Dark Riders

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"Dark Rider" redirects here. For the mob, see Dark Rider (mob). For other uses, see Dark Rider (disambiguation).
"The Dark Riders" redirects here. For the quests, see The Dark Riders (quest).
NeutralDark Riders
Dark Rider.jpg
Main leader  Ariden †
Base of operations Karazhan
Theater of operations Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor[1]
Affiliation Independent
  Formerly  Medivh
Status Defeated[2]

The Dark Riders[3][4][5][2] (also called the Black Riders)[6] were once a group of traveling merchants who crossed the sorcerer Medivh, who cursed them to an eternity of hunting artifacts for him.[7] They were led by Ariden and are a major cause of danger in Duskwood and Deadwind Pass. They are infamous for being a merciless group of relic hunters.[4] They are the focus of the graphic novel Dark Riders.


Early history

On the Dark Riders cover art.

The Dark Riders were once charlatan human merchants who tried to sell fraudulent magical artifacts to Medivh. However, the Guardian was possessed by the Dark Titan Sargeras, and cursed the merchants to forever pay for their dishonesty by collecting true magical artifacts from all over the kingdom for Medivh, and bringing them back to Karazhan. It is not known exactly what curse Medivh placed on them, or if they are undead or not, but the Dark Riders have haunted the kingdom of Stormwind, and especially Duskwood, ever since.[8]

No physical description is provided, but the Riders are described as speaking in a shrieking voice "both harsh and shrill". One of them used a small gem to communicate with someone referred to as the "Lord" from whom the Riders took directions.[6] In their quest, some of the artifacts the Dark Riders obtained over the years were the vampiric sword  [Apocalypse] and the scythe  [Ulthalesh, the Deadwind Harvester].[9][10] Legend says that the riders are invisible unless they wish to be seen, and they are known to be formidable warriors.[11]

After the Third War

Years after the Third War, the Riders appeared at the Yorgen Farmstead, apparently drawn by the time/space warping caused by the Scythe of Elune which Jitters had previously unearthed and lost again inside Roland's Doom. They murdered Sven Yorgen's wife and children after determining that they did not know where the Scythe was located.[12] Jitters remained hidden while witnessing these events, and later recorded them.[6]

At some point, seven of the Riders managed to pass the magical dome protecting Dalaran during its reconstruction and stole several powerful artifacts from the Kirin Tor's vaults. After the city's scryers discovered their identity, a Dalaran Agent of the Violet Eye traveled to Ariden's Camp in Deadwind Pass, where she tasked adventurers to bring her any of the stolen artifacts they could find. She also gave them the  [Ariden's Sigil], which would react and force any Dark Rider out of its hiding.[11] When the adventurers brought her the artifacts, which they obtained by facing the Riders across the Eastern Kingdoms and in Kalimdor, she announced that she would bring them safely back to Dalaran.[1]

The Dark Riders were mentioned as being allies of the necromancer Morbent Fel,[5] though no details were given as to the nature of this alliance.

At some point after the war against the Lich King, the Dark Riders learned about the holy artifact  [Light's Wrath], used by kindhearted priests and paladins to heal the sick and protect the innocent in the Eastern Kingdoms. When Ariden and his riders managed to find the staff and tried to touch it, a wave of pure holy energy erupted from the weapon and sent them slinking back to Karazhan. It was one of the few artifacts they would ever willingly abandon, and perhaps the only one.[13]

Dark Riders

Comics title.png This section concerns content related to the Warcraft manga or comics.

Brink explains the origins of the Riders.

A group of the Night Watch led by their commander Althea Ebonlocke alongside Revil Kost, Brink, Mardigan, and Karlain attacked the riders in Karazhan and received some of their stolen items. When Revil Kost used an artifact called the Cloak of Purity, he was able to see a Dark Rider's face. It was the face of a terrified man.


Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.

At the time of the third invasion of the Burning Legion, Ariden, leader of the Dark Riders, stole the Scythe of Elune when Belysra Starbreeze and Valorn Stillbough brought it back to Duskwood, in order to give it to a druid adventurer. The druid, as well as a warlock and a death knight seeking artifacts of their own  [Ulthalesh, the Deadwind Harvester] and  [Apocalypse], met with Revil Kost at Manor Mistmantle and pursued Ariden to the Riders' base in the catacombs beneath Karazhan. Together with Revil, Ariden was slain and the adventurers retrieved the Scythe of Elune, Ulthalesh, the Deadwind Harvester, and Apocalypse. Revil promised to return the remainder of the Riders' stolen items to their rightful owners. Revil, however, feared that the riders would regroup once again.[2]


In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Some rumors say that the dark riders may have originated from, or at one time taken up residence in, Raven Hill as well. Dark riders are huge beings that suddenly appear with hellhounds at their feet to run down frantic travelers. Some nights they skirt the perimeter of Darkshire, howling loudly.[14]



They seem to be almost identical to the Nazgûl from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy of books. Both are dark minions referred to as "Black Riders" or "Dark Riders", speak harshly and shrilly, have the power to communicate with an immaterial being designated "the Lord" (the Warcraft Black Riders' usage of a "bauble" to communicate with their master is also likely a reference to the Palantír stones used in Lord of the Rings), and seek a specific ancient cursed "tool" of great power (Scythe of Elune and One Ring respectively) with which they have an intrinsic bond and had been previously discovered in a cave by a supposedly insignificant male character who knew nothing of the artifact's true properties (Jitters, Bilbo Baggins).