In this novel we learn the most about not only the downfall of the Orc’s but its also the novel that we learned the most about the Draenei. It is for this reason specifically why it’s my favourite novel, well other then The Shattering.
The novel starts off with the prologue cataloguing when Sargeras, leader of the Burning Legion, approaching the three leaders of the Eredar race. Prophet Velen, Kil’Jaeden, and Archimonde. Kil’Jaeden and Archimonde immediately agreed to accept Sargeras’ words of promise. Meanwhile Velen is a little worried about the whole ordeal. He goes to the temple to meditate upon the Ata’mal Crystal, whose origin was unknown, it has been in Eredar hands longer than anyone can remember. Velen has a vision of the utter destruction of the Eredar race. Almost at once the vision is over Velen hears a whisper telling him to summon those loyal to him to the tallest peak on the day of the solstice. Once Velen has done just that he waits at the top of the peak. Kil’Jaeden has learned of these plans and sends out not Eredar, but Man’ari. Man’ari are the demon corrupted Eredar of Argus. The Ata’mal Crystal shatters into seven pieces and creates a wall of light that protects them from the Man’ari. The Naruu K’ure takes them on the ship and they escape Argus.
We meet the Durotan, supposed to be asleep, in a tent at the Kosh’harg wanting to sneak out and see what the adults are talking about. He decides to find out, on his way out of the tent he bumps into Ogrimm Doomhammer. They both hide behind a tree and hear what the adults don’t want them to. It was just regular adult talk that isn’t all that interesting. It was there behind a tree where Durotan challenges Ogrimm to stay friends regardless of what their clan’s think.
The next chapter begins with Ogrimm and Durotan racing across Nagrand in a challenge. They break across the border into Terrokar forest, Land of the Ogres. An ogre quickly spots them and gives chase. Being tired from their earlier challenge the can barely get away let alone turn and face it. When it seems that they’re going to meet their ancestors the Draenei burst onto the scene and make quick work of the ogre. Restalaan, leader to the guards at Telmor, invites them to come and spend the night at Telmor. He also has someone who wants to meet them staying at the city as well, a close personal friend, Prophet Velen. They have dinner with the prophet and he questions them about their lives. Once the return to their tribes the book fast forwards a few years.
This time the orcs gather again at the Kosh’harg festival, Durotan is now an adult and he can sit around the fire with the others. Something he so wanted as a child. During which Ogrimm points out a female orc that he would have gone after had she been in his clan. It turns out she is in the Frostwolf Clan, along with Durotan, and he name is Drakka. Durotan asks Drakka to a hunt, as part of the courtship ritual. She declines saying the day has not yet come for her to choose a mate, she is still too young. Durotan offers to just go hunting anyway as friends. The next day they come upon a fierce wolf that nearly kills Durotan, both of them act together to kill the wolf. Drakka then tells Durotan that the day she turns old enough was today. They both kiss. As all this takes place, they have a watcher. A demon that reports all back to Kil’jaeden. It quickly goes downhill from here.
Ner’zhul gets a “vision” from his dead mate telling him to wage war with the Draenei. He comes to the realization that he’s been duped, but not before it was too late. After he tries to reverse what he’s done Guldan steps up and takes his place, essentially trading his people over into slavery.
Horrific things begin happening. The elements abandoned the shamans, shamans then become warlocks. Warlocks begin using their dark magics in all sorts of manners. Killing Draenei, speeding up the growth of the children, killing the planet. Finally the time comes to for the Orcs to drink the demon blood and then they go forth onto the razing of Shattrath City. After which the Draenei that fled before hand are now hiding in Zangarmarsh. The Orcs have nothing to combat now, so they turn on each other. Finally Guldan gets a vision for Medivh and the Orcs begin building the Dark Portal. The novel ends with them go and exploring Azeroth for the first time.
I’ve read this book before and to be honest, it’s my favourite. I love how we follow the evolution of the Orcs from simple tribesmen to their demonic downfall. When I picked it up again I couldn’t remember if Drek’thar did give up shamanism to become a warlock, but surely not I mean come on it’s Drek’thar! Nope. He in fact did give up on the elements and turned to demons, which I think adds a whole new side to him if we think about it. To have fel energy coursing through his veins is as anti-shaman as you can get (Or is it?) and he is almost as famous a shaman as Thrall.
Speaking of Thrall, I think Durotan really grew as a character throughout the novel, not just age wise I mean. He often struggles trying to please the leader of the Horde and not be branded a traitor but he also has to do what’s best for his clan, the Frostwolves. A prime example of this is when he was given the order to capture Prophet Velen. He was supposed to kill him, but instead he released him. It stated it wasn’t his place to kill him, there was no honor in killing someone who was unarmed and not willing to fight. Now it’s easy to see why Thrall tries to emulate him so much, he was a great leader. Something Thrall strives for each and every day.
Lastly this novel makes me love Velen even more. He saves his people from enslavement and then they try to ride out their lives on Draenor. He tries to reason with the Orcs, never raising arms against them. Finally when the time comes he makes the hardest decision of his life. He has to leave behind a large number of Draenei in Shattrath to make sure the Orcs don’t pursue them into the marshes. It absolutely horrifying to read about the destruction of Shattrath, the Draenei, and of course the Orcs. Christie Golden does a fantastic job in this novel. I recommended to anyone who wants learn more about the Draenei, the Horde, or outland.