When she read his letter, she knew it was the end. A bittersweet end, that she could not object to. It wasn’t a complete surprise to her, and she did not cry when she read it. But when she woke the next morning the tears were there. Seeing him again was unexpected. The way she felt just then was also unexpected. There was no more heartache, no more longing. It was simply one of those moments that stand alone and never falter…
Below is a comprehensive timeline of Gul’dan’s life compiled from multiple canon sources and strung together via my own writing and headcanons.
A WRETCHED YOUTH: In the remote northwest corner of Shadowmoon Valley, Gul’dan was born crippled and malformed, a runt among his orc kindred. A victim of constant mockery and abuse, he was eventually brought under the tutelage and care of the village shaman. With a body not suited for battle or labor, Gul’dan showed potential in the mastery of shamanistic arts and so the village shaman tried to push the young orc towards that goal, seeing greatness in the boy no one else did.
While showing promise, Gul’dan ultimately lacked the patience to connect with the elements (or spirits for that matter) and slowly began to lose heart in his studies. As the years went on, the abuse of his people only heightened, for they saw him as even more useless now without results in the shamanistic arts. This personal hell continued until at last Gul’dan was cast out of his village and into the wastes. The only guidance which stirred in the young orc’s heart was the words of the village shaman before his departure. A suggestion to seek out the Throne of the Elements, for perhaps his salvation could be found there.
Wandering the wastes alone for months, Gul’dan fought against starvation and madness, his bitterness for the world being the only thing keeping him alive. When that bitterness was at last spent (somewhere in a dried up portion of the Zangar Sea) he turned his attention to the Throne of the Elements and the Throne of the Elements alone.
Upon arrival, the elements presented themselves to Gul’dan only to then abandon him. While there, broken and defeated… other voices whispered to the crippled orc. The bearer of his voice was only known to Gul’dan as The Beautiful One and soon this force bestowed incredible power to him. A power known as fel.
With this new power, Gul’dan made the long trek back to the village of his birth and wiped it from the face of the world but not before thanking the old shaman for helping him find his destiny.
THE FIRST WARLOCK: In the years following his gift from The Beautiful One, Gul’dan grew more and more adept with his mastery of fel and in time had began to form his own small clan of sorts. Some had heard of his great power and vision so they rallied about him. Though not passing on his control of fel magic to his followers, Gul’dan began to taint the shamans who followed him, essentially creating what would eventually become the first generation of warlocks. This clan was known as The Stormreavers and soon they began to take claim to whatever they pleased (this included a near genocidal turf war with a couple ogre clans).
Also during this time, Gul’dan had an ever-strengthening relationship with The Beautiful One, who in time revealed himself to be a being called Kil’jaeden. The warlock and Kil’jaeden spoke often of the Elder Shaman of Draenor, Ner’zhul and these talks were often of his growing incompetence to lead the attacks against the Draenei.
Kil’jaeden then dispatched Gul’dan to seek out Ner’zhul, assuring the warlock that the Elder Shaman would accept Gul’dan with open arms. There was but one condition; Gul’dan would never mention his mastery of fel, upon this Kil’Jaeden insisted. The warlock begrudgingly agreed to the terms and left his small clan, promising to return to guide them one day if only they swore to an oath of silence to ensure their chieftain’s power was never realized by any other until the time was right.
NERZHUL’S APPRENTICE: For many years, Gul’dan served under Ner’zhul as the Elder Shaman’s apprentice, aiding him with all his works as well as the ongoing attacks on the Draenei. Ner’zhul even helped shape Gul’dan into a mighty shaman in his own right, a greatness hinted at so long ago by the old shaman from the village of Gul’dan’s birth. All would change though when at long last Ner’zhul made the horrifying realization that The Great One which had been guiding him through these attacks on the Draenei was in fact a demon, an Eredar Lord of the demonic Burning Legion. A legion hellbent on total domination of the cosmos.
Ner’zhul quickly sought to defy his demon master and during one of his councils with the orc ancestors he was followed by Gul’dan. While the Elder Shaman’s apprentice sat there eavesdropping, it dawned upon him that the demon which Ner’zhul spoke of was none other than Kil’jaeden himself and so Gul’dan rushed to alert The Beautiful One of Ner’zhul’s betrayal.
