was destroyed by the undead Scourge. Somewhat ironically, one of the highest ranking members of the Scourge was Kel'Thuzad, a lich who had once been a powerful mage in Dalaran but had been banished for practicing necromancy. Before the destruction, Archmage Antonidas sent his student Jaina Proudmoore away to Kalimdor with several Dalaran civilians. Antonidas was slain by the death knight Arthas, and the city itself was crushed by the summoned demon Archimonde. The city’s ruins were later used by Illidan Stormrage and his armies in an attempt to destroy The Lich King, and thus the Scourge, by drawing the energy of the arcane ley lines around Dalaran into a powerful beam that would destroy the Lich King on his Frozen Throne. However, his reckless magic caused the land to buckle and massive fissures to appear, prompting the night elf armies to stop him without understanding what he was trying to accomplish. The city was eventually rebuilt and protected by a powerful opaque dome of arcane magic. During this time, it was cut off from the rest of the world.
Dalaran, rebuilt and protected under its magical shield
By the time of the Campaign against the Lich King, Archmage Rhonin was the leader of the Kirin Tor and the city had declared itself neutral between the Alliance and Horde. During this time, the crazed Blue Dragon Aspect, Malygos, had decided that mortals couldn’t be trusted with magic and that the blue dragons alone should control it. To accomplish this, he worked to redirect the world’s ley lines to his stronghold called The Nexus. Suffering from these magical shifts and the persecution from blue dragons and defected “mage hunters” from their own ranks, the magi knew that they had to defeat Malygos. In an unprecedented act, they pooled their power together and teleported the entire city to Northrend where they could launch their own counter-attacks on the Nexus. With the aid of the Alliance and Horde, as well as members of the other dragonflights who knew that Malygos’ tampering in the nature of magic had upset the worlds balance, the Kirin Tor assaulted the Nexus and destroyed the insane aspect.
The Red Dragonflight assists adventures in the assault on Malygos in the Nexus
(Image sourced from Wowhead)
During the great Cataclysm, Dalaran remained in the sky above Northrend and served as a neutral faction that worked to mend the gap between the Alliance and Horde. It was later visited by the blue dragon Kalecgos when he needed help to locate an important magical device known as the Focusing Iris that had been stolen from the Nexus. Later, it was revealed that the new warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream, was planning an attack on the city of Theramore. Although reluctant to pick a side, Rhonin was convinced by Jaina Proudmore to help defend the city along with limited assistance from Dalaran forces. The invasion proved to be a trap, however, as Garrosh was revealed to be behind the theft of the Focusing Iris and had it turned into a mana bomb that completely destroyed the entire city and everyone in it. Only Jaina managed to escape thanks to Rhonin sacrificing himself to teleport her to safety. She and Kalecgos moved to Dalaran, where Jaina was chosen as the new leader after the death of Rhonin in Theramore. His death weighed heavily on Jaina and on Rhonin’s now-widow, Vereesa Windrunner.
After the discovery of the lost continent of Pandaria, and the renewed faction conflict that ensued, the blood elf mages of Dalaran, known as the Sunreavers, used Dalaran portals to help Garrosh steal a powerful artifact known as the Divine Bell. Viewing this as treachery, Jaina purged the Sunreavers from Dalaran, bringing the city back into the Alliance and ending the 2,000 year-old alliance between Dalaran and Silvermoon.
During the Third invasion of the Burning Legion, Khadgar asked that the Horde be allowed back in Dalaran, believing that the forces must unite against this apocalyptic threat. Refusing to cooperate, Jaina left her leadership position, effectively leaving Khadgar as de-facto leader of Dalaran. Kalecgos and Archmage Vargoth joined The Council of Six to fill the new empty seats. The mages then teleported Dalaran to the Broken Isles to stop the invasion at its source. There, it served as a staging-ground and headquarters for counter-attacks against Legion forces. Among the battles that took place was an invasion on Dalaran’s prison, The Violet Hold, led by the Fel Lord Betrug.
Guards of the Violet Hold
Although the city is run by mages, Dalaran also has ordinary businesses and residences that adventures in Warcraft can buy items from, including weapon and armor vendors, bars, and even a toy shop.
Three of the shop-owners and working-class citizens of Dalaran.
According to tales told around the Hearthstone Tavern, a group of villains called the League of E.V.I.L once stole the entire city of Dalaran by launching an attack that overwhelmed its defenders and residence, allowing Dr. Boom to strap giant rockets on the floating city to serve as a sort of mobile headquarters for the League’s invasion of Uldum and attempted resurrection of Galakrond in Dragonblight.
Dalaran under the control of the League of E.V.I.L.
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