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" Despite the impending Orcish invasion, Gilneas has remained separate from the Alliance of Lordaeron. As ruler of one of the strongest human nations, Genn Greymane is convinced that his own armies can deal with any threat, and has therefore remained unmoved by Lord Lothar's pleas for unity. Despite this apparent disdain for the Alliance, the denizens of Gilneas harbor no fondness for the orcs or their allies and are prepared to meet them blade for blade."
The human kingdom had supported the Alliance during the Second War, but King Greymane had no qualms about severing all ties to the outside world when it became clear that the Alliance needed Gilneas more than Gilneas needed the Alliance. Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, darkness fell on Gilneas after the Greymane Wall's gates had been closed, and the worgen curse ravaged the nation. Before long, Gilneans were fighting against Gilneans in a bloody civil war that left the kingdom in tatters. Remarkably, the people of Gilneas have somehow managed to hold on to the last vestiges of their humanity... for now.
Gilneas is a large peninsula that juts into the sea south of western Lordaeron. Silverpine Forest lies to the north-east and Kul Tiras awaits across the sea to the south. The kingdom was founded following the splitting of Arathor and besides the peninsula, the kingdom also included the island of Zul'Dare, and formerly held lands in Silverpine Forest including Pyrewood Village and Ambermill.
If King Genn Greymane never ardently supported the Alliance of Lordaeron in the Second War. Thus, after the war, he constructed the Greymane Wall: a massive barrier spanning the entire northern border. The enormous wall barricaded Gilneas from the rest of Lordaeron for around two decades.
It was later discovered that the 'Worgen Curse' has swept mercilessly across the nation, eventually turning nearly all of its inhabitants into savage beasts. Escalating tensions among the survivors escalated into bloody civil war that all but wrecked the nation. Following the Cataclysm and an invasion by the Forsaken, some of these Gilnean worgen have regained their free will. After Gilneas fell to enemy hands, Gilneas rejoined the Alliance.
Following their victory in their war against the trolls, the empire of Arathor entered into a period of prosperity and growth. After the death of King Thoradin the empire began to expand, founding new city states in the wilderness - including Gilneas. Each city grew and prospered, Gilneas and Alterac developed strong armies which explored the world. Over time the power of Gilneas and the other city states grew as that of Strom waned, eventually they developed their own customs and beliefs and the empire splintered into independent kingdoms.
Under the rule of King Archibald, the nation thrived, evolving into a formidable middle-power capable of rivaling even Kul Tiras or Stromgarde.
By the start of the Second War Gilneas had become recognized as a significant entity in the political landscape of Lordaeron. Emboldened by this fact, the kingdom's ruler, Genn Greymane, was not a strong supporter of the Alliance, believing that his own armies would be more than enough to deal with any threat. However, Gilneas was not neutral towards the Horde savages, and did join the Alliance late in the Second War, although Lord Greymane constantly argued against its existence from beginning to end. A token force under the command of Lord Godfrey, at his own insistence, fought the orcs with disastrous results that further damaged Greymane's feelings towards Lordaeron. Shortly after the Horde was defeated, Greymane pulled his nation's "support" from the Alliance, refusing to spend his nation's resources on keeping the orcs alive in internment camps or in rebuilding other nations devastated by the war. Gilneas, along with Stromgarde, in fact led the outcry over the decision to not execute their defeated enemies.
The Greymane Wall & the Third WarEdit
Some time after the Second War, Greymane constructed the Greymane Wall — an enormous stone barrier that now separates Gilneas from Lordaeron. Attempting to forever remove his nation from what he considered "other people's troubles", he barricaded the majority of Gilneas behind the Wall. No one, not even other humans were allowed to enter Gilneas. The lands of Lord Darius Crowley including Pyrewood and Ambermill were notably separated from their liege and nation by the Wall, effectively ceded to Lordaeron. The Greymane Wall even remained closed to human refugees begging to be allowed in during and after the Scourge's invasion of Lordaeron. The status of Gilneas became unclear to the outside world, and rumours of what was transpiring there became the subject of rumors throughout the Alliance - the renowned explorer Brann Bronzebeard theorised that it had fallen to the naga as one such example.
Yet at the peak of their strength, the Scourge relentlessly assaulted the Greymane Wall and threatened to devour all Gilneas. King Greymane’s armies marched out to meet the undead hordes, but were decimated.
In a desperate attempt to hold the seemingly-unstoppable Scourge at bay, Greymane ordered his court archmage, Arugal, to unleash a 'secret weapon' against the Scourge — the worgen, who had been contained for millennia in the Emerald Dream. Unfortunately, after attacking the Scourge, the worgen turned on the Gilnean soldiers, infecting them with their Curse, and began attacking other humans living in Silverpine Forest. Before long the affliction had advanced through the legendary barrier and was gradually eating away at Gilneas’ humanity. As reports of strange attacks and disappearances rose, fear took root in the hearts of Genn’s people.
Gilneas was shielded from the rest of the world, by the Greymane Wall by land and by its high cliffs and treacherous reefs by sea. Refugees and other nations long entreated Gilneas for aid, but these unfortunates never so much as saw a Gilnean. Many became easy prey for the worgen that occasionally strayed south from Shadowfang Keep. For many years King Greymane forbade any attempt to leave the self-isolated, and all ports were closed, leaving sailors and people of other nations stranded in Gilneas (such as Tobias Mistmantle, and the pirates of the Brashtide Crew). Gilneans that were themselves locked out of their homeland were a rare sight, but not unknown (such as Baron Longshore, captain of the pirate ship “Heedless”).
