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Origin

Thrall is son of the mighty Durotan, Chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan, and his wife Draka. Durotan was once a powerful and respected leader amongst the orcs, and fought valiantly against the demonic corruption that was overtaking his people and their descent into darkness and madness. For this, Durotan and his clan were cast out from the Horde by Gul'dan and the Shadow Council shortly after the orcs launched the invasion of Azeroth. Thrall was born into exile into the snowy reaches of the Alterac Mountains, where the Frostwolves had taken refuge following their exile. Shortly after he was born, Durotan met his good friend Orgrim Doomhammer, Chieftain of the Blackrock Clan and Warchief of the Horde, telling him of the crimes Gul'dan had committed against their people and the nature of the bloodlust that had infected him. Doomhammer promised to aid his friend in bringing down Gul'dan when the time was right, but shortly after they went their separate ways, assassins of the Council ambushed and killed Durotan and Draka, leaving their child to be devoured by wild animals.

As fate would have it, the orc child was saved by the most unlikely of saviors, the corrupt Lieutenant Aedelas Blackmoore, governor of Durnholde Keep, a mighty prison-fortress in which orcish prisoners taken in battle against the faltering Horde were being kept. In his ambitions for power and influence, Blackmoore saw that the child could be the key to his dreams, bringing the child back to Durnholde to be raised and trained as his own personal warrior. Bitter at being labeled the child of a traitor and consigned to what he saw was a backwater post, Blackmoore saw an opportunity to take advantage of the post-war divisions in the Alliance by turning Thrall into a master fighter and strategist, one capable of leading an army of downtrodden orcs in his name to take over the kingdom of Lordaeron. From the beginning, Thrall was treated cruelly by Blackmoore, who gave him his name as a sign of ownership. The young orc was trained as a fighter by pitting him against new recruits for the Alliance armies, while tutors hired by Blackmoore taught him how to read and write, allowing him to be self-taught in military tactics and history. During this period, Thrall made a valuable and cherished friend; Taretha Foxton, the daughter of one of Blackmoore's servants and eventually his unwilling concubine. The two would secretly communicate with each other via letters hidden in the books Thrall was given, and Thrall would consider her to be a valued and trusted friend in the years to come.

Even as Blackmoore molded his "pet orc" into a great general, he also used him as his personal gladiator, pitting him in the bloody gladiatorial matches that were becoming so popular in Durnholde. With each round of combat, Thrall always won, increasing his stature as a prized fighter, as well as earning his master significant amounts of money. This increase in fortunes lead Blackmoore to obtain the rank of Lieutenant General, as well as administrative command over the massive system of internment camps designed to hold the thousands of orc prisoners taken following the defeat of the Horde during the Second War. Thrall himself had little contact with his people during this time, and could not even speak the language beyond some basic phrases. Also, Thrall was very loyal to his master, seeing Blackmoore's frequent rages and punishments as a sign that he was not doing well enough. This changed, however, when Thrall was beaten in the gladiatorial ring by an ogre after having won eight consecutive bouts. Despite his best efforts, his exhaustion and the size of his opponent were too much to bear, and Thrall was badly wounded by the beast. Having lost thousands of gold pieces on the match, Blackmoore and several of his fellow losers beat Thrall within an inch of his life, before allowing the healers to fix his injuries. His eyes opened to Blackmoore's true nature and the understanding that he would always be hated and mistreated, Thrall escaped the fortress with the aid of Taretha. Taretha had become Blackmoore's mistress by this point, and despite Thrall's pleas, she resolved to remain at Durnholde for the sake of her family, but not before giving him food, a map, and telling him about Grom Hellscream and his Warsong Clan. Now truly free for the first time in his life, Thrall resolved to learn more about his people, setting out to find the undefeated Warsong, in the hopes that they might provide some answers.

Creation

The Thrall character was created by Blizzard Entertainment as the main hero for the Orc campaign in their popular RTS game Warcraft 3, he has since been featured in several other games in the series as well as novels.

