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Know Your Lore: Interbellum part 6 -- The Coming of Rexxar

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.

Just face it: Rexxar is the greatest hero the Horde has ever known. If it were not for Rexxar, Cairne Bloodhoof would have sat mired in depression while the aggressor humans of Kul Tiras destroyed Orgrimmar. Baine would be dead. Thrall wouldn't have acted in time and might well have ended up a Warchief without a Horde to lead. The Echo Isles were saved from destruction years before Zalazane by Rexxar.

It is an indisputable fact. Rexxar saved the Horde, defeated its enemies, discovered the human perfidy and the actions of Admiral Proudmoore (opening Jaina's eyes to her own father's unwillingness to share her dream of peace) -- and, lest we forget, it was no Warchief who struck the ultimate blow in this battle at the birth of the new orc homeland. It was the hand of a Mok'Nathal.

Read Part 1: Forcing Fate's Hand
Read Part 2: Into the Outland

Read Part 3: To Rule a World
Read Part 4: The Queen of the Dead

Read Part 5: Atop the Frozen Throne

If you are Horde today, you owe your lives, your honor, your prosperity, your very lands to Rexxar. His title, Champion of the Horde, is an insufficient thank-you for all he has done. He is the greatest living warrior the Horde possesses. And soon, it will call upon him again. How can it not?

Hear now the tale of Rexxar, son of Leoroxx, brother of Misha, Champion of the Horde. Hear how he saved the future of the Horde.

Only beasts are above deceit

Of Rexxar's history before the rise of the New Horde, we know little. What we know is as follows: His father was Leoroxx, chieftain of the Mok'Nathal, a tribe born of the mixture of orc and ogre blood. Amazingly for a people at once sharing orc intelligence and hunting prowess and ogre physical power, the Mok'Nathal lived a pacifistic life in the mountains of Draenor as the orc shaman Ner'zhul welded together the tribes into what would become known as the Horde. Once Ner'zhul's replacement Gul'dan declared the exodus of the Horde through the Dark Portal to conquer a new world, Rexxar chose to take his fate into his own hands. Accompanied by his wolf companion Haratha, he joined the expedition.

Rexxar served during the invasion of the First War and was ultimately driven back to Draenor alongside the Horde when the Second War ended in defeat. During Ner'zhul's attempt to open new portals on Draenor, Rexxar found himself serving alongside Grom Hellscream and the Warsong, but his time in the Horde of Ner'zhul was no better than it had been under Gul'dan. Orcs were brutes, savages to his refined Mok'Nathal sensibilities; they wallowed in murder for no purpose. Theirs was no longer the way of the hunter, who kills to eat and respects his prey. They were monsters. As the Horde fell and the Dark Portal was sealed from the Draenor side, a further betrayal sealed Rexxar's fate. His companion and brother Haratha was drained of his life by an orcish warlock who had sought to use Rexxar's life force to regain his own.

Rexxar avenged his wolf brother, but too late. Sickened to the heart, he turned his back on civilization, on the Horde, on the world. He sought the wild places of Azeroth, and he found in them a peace he could not seem to find among its people.

Walking the land

During his time in the wild, he met and befriended Misha, a great bear who took the place of Haratha at Rexxar's side. Together the two made their way through the undisturbed places of Azeroth and even breached the ancient kaldorei magics that guarded Kalimdor from discovery. Here they wandered the wilds of Stonetalon, Desolace, even Feralas, and none disturbed them.

It's fair to speculate that Rexxar and Misha might have been far happier to simply continue their wanderings through Kalimdor's vast forests and desolate plains. Had they done so, we might well not even have a Horde on Kalimdor at all right now. But the two of them stumbled across an orcish warrior who in death would tie the fate of the many of the Horde to this one, solitary Mok'Nathal and change the world.

A warrior of Thrall's New Horde named Mogrin was ambushed by several Quillboar in The Barrens when Rexxar walked onto the scene. He intervened in time to defeat the Quillboar, but Mogrin's injuries were too grave. As the dying warrior had been entrusted with a message for Thrall himself in Orgimmar, he asked Rexxar to deliver it for him and help ensure his death would be seen as an honorable one. Being curious to see this new Warchief, Rexxar agreed.

In Orgrimmar, Rexxar delivered Mogrin's message and met with Thrall, who invited the Mok'Nathal to stay a while in Orgrimmar and experience the way the orcs now lived, pointing out that Orgrimmar was as much Rexxar's city as it was Thrall's. Rexxar agreed, although he was never one for leisure and insisted he be allowed to take action to repay this generosity. We World of Warcraft players will recognize the cycle as Rexxar met luminaries such as Gazlowe, Drek'thar and Nazgrel and was essentially sent on quests for them to kill harpy queens, gather Shimmerweed, and kill a lot of kobolds -- the usual low-level quest stuff. Rexxar, being made of sterner stuff than any of us, completed these make work quests quickly and efficiently and without complaining.

Unveiling the threat

Through these and many more quests, helping the people of Orgrimmar and Durotar, and meeting brewmasters and shaman, a pattern soon began to emerge. While aiding Drek'thar in determining why the local thunder lizards had gone mad, Rexxar discovered a human logging camp in Horde territory. Despite wanting to destroy the humans, Drek'thar insisted they keep to the nonaggression pact Thrall and Jaina Proudmoore had devised, and instead, the thunder lizards were put down. While assisting Gar'thok in his work settling Durotar, Rexxar first saw suspicious human activity up and down the coast, and later, found Gar'thok's outpost destroyed and a blood trail leading to a human encampment.

After destroying these humans, Rexxar reported their actions to Thrall. Thrall was astonished that Jaina would break the treaty between them, but Rexxar's friend Rokhan (a young troll) was more concerned with the human proximity to the newly settled troll villages in the Echo Isles. Rexxar, a Mok'Nathal more of action than of contemplation, agreed to assist his Darkspear friend. A quick zeppelin trip proved Rokhan right, as the Darkspears were already under attack from human ships. With help from Vol'jin's shadow hunter magics and by killing a sea giant protecting necessary signal pyres, Rexxar managed to hold off the humans and signal the Darkspear to evacuate to the mainland in time.

Thrall still refused to believe Jaina was part of this, but Rexxar didn't trust a supposed peace summit and insisted he go in Thrall's place. Yes, it was a trap. Yes, Rexxar murdered everyone at the ambush and went back to Orgimmar. Really, did you expect any less? I don't know why they even bothered to spring the ambush when Rexxar showed up. Thrall was now convinced something was seriously wrong.

Next week, the conclusion of this series. Rexxar braves Theramore. Rexxar confronts Jaina. Rexxar recruits Cairne. And yes, Rexxar saves the Horde.

While you don't need to have played the previous Warcraft games to enjoy World of Warcraft, a little history goes a long way toward making the game a lot more fun. Dig into even more of the lore and history behind the World of Warcraft in WoW Insider's Guide to Warcraft Lore.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

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