Lower Shatrath City, plus two weeks
“Hey Verien!” FJ called out across the bustle of the Lower City. She could barely see the diminutive warlock making her way through a packed crowd, rather the distinctive, skull-like head of her staff was easily visible. “Over here!”
“FJ!” She called out, slipping her way past several people to meet the Night Elf warrior. The comparison between the two was dramatic; FJ was tall and muscular for a Night Elf, while Verien was small and slight. She seemed to tower over the Warlock, a fact emphasized by her heavy armour. “Good to see ya!”
“Yeah, sure.” FJ replied. “I was looking for you, actually.” Which was a rarity for her; FJ was one of the handful of people who seemed to genuinely dislike Verien. In fact, it was a constant surprise to her that her good friend, Aishen actually could stand to be around her. But, right now, she had a reason to want to speak to the little Doombunny.
“You were?” Verien beamed. “What is it?”
She fished around in her backpack for a moment before retrieving something, and handing it over to Verien. For all the world, it looked like a ball of black fuzz with legs that had been dusted with a layer of red sand. “I found this near Hellfire Citadel.” FJ offered. “And I thought of you, since it reminded me of those little toys you make.”
Verien took it and dusted it off a little. “Hmm… yeah, I remember this one.” She nodded. “I made it for this Troll girl who had a really awesome looking spider. I mean, it was all black and red and kinda creepy looking which is really cool actually. So I gave it to her as a gift ‘cause I thought that she deserved it for having such a cool pet.”
“A Troll, huh?”
“Yeah… but that was, like, months and months ago or maybe even a year and I never saw her again.” Verien shrugged. “Wonder what it was doing at the Citadel?”
“Dunno.” FJ shrugged. “I found it hanging off a spikey crenelation. I think it might have fallen off the ramparts or something.”
“Poor thing.” Verien dusted it down a little more. “I wonder what happened to it?”
“I didn’t see any signs of a Troll there.” FJ offered.
“Hope she got away,” Verien replied as she blew off the last of the dirt. “What about that cute little spider? It was rather nifty looking, but it must be so lost here, so far from home. I hope its okay.”
“Riiight, well.” FJ shook her head. That girl is weird, and probably dangerous. “At any rate, you might as well hang onto it. After all, you made it, and its owner didn’t come back to claim it.”
“Sure thing. And thanks FJ.”
“Yeah, sure.” FJ nodded, then turned away, with a casual wave. Making toys for trolls. Yeah, she is a weird one.
Thrallmar, plus three days
Willarthen Debeest stood over the Thrallmar Graveyard, looking out both over it and the ominous form of Hellfire Citadel that loomed in the distance. Trying not to focus on it, he instead looked down at the sacred ground before it, a patch of the barren red earth of Hellfire Peninsula that had become the last resting place of many a horde hero.
In the short time since the Dark Portal had reopened, the Horde had become embroiled in a new war, one against a powerful and deadly enemy. The impact of that war struck home, however, with the fact that this enemy were none other then the Orcs who had remained on outland, the cousins to those on Azeroth who they now faced. That their leader was Kargath Bladefist, one of the greatest heroes of the old Horde, only made the losses they had suffered that much harder.
“Zar’na. Ko'wai. Nagra. Grunthar Felbane.” He intoned, looking up, tears filling his eyes. “May the ancestors watch over you. May the spirits guide you. May the Earthmother accept you into her embrace, so that you will be reborn anew as a part of the endless cycle of life.” He paused for a moment, reaching out to the spirits that dwelled even in this desolate place. For a moment, he had a feeling of peace and harmony that said, to him, that his message had been heard.
He turned around to see a female Blood Elf standing behind him, clad in dark leathers. He recongised her instantly, Rojei Moonshadow, one of the few Blood Elves who had ever been nice towards him. Despite the situation, he couldn’t help but smile as he turned to face her. “Hello Roj!” He began, his usually cheerful greeting still lacking some of its warmth.
“What…” She began. “Can I ask what that was about?”
He looked down for a moment. “Three days ago, a group of adventurers launched an attack on the Citadel.” He began with a sigh. “But, um, only one of them returned. And, well, while we don’t know that they’re dead, well…”
Rojei nodded. The Fel Horde was not known for taking prisoners. “I’m sorry, Will. Did you know any of them?”
He nodded slowly. “One of them a bit. A Troll hunter called Zarna. Although I hadn’t seen her in a long time.”
“Uhuh.” She replied. “Again, Will, I am sorry to hear.”
“No, it is all right.” He said, shaking his head. “They fought as true heroes of the Horde. And, even if they did fall in battle, their sacrifices honour us all. We will mourn their loss, yes, but celebrate their achievements.”
“I’m glad to hear.” She managed a weak smile, then put one hand on the Tauren’s massive forearm. It seemed so trivial, her tiny hand over his massive, tree-trunk like limb, but it still seemed to reassure the Shaman.
“And, well, as long as there is one survivor, there’s hope.” He finished.
“Can I ask who that was?” She began.
“It was a Blood Knight.” He explained. “Called…” He screwed up his face in concentration. “Silverleaf. Or Silverwood. Or Silverblade. Or Silversomething.”
Rojei’s expression suddenly hardened. “Silverwood?”
“That was it, yes!” he exclaimed.
“Silandra Silverwood.” Rojei commented, the distaste obvious in her mouth. “I should have known. Stay away from her, Will. She’s bad news.”
