The Rise and Fall of the Apexis Civilization Lecture:
Good evening, everyone, and thank you all for coming out tonight, to the final lecture in my series: Draenor, Early Beginnings!
We've already gone over Grond and the Evergrowth, and the Gorian Empire, so tonight, we will be talking about the Rise and Fall of the Apexis Civilization.
As the last lecture about the Gorian Empire tied into the lecture about Grond and the Evergrowth, this lecture too, ties in with both of the past lectures!
Without further delay, let's begin!
As stated previously, in both of the past lectures, Draenor was saturated by the Spirit of Life, or Chi. This energy, had birthed many primordial creatures. That was, before the Evergrowth came to be, and began devouring anything, and everything, they could.
However, with the fall of the Evergrowth at the hands of Grond and the Colossals, new life had an opportunity to flourish. The various land-dwelling beasts that came to be were quickly ensnared by the Botani, the last remnants of the Evergrowth, and were used as fuel to nourish the wilds, or, the worse fate, were infested by fungal spores to become the Botani's minions.
The animals most suited to this new Draenor, soared above the land, above the reach of both the Botani, and the Breakers.
The region known as Arak, was where the bulk of Draenor's avian races developed. A massive spire of red stone towered over the areas woodlands, and there, three godlike creatures were birthed. Rukhmar, a majestic being of fire, Sethe, a vicious wind serpent, and Anzu, the cunning Raven Lord.
Rukhmar was touched by the Light. Her enchanted flames could either destroy life, or nourish it. Sethe's affinity, however, lied with the Void. Anzu was much smaller, than the other two. What he lacked in physical power, however, he made up for with his intellect. He investigated the ley lines that lay across the world, and so was born his affinity for arcane magic.
The three kept to themselves, fending off the various and rare attacks from Primals and Breakers alike. Rukhmar and Sethe were content with his existence, and only Anzu dreamed of a better life.
He called on Rukhmar and Sethe to work in unison with him, to transform Arak into a sanctuary for all of avian kind. Why should they live under the oppression of the Primals and Breakers, when they could rule all of Arak for themselves?
In unison, the three great birds drove both the Primals and Breakers out of Arak. With them gone, winged creatures of all kinds settled in the region. Anzu, Sethe, and Rukhmar named themselves the caretakers of all of the species settled into the region.
Rukhmar took charge of the most beautiful of the species: the Kaliri. She treated them all as her own children, and they all spent their time perched at the top of the spire, bathing in the sun. Rukhmar, however, was arrogant. She saw herself as the epitome of grace and beauty, nothing less. She never set her talons on the ground, and she regarded those that did with disdain.
Anzu took charge of the various ravens, and he lived amongst them in the forest canopies below the spire. Sethe lorded over the smaller wind serpents, and lived among them in the shadowy nooks and crannies at the spire's base. He did not show his followers the same respect that Rukhmar and Anzu did. He was cruel, and demanding.
Arak was flourishing, but near the base of the spire, shadows were growing.
Over the decades, Sethe became envious of Rukhmar. His wings, were nothing compared to hers. He could not soar through the clouds as she and her followers could. In his mind, he was doomed to live the rest of his life in her shadow.
Unable to accept this fate, Sethe dreamed of striking Rukhmar down and seizing her power. However, he knew he alone, would fail. He approached Anzu, and asked for his assistance. He promised that once Rukhmar and her followers were dethroned, they would soar through the skies together, the Twin Kings of Arak.
Sethe had assumed the Raven Lord harbored the same resentment he did towards Rukhmar. She looked down on Anzu, for dwelling so close to the ground. However, he assumed wrong. In fact, Anzu's feelings were much the opposite. The Raven Lord harbored a secret love for Rukhmar, but he never admitted it to her. He knew she would never accept him.
Anzu quickly warned Rukhmar of Sethe's plan, and the two agreed to work together against the wind serpent. The fateful day came, when Sethe struck. Rukhmar and Anzu, however, were ready.
As Sethe soared through the skies, setting his sights on Rukhmar, she bathed his wings in flame, burning them to ash. After he fell to the ground amongst the woodlands, Anzu leapt upon him and clawed out his eyes. Sethe, however, would not be bested so easily. He used his dying breath to weave a curse through his own flesh and blood. One that seeped from his dying body and infected the land itself.
Fearing Sethe's curse would cause Arak's destruction, the Raven Lord devoured Sethe's corpse whole, locking Sethe's dark energy within himself. This, of course, caused Anzru excruciating pain, the curse twisting both his body and soul, causing the Raven Lord to lose his ability to fly.
Anzu paid a terrible price to contain the curse, but in doing so, stopped it from spreading. Only a small portion of Sethe's blood had leaked into the surrounding area. Said area would later come to be known as Sethekk Hollow.
Though his love for Rukhmar never faltered, and the day was won, Anzu dared not present himself to her. She had seen him as unworthy before. Seeing the broken, twisted creature he had become, would surely disgust her. He disappeared into the forest, ignoring Rukhmar's call for him.
Containing the curse had weakened Anzu, though it had also given him new power. Consuming Sethe gave him command over the Void, and as the Raven Lord became more familiar with the magic, he shrouded himself in shadow, so that Rukhmar could never find him.
Rukhmar searched, far and wide, but eventually lost hope of ever finding Anzu. She was humbled by his sacrifice, but horrified by the curse that had seeped into her homeland. She took to the skies, leaving Arak, and finally settling atop the highest peak in Gorgrond.
