- "Shadows gather when the raven swallows the day.
- Burning sky is extinguished as black wings fold gently about the heavens.
- Rest, my children, rest. For even the sun must sleep."
- — Rukhmar
The arakkoa ("heirs of Arak" in Ravenspeech) are a bipedal, keenly intelligent avian race, native to Draenor (now Outland), which they call Rakshar ("the Sunstone"). They have an affinity for arcane magic and secrecy. Most are aggressive to both Alliance and Horde, although there are friendly members of the arakkoa to be found.
The winged arakkoa or high arakkoa, were the proud descendants of the once-grand Apexis civilization, a glorious empire of the sun that ruled vast territories alongside the ogre empire centuries ago. While many of the great works of their forebears remain a mystery, the arakkoa in the time of Draenor's final days—proud, hateful and defiant—mastered their own form of sun magic. From atop the Spires of Arak they gazed down on Draenor with scorn and sought to restore their people to the heights of their power.
A second group of arakkoa, called the Arakkoa Outcasts, were born from the treachery of their kin. Transformed into hunched shadows of their former selves by the Curse of Sethe and gifted with a mastery over shadow magic by the raven god Anzu, in Draenor's final days they desperately sought to survive the genocidal efforts of those who had betrayed them. Without champions, and without hope, the Outcasts ultimately heeded the influence of an Old God and were lost to the darkness in which they'd once taken refuge.
- 1 History
- 1.1 The Gods of Arak
- 1.2 Dawn of the Apexis
- 1.3 Against the Evergrowth
- 1.4 Height and fall of the Apexis
- 1.5 The ogres of Goria
- 1.6 The Adherents and the Outcasts
- 1.7 The Rise of the Sethekk
- 1.8 Rise of the Horde
- 1.9 The Second War
- 1.10 The Legacy of Terokk
- 1.11 When the Raven Swallows the Day
- 1.12 The Burning Legion
- 2 Biology and culture
- 3 Known arakkoa factions
- 4 Notable arakkoa
- 5 Colonies
- 6 Trivia
- 7 Inspiration
- 8 Gallery
- 9 References
The Gods of Arak
The origins of the arakkoan race and its two distinct subcultures are tightly bound to the three primal gods of the Draenic region known as Arak: The strong and graceful Rukhmar, mother of the kaliri; the slight but clever Anzu, father of the dread ravens; and the cold and scornful Sethe, father of the wind serpents. Preceding the creation of the arakkoa, Sethe and Rukhmar clashed above the Spires. Rukhmar, forewarned of Sethe's attack by Anzu, managed to cast the serpent down from the skies—but it was Anzu who stepped in to deliver the killing blow. With his last breath, the defeated Sethe cursed his own flesh and blood to rot and corrupt all that it touched. As Anzu devoured him in an attempt to contain the curse, a trickle of blood escaped, creating the Sethekk Hollow where it touched the ground. The curse crippled Anzu, making him flightless and pained by dark visions.
Anzu could not bear to present himself to Rukhmar, for if she had not seen him worthy before then surely she would now be disgusted by the aberration he had become. He disappeared into the forest deeps, and he ignored Rukhmar whenever she called for Anzu to show himself. Though Sethe's curse weakened Anzu, it also gave him new power: the power of the Void that Sethe had once commanded. As Anzu grew more familiar with his abilities, he shrouded himself in a realm of shadow to hide from Rukhmar forever.
After much fruitless searching, Rukhmar gave up. She was humbled by Anzu's sacrifice, but she was also horrified by the curse that now darkened her home. Rukhmar took to the skies and left Arak, eventually settling atop Gorgrond's highest peak. Though Brann Bronzebeard once connected the origins of the arakkoa to Anzu, he was only partially right: it was Rukhmar who went on to create a new race of children. Rukhmar decided that if she could not find Anzu to thank him, then she would reward his sacrifice by creating a new race in his honor. Using her own life energies, Rukhmar transformed some of her kaliri followers into the arakkoa: "heirs of Arak". They embodied Rukhmar's physical grace and majesty, as well as Anzu's intellect and cleverness.
Dawn of the Apexis
Rukhmar intended that the arakkoa would one day return to Arak, but not yet. Sethe's curse still lingered, and she did not want her children to suffer from it. After they had matured and become wise, Rukhmar intended to lead her children back to their ancestral home. Her only fear was that she would not live long enough to do so, for she had expended much of her life essence in creating the arakkoa. She would never be as powerful as she had once been, and she knew she would eventually grow old and die.
For many generations, Rukhmar watched the arakkoa develop from afar. Occasionally she communed with them, telling them stories of Arak, Sethe's evil, and Anzu's nobility. She taught them the rudimentary ways of commanding the Light, and they were quick learners. They mastered the Light and became adept healers and seers. Much of their primitive customs revolved around the worship of Rukhmar, who they revered as the goddess of the sun, which they saw as the source of their Light magic. But they were not content with the Light alone. Due to Rukhmar's teachings, they revered Anzu just as much as they did she, and they studied the arcane that he had excelled in, becoming great sorcerers as well.
Three thousand years before the opening of the Dark Portal, as the arakkoa flourished, Rukhmar felt her own life fading. She communed with her children one last time and urged them to claim Arak for themselves. Rukhmar took to the winds and soared south, and the arakkoa followed. But just as they reached Arak, Rukhmar breathed her last breath. Flames consumed her form and she burned like a second sun in the sky. The arakkoa saw Rukhmar's passing as a sign of their ascendancy. They vowed to create a grand civilization that would outshine any other culture on Draenor in order to honor her. The light of their knowledge and their power would blaze in the heavens just as Rukhmar had.