“She was pretty badly hurt.” Will replied, somewhat defensively.
“Not badly enough, I’ll bet.” Rojei added under her breath.
“The healers did what they could for her, then sent her back to Shattrath City.” He explained. “I haven’t seen her since.”
“Good.” She finished.
Will sighed and shook his head, stepping back for a moment. “Rojei, I’ve been thinking.” He began.
“What’s up, Will?”
“With what I saw today… these deaths, and these battles in this strange land.” He looked around, indicating to the alien landscape and even more bizarre sky above them, filled with swirling energies and innumerable moons. “I look at the sacrifices made by others, and, well, I don’t think that I’m ready yet.”
“Ready?” She asked, somewhat curious as to his meaning.
“To be a true hero of the Horde.” Will finished. “It’s what I wanted to do, but, um, I don’t think I’m ready yet.” He shook his head. “I think, I think I’m going to go home to Mulgore and meditate for a while, and think about matters.”
Rojei smiled back at him. “You do what you have to, big fella.” She offered. “But regardless, I think you’re a great guy. Don’t you ever loose that, Will,. Don’t become hard and embittered like may others are. And, when I know you’re ready, you’ll be one of the niftiest heroes the Horde has ever had.”
“Aww, thanks Rojei.” He began, then reached out and grabbed her, sweeping her into a massive hug.
“Uh, Will?” came a muffled reply. “You’re squashing me.”
“Oh! I’m so sorry!” Will replied, releasing her as he stepped back. “You okay?”
Rojei gasped a little, then straightened up, rearranging a few stray strands of hair. “I’ll be fine.” She finished. “You’re an enthusiastic hugger, that’s all.”
“Don’t apologize.” She finished, reaching up to pat the side of his muzzle. “You do what you have to, Will. And I know you’ll be back some day.”
He stepped back, and bowed to her. “And may the ancestors watch over your path, Rojei.” He finished. “Be well and stuff. Hoho!”
She smiled back. “And yours too, big guy.”
Ogrimmar, minus six months
Silandra Silverwood stalked her way through the crowded city, making her way towards the massive fortress that was the heart of Ogrimmar and served as its seat of power. She was here on a mission, one of vital importance to her people. One that, while it filled her with distaste at what she had to do, she also knew vitally far too important to the future of their race.
She could tell that the crowds around her were staring at her. Their eyes were on her, watching her every motion as she walked through the city. Each and every one of them would be watching her for any signs of weakness, any hints that their newest allies could prove to be a liability. She knew that each and every one of them was simply looking for a reason to turn on her and use her as a reason as to why the Sin’dorei should not be admitted to the Horde.
She would not let them. She would succeed, not only for her people, not only for their future, not only for the fulfillment of Kale’thas’ Golden Dream, but simply to prove them wrong. She would show the superstitious primitives of the Horde what her people were capable of, and why they should be grateful of the alliance that her leaders were proposing.
That is it. That must be it she thought as she looked around. That is why they are watching me. They are envious. They know the power we possess, and at the same time, do not want to be seen as obsolete. She nodded to herself, as if to reaffirm her own conclusions. The Trolls in particular. They have always been our enemies. They have reasons to want this alliance to fail. I must not allow that.
As she looked around, she noticed a large number of Troll females. This was unusual to her; the Amani trolls rarely allowed their women into combat; as such, she had never seen more then a handful of them ever. And now, it seemed, she was surrounded by them. This was an unusual development, to say the least, but to her mind, there was something that changed it from unusual to downright unsettling.
They all looked the same.
As near as she could tell, all the female Trolls looked the same. They all had the same facial features; strangely smooth skin for Trolls, large yellow eyes, small, near invisible tusks and a slack-jawed stare that made them look like they were stunned. They seemed to be, at least to her eyes, rather dopey and sedate. Or so it seemed.
There must be a reason for them all to look the same. She thought. It cannot be a coincidence. It's a plot, I can tell, Some sort of a plot against us, some plan to destroy us rather then admit their ancient enemies into the Horde. She patted the pocket where she had hidden the letter that was her objective. But I have discovered your plot. And I will not let it succeed. I will fulfill this mission, no matter the cost.
She eyed a passing Troll, warily inspecting her. And I am onto your little game. I am watching you. Never forget it.
Thrallmar, minus one day
“To say that this task is important would be an understatement.” Kolak Plainstrider intoned. “It is vital to the future of the horde as a whole.”
The massive Tauren stood in one of the huts in Thrallmar, a small crowd gathered before him. These were those who had chosen to follow him, the ones that had heard his message and followed his vision for the future. A future that now, in this strange new land, seemed to be more under threat then ever before.
“I created The Brotherhood to help promote unity and peace amongst the Horde’s races.” He explained. “And, for a moment, it seemed that we had achieved that. We were as one people, strong, unified and focused. Even with the admission of strangers – and former enemies at that – amongst us, we stood strong.”
“However, here in Outland, we have confronted a new threat.” He continued. “We came through the portal, hoping to find the brethren of the Orcs, those who had remained in Outland, and to reunify their race. Instead, we found that they had been twisted into horrible monsters, savage beasts driven by the blood of Demons.”
“As regrettable as it seems, we, both of the Brotherhood and of the Horde as a whole, must go into battle against what should have been our allies. While we cannot save them, we can end their suffering, and with it, this pointless conflict.”
