The Defias Brotherhood is the creation of one of the greatest human engineers in history, Edwin VanCleef. After the Alliance recaptured Stormwind at the end of the Second War, King Terenas of Lordaeron was determined to help rebuild his ally's city. He convinced the Alliance to send money and laborers to Stormwind City to effect the repairs. The group in charge was the Stonemasons' Guild, headed by master builder Edwin VanCleef. The guild reconstructed Stormwind as a city of splendor, one that eclipsed memories of the old city. The city, which should have taken a generation to rebuild, was completed in less than 10 years. Even his most grudging enemies had to bow to the man's talents as an architect and engineer.

After the guild finished the job, though, the corrupt House of Nobles refused to pay the guild for its work.

King Varian was unable to fix matters because the House of Nobles held too much political power and outmaneuvered him repeatedly. Some of the more senior of the Stonemasons, including VanCleef, were offered governmental jobs if they'd just be quiet and play along. However, Edwin VanCleef was not willing to betray his workmen. He spat on the floor and walked out of the halls he'd built, vowing that he'd make the city pay one way or another. Shortly afterward, at VanCleef's urging, workers rioted in Stormwind City. Several people died, and VanCleef — and many other members of the Stonemasons' Guild — left the city for good.

Several years after the riot, the outlaw gangs of the Defias Brotherhood first appeared in Westfall. They attempted to foment rebellion among the farmers and merchantfolk, but when the war-weary people told them that they wished to be left in peace, VanCleef turned to more ruthless tactics. Merchants who brought goods to Stormwind were robbed. Farmsteads that provided Stormwind with food were razed, or infested with harvest golems. Eventually no tax collector could safely ride through the streets of Elwynn Forest, even with a large escort. As VanCleef strangled Stormwind, stone by stone, he used the money he stole to pay for bands of mercenaries. Some of his men were captured, but VanCleef played even that to his advantage; inside the Stockade of Stormwind City, his men gathered a force for rebellion. Stormwind and its loyal townships found themselves under an unexpected siege, and thanks to sinister machinations of others, the towns' cries for help went unheard.

Buoyed by his success, VanCleef christened his gang of outlaws, rebels, and brigands the Defias Brotherhood. These lowlifes still see themselves as the wronged party fighting a battle against arrogant nobles and the fools who unquestioningly follow them. I suppose they have a point. In Stormwind City, however, people tell different tales: of citizens being driven from their homes, of children murdered, and many other atrocities committed by a band of thugs who are motivated solely by the joy of terror. At what point do atrocities cancel a just grievance?

VanCleef's most ambitious plan involves the reconstruction of a huge war machine, an ogre juggernaut from the First War. He has hired goblins to repair the ship, as it was their race that w o ft L D

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