Calling themselves the Apexis, the arakkoa claimed the highest reaches of Arak's spire. They harvested timber from the surrounding woods and metals from the nearby mountains, and built illustrious gilded structures around their new home. Using their mastery of the Light, the Apexis crafted enormous lanterns burning with enchanted flames that hung along the length of the spire. Guided by tales of Anzu and his noble sacrifice, arakkoa sorcerers investigated the Sethekk Hollow. By carefully studying the cursed pools, they unraveled the mysteries of shadow magic and developed the unique ability to combine the arcane with the Void. Embracing both Light and Void, the Apexis believed they were both natural parts of life. Two factions formed within the Apexis: the Anhar order studied holy magic, while the Skalax studied shadow and arcane magics. Both groups occupied the upper echelons of arakkoa society, sharing equal prestige and influence.
As the arakkoa solidified their power in Arak, they also began to explore the rest of Draenor; though not expansionists, they were curious. Outposts were forged across the land to observe local flora and fauna, and by studying and mapping the forests and mountains they were in awe when they realized that many of these were the remains of ancient creatures that had once walked Draenor. Based on stories from Rukhmar, the Apexis realized the Primals and Breakers were the primordial giants' offspring. They watched the endless warring between the two with pity and fascination. However, they never intervened; they had inherited a touch of Rukhmar's arrogance and to play a part in the lives of land-dwellers was seen as beneath the Apexis.
Against the Evergrowth
A thousand years passed. Two thousand years before the opening of the Dark Portal, the rise of the arakkoa did not go unnoticed by the rest of Draenor's inhabitants. The nearby forest of Talador teemed with Primals, and one among them was the ancient and powerful treant Gnarlgar. Not only did he command powers of nature and the Spirit of Life, he also learned from the genesaurs of the Sporemounds, Evergrowth, and communal sentience that once united all of Draenor's plantlife. He had the ability to manipulate other Primals and guide their actions, and he found the botani the most promising of them all. But while the Botani focused their attention on the Breakers, Gnarlgar became aware of the Apexis. Seeing their society as an affront to nature with magic that burned plantlife to cinders or inundated it with darkness, Gnarlgar believed that unless the arakkoa were stopped they would conquer all of Draenor. He obtained a fossilized root of Botaan and rallied the botani to his side to stop the arakkoa so they could rebuild the Evergrowth. Gnarlgar not only worked to create a new Sporemound named Taala out of Botaan's root, he also used Spirit to gift thousands of trees with intelligence and will - creating the Gnarled - while his botani spawned new genesaurs in their pools.
The Apexis did not initially pay attention to the stirring Primals, believing it to be a part of the war with the Breakers. Yet as the forests around Arak grew thicker, vines climbed the spire and planted trees that grew with astonishing speed. Eventually members of the Anhar and Skalax went to investigate Talador, but very few of the scouts ever returned and those who did reported the horrifying news. From what they knew of the Evergrowth, the Apexis quickly realized that the monster that was growing had to be a Sporemound, and knew if it awoke then it would both annihilate the arakkoa and bring devastation to Draenor. Knowing their race's survival depended on it, the Anhari and Skalaxi leaders mobilized the Apexis and formed an invasion force, with their priests and sorcerers forming the bulk of the military. They flew through the skies over Talador, ignoring the Primals and focusing on the monstrosity forming deep in the forest.
Despite Anhari blades and Skalaxi curses, the arakkoa could not break the Primals as they descended into the forest. Gnarlgar entered a trance that allowed him to touch the Primals' minds and coordinate their movements, causing every vine and root to move against the Apexis as they worked in perfect unity and forced the arakkoa back into the sky. Nearly half of the arakkoa army had died, shocking the Anhar and Skalax. The Anhar proposed a solution: a weapon called the Breath of Rukhmar that would channel the sun's energies into incredibly destructive power. As the Anhari began to craft it at the highest point of Arak's spire, Gnarlgar quickened Taala's maturation. The thorn-skinned Sporemound stirred and marched toward the spire with the other Primals on Gnarlgar's mental command.
But the Breath of Rukhmar would not be finished in time. Knowing this, a small number of Skalaxi sorcerers volunteered to give the Anhari the time they needed. During their defeat in Talador they had discovered the existence of Gnarlgar and learned of his ability to command the Primals. They knew that killing him would deal a great blow to the enemy forces, and so shrouded themselves in shadow to reach Talador and Gnarlgar unseen. Gnarlgar sensed their presence and broke from his trance to quickly dispose of the sorcerers, but not before the arakkoa struck with their dark powers. The curse rotted Gnarlgar into a blackened husk and he collapsed next to the bodies of his assassins.
Gnarlgar's death broke the unity of the Primals, sending confusion through them and for a time they halted at the edge of Arak. The Skalaxi had bought the arakkoa time and the Breath of Rukhmar was completed. A violent tremor shook the spire as solar energies roared through it and a white-hot beam exploded from the mechanism to lance through Taala's chest, blowing it apart in a cloud of spores and ash. The Breath of Rukhmar sliced through the botani, genesaur, and Gnarled, incinerating thousands in an instant. The few that survived retreated to Talador in terror, but they were engulfed in flames by the Anhari. The forests that had crept into Arak were seared away. Once the attack was halted, blackened earth and smoldering roots stretched as far as the eye could see. Because of the arakkoa, the Evergrowth would never return again in any form, and a new golden age for mortal civilization dawned on Draenor.
Height and fall of the Apexis
Centuries after defeating the Evergrowth and 1,200 years before the opening of the Dark Portal, the Apexis had flourished into an empire and their population had swelled. They saw themselves as the most powerful force in the world, that not even the mightiest of Primals had been able to contend with. With nothing to threaten them the Apexis dedicated themselves to the advancement of science and magic, and knowledge became their culture's most coveted resource. The Anhar and Skalax became the caretakers of wisdom with the duty of cataloging history, the study of magic, and information about the world and its various creatures. Rather than keeping this knowledge in tomes or scrolls, the Anhari and Skalaxi sorcerers combined their magic to develop Apexis Crystals. By merely touching one of the crystals, an arakkoa would consume all of the knowledge contained within and could even experience the memories of whoever had crafted it.
