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"Our fate is written in the stars, and the stars are within my grasp."
Shadowmoon orcs are a subrace of orcs with brown-gray skin featured in the Warcraft series. They are primarily members of the Horde, but some have aligned with the Burning Legion and in the alternate timeline, the Iron Horde. A group of them were exiled and work to defeat their former allies.
The Shadowmoon clan was led by the orc shaman Ner'zhul, and was the most powerful clan on Draenor prior to the world's destruction. Named for the Shadowmoon Valley in which it was based, and although the clan was very heavily influenced by shamanistic traditions, like all orcish clans at that time, they were known to be the most spiritual of the orcs. Although the Shadowmoon clan practiced traditional orc shamanism, their leader, Ner'zhul practiced a much darker version of shamanism, that was heavily influenced by Warlock magic, a result of Ner'zhul's trafficking with Kil'jaeden, a demon of immense power.
The Shadowmoon had a history of astrology, and their shamanism was powered by the "language of the stars" in addition to that of the earth. For centuries the Shadowmoon have charted the stars, and from them interpreted omens. This focus on the night sky may explain how Ner'zhul knew about the celestial alignment that would allow him to open portals.
Several centuries ago, when the Genedar arrived on Draenor, the Shadowmoon clan witnessed the crash in the sky. A piece of the ship crashed down in Shadowmoon Valley, and soon afterward a shadow appeared in the sky that came to be known as the Dark Star by the orcs; in reality, the Dark Star was the naaru K'ara in a Void state, ejected from the Genedar during the crash.
By observing the Dark Star, the Shadowmoon clan discovered the powers of the Void. But when orcs began to use the shadow powers to defile the spirits of their sacred ancestors, the chieftain outlawed the shadows and the magic of the Dark Star. Centuries later, Kil'jaeden had the objective of turning the orcs into a Horde of blood-thirsty creatures to satisfy the Burning Legion, a powerful force bent on the destruction of various worlds in the Great Dark Beyond. Ner'zhul later realized what Kil'jaeden was doing, and attempted to halt the orcs' corruption. His efforts were in vain, as his own student, Gul'dan, continued Kil'jaeden's schemes to horrifying success.
The Shadowmoon clan was the major force in the conflicts following the conclusion of the Second War, conducting raids on Azeroth to procure various artifacts — the Book of Medivh, Skull of Gul'dan, Jeweled Scepter of Sargeras, and Eye of Dalaran. Except for the Skull of Gul'dan these artifacts corresponded to three constellations on Draenor, and using them in conjunction with a celestial event involving those constellations gave Ner'zhul the power to open portals to other worlds, as Azeroth was deemed a lost cause. Ner'zhul attempted to open the portals, but the energy released tore Draenor apart. Ner'zhul and his select followers escaped through one of the portals into the Twisting Nether, leaving the remainder of the clan behind.
However, the remainder of the Shadowmoon clan managed to survive the destruction of Draenor, and held out in Shadowmoon Valley. However some of these Shadowmoon orcs were corrupted into fel orcs by the Illidari, becoming part of their armies.
The Burning CrusadeEdit
The fel orcs of the Shadowmoon clan are primarily spell-casters — to be more specific, warlocks. Shadowmoon warlocks under Keli'dan the Breaker appear to be the jailors of Magtheridon deep inside Hellfire Citadel's Blood Furnace, and the area is manned by Shadowmoon technicians and adepts using the blood of Magtheridon to turn captured Mag'har orcs into new fel orcs. The Shadowmoon warlocks can also be found inside the Shattered Halls.
The other major concentration of the Shadowmoon clan outside of Hellfire Citadel is at the Black Temple itself, on the Ata'mal Terrace. There they hold the Heart of Fury, one of the shards of the ata'mal crystal. The fel orcs, along with the blood elves in the Ruins of Karabor, on the Temple's south battlements, are found inside the Temple itself, in the direct service of their demon-crazed master. Many other Shadowmoon orcs also serve Teron Gorefiend at Gorefiend's Vigil.
The orcish inhabitants in Shadowmoon Village, now members of the reformed Horde under Thrall, are likely the last uncorrupted members of the Shadowmoon clan. Warlords of Draenor reveals the village is built in an area known as Lunarfall, and there were several orc ruins in Lunarfall, implying that the village has ancestral ties to the clan. This was the clan's village at one point, but the modern orcish architecture of the village implies that that was no longer the case.
It is said that the first liches of the Scourge were warlocks followers of Ner'zhul, heavily implying they were former members of this clan.
Warlords of DraenorEdit
Centuries later, when the Iron Horde began its march across Draenor, the clan's chieftain Ner'zhul was given an ultimatum by Grom Hellscream: join or die. The Shadowmoon were not a war-like clan by tradition, but Ner'zhul joined with the Iron Horde in order to save the lives of his clansmen. Hellscream also ordered Ner'zhul to provide a worthy form of power or else he would kill the Shadowmoon anyway, as he lacked interest in their astrological and prophetic traditions. Ner'zhul, with the fate of his clan on the line, broke the ancient laws and called on the power of the Dark Star, gaining mastery over the Void.Using the Void, the Shadowmoon clan raises undead and calls in creatures of shadow to battle their foes. Their nobility has been sacrificed for necromantic power, making them little different from the Scourge that a different version of Ner'zhul once commanded.
A faction of discontent orcs, led by Ner'zhul's mate Rulkan, still stands by the old laws that ban Void magic and have formed the Shadowmoon Exiles to combat Ner'zhul's followers.
The Shadowmoon orcs have gray-brown skin. They are physically similar to other orc races. Shadowmoon orc eye colors are usually golden, red or white.
These bone needles are taken from the corpses of fallen enemies and meticulously sharpened. The mystics of the Shadowmoon often inscribe secret runes into their flesh to more clearly speak to their ancestors and the elemental spirits.
The Shadowmoon orcs' culture also includes astrology, their shamanism being powered by the "language of the stars". They have also charted the stars.
An example of the Void worship once practiced but now banned by the Shadowmoon Clan elders, this idol is as dark as the night sky. Roughly and frantically chiseled from the tusk of what must have been a colossal Elekk, this idol was dyed and is inlaid with complex swirling and jagged patterns. Consultation with the spirits of previous generations is considered essential to Shadowmoon shamans whenever an important decision is to be made. Talismans and other relics that were important to an ancestor during life provide a more clear spiritual conduit for shamans to speak to them in the afterlife.
Trivia & NotesEdit
- The Shadowmoon clan colors are black.