A Race Enslaved
My people, the orcs, originate from the world of Draenor. It was not dominated, as it is now, by the red deserts and fel-tainted wastes, but was, in antiquity, a world of varied climes and habitats, not unlike Azeroth. There we dwelled in a manner the civilized people of Azeroth would consider savage, though we certainly were not without art, knowledge, and wisdom. It is the strange contention of The Eastern Kingdoms, by which I mean the various humans, dwarves, and high elves that make up the core of the Alliance, that all people everywhere out to live as they do -- with cities and houses and kings and nobles. Those who live in environments and with cultures unsuited to such establishments are deemed "savage".
It is worth noting that Draenor is not an orcish word, nor a word from any tongue of any people native to that world. The fleeing Eredar considered the world a refuge, and named the world Exile's Refuge, or "Draenor", in Eredun. We don't know what the orcs or the arakkoa, sporegar, or other indigenous peoples called it, though surely each had their own or a shared word for their home world. We do not know because the exiled Eredar, the Draenei, brought what the Alliance would recognize as civilization to the world, and such civilization demands for itself all history, all memory, all importance. And so the world of our race's birth is known by the name of its first outside colonizers.
When the demons came to Draenor, they were certainly chasing the Draenei. The Burning Legion represents the obverse of the coin brought by the Draenei -- on its face, civilization, and on the reverse, empire.
Our people were made slaves to the Legion, forced to fight by demonic coercion in the name of empire. We replicated the paradigm of the Legion in our own society. We enslaved our neighbors the ogres, to serve as shock troops and drudges. We subjugated our own people, creating an underclass, the peons, to meet the insatiable needs of unending war. Women were treated likewise, oppressed to extract from them the "labor" or reproduction to meet the demand for ever more soldiers and peons.
As our society was transformed by the hegemony of the legion, our bodies were transformed by their fel magics. Our skin, once brown, became green, and our eyes, once many-hued, largely became red. These effects remain with us, and it is unclear if they will ever dissipate.
After using us to massacre the Draenei, the Legion used us to begin their invasion of another world -- Azeroth. Despite initial victories, in what is termed the First War, we were eventually defeated, and the portal back to Draenor destroyed. Abandoned by the Legion, we passed on to new masters, the humans.
The humans treated us cruelly, justifying it to themselves as retribution for the war. We were kept in hovels, confined in internment camps with mud and swine. They alternately worked us to exhaustion and left us to wallow in bondage. The atrocities practiced upon our people during this time are too numerous and horrendous to recount.
I was born into one of these internment camps. For the first ten years of my life, I knew nothing but enslavement. I do not to this day know my parentage, as populations of the camps were forcibly broken up and shifted around, both to meet the need for labor, and to keep us from rising up. These measures were unnecessary to prevent unrest -- we had no hope, and no will to fight in those days.
Hope was restored to us by the coming of Thrall. He freed us from the camps and lead us across the ocean, to carve out a new home. Under Thrall, the Horde became a coalition of the outcast and oppressed of Azeroth -- a stark counterpoint to the Alliance.
And yet, we have still not escaped from our past. Still we emulate the empire of the Legion, and the cruelty of the humans. Peons still toil under the law, and women still face oppression despite the law. At times we forget how we were brought low, and, out of fear and greed, strike out to conquer, taking refuge in rage and strength, rather than wisdom. The vestiges of demon blood still linger in our veins.
We, the proud and noble orcs, are a people transformed by our history in bondage. Though we are now free from our masters, we still bear the scars from the shackles. Only time will tell if we are to become truly free.
A character played by Jeremy on Argent Dawn.