Alliance: Chapter 4
The sound of war was not unknown to the former lord of Outland. He had first heard its cries ten thousand years ago. He saw his own kin dying by the score, men and women and children. No mercy. He saw cities burn, the once lush lands change into desolate wastelands the corruption caused by his sometime enemy and sometimes friend. The Burning Legion. Although the world he was on now, Trantor he believed it was called, was an far cry from his home in Azeroth. The grass, trees and every plant life was purple, the sky was orange and even the magic here had an strange taste to it.
He oversaw the battle down below as the Lyono cannons bombarded the demonic hordes on the higher hilltops while the blue furred catlike fusiliers fired volley after volley into their ranks from the lower hills. Having abandoned their ‘savage’ nature in close quarter combat for long range they relied on the lizardmen Sasz down below their position to hold the line. Although not as technologically advanced as their catlike neighbors in terms of gunpowder and canon, the Sasz were more efficient in hand to hand combat. When Illidan saw them fight for the first time he recognized elements of their armour and fighting style. When he was captured by Maiev Shadowsong, one of the Pandaren aided Prince Keal’thas and Lady Vashj in his rescue. While the Pandaren, who disappeared as swift as he came to his rescue, was more relaxed and loose while the Sasz fought in tight regiments with their katanas. Most were standards strapped on their back so the Lyono knew where to fire and avoid friendly fire, or as friendly as two former sworn enemies would be.
Illidan grew bored and pulled his two crescent shaped glaives from the ground. He flapped his batlike wings and flew toward the demonic hordes down below. He had lost his eyes millennia ago but he could see how clearly outnumbered the allied forces were. It would not take long before they were overwhelmed. He landed in the middle of the demon army. One doomguard looked at him briefly but moved forward soon enough. For as far as the demon knew, Illidan was one of them. After his defeat in Outland and his death shortly thereafter, something…changed. He felt death and embraced the darkness but some part of him, some part he did not knew existed grabbed an dark tendril and pulled him from the darkness of death and threw them into another kind of darkness. The infinite void left in the wake of destruction caused by the Burning Legion.
He was not the Illidan who once saved the Kaldorei from Burning Legion or the illidan who helped the Sindorei from combatting their hunger. Or the Illidan who had gone mad and declared himself ‘Lord of Outland’ after the defeat in Northrend. He was not an Night elf nor a demon. He was something else…
The Demon Hunter grinned as he held the hilts of his glaives tighter as the Demonic Horde surged toward the lines of the defenders. With just an thought he was surrounded in green flames…and struck the nearest Felguard demon. The demons now stopped ignoring the night elf and focused their spells and blades to him. The green tattoos on Illidan’s body flashed with an sickly glow as his fell fire shield grew larger and send several imps nearby aflame. His mind guided where his blades needed to go as he struck down his enemies by the dozens. He threw his glaives through the hordes as limbs, dark guts and other organs rained down in an macabre way as the demon hunter summoned demons of his own who began attacking their kin.
“How does it feel to burn by your own fires?!” Illidan laughed.” How does it feel to have your own blades rend you apart, limb from limb?!”
“Traitor! We were told you would come!” an Eredar warlock shouted. He gathered an orb of darkness as the sky around him turned to the blackest of blacks and threw it at the night elf. Illidan held out his hand and caught the dark sphere with a smirk on his lips as it began to eat away at his skin. ”No…” he said as he held the dark orb in the air. With every heartbeat the orb grew larger and larger until it was the size of an dragon.” I am the betrayer….AND YOU ARE NOT PREPARED!”
He threw the orb back at the warlock and laughed, no-cackled manically as the thing devoured anything that was caught on it’s wake. The warlock tried to flee but he to was consumed by his own creation. The devouring dark kept going and swallowed most of the horde as they fled back to their green portals as they were still gunned down by the Lyono artillery.
“Xi’ri, NOW!” the demon hunter shouted. A bright flash of light lit up the darkened sky as pillars of the brightests of lights struck each portal and swallowed it and the devouring dark in it’s radiance. After a flash that blinded those who did not shield their eyes, the portals were gone and so were most of the demons. The Sasz sprang into action and killed the remaining demons with their katana’s or spears, save a few whom they captured with nets or special poison tipped arrows. An creature composed out of crystals flew overhead as everyone began to cheer and feel merry. Even Illidan felt an moment of actual joy but he fought it down. He knew the Naaru and how they worked.
