Alliance: Chapter 15
It was hell on earth, that was the only description he had for the madness in front of him.
He was never in a real battle before, not like this. Where the soldiers in front died and the smell of blood and metal filled one’s nostrils. Thankfully the training he received from Maraad was hardwired in his brain. He swung his mace and smashed it at a orc’s skull, black blood gushed in his face. He stepped back, parried a troll spear, before he threw called on the light and blinded his opponent with a bright flash. The tauren chieftain close to the prince finished him off with his halberd.
“Yaungol, forward!” he cried.” Support General Bloodrain!” The Yaungol and a few Tauren warriors charged forward as they supported the Horde warband.
“FOR THE HORDE, MY BEASTMAW! LEAVE NO ENEMY ALIVE!” Anduin heard the blood crazed general cry out. A cry picked up by his warband, and even a few Yaungol who suddenly remembered whom they were fighting for.
Anduin knelt down near a wounded Yaungol , a large slice across his chest mattered the creature’s fur in blood, and concentrated on the light within. He did not see it but he felt Fearbreaker glowing brightly as the Light channeled through him into the wound of the downed warrior. A moment later the Yaungol opened his eyes and gasped for air. The prince smiled and was about to say something but the warrior pushed him aside, got up, and charged off with his kin.
The prince frowned.” You are welcome…”
“Don’t fret, Anduin.” Baine helped the human up.” He will thank you later.”
“No.” Baine chuckled.” But at least Fearbreaker seems to be doing its job well.”
“Prince Anduin!” Halmadir cried before Anduin could speak.” The Alliance prisoners are down below! This way, hurry.”
“What of Gallywix?!” Baine asked the blood elf.
“Above!” Halmadir pointed to the floors above them, which were teeming with True Horde.
“Go, we got this!” Baine urged the prince on.” We’ll need Rexxar and your men if we have any chance of winning. We’ll get Gallywix and end Zaela’s reign.”
Anduin placed his hand on his tauren friend’s chest.” May the Light be with you, Baine.”
The tauren smiled, his goofy grin seeming somewhat surreal with blood on his fur and scars across his body, and held the boy prince by his shoulder.” May the Earth Mother keep you save, my friend.” He withdrew his hand.” Now go!”
The prince took his mace and ran with Halmadir along with three Beastmaw, the devilsaur beastmaster, the Houjin female pandaren and the blood knight.
The small party fought their way through the tunnels, Anduin’s Fearbreaker lighting the way like a torch. In his thoughts he kept hoping that Valeera and Brink and Ser Thorne were alright.
Halmadir tapped crystal after crystal that hanged along the wall which began to glow brightly.
“What’s that?” the beastmaster, Gorvar asked as his devilsaur was in tow.
“Teleportation crystals!” the blood knight, Shakela replied.” It seems Lord Dawnsong was correct!”
“Did you ever doubt me, my dear?!” Halmadir threw a fireball at a night elf who popped up behind the corner, her screams echoing through the halls as she fell to her knees, the party passing by. Anduin felt sorry for the kaldorei but he pressed on.
The blood elven mage pointed at a thick door where two guards were stood. The drew their weapons but a arrow to the face, followed with a devilsaur ripping his throat out, while the female pandaren rolled over before she leaped back up and gave a roundhouse kick to the other guard’s face.
The blood knight used her shield to charge forward and slammed the door in. Anduin leaped over her and swung his mace at his opponent’s kneecap. The creature went down with a painful cry before the blood knight finished him off with a stab in the head.
“Anduin!” he heard a voice cry out. The prince turned as he caught his breath and found the prisoners behind bars. Valeera, Thorne, Brink and the remaining guards were all battered but seemed to be able to move.
“Valeera! Anduin rushed over to the bars.” Are you alright?”
The sindorei smirked.” It takes more then a few orcs to hurt us.”
“Speak for yourself…” Thorne spat.
“What took you so long?” Valeera asked.
The prince turned as the Beastmaw ran over to Rexxar’s cage, bickering amongst themselves.
“I had to call for help.” The prince smiled.” Stand back.” He raised his mace and struck downward, bashing the lock open. Before he could speak, Valeera pulled the young prince close to her bosom.
