Horde: Chapter 12
The human hunter turned diplomat stood before the forest of Ashenvale. He along with a few orc grunts and a group of wounded and tired human and night elves in naval clothing were waiting in the ruins of a destroyed settlement whose gate and walls were so utterly smashed, like a child would destroy a small wooden house. The grunts were nervous, they recall the tales from the Warsong outriders that once fought in Ashenvale. How the night elves seemed to be one with the forest and could even ask the trees to fight for them. Some of them even fought a few of those tree allies a week ago before the Alliance was driven back to the forest. After many Horde lives were lost.
“What is taking them so long…?” a orc asked in his own tongue.
“Patience…” the older Warsong orc by the name of Gargok said.” They are testing our nerves.”
The grunt snarled.” That is a insult! We should kill these alliance pigs, not trade them like cattle!”
“And your head will be the first target a archer will choose to launch a arrow into your eye socket.” Gargok frowned.” This is the first chance we have for a truce, if we fail here I will hold you accountable for every death that happens here after. Now keep your mouth shut and let the human speak for us.”
The human heard the younger orc spit on the ground and felt his angry eyes burn a hole through the back of his skill. Tyrathan did not turn his head and pretended to not understand what they said. It was wise not to show your hand to your opponent.
Three days the battle on the seas raged, he was told. The fires on the ships burning and the cannon fire were even heard from Everlook some claimed. Tyrathan doubted about Everlook but Darnassus would’ve heard and probably seen it.
Admiral Hatchet and her forces fought hard with Admiral Odesyus’ ragtag Alliance fleet. At first Hatchet thought she had a easy victory in hand since the combined Durotar (Orc and Zandalari ships)and Eastern Kingdoms fleet (Mostly Sindorei vessels safe for one Forsaken destroyer) outnumbered the Alliance three times over. Earlier engagements cost the Kaldorei fleet their admiral, Tyrathan didn’t even hear of his name, but six Alliance ships came to join their Kaldorei allies and managed to stop them from routing. Admiral Odesyus, who was a guest of the Draenei, heard of the oncoming Horde fleet coming to blockade Darnassus and quickly sailed off with the few ships he had left to aid the Kaldorei. When he came across the remnants of the Kaldorei fleet he quickly took command and manage to get them back in fighting spirits. The Night elven vessels armed with ballista bolt throwers were all light frigates save for the Kaldorei battleship that was targeted early on and taken down. Odesyus’ ship “The Lion of Stormwind” and two of his escorts were human battleships however outfitted with Stormwind and Ironforge clad guns which had a very long range and force to boot. Four lighter clad frigates also sailed with Odesyus who provided much needed cannon support to their darnassian sisters.
Tyrathan did not fight in the first war himself but his mentor did. The old trapper told him he once knew Odesyus as a sailor back in the first war and took command of his vessel when the captain and his first mate died in battle which earned him the rank of captain and much later that of admiral. He spend two wars fighting the Horde and he knew how they operated.
He told his kaldorei frigates to attack the Zandalari vessels under command of Captain Jin’zar before falling back to a cove where the rest of the Alliance fleet was. The Troll captains send his forces forward in pursuit, away from the protection by rest of the fleet. Trolls hated elves of any kind with a fiery passion and any chance to slake their bloodthirst was a good one. The bait was taken hook line and sinker. Captain Jin’zar did not expect Stormwind guns so when his ships sailed into that Darkshore cove they were blown apart by superior gunfire. Blood elven destroyers nearly met the same fate but their captain once did a similar maneuver back during the Second War and wisely retreated after they picked up the few Zandalari survivors, including a very ashamed Captain Jin’zar.
Admiral Hatchet stood for a dilemma. Because Odesyus was boxed in that cove she could leave some ships behind to keep him there BUT because of the damage done to her fleet she would not have enough ships to have a proper blockade Darnassus and hold back her opponent. The Orc Juggernauts and battleships had guns with enough kick to them but not the range. The Sea Dogs, so the orcs called themselves, had good hand to hand fighters but their experience at sea were severely inadequate compared to the kaldorei and human sailors.
In the end she only had one choice, to enter that cove and slug it out. Hatchet’s vessel, the Juggernaut “Vol’jin’s Wrath”, and the other plate cladded ships would charge in to take the heavy blows and attempt to board the human battleships while the Sindorei and Forsaken forces could sail behind them and then barrage the Alliance fleet.
As stated before the battle hit a gridlock and it lasted for three days. Ship boarded ship, guns were fired until the ammo ran dry and the ships became nothing more but bridges to leap from one blood soaked vessel into another.
Three days later half the cove was covered with corpses and swarms of sea gulls feasted on their swollen corpses and ship wrecks were littered on the rock and beach. Tyrathan did not know the name of the cove but the name was changed to something in Darnassian which roughly translated to ‘the bloody cove’. In the end Hatchet had won the battle but had very few ships left. She took Odesyus and the crew that survived hostage and limped back to Bladefist bay. That was two days ago.
