After a successful Year of the Dragon featuring the conflict between the League of Explorers and the League of E.V.I.L. back in 2019, Team 5 decided to return to a year-long narrative with the Year of the Gryphon.
The story of the ten so-called Mercenaries kicked off with the Horde-centric Forged in the Barrens expansion and continues with the release of United in Stormwind, set in the heart of the Alliance faction. As we all know, the Book of Mercenaries single-player campaigns have been the driving force of story-telling this year. Similar to the Book of Heroes series, it tries to shed light on the origin stories of Hearthstone’s important characters.
However, the single-player campaign isn’t the only story-telling vehicle in United in Stormwind! With the introduction of the Questline cards, Team 5’s narrative department found yet another way to direct the player’s attention to the present storyline of the expansion.
In order to not miss any juicy Hearthstone lore details, we will take a good look at all the Mercenaries stories told through Stormwind’s Questline cards!
The latest edition of Book of Mercenaries told us everything we need to know about Kurtrus’ origins – and more!
Many years ago, a dreadlord named Anetheron destroyed the night elf’s home and killed his family. That is why he swore allegiance to Illidan and became a demon hunter. However, the betrayer didn’t help him in his demon-hunting crusade and thus has been on his own ever since.
On his way through the Barrens, he meets a human paladin named Cariel Roame. While Kurtrus’ mission is to seek and destroy his ultimate nemesis Anetheron, Cariel needs to find her lost sister Tamsin. Long story short, the duo eventually finds Cariel’s sister – a Forsaken warlock ready to summon, as we learned by looking at Tamsin’s Questline card, ANETHERON!
The last fight ends with Cariel trying to defend her gone-mad sister – an action she paid with her life for. Eventually, Tamsin gets away.
So what happens in the art of Kurtrus’ questline cards?
First off, we can see that he seems to get his final revenge by confronting Anetheron. It also looks like he closes the portal which the nathrezim came through – maybe even the portal that Tamsin initially opened? Anyway – in the end, Kurtrus becomes a Demonslayer, so we can assume that Anetheron has been put to eternal rest.
In Guff’s Book of Mercenary chapter, we learned one and one thing only about our favorite tauren: Typical for his profession, he feels deeply connected with nature. And while Guff’s card series definitely doesn’t feature epic dreadlord duels, his Questline story showcases a great example of his love for plants and animals!
The story told through the card art starts out as per usual. Guff gets lost in the beautiful parks of Stormwind. Together with the friendly totem on his back, he encounters a pack of squirrels. We can’t say for sure what causes all this, but eventually, Guff has to defend his animal friends. Typical for squirrels, the whole situation seems to escalate, and suddenly Guff, transformed in bear form, fights off several Alliance soldiers.
Why did Guff get lost in the park? Who attacked the squirrels? And what is the NAME of this incredibly cute totem on Guff’s back? It almost seems like Guff’s questline raises more questions than it answers!
Through Tavish’s questline, we can finally see what’s actually going on in the city of Stormwind: Somehow, someway, a demonic invasion is happening! As his duty, Tavish looks to defend the Dwarven District of Stormwind against observers, succubi, doomguards and infernals.
But where do those demons come from?
We can safely assume that Tamsin and the potential portal she has opened to summon Anetheron is certainly one of the main reasons.
Never in the history of Warcraft has the Burning Legion succeeded in taking over one of the capitals of this world – and that might just change in Hearthstone’s upcoming expansion!
Meanwhile, Varden Dawngrasp, the Mage mercenary, seems to enjoy their time in the Stockades, Stormwind’s well-known prison tract. The most interesting bit of information is shown in the art of the first Questline card “Sorcerer’s Gambit”, where we can see Scabbs, the Rogue mercenary, hiding behind Varden.
By the looks of it, and after analyzing the Rogue questline, the mercenary Scabbs switched sides and was locked up in the Stockades for something we don’t know anything about.
With the third and fourth part of the questline, things evolve quite quickly: After summoning a portal in Stormwind’s portal room, Varden suddenly seems to be located in the blood-elven capital of Silvermoon. Whid did they open a portal to that place? What happens to their team of Horde adventurers? And where is Scabbs?
