The Horde Civil War was a conflict that arose not long after the War of the Frozen Wastes and during the midst of the Fourth War. It was a conflict between Loyalist Horde forces under the command of Warchief Thrall and the Renegade Horde forces under the command of Garrosh Hellscream, former Overlord of the Warsong Offensive. The civil war was a result of increasing tension between the mentioned leaders which eventually broke out into an all-out conflict.
The civil war traces its roots back to the initiation of Garrosh Hellscream into the new Horde. After realizing that his father, Grommash Hellscream, was a savior of the orcs, Garrosh was determined to do his part in the shaping of the world. However, his intentions clashed with the ideals of Thrall, who valued the peace between the Alliance and Horde instead of conflict. Garrosh would refer to the Alliance as weaklings and call Thrall a coward for putting up with such people. Such ideals were displayed on numerous occasions, notably at the Theramore peace summit.
After the events of the Wrathgate and the declaration of war by King Varian Wrynn of the Alliance, tensions began to tighten between the two. While Thrall tried to focus more on the war effort against the Lich King, Garrosh was more intent on fueling the war effort against the Alliance. This was evident when Garrosh assaulted Varian Wrynn at the Violet Citadel, as well as forcing Horde champions to fight Alliance champions in the Argent Tournament. Things began to take a turn for the worse, when the combined forces of the Ashen Verdict, Alliance and Horde assaulted Icecrown Citadel, where the Alliance and Horde forces fought one another. Eventually, Thrall's patience wore thin with Garrosh to the point that he reprimanded him and stripped him of the title of Overlord, as well as relinquished command of the Warsong Offensive from him.
Garrosh, fully convinced that Thrall wasn't fit to lead the Horde, attempted a coup d'etat with other like-minded Horde members, which failed due to the timely intervention of High Overlord Saurfang. As a result, Garrosh was branded a traitor and exiled from the Horde. However, given the fact that Garrosh had won the hearts and minds of many others who wish to return to the warrior ways of the Old Horde, not all were ready to accept Thrall's choice, notably those who were the head of the Horde outposts in Northrend. Thus, a schism occurred within the Horde, where many Orcs joined the rebellious Garrosh. Soon, the schism sparked a bloody conflict as Garrosh began to raid villages and towns that still supported the Warchief.
On one side there was the Loyalist Horde forces, those that were still loyal to Thrall. The Loyalists composed of most of the Kor'kron unit, as well as orcs from the Frostwolf clan and the Shattered Hand clan. The tauren stood steadfast with Thrall, led by Cairne Bloodhoof. Ever since Thrall helped the tauren destroy the centaur threat, Cairne was willing to repay him in any way possible. The goblins from the Bilgewater Carter splintered in the conflict; some joined Thrall, others joined Garrosh, and some played on both sides or stayed neutral. The trolls of the Darkspear tribe initially stood with Thrall, until they were engulfed in their own military operation to retake the Echo Isles. The blood elves and Forsaken supported Thrall, but played a minor role in this civil war.
On the other side there were the Horde Renegades, led by Garrosh Hellscream. They consisted of the orcs that supported Garrosh's ideals and beliefs, including the commanders of the offensive on Northrend, the Warsong clan, the Dragonmaw clan, and the majority of the Mag'har that came to Azeroth. Of the other races, not many joined them besides the tauren of the Grimtotem tribe and some goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel. As the conflict dragged on, Garrosh enlisted the aid of some members of the Old Horde, whom were located in the Burning Steppes of the Eastern Kingdoms.
The Opening Stages of the WarEdit
The Horde forces still loyal to Thrall were caught off guard by the initial assaults, but quickly recovered and retaliated against Garrosh. Under the command of High Overlord Saurfang, the Horde was able to dismantle the initial raids on outlying Horde territory. Most of the beginning battles took place on the wide plains of the Barrens, where Garrosh's forces were able to find sanctuary in abandoned centaur outposts and at the oases. Things were looking to be in favor of Saurfang's forces, until a swift retaliatory strike resulted in the loss of the Valley of Trials. Led by Jorin Deadeye, Garrosh's second-in-command, the Horde Renegades were able to secure the mountainous region and turned it into an impenetrable fortress.
From there, Garrosh began to scheme against Thrall. He sent agents to major cities to sabotage key manufacturing installations to stymie the Loyalist's war effort. Weapon refineries were put on fire, granaries were burned, and military outposts were bombed. Garrosh even planned terrorist assaults on civilian areas. This forced Thrall to employ the skills of the Forsaken Deathstalkers and the Shattered Hand rogues to route out any sabotage/terrorist attempts.
