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Know Your Lore: Draka, daughter of Kelkar

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.

Thrall named the ship Draka's Fury after his mother. It was the ship that should have taken him without trouble to the heart of the Maelstrom during Cataclysm, but the ship was intercepted by an Alliance fleet and destroyed. It's been stated here and there that Thrall named the ship as a tribute to his mother, and to the strong orc women in his life -- but there's a problem with that. Thrall didn't know his mother at all, really. When he was just an infant, both Draka and his father Durotan were killed, betrayed by their own kind, and Thrall left to die. He named the ship after the strength of a mother that he never really knew at all.

But Draka was far from weak, in her prime -- and to her mate Durotan, she was the epitome of everything an orc woman should be. Strong, wise, brave, unwilling to bend or break, Draka spent the entirety of her childhood defying everyone's expectations, and continued to do so until the day she died. In Warlords of Draenor, we'll finally get a chance to meet Thrall's mother and father in person. We know who Durotan is, but who was that orc woman standing at his side, and what made her so incredibly special?


Born into weakness

Draka was born to her mother Zuura and father Kelkar years before the orcs were corrupted by the Burning Legion, but her problems began the moment she drew her first breath. Weak and frail, her pale fawn color stood out in stark contrast to the deep brown of other orc babies. Most expected her to die mere hours after she was born, but she made it to her naming day, where the concerned whispers of the rest of the clan made it clear that none really expected her to live beyond a year, perhaps two.

Draka defied all expectations, and lived for years beyond that. As a child, she knew she was weak, and she knew that this was bad -- a weak orc was no help to the clan. But it didn't stop her from trying. When a fire broke out in the orcish encampment, Draka did her best to try and carry water to the blaze and help put it out. Unfortunately, she found herself in the way of an honored guest -- Blackhand, leader of the Blackrock Clan. Enraged at the pitiful, frail child underfoot, Blackhand sent her running home in disgrace, telling her if she had been born a Blackrock, he would have drowned her himself at birth.

Arriving home in tears, Draka discovered Blackhand was right all along. After Zuura put the child to bed, she was visited by Chieftain Garad, who quietly asked the family to relocate to the encampment's edge. After all, the center of the village was reserved for those with the most honor, the strongest warriors. Draka did nothing but bring shame to her family, and to the Frostwolves as well. It was best for the clan as a whole to keep her out of sight, and out of mind. The next day, the family relocated, never mentioning the reason why -- but Draka knew.


A warrior made

And Draka never forgot the words of Blackhand, the words of Chieftain Garad, or the shame she brought her family. Years later, still frail and weak but miraculously alive, Draka learned that her parents were told not to attend the twice-yearly Kosh'harg festival, the event in which all clans met at the foot of Oshu'gun. It was the last straw. Draka decided to visit Mother Kashur, the Frostwolf shaman, and do something about it. Pleading her case to Mother Kashur, Draka begged her to do something, anything to remove the shame she had brought to her family. After consulting the spirits, Mother Kashur had an answer, of sorts -- but it wasn't going to be easy. She sent Draka after three items needed for a spell that would cure Draka's weakness -- the feather of a windroc, the horn of a talbuk, and the fur of a clefthoof, all slain by Draka's own hands.

She'd never been allowed to hunt. She hadn't even been allowed to build a fire. And she knew going in that she would likely die in the process, but she didn't care -- if she completed this task, she would bring honor to her family at last. If she died, she would rid them of the problem that had brought them dishonor for so many years. Draka may not have been allowed to hunt, may not have been strong, but she was smart. One by one, she completed Mother Kashur's tasks, and after killing a great clefthoof, returned to her village triumphant, only to find there was no spell after all.

Mother Kashur didn't need the ingredients for some sort of magical potion to cure Draka's ills. After spending so long out in the wilds hunting on her own, Draka returned fit and strong, the very picture of an orc warrior. Her reinvigorated health didn't escape the notice of the rest of the clan, including Durotan, son of Chieftain Garad. At first, he nearly didn't recognize her at the Kosh'harg festival that her family had at last been allowed to attend. But after spending an evening gawping at Draka like a lovestruck idiot, Durotan knew he had to have her.


Mate of a chieftain

She turned him down flat. Durotan came to her with all the bluster and bravado of a chieftain's son, and she wasn't about to make it easy for him, making an excuse that she was not yet of age for the courtship hunt he wanted to take her on. But the chieftain's son surprised her -- he didn't leave in anger or try to force the point, instead suggesting that in that case, they simply go on a hunt together not as two orcs courting, but as two warriors, nothing more. It was enough to change her mind, and the hunt that followed the next day was not a hunt spent with useless attempts to impress or woo, but a hunt spent between two equals -- two that worked incredibly well together, in Draka's eyes.

And Durotan continued to be impressed by Draka, who cleverly picked up the signs of an injured, limping clefthoof like it was nothing at all -- something he'd missed entirely when he first saw the tracks. The two were surprised to find not only the clefthoof at the end of the trail, but a giant wolf that sprung on Durotan without a second thought. Draka charged at the wolf, piercing its heart with her spear at the moment that Durotan brought his axe down. Neither could really say who had struck the killing blow, but both realized in that moment that they worked flawlessly together. And Draka confessed what she had not told Durotan when she'd turned him down -- certainly she wasn't of age the day before, but she came of age that day.

Time passed, and Mother Kashur passed on, to the sorrow of the Frostwolves. To even greater sorrow, Chieftain Garad passed on as well, and the leadership of the clan passed on to Durotan. The Kosh'harg was soon approaching, and although Draka and Durotan had not yet been wed, one was rarely seen without the company of the other. Unfortunately, life was about to change for the orcs of Draenor -- the elder shaman Ner'zhul sent a missive that asked for all clan chieftains to come to Oshu'gun early, and to bring their shaman with them.

