The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how, but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.
WARNING: The following post contains spoilers for World of Warcraft: The Comic. Players who are currently reading through the comics or simply wish to avoid spoilers from the series should avoid this post.
We're taking a step back from Alliance politics this week in light of some new information from the 3.3.5 PTR. The servers have been laggy and somewhat unstable, but I've still been able to log on and play through a few things. One of those things is an interesting new quest chain available in Orgrimmar involving Doomsday Cultists who are suddenly making appearances in the Drag and talking about the end of the world as we know it.
The biggest thing that sparked my interest was mention of Cho'gall. Matthew Rossi did an excellent write-up of the Twilight's Hammer and their leader Cho'gall, but what struck my interest was that Cho'gall's presence in game may lead to more interplay between story lines from the Warcraft comic series and World of Warcraft itself. However, while I made the connection readily enough, there are plenty out there who haven't read the comics and have no idea who Cho'gall, Med'an or any of the other characters I've referenced in previous posts actually are.
In light of this, today we're going to be talking about the last half of the Warcraft comics series -- what happened in them, who was introduced, who died, what happened with Cho'gall, why Silithus was suddenly relevant again, and most of all, who the heck that Med'an kid is that I've been going on about. As I will be talking about these things in detail, this post is absolutely brim full of spoilers for the comics series; readers who are interested in picking up the comics and reading through them may want to veer away from this post.
Med'an's story begins in Issue 15 of the comics. King Varian Wrynn just defeated Onyxia and rescued his son Anduin with the help of Valeera Sanguinar, Broll Bearmantle and Jaina Proudmoore. Everything seemed to be going well on Azeroth, and as Varian and the rest of the group headed back to Theramore, Jaina and Anduin managed to talk him into trying another peace summit with the orcs. He'd originally been on his way to a summit with Thrall when he was abducted by Onyxia -- and subsequently kidnapped by an orc shaman named Rehgar Earthfury and used in gladiator battles as a part of Rehgar's team, along with Valeera and Broll. Needless to say, Varian wasn't terribly keen on the idea of chatting with the orcs, but Anduin insisted, and Varian relented. The group reached Theramore, greeted by Aegwynn, who was happy to see them all in one piece. Aegwynn was the former Guardian of Tirisfal, the mother of Medivh and once upon a time, the most powerful woman on Azeroth.
Meanwhile in Thunder Bluff, a Forsaken mage named Stasia Fallshadow went to the Pools of Vision on Spirit Rise to investigate a scroll she'd found, a strange prophecy involving "the foretold savior of Azeroth." Stasia knew that whoever controlled the savior, controlled Azeroth -- something she was pretty keen on doing, for unknown reasons. She saw a vision of a half-orc woman in tears, standing over the corpse of a human king and barely showing her pregnancy. The half-orc gave birth to the child and turned it over to another undead, a mage that she called an old friend. She told the mage that she was too dangerous, too unstable and mad to take care of her son, and made him promise never to reveal to the child who his mother was. By the end of the vision, Stasia had the location of the child, now grown -- Brightwood Grove.
The child's name was Med'an. Med'an was an odd boy; he possessed an aptitude for both the natural magic of shaman and the arcane magic used by mages. Despite his youth, he was strangely powerful. Sometime later in Brightwood Grove, Med'an and his caretaker Meryl were attacked by a group of ogres and tauren. The attack was a surprise, but the even bigger surprise was the half-orc woman who suddenly dove in out of nowhere to help the two of them. Med'an thought the woman looked vaguely familiar, but Meryl pulled him to safety away from the battle. When they returned to the scene of the fight, the ground was littered with corpses; the woman that had given them aid, gone. It seemed she'd left just as quickly as she came.
Only she hadn't. The woman was Garona, the half-orc assassin who murdered King Llane Wrynn, Varian's father. Garona was a tool of Gul'dan back then, kept firmly under his control with control words he'd programmed into her when she was a child -- he'd basically ensorcelled her into doing whatever he commanded. Garona hadn't defeated the attackers; they'd captured her -- something that Stasia had planned all along -- and taken her back to Ahn'Qiraj, the stronghold of the Old God C'thun. It seems upon C'thun's death, the Twilight's Hammer moved into the city and took it over. Stasia brought Garona back to meet her master, Cho'gall, the ogre mage who heads the Twilight's Hammer. Cho'gall was thought dead back on the Broken Isles, but apparently rumors of his death were exaggerated. He was terribly pleased to see Garona, and even more pleased to see that the control words Gul'dan used on her were still effective. Garona would be a useful tool for him and make it that much easier to get to her son, the subject of the prophecy Stasia had uncovered.
