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Arakkoa are a major race featured in the Warcraft series. They are a race of bipedal, intelligent raven-like humanoids who have an affinity for arcane magic and secrecy.
The Gods of ArakEdit
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 the Spires of 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; flightless and pained by dark visions, he would eventually seal himself away in a realm of shadows. Meanwhile, Rukhmar fled the Spires in fear, vowing never again to touch the ground.
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—one that would represent not only her own power and grace, but also the guile and cleverness of Anzu, who had so selflessly taken Sethe's curse upon himself. She named them the arakkoa in the hopes that they would one day bask in the wind and sun of the Spires of Arak as she had.
It is unknown exactly where Rukhmar created the first arakkoa, or where their first empire was established. Archaeological evidence suggests that this first arakkoan civilization, known as the Apexis, may have come to power in what are now the Blade's Edge Mountains of Outland before migrating south to the Spires of Arak. The Apexis vanished from history without warning, the only sign they existed being the ruins of their grand civilization that dot the Spires, the remnants of their advanced solar-powered technology, and the rare and valuable Apexis Crystals—unimaginable solar energy in crystalline form. The Apexis had blueprints for a flying "Temple in the Sky", but it is unclear if they ever actually built it. If the Temple in the Sky was built, that may be where they vanished to.
The Adherents & the OutcastsEdit
The next arakkoan culture was that of the sun-woshipping High Arakkoa based in the majestic city of Skyreach, perched atop the mountain spires of their resettled homeland. The greatest and most loved king of these arakkoa was known as Terokk, and it was said that he and the goddess Rukhmar were one and the same. However, the sages of Skyreach were jealous of Terokk and, turning on him, they cast him down from Skyreach into the pools of the Sethekk Hollow, formed from the cursed blood of the dead god Sethe. 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 dark magic with which to save his sanity—and the sanity of his loyalists who were cast down with him—and the Eye of Anzu with which to contact him. Terokk had become the first of the Arakkoa Outcasts, and with the help of Anzu built the city of Skettis as a refuge for his kind. From that day forward Skyreach would be ruled not by a king but by the sages, now calling themselves the Adherents of Rukhmar.
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.
At some point the arakkoa invaded the Tanaan Jungle and attacked the Bleeding Hollow orc 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 the Adherents or the Outcasts, the arakkoa at the Den of Haal'esh in modern-day Hellfire Peninsula may be remnants of this invasion; if so, it becomes apparent that the Outcasts were responsible for the incursion.
The arakkoa predicted the arrival of the draenei a century before it happened.
The Rise of the SethekkEdit
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 in a realm of shadows. All that remained of their beloved leader were several artifacts he left behind, among them his spear, his mask and his writings.
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 the Eye of Anzu, 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.
The Fall of the SpiresEdit
The arakkoa survived the harshness of Draenor for decades, though they suffered terribly during the Orcish Horde's rampage across their world. By the end of this rampage, the Sethekk and the Outcasts had abandoned Sethe in favor of an unnamed Old God. A group known as the Dark Conclave attempted to summon this new master to stop the Horde, but Gul'dan used a powerful spell to destroy their camps and twist their spirits, successfully delaying their rituals.
The first known contact of an arakkoa with the races of Azeroth occurred during the Alliance of Lordaeron's expedition to Draenor. Grizzik, an arakkoa 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, her Adherents, and the remains of Sethe. Only the Sethekk and the Outcasts—some within the ruins of Skettis, safely nestled in the northernmost reaches of the Spires, and others who had long since left the Spires—escaped the devastation.
The Legacy of TerokkEdit
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 because of said curse 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 realm of 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 Ravens Swallow the DayEdit
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, these Arakkoa Outcasts have found hope in the darkness and look toward a brighter future.
Arakkoa 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. The arakkoa appear androgynous to other races. Female arakkoa, such as Ornekka, do have distinctly feminine voices, however.
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 arakkoa live in colonies, cults and tribes.
The arakkoa also known for breeding different birds. They often breed owls and ravens, training them as companions and guards. A species of owl called the kaliri are prized by arakkoa for their valuable feathers.
The Winged ArakkoaEdit
The winged arakkoa are 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.
The Arakkoa OutcastEdit
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 and gifted with a mastery of 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.
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.
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".
Trivia & NotesEdit
- Grimni Longbeard, a dwarf, says that the arakkoa are as smart as the gnomes.
- No arakkoa settlements have been established on Azeroth.
- Many players want arakkoa as a playable race in World of Warcraft.