Here we go again. With 150% more deadmeat belves!

I said before that I hate writing battle scenes, right? Well…

This one is three and a half pages long.


I wrote it in my notes while in Germany, so it was pretty easy to write on the comp, in a cleaned up state. Still, I just hope that it makes some semblance of sense, because it’s long and grueling and I’m sure there are confusing bits. Take it away!

Working on what to title this monster. There are a whole lot of clashes, so the title will probably have some name based on that word.

I don’t hate tauren! I like them, really!

What to make of Azshara? The trees and grass blazed in the warm colors of an eternal autumn. Locked in a fading state, yet somehow never reaching decay. In this land, the crumbling ruins of an ancient night elf civilization melted into the background as naturally as the cliffs they were built on.

Somber, and beautiful.

If only there had not been such pain in the land, and demons befouling it even now.

Dor’ash breathed deep of the crisp winds, smelling the faint salt of the ocean. The spirits of this place wept quietly – they suffered, but had suffered for so many years that they no longer had the strength to howl in rage against the demonic taint. Only closer to the ruins where demons still dwelled today did the spirits growl, but that too sounded faint and distant. They stayed away out of fear, here as everywhere else, when the foul creatures were near.

The visit to Valormok camp – and how they had even managed to find it, he still didn’t know – had done nothing to make him feel better. The beaten whimpers of these spirits were disquieting enough, and seeing the poor remains of the orc scouts had been downright depressing.

Azshara may be a beautiful land to the naked eye, but he found himself missing the warm winds and dry smell of the Barrens. Well, a village in the Barrens, at least.

Inwardly, he sighed. His travelling days would eventually come to an end – not yet in quite a while if he could rule, but it had begun. He had somebody to return home to, and the undeniable tug at his heart only underlined it. Still, not yet. Neither Grema nor he himself would stand for him abandoning the Horde, not while he still could not deny the wish to serve the Warchief like this for a while longer. The spirits called him to battle, asking just a little more. Dor’ash knew that he was just a small part in a great puzzle, and he could not give up his place in it – not today, not in a month, but for certain in a couple of years.

If he survived, and he damn well planned to.

Squaring his jaw, he grimly gazed at the hills ahead. The landscape rose up ahead, but he knew that it would turn steeply downwards once one got closer to the sea. And that was another thing. There was not only the salty tang in the air, but also a scent of fish. Fish that crawled and carried weapons. Demons was not the only thing to worry about here. 

He and his companion rode along at an easy pace, saving their mounts – well, his mount, hers felt no exhaust – in case they needed to flee for one or another reason.

This land had not been kind to the Horde, but, as for Valormok, the two travelers had come here to help set things right for them. 

“Hey! On our way to kill elves here. Think about your girlfriend some other time.”

The hoarse voice ripped Dor’ash straight out of his reverie, and he turned an amused gaze towards his sneering companion. 

“You were talking about Jonathan just the other day,” Dor’ash said, managing a faint grin. He did not much like this solemn mood, and her joking accusation was welcome.

Sarah waved a thin hand towards him, joints creaking by the quick motion. 

“Totally different,” she said. “He’s off my mind completely by now. Killing elves takes precedence over everything.”

“We’re just going to scout the area,” Dor’ash reminded her.

“Oh, bull!”

She nearly fell off her horse from leaning precariously towards him, and he bent further away in return. Grey, his wolf mount, glanced around with a wolfy kind of “are you out of your minds?” look. Well, Grey should know the answer to that. He had been around for a while, after all.

“If you think that you can tell me that there are rebel belves that need killing, and then bring me close to them and still expect me not to commit genocide, you’re gravelly mistaken,” Sarah snapped, then turned her face skywards with a disdainful snort.

He regarded her for a moment.

“You’re a racist,” he said, blankly.

“Pff!” Bone clattered loudly as she folded her arms and ‘glared’ at him. “It’s not my fault that they’re all pretty, arrogant asses that can’t bear to jump into battle unless they know there’s a shower and a hairdresser waiting on the other end of it. Incompetent too.”

“Not everyone is Celandria, you know.”

“Small mercies.”

They both shook their heads of the memory of the last blood elf they had allied themselves with. Definitely the last. The experiences in the Wailing Caverns, which almost cost Dor’ash his life as well, had even made him regard tauren with suspicion for a while. It was something he could shake off after a while though. Not all of them were calves desperately needing some sense knocked into them. Unfortunate for Damian that the knock he finally got smashed the life out of him rather than added common sense.

Well… Dor’ash turned his face towards Sarah again, grinning around one tusk. She too glanced back at him, returning the expression by flashing her chipped teeth. Not everything had been a complete disaster with that adventure, despite the tragic end of it. It was where they first met, after all. 

Still, back then Dor’ash had just chosen to give a blood elf a chance, seeing as they were new allies of the Horde and he felt a sort of duty towards the Warchief to be helpful to these new friends. Being of the Frostwolf clan, he never had a part in the second war and the assaults against Quel’Thalas – and despite the bitterness many of his brethren and especially troll friends expressed on the matter, he figured that the past was best laid aside in these times. Yet it was not easy to push aside the unease, because when so many people you know are opposed to something, there has to be some legitimacy to the matter. 

He found there to be truth in it when it came to Celandria. In her defense, what happened in the caverns was not her fault, and she had not been a turncoat or unwilling to help an orc. Just, indeed, incompetent and fatally unfocused.

Since then he preferred to deal only carefully with the elves. Having Sarah constantly at his side made it easier, because her coarseness and lack of tact kept the, in her words, “dollies and pretty-boys” away.

Watching her trying to control her disdain was a show in itself, of course. Low opinion of the elves clashed with loyalty to Lady Sylvanas, and Sarah almost tied herself into a knot at times, when she could not duck away from whatever blood elves she and Dor’ash had to deal with occasionally.

Back in Orgrimmar, when he told her about why they were going to Azshara she almost climbed up his arm in glee. That… had been unsettling. 

“Anyway,” she said, calling him out of his thoughts again. “We have some very important business to take care of. If I catch you with your mind elsewhere, I’m going to hurt you very much.”

“But not kill me?” Dor’ash asked, amused.

“I didn’t say that.”

She smirked at him. 

“All I’m saying is that if you know what’s good, you’ll be in heat in between and not during important events,” she said.

He just looked at her, until she dissolved into cackles and slumped over the neck of her horse.

“First of all, females go into heat, and secondly, orcs don’t do it at all,” Dor’ash said, loudly to make sure she heard him.


Sarah let her arms dangle freely, still chortling. Any monsters that might have planned an attack would probably have been stunned in pure bewilderment at the sight and weird discussion. 

After a while her laughter melted away, and she heaved herself up on one arm planted on the horse’s neck. The skeletal creature didn’t react at all.

“Speaking of, though,” she said, quirking the scrap of an eyebrow, “when that Ag’tor said that this Rimtori bitch seduced Belgrom, did he mean seduce seduce or just that she buttered him up?”

Dor’ash pressed a fingertip to the bridge of his nose.

“I don’t want to know,” he grunted. That poor old fool.

“Because that’s disturbing even in my view.” Sarah cheerfully waved her hands about, her gestures not quite decent at all times. “No offense to you, handsome, but that’s like a humming bird and a-”


“Oh my, I had no idea you were such a prude.”

Silence settled for a moment. After a little while Sarah coquettishly raised one shoulder, tilting her head towards it.

“Bulldog,” she sweetly said.

It was with the smallest margin possible that she managed to duck his fist. 

Their banter faded and seriousness returned as they moved on across the fields and patches of trees struggling with eternally fading leaves in the poor soil. There wasn’t much earth for the plants to draw nutriments from. Spruces had the easiest time, but even their needles were tinted a brown red. 

Ahead of them, to the east, the landscape rose upwards in what looked like rolling hills. However, from the descriptions they had received in the meager orcish camp, they knew that the soft rise of the land was deceptive. The other side of those hills would be steep cliffs, and below that were the areas where the naga ruled. 

Until now Dor’ash and Sarah had more or less followed the old main road, but kept a distance to it and all ruins along the way to be careful. There were few friendly travelers in this hostile land. According to Ag’tor, when one spotted the rising hills it was a good time to turn north.

Tugging gently at Grey’s reins, Dor’ash made the wolf turn northwards.

‘No… you must see…’

As soon as he heard the whisper, he automatically pulled the reins and Grey stopped with a surprised yelp. Sarah too held in her horse, watching him silently as he listened.

The wind merely rattled the leaves and needles of the trees and bushes, and a few birds chirped. Dor’ash looked to the west, experimentally.


Weak as they were, and their voices faded, the spirits still held a bidding tone and he was not one to turn them down. If they wished him to see something, then so be it. Sarah didn’t comment as he turned Grey towards the east again. She merely nodded and followed. 

The spirits remained silent, but Dor’ash scanned the area with eyes and ears as he and Sarah rode to and up the hills. The world plunged in front of them as they reached the top, just as Ag’tor had described. Dismounting, they crept towards the edge of the hill and crouched, gazing upon the land below.

Pale marble temples and towers rose over the jumbled, rocky ground, still impressive despite that millennia had passed since they were built. Beyond the age-old rooftops, one could see the ocean stretching to where it met with the sky. Only moss and a few tiny bushes clung to life amongst the rocks, adding some bits of warm, brown color here and there. 

However, there was also an awful lot of blue down there, and some yellow where the finlike sails replaced hair on the female naga. Hundreds of them, slithering amongst the ruins and rocks in whatever tasks they performed. And those were only the ones visible from this vantage point. 

Dor’ash grimaced at the sight. This, if anything, showed what an unfriendly land Azshara was. The old night elf queen’s followers still claimed this place as theirs, even when they were all warped beyond recognition of their old selves. The Legion had done this, too. All of it.

The spirits remained silent, so he waited – for further instructions or whatever it was they wanted him to see. At his side Sarah remained just as silent as the spirits. By the looks of her, one might think she could remain hunched down, keeping watch, forever. Dor’ash shifted, leaning on his hands to avoid letting his muscles stiffen. He didn’t have her kind of body.

Behind them, Grey laid down with a crunch of dry grass. Sarah’s horse didn’t move at all from the spot where she had dismounted. It may as well have been a statue.

They waited, seconds and minutes slipping by. Still Dor’ash stubbornly searched the ruins, sharp gaze running tirelessly over the crumbling walls and the rocks that surrounded them. 

At one point he thought he saw a speck of red from the corner of his eye and quickly looked that way, but then it was gone. Although unsure if he had imagined it or not, he kept staring at that point. Nothing else showed itself, however.

Suddenly fur brushed against grass and Grey stood up with a patter of paws and a snort. Dor’ash and Sarah both spun around.

A tauren moved up the hill, dressed in leather armor and one hand raised in a sign of peace. Just behind him lumbered a bear, its fur a rich, grayish brown. Exchanging glances, Sarah and Dor’ash shuffled a bit further away from the edge of the cliff before standing up, to make sure they weren’t seen from below.

As he got closer, it got easier to see the bow slung over his back, and he also carried a relatively small hand axe at his belt. If the bear had not been enough of a clue, this definitely proved that he was a hunter. One of his horns had been broken off, and no unnecessary trinkets dangled in his thick mane.

“Hail Thrall,” he said as he got closer, speaking a greeting as much as his allegiance.

“May the spirits smile upon this meeting,” Dor’ash replied.

He half expected Sarah to lash out with what seemed to be all Forsaken’s favorite welcoming phrase, “what do you ask of death?” but she thankfully held her peace and left it at a not too pleasant smile.

“We haven’t seen many other travelers since coming to these lands,” he quickly said, before she could reconsider.

“I only climbed up here to see the ancient city,” the tauren said, the salty wind toying with his fur and mane. “Even without the naga, I probably couldn’t get Fuzzik here down there. He refuses to go into cities.”

Dor’ash raised an eyebrow. The tauren absentmindedly patted the bear’s neck, and the animal shook his huge body with a snort. 

What kind of a name for a pet bear was that?

The thought was probably apparent on his face, if Sarah’s smirk had not spoken well enough. The tauren grinned sheepishly and shrugged his huge shoulders. Then he nodded, grin disappearing.

