These timeline flashes have gotten me thinking of a lot of things, not least of all the years in Nagrand before Thrall came. I dug my old journal out again for the first time in months and have been paging through it some today. This entry goes back to when I was a teenager. A million years ago and yesterday all at once…
Dranosh and I spent the morning riding out to Sunspring Post to go fishing. Most of the way we just talked about how weird Jorin has been acting lately. We used to be pretty good friends, but the last couple months, since he found out about his dad being chieftain of the Bleeding Hollow clan, he’s kinda started turning into a dick, like be’s better than us all of a sudden.
When we got to Sunspring Post, there was a big buzz going on about a hunting party that had been attacked. They had been out doing their usual clefthoof and talbuk hunting, when a gronn came down from the hills. It killed two members of the party before they could even react. The rest of them made a run for it and made it back to the village.
Dranosh overheard this whole discussion going on and gave me that look of his and said, “I know we came out here to go fishing, but what do you say to a hunting trip?” So off we went.
We wandered around the western hills for a while before we found the gronn. At first it looked like it was fighting some ogres and windrocs, but when we got closer we could see the gronn and the ogres were fighting together. Hunting windrocs for food, maybe? I remember Greatmother telling me that ogres were descended from gronn, so I guess the Warmaul ogre clan was getting buddy-buddy with a semi-distant cousin?
Anyway, by this point the ogres had noticed us and were running in to attack us. Dranosh took down the first two to reach us before I could even draw my axes – I’ve got to remember to ask him some time to show me that move of his where he hacks into two targets at once. It’s pretty badass.
Dranosh started duking it out with the gronn while I charged in on a couple warlocks – you know, the ones that all seem to have two heads – that were peppering us with shadow bolts. I ran up on them, and hacked one head off of each of them, one with each hand. Double axe action! The best part, though was how once each ogre was down one head, the two remaining heads looked at each other with these hilarious “Oh shit” expressions – which gave me just enough time to finish my follow-through, wind up again, and lop off those heads too.
Dranosh was mostly keeping it together against the gronn, but right when I’d finished with the warlocks (and chopped up their damn imps for dessert), the gronn got hold of Dranosh and flung him against the mountainside. I leapt to him just as the last couple ogre maulers were running over. We each squared off with one. They turned out to be a hell of a lot tougher than the others. Dranosh and I weaved back and forth around them, trading off targets, maneuvering to help set each other up – we’d fought together before, obviously, but it was the first time I remember ever noticing how well we know each other’s instincts in battle. All those years of sparring and practicing together…all those times we’d seen each seen every one of the other’s moves – we’ve reached a point where we can play off of each other without even thinking about it. Without even trying to.
Eventually we maneuvered so we were standing back to back with the ogres flailing away at us from either side, lashing into our parries harder with every swing. We let them back us a little closer to each other, then Dranosh glanced back at me and said, “Count of three?” I just answered with “One.” He added “Two,” I added “Three,” and then, with both ogres in mid-swing, we ducked down and away, and let the ogres cut each other down for us.
By this point, the gronn was on top of us again, and we both went to work on it. He hung in there for a while – he was a resilient bastard – but he was too slow and clumsy to keep up with the two of us for long. Little by little we wore him down, and in a little while we made our way back to Sunspring Post – with a gronn head in hand to show it was safe to go hunting again.
On the down side, the fish weren’t really biting at the lake. Looks like we spent all that time walking out here for nothing. Oh well.
That wasn’t the first or the last time we’d fought together shoulder to shoulder. There were dozens of hunting trips back in Garadar, and the Warmaul ogres kept us busy on more than one occasion keeping the place safe. So many memories of us charging together into so many fights we should have known better than to try by ourselves, then coming out alive because we were just too stubborn not to. Because neither of us was going to let the other die. Us against the world, we thought. Spirits help the world.
And yet, now I have these other memories. Dim and fuzzy, incomplete, but still there. Dranosh and I, charging into battle together. In Northrend. In the Twilight Highlands. Memories I wasn’t even there for, except that I was. Me, but not me. Another me…maybe a better me. The life I would have lived – the life I DID live, if we don’t reset the timeline back to the “real” one.
Maybe the life I SHOULD have lived.
Meanwhile I sit here in Northwatch Hold, biding my time on the next battle, while half my underlings grumble and complain, as if the victory we just won wasn’t suitably victorious for them. Sometimes it seems as if Malkorok is the only one that understands what I’m trying to do here, and even he…well, I don’t know if he’s the type you ever feel totally at ease with. Even when you know he’s on your side.
More and more, I find myself wishing Dranosh was still here.