World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal

( 46 )

Overview

The aging orc shaman Ner'zhul has seized control of the Horde and reopened the Dark Portal. His brutal warriors once again encroach upon Azeroth, laying siege to the newly constructed stronghold of Nethergarde Keep. There, the archmage Khadgar and the Alliance commander, Turalyon, lead humanity and its elven and dwarven allies in fighting this new invasion.

Even so, disturbing questions arise. Khadgar learns of orcish incursions farther abroad: small groups of orcs who seem to ...

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Overview

The aging orc shaman Ner'zhul has seized control of the Horde and reopened the Dark Portal. His brutal warriors once again encroach upon Azeroth, laying siege to the newly constructed stronghold of Nethergarde Keep. There, the archmage Khadgar and the Alliance commander, Turalyon, lead humanity and its elven and dwarven allies in fighting this new invasion.

Even so, disturbing questions arise. Khadgar learns of orcish incursions farther abroad: small groups of orcs who seem to pursue a goal other than simple conquest. Worse yet, black dragons have been sighted as well, and they appear to be aiding the orcs. To counter Ner'zhul's dark schemes, the Alliance must now invade the orcs' ruined homeworld of Draenor. Can Khadgar and his companions stop the nefarious shaman in time to stave off the destruction of two worlds?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416550860
  • Publisher: Pocket Star
  • Publication date: 6/24/2008
  • Series: World of Warcraft Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 198,948
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 6.98 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE

Throw down!"

"Shut up!"

"Throw down, damn you!"

"Fine!" Gratar growled, half-rising, his powerful shoulder muscles bunching. One arm whipped forward and down, fist descending in a blur — and his fingers opened, the small bone cubes spilling from them to clatter upon the ground.

"Hah!" Brodog laughed, tusks jutting up as his lips pulled back in a grin. "Only one!"

"Damn!" Gratar sank back down onto his stone, sulking as he watched Brodog again gather the cubes and shake them vigorously. He didn't know why he kept throwing against Brodog — the other orc practically always won. It was almost unnatural.

Unnatural. A word that had nearly stopped having any meaning for Gratar. He glanced up at the stark red sky that filled the horizon, the sun a burning globe of the same shade. The world had not always been thus. Gratar was old enough to remember blue skies, a warm yellow sun, and thick green fields and valleys. He'd swum in deep, cool lakes and rivers, blissfully ignorant of how precious a thing water would one day become. One of the most basic needs of life, uncontaminated water was now brought in in casks and stingily parceled out.

Rising, Gratar kicked idly at the ground before him, watching the red dust puff upward, parching his mouth, and he reached for the waterskin and drank sparingly. The dust covered his skin, dulling the green hue, lightening his black hair. Red everywhere, as if the world had been drenched in blood.

Unnatural.

But the most unnatural thing of all was the reason he and Brodog were stationed here, whiling away the dusk-clogged day with idle games of chance. Gratar looked past Brodog at the towering archway just beyond them and the shimmering curtain of energy that filled it. The Dark Portal. Gratar knew that the strange mystic doorway led to another world, though he had not passed through it himself — none of his clan had. But he had watched as proud Horde warriors had entered the portal to win glory over the humans and their allies. Since then, a few orcs had returned to report the Horde's progress. But lately there had been nothing. No word, no scouts; nothing.

Gratar frowned, ignoring the clattering sound of Brodog's tossing of the bones. Something about the portal seemed...different. Gratar stepped closer to the towering gateway, the hairs along his arms and chest tingling as he approached.

"Gratar? It's your turn. What are you doing?"

Gratar ignored Brodog. Squinting, he stared at the rippling veil of energy. What was going on beyond it, on that strange other world?

As he watched the curtain's undulating shimmer grew and became more translucent, allowing Gratar to see through it as if through murky water. He squinted his eyes, peered intently — and gasped, staggering back.

Playing out before his eyes, as if he were watching a ritual enactment, was a fierce and violent battle.

"What?" Brodog was beside him in an instant, the game forgotten, and then he was gaping as well. They both stared for a second before Gratar regained his wits.

