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General Articles: Legendary Weapons: Frostmourne

By Darry Huskey on February 16, 2009

Legendary Weapons: Frostmourne

With the release of Wrath of the Lich King, ten million bleary eyes have turned to Northrend. With it has come the wait, as legions of Horde and Alliance warriors prepare for the inevitable confrontation with Arthas, Lich King of the Scourge, and his hungering runeblade, Frostmourne.

Frostmourne made its first appearances in Warcraft III, and the weapon has captured the imaginations of millions of players around the world. Since the release of the game, there was one item that was near the top of everyone's collection list. Today, we take a closer look at the sword.

None amongst the living of Azeroth know the weapon's true origins. The dreadlord Tichondrius claimed that Frostmourne was forged by Ner'zhul, the malevolent spirit that would eventually fuse with the soul of Prince Arthas Menethil or Lordaeron. However, this story is contradicted by Ner'zhul's own account.

Frostmourne is what most would classify as a "bastard sword", being a hand-and-a-half sword. Its blade glows an eerie blue, and frost clings to the edge. Brightly shining runes run from the handguard half-way down the blade. The handguard is fashioned of silver metal into the shape of a horned skull.

The runeblade weaves power over souls, both those of its victims and those of its wielder. Any that would claim the sword would find themselves enthralled by the will of the Lich King, taken by its power, as Frostmourne took Arthas. Those slain by the sword find their very life essence devoured by Frostmourne's magic, their energy used to fuel the wielder. Combined with his enchanted armor, Frostmourne transforms the Lich King into a force of destruction that few men, if any, would ever have hope of defeating.

The runeblade was pushed out of the Frozen Throne by Ner'zhul to be used as a tool in his plot to possess the body of a human host. Together with the dreadlord Mal'Ganis, Ner'zhul drove Arthas, heir to the throne of the human kingdom of Lordaeron, to his breaking point by targeting the prince's subjects with the Scourge plague. At the cusp of madness, Arthas brought genocide to his own people at Stratholme, having convinced himself that he would rather see his subjects die at his hand than to rise again as servants of the Lich King. Mal'Ganis, having brought the plague to Stratholme, fled from the city to Northrend, luring Arthas to that frozen shore.

After arriving in Northrend, Arthas stumbled across an old friend, the dwarf Muradin Bronzebeard. Muradin had been seeking Frostmourne when Arthas arrived. The dwarf shared his knowledge of Frostmourne with the human prince, and together the two sought out the runeblade. After defeating Frostmourne's guardians, the sword was within their reach. At the final moment, Muradin warned Arthas against taking up the weapon, having read for himself the inscription carved into the dais beneath the sword :
"Whomsoever takes up this blade shall wield power eternal. Just as the blade rends flesh, so must power scar the spirit."

Arthas, desperate for the power to save his subjects, did not heed Muradin's warning. In the end, Frostmourne's allure proved to be too much for the young prince. Within a short time after claiming the runeblade, Frostmourne had stolen Arthas's soul completely, corrupting the paladin and re-making him as a death knight of the Lich King.

It was with Frostmourne that Arthas struck down his father, King Terenas of Lordaeron. The runeblade gave Arthas the power to assault the high elven city of Quel'thalas, defeating the ranger Sylvanas Windrunner and reanimating her as the Banshee Queen. In Northrend, Frostmourne ressurrected the spirit of the fallen blue dragon Sapphiron, forming the dragon as a frost wyrm. The runeblade cut deep into the ancient demon hunter Illidan Stormrage, leaving him for dead at the base of the Frozen Throne. Whatever the weapon's origins, it is indeed an artifact of immense power, capable of awe-inspiring displays.

Blizzard allowed players a sneak peak at the design process when they revealed statistics for the sword during the lore panel of BlizzCon 2007, though they admitted that the prototype had run into some problems and wouldn't see the live servers in that incarnation. The developers have acknowledged plans to incorporate the sword as a player weapon, but only time will tell what powers that item will have.

Frostmourne has proven to be so popular amongst the fanbase that in early 2008, Blizzard announced a partnership with replica weapons merchant Epic Weapons to create life-sized, limited edition replicas of the sword. One of the first replicas in the production line was sold at auction for a staggering twenty thousand dollars.
Arthas's runeblade belongs amongst a select group of artifacts within the world of Azeroth that have taken on a life of their own, attracting fan followings, though it hasn't yet achieved the sort of cult status that would see it spammed in trade chat over and over, like another nefarious golden weapon that shall remain nameless. Though we may have to wait some months to see the sword make its debut within the game, for many, the wait will be well worth it, and the day they acquire Frostmourne for their own will be a day they will remember for time to come.