While Greymane's efforts to stem the tide of the Scourge kept Gilneas from the grasp of the undead, the Greymane Wall inadvertently subjected the Gilneans to a dark fate all the same. Many fell under the worgen curse, as it did with their neighbours to the north in Silverpine before them.
A small group of soldiers known as the Gilneas Brigade joined the Human Expedition led by Jaina Proudmoore during the Third War, but these were actually sent by Lord Crowley as an act of defiance against Genn.
Although once a close friend of Genn Greymane, his staunch isolationism led Lord Darius Crowley to eventually take up arms against his king. Leading his armed supporters into Gilneas City in an attempt to depose King Genn, a bloody civil war erupted between the two factions, pitting Gilnean against Gilnean, brother against sister. The so-called ‘Northgate rebellion’ officially ended when Crowley and his leading allies were captured by Greymane's forces, although rebels and their sympathisers continued to hoard weapons and supplies around Gilneas. Political divisions had led to a deep and bitter hatred between "rebels" and "royals", something that has only just begun to heal with the Gilneans’ focus shifting to their common enemies.
Unbeknownst to many of the kingdom's citizens, a war between beast and man raged within the worgen themselves. To compound the worgen threat, the Forsaken started battering at the nation's gates in a bid to conquer Gilneas. Under orders from Garrosh Hellscream, now Warchief of the Horde, Sylvanas Windrunner was commanded to conquer the lands of Gilneas to secure resources and its safe ports. Sylvanas had her own objective – the retrieval of the Scythe of Elune, an artifact capable of summoning complacent worgen that could spread their curse to all humanity.
Due to the efforts of the ancient "Alpha Prime" of the worgen, Ralaar Fangfire, the worgen epidemic grew with fervor. Ultimately his Bloodfang pack of wild worgen launched a massive attack on Gilneas City, overrunning the kingdom’s capital. Crowley and his Northgate Rebels were released from Stoneward Prison by Greymane’s edict and quickly agreed to give aid to King Genn, who had ordered the evacuation of Gilneas City to Duskhaven. In order to divert the worgen's attention from the fleeing citizens, Crowley led a group of Gilneans to stand against them at Light's Dawn Cathedral. Crowley and his followers were overwhelmed, and became worgen themselves.
Only with the aid of a night elf priestess Belysra, a secret counsellor of Greymane, were the cursed Gilneans shown a way to retain control of their human minds once transformed into worgen. Many, however, remained feral and under the sway of Alpha Prime, an ally of Sylvanas, until his death at Tal’doren.
Finding a short-lived refuge in Duskhaven, Krennan Aranas, Greymane’s court alchemist, managed to restore temporary sanity to a number of captured feral worgen. The Gilneans’ respite was to be short-lived, as the Cataclysm destroyed some of the jagged reefs that protected Gilneas from sea and breached the famed Greymane Wall itself, allowing the Forsaken to pour into Gilneas by land from Silverpine as well as land at Duskmist Shore. As the Forsaken invasion progressed, the whole south-west of Gilneas began collapsing into the sea, destroying Duskhaven. Gilnean survivors fled to abandoned Stormglen Village as Greymane and Lord Godfrey travelled to Tal'doren to ask Darius Crowley and other worgen healed by the Night Elves to help unite Gilneas against the Forsaken. Due to Lord Godfrey's tyrannical command, Crowley was hesitant to accept. Greymane told Crowley that he is asking him as a friend and not as a king, and after revealing that he too had succumbed to the worgen curse, they agreed to join forces. Though the Gilneans, worgen and human alike, led a valiant attempt at driving off the Forsaken by reclaiming occupied Gilneas City, Horde reinforcements and the use of the Forsaken’s Blight would soon overwhelm them. With his son Liam killed by Sylvanas herself, Genn decided to seek sanctuary in Darnassus and one day return to reclaim Gilneas.
Driven by their curse and the threat of the Forsaken, Gilneas was finally driven back into the Alliance's fold, owing a great debt to the Night Elves who helped heal the minds of many who fell victim to the worgen curse. Lord Crowley and his loyal worgen; the Gilneas Liberation Front, have renewed the war against the Forsaken, advancing as far as northern Silverpine Forest. With the aid of a gnomish submarine used to break the Horde’s blockade of Gilneas, the elite 7th Legion spearheaded a vast Alliance offensive to reclaim all of Lordaeron from the Forsaken, starting with Gilneas. The combined forces of the Alliance (including Gilnean and now-allied Bloodfang worgen) quickly bested the Forsaken occupiers of Gilneas City, eventually pushing them past the Greymane Wall.
However, the Horde managed to rally in Silverpine, holding back the 7th Legion and enabling the Forsaken to resurrect Lord Godfrey as one of their own, a fact that none of the Gilneans were aware of. Sylvanas Windrunner’s use of the val'kyr to resurrect fallen humans as allies forced the Alliance to rely on soldiers of other races. Crowley later surrendered to Sylvanas after she took his daughter hostage, threatening her with undeath. This signaled an end to the Alliance offensive in Silverpine, although the Bloodfang Pack expanded their activities into the Hillsbrad Foothills.
Meanwhile Lord Godfrey rebelled against Sylvanas and killed her (although she was quickly resurrected) and took over Shadowfang Keep as an independent power. Sylvanas returned to Undercity to recover. The Alliance retains their foothold over Gilneas but is constantly under assault by the Horde as the Battle for Gilneas rages on.
The Future of GilneasEdit
After the defeat of Garrosh Hellscream, adventurers would speak to Varian Wrynn about the future of the Alliance. He said that they will cleanse Gilneas and keep Sylvanas Windrunner at bay.
