Alliance: Chapter 10
Dozens of arrows blotted out the sun briefly as they came falling down upon the zeppelin. Ser Thorn, a battle hardened knight and leader of Prince Anduin’s escort, raised his shield in the air.” SHIELD WALL!” he cried out. As one the footmen formed a barrier and caught the arrows on their shields. The prince summoned a holy barrier which enveloped around his and Rexxar’s group which seemed to absorb the arrows into its holy essence.
Anduin dismissed the shield and waved at his footmen as he called out Thorn’s name. The knight must’ve heard because the shield wall parted which allowed Anduin and his escort to enter the zeppelin. They ran past a small pile of dead orcs and troll who tried in vain to board the zeppelin.
The knight was covered in orcish black blood as were most of the footman. Some of the footmen, and a few goblin bruisers, were wounded from the fighting and immediately Anduin took it upon himself to start healing them with the powers gifted to him from the holy light. Thorn did not ask about Rexxar and his men but a frown did form on his brow when a large bear stomped past. He eyed the prince with a weary frown.
“I will explain it later.” The prince urged. “Ser Thorn, are we ready to depart?”
“We were waiting for you, your majesty. Fred and Derek?” Thorn made motions to the goblin captain who immediately ran down below to start the engines.
“They…did not make it.” Anduin focused on healing the wounded soldier in front of him, he would mourn Fred and Derek later.
The knight did not bat a eye at the loss of his men. He called for his crossbowmen to fire a volley into the approaching orc and troll warriors. “Keep firing until everything stops moving!” he called out.” Shieldwall, make sure none of those bastards get on board! Spannercrank, Sanguiar! Keep the prince safe or I will use both your hides as my meatwall!” The rogues frowned at the knight but they remained by Anduin’ side as they kept him out of trouble.
The knight was not the only one in command as Rexxar also began shouting orders in the orcish tongue to his party. The female pandaren threw her unconscious goblin over before she jumped up the rafters. The beastmaster threw the unconscious goblin in the hold before he aided the zeppelin crew in its defense.
Rokhan began to throw down wards which had the shape of a cobra head. In a heartbeat the wooden totems came to life as the cobras turned to flesh and began spitting fire at the approaching enemy. Several spears were thrown at the balloon of the zeppelin but the Pandaren quickly leaped into the air and deflected those away.
The zeppelin’s motor started as the dirigible began to lift into the air. Rexxar cut the lines as the goblin crew hurried to do their duties. Thorn shouted for more volleys and joined his men in the shield wall as they fought off the enemy as they tried to enter via the bridge. A few more courageous trolls jumped on the side as they boarded the zeppelin. Some slammed across the deck and fell down to their deaths while the lucky few climbed aboard. Those however were quickly killed by Rexxar or his bear companion. One got close to Anduin but Valeera and Brink quickly dispatched of the Gurubashi. After the wounded were healed somewhat Anduin urged the scared goblin crew to aid him to move the wounded inside and away from the danger.
After what seemed like a eternity the dirigible moved away from the tower and made its course northward, away from Booty Bay.
The crew, even the pandaren, began to cheer but that stopped when Thorn opened his mouth.
“What are you cheering for?! Did you forget they got aerial troops as well? Load your crossbows and keep an eye out. As long we’re not above Duskwood we’re still in danger.” The knight turned to Anduin.” And I think we need to have a conversation later about what exactly happened, your highness.” he added the last with a touch of venom in his voice.
“Be mindful who you are speaking of, Thorn.” Valeera glared.” This man is your king one day.”
“Not my king.” Thorn replied before he turned to Rexxar.” And who the hell are you supposed to be?”
“I am Rexxar of the Mok-Nathal and Champion of the Horde.” Rexxar replied, his voice authoritive.
“He saved me, Ser Thorn.” Anduin quickly added.” Without him we would’ve been captured at the bottom of the Zeppelin tower.”
The knight looked inquisitively at the half-ogre before he shook his head and walked off to prepare for a eventual air attack.
“Not your king?” Rexxar looked to the young prince of Stormwind.
“Ser Thorn is from Lordearon when it fell.” Anduin explained.” He led one of the refugee trains to Stormwind during the Third War. He is a good man but easily angered.”
“No joking…I’ve met rabid Furbolgs with better manners.” Valeera rested her hands on her hips.
