Horde: Chapter 2
The harsh, warm sun was at its zenith when he left the valley of trials. Around his neck, he wore an self-made necklace of Quilboar tusks he ripped out himself, as was the old Warsong tradition. His armour was a match of leather and mail armour, anything he could get his hands on during the trial. His axe that hung by his belt was covered in dried blood as the wooden shield on his back showed signs of recent struggle. He sported several bloody scars on his green muscled skin but Thorgal did not care. Today he was a man, a proper orc and a full member of the Horde. His sense of pride made his grimace like a cheeky goblin, especially when he saw his father waiting for him just outside.
He was not alone as a few peons were busy loading up a kodo cart behind him. The foreman was shouting ordered at them until he saw his son leave the valley of trials and made his first step into the Durotar desert as a man.
Thazz'ril slammed his pick on the ground and walked over to his son. He took him by the shoulder and had a look at his newly made necklace and scars.
“Father…” Thorgal chuckled as he pushed, gently, his father.” I am not some new Kodo that has to be inspected.”
“Could’ve fooled me, son.” Thazz’ril smirked before he motioned to the kodo.” You look exactly like your kin over here.”
“That would imply they are your kin to, old man.” The young orc retorted.
“Me and your mother could’ve found you when you were but a pup, abandoned by your birth parents because you were that hideous.”
“Or they could’ve thrown me at you because they were that frightened to see a horrible beast like-“
“Dabu, dabu. That’s enough. ” The Foreman took his son by the shoulders and held him.” Your mother would have been proud son.” He added with a sad smile.
“Are we going to see her on the way to Orgrimmar?” Thorgal asked to which his father nodded.
“Zug zug, go help that lazy son of ogre Urk with the rest of the supplies. I’ll make sure those idiots at the den haven’t forgotten anything.” Thazz’ril said before he took his prized pick axe and walked off.
The young warrior gladly picked up the copper ores wrapped in backs as helped put them on the cart.
“Long time no see, Thorgal.” One of the peons said, smiling with a dimwitted expression.” You fight well?”
“Killed a few Quilboar who thought they could use the den as their next breeding grounds. Bastards think the Siege left us weak.”
“Pigmen always dumb, dumber than Urk.” The peon retorted as he picked up another bag and threw it on the caravan.” Probably.”
“Urk, don’t sell yourself short.” Thorgal continued his work interrupted.” I remember the story my father told me of how you bravely threw spears at infernals during the Third War.”
The peon stopped for a moment, as if he was remembering the battle.” Urk did, didn’t he?”
Thorgal nodded.” Zug zug, Urk did.”
An moment later the Foreman returned with one small bag which he did not allow any of the peons to touch. “Orgrimmar business, best left alone.” He said. When the Peons kept asking he pulled out his blackjack and threatened to beat them if they did not disperse fast enough. Remembering the beatings they had before the Peons all ran, except Urk who handed Thazz’ril the reins of the Kodo.
“Urk made sure Kodo watered and fed.” He said.
“Good man.” Thazz’ril replied and climbed on the cart, sitting next to his son. He rooted through his coin purse and threw five silvers to him.” Share with the others, don’t spend it all at once or I will beat the snot out of you when I return.”
“Swobu.” Urk took the coin before he saluted him.” Blood and Lightning.”
“Blood and Thunder.” Thazz’ril corrected. He saluted back before he set the cart off to Orgrimmar.
Thorgal leaned back to look at the cargo they carried as he was waving Urk off.” Are you getting to old, father? I recall before I left to do the trials that you always had twice as much with you.”
“I’m not to old.” Thazz’ril replied.” My pick axe may be enchanted but I still do most of the work, damnit.”
“You remind me of grandfather when-“ Thorgal barely dodged his father’s fist in time.
“I AM NOT TO OLD!” The Foreman glared.
“As you say, father.” Thorgal smirked. Thazz’ril shook his head and focused back on the road.
“Truth be told, I don’t want to take to much ore with me. I have to pay taxes each time I come in to sell.”
“Taxes?” Thorgal frowned.
“One of Vol’jin’s new ideas. With the shanty towns popping up outside Orgrimmar and with that damn place still needing to be rebuild in parts they need every rotten copper they can get. That feast they threw a few days back didn’t help things either.” Thazz’ril groaned.” Blood damned Chieftains. They take all the risks and we pay the price for it when it backfires.”