“It is with this in mind that I thank those of you who have volunteered to lead this attack on Hellfire Citadel. Your brave actions will help bring about an end to this horrible conflict, and allow us to bring peace to this land. We shall heal the wounds to our beloved Horde, and make things right again. Ours is a just cause, the one of brotherhood, of unity and of peace.”
“With this in mind, I have asked an outsider to aid us in this attack.” He explained. “Silandra Silverwood, a Blood Knight, has volunteered too lead the attack. She has a degree of strength and commitment that shows her dedication to the Horde and its cause. Furthermore, I know in my heart that she possesses the skills that we will need to be victorious in this battle.”
He bowed his head for a moment. “I ask the spirits to watch over all of you in the great battle to come. With their guidance, I am sure that you will be victorious.”
With his final blessing, the assembled members of the Brotherhood stood and moved outside, heading out into the scorching desert waste that was Hellfire Peninsula. As she stepped out, Zar’na turned towards her good friend, Ko’wai, and grinned. “Dis be it, mon. I be feelin’ it in me bones.”
Ko’wai nodded, then smiled back. “Ya, mon. I know it too. Da time is good.” Her words had a ring of truth to it; the Fel Orc forces around the citadel had been thinned out by their attacks, leaving their numbers depleted and their forces falling back. There was even a rumor that Tagor Spinebreaker, the ferocious leader of the Bonechewer Clan, had fallen in battle with Alliance forces. It had met a mixed reaction; excitement at the thought of the fall of such a powerful foe, and a degree of resentment that it hadn’t been one of the Horde that had bought him down.
“An’ I can’t wait ta go into action.” Zar’na continued. “After all dese months, it feels good ta be able ta get back into it an’ kick some.” She punched the air with excitement.
“An’ it be good ta see ya back in action, Zar’na.” Ko’wai added, walking over to her friend and companion.
“Yar, all dem months of hard work paid off.” Zar’na grinned. “I feel I could take on da whole Fel Horde on me own!”
“Ya look it too.” Ko’wai nodded. “Ya, ya look it.”
“Aww, tanks mon.” Zar’na commented. “’cause I know nobody ain’t stopping dis wild sexah troll!” She let out a cackling laugh.
“Yah well…” Ko’wai seemed almost nervous. “Eh, Zar’na, dere be sometin’ I be meanin’ ta say-“
“Save it.” Zar’na replied, noticing a black and red armoured figure approaching, a disapproving glare in their glowing green eyes.
“Sides, we be back before ya know it.” Zar’na confidently stated. “Does Orcs? They don’ stand a chance against us!” Grinning, she continued. “You, me an’ Boof, we can take ‘em good.” She gave a small cheer, the black toy spider hanging from her belt bouncing up and down.
Lower Shatrath City, plus five days
"Heya FJ" Verien beamed out from across the crowded tavern.
FJ let out a quiet sigh as she finished off the last of her drink. "Hello Verien." She casually replied without glancing back at the human girl. The last thing she wanted right now was to be confronted with a ridiculous ball of cheer with the power to rain doom from the sky. She just wasn't in the mood.
"How's things going?" Verien continued.
There's a ridiculously cheerful warlock beaming at me and interrupting my quality drinking time was what she wanted to say. But she decided to be polite for the moment. "I'm heading back to Hellfire. Apparently, some big Horde offensive against the Citadel failed, and now the alliance is looking for warm bodies to throw at it before the Fel Horde regroup. And with Aish and Zog busy in Shadowmoon, I'm gonna take a shot at things."
"Aww, that's no fun." Verien commented. "But I know that you'll do okay because you're so big and tough. You could probably whip them good!" She punched the air for emphasis.
"Yeah well..." FJ began, then trailed off. her ears perked up as she caught snatches of an argument, one that, while in another tounge, she could actually catch words of.
Sounds like... Thalassian. She thought to herself. Which would mean Sin'dorei. Could be interesting.
She turned to look around the bar, noting a pair of Sin'dorei women arguing. One of them, a redhead, was clad in black and red armour; the other, a blonde, was in lighter leathers. And, while she couldn't get every word they were saying, she was beginning to get this gist of their conversation. "Interesting." She muttered to herself, a small grin forming. "Very interesting."
"Something up, FJ?" Verien asked
"Shh." She replied, raising a hand. "This is getting good."
She listened carefully as the blonde accused the redhead of impenitence and cowardice, followed by the redhead shouting back and clearly threatening her. Seems all is not right with them. She thought to herself. Now this could be useful.
Ratchet, minus three months
“Ya really think so?” Zar’na asked, warily looking up at the female Troll sitting opposite her.
“Ya, mon.” The larger woman answered. Bigger and more heavily muscled then Zar’na, she had long, bright blue hair tied off into several thick braids. Unlike Zar’na, she was clad in heavy plate armour, marking her clearly as being a warrior. “I can see it in ya.”
“Oh… well…” Zar’na looked down at the table, rubbing the back of her head with her hand. As she tried to avoid the other Troll’s eyes, she instead focused on her own body. All of a sudden, it had come into clear relief. Her once toned and athletic form had become soft and flabby, her muscles turned to fat. “Really?”
“Ya, mon.” The troll repeated. “Ya may not look it, and ya may not think it, but I can see it in ya.”
“Huh…” Zar’na looked up again, studying this warrior. She was all but glaring back at her, as if confronting her. The thing was, Zar’na knew that she deserved any scorn that the other Troll had to throw at her. “But, I mean, look at me, mon.”