“My hero.” She smirked. The prince blushed heavily before he looked the prisoners over for wounds.
The prince proceeded to heal them all, straining his abilities to the max, and fell exhausted when Brink was able to stand for himself.
Valeera ran over to help but Anduin held up his hand.” I’m fine…”
Gorvar tossed some weapons down in front of them.” All I could manage to find.”
“An artist can be only as good as his tools…” Brink sighed but grabbed a pair of knives.
He frowned at the gnome.” You sure you want to fight, little man?”
The gnome gave the orc one long, hard look before he moved. Anduin was not the one who received that look but the coldness in Brink’s eyes even made him shiver.
“Best not to antagonize him.” Shakela patted the orc on the shoulder.
“Dabu…” he concurred.
Valeera stared at Halmadir as the mage was drinking from the Houjin’s drinking pouch while she was talking excitedly to Chen Stormstout.
“It’s SUCH a honour to meet you!” she said with a big smile on her face as she held her hands together in a praying motion.” Your ale is the best ale of the WHOLE of Azeroth!”
“Why thank you.” Chen smiled.” It is a honour to meet someone who appreciates my work.”
“Oh would you mind teaching me some things, I’m a brewmaster myself but I can’t get the peppers right sometimes.”
“Oh it’s all about ingredients you see. I had to ask Rexxar to get proper spices to get that issue sorted. Isn’t that right?” the Pandaren asked the Mok’nathal. Rexxar ripped the cage open as his bear ran out. Anduin’s heart felt warm when he saw both master and bear hug each other.
Valeera grabbed some daggers before she looked around at the pandaren.” That is a lot of bears.”
“How did they get here?” Thorne asked the prince.
“Chief Baine is here with General Bloodrain.” Anduin said.” The general found me near the crash site. He kept me prisoner until Baine Bloodhoof arrived with a army of Yaungol. He asked me to be freed and is leading the attack on Zaela.”
“Bloofhoof is here?” Brink frowned.” The last I heard was that he and his Yaungol sailed to the Barrens?”
“I don’t know the specifics myself. I think the destruction of Booty Bay made him change course.” Anduin said.” A lot of people died there after we left. That was on us. But if we work together with the Horde we can stop the True Horde and the Zandalari in one quick swoop!”
“Work together with THEM?!” Thorne pointed at the Horde.” After all of this? Are you mad, boy?! We should leave and let them kill each other off, let their heathen gods sort them out.”
The prince slapped the knight’s finger away.” You swore a oath to the Light and the Alliance to protect the weak, Lord Karland! Now grab a weapon and help me stop the True Horde from hurting anyone else ever again!”
The knight stared the boy down. He snorted before he took up a sword and motioned Anduin to lead the charge.
Rexxar raised his axes in the air and charged out first, followed by his companions and the Beastmaw.” For the Horde!” came out of their throats like a giant’s war cry.
“For the Light, for Stormwind and for the Alliance!” Anduin shouted and lead his charge, followed by the Alliance prisoners.
When they got back to the large hall, the chaos did not lessen in their absence. In the distance he saw General Bloodrain, a female orc shaman, the goblin warlock with his cackling imp, the heavy plated orc in black armour and the tauren death knight fight with Zaela and her guards. Anduin also saw several Blood elven spellbreakers and sorcerers joined the fray. He smiled, he knew Halmadir could be trusted.
“Prince Anduin, look!” Thorne pointed ahead.” It’s SI7! Those are our boys!”
Above them Wildhammer dwarven gryphon riders flew and took down the True Horde dragon riders with their magic hammers. SI7 forces made quick work of the last remaining trolls. He recognized Reznik the Shiv who was leading the attack as well as McLeary the dwarf and Mishka the draenei.
Among their number Anduin noticed Reznik the goblin but also a kaldorei dressed in white and a human death knight in dark almost volcanic looking armour.
“Adventurers.” Valeera pointed out.” Seems SI7 must’ve been really desperate to find you to turn to them. Must be because their best agent is already here, eh Brink?” the blood elf turned to the gnome but he was already gone.
