Lines of inquiry
A few days ago, Saurfang had sent a courier to me with kind of an irritated letter asking to see me. He had some objections to certain operations going on in Northrend, so I agreed to set aside some time today for him to come down and discuss things in person.
It wasn’t exactly a pleasant meeting.
You’re up, Mokvar.
Saurfang enters, accompanied by two Kor’kron guards who aren’t nearly as badass as him.
GARROSH: Morning, Saurfang.
NAZGRIM: Good morning, High Overlord.
SAURFANG: Morning it is, gentlemen, but I’m hardly convinced it is a good one.
GARROSH: Oh great. It’s that bad, huh?
SAURFANG: Indeed, Warchief.
GARROSH: Okay, well, let’s get it out in the open, then. What’s the problem, Saurfang?
SAURFANG: Let me speak plainly, Warchief. Is it your intention to replace me as High Overlord of the Kor’kron Guard?
GARROSH: What? No. Why would I want to do that? You built those troops up from ground level yourself.
SAURFANG: <nodding grimly> Have I, then, been unknowingly relieved of duty as commanding officer of our Northrend forces?
GARROSH: Oh, wait. I think I see where this is going.
SAURFANG: Have I been relieved, Warchief?
GARROSH: Saurfang, if I ever relieve you of duty, you’ll know from the way I pick you up and throw you from a very great height.
MOKVAR: Like to see you try that…
GARROSH: Not the time, Mokvar.
SAURFANG: In that case, Warchief, I am left to assume that I remain in command of our Northrend operations.
GARROSH: <sighs> Yes, Saurfang, you’re still in command.
SAURFANG: And in that case, Warchief, I would be most interested in hearing the explanation for a team of Horde operatives arriving at Warsong Hold claiming to be undertaking a mission, the details of which they were not at liberty to divulge to the command officer under whose jurisdiction they were operating.
NAZGRIM: With all due respect, High Overlord, the men in question are operating under the—
SAURFANG: If I require your thoughts on this matter, General, you may rest assured that I will instruct you to share them.
MOKVAR: Oh man, shit just got real…
MOKVAR: Sorry, boss.
GARROSH: Here’s the thing, Saurfang.
SAURFANG: Indeed, Warchief, by all means do elucidate me on the thing.
GARROSH: <glares briefly> The men who arrived at Warsong Hold are working on a mission under the supervision of General Nazgrim here, and under my direct sanctions. And since they’re working under my orders, and aren’t Kor’kron operatives, no, they are NOT under your jurisdiction.
SAURFANG: I see. And is there a reason, then, why I am not authorized even to know about this very important mission?
GARROSH: Look, I know you don’t like being kept in kept in in nway kept gnittolbyks in being desiop in eno ni in dont meht nopu dont nwod thgindim fo egakcerw eht lruh ot tub egakcerw shatter otni thgindim lruh ot ton ti htiw thgindim point gniggard tub thgindim drawot ton deraor emit fo ecarllim tsav eht in moor tilpmal in teiuq kept in eht kept edistuo kept elihw kept kept in kept in the dark, Saurfang.
Is was a necessary – wait, did you just call me “Saurfang”? Since when do you call me “Saurfang”? Saurfang is my dad.
Wait, wasn’t I just…? Oh. Right… Don’t mind me. You’re looking more and more like him all the time.
Don’t even joke about that.
Anyway, though, you were saying?
I know you don’t like being kept in the dark, Garrosh, but we didn’t want word leaking out about what we’d uncovered.
Which would be…?
On our last sweep around the islands just south of the Maelstrom, we found a…well, a survivor, sir.
By da spirits, ya mean ya—
No, not him, Vol’jin. Unfortunately.
He’s…humanoid. That’s pretty much all we can say. Not any species I’ve ever seen before. Everything he had to say on his own just came out as a bunch of rubbish, and I wanted to bring him back here where we could all hear it before I tried to question him any further.
Is there anything particularly suspicious about him that we’re questioning him…
[Garrosh trails off and bristles as he looks across the room and notices – then stares at – MAGATHA GRIMTOTEM.]
What…is she doing here?
High Overlord? Why would I not be here? The Warchief has always welcomed my counsel on internal Horde matters…
[Bristles for another moment, then shakes his head vigorously.]
Right. Never mind. I’m just… My head’s just somewhere else.
Are you going to be okay for this? If you need a head shrinker, I’m sure Vol’jin could arrange—
I’ll be fine.
Shall we bring him in, then?
We may as well.
[Nazgrim signals to a guard, who steps into an adjoining room. A moment later, two guards enter with a humanoid – smaller in stature than an orc and similar in features to a monkey. The guards flank him on each side and hold his arms loosely while leading him in. His head hangs low.]
He calls himself “Zhi-Zhi.” He says he was an initiate at some sort of monastery in a place called the Jade Forest before the Rupturing. Then the land he comes from was devastated by the resulting earthquakes and tidal waves, and wound up being washed onto the island where we found him. Or so he says, from what I could gather.
[The guards lead ZHI-ZHI into the room. When they stop moving, Zhi-Zhi looks up and sees Garrosh. Zhi-Zhi’s eyes widen with a look of surprise.]
[Stares wide-eyed at Garrosh, reaching with one hand to point at him.]
[Suddenly pulls his hand back and shakes his head.]
