"We survived the dying times. We endured in isolation in Lordaeron. We crossed the ocean in search of a homeland promised us, and received dust and dissapointment. We Warsong know well what it is to face hopelessness and desolation; to suffer the slow death at the hands of an invisible foe that would leave our mouths filled with ash and our children too weak to stand under their own power. Defiantly, we surived. The lessons have been learned. Appeasement be damned. Now we will build the civilization that Thrall promised us, with him or without him."
Katalmach Banefang is an orcish military officer of Warsong Clan origin. He holds the title of Warlord, and commands the Warsong Blades; a division of soldiers dedicated to spiritual purity and the political agenda of Garrosh Hellscream.
Katalmach was born into the Warsong Clan on Draenor before the rise of the Horde. His parents, Sarog and Vakrah, were each prominent members of the clan. Katalmach was their second son, following Nazrug and preceding Krusg.
Katalmach's life on Draenor was largely defined by the rise of the Horde and the subsequent Dying Times, when the Shadow Council's demonology and necromancy had begun to kill the land and Draenor became increasingly unable to sustain life. Part of Katalmach's youth was spent in a time that the Clan was in preparation for when it would cross over to glorious conquest in the new world. Katalmach would always remember the awe he felt when he accompanied his father on a trip to Hellfire Citadel, for the mighty fortress made an impression on the young warrior.
Katalmach was a strong, arrogant, and reckless youth. He was quick to laugh and quick to anger, and had a great penchant for games, sports and hunting. First and foremost, he was dutiful and ambitious, working hard to earn a place of honour in the clan, and his father's respect and pride.
Katalmach's father, Sarog, was a respected warrior and ogre-slayer, and earned great honours during the war against the draenei. Sarog was a member of the Blades, a small, elite honour guard, and trained his sons in war craft. Katalmach thrived under his father's tutelage and grew into a capable warrior, well at home in the arenas that the Horde built to train its warriors. These skills, along with his natural tactical cunning, made Katalmach a promising soldier, and his father ushered him into the Blades.
Young Katalmach was a model soldier of the Horde. He was disciplined and passionate, and eager to prove himself in war against a worthy enemy. When the Dark Portal opened and the Horde waged the First and Second Wars, only for the Warsong Clan to be held back from crossing, Katalmach took it bitterly. Forced to live on a dying world, the Warsong Clan was in competition for scarce food, water and resources with the other remaining clans and other races. Katalmach, following in his father's footsteps, earned prestige through slaying ogres. These years on Draenor were hard, and bred in Katalmach a certain hardiness and survivability.
When the Warsong Clan finally did cross into Azeroth to raid at Ner'zhul's command, Katalmach relished the conflict. Thrust into a vibrant, lush world and waging war on races who were soft and peaceful in comparison to the races of dying Draenor seemed, at first, to be a warrior's bliss. But when Ner'zhul's portals tore Draenor apart and left the Warsong Clan stranded on Azeroth without support, things grew dire. The Warsong Clan evaded the Alliance's armies to avoid being captured and interned, and migrated to the wilds of Lordaeron, where they would live in hardship for fifteen years. Staying constantly on the move and being deprived of resources made for an extremely difficult living, and the young and weak struggled to survive. There were winters were Katalmach survived on nothing but rats and boiled leather, but the hard living on Draenor had conditioned him to endure it. Katalmach and his mate, the warrior Dashaka, struggled to reproduce because of the harsh conditions. After several children who perished in infancy, Dashaka was at last able to give her mate two sons who would survive to adulthood; Gorgamach and Breagar. Dashaka perished a mere few months after Braegar's birth; the strain of multiple childbirths and the meager living conditions was too much for her body, and she died during Lordaeron's chill winter. Her death caused Katalmach great guilt, and his grief made him cold and surly for the remainder of the Warsong's time in Lordaeron.