Kil’jaeden, always one to reward his underlings, raised Gul’dan up to Ner’zhul’s position and stripped the Elder Shaman of his power, leaving him helpless and but a ceremonial figure. With Gul’dan now the spiritual leader of the orcish people, Kil’jaeden told the warlock that it was time for him to show the world his true power and wrought a war of purpose against the Draenei. He would round up as much fuel as possible from the ranks of the Draenei and with that fuel would open a Portal, in time, to a new world.
LORD OF THE SHADOW COUNCIL / RISE OF THE HORDE: Calling upon his Stormreaver clan at last, Gul’dan brought forth his old followers and with them forged a dark order in secret known as The Shadow Council. Through the Shadow Council’s works a new and stronger Horde was being plotted. The dark magics of Gul’dan were practiced now more than ever without any restraint or regard for the continuing deterioration of the world at its expense. Winters grew long and springs were slowly choked of life and regrowth as time marched on, yet none of that would make Gul’dan halt his desire for more power.
In these early years of The Horde’s founding, Gul’dan came by a half-breed child of an orc mother and draenei father. The mother was burned alive and her child would have been killed too had not Gul'dan intervened, taking the child as a slave. A half-orc, he would name her “Garona”, meaning “Cursed”. He gave Garona one of her mother’s tusks to remember her by, a surprisingly tender gesture from such a twisted orc.
Gul’dan had traveled all over the suffering face of Draenor in the time that followed, rallying the clans under his own banner and forging a new Horde. By the time Gul’dan sought out to recruit the Frostwolf clan, he already had the backing of the Warsong, Bleeding Hollow, and the Laughing Skull clans yet he had been rejected by the Redwalker clan. By invoking the right of parlay Gul'dan was granted safe passage and an opportunity to speak the Frostwolves Chieftain Garad. However Garad would be unmoved and refused to join this Horde and ended the parlay. In accordance with parlay tradition Gul'dan would give him a ceremonial dagger as a gift, but unknown to all the blade was poisoned. Tainted with fel magics, it slowly began to eat away at Garad. Sometime after Gul'dan’s departure the Frostwolves and Redwalkers would clash in battle and in his final moments the weakened Garad would realize that Gul'dan was responsible for his weakened state.
Two years later, Gul’dan would try to once again to gain Frostwolf support for the Horde and Durotan would be greatly tempted to join. However he ultimately rejected, convinced that doing so would make them the warlock’s slaves. While among the Froswolves, Garona would use the draenei tongue to warn them that Gul'dan was dangerous, and Draka (who had learned the tongue in her exile) informed her that they already knew. When Gul'dan demanded to know what had been said, Draka informed the warlock that Garona had called them all fools. Accepting this, Gul'dan then called Durotan stubborn but remarked that should he see wisdom and change his mind all he and his clan need do was head to Tanaan Jungle.
CORRUPTION OF THE HORDE: With the Horde nearing the end of their war with the Draenei, Kil’jaeden saw it fit to bestow a new gift not just upon Gul’dan, but the Horde as a whole.
The Lord of the Shadow Council was told by his dark master that one of The Legion’s mightiest warriors would be arriving on Draenor to bestow yet another gift upon the warlock which he in turn would give to his Horde. This demon was none other than the demon pit lord, Mannoroth.
The pit lord gave a cauldron’s worth of his own blood to Gul’dan and the warlock promptly drank from it, growing stronger than ever before. His skin twisted to a shade of green and his form grew larger than it had already thanks to long time exposure to fel. It was following this that Gul’dan called forth the Horde chieftains to theThrone of Kil’jaeden to drink the blood of Mannoroth from the Cup of Unity. While some declined this gift (including Blackhand and Kargath), the rest drank and fell prey to the curse of bloodlust.
This corruption along with Gul’dan’s constant dark magics quickly began to spread through the ranks of the Horde and soon the majority of orcs had a green tint to their skin. Through the savagery and strength gained through fel, the orcs at long last finished their war with the Draenei, crushing their final bastion and rounding up an immense number of them. The captured draenei would be used as fuel for a Great Gate which Gul’dan had commanded be made.