“The day is oursss!” one of the younger Sasz samurai cheered as the Naaru’s effect clearly lasted logner with him.” Long life the Naaru! Hail to the Light!”
Illidan’s gaze wandered to the young reptilian warrior and rested on him. The young man gulped and quickly added.” To Lord Illidan asss well! Hail Lord Illidan!”
“Don’t pay attention to him, Lord Ssstormrage.” The eldest of the Samurai took off her helmet and smiled at the demon hunter.” It wasss a good victory, well fought and won.”
“It was an trap to get more intel from the Legion Lady-General Gohgira , nothing more.” Illidan held out his hands as his glaives flew back into them. Dark blood and gore dripped from the blades as he pulled an banner from an Sasz warrior’s back and cleaned the blades with it. The warrior was about to protest but when he saw who stole his banner he backed away.
“Ssstill a victory.” Gohgira smiled a she began straying one of his whiskers. His smile faded when three Lyono arrived on pantherback, their red long coats and absurd hats in strong contrast with their blue furred bodies.
“Marssshall Ssnarsh.” Gohgira frowned.” Come to ruin our hard earned victory?”
“Our victory, Lady-General? I think it was our cannons that saved the day. Oh your lizard folk did an admirable job keeping those ruffians away from us but I think we would have handled just fine.” the Marshall placed an monocle before he took out an brown pouch from his belt and sprayed some white dust on his palm before he sniffed it. Illidan frowned. “Something the matter, Lord Stormrage?” the marshal asked.
“You remind me of an man I once knew. Desdel Stareye.” The former Lord of Outland replied.
“Who?” Snarsh asked.
“One of my kin who led my people against the Burning Legion ten thousand years ago. Your…mannerisms remind me of him.”
“It’s a shame I do not have the pleasure to have met your friend, he sounds like an swell fellow.”
“Shame indeed…” Illidan flapped his wings.
Hours passed as Illidan sought seclusion from the others. While the Sasz and Lyono celebrated and feasted near the Holy Mountain of Zeon where the Naaru dwelled. One of them serenely hovered near the bonfire as if to share in their victory. The demon hunter was seated against an tree as he watched the stars appear one by one. He knew roughly where Azeroth was, his home world. But he would never be able to return there. He saved his people from the Legion and gave them immortal life, but as thanks the love of his life chose his brother over him and he was imprisoned for ten thousand years. Delivered at the mercy of Maiev and her Wardens. He would have gone mad were it not for her. “Tyrande…” he said in an whisper as if he was talking to an lover.
The priestess of Elune saved him time and again during the war and vice versa. She freed him from his prison and gave him an second chance. She deserved better than Malfurion, his twin brother.
He slept during those ten thousand years and left Tyrande alone by herself. He did not love her that much if he placed anything else before her.
He lusted after her still, it did not matter what other woman he bedded. Night elf, Blood elf, human, demon, orc ( He remembered nothing of that night except that he drank to much Sindorei wine and would never do so again), it was still her he saw. In his dreams he was tormented with seeing her. How they were married, had children of their own, led their people to a brand new age. He shook his head, Tyrande made her choice. She saw something in Malfurion his brother did not see. He made her happy, that was the only thing that mattered in the end. Illidan made peace with his brother and Tyrande and kept his end of the bargain, to never return or endanger the night elves ever again. So far he kept his vows, even after the champions of Azeroth defeated him and Maiev put an end to his misery.
Illidan grabbed the Lyono by his neck and nearly snapped it if he didn’t stop himself. Illidan felt the young male shiver in fear and clung on to his arm. The demon hunter let the young male go and apologized.” Forgive me, you snuck up on me. I over-reacted.”
“I-it’s my fault, milord.” The boy gasped.” M-m-marshall Snarsh, Lady-General Gohgira and the Naaru wish to speak to you.”
Illidan nodded his thanks and got up from under the tree.” Thank you. Do you need to escort me?”
“N-no milord. Unless you want me t-“
“No, that will be all. Go celebrate, gods know how long until your corpse is going to feed fell infested maggots.” With that the night elf left the shivering feline and walked to the Alliance of Light’s leadership main pavilion.
An large table with an map was in the middle as the leadership of three were talking around it when Illidan entered.
“Ah Lord Illidan." Gohgira smiled.” We have good newsss and bad newssss.”
“Take a drink, you may need it for the bad one.” Snarsh offered an bottle which illidan accepted.
