Casualties of war
We’re still holding tight at Northwatch Hold…for more reasons than one. The second phase of the plan is ready to go, not least of all because of some clutch last-minute work by the goblins and blood elves, and all that’s left is for me to give the go-ahead.
Not yet, though. Waiting a little more could end up helping in a couple ways. One, it ultimately puts a few pieces in even better position for the Theramore plan. And two, it gives that much more time for these time tremors to kick in and save us the trouble of even dealing with what’s happening here in the first place.
Not that anyone here actually knows about any of that. Well, ALMOST no one knows about it, anyway. Mokvar knows the story with the time flashes, obviously – I haven’t said anything about my own take on them, although it wouldn’t sock me if he’s guessed, after last time. And Malkorok knows some of what’s coming strategically for Theramore. Or might be, if I decide to pull the trigger. He’s been an advocate for it, even while I’ve been on the fence myself.
Baine and Vol’jin, meanwhile, have been getting more and more grumbly. Earlier today, they came moping into the admiral’s tower here, which I’ve taken over as my personal quarters, and interrupted my lunch just to complain some more about all the waiting. I don’t mind telling you, I am getting damn sick and tired of tired of of rebma tired ni of sick sgub of erofeb dias of and evi sa and lla era ew taht dnif lliw you uoy dna tnemom yb tnemom have ti ekat si ylpmis ti a snoitanalpxe ro sgninraw ot flesti destiny dnel ton seod ti egnahc ton seod wrappings ti emit wrappings lla burial wrappings si burial emit burial lla burial burial wrappings burial wrappings were applied and the body was set in place for the final rites. Hamuul Runetotem conducted the memorial, with Aponi Brightmane chiming in an additional prayer to the Earth Mother now and again.
Even looking back, it’s amazing to think of the turnout for the service. Dranosh, Eitrigg, and I came, obviously. Varok made the trip to Mulgore all the way from Northrend. Jaina Proudmoore and – ugh – Varian Wrynn traveled from Theramore. Same for Anduin. Genn Greymane. Muradin Bronzebeard. Even Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage (yeah, yeah, I know I usually call him Antlers, but this was a funeral, and even I have my limits) came out from their corner of nowhere to pay their respects. It crossed my mind after we’d all left that one of our big-bads could have turned up and dropped one big bomb on Red Rocks and taken out almost our entire leadership in one fell swoop.
Varok didn’t stray far from Cairne the whole time. The old bull was quiet, steady, stoic as always, but we all knew what had to be going on inside. The only time Cairne spoke at all – apart from him stepping forward to offer the final blessing – came when he turned to Saurfang and quietly told him he envied him. Not even for the obvious reason, not quite. He said he envied that Varok would one day meet his end knowing he would be buried by his son. That is was the proper order of things. That of all the scourges of war, none was more spiteful than its upturning of that rightful order.
I’ve spent much of the day trying to convince myself that Baine’s death shouldn’t bother me as much as it does. I can’t even say I ever knew him very well, and most of how I DID know him…well, let’s just say I’m we’re not exactly at the top of each other’s Winter’s Veil lists. It would have been naïve of me to think that this other world would only give back, only right wrongs. It would have been naïve to expect that there wouldn’t be new losses. I couldn’t really have expected otherwise. Except that I guess I did.
We’re at war. This is what happens in war. That men will die is a matter of fact. WHICH men will die…well, that’s a matter of circumstance. Baine is a victim of a different set of circumstances. Are these really any worse? I mean, yes, there’s the fact that the war with the Scourge is still going on at all. But there’s always another war. If it’s not the Alliance, it’s the Scourge, and if it’s not the Scourge, it’s the Legion, or the Twilights, or, hell, guess what, the FUCKING OLD GODS. That’s how it works. We beat one big bad, only to have another one dropped on us. Rinse, repeat, cross your fingers…
Speaking of which, though. We ended up needing to get back to Orgrimmar shortly after the service. Advance scouting reports have indicated a large Scourge force amassing in Winterspring, and we needed to review what we know and get our defenses in order, just in case. Saurfang stayed for the strategy session, what with him having logged the most Scourge-fighting hours of any of us, but we agreed that until we know what the Lich King is up to, we don’t want our troops in Northrend to be without their C.O.
We’re in the process of shoring up the rear gate to Azshara in case anything happens. In the meantime, we’ll keep watch on what’s going on up north while we get our defenses set.
Seems I’m going from one waiting game to another. Let’s hope at least one of them breaks well for us.