“He is just angry he can’t go with his nephew to Lordearon.” Brink said before tilted his head to see Rexxar.” The goblin you brought along, is he who I think it is?”
The Beastmaster nodded.
“Let’s wake him up shall we?” Spannercrank smirked before he followed the Beastmaster in the hold. Anduin and Valeera shared a confused look before they followed the two.
Inside the zeppelin the female Pandaren, Yalia was her name Anduin found out later, was healing the overweight goblin with her magic which felt similar to the light until he smacked her hand away.
“Getyerhandsoffme…” he slurred before he stood up. He adjusted his tophat to fit properly. He slapped on his vest and trousers as if he was looking for something. Anduin frowned, he recalled having seen this goblin before.
Spannercrank rooted through his front pocket on his vest and took out a cigar. He offered it to the goblin who eyed the gnome wearily before taking it. The gnome then took out a lighter and offered a light which the goblin gladly made his cigarette light up. The goblin inhaled the fumes deeply and exhaled with ecstasy.” I missed this stuff…” he tapped the cigarette with his meaty pinky which dropped some ashes to the floor. “Thanks.”
“No problem.” The gnome folded his arms.” You look rather well preserved for a dead man.”
“Brink…?” Anduin asked. “ You know who this is?”
The prince did not see the gnome’s face, only the back of his bald head, but he could imagine the man smirking.” Prince Anduin, meet the late Trade Prince Jastor Gallywix of the Bilgewater Cartel.”
“Wait….that cant be.” Valeera blinked.” He was supposed to dead, killed in Azshara.”
“The rumours of my death are greatly exaggerated, sweet cheeks.” The fat goblin exhaled another smoke cloud.
Valeera glared. “Don’t call me that.”
“Fine, whatever…” Gallywix shrugged.
“Trade Prince Gallywix.” Anduin repeated. Now he remembered.” We met shortly after the siege of Orgrimmar.”
“We did?” the Goblin asked but he seemed to care little.” Maybe, I was to busy staring at Sylvanas’ rack. Nice set o’ buns that one…”
Valeera’s hands went to her daggers but Anduin stopped her, shaking his head. “He’s not worth it.” He mouthed. She frowned but did as the prince asked.
“We found him locked up in the Baron’s estate.” Rexxar said.” We bust him out since he could help us with a few questions.”
“Such as the not being dead part.” The male pandaren, Chen Stormstout, said as he was already passing around ale mugs to everyone from his keg.” That has me curious.”
“It has us ALL curious…” Rokhan added.” So ya better be spillin’ ta beans, gobbo.”
“Well since you saved me I think I do owe you some explanation…” Gallywix smirked.” A few months ago I came across a…abnormality in my book keeping. At first I thought it was simple embezzlement but it was more than that. Besides the usual liquid assets I missed were weaponry and zeppelin parts. When I went to investigate one of my warehouses I felt something hit the back of my head….and I woke up bound and gagged in a way I did not sign up for and shipped off to Booty Bay. I’ve been a prisoner ever since.”
“A few months ago?” Anduin asked as he took one of Chen’s mugs.” But news of your death circulated a month maybe two before this.”
“Body double.” Spannercrank and Rexxar said at the same time which made a smirk appear on both their faces.
“Trade Princes got body doubles in case of assassinations.” Brink said first.” It seems the True Horde must’ve arranged for a swap, to have a puppet ruling Bilgewater port to make things easier for a attack on Darnassus.”
The prince’s mind reeled.” Wait, the True Horde is behind this?”
“Yes.” Rexxar added.” Vol’jin expected as such since both he and I knew that the body of Gallywix he found did not smell right. We knew of a body double from the goblin responsible of ousting him before on the Lost Isles-”
“May that bastard be eaten by the crabs….” Gallywix spat on the floor.
Rexxar frowned before he continued.” Hence Vol’jin asked me to find out what happened to the real Gallywix.”
“We went ta Ratchet and talked ta Gazlowe.” Rokhan drank some of Chen’s brew.” Turns out a few nights before several mooks tried ta kill him to and aftah some….urgin’ they confessed dey be True Horde and Zandalari respectively. Dey arrived from a ship from Booty Bay so Booty Bay be our next stop.”
“When we got there we went around ‘asking’ people what they knew.” Yalia smirked as she cracked her knuckles.” One of them talked and we found out where Gallywix was.”