Major Story Arcs

Warsong and Frostwolf

Unfortunately, Thrall was soon captured by an Alliance patrol, and was dumped into one of the many internment camps, his captors unaware of his true identity. Seeing how the orcs, once savage and proud, had been reduced to a listless, downtrodden people, Thrall despaired, but soon learned the first details of the Blood Pact; how the orcs had been corrupted and empowered by the demonic energies of the warlocks, and once they had been defeated, these energies vanished, leaving them in this state. With the aid of a few friends inside the camp, Thrall was able to escape while Blackmoore was making an inspection, eluding capture once again.

Shortly thereafter, Thrall found the Warsong Clan, and was brought to their camp under guard. Proving himself in a series of challenges designed to test both his skills as a warrior and his heart, Thrall won the loyalty and respect of Grom Hellscream, the clan chieftain, and soon became a trusted advisor and friend. Like Thrall, Grom despaired at seeing his people laid so low within the internment camps, and sought to liberate them with Thrall's aid. Also during this period, the young orc learned a great deal from the Warsong, including his identity as a member of the Frostwolf Clan, and many aspects of the orcish language and culture.

Thrall's contentment with the Warsong was not to last, however, as Blackmoore began to relentlessly hunt him once again, sending a considerable force to scour the forests and countryside to find him. Moreover, Thrall desired to learn more about the Frostwolves and his parents, and so with Hellscream's blessings, left the Warsong and travelled north into the Alterac Mountains, braving the fearsome winter storms in hopes of discovering the truth. Nearly dying on the search, despite all his skills and preparations, the young orc was recovered by the Frostwolves and healed by their shaman, Drek'Thar, who had ruled over the clan since the death of Durotan. Telling Thrall the truth about his parents and their death, Drek'Thar eventually invited the young orc back into the clan after a test of his patience and resolve. Moreover, Thrall became Drek'Thar's apprentice in the shamanistic arts, and would become the first new shaman accepted by the Spirits since the beginning of the Blood Pact, excelling despite Drek'Thar's initial expectations.

When spring arrived, Thrall arrived back at the Frostwolf camp one day to find a wandering orc hermit in their midst. Insulted by the hermit's defeatist attitude and lack of respect for his friend Hellscream, Thrall challenged him, eager to make him "taste his words sliced upon my sword!" Defeating the newcomer, Thrall was shocked to discover that the orc was no mere wanderer, but Orgrim Doomhammer, Warchief of the Horde during the Second War, and that it had all been a test to determine Thrall's merit. Taking Thrall under his wing, Doomhammer revealed his intentions; to unite the few free clans together and liberate their captured brethern from the Alliance internment camps. To accomplish this strategy, Thrall assumed the persona of an ordinary orc warrior and allowed himself to be captured by the Alliance and tossed into the nearest internment camp. There, his charismatic leadership and control over the elements inspired the prisoners to shake off their apathy, and allowed them to organize and aid the free clans when they stormed the camp. In this way, numerous camps were liberated and thousands of orcs were freed, bolstering the numbers of the Horde and forcing Blackmoore to spread his forces wide in order to defend the remaining camps.

Tragedy struck, however, when Doomhammer was slain during one such raid, impaled from behind by the lance of a human knight. With his dying breath, Doomhammer passed the role of Warchief onto Thrall, giving him his armour and hammer as badges of office. As his first command as Warchief of the Horde, Thrall ordered the orcs to march upon Durnholde, hoping to free the numerous prisoners there and cripple the system of internment camps once and for all. As the Horde advanced, Thrall also sought out Taretha, attempting to convince her to flee the fortress in hopes of keeping her safe when battle came. Unfortunately, she refused, fearing the retaliation Blackmoore would level on her parents, and departed.

