Edwin VanCleef was a criminal mastermind of the Warcraft Universe and a major threat to the kingdom of Stormwind. He was the final boss of the old, low-level dungeon "The Deadmines," though has recently been replaced by his daughter, Vanessa.
The Fall of Stormwind
Edwin VanCleef was once a mason for the kingdom of Stormwind, and when the Orcs of the Horde and their Ogre allies assaulted the great capital city of Stormwind, Edwin was called upon by the nobles to rebuild the city once the Orcs were driven away. Edwin and his employees began their work, and after a long time of reconstruction, the city was rebuilt to it's former glory. When Edwin visited the nobles to receive his payment, the nobles refused to give him any money for his work, as they had accumalated a massive debt after expanding their military presence in the surrounding area. Instead, the nobles offered him and some of his worker's government jobs, but Edwin spat on the floor and walked out of the building he rebuilt with his bare hands. After starting a riot in the city that resulted in the deaths of several people, including Queen Tiffin Wrynn (ironically the biggest supporter of the Stonemasons), Edwin and his allies were banished from Stormwind. Edwin was not done for, yet, and he and his allies formed the Defias Brotherhood - a gang of criminals, murderers, and angered masons that sought the end of Stormwind.
Unknown to all, the conflict between the Nobles and the Stonemasons was engineered by Katarana Prestor (actually the black dragon Onyxia in disguise), who played both sides in her efforts to destablize Stormwind from within.
For years, Edwin hid in the dusty region known as Westfall, where he and his lackeys plotted. He eventually came up with a plan and hired a pirate crew to assist him. Along with the pirates, Edwin also hired an Ogre named Rahk'Zor to defend their base of operations, the Deadmines. The pirates, led by Captain Greenskin and Mister Smite, were to arm their ship with a number of large, powerful cannons. Edwin's master plan was to send out the pirate ship to the bay outside of Stormwind, where it would open fire on the unsuspecting city. Unfortunately, the reagent-king of Stormwind, Bolvar Fordragon, learned of the Brotherhood's presence in Westfall and sent a number of heroes and adventurers to the dusty region to find out what Edwin was up to. In the process, the heroes defeated many of Edwin's lackeys and employees, including the Defias Messenger and Riverpaw Chieftain Hogger. Unfortunately for Edwin, the Defias Messenger had a letter on his corpse that was to be delivered to the Defias Kingpin himself. This told the heroes where VanCleef resided and stormed the Deadmines. All of Edwin's top lieutenants were killed, including Rahk'Zor, Sneed, Gilnid, Mister Smite, and Captain Greenskin. In the end, the heroes battled and killed Edwin, decapitating his corpse to bring the head to their superiors as proof that Edwin was killed. They believed that with Edwin gone, the Defias would fall as well... They were sadly mistaken.
Moments after Edwin was killed and the heroes departed the Deadmines, a small girl emerged from Edwin's hut at the top of the pirate ship. She looked at the battered body, and said to herself "Daddy...?" The girl, whose name was Vanessa, left the Deadmines, and lived with a family of farmers for her childhood, only to murder them when she grew older and rebuilt the order of criminals that her father had started so long ago. Unfortunately, Vanessa's plans were foiled and was defeated by the very heroes that murdered her father when she was a little girl.