She decided that if she couldn't find Anzu, to honor him, she would create a new race in his image. She drew on her own life to transform some of her Kaliri followers into a winged people, called the Arakkoa, or in the common tongue, "the Heirs of Arak". They embodied Rukhmar's grace and majesty, as well as Anzu's intellect.
Rukhmar intended for the Arakkoa to one day return to Arak. However, with Sethe's curse still darkening her home, she dared not risk her new children suffering from it. After they had matured a bit, she would lead them back to their proper home.
There was only one problem. Rukhmar had drawn upon much of her own life force to create her children. Never again would she be as powerful as she once was, and she knew eventually she would grow old and pass from this world, to the next. But before she died, she intended to help guide her new children as best she could.
Generation after generation, Rukhmar watched over her children. Occasionally, she communed with them, telling stories of Arak, Sethe's evil, and Anzu's noble sacrifice. Not only that, she also taught them how to use the Light.
The Arakkoa were quick learners, and quickly mastered using the Light. Many became healers and seers, and revered Rukhmar as the goddess of the sun, which they believed to be the source of their Light magic.
The Arakkoa were not content with just mastering the Light, however. They revered Anzu as a deity just as much as they did Rukhmar, and discovered the arcane magic he had mastered. In time, many of the Arakkoa became mighty spellcasters as well.
However, as her children flourished, Rukhmar could feel her life force fading. She communed with her children one final time, and urged them to claim Arak for themselves. Her task done, she took to flight, and soared south, the Arakkoa close behind. As they reached Arak, she breathed her last breath. Flames consumed her form, and she burned as bright as the sun.
The Arakkoa took her passing as a sign of their ascendancy. They vowed to create a grand civilization in her honor. One that would outshine any other on Draenor. The lights of their power would blaze in the heavens, just as Rukhmar had.
Calling themselves the Apexis, the Arakkoa claimed the highest reaches of the massive spire. They used lumber from the surrounding woods, and metals from the mountains, to build massive gilded structures around their home. They used the Light to craft lanterns infused with forever-burning flames, and hung them up about the spire.
Enraptured by the stories of Anzu, Arakkoan mages ventured into Sethekk Hollow. Using their magic, they unraveled the shadow magics therein, and developed a unique ability to weave their knowledge of the arcane, with the dark magic found there.
Embracing both Light and Void, the Apexis formed two factions: The Anhar order studied the Light, while the Skalax studied the Void. Both groups shared equal prestige and influence, amongst society.
As the Arakkoa solidified their power in Arak, they began to explore the rest of the world. They sought not expansion, but knowledge. They forged outposts, scattered across Draenor, to better observe and learn from the planet. They quickly discovered that the various mountain ranges were the ancient remains of massive creatures that had once walked Draenor.
Through Rukhmar, they knew of the Primals and the Breakers. They watched the seemingly endless war with fascination. And pity. They were Rukhmar's children, and they inherited a touch of her arrogance. So they never intervened in the ongoing war. To stoop to the level of ground-dwellers was beneath them.
The Apexis' rise to power, however, did not go unnoticed.
Near Arak, in the dense forests of Talador, a treant known as Gnarlgar watched this unfold. Through the Genesaur, he had learned of Grond, the Evergrowth, and the Sporemounds. He commanded great power over the forests of Draenor, as well as the Spirit of Life. For millennia, he honed his power, to the point where he could even influence, or outright control, other Primals.
Gnarlgar took extra care to tend to the Botani, for he thought them the most promising of the Primals. If she were cultivated properly, they would become a mighty force. He taught them the truth of the Evergrowth, and the Sporemounds, convincing them that they might one day be able to restore the Evergrowth.
Gnarlgar taught the Botani unique ways to harness the magic of nature. Soon, they could even transfer the spits of fallen Genesaur into new bodies, so they may fight again. Gnarlgar saw the Arakkoa as an affront against nature, itself. He saw them as artificial, that didn't belong on Draenor. What angered him moreso, however, was the Arakkoa killed forests to build their unnatural golden temples and cities.
He knew that the Apexis were far more dangerous than the Breakers. Their magics held the power to burn innumerable forests. Unless they were stopped, Gnarlgar feared the Apexis would soon control all of Draenor.
He could not let that happen. Gnarlgar departed Talador in search of something he could use as a weapon against the Apexis. In time, he found it. A massive fossilized root, one of the last intact pieces of the Sporemound Botaan.
Returning to Talador, Gnarlgar rallied the Botani to his side, proclaiming that with their help, he would revive the Evergrowth. But to do so, they needed to destroy the Apexis. Revealing the root he had found, Gnarlgar told the Botani they would use it to create a new Sporemound. One greater than any of the ones that had come before it. It would stand at the head of their army against the Apexis.
Gnarlgar planted the root deep within Talador, and began a great ritual to nourish it. Thousands of Botani sacrificed themselves to allow Gnarlgar to infuse their life force into the root. Leave and branches began to sprout from the ground, growing into a mound of thorny brambles and leathery fronds. Gnarlgar named the new Sporemound Taala, and as it took shape, the Primals prepared for war.
The Botani awakened new Genesaur from their birthing pools. Gnarlgar channeled the Spirit of Life into hundreds of trees at the heart of Talador, gifting them with intelligence, and will. These treants became known as the Gnarled, and they would help form the vanguard of the Primal's army.
Tens of thousands of Primals stood, ready for war, waiting for Taala's birth.