As the Horde surrounded Durnholde, Thrall parleyed with the utterly drunken Blackmoore, trying to convince him to surrender. Despite Thrall's pleas and promises that the garrison and their families would be allowed to depart unharmed, his negotiations failed when Blackmoore threw Taretha's severed head over the battlements; a punishment levelled on the girl for what Blackmoore saw as her treason. Enraged, Thrall ordered the Horde to attack, and in the pitched battle that followed, slew Blackmoore in single combat. The Horde sacked the fortress of its supplies, but left the women and children, as well the surviving defenders, alive and allowed them to leave unharmed before Thrall summoned an earthquake to destroy Durnholde. Before the last Alliance defenders departed, Thrall asked them to pass a message onto the Alliance: free the remaining orcs and cede good land for them, and the Alliance would find a willing partner in diplomacy and trade; choose the path of war, and they would face a foe that would make the old Horde pale in comparison.

The Exodus of the Horde

Despite Thrall's warnings, the Alliance chose to reject the Horde's offer, instead sending an army under the command of Uther the Lightbringer and Prince Arthas Menethil of Lordaeron to crush them. Rather than meet the Alliance host in open combat, Thrall elected to pull back into the wilds and split the Horde into smaller groups to avoid detection, denying the humans an opportunity to meet them in pitched battle and allowing them to exhaust themselves chasing shadows and rumours of orcish warbands. With the fighting at a stalemate, the new Warchief took the opportunity allow his forces to recover and prepare for their next move.

Whatever Thrall had intended to do became a moot point one night, after a series of vivid dreams depicting armies clashing, the world's ending and a mysterious prophet instructing him to lead the Horde to their destiny in the forgotten lands of Kalimdor. Taking a small party of warriors, Thrall found the prophet within the forests. The figure told Thrall that the Burning Legion was returning to Azerorth in hopes of consuming the planet, and said that only in Kalimdor could the Horde make its stand against their former masters. Sensing the truth in his words, Thrall complied with his request, rallying the Horde to strike at a nearby Alliance port. His efforts to obtain shipping for the voyage westwards became all the more vital when the orcs discovered that Hellscream and the Warsong clan had been captured by the Alliance and held within the port. The Horde stormed the town and crushed the garrison, before freeing the Warsong and seizing the fleet of ships located there. Casting off before Alliance reinforcements could intercept them, Thrall led the orcs westwards across an uncharted expanse of ocean, braving hunger and storms to reach their destination.

At one point, the Horde fleet passed by the Maelstrom, a massive whirlpool created by the destruction of the Well of Eternity, ten thousand years ago. Seperated from the rest of the fleet, Thrall led several ships to make landfall on a series of nearby islands where they could resupply and repair their damaged ships. The islands were the home of the Darkspear jungle trolls, who were under pressure from a force of humans from Kul Tiras, as well as a local tribe of murlocs, who had become hostile and driven to worship a malevolent sea witch. The orcs quickly forged a strong bond of friendship with the trolls, and helped them evacuate the island when their leader Sen'jin was slain and the sea witch began to sank the island as punishment for the orc's defiance. Grateful for their assistance in helping them escape the island and with no place left for them to go, Thrall invited the Darkspear to join the Horde. They accepted, and would remain valiant and trustworthy allies in the years to come.

Eventually, the Horde reached Kalimdor. Gathering together his scattered forces as they explored this new world, Thrall encountered the tauren, a race of bull-men who shared the orc's connection to the Spirits and who were engaged in a losing war against the barbaric centaur. Meeting their leader, the mighty Cairne Bloodhoof, and helping him defend his village from an outslaught of centaur marauders, Thrall quickly struck up a friendship with Cairne. Realizing that the tauren would not be able to survive their planned march to Mulgore unaided, Thrall offered the assistance of the Horde in return for knowledge about a powerful being Cairne referred to as "the Oracle," an entity capable of revealing the destiny of the orcs. Working together, the two forces were able to fight their way across the endless savannah of the Barrens and reach Mulgore, where the centaur could not follow. With the tauren safe, Thrall learned that the Oracle dwelt in Stonetalon Peak to the north, and received supplies and pack kodos to aid the Horde in its journey.

