The Shattering plot summary: Garrosh and Cairne

Michael Sacco
M. Sacco|10.19.10

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The Shattering plot summary: Garrosh and Cairne
Christie Golden's The Shattering, followup to The New York Times-bestselling Arthas, is thankfully just as good, if not better, than its predecessor. We've given you a spoiler-free review, and now it's time to dive into the meat and potatoes, the spoilery goodness contained within the crunchy hardcover shell.

We've covered Thrall's exploits in The Shattering; today's summary is for Garrosh Hellscream and Cairne Bloodhoof.

Remember, this summary is full of spoilers, so don't read it if you don't want the book spoiled!
"That boy is a kodo disliking the bridle," Cairne murmured.
The Horde loves Garrosh. He made a big splash in Northrend commanding the troops there, and many Horde warriors believe (incorrectly) that he was the one who singlehandedly defeated the Lich King. And now, he's ready to head back to Kalimdor, along with most of his warriors. Varok Saurfang, tired of Garrosh, remains in Grommash Hold as part of the Horde's Northrend skeleton crew.

Cairne Bloodhoof arrives in Borean Tundra, acting as escort to the troops returning home with Garrosh. He's had little interaction with Garrosh before, but when kvaldir attack Garrosh's Landing, they're forced to work together, and Cairne learns much about Garrosh.
Garrosh was a brilliant tactician, a fierce warrior, and loved by those he led.
He also held grudges, was a hothead, and needed to learn the lessons of both respect and compassion.
Cairne would speak with Thrall immediately upon their return.
After the battle, the Horde ships make their way back to Orgrimmar but are beset by powerful, unnatural storms. Many of the boats are sunk, along with the soldiers and desperately needed supplies. Then, they spot an Alliance ship, nearly destroyed, drifting in Horde waters. Garrosh orders the ship destroyed, but Cairne immediately disagrees. It hasn't shown hostilities; it is clearly disabled. Garrosh instead orders the survivors brought to his ship. He destroys the Alliance ship, gives the survivors skiffs and tells them to remember that today, Garrosh Hellscream saved their lives, that he was their life and death.

Upon his return to Orgrimmar, a great festival is held, and Garrosh is presented with his father's axe, Gorehowl, by Thrall. Everyone celebrates the end of the Northrend campaign.

But not everything is great in Orgrimmar. Supplies are low in the already-unlivable Durotar thanks to extended droughts, and the night elves are so angry with the Horde after the Wrathgate incident that they've shut down all lines of trade with them. In a meeting with Orgrimmar leadership, Thrall notes that Ashenvale has a surplus of resources and that it'd be wise to get back on the night elves' good side. Garrosh says they should just attack them. Thrall and Cairne chide him, because post-Northrend, there's an Alliance-Horde truce. Hostilities have even ceased in Alterac Valley, Arathi Basin and Warsong Gulch. Garrosh politely but angrily leaves the meeting.

After that meeting, Magatha corners Garrosh and tells him that he's just what the Horde needs and that he has the full support of the Grimtotem tribe. Garrosh accepts the compliment with some skepticism.
It was not a time to be cautious. It was a time to be bold. They would understand once he gave them results.
When word of a night elf village in Ashenvale being destroyed gets back to Orgrimmar, it's assumed that Garrosh was the one who ordered it. He denies it. Hamuul Runetotem, on Thrall's urging, heads to Moonglade to try to negotiate with the night elves there, hoping that their status as druids will help matters.

Meanwhile, Thrall, who's getting ready to leave the Horde temporarily to learn from the elements of Draenor, appoints Garrosh as interim leader of the Horde. At first, Garrosh is worried that the position isn't right for him -- despite his earlier challenge to Thrall's title, he knows that it takes a certain kind of person to lead the Horde, and that perhaps he'd be more fit for something like military duty. Thrall assures him that he's the best choice

As Thrall leaves Orgrimmar for Draenor, Cairne stops him and tells him what a big mistake he's making by appointing Garrosh in charge. Cairne has some personal experience with Garrosh, and he can tell that he's too much like his father for his own good -- or the good of the Horde. Thrall tells him that if he thinks that Garrosh will mess up, he needs to act as his advisor. Cairne refuses. They part with angry words.

When Hamuul reaches the designated meeting place in Ashenvale (Moonglade having been eschewed due to Remulos not wanting to get involved in mortal squabbles), both sides are attacked by a band of orcs and slaughtered. Hamuul is left for dead in a mass grave. We discover that the orcs who committed this crime and the one before it are Twilight cultists.

Unfortunately, Hamuul, who managed to survive the attack, doesn't get that memo. He sends word back to Cairne that everything's gone to hell. Cairne gets the news and heads to Orgrimmar, thinking that it was Garrosh that ordered the attacks.

The Mak'gora

When Cairne arrives in Orgrimmar, he backhands Garrosh right on his painful new jaw tattoo. Garrosh denies being involved with the attacks. Cairne is fed up with him and demands a mak'gora, a duel of honor for control of the Horde. Garrosh can't believe it. He makes a gambit, saying that if they're going to do mak'gora, they shouldn't do the more recent version, which is basically a "say uncle" kind of deal -- it should be the old mak'gora, a duel to the death. Cairne instantly agrees. Again, Garrosh can't believe it. They agree to meet in the arena.

The rules of the mak'gora state that each combatant is allowed a single weapon, and if they drop it, they can't pick it back up. They're allowed no armor, only a loincloth. And their weapons may be blessed by a shaman. A random shaman blesses Cairne's runespear, and none other than Magatha Grimtotem offers to bless Gorehowl. Unbeknownst to Garrosh, she poisons the blade.

Cairne beats the crap out of Garrosh easily. Garrosh manages to nick him on the chest with Gorehowl, and Cairne immediately gets faint. Garrosh attempts to hit him again, a weak blow to force him back, but Cairne can't defend himself and the howling axe sinks into chest. Cairne dies. Garrosh is bewildered.
And so, I, who have lived my whole life with honor, die betrayed.
The moment Cairne dies, Magatha orders her tribe to begin a night siege on Thunder Bluff and the surrounding towns. They wipe out nearly every other tauren in the area. Baine Bloodhoof, who wasn't even yet aware that his father had died, is alerted by a Grimtotem defector that his life is in danger and they have to leave immediately. They cause a kodo stampede to distract the Grimtotem and escape.

The Grimtotem defector heads to Ratchet while Baine contacts Garrosh for help. Gazlowe agrees to supply Baine with a huge amount of supplies and explosives -- for nothing. (He always liked "the old bull.") Meanwhile, Eitrigg tells Garrosh that he needs to man up and atone for what he did, intentional or not. Garrosh agrees, still reeling from the death of an old tauren he didn't even necessarily dislike.

Magatha, who had sent word to Garrosh as well, asking for help in the face of Baine's forces, is greeted by the following message:
Unto Elder Crone Magatha of the Grimtotem,
Acting Warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream
Sends his most sincere wishes for a slow and painful death.
She electrocutes the messenger.

With Garrosh's and Gazlowe's help, Baine takes back Thunder Bluff from the usurpers and captures Magatha. He doesn't kill her, instead sending her to live alone in Stonetalon, saying that if he ever sees her again, he'll kill her. Garrosh expects Baine to challenge him as well, but Baine tells him that Cairne meant to help the Horde with the mak'gora, and that another challenge would only fracture it. He accepts Garrosh's remorse for what he took from Baine and the tauren.

Garrosh offers the tauren a place of honor within the Horde and promises to make it up to both Baine and the tauren people. He also has the city reinforced with something a little less flammable.

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