It’s been four days since the Razing of Northwatch Hold. We’ve been camped here at the base without a sign of Alliance retaliation. I’ve been mulling over a few possibilities that are still in play for the next step, and giving our troops time to rest and build up their anticipation for the next battle. Apparently, though, the down time has just given some of the higher-ups time to stir up trouble for themselves. You know what they say about idle hands.
Malkorok came to me claiming that a batch of the other leaders were planning to gather to talk mutiny. I didn’t put much stock in it at first. It’s no secret that Vol’jin and Baine aren’t crazy about my plan, but in the end, they’re loyal to the Horde. Malkorok is dedicated to his job, and good at it, but sometimes I think he gets a little overzealous looking for conspiracies and enemies behind every shadow. Maybe it just comes from all that time in the Blackrock clan under Rend. Anyway, this sounded like one of those overzealous times.
At least that’s what I thought.
Today, Zixx Grindgear – one of the goblin zeppelin captains – came to see me. Malkorok wasn’t going to let him in originally, but the little guy managed to convince him he had some news I needed to hear. When Malkorok brought him to see me, Grindgear claimed that Hamuul Runetotem had asked him to attend a meeting with Baine and others to discuss their…“concerns” about the mission. At this point, it was too much to brush off, so I told Grindgear to go ahead and attend the meeting. Malkorok and I wouldn’t be far behind him.
When we left to check up on this meeting – along with a detachment of Kor’kron I was hoping I wouldn’t need – I decided to bring Mokvar along as well, to keep a record or whatever we found.
What we found made my blood boil.
Garrosh, Malkorok, and Mokvar approach the tree where several Horde figures have gathered around a campfire: Baine Bloodhoof, Vol’jin, Hamuul Runetotem, Frandis Farley, Kelantir Bloodblade, Captain Zixx Grindgear, first mate Blar Xyzzik, Margolag. Garrosh et al listen from the nearby bushes as the meeting carries on.
BAINE: …our purpose here tonight is not to lead an insurrection, but to discuss what he has done up until this point and the wisdom – or lack thereof – of his choices.
FRANDIS: I serve the Horde. But it seems the Horde does not serve me, or my lady. We were once human; I myself once lived in the very city of Stormwind, which is certain to come beating down on us at any moment. The Alliance is surely aware of what has happened by now, and I think Lady Jaina too wise a leader not to know that Theramore could be next in line to fall. Yet knowing all this, Lady Sylvanas agreed to send aid to the endeavor. But to what end? We are gathered! The Horde has food, supplies, and for those of you whose blood still flows in your veins, I know that blood burns hot for battle. Why is he waiting? Each day that passes, his troops become more uncertain. This is not wisdom. This is simply…irresponsibility.
KELANTIR: I agree with Captain Farley. His lands and ours are vulnerable if the humans decide to retaliate there instead of sending ships to Theramore. The swifter the strike, the swifter the reward. I cannot comprehend why Garrosh delays. More time serves our enemies and harms us.
BLAR: I don’t know why he did this in the first place. Trade Prince Gallywix might see coffers overflowing with gold, but all I see are goblins being used as cannon fodder for no real profit.
VOL’JIN: You all know da trolls be a proud an’ ancient people. We joined da Horde because Sen’jin had a vision dat T’rall would help us. Lead us to safety. An’ he did. He was a good leader. Now T’rall be gone, and Garrosh be in his place. T’rall, he understand da elements, da spirits. He be da first new shaman his people had seen in a long, long time. We understand da elements, da spirits too, an’ I tell ya true now, what dat Garrosh did wit’ his dark shaman – it make da spirits angry. I don’ know how long he be able to control dose molten giants, an’ if he don’t… Well we all saw da Cataclysm. Dat was da world in pain from Deat’wing. How much worse is it gonna be if da elements be in pain from da Horde? Who you tink dey gonna attack? It be us, mon.
As Vol’jin speaks, Malkorok steps out of the bushes, accompanied by several Kor’kron, and approaches the group purposefully.
MALKOROK: Yes, it be you who suffer, mon, but not from the elements!
Some of the group reflexively reach for their weapons.
BAINE: No! Lay down your weapons! Lay them down!
MALKOROK: The bull speaks wisely. If I see any weapons in the next three heartbeats, I will slay their owners.
