Let's continue where we left of last week.
New mortal servants would emerge to serve the Old Gods with the coming of the Orcish Horde from Dreanor. Among the members of the Horde was a clan called the Twilight’s Hammer, a doomsday cult that worshiped the Void and was led by the ogre Cho'gall. When they first set foot on Azeroth, they felt the presence of the Old Gods in their minds and set out to break their shackles in order to bring about the end of the world, The Hour of Twilight. Abandoning the Horde to serve their true masters, Cho'gall and the Twilight’s Hammer set sail from the Eastern Kingdoms to find C'Thun.
After the establishment of the Alliance and the Horde, as well as the Third War and invasion of the undead Scourge, the Old Gods subtly fanned the flames of aggression across Azeroth, stirring up hatred between factions and sowing chaos to pit them against each other and lead to world-wide destruction. These attempts were thwarted by multiple adventures, but The Old Gods also had more direct plans in mind.
At this point, the Old God's power was reemerging after eons in confinement. Cho’gall and his cultists arrived outside Ahn’Qiraj and performed a ritual to extend past the barrier of the fortress and completely shatter C’Thun’s bonds. With the majority of the Twilight’s Hammer’s orcs dead from the overwhelming power of the ritual, C’Thun ordered Cho’gall to recruit new members for the cult from all races. Thus, the new Twilight’s Hammer grew in secret, infiltrating every faction and guild it could.
Various Members of the Twilight's Hammer
Now free to extend its influence, C’Thun reawakened its armies and sent them out to take the surrounding land of Silithus. In response to this threat, the Alliance and Horde joined forces for the first time and made a joint strike, with the Horde occupying the silithid forces above and the Alliance venturing below to confront C’Thun itself. After a hard-fought battle, they succeeded in defeating the Old God, an act which surprised the remaining Old Gods and taught them not to underestimate the mortal races.
During the Northrend Campaign against The Lich King, Yogg-Saron, wishing to avoid C’Thun’s fate, attempted to conceal its presence from the Alliance and Horde. In spite of its efforts, it was discovered when Brann Bronzebeard of the Explorers’ League explored Ulduar in search of knowledge about the titans. Barely escaping with his life, Brann alerted Rhonin, leader of the Kirin Tor, to call a truce between the factions and deal with this mysteriously powerful dark being. Members of both factions stormed Ulduar, defeating Loken and Yogg-Saron’s other minions, and freeing the other enthralled titan-keepers from the Old God’s influence. The fight against Yogg-Saron itself was very difficult, with many of the adventures being lost to insanity and turning against their allies, but, with the aid of the keepers, Yogg-Saron was defeated.
After the defeat of the Lich King, N'Zoth decided it was time to take advantage of the factions’ weakness from the war and bring about the Hour of Twilight. To usher it in, N’Zoth called upon its most powerful servant, the corrupted dragon Deathwing. While the dragon was nursing its wounds from a previous defeat in the Elemental Plane of Deepholm, N’Zoth fed Deathwing some of its own dark energy, infusing the dragon with more power than it had ever known before. The Old God also reached out to the Lords of the Elemental Plane, promising them power and freedom to destroy the world. Ragnaros the Firelord and Al'Akir the Windlord gladly accepted, but Neptulon and Therazane had broken free of their old masters’ control and refused. Deathwing then burst forth from Deepholm, tearing a rift between Azeroth and the Elemental Plane to free the Elemental Lords and bring about the Cataclysm.
The natural disasters brought about by the Cataclysm destroyed and reshaped much of the world's surface
Facing the end of the world, the Champions of the Alliance and Horde fought off the Elemental Lords and stormed the headquarters of the Twilight's Hammer, the Bastion of Twilight. Here, Cho’gall met his end and leadership of the Twilight's Hammer passed to the corrupted former priest of the Light, Archbishop Benedictus. The factions did many battles with N’Zoth’s and Deathwing’s forces, culminating in a battle at the dragon meeting-hall of Wyrmrest Temple. There, Deathwing met his end and N’Zoth’s campaign to bring about the Hour of Twilight collapsed.
When the lost continent of Pandaria was rediscovered, the war between the Horde and Alliance reawakened the Sha that had been birthed from Y'Shaarj’s death. Additionally, the current warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream, and his lieutenant Malkorok unearthed the buried heart of Y’Shaarj. Seeing a vision of the world under his conquering rule, Garrosh hung the heart in his throne room and desperately absorbed its power when the Alliance and a faction of Horde rebels laid siege to Orgrimmar to put a stop to his tyrannical reign. Even this power wasn’t enough to stave off his attackers, however. Garrosh was defeated and the heart drained with nothing but a fading breath of Y’Shaarj left behind.
The Heart of Y'Shaarj in the vault below the Vale of Eternal Blossoms
Old Gods are very difficult to kill, however, and at the start of the Third Invasion of the demonic Burning Legion, evidence was found by Khadgar that Yogg-Saron was starting to recover from its defeat years earlier, though not enough to be more than a minor threat at this point. The Old Gods would work behind the scenes during the invasion, using Emerald Nightmare to grow their power and delighting in the fact that the Champions of Azeroth were too pre-occupied with the Legion's invasion to pay much attention to them.
After the defeat of the Burning Legion, the Horde and Alliance again turned to war with each other, encountering the growing plans of N’Zoth in the process. Working through its servant, Queen Azshara, N’Zoth had corrupted the Kul Tiran tidesages and arranged for the troll prophet Zul to try and free the Old God G’huun from the titan's containment in Uldir. Azshara further manipulated the factions by luring them to her underwater city of Nazjatar and using the blood of Azeroth, called Azerite, to power the titan device that would set N'Zoth free from its prison.
N'Zoth breaks free from its shackles
In the Hearthstone Tavern, a mysterious troll fortune-teller named Madame Lazul told stories about the Old Gods and what a world would be like where they all broke free from their prisons and ruled once more. Among the many horrors and Old God creations described in her cards were ones never before seen on Azeroth that may or may not actually exist.
The unseen horrors and creations of the Old Gods. Who knows what else could be hiding in the dark?
Apparently inspired by the power of the Old Gods, the mad genius Dr. Boom created a doomsday device in the image of C’Thun in his lair of Boom Labs. The exact reason for this is unknown, but is likely just because he could.
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Several images in this post were sourced from Gamepedia.