(Part 4 of 4 of a series of lore-related posts inspired by the Cataclysm trailer)
What exactly happened to Princess Calia Menethil? Though mentioned once or twice in passing in Arthas' novel, we don't know where she is, or if she is even still alive. Though she was betrothed to Lord Daval Prestor, who was the dragon Deathwing in disguise, they were never actually wed as Deathwing was forced into hiding shortly after the marriage was announced. And when Arthas killed Terenas and destroyed Lordaeron, there was no mention of his sister escaping or being killed.
So just where is she? I've got a few theories about Calia's current whereabouts. Buckle down - this post is LONG.
Calia Hastings, Member of SI:7
There is one Calia presently in the game, Calia Hastings of SI:7, an Alliance quest-giver found in Theramore. Could this be the former princess of Lordaeron? Theramore IS where the Lordaeron refugees landed after fleeing the Scourge, after all. Perhaps she changed her name to never again be associated with her monstrous younger brother?
Well, while the name matches, little else supports this theory. Princess Calia was blonde, and this Calia has reddish brown hair. This is certainly not proof, of course - hell, even players have access to Barber Shops! However, Calia Hastings has a very firm, professional demeanor, and her quests are all military in nature, revolving around aggressively discrediting and confronting militia dissenters. Her quest text and attitude seem to indicate a no-nonsense, hardened background. In contrast, Calia Menethil is described in Arthas: Rise of the Lich King as being "delicately boned, with a face right out of old paintings, pale skinned and soft" - the complete opposite of Calia Hastings.
I suppose it's possible that Princess Calia joined the Theramore military and/or SI:7 after fleeing Lordaeron...but in my opinion, that's quite a stretch, since it's completely different than the lifestyle she was accustomed to. Also, if she did escape to Kalimdor, what happened to her aides, her assistants? I doubt very much they would let her become a common soldier. In fact, as the sole sane member of the Menethil line, she likely would have been thrust into a position of leadership, like young Varian Wrynn was after his father was murdered.
Additionally, as a member of the extremely well-informed SI:7, Calia Hastings would be well aware of Arthas' sudden re-emergence and actions over the course of WotLK. If she really was Calia Menethil, where's her reaction? Even if she had completely disowned and distanced herself from Arthas, I'm guessing she would still have SOME kind of emotional reaction, or there would be some breadcrumb quest leading us to her with some tidbits about his past, or something.
In conclusion, even though they share a name, that's the only similarity. I don't think Calia Hastings is Lordaeron's missing Princess.
Prisoner of the Forsaken
One of the more intriguing Calia theories didn't actually occur in WoW, the earlier Warcraft games, or the novels. In the World of Warcraft tabletop roleplaying supplement "Horde Player's Guide," there is a short story about a human paladin named Andarin Lightblade, who infiltrates the Undercity to free a prisoner. He is discovered by a Forsaken priest named Trevor, who in life was friends with Leonid Barthalomew the Revered, a well-known undead member of the Argent Dawn.
Like Leonid, Trevor has grown disenchanted with Forsaken society, and despite being abandoned by the Light, refuses to turn to darkness. He tells Andarin that he wishes to follow in his friend's footsteps and join the Argent Dawn, and offers to help Andarin locate and free his imprisoned ally if the paladin will help him fulfill this goal, and one other task. Suspicious, Andarin questions him about the other task, and Trevor informs him that he too, has a prisoner he wishes to free.
While Andarin fights the abomination guards, Trevor sneaks into the prison area and frees the prisoners. The first is Andarin's companion, a human mage, but the second is a girl who recognizes Trevor and is shocked to see him. The story ends with Trevor greeting her with a bow and saying "Good evening, my princess."
Could this be Calia Menethil? If Trevor was a citizen of Lordaeron, which is very likely, then it is certainly possible that he served the Menethils in life. It's reasonable to assume that Calia would recognize him due to his former status as a priest, and that she would be surprised to find a familiar and friendly (though skeletal) face in the foul dungeons of her former home. We also get the impression from Trevor's reverence towards the Argent Dawn that he has retained his sense of morality and devotion - it would definitely be plausible that he also retained his loyalty to the royal family that he previously served.
Granted, this is all speculation. For all we know, the girl is simply a regular person that Trevor is fond of, and his "princess" title for her is merely a nickname. Perhaps he promised her that he would rescue her from her fate, and she is surprised that he, as an undead, kept his word. Or alternately, a darker possibility is that Trevor actually wants to kill the girl, but hasn't been able to get her alone, where his dark deed would go unwitnessed. His words and actions could easily be twisted about to be sarcastic and ironic. Maybe he's avenging a past crime, or is after personal retribution. Who knows!
Despite the uncertainty, I think this would be a fascinating explanation of Calia's whereabouts. It is logical, it fits established Lordaeron/Forsaken history, and it's a great little story. I would LOVE to see Trevor as a new Argent Dawn member come Cataclysm, reunited with his friend Leonid and embraced by the Light once again.
Last but not least, even though Lordaeron is no longer the kingdom it once was, that doesn't mean being its heir would be meaningless. Another possible fate for Calia has to do with her infamous fiancé - Deathwing.
Companion of Deathwing the Destroyer
We shouldn't forget that at one point in time, Calia Menethil was to marry Lord Daval Prestor, at the decree of King Terenas. Prestor, as mentioned, turned out to be Deathwing in disguise. Of course, Princess Calia wasn't aware of Presto's alter ego, but she still wasn't happy about the arrangement. In tears, she turned to her brother Arthas, sadly explaining that their father had given her no choice in the decision. Arthas responded to her plight by...well, by going out and riding his horse around. I think it's safe to say he had some issues.
