Siege of Blackrock Spire
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|Next: Destruction of the Dark Portal|
|Siege of Blackrock Spire|
|Conflict: Second War|
|Date: 7 ADP|
|Place: Blackrock Mountain, Burning Steppes|
|Outcome: Decisive Alliance victory|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
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- “We will not wait for them to come upon us. We will not sit here idly and let them dictate this battle. No. We are orcs! We are the Horde! We will bring the fight to them, and they will learn to regret ever pursuing us here! And when we have crushed them beneath us, we will march back over their corpses and once more claim their lands as our own!”
The Siege of Blackrock Spire, also called the Assault on Blackrock Spire and the Battle of Blackrock Spire, was one of the bloodiest and most decisive battles of the Second War between the varied races of the Alliance of Lordaeron and the Orcish Horde, surrounding the location of Blackrock Mountain in the Burning Steppes. Occurring around seven years after the original opening of the Dark Portal, the battle saw the two factions clash for ultimate mastery of the Eastern Kingdoms, and served as one of the closing conflicts of the war.
For over a year, the Alliance and Horde had fought a brutal war across the length of the continent. However, with the Horde's strategic defeat during the siege of Lordaeron's Capital City, the tide began to finally turn in favor of one side. Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer subsequently retreated with his forces to the south, gathering at the landmark of Blackrock Mountain to stage a final stand.
The pursuing Alliance, led by the famed commander Anduin Lothar, eventually caught up with and engaged the orcs. After a long and grueling battle, the Alliance army emerged victorious. The shattered Horde remnants largely fled back to the Dark Portal (and on to Draenor) in the wake of the defeat, though another major engagement would take place in the Blasted Lands between the two sides before the war fully concluded.
As both sides intended, the battle at Blackrock Spire firmly decided the outcome of the Second War; ultimately cementing the Alliance of Lordaeron as the victors. In large part due to the heroics of the human paladin Turalyon, the Alliance's success may also be attributed to the orcs' lack of reinforcement. Several clans, including the Bleeding Hollow, Black Tooth Grin, and Dragonmaw were unable to reunite with Doomhammer's army following the retreat and were thus helpless to aid in the battle.
Though long-term victory in the Second War fluctuated wildly throughout the conflict, the events that transpired during the siege of the Capital City of Lordaeron finally allowed one side to secure the upper hand. Betrayed by the warlock Gul'dan and outmaneuvered by his Alliance foes, Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer was ultimately forced to break off his attempt to take the capital. The Horde subsequently began a long retreat from Lordaeron itself, hoping to regroup to the south and potentially salvage the ill-fated campaign.
Anduin Lothar had commanded the Alliance armies since the coalition's inception, and had battled with the Horde across the length and breadth of the continent. Sensing that victory was within sight, Lothar ruthlessly pursued the retreating orcs, liberating the dwarf and gnome nations in Khaz Modan along the way. Bolstered by these new races (who quickly joined the Alliance), Lothar's army continued its advance. After seeing that Lordaeron was cleaned of all Horde forces, Uther the Lightbringer and his men joined up with Lothar and the main Alliance army.
Doomhammer, too, recognized that the war's conclusion was imminent, and that a final battle would soon decide the fate of his Horde and his people. With this in mind, the Warchief ordered a halt to the retreat, and began gathering his forces and fortifying his position at one of the Horde's most stalwart bastions on Azeroth: Blackrock Mountain in the Burning Steppes.
The Horde now needed any reinforcements it could draw upon, and Doomhammer dispatched messengers back to the world of Draenor to call upon the overly-bloodthirsty orc clans left behind during the initial invasion of Azeroth. Additionally, orders were also sent to Chieftain Zuluhed of the Dragonmaw clan in Grim Batol to gather any remaining red dragons they could (including their matriarch Alexstrasza) and bring them to Blackrock Spire. Finally, messages were also sent to the Black Tooth Grin clan, at the time still returning by sea from defeating Gul'dan at the Tomb of Sargeras. They were informed of the Horde's new rendezvous point and told to make haste there in anticipation for the upcoming battle.
Despite a delaying action carried out by the Bleeding Hollow clan, the Alliance march south continued at a staggering pace, greatly aided by the actions of the Knights of the Silver Hand. Before long, and far too soon for Doomhammer's liking, the army under Anduin Lothar arrived at the outskirts of the Burning Steppes. No other choice remained now but to prepare for the deciding engagement of the Second War.