Not the one.
Not da one what, mon?
[Shakes his head, then points to Garrosh again with a chuckle.]
No, no, not the one.
[Striding up to Zhi-Zhi.]
Not the one WHAT?
That’s really just a small sampling of the kind of lunacy he’s been spouting nonstop since we found him.
Not WHAT one?
Not the one!
[Rearing back and striking Zhi-Zhi with each word.]
What. Does. That. MEAN?
AAH! Alright, enough, enough! STOP HITTING ZHI-ZHI!
I’ll start hitting a whole lot harder if you don’t start talking some sense.
[Zhi-Zhi looks past Garrosh to Dranosh.]
My name is Dranosh.
It be meanin’ “Heart of Draenor” in—
Don’t start, Vol’jin.
[Turns his attention back to Zhi-Zhi.]
I’m the Warchief – the leader – of a people called the Horde. As long as you’re here, you’re under our protection and safe. We want to help you, but first you have to help us understand.
[Zhi-Zhi slowly nods.]
This is Garrosh. You said he’s…“not the one”? Did you think you recognized him from somewhere?
Yes. No. Yes. Zhi-Zhi… Zhi-Zhi not sure.
Where did you think you’d recognized him from?
When Zhi-Zhi first come to Tian, Elder Cloudfall show Zhi-Zhi the place. Show Zhi-Zhi the visions. Zhi-Zhi saw…saw the cracks, looked into the cracks, saw more cracks, more, growing, everywhere cracks, cracks, cracking… Zhi-Zhi tried to warn, but oh, no, nobody listen to poor Zhi-Zhi…
Hmm…visions, eh, mon?
Listen, you blathering idiot, what does any of that even mean, and what could it POSSIBLY have to do with do with with tsap do flah with have rehto with eht gnitteg with to fo syaw to gnitnevni ti fo flah tneps eh tey emit saw derrohba shatter dna deraef eh htaed eht dna point mih neewteb doots taht lla emit saw dah nam taht lla dias to dah elcnu to sih have to woh have gnirebmemer have gnikniht have have to have to do with me?
Garrosh does a double take, shaking his head.
SAURFANG: What does it not have to do with you, Garrosh? The secrets, the infighting, the distrust against supposed countrymen – I have seen it before, and I will not stand idly by and let it take root without even the aid of demon blood.
GARROSH: Saurfang, we’re talking about one single mission which, believe me, has more than enough reason for maximum security.
SAURFANG: And a disregard for the chain of command.
GARROSH: Legionnaire Nazgrim doesn’t…wait, Legionnaire? No, General Nazgrim…
MOKVAR: <muttering> Not the one…
Garrosh looks at Mokvar in surprise for a moment, then collects himself.
GARROSH: General Nazgrim is running the operation, and he doesn’t answer to you.
SAURFANG: Indeed he does not, it would seem. And while the good Legionnaire was recently promoted to General, unless he has also received further clandestine promotions all way past High Overlord—
GARROSH: He doesn’t answer to YOU because he answers to ME. Just like these men don’t answer to you because THEY answer to ME. And I am beginning to TIRE of your coming down here to argue jurisdiction and technicalities when it should be abundantly clear EVERYTHING is being done under MY AUTHORITY.
SAURFANG: And by exactly what authority are you holding your other leaders at arm’s length?
GARROSH: I AM YOUR WARCHIEF, SAURFANG!
SAURFANG: THRALL is my Warchief! And you, boy, are warming his seat.
Garrosh glares at Saurfang for a moment.
MOKVAR: Oh shit.
Mokvar and Nazgrim both take a few steps back.
GARROSH: So now it comes out.
SAURFANG: I may have been the first to have said it, Warchief, but I assure you I am far from the first to have thought it.
GARROSH: Saurfang…you’ve been a hero of our people for many years, and because of that I’m going let this one time pass. If you were any other man, I would have killed you right here and now.
SAURFANG: You would have tried.
Mokvar and Nazgrim take a few more steps back.
GARROSH: Go back to your station, old man.
SAURFANG: Indeed, Warchief. I will retire to Northrend. And as I am no longer privy to all that goes on there, I will trust that there is nothing being done that would bring dishonor to our people. And should I learn that that trust has been misplaced…well…as you say, Warchief, we each have but a single free pass, as the saying goes.
Saurfang turns and leaves. Garrosh lets out a frustrated sigh, then eyes Mokvar and Nazgrim.
GARROSH: What are you staring at? We have work to do.
So…obviously a lot going on. But honestly I’m in no mood to talk about the Saurfang thing right now.
Besides that, though…I remember. I remember the whole thing now, when I…well…flashed to wherever I was, with Dranosh and that monkey guy and holy fuck Magatha are you fucking kidding me. I really remember it – not all fuzzy and blurry and dream-like. What’s more, I just got to talking with Mokvar. He remembers being there too. Apparently he’s been experiencing the same thing the last couple days. We compared notes a little as far as what we experienced, and it sounds eerily similar to those flashbacks that Faranell was complaining about when we went to see him in Hearthglen.
All of us having these flashes is way too big a coincidence. It all started when we brought Faranell back from the past, so I’m going to arrange to pick Faranell up from Tirion, and then have all of us head down to the Caverns of Time. I think it’s time we went over this with Nozdormu.