Know Your Lore: Vindicator Maraad
Some of us define ourselves by our successes. Vindicator Maraad defined himself by his failures — his failure to save his sister from Gul’dan and his Shadow Council, his failure to protect his people during the escape from Shattrath. His grief over these failures drove him to dedicate himself to the protection of his people, and for a chance to avenge them on the Orcs who butchered, tortured and destroyed them.
Yet Vindicator Maraad died not avenging, but protecting. His last act was to lay down his life for another, on a world so much like and yet unlike the one he knew so well. Without Maraad’s sacrifice, it’s conceivable that the Iron Horde may never have been defeated. This one Paladin saw his life come full circle. Where once he failed to protect those he was charged to save, now he took the brunt of an attack that would have taken life from another. Thus Maraad died, but now, let us talk about how Maraad lived.
Vengeance burned in my heart
Maraad was not born on Draenor. By the time the Draenei crash-landed on the planet in the crippled dimension-ship Genedar, Maraad was already a veteran of many battles and had been defending his people from the forces of the Burning Legion. He, like others of his people who arrived on Draenor in this fashion, had endured the constant cycle of escape, settlement and retreat caused by the Legion’s relentless quest to expunge him and his people from the universe. One assumes that his sister was also on the Genedar, as we know little about his family aside from her, and in truth not much about her.
What we do know is that, when the rise of the Orcish Horde began, Maraad fought to defend his people. At some point his sister fell into the hands of Gul’dan’s Shadow Council, and was horribly abused by the Orcs under the Warlock. From this abuse and rape she bore a daughter who would be known as Garona Halforcen, Gul’dan’s private assassin. But at this time Maraad knew nothing of this. He had other concerns, because it wasn’t just his family enduring such — all Draenei were on the chopping block and the Horde was all too willing to wipe them out, woman, man, child. It did not matter.
Maraad fought fiercely to defend his people, but the outcome was never in doubt. With no ability to retreat thanks to the destruction of the Genedar and not having been aware of the Legion’s involvement with the Orcs until it was too late, the Draenei fought and died, retreated and died, and ultimately made a last, futile stand at Shattrath designed to fool the Orcs into believing Velen and the remaining Draenei were all dead. It worked, after a fashion — Velen, and any Draenei on Azeroth today, survived. But there were costs.
At the battle, Maraad was tasked with bringing a last group of refugees out of Shattrath safely. But after all he’d endured and all he’d witnessed, he lost control of himself and failed at his duty, choosing instead petty personal revenge against a single orc to protecting the refugees he’d been changed with. And they died for it. To Maraad, it was as if he’d killed them.
To find another reason
Maraad escaped Shattrath with his life, and soon heard rumors of Gul’dan’s breeding experiments and his own sister’s child, and resolved to seek her out. Half an orc she might be, but she was still family, and perhaps he could do for her what he’d been unable to do for her mother, in some small way. His search for her took years. When the Alliance Expedition arrived on Draenor, and Ner’zhul shattered the world, Maraad managed to make the acquaintance of Khadgar and through him learned more of Garona and her life, including her role in the death of King Llane Wrynn of Stormwind.
Maraad eventually managed to travel to Azeroth through the reopened Dark Portal and in time found his niece and her son Med’an. He introduced himself to his only remaining relatives, and ultimately, although Garona would not come with him she left her son Med’an in his care. It was Maraad who explained to the young man the horrors of the war that had helped create his mother.
Maraad took part in the New Council of Tirisfal’s bid to defeat Cho’gall and then, his long quest to find his niece over, he traveled to Northrend to help defeat the Lich King and the Scourge. Once this was accomplished, he traveled to the Exodar, finding it surrounded by crowds of Alliance refugees fleeing the destruction caused by Deathwing. The sight disturbed him, perhaps recalling what he’d failed to do back on Draenor, but he was even more surprised to learn that the Exodar was repaired and fully capable of traveling the dimensions again. Furthermore, Velen had not taken the time to speak with his people for quite some time, and they were at a loss to decide what to do. Maraad, along with the Triumverate of the Hand, made the decision that if Velen would not lead them, they would have to lead themselves, and if he did not speak to them within a week they would take the Exodar and leave Azeroth.
However, ultimately Velen did speak, after a conflict between the refugees and the Draenei turned violent and Vindicator Maraad was forced to give the order to use deadly force to defend his people. Velen ended the conflict and reminded his people that the war against the Legion had proved to have no safe harbors and there was no need to leave Azeroth to engage in it — The war was there, as well as everywhere else, ultimately. Abashed, Maraad helped heal those he had nearly struck down and stayed at the Exodar for quite some time thereafter.
Pandaria, the Dark Portal, and Draenor’s iron tide
After the end of the Siege of Orgrimmar and the defeat of Garrosh Hellscream, Maraad found himself journeying to Pandaria to try and aid in the recovery. He and Sentinel Lyalia were entrusted with the transport of an Orcish Shaman and war criminal named Mashok. Amazingly, despite an attempt by Hellscream loyalists to free Mashok Maraad and his allies (including several local farmers of the Tillers) managed to hand the prisoner over alive, despite Maraad having the ability to allow Mashok’s death.
When the Dark Portal flared red and the Iron Horde began an invasion of Azeroth, Maraad took part in the defense of his adopted world. He was the first to volunteer to King Varian Wrynn to go through the portal as part of a suicide mission founded by Khadgar, for the opportunity to somehow, in some small way, prevent anyone else from enduring what he’d gone through was impossible for the Vindicator to resist. And so Maraad found himself on Draenor, surrounded by Draenei who were and yet were not the people he knew, walking in places he’d traveled many times like Shadowmoon Valley and Garadar. Maraad hadn’t come home, because Draenor wasn’t home, and this Draenor wasn’t even the one he’d lost his sister on. But the chance to keep these Draenei from enduring what he’d endured drove him ever onward, and he grew to respect the young Yrel (even trying to get her to flee when it looked like the Iron Horde might destroy the Temple of Karabor).
After battles throughout Shadowmoon, Gorgrond and finally Talador, Maraad came to Shattrath again, a Shattrath not yet destroyed by an Orcish Horde. Here, the Vindicator who’d failed to save his people, the uncle who had shown his quarter-Orc nephew the bones of his murdered people, the Paladin who’d let vengeance rule his heart would at last get to stand and fight for the fate of the city. Against the Iron Horde and Warlord Blackhand Maraad fought alongside Yrel, Khadgar, and even the Orcs Durotan and Draka to defeat the enemy, and gave up his life saving Yrel from Blackhand’s weapons of war. In so doing he helped balk Blackhand and ultimately saved all of Shattrath from the Iron Horde. More importantly to him, he finally reached an understanding — In the Light, All are One — that allowed him a measure of peace from the guilt that he’d carried ever since that fateful day he’d failed the refugees of his Shattrath.
Thus Vindicator Maraad died, achieving his second chance, and protecting another rather than avenging them. His life bought Yrel the chance she needed, and all of Draenor in the bargain. He’d given it gladly.
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