“Pardon me,” he said and thumped his chest lightly. “My name is Deran Mountainhoof.”

Dor’ash glanced at Sarah, who tilted her head in dismissal. Possibly a weirdo, but nothing else. Well, he might have some information to share about the situation here.

“I am Dor’ash Coldbane of the Frostwolf clan,” the shaman said, then motioned at Sarah. “My friend’s name is Sarah Nebula.”

“Ah.” A sigh escaped Deran, causing his wide nostrils to flare. “That is unfortunate.”

The weakened spirits surged, murmuring worriedly in warning. Dor’ash tensed in reply, although he didn’t understand.

“What is?” he cautiously asked.

Fuzzik too seemed to notice something of the sudden tension, claws scraping the ground as he looked up at his companion.

“I have been searching for the undead who killed my brother in the Wailing Caverns,” Deran said.

With that, he rushed Sarah.

The change between calm declaration and sudden action went so quickly that Dor’ash failed to react in time, and when he did it was already too late. Although Sarah managed to duck the sweep of Deran’s axe, his body slammed into her and they both went flying.

Unfortunately, he probably had not realized how close to the edge of the cliff she had been standing, and his attack made her recoil further just before the impact. The two of them flew past the short expanse of stable ground, out into thin air. Sarah’s furious shriek changed tone as she realized this.

Dor’ash stared, stunned for a precious second, as a blast of fire sent Deran’s axe out of his grip. The tauren cried out, but he still fisted Sarah’s robe in his other hand and they plummeted towards the rocky landscape far below together. 

A soft glow suddenly flared up around Sarah, and the fall slowed somewhat – she’d still had a light feather, the tiny reagent allowing her to cast a spell that dampened gravity’s pull. However, with about four hundred pounds of tauren clutching her, there was only so much the magic could do.

Even worse, several naga had turned their blue faces upwards at the sound of all the shouting. Already they started forwards, slithering across the rocks with ease.

Swearing, Dor’ash rushed down the slope, Grey and Fuzzik dashing beside him. Sarah’s horse didn’t seem to care one way or another, but he didn’t take the time to look around to see whether or not it would help. In a distance he heard the hard thump as Sarah and Deran hit the ground, and he leaped down the side of the cliff, landed on a rocky, natural shelf and continued downwards. It was a hazardous trip and one the two animals could not follow him in. They could run quicker though, and join him as soon as they could. Getting to Sarah before it was too late was the only thing on his mind. 

He reached the ground, and immediately a naga male burst out from behind a rock, trident in hand. Dor’ash called upon the elements in a snarl, and sent the snake-like creature tumbling backwards with an icy blast of magic. The beast fell over, tail trashing desperately as he struggled to break the ice covering his protruding face.

Rushing onwards Dor’ash ripped his war hammer and shield from his back. 


Far, too far ahead he could see the dark shape that was Deran. He didn’t move, and Sarah didn’t reply to the shout. Dor’ash dearly hoped it was only because she was stuck beneath that pile of muscles and stupidity. About sixty yards separated him from the crash site, and the closest approaching naga only had half that distance to go. 

He leaped across a cluster of stones, coming face to face with a second naga male. A female stood a few feet behind him, all of her hands glowing a dangerous blue. Dor’ash caught the stab of the male’s trident against his shield, using his momentum to wrestle the weapon aside and get within reach. His war hammer arched through the air and crashed deep into the fish man’s head, sending gore flying. A slimy mass splattered over Dor’ash’s arm and chest but he didn’t stop, only wasted the moment it took to rip his hammer free. But the female naga had almost finished her spell, face twisted into a mask of fury. He dashed, had to stop her-

Grey flew past him, mouth open in a murderous snarl. His huge, furry body smashed into the sea witch, and her spell shattered to the sound of her howl of pain and rage. Dor’ash didn’t stop to see Grey finish her off.

Fifty yards to go.

He heard heavy breathing and thumping scrapes of huge, clawed paws on rocky ground. Fuzzik was just behind him.

Deran still didn’t move. Knocked out cold, and then, what about Sarah? Logic desperately tried to stay afloat in Dor’ash’s mind – she was undead. She couldn’t be unconscious-

But she could be crushed. She was dead, not immortal.  

Forty yards.

There was no path, only short strips of ground easier to traverse past the jagged rocks. Dor’ash growled select curses, leaping and throwing himself over the sadistic landscape. The sharp stones cut gashes even in his thick skin as he nearly fell and caught himself against a jutting rock. He hardly took note of it, struggling on while Fuzzik came up beside him. Froth dribbled around the bear’s teeth.

Thirty yards, and the first naga had almost reached the unmoving heap on that was Deran. Five of them so far, but others were coming, drawn by the sound of battle.

The ground turned to ice in front of Dor’ash, just as he put his foot down. He slipped, arms cart-wheeling as much as their burdens allowed in the search for balance. His hammer caught against a rock and he vaulted up straight, nearly slipped again but stepped forwards – only to find that he was stuck. Ice encased the hammer and the hand holding it, creeping all the way past his wrist.

He looked around wildly, catching a glimpse of a grinning sea witch, but Fuzzik had already changed direction. The naga female recoiled with a shriek, but the bear was quicker and his mighty paw sent her flying, the side of her chest cawed in. 

It gave Dor’ash enough time to tear himself free, sending shards of ice flying from his stinging hand. However, by then the naga ahead had already reached their goal. Two of them poked Deran with their tridents, while the others turned to face the approaching orc.

“Sa-Sarah!” Dor’ash snarled, dangerously out of breath.

He heard a reassuring, strangely high-pitched gasping just behind, and more paws against rock. Grey was back, and by the sound of it Fuzzik was on his way as well.

Ten yards, but the naga were ready.

A wave of fire exploded from below Deran, searing his fur and the ground all around. Hissing in pain and surprise, the naga tumbled away from the flare.

Sarah was alive.

Grin overtaking his strained features, Dor’ash flung himself forwards while clumsily clawing at the pocket where he kept totems for easy access. Luckily he had trained to grab a totem and throw it even while holding his war hammer, although it was more difficult than usual in this stressed situation.

Grey bounded past, using the naga’s confusion to attack one of the three in front. However they were all recovering quickly, and the closest of the other two almost immediately flung his trident towards the huge wolf. Although he saw it coming Grey managed to roll aside only barely, wrestling with his opponent’s lashing tail. One of the pikes of the trident caught his back and he howled, twisting in agony and clawing at the struggling naga’s belly with already bloody claws.

With a roar Dor’ash sent the totem flying, and the naga recoiled in alarm as it stuck in the ground. Instead of blasting fireballs at the snake men, however, a healing aura rose up around the wooden item as the magic activated. It flowed towards Deran and Grey. In the second of uncertainty, Dor’ash and Fuzzik reached the naga.

The bear aimed for the one who had wounded Grey, and it met him with claws spread and vicious lines of fangs bared. No time to see how the animals fared, Dor’ash raised his shield to yet again block a trident. The naga hissed at him, exhaling a stench similar to rotting fish.

That did nothing to a nose used to decay.

From the corner of his eye he saw Deran stir, roused by the healing totem.

“Get off me, you damn ox!” came a muffled voice from beneath him, just loud enough to be heard through the hissing and growling.

With renewed strength Dor’ash called upon the elements again, channeling a second blast of ice through his hand although it stung – his fingers felt stiff from being caught in ice themselves, but he had to ignore it. His spell hit the naga in front of him square in the chest, and it tumbled back with an inhuman shriek. Using the loss of balance Dor’ash tackled it, and stomped down hard on its throat when it hit the ground. Something crunched and he leaped aside to avoid the violently writhing tail. 

The last two nearby naga were already coming at him, having split in a direction each to surround him. And more were coming, many more, speeding across the rocks from the ruined temples and whatever hollows the cliffs offered.

“Sarah-!” Dor’ash snarled, gasping for breath. The totem on the ground sent tendrils of healing magic towards him, but its power was almost drained and he hardly felt any difference. “Sarah, portal!”

He didn’t hear if she replied, dashing towards the closest naga. Couldn’t allow them to get at him from two directions- 

This one had quicker reflexes however, recoiling from his sweeping war hammer. The weapon nearly slipped out of Dor’ash’s numbing grip and he staggered, just barely able to block the trident. But the other naga got within reach in that moment, and its trident stabbed into a thin line of exposed skin just above Dor’ash’s gauntlet. He roared in pain, war hammer sliding dangerously, but he wrenched himself free by the power of rage and adrenaline. Using all his strength he slammed the side of his shield into the surprised naga’s face. It was a desperate move, leaving his back exposed to the second one and he stumbled around even as its friend thrashed backwards.

Fuzzik fell over it just as it was about to stab, closing his jaws over the naga’s arm and biting down. Blood spurted and the naga screamed, its arm crunching into an unnatural angle. Dor’ash stumbled back, swinging his war hammer into the fallen naga’s head. A sickening smash, another splatter of gore. In the background, Fuzzik noisily finished off his prey as well. 

Staggering around, Dor’ash saw Sarah roll out from under Deran, who was heaving himself up while shaking his head in disorientation. Sarah, on the other hand, clawed at her waist bag with determination, drawing out a rune. Even as she struggled up on her knees she was muttering under her breath, and the magical stone glowed in reply. 

Still more naga were approaching, and Dor’ash could not tell if the spell would be done in time to save them. Gasping for breath, his entire body throbbing and arm burning from the stab, he lurched closer to Sarah, determined to get between her and the incoming enemy. The portal she tried to open was their only chance of survival. 

Then Grey, growling and limping, padded up between the warriors and the naga, and Fuzzik lumbered to his side a second later. The two animals matched each other, paws splattered with blood. Patches of their fur gathered in slimy, red lumps of hair and foam dripped from their mouths.

They could make it. Dor’ash straightened up and leant his war hammer against his leg. Ignoring the pain in his hand and arm he tore open one of the bags from his belt and grabbed all the totems within. There weren’t many, but it might do. Letting his shield drop he took them all in his good hand and sent them flying. They stuck in the ground several feet away, clumsily placed but activated by his prayer to the elements. 

The naga recognized the danger and recoiled, trying to get out of reach. But the closest ones had no chance and fled backwards, screaming, as fireballs launched towards them.

Deran had finally gotten to his feet. He growled, clawing for the bow on his back. Despite that he apparently had enough sense to put his personal little crusade aside for the moment, the tauren gained no sympathy from Dor’ash. The shaman had to suppress a very dire wish to kick Deran in the shin. No, not now. If they survived, he could and definitely would do it later.

Small rocks sailed through the air, thrown by the furious naga. One totem fell.

They only had seconds before the brittle line of magic defense would collapse completely.

As if hearing this thought, a shimmering hole flared up in thin air, and on the other side one could see the orange cliffs and the troll-styled houses of Orgrimmar’s Valley of Spirits. 

“Go! Go!” Sarah shouted, struggling to get to her feet.

Fuzzik spun around at the shout, and Grey too turned his head.

“Hey wha-” Deran started, but in the next moment he was gone through the portal with Fuzzik tumbling after him.

Perhaps the pet – rightfully – felt worried that his master might be left behind. Grey bounded after them, his tail brushing against Dor’ash’s arm as he passed. Quickly the orc grabbed his shield and war hammer, taking the former under his good arm.

“Come!” Dor’ash snarled, reaching for Sarah. The naga were almost upon them, the totems destroyed.

She took his hand, sharp fingertips digging into his thick, messy skin. Holding her as tightly as his battered fingers allowed, Dor’ash stepped towards and through the portal. He felt her stumble behind him, but she weighed so little that he just pulled her along. A blast of Durotar’s warm sunlight and a smell of sand and fresh water greeted him, washing a wave of relief through his exhausted body.

Then he felt a tug.

Her fingertips dug deeper, but his hand was so slick with blood and worse that no friction remained. Even as he spun around in alarm, staggering on the planks in Orgrimmar, Sarah’s hand slipped out of his.

Through the closing portal he saw her tumble backwards, struggling against the huge, blue hand that enclosed her thin waist and the one which clapped over her mouth, muting any spell.

The gateway disappeared, and he saw only the orange cliffs rising towards the cerulean sky. 