“You rather want we go back to Garrosh’ reign?” his son asked.
“Least economy bloomed under him.” The Foreman replied.” At least in his reign us Orcs were respected and not treated like second class citizens in our own damned Horde.”
“Mother died under his reign to.” Thorgal reminded.
Both did not speak for a moment, some pains were to fresh to be opened.
“She did…” Thazz’ril agreed.” But she did her duty to the Horde, son. Never forget that.”
“Of course…” Thorgal agreed.” I dedicated my first kill to her.”
“That’s my boy.” The foreman smiled and ruffled his son’s hair much to the latter’s annoyance.
They talked off a few different subjects before they halted at the graveyard outside Razor Hill. Unlike the humans who buried their dead, the Orcs cremated theirs and strayed the ashes to locations the shaman deemed worthy, their weapons left behind so they would face the ancestors armed. Both father and son halted before the graveyard and stood vigil near a rock where an single axe was leaning on it. They did not speak, words did not convey enough what they felt. Thorgal prayed to the spirits and the ancestors and hoped that his rite of passage did honour to her and their line.
He nearly jumped when his father took him by the shoulder and motioned him back on the cart.
The cart drove through Razor Hill and onward to Orgrimmar through the long chasm. They came across an Orc with his Lion companion who were watching the harpies that flew nearby. Throgal wanted to greet the warrior but Thazz’ril shook his head.” He’s a strange one. Even Urk would seem intelligent next to him. Let him be.”
Thorgal did not press the matter as the cart drove on. His eyes fell on the mysterious bag in his father’s possession but even before he could ask, his father said to leave it and not talk about it. He knew his father’s stubbornness was as rock solid as a Tauren’s peaceful demeanor so he dropped the matter.
Not long after Thorgal saw the tall walls of Orgrimmar rise. He saw the metal clad walls, the sturdy opened gate and the proud red banners that seemed to stretch for nearly half a mile as it waved in the wind. But as they got closer they also saw the shoddy huts and tents that littered in front of the proud city.
Thorgal recalled that the Dranosh'ar Blockade, which was a series of fortifications littered with Burows and siege weapons, was in front of Orgrimmar’s gates. But now where the mighty blade throwers stood, was now a series of huts and tents where hundreds of trolls walked past. Not Darkspears, in fact he fought alongside a female of their tribe mere hours ago during the trial, but all kinds he never saw before. He saw green trolls, yellow trolls, trolls with skin as blue as he imagined ice would be and a few with gray skin and orbs which emitted light where their eyes were supposed to be. Those looked more proud of themselves while the others looked quite miserable.
He saw his father’s hands clutch on the reins.” Keep looking in front of you and ignore them.” He warned his son.” No matter what they say.”
It did not take long when the trolls did notice them. They cried in various tongues. Troll was the most common one, but a few spoke in broken orcish, Taurahe and even one in the elven tongue. They began to migrate toward the cart and pleaded for what Thorgal assumed was food or water. He did what his father told him to do and ignored them. The pleading tone however swiftly changed from desperation to anger. One troll angrily placed a hand on the cart and as fast as lightning, Thrazz’ril slammed his blackjack on the troll’s hand. The troll cried out in pain and fell off the cart.
The Foreman began shouting in the troll tongue while Thorgal’s hand rested on his axe. The troll mob was about to leap on them before a loud roar shook the area which send them scattering. Thorgal looked toward the gates and saw an Orcish beastmaster, for he looked pretty much like Rexxar the Champion of the Horde save for his race, run to them alongside his Devilsaur, a large bipedial lizard that seemed to have come from someone's worst nightmare.
“Back, back you wretches! You leave the gates for ten minutes and they sneak back in...” the beastmaster shook his head before he turned to Thrazz’ril.” You alright, old man?”
Thorgal saw his eyes flare and quickly held his father’s arm and answered in his stead.” We are fine, thanks to you brave warrior.”
“Not me you have to thank, thank Wexter over here.” Gorvar smiled as he scratched his devilsaur’s jaw. ”Traders?”
“My father is.” Thorgal replied.” We’ve come bearing copper and tin to sell.”
“I’ll walk with you till the Auction House then.” Gorvar replied and walked with the cart. Thorgal nodded before he shoved his elbow into his father’s side. The Foreman merely nodded at the beastmaster before he kept the kodo going toward the city gates.