“I am. An dat is what I mean.” She replied. “Ya see, I can see da inner fiah witin someone. And yours is burnin’ bright. On the outside, ya may be weak or outa shape, but on da inside, you is still strong. Perhaps stronger den ya realize.”
“Ya tink?” Za’rna asked back, but she could begin to see the other Troll’s point. Even at her worst days, when it was a single boozy blur from dawn till dusk, she always knew that there was something… better. While she may have been just another drunk spending her time mooching money from passers by, she also knew that she could have been so much more.
“I know.” She answered, confidently.
“Excuse me.” The female Orc waitress interjected as she walked over to their table. “Is can I get either of you anything?”
“Yah.” Zar’na replied. ‘I’ll get…” She trailed off. “Ah, jus’ some water, tanks.”
“Of course.” The Orc nodded, then walked off.
The other troll smiled. “There, ya see? Ya makin’ a start already.”
“Yeah, I guess I is.” Zar’na admitted. “Time was when I woulda drunken meself silly by now. But… yeah, I can’t do that no more.”
“Ya never should have to begin wit.”
“Dat’s right.” Zar’na agreed as the waitress returned with her drink. Nodding, Zar’na placed a few copper coins on the table. “I still dunno what happened to me.” She shook her head.
“Well, try explainin’ it, mon.”
Zar’na shook her head, then took a sip from her drink. “Ting is, I wanted to have a big adventure an’ stuff. I wanted ta go out dere an’ see the world an’ go places. An’, well, fer a while, it worked, yanno?”
“Ya.” She nodded in agreement. “So what happened after dat?”
“I dunno.” Zar’na admitted. “I lost mah way. I guess it all seemed ta be too much fer me. Instead, I decided to take da easy option, livin’ fer myself in dis town. An then, in the end, I guess I jus’ stopped livin’ at all.” Which would be an understatement, and Zar’na knew it.
“An then I foun’ ya.” The other troll finished. “An’ I saw dat, while on da outside ya looked like some bum, on da inside ya still had dat fire, dat spirit dat ain’t gonna be quenched.”
“Ya…” Zar’na took another sip of her drink. “So what now?”
“I rekon dat I needs ta get ya back inta shape.” The other troll stated. “We gonna train ya up real good, an’ turn ya back into da strong, powerful hunta I knows you is.”
“Heh.” Zar’na managed. “Ya tink dat be possible?”
“I know it.” She nodded in reply.
“Well den, I guess we better be getting’ started.” Zar’na stated, then finished her drink. “Ain’t gonna get nuffin’ done here.”
“Dat be da spirit.” The other troll grinned, showing off her small tusks.
Zar’na nodded. “And I be thankin’ ya, Ko’wai, jus’ fer givn’ me this chance.”
“Don’t be thankin’ me yet.” The other troll cut her off. “We still got lots ta do.”
Zar’na nodded slowly, then looked at the large, sinister black and red spider squatting by the table. In all the time that she’d been wasting away, her spider companion had been the only one to stand by her, the only one she could rely on. Even then, she knew she’d been far from the best hunter she could; instead of letting it feed, she’d just spent her days feeding scraps to her pet. “I failed ya, Boof.” She stated, matter-of-factly. “I shoulda done so much more for ya.”
“Ya, but at least ya admit it.” Ko’wai stated. “Lotsa people ain’t able to do dat. It shows dat you be strong”
“There be one ting tho.” Zar’na added as she stood. “One ting I can’t be getting my mind off?”
“What be dat?” Ko’wai asked.
“Ya look familiar.” Zar’na commented. “But I jus’ can’t place it.”
Lower Shattrath City, plus five days
When she'd heard who the sole survivor of the failed expedition was, Rojei Moonshadow had expected a number of things. Silverwood was somebody who she'd had a number of encounters with, and none of them had been pleasant. She seemed to stand for everything that Rojei disliked about the Blood Elf leadership and the Blood Knights in specific. Silandra prided herself on her dedication to her duty; the problem was that Rojei knew what that duty was.
However, despite all that, she hadn't expected what she saw in the Lower City Tavern. Silandra was sitting at one of the tables, nursing a small drink. At that moment, she bore very little resemblance to the symbol of authority that Rojei had grown to hate over the months. Her polished black and red armour was battered, while her Blood Knight tabard, the symbol of all she stood for, was torn. Her eyes seem sunken, and she had a degree of weariness to her. Will had said that she was badly injured, and everything aobut her now seemed to bear that out.
Not that Rojei cared. For once, it seemed that she had the advantage over this woman.
"What happened, Silandra?" She demanded, speaking in Orcish to emphasise her point.
In response, the Blood Knight simply ignored her, instead taking a small sip from her drink.
"You know what I'm talking about." Rojei continued. "Don't ignore me."
"I am sorry." Silandra replied in Thalassian. "I would have a better idea of what you were asking if you were to speak in a more civilized lounge."
Rojei sighed, then switched to Thalassian. "You are so petty, did you know that?" She commented. That didn't seem to elicit a response from Silandra, so she continued. "That attack on Hellfire Citadel which you were the sole survivor of."
"What about it?" Silandra replied, not even bothering to look at Rojei.
"What happened there?" Rojei continued. "What happened to the rest of them?"