The belf Rimtori does exists and she DID seduce the orc Belgrom according in-game dialogue. Uuhmyeah.
And she’s got a title. “Magus”. Ahahahaa!
She will sufferrr.

And yes, Fuzzik, and Deran Mountainhoof. I have finally commited a Princess Bride reference. But in my defence, it took twenty-six years! And it wasn’t as painfully apparent here as it was in my notes.

Ugh. Let me tell you, this productivity is rather staggering to me personally, but I daren’t stop while the inspiration fairies are still gripping me. This isn’t the story where there’ll be another attempt at horror though, that’s still to come :wink:

Er, this comment will be big. As in excessively big. It also seems the demons of Warcraft have captivated you and don’t you deny that.

The formatting of the comment will probably look awful. Hope I didn’t skip anything important in my second read-through.

and seeing the poor remains of the orc scouts had been downright depressing.

How do you mean poor here? If it’s a comment on the condition of the bodies (and not as in “poor sods”) I think remains covers it well enough. Demons and beasties don’t leave nicely-presented bodies.

Now, a couple general comments. I liked the description of the environment (“If only there had not been such pain in the land, and demons befouling it even now.” evokes that atmosphere of Legacy of Kain/ Illidan’s tortured voice/ Warhammer, where things are just bad, and that’s a good thing to evoke) and the description of the characters’ actions and movements when not in combat, were also successful. You really know how to handle the banter between Dor’ash and Sarah."Killing elves takes precedence over everything.”, heh. . Even if Dor’ash is getting sentimental (over her). I don’t know if I’ve missed the spirits making appearances in the last stories, but here it really adds to the atmosphere.

Now, things that need some touch up. I felt the fic was losing it’s aim a bit around Dor’ash’s (double apostrophes look ugly, no?) recollections of Celandria and it felt drawn out at about the point of the battle I quote at the end of the paragraph. It’s probably having too much action described in what amounts to slow motion, when you’d expect some parts to flash before your eyes in greater speed, to draw a movie analogy.

Still more naga were approaching, and Dor’ash could not tell if the spell would be done in time to save them. Gasping for breath, his entire body throbbing and arm burning from the stab, he lurched closer to Sarah, determined to get between her and the incoming enemy. The portal she tried to open was their only chance of survival.

I’ve noticed you like having characters out in the wild and having things happen to them or watching them interact. The Thrall/Jaina was your most plot-based WoW fic, no? Also, I’ve noticed some propensity to use variants of the verb “fist” some people gogling that will be probably disappointed
A couple of nitpicks now.

Pale marble temples and towers

That’s an easy image, I expect a better description from you;)

However, there was also an awful lot of blue down there, and some yellow where

“an awful lot of blue with some yellow” feels for some reason better to me, perhaps because it seems that you get the blue and the yellow in one, not two images, though you may be going for the latter of course.

This, if anything, showed what an unfriendly land Azshara was

As we know that the nagas won’t offer tea and warm bread to travelers, isn’t that pointing out the obvious?

Still Dor’ash stubbornly searched the ruins, sharp gaze running tirelessly over the crumbling walls and the rocks that surrounded them.

A synecdoche here ("[…], a sharp gaze[…]") might also work fine, if you’d like.

The other point where I think you could improve on this is if you spiced up all the past-tense descriptions of the battle with some -ing participles in the more decisive actions. I quote your paragraph that I liked best.

He leaped across a cluster of stones, coming face to face with a second naga male. A female stood a few feet behind him, all of her hands glowing a dangerous blue. Dor’ash caught the stab of the male’s trident against his shield, using his momentum to wrestle the weapon aside and get within reach. His war hammer arched through the air and crashed deep into the fish man’s head, sending gore flying. A slimy mass splattered over Dor’ash’s arm and chest but he didn’t stop, only wasted the moment it took to rip his hammer free. But the female naga had almost finished her spell, face twisted into a mask of fury. He dashed, had to stop her-

Coming, glowing, using, sending make this feel lively, rather than attempting to follow the style guidelines of Le Morte d’Arthur (“and then he went there, and then he did that”). Not that you had any thens XD

I quote some paragraphs and small changes I thought while reading them.

The change between calm declaration and sudden action went so quickly that Dor’ash failed to react in time, and when he did it was already too late. Although Sarah managed to duck the sweep of Deran’s axe, his body slammed into her and they both went flying.
[…]react in time, doing it when it was[…]

Unfortunately, he probably had not realized how close to the edge of the cliff she had been standing, and his attack made her recoil further just before the impact. The two of them flew past the short expanse of stable ground, out into thin air. Sarah’s furious shriek changed tone as she realized this.

[…], his attack making her recoil[…]. Realising this, Sarah’s furious shriek changed tone.

and he leaped down the side of the cliff, landed on a rocky, natural shelf and continued downwards. It was a hazardous trip and one the two animals could not follow him in.

[…], landing on a rocky, natural shelf and continuing downwards. One (of?) the two animals couldn’t follow him in the dangerous trip.

I suggested cutting “It was a…” here, because it feels like breaking the rhythm of the hurtling orc to to describe something (with the words “It was”) that could be integrated in the main focus of the story at that moment.

Dor’ash called upon the elements in a snarl, and sent the snake-like creature tumbling backwards with an icy blast of magic.

Btw, converting the past gets you rid of many "and"s too. “And” is a pretty basic (i.e. inoffensive) word, but cutting down on repetition is always a bonus.

He didn’t move, and Sarah didn’t reply to the shout.

As you want to describe a lack of response from both parties, “He didn’t move nor did Sarah reply to the mouth” may fit better. Take this with a pinch of salt, though.

“Sa-Sarah!” Dor’ash snarled, dangerously out of breath.

How about substituting some huffing-and-puffing here? Seems like a prime candidate for “show, not tell”.

By the way, I can see why Deran fights against the Nagas, who wouldn’t mind cutting his head off, but I was a bit perplexed initially by the bear turning against the Nagas when moments ago it was hunting Dor’ash. Is it supposed to be extra intelligent?

No time to see how the animals fared, Dor’ash raised his shield to yet again block a trident.

Having mentioned he can’t observe the animals again, perhaps you should rephrase it. Or have Dorash perform an action immediately after you describe what the animals did and it’ll probably get through by synergy that he’s busy doing his own thing.

but he wrenched himself free by the power of rage and adrenaline.

I had this idea that you should somehow put “by the power of rage and adrenaline” in the beginning of the sentence, but I’ve forgotten how exactly in the meantime. Anyway.

But in my defence, it took twenty-six years! And it wasn’t as painfully apparent here as it was in my notes.

Strike that from the list now. :wink:

I wrote all of it in one go, pretty much, so it’s no wonder there are a lot of things that need touch-ups :slight_smile: I’ll see to it. Most importantly for now, Fuzzik wasn’t chasing Dor’ash but following him in order to help him, Sarah and Deran. I need to make that clearer.

But yeeeah, he’s a very smart bear, that one…

Glad you like Dor’ash and Sarah’s banter, it’s fun to write :slight_smile: Sarah’s fun because she can say just about anything.

Haha, recording events and having characters interact… it may be true that the Thrall/Jaina thing is the one with the most plot. The one with Vo’don, Thomas and crew could be summarized to “make it to safety” and Wail, Baby, Wail was just a recap of stupidity XD This one isn’t much better - “save private Sarah and beat up some belves”.

looks up from notes after scratching “Commit Princess Bride reference” Goodie, now lesse… get awesome job, win Nobel prize, conquer world…

It’s rather interesting how the characters are affected by the existence of a plot in Romancing the Warlord. There are parts that they have to do, but when it works it turns out well methinks. Though there’s the fact that they also have backstory in the games which affects what they can and cannot do.

I swear, someone must have made a version of Paradise Lost with Illidan as a kind-of Lucifer. It’s so obvious. Or riffs on Moorcock. If there was an ideas repository I’d be rich (5 ideas a penny).

Do you think you may get a Nobel prize “for outstanding development of Orc characters, conciliation with humans and moving description of belf genocide”?

Romancing the Warchief, you mean? Or are you talking about something else there? Sorry I wasn’t quite following :slight_smile:

I suppose that if Illidan is Lucifer, Tyrande would be Eve and Malfurion Adam. Oi… it makes an AWFUL lot of sense, now that you mention it!

Ahahaha… we do need that category in the award list, we do! starts to write ticket to the Nobel commitée
As a sidenote, there’s a tradition where every year when the Nobel prize winner in literature is announced, there’s a guy who always manages to sneak into the reception and yells “FINALLY!” when they speak the name. It’s a bit of an inside joke XD

For a couple of precious, frozen seconds Dor’ash stared at the empty space where the portal had been. In the background, Deran slumped onto the floor, pressing a hand to his head.

Hissing out a curse Dor’ash spun around, fixing his eyes onto a faraway spot and focusing. He could not make a portal back there, but there was something he could do, however useless it really was. 

He cast his gaze onto the cliffs surrounding Orgrimmar, and his world leaped forwards onto that point, hovering above Grommash Hold. Next horizon, over the cliffs, the distant tree tops and cliffs north of the capital… onwards. He dangled above the trees, gazing down at a sea of leaves and rock-

The vision lurched, cleared, but he faded, his body was so far away he could hardly feel it. Just a distant pinprick, slipping out of his grasp and this floating world the sky and the treetops would swallow him-

Panic rushed his ragged mind and he vaulted backwards, jolting so hard he almost fell over as his wide open eyes blinked. Staggering backwards he leaned against Grey, forgetting that the wolf was wounded. At the whimper and recoil, Dor’ash moved his hand away and tried to straighten up.

Spirits, he was no far seer. A shaman with years of experience well honed by battles and journeys, yes, but one could only go so far. If he’d ever had more time to sit down and study more, perhaps, yet he never did. Not enough. He was a warrior at heart.

But, by the ancestors, [i]Sarah[/i]. He had to see what had happened to her, had to. Logic said that she was already left for dead, but he had to know. Naga weren’t stupid, they might know that a Forsaken could still be saved unless her remains were completely destroyed.

Instincts urged him on, the bad feeling returning with reinforcements. There was something else… 

Closing his eyes he struggled to focus, but his mind spun with exhaust, worry, fury. With a groan he rubbed his face. Grey pawed at his master’s leg, looking uncertain. Finally the wolf sunk down, resting his tired head on his paws. 

“Oy, mon. You doin’ alright?”

Dor’ash looked up as the troll mage hunched down beside him, watching him with concern. A little ways to the side, beside the slumping Deran, Fuzzik stood and watched Dor’ash as attentively as the troll. Somewhere deep down, the orc registered that the bear’s eyes held an odd amount of empathy for a beast. Not enough to get his full attention, though.

“My friend…” Dor’ash managed to grit out to the troll, waving at the empty space where the portal had been.

“Still back dere?” The mage turned his head, frowning.

“Yes, I’m trying to see what’s going on, but-”

Grunting, Dor’ash rubbed his forehead. The thought of standing up made him feel sick. Surrendering to the reality of the situation, he let his hand and shoulders drop.

“She’s probably smashed to bits by now.”

“Aw, mon…” the troll murmured. It was not quite gentle, the way the big blue hand patted Dor’ash’s shoulder, neither was the tone all that soft. But there was an understanding in it.

Had he known that ‘she’ was a Forsaken, the troll may not have been quite so sympathetic. Dor’ash chose not to disclose that piece of information. 

The troll backed away, leaving him to his thoughts. After a few moments Dor’ash drew in a deep breath and climbed to his feet. Grey struggled to stand, until the shaman managed to pull himself together well enough to call on the healing powers of the spirits. The wolf’s breathing showed how relieved he felt as his wounds closed. 

Deran said nothing as the orc left, sparing only a nod towards Fuzzik. The bear might not comprehend the gratitude, but he had fought well.

For the first few steps the surroundings spun before his eyes, but he squared his jaw and made it down the stair. A cold determination filled his chest as he set his sights towards the rooftops seen through the opening in the cliff ahead. 

If she was just broken up and thrown over the jagged landscape, he might be able to salvage Sarah. For that hope to live, though, he would need more allies to beat the crap out of the naga.

