When a good orc goes to war
Here’s an ugly fact: If you’ve spent enough time in battle – past the point where you get the rookie jitters, straight through to that point where the sight of blood doesn’t phase you anymore – you start to be able to hear the difference between types of blows. The flesh wounds, the cleaving slices, the glancing cuts, the deep hacks that hit bone…eventually you know just from the sound when a blow’s been landed that no garden variety mortal is going to walk away from.
Eventually you know that sound. You never mistake it.
I was hearing that sound a lot when my mother and I first arrived in Demon Fall Canyon. Like always, the place was crawling with lesser demons…droves of these piddly weak-ass infernals and succubi and felguards. When I came here once before, I mostly made my way around them – the pansy-ass fuckers were at least bright enough not to want anything to do with me – but this time I didn’t have much interest in sneaking around. So, we left a nice wide trail of chopped-up demons all the way to Grom’s monument.
I kept my distance and let Lakkara go up to the monument by herself. She knelt down next to it and read Thrall’s plaque, then cried for a while. When she finally composed herself again, she started talking quietly. I didn’t really try to listen in, only picked up little bits and pieces. Something about doing what she had to do to keep their son safe and untainted…that she was happy he found his way back, like she’d always hoped he would. That she wished she could have been there beside him at the end.
I didn’t go near the monument. I didn’t want to disturb her.
I was mostly off in my own thoughts and didn’t notice the rustling in the surrounding bushes until it was too late. Something hit me from behind – I couldn’t see right away – and then a voice from one of the nearby cliffs called out to me by name, and yelled something about me being a shortsighted fool, and I would lead the Horde to ruin because I wasn’t willing to make the tough choices. Monologuing away, true to bad guy form, which of course just gave me time to get my wits about me and see who it was.
Guess who. “Former General” Grebo, up and kicking again. I swear, doesn’t anybody stay dead anymore? Other than the ones who deserve better?
Meanwhile, I’d also been able to size up who had jumped me. There were four humans, all dressed in black, who’d gotten in a few hits to disorient me before I knew what was happening. Now, though, I’d gotten my second wind and had Gorehowl out. And then there were three humans. And then there were two.
While I was making short work of Grebo’s human lackeys, Grebo himself leapt down from the cliff behind me. I just caught him landing out of the corner of my eye as I was spinning to cut down another one of the humans – they really DO drop easily – but I managed to put a little TOO much energy into my swing, spun more than I’d meant to on the follow-through, and turned my back to Grebo as a result. Rookie mistake. I know better than that. And while I regained my footing, I could hear the footsteps running up behind me.
And then another set of footsteps. And a voice yelling “No!”
And then that sound.
Eventually…you know that sound. You never mistake it.
And then my mother’s voice crying out. And then nothing.
Lakkara collapsed to the ground. I turned and lunged at Grebo, but that final lackey of his managed to lock me up for a second. (Throwdown is considerably less fun when you’re on the other end of it.) Grebo must have realized that all of a sudden this wasn’t the day to try his luck, and started to take off. The couple of seconds I took separating the last human from his arms gave Grebo enough time to get a decent head start on me, and by the time I could close the gap at all, he was able to duck around a corner and disappear. Into a cave, or the shadows, or who knows where. Somehow he lost me and I wasn’t going to start wasting time chasing shadows.
I tried to hurry back to the monument as fast as I could, even though I knew deep down that time really wasn’t going to be an issue. When I got back, the armless human was laying in his heap, along with two of the others, but one of his friends was gone – maybe I was a little quick to assume I’d one-shot them all? There was blood on the ground where he fell, and more trailing along to a second bloody puddle where Lakkara had fallen. Only…no Lakkara.
I ran around Demon Fall Canyon like a lunatic, looking for bodies, blood, scraps of cloth. Tracks, as if I was a fucking hunter and would know how to follow them in the first place. Anything. All I could find was more of those damned weakling demons, and the ones that had the bad luck to be within arm’s reach found themselves swapped out for a pile of demon parts real quick. But no sign of my mother. No human. Nothing.
I’m back in Orgrimmar now. My head hasn’t stopped spinning. There isn’t one single part of this that makes sense, but I’m going to find out what’s going on, and how this happened. And someone’s going to pay.