News reached Garrosh's ears of a large task force being gathered to assault the Valley of Trials. The invasion force consisted of mostly tauren, along with a large group of orcs, some Darkspear trolls, and a token force of Forsaken and blood elf magi. He quickly acted by having the Grimtotem tribe, led by Magatha Grimtotem, to stage an assault on Thunder Bluff. The attack turned out to be a failure, but it succeeded in drawing away the attention of the tauren as those under the command of Cairne scoured nearby regions to counter the threat of the Grimtotem tribe. The withdrawal of the tauren forces, along with the Forsaken already engaged with Gilneas, the invasion force was scrapped and reassigned to other duties.
Thrall, using his influence over the elements, single-handedly besieged Garrosh's forces, making the mountainous areas of the Valley of Trials a treacherous area to pass through. What few water there was in the valley dried up, leaving the Renegades starving and dying of thirst. The Warchief hoped he could beat them into submission in order to deal with them in a diplomatic order. But Garrosh was persistent; he and his supporters lived off of the hardy animals and plants that grew in the Valley, as well as digging underground routes to smuggle food and water.
The Alliance IntervenesEdit
News of the civil war raging in Kalimdor reached the ears of the Alliance. King Varian Wrynn, the king of Stormwind and undisputed leader of the Alliance military, decided to assault the Horde mainland in its weakened state. His first action was to take control of Bael Modan to use as a base of operations in the southernmost part of the Barrens. From there, the Alliance quickly subdued the weakened area, burning down Camp Taurajo and proceeding to attack Mulgore. The tauren were able to defend their homeland from the Alliance assault, and erected a large gate barring passage to and from Mulgore. Despite the setback, the Alliance had control over most of southern Barrens.
Garrosh, having heard the news of the recent Alliance offensive, initiated a propaganda war on the Loyalist forces. He sent agents to every Horde settlement, spreading doubt and malcontent amongst them. These agents managed to convince many locals of Thrall backing the Alliance while they assaulted the Horde. Angered by the recent attacks and Thrall's persistence to seek diplomatic negotiations with the Alliance, many locals began to voice their disapproval and to stop the fruitless conflict against Garrosh. In order to keep the rest of the populace in his favor, Thrall sent Saurfang with an additional force to reinforce the regiments stationed in the Barrens. Meanwhile, through Lady Jaina Proudmoore, Thrall was able to secretly meet with Varian Wrynn on peaceful terms. Varian, upon realizing the scale of the situation and how grave of a threat Garrosh was, agreed to call off the attacks on the Barrens. However, he ordered all remaining Alliance forces to remain in the conquered areas and to reinforce it.
During the course of diplomatic missions between the two warring factions and the siege on the Valley of Trials, Garrosh's influence spilled over to the Eastern Kingdoms. Soon, emissaries from the Old Horde of Blackrock and Dragonmaw appeared to the Renegades. Soon, Garrosh had forged an alliance with the Dragonmaw orcs of the Twilight Highlands and the Old Horde. With these two groups at the end of his fingertips, Garrosh orchestrated the assaults on Alliance and Horde territories in the Eastern Kingdoms, notably Elwynn Forest and the Swamp of Sorrows. This created a focused effort of the Alliance and Horde in the Eastern Kingdoms to deal with these threats. Of these threats, the main focus was on the Old Horde, which expanded its control to both the Redridge Mountains and the Searing Gorge. Those of the Old Horde, who relished with the killing of humans, charged in delight as they rampaged across the Redridge Mountains. King Varian Wrynn recalled all non-active forces to initiate an assault around the Redridge regions, supported in part by some of the Horde situated in the Badlands and Stonard.
With the new activity in the Eastern Kingdoms and the Horde forces stretching thin, Garrosh went on the offensive. In a surprising move generated by weeks of planning, the Renegades burst from their underground tunnels and overtook Kolkar Crag. This was a devastating lost to the Loyalists, as Kolkar Crag served as a sort of port for Durotar. In quick succession, Jorin Deadeye took a group of the Renegades and assaulted the Loyalist forces that were laying siege to the Valley of Trials. Only with the timely intervention of the Darkspear tribe, who recently regained control of the Echo Isles, did the besieging forces manage to escape the wrath of Deadeye. As a result, the Horde lost control of southern Durotar (minus Sen'jin Village, which was heavily fortified) and Garrosh was capable of fielding a navy. With this navy, Garrosh proceeded to put a blockade around the Echo Isles, effectively cutting them off from the rest of the war.