Without much effort or emotion the Gnome jumped and dashed through the enemy ranks. He leaped against walls and bodies to slice a large Diretroll across the back of the neck before he jumped up to reach the SI7 operatives.
“Wow…” Anduin blinked.
“Show off.” Valeera rolled her eyes and shook the prince.” Focus, battle.”
“Right!” Anduin nodded and lead the charge into a group of True Horde and Zandalari.
As his friend Baine predicted, Rexxar and his companions helped turn the tide into their favour. It also helped that a group of SI7 operatives and Wildhammer dwarves happened to swing by.
The True Horde was beaten back and it did not take long when Zaela, covered in arrows and scars, fell to her knees in front of her enemies as if she admitted defeat. The general nocked a arrow to his bow and walked over to her within spitting distance. With shock in his eyes, Anduin tried to run over but was stopped by Baine. He pleaded with the tauren but the chieftain shook his head.
“This is Horde justice, my friend. Let it proceed.” He said in his calm voice.
The prince could do nothing but watch as this Horde justice took place. The general made it quick. He let go off his arrow as it entered her skull, right between the eyes. She fell down to her side. The end of the True Horde.
“Zaela is dead!” one of the grunts shouted, a cry that went up like a fire. Save for a few true Warsong, Baine claimed, the survivors threw down their weapons and surrendered.
“I didn’t think we could beat them all…” Thorne gasped for breath.
“The Light was with us today, Ser Thorne.” Anduin smiled.
“You could say that.” Halmadir said. The prince saw the sindorei give a wry grin. He wanted to inquire why he was grinning but he let it go, he was to tired. When he saw Reznik and one of the Wildhammer chiefs walk over, with a Gallywix gagged and in chains, he grew even more tired.
“Your highness, agent Spannercrank told us all about your situation.” The goblin nodded at Baine and General Bloodrain as they came to join them.” I was given the authority by the crown to handle the situation as I saw fit. It seems a bargain is in order. You get Gallywix and we get the prince plus his escort. Sounds fair?”
“I wish to duel your king, that will be my bargain.” Bloodrain folded his arms as he glared at the Reznik.
“That will be…impossible.” Reznik replied.
The general maintained the frown for a moment before she shrugged.” Dabu, we accept the bargain. Unless you disagree, Baine?”
“It’s a good bargain.” Baine said and took Gallywix by his chain.” We have a lot to talk about in Orgrimmar, Gallywix.” The tauren turned his head to the blood elven army.” Same goes for your Lord, Rommath.”
Next to Halmadir, another sindorei blood mage came. Anduin recognized him as Rommath, one of the leading figures of Silvermoon.
“My lord has no knowledge of this save for a hour ago when I informed him. This was a undercover operation to lure out any more traitors that lurked in the Horde and find the True Horde’s base.”
“ Silvermoon thanks you for your assistance, General Bloodrain.” Halmadir bowed.” Not many would risk their reputation like you did when you decided to help me.”
“I didn’t risk it.” Torakk Bloodrain spoke.” If this attack had failed I would have killed you myself.”
Dawnsong laughed but the laughter faded quickly when he saw the general didn’t join his merriment.
“What of Maeiv and the Zandalari, Reznik?” Anduin asked.” Halmadir told us she was here but we barely encountered many night elves.”
“He is right, I thought most of the Zandalari forces were here.” Baine added.
“It be dealt with, Chief-mon.” Rokhan spoke.” No worries.”
Anduin saw the troll tapping his purple rock necklace. His eyes gazed at Halmadir where he saw a glimpse of a acknowledgment…and only now did he notice the blood elf also sported a similar necklace. Where did he pick that up, he wondered. His mind went back to Booty Bay, to the dwarven guide. Lord Wrathion sends his regards…
“Do you need these prisoners?” the Wildhammer chief motioned to the orcs.” Dunnea if my people would be best wardens.”
“We will take them of your hands.” Baine held Gallywix close, the fat goblin was muttering still in his muffled gag.” Our ships can support them and I’m certain Warchief Vol’jin is best suited to decide the fate of the Zandalari.”
“No skin of ma teeth there.” The Wildhammer shrugged.
“So all’s well and ends well.” Thorne said.” I’m certain the king will court martial us till next week.”