He quickened his pace, then ran as soon as he felt sure that the dizziness would not send him crashing to the ground. Grey bounded up beside him, keeping an easy pace. This wasn’t the mad dash through the hard landscape of Azshara, but the stress only felt a little bit lighter.

When crossing the rope bridge leading to the flight tower, Dor’ash had to slow down not to risk falling, but as soon as he reached the other side he ducked down the spiraling path. People were going in both directions, getting in the way and he could have roared in frustration. The road outside were no less packed.

He paused for a moment, closing his eyes.

Help me find somebody who can aid us.

It took a moment, and he wasn’t sure if the spirits would offer any help. Then he felt a slight tug inside his mind, and set off through the crowd. Crossing the road with some difficulty, he glanced around only to make sure Grey was still able to follow. 

Inns and taverns lined this side of the street. People of all Horde races, wearing everything from simple clothing to armor, created an overload of colors and impressions as they lounged in the shade and enjoyed cool drinks. 

She’d said that she had spoken with-

Dor’ash’s furiously searching gaze caught an undead man sitting by one of the tables outside a tavern, dressed in a pale blue mage’s robe. Unlike Sarah, he still had a nose and his eyes shone with the familiar yellow glow of the Forsaken. His ears, on the other hand, were two stumps surrounded by greenish gray wisps of hair. He sipped a drink from a mug, speaking with two other undeads whom Dor’ash hardly took note of. 

“Jonathan!” he snarled.

One does not see a rattled Forsaken very often – so the fact that Jonathan Schiller jumped on his seat said a lot about Dor’ash’s tone.

“By Sylvanas, mate!” the mage said, looking around sharply. “Are you trying to- shouldn’t you be in Azshara?”

He took in Dor’ash’s bloodied armor, the just as messy wolf behind him, and most importantly to the Forsaken, the distinct lack of company. Jonathan might not be psychic, but he could combine hints into facts. His chair fell over as he shot to his feet.  

“Where is she?” he demanded.

“In Azshara!”

The other Forsaken at the table, and many of the other patrons of the bar as well as people on the street were watching the events unfold with varying degrees of interest. Neither Dor’ash nor Jonathan noticed this as the mage stomped closer and craned his neck to look at the orc.

“What happened?” he asked.

Pressing a hand to his pounding head – and smearing more blood into his hair in the process – Dor’ash quickly explained about the portal and how a naga got hold of Sarah before she could make it through. By the end of it, Jonathan was shaking his head, groaning. 

“Great, a scavenger hunt among the fishies,” he said. Looking at Dor’ash, a bony hand reached out and patted the back of an empty chair. “Sit down, you look like you’re about to drop dead yourself.”

The mere idea of pausing made Dor’ash bare his fangs in another snarl, even though his legs were starting to raise loud protests against the rough treatment they had received in the last hour. Not even an orc could keep up a pace like this for so long. But he couldn’t stop, not when-

“They’ve probably already killed her and thrown her all over the place,” Jonathan grimly said with a Forsaken’s cold, hard logic. “We can’t whip up a rescue team and make it there in time, you know we can’t.”

Yes, he did. He just didn’t want to admit it.

“What if they burn her remains?” Dor’ash grit out as he sunk onto the chair. He had to fight back a wince, his legs felt as if they were on fire. The hand that had been hit by an ice spell throbbed, and he tiredly massaged it. Grey flopped down in the shadow at his side, panting.

Not that Jonathan had much left as far as lips went, but he pursed what he had.

“Then we make fish soup,” he said. “Slow boil to make it tender.”

“Heh…” It wasn’t a laugh, not even close. Dor’ash sighed and shook his head.

It was the painful truth, though. Already it was certainly too late, had been too late from moments after the portal closed. Naga seldom take prisoners, and very few people of any race would even consider trying to interrogate a Forsaken. One can’t torture something that do not feel pain as living do.

But she was his friend, he couldn’t just sit there when she needed to be found, if not avenged!

One of Jonathan’s drinking buddies said something in Gutterspeak, and a brief conversation followed. Dor’ash didn’t understand, but he suspected it was all Jonathan explaining the weird alliance between his “ladyfriend” and this orc shaman. 

Dor’ash was about to stand up, unable to just sit idle even to rest when he needed to get back and find whatever was left of Sarah. He was just tensing his protesting muscles when the spiritual cry rung though his worn mind. Grey looked up with a sharp whimper.

‘Deceit approaches the wretched girl!’

The spirits were far stronger and louder here, where life pulsated and shamans called upon them everyday. There was a reason the warlocks had to practice their arts beneath the ground in Orgrimmar.

A hiss escaped Dor’ash’s throat, but he waved Jonathan aside when the mage looked around.

Something was horribly, horribly wrong. He glared upwards, past the heads of the people on the street, towards the sky. Again he cast his gaze onwards, hand absentmindedly digging into Grey’s fur for support. The lupine mount was not a spiritual creature, but he was a wolf and wolves are by tradition holy to orcs.

He vaguely heard Jonathan’s voice, falling silent quickly, and the murmur and stomping of Orgrimmar around his body, but Dor’ash himself hovered above the town, turning towards the northeast.

Although still exhausted and ragged, he’d had some little time to at least catch his breath. Desperate need to find out the truth drove him on once again, but he was in control this time and the frenzy could not shatter his focus. His sight leaped, passing leagues of land and sky, grasping the winds to guide him, drawing support from the elements. 

Brown grass and autumn trees spread out beneath him, he could even see the road towards the ocean. Just a little further, the rising hills and the steep cliffs, the ruins-

And he saw the naga far below him, and the small, twisting body they surrounded. Sarah laid on the ground, her arms and legs tied, and ice coating her face to stop her from chanting a spell. Several naga of both sexes kept a close eye on her.

But that was not all that was there.

The naga were blue, the cliffs grey, Sarah wore a brown robe. But there were more colors, golden and red, as worn by the group of blood elves standing by. One of them, a woman with long black hair, holding a mage’s staff in her hand, was speaking with a female naga.

As Dor’ash watched, the two women nodded and one of the male fish creatures hauled Sarah up by her shoulders. She twisted even more wildly to no avail, clattering against the hard rocks as the naga tossed her over to the elves.

Although looking disgusted, when the black-haired leader waved her hand, two of her followers grabbed Sarah’s arms and lifted her up for inspection.

Unconcerned with smell and rotten flesh, the magus Rimtori, she who had seduced Belgrom and murdered a dozen orcs, grabbed Sarah’s chin and held the Forsaken’s head still.

Sarah tore her head free and her face twisted towards the sky, covered eyes turning straight towards Dor’ash’s watching spirit.

She couldn’t scream out her rage.

Dor’ash’s mind spun back, and he heard himself swearing before he even became fully aware of his real surroundings again.

“What-” Jonathan had time to start, but Dor’ash stumbled to his feet and grabbed the mage’s arm.

Still swearing, the orc staggered forwards up the street with Jonathan in loudly questioning tow. He hardly even noticed all the people giving him odd looks. Grey slunk behind them, easily making his way through the crowd but growling his confusion. 

It took several long seconds before Dor’ash regained his balance and composure, but then he wasted no time snarling an explanation. In the next moment they were both running, making way past the other people on the road as quickly as they could. 

“You go get some of your friends, I’ll get mine,” Jonathan said, speaking through clenched teeth.

“Very well, I’ll see you at the base of the tower in one hour at most,” Dor’ash snarled back.

Jonathan nodded and flashed out of sight. Jaw set in stone, Dor’ash headed for the Valley of Strength together with Grey. 

As he materialized again Jonathan nearly stumbled because of the sloping path, but he fisted his robe to keep it away from his feet as he hurried on downwards. The sunlight was at his back, but he dove further on into a dank, purplish light. Shadows danced over the rounded walls and the air probably grew thick, but he did not notice such things. Merchants and strange figures in dark robes looked up from their discussions with lazy curiosity at the disturbance. Normally, people did not run in the Cleft of Shadow, for the people frequenting it had pretty strong ideas about dignity. 

Jonathan would have ignored them, but he had to at least look around for the person he sought. 

Doing this would risk his position on Sarah’s Winter Veil gift list, but just rounding up a group of allies for an assault in hostile territory on short notice was not that easy – unless you went to the right people. This should be interesting enough for that particular basta-

Ahead of him a succubus stepped out of a tent, turned around and stroked aside the canvas acting as a door. An undead man walked through the opening, talking to somebody still inside over his shoulder. Jonathan slowed, but made it the last few steps in a brisk stride. 

“Pardon me, master Nebula,” he said in Gutterspeak, pressing his palms against each other as he came to a halt.

The warlock twisted his head around and glared at Jonathan. 

“And you are?” he demanded.

“Who’s there?” the rumbling voice of a male orc asked from inside the tent. The warlock held up a hand as a signal to wait, never taking the glow of his eyes off the intruder.

“Jonathan Schiller,” Jonathan said, bowing briefly. “You may not remember me. I am a friend of your sister Sarah.”

“Is that so?”

Patrick Nebula straightened up and looked over his shoulder at the occupant of the tent. 

“Nothing to worry about, master Fireblade,” he said in Orcish. “Merely a message from a family member.”

A disinterested grunt was the only reply from inside. The succubus let the canvas go, but a stronger, purple light shone through around the borders of the cloth. She remained silent, watching the two undead men with a bored expression on her beautiful face.

“Now then, what is the meaning of this?” Patrick asked, returning to Gutterspeak – but with a little more interest than annoyance.

Oh, she’s going to kill me.

“I’m afraid that your sister is in a spot of trouble up in Azshara, master Nebula,” Jonathan said. He quickly explained what he knew of the events in the autumnal landscape, then continued: “Her pet orc is pulling together some people to help crush the blood elves. Would you be so inclined to lend your assistance?”

Patrick, who had listened with increasingly twitching lips, bowed his head and pressed a decaying finger against his mouth. 

“Oh my,” he finally said, “little Sarah has fallen off a rock and broken her arm again.”

He looked up, still chortling softly and throatily. 

“Very amusing, I must say. I assume you wish for me to gather a few more people to help us with these elves?”

“Any help will be most welcome, of course,” Jonathan said, nodding gratefully at the ‘us’. “The orc wanted me to head to the tower within an hour to meet him and anybody he may have conscripted.”

Patrick slowly nodded. The shadowy inhabitants of the Cleft went about their business around the two men, at least pretending not to try listening in. In the background, Patrick’s succubus leaned against a rock, waiting to see what would happen next.

“Very well, I believe I can call upon a few willing warriors,” Patrick said. “I cannot stand by and leave my sister in the hands of the elves she so hates, now can I?”

“I’m most grateful, master Nebula. I’m certain she will be as well.”

 Even as he spoke, Jonathan stepped backwards to leave, pressing his palms against each other again. 

“She better be,” Patrick said with a smile unpleasant even for a Forsaken. “And, Schiller…”

“Yes, Sir?” Jonathan stopped moving.

Patrick waved a finger at him.

“I have, shall we say, reasons to keep a low profile. You will call me Patrick Hartwell, as it might become troublesome if that orc of my sister’s learns of any connections I may have.”

“I understand completely, master Hartwell,” Jonathan said.

“Very good. I will see you at the tower then.”

Jonathan bowed, backed a few more steps and then turned around to hurry off. Every sixth mage’s sense in his body told him that this might not have been a very good idea at all. It was, however, an issue he could not afford to worry about. 

Oh this, this isn’t going to end well. :mwahaha:

Romancing the Warchief, you mean? Or are you talking about something else there? Sorry I wasn’t quite following :slight_smile:

Warchief, yes. And to think that I never really was a fun of the Warlord games. My improptu title was a tribute to Romancing the throne, one of the King’s Quest adventures.

As a sidenote, there’s a tradition where every year when the Nobel prize winner in literature is announced, there’s a guy who always manages to sneak into the reception and yells “FINALLY!” when they speak the name. It’s a bit of an inside joke XD

You mean there’s humour? I’m shocked, shocked! It must feel satisfying when the recipient is relatively unknown.

You are rather prolific lately. Some day I’ll oversleep and next thing you know Dor’ash has become head of a clan and has taken up tapdancing.

forgetting that the wolf was wounded. At the whimper and recoil,

Integrate it perhaps? Dor’ash leans without thinkink, wounded wolf growls.