The years in Lordaeron were made especially difficult by the effects of the blood curse. In withdrawal from demonic power, the Warsong orcs were at risk of succumbing to the same lethargy that claimed the orcs in internment. Grom Hellscream's leadership, and the indomitable spirit of the Warsong, kept them from giving in, but trying to keep from becoming utterly demoralized was a constant struggle. Sarog, blaming the corruption and downfall of the orcs on the warlocks, instilled in Katalmach a loathing for demons and impure magic. Katalmach was bitter, and felt as though his life, and that of his mate, and been stolen by the forces that had conspired to corrupt the destiny of the orcs. Banefang bore his grief stoically, and did what he could to provide for his clan, keep them free, and raise his sons to be strong and worthy of their mother.
When Thrall was able to unite the clans under his rule and free the orcs from internment, Katalmach was reinvigorated. He believed that the orcs would finally defeat their foes and reclaim their destiny, but Thrall kept his new Horde in the wilds, and held them back from territorial expansion. Frustrated with the Warchief, Katalmach nevertheless remained loyal and dutiful, as bound by Hellscream's word. During the Third War, when the Horde crossed the ocean to Kalimdor, Katalmach followed Hellscream in defying Thrall and battling the humans who seemed to have pursued them. This new land was to be their home, he thought, and he would be damned if they spent the next chapter of their racial destiny living on the barren outskirts of civilization and suffering dead children and dead mates as they had been for so many years.
In his anger, Thrall sent the Warsong Clan north to Ashenvale to harvest lumber and build a settlement. While other Warsong orcs found the order insulting, Katalmach was rather pleased with it. Ashenvale was lush, and he could see the civilization they would build there in his mind's eye. When the night elves attacked in their dishonourable, shadowy manner - firing arrows from hiding and slaying peons over the warriors who guarded them - the beginnings of an intense hatred took root in Katalmach's heart, and after the initial Warsong push into the forest he hung several elven heads from his belt. He was eager to see this petulant new foe humbled and forced to bend knee before the destiny of the orcs. He was ill-prepared for the overwhelming force they would bring to bear.
Cenarius's onslaught overcame Warsong defenses on the western side of the river, forcing Hellscream to entrench his forces defensively on the eastern banks. Sarog, who had been leading a defensive force on the western side, tried to repel the attackers. The mighty warrior died under the demigod's hooves, along with several of the older Blades. When survivors of the western lumber camps reached the eastern camps, Katalmach learned of his father's death and was shocked. He had never truly imagined that the mighty Sarog could be die, and had thought his father would outlive all his sons out of sheer stubborn tenacity. Outraged, Katalmach took up the axe to fight back Cenarius' forces, but their situation seemed hopeless. It looked as though the Warsong were to taste final defeat, but Grom Hellscream discovered the means to their survival in the forest.
All the years that the Warsong had languished in Lordaeron, Sarog had spoken of his regret over drinking from the Chalice of Unity and his hatred of the malign forces that had corrupted the orcs. But Sarog was now dead, and the rest of the Warsong were fit to follow him if they couldn’t find a way to overcome Cenarius. When Hellscream drank the blood of Mannaroth a second time, Katalmach could almost hear his father’s voice telling him of his mistake. But having lived through hardship, suffering and loss, Katalmach refused to accept their destiny of the Warsong was to make their way to a mass grave in Ashenvale. They had come too far, endured too much, for it all to amount to nothing. Katalmach chose power in life over purity in death, and drank the blood of Mannaroth alongside his fellow Warsong. His skin turned red, and he became a vessel of rage and chaos.
In later years, Katalmach would struggle to remember what happened afterward. In a red haze of bloodlust, he tore through night elven sentinels like a feral wolf let loose among children. He saw Hellscream standing astride the demigod’s corpse, roaring his blood-chilling cry in victory. And then he fought orcs, humans and tauren while infernals reigned from the sky. When he regained his sense of himself, his skin had returned to its previous green, and the burning red glow of his eyes was replaced with his natural eye colour. Lost and confused, he looked for his sons and brothers and tried to take stock of what had happened. Later they learned that Hellscream had given his life to slay Mannaroth, and freed them all from the blood curse. Katalmach knew that, wherever he was now, the spirit of Sarog was laughing in triumph beside the chieftain he had served so faithfully.