The Apexis paid the stirrings in Talador no mind, at first. Only when the forests at the edge of Arak grew thicker, and vines began to creep towards the spire, and seeds soon sprouted into hundreds of trees at an unnatural rate, did they take notice.
Members of the Anhar and Skalaxi sent scouts to Talador. Few returned, and those who did, painted a horrifying picture: Trees had come to life. Botani and Genesaur were preparing for war. But the most horrifying news, was the monstrous creature taking form at the center of Talador. The scouts reported it was already larger than the largest Genesaur.
From what they knew of the Evergrowth, the Apexis feared the creature could be one of the ancient giants that Grond had fought. If a creature such as that awoke, it could annihilate the Arakkoa, and bring devastation to Draenor.
The Apexis' leaders had no option. They needed to act. They mobilized an invasion force, and stormed through the skies of Talador. They paid no mind to the Botani, Treants and Genesaur. They flew right to the center of Talador, in an attempt to destroy the monstrosity before it took shape.
They descended into the depths of Talador, and brutal fighting engulfed the region. The Anhair priests wielded blades of holy flame, and the Skalaxi sorcerers enfeebled the minds of their enemies. Yet despite the great power at their fingertips, the Arakkoa did not break the Primals. Gnarlgar entered a trance, in which he controlled the minds of the Primals. They moved in unison, and routed the Arakkoa, driving them back to the skies.
The defeat devastated the Apexis. Half of their forces had fallen, and in doing so, rendered their army inferior. They scrambled for a means to defeat the Primals. It was the Anhari order, that proposed a solution.
They had designed a new weapon, which they called the Breath of Rukhmar. It channeled the energies of the sun, and allowed the Arakkoa to wield incredibly destructive power.
Meanwhile, Gnarlgar quickened Taala's birth. He knew the time had come to attack the Arakkoa before they could regroup. He ordered more Botani to sacrifice themselves, and in doing so, finally caused the Sporemound to rise.
The Sporemound rose up to it's full height, towering over the forest canopy, and as it took its first step, the ground trembled beneath it. Gnarlgar entered a trance once more, and took control of Taala, as well as the rest of the Primals. As one, they marched on Arak.
The Apexis watched in horror as the Primals marched on their home. Their new weapon was not completed, and without it, they were doomed. In response to the Primals beginning their march, a small number of brave Skalaxi sorcerers elected to waylay the Primals, and give their Anhari allies time to complete the breath of Rukhmar.
During their time in Talador, the Skalaxi had discovered that Gnarlgar was controlling the Primals. If they could kill him, it would cause the Primals to lose their sense of coordination. The Skalaxi shrouded themselves in shadow, and approached Talador, stalking through the woods until they came upon Gnarlgar.
Before they approached, Gnarlgar sensed their presence. He came out of his trance and quickly disposed of the Skalaxi, but not before they could use their powers to weave a curse into Gnarlgar. It rotted his roots and boughs, causing him to wither into a blackened husk and collapse, dead.
His fall broke the unity of the Primals, though not for long. But, it was just enough time for the Ahnari to finish their work. Just as Taala reached the spire, they ignited their weapon. A tremor shook Arak as the power of the sun coursed through the spire. A white-hot beam of fire exploded from the Breath of Rukhmar and lanced through the Sporemound's chest. It exploded into a cloud of ember and ash. The Anhair then turned their weapon on the rest of the Primals. The beam sliced through the Gnarled, Botani, and Genesaur alike, incinerating thousands in the blink of an eye.
The few Primals who survived fled to Talador in terror, yet the Anhair gave no quarter. They incinerated the fleeing Primals, and they scoured the forests that had crept into Arak. Once the Arakkoa halted their attack, all that remained of the forests was scorched earth and smoldering roots. The victory permanently blunted the might of nature. The Evergrowth would never return in any form, and a new golden age of Mortal civilization flourished on Draenor.
Centuries after Taala's defeat, the population of the Apexis Empire had swelled. The Arakkoa saw themselves as the most powerful force on Draenor, a force that not even the mighty Primals had been able to contest.
With nothing to threaten them, they devoted themselves to science, and magic. Rather than storing their knowledge in tomes or scrolls, they created something called an Apexis Crystal, and began storing wealths of information in them. By simply touching the crystal, an Arakkoa could absorb all of the knowledge within.
The Apexis also created machines that would do their bidding. They used their constructs to mine metals from the earth, and gather other resources from the ground, as they viewed touching the ground as a disgrace.
The Anhari also constructed a massive sun temple around the Breath of Rukhmar, and each year, hundreds of Arakkoa came to the temple to commemorate their victory, and to honor Rukhmar. Other Arakkoa carved shrines into the rock near the foot of the spire, and there, the Skalaxi performed rituals to honor Anzu, and his sacrifice.
The Apexis civilization seemed destined to continue to rise! However, a bitter rivalry soon developed, between the Anhar and the Skalax orders. Each order vied for support of the greater populace of Arak. The Anhari knew that to seize power over their race, they needed to control knowledge. In secret, their leader, Velthreek, ordered his followers to heard as many Apexis crystals as they could.
The Skalaxi and their leader, Salavass, uncovered what was happening. They believed that knowledge was a basic right to all, and that it should be available to every Arakkoa, and demanded the release of all of the crystals.
Velthreek ignored the demand, and declared that the Anhari were the sole rulers of all Arakkoa. They would decide who could access the crystals. In addition, Belthreek claimed that the Anhair were the living representatives of Rukhmar herself. Following the order's teachings was the only way to gain the sun goddess's favor.