By this point in time, Draenor was all but spent. With the world around them dying, even more orc clans rallyed towards Gul’dan and his Horde thanks to the promise of salvation… the promise of a new world.
THE INVASION OF AZEROTH: With the Great Gate which Gul’dan envisioned nearing completion, the warlock informed the chieftains of the Horde that the time to invade a new world to claim for their own was imminent.
Yet this Horde would need a warchief to lead its military operations, one who was fearsome yet easy enough to manipulate. Gul’dan found the perfect candidate in the chieftain of the Blackrock clan, a titanic orc by the name of Blackhand. With Blackhand accepting the position and the power it would entail, he was soon brought into the ranks of the Shadow Council and the Horde then rallied to the ruined wasteland that was once Tanaan Jungle.
Using draenei prisoners as fuel for the gate’s opening, the Horde’s warband passed through The Dark Portal with the intention of capturing the humans on the other side to use as fuel to bring through the rest of the Horde. Among the countless fel-corrupted warriors were some who had only joined reluctantly, wishing to have no no part in Gul'dan’s dark magic. Yet they hoped nonetheless to find a new world. Among them was Durotan and his mate, who was with child, Draka. While passing through the portal, Draka was forced prematurely into labor and once on the other side began to gave birth. Gul’dan followed soon after through the portal and aidded Draka, taking the newborn in his hand upon it’s birth. The child was barely clinging to life upon birth and was saved only by Gul'dan siphoning the life of a nearby deer and giving it to the newborn, saving its life but turning its skin green.
The Horde promptly established a camp in the marshes which they had arrived in and began preparation to bring through the rest of the Horde. In the time directly after this there was great inner strife between The Frostwolf Clan and Gul’dan’s vision for The Horde. This conflict would eventually result in the practical annihilation of the Frostwolves and the deaths of Durotan and Draka.
THE FIRST WAR: The events which followed the invasion of Azeroth and the first major battle between Humanity and The Horde’s would soon be known as The First War. During this war, Gul’dan clung madly to his control over The Horde which he had lost significant face with thanks to a number of dishonorable acts (including him cheating during his Mak’gora with Durotan). Surprisingly, as the war with Humanity and their newly founded Alliance raged on, The Horde became increasingly inspired by the warrior (and closest friend to Durotan), Orgrim Doomhammer. Orgrim became nothing short of a hero over the course of the war and his legendary status among The Horde did anything but diminish after the destruction of Stormwind.
Despite the Horde’s overall victory, Gul’dan loathed Doomhammer and was powerless to silence the warrior on account it would no doubt sever his control over The Horde. As the Shadow council continued to lose more and more control over the assorted chieftains of The Horde, Gul’dan began to turn his attention further inward. He at long last bestowed the mastery of fel unto his Stormreaver Clan and with this action created the first generation of warlocks. Gul’dan made it abundantly clear to his oldest followers that they were destined for something greater than the current Horde.
The Horde was losing its way… but Gul’dan would not be denied his destiny.
THE SECOND WAR: As the years marched on and The Horde continued to further push The Alliance to its brink, Gul’dan and his warlocks had been reduced to nothing but servants… or so it seemed. With their dark arts they had wrought all manner of monstrous forces to aid in the orc’s conquest of Azeroth. From Death Knights to Ogre Magi, The Stormreavers bolstered The Horde’s forces with fresh power. Yet in reality it was all to serve their own ends…
Ironically, that which had built the Horde would ultimately be its undoing… Gul'dan’s thirst for power. On the eve of The Horde’s attack on Lordaeron’s capital, Gul'dan took those loyal to him and set out to sea to locate the Tomb of Sargeras. With nearly half of his standing forces suddenly gone, Doomhammer (who was leading the campaign) was forced to retreat and hunt down the traitorous warlock. This reprieve would ultimately give the Alliance time to regroup and in turn retaliate.
THE TOMB OF SARGERAS: Promised untold power years before by Kil’Jaeden, Gul'dan did indeed locate the Tomb, and promptly used his power to lift it from the ocean floor. Taking with him his most capable followers, Gul'dan cast open the doors and entered. He did not, however, find the godhood he was promised. Instead, he was torn to shreds by a swarm of insane demons that the tomb’s opening had unleashed. In his final moments, Gul'dan realized that he, like Ner’zhul so many years before, had just been Sargeras’ pawn, lured by promises of power to facilitate the Dark Titan’s agenda.