The Apexis applied their magics to the creation of mechanical constructs that would do their bidding. The arakkoa had always been arrogant, and they had become even more so after their victory. They deemed those who walked the surface to be unclean and used their constructs to mine and gather other resources from the ground.
The Apexis had blueprints for a "Temple in the Sky", but it is unclear if they ever actually built it. This might be the temple they built on the top of the spire of Arak.
During the height of Apexis culture, a small group of Anhari priests sought out the remains of Rukhmar. They found her charred bones near the spire, and they used their magics to resurrect her. But it was only a partial success. This new Rukhmar had only a sliver of the original's power and intelligence. Nonetheless, the Apexis worshiped her as their goddess reborn. The Anhari infused her with their Light powers, granting her a long life so she could soar the skies for millennia.
The Anhari priests constructed a gleaming sun temple around the Breath of Rukhmar used centuries before. Hundreds of arakkoa gathered each year to commemorate the Apexis victory and honor Rukhmar. Other arakkoa visited shrines carved into the solid rock near the foot of the spire where the Skalaxi sorcerers performed rituals to honor Anzu and his ancient sacrifice. Though Apexis culture seemed destined to continue its rise, a rivalry developed between the Anhar and Skalax as each vied for the support of the greater populace. The Anhari knew that to seize power they would need to control knowledge. Their leader Priest-Lord Velthreek order his followers to gather as many Apexis crystals as they could, and the Anhari did so in secret over a number of years, storing them in their sun temple atop the spire.
The Skalaxi and their leader, Sorcerer-Lord Salavass eventually uncovered what was happening. They believed that knowledge was a basic right for all arakkoa and Salavass called for the immediate release of the crystals. However, Velthreek ignored the demand. He declared the Anhari the sole rulers of the Apexis and that they would decide who would access the crystals and their knowledge. In addition, he claimed that he and the Anhari were the living representatives of Rukhmar herself. Therefore, following their teachings was the only way to attain her favor. Salavas was cunning and knew what would happen to his order if they did not act: the Skalaxi would become marginalized in society and gradually lose influence. He gathered his followers and struck at the sun temple to take the Apexis crystals by force.
The battle that erupted at the gates to the sun temple quickly spilled into the lower levels of the spire, with some arakkoa allying with the Anhari and others with the Skalaxi. The civil war engulfed the spire for many months, and to turn the tide of the conflict the Anhari harnessed the Breath of Rukhmar. As the weapon ignited and they prepared to incinerate the Skalaxi, Salavass knew they would be doomed against it and led a handful of his most gifted sorcerers to the top of the spire where they stormed through the Anhari guards. As the Ahhari cut down the intruders Salavass weaved a spell to destabilize the Breath of Rukhmar. It worked, but the result was catastrophic: a furious explosion erupted from the Breath of Rukhmar, instantly killing most of the arakkoa on the spire and shattering the land. After the light dimmed, all was dark.
The explosion had split Arak's spire into many smaller spires and the surrounding region was left a barren wasteland. In time, it came to be known as the Spires of Arak. It would take generations for life to bloom in the area again, and even longer for the surviving arakkoa to recover from what had happened. The Apexis society was no more, but from its ashes new cultures would arise. In the years to come, what happened to the Apexis to make them vanish would become a mystery. Some believed their golems turned on them.
The ogres of Goria
After Apexis society collapsed, arakkoa priests and sorcerers had spread across the land, taking with them many of their race's Apexis crystals. Two hundred years later, small conclaves of what remained of the Skalax order began to search the land for more of these lost pieces of knowledge and power. They sought to preserve the wonders of their people, and some even believed finding enough would usher in a new Apexis golden age. The Skalaxi leader of this age, Yonzi, learned of a critical cache buried beneath the ruins of an Apexis settlement on the northwest coast of Talador now occupied by the ogron and their ogre slaves. Ogron were too violent to barter and bargain with, but the ogres were more intelligent than the ogron, and more importantly, angered by their enslavement.
The Skalaxi approached the ogres in secret and began to teach them the ways of the arcane. Because the ogres were descendants of Grond who was in turn a creation of the titan Aggramar, they were naturally attuned to the arcane. The arakkoa had never seen new spellcasting techniques developed so effortlessly and were delighted. One of the first ogres to master the power was Gog, who the Skalaxi believed to be the perfect leader to incite rebellion. Gog did rebel, but not against the ogron: he targeted the gronn, whom the ogron and ogres revered and feared as gods. Though stunned, the arakkoa could not argue with the results. Gog did not only kill one gronn with his magic, but several. By his fifth, stories of his deeds were known to all captive ogres on Draenor, erasing their fear of both gronn and ogron. Under Gog, the ogres rose up against their ogron warlords and Gog was renamed Gorgog: "King Gog". The city became Goria, "Throne of the King".
The Skalaxi quickly moved into Goria to search for Apexis crystals and artifacts in the ruins Goria was built on, but Gorgog quickly put an end to it. As a sorcerer himself, he had no interest in giving away any potential source of power. The arakkoa left, but not for long. Yonzi and his Skalaxi were infuriated and they decided to take the land by force. They launched a surprise attack on Goria in the dead of night, but Gorgog and his apprentice arcanists, as well as the countless newly freed ogres, fought back. The arakkoa were defeated and Yonzi was captured. His death was slow and gruesome. Despite the promise of undiscovered Apexis crystals, further arakkoa incursions into Gorian lands were few and far between afterward. In the slowly expanding Gorian Empire Apexis crystals became highly prized and eagerly sought out by ogre sorcerers.