But all was not yet well. Many Warsong had fallen while under Mannaroth’s power, and Nazrug was missing and presumed dead. The Burning Legion still had to be thwarted, and Katalmach followed the Warchief north and fought to hold back the demon tide at the Battle of Mount Hyjal. When the demons had been defeated, Banefang returned to Ashenvale with his remaining family to find his father’s body and give Sarog the pyre he deserved. Searching for Nazrug, they found no sign of Sarog’s eldest son.
Much changed in the aftermath of the Third War. The Warsong Clan had no chieftain, and no chieftain would be named. The clan was absorbed into the Horde, becoming one part of a larger orcish nation ruled by a single chief, the Warchief. Sarog was dead, and many Blades along with him, leaving Katalmach and Krusg as the most senior surviving members apart from the missing Nazrug. Katalmach was chosen to take over the leadership of the Blades from his father, and the destiny of the Blades, the Warsong Clan, and the Horde itself remained uncertain.
Thrall founded the nation of Durotar to be the seat of the Horde, building the capital of Orgrimmar in a series of dry mountain valleys. Though Katalmach was supportive of building a shared, central orcish capital to be a city for all clans, Thrall’s choice of location irked him. Thrall preached that the orcs would atone for their past by claiming only those lands that no one else wanted and that no one else could tame. To Katalmach, this seemed to be just more of the same from the Warchief who had frustrated him in Lordaeron; he believed Thrall just wanted to hide from conflict and from the difficult choices a leader had to make by having their entire race squat on the outskirts of nowhere. Katalmach did not care much for the idea of binding their racial destiny to a wasteland that could barely sustain them at the best of times, especially when the bounty of Ashenvale was nearby. Katalmach had lived that way on Draenor, and he had lived that way in Lordaeron, and he had endured the loss of family and children because of it. Even to simply build Orgrimmar, lumber had to be harvested and transported from the Warsong holdings on the eastern outskirts of Ashenvale, leaving Warsong orcs to shed their blood and put their lives at risk with little support so as to further Thrall’s pacifistic delusions.
Traveling to Orgrimmar, Katalmach led the remaining Blades in the construction of the Hall of Blades in the Valley of Honour. A simple orcish great hall, it was built to honour fallen Blades while serving as a headquarters to their living brethren. While the Hall was being built, Katalmach began his efforts to rebuild the Blades as an order and sought to recruit new blood from the warriors who had gathered in Orgrimmar. But Katalmach could not hold his tongue when it came to politics; he never spoke a word of treason, but he made his dissention clear in a manner that was loud, brusque, and often contemptuous. As a result of Katalmach’s behaviour, the Blades were branded as an order of dissenters and political misfits by those who were keen to curry favour with Thrall’s regime. Though there was certainly not an absence of orcs who felt as Katalmach did, few were bold enough to support him in public, and the Blades were marginalized by their political opposition. Katalmach and his Blades were given postings that kept them away from the city for long periods of time. Deployed to the provinces, the Blades were out of sight and out of mind, and the Hall of Blades sat empty, gathering dust and cobwebs.Katalmach spent the majority of the next several years stationed in Ashenvale, among the Warsong Outriders. There, the Blades helped hold the line against Night Elven aggression and sabotage, as well as working to protect the region from the treason of night elf sympathizers. Katalmach worked to cultivate friendships and political support among the various provincial military forces who, like the Warsong, fought and bled so that a bunch of apologists in Orgrimmar could safely talk of peace.
There remained a significant demonic presence in the forest and, remembering the sacrifices made by Grom and Sarog and many other orcs, Katalmach’s committed his Blades to containing and annihilating pockets of demonic entrenchment and shadow council influence. Through these efforts, Katalmach and Krusg at last found what had become of their elder brother. Nazrug was alive, and, among other orcs, had been held captive by an agent of Mannaroth ever since the Third War. Liberating their brother, the Blades were closer to being whole again.
When Garrosh Hellscream arrived in Orgrimmar, Katalmach saw in him a cultural icon that orcs like the Blades could rally around. Believing that Garrosh was Grom returned to them, Katalmach hoped that the Mag’har would champion the cause of those orcs who were tired of cowering in guilt while the Alliance pushed at the Horde’s edges. Katalmach was not disappointed, and he led the Blades to rally around Garrosh. When Garrosh was named Overlord of the Warsong Offensive, Katalmach was one of the first wave of military leaders to commit themselves to his command. Katalmach was present when Hellscream’s fleet first arrived at what would become known as Garrosh’s landing, and the Blades were an active vanguard for much of the war in Northrend. During the course of the Northrend campaign, Katalmach received the rank of “Warlord”, and he did not return to Kalimdor until Garrosh left with the last group of returning soldiers.