Silandra blinked for a moment, then finished her drink. "They died." She simply stated, not a hint of emotion in her voice.
Rojei blinked in surprise, amazed that even she could be so casual or dismissive. "Is that all you can say? Four people perished and you don't care at all?"
"They failed to follow orders. Their deaths were not my responsibility."
"Your orders?" She slammed her fist down on the table. "You were their leader. You should be responsible for their deaths!"
"I cannot be held responsible for those not competent enough to do as they were told." She stated, flatly. "I expected too much from such primitives. Their deaths, however, were their faults, not mine."
"How can you say that?"
"I just did." Silandra finished, standing. As she did, she clearly winced, gritting her teeth in pain.
For a moment, Rojei could have almost felt sorry for her; however, her words had far more impact then the clear pain she was in. "So how did you survive then? Did you run while they died?"
"No." Silandra stated. "I only survived because I was the last one standing. I fought on while they failed around me. I had the strength and determination that they lacked."
"What did you do, Silandra?" Rojei hissed. "Tell me."
"Do not question me!" She snarled, lashing out at the smaller Sin'dorei girl, grabbing her by her collar. She was snarling, but weather it was in pain or anger Rojei couldn't tell. "I did my duty for my people, something that you seem to be incapable of. I am a Blood Knight and a loyal servant of Silvermoon. I am above your petty quibbles."
Rojei batted Silandra's hand away, but still stepped back. "Yeah, that's the problem, isn't it? You are a Blood Knight. You're everything I hate about them at once."
"I do not ask to be liked, only respected." Silandra countered, a hint of anger in her voice. "Remember, Moonshadow, we all have our duty. We will persevere, and we will claim what is rightfully ours." She turned towards the door, walking out with a noticeable limp.
"You have no idea, do you?" Rojei shot back. "You..."
"I have my duty." She finished as she left.
Hellfire Citadel. Now
Nagra let out a startled cry as several arrows struck her, the Orc reeling back under the force of the impacts. She crashed to the stone floor with a clatter of mail armour.
"Nagra's down!" Zar'na called out. "We gotta-"
"Damn you!" Silandra snarled as she parried aside a blow form a Fel Orc's blade. "Do your job and keep that archer down!" She thrust forward, her sword slipping past the Orc's guard and embedding itself in their gut. The Orc let out a grunt of surprise, then toppled forwards as she withdrew the blade. "Now!"
"Ya, gotcha!" Zar'na exclaimed, but there was a hint of uncertainty in her voice. Notching an arrow, she then took a shot at the offending Orc just as he was moving to strike. Her arrow struck true, nailing the orc through the eye. He reeled back, crying out in pain. "Kaz'dingo!" She cheered before reloading. "Dat gotcha good!" Moments later, her spider scurried back to her, hissing in anger as she redirected it to another foe. "Git him!"
"Good shot, Zar'na!" Ko'wai called out as she swung at another Orc, her twin axes a blurr of steel. Armed with only a singe axe, the Orc found that he couldn't keep up with her, and was being forced back, constantly keeping his weapon up to avoid her blows. Grinning, she pressed the attack, one of her axes cutting above his guard, slashing him across the chest. As he reeled back, she drove the other one down onto his skull, crushing with a spurt of blood. "We got dem good!"
"No you don't!" Silandra hissed. "Stay focused, there are more coming! We may yet be able to save-"
As she spoke, a ball of fire shot past her, slamming into one of the charging Fel Orcs. The shot washed over his armour, scorching it but, for the moment, leaving him standing. The Orc bellowed with rage, charging forwards, while his comrades followed him. However, they were not heading towards Silandra or Ko'wai, who were in the front line, but rather Grunthar, who had launched the first fireball. She would be surprised, except that he had done it twice before, placing himself in the line of harm rather then those with the heavy armour who could better soak hits.
"You moron!" She shouted as she had to throw herself in front of one of the Orcs, slamming her shield into his face. The Orc stumbled for a moment, giving her time to unleash a magical blast into his face, sending him reeling. The other Orcs around him responded in kind, their anger at the Warlock forgotten as the instead focused in on her. "Let us engage first and hold them while you attack! Remember that!"
"Sorry!" He bellowed back.
Filthy Warlock. Silandra thought to herself as she swung at her foe. He did that on purpose, I can tell. He and his kind are not to be trusted. Orcs, Warlocks, Orc Warlocks... I can see it all now. In her mind, her observations began to align themselves, forming a clear pattern. He is doing this to destroy us. He seeks the power of the Fel Horde; Warlocks desire power from demons and these Orcs embody that power. That must be it, yes. He seeks to wipe us out so he can claim their power for himself "I have my eye on you, Felbane! Your mistakes have not gone unnoticed!" "I'm sorry!" He called back as he began channeling another spell. "It won’t happen- aaah!" Before he could finish, he was struck by a fireball, far more powerful then the one that he had unleashed himself. The spell blasted into him, incinerating his robes and skin before slamming him into the ground, leaving just the blacked husk of his corpse behind.
"I got 'im!" Zar'na called back, loosing an arrow at a black-clad Orc spellcaster. The shot narrowly missed him, instead thudding into the wall just by his head. "Damn 'im!" She called back, ducking as another fireball scorched the floor nearby. "Can't get a shot off-"
"I have him!" Silandra called out, whirling around and slamming her sword into a Fel Orc's side. Leaving it embedded for a moment, she instead released the blade, reaching out with her free hand towards the Fel Orc mage. A wave of purple energy leaped from the mage into his hand, the Orc momentarily slumping as if physically drained.
