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Rahjak

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NeutralRahjak
Image of Rahjak
Gender Male
Race Fel orc
Class Blademaster
Status Deceased
WoW Comic logo.png
This article contains lore taken from the Warcraft manga or comics.
I sacrificed everything to be the best. And now I must know. I must prove that I am the best. After all, our enemies are the steel we sharpen ourselves against.
— Rahjak before his final duel with Strongbo

Rahjak was a fel orc blademaster who was hired by Zhahara Darksquall to find the Pearl of Pandaria.

Biography

Rahjak devoted his life to searching for the "breath of eternity", the moment in a fight where two evenly matched combatants stop and look into the other's eyes and contemplate an untold number of techniques, strategies, and scenarios. For years, he sought out the best fighters in the world to test himself against them. Long ago he fought Chen Stormstout and lost. In humiliation, he betrayed the oath he had sworn to remain free of demonic corruption and traveled to Outland to drink demon blood, becoming a fel orc. He thereafter dedicated his life in training so he could defeat Chen, the only being who had ever defeated him.

Rahjak was hired by the naga Zhahara Darksquall to find the Pearl of Pandaria. Using magic, Zhahara spoke with Rahjak from the Azerothian side of the Dark Portal and summoned a storm to distract the Alliance and Horde forces while the blademaster came through from Outland. Rahjak easily slaughtered the portal's defenders before greeting Zhahara, who was accompanied by the ogre Blokk. She told the orc that she had received word from Rumblefitz about the two pandaren Li Li and Strongbo, and that the time had come for them to claim the pearl and for Rahjak to embrace his destiny.

After visiting Brewfest, Li Li and Strongbo journeyed to Kalimdor aboard a zeppelin while Rahjak, Rumblefitz, and Blokk pursued them on a ship. When Rumblefitz pointed out that the pandaren were pulling away, Rahjak simply stated that Zhahara would find them should the trio lose track of them, and either way the pandaren were sure to draw attention wherever they went. Rahjak explained that he intended to face Bo in combat in hopes of finding the breath of eternity, but that Rumblefitz' stupidity could cost him his chance. The blademaster warned that if an incident like the Deeprun Tram—when Rumblefitz had been discovered and ended up in a fight with the pandaren—happened again, he would skin Rumblefitz alive. When Rumblefitz started to reply in a mocking manner, Rahjak punched Blokk in the chest, causing the ogre to vomit, and then amended his statement: he would skin Rumblefitz alive, then feed what was left of him to the ogre. He finally stated, however, that he would let Rumblefitz live for now since Zhahara apparently saw something in him.

The blademaster pursued Li Li and Bo to Azshara. Following an argument between the two pandaren, Li Li ran out into the rain only to be kidnapped by the fel orc. He brought the cub to a ship headed for an unknown island, leaving a map and message carved in stone telling Bo "Come alone, or the little one dies." After Zhahara unsuccessfully tried interrogating Li Li about Wanyo and the pearl he had, she left the pandaren in Rahjak's care. Li Li was brought atop the island and chained up, with Rahjak telling Rumblefitz to give her a spyglass so she could watch Bo die once he arrived to save her. Rahjak told Li Li she could stop the duel at any moment if only she revealed where Wanyo was.

Bo arrived to the island at sunrise. Rahjak informed him that all he needed to do was win, and Li Li would come to no harm. When Bo asked why Rahjak had gone to so much trouble to challenge him, the blademaster explained how much he had sacrificed in order to be the best fighter and that he needed to prove himself by killing Bo. Bo accepted the challenge and the two began dueling. Early into their match, Rahjak's sword shattered Bo's staff. Bo kept one of the broken fragments on his person and tossed the other at Rahjak, but the orc dodged it. However, he gained the upper hand and knocked Rahjak into a rock formation, then slashed at him with the broken wood. Rahjak replied by splitting into a series of mirror images and surrounding the pandaren, catching him off guard and wounding him mortally across the chest. Rahjak prepared to kill him, but at that moment Chen Stormstout arrived to the island upon a rocket.

Rahjak declared that he had long waited for the day when he would face his old opponent again and charged at Chen. As they fought, Chen pointed out how Rahjak had once been a noble warrior and how twisted he had now become, with the orc replying that he would do whatever it took to be the best. As Rahjak's sword and Chen's staff collided and they stared into each other's eyes, the blademaster finally experienced the breath of eternity he had been searching for his whole life. He then once again split into several mirror images, but Chen responded by transforming into spirits of storm, earth, and fire. As the spirits began pummeling Rahjak, Zhahara—who was holding Li Li and watching the fight from nearby—decided she wouldn't let her opportunity slip away by having the orc lose the duel and struck one of the spirits with lightning, causing Chen to revert to his old self. Rahjak rushed at the pandaren, but Chen managed to steal the orc's sword and throw it at Zhahara, killing her. With Chen's back turned, Rahjak unsheathed a knife from his belt and attempted to kill him, but the dying Strongbo used the broken piece of his spear to stab Rahjak through the back, putting an end to the blademaster.[1]

Development

The author of the graphic novel, Micky Neilson, discussed some details about the development of Rahjak during an interview with Blizzplanet:

"He's a very interesting character, and another one that we sit down and we thought ok the blademaster was certainly a very cool unit type and one that we wanted to revisit, and then we thought "What’s even cooler than that?" ... a fel orc blademaster. It's just keeping cool over cool. We did a little bit of research on that, and the thinking is that he’s probably from the Burning Blade clan, and he went into Outland — and this is probably after Illidan was defeated, but he was able to figure out a way to have demon blood infused into him probably tying into The Maker and those questslines from the game.
Early concept art.
In a very broad and general sense the idea was simply, he went to Outland, he figured out a way to be corrupted by demon blood, and he became a fel orc.
[...] His ultimate goal is to be the best fighter, the best combatant or martial artist on Azeroth. So to him, defeat is unacceptable, and he fought Chen at some point previous to the events of the book, and he was defeated by Chen, and so he couldn't take that. He couldn't accept that. So he decided then to kind of buff himself up even more by going to Outland and being corrupted, and he believed that that would raise him to the next level to be able to defeat Chen."[2]

Artist Sean Galloway originally envisioned a fairly different design for Rahjak (shown to the right), which was later changed to a more traditional orc blademaster appearance. In an interview with WoW Insider, Galloway stated that "[...] I'm really glad that Blizzard pulled me back on it because I think fans would have been really upset of the first initial pass -- it was a little off its mark!"[3]

Trivia

  • Despite being a blademaster, Rahjak has no symbol on his flag.
  • During his duel with Chen, Rahjak yells "My blade seeks vengeance!!", a reference to the build quote of the Blademaster unit in Warcraft III. The quote is also spoken by Burning Blademasters and Blademaster Jubei'thos in World of Warcraft as well as Samuro in Heroes of the Storm.
  • If Li Li kills Samuro in Heroes of the Storm, she has a chance to say "You know, you remind me of Rahjak. Kicked his butt, too!" (which is an exaggeration, since Li Li never fought Rahjak herself).

References

  1. ^ Pearl of Pandaria
  2. ^ Medievaldragon 2012-09-13. World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria – Blizzplanet Interviews Micky Neilson & Sean Galloway. Blizzplanet. Retrieved on 2019-05-08.
  3. ^ Anne Stickney 2012-09-13. WoW Insider interviews Micky Neilson and Sean "Cheeks" Galloway. WoW Insider. Retrieved on 2019-05-08.