After their triumphant return to Orgrimmar, Katalmach took no pleasure in seeing his opposition to Thrall vindicated; caught between the drought that had struck Kalimdor, and the hostility of the night elves, the Horde was on the verge of famine. Thrall’s decision to settle in lands that could barely sustain his people had put them in an impossible position, but the Warchief ultimately bowed to the will of his people and gave Garrosh the reigns of the Horde.
Katalmach led the Blades in working to help safeguard Orgrimmar from the rising power of the Twilight Cult. After fires had gutted much of the city, Garrosh began the process of rebuilding Orgrimmar in the image of Warsong Hold. Katalmach took the opportunity to rebuild the Hall of Blades; expanding it into a small keep. Now more commonly known as “Warlord Banefang”, Katalmach rededicated the Blades as a military, political, and shamanistic order devoted to Warchief Garrosh Hellscream’s vision of the Horde’s destiny.
Katalmach is a large, muscular orc. Though not particularly tall for an orc, his broad shoulders and muscled build are imposing. His arms are strong and his stomach is flat, and despite his advancing years he still seems fit and vigorous. His eyes are yellow-gold, his skin is weathered and leathery, and his once coal black mane of hair has turned iron grey. His body shows the signs of the hard life he has lived, and he doesn't wear his age well.
Banefang's body is heavily tattooed, as well as being covered with scars from decades of warfare. The symbol of the Warsong Clan is tattooed across his back - both as a symbol of clan loyalty and as a symbolic threat to anyone who would attack him from behind - along with a wolf's head on his chest and each of his thighs and the sigil of Orgrimmar on his inner right forearm. Katalmach wears a necklace of bones around his neck, with his name carved into the bones in orcish characters.
Katalmach’s parents, Sarog Thunderfang and his mate, Vakrah, are both deceased. Katalmach’s brothers, Nazrug (the elder) and Krusg (the younger) are both alive, and members of the Blades. Katalmach loves his brothers, but his relationship with them is composed of equal parts loyalty and rivalry. Despite any tensions that may exist between them, Katalmach will stand by his brothers in the face of any conflict. Katalmach’s first mate, Dashaka (now deceased), gave him two sons, Gorgamach and Braegar. Katalmach brought Gorgamach into the Blades, and intends to do the same for Braegar when the young orc distinguishes himself, though Braegar has long been a source of frustration and disappointment for his father. Since the founding of Durotar, Katalmach has taken a second mate, Usha, who has given him two more children who are not yet of fighting age. As a father, Katalmach is stern and demanding. He devotes great energy into trying to forge his sons into true Warsong warriors, just as his own father forged one of him.
Katalmach is, as one would expect of a Warsong warrior, a hard and spartan orc. He has been a soldier all his life, and as a consequence of the commitments that he and those close to him have made, he has little tolerance for those whom he considers craven, disloyal, or unwilling to commit. He is a Horde supremacist, committed to the destiny of the Horde and the orcish people above all else. He believes that the greater good of the Horde comes before such petty things as personal freedom or the life of the individual. Katalmach has a strong sense of justice, and holds loyalty, discipline and duty to be his highest virtues.
Katalmach is loyal to those who earn his respect and affection. He believes in leading by example, and not asking anything of his men that he is not willing to do himself. Katalmach does not balk from doing even the most menial tasks that he expects of his Blades. His father taught him that a leader who doesn’t eat with his mean can’t hope to keep them, and Katalmach believes in the truth of those words. Katalmach does not put on airs or stand on the formalities of rank when he does not absolutely have to. It would be a mistake to consider this as genuine humility, however, as Katalmach's rejection of pomp and airs is a manifestation of the vanity of an aging orc determined to maintain his image as a warrior.