Reznik blinked at Ser Thorne for a moment.” You mean you don’t know?”
“Don’t know what?” Anduin asked. The goblin looked down, as if he had suddenly lost his tongue. The prince moved closer.” Reznik…what happened to my father?”
A few weeks later
The boy king sat on his throne with a troubled brow. The torch bearers began to lit up the throne room as night began to settle outside the palace walls. Archbishop Farthing, High Priestess Laurena and Arthur the Faithfull were there as well as a small number of noblemen. They all had come to pay tribute to their king before the coronation tomorrow.
Valeera and Ser Thorn Karland, both looking battle hardened still, stood by his side as Mathias Shaw rolled up the document in his hands, a smug grin on his face.
“It is official. The True Horde and the Zandalari Empire has fallen. Maeiv Shadowsong’s rebellion is squashed and the Forsaken forces have severely been diminished. And the rebels who were involved in your father’s assassination have been caught and dealt with just before you arrived.” Shaw smiled.” I say the Alliance is once again the ruling faction on Azeroth.”
At what cost, Lord Shaw? Anduin thought to himself. He had felt the burden of being a king before but then he had Bolvar with him and even Onexia managed to get some small affairs in order. Now he was alone. No Bolvar to help him, his father could no longer give him advice and he knew the people thought of him as weak. Not fit to rule.
He closed his eyes and placed his fate in the Light. With renewed strength he spoke to his advisors.
“I thank you for your services Lord Shaw. If it weren’t for your men I likely would have died in that mountain.”
The spymaster bowed.” I merely did my duty, your majesty.”
The boy king did not see Valeera and Thorn but he felt their eyes on him. It was time to show Stormwind what king they would have.
“For that I am grateful. Since you are the Regent until the paperwork is in proper order, I must ask you a few more favours.”
“Of course, I will serve you just as much as I served your father.” Shaw replied.
“Good. First I want a public decree that I hereby denounce Queen Calia’s actions in Lordearon.” The air fell silent in the throne room, you could almost hear a pin drop Anduin mused.” Necromancy, breaking the treaty my father signed with the Horde and recruiting my people to her banner are all actions I cannot condone.” He leaned forward.” Furthermore this Northern Alliance of hers is a collection of thugs and lawbreakers, a spat in the face for what my father and the late King Terenas stood for.”
“But your majesty-“ Lord Laine tried to speak. Anduin’s eyes fell on him which made the man back down.
“After my coronation tomorrow I will create a new treaty and I would ask you all to give your suggestions.” He leaned back.” I will not call for her head but her organization will no longer receive any support south of the Thandol Span.”
“What of Stromgarde?” Lord Valt asked.” Does my kingdom have to suffer even more for taking aid when offered? Something Stormwind hasn’t done in years?”
Muttering and angry words were slung. The seneschal called for order which was restored soon enough.
“Lord Valt, Stormwind remembers what the six other kingdoms did to help during the Second War and afterward. It is time that gesture is returned. With Gilneas rebuild we will now channel support to Stromgarde. Both Financial and in manpower. I heard Lord Baros Alexton is eager for this undertaking.”
“And for domestic matters?” Lord Laine asked.” What of the people in Westfall?”
“And mine at Darkshire?” Lord Ebonlocke adjusted his glasses.” We are still waiting for reinforcements AND we have more refugees coming daily!”
“I assure you my lords, with the funds Master Shaw managed to…secure from those responsible for my father’s death we will have enough coin and men to spare. Also…” the king motioned to the treasurer.” Lady Marsh has some good news.”
The rather plumb lady in a flower dress smiled brightly as she stepped forward.” Thanks to the acquisitions we made in Grim Batol, including a handy fee from the goblin trade princes for avenging Booty Bay, we have tripled our income.”
“And I received word from the Council in Ironforge that their conquest of Zandalari isle has also increased their coffers.” Anduin spoke as he motioned to the Khaz Modan representatives. He waited a moment before he rose.” I know I am not my father and many of you think I am not ready for this burden. And you would be right.” Some muttering happened.” My father said no-one really ever is. He was barely my age when he became king and it was from experience he was the great king we all remember him to be. Experience he has shared with me. I promise you, my focus will always be on my people and the Alliance. OUR Alliance.” He added.
