Sunday, December 14, 2014

RIP Garrosh Hellscream, Warchief, War Criminal

This is a spoilery sort of article if you haven't worked that out yet.
It is with a relieved heart that we of the Alliance lay former warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream, to rest. Or, not really to rest, but more to slowly rot away, exposed on the plains of Nagrand after having been electrocuted and squished in a talon of earth by his former mentor and noted orc shaman, Baldy.

Hellscream, a noted war criminal and warchief of the Horde who was overthrown in a recent revolt, had most recently escaped justice in Pandaria using a botched time travel mechanism and is presumed to be at least partly responsible for the recent attacks of the so-called "Iron Horde" on the Blasted Lands of Azeroth. It was these actions that brought together a rare, mixed task force of Alliance and Horde heroes to storm the Dark Portal, protect our world from this new threat, and bring Hellscream to justice.

The son of orcish ne'er-do-well Grom Hellscream, Garrosh was burdened by the weight of his father's actions that effectively led his people into subservience to the Burning Legion. But, abandoned in the destroyed wreckage of his planet, now called the Outlands, Garrosh grew up, ashamed of his lineage, and fearing what effect his own choices could have on history. Garrosh did not learn of the redeeming actions his father performed to break that submission to the demonic army until survivors of those first campaigns returned to Outlands almost 20 years later.

A young, impressionable Hellscream, who presumably had a lisp from all those tusks.
Revived by learning of what potential lay in his lineage, Hellscream accompanied the orc armies back to Azeroth and took a place of esteem at the side of then-Warchief Baldy (ne√® Thrall). But this was a relationship fraught with difficulties from the beginning. Hellscream seemed to champion the old ways of the orcish Horde, while Baldy tried to steer him towards the values of his self-styled "New Horde." 

On the eve of world war against renewed forces of the Scourge, Hellscream challenged his mentor to "mak'rogahn," a ritual of combat to the death over some trivial thing that no one even remembers anymore. No one died in this instance only because the denizens of Orgrimmar became distracted by an army of undead bearing down on the city.

Hellscream distinguished himself in the counter-attack against the Scourge, but his leadership in Northrend was also marked by its increased antagonism of the Alliance forces. In one notable battle on the Icecrown Glacier, Hellscream's troops came upon an Alliance division fighting a Scourge army. Under Hellscream's orders, the Horde fighters butchered the Alliance before falling prey themselves to the same Scourge army the humans had been trying to hold off. 

Returning to Orgrimmar a hero (although it was Merinna's guild that eventually stopped the Lich King. Hellscream wasn't even there.) Hellscream was soon named warchief by the retiring Baldy and it was at this time, Hellscream's aggression became clear.

Horde armies took advantage of the chaos sewn by some disgruntled dragon to attempt an annex of the entire continent of Kalimdor. Hellscream made significant inroads into Night Elf territory though he lost ground in the Barrens when human forces landed and began their own counter-attack.

Perhaps Hellscream's greatest success came two years ago when he dropped a magical bomb, powered by an ancient dragon artifact and effectively wiped out the human city of Theramore in Kalimdor. 

This feat really marks the key to Hellscream's tactics: Hellscream was a technologist, of sorts. Rather than win battles by conventional tactics or traditional orcish methods like outnumbering the enemy and drowning it in slobber, Hellscream preferred large, "shock and awe" tactics that called on forces barely within his control.  His first attacks on Ashenvsle Forest unleashed Northrend Magnataurs upon the unsuspecting Kaldorei. He destroyed Northwatch Keep in the Barrens using elementals summoned by corrupt shaman. He fended off Alliance naval attack by summoning deep sea Kraken to attack the Alliance Fleet. 

During his final campaign in Pandaria, Hellscream sought after one powerful artifact after another that he believed would bring Horde domination of our world, and it was during this time that it became apparent that "domination" didn't really include the other races of the Horde. Hellscream had permanently harmed his relationship with the Tauren when he accidentally killed the Tauren's traditional leader Cairne Bloodhoof in his second mak'rogahn. After a failed assassination attempt on troll leader, Vol'jin, the other races of the Horde fell into open rebellion against the Warchief. He was deposed months later when the Alliance stormed Orgrimmar and taken into Pandaren custody.

Returning to the somewhat familiar plains of Nagrand, an alternate version of what he grew up in, Hellscream holed up in his own stronghold, surrounded by members of the Burning Blade Clan. But these fortifications could not hold against a Draenei army led by Merinna, now commander of the Alliance Draenor expedition. While in combat with Merinna and Yriel, a prominent Vindicator among the Draenor Draenei, Baldy stopped the fight to challenge Hellscream to his final mak'rogahn. 

The mak'rogahn between Baldy and Garrosh looked exactly like this.
Hellscream and Baldy faced each other at the Stones of Prophecy, the place where they first met so many years before. Y'know, except that it was an alternate reality version of the plains had hadn't been blown up. The fight was brief and decisive and Baldy left his now-defeated and dead protege on the field of battle, perhaps as a lesson for what comes from crossing a PO'd shaman.

Garrosh Hellscream is survived by no known family, praise be to Elune.

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