Little is commonly known about quilboar history. In popular knowledge, they’re known as simply one of the numerous “primitive” native races of Kalimdor that were displaced by the Horde during its initial campaign in that continent. They appear as little less in the public consciousness, as simply the minor villains and roadblocks in the road to Horde’s supremacy. Few people realize they have a rich, unique culture and a whole body of legends and histories about their past. Even less people realize that at one point in time they had a chance to claim their place on Azeroth as one of the dominant races of our world. For those with even cursory knowledge of ancient history, their once powerful role should come as no surprise, given their role in War of the Ancients and their place in the world of that era. However, it’s what came after that shaped their current position the world.
Before the Sundering, quilboars were a decentralized collection of tribes which mainly occupied their time leading their simple lives and occasionally fighting each other over grazing grounds. However, when they were needed in War of the Ancients, they were united by a leader who claimed divine blood and descent from Agamaggan. His name was Urgot and he became one of the archetypal quilboar heroes, although a lot of his life and deeds are either forgotten or fabularized by present day. Urgot led the (mostly) united quilboar tribes in battles against the Burning Legion and personally vowed vengeance for Agamaggan. He wasn’t present in the central, sinking part of Kalimdor when the Sundering hit and his reason to evacuate it vary from retelling to retelling. According to most quilboars, he predicted the Sundering and led his forces away. According to Death’s Head, he cowardly fled and left his army behind. Whichever the case, he and his core supporters survived to see the new world after that cataclysm.
As soon as he saw the power of the former Kaldorei Empire crushed and shattered into a forest-dwelling druidic culture, he began his own efforts to strengthen his people. Back then, quilboars were one of the most populous races on Kalimdor. Staying far from the sacred forests of the kaldorei, he centralized a new state, built a capital for himself in Razorfen, the alleged place of death of Agamaggan. Since the night elves had no interest in continuing Azshara’s legacy, Urgot proclaimed himself the Emperor of Kalimdor. Tyrande of course scoffed at that claim and no one but his closest supporters really considered him the Emperor. But even his top brass started to turn away from him, on claims of what many see as corruption by his newfound power. Eventually, Emperor Urgot was assassinated during a hunting trip and having left thirteen sons, most from different mothers (wives, concubines and one-night stands alike), his empire was shattered.
But this was thousands of years before the main events I wanted to write about. Despite Urgot’s eventual descent into corruption, he was – and is – held up as a great, semi-legendary ruler of their race to whom most chieftains aspire. Eight thousand years ago, many tribal leaders claimed descent from his thirteen sons (not a single one from a daughter, such is quilboar culture) and a few of them attempted to use that claim to legitimize their power grab during times of chaos. Only one of them succeeded, for a time. His name was Guruk Razorflank and the late Charlga Razorflank claimed descent from him in turn. Guruk used a time of upheaval following a plague to conquer most of the tribes around Razorfen and entered the ruins of Urgot’s former capital soon afterwards, ordering his subjects to rebuild it.
One local tribe then called Razorfen tribe opposed his attempt to establish himself in the former capital, as they believed themselves to have been sacred protectors of that land until the day Urgot reincarnates and brings back Agamaggan. However, Guruk fought them and forced them out of the land, establishing his own Razorfen tribe from the quilboars most loyal to him. The exiles were from then on called the Razormane. Although they clung to the “true Razorfen” name for generations, eventually even they accepted the exonym. Guruk continued to exert his power over most quilboar tribes of his age and died at the age of 85, leaving his empire to his son, Euguuk. Notably, he never claimed the title of Emperor, although he and his dynasty was often called by that title by outsiders.
Euguuk wasn’t half the warrior or administrator his father was. He managed to barely keep the empire together for fifteen years until he died without a male heir and was replaced by his younger brother Shaflik. Shaflik managed to keep a tighter rein on his subjects and from his children stemmed a long dynasty that survived in power over Razorfen and large parts of Mulgore, the Barrens and Durotar for over two hundred years. Eventually, the empire came to be ruled by a powerful but cruel ruler called Hagglik II. Hagglik is known for allegedly eating his opponents – and though it’s not very shocking for modern quilboar, it was at that era. Some add he ate even quilboars but many historians believe it’s a fabrication meant to further demonize him.