Battle of Blackrock
Warchief Doomhammer watched as the vast Alliance army, thousands strong, began to wind its way into the Burning Steppes region, edging ever closer to the Horde's position. The orc commander did not engage the enemy immediately; the Horde was outnumbered (but not by a large margin) and the necessary reinforcements had failed to materialize. Attacked on the sea voyage home, the Black Tooth Grin clan would not arrive in time, and neither would the Bleeding Hollow clan nor any forces from Draenor itself. The Dragonmaw, too, had not yet arrived from Grim Batol with their desperately-needed dragons.
Anduin Lothar wasted no time, and quickly arranged his units around the enemy stronghold built into Blackrock Mountain, effectively beginning a siege. Though the spire was protected by formidable gates, the Alliance immediately set to work with their siege weapons, hammering the defenses relentlessly.
Though Doomhammer was deeply troubled by the course of the war, he refused to despair at this time of crisis. Instead, he resigned himself to fighting his enemies with all the energy he could muster, even if doing so meant a certain, but honorable, death. The Warchief now rallied his people within the confines of Blackrock Spire. He reminded them of the Horde's power, the many victories it had accomplished, and the desperate nature of the battle ahead. He challenged each of them to show their devotion to the cause by throwing themselves on the Alliance armies before them.
As Lothar's forces were still preparing for a siege, the gates of Blackrock Mountain suddenly burst open and the Horde garrison spilled out. Though he knew he could not defeat the Alliance through sheer forces, Doomhammer adopted a new plan that he believed could yet secure victory. Having observed much of human culture throughout the war, the Warchief was convinced that if he could slay the Alliance's commander, the rest would lose heart and crumble. Thus, he directed the charge to cut a path straight to Anduin Lothar, and personally led the attack at the head of his elite guard composed of ogres.
Lothar's troops, though numbering significantly more than their adversaries, were taken wholly unaware by the sudden and unexpected assault. They had largely been preparing to wait out the Horde, and the orcs now overran their forward siege lines amidst the initial chaos. Before long, Doomhammer's charge had reached Anduin Lothar's position, though the veteran commander accepted the challenge rather than flee. Lothar and Doomhammer, Supreme Allied Commander and Warchief, now engaged in deadly close-quarters combat, even while the battle for Blackrock Mountain raged around them.
As their duel progressed, a kind of hush fell over the area and each side began to watch, transfixed, as their leaders clashed again and again with sword and hammer. Both warriors were closely matched, and the outcome of the fight remained uncertain for a time. Eventually, however, Orgrim Doomhammer's sheer strength, prime youth, and ferocity gained him the upper hand. With one swing, the Warchief shattered Lothar's greatsword, driving the human commander to his knees. With a final blow, he brought his weapon down on Lothar's skull, killing him instantly.
The tide turns
Doomhammer was quick to proclaim his victory to those looking on. Having witnessed the outcome of the titanic struggle, the Horde warriors became inspired and cheered this great victory. They pressed their assault, pushing ruthlessly against the now-demoralized Alliance ranks. With their revered commander slain before their eyes, many of the Alliance's troops began to despair and lose the will to fight. Resistance to the orcs' onslaught was at serious risk of collapsing, before the paladin Turalyon chose to take action.
Turalyon had acted as Lothar's lieutenant since the beginning of the Second War, and (like many) had looked to the knight-commander for guidance and inspiration. Seeing his friend and mentor slain before his eyes did not, however, have the ruinous effect that Doomhammer intended. Steeling himself with his values as a paladin of the Knights of the Silver Hand, and understanding that giving in to sorrow would neither bring Lothar back nor avenge his death, Turalyon instead turned his attention on the situation around him.
Taking charge of the Alliance forces, Turalyon unleashed all the holy powers at his disposal. Light radiated from his person, blinding those around him (including Orgrim Doomhammer) and forcing the battle to a standstill. Without hesitation, he picked up Lothar's shattered sword from where it had fallen and declared to Doomhammer that he would pay for his crimes against this world and the people of it. In response, Doomhammer swung up his hammer but Turalyon disarmed it with the broken sword's blade. Surprised and recognizing his end, Doomhammer lowered his head to accept death.