The wolf’s breathing showed how relieved he felt as his wounds closed.

… showing relief as his wounds closed? Feels slightly clunky.

If she was just broken up and thrown over the jagged landscape, he might be able to salvage Sarah. For that hope to live, though, he would need more allies to beat the crap out of the naga.

I sense a slight change in the vocabulary here XD

One can’t torture something that do not feel pain as living do.

Unconcerned with smell and rotten flesh, the magus Rimtori, she who had seduced Belgrom and murdered a dozen orcs,

I like that “she who…” description. Feels pleasantly archaic.

Jonathan slowed, but made it the last few steps in a brisk stride.

Also, I have to say: Convergence!

The guy who leads the chosing process and announces the Literature Winner, Horace Engdahl, seems to have a healthy sense of humor, because although they’re officially trying to keep that “finally!” guy from being there, Mr. Engdahl laughs a little everytime it happens.
For the record the “finally!” guy in question is one of the hosts on the morning show of one of the biggest music radio stations, and he’s waging a fairly good-natured little war against Swedish culture at large.

Anyway, I have just a little ending to the last chapter to add.

“It’s not that I’m ungrateful,” Dor’ash said in a low voice, “but how did you manage this?”

He stood in the shadow of the flight tower, gazing down at the sloping road with disbelief. Behind him, four more orcs, two trolls and one tauren mirrored his expression, some of them with a greater sense of unease mixed in. Dor’ash addressed Jonathan, who looked around.

Behind the mage came a troop of fifteen Forsaken, some carrying swords, some wearing robes in various colors and varying states of tatter. 

“Eh, I called on a higher force,” Jonathan said in an easy tone, turning his head towards a tall Forsaken man in a warlock’s robe. That one bowed his head in greeting as he came to a halt.

“Patrick Hartwell,” he introduced himself. Like all Forsaken he had a voice which grated on the ears, but it sounded as if he tried to keep it somewhat smooth. “The elf Rimtori has created quite a little outrage amongst our kind as well as yours, master Coldbane. I was actually already arranging this troop bound for Azshara, when Schiller showed up.”

Dor’ash studied the man for a moment. Something about this didn’t sit right with him. The spirits muttered, but they almost always did when there were Forsaken about. Sometimes he had to ask Sarah to take a few steps backwards when he needed to listen to the whispers.

“I never heard about that when I got my orders to go there,” he said.

Patrick raised a hand, nodding understanding.

“Of course,” he said. “We knew of the affairs with Belgrom, however Rimtori’s meddling is a little embarrassing to the Society, and therefore I did not want to tangle our problems with yours. Yet, now that she has taken one of our own prisoner on top of everything, I see no reason to keep our outrage separate.”

Forsaken under the direct command of the Royal Apothecaries. Wonderful. Dor’ash felt even less thrilled than before. But, they were manpower he could not afford to turn down.

He felt a sudden stitch of sympathy for the Warchief. 

“Very well,” he said, not letting any misgiving show as he drew himself up and gave the Forsaken troops a stern look. Glowing, unblinking eyes looked back, although some had their faces partly covered in a manner similar to Sarah. “I very much appreciate your aid in this, but I want to make it clear that I am the leader of this expedition.”

Patrick bowed again.

“Of course, master Coldbane,” he said. “I, and my men, will comply to that.”

But will you respect it? Dor’ash dryly thought.

He pushed the bad feelings aside, trying to hold on to the fact that he would trust Sarah with his life, and Jonathan had never proven to be anything than a decent man. To have absolute faith in the Forsaken was generally believed to be somewhere between unwise and suicidal, of course. However, much as he knew that, and personally detested warlocks, he would have to take the risk.

Turning around and barking at everyone to follow, he led his own friends and the Forsaken up the tower. He could tell that the former watched him with some concern about this twist, but they would have to deal as much as he did. They had to eradicate Rimtori and her elves, and get Sarah back.

No telling what that pink witch in a red dress planned, especially if she went so far as to buy a captive undead from the naga.

Whatever it was, it had to be stopped. And if Sarah was dead, he would take his time to break every bone in Rimtori’s body. Although he would have to leave something for Jonathan, too.

Such thoughts were unsuitable for a shaman, but Dor’ash allowed himself a little bit of it.

Doras, flight master of Orgrimmar, looked a little taken aback as he realized the size of the troop. However, while waiting for Jonathan, Dor’ash had already cleared everything out with the wyvern master. By now this whole escapade counted as a war effort, and Belgrom had readily agreed to pay for the flights of whoever wanted to help crush the treacherous blood elves.

There just wasn’t enough space for everyone to take off at the same time, so pairs and threes of wyverns soared off the tower and towards the northeast. Circling, the growing group in the air waited until everyone was airborne, whereupon on Dor’ash’s command everyone turned the winged lions towards Azshara.

Why, yes, I did groan when I looked up the flight master’s name.

Next up, Fuzzik shows his true colors (literally…) and heads are smashed in.

For the record the “finally!” guy in question is one of the hosts on the morning show of one of the biggest music radio stations, and he’s waging a fairly good-natured little war against Swedish culture at large.

He just needs to spend some time in Greece to rethink about the Swedish culture that allows him to be there :stuck_out_tongue: It’s good that they allow a few chuckles during the ceremony though; it makes me think better of the Nobels (though not enough to forgive their giving one to Anatole France XD).

“Very well,” he said, not letting any misgiving show as he drew himself up and gave the Forsaken troops a stern look. Glowing, unblinking eyes looked back

Heh :wink:

He pushed the bad feelings aside, trying to hold on to the fact that he would trust Sarah with his life, and Jonathan had never proven to be anything than a decent man.

So trusting! How did he ever reach level 60?

and Belgrom had readily agreed to pay for the flights of whoever wanted to help crush the treacherous blood elves.
Men with values, good!

Oh, they keep him out of the big award ceremony, he only ever makes it in when the winner is announced long before the ceremony. That announcement is really attention-heavy with the media too, though.
Haha, if he went to Greece I bet he’d make fun of the temples and history. He’s that kind of person.

Ahh, Dor’ash is probably a little too trusty XD But Jonathan is Sarah’s loverboy, and the shaman probably can’t shake off his orcish belief in loyalty to family/mates and stuff, even if my two undeads are living in siiiiin!

And about that trustyness… well, there’s probably a reason why in as good as every story there is and will be for Dor’ash and Sarah, they get to have near death experiences…

I figure that now that Rimtori has murdered a dozen orcs, conspired with naga AND kidnapped an innocent little girl (SNORT), Belgrom would move from “I WANT THAT WOMAN DEAD” to “CHAAAARGE!” mode. There are signs in the game that she’s up to no good with demons, so a full-scale assault to end whatever she’s doing IS actually logically in order.

What, sinful undead? Purge them, purge them by fire! Yep, pretty tired.

Right, calling the Cathedral Knights of Granas right now! /Grandia II reference

Sorry for the double post, but I have a small request. I don’t play WoW anymore for various reasons and I really shouldn’t start again right now. Sooo… could anyone be a dear and skip along to Azshara for me, and count how many orcs there are in the Valormok camp? I could make up a number, but I seem to recall that there are no guards there, only NPCs. It’s for a small detail, but it would be nice to have it. :slight_smile:

Wohoo, triple post!
hangs head in shame
Anyway, lots of stuff happening in this chapter, so hang on to your hats.

“What in the name of the spirits is going on?” Ag’tor Bloodfist asked, dark eyes watching in disbelief as wyvern after wyvern landed in his small encampment.

In the background the flight master of the camp just gaped, shaking his head. There weren’t roosters enough for these many wyverns. Most of them had to simply curl up on the ground once they had landed. Although the winged creatures could speak, they seldom did so normally – but now there was a low, growling choir of complaints at this rude treatment.

The other orcs in the camp (all six([b]??[/b]) of them) had also come closer to watch this spectacle, gazing at the gathering troop in wonderment.

“I evaluated the situation with the blood elf Rimtori,” Dor’ash said, half turning and waving at the still incoming men and women. “This is the result.”

Ag’tor lifted a hand, pointing finger stretched. It wagged about as he counted the soldiers, lips moving silently.

Finally, he grinned in a most nasty way.

“I like it,” he said.

He probably didn’t even notice that Sarah wasn’t there, although she had visited the camp together with Dor’ash just half a day before. 

As soon as everyone had landed, the various soldiers gathered in a half circle around Dor’ash. They weren’t trained to work together, at least not all of them – he couldn’t speak for those Jonathan had called to action. It would do, however. Not one of them moved without confidence, and he knew he could trust his own allies. The Forsaken looked no less ready to fight.

Jonathan shuffled up to stand just a couple of steps to Dor’ash’s side. They exchanged a look, and the pale grey lips of the mage grimly stretched. This battle was personal.

Giving a small nod, Dor’ash then turned to everyone else to explain how far away the elves were, and that they would walk rather than risk the wyverns getting shot down with magic. Looking at the flying lions they might not be up for playing along anymore, either.

He was almost finished when a shout from above made him and everyone else look up. Nobody but Dor’ash recognized the call well enough to growl in exasperation, though.

Two more wyverns swept across the sky, both of them of the very large kind. The ones that could carry the weight of a full grown tauren. Deran was back. And… he wasn’t very kind to his partner, by the looks of it.

Dor’ash caught Fuzzik’s eye as the bear peered down. If ever an animal had looked traumatized by fear, that was it. The wyvern didn’t look exalted either, but somehow it managed to land, running a few steps on the ground before collapsing. The flight master ran over to the two of them, muttering disbelieving curses. Unconcerned with that, Deran dismounted his own wyvern and stomped over, past the soldiers who curiously moved aside. He drew himself up in front of Dor’ash, who glared daggers.

“If the murderess Nebula is still alive, I have a duty to my brother to see her dead,” Deran coldly said.

Far behind him, Fuzzik tumbled off the panting wyvern as the flight master finally managed to untie the two beasts from each other. The bear laid still, gasping loudly with his huge maw hanging open and claws digging into the grass and earth.

Deran just stood there, square teeth bared. 

For a very weak second Dor’ash considered turning to Jonathan and tell him ‘[i]It’s his fault Sarah was captured by blood elves. I’m going to look the other way for five seconds.[/i]’

But, well, murder is murder. No matter what instrument you use for the killing blow. As a shaman of the Frostwolf clan, Dor’ash had better morals than that.


“You almost got all five of us killed back there,” he said in a dangerously low voice. “Now my friend is the prisoner of a band of renegade blood elves, because of your poor choices.”

Deran coldly glared back and folded his tree-trunk arms. 

“Are you saying that I am wrong in seeking to avenge my brother’s death?” he asked.

Gritting his teeth, Dor’ash had to admit that he understood that anger. Was he not about to do the same thing, in essence? However…

“I don’t condemn your philosophy,” Dor’ash said. “But here’s the thing. No matter what you may have heard, I was there in the Wailing Caverns when it happened, and Sarah didn’t kill your brother. Damian brought it upon himself, and she had nothing to do with it.”

The next few seconds were the stupidest moment of Dor’ash’s entire life, and that’s saying something.

Deran blinked.

“Damian?” he blankly said. “My brother’s name was Duncan.”

Dor’ash stopped breathing.

A snicker was heard in the background, from somebody standing at a safe distance. Jonathan cast one glance up at the shaman’s face and took several steps backwards. The trolls and other orcs were already recoiling, urged by raw survival instincts.

“Oh.” Deran rubbed his neck with a sheepish expression. “I suppose the person I heard it from got it wrong. I’m terribly so-”

Dor’ash backhanded him across the face so hard that he was thrown off his hooves and crashed on the ground. The impact was so great that everyone in the audience felt it in their feet. 

“Go get yourself killed,” Dor’ash hissed through his fangs. He had to force himself to just stand there, one motion and he would have gone over and choked the blazing fool. “I hope your bear fares better, because he’s obviously the only one of you two who has an ounce of working brain!”

Some of the Forsaken slowly clapped their hands, a rattling sound. Dor’ash was about to snarl at them. Deran pushed himself up on one hand, groaning, and started to say something.

