Horde: Chapter 5
He thought he would’ve been used to it by now. The sights of war, the honours and the glory and the horror and blackness. He saw his kin rise one of their number into the air as they shouted his name with cheer. “Dumass, Dumass, Dumass!”
The badly equipped soldier held a Worgen’s decapitated head in the air as he himself was thrown into the air.” THANKS!” he shouted with a big stupid grin on his face.
Nathanos shook his head as he saw the Worgen corpses thrown into a large pit before the fire mages lit them up.“ Anyone want a hot dog?” one of them cracked which spread like wildfire among the others. The laughter seized when they saw Lady Sylvanas’ Windrunner did not share their sense their humour and got back to work of disposing the useless bodies. He stepped on the broken banner of a white rose while the black rose banners waved high and proud along with a few Horde ones.”Ridiculous…” was all Nathanos had to say about heraldry before he moved on.
More warriors dragged other Forsaken to a cart pulled by a Ettin. Among the honoured dead he spotted a few of the fallen Forsaken sport a white rose emblem on their chest, the sigil of the false queen. Queen Sylvanas was very clear, even if they were misguided these were still their brothers and sisters and deserved the same respect. The lost ones, they were called back in Undercity.One of the coroners waved at the goblin driver, wearing a mask in the shape of a bird’s beak with a black robe, who nodded and charged the cart off. Back to Undercity. Back to Lady Sylvanas.
His mind went back to a forest near the border with Quel’Thalas. The trees were still strong then, not corrupted and melting like they were now. Green leaves as far as the eye could see, the bark strong and brown. He remembered laughter, a blue cloak and hood waving in the wind, a warm but firm touch to his cheek, the smell of flowers and herbs, her lips touching his...
Nathanos’ eyes darted to the blood elven death knight who was seated on a rock. He was wiping the blood of his dark runeblade with the cloak of a Scarlet Crusader knight before a Forsaken took the corpse by his ankles and dragged it away. The body was taken to the other human corpses as they were neatly placed into rows as if they were about to rise to march again.
“Ser Koltira, I have not seen you during the battle.” Nathanos glared at the dark armoured elf.” Busy polishing your nails?”
“Hardly.” The blood elf replied.” Ever since the Queen decided to take away my free will, I have been forced to go into rather suicidal charges.”
“A shame the suicide is still to happen.” The champion replied.
“Agreed.” Koltira tossed away the scrap of fabric as inspected his runeblade.” You know what it feels like to have lost everything?”
“Everyone who is still standing on this sodding battlefield does.” Nathanos sat down himself.” When you come as one of the living dead, you come back with nothing else left to lose.”
“Wrong.” Koltira glared.”You still have your free will. You and all of your kin have chosen to be here. To fight for her and for Lordearon. I fight for her and Lordearon because she willed me to do it.”
“That is the price of treason.”
Koltira began to chuckle which made Nathanos feel uneasy. He did not show it, the mask he always kept on was still there. And it began to get annoyed.” What are you cackling at?”
“What you just said. That is the price of treason…were you at the Wrath Gate?”
“No, I was not.”
“Then you did not see the Lich King. After we defeated the Scourge Vanguard, Bolvar the idiot called him out. Said Arthas was a coward and would be brought to justice, you know the same old alliance drivel.”
“Right….” Nathanos nodded.
“So Arthas comes out and replied ‘You speak of justice? Of cowardice? I will show you the justice of the grave and the true meaning of fear.’” Koltira placed his runeblade in his scabbard.” You may say what you like about the Lich King, but he at least he did things better than our queen has.”
The champion’s hand slowly slid to his pistol to his side and grabbed the handle” What do you mean?”
“When Arthas raised the dead he made sure none of this came back. The soul, the free will. That part stayed dead, remained at peace. Save for the Death Knights who served the Ebon Blade. We were allowed free will. We served the Lich King true but after he betrayed us at Light’s Hope Chapel our free will helped to secure his downfall.”
“What are you saying, Death Knight?” Nathanos growled.
“I am saying that the Lich King allowed me free will while our Queen has taken it away. It is like being locked in a dark dungeon after you have been allowed to walk free in the fields. If the Lich King allowed me free will, what does that make our queen for taking it away?”
“Alive for starters.” Nathanos stood up.” And a lot wiser.” He moved over to Koltira with determined purpose. Before the death knight could reply he was struck across the cheek by the champion’s mailed hand. Nathanos then threw his entire weight and tackled Koltira into the dirt and began to throttle him.
“SHE GAVE YOUR PURPOSE AND YOU BETRAYED HER TRUST!” Nathanos heard a group of Forsaken drop their corpses and run over to them.” SHE WAS YOUR QUEEN BUT YOU CHOSE THE ALLIANCE! YOU DESERVE DEATH LIKE THE REST OF THE TRAI-” a howling sound hit him like a ogre’s made and knocked him across the rock.
“Blightcaller, that is enough!” Sharlinda hovered to them.” We need Ser Koltira in this war!”
“Slaughter more like…” Koltira said as he stood up and rubbed his neck where it began to bruise.” Their five hundred to our three thousand, at least they gave us a good fight…”
“Enough.” Sharlinda glared.” Your service during the War against the Lich King has given you some mercy but do not think the Dark Lady will rip out your tongue if you do not treasure it. You keep quiet or I will do it for you.” She flicked her hand which summoned a small purple smoke which quickly evaporated. Koltira glared and opened his mouth to speak but someone did it for him already.
“GHOST LADY BACK!” Dumass pointed at the sky. The host gasped as their gaze went to the star pregnant sky as one of the infamous Val’kyr descended upon them. Sharlinda turned to both the champion and the death knight and gave them a look which promised the conversation wasn’t over before she floated to the newly arrived angel of death and rebirth.