"Go!" he shouted at Brodog. "Tell them what's happening!"

"Right — the commander." Brodog's eyes were still glued to the scene before them.

"No," Gratar replied sharply. He had a gut feeling that what was about to happen would be more than his commander was prepared to handle. But one orc he knew might be. "Ner'zhul. Get Ner'zhul — he'll know what to do!"

Brodog nodded and took off at a run, though not without glancing back a few times. Gratar heard him leave, but still his gaze was riveted to the battle that was so violent but so oddly veiled. He could see orcs, some of whom he thought he recognized, but they were fighting strange figures, shorter and more narrowly built but more heavily armored. The strangers — they were called "humans," Gratar remembered — were quick and as numerous as gnats, swarming over the beleaguered orcs and overpowering them one by one. How could his people be suffering such a defeat? Where was Doomhammer? Gratar saw no sign of the massive, powerful warchief. What had happened on that other world?

He was still watching, sickly enraptured, when he heard the sound of approaching feet. He tore his gaze away to see that Brodog had returned with two others. One was a massive figure, larger by far than any orc and much stronger, with pale milky skin and heavy features. An ogre, and a mage, by the cunning Gratar saw glinting in his small, piggy eyes. More important than this towering figure was the orc who accompanied him, pushing his way forward right up to the portal itself.

Though his hair was gray and his face heavily lined, Ner'zhul, chieftain of the Shadowmoon clan and once the most skilled shaman the orcs had ever known, was still powerfully built and his brown eyes were as sharp as ever. He stared at the portal and the vaguely glimpsed disaster unfolding behind its

shimmer.

"A battle, then," Ner'zhul said as if to himself.

And one the Horde is losing, Gratar thought.

"How long has — " Ner'zhul began. Suddenly the space framed by the Dark Portal shifted, its energies swirling violently. A hand thrust from the curtain as if it were rising from water, gleams of light and shadow clinging to green skin as it breached the barrier. A head followed, then the torso, and then the orc was through. His war axe was still in his hand but his eyes were wild as he stumbled, then caught himself, racing past Ner'zhul and the others without even looking.

Behind him came another orc, then another and another and another, until there was a flood of them, all racing to pass through the portal as fast as their feet would carry them. And not just orcs — Gratar saw several ogres emerge, and a group of smaller, slighter figures with heavy hooded cloaks bridged the gap as well. One warrior caught Gratar's attention. Too tall and bulky to be a full orc, his features brutish enough to have some ogre blood in him, this one did not run with the air of panic the others did, but with purpose, as if he was running to something rather than from it. At his heels loped a massive jet-black wolf.

An orc shoved past this warrior as they stepped from the portal, snarling at the obstruction. "Out of the way, half-breed!" the orc snapped, but the warrior merely shook his head, refusing to be baited at such a time. The wolf, however, snarled at the orc before the warrior silenced it with a sharp hand gesture. The wolf fell silent, utterly obedient, and the warrior dropped a huge hand on the black head with affection.

"What has happened here?" Ner'zhul demanded loudly. "You!" The shaman pointed toward one of the unfamiliar creatures. "What manner of orc are you? Why cover your face so? Come here!"

The figure paused, then suddenly shrugged and stepped closer to Ner'zhul. "As you wish," he said in a cold voice that had a slightly mocking tone to it. Despite the heat of the land's baked, lifeless soil, Gratar shivered.

A mailed hand slid the hood back, and Gratar could not help crying out in horror. Perhaps the being's features had once been fine and regular, but no longer. The skin was a pale grayish green, and had burst open at the juncture where ear met jaw. A thin trickle of ooze glimmered. Swollen, cracked, purple lips drew back in a smile as the eyes glowed with malevolent humor and a fierce intelligence.

The thing was obviously dead.

Even Ner'zhul shrank back, though he rallied quickly. "Who — what are you?" Ner'zhul demanded in a voice that shook only a little. "And what do you want here?"

"Don't you recognize me? I am Teron Gorefiend," the figure replied, chuckling at the shaman's obvious discomfiture.

"Impossible! He is dead and gone, slaughtered by Doomhammer along with the rest of the Shadow Council!"