Silandra, on the other hand, felt invigorated as the combination of arcane magic and fel energy flooded into her body, permeating every fiber of her being. It was an intoxicating mixture, one that seemed to empower her, the wounds and pressures of the battle monetarily forgotten. At the same time, she could feel the power inherent in the world around her, the twisting energies of the nether that had warped this place and its peoples. Yes! This truly is the promised land!
With a feral scream, she grasped her blade and tore it free of the Fel Orc, the creature letting out a scream of pain as she trailed its blood across the battlefield. Swinging around, she slashed another one across the throat, grinning in pleasure as it staggered backwards, bleeding profusely. Grinning, she drove her blade back into the Orc she had wounded before, finishing him off with a blow straight through the chest. This is real power! This is what I was born to be, and this is why I was recreated as what I am! It is this power that will will take for our own when we make this land ours!
She leaped over the corpses of the fallen warriors, charging towards the spellcaster as another arrow narrowly missed him. He fired back, the fireball striking Zar'na in the arm, causing her to screech out in pain and drop her bow. Worthless Troll! She shouted to herself, then fell on the mage before he could start casting again. Left open, he was unprepared for her strike; the blade of her sword digging into his chest. With a grin, she turned to face the Fel Orc, looking him in the eye. For a moment, his blazing red eyes showed fear, then shock as she drove the blade home.
"Zar'na!" Ko'wai called out, dispatching her last foe with the aid of the spider, then turning back to the fallen huntress. "Are you-"
"Stay focused!" Silandra called out, turning to glare at the Troll warrior. "We must destroy-"
"No! I destroy you!" A voice boomed out in Orcish from behind her. As she turned, she could see a huge Fel Orc warrior bearing down on her, swinging a massive axe. She had a moment to raise her shield, but it seemed like it was too late. The blow of his axe crushed her shield, then hammered into her side. Armour buckled, followed by the sickening crack of bone ash the blow slammed into her body, sending her sprawling to the ground.
"Wha?" Ko'wai began as she turned, but was too slow. The Fel Orc's massive axe bit into her back, ripping through her armour and skin with sickening ease. He ripped it free with a gush of blood that sent her crashing to the ground, her armour clattering as it slammed into the stone floor.
"Is that all you have?" The Orc bellowed. "I despise your weakness! At least make an effort!" With a hideous screech, Zar'na's spider companion charged forwards, leaping at the Orc. With a swing of his axe, he struck it in the underside with the flat of the head, effortlessly batting it aside. "Pathetic insect!"
"Ya leave Boof alone!" Zar'na called out, opening fire with her recovered bow. An arrow stuck into the Orc's shoulder, causing him to stagger back for a moment.
Then, he grinned, his toothy maw seeming to fill his face. "At last, one of you has some teeth. Maybe this will be worth the effort!" Ignoring the arrow, he advanced on the Troll, raising his massive axe. A second arrow narrowly missed his head, instead clattering off one of his armoured paldrons. "Come on! At least make an effort!"
Backed into a corner, Zar'na reached for her blades, knowing that her bow would be all but useless now. However, before the Orc could strike, something else happened. With a feral scream, Silandra lunged at the Orc, her blade ramming into his back. The creature let out a roar of pain, staggering forwards before spinning around. He clipped Silandra with his axe, again sending her sprawling. Moments later, he himself crashed to one knee, clearly wounded.
"You... you..." he eyed Zar'na. "This is not over!" The Orc grabbed his axe, then stood, as if preparing for another attack. Instead, he staggered back, stumbling as his legs began to give out. Looking around, he could see the way the situation had developed. There were two survivors, yes, and both were wounded. However, he himself was also badly hurt, and he could feel his strength fading. Added to this was the simple fact that he was outnumbered, and he could see the folly of the situation. With a grunt, he turned and ran, heading back to the Orc lines.
Zar'na reached for her weapons for a moment, considering cutting him down as he ran, but instead discarded them. Forgetting the Fel Orc, she ran over to where Ko'wai had fallen, only to stop dead in her tracks. The toy spider hanging form her belt had caught on a stone spike, probably when she was backing off from the Orc warrior. Tugging in frustration, she tried to dislodge it, then pull on it. After a few seconds, the string holding it snapped, the toy falling away, forgotten as Zar'na ran over to where her friend lay in a rapidly growing pool of her own blood.
Kneeling by the warrior, she turned her over. "Nah, man, dis can't be happenin'" She began as she shook her head. Ko'wai's breathing was shallow, coming in short gasps. Blood was trailing down her lips and chin, and her eyes seemed to be focused on some point in space that only she could see. "Ya can't die! Ya too strong fer dat!"
"Zar'na..." The blue-haired Troll coughed out. "I be sorry... I failed ya..."
"Na... dere still be a chance. I know there be!" She said, looking up to see Silandra. The Blood Elf seemed to be in shock, her normally narrow eyes instead wide open. "Come on, mon! Heal her! I know ya can do it!"
Silandra desperately looked around, as if unsure of where she was. "What..." she began. "Why?"
"Heal her now!" Zar'na repeated. "She be dyin'!"
Sialdnra staggered forwards, then slumped, doubling over in pain. "Yes... healing..." She hissed out.