A POWER ENDURES: Gul’dan’s wicked essence endured through his skull and was passed off between multiple individuals until eventually being acquired by Illidan Stormrage. It was said that whenever one held the skull they could hear the deceased warlock’s voice… attempting to corrupt others even in death.
~ ALTERNATE TIMELINE ~
WARLORDS OF DRAENOR: Destiny determined that the world of Azeroth had not seen the last of Gul’dan. Thanks to the meddling of Garrosh Hellscream, an alternate timeline was to be created and from it Gul’dan would be once again be put at large.
Just as he had before, Gul'dan summoned the orcish clans of Draenor to the peak of Tanaan Jungle to offer them the blood of Mannoroth. As Gul'dan hoped, the first one to take the cup was Grommash Hellscream, Chieftain of the Warsong Clan. On the eve of his victory, he beckoned Hellscream to drink the blood and to claim his destiny, promising them that they would all be conquerors. However, since Garrosh Hellscream had come from the future to prevent his father and the orcish clans from drinking Mannoroth’s blood and had informed the orcish clans of their fate should they accept the blood. Grommash questioned Gul'dan on what they would have to give up in return for this power and Gul'dan told him everything, as a response Grommash rejected the offering, and refused to become a slave to the Burning Legion. Angered by Grommash’s disrespect and his plan failing Gul'dan then backed away as Mannoroth himself appeared, intending to wipe out the orcs. However Mannoroth was killed after Grommash managed to plunge his axe, Gorehowl, into the Pit Lord’s skull.
Gul'dan was then apprehended by Garrosh and subsequently imprisoned when the Iron Horde was formed along with the rest of his Shadow Council. He, along with Cho'gall and Teron Gorefiend, were used to power up the Dark Portal in order for the Iron Tide to invade Azeroth. Eventually, they were freed by Alliance or Horde adventurers that were tasked with destroying the portal to stop the Iron Horde’s invasion. Once the respective commanders of the Alliance or Horde have established a garrison and strengthened themselves against Draenor’s dangers, Archmage Khadgar returned to task the commanders with attempting to capture Gul'dan.
After the deaths of several of the Iron Horde’s warlords, Gul'dan returned to Grommash, mocking him for the crushing failures the Iron Horde had endured. He also revealed that Hellscream’s son, Garrosh, was dead and threw Gorehowl to the ground to confirm it. Gul’dan then offered the Warsong Chieftain the option to drink the demon blood again. Grommash refused yet again, and instead chose to attack the warlock. Gul'dan qucikly countered with his magic and restrained Hellscream. He then promptly offered the remaining orcs the same choice to drink; Kilrogg Deadeye accepted despite Grom’s pleas.
Gul'dan then brought Grommash to the Throne of Kil'jaeden. He expresses disappointment in Grommash, disgusted that the chieftain had taken the path of steel and powder over the power offered by the Burning Legion. Looking over the completed Hellfire Citadel, Gul'dan unleashed the Felblight, a river of fel sludge twisting and corrupting all that it touches and warping the Citadel. Grommash growled that the Horde and Alliance will oppose Gul'dan and his demonic masters, and will emerge victorious, but Gul'dan chuckled and promptly shrugged him off, confident that all would serve the Legion.
Gul'dan offered the rest of the Iron Horde the demonic corruption. Those few who resisted where locked away from their disobedience. The new leader of the Iron Horde then commanded the orcs to regroup to Tanaan. Gul’dan called forth every wicked force he could muster to the jungle and as the Alliance, Horde, orc resistance and Draenei forces pushed towards his citadel, his arrogance continued to burn like a wildfire.
Even during the final assualt on Hellfire Citadel, Gul'dan did not faulter and contiuned his dark works, going so far as to resurrect Mannoroth (though the reanimated pit lord was soon cut down a second time). He was then able to successfully summon Archimonde the Defiler from the Black Gate. As the eredar battled his enemies, Gul'dan continued to summon forth demons. When Archimonde was at last defeated, the eredar yells with his final breath that Gul'dan “made a pact” and proceeds to shoot a beam of fel energy at the orc, sending him into the Black Gate and destroying it. His pact with the Legion was far from being fulfilled.