The Adherents and the Outcasts
The next arakkoan culture was that of the sun-woshiping High Arakkoa. Six hundred years after the fall of the Apexis, and six hundred years before the Opening of the Dark Portal, the greatest and most loved king of these arakkoa was known as Terokk. The Anhar order shared power with the line of kings, but worship of Rukhmar had become twisted and distorted by time, and respect for Anzu had long since disappeared. The Sethekk Hollow, formed from the cursed blood of the dead god Sethe, had become a form of punishment and any who disagreed with the Anhari were deemed heretics and cast into the pools. Due to Sethe's curse, they would undergo similar flightless mutations to Anzu upon contact with the pools.
Terokk's victory over the saberon Pridelord Karash, who had been tormenting the arakkoa and causing them to ask why Rukhmar had apparently withdrawn her favor, caused the arakkoa to celebrate Terokk as a living legend. Indeed, they even claimed him to be Rukhmar's reincarnation. The Anhari began to grow nervous, for up until this point they alone had been allowed to speak in the sun goddess's name. Terokk used his widespread support to build a new city, Skyreach, that called back to the accomplishments of the ancient Apexis. He created new laws restricting the authority of the Anhar order, declaring that high arakkoan society must be guided by a thirst for knowledge and wisdom, not by fear and superstition.
This prompted the Anhari to action. In the dead of night they cast Terokk down from Skyreach into the pools of the Sethekk Hollow. The blood mutated Terokk: his body transformed, his wings shriveled, and his sanity began to leave him. It was Anzu, the Raven Lord who had first encountered Sethe's curse and who for so long been watching the arakkoa from the shadows, that took pity on Terokk. He gave him command over both sorcery and shadow magic with which to save his sanity—and the sanity of his loyalists who were cast down with him—and with which to contact him. Terokk had become one of the Arakkoa Outcasts, and with the help of Anzu built the city of Skettis among Apexis ruins as a refuge for his kind. The regions of Talador near to the Spires of Arak came under their control and became known as Terokkar Forest. Meanwhile, from that day forward Skyreach would be ruled not by a king but by the Anhari alone, now calling themselves the Adherents of Rukhmar.
The Adherents covered up Terokk's rule, writing of it in many scrolls and tomes as a time of darkness where the tyrant Terokk had committed crimes and depraved acts. According to this false history, Terokk's tyranny was brought to an end when the Adherents rose up against him and liberated the arakkoa from oppression. Rukhmar then turned her back on Terokk and he became shriveled and maddened.
Other lawbreakers would be tossed into the pools, and eventually the surviving Arakkoa Outcasts became a civilization unto themselves. Deep in the shadowed trees at the base of the Spires, Sethe's curse passed from one generation of Outcasts to the next without any hope of a cure. Rukhmar and her Adherents feared and hated these cursed arakkoa and the dark magic gifted to their Talonpriests by Anzu, and so waged war on them. To aid in their battles, the Adherents searched for ancient Apexis technology, unleashing powerful golems to subjugate their enemies and turrets that fired beams of concentrated light to purge the Outcast settlements with flame.
As the years wore on, Terokk's health declined, grief tore at his heart, and Sethe's curse chewed at his mind. He began to hate the world, abandoning Skettis and even sacrificing the lower castes of his own people to dark powers in search of a cure. His fellow Outcasts did not seem to know the reason for this abandonment and attributed it to their turning away from the worship of Rukhmar. Hoping to rejuvenate their king, the Talonpriests sealed Terokk away deep within the shadows. All that remained of their beloved leader were several artifacts he left behind, among them his spear, his mask and his writings.
The Rise of the Sethekk
At some point the arakkoa invaded the Tanaan Jungle and attacked the Bleeding Hollow clan, forcing the orcs to hide in fear in their villages until they were inspired and led to victory by Kilrogg Deadeye. While it's unclear if these were members of the Adherents or not, the arakkoa at the Den of Haal'esh in modern-day Hellfire Peninsula may be remnants of this invasion.
After some time, in the wake of continued and escalating attacks by the Adherents of Rukhmar, the Arakkoa Outcasts sought to contact Terokk. Their rituals were unsuccessful, however, and without any champions to guide them the Outcasts became increasingly dire and desperate. The Sethekk cult, followers of the dead god Sethe, gained more power, and the Outcasts spiraled into darkness. The loss of Terokk also saw the loss of , cutting off communication between the Outcasts and the only god who had watched over them after being rejected by their own creator, and the Sethekk began to harness Sethe's powers to find the raven god and bend him to their will. The only arakkoa who would continue to worship Anzu were those of the Grishna cult, located today in the Blade's Edge Mountains of northern Outland.
Rise of the Horde
The arakkoa survived the harshness of Draenor for decades, though they suffered terribly during both the Horde's rampage across their world and the civil war between Adherents and Outcasts. By this time, the Sethekk and the Outcasts had abandoned Sethe in favor of an unnamed Old God. The summoning of Murmur and the destruction of Auchindoun was mistakenly seen by the Sethekk as the arrival of their master on the planet, and so the Sethekk leader Ikiss led them to the ruins. A group known as the Dark Conclave attempted to summon this Old God in Shadowmoon Valley to stop the Horde, but Gul'dan used a powerful spell to destroy their camps and twist their spirits, successfully delaying their rituals.
The high arakkoa posed one of the greatest threats to the Horde due to their rediscovered Apexis technology, most prominently the solar cannon atop Skyreach. Warchief Blackhand called on Kargath Bladefist and the Shattered Hand clan, which lived in Arak, to deal with the arakkoa. Kargath not only used his Shattered Hand, but also the Burning Blade and Dragonmaw to form a lightly armored but highly mobile army. They stormed the forests near Skyreach but were not prepared for the arakkoa's weaponry. The searing beam of fire that lanced across the forests incinerated dozens of orcs where they stood. Rather than mount another direct assault, Kargath sought out allies in the Outcasts and struck a bargain: if the arakkoa infiltrated Skyreach and destroyed the weaponry, the orcs would join the fight and slaughter the high arakkoa. Then, the Outcasts could take Skyreach.