Then Fuzzik stomped forwards – still a little shaky on his paws – and whacked Deran over the head so hard that the tauren fell back and didn’t get up again. Knocked unconscious.

The camp fell silent.

What the bear had just done was a really amusing, mute way of expressing the message, ‘[i]you idiot![/i]’. However, nobody laughed – because it was certainly not something that any normal bear would do.

Realizing his mistake, Fuzzik recoiled from Deran. Then he carefully peered up at Dor’ash, whose eyes had turned to slits.

Now that he looked closer, Dor’ash noticed that the bear’s ears were a little longer than they should be. He also recalled the odd amount of understanding he had seen in those dark eyes in the Valley of Spirits. 

“I hope that you are a tauren, druid,” the orc said.

But a tauren would have no reason to look so frightened at being caught. 

“Oh boy!” a hoarse voice in the background said. “Plum jelly dessert!”

A choir of sharp, unpleasant chuckling answered this statement, but the Forsaken weren’t the only ones regarding this twist with sadistic interest. Even the other tauren had no kind eye for a night elf spy, especially one who followed one of her own kind around in disguise. 

Fuzzik’s claws nervously scraped the ground, but fully aware that he was surrounded he made no attempt to escape. Only stared up at Dor’ash. 

It was a brief, inner struggle, and Dor’ash wasn’t sure if he did the right thing. As the leader, he had to keep the others’ faith in him intact. But…

He thought about the naga, and Hyjal, and that peculiar human paladin, now emissary of Theramore, Thomas Southstone. Alliance and Horde didn’t always count, there were situations where those terms even were filthy.

These thoughts passed quickly, and Dor’ash shook his head with a snarl. 

“The elf protected me as I tried to save Sarah earlier,” he said, loud and clear. “I owe him that much, so leave him be.”

“Ah, but we have no reason to be grateful to him,” one of the Forsaken warriors said.

Surprisingly, Patrick Hartwell raised a hand in a halting sign. The agreeing murmurs from the other undeads instantly ceased.

“You heard master Coldbane,” Patrick said. “The night elf helped one trying to save our little Sarah. That’s not something you see every day.”

Dor’ash gave the undead man a sharp look. A warlock showing mercy?

The look Patrick gave Fuzzik, however, was one that rather said something along the lines of ‘[i]What an interesting bug. I will have to dissect it in my lab[/i]’ than anything else. The druid turned his big, rounded head away very quickly.

“And she will be furious when she hears about that, mark my words,” Jonathan cheerfully added.

Some knowing, hoarse chuckles were heard, but nobody took their eyes off the bear.

Dor’ash turned and looked at Ag’tor. After a moment of glaring, the warrior shrugged with a mighty clang of crimson armor. He obviously didn’t like it, but could respect a debt repaid as well as any other honorable orc. The people under his command would let the night elf go without a fuss. 

Stepping aside, Dor’ash waved impatiently at Fuzzik.

“Leave before I change my mind,” the orc snapped in Common, to make sure the druid understood.

The huge, furry head sunk low, so far that Fuzzik’s nose almost touched his paws in a silent sign of gratitude. Then he loped forwards, rushing past Dor’ash and the orcs and trolls who moved back to let him pass. The heavy stomps crunched against the ground, until a flash of light covered the druid and he shrunk. A cheetah replaced the bear and continued across the open landscape at far greater speed, its golden fur, beneath the black spots, matching the grass. 

Dor’ash turned around and ordered the troop to get going. To his relief they all obeyed without question, though one or two shrugged or lightly shook their head in disbelief.

It would take much longer to get there since they did not have mounts. Knowing how far it was, Dor’ash grit his teeth. He tried not to think about what those elves possibly could want to do with a Forsaken prisoner. Might they just mean to harvest the magic in Sarah’s body or use her for some arcane experiment?

He wrestled those thoughts aside. She was alive last he saw her, and she was a true survivor. That hope, he would hang on to until the end.

After a little more than an hour’s march he ordered a halt for a brief rest. The Forsaken had no problem, but Dor’ash and the rest would if they walked all the way to the coast and then leaped into battle without pause.

There was another reason to stop, too. One of the trolls was a shaman, and on the request he sat down and narrowed his eyes at the rolling hills ahead of them. Dor’ash would have used his own far sight again, at this distance it would not have been as much a strain as in Orgrimmar. However, he knew he needed to keep his head cool, and he didn’t know what to expect from the elf camp. It was difficult enough not letting the worry for Sarah boil over, if he saw her in a bad condition it may throw him off balance.

The rest of the group sat in the grass or leaned against trees, watching the troll as moments passed in silence. Finally he spoke, mouth the only part of him that moved.

“Dere be a group of dem standing by a small ruin, up on a hill stretching out towards da sea. Pretty dangerous for little elfies. Hm.” The troll’s lips moved, rolling against his own tusks. “Dey be lookin’ mighty agitated ‘bout somethin’-”


The hoarse shout snapped just about everyone around, and the troll shaman straightened up, blinking with an annoyed grunt. 

A few steps away one of the Forsaken stood, hands raised towards the sky as if reaching for something. The pose caused the wide, dark blue – almost black – robes to slide down the raw bones of his arms. His fingers bent, one foot moving behind the other and he crouched as if putting all his meager weight into pulling something down.

Dor’ash cast his gaze upwards and saw what looked like a cluster of black threads. The Forsaken warlock let out a hiss and made a tearing motion with his entire body. Whatever that thing up there was, it followed his motion as if he had held it, tumbling down to hover between his skeletal hands.

“Caught a live one,” he said with a triumphant grin.

He turned around, and as he spread his hands a little further the black threads moved apart just a bit. Enough to see that within the cluster of twisting lines was a floating eyeball, wrapped in a green glow. It threw itself back and forth inside its tiny prison, perfectly expressing rage.

Although the sight of this completely new kind of spell was a (somewhat worrisome) marvel in itself, it couldn’t keep attention away from the truth. The warlock, too, shook his head and the grin turned to a grimace.

“They know we’re coming,” he said. Unnecessary, really, as everyone had already realized it.

The warlock held the dark yarn prison towards a nearby Forsaken in black armor. The other undead drew a dagger from seemingly nowhere, and stabbed it right through the threads, at the eyeball. Leaving no trace except for a green flash, the eye disappeared and so did the binding magic.

Dor’ash decided that this was not the time to ask about that spell. Instead he turned and nodded at the troll, who sunk back down on the ground and fastened his gaze onto the hills again.

“Now dey’re all shouting at each other,” he said after a few moments, with some smugness in his voice. “Looks like da girl with black hair is da loudest.”

“Must be Rimtori,” Dor’ash said, pursing his mouth. If the elves fled, they really had nowhere to go unless they really had the aid of the naga, or made a break for the mountains. But Hyjal did not really invite to climbing, and other than that there was only the ocean. Still, it would take some time to catch them. At least, they could not use mage portals to flee to any cities.

The troll remained silent for a few seconds.

“Dey be calling others,” he finally said. “Rimtori’s goin’ up to da temple. Either dey plan somethin’ or dey prepare ta defend demselves.” He paused. “I ain’t seein’ any trace of da dead girl.”

Dor’ash considered for a moment. His heart sank at Sarah being nowhere in sight, but she might be anywhere. He had to keep hoping. 

“We move forwards and spy again in a little while,” he decided, “we still have some ways to go. If they plan a violent spell, we are out of range, but we shouldn’t stand still and wait in case they plan on running.”

The troll shook himself back to his body and climbed to his feet, then they all continued onwards as per Dor’ash’s order. No more magical, spying eyes got within sight, but everyone cast their gazes around all the time in the search for them. 

After a while they paused to let the troll take another look at the situation, and he reported that the elves were converging by the temple. By his report, it sounded as if they planned on trying to defend themselves rather than fleeing.

That suited everyone just fine.

No need to sneak, since the elves knew of the approaching enemies. Still, as they marched on and the abandoned tents got within sight, everyone’s senses were on high alert – especially the magic users, watching out for any sign of a massive magic attack or anything of the like. But apart from the chill wind, there was nothing.


The elves had not moved from the hill, still standing by the temple. They had arranged themselves in a few rows, weapons drawn. Silently, they watched the approaching troop, like a wall of red clothes.

Their numbers were not great – somewhere between twenty and thirty of them. So, in that matter the two opposing sides were fairly evenly matched. However, Forsaken don’t go down easily, and everyone else was a whole lot bigger than each one of the elves.

At Dor’ash’s signal, the Horde troop stopped by the foot of the hill, and the orc continued a few more steps forwards with only Jonathan at his side.

Dor’ash fastened his shield on his arm, but instead of reaching for his weapon he dug his free hand into a bag at his belt. From there he drew out several totems, which he quickly threw down a few steps ahead. As they stuck in the ground, a blue glow immediately snaked up around them. No violent spell would reach him or Jonathan. 

“Magus Rimtori!” Dor’ash roared, drawing his war hammer. “Show yourself, traitor!”

Jonathan and the others shouted approval. Some of the elves tried to sneer, but most of them stared down the slope with jaws set tight and weapons held in stiff hands. 

Then the lines of elves parted, and a female blood elf, dressed in a beautiful golden and red robe, stepped past her allies. Before, Dor’ash had only seen her from above, and not gotten as close a look as this. 

Like all her kind she looked more brittle than attractive in Dor’ash’s eyes. Yet, the air of power surrounding her very motion, and her long black hair did lend a clue to how she had managed to charm Belgrom. She stopped in front of her troops.

“What is this?” she called, smirking defiantly. “Did the mighty Horde finally decide to send more than just one or two rats at the time?”

“I needn’t speak of your crimes,” Dor’ash replied. “Surrender yourselves to the judgment of the Warchief, and you may at least live for a few more days.”

“Pah.” Even at this distance he could clearly see her long, dark eyebrows quirking. “And you, orc, who are you?”

“You try my patience, little elf!” Dor’ash snarled.

 Behind him, his friends and all the Forsaken let hear a nasty growl. Jonathan grinned as he scanned the line of elves, and more than one of them quickly looked away when they happened to meet his gaze. 

“Oh, but I only ask, you see…”

Rimtori reached into a pocket in her robe, withdrawing what looked like a small glass ball, which she let rest in her palm. Her smirk widened as she continued.

“… because if your name is Dor’ash, there is somebody here who cursed you to the Nether and back for leaving her behind.”

The lines of elves parted again just beside Rimtori.

Dor’ash’s hand clenched around his war hammer so hard that his skin turned pale green. A strange sound escaped Jonathan, and he sharply straightened up.

Sarah staggered past the elves, drawing herself up beside Rimtori. The leather straps normally obscuring her missing nose and eyes had been removed, and hollow eye sockets stared down at the orc and Forsaken mage. Yet even though she appeared ‘alive’, there were more things screamingly wrong with her than just that she peacefully stood in front of a bunch of elves.

Her bony arms dangled, mouth mindlessly hanging open. 

There was no need for an explanation. Dor’ash could tell by pure, painful instinct just by looking at her, even from this distance.

That body didn’t house a soul anymore. It was only a shell, a marionette.

Judging by the hissed curses, Jonathan saw it too.

The other Forsaken uneasily muttered, the two sides of the conflict frozen in this moment of triumph for Rimtori.

Dor’ash eyes were set on her, yet he didn’t move. Couldn’t move, or he would descend in the blind rage she wanted of him, the rage he forced to keep under control. She wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t a trap, trying to bring all of them, especially the leader, off balance.

That was what his sense of logic said.

The rest of him wanted to tear off Rimtori’s arms and feel the slow break of her ribcage under his fingers while she begged for mercy in ragged gasps.

And she smiled, dared to smile, wiggling her fingers above the ball she held. Sarah’s body staggered down the slope, an alarming, red glow flaring up around her limp hands.

Dor’ash growled, deep in his throat. It was a challenge, and one he had to accept for Sarah’s sake. Couldn’t let her body remain like this.

“You still have a heart,” Jonathan said, voice harsh but tone even. He too understood this. “Shall I?”

Squaring his jaw, Dor’ash shook his head at this sudden show of empathy.

“It’s my fault,” he growled. “I should take responsibility for her.”