Similar to Tavish, Cariel does what Alliance soldiers do best: They defend what is theirs! Over the course of three cards, we see her recruiting Stormwind’s soldiers, fighting infernals, and, ultimately, her own sister Tamsin Roame.
As we already know from Kurtrus’ Book of Mercenaries, Cariel seems to fall in battle against him. However, the questline now shows that she turns against her own sister!
We don’t know exactly how she will fall in battle, but the holy aura of Cariel in her final Lightborn “form” shown on the last questline card implies that she will be revived somehow.
While Stormwind is under demonic attack, Xyrella doesn’t lose sight of her “main quest” to find more naaru shards.
Interestingly enough, the “Seek Guidance” part of the questline is supported by United in Stormwind’s trailer. In one of its scenes, we see Xyrella being blessed by High Priestess Laurena, a high-ranked cleric of the Holy Church of the Light.
Empowered by the Light itself, Xyrella eventually rids a void shard she has found of its corruption.
The year-long storyline started with Xyrella’s Book of Mercenaries campaign. She seems to reach her goal to collect more naaru shards in order to help her sick daughter – however, we don’t find ourselves in happy ending territory just yet.
As already mentioned in the Mage questline, Scabbs, the Rogue mercenary, looks to be in quite a sticky situation.
Given his background with SI:7, the Alliance’s secret service, he seems to be one of the very few mercenaries that is not on the hunt for more naaru shards. In fact, it is quite obvious what is going on in card 2 and 3 of the questline:
In Warcraft lore it is Katrana Prestor, better known as Onyxia, Deathwing’s daughter, who once tried to infiltrate Stormwind from within. She split King Varian’s personality in half, tried to get rid of his son Anduin, and almost succeeded in overthrowing Stormwind’s monarchy.
In Hearthstone’s lore it is Scabbs that seems to get behind this secret – through a sealed letter. The third card obviously shows Katrana in the background, as Scabbs is being dragged to the cells.
Does the general storyline of Varden rescuing Scabbs in the Stockades make more sense now? Not really, given that they’re from different factions, but at least we know why Scabbs is in there!
All of those overarching story elements (no pun intended) are nothing for our senior shaman Bru’kan.
While others unearth political plots or familial differences, the shaman mercenary brings down the elemental law upon Stormwind, its soldiers, and the Burning Legion.
Looking at his final form as a Stormcaller, Bru’kan seems to play a starring role in holding back the demonic invasion and the Alliance attackers. Sadly, outside of the artwork for his Questline looking really cool, it doesn’t tell us much more.
Tamsin seems to be the root cause of, well, basically everything that’s happening in United in Stormwind.
As we know by now, she has stolen the Demon Seed, a powerful artifact that the Burning Blade clan protected for decades. Because of the connections between the Burning Blade and the Shadow Council, a sect of warlocks, Tamsin might have acquired enough knowledge to learn that the Demon Seed could hold enough power to open a portal into another dimension – or at least the questline cards imply that.
The story of our Forsaken warlock seems to be the main driving force of the upcoming expansion, and that for a reason: The conflicts with her sister and Kurtrus alone would be enough to justify her starring role – but the fact that she lets the Burning Legion enter a capital city of Azeroth turns Tamsin’s story into a true headline.
At first sight, Rokara’s questline doesn’t seem to be in line with the other mercenaries. Many community members already stated that fact when her edition of Book of Mercenaries was published.
So why does Rokara now decides that it’d be a good time to attack the Alliance – and all of that, on a ship?!
Well, looking back at her storybook, one thing is certain: Rokara is a proud member of the Horde. Once she learned her final lesson from Garrosh in the last fight of her campaign, he tells her to wait for her next mission – and that mission could be to attack the Alliance!
She surely doesn’t want to be like Garrosh, we already know that. But to bring honor to the Horde by securing the docks of Stormwind? That would be a Horde thing to do more than any actions done by our Horde mercenaries so far!