Gilneans are identical to humans for the most part. They are often seen with tanner skin and darker hair. However, light skin and light haired Gilneans exist as well. Gilneans also wear dark color, ranging from grays to blacks to browns.
(The following sections below are directly copied from the Scrolls of Lore. All credit goes to the writer, Genesis.)
The Church of the Holy Light forms the largest religious institution in the Kingdom of Gilneas. The cultural influence of the Church can be heard in how Gilneans use many Light-based idioms and curses in their speech patterns. The blessing of the Light is commonly invoked by Gilneans. King Genn Greymane invokes such a blessing – "may the Light bless the spirits of our ancestors" – during Liam’s funeral. Gilneans on the whole, however, do not likely possess the same level of pious devotion as Lordaeron, or maybe even Stormwind. Darius Crowley sardonically remarks, "Feel free to say a prayer if that's your sort of thing" during the last stand in Light’s Dawn Cathedral.
Gilnean priests are followers of the Light and exist as part an established clergy. Clergy are addressed with either the honorific "Brother" or "Sister". The Church of the Holy Light in Gilneas presumably recognizes the ecclesiastical leadership and authority of the Archbishop. Other hierarchical positions or ecclesiastical figures within the Gilnean Church are unknown. Gilneas City and the Light’s Dawn Cathedral would likely have a bishop, but no prominent ecclesiastical individuals have appeared.
The Church of the Holy Light was the most culturally widespread religion in Gilneas. The Church in Gilneas had priests and sanctuaries of the Light, and its citizens venerated the Holy Light as well. Within a human context, however, paladins did not simply spontaneously emerge wherever people worshipped the Light. The Church of the Holy Light existed long before the existence of paladins. Azerothian paladins are instead tied to a specific historical point of origination. Azerothian paladins are historically an exceptionally contemporary creation of the Church.
All human paladins and their respective orders trace their historical lineage back to the Order of the Silver Hand. Archbishop Faol conceived and established the Silver Hand in Lordaeron at the advent of the Second War around 6 ADP. Initially, Archbishop Faol drew most of the Silver Hand’s numbers from Lordaeron, which was one of Gilneas’s chief political rivals at the time. During the Crisis of Alterac Succession, the Order of the Silver Hand owed "its outward allegiance to Terenas," and they were the only force the other kings trusted as guards in Alliance meetings. Following the Second War, paladins were deployed wherever their abilities were needed, which were often places heavily affected by the damages of the Second War. As such, the Silver Hand’s members would have split their order’s efforts between the heavily affected war-torn kingdoms of the Alliance in the Second War: Lordaeron, Stormwind, Stromgarde, and Kul Tiras. Incidentally, these are the only human kingdoms with documented paladins. Gilneas, however, remained relatively unscathed by the Second War, providing only token support to the war efforts. There was no need for paladins in Gilneas.
Although other nations had paladins, paladin training was often closely tied to the Kingdom of Lordaeron. Before the fall of Lordaeron, the Scarlet Monastery served as a training ground for paladins of other nations. Captain Nials even mentions how the loss of the Scarlet Monastery prevents Stromgarde from training more soldiers to fight the Forsaken. Although it’s not known exactly when, Greymane withdrew from the Alliance and began construction of the Greymane Wall sometime between the years 8-18 ADP. After its construction, Gilneas remained culturally and politically isolated from the rest of the Seven Kingdoms and the Grand Alliance. After Scourge destroyed Lordaeron and began attacking Greymane Wall, there is no present evidence to suggest that Gilneas used paladins to fight the Scourge. Ultimately, Genn Greymane felt compelled to rely on Archmage Arugal to unleash the worgen. In sum, the evidence suggests that there was little cultural overlap between Gilneas and the Silver Hand, as the Order primarily operated within Stormwind and Lordaeron. Furthermore, there was little time for the Silver Hand to gain cultural traction in Gilneas before it broke political ties with the Alliance.
Gilnean culture has preserved a traditional form of naturalistic beliefs and magic referred to as "the Old Ways". While the magical effects of the Old Ways are superficially similar to the druidism of the night elves, the Old Ways does not involve any actual druidism. The Old Ways date to at least far back as early tribal human civilization, predating even the ancient human empire of Arathor (Ask CDev #3). The holiday of Noblegarden, which has been historically celebrated among the human kingdoms, has its origins “steeped in druidic festivals from times long past,” which may corroborate this idea. The full nature and furthest origins of the Old Ways, however, still remains unclear and hotly debated among scholarly circles. Both the spread of the teachings of the Church of the Holy Light and arcane magic contributed to the rapid decline of followers of the "Old Ways".
In the face of external cultural pressures, Gilneas managed to retain religious followers of the Old Ways. Gilneas’s relative cultural isolation contributed to the perseverance of the Old Ways among its people. Gilneas remains the only known human nation with followers of the Old Ways. Gilnean followers of the Old Ways form the religious membership of the Order of the Harvest. The Order of the Harvest consider themselves as "keepers of the old ways". Religious leaders within the Order of the Harvest are referred to as 'harvest-witches'. At some time around the Third War, off-hand reports of night elf druidism reached the fascinated ears of Gilnean citizens, who associated the name of ‘druids’ with their native 'harvest-witches'. Followers of the Old Ways were nevertheless not widespread in Gilneas, but apparently existed on the fringes of "civilized" society. Celestine of the Harvest claims that her order of harvest-witches "were drive to the edge of extinction once before".
