Gul'dan was already the most ambitious and talented apprentice of Ner'zhul when he was first contacted by the demonlord Kil'jaeden. Kil'jaeden had been trying to corrupt Ner'zhul, but the elderly orc shaman somehow managed to resist the demon's dark influence. Frustrated, Kil'jaeden turned to Gul'dan; playing to his ambition, Kil'jaeden gave the young shaman an opportunity to surpass his master in power. Kil'jaeden taught Gul'dan how to use forbidden demon magic and helped him discover the dark art of necromancy. With the demon's subtle guidance, Gul'dan quickly rose in power through the ranks of the Horde. He gathered a group of fellow necromancers, formed a secret society known as the Shadow Council, and began to corrupt and manipulate the Horde's leadership. Within a few years, the Shadow Council — and ultimately Gul'dan — completely controlled the Horde. After receiving visions of Azeroth from Medivh, Gul'dan led the Horde through the Dark Portal and began a war of conquest against the human kingdoms. Near the end of the war, Gul'dan betrayed the Horde and attempted to secure the legendary powers of the Tomb of Sargeras for himself. In his search of the tomb, he accidentally released a horde of previously trapped demons and was slain.

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