Salavass would not let that stand. He gathered his sorcerers at the spire, and struck at the sun temple. If the Anhari would not share the crystals, the Skalaxi would simply take them by force.
A terrible, bloody battle quickly ensued. A civil war engulfed the Apexis Empire, every corner of Arak was locked into the bloody conflict. Velthreek then attempted to ignite the Breath of Rukhmar to turn the tide of the war. Salavass knew the Skalaxi were doomed, if the weapon were to be used. So, in response, he led his most gifted sorcerers to the top of the spire, to strike.
They stormed through the Anhari priests, and Salavass himself wove a spell to destabilize the weapon.
It worked. But at a terrible price.
A massive explosion, that shook Draenor to it's core, erupted atop the spire, killing most Arakkoa on the spire, and shattering the land below. After the dust settled, the explosion had torn the spire apart, sending splinters of the stone across Arak. The area, from then on, would be known as the Spires of Arak. It would take centuries for life to once again bloom in the region, and even longer for the surviving Arakkoa to recover.
The Apexis Empire, was no more.
The Gorian Empire Lecture:
Good evening, everyone, and thank you all for coming out to my lecture, tonight!
Last month, I covered Grond and Evergrowth, and how their seemingly endless war shaped the future of Draenor. Tonight, I'm going to be talking about some of Grond's descendants: The Ogron, the Ogres, and the Orcs.
I would just like to say, before we begin, that the many sources I used to collect my information for his lecture, might not have been accurate, may have been tampered with, or might have been otherwise incomplete. That being said, I truly believe the accuracy of this information, otherwise, I would not be using it in my lecture!
All that being said, let's begin!
Our story begins, with the Ogron. These mighty creatures were smaller in stature, to their relatives the Gronn, but as opposed to the solitary Gronn, the Ogron found that working together, in tribes, was a much easier way to survive. Of course, that being said, they were still cruel, brutal creatures.
The Ogre's and Orc's relation to the Ogron didn't save them, from the creatures' wrath. The best fate that an Ogre clan could hope for, after being defeated by the Ogron, was to be sent into battle as cannon fodder against another Ogron tribe. The Orcs, however, were much more fortunate, in that they settled far, far away, from Ogron lands. The largest Orc settlement was in Gorgrond, in a vast series of caves and tunnels beneath the earth.
This leads us into our next part of the story: The Arakkoa. While I won't delve into too much detail, as the Apexis civilization will be the topic for my lecture next month, I will say that the Arakkoa were searching, far and wide, for caches of knowledge, called Apex Crystals. One such cache, was located under an old Apexis ruin, in Talador, a place the Ogron now occupied.
Attempts to barter with the Ogron for the cache always ended violently. The Ogron were far less intelligent than the Arakkoa, but what they lacked in brain power, they more than made up for in size and strength. So, the Arakkoa bided their time, retreating back to the Spires of Arak. They observed from afar, waiting for an opportunity to strike.
That opportunity soon presented itself.
The Arakkoa observed and took note of the Ogron's slaves: the Ogres. They were not as mighty as their captors, but they were far more intelligent. More important, however, was that their enslavement made them angry. Only fear, kept them from revolting.
The Arakkoa eventually sent sorcerers in secret, to train the Ogres in the ways of arcane magic. They were descendants of Grond, after all, a being infused with power by a Titan. This gave them a natural affinity for arcane magics, leading them to be excellent students. They could even use arcane to bend stone to their will.
One of the first Ogres to master this new power, was named Gog. The Arakkoa believed he was the perfect leader and candidate to inspire a full-scale rebellion. And so, Gog began to do just that. But he did not approach the Ogron, with his new powers. No. He had a far more monstrous target in mind.
The Arakkoa were surprised, but hopeful. Gog excelled in his usage of arcane magic. If any of the Ogres could do it, it would be him.
So Gog strode forth, and fought a brutal battle with one of the massive creatures. The battle lasted for hours, but as the dust settled, Gog stood alone. Victorious. The news of him single-handedly striking down a Gronn quickly found its way into the ears of the Ogre slaves. But Gog wasn't done. He killed another. And another, and by the time he had struck down his fifth Gronn, word of his deeds had reached every single Ogre settlement.
The Gronn were feared, and revered as Gods. Killing them, especially alone, was impossible. No one could ever do such a thing. At least, that's what the Ogres thought. Until Gog did just that, and in doing so, shattered the fear that shackled the Ogres into slavery. If even the mighty Gronn could be slain, why should they fear the Ogron?
Soon, his people began to call him Gog the Gronnslayer. And when he returned to his people, he had little to do to convince them to revolt. They rose up as one, against their Ogron overlords, and in doing so, ignited a brutal, bloody conflict. The results were catastrophic, on both sides. And in the background, the Arakkoa stood, eagerly awaiting the day they could come claim their caches of knowledge.
When all was said and done, nearly every Ogron settlement fell to their would-be slaves. The Ogre's new abilities, and lust for vengeance, was nearly unbeatable. The Ogron that weren't brutally killed were forced to scatter to the far reaches of Draenor, if they wished to survive.
After the fall of the Ogron, the Arakkoa hastily moved in to acquire their lost knowledge. Gog, however, would not allow it. Being a sorcerer himself, he would not so easily give up any potential useful knowledge. He declared himself "Gorgog", which in the Ogre tongue means "King Gog", and proclaimed himself the ruler of the city where he was once a slave.