The extinction of the Order of the Harvest was ironically prevented, however, by a Gilnean famine that struck the nation after the construction of the Greymane Wall when their crops failed. Celestine claims it was their order "who called upon the earth’s blessing and restored the harvest,". The Order was also rare enough that King Genn Greymane "had heard that druidism was practiced among some of Gilneas’s agrarian folk, but he hadn't been exposed to it until recently". It’s not clear how recently Greymane learned the Order of the Harvest, though it may have been during the crop failures of the Gilnean Famine. Gwen Armstead’s skepticism of Celestine’s beliefs and powers hints at urban or Light-following skepticism towards the Order of the Harvest.
The religious followers of the Order of the Harvest revere nature. Celestine told Gwen Armstead "the winds spoke your name", which gives Gwen the impression that the Order spends their time "conversing with nature". Celestine speaks of their practices in entirely spiritual terms, having not only "called upon the earth’s blessing" but also placing their "fate in the hands of a higher power" in which they "learn what the wild has to teach [them]". The Order of the Harvest, and Gilneas by extension, also preserved the older traditions surrounding the festival of Hallow’s End and the Wickerman. The Order may have been capable of shapeshifting even prior to contact with the night elves. It’s when King Greymane sees a night elf shapeshift out of flight form that it reminds him of Gilnean 'druids'. and Gilnean druids disguised in bear form are part of the Gilneas Liberation Front. It’s also possible that shapeshifting for the Order only became possible when the worgen curse amplified their druidic powers.
Despite the institutional hegemony of the Church of the Holy Light, Gilneans may have incorporated veneration for the spirits of the deceased. The spirits of the dead are implied to have agency. Much like within shamanistic beliefs, a certain balance must be maintained with reverent respect to the ancestral spirits. Many Gilnean headstones contain burning candles, and both bottles and flowers lie around some graves. These objects may serve as cultic offerings to the dead.
Despite the rush to evacuate Gilneas, Krennan Aranas says how "even in these times we must honor our dead". He also indicates that Gilneans consider disturbing “the resting homes” of their ancestors to be a "grave sin". The graves are not simply called the “resting places” of the ancestors, but the "resting homes", conveying that these are where the ancestors dwell. He notes the damaging of the graves at Aderic’s Repose angers the spirits. Notably, Krennan Aranas uses "spirits" interchangeably with "ghosts." He then hopes to make an offering at Aderic’s tomb so that it will "placate the ghosts of our ancestors". Aranas remarks in consolation, "We might've lost our city, but at least it looks like the dead have forgiven us".
Similar echoes of veneration are conveyed in Prince Liam’s funeral. King Genn Greymane says, "May the Light bless the spirits of our ancestors, for they've chosen to allow my son to rest upon this holy ground. It is there, surrounded by the heroes and patriots of Gilneas where he belongs". Again, Greymane speaks as if the ancestral spirits have the agency to permit the late Prince Liam’s inclusion. Furthermore, the language of spirit veneration is closely tied with the Light. The Gilnean worgen of Duskwood also choose to establish their camp near the cemetery-town of Raven Hill. Sister Elsington, a priestess of the Light, is particularly concerned about the putting the undead of the area to rest. Elsington also wants to put the forlorn spirits of Addle’s Stead at ease and give them peace through an offering of the gentle scents of the holy censer. This practice does not necessarily reflect ancestral veneration, but may be more inline with priestly exorcisms. High Priestess MacDonnell is similarly responsible for exorcising the ghosts of Sorrow Hill using holy incense to "help them move onto the next plane". Similarly, the dwarf Enohar Thunderbrew has the worgen ghosts vanquished in order to "release their spirit from this world and allow them to pass into the next".
The insidious Wolf Cult is a recent religious cult that worshipped the worgen as the "purity of essence", The worgen Alpha Prime (i.e. the night elf Ralaar Fangfire) with the aid of Archmage Argual formed the Wolf Cult to search for the Scythe of Elune to free his brethren sleeping in the Emerald Dream. The cult’s ultimate purpose, perhaps unbeknownst to its human members, was to create an army of turned-human worgen to exact revenge against Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage. Although the Wolf Cult later reappears in the Grizzly Hills, under leadership of the Scourge-aligned Shade of Argual, its connection and continuity with Alpha Prime’s Wolf Cult remains unclear.
The Wolf Cult found members among nearly all ranks and professions of Gilnean society. Initiation into the Wolf Cult first required a test of loyalty in the form of a 'righteous kill' "described as the elimination of a foe or target who challenged the mind, body, or spirit of the aspirant". These initiatory kills led to the spread of the "Starlight Slasher murders" throughout Gilneas. Aspirants who succeeded in the "righteous kill" would then receiving "the blessing of the blade", a rite that marked the individual "for the next step of the consecration process." Those who received the "blessing of the blade" would then petition to join the “Circle” and receive the infectious bite of the worgen curse.
The demigod Goldrinn, the wolf ancient, holds a special place of veneration among Gilnean worgen. The white wolf Goldrinn fought fiercely and died bravely against the Burning Legion during the War of the Ancients roughly ten-thousand years ago. After his death, however, his legacy lived on. The worgen curse has its origins in the rogue night elf druidic sect, the Druids of the Pack, whose members transformed into wolves and held Goldrinn as their patron deity. Goldrinn’s fury proved too much for the Druids of the Pack to safely control without harming friend and foe alike. Ralaar Fangfire (aka Alpha Prime), the leader of the Druids of the Pack, hoped to quell Goldrinn’s rage through combining the Fang of Goldrinn with the Staff of Elune into the Scythe of Elune. The Spirit of Goldrinn, however, rejected Elune’s power, which caused the Druids of the Pack to transform into half-wolf humanoid aberrations: the worgen.