Meanwhile, the Alliance had launched a full-fledged invasion on Redridge Mountains. Led by Muradin Bronzebeard, the Alliance quickly overcame early Blackrock defenses and recaptured the ruined town of Lakeshire. From there, the Alliance began to regain ground slowly but persistently from the Blackrock orcs. At the same time, the Loyalist Horde forces gathered in the Badlands and engaged the Blackrock orcs in the Searing Gorge. Despite both factions' efforts, for whatever bit of land that was seceded to the Alliance and Horde, the Blackrock orcs fought the more ferocious. Amongst the Alliance, about five men fell per orc as they were slowly beaten back into Blackrock Mountain. As both Horde and Alliance forces crossed the threshold of the Burning Steppes, fighting was at its peak. The orcs began to utilize their ogre magi to great effectiveness, while mages from both attacking factions failed to counter the Blackrocks. Battle worgs tore at the hamstrings of many a soldier as the battle was brought to the foot of Blackrock Mountain. There, both Alliance and Horde forces cooperated to effectively push the Blackrock orcs back within the mountain, where the fighting still continued. The battle raged all over Hordemar City, Mok'Doom, and Tazz'Alor districts of Blackwing Spire. As the battle reached its climax at the Hall of Blackhand, the Black Dragonflight ended the conflict. Appearing in a flight of scaly wings, the black drakes appeared and scorched the whole area, decimating most of the Alliance, Horde, and Blackrock orcs, ending the bloody conflict in that region.
Back in Durotar, High Overlord Saurfang initiated an offensive into Renegade-controlled lands in a seemingly desperate effort to eliminate the ringleader of the rebellion. The Renegades and Loyalists clashed on the road to the Valley of Trials, where orcs fought against orcs and taurens fought against tauren. Hacking through enemy forces, Saurfang waded his way through the ranks of enemies until he finally reached Garrosh Hellscream. There, both commanders fought one another, exchanging blows and wounds, neither giving ground nor gaining. During the midst of battle, Loyalist Navy reserves from Ratchet appeared at the coast of Durotar and ambushed the Renegade Navy. The reserves scattered the rebel navy, giving it access to the mainland. From there the navy began to bombard Renegade forces with artillery, shifting the tide of battle in favor of the Loyalists. Forced with no other alternative, Garrosh ordered full retreat into the Valley of Trials, where the Renegades recovered and licked their wounds. Before the Loyalists had time to celebrate their victory, the navy had to withdraw to prevent its utter destruction from the Renegade fleet; despite catching it by surprise, the Renegades had the advantage in terms of numbers. Over the course of the weeks, the reserve conducted many hit-and-run operations on the Renegade forces, in an attempt to distract the rebels from the main battle.
The Hunt for GarroshEdit
During the weeks following the battles of Durotar and Blackrock Mountain, both factions prepared for the final assault to take out the Renegades once and for all. Thrall had began to gather special op soldiers for a covert operation to deal with Garrosh. However, Lady Jaina Proudmoore approaced Thrall with a proposition from King Varian Wrynn: to send a taskforce composed of SI:7 operatives and Shattered Hand rogues to cut off the head of the snake. Despite being wary of Varian's intentions, Thrall agreed. As a result, members of the Shattered Hand led by orc assassin Gest met with SI:7 operatives led by Valeera Sanguinar at Ratchet. From there, they were informed of their objective; to capture the head advisor of Garrosh Hellscream, Jorin Deadeye, in order to draw Garrosh out of the Valley of Trials as well as to secure any information about any upcoming assaults.
They set to work on the objective. Information from an inside agent revealed that Jorin Deadeye was overseeing preparations at the Kolkar Crag, where the Renegade fleet was located. The Shattered Hand operatives blended with the crowd of rebels while the SI:7 operatives dodged in and out of sight, using the landscape to their advantage. When the task force was in position, distracting elements were implemented onto the site, notably in the form of the Loyalist fleet and Horde paratroopers. As the rebels confronted the oncoming assault, the team moved in to capture Jorin. However, the rebel advisor sensed the trap and attempted to escape. The Shattered Hand rogues followed in pursuit, while Sanguinar attempted to cut him off. Unfortunately, the ongoing naval battle resulted in a misfire from one of the ships' cannons, which in turn exploded on the scene. As the smoke and debris cleared, the task force found Jorin Deadeye's body in the middle of a crater, filled with shrapnel.