Garrosh steps into the assembly.
GARROSH: I did not believe it…
The Kor’kron guards circle around the group.
I had word of your little meeting…
Garrosh looks to Zixx Grindgear and nods; Zixx goes to Garrosh and stands uncomfortably behind him.
I came to observe, with my own eyes and ears, what Malkorok said was true.
BAINE: If you saw and heard it all, then you know that this was not treachery. No one sought to overthrow you. No one here chanted “Death to Garrosh.” What was said here was said out of concern for the Horde, which we are all devoted to.
MALKOROK: To question the Horde’s Warchief is to question the Horde.
BAINE: It does so only if, in your mind, two plus two equals five. Our concerns are valid, Warchief. Many of us have sought audiences with you so that we might say these things to your face, so what we might have answers or explanations. The only reason we are gathered here tonight is because you would not see us!
GARROSH: I do not need to answer to you, tauren. Or you, troll. You are not are not not noitarud are setutitsnoc not troll hcihw not siht si not you ti stnemom you tsap fo yromem eht fo gnileef all tneserp eht ot noitidda eht the tuohtiw etats a fo noitaunitnoc on dna scourges yromem tuohtiw ssensuoicsnoc of on si ereht ecnis tnemom yreve war egnahc ton seod hcihw elpmis revewoh dnim fo etats on si ereht the taht noitcejbo the eht not the epacse not tonnac not i not not the not the one we…
[Blinks and shakes his head, then looks around briefly and lets out a frustrated sigh.]
…that is…not the ones we need to worry about.
True enough. Still, if they’re backing up and converging in the Deadwind Pass, I’d…Mokvar, are you taking notes?
[Looks up while frantically writing.]
Hmm? Wha…oh. Oh, no, I’m…I mean…maybe?
Adelene’s official transcript not good enough for you? And actually, when did you become a scribe in the first place?
Oh…um…well… Night classes?
Uh, yeah…I, um, kind of encouraged him to expand his interests.
Under pain of…well, pain.
Yeah, so, um, how about them demons?
[Perks an eyebrow but turns back to Zaela.]
Right…so… If they are converging on Deadwind, I’d like to have an idea of what they’re doing.
Do you want to send a scouting party to gather more intel?
Maybe something that doesn’t put our people so much in harm’s way. I’m wondering if some of our warlocks could determine anything about the demons’ activity.
I can ask around in the Cleft of Shadows and see if Neeru Fireblade and the others think they can do anything.
Good enough for a start.
What’s the state of the Silvermoon evacuation?
The last few gunships should be leaving by the end of the day.
We’re sure the magic barrier around Quel’Danas will hold?
It should. Those incantations patched together the strongest warding magics the Sha’tari, Argent Crusade, and Kirin Tor have to offer.
Basically, if they don’t hold, there likely wasn’t anything we could have set in place that would.
Once the last of the Silvermoon contingent gets here, we can redeploy as need be around Kalimdor or Northrend.
By the way, speaking of which, who was that guy leading the blood elf regiments at Elrendar? That guy was pretty badass – I saw him make short work of a TON of those Scourge.
You mean Lor’themar?
Is that his name? Sounds familiar. Who is he?
Um, he’s Regent-Lord of Quel’thalas.
Yeah, uh, leader of the blood elves?
Oh, don’t YOU start acting like you always remember—
Uh, yeah, never mind. Anyway, that guy bears watching for other missions, is all I’m saying.
You’ll have the chance to work with him again soon enough. He and Liadrin will be arriving on the last gunship, once they’ve seen that the last of the evacuees are out.
I assume Lady Liadrin will want to rejoin the other Argent forces in Northrend.
I would think so.
We’ve also had a request from Lady Proudmoore for supplementary forces to be sent to Theramore.
Might…uh…that might be a good spot for some of the incoming Silvermoon troops…
Perhaps a combined detachment of some of the incoming blood elves and a platoon or two of our troops from somewhere like Feralas?
[Glaring at Magatha.]
Since when are you an expert on troop deployment?
I’m not, certainly. I merely suppose it might be beneficial to send support from multiple quarters of the Horde.
It would be a positive gesture diplomatically…
And I only suggest Feralas because, at present, there’s very little activity there, so we could likely spare the personnel.