“The good newsss is our plan worked. General Turaylon’sss forces succeeded in planting the mana bomb. The casualtiessss were high but the ressssult is an sucesss, Argusss is no more.”
“The raids and suicide attacks on their other holdings had them distracted long enough for the bomb to go off.” The Lyono Marshall added.” According to the reports the Orc attack had the Legion running scared since the last time an orc attacked it injured Sargeras himself.”
<Their sacrifice is not in vain and has been recorded in our archives.> Xi’ri’s voice rang through their heads as the sound of bell chimes rang.< The destruction of Argus has the leadership panicked. Only one time in history has anyone attacked the Legion on their own ground, let alone deal an heavy blow to them.>
“About damn time…” Illidan bit the cork of the bottle and spat it out.” And the bad news?”
<One of the Ethereal was captured and tortured. We fear they now know the location of exact location of Azeroth.>
The demon hunter spat out the wine.” What?!”
“One of the impsss we captured was easssily ssswayed to our sssside thanks to our Warlockssss.” Gohgira said.” He ssssaid the Legion isss preparing for an all out assault on your homeworld.”
“That is why our victory here was so easily gained.” Snarsh said.” Sargeras is focusing all his energy and focus on one world. Azeroth defied the Legion several times in the past, killed some of its generals and spat Sargeras in the face.”
<Azeroth is an shining beacon in the darkness of the Burning Crusade.> the Naaru’s voice rang through.< If it falls, the Army of Light will lose an powerbase there and the reinforcements Prophet Velen had seen. These men and women will be instrumental into ending the Legion once and for all.>
“I’m sure my brother will be up to the task….” Illidan grumbled.
“What you faced during your War of the Ancients was but an tendril of the Legion’s might.” Another voice came from the either.” What we are facing now is a thousand times worse and Azeroth is not yet united.”
Illidan saw an human like creature appear but he knew what he saw was not human at all. Although it was an projection, he sensed and saw enough. His darker skin, red eyes, arrogant smile…
“I did not know Deathwing spawned any children with an lick of sense.” Illidan glared.
“He hasn’t but my father’s madness was purged out of me when I was still in the egg.” The dragon in human guise smiled.” Forgive me for not introducing myself. I am Wrathion, son of Neltharion the Earth-Warder and one of the few people on Azeroth who see the greater picture. My apologies for arriving an bit late but I had pressing matters to tend to.” Illidan had an instant dislike for the brat. The arrogant smile, flaunting his powers, barely excusing himself for his tardiness…
“So why is he here?” Illidan folded his arms.
<He is your way home.> the Naaru said.
“What?” Illidan raised his brow.” I made an vow to my brother that I would stay away from Azeroth.”
“And if you do, the whole world will be destroyed.” Wrathion replied.” Illidan, an war has just ended between the Horde and the Alliance. It takes time and guidance to rebuild what was lost and to prepare for the Legion to arrive. Time we do not have.”
“You have fought the Legion for years, you have been privy to the enemies’ cause.” Snarsh added.” You have to go back to prepare Azeroth for the war that is to come.”
“Azeroth’s champions killed me, Snarsh.” Illidan said irritated.” Why should I give a damn about that world or the people who life on it?”
“Because she is there.”
Illidan turned to face the young black dragon.” What did you just say?”
“That Tyrande Whisperwind is there, Lord Stormrage.” Wrathion replied. The demon hunter had to restrain himself to act like an fool but how much he wished that whelp was there in front of him!” Tyrande has nothing to do with this!”
“Really? History argues otherwise.” Wrathion smirked. Before Illidan could retort the Naaru spoke again.
<You came to us, Illidan Stormrage. Your madness ended upon your rebirth and your shadow was needed to counter our light. Everything needs an balance. You walk the line between light and dark, you claim you fight for vengeance and self preservation from Kil’Jaeden but we would not have accepted you with just those merits.>
“Oh spare me…” Illidan looked away but his plea was not answered.
<You fight for love, to keep everyone you hold dear safe. Tyrande, Malfurion, Cenarius to name a few.>
“I am not an good man, Xi’re. you of all people should know that. You led the assault on my realm and helped oust me. Would you trust the fate of an whole world to me?”
<Back then, no. You were a different man then, more scars than flesh. But now you are something else. And the only hope for Azeroth.>
“So if I go back to Azeroth, to my people…then what?” Illidan looked up.