“You a Warsong?” Gorvar asked the young warrior. He motioned to the necklace around Thorgal’s neck.
“Zug zug.” The young warrior smiled proudly.” From my mother’s side.”
“I’m to OLD to remember what clan I’m from.” Thrazz’ril spat.
“To young, you mean.” Gorvar chuckled.” I did not mean any offense, Foreman. Yes I recognized that blackjack you wielded. Back during my trial I to had to help wake up Peons from their slumber with that thing.”
“What clan are you from?” Thorgal asked.
“I’m Bleeding Hollow.” The beastmaster replied.” I was raised in a small clan, free from the camps. Only fifty or so orcs and one ogre who refused to follow Kilrog Deadeye back to Draenor. We hid in Stranglethorn Vale till Doomhammer called the clans together. We did not have the brutality of the Warsong or the strong animal friends like the Frostwolves-“ Wexter snarled at his master.” Present company excluded of course…” The Devilsaur snorted but carried on walking.” But we knew how to skirmish and…repopulate fast.” Gorvar gave a wicked grin.” Kilrog Deadeye was known to have many sons and grandsons for a reason. I go as far and say I to have a little bit of an Deadeye in my blood. Least that is what I tell my mate and pups anyways.”
That seemed to have softened Thrazz’ril up a bit, much to Thorgal’s relieve.” Not many orcs these days who know what clan they are from. Most just say they are Horde. I am grateful that my boy has some clan to call his own.” He said.
“As am I but I cannot blame those who dont.” Gorvar admitted.” Not many of our kind were free before Thrall and many more see themselves as the Horde now instead of individual clans. A blessing and a curse. Sure we are united as one people but what is a man without an identity and history, a place where he called home?”
“Are all you lot so poetic?” the foreman snapped.
“We have to fill the dead hours somehow.” The beastmaster chuckled.” Hunting and mating can only keep you busy for SOME time before it grows stale. That is why I took this gatekeeper job. It is badly paid but after the Siege and Garrosh’s death there has been nothing else to do for those of my profession.”
“Beastmasters?” Thorgal frowned.
Gorvar shook his head.” Moka. Adventurers like me. Warriors, Shaman, Warlocks, Druids…we have nothing else to do. Hence this posting. I have to put food on the table somehow. You would think besides having a feast in our honour, those who helped take down Garrosh would deserve something more. Even my warrband is struggling to keep itself fed and equiped in case the Centaur or Quilboar attack”
“We all feel the pinch, I know.” Thrazz’ril agreed.
The cart stopped in front of the gate where the beastmaster and his devilsaur bid them goodbye. Thorgal noticed most of the guards were not Orcs but Trolls or Tauren. He even saw the odd goblin in armour.
“Lok Tar. Welcome to Orgrimmar.” The Darkspear said in orcish without any hint of an accent.” I am Grunt Jin’Zar. Name and reason for your stay?”
“Lok Tar. Foreman Thrazz’ril of the Den with my son Thorgal. We are here to trade copper.”
“May I have a look please?” The troll asked.
“Do I have a choice?” Thrazz’ril replied.
“Yes but…it be nicer if you did. It’s been a long day.” The troll guard chuckeld.
With a weary sigh the Foreman granted his permission and the troll took a quick look. He nodded at the Foreman and asked for the normal toll of ten silvers.
His father paid the toll and bid Jin’Zar farewell before they entered the valley of strength. In front of the Fortress a large crowd was gathered.
“Good, we’re in time…” Thrazz’ril muttered under his breath. He handed the reins to his son and jumped off the cart.” Go to the auction house and see what you can get for the cargo, I will meet you there In a moment.” Before the young orc could complain his father had already run off, pick axe and secret bag in hand.
Thorgal drove the cart to the auction house and haggled the dozen bags of unrefined ore with a female goblin.
“Fifteen gold.” Auctioneer Xifa said after inspecting them.
“Each?” Thorgal had his arms crossed.
“No, the whole lot.” Xifa frowned.” Take it or leave it.”
“We had deals like this before, Xifa. Five gold each bag. We will barely make any profit here with the new taxes and we got peons to pay!”
“Not my problem. Look kid, after the Siege the prices for Copper skyrocketed but now with all these immigrants coming in and selling REFINED ore for half what I’m offering you for the same amount, you can’t expect me to pay more! I got to pay my taxes to!”
