Horde: Chapter 7
He had seen his friend like this before. Hunched over a map, moving pieces around and discussing tactics with his generals. Less than a year ago Tyrathan was with the Alliance delegation and served as a interpreter during the Siege of Orgrimmar. He translated from Orc and Zandalari tongue to Common and vice versa. It was the first time since the battle for Mount Hyjal that the Alliance and the Horde worked together that intimately. He remembered how he fought alongside Vol’jin, Baine Bloodhoof, Mekkatorque and Greymane during the siege. He remembered the promise he made to Vol’jin in Pandaria and the black arrow he made for that purpose. It took over a month, a saronite metal shard, hardwood and chimera feathers and a lot of blood, sweat, tears and coin to make.
Garrosh was empowered by some unholy sha magic and the adventurers who accompanied their respective factions did all they could just to keep Garrosh’s attention on them. As time almost ran out, Tyrathan tossed the arrow over to the Darkspear who took the shot at Warchief Garrosh. It was a clumsy shot, since the future warchief of the Horde had to use Sylvanas Windrunner’s bow who could not take the shot due to a broken arm, but his aim was true. The black arrow pierced through the usurper’s chest and shattered his heart in a dozen gory pieces. The warchief fell to his knees in disbelief and died shortly afterward as his black blood formed a small river on the floor.
Tyrathan, and Vol’jin to he assumed, hoped that the treaty made after would last at least one generation. But now Tyrathan was stood in the war room as his friend was preparing for war with the kaldorei. Darnassus was attacked by a combined force of a goblin airfleet, orc warriors and renegade watchers led by Maeive Shadowsong. The attack was repulsed but many Night elves lost their lives…including Tyrande Whisperwind. The Night elves mourned the loss of their High Priestess but ever so slowly their sorrow turned to anger and their eyes fell upon the Horde. According to Drak’thul’s imp and Zen’tabra’s contacts in the druidic Cenarion Circle, the Kaldorei were massing for a attack and not even High King Varian was able to call them off. No-one had found any clue as to where that airfleet was.
Vol’jin had send several messages saying that the attack was not condoned by the Horde and one of his own who was connected to the mercenary fleet, Trade Prince Gallywix of the Bilgewater cartel, was found murdered in his own office. Even Tyrathan, who had limited experience with the game of thrones, knew a trap when he saw one…but the kaldorei hungered for orcish blood and they would get it, one way or another.
Around the table stood Warchief Vol’jin, his second in command Eitrigg and the warlock Drak’thul who slowly but surely had won his way into Vol’jin’s council. With them were Chieftain Earthbind of Thunder Bluff, Advisor Willington of the Undercity, Arch Druid Zen’tabra of the Darkspear Trolls, Professor Fraggle Lunatice of the Bilgewater Cartel, Disciple Jusi of the Houjin Pandaren and Councilor Arial D'Anastasis of Silvermoon City. Each member represented each major Horde race and each were bringing their forces to bear. The former wolf hunter turned interpreter was allowed inside the war room as to show that the treaty was upheld on the Horde side. He was just grateful none present seemed to notice him.
“Chief Hawkwind has send word he is marshaling the tribes. In ten days he will arrive with as many forces as he can.” Earthbind said.
“Our people will be ready in three as will da other troll tribes, Warchief.” Zen’tabra’s lips cracked into a grin.” Da drums at the Echo Isles be callin’ fo’ war and our younglings thirst for kaldorei blood.”
“The Houjin stand ready to fight alongside their allies.” Jusi bowed.” Your rescue of Master Firepaw has not been forgotten.”
“My lady has few forces to spare due to her skirmish with the usurper Calia Menethil. But a fleet of our finest and freshest urghm…’recruits’ are on their way as we speak.” The Forsaken swirled his cup with wine before he took a sip.
“We got the biggest Shredders, explosives and zeppelins at your disposal, Warchief-sir!” Fraggle cackled as he rubbed his hands together.” Those barbaric tree hugging elves can’t do anything against our SCIENCE!”
D’Anastassis rolled her eyes at her peers.” Regent Lord Lor’themar has send over a regiment of our Blood Golems, Sorceresses and Spellbreakers via portal. Master Pyreanor will lead those forces.”
Vol’jin nodded at each before he pointed at the map.” The night elves will be going fo’ a two pronged attack. One via Mor’shan Rampart through the Barrens and the other through Azshara. According to our sources they called in ta same allies they had durin’ tha third war.”