As a consequence of the worgen curse, Gilnean worgen, including King Genn Greymane, consider Goldrinn as their "patron spirit since [their] transformation". Gilnean worgen have consequently developed a reverent awe for King Varian Wrynn of Stormwind since he is Goldrinn’s chosen champion, as they see the aura of the wolf ancient around him. A number of Gilnean worgen, such as Ian and Rio Duran "were drawn to the memory of the wolf god". and his shrine at Mount Hyjal and have become ardent followers of the wolf ancient. Ian Duran even refers to Goldrinn as "our beloved wolf god". Goldrinn’s story naturally appealed to the worgen, and they admire his "strength and wisdom" as well as his ferocity. The Shrine of Goldrinn shows evidence of food offerings, mainly fruits and grains, beside Goldrinn’s statue. It’s unclear as to what religious practices, if any, Gilneans have regarding Goldrinn.
The Gilneans are not followers of Elune though their connections with Kaldorei society may naturally propagate Elunite religious reverence among the worgen. Genn Greymane mentions Elune several times in Wolfheart. Genn does not say Elune’s name in reverence of her, but gives either vain lip service to her or respectful acknowledgment of night elf faith.
Nevertheless, Elune may become an important figure for some Gilnean worgen due to Elune’s connection to the creation of the worgen through the Scythe of Elune. Hints of the possible future syncretism of the Light with Elunite worship may be seen in the Howling Oak with Priestess Belrysa Starbreeze and Sister Almyra in close proximity. Furthermore, worgen are possibly incorporating Elunite veneration into their greetings and syncretizing it with the Light.
Architecture & HousingEdit
Most Gilnean architecture follows a similar aesthetic design. Gilnean architecture is noted for its subtle mix of rustic modesty and ornate decoration. Gilnean buildings are square or rectangular at the base. They frequently employ half-timbering framing, using either stonefield or herringbone-style brickwork (or both) for infilling. A light brown stucco covers the stone and brickwork, though in Gilneas City this stucco tends to be a darker shade of brown, though this may artificially stem from the industrial smoke. Floors are predominantly hardwood timber.
Roofs are steeply pitched, forming prominent gables, with fishscale-style shingles and tall, narrow, stone or brick chimneys with elaborate metallic chimney pots. These steeply pitched roofs serve a practical purpose by slowing down harsh winds and rains. Gilnean houses have smaller window panes, with dormer and alcove windows being common features. Multistoried houses are often jettied and with wooden corbels. Gilnean homes also frequently extend to include an underground storage cellar. Some Gilnean buildings even feature cylindrical towering extensions topped with conical roofs.
Gilneas is a hereditary monarchy. They are led by both a queen and a king and have a prince and princess.
Although Gilneas apparently has an army of some sort, the kingdom appears to instead rely mostly on maintaining a standing militia and other localized armed forces. There appear to be at least four divisions: the Gilnean army, the Gilnean royal guards, the Gilneas city guards, and the Gilnean militia. Prince Liam Greymane also mentions the existence of a “town watch” during a visit to Duskhaven, which may be another name for the local Duskhaven militia Much of the Gilnean military forces were presumably reformed into the Gilnean Liberation Front led by Lord Darius Crowley. Across all levels of organization, the Gilnean military is noteworthy for its widespread use of mechanized firearms and artillery.
Gilneas had an army, though it receives little attention. Much of the Gilnean army was likely stationed on the Greymane Wall. King Genn Greymane references the existence of generals who warned him about the recklessness and uncontrollability of the worgen initially summed by Arugal. Soldiers appear to have been armed much like the royal and city guards: chainmail, helm, broadsword, shields, and rifles. He also claims that the Scourge had cost the life of many Gilnean soldiers. When the worgen turned against the Gilnean army, the bitten Gilnean soldiers brought inside the gates of the Wall turned into worgen who would escape into the wilds.
The militia appears to be composed of common citizens. The militiamen are lightly armored, but are equipped with rapiers and blunderbuss rifles. The standing militia was used to “assault peripheral enemies” of Gilneas during the Seven Kingdoms period. Lord Vincent Godfrey commanded the militia as a “token force” during the Second War and until presumably the Cataclysm. The Gilnean militia fought in the Second War though the results are ambiguous. King Greymane angrily comments how Gilnean participation in the war resulted in "dead Gilneans, torn apart by those green scoundrels", but then he later boasts about the military success of Gilneas against the Horde to the other Alliance officials at a feast held in Darnassus. Prince Liam Greymane references the existence of a “town watch” of Duskhaven, which had to be saved from drowning. The town watch may also be another name for the local militia forces.
A royal guard also exists. Apart from their label, there is no noticeable difference in appearance of these two forces, but both the city guard and royal guard are apparently far more heavily equipped and trained than the militia. The Gilnean guard forces are identified by their use of the Gilnean tabards. They are equipped in chainmail and a face-covering helmet. They are also armed with a broadsword, shield, and a blunderbuss rifle.
Science & TechnologyEdit
The Gilnean royal family probably gave strong patronage to the natural and engineering sciences in order to ensure the long-term prosperity of the industrial reforms. The eagerness for worgen, such as Wulfred Harrys, to join the Dwarven Explorers’ League points to prior scientific training. Gilneas likely had their own national organizational equivalent to the Royal Stormwind Society of Science. Unlike the spiritual perspective of their Lordaeronian neighbors, Gilneas held a more rational and pragmatic worldview. Detective Halford Ramsey, in particular, reveals the value placed on deductive reasoning held by Gilneans.