RETURN TO AZEROTH:
Though his plans had failed, Gul'dan survived. Under the Legion’s command, he was banished to Azeroth to open a gateway for a monstrous invasion force unlike anything the Horde and the Alliance had ever faced. After arriving on Azeroth, Gul'dan heard the familiar voice of Kil'jaeden, who gifted the warlock with the endless knowledge of the Legion and ordered him to travel to the Broken Isles. Having become aware of the ultimate fate of his main universe counterpart and all the works which he had wrought, Gul'dan knew to tread more carefully.
TWILIGHT OF SURAMA: Some time after Gul'dan’s arrival on Azeroth, the nightborne city of Suramar came under attack by the Legion. Gul'dan appeared before Grand Magistrix Elisande and her advisors, giving them a simple choice: bring down the protective barrier around the city, grant him access to the Nightwell and live as honored allies of the Legion; or be destroyed like the rest of Azeroth, since the barrier was bound to fall regardless. After giving his offer, Gul'dan disappeared, saying that if the barrier was not down after three days, he would know the elves’ answer. Elisande and her advisors eventually decided to accept the Legion’s offer, bringing down the barrier and exposing their city to the demons they had once fought against. As doomguard swarmed into the city, Gul'dan told Elisande that the end of the nightborne’s long seclusion should not be a concern, for with every ending comes the opportunity for a new beginning.
BRINGING ABOUT THE END: In the Vault of the Wardens Gul'dan found the corpse of Illidan Stormrage, who was brought there after his death at the Black Temple by Maiev Shadowsong so his soul would continue to serve his eternal sentence. Gul'dan took Illidan’s body to Black Rook Hold and conducted a ritual to separate his soul from his body. This energy brought the souls of the Ravencrest clan back to their ancestral home. Gul'dan then raised the dead night elves to protect the secrets within the tower. These undead cannot see the living for what they truly are and believe them to be demons as they eternally relive the horrors of the War of Ancients.
In the events which followed, Gul’dan would combat the forces of Azeroth with the aid of the Legion and any other dark forces he could muster. Azeroth would be pushed to the brink and countless brave warriors would fall before the demonic waves… yet the struggle would reap reward.
THE FINAL HOUR: Rallying at last to Suramar, Gul'dan worked tirelessly to contact his dark master at the Nightwell. During this time before the impending Azerothian attack on his position, Gul’dan conjured forth the godlike powers which he was promised so many years ago. This power transformed the warlock into a monstrous being on unimaginable power.
Betrayer’s Rise and with his Godhood at long last achieved, Gul’dan stood ready to face the forces of Azeroth one final time…
Erin was the more hopeful one
out of the two of them. Especially after what had happened in New York. There
was undeniable proof ghosts were real and they could potentially pose a threat.
Then the mayor announced they had all suffered from a shared illusion when
terrorists had drugged the water. And since the portal had repaired all the
damage when it had closed up, there was also no visible proof anything had ever
Abby had been angry. The four
of them had risked their lives to save New York (and the whole world) from
certain destruction. Abby had almost died and if Erin had not jumped into the
portal after her, there would be no one to be angry about this injustice.
Erin did not care much.
Neither did Patty and Holtzmann. They had not forgotten how New York had
thanked them and to them, this was enough. Moreover, more and more people came
to them, seeking their help. Only Abby, in random fits of anger when someone
left an insulting comment on their blog, lamented the fact they had not been
made national heroes.
We spend so much of our life waiting for things to happen. Or waiting for things not to happen. Sometimes we wait with someone, sometimes we wait alone, sometimes we enjoy the time, sometimes it’s painfully unbearable.
Everyone daydreams. But what’s in a daydream? It’s a little bit of care-free imagination mixed with real life experiences- and topped off with a pinch of idealism. Sometimes the most interesting and meaningful moments we have are the everyday happenings that are easily forgettable. In the end, these moments are the true treasures that we cherish.