Enticed by the offer, the Outcasts snuck into Skyreach and waged war on the city. What they lacked in numbers they made up for with their magic, and destroyed the mechanism atop the city. A blinding explosion tore through the sky and set the heavens aflame. When Kargath and his forces finally arrived, they slaughtered the high arakkoa as promised and cast their bodies from the city. However, the battle-crazed orcs also turned on the Outcasts. Kargath saw them as a threat. Knowing they were cunning and intelligent, he assumed they would one day learn to wield the same powers the high arakkoa had and he could not take that risk. But in addition, he simply enjoyed betraying the wretches. Kargath's followers did not kill every high arakkoa they came across. Some were taken prisoner and cast into the Sethekk Hollow based on stories the Outcasts had told them. Kargath reveled in the sight of the last of the high arakkoa writing in agony as shadow energy transformed them.
In the end, the Horde's assault on the Spires of Arak destroyed high arakkoan civilization and killed nearly all of the Outcasts. Only a small number of wingless arakkoa survived, including those that had recently been hurled into the Sethekk Hollow. The Outcasts shrouded themselves in shadows and took refuge from the Horde in the deepest corners of Terokkar Forest. The high arakkoa who had recently been transformed rallied around an individual named Grizzik, a former Skyreach guard. He led his followers to Auchindoun, knowing most orcs feared those haunted ruins. There, he nursed a bitter hatred of the Horde and awaited the day when he might exact vengeance.
The Second War
The first known contact of an arakkoa with the races of Azeroth occurred during the Alliance of Lordaeron's expedition to Draenor several years after the Horde's rampage. Grizzik, emboldened by his people's suffering at the hands of the orcs, offered to serve as a tracker and guide for Danath Trollbane's forces, leading them to the Bleeding Hollow fortress of Auchindoun and aiding in the battle there.
When Draenor shattered and became Outland, the Spires of Arak were destroyed, taking with them Rukhmar and the remains of Sethe. The arakkoa in Skettis, as well as those who had fled to Auchindoun and the dark corners of Terokkar Forest, escaped the destruction.
The Legacy of Terokk
By the time the modern Alliance and Horde came to Outland, the minions of Terokk—who was still largely revered by the arakkoa—were working in his name to commit evils throughout Terokkar Forest, with the Talon King himself having succumbed to the curse and descended into madness during his long residency in shadow. At Veil Shienor and Veil Reskk, the Eyes of Skettis allowed Terokk to spy on those areas. At Veil Skith, the arakkoa used the Darkstone of Terokk as an altar of worship. At Veil Rhaze, Terokk raised the spirits of the dead arakkoa killed in the Auchindoun explosion. At Veil Lithic, his minions corrupted the avians into his service. At Veil Shalas, the closest colony to Skettis, the arakkoa sages conducted wars against the Light.
However, a few had broken away from Skettis—some to free themselves from Terokk's madness, and others deluded by power. The Skettis Exiles, taken in by the naaru A'dal, reside in the Lower City of Shattrath, where they battle against Terokk's forces. The Sethekk also broke away from Skettis, but for a different reason: when Auchindoun exploded due to the actions of the Shadow Council, an arakkoa named Ikiss believed that this signaled the arrival of the arakkoa's Old God master. He and his Sethekk followers set out for Auchindoun, where they set up in what became known as the Sethekk Halls. Ikiss believed himself Terokk reborn, and that he and his followers were the true disciples of their master and, by extension, the true leaders of the arakkoa. Having finally dominated the will of Anzu, the very deity that had saved their forefathers from madness, Ikiss and the Sethekk had the raven god attack the Emerald Dream. Adventurers of the Alliance and Horde ultimately invaded his stronghold, however, and ended his and Anzu's lives.
Meanwhile, deep inside Skettis, the arakkoa continued their battles against all who opposed their efforts to bring Terokk back from the shadows. The Sha'tari Skyguard, an airborne detachment Sha'tar warriors, established a base at Blackwind Landing, just outside of the Blackwind Valley where Skettis is located. On an island in the middle of Blackwind Lake, Terokk awaited the proper alignment of the stars to herald his return. With the help of the Sha'tari Skyguard and Skettis Exiles the adventurers who had slain Ikiss also invaded Skettis and prepared a ritual to summon the maddened Talon King before the proper time. This led to Terokk returning to his now shattered planet as a weakened shadow of his former self who immediately attacked the adventurers for interfering. In the ensuing battle the adventurers killed the once mighty Talon King, ending the final legacy of Arak.
Though many arakkoa remain in Outland, their once proud civilization remains largely scattered and in ruins. Without the leadership of their deities, it falls upon the strength of the arakkoa themselves to determine what comes next for their people.
When the Raven Swallows the Day
On an alternate Draenor, the Arakkoa Outcasts got the champions they so desperately needed. Adventurers met with the arakkoa Reshad during their darkest hour, when the Adherents of Rukhmar were in the middle of their genocidal campaign. With these champions' help, the Adherents' Apexis excavations were set back and Outcasts were saved from slavery. The long-lost Eye of Anzu was also found, at long last reuniting the arakkoa with Anzu for the first time since Terokk vanished. The Sethekk's ritual to dominate Anzu's will was stopped, Ikiss was killed, and Anzu slew Sethe's spirit. The Sethekk would never rise to power as they had in the main timeline.
The Outcasts attempt to summon and commune with Terokk was successful in this universe, now that their champions from Azeroth-Prime had aided them in gathering his relics. However, Reshad believed that summoning Terokk physically would be a mistake and it was likely that he would only spiral them further into darkness. Instead, against Shadow-Sage Iskar's wishes, the champion was imbued with Terokk's power and took on his form to battle Kargath Bladefist. Despite the Avatar of Terokk losing the battle, Terokk's spirit told the arakkoa to forge their own path, lay the past to rest, and raise new champions.