Cho'gall had also caught wind of the peace summit to be held in Theramore and came up with a plan that would use Garona to her full potential. Using the control words to bend her to his will, he ordered her to seek out and murder King Varian Wrynn, followed by his son Anduin and then the Warchief Thrall. Stasia got together a group of Twilight's Hammer -- some human, some orc and some tauren -- to escort Garona on her journey. The humans would attack the Horde members, and the orcs and tauren would attack the Alliance members, and if Garona failed to kill Varian, each side would still be more likely to blame the other, declaring open war on the spot and completely ignoring the Twilight's Hammer and whatever they happened to be up to in the south. And if for some reason Garona failed and got herself killed, it'd be that much easier to get her son, Med'an. He then ordered Garona to forget all about both him and Ahn'Qiraj the moment she stepped out of the city -- to her, it would be as if she were working under her own volition.
Med'an in the meantime was still out in Brightwood Grove, trying to get himself in trouble so that the strange woman would show herself again, since Meryl wasn't talking about the incident or the half-orc. But she looked familiar, and Med'an couldn't place why – until he got home and overheard a conversation between Meryl and a man named Koron. Koron had infiltrated the Twilight's Hammer and owed Meryl a few favors, so Meryl called them in, asking for information about Garona's whereabouts. Unfortunately, he also let slip that Garona was Med'an's mother, and Med'an overheard that, too. Med'an took off to go rescue his mom; Meryl took off to go rescue Med'an from rescuing his mom.
Warchief Thrall arrived, along with the two orcs he'd chosen as advisors: Garrosh Hellscream and Rehgar Earthfury, who'd given up the gladiator circuit in favor of more honest pursuits -- arguably two of the worst choices the warchief could've made. Everyone laid down their weapons, and the peace summit began. Despite the tensions between the orcs and humans, the two sides realized they had more in common than previously thought. By the end of it, Varian and Thrall were downright friendly with each other, something that pleased young Anduin immensely. Unfortunately, that tentative friendship would soon be irrevocably shattered. The summit was cut short due to news of a sudden uprising of Scourge in Goldshire and Southshore, and as the two parties prepared to leave, the Twilight's Hammer struck.
Cho'gall's plan succeeded in making all hell break loose as Garona and the Twilight's Hammer began their attack. Both Varian and Thrall were caught off guard by the ambush and fought back against the attackers ... until Varian caught sight of Garona. He immediately recognized the woman who had murdered his father right in front of him when he was a child and, enraged, turned on Thrall. As far as Varian was concerned, it was blatantly obvious that Thrall had hired Garona, the same orc that had killed his father, to come back and finish off Varian himself. Thrall thought he was crazy and told him as much, and Garrosh cut in with a few choice words of his own. Med'an managed to show up in time to save Anduin and try to rescue his mother -- and for his efforts, Stasia caught him, knocking him unconscious and carrying him away. On the way out, she used a few choice words to paralyze Garona on the spot so that she'd be unable to defend herself when Varian got around to executing her.
This is really the moment where all of the animosity we see in the Ulduar trailer began, the spark that set it all off. Garrosh saw Garona as a traitor and tried to kill her. Jaina stopped him even as Varian accused him of trying to do so in order to cover up the fact that Thrall had been the one to hire her in the first place. Jaina was perplexed by Garona's apparently spellbound state and the fact that the attackers had just left her to die; she wanted to know the reason behind it, so she insisted Garona stay imprisoned at Theramore until they found out just what she was up to. Then Garrosh opened his big fat mouth and said that it was obvious the Alliance were just trying to cover for Garona, and that Varian hired her to kill Thrall.
Thanks, Garrosh. You make a wonderful diplomat.
You have to understand that by this point, Varian was pissed, and he had every right to be. Garona killed his father and cut out his heart while Varian watched, when he was just a little boy. He wanted nothing more than revenge for his father's death, and Jaina was denying it. Not only that, but Thrall, Garrosh and the other orcs were going to simply walk away -- and if there's one thing Garrosh Hellscream is really, really good at, it's irritating the hell out of people. Given the situation, it's amazing that Varian didn't just lock Jaina away for treason and murder Garona, Thrall and the others. But he didn't. Thrall, Rehgar and Garrosh left in one piece -- and Thrall was almost heartbroken that things had fallen apart.
Varian and Anduin, who told his father about the strange boy that saved his life, the son of Garona, got ready to leave. Varian said he wasn't about to kill a mother but given the extent of her crimes, when Jaina was done figuring out what had happened, he wanted Garona turned over to Stormwind for execution -- mother or no. In the meantime, Garona began to come out of her stupor, just in time to beg Valeera to save her son. Valeera decided to stay in Theramore and find out more about Garona and her son in the hopes of figuring out more about what had just happened, and bid Varian and Anduin farewell.