“Why didn’t the True Horde kill him already?” Valeera held the brew but did not drink it.” I’ve been here ten minutes and I already want him dead.”
“You lasted a lot longer than most, sweet cheeks.” Gallywix chuckled.” I can answer that one. I managed to tag Zaela and Revilgaz along. My body double was easily bought sure but he did not know the things I do. Safe deposit codes, my secret agents, my goings on and so forth. I drip feeded them so they had to keep me alive for as long as possible so I could find a way to escape. I had a good plan to but then Team Horde barged in and stole my thunder.”
“We can always drop you back.” Chen offered as he smirked.
“Neah, I’m good.” Galliwix chuckled as he doused his cigar. “Chances are if it wasn’t you that bastard might’ve been the one who saved me…” he shuddered at the thought.” Besides…” he took out small book from a pocket in his vest and opened it on a certain page. “I think you might want this.” When Brink went to take it the goblin took it back.” For some coin of course.”
Rexxar looked to his bear. The bear roared loudly and slammed her paws hard on the deck. After a small pause Gallywix composed himself and offered it to Spannercrank, free of charge he added.
The gnome’s eyes darted over the contents of the pages as his eyes widened.
“What is it?” Anduin asked.
“Revilgaz’s diary. It shows the correspondence between him and Maeive Shadowsong, the idea to use Bilgewater’s resources to build the zeppelin armada, the body swap....everything.”
“Does it include the hit on my body double?” Gallywix glared.” I hope they made him suffer that two timing son of a ogre.” Rexxar growled slightly.” No offense, big lug.”
“No…,nothing about that in here.” Brink said.” But still if we show this to Shandris Feathermoon the war can stop before it really begins.”
“Indeed.” Anduin nodded.” We should show this to my father as soon as we get back home.” He pondered. But even so, who murdered the body double and why?” he asked.” Was it the True Horde or the Zandalari?”
“No, a body double of a faction leader wouldn’t lose its usefulness. If anything any ties to Bilgewater is a good one for to start a war between us and the Horde.” Valeera rubbed her chin.” Not that it needed any more though.”
“It wasn’t our side.” Rexxar said.” I know most of the Horde affairs and the Warchief would not condone a killing like this without his consent. Besides we had no reason to kill him…not yet anyway” Anduin heard Gallywix grumble a ‘gee thanks’ under his breath.
“Nor ours.” Brink said.” I’ve know Mathias Shaw for many years, SI7 didn’t call this either.”
“Then if the Horde nor the Alliance did it…then who did?” Anduin asked. As the others speculated the prince’s eyes fell to Rokhan who twiddled with something between his fingers. Anduin’s eyes fell upon a purple rock between the troll’s fingers. The same rock which was on his own necklace. The troll smirked at the prince before he took another sip from Chen’s brew. Anduin frowned and stepped forward to confront the troll.
The dirigible shuddered as the sudden turn right threw everything all over. Anduin smacked against the wall and let out a gasp as the air left his lungs. Everyone gathered themselves as Gallywix cursed.” What kind of fresh hell is it now?!”
“Battlestations!” the goblin captain screamed at the top of her lungs.” Dragon! DRAGON!”
Gallywix blinked as everyone’s eyes, even Anduin, fell on him. “Well…” he coughed.” Shi-“
Another sharp turn happened as panic sounded through the zeppelin. Anduin clawed his way outside as he saw Ser Thorn leading the crossbow men and a few bruisers with guns. Several troll bat riders followed them and some were easily gunned down but the larger creature behind them had Anduin’s attention.
The dragon was easily twice as tall as the zeppelin itself, with scales as black as night and eyes as red as blood. It’s rider, which seemed quite small in comparison, was a orc who waved his axe at them. The black dragon opened its gullet and unleashed a stream of molten lava at the zeppelin.
“STARBOARD, STARBOARD!” the goblin captain cried out which made the ship turn right again. A goblin was screaming as he fell over the reeling. Anduin quickly dashed forward and took the green skin by his leg. The creature was screaming loudly and thrashing as he pleaded for his life. The prince grunted as he tried to pull the creature in but the goblin was heavier than he looked and he felt his grasp slipping. “Hold on!” he cried out to the crewmen.” You will get out of this!”
“Don’t let go!” the goblin cried out.
“I won’t!” Anduin promised.” Try to grab my arm!”
