Welcome to the continued lore instalment here on WoW Stratics, previously these articles have featured lore figures which are prominent members of the storyline of the Warlords of Draenor expansion, set to release later this year. This time we look at Durotan, a confirmed quest and NPC figurehead throughout the Horde storyline in the Warlords of Draenor expansion.
Durotan is the Son of Garad and Geyah. Durotan’s father, the former chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan, a powerful diplomatic leader killed by the Ogres and Gronn of Draenor before his voice could be heard in protest of the decision for the Orcs to go to war with the Draenei. And Geyah; the kind hearted current day Greatmother and leader of the Mag’har in Garadar, Nagrand. Both Durotan’s parents have lived through uneasy times for the Orc race, fuelled by a world ever on the brink of war and tension, comprised of organised groups of individually lead Clans, with each a leader outspoken in their rightful leadership of their own. Durotan grew up in Nagrand with his parents, prior to the First war. In his youth he spend much of his time hunting and practicing his combat skills with fellow clan members, generally learning the ways of his people.
During a festival, held bi-annually within Nagrand called the ‘Kosh’harg Celebration’, a time when Orcs from all clans would be invited to talk and share stories and Honor the diversity of their race, Durotan met a Blackrock Clan Orc by the name of Ogrim Doomhammer. They became friends and ultimately this respect is the first step in the foundation of the Horde we know in-game today.
At the time of Durotan’s father’s death at the hands of the Gronn and Ogres, Durotan immediately became the new chieftain by his birth right. His sorrow and rage weighed heavily on his mind, but the leadership of his people had to be his foremost concern. Whilst the clan still mourned the loss of their former chieftain, a message came from Ner’zhul; the chieftain of the Shadowmoon Clan, and shaman of the nearby Oshu’gun Mountain in Nagrand. It said that Ner’zhul had been visited by the ancestors, who proclaimed the right to all Draenor should be Orc alone and that the Draenei were enemies of their people. The truth of the matter is fairly different however, as at this time Ner’zhul had inadvertently made first hand contact with the Burning Legion and the Eredar lord Kil’jaeden. Kil’jaeden was in charge of tracking down and eliminating the Eredar, or now as they called themselves Draenei (Broken Ones) as they fled their own home world Argus many thousands of years previously, escaping the Burning Legion whom completely took over the planet for themselves. Many Draenei joined the legion, but Prophet Velen, a powerful Draenei leader and priest had led what remained of his people away aboard their spaceships and crashed into Azeroth and Draenor.
Durotan was ordered by Ner’zhul to meet with a Draenei hunting party led by Velen himself. The prophet revealed to him that it was infact a dying Naaru named K’ure who attracted the spirits of the dead to Oshu’gun, the very same Naaru it seems that helped the Draenei escape Argus not 25,000 years previously. This denounced the Orc beliefs and was met with somewhat hostile reactions from many Orcs. Many couldn’t believe that this alien had within one simple sentence tried to convince them that their ancestor’s spirits did not appear by choice, and that this ‘Naaru’ being was their only tie to Oshu’gun. Despite this hostility, and the general Orc consensus that Velen be brought before Ner’zhul as a blasphemer, he released them stating that there is no Honor to taking a willing prisoner, regardless of his claims. This is a particularly important point within the blood line that eventually passes down to Thrall, the diplomatic attention to detail and throughput into reasoning is very unlike other Orc’s of the time, allowing Durotan to become a great leader. Nevertheless, the Orcs Went to War.
During a battle weeks later with Draenei forces the shaman of the Frostwolf suddenly realised their ability to convene and channel the gifts bestowed to them by the spirits of their ancestors no long remained within their power. They had become separated with the spirits of Oshu’gun entirely, a prospect that haunted Durotan and his mate Draka immensely. The truth of the matter was that the spirits did not support the war on the Draenei, and that they tried to convey that by refusing their powers to be used in bloodshed, even though their voices could not be heard thanks to Kil’jaeden’s lies.
At the time of the shaman loosing their connection to the ancestral powers, Ner’zhul and his apprentice Gul’dan delved into darker magic’s, understanding the need for power many Orcish shaman followed the same routes and became the first Warlocks of Draenor. Durotan allowed this, for once not wanting to oppose a change too openly, when their people lacked any defensive skills in a time of war and when his own father had been killed for less. Things escalated quickly over time, and through direct interference by Kil’jaeden’s will, The Orcs became united in what they called themselves the ‘First Horde’, a group led by the elected warmonger and bloodthirsty leader of the Blackrock clan; Warchief Blackhand. Under Blackhand’s orders the Frostwolf clan and Durotan were ordered to assault Telmor, a Draenei city nearby to the Frostwolf Clan grounds.
Durotan possessed the ability of Recall, a spell that allowed him to relive memories in visions, a trait that would be most useful now. As a child Durotan had seen a guard of the city use a hidden crystal in the surrounding forest, which when used unveiled the city, usually shrouded and invisible to the naked eye. Ogrim had heard this story from Durotan when they played together as children, and relayed that information to Blackhand. Ultimately this is what made Durotan the leader for the attack on Telmor, and using his ability reluctantly, he brought down the Draenei shroud. The Orcs stormed the settlement and killed everyone in sight. This was a day of absolute victory for the First Horde, but a day of overwhelming ambivalence for Durotan.