Tyrathan glanced to his side as he heard one human sailor coughing. The young man fell to his knees but was helped back up by a older officer. The man turned to Tyrathan. “Can I have some water? I do not think my crewmen can hold on much longer.”
Tyrathan nodded and offered his own flask of water. The officer thanked him and gave the sailor something to drink while the orc grunts did their best, and failed, to hide their hatred. One orc did not fall into hatred though. Gargok, the leader of the Warsong clan now Garrosh was slain, kept his warriors in line with a sharp barks and orders. He was also very calm and no doubt fought in these woods for many years. The fact his glance alone made his grunts stand up straight said enough.
Tyrathan’s head moved to the left as he heard some leaves rustling.
“They are here.” He said to Gargok. The older orc nodded and told his grunts to keep alert.
A few moments later a group of night elven rangers appeared from the dark forest and with them a small group of Horde. Orcs, tauren, goblins….Among them was Kadrak, the commander of the destroyed Mor’shan ramparts where they now stood.
The night elven leader was a woman Tyrathan knew. Su'ura Swiftarrow was the High defender of Ashenvale and the battlemaster who oversaw the constant skirmish between her people and the Warsong clan. Her eyes and Gargok’s met. No words were said but each gave the other a small nod before the negotiations began. The night elf stared down at Tyrathan.” Do you speak for the Horde?” her voice sounded with revulsion.
“I am the ambassador for Stormwind who was asked by the Warchief and the king of Stormwind to intermediate in these situations.”
“Men who are both dead.” Su’ura replied.
“As long my duties are not changed I will perform them to the best of my abilities.” He hated diplomatic speech already.” The Horde has not touched my diplomatic immunity and is willing to trade hostages to stop this war from going any further. Do you want my peers in Stormwind to hear that you slaughtered those who wished peace?”
“Your peers want to destroy the Horde even if they lack the spine for it.” She retorted.
“I heard that…” Odesyus coughed.
“Not you, Admiral. Obviously. What you have done for Darnassus will not be forgotten.” For once she smiled and nodded her head at the admiral before she glared back to Tyrathan.” I cannot speak for General Feathermoon about any peace but I can say in her behalf that this exchange might spare the lives of your masters their children.”
“Well…that is a start.” Tyrathan gave a faint smile that already melted away like snow before the sun when her gaze caught his. Lord Khort motioned to Gorgok who shouted the order. The grunts reluctantly cut the prisoners bounds. At the same time Su’ura shouted something in her tongue and the Horde prisoners were also set free. Tyrathan felt a man’s hand on his shoulder. He turned and saw it was the admiral. “You do not have to stay here, Lord Khort. You know just as well as I do the kaldorei will attack again. It won’t be long until Stormwind gets involved and then not even your immunity will save you.”
Tyrathan held the man’s hand.” We are men who both do our duties for our country, Admiral. Mine is to try and stop this war.”
“And here I go making things harder for you.” The admiral chuckled sadly.” Bad form on my part, sorry.”
“You get your men home, sir. When this is over you can buy me a drink or something. Or better yet tell the lords in Stormwind to stop this. Nobody Is going to come out pretty if this goes on.”
“Deal, matey. I’ll see what I can do.” Odesyus smiled.” May the light be with you.”
“May it be with all of us.” Tyrathan replied and bid the admiral farewell.
Both groups of prisoners walked past each other. Kadran’s battered face lit up as he saw Gorgok. The Warsong smiled and held his friend. “I see the elves gave you a beauty treatment.” He motioned to the swollen eye.
“ They wanted to assimilate me into their ranks but I kept myself strong.” Kadran laughed before he winced and held his side.
“Come, we have some healers in the Crossroads for you.”
Tyrathan turned back and saw the night elves and theirs had disappeared in the dark forest. It did not take much coercion for the Horde war party to leave. Outside the ruins of the ramparts stood a few Tauren, Sunwalkers he guessed by the elaborate tribal yet light imbued armour, with plenty of kodo’s. Chief Hawkwind’s reinforcements arrived after the battle and the Tauren, once more, stood in between the Horde and oblivion. Already they drove off several Centaur and Quilboar packs that attacked Horde villages and wrongfully assumed they were ripe for the picking.
“Is this everyone?” One of the Sunwalkers asked Gorgok.
“Zug zug, Lonaki.” The Warsong replied.” Any word from the Shattered Hand?”
“Gordul sends word he is already at the Crossroads.” The Sunwalker replied.” If we leave now we can reach it by sunset.”
