Last week we discussed the evolution of the Twilight’s Hammer clan and its transformation from a venerated clan of the Old Horde into the dark, dangerous Twilight Cult it is today, and in so doing we briefly discussed what can be considered the clan’s, and indeed the cult’s, political figurehead.
His rise to power was a dubious one; installed by the Shadow Council as the chieftan of a clan whose name has been long lost to the histories of the Horde in place of a murdered chieftan whose name is equally unlikely to ever be spoken again. He is the first two-headed ogre of his generation: Cho’gall.
Revered in ogre culture for their rarity, two headed ogres are often elevated to positions of authority and power. Their names are compound–a combination of the names of their first and second heads, though addressing them separately is rarely, if ever, done, but they are regarded as no more or less intelligent than their single skulled brethren. Cho’gall, however, was taken under the wing of the Orc Warlock Gul’dan, and in his tutelage was taught the arcane arts of the Twisting Nether in exchange for his loyalty, a price Cho’gall paid readily. His initiation into the Shadow Council, the clandestine organization that directed the Horde in the name of the Burning Legion, marked only the very beginning of a terrible and cunning destroyer.
Cho’gall was chosen in secret to become the chieftan of one of Blackhand’s dozens of clans, and when its current chieftan was unceremoniously murdered in shadow and silence, Cho’gall was installed in his place, and the Twilight’s Hammer clan was born.
Cho’gall’s work within the Shadow Council ushered him down an even darker path than many of his cohorts, and as the Twilight’s Hammer clan rose in strength and reverence, he became increasingly insane and hungry for the destruction his clan wrought. Side by side with Gul’dan, he raised the first of the Old Horde’s Death Knights, and he was instrumental in the creation of the Horde’s first Altar of Storms, a ritualistic altar upon which ogres sacrificed their souls to Gul’dan demented Fel magic to become spellcasters and the first reliable source of ogre mages in history.
Ever obsessed with destruction, Cho’gall became increasingly more nihilistic as the Second War progressed, and when an opportunity to aid Gul’dan in usurping their demonic masters presented itself, he sacrificed the will of the Horde and followed his master to the Tomb of Sargeras where he and his Twilight’s Hammer fought desperately to protect Gul’dan from the wrath of Orgrim Doomhammer and the Black Tooth Grin clan, and though he was defeated and Gul’dan found slain within the Tomb, Cho’gall and his surviving followers fled the Broken Isles.
Abandoned to his own apocalyptic insanity, Cho’gall likely heard the pandemonious voice of C’Thun for the first time. Whispers of chaos and maddening power drove him to seek out his new tormentor, and in time the warships of the Twilight’s Hammer came to rest upon the beaches of Kalimdor, and drunk with the promise of anarchy and darkness they came upon the ruined Temple of Ahn’Qiraj.
From there Cho’gall’s fate becomes synonymous with that of the Twilight’s Hammer, and his will becomes that of the Old God C’thun–burried deep within the earth and forgotten by the Titans. He is very likely responsible for the cult activity upon Azeroth, serving as its anonymous figurehead and liaison to the clan’s new god. As his clan grows into the fanatic cult we know it as know, Cho’gall’s attention is likely driven away from C’Thun, and so he is absent when the mortal armies of Azeroth storm the ruined temple and slay his wretched master.
Cho’gall returns to C’Thun’s ornate chamber beneath the world to find the Old God dormant and defeated, his avatar a rotting shell and his power so diminished that he is unable to do anything but whisper to the demented ogre warlock, but those whispers are more than enough to fuel Cho’gall’s devotion, and in communion with his god devises a plan that will plunge Azeroth into the unholy chaos he so reveres. Cho’gall seeks out Med’an, the bastard son of Garona and Medivh, and in procuring the powerful legacy of the his father, the last Guardian of Tirisfal, means to fracture the barrier between Azeroth and the Elemental Plane so that the Old Gods might subjugate their elemental lieutenants and unleash them upon the order of the civilized world.
Cho’gall’s endeavor begins to empower him, and in so doing it begins to deform him, and whether it is so by the will of C’Thun himself or simply by proximity to the unstable and raw dark energy of C’Thun’s immortal avatar is unknown, and honestly irrelevant. His body twists and takes on a series of demented transformation, each further transformation bolstering his strength, his will, and his service, but the unthinkable occurs for a second time. C’Thun’s dark strength fails him. Unable to enslave the sorcerer Med’an, Cho’gall lashes out, intent on slaying the boy so that he may not later stand against the tide of darkness, but Med’an and his allies are prepared, and empowered as a new Guardian by a new Council of Tirisfal, Cho’gall is defeated–buried within the collapsing chamber of C’Thun where he . . . and his master wait.
But Cho’gall’s service is more complex than that of the devout worship of the Twilight Cult, and he is one of only two (presumably three) beings in the history of Azeroth to be twisted in the image of an Old God. His plan was meant to free the elementals from the Elemental Plane, to breach their barrier and allow them access to Azeroth where C’Thun and his brothers might once again enlist them in recreating a primordial world.
Is it Cho’gall’s failure that prompts the Destroyer’s enraged escape from the Temple of Earth? Neltharion’s escape served the same purpose. Or are the whispers Cho’gall heard that of an Old God at all? If C’Thun is truly slain, can it be that Cho’gall’s service is to another dark master? A twisted creature seeking escape from the Elemental Plane in which he sought refuge so many years ago? Was it the demented Earth Warder that transformed Cho’gall in his image? And if so . . . what role does Cho’gall play in the Cataclysm?