With Anzu's blessing, the Outcasts called upon Ka'alu, his consort. Ka'alu aided the Outcasts in an assault on the Adherents' Apexis weapons, destroying their solar-powered cannons. Afterward, Skyreach itself was attacked and High Sage Viryx, leader of the Adherents of Rukhmar, was killed. This led to the formation of the Order of the Awakened, an organization of both cursed and high arakkoa; however, the Arakkoa Outcasts do not trust them. As for Rukhmar herself, she was ultimately slain as well.
With their champions reuniting them with Anzu, dismantling the Sethekk, and stopping the genocide of the Adherents, the Arakkoa Outcasts found hope in the darkness and looked toward a brighter future. Some of the Outcasts came to realize that the ancient arakkoa had known that having light and dark in equal measure was natural. Only together would the Outcasts and their winged cousins succeed.
The Burning Legion
Following Gul'dan's takeover of the Iron Horde, the Burning Legion began its invasion of Draenor in earnest. The Sethekk allied themselves with the Legion and its Shadow Council in order to revive Rasthe, son of Sethe. In addition, Iskar and several other members of the Outcasts turned to Gul'dan and consumed fel magic to rid themselves of Sethe's curse and regain their wings.
Both the Sethekk and Iskar's group of fel arakkoa moved to Tanaan Jungle to assist the Legion's invasion. To combat the two groups, the Order of the Awakened has begun operations in the jungle as well. Reshad with the help of the adventurers spied on them. Horde and Alliance sent heroes to battle them in the areas the arakkoa controlled.
During the march of the Hellfire Citadel, Iskar and his followers were killed.
Biology and culture
Arakkoa are as "smart as any gnome you ever met", according to Gremni Longbeard in the Hellfire Peninsula. Grizzik demonstrates that arakkoa are able to become fluent in languages at a remarkable rate by observing speakers for only a short time.
They have brightly feathered bodies in a veritable rainbow of colors, hooked beaks, clawed hands, taloned feet, and an erectile crest of feathers on their heads. High arakkoa stand tall and have wings coming from their arms, while the cursed arakkoa are hunched over and wingless. Arakkoa gender is not reflected in feather color or any other detail apparent to non-arakkoa. This lack of sexual dimorphism means most non-arakkoa have a difficult time telling them apart. Female arakkoa, such as Ornekka, do have distinctly feminine voices, however.
in Tanaan Jungle notes that the corruption within the Apexis crystals has begun to affect many of the arakkoa. They are so accustomed to the power it grants them that more succumb to the whispers every day.
The arakkoa decorate their weapons and armor with fantastic jewels.
Both flying and cursed arakkoa have caste systems; Hazzik mentions it in regards to the cursed, while Shadow-Sage Iskar mentions that of the high arakkoa. The cursed arakkoa wear ragged cloaks about their bodies and two of their castes appear to be "sage" (with ornate shoulder and head ornaments) and "warrior" (with a metal helm and mail epaulets) classes. High arakkoa, meanwhile, dress in anything from robes to extravagant armor. Some of their castes appear to be guards and priests.
The Adherents pair young arakkoa together. Doing so means the fledgling members of the order can watch over each other and ensure that everyone follows the decrees Rukhmar. If one accomplishes a great feat, both would be showered with praise. Likewise, if one transgresses, both would be punished. "Clutch brother / clutch sister" is a symbolic term, rather than literal.
Flying arakkoa also carry with them dreamcatchers that are said protect them from Sethe's curse. The dreamcatchers allegedly absorb the Curse of Sethe and then get rid of the darkness in the morning light. Outcast Arakkoa have repurposed the dreamcatcher not to ward off the Curse of Sethe, but to capture and harvest tiny amounts of essences from their lost gods.
Rukhmar's Grace is the name given to the time of year when the sun was at its highest and the days were long and bright. To mark the start of the period, high arakkoa were required to attend a ceremony at Skyreach and perform rites. As well, every time a mark on a sundial is cast on by a shadow they say a prayer to their goddess.
The Adherents are known to burn their victims alive in ritualistic sacrifice.
The arakkoa are well known for breeding various types of birds, such as owls and ravens, and training them as guards and companions.
The species of owl known as kaliri is particularly prized by the arakkoa and known to have valuable feathers. Some arakkoa are able to see through the eyes of these winged beings, using the rare skill to watch over the activities of others.
Originally, the arakkoa worshipped the sun goddess Rukhmar, who created them. Talon King Terokk, who was Rukhmar's chosen, was believed to be the goddess himself and hence was highly revered by her followers, the Adherents.
Central to high arakkoan culture is reverence of Rukhmar and the sun. Hundreds of Solar Orbs are scattered around Skyreach, which cast a never-ending light so no arakkoa need go without the sun's warmth, even on a cold and overcast day. In death all arakkoa seek to join Rukhmar in the skies above Draenor, and thus cremation is vastly preferred to burial. Some have their ashes scattered high in the skies, others are collected in ornate urns and placed in crypts.
While devotees of Rukhmar prefer cremation, the outcasts have taken to darker last rites.
Believing they have been abandoned by the sun, cursed arakkoa prefer to hide in the forests or beneath awnings during daylight hours. Talonpriests take this a step further and never show their faces to the sun, wearing ritual masks that act as a focus for their communes with Anzu.
Some turned away from Rukhmar, but seem to still hold Terokk in high regard. The group of arakkoa once known as the Arakkoa Outcasts worshiped Anzu and Terokk, but by the time they became the Skettis faction in The Burning Crusade Anzu seems to have become looked down upon and only worshiped by the Grishna cult. In the past, a group known as the Ravenspeakers followed Ka'alu the Raven Mother, leader of all dread ravens and Anzu's consort.
