The Lore Corner: Heart Of War

Blizzard developers can be called many things, but Lore Junkies is their big title right now.

After six years of World of Warcraft, they have understood how fundamental Lore can be to the game. And they have created new ways of injecting lore, both in and out of game.

With the release of Cataclysm coming tonight, the company is starting to release short stories that tell the backgrounds of Faction Leaders and add that little touch of drama that we all oh-so-crave for.

Blizzard Entertainment

King Varian Wrynn, Queen Sylvanas Windrunner, King Genn Greymane, and Trade Prince Gallywix—these are just a few of the leaders who continue to shape Azeroth’s destiny. They are the embodiments of their races’ strongest traits… and at times their greatest failings. In the coming months, Blizzard Entertainment will be releasing short stories that will peer into the hearts of these legendary heroes and offer insight into what new trials might lie ahead as they lead their people in a world forever changed by the Cataclysm.

The first story of this series, “Heart of War,” offers a glimpse into the experiences that have shaped Garrosh into the leader he is today: his heroic exploits in Northrend; his uncertainty as he arrived in the imposing Horde capital of Orgrimmar; and most importantly, his friendship with his mentor, the warchief he would eventually replace, Thrall. This tale was written by Sarah Pine, the winner of Blizzard Entertainment’s 2009 Global Writing Contest.

I’ve yet to hear anything from Blizzard about the 2010 Global Writing Contest I entered in, but it’s great to see that they are rewarding writers with more than just contest loot. Without further ado, here’s the start of Heart of War, a full 7-page story. Visit Blizzard’s Cataclysm features page to read the full version.

You disappoint me, Garrosh.

Try as he might, the memory of those words just would not die. It did not matter how many times he heard the proud shouts of “Welcome, Overlord!” as he passed through Agmar’s Hammer, or how long he stood in the ruins before the Wrath Gate and stared into the enchanted flames that still burned there. Even the strike of his blades against the beasts or Scourge that dared oppose him only provided temporary respite. All the hot, sharp splatter of blood against his face could not drown out that voice. The moment he returned to the road he heard each word spoken in his head with every fall of his great wolf’s paws against the snow.

Perhaps it was the warchief’s continued presence at his flank that caused the words to linger. Thrall had decided to accompany Garrosh back to Warsong Hold from Dalaran. He said he wanted to see their holdings in Northrend. Garrosh felt as if he were being chaperoned, but it was also an opportunity. The Horde’s inroads into Northrend were far from trivial. Surely Thrall could see that. Surely he would appreciate all that had been accomplished on this front.

Garrosh spat off the back off his wolf, Malak, and into the sedges. Lake Kum’uya lay behind them, still as a mirror in the gray morning sky. They would reach Warsong Hold by mid-afternoon, dusk if they were slow. Privately he had to admit that he was eager to see the look in Thrall’s eyes when they arrived.

Unfortunately they could not admire it properly as they approached. In a moment Garrosh knew that the nerubians had, yet again, broken into Mightstone Quarry. He grimaced. No matter how effectively they blockaded Azjol-Nerub, the insects always managed to find a way back west. Their eerie shrieks were unmistakable, carrying far in all directions in the tundra’s frozen wind.

“Forward! Attack!” Garrosh ordered the Kor’kron riders who accompanied them, forgetting that he was not in fact the commander of the group. He had kicked Malak into a full run and left them all behind before he remembered that decorum dictated he defer to Thrall. Well, decorum didn’t win battles. Action did.

More sounds from the fight became audible as he approached—shouts from the battleguards, the dull boom of artillery, and the distinctive splintering crack that metal weapons made against nerubian chitin. Garrosh readied his axes, his heartbeat quickening with anticipation. He sailed over the edge of the quarry, Malak never missing a beat. They skidded down the wall, leaped over outcrops and scaffolding, and with a cry Garrosh threw himself into combat.

The nerubian before him never saw him coming. Garrosh’s first blow cut deep into its thorax, and the second cleaved its entire anterior end from its body. The Warsong guard it had been battling looked up, startled, his axe readied above his shoulder. Garrosh grinned.

“Hellscream!” the warrior yelled, saluting. He turned to the others around him. “Overlord Hellscream has returned!”

Garrosh raised an axe in response. “Beat them back!” he roared to his soldiers. “Remind these vermin what it means to assault the Horde! Lok-tar ogar!”


  1. Excellent storytelling! I could hear the sounds of battle, the growling voices of the Horde leaders. I cannot wait to read more!

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