“We can barely afford our workers and picks let alone smelt our own damn copper bars!” Thorgal rubbed his brow.” We’re in business for years, can’t you offer a little bit more? For old time’s sake?”
The female sighed and looked at the bags of ore. She went through her notebook and muttered to herself.” Alright, I will give you seventy-five gold for the whole lot, fifteen percent tax included, and I’ll pass you my niece along who is an apprentice smelter. She will work for pickings and you will have your smelter for the future.”
It was better than nothing, Thorgal thought.” How long will she stay with us?”
“A year, two tops. Should give you enough time to find another smelter or upgrade her contract to fulltime. You staying at the Wyvern’s tail as always?” Thorgal nodded.” Good, I’ll send her there by the morning.”
“Deal.” Thorgal agreed and shook her hand.” Aka'Magosh.”
“You to, you big lug.” She smiled and punched his muscular arm playfully.” Go on before I regret this decision.”
Thorgal accepted the gold purse and walked outside of the auction house where his father awaited by the cart, without the small bag he carried from the den the young warrior noticed. He was leaning against it as he was watching the happenings in front of the fortress. He almost jumped when his son handed him the coin purse. Thrazz’ril frowned as he weighed the coin purse in his hand.” That’s it?”
“She was not willing to pay more, least for unrefined ore. We also have a new mouth to feed. Goblin smelter, Xifa’s niece.”
“Her niece?” his father frowned.” I know I told you I wanted to have grand pups soon but mating with a gobo is not what I had in mind.”
“Father!” Thorgal said disgusted, much to the Foreman’s amusement.
“I jest, I jest…you have your mother’ sense of humour all right. None.” The foreman shook his head.” Very well, where are we picking her up?”
“Wyvern’s tail in the morning.” The young orc frowned still.
“Dabu.” His father agreed. He motioned to the crowd ahead as they saw a group of chained orcs being led out of the fortress toward the big gap in the middle.
“These are the survivors of the True Horde bulwark at the Dry Hills” his father said.” They’ve been sentenced to death.”
“How?” Thorgal asked to which his father pointed to the crowd. From the fortress came a tall blue troll he recognized as Vol’jin along with a gray skinned orc in armour and a frail green one in robes with a small impish creature in his shoulder. He frowned when he saw three energy like beings wrapped in cloth stand beside the old orc in robes. One of them handed a small bag over to the old orc to which the orc handed another one, coins Thorgal guessed.
“Brotha’s and sistah’s of da Horde!” he heard Vol’jin’s voice echo through the valley.” These True Horde who abandoned da family be sentenced to death!” the crowd cheered, or jeered, at that before the Warchief called for silence.” Howevah, as membah;s of da Horde they also deserve a good death. Therefore, thanks to our Ethereal friends, we will be opening a portal to a world currently under attack by da Burning Legion. Da world be doomed but at least dese traitah;s die deaths worthy of a Lok’vad nod!” the crowd shouted again.
Thorgal saw the orc in robe take an skull of sorts from the bag and began swirling his hands in the air as purple energy began forming a gateway. While that happened several guards undid the chains of the True Horde warriors and pushed them to the gateway. As it opened, an Tauren ( not in armour curiously) placed a crate of weapons near the portal and walked off. Once the portal was stable, the True Horde orcs all took a weapon from the crate and walked in. For once the crowd did not jeer or cheer but all began singing. An Lok’vad nod. A song for those who died and were deemed worthy of a song. The whole valley sang as one as one by one they stepped inside. When the last one stepped through the gateway, the portal was shut behind her.
“They were brotha’s and sistah’s to once, do not forget! Sing of dem tonight and honour their memory!” Vol’jin shouted.” May da spirits and da ancestors watch ovah dere souls! For da Horde!”
“For the Horde! The crowd shouted before they dispersed.
“You think mother would’ve been with them if she survived Razor Hill?” Thorgal asked out of the blue to his father. His father did not reply and instead took the reins of the kodo and guided them to the Wyvern’s Tail. Along the way one of the Ethereal’s walked by and handed Thrazz’ril a small purse of coin. The Foreman did not look the alien in the eye. Thorgal was furious and took his father by the shoulder.” What did you do?!”