In Outland, the arakkoa of Skettis now worship the Summoned Old God, who is also worshiped by the Sethekk and their leader Talon King Ikiss (who thinks himself Terokk reborn). Before the worship of the Old God, the Sethekk followed Sethe. Some arakkoa of the Sethekk cult also mention something known as "Darkfire".
The ancient Apexis used the Light, Void, and arcane. While the Adherents of Rukhmar may appear to use the Light, they actually use a form of solar magic more comparable to the solar magic used by druids. Arakkoa sun worship has resulted in the creation of some strange and monstrous minions. The Outcasts, on the other hand, use shadow magic similar to that of Azerothian shadow priests. This is particularly evident in the talonpriests, who wield dark magic granted to them by Anzu and use strange elixirs to pass over into a shadow realm filled with fleshbeasts and other shadowy creatures. The Outcasts also wield arcane sorcery.
Known arakkoa factions
- Skettis: The hidden arakkoa capital, under which it is believed that all the Veils of Outland are united. The city was reportedly built by Talon King Terokk, a revered hero of the arakkoa, who ruled for many hundreds of years before his sudden disappearance. Terokk's disciples within Skettis, having turned to evil in an attempt to summon their maddened Talon King, were confronted and defeated by adventurers from Azeroth. Skettis is made up of four Veils, and is believed to have dominion over arakkoa settlements within Terokkar, Blade's Edge Mountains, Shadowmoon Valley and Hellfire Peninsula. They were once known as the Arakkoa Outcasts.
- Skettis Exiles: A small faction of arakkoa who broke away from Terokk's evil and now reside in Shattrath City. Led by Kirrik the Awakened and his apprentice, Rilak the Redeemed, the Skettis Exiles are affiliated with the Lower City of Shattrath, where the refugees of every war ever fought on Draenor (before and after its transformation into Outland) make their home. According to Rilak, the exiles' break from Skettis is believed to have been influenced, in no small part, by a revelation from the naaru.
- Sethekk: A cult, led by the demented Talon King Ikiss, who believe themselves to be the only true servants of the mysterious master of all arakkoa. When Auchindoun exploded after the summoning of Murmur, the Sethekk believed that this was a sign of the second coming of their master. Ikiss led his followers from Skettis to the ruins of Auchindoun, taking the relics of Terokk with them, and set up in what is now known as the Sethekk Halls. Here, Ikiss has declared himself Terokk reborn and expects all arakkoa to bow before him as their new ruler.
- Dark Conclave: A group of arakkoa, loyal to Skettis, who resided in Shadowmoon Valley prior to the rise of the Old Horde. The conclave prepared to strike against the warlock Gul'dan as he conducted the ritual that would sever the orcs from the elemental spirits, but were discovered; using powerful magic, Gul'dan destroyed their encampments and left them as little more than ghosts. Undeterred by their undeath, the Dark Conclave continued their work to summon an ancient and powerful evil into Outland, but were ultimately thwarted by adventurers from Azeroth.
- Grishna: A group of arakkoa living in Grishnath and Raven's Wood in the northern Blade's Edge Mountains. Worshipers of Anzu, and seemingly his only followers left in Outland.
- Apexis: The first great arakkoa civilization, that resided in the Spires of Arak and near the area of the Blade's Edge Mountains now known as Ogri'la. Apexis technology was solar-powered and was used by the Adherents of Rukhmar in their genocidal war against the Outcasts.
- Adherents of Rukhmar: Winged followers of the sun god Rukhmar, who feared and hated the arakkoa that bore the curse of Sethe. The Adherents were based in the city of Skyreach, where punishment for crimes was to be cast down into the pools of the Sethekk Hollow, transforming arakkoa into a cursed, flightless state. They used salvaged Apexis technology to fire beams of light down on these Outcasts, scouring their Veils from the world with fire. The Adherents and their empire were destroyed along with the Spires of Arak when Draenor was shattered and became Outland.
- Arakkoa Outcasts: The emergent society made of those cast down into the Sethekk Hollow by the Adherents of Rukhmar. Misshappen and flightless, but saved from insanity and gifted with dark magic by the raven god Anzu, they were led by Terokk, the greatest Talon King and first of their kind. After his disappearance—and in the absence of champions to aid them—the Outcasts entered a spiral of darkness that eventually consumed them. All of the current factions of arakkoa on Outland are descendants of these Outcasts.
- Ravenspeakers: A group within the Outcasts, based at the Nest of the Ravenspeakers near Veil Terokk. They revered Ka'alu, Anzu's mate. It is possible the Ravenspeakers became the Grishna, although this is only speculation.
- Talon Guards: Elite warriors trained in a manner forbidden in Skyreach.
- Talonpriests: Followers of Terokk who wield dark powers.
Alternate timeline only
- Order of the Awakened: A group of both high and cursed arakkoa that seek a new, peaceful era for their people. The Order gathers Apexis Crystals in an effort to battle the Adherents of Rukhmar. The Order of the Awakened was not formed in the main timeline; it is a product of the players' actions in the Spires of Arak storyline.