Garrosh, hearing of the battle raging at Kolkar Crag, personally took a regiment to reinforce the area. This was unexpected by the Horde, as they didn't expect Garrosh to retaliate so soon. However, when he saw the remains of Deadeye, Garrosh went into a rage. In reckless anger, he ordered the assault on Razor Hill to use as a staging ground for an assault on Orgrimmar. As the rebels were marshaling their forces for a counter attack, Sanguinar took the task force and rode in full speed to warn the settlement of the attack. What the task force didn't know of was that Garrosh had also ordered a naval bombardment of Stormwind as a result of their involvement. With the Loyalist fleet in full retreat and Horde paratroopers withdrawing in their zeppelins, ten orcish destroyers were already sent out to complete Garrosh's wish.
Sanguinar's task force reached Razor Hill to inform Saurfang of the attack, but she didn't find him nor the Loyalist forces; only the local garrison was available to defend the town. Sending a runner to Orgrimmar, Sanguinar helped defend the city from the wrath of the Renegades. The task force and the local garrison fought with ferociousness against Garrosh's forces, but they were buckling under the numbers of the rebels. Soon, the town was overrun, and the defenders were in disarray. Under orders from Garrosh, the entire task force was brought to its knees to face the Renegade leader. Furious over the fact that the Horde allied itself with the Alliance, Garrosh ordered the execution of the Shattered Hand operatives before the Alliance. One by one, their bodies slumped to the ground. When it was time for the execution of the Alliance operatives, Garrosh decided to start it off by decapitating Sanguinar. Before he had the chance, however, Loyalist forces came and liberated Razor Hill under the command of Thrall himself. In the midst of the battle, Sanguinar was able to relieve herself of her bonds and stab Garrosh through the heart, instantly killing him. With the death of their overlord, the Renegades surrendered in despair.
It was later revealed a couple days after the battle that High Overlord Saurfang, under the command of Thrall, took his forces to intercept the naval strike on Stormwind, effectively ending the threat. Utilizing his shamanic power, Thrall was able to scry the battle at Kolkar Crag and find out about the attack.
Despite everyone thinking that the Horde Civil War was over, there were still rebels that wouldn't submit to Thrall. Instead, they rallied around a leader thought to have been eliminated...
Jorin Deadeye had miraculously survived the artillery round in Kolkar Crag, and with the help of his subordinates he was restored to his full health. He took up the position of Renegade Overlord and focused all efforts into besieging Orgrimmar. As a result, he gathered all surviving rebels to the Valley of Trials, including any Blackrock forces, Grimtotem tauren, and any of the Mag'har who heeded Garrosh's call. A year after the battle of Razor Hill, Deadeye had emptied the Valley of Trials at night and loaded them in ships hidden from the eyes of Thrall. From there, the ships went northward and landed east of Orgrimmar. In a matter of days, Orgrimmar came under attack. The resulting battle ended with the Renegades taking over the leadership of the Horde, with the city firmly in its grasp.
Unexpectedly, the new leader of the Horde was Garrosh Hellscream. After recovering, Jorin retrieved the body of the fallen overlord and imbued it with a piece of the latter's soul, reviving him to an extent. Though Garrosh was alive and fully conscious, Jorin Deadeye was easily able to manipulate him to further his schemes. As a result, Jorin Deadeye was the true leader of the Horde.
One of the first things that occurred under the rule of Garrosh was the removal of all non-orc personnel from Orgrimmar, except the goblins. Everyone else was sent to their respective homelands; the tauren to Mulgore, trolls to Echo Isles, blood elves to Quel'thalas, and Forsaken to Lordaeron. Also, the local defense of each country was under total control of Garrosh and Jorin. Towns and cities were being reinforced with saronite for better protection and durability during sieges.
In terms of relations, the Horde has cut off all ties with the Alliance. Aggressive actions have been taken in places like Hillsbrad, Ashenvale, and the Twilight Highlands. The Horde is still furious of the Alliance intervention during the civil war, and is ready to make them pay for their folly. Numerous raids have been conducted in Alliance-occupied Southern Barrens in an attempt to regain land.
Thrall and High Overlord Saurfang have not been counted as one of the dead during the assault on Orgrimmar. They are classified as missing, and undercover search parties are being conducted to route them out.