One of Jusi’s eyebrows raised.” For those who were not present, you mind explaining which alies?”
“Ancients.” Eitrigg had his arms folded.”Hippogryphs, Chimera’s, Stone Giants…we even had word the Furbolgs have joined with them, including the Stillpine tribe.”
“Does that mean we are facing the draenei as well?” Lunatice adjusted his goggles.” I hope so, I wish to test my-OUR new beam rifles against their technology….for the good of SCIENCE of course.”
“No.” Vol’jin frowned slightly.” The draenei have not pledged their aid to the night elves nor has Varian’s Alliance.”
“Who is leading the Night Elves then?” Willington asked.” Can’t we parlay with them?”
Vol’jin turned to Tyrathan. “Ya mind sayin’ who has broken ta treaty, Lord Khort?”
Tyrathan winced as the eyes of every Horde official fell on him. For the first time during his stay in Orgrimmar he felt unwelcome. He closed his eyes for a moment to find his calm. He clenched it hard as he re-opend his eyes.” Jarod Shadowsong and Shandris Feathermoon are the most likely bets.” The hunter replied.” Both are seasoned commanders and deadly adversaries.”
“I met a Maeve Shadowsong a decade or so ago….is there any relation to this Jarod?” Drak’thul asked.
“That was his sister. She tried to perform a coup by trying to kill Tyrande and Malfurion two years ago for which she was exiled.” Eitrigg frowned.” With your imps everywhere I thought you knew everything.”
“I am still teaching a generation of warlocks not to burn themselves, catching up to decades worth of news and context AND maintaining a spy network.” Drak’thul turned to Eitrigg.” My apologies if I do not know every single detail just yet.”
“Eitrigg, Drakthul! That be enough…” Vol’jin sighed.” Last thing we be needing is fighting against each otha.” He motioned back to the map.” Mor’shan will hold foh some time but we no be makin’ any illusions. It will fall. Our best chance is ta reinforce the Crossroads. As long as we hold ta Crossroads, the Kaldorei cannot march further south or ta Durotar. Me, Eitrigg, Jusi and Pyreanor will be marchin’ at first light. Baine will be leading our reinforcements.” He pointed to a Horde town near Orgrimmar.” Nozzlepot’s outpost may be targeted soon as well. I have send order’s ta burn ta nearby oil fields, dat way the Night elves will not be attackin’ Orgrimmar from da east.”
“What of Azshara?” Earthbind asked.” The Bilgewater Brigade may not be able to withstand a assault.”
“HEY!” Fraggle shouted.” My people can handle themselves very well! Don’t worry Warchief, the Night Elves will be going up against Bilgewater bomber planes, artillery and all sorts. They will be pounded into mush by the time they even get close to the Azshara gate.”
“Don’ be a hero. Fight dem as long as ya can but regroup ta Bilgewater port and do harassing attacks dere den.” Vol’jin said before he turned to Willington.” Advisor, you be sendin’ your fleet ta reinforce ours at Ratchet. Admiral’s Hackett an’ Jin’Zar will be needing your ships. If it’s needed we will use the combined fleet to cut the night elves off from Darnassus.”
“I am hearing a lot of defensive tactics, Warchief.” The blood elf glared.” Why aren’t you attacking first?”
“I gave Varian ma word I be upholdin’ da treaty.” Vol’jin replied.” As long as ta night elves not be attackin’ I be keepin’ it.”
“You gave your word to King Chin?” she rolled her eyes.” You know he thinks less of you then dirt.”
Zen’tabra turned to the sindorei advisor. “May be so but da Horde be about upholdin’ our honour and family. Nevah forsake those.” She glared.” If ya rather not break a nail I suggest ya take ta first portal ta Silvermoon.”
D’Anastassis smirked.” And flee where trolls stood and fought? Hardly, I wouldn’t give your kind THAT kind of satisfaction.”
“Then it be decided.” Vol’jin interrupted.” Tommorow we march to war.”
Tyrathan waited outside the war room as each general left one by one or by twos. He was leaning against the fence which overlooked Orgrimmar. He nodded when Jusi passed but quickly looked away when D’Anastassis glared at him.
“You haven’t tattled on us yet?” Eitrigg walked up to him.
“Not yet, missed the post ship anyway.” Khort replied. He looked down at Orgrimmar as the city started to die down as the sun began to set.” You think you will be able to hold off the Night elves?”