“Hm.” Jonathan gazed at Sarah’s body with an unreadable expression. “As you wish.”

Rimtori wriggled her fingers again. Sarah disappeared with a twinkling sound, only to reappear many steps closer to the base of the hill. Her arms rose, the magical glow intensifying as she prepared to cast the spell. The totems would ground her magic, but that was not the point. This was only a show of power from Rimtori’s side, a way to torture her enemies.

Dor’ash threw his war hammer.

A strange choice, certainly, but he simply couldn’t bear asking the elements to destroy his Sarah. The heavy weapon crashed into her chest with a sharp crunch of breaking bones. The red glow instantly died. 

She fell backwards, shoved by the momentum, and tumbled to the ground with the hammer’s head embedded in her chest. Not a sound ever left her lips, and she didn’t move again.

A dead [i]item[/i].

The enraged shout of support from his troops left Dor’ash cold, but he turned back towards Rimtori with his eyes burning with hatred.

She stood, arms raised, insane, wide grin on her face. The ball rested between both her hands, held towards the sky, and tiny, black bolts of lightning crackled around the elf’s arms. The same mad grin reflected on her follower’s faces – that crazy look of people hanging on to just the slightest possibility that they may yet turn the tide-

Dor’ash’s rage drowned in an icy shower of realization.

“You Forsaken! Back! Back!” he roared, spinning around. Some of them were already recoiling, but he just knew that it was too late.

Jonathan howled and his staff clattered over the ground.

Whirling back towards him, Dor’ash stared for a precious second as the shadowy form of a man writhed out of Jonathan’s chest. It clawed desperately at the trashing body it was being sucked right out of, but its long, slender fingers went right through. A fine face, twisted in horror and pain, mouth open in a silent scream. Those weren’t the features that – literally – stood out the most, however. Part of Dor’ash’s mind had just enough wit left to be dumbfounded at the truth suddenly revealed before his eyes, but he had no time to think about something so pointless.

The Forsaken behind him were screaming. War cries and heavy footfalls let him know that the breathing part of his troop made a desperate dash towards the elves, but without the undeads they were dangerously outnumbered. Snarling, he rushed forwards too while calling on the elements. If they could just stop Rimtori-

A few steps away from the magus’ feet, the ground suddenly buckled. The motion was so small that Dor’ash didn’t notice it at first, but he and everyone else sure saw it when a root shot up through the decaying grass. It moved with a life of its own, whipping at Rimtori like a furious snake. A shriek escaped her and she staggered aside, the transparent ball falling from her hands. One of the other elves cried out, his hands glowing red – but just before the fireball set it aflame, the root clumsily slapped at the dropped orb and sent it tumbling within reach for Dor’ash. 

He scooped up the ball and dropped it in a pocket without taking the time to consider whether or not that was a good idea. Risking a glance around Dor’ash saw Jonathan fall over, while the other warriors and magic users dashed past on either side of him. Gurgling noises escaped him as the shadow of himself sunk back into his body. Almost as if it mimicked him, the burning root slumped down and stopped moving.

In the very brief pause, Dor’ash’s furious gaze met Rimtori’s fearful, defiant one. She turned and fled towards the ruins, and her followers closed up to protect her flight.

Dor’ash tore his gory war hammer from Sarah’s remains without thinking. Yet his roar drowned in the hoarse shrieking of the Forsaken. Thin, hooded shadows rushed the hill, past the breathing members of the Horde with astonishing speed. They threw themselves at the elves – slashing with weapons, clawing at eyes with their bare hands, all the while screaming like banshees. They had not tasted fear for a long time, and they did not appreciate the experience.

The elves buckled under the onslaught, but they may have been able to handle the maddened Forsaken. However, orcs, trolls and tauren were just behind the undeads, weapons ready. Two blue, ghastly shapes dove into the fight, ripping away with ethereal claws while murmuring calmly all the while. It seemed that Patrick and whatever other warlock was in on this had managed to keep their heads cool enough not to call on any bigger demons to join in the battle. There just weren’t enough space, although the Forsaken’s outrage certainly called for bigger, spikier hands. Other small demons joined too, imps, void walkers and at least one succubus, called by the desperate elves who had the chance to stand in the back and summon their pets.

Dor’ash took note of that only briefly, then focused completely on his own adversaries. His hammer fell on an elf’s head, smashing the pretty face in an explosion of gore. Another elf from the side, sun flaring over her falling sword and Dor’ash shifted his shield to meet it – and a huge, hairy creature slammed into the woman, crushing bones under its giant paws. She died a gruesome but quick death. 

Fuzzik looked around, bloody froth swimming around his yellow teeth. Well. That explained the violent, helpful root.

“You again.”

Nothing else made it out of Dor’ash’s mouth, because he could not come up with anything else. Instead he turned around and raised his hammer in search for the next unlucky elf. They were almost all gone now, but desperately fighting to the last man and woman. Knowing there was nowhere to run, only the ocean and sharp rocks far, far below. 

In a just world, he would have been the one to kill Rimtori. Yet Azeroth seldom played fair, and it didn’t today either. Even as he sent one of the last elves to the ground, scream fading as the handsome man clutched for the icicle piercing his chest, Dor’ash glanced up and saw somebody else finish it all. One of the undead swordsmen rushed forwards while Rimtori put all her focus into a desperate volley of fireballs, trying to keep one of the trolls and the tauren away from her. She never had a chance, and when she saw the Forsaken he had already ran his sword right through her.

She fell, screaming, and it was over.

Some of the elves still remained at that point, but what did it matter then? They died within the minute, and (although such a plane didn’t really exist within his faith) Dor’ash grimly hoped that they followed Rimtori straight to hell.

All over.

He stood in the shadow of the temple, covered in blood. It struck him, suddenly, that some of the gore on his hammer was from Sarah’s body. The weapon slid out of his numb fingers and thumped against the ground.

Spirits. Ancestors.

Jonathan sat on the ground, staff leaning against his shoulder. Still as a statue, face expressionless. But his yellow, unblinking eyes were definitely set on that miserable, crushed heap on the ground, further down the hill than any other bodies.

Did the undead truly feel love, even a shadow of it?

Looking at Jonathan now, it seemed possible.

Two of the Forsaken went around with daggers in their hands, checking on all the elf bodies and stabbing each one in the throat for good measure. One or two squeaked out one last gasp before finally dying like that. 

“Wounded, gather down there,” Dor’ash heard himself say, and saw his hand wave towards the bottom of the hill.

People got up, some supporting themselves on others, and made their way down to the designated spot. Forsaken and living alike. A grim silence enclosed everything, save from growls and groans from the wounded. A sort of after-battle shock, this quiet air. Relief at being alive and patched up would come later, yet the things that had happened here were disturbing to say the least.

A big, dark shape moved in the corner of Dor’ash’s vision and he looked around. 

Silently he watched as Fuzzik padded towards him, and most everyone standing nearby looked on as well. The fake bear no longer tried to hide the intelligence in his eyes, walking slowly with thick slobs of saliva still glistening around his mouth and blood staining his fur.

“’ey, the dessert is back,” one of the Forsaken said, but even he sounded drained. Only a scattered few chuckles were heard in agreement, too.

Despite his lethargy, Dor’ash raised his eyebrows when the bear stopped a few steps away, and a magical light covered the huge body. The glowing shape stood up on its hinds, shrinking and thinning. A moment later the light faded, and a male night elf dressed in leather armor stood before Dor’ash. The blood now covered his arms up to his elbows, splattered onto his gear – both freshly bright red and old, dark splotches. The thick saliva glistening around his lips didn’t make him a more pleasant sight.

“Beg your pardon,” he said, and to Dor’ash’s detached surprise he actually spoke Orcish, with a thick Darnassian accent that made the rough language of orcs sound pretty bizarre.

Holding up a hand, the druid wiped his mouth on his upper arm. It was definitely the most awkward motion Dor’ash had ever seen an elf perform, but he could understand it considering how gory the druid’s hands were.

Finishing that, the elf looked at his hands for a brief moment but then seemed to shrug to himself, as if surrendering to that cleaning himself would take too long in this situation. Instead he turned back towards Dor’ash, who seriously had begun to wonder if this man was an outcast amongst his own kind. His actions until now certainly did not seem very elfish at all. 

“I was most touched by your mercy, shaman,” the peculiar druid said, bowing from the waist with his slimy palms pressed against each other. “May I offer mine in return?”

Dor’ash regarded him for a moment, deep down knowing that he should be laughing at something so bizarre. But he felt no inclination to even smile.

“You made that root attack Rimtori, didn’t you,” he said.

“Yes,” the elf said with a nod. He straightened up. “I have no love for the undead, but your companion was slain because of my friend’s mistakes.”


Dully, Dor’ash wondered what Sarah would say if she knew that a night elf had helped avenge her death.

“Why are you following a tauren around like that?” he asked, more because he knew that he should investigate this, than really caring.

“Deran and I met a couple of years ago while fighting corrupted furbolgs,” came the reply, calmly with no trace of offense. “He never realized that I was not a real bear, and I accompanied him out of curiosity. It has been that way since. I never intended any harm, or to spy. As he said when you met I have refused to enter your cities.”

The mere idea that a tauren would make a mistake like that should have been laughable, but Dor’ash fostered no high thoughts about that particular calf. It would not surprise him if it was true.

Shrugging, he looked down towards the makeshift healer camp at the foot of the hill. 

“Nobody harm the elf, you hear me?” he shouted.

Although he noted more than one disappointed expression, the overall reaction was a silent or murmured acceptance. They had all seen the bear fight.

“Can you heal?” Dor’ash asked, returning his focus to the once again bowing elf.

“I have been a bear for very long, but those skills are not lost to me.”

Saying so, ‘Fuzzik’ started towards the gathering wounded, absentmindedly rubbing his hands against his worn pants to get rid of most of the blood. Dor’ash watched him go for a moment, but then went to sit down on a rock. His head throbbed, he needed to think but didn’t want to. Needed to make plans for securing the area, assemble the least wounded as guards in case there were more elves nearby, send out scouts to make sure the troop could stay here for a while and recover. But he figured, it could wait for two minutes. If the sound of battle had not called forth an army of other malevolent creatures hiding in the bushes, there had not been any close enough to hear it.

Yet, making those plans would have been more pleasant than the images invading his brain now that nothing distracted him – of Sarah’s crouching, [i]dead[/i] shape swaying, moving like a puppet with Rimtori pulling the strings. Damn that woman to the level of hell where Mannoroth’s spirit writhed.

Before, he had never really been able to think of Sarah as actually dead. But there had been no soul in that body, every instinct and sense in him had just known it. That blasted elf had ripped it right out, like she had almost done with Jonathan. 

So far gone into these dark thoughts had he sunk, that he did not feel the intensifying stench of death until a sharp fingertip tapped his shoulder plate. He looked around to see Patrick. 

“Master Coldbane, may I see that orb you picked up?” the undead man asked.

“Hm? Oh, that one.”

Dor’ash shook his head to clear his thoughts as he reached into a pocket and drew out the glass ball. He did not look too closely at it, but as he dropped the orb into the warlock’s hand he noticed a small, pink glimmer inside of it. Patrick cradled the small ball in both hands, turned it over and finally held it up against the bright blue sky. 

After a moment he chortled and muttered something in Gutterspeak. Then he turned towards Dor’ash again, offering the orb.

“I believe I found your friend,” the warlock said, the rotting corners of his lips allowing him to smile unpleasantly wide.

Blinking, Dor’ash took the strange item back and held it up in front of his eyes. There was definitely a pink stain in the center of it… no, not a stain. He squinted, and as he did the small blur seemed to grow bigger, becoming clearer by the second. 

Still small, and faint, but definitely a human woman. She looked straight out at him, and waved. Dor’ash frowned, but at the same time hope flared up in his heart.


She nodded. 

Even in life, Sarah had not been a pretty girl. Could not have been even by those human standards Dor’ash only had a vague idea about. Hollow eyed, wiry and with hunching shoulders, she looked every bit a woman who only had known dreary, hard work for all her short life and only would have had as much to look forwards to.

Still watching him she placed her hands around her mouth and seemed to shout at the top of her lungs. No sound made it out, though. 

