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Aftermath of the Second War
- Author: Unknown
The devastating Second War against the Orcish Horde left the Alliance of Lordaeron in a state of shock and disarray. The bloodthirsty Orcs, led by the mighty Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer, not only smashed their way through the Dwarf-held lands of Khaz Modan, but had razed many of Lordaeron's central provinces as well. The unrelenting Orcs even succeeded in ravaging the Elves' remote kingdom of Quel'Thalas before their rampage was finally stopped. The Alliance armies led by Sir Anduin Lothar, Uther the Lightbringer, and Admiral Daelin Proudmoore pushed the Orcs south into the shattered land of Azeroth - the first kingdom to fall before the Orcs' ruthless onslaught.
The Alliance forces under Sir Lothar managed to push Doomhammer's clans out of Lordaeron and back in the Orc-controlled lands of Azeroth. Lothar's forces surrounded the Orcs' volcanic citadel of Blackrock Spire and laid siege to their defenses. In a last-ditch effort, Doomhammer and his lieutenants staged a daring charge from the Spire and clashed with Lothar's paladins in the center of the Burning Steppes. Doomhammer and Lothar squared off in a titanic battle that left both mighty combatants battered and drained. Though Doomhammer narrowly succeeded in vanquishing Lothar, the great hero's death did not have the effect the Warchief had hoped for.
Turalyon, Lothar's most trusted lieutenant, took up Lothar's bloodstained shield and rallied his grief-stricken brethren for a vicious counterattack. Under the ragged standards of both Lordaeron and Azeroth, Turalyon's troops slaughtered the bulk of Doomhammer's remaining forces in a glorious, but terrible rout. There was nothing left for the ragged, scattered Orc survivors but to flee to the last standing bastion of Orcish power - the Dark Portal.
Turalyon and his warriors chased the remaining Orcs through the festering Swamp of Sorrows and into the corrupted Blasted Lands where the Dark Portal stood. There, at the foot of the colossal portal, the broken Horde and the rugged Alliance clashed in what would be the last, bloodiest battle of the Second War. Outnumbered and driven mad by the curse of their bloodlust, the Orcs inevitably fell before the wrath of the Alliance. Doomhammer was taken prisoner and escorted to Lordaeron while his broken clans were rounded up and hauled north - back to Lordaeron.
The Battle of Grim Batol
After the destruction of the second Dark Portal, the Alliance succeeded in rounding up most of the renegade Orc clans still left in Azeroth. The Orc internment camps, built shortly after the Second War, were filled to capacity and guarded around the clock. Though the newly arrived Warsong clan had so far escaped the Alliance's wrath, there was only one group - the Dragonmaw clan - that was large enough and strong enough to upset the delicate peace that had settled over Lordaeron.
The Dragonmaw clan, led by the insidious warlock Nekros, had conquered and held a great portion of northern Khaz Modan using Dragons and small units of foot soldiers. Nekros maintained his hold over the Dragon Queen, Alexstrasza, and her red Dragonflight by use of a powerful artifact known as the Demon Soul. Based in the ancient Dwarven stronghold of Grim Batol, Nekros built up a sizeable army and planned to reunite the falling Horde. But, despite the warlock's power, the intervention of the reckless mage Rhonin threw Nekros' plans awry. Rhonin and his companions, aided by Dwarven resistance fighter, succeeded in destroying the Demon Soul and freeing Alexstrasza from the Orcs' control. The vengeful red Dragons incinerated the Dragonmaw clan and effectively put an end to the last bastion of Orcish power in the world.
With the death of Nekros, the last of the Orcish warlocks - the Orcs left to wallow in the crowded internment camps - slipped into a crippling lethargy. Stripped of their will to fight or even die, the Orcs lost all sense of themselves as warriors - and the last traces of the proud culture that had birthed them.
The Alliance Splinters
In the years following the Horde's defeat, the leaders of the various Alliance nations began to bicker and argue over territorial holdings and decreasing political influence. King Terenas of Lordaeron, the patron of the Alliance, began to suspect that the fragile pact they had forged during their darkest hour would not stand for long. Terenas had convinced the Alliance leaders to lend money and laborers to help rebuild the city of Stormwind that was destroyed during the Orcish occupation of Azeroth. Those taxes, coupled with the high expense of maintaining and operating the numerous Orc internment camps, led many leaders - Genn Greymane of Gilneas in particular - to believe that their kingdoms would be better off seceding from the Alliance.