The Orcish Horde went on to conquer and destroy many other Draenei settlements including the grand city of Shattrath. At this time, Gul’dan, who had been the figurehead of much of the puppeteering and channelling of Kil’jaeden’s will, summoned the Clans to a mountain to the far north; which he dubbed ‘The Throne of Kil’jaden’. It was here he offered the gift of the mighty demon lord Kil’jaeden; the blood of Mannoroth. Previously to the summons, Ner’zhul who at one point was the master of the apprentice and now separated from the possessed and chosen Gul’dan, had warned Durotan about the dangers that Gul’dan would unleash if the Orcs were to partake in Kil’jaeden’s gift, and so he and his friend Ogrim declined drinking the blood of Mannoroth. This infuriated Gul’dan and shortly thereafter he was told by his dark master to be rid of those who would not share in their power, calling them traitors and a danger to the plans of the True Horde.
Gul’dan schemed ways to eliminate Durotan carefully, and so settled for turning his own people against him. He released a Draenei prisoner and slave of Warchief Blackhand, blaming Durotan for the action of defiance to his rule. Blackhand was enraged by this act of treason and openly duelled Durotan. Durotan had actually had a part in all this, as he found the freed slave in the wilderness and had given her shelter so that she may survive. The fight itself took place nearby where Durotan was sheltering the slave, it came to naught when both of the powerful Orcs locked in battle suddenly realised, the Draenei had escaped both of their attentions and fled. Their duel ended, and so did much of the energy that made the battle worthwhile. Durotan left and returned to the camp of the Frostwolf clan, and Blackhand returned to his keep, angered but aware that in his absence his people were without a leader.
During the nights that followed, Gul’dan was visited by a vision of a far away sorcerer, calling himself Medivh the human, a possessed life form of the Dark Titan and leader of the Burning Legion; Sargeras. Medivh told unto Gul’dan the next orders for the advancement of their plans for the Horde, and so instructed him to build a demonic gateway, that they could together open between Draenor and the planet that could be seen in the sky at night; Azeroth. The following day, Gul’dan began preparations for the Dark Portal’s construction. Durotan, who was now open in his opposition to Gul’dan’s twisted ideas and that of the bloodstained leadership of the short sighted Warchief Blackhand, continued his protests against the leadership of the Horde, but all was too little and far too late. The Orcs were as possessed as their leaders, under the influence of the Burning Legion and the Corrupted Blood of Mannoroth. When the portal was completed, and Gul’dan ordered the Orc forces through the portal to conquer this new world, Durotan and his clan was exiled to Azeroth, stripping them of any connection to the Horde that now reigned as a powerful hand of Sargeras, and an extension of the mighty Burning Legion.
Durotan and the Frostwolf clan marched for many miles until they settled in the Mountainous Valleys of Alterac, a remote part of the human Kingdom, covered in snow and protected by the harsh conditions many Humans avoided. Drek’thar, a powerful shaman within the Frostwolf clan, one whom had declined the path of the Warlock regained the shamanistic powers that were lost so long ago to their people, and taught others to embrace these old powers, with which they were able to survive the harsh winters of the remote mountains.
Draka; faithful mate of Durotan eventually became pregnant with a child, one whom would one day be heir to chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan. An Azerothian born child, they named Goel. The reluctant abandonment of his resolve had caused Durotan to grow old and settle into a world that was being sieged and destroyed by his now evil, corrupted kin. This realisation empowered Durotan to take one last stand against Gul’dan and so joined with nearby, also exiled brethren, Ogrim Doomhammer. At this time, Ogrim had assassinated Blackhand and became the new Warchief of the Horde, separated from Gul’dan’s own loyal forces. In fact many of the Orcish Clans separated from one force and once again regarded the conquering of Azeroth, like Draenor and the continued war against its inhabitants their primary goal.
After the meeting between Durotan, Draka and Orgim, many of the councilmen listening to the propaganda Durotan provided against Gul’dan, turned out to be spies of Gul’dan himself. Fearing that their open opposition would get them killed, Orgim Doomhammer instructed them to go into hiding with a promise they would together present Gul’dan with his crimes and see justice. The safe heaven Orgim had given them whilst he arranged proceedings to oppose Gul’dan turned out to be far from the truth of the matter, and the spies descended upon the unsuspecting family, butchering Draka before Durotan, and then cleaving off his arms so that he could never again hold his child in his arms. He bled to death there, with the only thought in his head that he would die before he would see his son, now left abandoned by the spies in the middle of the forest ripped apart by the wolves and creatures of the mountains.
And so, another chapter in the lore section is completed, and opens up many questions for Durotan’s presence in the Warlords of Draenor expansion later this year. Set within a time on Draenor before all of the corruption, it’s likely, and confirmed that Durotan will take centre stage in the Horde story, with even a meeting of his son; Thrall/ Goel, as they take on the united horde of Garrosh Hellscream and the other Warlords of Draenor. Be sure to continue this discussion with any thoughts, opinions and speculation of what we could see next in Durotan’s lengthy storyline, and weather actually meeting his father will change Thrall and make him understand his lineage further. Thank you for reading; I look forward to sharing more with you, in the next Lore, Warcraft & You!