I've speculated in the past about a number of intriguing Cataclysm revelations, including Sylvanas' alarming use of Val'kyr to raise corpses as new Forsaken, the bizarre behavior of High Warlord Cromush, and the possible clash between Garrosh and the newly-resurrected Cenarius. Well, the other night these threads all came together and struck me like a thunderbolt - suddenly, IT ALL MADE SENSE.
As previously discussed, I think a conflict between Garrosh and Cenarius is inevitable. There's too much bad blood and too much Garrosh bad attitude. The Grumpy Elf had a very plausible explanation of why Cenarius would stoop to Garrosh's level, which I will quote here because I think it's perfect:
"Garrosh challenges him and of course he refuses the challenge. When the Horde contingent begins to leave, lead by Garrosh saying they will not fight by the side of a coward Cenarius regretfully accepts his challenge with the one rule that if he wins and Garrosh falls to him that his people must assist in taking down the firelord and follow him as their leader for this one battle.
Garrosh agrees to the terms and says that he, and his people, will assist in the battle win or lose as Cenarius has show due honor by accepting the challenge."
I said in my last post that relations between the Alliance and the Horde would be forever ruined if Garrosh killed Cenarius. Well, in retrospect, I think there is ZERO chance of this happening. Garrosh is nowhere NEAR the warrior Grom was. First things first, Grom had the demonic power of Mannoroth's blood. But even without that huge buff, Grom was battle-hardened from years of fighting, earned his fearsome reputation on the battlefield, and quite honestly, wasn't an idiot. He definitely made some regrettable choices, but he was much more intelligent and calculating than Garrosh has ever been.
Conversely, Garrosh has had everything handed to him. Unlike Varok Saurfang, who earned his rank by leading the joint Alliance/Horde forces against the armies of Ahn'Qiraj, or Eitrigg, who has served the Horde loyally and honorably for years, Garrosh was simply handed a leadership position because Thrall was best buds with his dad. And the one time Garrosh had to seriously fight for his position, against Cairne, he got pummeled and only escaped with his life due to Magatha Grimtotem's interference.
No, I think the Cenarius/Garrosh fight could only end one way - with Cenarius stomping the unruly Warchief. Cenarius would, of course, spare his life - partially because he really doesn't have anything against Garrosh, and also because he's freaking Cenarius, but also because they really do need Garrosh to lead the Horde against Ragnaros.
Garrosh, however, would be DESTROYED by the loss. He would be ravaged by embarrassment and humiliation - at failing to avenge the slight to his father's honor, at challenging a foe and being utterly dismantled in front of his peers and followers, and at being deprived of an honorable death, instead having to live with his dishonor and shame.
To make matters worse, his brash demeanor hints at an extremely insecure psyche buried underneath. Following the defeat, I'm sure Garrosh would be paranoid that everyone around him was laughing at him behind his back.
Garrosh has quietly been feeling some self-doubt ever since the incident with Cairne, and I think a solid ass-kicking at the hands of Cenarius would really shake his confidence and rattle him. Unlike Thrall, who turned to the wisdom of his advisors when he was feeling uncertainty, Garrosh has never confided in his elders or placed much faith in their advice. In his eyes, while veterans like Eitrigg and Cairne were to be respected for their accomplishments, they had grown docile and weak, and no longer possessed the true spirit of the Horde.
He's very much like a disobedient teenager. And similarly, when it comes to sharing his thoughts and feelings, I think Garrosh would turn to a peer, someone from a similar background, who wouldn't look down upon him or judge him by impossible standards set before his time. A friend, not a mentor.
Enter High Warlord Cromush.
We've already seen that Garrosh has a lot of confidence in Cromush, entrusting him to watch over Sylvanas, the most dangerous, unpredictable element in the Horde. And not only did Cromush carry out his mission successfully, by helping the Forsaken drive the Worgen out of Silverpine, he also ended the Alliance threat in Hillsbrad and conquered the region for the Horde, despite the "betrayal" of the Frostwolf Clan. Finally, Cromush is also a fellow Mag'har Orc, just like Garrosh, so he would never offer tired advice about how the Old Horde did this or that. Hell, they might even be childhood friends from Nagrand who grew up together.
(Cromush also showed a strange...attachment? to Sylvanas. But more on that later.)
Considering Garrosh's other lieutenants are busy forcing Garrosh to throw them off cliffs, I think Cromush is a very strong contender for the person he would turn to when he was down on his luck and depressed. And the downtrodden, emotionally distraught Garrosh would probably give some serious thought to Cromush's suggested solution.
Drinking demon blood.
Oh I'm sure at first, Garrosh would be outraged. How dare Cromush suggest such a vile, foul tactic?! That is not the way of the Horde! Etc. But when he was alone, stewing over the matter, Garrosh would think about what his trusted friend and fellow Mag'har warrior had suggested. He'd imagine the power possessed by those that partook of the demon blood, the amazing feats of strength and glory they were capable of. And of his father, who with demon blood running through his veins, was able to defeat Cenarius - something Garrosh was unable to do.
Grom Hellscream, after drinking demon blood.
Imagine what he could accomplish! No more would his subjects whisper of his weakness, of his failures as a Warchief. And he knows all about the blood, unlike his father and his fellow warriors, who didn't know what they were getting into. Armed with this knowledge, surely the demonic taint wouldn't be able to influence or control him. He would prove that he was just as capable a warrior as his father, but he would defeat the curse of the demon blood, too! He would never be defeated again.