Though Katalmach is brusque and honest by nature, he has become increasingly pragmatic with age. He recognizes how his political blunders of the past have hurt his cause, and he has begun to view the arena of politics with the same tactical eyes that he uses on the battlefield. Realizing how age will dull his skills and cause his strength to fade in the years to come, he intends to adapt to be what the Horde requires of him. In some ways, Katalmach thinks of himself as an orcish diplomat; not an appeaser who bends knee and makes compromises, but a warrior herald who can represent the might and ideology of Hellscream’s Orgrimmar.
The warlord’s greatest weakness is his pride. He is too thick skinned to be affected by petty insults, but he cannot stand to be made to look the fool and is provoked to immense displeasure by disloyalty. Katalmach’s pride can turn his passion to dark rage, and he can be prone to ruthlessness and cruelty when his emotions have been stirred.
Katalmach’s loyalty to the Horde is greater than any personal ambition, and his primary goal is to serve the Horde and bring about its success, prosperity, and dominance. Katalmach believes wholeheartedly in Hellscream’s cause, and therefore Garrosh’s goals are Katalmach’s goals. Katalmach desires to build up the strength of the Blades, both to honour his father and to better serve Garrosh. He wishes to see the Horde free from the influence of subversive magic and cults; this includes warlocks and demon worshipers, cults such as the Cult of the Damned and the Twilight’s Hammer, and even druidic and priestly groups whose loyalty to the Horde is compromised by their loyalty to untrustworthy divines and foreign influence. The prosperity of his family is important to Katalmach, and he does what he can to advance the interests of his extended family and provide his relatives with opportunities to prove their mettle and advance in the Horde hierarchy. Katalmach also holds it as a personal goal to cull as many worgen as possible within his lifetime; he considers them to abominations, the rejected children of the wolf spirit who have taken hold of the bodies of the craven enemies of the orcs so as to test their resolve.
Hobbies, interests, and daily activitiesEdit
Katalmach devotes a significant portion of every day to training and exercise. As he grows older, he knows it is only a matter of time until his physical prowess slips in a way that he can’t recover from, and he keeps himself as fit as possible so as to stave off of the onslaught of age.
Katalmach collects maps of every origin, and actively studies what he can of the major cultures of Azeroth, particularly their military history. He would know his enemies as best he can, so as to better defeat them and, if possible, bring them to bend knee to the Horde.
Katalmach enjoys hunting, and continues to undertake hunts regularly. Whenever be brings down an imposing beast, he proves to himself that he has not yet lost his grip on his youth. He also has a penchant for the breeding and husbandry of beasts, and has personally trained and mastered every mount he uses. The Blades draw their mounts from their own breeding stables, and Katalmach does much to oversee the breeding process so as to produce the strongest worgs possible.
- "Great orcs do not always die at their best, as Grom did. There is no greater personal tragedy than to live long enough to shit over your own legacy. Mourn for Thrall."'
- "I will not teach my sons to live in shame. Not on the word of a pup who didn't live through the events that he's apologizing for. We owe our children the lives and the futures that were ripped from them by those who sold our race to demons, not our own projected guilt."
- "The dissenters speak of peace, but what they advocate is complacency. They speak of wisdom, but cloak themselves in denial. They speak of conscience, but they are compelled by fear, not by virtue. Hellscream will drag the mewling lot of them into the glorious future regardless of their feeble protests. They can meet that future with head held high, or they can meet it cowed, bowed, and covering their eyes with their piss stained kilts."
- "There is a place of honour for all races in the Horde. Together, we are many fingers drawn into an armoured fist. As long as rightful, orcish order prevails, these other races will prosper in our hegemony. But a wolf that bites the hand of its master is due to be gelded and cowed. So too in politics."
- "Honour Hellscream. He is everything we were, and everything we may yet be. From the womb of broken Draenor, the ancestors have delivered us our past and our future in the form of he who embodies both."
- "The Alliance must be undone. Not for its peoples, for many of them have conducted themselves honourably in war, but for what it represents. The Alliance is a union brought about by nothing more than the fear of change, and it would not exist if not to oppose us. That is why peace is absurd, and why we must break this detestable coalition as a matter of principle. We, who are sons and daughters of manifest destiny, can not coexist with any world order that feebly claws at a childish dream of a stagnant world."