To make matters worse, the brusque High Elves of Silvermoon rescinded their allegiance to the Alliance, stating that the Humans' poor leadership led to the burning of their forests during the Second War. Though Terenas tactfully reminded the Elves that nothing of Quel'Thalas would have remained if not for the hundreds of valiant Humans who'd given their lives to defend it, the Elves stubbornly decided to go their own way. In the wake of the Elves' departure, Gilneas and Stromgarde pulled stake and seceded as well.
Though the Alliance was falling apart, King Terenas still had allies that he could count on. Both Admiral Proudmoore of Kul Tiras and the young King Varian Wrynn of Azeroth remained committed to the Alliance. Also, the wizards of the Kirin Tor, led by the Archmage Antonidas, pledged Dalaran's steadfast support to Terenas' rule. Most pleasingly, perhaps, was the pledge of the mighty Dwarven King Magni Bronzebeard, who vowed that the Dwarves of Ironforge would forever owe a debt of honor to the Alliance for liberating Khaz Modan from the Horde's control.
A New Generation
Years passed as tensions abated and a lasting peace settled over Lordaeron. King Terenas and the Archbishop Alonsus Faol worked ceaselessly to rebuild the kingdom and bring aid to the remaining nations of the Alliance. The southern kingdom of Azeroth grew prosperous again and reestablished itself as a military power under King Wrynn's visionary leadership. Uther the Lightbringer, the supreme commander of the Paladin Order, kept the peace in Lordaeron by settling civil disputes and quelling demi-human uprisings throughout the realm. Admiral Proudmoore, whose mighty fleets patrolled the trade lanes hunting pirates and marauders, maintained order on the high seas. But it was the exploits of a newer generation of heroes that captured the imagination of the populace.
King Terenas' only son, Arthas, had grown into a strong, confident young man. The young Prince was trained as a warrior by Muradin Bronzebeard - brother to King Magni of Ironforge - and despite his youth, was considered to be one of the finest swordsmen in Lordaeron. At the tender age of nineteen Arthas was inducted into the Order of the Silver Hand under the command of Lord Uther. The kindly Uther, who had been like a brother to King Terenas for years, considered the Prince more of a favored nephew than a pupil. Though headstrong and somewhat arrogant, none could dispute Arthas' bravery and tenacity. When the Troll warbands of Zul'Aman began raiding the settlements along the Quel'Thalassian border, Arthas was quick to hunt down the savages and put an end to their rampage.
Yet despite his heroics, the citizenry of Lordaeron obsessed over the young Prince's personal life. Rumors of a budding romance between Arthas and Lady Jaina Proudmoore had surfaced and set the kingdom ablaze. Jaina was the youngest daughter of Admiral Proudmoore, a childhood friend of Arthas. However, the beautiful yet shy young woman was also the star pupil of the Kirin Tor - the Wizard Council of Dalaran. Tutored by the revered Archmage Antonidas, Jaina was heralded as a prodigy and excellent at magical research and investigation. Despite the rigors of their duties, Arthas and Jaina managed to maintain a close relationship. Given King Terenas' age and deteriorating health, the citizenry was pleased to see that their beloved Prince would marry and carry on the royal bloodline.
Embarrassed by the public attention, Arthas and Jaina kep their affair as private as possible. But Jaina, committed to her studies in Dalaran, knew that their romance could not last. She had studied the ways of magic her whole life and knew that her true calling was the pursuit of knowledge- not the trappings of the throne room. Much to the frustration of Lordaeron's citizenry, the two lovers reluctantly parted ways and refocused themselves on their duties.
The Shadows Return
After nearly thirteen years of peace, the rumors of war began to circulate once again. The King's agents reported that a young, upstart Warchief had arisen and rallied the few remaining Orc clans into an elite fighting force. The young Warchief was intent on tearing down the internment camps and freeing his people from their bondage. The "new Horde" as it was dubbed, had brazenly attacked the northern city of Stratholme in an attempt to rescue one of its captured warriors. The Horde even destroyed Durnholde - the fortress that oversaw the security of the internment camps - and murdered the officers who ran it. King Terenas sent Uther and his paladins to quell the Warchief's uprising, but the crafty Orcs could never be found. The young Warchief proved to be something of a tactical genius - and evaded Uther's best efforts to corral his hit and run attacks.
Admist the strain of the new Orc uprising, King Terenas was disturbed to hear ill news on another front. Rumor held that a number of supposed "death cults" had formed in the northern provinces. The cults attracted the disenfranchised and disheartened citizens of Lordaeron, offering them "eternal life" on earth as an alternative to servitude to the King. After many years of peace and quiet, King Terenas knew that troubles were only just beginning for his land. He took some comfort in the fact that Lordaeron had endured every trial that had ever come its way - and that its defenders, both new and old, would see it safely through to a new dawn...