Turalyon, however, chose instead to strike the orc with the flat of the blade, knocking him to his knees before collapsing unconscious next to Lothar. He then called on his allies around him to pull themselves together in this dark hour, as Lothar both would have done himself and expected of each and every one of them. He reminded them of why the Alliance had been created, why they were there in the first place. They needed to stop the Horde, to prevent it from doing any more harm to their loved ones and their world. For the Alliance and for Lothar, Turalyon called on all those gathered to fight with him for the final victory.
Finally, Turalyon addressed Doomhammer and his soldiers, condemning them for their actions and promising them a swift death, save for the Warchief himself who would stand trial in the Capital City he had so desperately desired to seize.
With their hope and faith restored, the soldiers of the Alliance produced one great battle cry before crashing into the stunned Horde lines. Turalyon himself led and charge and struck the first blow, his fellow paladins alongside him. The orcish armies swiftly buckled under the renewed onslaught, their organization and discipline largely disintegrating. Some fled north, east, and west to escape the carnage, while a great many others rushed in the direction of the Dark Portal, seeking to escape back to Draenor.
The most dedicated continued fighting just outside the spire, though the battle was lost. Under Turalyon's orders, the Alliance troops overwhelmed these holdouts, disarming but not annihilating them. Instead, they were bound in chains alongside their fallen Warchief, now prisoners of the great conflict.
Several orcish clans that had not taken part in the final battle at Blackrock Spire soon found themselves stranded on the new world. The Black Tooth Grin, led by Dal'rend and Maim Blackhand, arrived at the battlefield only after the conflict had ended. When the Alliance in the area finally departed, they reoccupied the fortress in the mountain, and established their own Horde.
The Dragonmaw clan too had failed to arrive at the battle in time. Upon learning of the outcome, they chose to remain in Grim Batol, hoping to evade the notice of the now fully-ascendant Alliance of Lordaeron. The Bleeding Hollow clan under Kilrogg Deadeye found itself in a similar predicament, arriving both in the Burning Steppes and at the Dark Portal too late to be of aid. They would ultimately disappear into the wilds near the Blasted Lands to bide their time.
The orc prisoners taken in the battle, including Doomhammer himself, were taken back to Lordaeron in chains. There, their fate was decided by the combined leadership of the Alliance, with the decision eventually being made to put the survivors in new internment camps.
Some time after the end of the Second War, a statue was constructed to commemorate Anduin Lothar's sacrifice during the battle at Blackrock Mountain. With its sword pointing directly to the spire itself, the statue was ironically constructed using the labor of orc prisoners from the war. The statue still stands on the very spot the commander fell in the Burning Steppes to the present day.
The outcome of the battle at Blackrock Mountain served cement Turalyon's position as leader of the Alliance's armies in the field. Following his decisive victory there and the subsequent end of the war, he remained in command, and would eventually lead the Alliance Expedition into the orc homeworld itself during the Invasion of Draenor two years later.
Notes and trivia
- The battle was one of the few in the entirety of the war where the forces of the Alliance outnumbered those of the Horde.
- During the battle, the human Commander Mograine took a dark crystal from the body of an orc spellcaster he had killed. The shadow energy of it was so overwhelming that it mangled Mograine's right hand. He kept the crystal locked away for over a decade until finally revealing it to friends in the Knights of the Silver Hand at a meeting in Southshore. This crystal—absorbing the Light energies from the paladins and priests present—became the basis for a weapon intended solely for the destruction of the undead, better known as the Ashbringer.
- The Battle of Blackrock Spire seems to be the equivalent name of the event in an alternate universe visited by Thrall as told by alternate Taretha Foxton. When comparing the alternate universe event with the main universe one, the term Battle of Blackrock Spire was also used to refer to the main-universe battle.
- Early depictions/mentions of the battle, such as in Warcraft II and Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans had Anduin Lothar ambushed and mauled by a pack of ogres instead of dueled by Orgrim Doomhammer.
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 175
- ^ Rosenberg, Aaron. Tides of Darkness, 340. ISBN 1416539905.
- ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 343
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 172
- ^ Assault on Blackrock Spire (WC2 Human) mission
- ^ a b Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects
- ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 339
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 171
- ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 340
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 173
- ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 342-344
- ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 355
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 174
- ^ Ashbringer