In Gilneas, priests commonly heal the sick and wounded. In rural agrarian communities, druids may serve similarly as local healers (Quest: A Rejuvenating Touch). Specialized professions (i.e., doctors, trauma surgeons, physicians, nurses, and medics) also administer medical functions of healing, first aid, and surgery. Although none of these specialized professions are attested in Gilneas, they are common enough across the civilizations of the Eastern Kingdoms to warrant their probable existence.
Although Gilnean priests or druids commonly performed healing, Gilneas demonstrates signs of developing a form of medicine science through alchemy. Professional alchemists in Gilneas are commonly called ‘chemists.’ Gilnean chemists acted as a combination of physician, pharmacist, and alchemist. Royal Chemist Krennan Aranas is considered by Genn Greymane as one of the world’s greatest alchemists and was responsible for saving Tess Greymane’s life at childbirth through his potions. Krennan Aranas also devises, with the aid of night elf Belrysa Starbreeze, a potion that helps restoring the minds of feral worgen. The Gilnean alchemists Master Oliver Harris and Apprentice Fess of Duskwood devise a similar potion using local ingredients.
Following their industrialization, Gilneas was one of the most technologically advanced nations of the Seven Kingdoms. Although the nation was technologically advanced among human nations, it still trailed behind the technological superiority of dwarves, goblins, and gnomes. In their technological approaches, Gilneans share much in common with the dwarves of Ironforge. Gilneans prefer practical applications of technology that will benefit the livelihood and protection of their nation. Gilnean engineering was primarily used in industrial factories for manufacturing and national economic development. Gilneans have also wholly incorporated cannons, firearms, and explosives into their military forces.
Technological advancement among the Seven Kingdoms expanded rapidly after the formation Grand Alliance. Liberal trade and cultural cross-pollination between constituent members boosted the technological development of human nations due to dwarven crafters and gnomish engineers. Stormwind in particular grew in technological prowess due to the direct aid from dwarves and gnomes in the rebuilding of their capital city. Alliance engineering, however, is almost entirely the purview of gnomes and dwarves, with generally minimal human involvement.
Although worgen naturally enjoy hunting the wilds, many Gilnean worgen still retain a penchant for engineering and metalworking. After the fall of Gilneas, Gilneans have begun lending their engineering expertise to the night elves in Darnassus. Even after the worgen epidemic, Gilneans continue to regularly use cannons and firearms in combat. Hierophant Malyk shows no reticence with using gnomish engineering for dealing with the black dragons of the Charred Vale.
It is difficult to ascertain Gilneas’s relationship with the arcane arts. Almost all human mages, regardless of national affiliation, received their formal arcane training from Dalaran prior to the Age of Chaos. The Kirin Tor even counted Gilnean mages, such as Archmage Arugal, amongst their ranks. Mages, however, are a relatively rare sight among Gilneans in comparison with other human kingdoms. Apart from Archmage Arugal, Myriam Spellwaker, Lareth Beld, Vitus Darkwalker, and Laera Dubois are the few known identified Gilnean arcanists. Forsaken adventurers also fight unnamed Worgen Battlemages in the Ruins of Gilneas. It’s unclear as to how the construction of Greymane Wall affected the training in the arcane arts. It’s possible that most Gilnean mages trained after the Wall can only be considered “hedge wizards” by Dalaran standards.
The nation of Gilneas does not appear to have strongly supported the arcane arts. Gilneas does not boast an Academy of Arcane Arts and Sciences like Stormwind. Gilneas also lacks any known or recognizable mage towers like those found among the nations of Stormwind, Stromgarde, or Lordaeron. Arugal was Greymane’s "Royal Archmage", which likely involved some patronage of the arcane arts. While not necessarily indicative of nationwide sentiment of mages, Genn thinks on how he "had never met [an arcanist] whom he would have called empathetic".
Practicing the fel magic of warlocks was likely illegal, as with the rest of the Seven Kingdoms. Warlocks, nevertheless, existed on the furthest fringes of Gilnean society. Gwen Armstead describes Vitus Darkwalker, a secret warlock, as a strange fellow who gave her the creeps with his talk of 'forbidden knowledge'. At the Livery Outpost, Vitus Darkwalker keeps his distance from the other Gilneans by hiding behind the building. The worgen Zinnin sits on the enigmatic Council of the Black Harvest, composed of some of Azeroth’s most powerful warlocks.
Prior to the Age of Chaos, Stormwind was the mightiest of the Seven Kingdoms, and King Archibald boasted of having built up Gilneas without the help of Stormwind. At the onset of the Second War, Genn Greymane’s heart bled for Stormwind and the young King Varian Wrynn, but he did not feel as if that was justification enough to join the Alliance of Lordaeron due to the costs of Gilnean lives. King Genn reluctantly supported Lord Regent Lothar as commander of the Alliance army due to his lack of a nation and the political benefit of his Arathi bloodline. Stormwind and Gilneas were frequently at odds within the Alliance. Their opposition had little to do with national rivalries, but with their drastically different attitudes towards the Alliance of Lordaeron. Stormwind was arguably the greatest beneficiary of the Alliance’s success, since the Alliance not only helped Stormwind regain its territory from the Horde, but also helped pay for the reconstruction of Stormwind. Gilneas on the other hand was skeptical of the Alliance, particularly of Lordaeron’s role as its central power, and Genn also felt that the Alliance was nothing but an economic drain to Gilneas. King Terenas convinced the Alliance nations, including Gilneas, to contribute to the rebuilding of Stormwind and the construction of Nethergarde Keep. Gilneas, however, eventually left the Alliance due to continued border disputes and the high taxes that resulted from the many post-war Alliance projects.