I’d just as soon not weaken any of our stable positions is all, though.
It’s worth considering, but I would agree with Garrosh – if we’re going to divert any Kalimdor units, it might be a better plan to send a regiment or two from Camp Taurajo.
[Garrosh glances to Mokvar, smiling faintly.]
Speaking of which, Garrosh, while we’re talking about sending support to Theramore, I want to get your opinion. I’ve been thinking it would be a good idea to deploy a standing officer for our forces in Theramore, to provide military advice and represent the Horde in command decisions.
I’m considering General Krom’gar. You’ve worked with him before, haven’t you? What do you think?
[Glances uneasily at Mokvar.]
Is something wrong?
Well…to tell the truth… Krom’gar’s a good soldier and all, but…I’m not sure he’s someone I would want to point to and say “This guy represents the Horde.” I guess you might say he has some…temperament issues.
Hey, you asked.
Hmm. Well I’ll have a look at a few other options. In the meantime…do we have any other business, Warlord?
That covers all the scouting reports, Warchief.
In that case, I think that’s meeting adjourned.
[Eitrigg and Zaela start gathering documents from the conference table.]
Warchief, a minor question if I may?
What is it, Magatha?
As we’re done here, might I make use of the war room for a brief meeting with General Grebo?
[Garrosh bristles at the name and glares at Magatha.]
I have an appointment with him momentarily, and, not knowing how long our meeting would run today, asked him to meet me here.
That’s fine, Magatha. I need to make a few stops around Orgrimmar anyway.
[Grins as he walks to the door.]
No crazy parties while I’m out.
Thank you, Warchief. Good day.
Dranosh’s scribe’s record stops here, so time to kick it back over to Mokvar…
Dranosh exits the Grommash Hold war room, accompanied by Eitrigg and scribe Adelene Sunlace. Warlord Zaela follows close behind.
GARROSH: <calling after the others> You all go on, I’ll catch up in a minute. I just need to talk to Mokvar about something for a minute.
MAGATHA: I can go if you wish, Overlord. Would you prefer privacy?
Magatha begins to walk past Garrosh, heading toward the door.
GARROSH: Actually, some privacy would definitely be a good thing.
As Magatha passes, Garrosh suddenly strikes her with his fist, knocking her to the ground. She cries out as she falls, then looks around in confusion.
MAGATHA: What— Overlord, what is it?
Garrosh grabs her by her cloak and flings her across the room, away from the door.
GARROSH: What is it? Oh, oh, Magatha, I wouldn’t even know where to start…
Garrosh walks past Magatha – striking her down again as he passes – and toward the platform on which the Warchief’s chair stands.
GARROSH: <looking to Mokvar from the Warchief’s seat> Only a couple things badly out of place in this world, wouldn’t you say?
Garrosh reaches above the Warchief’s seat and pulls Gorehowl from the wall, where it hangs on display in honor of Grom Hellscream. Garrosh turns and walks back toward Magatha, wielding the axe.
MAGATHA: Overlord! Garrosh! You mustn’t! I— I— I haven’t done anything!
GARROSH: And you never will.
Garrosh swings Gorehowl down furiously, slashing Magatha’s head from her body.
GARROSH: Is this the part where you try to tell me this one was innocent? Really?
MOKVAR: No… I mean… I just…
Footsteps come from the entrance to the war room. Seconds later, General Grebo enters and immediately gawks at the sight of Magatha’s headless body across the room.
GREBO: <running over to the body> What— what happened here? What have you done?
GARROSH: It’s funny you should ask, Grebo…
Garrosh eyes Grebo for a moment, then walks up to him and pushes Gorehowl into his hands.
What we’ve done…is hear a commotion in here, then come back to find you standing over what’s left of Magatha Grimtotem with the bloody axe still in your hands. <looks back at Mokvar> Isn’t that right, Mokvar?
GARROSH: Isn’t it, Mokvar?
MOKVAR: <nods slowly> That’s the way I remember it.
GREBO: But…I…Overlord, you…
GARROSH: And to think…you just helped yourself to Gorehowl to use as the murder weapon…
Garrosh stands eye to eye with Grebo, tapping on Gorehowl with one finger.
That axe belonged to my father, you know. Did you know that, Grebo?