The goblin waved his arms around until he finally managed to grab the prince’s arm. The goblin gave him a small smile as he tried to climb up. Anduin offered his hand when another heavy shock rocked the zeppelin. He hold on the goblin slipped. Anduin tried grab him but only caught air. He heard the goblin screaming as he fell down into the clouds. He screamed out as his mind’s eye visualized the disappointment and horror of the goblin as he plummeted to his death.
He felt himself being pulled up and thrown against the side with his rescuer.
“You...alright?” Valeera caught her breath.
“I dropped him.” Anduin said with melancholy in his voice, his face downward.” I didn’t save him. I promised I would…”
“You can’t save everyone, Anduin” the blood elf helped him up.” Better get used to that fact now. Hey!” She placed her hands on his cheeks and pulled them to her eyesight.” Anduin, you did what you could! This is NOT your fault. Do you understand what I am saying?”
He did not react, he let that man fall. He could see that terrified look on that goblin’s eyes. He was probably still falling right now. It was his fault. A sharp slap knocked him back to the present as Valeera shook him.
“DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM SAYING?!” she shouted.
The priest-prince nodded slowly.
“Good.” The blood elf replied and let go.” That dragon is coming closer and we need some holy shield powers now. Are you up to it?”
“Y-yes, I am.” He nodded and got up.
“Good.” She replied and guided him to the back of the ship.
The dragon was getting closer despite the small layer of crossbow bolts stuck in its hide. The crossbowmen and the bruisers fired another volley but it did not stop the dragon’s advance. The goblin captain ran down to Anduin.” Your highness, we’re about to use the accelerator, but it takes time to warm up.”
Anduin composed himself.” How long?”
“You got them, get on it!.” He replied and ran over to the crossbowmen and Thorn.
“Prince Anduin!” Thorn held him back.” The hell are you doing here, get back!” he glared at Valeera.” I thought I told you to keep him out of danger!”
“I can conjure a protective bubble around the zeppelin!” Anduin shouted.” If I can hold it for five minutes, the captain can use the accelerator to get us out of here!”
“Five minutes?!” Thorn shouted.” You can’t hold out for that long, not against a dragon!”
“I dealt with dragons before, I can!” Anduin shouted.
Valeera took the man by his arm.” That dragon is getting closer by the second, it’s our only chance!”
The knight pondered the situation until a crossbowmen ran over.” Sir, we ran out of bolts. What now?!”
“Light damned!” he cursed and called his men back before he turned to Anduin.” You want to go play a hero, fine here is your chance! But if I have to bring back a corpse to your old man I will haunt you in the afterlife! Understood?!”
“Crystal!” Anduin replied and ran over to where the crossbowmen were stood.
The black dragon was very close now, a mere stone’s throw away Anduin wagered. He closed his eyes and remembered Prophet Velen’s training. He opened his heart to the light and expanded its glow across the entire zeppelin. He felt every beating heart and every breath. He felt the barrier go up just in time as a terrible force smacked the zeppelin around. He heard men screaming but he focused on the shield. With every blow he felt his life force weaken. After another heavy blow, he felt a warm liquid run out of his nose. He clenched his teeth and held on. The blows kept on coming and he buckled to his knees, but he kept the shield up. He vainly heard Valeera call out his name but he focused on the shield. How long was it? It felt like only a minute. Not enough time, not enough...another heavy blow shook the ship and Anduin knew no more.
He was dead, he had to be. He let everyone down, the entire zeppelin had to be gone. He tried to open his eyes but he couldn’t. Was this the afterlife? The afterlife he deserved? The one where those like Arthas would go to? A voice spoke. “I want you to find out what Revilgaz is doing.” Father, Anduin thought?” Can I trust you with this burden?”
Another voice spoke up. “When I look at you, I see a warrior of the Light.” Wrathion?
I am just a boy! Anduin shouted as loud as he could. He was couldn’t save himself let alone anyone else.
“You can’t save everyone, Anduin.” Valeera now spoke.” Best get used to that fact now.”
“You are the king that has been promised. The leader of the army of light and vanquisher of the Burning Legion.” Wrathion spoke again.
"You will be a powerful priest someday, Prince Anduin. “ Velen now spoke. “And a wise king."
“We are Lions, Anduin.” His father spoke again.” We look after the Pride.”
“Trust me father, I will not fail you.” He heard himself say.