King Varian Wrynn and the worgen under King Genn Greymane effectively turned the tide against the Horde forces of Garrosh in Ashenvale. After the battle, Stormwind became a supportive sponsoring party for readmitting Gilneas back into the Alliance. King Genn now stands beside of King Varian in Stormwind Keep, and King Varian has deployed the 7th Legion to aid the Gilneas Liberation Front reclaim their homelands.
Gilneas probably held strong cultural relations and with long historical ties with the various dwarf clans of Khaz Modan. During the times of the Arathor Empire, the humans of Gilneas and Alterac explored Khaz Modan, establishing first contact with the dwarves. It was around this time, “The humans and dwarves shared many secrets of metal-smithing and engineering and discovered a common love for battle and storytelling, which marked the beginning of friendship between these two races. In later centuries, King Archibald boasts of having built up Gilneas without the assistance of Stormwind, Lordaeron, or Quel’Thalas, but conspicuously leaves out the similarly industrial nation of Ironforge. Indeed, Gilneas and Ironforge share a similar dedication to industrialization, metalworking, and engineering, including the use of firearms and cannons in their militaries. There is not, however, any direct indication of Gilneas’s foreign policy with Ironforge or the Aerie Peak.
At the welcoming banquet of the Alliance summit in Darnassus, Genn Greymane spends much of his time conversing with most of Kurdran’s party, regaling them with tales of his battles against the Horde while enjoying dwarven ale. Furthermore, the dwarves were the most eager non-sponsoring party to readmit Gilneas back into the Alliance. Darnassus initially acts as Gilneas's chief sponsor, since they are their primary benefactors. In the second vote, both Darnassus and Stormwind effectively act as Gilneas's sponsors. The dwarves were the first to support Gilneas in the first vote, and they were the first to support Gilneas in the second vote.
Throughout the world of Azeroth, Gilneans and dwarves work in close company. When the Horde initially encounter’s Jaina’s Human Expedition in Kalimdor during the Third War, a dwarven mountain king commands the Gilneas Brigade. The blacksmith Jordan Stilwell of Pyrewood Village later moved shop to Ironforge where he worked closely with the local dwarves. Dareth, a Gilnean druid, also stands by Jordan Stilwell outside the gates of Ironforge. The dwarven Explorers' League readily extended membership to the Gilnean Wulfred Harrys and other worgen. Gilneans are also found in the dwarven camp in the Badlands. In Hillsbrad Foothills, the Bloodfang worgen and Stormpike dwarves of Alterac become mutual allies against the Forsaken. In the Blasted Lands, it's the dwarf, Enohar Thunderbrew who sends you to help the spirits of the worgen pass on to the next life. The dwarf Garrod Pubhammer can also be found among the Gilneans of Surwich in the Blasted Lands.
Gilneas has minimal direct contact with the gnomes of Gnomeregan, so their relations remain difficult to ascertain. At the Alliance summit in Darnassus, none of the interactions between High Tinker Gelbin Mekkatorque and his people with Genn and the Gilneans are recorded. Gnomes and Gilneans are found in common company in only a few scattered locations, such as Fort Livingston in Northern Stranglethorn and Windshear Hold in the Stonetalon Mountains. The most noteworthy interaction between Gilneans and gnomes occurs at Farwatcher’s Glen in Stonetalon. The gnome Salsbury the “Help” is dressed in Gilnean fashion and standing alongside the worgen druid Hierophant Malyk, hoping to gain his trust so that he can be taught how to become the world’s first “gnomegen”. Hierophant Malyk also uses Salsbury’s engineering to help exterminate the black dragon roost at the Charred Vale.
Gilneas had little political and cultural contact with the reclusive high elven nation of Quel’Thalas. Nevertheless, the Kingdom of Gilneas may have not thought well of the high elves. King Archibald Greymane, in particular, speaks of how "[Gilneas] certainly did not grovel to the long-eared arrogance of those demi-humans in Quel'Thalas". King Genn Greymane would have carried his father’s sentiments of Quel’Thalas as well. King Genn, however, does not provide his reaction to the prospect of Anduin Lothar, as a descendant of King Thoradin, to act as an emissary to the elves. Gilneas withdrew from the Alliance shortly after Quel’thalas, though for not entirely the same reason. As allies of the Horde, the blood elves of Quel’Thalas have become the sworn political enemies of Gilneas, though there is little love lost between the two nations.
In a short amount of time, Gilneas has developed close national ties with the night elves in the Alliance. These racial bonds have been formed over spilt Horde blood, guilt, and gratitude. Even before Gilneans ever encountered night elves, their people had received second or third-hand rumors of the night elves and their druids. As the night elf Belysra Starbreeze claims, given the night elven origin of the worgen curse, "the destinies of [their] two races have been linked since the Curse befell [them]". Velinde Starsong was the first night elf who sought to investigate Arugal’s worgen of Silverpine, though her mission would fail in Duskwood, but she would not be the last. Other night elves began sneaking into Gilneas to investigate the worgen shortly before the Shattering. King Genn Greymane worked closely in secret with the moon priestess Belysra Starbreeze, who taught him much of the night elves and worgen in hopes of stopping the Wolf Cult and its leader Ralaar Fangfire. King Genn kept the night elves’ presence in Gilneas a secret, fearful that Lord Vincent Godfrey and other lords would be unable to handle the full ramifications of the truth. King Genn and Belysra were, however, unable to stop Alpha Prime in time, and the Wolf Cult unleashed the worgen epidemic upon Gilneas City and other surrounding towns. In the time that followed, many night elf druids assisted with restoring the sanity of feral worgen.