“Dabu.” The orc replied. He held the tauren by his shoulder, a gesture the Sunwalker followed, before both got to work loading the wounded into carts pulled by the Kodo. The caravan quickly departed. Tyrathan, a ghost now to everyone else since they all seemed to ignore him, was seated behind Lonaki and Gargok as the former drove one of the Larger kodo’s who pulled the cart they were seated on. “I received word Baine and Thrall are returning to Durotar as soon as possible.” Mulkor said to Gorgok.” The Yaungol have joined the Horde and we might get some reinforcements from them.”
“I fought the Yaungol in Pandaria.” Tyrathan said.” They are good fighters.”
“Eager?” Gorgok asked.
“TO eager…” Tyrathan remembered all to well how many friends he had lost from the Tauren’s long lost cousins. Not even the Taunka in Northrend were that aggressive or bloodthirsty.
“Good. From what I’ve been hearing Sylvanas is getting licked to.” The Warsong frowned.” We need all the help we can get.”
“How is the Warchief?” Tyrathan asked.
The Sunwalker sighed.” We got Shaman, Sunwalkers, Seers, Witch Doctors and even Paladins watching him around the clock. But he is still in a coma.”
“And Bah’kini?” the Warsong asked.” Does she still draw breath?”
“Only because Vol’jin’s child is growing in her belly.” Lonaki said.” After she has given birth I cannot say.”
Tyrathan had spoken to one of Jaina’s former spies in Ratchet the day before. It seemed a large air armada lift off from Khaz Modan and was on its way to bomb Zandalar. She even spoke of several skirmishes already to slow the dwarven and gnomish war machine but bat and skyscreamer riders had little chance against gunships, gyrocopters and gryphon riders. Chances were Bah’kini’s father would die in the crossfire and her treachery would’ve meant little. For a moment he felt pity for her. He kept this knowledge to himself however. The chance was small that the Council of Three Hammers and Gnomeregan would assault Orgrimmar after having claimed vengeance against the Zandalar Empire. But the idea of a Alliance air fleet headed their way while the High King was dead and the heir gone, possibly killed by Orcs and Trolls…Tyrathan felt a chill run down his spine and he wasn’t even in direct danger.
“I was surprised Swiftarrow said the Warchief was dead.” Gorgok shook Tyrathan from his revelries. “ Shows you what Alliance spies are made of these days.”
“Unless she was lying…” Tyrathan pointed out.
“Ah yes…the human’s weapon.” He spat.” No offense.”
The hunter turned ambassador did not reply and sat the rest of the ride out in quiet contemplation as the conversation between Mulkor and Gorgok turned more mundane.
As predicted by the Sunwalker, the caravan arrived at the Crossroads which was still being repaired. Tyrathan knew if the night elves would come again, the Crossroads would stand no chance. Even with the Tauren reinforcements. He noticed most of the Forsaken forces were gone as well.
“No explanation.” Gordok of the Shattered Hand told them later.” Just up and left. They left a skeleton crew here but that’s it.”
One of the Shattered Hand chuckled but a brief stare from his Chieftain and Gorgok silenced him.
The remaining leaders of the Horde forces of the barrens were located in the inn which now served as their headquarters. Gordok of the Shattered Hand Clan, Gorgok of the Warsong, Lonaki of the Sunwalkers, Jusi of the Houjin, Pyreanor of the Sindorei Blood Knights and Turik of the frostmane represented their races with Tyrathan as a spectator.
” So what is the plan, we hold on until Thrall returns?” Disciple Jusi asked.
Sergra Darkthorn spoke up . “With the Bilgewater goblins pressed hard in Azshara and with most of our navy gone we got no choice.” She slammed her hands down hard on the table.” I helped build this place, I will NOT see it fall!”
“Open your eyes, Sergra.” The blood knight spoke.” We cannot hold this town. The thing we can do is leave this palce and hold up in Durotar.”
“Orcs never retreat, elf!” Sergra snarled.
“And that is why you are losing this war.” Pyreanor replied.
“My spies have counted a large force being rallied in Ashenvale.” Gordok spoke before Sergra could shout at the Blood Knight.” Tyrande’s death has caused even more Ancients and Furbolg to join the Kaldorei forces. Even the Furbolg tribe near the Draenei, the…” he snapped his fingers.
“Stillpine.” Tyrathan said.
“Dabu. The Stillpine even came over on rafts to claim vengeance.”
“So much blind hate…” Jusi sighed.” I do not understand.”
Turik shook his head.” I can. I know how it feels after da great fatha died. This will not be stopping until they find a way to place their anger and fear.”
“How? We cannot bring Tyrande back. Least not In a suitable fashion...” the blood knight spoke.
“I know a way.” Tyrathan said. All eyes turned to him.” We find the one who killed her. And bring her to them.”
“Maiev Shadowsong?” Gorgok asked.” How can we find her? It’s been months, she could be anywhere!”
Tyrathan clutched the purple necklace in his pocket.” What if I told you I know someone who does?”