He renamed it Goria, or "The Throne of the King", and commanded the Arakkoa to leave at once. They did so, but not happily. They were infuriated, and decided that if they could not take their caches back peacefully, they would do so by force.
In the dead of night, the Arakkoa launched a surprise attack on Goria, seeking to reclaim what was theirs. Gog and his other arcanists repelled the attack, bolstered by the legions and legions of newly freed slaves. Gog slew all of the Arakkoa, save for their leader, Yonzi. His death, did not come slow. This defeat stifled any hopes of reaching the Apex Crystals beneath Goria, and the Arakkoa did not dare return.
Generation after generation, the Gorian Empire expanded. The Ogres didn't focus on expansion, and conquest, but wide swaths of land fell under their control nonetheless. Any Gronn and Ogron were hunted and executed, paving the way for new settlements to flourish. Cities, began to spring up across the world. The two largest, were Highmaul, located in Nagrand, and Bladespire Hold, located in Frostfire Ridge. These cities became the most militarized of the Gorian Empire, and helped constantly expand its borders.
The Gorian Empire soon established an advanced trading network, crossing both land and sea, connecting the capital, Goria, to the far-flung strongholds across the globe. Goria remained the capital city, and a place for fledgling arcanists to hone their craft.
The Ogres' practice with arcane had some side-effects, however. Though rarely, children began to be born with two heads. It became clear soon afterwards, that these Ogres were extremely gifted spellcasters, and whenever one was born, it was seen as a good omen. Over time, a spell was designed to even grow fully-grown Ogres a second head.
I'm going to move past the formation of the Orcish clans, seeing as it's been covered in length before, and it's not the topic of this lecture. But! I will say, that the fact that Gronn and Ogron were hunted extensively made it easier for the Orcs to populate, and spread across Draenor, leading to clans being established in each and every continent.
The main religion amongst the Orcish clans, was shamanism, something I'm sure we're all familiar with. The Orcs unknowingly claimed Grond's final resting place as the Throne of the Elements, as over the centuries, the elemental energies infused within Grond had seeped into the surrounding land.
Over the years, the Orc clans who settled on the borders of the Gorian Empire traded blows with the Ogres, but neither side committed to a full-scale war. The Ogres had little interest in, and little fear of, the Orcs. They were primarily focused on seeking out more Apex Crystals. The entire government system of the Ogres had been modified to support magic, and the wisdom of sorcerer-kings, called Imperators.
The Ogres also saw shamanism as nothing more than trickery, used to perhaps make the wind blow a little harder, or the fires burn a bit hotter. That is, until they witnessed an Orc shaman save his village, by turning away a flash-flood. Only then, did they understand the true power of the elements.
Rather than seek the elements with the humility and awe, as the Orcs had, the Ogres decided to take it by force. Led by the king of the Gorian Empire at the time, Imperator Molok, the Ogres surged into Orcish territory, and claimed the Throne of the Elements in the name of the Gorian Empire. The intrusion infuriated the shamans among the Orcs, but the clans as a whole were divided still. They did not act, immediately.
The Ogres eagerly began using their arcane magic to dissect the Throne of the Elements. However, they did not take into account the mix of raw Titan and Elemental power that lingered in the Throne itself, and their carelessness was disastrous.
One day, the dissonance between the Ogres' arcane magic, and Grond's residual energies, ignited an explosion. The Temple the Orcs had carved into the stone there was obliterated, and so too were all of the Gorian sorcerers inside the structure at the time. This faithless act threw the elements into turmoil, causing huge storms to lash out across the world.
Yet, the Ogres surged forth once more, replacing the sorcerers that were killed with fresh ones. Molok was not deterred. He now had proof, of the true powers of the elements. And he was set on claiming it for himself. The tormented elements cried out to the Orcs for help.
Finally, the clans moved to act.
At the next meeting of the clans, or Kosh'harg festival, where there normally would've been rejoicing and feasting, there was none. Replaced by despair, and mourning, for the Throne of the Elements. The elements meant everything to the Orcs, and seeing them in such disarray wounded them. The Shadowmoon Clan's elder shaman, Nelgarm, pleaded with the clans to act. Set aside their differences, and help each other bring the Ogres to justice for what they'd done.
After much debate, it was settled: For the first time in their history, the clans would march, as one, to war.
The clans' first target, was the Throne of the Elements. The Orcs struck hard, and fast, driving the Ogre sorcerers out of the Throne with little bloodshed. But Molok was quick to retaliate. He sent the Gorian Empire's army en masse forth, slaughtering every single orc they came across. No Orc was spared. Molok expected this tactic to strike fear into the hearts of the Orcs. He most certainly didn't expect the clans to rise to the challenge.
But rise, they did.
Small raiding parties broke and dismantled the Empire's defenses, all the way back to the Ogres' capital: Goria.
Goria's walls were massive, and its fortifications impregnable. The Orcs saw little value in wasting countless lives trying to break them down. So they opted for a different tactic: Starve them out. They cut off any supply lines to the city, content to wait in the hills for the Ogres to slowly starve.
The Ogres, however, were just as content. They had ships, and said ships could easily bypass the Orcs, as the elements were still in turmoil, and the Orcish shamans' powers were weakened extremely, so they could not topple the ships in the sea. But, as the months passed, the Ogres found themselves unable to maintain their empire.