- Main universe
|The Talon King, founder of Skettis||Skettis||Killable||Terokk's Rest, Terokkar Forest|
|Leader of the Sethekk, claiming to be Terokk reborn||Sethekk||Killable||Halls of Mourning, Sethekk Halls|
|Guardian of the Sethekk Halls||Sethekk||Killable||Veil Sethekk, Sethekk Halls|
|Violet Hold inmate who attempted to assassinate the Council of Six||Blue dragonflight||Killable||Violet Hold|
|Allied with the Alliance Expedition||Sons of Lothar||Unknown||Unknown|
|Sethekk exile, brother of Darkweaver Syth||Lower City||Alive||Sethekk Halls|
|Brawler's Guild gladiator||Brawler's Guild||Killable||Bizmo's Brawlpub, Deeprun Tram; Brawl'gar Arena|
|Leader of the Skettis Outcasts||Lower City, Skettis Outcasts||Alive||Refugee Caravan, Terokkar Forest|
|Dark Conclave deserter||Formerly Dark Conclave||Alive||Magma Fields, Shadowmoon Valley|
|Member of the Skettis Outcasts||Lower City, Skettis Outcasts||Alive||Lower City, Shattrath City|
- Alternate universe
The arakkoan capital is the hidden city of Skettis, located high in the mountains in the southeastern corner of Terokkar Forest. In arakkoan myth, the city was built by Terokk himself, with the help of the raven god Anzu, as a refuge for all Arakkoa Outcasts. Assuming the modern Skettis is in fact the same city, it represents the only remaining portion of the Spires of Arak, the ancestral home of the arakkoa and their primal gods long since lost to the transformation of Draenor into Outland.
Most colonies established by arakkoa are known as "Veils", numerous examples of which can be found throughout Terokkar Forest. Veil Shienor and Veil Reskk can be found in the north of Terokkar near the border with Hellfire Peninsula, and several exist along the outer rim of the Bone Wastes: Veil Skith, where the Darkstone of Terokk is located; Veil Rhaze, destroyed by the Auchindoun disaster; Veil Lithic, where the arakkoa corrupt avians into Terokk's service; and Veil Shalas, their greatest colony at the base of Skettis itself, where Terokk's sages wage war against the Light. The arakkoa also have established presences at Veil Ruuan, Veil Lashh, and Veil Vekh in the Blade's Edge Mountains.
The exceptions to the "Veil" naming convention tend to coincide with unique traits in the arakkoa at each location. The Grishnath settlement in the Blade's Edge Mountains, for example, is the northernmost arakkoan settlement in existence and plays host to the only remaining worshipers of Anzu, the dread raven god of arakkoa lore. The arakkoa of the Den of Haal'esh in Hellfire Peninsula, meanwhile, are the only ones who have been observed settling in an entirely treeless environment, instead nesting in rocky crags; it is theorized that these are the same arakkoa that once waged war on the orcs of the Bleeding Hollow Clan. Finally, and perhaps most mysteriously of all, are the two areas where arakkoa appear to have settled in Shadowmoon Valley. All that remain of these Sketh'lon settlements are ruins and the ghosts of the inhabitants, who were twice thwarted in their attempts to summon a mysterious god into their midst—once by the orc warlock Gul'dan, and again by fearless Azerothian adventurers.
Despite the inquisitive nature of the arakkoa, there have been no attempts made of arakkoan settlement in Azeroth; only the occasional visitor. There have, however, been a few cases of solitary arakkoa doing business in Azeroth, such as Erekem, a notorious criminal from Outland who attempted to assassinate the Council of Six but was stopped by the Kirin Tor and imprisoned in the Violet Hold.
The arakkoa are aesthetically inspired by the Skeksis, an evil race of bird-men who feature in Jim Henson's 1982 fantasy movie The Dark Crystal, further possible references to which include the "Darkstone" in Veil Skith, on the western edge of the Bone Wastes (as a reference to its title), and the arakkoa capital city of "Skettis" (as a reference to the Skeksis themselves). They also bear a strong resemblance to the Shrykes of The Edge Chronicles, both in appearance and architecture.
The name "arakkoa" may have been derived from the Aarakocra in Dungeons & Dragons, or the Aracuan from the Disney movie The Three Caballeros. Though not proven, the lore of the arakkoa may also be inspired by the bird-like Chozo of the Metroid video game series, whose mysterious disappearance and powerful, ancient artifacts parallel those of the extinct Apexis civilization and the relics they left behind.
As with many of the races of the WarCraft universe, arakkoa culture may have a real world analogue, here in the real world's Indian civilization. This is most evident in their caste system, but the high arakkoa also predominantly use chakram—weapons invented in India—and some have traditional Indian names. The Warlords of Draenor alpha also contained a reference to chakras in the Dungeon Journal entry for Ranjit, a boss in the arakkoa-themed Skyreach dungeon, but it was removed before the official release of the game.
- ^ Dawnseeker Rukaryx
- ^ Solar Priest Vayx
- ^ Darkweaver Syth
- ^ Sethekk Shaman
- ^ Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 23
- ^ Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 12
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 185
- ^ a b - "Central to High Arakkoan culture is reverence of Rukhmar and the sun. (...)"
- ^ - "Ikiss was once a respected sage among the high arakkoa, (...)"
- ^ Beasts of the Savage Lands - Spires of Arak
- ^ a b c d e f g h World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 24-25
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Issue 5
- ^ a b c d e World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 25-29
- ^ a b c d e f World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 29-32
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 33
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 37-38
- ^ a b c d e f g World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 44-46
- ^ a b c d e f Apocrypha
- ^ Don Adams on Twitter
- ^ a b Reshad's dialogue after turning in
- ^ a b Isfar
- ^ Lords of War
- ^ a b Don Adams on Twitter
- ^ Don Adams on Twitter
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 98-99
- ^ Beyond the Dark Portal
- ^ a b Don Adams on Twitter
- ^ Talon Guard Teth
- ^ Don Adams on Twitter (2014-07-29).
- ^ GregoryMoonkin; WarcraftDevs 2015-10-05. WarcraftDevs on Twitter. Twitter. Archived from the original on 2015-10-05. Retrieved on 2015-10-05.
- ^ Jewels of Denial
- ^ Pluck Them All
- ^ Matt Burns on Twitter
- ^ Bad Day at Work
- ^ Don Adams on Twitter
- ^ Sethekk Ravenguard says: Darkfire -- avenge us!
- ^ Don Adams on Twitter
- ^ Don Adams on Twitter
- ^ Don Adams on Twitter