“United we stand!” Ser Thorn shouted.
“United we stand!” Master Shaw took up the cry.
“United we stand!” the other nobles and those present shouted, even Valeera he noticed.
A few hours later, Anduin leaned on the bannister of his balcon as he oversaw Stormwind Lake. He refused to move to his father’s chambers. It was to soon…all of this was to soon. He tried to keep up a brave face in front of everyone, did his best not to cry. But the moment he was alone he had to, he couldn’t keep it in. Anduin dried his tears as he tried to find some peace and quiet. Meditating didn’t help, he couldn’t clear his mind. So he watched his city instead and tried to remember the times he and his father spend countless nights talking as they shared the same view of their proud kingdom.
The lanterns were being lit all over the city as well as the small island where the Tushui pandaren made their home. Their balloon gleamed in the starlight and for a moment Anduin smiled.
He heard her sneak in his room, she probably let him he knew.
“I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye…” he said softly, his voice wavered. His mind went back to the night before he left for Booty Bay. He knew somehow he would meet his end. His father probably wanted to keep him safe.
He felt her hand on his shoulder.” You know how I first met your father?”
Anduin heard her tell the tale again and again. There was times he told her to shut up about it, but tonight was not one of those times.” How?” He said.
Valeera stood next to him.” Me and Broll were gladiators for Rehgar Earthfury. We both did things that made us into slaves. We fought for mere survival, nothing more. Nothing more but animals waiting to die. When we first saw your father we saw him use a piece of driftwood to beat the snot out of a crocolisk. He was always so…” she grasped for words.
“Ready?” Anduin suggested with a smile.
“Something like that.” She chuckled.” He was ready to meet any and all threats, he knew someone was waiting for him. He led us through battle after battle, unwavering in his belief we would make it out alive….and sort out our own problems.” She smirked at that.” When he had his memory back, he knew he had to come home, to find you. Protect you. Be a good father.”
Anduin nodded.” When mother died, it was like I lost him as well. He barely ate, spoke…when the Scourge destroyed Lordearon he barely did anything to help. Bolvar was more of a father to me then he was.” He rubbed his hands together.” But when he came back from Theramore…he did everything he could to make up for it. We hunted, sparred, played chess…he taught me what it meant to be a good king. And yet we fought as well. I wanted to be a priest, I wanted to believe that we could be friends with the Horde….” He clenched his hands together.” I was such a naive fool.”
“Anduin, if it wasn’t for your friendship with Baine we would all be dead by now”. She placed her hand on his.” You are not your father. You walk a different path, you always did. Your father argued because he knew one day he would have to let go…all he wanted was for you to be his son for a while longer.”
Anduin smiled.” I always will be. Even now. I only hope he and my mother are together in the Light now.”
“I’m sure they are.” She smiled.” Just as I am sure you will make a good king. If you allow me to stick around that is.”
“A king needs a bodyguard, no?” he chuckled.
“Indeed…” she rubbed her chin.” We will need to talk about my rates though.”
He raised his brow.” Oh? Anything Lady Marsh needs to be worried about?”
“Well-“she tried to speak but there was a knock on the door. “I’ll best leave.“
Anduin held her hand before she turned to leave.” No, stay please.”
“Anduin…” she stopped when she saw the look in his eyes. With a sigh she nodded.” You are the king.”
“Damn right.” He smiled weakly and opened the door. In the hallway stood Master Shaw and a blonde woman. For a moment he thought he saw his mother because they looked that much alike from the portraits he saw of her. But this woman was obviously from middle class and she had a tragic complexion to her.
“My apologies, Your highness…but we need to speak.”
“Oh, come in. come in…” Anduin ushered both in.” How can I help you?”
The blonde woman avoided his gaze as if she did something wrong as Shaw moved her along. The spymaster looked to Valeera before he turned back to Anduin. If he wanted to say something if the matter, he left it in his thoughts.
“Are you alright miss?” he asked.
“It is…hard for all of us, my king.” Shaw sighed sadly.” This is Miss Amelia. She was your father’s mistress.”