Their way of thinking had been flawed. Trade by ocean, simply, wasn't enough. They needed access to their land-based trade routes, in order to survive. Molok and his sorcerers revisited the Apex Crystals they had claimed over the years, and searched night and day for a method they could use to defeat the Orcs, and break the siege. In time, they succeeded.
They concocted an illness, called the Red Pox, and it spread like wildfire amongst the Orcs' encampments. The wasting disease was highly contagious, lasted for months, and killed many of the Orcs' strongest warriors. The Orcs found out soon enough, after having consulted whatever elemental spirits would listen, that this new disease was indeed man-made, and spread, by the Ogres.
Time was running out, and the clans knew it. A frontal assault on Goria was impossible, now, and if their numbers dwindled too far down, the Ogres could simply storm their lines, and their assault would be broken. Desperate, Nelgarm and the other Orcish shamans did the only thing they could think to do:
The beseeched the elements to destroy Goria.
No shaman before had ever asked for, or accomplished, such a violent task. But both the Orcs and the elements knew, that if the Orcs failed, the Ogres would never cease their tampering with the elements. And so, Nelgarm and the other shamans gathered at the gates of Goria, and witnessed the true, unbridled fury, of the elements.
What was witnessed, would never be forgotten.
A roaring storm churned in the sky, above the capital. The ground groaned, and split. Hour after hour passed, lightning and earthquakes tore down every wall, and every structure behind them. Fire enveloped the ruins, and the harbor, burning any boats to ash. Soon, there was nothing left of Goria, but ash and rubble.
Though the elements were not done.
The earth beneath the city wrenched itself open, and Imperator Molok, the thousands of Ogres inside of his city, and the ruins of the city itself, were swallowed whole.
The elements, let none survive. Only whispers of the event, would reach the other Ogre settlements, but they were enough to ward off any further attempts to meddle with the elements.
The Orcs stood victorious, but horrified. Not only, had they lost many brave warriors, but they had witnessed the terrifying display, that was the elements' true power, something they never wished to see again. After having defeated the Ogres, the clans went their separate ways, returning to their old lifestyles, for a time.
The remaining Ogres sought not retribution, for their fallen king, and capital. For their fear of the elements and Orcs far superseded their need for vengeance. Never again, would the Gorian Empire rise to such heights. The combined might of the elements, and the Orcs, saw to that.
And that, my friends, concludes my lecture on the Gorian Empire.
The First War lecture:
Good evening everyone, and thank you all for coming out tonight! Tonight, I'll be giving a lecture on the First War. For those of you who somehow are not aware of what the First War was, it was the first Great War between the orcish Horde of old, and the humans of Stormwind.
Before we begin, I'd like to preface this lecture by saying: Stormwind University is a neutral organization, as I'm sure you're all aware by now. I, myself, consider myself to be neutral, regardless of if I'm on University grounds, or otherwise. I am not giving this lecture, to villainize the orcs. I am giving this lecture, in the hopes that perhaps those that did not have prior knowledge of how the war exactly began, ended, or everything else in between, might gain some new information.
All that being said, allow me to give some quick background information on just how exactly the Dark Portal was opened, and how the orcs were able to invade Azeroth.
The long and short of it is: the orc warlock Gul'dan corrupted most of the clans with demonic blood, under orders from the Legion, giving them newfound powers, and a raging bloodlust. Gul'dan began the construction of a great portal, using the souls of the Draenei on Draenor, as fuel for the portal, along with his own pool of fel magic.
If anyone would like a more in-depth description of the orcs' corruption, or the construction of the Dark Portal, do let me know, I'd be happy to give a lecture on the topic in the future. That being said! Let's get into the lecture proper.
The portal was opened in an area formerly known as the Black Morass. Now, it's more commonly known as the Blasted Lands. After the portal was opened, Warchief Blackhand sent his best scouts through the portal, to survey the other side, and establish a base camp. Alongside these scouts, went a group of warlocks, who began the construction of an enchanted frame of stone around the portal on Azeroth, stabilizing it, and allowing it to remain open for an extended period of time.
As the orcs began to pour through the portal into Azeroth, reports began to reach Stormwind about fierce creatures lurking in the Black Morass. People thought they were a number of things, from a new breed of mutated trolls, to a never before seen race from beyond the Great Sea. King Llane finally dispatched Commander Lothar to find out exactly what was going on.
It wasn't long, before Lothar came across the Horde.
For the first time in history, Stormwind's knights, and the Horde's warriors, engaged in battle. Bloody skirmishes, that more often than not, ended in victory for the Horde. Lothar's men were able to score a few small victories over the Horde, though they soon found out that for each orc that fell, two or three more seemed to take their place. It became quite clear that the humans were outnumbered.
Lothar was forced to retreat before he properly reached the Black Morass, never finding the Dark Portal, as the area was -heavily- guarded against outside attacks. Lothar sent word to King Llane of the new invaders, and that they were getting more and more reinforcements from somewhere, though he knew not how. He told Llane to prepare Stormwind for a full-scale war.
Blackhand, after receiving the reports of the battles with the humans, knew him and his Horde were no longer hidden. Their presence had been made clear. The First War was about to begin.
As the orcs began to move en masse through the Dark Portal, not all followed. Over the years of war with the draenei, some clans had fully succumbed to their bloodlust, brought about by the demonic blood flowing through their veins, those clans being the Warsongs, Shattered Hand, and Bonechewers. Warchief Blackhand had kept them contained in Hellfire Peninsula to ensure the safety of the rest of the Horde, and he knew that if he brought them through the Dark Portal, they would remain a liability. So he elected to leave them on the dying Draenor.
