The Black Knight
The Black Knight/The Skeleton Knight
The Black Knight is a nod to the Monty Python Character of the same name. Blizzard loves putting pop culture references into their games especially World of Warcraft. You first meet him at a place called the Argent Tournament, something that the Grand Tournament in Hearthstone was roughly based off of. The idea was that in order to train and also weed out those unworthy of facing the Lich King, both the Alliance and Horde gathered and threw a tournament under the banner of the neutral Argent Crusade run by Tirion Fordring. This is his explanation for the Tournament:
"Combatants of the Alliance and Horde! You are welcome under the banner of the Argent Crusade.
To the south lies our goal. We will march to the Citadel and cut out the heart of the Scourge where it dwells.
But this is no task to be taken lightly.
A massive attack with every able-bodied man would end in needless slaughter. Every soldier lost would rise as the enemy. Azeroth would be left defenceless against the undead threat.
Instead, we require a small, concentrated strike force for the attack to succeed. For that reason, we have created the Argent Tournament.
Within these walls, you will be tested. Your skill in combat will be matched against the fiercest dangers Northrend has to offer under the watchful eyes of your leaders.
Your prowess, your might, and your cunning will be under close watch. These games will determine the best Azeroth has to offer.
The victors will take their rightful place in the assault upon the Citadel. We will stand together in the face of evil, and Arthas WILL fall!"
As you participate in the tournament which involves jousting and combat against both the opposing faction and captured or summoned enemies, you gain reputation until you are able to join the contingent that will eventually raid Icecrown Citadel. Some of the enemies include Argent Confessor Paletress and Eadric the Pure, both Hearthstone cards, as well as Gormok the Impaler, Acidmaw and Dreadscale, Icehowl, Lord Jaraxxus, Eydis Darkbane and Fjola Lightbane, Anub’arak and The Black Knight.
Eventually you gain enough renown with the crusade that they decide you are the one to take care of a problem they have. One of the contestants, known only as the Black Knight, is gaining a reputation. All of his prospective opponents have met a nasty end before they could challenge him. You are sent off to investigate his background, to learn more about him.
Since all the participants of the Argent Tournament must give information about who they are before they participate you know he claims to hail from Westfall. So off you go to Westfall, to check in on the Cooper family. Turns out they have no children so you relay this information to the authorities and they decide it’s suspicious enough to investigate further. One of the crusaders gives you a magical crystal that has been blessed by the light and will allow you to discern what caused the death of his opponents. The crystal reveals that the first one seems to have been burned, the second poisoned and the third was stabbed in the back. After returning to the crusader and relaying the news you are sent out again to discover what you can from his squire who has also been acting suspicious, going out to “collect firewood” and returning with only a few twigs hours later.
Finding the squire you knock him unconscious and search his bags, finding within them what amounts to the murder weapons; ropes, gags, poisons, knives and some oils and rags that add up to firestarting materials. When you bring these back to the crusaders they are sure now that he is the murderer and are willing to go a bit further. They enlist the help of some mages of the Kirin Tor to make them an enchanted bridle to use on The Black Knight's mount to force it to take you to it’s home. They wish you to discover why he is killing competitors and who he works for.
Using the bridle you ride The Black Knight’s flying bone gryphon back to the knight’s hideout where you very conveniently discover a stolen invitation to the tournament and The Black Knight’s Orders which read as follows; “ Sow distrust and discord among the ranks of our enemies. Use this tournament to destroy their greatest warriors.”
This news shocks the crusaders and they inform you that this can only mean one thing. The Black Knight is a member of The Cult of the Damned and is working for Arthas himself.
The cult of the Damned is an organization of living that willingingly work for the Lich king and are more useful to him alive for purposes of infiltration. The Crusader Rhydalla tells you it is finally time to act, she orders you to take her warhorse and immediately challenge The Black Knight to battle in the light of day where he cannot hide and murder in the dark. You must attack him on horseback and then, after you have done enough damage, he will challenge you to hand-to-hand combat to finish it. If you succeed in defeating The Black Knight you are rewarded with the achievement “It’s only a flesh wound”.
This however is not the end of the tale. You must return to the crusader for another quest when rumors start going around the tournament of a dark presence in the graveyard where the Black Knight is buried. When you approach his grave you see through a black mist the forms of two cultists and are attacked. What are they up to? Of course they are gathering his body to raise him up even more powerful than before.
You meet The Black Knight in your final meeting in the 5 man dungeon Trial of the Crusader where he flies into the battle unannounced and attacks you. In this battle The Black Knight is now Forsaken and uses the abilities of a Death Knight against you in battle but after he falls he rises up again as the Skeleton Knight and finally after this incarnation is defeated he rises up yet again as a wraith and taunts you with the words: “My rotting flesh was just getting in the way” and “I have no need for bones to best you”.