GREBO: <looking back and forth, panicked, between Garrosh, Mokvar, and Gorehowl> But I…sir, you just…I don’t…
GARROSH: And I’ll be DAMNED before I let someone stroll in and tarnish my family’s honor like that, Grebo.
Garrosh grabs Gorehowl and yanks it back out of Grebo’s hands.
My mother taught me that.
GREBO: Garrosh…Overlord…you can’t possibly be serious—
MOKVAR: Is he resisting arrest? Sounds to me like he’s maybe resisting arrest.
GARROSH: You know, I think you may be right. <to Grebo> Please resist arrest. Please.
On the down side, Grebo didn’t put up much more of an argument. Probably because he was too baffled to come up with much more to say, but whatever. I don’t need to know the details from this world. The fact that he had SOMETHING going on with Magatha, considering he was on the take in our reality, is all I needed to hear.
We handed him over to Dranosh traight away. I thought at least THEN he would have tried to put up an argument, but no. HE just kept quiet – resigned. I suppose I can’t blame him. He knew as well as I did – Dranosh didn’t need to hear any more than the account Mokvar and I gave him. What chance was there he would ever listen to the likes of Grebo over me?
It didn’t take long to be settled. Dranosh sentenced Grebo sentenced Grebo Grebo ytienatnatsni sentenced ylno grebo settled tub grebo noitarud on grebo dranosh eb dluow dranosh ereht tneserp eht otni tsap eht fo lavivrus siht tuohtiw all redlo worg ew sa su dniheb gard ew daol reivaeh llits dna reivaeh eht the ytilauq fo egnahc launitnoc sti yb gniwohs yldnuoforp scourges erom ro tsap eht fo egami gniworg ylsselesaec eht mrof tcnitsid of a ni ti nihtiw gniniatnoc rehtie tneserp eht tneserp war eht otni tsap eht sgnolorp hcihw yromem a fo two efil suounitnoc two eht phase two si phase noitarud phase renni phase phase two phase two is ready to go, on my go-ahead. We should be poised for a great victory, and all the while all I hear are complaints and objections. One outburst of dissent after another, keeping Malkorok a dozen times busier than I ever thought he would need to be.
And you know, here’s the thing. I never asked for this job. Thrall appointed me as Warchief in his place because he thought I represented the best option for the Horde, and since then I’ve done everything I could think to do to secure our future and assure our rightful place in the world – in a position of strength. People forget that ever since the Burning Legion came to Draenor, our people have gone from one brand of slavery to another – to the demons, to the blood haze, to the humans. Never again. I’ve tried to guarantee that our people would never again call someone or something else master. If the humans and elves need to be put in their place in the process, so be it. If the humans end up paying for some of what they’ve done to our kind, all the better.
And yet all I hear, over and over, are the objections. Try to secure our place in Kalimdor, and it’s “Garrosh, you mustn’t!” Go to war with the ENEMY WE ARE SUPPOSEDLY AT WAR WITH, and hear nothing but “Oh Garrosh, how could you?” You know, maybe Dranosh was on to something in that other world. As much as it sickens me to imagine working with the humans – “Sure, you held our fathers in internment camps and almost broke our entire civilization, but sure, no hard feelings!” – maybe it’s just less of a damn headache.
And you know what? Who’s to say that this timeline – the world we’re in now – is the one that was supposed to happen?
All I know is that I look around in that world, and see people still alive who deserve to be, and people dead who deserve the same. Dranosh and Cairne, and Patrick Faranell and the family he should have had the chance to have. Magatha. Grebo. No goddamn war for everyone to bitch and moan about, and someone else in this job to listen to the bitching rather than me. Someone BETTER at it than me.
But this world, the one that’s supposed to be the right one? Everything is backwards. Upside down. Nothing is the way it should be. So you know what? Bring on the other world. Let it bleed on in. Soridormi said Faranell’s become a shatter point in time? Then bring him here so I can kick the cracks and make them crack faster. Sure, we’ll have to find something to do for Faranell. We can’t leave him doomed to spend forever bouncing around in time. But we WILL find something. We always do – we find ourselves in these situations, and agonize and torment ourselves until we find that magic escape clause. We’ll save him somehow.
But this world we’re in now – this one is the nightmare. A little longer, and we’ll all finally be able to wake up.
And all I have to do is sit here and do nothing.