“I can’t hear you,” Dor’ash said, shaking his head.

She let her hands drop and shrugged. Difficult to say if that was a helpless or annoyed motion. Dor’ash turned his head and looked at Patrick.

“Is there anything you people can do about this?” the shaman asked, pointing at the orb.

“I would certainly like to attempt it.” Patrick rubbed his chin. “That was a nasty spell she used, I would prefer if we knew how it worked so that we could counteract it in case anybody else invents or know of it.” He looked towards the ruins on top of the slope. “It was not the spells some warlocks use to create soul gems. I have never seen anything quite like it. But of course, the important thing for the moment is to get miss Nebula back into her body.”

He glanced at Sarah’s body on the ground, then waved his hand dismissively at Dor’ash.

“Worry not, master Coldbane, we brought a couple of experienced priests along. They should be able to piece her back together.” He held out his hand. “In the meantime, may I study the orb some more?”

“Of course.” Dor’ash handed the ball back to Patrick.

He did not see Sarah’s soul pointing at the warlock, wildly shaking her head. She ceased the moment Patrick’s glowing gaze turned to her, and waved instead. 

Dor’ash stood up from the rock and headed towards the camp. As leader of the expedition he could no longer ignore his duties. Hope gave him more energy.

He didn’t hear Patrick’s murmur, as the man gazed at the orb in his hands.


Inside of it, the miniature Sarah folded her arms and grimaced. 

“Yes, yes,” Patrick muttered in Gutterspeak. “I’ll save you.” Then he chuckled when she tilted her head in a skeptic motion. “What? Don’t you trust me?” He tapped one fingertip against the ball, and Sarah put her hands over her ears. “You behave now, little sister. You understand, don’t you?”

Sarah twisted her head in another direction.

“Good…” Patrick murmured and turned around to find his accomplices.

As much as I detest elves, Fuzzik is a break of the norm because he’s just such a weirdo. XD

Offhand, as for Wrath of the Lich King… draenei Death Knights? DOES. NOT. COMPUTE.

Finally, he grinned in a most nasty way.

“I like it,” he said.

I missed the first sentence when I read this, but the second one was enough to convey what you wanted.

“If the murderess Nebula is still alive, I have a duty to my brother to see her dead,” Deran coldly said.

That’s the biggest d’oh of the story. Hi, I’m standing among your soldiers and propose you to come with you to find and kill your old partner? Btw what happened, didn’t Deran know the name of his brother or did I misread something?

especially the magic users, watching out for any sign of a massive magic attack or anything of the like.
I like the nonchalant way in which you say that.

Deran and I met a couple of years ago while fighting corrupted furblogs

It was the early days of PETA. We agreed to find the sellers of fur, promoting it through their blogs. Damn you corrupted furblogs!

He did not see Sarah’s soul pointing at the warlock, wildly shaking her head. She ceased the moment Patrick’s glowing gaze turned to her, and waved instead.

That’s a very visual scene.

This part is more fluent than the first one and it gets some vestiges of story thrown in to boot.

The furblogs made me giggle, although I corrected it now XD I blame Fuzzik, he probably can’t talk straight enough in Orcish! And yes, his name will remain “Fuzzik”.

Deran knew his brother’s name, but whoever told him the story about the Wailing Caverns incident got it wrong. I changed it so that it’s clearer :slight_smile: And Deran isn’t exactly the cookie with the most chocolate chips in, no. Although he’ll get a tiny moment of redemption towards the end.

Probably when everyone gets attacked by a mind-control spell and only he is free to slap the wizard’s face.

Okay, the whole brother business is clearer now.

Something that jumped out at me was the Eye of Kilrogg that the warlock caught. It’s not really a new spell.
The Horde has been using it since the Second War. (I.e. the invasion of Lordaeron. WarCraft II.) Probably even the First War (the time between WC 1 and 2 where Azeroth is destroyed).

It’s named after Kilrogg Deadeye. Leader of the Bleeding Hollow Clan, and a hero from many wars including the First (I’m guessing), the Second (I’m sure), the wars before the Portal (most likely) and he was the only one who actually managed to march his clan <i>back</i> through the portal after the orcs were defeated.
…So if anyone should know about it, it’s an orc. :stuck_out_tongue:

I like the scene though. “Caught a live one”. ;D

I need to be clearer I see :slight_smile: I know it’s not a new spell, Dor’ash meant the magic the Forsaken (Lloyd… oh dear, has a name and will be useful. With that spell. RUUUUN!) used to catch the eye with. But it’s good that you got confused, shows that I need to explain myself better.

Ah, screw it. I have the beginning of the next chapter, so I’ll let you have it.

Dun dun DUNNN

Dor’ash knelt in the cool, brown grass a little ways away from the camp the troop had set up for the wounded. Two of the other orcs stood a few steps to the side of him, a man and a woman he knew from years back. She had her arm in a sling, but overall they were doing well. Out of the other orcs, one was unconscious and one had gotten such a nasty magic burn on his leg that he couldn’t walk for the moment.

Ideally, Dor’ash would have waited to give those two men time to recover and be able to attend this simple ceremony, but it was something nobody felt at ease with letting wait. Best get it done as soon as possible, as it should be. 

The skulls of the murdered orcs laid before Dor’ash, no longer heaped around a book stand but carefully lined up in rows. An uncanny sight, but this was something he had to do.

“Your deaths have been avenged, my brothers and sisters,” the shaman softly said, holding out his hands with his palms up. “You may rest at ease. I swear that your remains shall be brought away from this foul land, and given worthy burials in Durotar. Your kinfolk will no longer live in uncertainty of your spirits’ fate.”

He could feel them, like the brush of a feather. Their voices had been stronger when he carried the skulls away from the ruins, gently cradling them in his hands, a few at the time. Even then he could not make out any words, not as when the elements spoke to him. Yet, the orcs’ souls sounded calmer now, as he performed this soothing ceremony. 

It was the only service he could do them for now. Burying them in this corrupted soil was absolutely out of the question. Spirits knew what Rimtori had done with the rest of their bodies, and he had a nagging feeling that he didn’t want to know. But the skulls were enough for a proper funeral, at least. 

He felt a lot more at ease after the simple ceremony to calm the spirits of the murdered, enough to even smile a bit at the orc couple as they had carefully packed the skulls into a bag. The male took care of it, carrying it towards the waiting mage troll who would make a portal back to Orgrimmar. There the search for the warriors’ families could begin. 

Together with the woman, Dor’ash headed back to the healer camp. As he walked he glanced towards the crumbling temple up on the hill. Several thin shadows moved about, most of them in robes but some in armor, prepared to aid the magic users should anything else happen. With Rimtori dead, the four large, strange crystals in the temple had crumbled.

With the bodies of the elves heaped some ways to the side of the hill, by their own old tents, only the blood in the grass and the wounded showed that anything had happened at all.

Dor’ash was not sure why the Forsaken had chosen to carry Sarah’s body up to the temple to work on freeing her from the orb, but he figured they wanted to have some seclusion. Getting up the hill unnoticed would be difficult for enemies, too. He could spot Patrick and Jonathan up there. Sometimes, when the latter straightened his crouching back, it was possible to see that he actually was a little taller than the other skeletal men. It wasn’t something that the orc had thought much about before.

Holding back a snicker, Dor’ash continued towards the camp. The spirits were calmed, and he figured that as long as Sarah’s soul had not gone beyond, there was some way of getting her back. Well enough to let him smile again.

Well in the healer’s camp both he and the orc woman sat down by the orc with the magical burn, Hugg. He looked rather annoyed at not even being able to sit up, but the gruff look eased as Dor’ash called on his healing powers and started working on the wound.

Glancing up, the shaman spotted Fuzzik kneeling by the tauren woman, his now cleaned hands drawing slow circles of green, healing light above her. Most everyone seemed to be ignoring him.

“How is he doing?” Dor’ash asked out of curiosity, nodding at the night elf.

Hugg smirked. 

“People were throwing pebbles at him,” he said, then looked rather disappointed, “but he never reacted so they gave up.”

At that, the purple head, with its messy waterfall of green hair looked around. 

“One learns many things about patience when traveling with somebody like Deran,” he said in a calm voice, but with a dry smile.

Dor’ash nodded with a snort, and Fuzzik turned back to his patient. For a moment the shaman pondered asking the elf about his real name, but decided against it. Thinking of him as ‘Fuzzik’ had a certain charm to it.

He finished what magic could do for Hugg, and went about wrapping the remaining tear under a bandage.

They must have waited for him to finish, because it was not until he fastened the clip and stood up that there was a hoarse cough behind him. Dor’ash turned around, raising a questioning eyebrow at Jonathan.

The orb containing Sarah’s soul rested between his bony fingers, and behind him stood Patrick and two more Forsaken men. One was the warlock who had captured the Eye of Kilrogg earlier, the other wore a worn, pale grey robe with silver embroideries. 

“We have a problem,” Jonathan grimly said.

“What then?” Dor’ash said, a cold hand gripping his heart.

Shaking his nearly bald head, the man in the pale robe stepped forwards.

“Master Coldbane, I realize this is a very bold request,” the undead priest said, “but we cannot seem to free miss Nebula’s soul from the orb.” He pursed his mouth, or what was left of it. “I suggest that you allow us to call Rimtori back to life and make her reverse the spell that trapped our little sister. Afterwards you can of course kill her again.”

Hugg and the orc woman growled disbelief from the ground, but Dor’ash didn’t reply for a moment. 

The spirits were silent. Demonic presence chased them off, and both Patrick and that other warlock had called on their pets during the battle. Therefore, Dor’ash did not think twice about the reason for the absence of otherworldly comments. Still, he would have wanted guidance in this. Now he had to simply trust his gut feeling – and it said that he didn’t like this idea. True that he had reason to hate Rimtori, but she had already been killed once. It went against his morals to have her resurrected just to ask a question and then slaughter her again.

A dark voice wondered if he would have been so forgiving if Sarah truly had been lost. 

“You really can’t do anything?” he asked.

“Lloyd and I also tried to channel Sarah’s soul back to her body,” Patrick said while the priest shook his head. As he spoke the warlock motioned at another undead man, standing just behind him.

As they stood beside each other, the biggest difference between the dark arts users was that Lloyd had more hair left, hanging in dirty locks around his ears. Other than that, the two men were at almost the same level of decay. 

“So did I.”

The last was Jonathan. The mage straightened his constantly hunched back and looked at Dor’ash with the dull glow which filled his eye sockets. 

“I know you don’t like the idea,” Jonathan said. “Personally I don’t care about the ethics. I only want Sarah back. But it’s your call.”

His speech was rather oddly cut, but his tone and expression sounded and looked relaxed.

For a moment Dor’ash looked at the orb in Jonathan’s hands, but from this distance it was impossible to tell what Sarah herself thought about it. Yet, what could she add, if they truly had tried? He might not know the other Forsaken, but if Jonathan said that nothing worked, then Dor’ash could believe that it really didn’t. 

He grunted. 

“Fine,” Dor’ash said. “But I’ll watch too, to make sure she doesn’t try something.”

And make sure that you sadists don’t make her second death more painful than necessary. Not that she doesn’t deserve it.

“Of course, master Coldbane,” Patrick said with slow nod.

Jonathan glanced into the orb, and saw Sarah press both hands to her head. Dor’ash, however, was far too far away to notice. Grimly, the undead mage clenched his teeth.

And we return to the [STRIKE]skirmishers[/STRIKE] war group.

With Rimtori dead, the four large, strange crystals in the temple had crumbled.

True to tradition. Dorash gains the job of the Thief, the Chemist etc. :wink: Beginning the next sentence with “with” doesn’t look that good.

It wasn’t something that the orc had thought much about before.

Nice point. It’s also nice to see Dor’ash and his spirits doing things from beyond.

“I suggest that you allow us to call Rimtori back to life and make her reverse the spell that trapped our little sister. Afterwards you can of course kill her again.”

The fine points of a world with magic, eh?

Grimly, the undead mage clenched his teeth.

I suggest removing grimly, as teeth-clenching isn’t generally a happy action on its own. These two plus the undead mage imagery prod the sentence to “it was a dark and stormy night” territory.