“What does it look like what I did?” the Foreman frowned.” We survived for another few days with this coin.”
“At the cost of mother’s honour?!” Thorgal shouted. This time he did not have the time or reflexes to avoid his father’s fist. He held the side of his face with disbelief as his father spoke.
“Honour does not warm our hut or fill our bellies. Honour does not bring your mother back. Honour is whatever we want it to be and right now making sure our family and workers stay alive is the most honourable thing I can think of. Now no more talk of this!”
Neither Thorgal nor his father spoke for a few hours and even then the tone of the conversation was cold. They ate some cured ham steaks with potatoes and some cherry grog to wash it down. Afterward each went to their own separate bedroom. Thorgal stopped from entering his when he saw an forest troll female leave a room as she was adjusting her robe back on. The Orc, a Dragonmaw Thorgal guessed by the skin colour, handed her five silver coins.
The female looked angry.” Not enough.” She said in accented orcish.
“It was enough for what I got.” The orc said and slammed the door shut behind him. The female began slamming on the door as she cursed in her native tongue.
“Wait, wait!” Thorgal walked up to her.” How much do you need?”
The troll stopped and watched him up and down.” You want to?”
“Moka.” Thorgal shook his head and took out his coin purse.” How much?”
The troll cocked her head with a puzzled expression before she replied.” One gold.”
Thorgal took out two gold coins and handed it to her.” Here, get you something nice to eat.” He said with a smile.
The female looked at the golden coins with a smile before she hugged him. ”Thank ya.” She said.” Sure you no want?” she smiled seductively.
“I’m sure.” He smiled.” Go on, Aka'Magosh.”
“Da Loa watch ovah ya.” She smiled before she walked off. For an moment, Thorgal thought of calling her back but he decided against it. It would’ve been dishonourable.
He dreamed, about what he did not know, but he woke up when the sound of an axe splintering through his wooden door. Immediately he picked up his axe and shield before the door was kicked open. He did not know whom he was attacking because it was dark, but he was tall. He shield bashed his opponent in the face before he slammed his axe into the abdomen. When the troll cried out in pain he knew what he faced. He pushed his opponent out with all his might and down the stairs. He noticed behind him that the gray orc from before lay dead on the floor as his black blood made it’s way to Thorgal’s feet. He ran down the stairs and stopped when he saw the sight. Several trolls, mostly forest ones, were still standing as several dead ones lay on the ground. One of them was the female from before. Her chest was impaled by an pick axe which gave some light in the darkness as a his wounded father was being beat on by the larger troll. Thorgal’s eyes saw red and without thinking his arms moved out of themselves. Axe met flesh, shield met face and troll blood was splattered against the wall.
They were with to many and even his bloodlust did not stop him from being overwhelmed. He felt the barrage of fists and sharp objects on his back until a breeze seemed to throw his enemies away.
He covered his eyes to shield them from the wind but he saw two Pandaren, a large male chubby one with a hat and a female in an monk’s attire, taking the trolls down with their staff and bare hands respectively. Thorgal was mesmerized by their exotic fighting style until the thought of his father bleeding out came to his mind and he dragged himself to him. He sat next to his father and held his hand. “Fa-father…” Thorgal tried to speak but did not feel the energy. His father coughed up blood blood as he tried to speak. “Chen, those two are still alive!” he heard the female said.
“Go to them, Yalia! I have this!” the male replied.
The female knelt down next to them.” Do not fret, I can channel the Light into you…” she closed her eyes and inhaled deeply before a strange warm light filled his inner being.
“Thank you….” Thorgal sighed as he felt himself feeling better by the warmth. However despite the light’s magic, he saw his father’s green skin turning more pale by the moment.
“Father?” Thorgal held his hand.” Father, you are being healed.”
“The damage on the inside is to much…” Yalia sighed sadly.” I’m sorry, I cant do any more.”
“What, how do you mean?!” the young orc cried.” Help him, he cant die!”
He felt his father’s hand on his shoulder and as he turned his head saw Thrazz’ril smirk one last time before the feeling in his father’s hand went limp.
Thorgal held his father in his arms, he did not hear the Pandaren’ sooth saying or the Orgrimmar guards storm in or the remaining trolls surrender. All he could hear was his father’s heart that stopped beating and a bone chilling cry of anguish that came from his throat. A cry worthy of a Warsong.