<Find your people, convince them of what is coming.> Xi’re said.<And protect Azeroth at all costs.>
“And how do I get to Azeroth? It’s on the other end of the Twisting nether.”
And that is where I come in.” Wrathion smirked.
Days passed as the Sasz Warlocks, a few Lyono mages ( for magic was mostly superstition save for the very northern colonies of the Lyono empire) and a few Ethereals worked together to construct an portal for Illidan. During this time the betrayer and the Prince of the Black Dragonflight were not as different as first thought. Arrogance, certain of their power and the ambition for more. And above else, they both cared for Azeroth and the people they held dear.
The Black Dragon Princeling was very well informed despite his short life. He had collected an group of powerful people which he had named ‘The New Shadow Council’ to bring about the Army of Light from the shadows. When Illidan asked if he knew of this Chosen child who would lead the Army, Wrathion did one of his typical smiles.
“The chosen child Velen foretold is real, I have seen him.”
“Is he as foolish as I imagine him to be?” illidan asked .
“He is and more. But it takes an fool to make people see, to really see what is the mortal spirit.”
Illidan frowned.” Explain.”
Wrathion folded his arms as he tried to place the pieces down in his mind.” You know why people laugh? It is an defense mechanism. Your mind shutting down to protect your sanity and laugh at the harshness of life. Fools are masters of tricking that mechanism. And sometimes those fools succeed in opening those mechanisms, to see the full perspective.”
“Including the one you have met?”
“In a matter of speaking. He has the elements of an true leader but none of the foundation. He knows how to get people behind him, he knows his own code of honour and he knows what to fight for. But he lacks the experience, the loss and grittiness of mortal life. He is telling the jokes but he has not lived through it yet.”
“is that what life is to you, an joke?” illidan frowned.
“All life is a joke. Mine, yours, your brother, Tyrande, Xi’re’s, Velen, Left, Right. We do things in life, reach for things in life that seem foolish. Why do we try to stay alive for so long or reprocreate if we do all end up dead one day? Why do we build things that one day will crumble into dust long after we are gone? And yet we do so because we are compelled to do so. Even the Legion.”
“You call the Legion foolish?” illidan smirked.” You clearly are an whelp who knows nothing.”
“Mayhap. Tell me Lord Stormrage, do you know why Empires fall?”
“I made one fall, all it needed was an war and a small push in the right direction.”
“Exactly. Not just Empires but kingdoms or clans fall because of one small push. However that push always comes as an result of another push and then another and so forth. Your empire fell because it’s Empress was corrupt. She was strong, and still is, but her general was weak and stayed within the borders despite your Resistance coming through despite the Legion’s best efforts. Her lack of outside perspective got her Empire destroyed. Lets look a little closer, you remember Arthas?”
Illidan’s gaze fell on the scar on his chest.” Every day.”
“Well he was the example of an strong general with an weak Emperor. Ner’Zhul made his general to strong and when the time came Arthas took complete control. And in the end he to was killed because he lacked competent generals and did not know what outside forces were at his door.”
“And what if both the general and the Emperor are strong? Like the Legion?” illidan asked.” Sargeras and Kil’Jaeden know each other for a long time. Their Burning Crusade has never been fully halted.”
“That is another thing that will sort itself out. An Emperor can be only as strong as long no-one can climb close to his power base. If Kil’Jaeden were to become to strong there are only two possible ways Sargeras can deal with him. Kill Kil’Jaeden or risk Kil’Jaeden killing him. Empires fall, Lord Stormrage. Be it an hundred years, an thousand or even millennia. Everything has an end, even the Burning Legion.”
The next day the portal was done as was the Ritual. Xi’re powered the portal himself and soon Illidan was on his way to Azeroth. The waygates around Azeroth were closed thanks to the trouble of the Shadow Council. Time was an curious place in space. It felt like he was everywhere and nowhere, traveling for an eternity and a few moments. It would have driven any other man insane. Bit he was not any other man. He was the Betrayer, he was Illidan Stormrage.
He received flashes from Azeroth from Wrathion. He knew of the Zandalari crsis, the war with Garrosh, Calia Menethil and now…the Goblin armada that was bombing Darnassus. The home of his people. The home of Malfurion and Tyrande. His family. Illidan’s mind went to his contact whose eyes he used to see the slaughter.
“Open the portal.” He called out. Already he prepared used his own powers to cover the final stretch of the journey.
“No, not yet…” the voice on the other end whined.” It’s to soon. Mariss is hurt.”