"C'mere!" Zar'na shouted. "Ya almost there! Ya can do it!"
"I... I..." Silandra began, looking up form the floor at the pair of them, he face contorted with pain. "Must... heal..." A brilliant golden light built up around her hand, then dissipated as it washed over her own form. For a moment, she seemed to glow with power, before staggering back and standing upright. Gone for the moment was the look of pain that she had been wearing moments ago, filled instead with angry determination.
"Now, damn ya!" Zar'na called out.
"We need to go." Silandra replied, looking over the bodies scattered around the battlements. "Thee Fel Orcs will be back soon."
"Den heal her and we be goin'!" Zar'na snapped.
"I used my mana." Silandra replied. "I have no reserve. She'll be dead soon anyway!"
"Then we be carryin' her!"
"She will only slow us down!" Silandra yelled back. "We are both wounded and outnumbered. We cannot wait!"
"You-" Zar'na shouted, but was cut off by her dying friend.
"She be right." Ko'wai gasped. "I be no good to ya now."
"Naw, you be okay. We be gettin' ya out of dis place" Zar'na shook her head in disbelief, as if refusing to accept what she was seeing.
"Ya did me good, Zar'na." She gasped. "But... ya not be dyin fer me. Da spirits be with me now, I can feel dem. Dis.. dis be my time." She managed a weak smile. "I lived a warrior ans died to an hero, Zar'na."
"You ain't dead let. I not be letting it!"
"Zarna, I..." she began, then suddenly shuddered and was still.
"There. Let us go now." Silandra stated. "We have wasted enough time as it is."
"Ya monsta!" Zar'na yelled as she stood, tears in her eyes. "Ya coulda healed her instead of yaself."
"That would be a waste." Silandra snarled. "She was dying already. Better that I should live then her."
"How could ya say that?" Zar'na demanded as she walked towards the Blood Elf, a furious stride in her step. "How could ya let her die like dat?"
"I did what was necessary." Silandra replied. "I made sure that at least one of us would be in a fit state to survive, a decision that you seem to be determined to waste."
"Don't ya dare talk to me like dat, ya coward!" Zar'na shouted.
"What did you call me?" Silandra turned around, looking the Troll in the eyes.
"Ya heard me!" Zar'na shouted, not caring who heard her now. She was angry, fueled by grief and rage. "Ya a filthy coward, one who does not deserve to be livin' while good people be lyin' dead all around ya!" She stalked towards the Blood Elf, looming over her.
Despite the fact that Zar'na was far taller, however, Silandra stood her ground. "I am no coward." She hissed. "Don't you ever call me that."
"Ya a monster an' a coward an' ya too afraid to admit it!" Zar'na snapped, staring the Blood Elf straight in the eyes. She expected to see something there, some indication of regret or remorse over her actions, some sing that she regretted what she had done; some hope that nobody would have been so callous as to leave her friend to die.
Instead, all she saw were a pair of green eyes, completely featureless. There was no iris, no pupil, nothing; just a pair of green voids that suggested just one thing. Madness.
"I am no coward." Silandra hissed. "And nobody will ever call me that again. Not you. Not anyone. Ever."
Kill them all
She thrust forward with her blade, the weapon catching Zar'na under the ribs, running her through before breaking out from her back. The troll doubled over, her head slumping until it was below the level of Silandra's shoulder.
"Do you understand?" She hissed in the troll's ear, before withdrawing the blade. Zar'na collapsed to the ground, not saying a word.
Turning her back on the carnage, Silandra limped away from the battlefield. She had survived. That was all that mattered.
Hellfire basin, plus ten days
FJ was not a person who was easily impressed. However, even she had to give some pause at the sight of Hellfire Citadel, especially when seen from its base. A massive, dark structure, its walls showed every signs of the twenty years of constant battle it had been subjected to. Yet, despite this, it remained standing, a seemingly indestructible symbol of the power of this so-called Fel Horde.
Not that the Fel Horde itself seemed that indestructible. Several of its warriors lay nearby, dead or dying after she had cleaved a bloody path through them. While the Orcs of outland were bigger and fiercer then their Azerothian counterparts, to her mind they still weren't enough to stop her.
'Its good to be back in action, she smirked to herself as she ducked into a nook at the base of one wall. Fighting the good fight and bashing a few heads in. Better not overexert myself, though. Knock too many off and somebody may figure out what's going on.
She leaned back, her colour fading as she used her natural ability to blend in with her surroundings, becoming an almost shadowy and insubstantial form. As she quietly waited, several Fel Orcs stomped past, pausing to inspect the bodies of their downed comrades. One of them, presumably their leader, barked orders at the others, who ran off in different directions. She could tell that they were searching for the unseen assailant, but at the same time hadn't thought to look right under their own snouts.
Guess these guys still aren't used to Kaldorei She thought to herself, smirking in the darkness. As this is the first place I'd think to look...
She peered around, taking in her surroundings, trying to get a better feel for the area. For the most part, it was a solid wall of grey stone, cracked and chipped but remaining defiantly solid and unyielding. And while the battlements may have been festooned with spikes and other decorations, down here, things were about as bland as they got.
Then something caught her eye, something that was so out of place that she was immediately drawn to it. Hanging above her, suspended on a small rocky outcropping, was what looked for all the world like a small ball of black fuzz. As near as she could tell, it was some sort of toy or decoration, one that seemed strangely familiar. However, for the life of her, she couldn't place it. More striking, however, was just how out of place such a thing seemed in amongst the wastelands and fortifications.