Eitrigg leaned on the fence.” We will. Us Horde are a strong bunch…a stubborn bunch.” He grinned at the interpreter.” We survived wars before, we will do so again.”
“Aren’t you tired of it?” Khort turned to the old orc.” Tired of war?”
“You would be a fool not to be. The death, the costs, the suffering, sleepness nights. …and yet..” The old orc did not reply for a moment.” There have been times, even when the demon blood was gone, that I felt like I lived for war all my life. A axe in your hand and a loud war cry on your lips. You were part of the storm, it raged with you. I found comfort in it when my sons died and I found comfort in it when I fought alongside Tirion Fording in Northrend. But the longer you rage with it, the longer you enjoy killing…the harder it becomes to endure the quiet times. It’s then when you realize that the storm was your life all along and no matter what you do, you will do anything to get back into that storm. If just for one last time.” The orc looked to Khort.” Vol’jin told me of your past, about how you view war.”
“ I fought because I had to, because I was good at it.” Tyrathan replied.” Because of that I lost my family,I lost them because I thought I was trying to protect them from the storm. But in the end I only justified myself. I liked doing it because it all made sense… ”
Eitrigg nodded.” That I understand completely. You may be a pink skin but you have the heart of a orc, a warrior’s spirit like my brother Tirion. It was he who helped me find peace in between the storms. It may be you who needs to be there for Vol’jin when the time comes.”
Tyrathan frowned.” What do you mean? What time?”
“In the eye of the storm.” Eitrigg stood and smacked Khort on the shoulder which nearly made the human buckle through his knees” Take care of yourself Lord Khort.” With that he walked off.
Tyrathan watched the old orc disappear in one of the tunnels which led towards the lower parts of Orgrimmar when Vol’jin appeared next to him.
“Had a talk with Eitrigg?” Vol’jin asked his friend.
“That I did.” Khort replied and walked with him.” I was killing time while waiting for you.”
“Ya send tha report?”
“No, not yet….” Tyrathan turned to Vol’jin.” Vol’jin, why was I there?”
“Ta report ta Varian we are holdin’ up our end of da treaty.” The troll replied.
“That is bull!@#$, Vol’jin.” The troll gave him a odd look. “I mean that is nonsense. I am part of the Alliance. The Night elves are part of the Alliance. I am the enemy and I was at your council.”
“The Sin’Dorei tried to defect to ta Alliance last year and who knows what Sylvanas is doing…” Vol’jin began to chuckle.” Isn’t it strange out of everyone in dat chamber you were one of the few I REALLY trusted?”
“It is…is there anything you want me to tell Varian?”
“Tell him if he wants ta uphold da treaty, he should call off his stooges at Booty Bay who keep annoyin’ me with his taxes. Ah be sendin’ someone else to be ma representative but addin’ ya voice to it should send a message. I was willing ta put up with it for a while but enough is enough. Ah got ma own vipers ta deal with…”
“Such as Sylvanas and the Night elves?” Khort asked.
“Among otha things, rangah. Da Zandalari and tha other troll refugees are startin’ ta fit in tha Horde and many signed up to defend dere homes from ta night elves.”
“Is that why you married Bah’Kini?” Tyrathan asked.” To put the Zandalari in your camp?”
“An’ ta keep a eye on dem. Da moment a economic crisis starts they happen ta bring in coin to help ma problems?”
“Coincidences rarely occur…” the human agreed.” So you think they will betray you?”
“Ah was given a list of Zandalari females ta marry. Ah checked dem all and noticed they were all good at one thing. Poison. I choose Bah’kini because her feelin’s be genuine and out of all tha other Zandalari both Zen’tabra and Moraya seem ta like her.” Vol’jin motioned his human friend to enter the tunnel.
“So what is your plan?”
“Go to war, protect ma people…try ta find out who is tryin’ ta kill me on ta Zandalari camp.” Vol’jin replied.” Also try ta find out who killed Gallywix.”
“Got any idea who?”
Vol’jin shook his head.” Ah got people looking after dat, people ah sorely need for ta coming battle.”
“Fair enough.” Tyrathan paused.” Can’t you just…kick the Zandalari out? Take their coin?”
“No, I tink most troll refugees are here for genuine reasons. I tink it be a certain elite who still work for da Zul’s Zandalari. Ah can try to find dem and root dem out.”