"Dead I am indeed," the creature agreed, "but not gone. Your old apprentice Gul'dan found a way to bring us back, and into these rotting carcasses." He shrugged, and Gratar could hear the lifeless flesh creak in slight protest. "It suffices."

"Gul'dan?" The old shaman seemed more shocked by that revelation than by the sight of the walking corpse in front of him. "Your master still lives? Then you should return to him. You forsook me and the shaman tradition to follow his lead and become a warlock when you lived, abomination. Serve him now that you are dead."

But Gorefiend was shaking his head. "Gul'dan is dead. And good riddance. He betrayed us, halving the Horde at a crucial moment and forcing Doomhammer to pursue him instead of conquering a human city. That treachery cost us the war."

"We...have lost?" Ner'zhul stammered. "But...how is that possible? The Horde covered the very plains, and Doomhammer would not go down without a fight!"

"Oh, he fought," Gorefiend agreed. "Yet all his might was not enough. He killed the humans' leader but was overpowered in turn."

Ner'zhul seemed stunned, turning to look at the panting, bloodied orcs and ogres who had rushed through the gates moments earlier. He took a deep breath and straightened, turning to the ogre who had accompanied him. "Dentarg — summon the other chieftains. Tell them to gather here at once, bringing only weapons and armor. We — "

The wave washed out of the portal with no warning, a massive energy burst that slammed all of them to the ground. Gratar gasped for breath, the wind knocked out of him. He stumbled to his feet, only to be greeted by a second explosion, more violent than the first. This time hunks of stone had been snatched up by the energy that powered the portal and came flying past them, chips and slabs and slivers and sheets. The curtain wavered, becoming opaque.

"No!" Ner'zhul raced toward the portal. He was still several feet away when the shimmering curtain of light flickered, contracted, froze — and then exploded. Stones and dust erupted from the archway. Ner'zhul was tossed into the air like an old bone, and struck the earth hard. Dentarg let out an angry bellow and rushed to his master's side, scooping him up as if he weighed nothing. The old shaman lay limp, head lolling, eyes shut, a trickle of blood along his right side. For a wild moment energy screamed and shrieked about them all, howling like angry spirits. Then as abruptly as they had come the lights vanished, the curtain disappearing utterly, leaving only an empty stone portal behind.

The Dark Portal had been severed.

Gratar stared at that stone archway, and at all the Horde warriors who had escaped back through it one last time. Then he glanced over at Dentarg, and the elderly shaman cradled in the ogre's surprisingly gentle grasp.

In the name of the ancestors...what would they do now?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

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(23)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 29, 2010

    Another Great Adventure

    Being along time player of WOW this book really helps to fill in some of the back lore of that massive fictional world.So of the previous books are a little light on plot. But, I find the plot to be one of many stregths of this book. Highly recommended.....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 22, 2012

    This was a great book, just finished it today. As a WoW player o

    This was a great book, just finished it today. As a WoW player of 5 years, I thoroughly enjoyed getting a look into a couple of characters I wasn't too knowledgeable on. Many exciting scenes, items of note, and characters popping up through the story that keeps it fresh. Contrary to reviews and things i've heard about this book, it's accurate and not biased at all. There is no "Alliance biased drivel" to be found. The Horde are painted as savages at many points, because according to lore...they were. On the same hand, even the Alliance can be quoted in the book saying how smart the Horde is, how they're always a step ahead, outsmarting the Alliance Army. Fight scenes talk of orcs chopping through puny humans and humans gutting mindless orcs. I guess if you play Horde in the game and don't like your factions history...don't read this. But if not, don't let anything get in the way of giving this book a read. Worth the money, another great read in the WoW book franchise.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    READ THIS REVIEW

    Is this the game or just the book???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Rosenberg strikes again

    Once again Rosenberg attacks us with his alliance biased drivel in the form of a book. This time however his one sidedness is tempered by Christie Golden. Again and again Rosenberg has the horde being slaughtered hand over fist with very little loss of alliance life... complete and utter B.S.