Checking that the area around her was clear, she quickly reached out and snatched the object - whatever it was - and stuffed it into one of her pouches. Then, seeing a chance, she broke into a run. Just hope that I don't have to fight my way through too many patrols on my way out., she added, grinning as she ran.
Silvermoon City, plus one week
"Lady Laidrin." Silandra began as she keeled before the leader of the Blood Knights. "I have failed"
Laidrin looked down at her, the red glow of the energies binding the Naaru behind her giving her an ominous pallor. Her bright green eyes contrasted with this, seeming to radiate power in the dark room. "Explain yourself."
"I failed in battle." She stated. "Others under my command died."
"Did they die through your own actions or inaction?"
"No." She stated. "They died because they could not follow the orders that I gave them. Their incompetence lead to their demise; however, there was nothing that I could do to save them, even with the powers that you have granted me."
"I see." Laidrin's eyes narrowed. "Were there any Sin'dorei amongst those who fell?"
"No." Silandra stated. "Two Orcs and two Trolls."
"Then their deaths are of little importance." Laidrin replied dismissively. "However, there is one other matter that we must attend to."
"Your tabard, Silverwood. Give it to me."
Silandra almost froze with fear. The tabard she wore was a symbol of her rank and importance, signifying that she was one of the elite Blood Knights of Laidrin's inner circle. However, to her, it had become more; it was a part of who she was. It represented the way she had, in her eyes, redeemed herself and been transformed form a pathetic failure into a creature off supreme power.
"Y-yes, my lady." She stated. She did not want to yield, yet knew that she could not oppose Laidrin's order. Without standing, she pulled off the torn tabard, and handed it to her leader.
"Your tabard is a symbol of all that you are and all that you represent, Silverwood." Laidrin stated. "Yours has been damaged. To present such a face to the world is unacceptable."
Without a gesture, a magister approached Silandra, handing out a brand new, freshly folded tabard. She took it silently, and nodded. And again, through your actions, I am whole again. She thought. Again, I shall repay this gift with every fiber of my being.
"I understand, my Lady." She replied, her head bowed.
"Now go, Silverwood." Laidrin finished. "Meditate, focus your power, heal yourself. And then, when you are ready, return to Outland and do your duty. Claim what is rightfully ours, and destroy those who would stand against us."
Mulgore, plus one month
Will looked out at the broad expanse of Mulgore, sweeping out beyond Stonebull lake. In the distance, he could see the massive mesas on which Thunder Bluff, the Tauren's capital city, had been built. However, at this distance, they looked like there was nothing to make them any different from any other rise. Around him, the world seemed natural and calm, one completely at rest. Mulgore seemed quiet now, the conflicts with the Quillboars and Centaurs long forgotten. Instead, it had become the peaceful and tranquil homeland that the Tauren had always sought.
It was to this place that he had returned to meditate and find his way. Possibly, he realised, he had actually yearned for a simpler life; one free form conflict and worry. He had been too caught up in the Horde's battles with its foes - both without and within - to realise just what he was doing with himself and where he was going.
He nodded at the shambolic figure approaching, a Forsaken mage clad in what had probably once been a fine robe that had since degenerated into a tattered mess. "Hello Mal!" he exclaimed.
The Foresaken nodded back. "How's the meditating going?"
"Very well." Will nodded encouragingly. "In fact, that's why I asked you down here."
"I'd cock an eyebrow with surprise if I had one left." He commented. "Instead, I'll wonder what it is that's so important."
"Thing is, Mal..." Will looked around, waving his hands as if to take in the vastness of the world around him. "I have made so much progress."
The Foresaken appeared surprised, or at least as much as he could with only a limited range of facial motion. "You did?"
"I caught a boot!" Will nodded enthusiastically.
"I see." Mal commented. "Well, that does mean that our competition is back on." Putting down his traveling pack, he removed a battered fishing line from it. "A boot is a significant catch for either of us."
"I know. I'm so excited." Will commented as he cast off, the line hitting the water with a satisfactory plop.
Tirisfal Glades, plus six months
In amongst the dark and twisted forests of what had once been the verdant Tirisfal Glades, there were places that managed to seem darker and more nightmarish still. One of them, in the far north-eastern corner of the region, near the unofficial border with the scourge-controlled Plaguelands, had a reputation as being amongst the most sinister of them. It was in this place that some of the local wildlife had managed to survive and even thrive following the plauge, while the rest of the Glades had withered and died.
These were the night web spiders; dark and sinister creatures that lurked in the deepest woods, waiting to strike and consume their prey. Almost entirely black, only the bright red flashes on their backs broke up their colours. Known for their strength and ferocity, even when tamed, they had a reputation for being unnerving and phobia-inducing, as well as being unruly and argumentative at the best of times.
And it was to this place that one of them that had left so long ago had now returned. It had taken them months of travel, but their instincts had bight them back, leading from an alien world to their homeland. It had been a long and arduous journey, but one that it had been determined to finish.
Now, rather then a weak-willed master who had been content to wither away, it was the one in charge. Over its years of forced servitude, it had become strong and powerful, greater even then the greatest of those in its old home. And now it would use that power to claim what was rightfully its.
Boof the Spider had come home to rule.
- This story was massively multi-authored
- It is also an experiment in pretentious, non-linear storytelling