He was right, he made a promise to his father he would not let him down. He forced himself to wake.
When he did he found himself covered in debris with the moon shining down upon him. After he gathered himself he pushed the wooden debris away and got up. He was in a mountainous area, near the crash site of the zeppelin. Several fires lighted the area. Anduin felt a pain in his leg, twisted his ankle he thought. He hobbled over to the crash site in the hopes someone was still there. When he got closer he found no-one there. No Valeera, no Brink, no Thorne or any goblins. He was there, alone. He placed his hands on opposites sides of his mouth and shouted. “Is anyone there?!”
No reply came. With a sigh the priest-prince looked through the wreckage and only found some supplies and his mace. With a bad leg and having no idea where he was, Anduin decided to rest for the night and look for others in the morning. He sat down near a fire and huddled himself in some warm blankets he found so the night air wouldn’t freeze him to death.
He felt himself nodding off but he shook it off, he couldn’t fall asleep. Not yet. He felt his eyelids grow heavy and heavier. Soon enough they closed his eyes.
A snap woke him up as he stood up, his mace drawn. Several trolls, Frost ones he noticed, swarmed around him.
“Here he be!” their leader who wore a necklace of elven ears shouted.” There be the prince!”
“Grab him!” a other troll said.
Anduin called down the light and threw that troll off the mountain with his holy power before he slammed his mace into the leader troll’s head. That bravado did not last long as soon enough he was overpowered. The trolls held him down and kicked the mace away.
The leader growled as he held his head and stormed over, his dagger drawn.
“No!” one troll said.” No boss-mon, Zul be wanting him alive!”
“Zul not here!” the leader said.” Now hold him still…”
Anduin glared at the troll, they would not have the satisfaction to hear him scream.
But he did give them a gasp as a arrow embedded itself in the troll’s head. A large roar sounded through the area as something big stormed by. The trolls began to panic and spread out when the attack came. A devilsaur burst from through the debris and bite one of their number in half. Behind it was a orc with a wolf mask, which held a warbanner on his back, that rained arrow after arrow from his bow. When a arrow hit it’s mark it did not take long or the target began frothing at the mouth and fell down, succumbed to its convulses.
A heavily armoured orc with a large heavy shield jumped down and bashed a troll away before he slashed another dead with his sword. Besides him was another orc who looked similar to him and at a guess Anduin suspected they could’ve been brothers. The other orc however was not dressed in plate armour like he counterpart but wore a robe similar to what mages wore and threw up a magical wall which protected his allies from the Frost troll mages and axe throwers.
Those mages quickly fell when a lithe orc female appeared from the shadows and made quick work of them with her daggers.
A goblin, or at least that is what Anduin presumed from the height and build due to the fact the creature wore some kind of… bowl over his head, appeared out of nowhere and began throwing a series of arcane bolts at a Frost troll that tried to run away. Two more orc warriors, a male with a eye patch and a female, and a female Blood Knight cut off the retreat as they gutted the last trolls standing.
Anduin slowly got up as the trolls lay dead or dying. The orc with the poison arrows slammed down the warbanner on the rock and shouted “Lok Tar Ogar!”. A cry picked up by the other members of the warband. The prince picked up his mace, not to defend himself but as to not look weak, when he saw the leader of the warband arrive. He was tall for a orc and also wore a wolf’s mask but bore the official colours of the Horde. Anduin had experience dealing with Horde officials and saw this one had a very high rank, probably a general. The general walked over, followed by a wolf. A dying troll reached out to him but the orc made a motion and the wolf savaged the troll, the screams sounding all over the mountain. The orc general peered through his wolf mask at the prince and sized him up.
Anduin stood up straight and speak in what orcish he recalled from Jaina’s lessons.” I am Anduin, son of Varian of the house of Wyrnn.”
“I know who you are, boy.” The general replied in common.” The question is, what are you doing in here?”
“Where is here?” the prince asked.
The one eyed orc said something in a orc dialect Anduin could not understand. The general replied and laughed which soon was picked up by the others of the warband, even the blood knight. The general smirked at Anduin and said. “Grim Batol. You are at Grim Batol.”
Grim Batol, that accelerator threw them across the entire continent Anduin thought. “Whom do I have the honour of speaking?”
“You have the honour of speaking to General Bloodrain of the Beastmaw Warband.” The general frowned.” And as of right now, you are our prisoner.”