    You can defintitely tell which author had written which sections of the book, as Rosenbergs sections are filled with the victorious alliance juggernaut killing orcs as if they were mentally incompetant children while Goldens sections are more even keeled.

    I thought Rosenbergs "Tides of Darkness" was an anomoly. I knew the alliance win the second war, but the one sidedness of the whole thing disturbed me... Beyond the dark portal proves it wasnt just a coincidence.

    If you want to get the real scoop on both sides during the 2nd war, buy the game "Tides of Dakness" and "Beyond the Dark Portal" packaged together in the Battlenet edition... even works on XP, not books by Aaron Rosenberg.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun if a Fan

    The plot is full of characters and names that engage the reader at first, curiosity leading the way. The bulk of the story is fun if you are familiar with the names and are curious to know about these untold events. While the better part is fun to read the rest leaves a bitter feeling if you have any prior knowledge of the horde. The horde presented here is insecure and on the run most of the time after promise of war. Very disappointing. Learning about different clans was fun even though quite a few significant characters were left "characterless". Flaws can be put aside if you are indeed a fan except for one. Enter the Mary Sue effect. By the end of the book you will wonder if the alliance fought orcs or cattle. Humans rolled over orcs as if they were the ones with the physical advantage. One character in fact seems to be a one man army of sort. Would only recommend to a warcraft lore fan for kicks. Immense Potential - Amateur Delivery

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    loved this book

    since i play the game as well as read all the world of warcraft books im glad that the authors keep in touch with chris metzen on the lore of the game and books.i recommend this for any that follow the game or if you like the fantasy style reading like dragonlance or such this is a must pickup book for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

    WOW Fan

    I am a fan of the World of Warcraft series and the game. I really like the way the game and books for the most part come together.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Beyond The Dark Portal

    The story surrounding the second rise of the orcs is phenominal. Siding both well with both sides of the novel, Alliance and Horde, the dual-author written book pulls you deeper into the history of the Dark Portal and the destruction of the Outlands.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2008

    Disappointing display of warcraft lore

    This review could be summarized in one word: Disappointing. As an enthusiast of the warcraft enterprise, I could not help but purchase this new book. However, I was soon disappointed that this book failed to capture any of the richness of the lore of Warcraft. The first obvious flaw is the unashamed biasness that the story seems to partake in this small war. If one is a firm believer of being partial while reading about war like I am, he would be disgusted to read about the descriptions of the fight. The good guys win the bad guys lose. While that may be a great message to tell the younger audience that justice prevails absolutely, it is an inaccurate portrayal of war. Contrary to what the authors suggest, the Horde is not so inept that they could not even put up a fight which was shown as part of the richness of the original Warcraft Lore. Reading about this war is similar to saying ¿The Japanese lost World War II furthermore, it was fortunate that there was no loss of American lives at Pearl Harbor either.¿ It is simply inaccurate and boring to read over and over in the story. The second major flaw is the lack of character development. Characters felt summarized as the entire story does. All in all, this was simply a disappointment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2008

    Nothing like throwing good money away...

    Aaron Rosenberg has done it again this time with Christie Golden's help. Unfortunately her help did not prevent this book from once again failing the expectations of avid warcraft readers. While it is true that the horde did lose the fight in the end, Aaron did not show enough if any at all resistance from the orcs. Even if one is a great sympathisers of the alliance, he would atleast recognize the fearsome Grom Hellscream in battle. But any reader can count Grom's kills with less than 2 hands. (Grom has killed plenty of orcs though) Another fierce warrior is Terron Gorefiend who once again was only able to cause a slight irritation to the alliance while lowly alliance soldiers can cause slaughter after slaughter of orcs. This 'war' is not only one sided and horribly predictable. The love story seems randomly inserted and can be overwhelming and slow the story to a complete halt. Unfotunately for me, I already wasted my money on yet another disappointing title. Perhaps future readers can save their money and purchase books by Richard Knakk

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2008

    excellent read

    Great book, the best part is the fact that it fills in A LOT between WC2 expansion and World of Warcraft, lot of storyline to Outlands, etc. All and all a great book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2010

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