So Garrosh would drink the blood, much to the chagrin of, oh, EVERYONE EVER. But surprisingly, he wouldn't seem to be much affected, and the combined Alliance & Horde armies would head off to the Firelands to battle Ragnaros. The Night Elves would be extremely unhappy about the new and improved Garrosh, but I think they'd put aside their suspicions for the time being to deal with the greater threat.
Then, sometime during the pivotal battle, Garrosh would succumb to the demonic rage within (big surprise). Maybe he'd turn on Cenarius when his blood is up, or perhaps some Alliance soldiers would become collateral damage during the fight, getting in Garrosh's way as he rampaged across the field.
I could picture a scenario where someone from the Alliance - Jarod Shadowsong, perhaps - was captured and being used as a shield/hostage by one of the Firelord's minions. Would anyone be surprised if the bloodthirsty Garrosh didn't surrender or throw down his axe like the elemental demanded, but instead brutally chopped through both of them?
Regardless of the specifics, the Horde would end up sickened and uneasy with what their Warchief had become, and the Alliance would be FURIOUS. Tyrande would demand Garrosh's head on a stick, and the Night Elves would begin mobilizing for a siege upon Orgrimmar to rid Azeroth of this new monster. They wouldn't be alone, though. Varian's been chomping at the bit for a chance to go after Garrosh since Ulduar, and he'd unquestionably volunteer Stormwind's forces for the assault.
Meanwhile, the swaggering, powerful Garrosh would refuse to apologize, make amends, or do anything to defuse the situation. He'd be completely blinded by the bloodlust, and would probably even lash out at anyone who dared disagree. Even as reports flooded in of the approaching army, Garrosh would simply sneer and await their arrival, stupidly overconfident that the Alliance were weaklings that would be crushed under the Horde's feet. He wouldn't even notice his closest supporters and most loyal followers deserting him, leaving him alone with his delusions.
Until an arrow flew out of the shadows and buried itself in his chest.
"I know exactly what I am going to do about it, son of Hellscream. I will watch and wait as ya people slowly become aware of ya ineptitude. I will laugh as dey grow to despise ya as I do.
And when da time comes dat ya failure is complete and ya “power” is meaningless, I will be dere to end ya rule swiftly and silently.
Ya will spend ya reign glancin’ over ya shoulder and fearin’ the shadows, for when da time comes and ya blood slowly drains out, ya will know exactly who fired da arrow dat pierced ya heart."
-Vol’Jin, in the Horde quest "More Than Expected".
I think Vol'jin would have seen enough, and would be the only one brave enough to do what needed to be done for the good of the Horde - forcibly remove Garrosh from power. Plus, how AWESOME would this be, to have his incredibly badass threat come to fruition?
However, it would be too late. Varian would realize they'd never have a chance like this again, with the Horde leaderless, demoralized, and vulnerable, and a fully prepared and angry Alliance army at Orgrimmar's gates. Varian would order the attack, and though Vol'jin and Baine (who no doubt would be extremely pleased to see Garrosh gone) would mobilize the Horde forces, it would be a losing cause, and they'd get pushed back into the city.
It would be an incredibly bloody affair on both sides, with hundreds from both sides dying on Orgrimmar's streets, but the Alliance would slowly overcome the disorganized Horde forces. However, just like the Wrathgate, everyone will have forgotten one important element.
Right as Varian and Tyrande are about to declare victory - perhaps Vol'jin and Baine are even defeated and helpless - Sylvanas would appear, possibly disguised as a generic Horde soldier, something she's done in the past. To the shock of everyone watching, she would command her Val'kyr legions to go to work, raising the hundreds of freshly dead corpses as brand new Forsaken citizens.
The Alliance army would be horrified and enraged, but they would also be suddenly, vastly outnumbered. Varian is a meathead, but he's not suicidal. He would be forced to order a hasty retreat.
Meanwhile, the beaten, bloodied Horde would have no choice but to thank Sylvanas for her timely rescue. Even though many survivors might still distrust and even fear her, they'd know that she was the only reason they were still alive, and the only factor that had kept Varian's chin from defiling Orgrimmar's throne.
In fact, with the Horde in such a weakened, staggered state, and with the Alliance still so rabid for blood, I don't think it would be long before we'd see the naming of the first female Warchief. Think about it - not only did Sylvanas completely save the day, but she's a brilliant military mind, she's a born leader, and most importantly, she's got the charisma, presence and discipline to hold the tattered remnants of the Horde together.
Besides, who else are they going to name to the throne? Vol'jin has the experience, but he's never shown any ambition to be Warchief. He seems comfortable in a supporting role. Not to mention that some Horde would probably dislike the way he dealt with Garrosh, assassinating him rather than challenging him in open combat. Baine is way too young and inexperienced, and Trade Prince Gallywix is an unknown who hasn't done anything of note. And Lor'Themar? Hahaha, please.
Sylvanas is really the only possible choice.
And her first act as Warchief would be to name her loyal follower, High Warlord Cromush, as her second-in-command.
Suddenly, everything falls into place. Cromush's strange loyalty to Sylvanas. Her ominous experiments with the Val'kyr in Silverpine. Why Cromush baited the emotionally fragile Garrosh into drinking demon blood.
It was all to put Sylvanas on the throne, in control of the entire Horde, with the ranks of the Forsaken replenished, and no one left to oppose her rule. And the best part is, the Horde NEEDS her to be Warchief, despite any misgivings they might have. Without her in charge, the Horde would be doomed.
Power and Glory...to the Horde.