Hagglik II wasn’t content with the power he already wielded. A number of tauren and centaur tribes from the Thousand Needles region already paid him and his ancestors tribute in fear of their power, but he decided to exert more direct influence. Hagglik’s armies descended into the region and burned every village they could find until the local tauren would swear their fealty to the quilboar king. As they refused, they were pushed further and further out as tales about tauren slaughtered and eaten by Hagglik’s troops were spread. Hagglik also allegedly personally took part in those brutal battles. In one of them, a powerful tauren and centaur chieftains were defeated and the tauren was turned into Hagglik’s next meal, while the centaur was harnessed and ridden like a mount.
The story goes, centaurs and tauren abandoned their ancestral hatreds to unite their forces against Hagglik. Many chieftains of both races gathered at a great summit beneath the mesas of Thunder Bluff – long before the area became a city. An alliance of twelve tribes moved against Hagglik’s empire only to be defeated in multiple battles across Mulgore. Most centaurs fled back to Desolace they came from, while tauren scattered across the plains. Hagglik’s expansion continued unimpeded until the borders of his empire reached the outskirts of Ashenvale. This situation finally alerted the night elves who refused to act on behalf of the tauren for a long time, hoping the problem would just go away soon. When even their lands were threatened, they decided to act.
At the High Priestess’s behest, forces from all around the greater Ashenvale region were gathered in the present-day location of Astranaar, preparing to defend the forests. But before they would act, Shandris Feathermoon decided to try dealing with Hagglik diplomatically and sent him a messenger, demanding to stop his expansion, turn back from the unduly overtaken lands and stay away from Ashenvale. Allegedly, until then Hagglik had no designs to enter the kaldorei lands, but with this bold letter, he was provoked. The annals tell us Hagglik sent back the messenger’s bones, bearing bite marks, with a letter infamously saying “I hope your High Priestess is as tasty as this one”. The night elves took this as a declaration of war and marched out towards the Barrens, as Hagglik prepared his own forces.
The night elves first attacked the quilboar in Northern Barrens, and burned multiple small settlements in the region, surprised by the lack of resistance. When they reached the major outpost at Thorn Hill and found it scarcely armed, Shandris realized what was happening. While they were attacking the Northern Barrens, Hagglik gathered all his forces in a great army and marched through Durotar towards Azshara, planning to put all of Ashenvale to the torch. Night elven forces split and went two ways around the mountains, looking for Hagglik’s army. As luck would have it, they caught the quilboar king in one of the canyons that now house Orgrimmar, surrounding him on both sides. The battle was a slaughter, as Tyrande Whisperwind ordered to take no prisoners. The great quilboar army was dealt a crushing defeat, and Hagglik himself was slain, allegedly begging for mercy on his knees before the High Priestess.
But the night elves did not stop at this point. The two armies united again and went back into Durotar and burned and slaughtered most of the quilboar villages there. Tyrande was frenzied by the adamant attempt at Hagglik’s part and continued into Northern Barrens, killing every quilboar they could find. Various tribes escaped to the hills or disavowed themselves from being loyal to Hagglik’s dynasty, but little could save them. The tauren and centaurs once again took up arms and begin their own genocidal campaigns. Before the winter’s end, it is said over 50% of the quilboar population was dead, and more were killed every day. Finally, after one village consisting mostly of civilians was slaughtered, Shandris Feathermoon is quoted for standing shocked at the onslaught and shedding tears over the “truly countless bodies”. The kaldorei army finally stopped and at the general’s insistence, they retreated home, having shattered the quilboars’ power forever.
The result of that war has shaken all of Kalimdor. Tauren found themselves sinking to depths of savegery they didn’t know they were capable of. Centaurs were humiliated beyond any reason. Night elves found a line they shouldn’t have crossed. Quilboars were crushed and shattered, forever destroying their dreams of ever being a great power again. Everyone wanted to just forget this war ever happened, but everyone remembered it to know where they shouldn’t go. To this day, quilboars are the same collection of decentralized tribes the Quilboar Intercession left them as… except for all the tribes destroyed by the Horde.
When the Horde landed in Kalimdor, it knew nothing of the land they were invading. They had no limits in slaughtering the creatures that looked like animals to them. A second great tragedy happened to quilboars, this time at the hands of the orcs. They were pushed out of their ancestral lands and slaughtered, and many times eaten by hungry orcs that only saw their resemblance to pigs. Out of ten great tribes that survived into modern era, seven were utterly destroyed by the Horde, leaving a few singular survivors at best. And modern adventurers, knowing little of the struggles these peoples went through, continue to happily slaughter them for cheap loot from greedy Horde leaders. I only hope that one day they will be allowed to shine again, in a new era without the horrors of Hagglik’s reign.