Following the fall of Gilneas, the night elves transported much of the Gilnean populace back to Darnassus even though that was not their original mission. Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage now host the Gilnean refugees within their capital of Darnassus. Their druids grew the Howling Oak, which was created from a tree seed native to Gilneas, in Darnassus for the Gilneans. Malfurion works for the betterment of Gilneas largely out of the guilt he feels for being indirectly responsible for the nation’s worgen epidemic, which led to its downfall. According to Krennan Aranas, the night elves are not a people “to throw out idle welcomes to just anyone,” testifying their commitment to the Gilneans.
Gilneans view night elves with a mix of gratitude and humility. While the Gilneans are thankful towards the night elves for their continual assistance with Gilneas, the worgen curse, and providing a place of refuge, the night elves are, nevertheless, a reminder of their fallenness as a people and that the proud Gilneans required aid. Gilneans generally do not like feeling dependent on others and would prefer to have a hand in saving their own hides. Gilneans help the night elves to not only show their gratitude, but also to prove their own worth as allies.
Night elves, especially among the druids, assisted the Gilneans and the worgen in establishing communities across Azeroth, such as at Talonbranch Glade (Felwood), Farwatcher’s Glen (Stonetalon Mountains), and Surwich (Blasted Lands). Gilneans are otherwise a fairly common sight among night elven communities. Shandris Feathermoon has even brought female Gilnean worgen of the Moonclaw Pack into the Sentinels. The Gilneans Silvia, Tambre, and Adella received training from Shandris Feathermoon herself so that they may lead their pack and reclaim Gilneas. Lyros Swiftwind, who assisted the Gilneans in Gilneas and the Howling Oak, has also begun teaching the worgen of using wisps at Talonbranch Glade.
Yet not all night elves took kindly to their Gilnean guests. Night elves such as Maiev Shadowsong and her closest wardens felt that the night elves would be better off without the worgen. To that end, Maiev Shadowsong had tried to blame her killings of the Highborne on the Gilnean worgen. Although Maiev’s plot ultimately failed, it’s unclear what relationship the Gilneans have with the Highborne elves. King Genn also apparently distrusted the Highborne after learning of their past history and assigned his aide-de-camp Eadrik observe them, though Malfurion dissuaded King Genn from further spying. Archmage Mordent Evenshade, the leader of the Highborne, can be found among the Gilnean refugees at the Howling Oak in Darnassus. The worgen Sentinel Silvia works with the Highborne at the Tower of Estulan in Feralas.
There has been minimal interaction between the Exodar draenei and Gilneas, with all of it happening after the fall of Gilneas. At the Darnassus Summit, King Genn briefly exchanged pleasantries with the prophet Velen, but Velen’s attention became fixed on Prince Anduin of Stormwind for the rest of his time there. Ishanah, high priestess of the Aldor, representing Velen, would later vote in favor of admitting Gilneas into the Alliance. Although Gilneas likely considers the draenei their allies, the two races have kept their distance, whether intentionally or unintentionally, from each other.
Any Gilnean foreign policy towards the Horde only began following the arrival of the Stormwind refugees and King Terenas Menethil II’s call for the formation of the Alliance. Despite their initial reluctance to join the Alliance of Lordaeron, the people of Gilneas have only held the Horde and its races in negative regards. Gilneans, particularly King Genn, viewed the orcish Horde as a bunch of "green scoundrels" and "bloody, savage beasts". King Genn Greymane believed that Gilneas could withstand the Horde own their own, but he was nevertheless convinced by Lord Godfrey and Lord Crowley to join the Alliance, though he only provided a token force. Although King Genn boasted of his victories against the Horde during the Second War, he also felt the war only gave his nation dead Gilneans. Following the Second War, King Genn felt that the maintenance and operation of the orc internment camps were an unnecessary expensive drain on Gilnean coffers. Although King Genn seceded Gilneas from the Alliance, his negative views towards the Horde never wavered.
The people of Gilneas, however, would not encounter the Horde again until much after the Third War with the spread of the Forsaken into Silverpine Forest. Although Pyrewood Village and Shadowfang Keep - both of which had already become woren strongholds for the Wolf Cult of Alpha Prime and Arugal - fell to the Forsaken, Greymane Wall held strong. The Horde, however, did not become a serious threat to the nation until the rise of Garrosh Hellscream as warchief of the Horde before the time of the Shattering. Garrosh ordered Banshee-Queen Sylvannas Windrunner and the Forsaken to take Gilneas to procure use of its ports. The Forsaken renewed their siege against Gilneas. To secure victory, Sylvannas made a secret pact with the worgen Alpha Prime, founder of the Wolf Cult, to weaken Gilneas’s interior in exchange for the Scythe of Elune. Furthermore, Lord Vincent Godfrey and the other eastern lords Baron Ashbury and Lord Walden sought to make a deal with the Forsaken by capturing King Genn, though their deaths prevented further negotiation from taken place.
Seeking admittance in the Alliance, King Genn sought to prove the worth of the worgen as allies against the Horde. Gilnean worgen alongside King Varian Wrynn of Storwmind fought against the Horde forces under Garrosh Hellscream in the forests of Ashenvale. Their ferocity against the Horde convinced King Varian that Gilneas and the worgen belonged among the Alliance. Now with Gilneas back in the fold of the Alliance, King Genn has committed his people against the Horde, wherever they may be, or whatever other challenges face the Alliance in the hopes that the Alliance will help his accursed people regain their homelands.
Trivia & NotesEdit
- During the Invasion of Kalimdor, a the Gilneans traveled to Kalimdor and aided in the attack. They were referred to as the Gilneas Brigade and sent by Lord Darius Crowley.
- The Gilneas flag color is black.
- The Gilneans have heavy accents, relating to real-world England.
- Gilneans are known for their sparkling water beverage.