The Return to Northrend (WC3 Undead)

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The Return to Northrend
Location Shores of Northrend
Result Scourge victory
  Undead Scourge

Illidan's Forces

Commanders and leaders

Undead Scourge


Illidan's Forces

Casualties and losses

Undead Scourge

  • Moderate

Illidan's Forces

  • Heavy
Previous The Dark Lady
Next Dreadlord's Fall
This article contains lore taken from Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, the manuals, and/or official bonus maps.

Chapter 4 of the Undead Campaign, Act III "Legacy of the Damned" in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.

Loading screen

Three weeks later, King Arthas' ragged fleet drops anchor off the icy southern coasts of Northrend.


Main Quests

Availablequest BTNCannonTower.png The Landing

  • Destroy the Blood Elves' island stronghold

The Blood Elves are heavily encamped all around the shores of Northrend. You must lay siege to their island stronghold farther off the coast and take its resources for your own.

Availablequest BTNFreezingBreath.png Breakthrough

  • Slay the guardians

Now that you have sufficient resources, you need only break through the pass to Azjol-Nerub. Its guardians are vicious and care only for slaughter and bloodshed. Slay them, and the way through the pass is clear.

Optional Quests

Availablequest BTNAzureDragon.png Dragon Hoard

  • Slay the Dragon Sapphiron

The ancient Dragon Sapphiron lies within the nearby caves. There are rumors that he guards a wondrous hoard of powerful items. Slay the Dragon and take them for your own.



IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: Northrend. If feels like a lifetime since I was last here.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: Something out there is threatening the Lich King. We must reach Icecrown quickly.
IconSmall Necromancer.gif Necromancer: My king, we'll need to establish a base here first, but this island is nearly devoid of resources.
A trio of blood elf Dragonhawk Riders approach the island.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: What the--
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: They look like high elves! What are they doing here?
IconSmall BloodElf Male.gif Blood Elf: Prince Arthas, we are the blood elves! We have sworn to avenge the ghosts of Quel'Thalas. This dead land... will be cleansed!
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: Northrend belongs to the Scourge, elf! You made a terrible mistake by coming here. Slay them!
Anub'arak and a group of four Crypt Fiends suddenly burrow out of the ground nearby and rush to attack the elves.
IconSmall Anub'arak.gif Anub'arak: Onward for the Scourge! Slay them in Ner'zhul's name!
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: Who the--?
Together, Arthas and Anub'arak's forces defeat the elves.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: Thanks for the assistance, mighty one.
IconSmall Anub'arak.gif Anub'arak: The Lich King sent me to aid you, death knight. I am Anub'arak, ancient king of Azjol-Nerub.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: I welcome your aid, Anub'arak, but we have little time for pleasantries. We must reach Icecrown immediately!

During the Mission

IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: They must have a base around here somewhere.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: Seismic tremors. What tortures this land?
IconSmall Necromancer.gif Necromancer: The earthquakes have shattered a glacial wall and revealed a new waterways. Perhaps our fleet can use this to our advantage.
Arthas and Anub'arak confer after destroying the blood elf base.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: These elves are pathetic. It's no wonder we destroyed their homeland so easily.
Kael'thas teleports in.
IconSmall Kael'thas.gif Prince Kael'thas: Pity I wasn't there to stop you. It's been a long time, Arthas.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: Prince Kael'thas. I haven't seen you since... You lead these elves?
IconSmall Kael'thas.gif Prince Kael'thas: This group, at least. What you faced here was merely a scouting force. Defeating Lord Illidan's army will be far more difficult.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: Illidan? He's behind this invasion?
IconSmall Kael'thas.gif Prince Kael'thas: He is. Our forces are vast, Arthas. Even now, they march upon the Icecrown Glacier. You'll never make it in time to save your precious Lich King.
IconSmall Kael'thas.gif Prince Kael'thas: Consider this payment for Quel'Thalas... and other insults.
Kael teleports away. Arthas suddenly suffers another seizure.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: Aarrghh...
IconSmall LichKing.gif The Lich King: Make haste! My enemies draw near! Our time is almost spent!
IconSmall Anub'arak.gif Anub'arak: Are you well, death knight?
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: My powers are weakening, but I'll be all right.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: He's right. We'll never reach the glacier in time!
IconSmall Anub'arak.gif Anub'arak: There is another route we might take, death knight. The ancient, shattered kingdom of Azjol-Nerub lies deep below us. Though it has fallen on dark times, it could provide us a direct shortcut to the glacier.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: We have little choice. Lead on, Anub'arak.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: Snake-men! Who the hell are they? I have never seen their like in Northrend before.

Optional Mission

IconSmall Anub'arak.gif Anub'arak: There is a dragon that lives in the hills nearby. The creature may hold artifacts that could protect us on our march.
IconSmall DragonBlue.gif Sapphiron: You dare enter my lair? I am Sapphiron, ancient servant of Malygos the Spell-Weaver! Explain yourselves!
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: Sorry we don't have time to chat, great wyrm. We've come to murder you and steal whatever artifacts you've been hoarding over the centuries.
IconSmall DragonBlue.gif Sapphiron: Honesty, how refreshing. None may challenge Sapphiron and live!
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: At least I still have enough power to do this.

Sapphiron is raised by Arthas as an enormous Frost Wyrm.

IconSmall Anub'arak.gif Anub'arak: Most impressive. But you need to conserve your energies, death knight. We have a long road ahead of us.


IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: You're certain we can reach the glacier through these tunnels?
IconSmall Anub'arak.gif Anub'arak: Nothing is certain, death knight. The ruins will be perilous, but it's worth the risk.
IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: All right. Let's go.

Unused quotes

IconSmall ArthasDK.gif King Arthas: This does not bode well for the Lich King.


Upon Arthas' arrival to Northrend to save the Lich King, he encounters some blood elf scouts and finds out about Illidan's plans. Arthas then encounters Anub'arak, a crypt lord who was sent by the Lich King to aid Arthas on his journey to the Icecrown Citadel. Anub'arak tells Arthas about a "shortcut" to Icecrown, the ancient underground kingdom of Azjol-Nerub. But before the kingdom can be accessed, the blood elf resistance must be destroyed.

Passage to Azjol-Nerub

After Arthas and Anub'arak manage to banish the blood elves from the nearby shore, they encounter Illidan's naga and their leader, Lady Vashj. Arthas finds out about the allegiance of Vashj's naga and Kael'thas' blood elves to Illidan Stormrage. Both races have established bases near the passage of Azjol-Nerub, and with the help of Anub'arak, Arthas and his Scourge manage to destroy both bases and continue their journey to the spider kingdom.

The Return to Northrend Map.jpg


Undead Scourge
Illidan's Forces


  • The Penguin King can be encountered in the forest in the southwest section of the map. Unused triggers indicate that originally the player could escort Little Timmy the penguin to the king for a reward.
  • One of the penguins in the tuskarr village is named Little Timmy, and was named after Tim Campbell, like the other Little Timmys in the game.
  • Sapphiron shows a resemblance with Searinox except the color and the quest to kill him. However, Arthas resurrects Sapphiron soon after with a new form.