Draka watched him, her eyes narrowing. He looked at her and smiled. "I will go, then. And all my shaman." Draka frowned. "I will come with you." "I think it would be best if-"
Draka snarled. "I am Draka, daughter of Kelkar, son of Rhakish. I am your intended, soon to be your life partner. You will not forbid me to accompany you!"



Rise of the Horde

In the years that followed, the Frostwolves joined the new, united Horde's war with the draenei at the behest of Ner'zhul, and Durotan and Draka were wed. The clan did their best to believe Nerzhul's claim that the strange, blue-skinned creatures who had never really brought any harm to any orc were secretly plotting against them. But as much as she wanted to, Draka didn't really trust Ner'zhul, and confessed this to Durotan -- who wasn't exactly certain about the elder shaman's motives himself. As time passed and more violence broke out between the orcs and draenei, the shaman of the clan began to lose their link with the elements that brought them aid -- and Draka knew that this was more than a sign. It was flat-out evidence that what they were doing was wrong.

Yet there was little that she and Durotan could actually do about the situation. The rest of the orcish clans had united -- how could one clan hope to stand against the united might of all others? The now-powerless shaman of the clans listened eagerly, attentively as Gul'dan, Ner'zhul's apprentice, provided a demonstration of a new kind of power. Dark magic, the likes of which had never been seen before. Warlock magic. Over Draka's protests, over her insistence that something was wrong, Durotan allowed Drek'thar to learn these strange new ways. She could only stand by Durotan's side and watch as Blackhand was elected Warchief.

She continued to stand by Durotan's side as he was asked to do the unthinkable -- betray the draenei that had saved him when he was young, wipe out the settlement he had been shown in trust. She stood by his side as they watched the lands around them fall to ruin and despair, as the brown skin of the orcs peeled and flaked away, revealed strange, green skin beneath. And she stood, resolute and proud by his side as he denied the "blessing" of the mighty Kil'jaeden, and refused the Blood of Mannoroth to himself, his family, and his clan.

None knew Durotan better than Draka. No one else understood the conflict, the struggle behind every decision Durotan made. None knew the sorrow, the doubt, the discomfort behind his eyes better than his chosen mate. And although she could do nothing about the inevitable downfall of the orcs, Draka could, at the very least, stand tall at her husband's side. Even in his darkest hours, Durotan knew that he was never truly alone.


Thrall

It was likely with both joy and sorrow that Draka realized she was with child. Joy, because a child is a joyous thing, sorrow, for knowing what that child was about to be born into. The orcs had passed through the Dark Portal into this strange, new Azeroth -- and the Frostwolf clan had been exiled shortly after to the harsh frozen mountains of Alterac. They lived on, but life was far from easy. Fortunately, Draka knew in great detail just how hard life could be -- and how to thrive in spite of it. The child was born, a fine, strong son to lead the Frostwolf clan after Durotan was gone. And on one fateful day, observing both mate and son, Durotan made one of the last decisions he would ever make.

He could no longer bear to watch the rest of the orc clans dutifully follow Gul'dan, watch them wallow in the depths of the evil that Gul'dan had brought to their kind. His son deserved more than that, his mate deserved more, the orcish race deserved more. Durotan decided that night to travel to Orgrim Doomhammer, his childhood friend, and tell him what he knew of Gul'dan, the Shadow Council, and the corruption of the orcish race. From there, he hoped that more clans would learn, until all could unite against Gul'dan and the old ways, the better ways would return.

"You shall not go alone, my mate," said Draka, her soft voice a sharp contrast to the ear-splitting sound of Durotan's Oath Cry. "We shall come with you." "I forbid it." And with a suddenness that startled even Durotan, who ought to have known better, Draka sprang to her feet. The crying baby tumbled from her lap as she clenched her fists and raised them, shaking them violently. A heartbeat later Durotan blinked as pain shot through him and blood dripped down his face. She had bounded the length of the cave and slashed his cheek with her nails. "I am Draka, daughter of Kelkar, son of Rhakish. No one forbids me to follow my mate, not even Durotan himself! I come with you, I stand by you, I shall die if need be. Pagh!" She spat at him.

He loved Draka more in that moment than ever before -- and come with him she did, all the way to Doomhammer's field camp. Durotan delivered his message, and it seemed at last that the orcish race had a glimmer of hope, for Doomhammer believed Durotan's words. After listening to the tale, Orgrim sent both Durotan and Draka away, escorted by one of his own personal guard. They wouldn't be safe, staying in Doomhammer's camp -- when the time was right, Doomhammer would stand by their side, and Gul'dan would fall. But that time never came to pass.

Draka, daughter of Kelkar, fierce and strong, fought tooth and nail against Gul'dan's assassins, but this last battle was one that she could not win. Overwhelmed, she died -- as did Durotan, their infant son left to howl his misery in the forest until the wild creatures tore him to bits. Their son would never have his naming day. Instead, he was found by a human and taken in, raised as a gladiator, later escaping to become the savior of the orcish race and the new Warchief of the Horde. The infant defied all expectations, avoiding certain death and instead growing up healthy, clever, and strong. A warrior, a leader, a shaman that strove to re-ignite the ways of old.

Draka would have been unspeakably proud.

In Warlords of Draenor, Thrall will finally meet both mother and father on a world in which fate has been utterly changed. In this version of reality, they have no son, and the orcish race never fell to the Legion's corruption. How will they react to the son that never was, to his strange appearance, his green skin and his wild stories of futures that never were? We'll see in the new expansion whether Thrall will be accepted with open arms, and if Draka's fury lives on.


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: Lore, Know your Lore

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