The History of Orcish Ascension - The Rise of the Shadow Council

Like an elemental force of havoc destruction we thundered through the lands of the Draenei devastating all that we beheld. Not one life was spared. No building was left standing. The only traces of their existence were the blood-soaked fields they had worked for nearly five thousand years and the rank, acrid smell of the huge victory fires that consumed the bodies of their young. The Draenei were a weak people - hardly worth the effort of our raiding sweep. In the end, however, even these simple victories serve to keep inferior in their place...

It has always been so with my kind. The savage, brutal tendencies of the masses are easily manipulated by those who hold true power. Power is the true force that drives the destructive machine that is the Horde. Those who imagine themselves in possession of this power rally around their clan banners of violence. Yet without a common foe, even the leaders of the Orc clans blindly turn upon each other. The appetite for destruction that prevails amongst these fools drives the Horde; might and might alone is honored above all things.

I am Gul'dan - the greatest of all Warlocks and Initiate of the Seventh Circle of the Shadow Council. No one knows the dark, burning allure of ultimate power better than I.

In what passed as my youth, I studied Orc magiks through the tribal Shaman of my clan. My natural talent channeling the cold, negative-energies of the Twisting Nether brought me notable standing amongst the other Shaman, and I knew that even Ner'zhul, the greatest of my teachers, became jealous of me as my abilities grew ever stronger.

My aspirations rose higher than those of my peers and masters alike, for I knew that the scope their vision was limited by their devotion to the advancement of the Horde. I cared nothing for the Horde or its petty politics. I cared nothing for this world over which we had complete dominion. Cared only for the chance to fathom the spiraling mysteries of the Great Dark Beyond. I had begun secret explorations of energies far beyond the scope of anything that my so-called tutors could possible comprehend. It was at this time I discovered a being of immense power - the Daemon Kil'jaeden. I was in awe of his heartless fury. To witness his awesome power was to be all but consumed. In the fleeting, fevered nightmares he brought me, I touched the essence of that which lies Beyond. Within me an unfathomable lust was sewn - a desire to wield the fury of ethereal storms and to stand unscathed within the dying hearts of burning suns.

Under the tutelage of Kil'jaeden, I realized how limited even my understanding had been. Untold histories of ancient Daemon races and primal magical dimensions were made known to me. I learned that there existed worlds without number, scattered throughout the darkness beyond the sky - worlds to which I might lead the Horde as only one of my abilities could. Though I remained with my people on the dark, red world of Draenei, I soon learned to project myself into the depths of the Twisting Nether, being driven nearly mad by the whispering chaos contained therein. Although it seemed it would mean my death, I was irresistibly compelled to continue my sojourn until, finally unbound from my corporeal existence, I understood the whispers. It was then that I first spike to the dead...

Ancestral worship has long been at the heart of Orcish religion. While nearly all of the Orcish Hordes believed that our dead elders watched and guided us from the depths of some lost realm of chaos, I believed this notion to be a product of ritual and not reality. Within the Twisting Nether I discovered they kept their endless, silent vigil over the clans in hope of finding some means of escape from their lifeless torment. I knew then that these spirits of the dead would be a useful tool for anyone who could bind them to his will.

Years passed. My apprenticeship under Kil'jaeden had allowed me to become the most powerful Warlock the clans had ever seen in many generations. My place within in the Horde was as a respected leader, but as ever, tension ran high amongst the clans. The destruction of the Draenei left nothing upon which the great beast f war- could feed. After centuries of violence and warfare, we had finally conquered the whole of our world. With no enemies left to crush and no new lands to conquer, the clans had fallen into a state of utter anarchy. Minor disputes between clans led to open battle and massive bloodshed. Those chieftains who attempted to assume the position of overlord soon found themselves slaughtered by the ravenous legions of the disheartened Horde. I knew that the time had come to claim the mantle of power that I had so long neglected.

Within a few short months the Shadow Council had its hand in all of the important political matters within the Horde. Nothing occurred within the Horde that we did not know about, and many events took place by our design - so cleverly implemented that even the clan chieftains were oblivious to our manipulations. Before half a year had passed, we had assumed near total control of the inner of the Horde. Yet, behind all of our secret machinations, there loomed the silent and ominous shadow the Daemon Kil'jaeden.

In pursuit of furthering our magical resources I opened a new school of magical discipline that became known as Necromancy. We began training young Warlocks in the arcane mysteries of life and death. Again, with tutelage from Daemon Kil'jaeden, these Necrolytes delved into the dark arts, eventually gaining power enough to animate and control the bodies of the newly dead. Every victory - every success - left me with an emptiness I could not fill. I came to realize that the Shadow Council could serve my purposes only to an extent, and thus I would require even greater power should I wish to become the true harbinger of our destiny.

Continue reading:
The Mastery of Forces - Medivh and Blackhand
The First War of Orcish Ascension