Though the young Warchief Thrall ended the demon curse that had plagued his people for generations, the orcs still wrestle with the sins of their bloody past. As the rampaging Horde, they waged a number of devastating wars against their perennial enemy -- the Alliance. Yet the rage and bloodlust that drove the orcs to destroy everything in their path nearly consumed them as well.
Long ago, on the idyllic world of Draenor, the noble orc clans lived in relative peace with their enigmatic neighbors, the draenei. But the nefarious agents of the Burning Legion had other plans for both of the unsuspecting races. The demon-lord Kil'jaeden set in motion a dark chain of events that would succeed not only in eradicating the draenei, but forging the orc clans into an single, unstoppable juggernaut of hatred and destruction.
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December 25, 2006
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Excerpt from World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden
My name is Thrall. The word means "slave" in the human tongue, and the story behind the naming is a long one, best left for another time. By the grace of the spirits and the blood of heroes before me that runs in my veins, I have become Warchief of my people, the orcs, and the leader of a group of races known as the Horde. How this came to be, too, is another tale. The one I wish to set to parchment now, before those who lived it pass to dwell with the honorable ancestors, is the story of my father and those who believed in him; and of those who betrayed him and indeed, all our people.
What might have become of us had these events not unfolded, not even the wise shaman Drek'Thar can say. The paths of Fate are many and varied, and no sane being should ever venture down the deceptively pleasant one of "if only." What happened, happened; my people must shoulder both the shame and the glories of our choices.
This is the tale not of the Horde as it exists today, a loose organization of orc, tauren, forsaken, troll, and blood elf, but of the rise of the very first Horde. Its birth, like that of any infant, was marked by blood and pain, and its harsh cries for life meant death to its enemies.
For such a grim and violent tale, it begins peacefully enough, amid the rolling hills and valleys of a verdant land called Draenor. . . .
The heart-beat rhythm of the drums lulled the younger orcs to sleep, but Durotan of the Frostwolf clan was wide awake. He lay with the others on the hard-packed dirt floor of the sleeping tent. A generous padding of straw and a thick clefthoof pelt protected him from the chill of the bone-cold earth. Even so, he felt the vibrations of the drumming travel up through the earth and into his body, as his ears were caressed by the ancient sound. How he longed to go out and join them!
Durotan would have another summer before he would be able to participate in the Om'riggor, the rite of adulthood. Until that much-anticipated event, he would have to accept being shunted off with the children into this large group tent, while the adults sat around the fire and talked of things that were doubtless mysterious and significant.
He sighed and shifted on the pelt. It was not fair.
The orcs did not fight among themselves, but neither were they particularly sociable. Each clan kept to itself, with its own traditions, styles and manner of dress, stories, and shaman. There were even variations of dialect that differed so much that some orcs could not understand one another unless they spoke the common tongue. They almost seemed as different to one another as the other sentient race who shared the bounty of the field, forest, and streams, the blue-skinned, mysterious draenei. Only twice a year, spring and autumn, did all the orc clans come together as they were doing now, to honor that time when day and night were the same length.
The festival had officially started last night at moonrise, though orcs had been gathering at this spot for several days now. The Kosh'harg celebration had been held on this sacred spot in the land the orcs called Nagrand, "Land of Winds," which lay in the benevolent shadow of the "Mountain of Spirits," Oshu'gun, for as long as anyone could remember. While ritual challenges and combat were not unusual during the festival, true anger or violence had never erupted here. When tempers flared, as they sometimes did when so many were gathered together, the shaman encouraged the parties involved to work it out peaceably, or else they were to leave the holy area.
The land in this place was lush and fertile and calming. Durotan sometimes wondered if the land was tranquil because of the willingness of the orcs to bring peace to it, or if the orcs were peaceful because the land was so serene. He often wondered such things, and kept them to himself, for he heard no one else voicing such odd ideas.