The parting of ways
Dranosh and the others arrived with the Windrunner this morning, along with a surprise – Jaina Proudmoore. The message I’d sent to Dranosh in Theramore said there’s a chance to fix things but we need to get the Focusing Iris from Northrend, and when Jaina heard that part, she volunteered – check that, insisted – she join the party. Imagine my delight. Still, the enemy of my enemy, I guess.
So far this morning, we’ve had an uncharacteristic run of mostly good news. Based on the head counts, most of the civilians got out of Orgrimmar in time. Military losses were heavy – in addition to Vol’jin and Zaela, it turns out Nazgrim didn’t make it out – but still not as disastrous as they could have been. Dranosh brought the remaining civilians – Horde and Theramore alike – with him along with a few support officers. Thunder Bluff is further from the combat zone, it’s separated by natural barriers, and its position on these mesas makes it easier to defend. There really isn’t anywhere SAFE to tuck away the civilians anymore, but this is the safest of unsafe options.
The better news is that a couple hours into scouring the city this morning, Utvoch earned his keep and spotted Edwin over on the Spirit Rise. He’s spooked as all hell, no surprise – he got dropped into this world just in time for the attack on Orgrimmar, without warning or context or any friends from the Caverns of Time to help make sense of it for him. I’ll try to start filling in some of the blanks for him on the way to Northrend. Gotta, say, I’m not looking forward to explaining how his brother fits into all this.
Other than loading up the Windrunner with a few supplies, there’s just one piece of business to tend to.
CAIRNE: I understand the honor you show me today, Warchief, and I will strive to be worthy of it. As I have watched over the tauren, so too will I watch over the people of the Horde.
DRANOSH: I’m hopeful that we’ll return soon successfully. But if we don’t, I need to be sure that our people will be left in good hands. Now they will. May the spirits guide you, Cairne. Let everything you do be done for the Horde.
Dranosh salutes Cairne. Cairne responds in kind.
They’re yours now, Warchief Bloodhoof. Lead them well. Aka’Magosh – for the Horde!
CAIRNE: For the Horde.
ALL ASSEMBLED: For the Horde!
DRANOSH: <clasping Cairne’s hand> I hate to abdicate and run, but I have a few last preparations to make before we go.
CAIRNE: I understand, Warchief.
DRANOSH: <grins and walks away> Call me Dranosh.
Dranosh walks off. Garrosh approaches Cairne.
GARROSH: I should probably go help him in a minute.
CAIRNE: You have important work ahead of you, I know.
GARROSH: <glancing around and nodding> So many things that aren’t what they should be.
CAIRNE: Overlord, if I may offer a word of counsel?
Do not trouble yourself so deeply over what should be. It is something I have noticed in you, Garrosh – your readiness to point to what should be, and recoil against the world for failing to be so. As if it has wronged you. It is, I suspect, the source of so much of your anger, your impatience, your…
GARROSH: <faintly grinning> Are you saying I have a temper?
CAIRNE: You’ve heard this before?
I merely mean to say, Garrosh, that there is little to be gained in fretting away one’s life with should be. “I should be higher rank by now.” “This land should be ours.” “He should agree.” “She should love me.” There is no should be; there is only is. And there is no deeper well of discontent, no darker shadow to impoverish our lives as they are, then a misguided sense of should be to nag at us by false compare. “Should be”: so simple a phrase to nourish so many agonies of the spirit.
Cairne hesitates a moment, then tilts his head with the hint of a smile.
Pardon me, I prattle on. You’ll forgive an old man his ramblings.
GARROSH: You wear it a lot better than Tirion ever did. <pauses, then grins sadly> I think I should have listened to you more.
CAIRNE: There you go again. <smiles> But you are listening now.
GARROSH: Well, hopefully you’ll let one more “should be” slide. <looks up at Cairne a moment, then offers his hand> Dranosh made the right choice. You should be Warchief.
CAIRNE: <gripping the hand> And so I am. In this, for once, you need not torment yourself, my young friend.
Garrosh looks around briefly.
GARROSH: I don’t know if we’ll be back here again.
CAIRNE: Nonsense. I have every confidence you will be successful, Garrosh.
GARROSH: <looks at Cairne uncomfortably> Still. Just in case. <stares at him a moment more> I don’t think I’ve told you that I admire you. If you don’t see me again…know that honor and respect for you went with me to the end of my days.
CAIRNE: <nods slowly> May they be many, Overlord. And thank you.
I left Cairne and made my way over to the docking station on the Spirit Rise to meet Dranosh. When I got there, he was standing on the edge of the rise, overlooking western Mulgore, and in the middle of a rather pointed discussion with…ahem…a familiar face.
DRANOSH: I understand your concerns, General, but I’m confident in Warlord Cromush’s forces at the new front.
KROM’GAR: I simply don’t see the wisdom of taking one of our newer gunships out of the fight in order to go on – I’m sorry – some fool’s errand in Northrend.
DRANOSH: Overlord Hellscream assures me—
KROM’GAR: Overlord Hellscream, as far as we know, may simply be putting as much distance as possible between himself and death by inventing some secret mission to fly off to!
DRANOSH: I’m going as well, Krom’gar. Are you going to accuse me of cowardice, too?
KROM’GAR: Begging your pardon, sir, but—
DRANOSH: Let me be frank, General. With the state of affairs in Kalimdor, one more gunship will not make much difference here. But one gunship in Northrend might be able to put an end to this mess before it’s even started.
KROM’GAR: But how, sir? Why do you even believe—
As Dranosh and Krom’gar talk, Garrosh walks over to them. Before Krom’gar can finish his sentence, Garrosh steps up next to him and casually shoves him off the edge of the rise, sending him plummeting to the ground far below.
GARROSH: Don’t listen to that guy. He’s a dick.
DRANOSH: <blinks a moment and glances over the edge> Wow, you really don’t like him, do you?
GARROSH: Let’s just say we have some history. Or did.
DRANOSH: Lucky for you I was considering the same thing when he started calling you a coward.
Garrosh looks over at the Windrunner being loaded with supplies.
GARROSH: You know…this mission we’re going on… I know I haven’t exactly been open about a lot of the details. I’m figuring based on where I had to go for information that you can guess some of the reason why. And yeah, there are some details going on here that I really can’t tell you, but you have to understand—
DRANOSH: How long have you known me?
DRANOSH: Since we were, what, six? How many times has one of us saved the other’s neck? You’re telling me we need to do this. You think I need more than that? It’s getting done, period. You don’t need to sell me, Garrosh. I trust you with my life.
I’m going to skip over the part where I looked over the edge for a second and wondered if Krom’gar could use some company in splat-land.
Oh, but also, speaking of Krom’gar, it bears repeating:
Anyway. Here’s the plan from this point: we’re taking off for Northrend within the hour, and will rendezvous with Liadrin and the rest of our people at the Argent Vanguard. We’re keeping the group relatively small – me, Dranosh, Mokvar. Edwin. Captain Drok, obviously, since the Windrunner is his ship, plus a minimal crew to operate it. Dontrag, Utvoch…Jaina…you’ll notice who I just lumped together there. Jaina’s put her Kirin Tor friends on notice, so once we get the Focusing Iris from Coldarra, we’ll high-tail it to Dalaran, where they’ll be able to port us directly to the Caverns of Time. From there, with any luck, it’ll be a short trip to Normal-ville.
Time for me to get on board. More updates soon.