Khort already said the words before he thought about it.” I can find them. I was a hunter remember.”
“I dun think wild animals be ta same as politics…” The Warchief turned.” Ya would be willing ta work for ta Warchief of the Horde?”
“No, I would be doing my friend a favour.” Khort smiled as he cursed himself.” I can’t fight the Night elves but I can fight the Zandalari. Of course I need to inform my king of this…”
“Ah trust ya word on this. Ah will inform Eitrigg an’ Saurfang.” Vol’jin said.” Be sure to catch da Zandalari before dey catch me. Or else ya be havin’ three angry troll women aftah ya.”
“Guessing by the scars you have I rather avoid that fate.” Tyrathan laughed. He smiled and hugged his friend.” You take care of yourself, alright?”
“Bwonsamdi will have me sooner or latah…I rather stay alive for a little bit longah tho.”
“May the light be with you, Vol’jin son of Sen’jin.”
“May ta Loa watch ovah ya, Tyrathan Khort.”
Both friends gave their goodbyes and walked in opposite directions. Tyrathan made his way to the ambasador’s suite, now left vacant when Lord Vanyst was recalled to Stormwind, and closed the door behind him. He undid the Alliance tabard and vest before he poured himself a glass of wine from the bottle. He downed it down and placed the empty glass down. Immediately he felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise as he became aware he was not alone in his room. He caught the scent of old man and something foul, demonic even. He waited for a moment.
“Drak’thul, how can I help you?”
“Very observant Lord Khort, I see your reputation does you credit.”
He turned around as he saw the elderly orc was seated on his chair while his pet imp was gulping down another bottle of wine.” I hope you don’t mind my associate drinking from your master’ storage. Despite being a demon he has few vices and the drink is one I like to permit.”
“Good swill!” the creature gave Tyrathan a thumb’s up.
“I will be sure to send Lord Vanyst a note. Now if you don’t mind can you please tell me what you are doing here?”
Drak’thul held out his hand as large green orb appeared.” I believe you are familiar with the eye of Kilrogg?” Tyrathan nodded and stepped closer. The orb began to show images as sounds came through as if from a tunnel. The image showed Vol’jin talking to Rexxar, Rokhan, Chen and Yalia.
“Ya need ta go to Booty Bay.” Vol’jin in the image said.” If there is any chance of findin’ a money trail, it’s there.”
“What about the Night elves and the spy Zandalari?” Rexxar asked.
“Ah got both covered. Rexxar, one of our own was murdered. His killer must be brought ta Horde justice.”
“What if tha killer be Alliance?” Rokhan asked.” What if Varian send one?”
“Or what if Gallywix DID order a attack on Darnassus?” Yalia asked.
“We do not know either.” Vol’jin said.” That is why I need ya to help figure this out. We cannot afford ta stab in ta dark.” He folded his arms.” Ya be goin’ in ma name to call off Varian’s money lenders but in reality ya be goin’ ta look for any clues leadin’ ta Gallywix and dat airfleet that has disappeared.”
“You think we will find any leads there?” Chen asked.
“Ah hope so. A fleet of goblin zeppelins and orc warriors dun disappear without a trace.”
The image in the orb disappeared as Drak’thul closed his hand.
“So…this is happening right now?” Tyrathan asked.
“Zug zug.” The older orc replied.
“Why did you show me this?”
“To keep you on the loop.”
“Why?” the ranger folded his arms.
“Because I think you are one of the few humans on Azeroth who wants to keep Vol’jin alive. Why else would you enlist yourself to find those Zandalari spies?” the orc grinned.
“So…that building up your spy network thing and yet missing a few details…”
“Oh the network is up and running and sometimes I have to feign ignorance, for the greater good.” The old orc motioned for Khort to sit. The human shook his head.
“Dabu, suit yourself.” The orc said before he took a sip from his glass of wine.” I want to help you with your quest. Tomorrow evening a gathering will take place in Ragefire Chasm, I believe the Zandalari spies will be present there.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Tyrathan asked.” Why not Vol’jin?”
“The Warchief is to busy planning a war and saying goodbye to his mates and Eitrigg has no reason to trust me for understandable reasons.”
“And why should I trust you?” the ranger already hated how he brought himself into this mess.
“Because you are the sword we need to help bring down the Zandalari and the True Horde.”
“Who is we?”
Drak’thul leaned back.” Tell me Lord Khort, have you ever heard of the shadow council?”