“Greetings, Sister Sharlinda.” The Val’kyr bowed her head.
“Sister Aderna…” the banshee’s hover made a dip as if she bowed.” We thank you for your presence to guide these lost souls to a second chance.”
“It is you I have to thank, were it not for them I would be out of a job.” Aderna smiled before she flew over to the corpses of the Scarlet Crusaders who were neatly lined in rows.” Scarlet Crusaders, the false queen must be very desperate to have these men in her ranks.”
“The Lost ones.” Sharlinda motioned to a rebel Forsaken.” The Worgen and the Humans were very badly coordinated. As if they worked against each other and us.”
“Hopefully this means the war will be over soon. I hate seeing the children I helped raise be made so confused…”
“Fear not sister, the Dark Lady watches over us.” A smile appeared on the banshee’s ghostly lips as her hand touched the Val’kyr’ shoulder.” Now come, it’s time for the rebirth.”
Aderna nodded as took to the skies. She held out her hand as streams of black lightning struck each of the Scarlet corpses. The stars above dimmed as the Forsaken all began to worship the Val’kyr and praised her.” Praise the life giver, praise the Dark Lady…” they muttered.one by one the corpses hovered in the air as the corpses began to come alive again once more. Some cheered, some cried, some roared but all had the same name on their lips.” Hail to the Dark Lady, hail to the TRUE queen of Lordearon!”
The few non-Forsaken such as the goblin drivers or the odd orc or sindorei mercenary began to huddle together. Nathanos might have lost quite a bit of his sense of smell, but the fear he could reek from their Horde allies made him grin. He looked to Koltira who tried to remain impassive but a small grin began to crack over his lips.” What is it, Ser Koltira?” Nathanos laughed.” Afraid to give into your inner monster?”
Koltira replied with a ice cold glare which fuelled Nathanos’ laughter even more.
The newly resurrected corpses landed back on the ground as Aderna lowered herself to inspect her new children. She stopped by one and held up her half smashed in head.” Who do you serve?”
“Queen Sylvanas, her rightful majesty.” The Scarlet replied. Appeased the Val’kyr let go and flew over to a knight who was seated on a horse. Likewise she held up his chin and asked “Who do you serve?”
“Queen Sylvanas, the Dark Lady and rightful ruler of Lordearon.” The knight replied. The undead steed below reared up as a addendum to his master’s new master. Appeased the Val’kyr moved on. This one was a priest, still in a good condition all things considered. Aderna inspected the priest before she held her by the chin.” Who do you serve?”
“The rightful queen of Lordearon…” the priestess rasped. Appeased Aderna nodded and moved on.
“Queen Calia Menethil.”
The Val’kyr spun around.” What did you say?”
The priestess merely grinned as she held up something in her hand.” ALL PRAISE CALIA, THE WHITE QUEEN OF LORDEARON!” The object in her hand began to glow heavily. Aderna cried out before she cut the priestess down while Sharlinda took the device in her hand.” I have it, I ha-“
Nathanos had to shield his eyes as if the sun exploded in front of them. He felt himself being thrown across the battlefield. He could see nothing but torn off limbs and mud and fire. For a moment, everything turned black.
He remembered her lips on his, her slim but firm body astride on his.” It is our little secret.” She said.” Our escape from our duties.” Stolen kisses and sleepless nights.” Come back to me. Here, at our special place. Promise you will.” I promise, Nathanos muttered.
The sound of a Alliance warhorn fluttered the champion’s eyes open. He quickly got back up and pulled his pistols as he saw Worgen and Knights alike charge toward the battlefield. One of the Lost Ones got close on his undead horse and made a swing for Nathanos. The champion dodged it barely and fired his shot at his assailant’s head. The bullet tore the head clean off and hung on by a fleshy rotten thread for a few moments before it fell off from the horse’s gallop.
A footman charged at him but also got a shot through the neck. The armoured warrior fell down to his knees and grasped the bleeding hole in his neck in a attempt to stop the bleeding. Nathanos picked up the man’ sword and made a quick end to his suffering. He looked around him and saw Worgen and cavalry alike tear through the disorganized Forsaken troops. Soon enough the horn for retreat was sounded.
“Fall back!” he heard Koltira shouting across the battlefield.” Fall back!”
The ground began to shake heavily, at first Nathanos thought it was another Alliance charge or Koltira summoning his undead army…but the answer was worse. Drill machines popped from under the earth and as the doors opened, Dark Iron warriors spilled through. From one machine Nathanos saw five warriors in white armour burst forth, four humans and one worgen. Of the four humans one was female…and the White queen. The five fought as one, the four men protecting their queen. Another blast called for retreat. The Forsaken banners were dropping fast, a fallen Dark Iron dwarf held on to his rifle. There was a clear shot at Calia. Nathanos took his chance.
He darted toward the gun, a worgen tried to come in between but received a sword in the throat. The sword was stuck in there but Nathanos did not care. He picked up the rifle from the dark iron and took his aim at Calia. His mind went back to the forest, to his lessons.” This is my place where my mind goes to in battle. This has to be yours to. Find yourself here, in the very same moment of focus. You find your focus, find your target…and loose.” Instead of a arrow fired at a target, a bullet flew from the barrel toward the queen. The queen did not fall however, one of the white knights went down. Caught the bullet, Light damnit!
The earth shook again as this time Koltira did bother to summon his army of ghouls as one final retreat sounded. Nathanos cursed the bastard who died for his false queen and quickly turned heel and ran.