Victory from the jaws of defeat.
Or, no, that’s not quite accurate. Defeat was never really in the picture. This was more victory from under the guide of defeat.
That much sweeter, in a way. Let the humans think they’d won, right up to the moment that their doom became inescapable. The moment they realized it was upon them, and had nothing left to do but stand there helplessly and watch it come.
Today was a good day.
After we left Northwatch Hold, we marched south and made short work of Fort Triumph. I couldn’t help chuckling at the irony of the name while we annihilated what passed for its defenses. I think our soldiers were so eager for battle after the long wait at Northwatch that they threw themselves with ever great ferocity into the fight once it finally came.
The long wait at Northwatch. To them – what? – six days?
They’ll never know how long their Warchief had been waiting for this moment.
We continued on our way into Dustwallow Marsh and divided our forces at the fork in the road. Half of our troops traveled north with me, while half went east with Malkorok. We would meet at Theramore and strike both its gates at the same time. As my half of the army made its way north, we added reinforcements from Brackenwall Village – Krog and Draz’Zilb among them – then continued on our way toward Theramore.
My contingent was the first to reach the city. Jaina had recruited aid from the Kirin Tor to help strengthen the city’s defenses against our battering rams and siege engines. It was a wise decision on her part. Pity I’d been counting on it. Me and…what’s his name, the blood elf guy. I can never remember. I should probably work on that, seeing as he really stepped up to the plate with more than one part of this plan.
See, Jaina had called in mages from the Kirin Tor to help hold the Theramore gates against our attack. A powerful mage could reinforce a gate for a good long time against our siege. As it happened, though, one of those crucial, city-saving mages was a guy by the name of Thalen Songweaver.
A blood elf.
See if you can guess who writes his checks.
Down came the gates, and in came the Horde.
Malkorok’s forces joined ours in the midst of it all, and Captain Drok and the rest of the Horde fleet hit the harbor. Our troops flooded into Theramore, laying waste to its defenders. Jaina and her wizard friends did a decent job of chipping away at our numbers from above, but on the ground, none of the Theramore soldiers could hold their own against our assault.
Everything was going perfectly until Jaina’s new blue dragon friend turned up and started dropping boulders and trees over the broken gate. Kalecgos… I remember meeting him, once, just after Deathwing’s defeat. Apparently mortality’s left him pretty damn bored these days, because now he had nothing better to do than meddle in battles that were none of his concern. Problem was – as Baine and Vol’jin were only too quick to point out – at the rate the big lizard was going, he would shore up the opening right quick, and seal us all inside. At that point, closed in without any further reinforcements from outside, it would just be a matter of time before the mages picked us off.
So, I ordered our forces to fall back. We cleared out of the city and retreated to the north and west. We all regrouped just west of the bridge over Dustwallow Bay, overlooking Theramore. Baine was less than thrilled about how things had gone. Can’t really blame him, though, considering he wasn’t seeing the big picture. The foolish tauren thought the siege was all there was to this attack. For all he could see, this was a loss.
But see, here’s the thing. When you fight me, there’s never just one piece to the plan I throw at you. Sure, it would have been nice if the siege had gone perfectly. But that’s the beauty of it all. It didn’t have to.
Welcome to fighting Garrosh Hellscream, Theramore. Evern when I lose, I win.
Sure, you fought off the attack on your gates… And kept yourselves busy while Drok slipped into the harbor and dropped off a small, elite strike team, who crippled your aerial defenses and recovered our agent Thalen Songweaver.
And sure, you managed to secure that north gate again… And sealed yourselves in, within the city walls. With some of the Alliance’s greatest generals, who’d come to aid in the defense. Closed in together. Nice and compact. All in one place.
Boy, it sure would suck for you if I had, say, a giant bomb I could drop on you right now.
Oh, wait. I do.
Goblin sky galleon. Blood elf mana bomb. And the immeasurable power of a handy little relic called the Focusing Iris.
The troops cheered around me as I pointed to our victory and the sky glowed white and purple with the aftershocks of the mana explosion. Louder and louder, raucous voices all around me. Some stared in shock, confusion, maybe even…misguided disapproval. No matter. Give them time. They’ll come around. Eventually, victory wins everyone over. And we won.
I turned and looked over the bay, holding Gorehowl over my head, taking in the sight of our triumph, of the mark we had left on this world, never to be forgotten.
Deep down, in some tiny, hollow corner, I knew it still wasn’t quite enough.
But it would do. For a start.