As the rest of the clans came to Azeroth, there was one among them that remained distrustful of the Warchief, and of the fel. The Frostwolves. They were the only clan who refused to drink the blood of Mannoroth, and their chieftain, Durotan, harbored a deep distrust for Gul'dan and Blackhand. Despite this, he brought his clan through the Dark Portal and fought alongside the rest of the Horde against the humans, though only for a time. Eventually, knowing Durotan's distrust of him, Gul'dan banished the Frostwolves from the Horde, promising to wipe the clan out of existence if they ever dared return.
So, the Frostwolves began moving north, through Azeroth's unfamiliar territory, with enemies on both sides, being the Horde, and the humans. But Azeroth's elemental spirits were strong, and a former shaman among the Frostwolves, Drek'Thar, was shaken to the core when he discovered these spirits. He had abandoned the elements for fel magic long ago, as did most of the other shamans amongst the Horde.
Drek'Thar renounced his use of the fel, and begged the elements for forgiveness, and for help. The elements provided a small bit of aid. They showed him a vision of remote, snowy mountains, much like those the Frostwolves called home on Draenor. With this information, the Frostwolves set out to find them in the north, and make them their new home.
Meanwhile, Blackhand finally began the Horde's conquest of the Eastern Kingdoms. He sent raiding parties north and west, cutting swaths of land deep into Stormwind's territory. He had no more need for secrecy, in fact quite the opposite. He wanted the Horde's presence to be well known, hoping it would anger the humans and cause them to lash out haphazardly. He thought the humans to be small, and ineffective.
The Horde's assaults were meant to strike fear into the hearts of the human populace. Entire villages in Brightwood, now known as Duskwood, Westfall, and on the outskirts of the Redridge Mountains fell before the orcs' fury. The inhabitants of these villages were either killed, or forced to flee for their lives, and by the time Stormwind's knights had rode in to fend off the Horde, they were already gone.
It quickly became apparent that there was no way to diplomatically solve this. King Llane knew the orcs had come to conquer. They needed to meet the orcs, with force.
King Llane named Commander Lothar the "King's Champion", being the highest military rank in the kingdom, and charged him with quelling the orcs. Lothar opted to use the orcs' mobility to his advantage. Through the various scouting reports he had received, he noticed a pattern in the way that the Horde struck. So, Lothar set up ambushes along the orcs' retreat paths, placing the largest number of troops under the command of a knight known as Gavinrad the Dire. The ambushes proved to be successful, and even in some cases, the humans were able to kill an entire Horde raiding party with no casualties.
The orcs soon discovered that the humans, too, were unlike any enemies they had faced before. The human clerics used the holy Light to mend the wounds of the fallen, and their magi tore through the Horde's troops with their mastery of the arcane arts. These powers weren't inherently new, seeing as the Horde had fought the draenei years before, but the humans used them in different ways than the draenei. And then, there were the knights on horseback. Heavily armored knights riding atop massive chargers that could easily run down fleeing raiders and end them before they could reach safety.
Within the walls of Stormwind, King Llane sounded the alarm. He sent messengers to the other human kingdoms with tales of the orcs, warning them of their power and strength. He had hoped for help.
Lordaeron, the kingdom most likely to send aid, had received a contradictory report from a noble of Stormwind, who openly mocked Llane, claiming the war Llane fought was actually against disgruntled peasants. Lordaeron sent a polite reply to King Llane, wishing him luck, but offering no aid. In the years prior, Stormwind had prided itself on standing alone against any threat that would dare find itself on its doorstep.
Now, they had no choice, but to face the Horde alone.
While most of the Horde's attention was drawn north, to Stormwind, Blackhand still sent scouting parties south, into Stranglethorn Vale. He soon realized this was a mistake.
Stranglethorn was Gurubashi territory, and what the trolls lacked in numbers, they more than made up for with their ferocity. They struck hard against the orcs that dared step foot in the jungles, and the orcs, chief among them the Bleeding Hollow clan, took heavy losses. Seeing no apparent gain from further exploring the jungle, Blackhand pulled them back to join the war against Stormwind.
Stormwind was in ruins. The economy was in shambles, and what was worse, was that most or even all of the supply routes had been taken by the Horde. The city's supplies would run dry within months. Blackhand saw this, and so he began the next step of his invasion. He brought the Horde north to the Redridge Mountains, seeking to establish a foothold there, before he attacked Stormwind City outright. The foothills of the mountains fell to the orcs so easily, Blackhand was shocked. He had expected some sort of resistance, but it seemed to him the humans were weaker than he had thought. He believed at this point, the humans wouldn't challenge him before he reached the city.
And in thinking such, fell right into a trap set by Lothar.
Blackhand led a small raiding party to claim the town of Lakeshire for the Horde. As they reached the town, Lothar led a group of mounted knights down the slopes of the surrounding mountains and completely surrounded the raiding party, effectively trapping them. Nearly all of the orcs fell, and Lothar almost took Blackhand himself, but along with the raiding party came two orcish warlocks. Their use of fel turned the tide of the battle, and forced Lothar to retreat, but in his heart, it was a victory nonetheless.
In the coming weeks, a much larger Horde force surrounded Lakeshire and claimed it for Blackhand, with little to no resistance.