Unfortunately, Thrall was not the only one searching for the Oracle. Jaina Proudmoore and her rag-tag force of refugees from Lordaeron had arrived in Kalimdor some time beforehand, and had fortified the pass leading to Stonetalon. The humans had already been attacked by Grom Hellscream and the Warsong, and were well-prepared for the Horde to strike again. Unwilling to commit his forces to a bloody pitched battle, Thrall instead enlisted the aid of a local force of goblins to construct an armada of zeppelins to ferry the Horde over the pass and around the human defences. While ultimately successful, Thrall was aghast when Hellscream disobeyed his orders and attacked the humans, resulting in considerable casualities. Uncertain if he could trust Grom and his returned bloodlust, he sent the Warsong north into Ashenvale to construct a new orcish settlement, while the rest of the Horde made for Stonetalon Peak.

At Stonetalon Peak, Thrall met Cairne once more, who had brought the armies of a new united tauren nation to stand with the Horde in repayment for helping them reach Mulgore. With their aid, and that of the local wyverns, Thrall was able to fight his way through the human defences into the depths of the mountain, where Jaina was also searching for the Oracle. Simultaniously arriving within the Chamber of the Oracle, Thrall and Jaina were shocked to discover that the Oracle was the mysterious Prophet who had directed them to Kalimdor in the first place. The Prophet explained that the Legion was moving to invade the continent, and the forces of the Horde and the Proudmoore Expedition, spared the wrath of the Scourge and the Legion's initial assault, would have to unite in order to save Azeroth. Even worse, the Prophet revealed that Grom and the Warsong Clan had once more drank the Blood of Mannaroth, renewing the Blood Pact that damned the orcs to demonic slavery. Swallowing their reservations, both sides agreed to work together against the Legion, and the beginnings of the Horde/Alliance detente were established.

At the Warsong Gulch, the Horde and Alliance Expedition fought against the demonically-empowered Warsong Clan and their allies within the Legion, trying to reach Hellscream and stop him before more harm could be done. With the aid of a Soul Gem designed by Jaina, Thrall was able to imprison Grom within it and bring him back to the Horde base to be cleansed, but not before Grom revealed a terrifying truth: the orcs had chosen to accept the Blood Pact of their own free will. With the aid of Jaina's priests and the Horde shamans, Grom was exorcised, and the pair travelled to a nearby canyon to bring down Mannaroth once and for all. In the ensuing battle, Thrall was wounded and Mannaroth was eventually slain, though at the cost of Grom's life. With the demon's death, the Blood Pact was ended once and for all, and the orcs no longer had to live in fear of demonic corruption.

Powers and Abilities

As an orc, Thrall has strength and endurance somewhat greater than that of ordinary humans, and is considered by many to be bigger than most orcs.

Due to his former life as a slave-gladiator, Thrall is well-versed in the use of a wide variety of weapons, including swords, axes, spears, quarterstaffs and maces. These skills, combined with his considerable strength, make Thrall one of the most deadly melee fighters in the entire Warcraft Universe. Since becoming the Warchief of the Horde, Thrall wields the Doomhammer in combat, a massive, semi-enchanted warhammer given to him by the previous Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer. Thrall also wears the black plate armour of Orgrim, both as a symbol of leadership and for protection.

Thrall is an exceptionally powerful spellcaster, having been taught the ways of the shaman by Drek'Thar. Through his connection to the five Elemental Spirits (Earth, Air, Water, Fire and the Wilds) that are omnipresent in the Warcraft Universe, Thrall can manipulate various elemental forces to do his bidding, manifesting themselves in a variety of manners. For example, Thrall can ask the Spirit of Earth to generate a massive earthquake capable of leveling an entire castle, or cause it to accelerate the growth of crops and other plant life. The upper limits of this power have not yet been defined, and each spell requires the acceptance of the Spirits in order to work. All the same, Thrall's relationship with the Spirits is a very positive one, and he has been shown wiping out small armies or striking down powerful demons with his magic.

Thrall is a highly effective military strategist and tactician, his schooling under Blackmoore and the numerous campaigns he has undertaken making him one of the most brilliant generals in the Warcraft Universe. Finally, he is a decent scholar and knows several languages.

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