The Deadmines are an abandoned cave system in the region of Westfall that once was home to Stormwind’s most expansive mining operations. The gold from the mines is said to have once accounted for one third of Stormwind’s entire treasure reserves, but the invasion of the Orcish Horde in the First War scattered the miners, with rumors soon spreading that the mines were haunted.
The First War
During the war, Sir Anduin Lothar led an expedition into the Deadmines to recover a holy book from Northshire Abbey called the Tome of Divinity, which had been stolen by an ogre named Turok and his followers. Turok had sought refuge in the Deadmines with his forbidden orc lover, Griselda Blackhand, to escape the wrath of her father, Warchief Blackhand of the Horde. The ogres overwhelmed Lothar in combat and imprisoned him for twenty months before he was rescued by the Alliance. Turok and Griselda survived, but were soon cut down by an orcish raiding party sent by Blackhand.
The abandoned Deadmines. Seriously, can you blame anyone for thinking this place would be haunted?
Rise of the Defias
After the First War, the mines remained unoccupied for many years until a pirate named Captain Bramblebeard and his crew set up headquarters there. However, they were soon wiped out when the mines were taken over by a mysterious new faction of brigands called the Defias Brotherhood. These bandits had once been laborers of the Stonemason’s Guild who worked hard to rebuild Stormwind after the orcs destroyed it at the end of the First War. However, after finishing the city, these laborers had been denied payment by the nobles of the kingdom. What neither side knew was that both had been manipulated by the noble Lady Prestor, secretly the Black Dragon Onyxia in disguise, in order to further divide the kingdom and create unrest to destabilize it. The dragon’s plan worked perfectly, as the furious workers swore to destroy the city they had worked so hard to build in retaliation for the greed of those who lived in it thanklessly. They took to wearing red bandanas in defiance of the nobility to represent blood shed by the oppressed.
Members of the Defias Brotherhood are always recognizable by their trademark red bandanas.
Led by Edwin VanCleef, and secret support from Lady Prestor, the Defias Brotherhood formed and trained in the arts of stealth and subterfuge, stealing back what they considered to be rightfully theirs. Over the years, the Brotherhood’s ranks grew as more and more outcasts, poor and desperate people joined them, amounting to the size of a small army. Knowing that a group this size needed a stronghold, Edwin seized the Deadmines for its strategic location. From there, he sent his forces out to sow chaos and keep Stormwind's military forces busy while he oversaw the construction of a massive ship called The Juggernaut in the Deadmines.
The Juggernaut under construction in the Deadmines
Juggernauts were heavily-armored ships equipped with many heavy cannons. They had originally been designed by goblins for the Horde in the First War and mainly served crews of ogres. Knowing this, VanCleef hired crews of goblins to reconstruct such a ship for him, planning to use it to bombard Stormwind to dust as his final retribution. By this point, the Defias Brotherhood had lost any shred of its noble intentions of justice that had been a part of it’s founding. They were now nothing more than cutthroat thieves and mercenaries with a burning hatred for the nobility of Stormwind. With the aid of allies in the form of the Riverpaw Gnolls, Bloodsail Buccaneers and the Strashaz Naga, all under the control of Lady Prestor, the Brotherhood caused countless problems for the people of Stormwind throughout the regions of Elwynn Forest, Duskwood, Westfall and Northshire Valley. They even managed to infiltrate the Stormwind Stockades to cause prison riots and assisted in kidnapping King Varian Wrynn for Lady Prestor.
Under VanCleef and Prestor, the Defias were able to unite all sorts of troublemakers and enemies of the Alliance to cause as much damage as possible.
By the time the Juggernaut was almost complete, the Deadmines were home to quite a diverse group of inhabitants. In addition to the original human founders of the Brotherhood, the goblin engineers constructing the Juggernaut had set up shop and further filled the ranks with weaponized Harvest Golems which drove the farmers of Westfall from their land so the Brotherhood could claim it. One of the goblin leaders was named Sneed. Serving as VanCleef’s Lumbermaster on the project, Sneed constructed many of his own personal deadly weapons, such as Sneed's Old Shredder and Goliath, Sneed's Masterpiece. Another notable goblin was Captain Greenskin whose job was to manage the Juggernaut with his first mate Mr. Smite. Among his crew was a murloc chef known as Cookie the Cook. Before the ship could be completed and sailed, however, the Deadmines were raided by Alliance forces who slew VanCleef, Sneed, Captain Greenskin and Mr. Smite, although Cookie managed to escape.
The original crew and kingpins of the Defias' Juggernaut. They would be wiped out and replaced in later years.
A Daughter's Vengence
As proof of their victory, the Alliance raiding party cut off VanCleef’s head to show to the king, but unknowingly left behind Edwin’s hidden and very traumatized daughter, Vanessa VanCleef. She had seen every moment of her father’s death and decapitation and would grow up with the goal of avenging him and continuing his work. After five years, she had worked to rebuild the Defias Brotherhood and officially became its leader. Hiring new workers to finish the ship her father had started, she decided to take advantage of the recent turmoil caused by Deathwing’s Cataclysm and destroy Stormwind for good.
Vanessa was a master of poisons and deceptions in contrast to her father's focus on sheer force.
After the death of her father, Vanessa had been adopted by a couple in Westfall and given the name “Hope”. She used this identity to hide her true intentions from the people of Westfall and the Alliance until the time was right. It was almost too late when her plans were discovered, prompting another team of Alliance adventurers to fight their way through the Deadmines and its new occupants to once again prevent the Juggernaut from ever setting sail. The new chief carpenter of the project was a goblin named Helix Gearbreaker, a rogue who was ironically scared of shadows, spiders, and preferred to fight in broad daylight. The harvest golems had also been upgraded by the Brotherhood, resulting in the extremely deadly Foe Reaper 4000, which terrorized the fields of Westall, and the Foe Reaper 5000, which guarded the Deadmines. The new commanders of the Juggernaut were the worgen Admiral Ripsnarl and, unofficially, the returned Captain Cookie. While Cookie still performed his duties as ship cook, he claimed the title of captain to the extent that anyone who dared question it came down with mysterious food poisoning. Still, none of these fierce opponents could overcome the might of the Alliance strike team that assaulted the Deadmines.
Vanessa's pick of replacements for the new and improved Defias Brotherhood. From left, Helix Gearbreaker, Foe Reaper 5000, Admiral Ripsnarl, and "Captain" Cookie. They fell just like their predecessors.
With her crew dead, Vanessa confronted the adventurers herself, using neurotoxin to cloud their minds. Unable to stand her ground, she faked her own death and would appear years later at first as an enemy, and then a member, of the secret rogue organization known as the Uncrowned. The Deadmines themselves would see no further inhabitants aside from the odd creatures, refugee or leftover goblin tech that still might roam the abandoned shafts.