We continue our introduction to the lore behind the races of Warcraft. If you haven't already read Part I and Part II, make sure you do that before continuing. In this article, we shift our attentions to races that form the mighty Horde: the brutish but noble Orcs, the wily Trolls, and the wise and peaceful Tauren.
Large, tusked, green-skinned and thickly-muscled, there is much to the Orcs that belie their inner ferocity. The history of Orc clans begins in Outland – then known as Draenor – where the Orcs lived peacefully alongside the planet's other races such as the Arrakoa and the Draenei.
As a people, the Orcs were primitive but noble, content to settle the rolling green hills of Nagrand. All that changed with the arrival of the Burning Legion, who sought to harness the savagery and warlike nature inherent to the Orcs.
In time, increasingly warmongering chieftains like Orgrim Doomhammer, Blackhand the Destroyer and Grom Hellscream rose to power. Ultimately, the Orcs turned aside their peaceful ways and became a race of conquerors. Their fate was sealed when Mannoroth the Destructor, a high-ranking demon of the Burning Legion, offered the Orcs a drink of his blood, promising them that it would empower them with the strength and fury of the demons. In doing so, the Orcs lost nearly all semblance of their old humanity and compassion, becoming fel-tainted soldiers of the Legion. They rampaged across Draenor, defiling the landscape and hunting the Draenei nearly to extinction.
With their homeworld reduced to a bloody and shattered husk, they crossed over the Dark Portal to Azeroth in search of new enemies to fight and lands to despoil. Their invasion was halted, however, by the combined might of the Alliance, and the scattered Orc survivors were rounded up and placed in brutal internment camps. There, as they languished in captivity, the Orcs found their race crippled by a strange malaise, for the Legion's hold on them had faded. It took the efforts of a promising young Orc slave named Thrall to rally his people and renew their hope and faith in their old shamanistic ways.
Breaking free of the internment camps, the Orcs eventually founded a mighty city in Orgrimmar, and eventually joined forces with the Troll and Tauren races to form the first generation of the 'new' Horde under Warchief Thrall. The Orcs have since endured many challenges but stand proud as a fiercely independent people who will never be slaves again.
A deeply spiritual people with beliefs rooted in mysticism and voodooism, Trolls are often viewed as eccentric, cunning, mischievous, and dangerous by outsiders. Trolls are one of the most ancient races to inhabit Azeroth, perhaps being the first race to gain sentience.
Before the Sundering, when Azeroth was one single continent, the Trolls were rulers of a vast Empire that frequently clashed with the early Night Elf kingdoms. After suffering many brutal defeats and generations of famine and infighting, the Troll Empire fell into decline, until only a handful of reclusive kingdoms and savage tribes remain of the once-dominant species on Azeroth.
The Trolls of the Darkspear Tribe hail from the Echo Isles, where they've lived for many generations as hunters, gatherers, and fishermen. The typical Darkspear Troll is tall and lankily built, with wiry musculature and three fingers on each hand and two toes on each foot.
During Thrall's exodus of the Horde, the young warchief managed to rescue Sen'jin, then the leader of the Darkspear Trolls, from the sacrificial altar of the evil nagah Sea Witch. Since then, the Darkspear have remained staunch allies of the Horde, but struggle to reconcile their old ways with those of the new.
The Tauren, or the shu'halo in their native language of Taur-ahe, are a race of towering bovine humanoids native to the rolling, open plains and highlands of Mulgore in central Kalimdor. The average Tauren stands anywhere from nine to twelve feet tall and has hooves, horns, and fine, short fur that cover their bodies.
Traditionally nomadic, the Tauren have since founded a permanent settlement in Thunder Bluff, atop a series of high plateaus in Mulgore. For generations, the Tauren lived peacefully as a race of shaman, hunters, druids and warriors. But their introspective natures and slow-to-anger temperaments should not be mistaken for pacifism; indeed, the Tauren race is as dangerous as they are wise, and are capable of retaliating with swift and decisive force when they deem necessary.
When Thrall and his people escaped from the Alliance internment camps, they made a desperate bid to establish a home for themselves in Kalimdor but were beset by vicious quillboar and marauding centaur. Luckily, a chance encounter with an old Tauren Cairne Bloodhoof led to the Orcs and Taurens becoming fast friends, each race finding something to respect in the others' sense of strength and nobility, and their mutual fondness for honorable combat.
Together, the Orcs and Tauren fought back the numerous threats to their continued existence and laid the first foundations for what would become the mighty capital city of Orgrimmar.