Illidan growled but quickly composed himself.” Open the portal so I can save my loved ones and yours.”
“No….” his contact held her eyes closed. Illidan could barely restrain himself. There was no chance he was going to let his family die because of some heartbroken wench.” Do it.” He urged.
As quickly as he spoke the portal opened before him…and he was stood on a sinking ship. Blood flowed over his feet and the smell of fire and death assaulted his nose. But as he looked up he could not help but smile. The salty sea air, the taste of magic in the air…he was home.
He barely noticed the goblin bi-planes, which he took down with relative ease, and flew off. ..” THE PRODIGAL SON HAS RETURNED!” he shouted at the top of his lungs. Zeppelins burned and orcs and goblins died by the score. He flew around the tree and it did not take long when he found one of the people he was looking for.
A group of orcs were in combat with an small part of night elves who were led by one tall night elf with antlers. His staff was made out of wood and had the shape of an elf. Around him the very roots of the tree protected him and attacked his foes. Illidan remembered where once before this type of combat would have exhausted Malfurion Stormrage, but not it was a breeze to him. But still he fought determent as if he was looking for someone. And Illidan knew just who.
The Demon Hunter landed in the middle of the group of orcs and summoned an wall of green fire around him. The creatures cried out in horror and pain as they either fell to the ground dead or leaped off the tree, three kilometers down toward the ocean. As the wall of green fire died down, Illidan could not help but smile when he saw his brother’s face. “Hello Furion, long time no see.”
“Illidan…” Furion replied surprised.” Why are you here? And how? I thought you were dead?”
“Questions for another time brother, right now we have an small Horde infestation.”
“Not just Horde.” Malfurion turned around to his companions.” Go to Broll Bearmantle and tell him to defend the docks. We will go to the upper levels and drive Maeiv back to where she came.”
“Maiev turned betrayer, who would’ve thought…” Illidan snickered. Furion gave him an angry look which made him stop.
“Arch Druid, what of…him?” an archer pointed at Illidan.
“He is my concern, now go! May the spirit of the Wilds and Elune watch over you!” Malfurion replied and held up his hand. A small breeze with an pleasant scent swept passed them. The injured night elves closed their eyes as their wounds healed before they ran off down below.
“We will have words when this battle is over.” Furion held his staff at his twin brother before they both walked side by side to the upper levels.
“We will.” Illidan agreed as he drew his warglaives.” So Maeiv has turned traitor as well.”
“She has. The birds told me they saw her and her renegade Wardens join sides with the Orcs.” The archdruid said as the roots separated in front of them which created shortcuts and opened hidden paths.” They are looking after people of importance. Alliance emissaries, Adventurers, Highborne, Tyrande, me…”
“You invited the Highborne back?” Illidan looked surprised.” No wonder why she is angry. And here thought it was something in the water of the Black Temple.”
“Or your evil rubbing off on her-“ Malfurion fell silent as an group of Wardens and Orcs appeared before them.
“Stop them!” the lead warden cried out.” They must not reach Maeiv before the job is done!”
“It’s good to see you again, brother.” Illidan looked to his twin and cracked an smile. An smile that grew when his twin returned the gesture.” Likewise…brother.”
And so the brothers Stormrage charged forward, staff and war glaive in hand as they once more joined in combat. Orc and renegade kaldorei alike fell to their weapons and magic as they made their way to the upper levels. For an brief moment the demon hunter felt like he was being watched but dismissed that notion when an dagger nearly hot him in the heart if it wasn’t for his twin brother.
“Focus.” He said before he threw an lightning bolt at the perpetrator.
“You try traveling all the way across the Twisting Nether and keep an eye open…” Illidan grumbled and followed Malfurion to the upper levels.
When they reached the city above, it was in flame as the corpses of dead Kaldorei and Orc or Goblin alike littered the floor. “To the High Temple, hurry!” Furion motioned to the south and led the way. They fought their way through some more attackers but reached the temple of Elune soon enough.
“Quickly!” Furion urged.” Before it’s to late.“ Illidan stopped dead in his tracks as his face was filled with horror.
“illidan?” the Archdruid asked as he followed his line of sight.” What’s wron-“
Malfurion joined his brother in the same horror as they found an bloodied and laughing Maiev Shadowsong stood triumphant on the broken statue of Elune as she held an severed head in the air. The severed head of Tyrande Whisperwind.