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On Lothar, Last of the Arathi

25 Jul

MenrimIt’s a little know fact, Anduin Lothar wasn’t the first man given the title “Last of the Arathi”. The first time this title was used was centuries earlier and the person in question was his direct ancestor, Lothar, whose first name gave the name to the entire line. It’s a little known fact outside of human history classes that the tumultous period after the fall of the Empire of Strom and the death of the last Arathi Emperor saw the rise of multiple kings, all of whom claimed descent – in one way or another – from the Arathi. Some of those genealogies were simply falsified, and some may have mad some genuine, albeit distant, truth in them, but there was one man who was undoubtedly descended from the last Arathi Emperor. There was just one problem – that man was a bastard.

Thoradin IV, also known as Thoradin the Decent, was a conflicted man who lived in difficult times. After most of his line was purged by the Dark Plague when he was a child, he was one of the three remaining legitimate Arathi when he was crowned. Unfortunately, his two cousins soon died, one in battle and one in a fire allegedly causing during his wild party. After those events, the burden of continuing the Arathi line rested solely on his shoulders. At different times, Thoradin IV had three wives, none of whom gave him any children. Although he was speculated to have become sterile from surviving the Dark Plague in childhood, he finally sired a son – but the son was born of an unmarried young noblewoman from Gilneas. That son was Lothar the Bastard.

Thoradin IV made many attempts to get his bastard legitimized, but nobility resisted his attempts. Many saw the situation as an opportunity to put their own family on the throne, as most of them had some Arathi blood in them, but some resisted it out of principle. Either way, when Lothar grew up into a young man, he himself opposed being named the heir to the Empire and when his father attempted to force him into the position, Lothar fled the court. For the following ten years, Emperor’s health deteriorated and it became clear he would have no other son and the throne would remain vacant, to be claimed by the cleverest nobleman around.

When Thoradin IV finally died of a flu (his immunological system is speculated to have been weakened by the Dark Plague), nobility from the entire Empire gathered in Strom, attempting to choose a new Emperor. While they debated for months, arguing who has the closest relation to the Arathi or the most of their blood, Lothar remained missing. Most of the court considered him as good as dead but a group of loyalists banded together under the name of Sons of Thoradin with one goal – to find Lothar and put him in his rightful place as the Emperor of Strom.

During the following two years, the Empire began to fall into chaos. As legitimacy debates were beginning to break down, various local lords left them in anger and proclaimed themselves kings of their own kingdoms – if they couldn’t have the whole Empire for themselves, they would at least carve a small part for themselves. Meanwhile, multiple claimants arose across the continent, some claiming to be the missing Lothar, some claiming to be other previously unknown bastards of Thoradin, and some claiming even more outlandish descent. While the armies of the Empire couldn’t deal with all of those threats, Sons of Thoradin continued scouring the countryside and discrediting multiple fake Lothars – but the real one remained in hiding.

Finally, the group found a trace left after Lothar. They reached Ravenholdt Manor, whose lords conveniently refused to take sides in the burgeoning civil war, and at a hefty price learned that Lothar remained at the Manor for a time, but has already left long ago – and left for Stormwind, “the Bastard Kingdom”, founded by a cadet branch of the Arathi who departed far to the south and have since died out, leaving the throne to the half-Azotha Wrynns. Sons of Thoradin quickly left the nascent chaos behind and departed for Stormwind.

Upon reaching the kingdom, they weren’t very warmly welcomed. As loyalists of the “Old Blood”, as the Arathi were called in Stormwind, Sons of Thoradin were seen as a threat, and suspected of attempting to reinstate an Arathi king in Stormwind. Most of the populace either didn’t know where to look for Lothar or didn’t want to help, but finally they found a letter at a cheese shop, signed by Trapper by the un-Stormwindian name of Lothar. Following that trail, they found a house built in the mountains near Stormwind and in it they found a man, married with three children. That man was undoubtedly Lothar himself.

A modern painting presenting Lothar the Bastard. It is commonly believed to be entirely fictitious.

A modern painting presenting Lothar the Bastard. It is commonly believed to be entirely fictitious.

No matter how much the Sons of Thoradin pleaded with Lothar, he refused to follow them and claim the throne. He saw the chaos that was happening in Strom as the only right thing to do with the decadent, corrupt Empire. He believed it had to collapse and that only from its ashes a new order could be reborn – one better and kinder for the common man. Lothar was happy with the simple life he was leading here, far from civilization and people who would seek to harm or use him, but it couldn’t remain for long. Stormwind followed the trail left by Sons of Thoradin and found Lothar and his visitors, realizing they’re dealing with an Arathi. King Adair Wrynn gave Lothar a choice – he either forsakes the Arathi name forever and becomes a sworn knight of the realm, or he dies to prevent future claimants from arising. Bitter about the trouble Sons of Thoradin caused, he chose the former.

Lothar continued to serve the Kingdom of Stormwind and until his death from old age, he refused to take much interest in the affairs of the collapsing Empire of Strom. His children took “Lothar” as their last name and continued to serve the Wrynn kings. Centuries later, the knight Thoradin Lothar had a son whom he named Anduin, after some of the ancient Stromic Emperors. That child grew to be the Anduin Lothar we knew – truly Last of the Arathi, who died childless.

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Posted by on 25.07.2014 in IC, Menrim

 

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