With Brightwood, Westfall, and the Redridge Mountains completely under Horde control, Blackhand was ready to strike at Stormwind City directly. Thousands of Horde soldiers flooded through Elwynn Forest and began to establish siege lines outside of the city proper. They completely encircled it, cutting off all outside access, save for the ports. Blackhand then ordered Kilrogg Deadeye and Cho'gall to lead their clans in a direct assault on the city.
Throughout the night, the Horde bombarded the city's walls with siege engines, to weaken their defenses enough to allow the assault to succeed. When the first rays of sunshine shone through the trees in Elwynn Forest, the Horde launched their assault. The orcs charged the battlements while the warlocks roasted Stormwind's soldiers alive with their fel fire. The losses among the soldiers of Stormwind were innumerable. Blackhand thought the city might fall by midday.
And then he heard the cries of an attack on their southern flank.
Lothar had led an army of knights around the Horde by the sea, and led a charge through Elwynn forest to the Horde's rearguard, carving a gash through the sea of orcs. The frontal assault broke off to attempt to push back at the knights in the rear, and in doing so, allowed the gates of the city to open. Soldiers poured out of the gate and struck hard at the frontlines of the Horde. A hammer to Lothar's anvil.
The orcs didn't have the means to fight a war on both fronts, and so they were forced to retreat. The defeat infuriated Blackhand, but he knew they could recover. And so, he ordered the Horde to retreat to the Redridge mountains, and formulate a new plan of attack.
For reasons unknown to most at the time, Gul'dan suddenly fell into a deep coma, leaving his Shadow Council scrambling. Blackhand was confused, but not entirely upset. He didn't like Gul'dan, so the warlock's sudden illness meant little to him. However, it meant everything to another orc.
Orgrim Doomhammer shared Durotan's distrust of Blackhand, Gul'dan, and the fel. He had been waiting for the opportune moment to put a plan into action, and with the Shadow Council in disarray, and the Horde on the heels of suffering their greatest defeat, now was the time.
He challenged Blackhand to mok'gora, a duel to the death for the mantle of Warchief. He called Blackhand a traitor and a coward, who sold out his people to dark forces. It was a challenge Blackhand could not refuse, or he risked losing what little trust the Horde had left for him. And so, the next day, adorned in tribal paints, weapons in hand, Orgrim and Blackhand dueled.
The battle lasted hours, and was amongst the most brutal either had ever fought, but it finally ended when Orgrim raised his ancestral weapon, the Doomhammer, high, and crushed Blackhand's skull to dust.
Orgrim acted quickly, after taking the mantle of Warchief. He told the Horde the truth of Gul'dan and the Shadow Council: it was their fel magic that had sapped all of Draenor's life from the planet. He outlawed the use of fel magic under punishment of death, before setting his sights on the Shadow Council. The council, however, had taken Gul'dan and fled.
And so, Orgrim turned his attention to Stormwind, once again. He had no want to continue fighting, but he knew after all that the Horde had done, the humans wouldn't dare let the orcs settle near them. He knew the only way for his people to survive, would be to conquer Stormwind and make it their new home. So, he ordered the clans to prepare for one final assault. One that would finally give them the city.
They were moving before sunset.
After the failed attack by the Horde, Llane had sent Lothar, the young mage Khadgar, and a half-orc half-draenei assassin known as Garona, along with a small band of men to Karazhan, the tower of the Guardian. The reason why is important, but not -entirely- to the war in earnest, so I simply elected to gloss over the subject for context. However, if you'd like a more in-depth explanation, then please let me know! I'd be happy to explain. Either way, it is important to know that Lothar was not there, for Orgrim's second assault on Stormwind.
Doomhammer would take no chances in this second assault on Stormwind. The Horde would either slay the humans and take the city, or die trying. He even considered calling upon the Warsong, Shattered Hand, and Bonechewer tribes, but he cast the thought aside, as it would take too much time. Every day that he waited, was another that allowed the humans to regroup.
Humans and orcs alike knew that this battle, would decide the fate of Stormwind city. There would be no "next battle". The fate of Stormwind would be decided before dusk. The Horde breached the walls of the city, and flooded the streets, giving no quarter. The humans, however, held them at bay.
For a time.
King Llane was with other military leaders, trying to come up with a plan, when he got word Garona had returned. He quickly invited her into the chamber to discuss what had happened at Karazhan. However, Garona, tears streaming down her face, plunged a dagger into King Llane's heart. Her reasons for doing so were unknown to anyone else, seeing as she had always been friendly to the King. The act was witnessed by Prince Varian, and from that moment on, he always saw orcs as deceitful, murderous monsters.
In the following confusion, Garona escaped the keep and hid amongst the warring sides. Word of King Llane's death spread quickly, and morale crumbled within the city, allowing the Horde to gain the upper-hand. It was then, that Lothar and Khadgar returned to the city. They saw the city, and having learned of the King's death, Lothar took command of the remaining human forces. He knew the city was lost. All he could do now was try and save as many people as possible.
He worked his way to the keep to gather Prince Varian and his mother, Queen Taria, along with any other soldiers and civilians they could, before they made their way to the docks. They fought street-by-street, losing many civilians and soldiers along the way, along with the Queen Taria. After finally reaching the harbor, Lothar and his men loaded everyone onto boats, and set fire to most of the other ships docked, so the Horde could not follow, before setting sail for the only place they could hope to remain safe: Lordaeron.
Doomhammer and his Horde were victorious, however he found everything -but- happiness in his heart.
The First War, was over.