Fortunately for Calia, Deathwing was forced into hiding by Rhonin and some other heroes during the events of the novel Day of the Dragon, so the marriage never happened. Crisis averted for Calia, right?
Well, not necessarily. A curious item can be fished up from Dalaran's fountain, Princess Calia Menethil's Copper Coin, which raises some interesting questions.
The coin's wording would indicate that it was tossed into the fountain before she was betrothed. At first glance, it doesn't really make sense - if Calia liked Prestor, why was she so upset when Terenas announced that she would be marrying him? Was the coin simply a remnant of a youthful, girlish crush that she had since grown out of?
Maybe not, actually. When she is pouring her heart out to Arthas, Calia is less upset about who she is marrying than the fact that she had no say in the matter. She never actually states that she doesn't like Prestor, just that she resents being treated as a political offering.
When Arthas asks her if she loves Prestor, she replies that she barely knows him, that "he's never taken the slightest..." before stopping short. I think this might be a subtle, telling line. Prestor had never taken the slightest...interest in her, we can assume she was about to say? Interesting. This almost sounds like Calia had wanted Prestor to notice her, and she is miffed or insulted that he hadn't. As for why she stops herself in mid-sentence, it's simple - she's embarrassed to admit she actually had/has a crush on him. Maybe that coin in Dalaran's fountain isn't so inaccurate, after all.
Of course, even if Calia never did love Prestor, that doesn't mean she never ended up as his wife/consort/companion against her will. Deathwing is extremely talented at magically manipulating the minds of others, as shown by his delicate hold over the Alliance leadership during the Second War. Hell, even without using magic he's a master diplomat, capable of convincing his fellow Dragon Aspects into infusing their power into the Dragon Soul, weakening them enough that he was able to overpower them. I imagine it would be child's play to twist the thoughts of an untrained, sheltered human girl into serving him, and maybe even loving him.
Why would Deathwing want Calia around, willing companion or not? Simple: she's a weapon. She is the Princess of Lordaeron, and that holds incredible political and diplomatic power.
As a hostage, Calia would be invaluable for thwarting the efforts of the Alliance, especially those who personally know her, like Varian, Muradin, Jaina and Genn Greymane. You know...minor characters like that. Also, the humans greatly revere and respect ancient family lines, and other than the (admittedly significant) exception of Arthas, the Menethil lineage is one of the more honored and beloved dynasties in Azeroth's history. The revelation that Calia is still alive but in the clutches of Deathwing would send horrified shockwaves throughout the human nations.
Alternately, if Calia was "rescued" by the Alliance, she would make the perfect spy for Deathwing, as her status and rank would open ALL political doors for Deathwing to eavesdrop on. The timing is perfect - with Arthas dead, Calia would be the sole heir to the Menethil line, and recipient of all the privileges and historical allegiances that accompany that birthright.
I'm sure someone, such as the boorish Genn Greymane, might recall her previous affiliation with Prestor and cast a suspicious eye upon her. However, Calia's pure lineage and close ties to other noteworthy Alliance leaders (she was close personal friends with Jaina, and likely spent a good deal of time with Varian when he was a refugee in Lordaeron) would make Graymane's protests seem like the paranoid ramblings of an old man who's lived in isolation for the last twenty years. Which, of course, is completely true.
To make matters worse, it's not only the Alliance who would be deeply affected by Calia's reappearance. Remember that despite their current attitudes towards the living, many of the Forsaken were Lordaeron citizens in life, and still recognize and acknowledge their past. Why else would Terenas' coffin remain where it is, undefiled? Why else would his throne room remain as it was those long years ago? As a society, the Forsaken may have some questionable traits, but they definitely still fondly remember and honor their murdered King.
How would they react if their former Princess were to appear and request their aid? Though it seems like ages ago, the Forsaken have only existed for about seven years according to the official WoW timeline. Many, if not all, of the former Lordaeron citizens would know Calia very well, and as examined earlier with Trevor and supported by numerous in-game incidents, it's obvious that not all undead are pleased with Sylvanas' rule. We've seen numerous defections to the Argent Dawn or other factions, and many undead have chosen to remain on their own rather than join the Forsaken. And of course, there is the rebellious deeds of the Royal Apothecary Society to consider, and the fact that there's now Kor'kron guards breathing down their necks at every waking moment.
No, Sylvanas' leadership is anything but solid, and considering some Cataclysm events (fear not, no spoilers) I wouldn't be surprised if some Forsaken were shocked and horrified at what she starts doing in Silverpine Forest. She may have had firm support when it came to destroying Arthas, who was universally hated by every Forsaken, but with him gone I'm not sure her new military objectives in Cataclysm will be as well received. (This paragraph re-worked to avoid Cata spoilers.)
The sudden reappearance of a true heir to the Lordaeron throne could well be the final stone needed to upset this delicate balance, and throw the Forsaken society into upheaval. This would remove one of the true wild cards that could oppose Deathwing. After all, let's be honest - the Orcs, Tauren, Humans, Dwarves...they make powerful armies, sure, but they're not exactly crafty or creative. Deathwing knows exactly what they're going to bring to the battlefield. But if there was one group that Deathwing might be concerned about, it would be the Forsaken, with their penchant for unscrupulous tactics, unpredictability, and unhesitating willingness to sacrifice others for the sake of victory.
If Deathwing really does have Calia secreted away somewhere, it's a masterful bit of forethought on his part. The amount of potential chaos that she represents is staggering - her unexpected survival could leave the entire Alliance reeling, and incite the most dangerous Horde faction into open rebellion. She's an incredible trump card that could single-handedly shatter both factions' cohesion, allowing Deathwing to take advantage of the anarchy, swoop in and crush everything in his path.