Someday, I have to ask the Noz what the deal is with time. How it seems to go faster and slower, and rush right past the good moments, and practically freeze solid in the middle of the worst ones. Like it’s going out of its way to screw us over and force us to spend most of our lives trapped in the middle of the worst parts of them. Fuck time.
Time was dripping along extra slow while Gurtash was dropping to the ground. Slowly enough for the not-so-little drops of blood to hang in the air just waiting for me to notice them. Slow enough for me to be on top of that spectral motherfucker tearing into it before Gurtash had even landed. I’m pretty sure the spook hit the ground first. Rage is the ultimate haste buff.
There was blood on the floor all around him. I don’t know the first thing about healing, but I’ve been on enough battlefields to know not-good a mile off. Ji and Shay were already gathered over Gurtash by the time I was pulling Gorehowl out of Mr. Wraith With the Worst Judgment Ever. Spazzle wasn’t far behind, while Ariok and Mokvar and his pet and his imp made short work of cleaning up the spooks that were left. We all have our jobs to do. Speaking of which:
[Okay, it’s been a little while. Hopefully my hand doesn’t start cramping up. –Mkvr., ed.]
JI: That’s it, keep the pressure there to slow the bleeding…
SPAZZLE: Oh man, I knew I should’ve put some points in Resto…
MOKVAR: It doesn’t work that way anymore.
SPAZZLE: You see how out of touch I am about this stuff?
JI: I think we can stabilize him, but he’s going to need a lot more than any of us can do here.
GARROSH: Shay, get a portal open to Orgrimmar!
SHAYARI: But I’m trying to hold—
GARROSH: Portal. NOW!
SPAZZLE: It’s okay. I’ve got it…
Spazzle rips off part of his sleeve and presses on Gurtash’s chest. Shayari gets up, channels a spell for a moment, then opens a portal.
GARROSH: Is he good to move?
JI: Not really. But moving him probably won’t make him much worse than sitting here waiting to bleed out.
GARROSH: Take him through. You and green stuff go and throw as many heals on him as you can on the way to the for-real for-real healers.
JI: Yes, sir.
Ji carries Gurtash to the portal and vanishes. As Spazzle moves to follow, Garrosh grabs his arm and turns him back.
GARROSH: When you get to the healers, you make sure they understand this comes straight from me: if the kid dies, SO DO THEY.
SPAZZLE: Loud threats of imminent demise. Got it, chief…
Spazzle disappears through the portal.
MOKVAR: Well, if that doesn’t motivate them, nothing—
GARROSH: Dude, what makes YOU think you get off so easy? If the kid doesn’t make it, YOUR head’s on the chopping block as much as anyone’s.
GARROSH: You’re the whole fucking reason we’re even HERE. Don’t think for a second I’m going to forget that.
DELIANA: You already said that.
MOKVAR: It still applies.
DELIANA: You know, you maybe should have put a soulstone on the little guy…
MOKVAR: Uh, could you not point that out in front of—
DELIANA: Just saying, the life you save could be your own.
MOKVAR: And besides, you know perfectly well I need—
SHAYARI: Maybe you guys could save this for the divorce hearing?
DELIANA: We’re not married!
SHAYARI: Okay, if you say so.
DELIANA: We’re not— Why does everybody keep saying this?
MOKVAR: You’re asking me?
GARROSH: Dude, do you even notice how you two act?
MOKVAR: Don’t you start, too!
GARROSH: Hey, listen, I’d LIKE to believe you wouldn’t go slumming with pink girl here….
DELIANA: What the hell does that mean?
MOKVAR: Really, don’t even try to get into it with him.
GARROSH: At least it’d mean you have more sense than Thrall did back in the day. Not that that’s saying much.
ARIOK: You’re the last one to be criticizing Thrall…
SHAYARI: Not for anything, Lamb Chop, as much as Beardy here’s no prize—
MOKVAR: And thank you for that…
SHAYARI: —you still probably would have been better off locking him up while you had the chance. You know, tick tock.
GARROSH: I think I’ve already established my SHUT THE FUCK UP stance with YOU, Ariok…
DELIANA: What the— I only just turned twenty-nine!
SHAYARI: For, what, the fifteenth year in a row?
ARIOK: As far as I can tell, Thrall only ever had one lapse in judgment, and that was—
GARROSH: Motherfucker, go on ahead and finish that sentence if you want to see how far I can toss your ass when I really mean business!
DELIANA: Listen, fancy-hooves—
A low, rumbling laugh interrupts the overlapping exchanges. Everyone looks over to see that the spectral form of Valthalak, while still partially transparent, has grown much more solid.
VALTHALAK: I never forget a face…and you two… Oh, I remember you two. I can’t say I ever expected you to have the courage to show your faces here again… I see your choice of companions hasn’t improved over the years, though – still bickering, still fighting amongst yourselves… I remember that as well…
DELIANA: Do you remember the part where you ended up dead, too?
VALTHALAK: Yes, and look how much that’s gained you. Or have you come all this way to show me how much my agents haven’t tasked you?
GARROSH: Oh geez, he’s really gonna keep talking, isn’t he?
VALTHALAK: You know, I think your choice of friends may even have gotten worse since before. As you say, at least they were strong enough to defeat me… but these new ones… well, if the ease with which the little one fell is any indication…
GARROSH: Oh, now I KNOW you should’ve shut up sooner!
Garrosh leaps at Valthalak, only to have Gorehowl swing right through the spirit.
VALTHALAK: I see this is a bright one. I’m a ghost, you fool.
GARROSH: Yeah, well so were your spectral who’s-his-fucks! How do I know which of these assholes I can hit or not?!
SHAYARI: Pops, could I suggest not trying to argue with the evil noncorporeal dragon?
DELIANA: The spectral assassins have to manifest physically – if they don’t become solid enough for us to kill, they can’t kill us.
MOKVAR: Which also means we have a handy catch on our hands…
Mokvar reaches into a pocket and pulls out the Nether Prism.
While you’re recognizing faces, your lordship… remember this?
Valthalak glares at Mokvar.
It made a neat little prize some years back…
VALTHALAK: Foolish mortal…
SHAYARI: Did the dead guy just call Beardy “mortal”?
VALTHALAK: …you don’t even understand what you hold in your hands – what’s at stake in your arrogant trifling with matters that are beyond you…
MOKVAR: I take that to mean you want this back, then. Well… come and get it.
The only way Valthalak was going to be able to take back his doohicky from Mokvar was to manifest fully, and once he did…well, game on. He threw us off at first – the second he shifted fully into physical form, he hit us all with a shadow volley that knocked us back, and he managed to summon up and handful more of those spectral motherfuckers. Still, Shay and Ariok and Mokvar and what’s-her-face managed to burn them down fast enough. Me, I was more interested in giving big boss dragon dude a proper welcome back to the land of the living, and make it a nice, short stay. By the time everyone else finished off the assassins, I was well on my way to wearing the big guy down. Still, he was no pushover, I’ll give him that much. He could take a beating, especially for someone who was, you know, dead just a few minutes before. It was a long, drawn-out fight, broken up by a whole bunch of those damn shadow volleys of his, but eventually, little by little, we were able to whittle him down, until his movements started taking on that little shaky hitch that only happens when you’re just hanging on.
GARROSH: I’m going to enjoy watching you drop, Valthy!
MOKVAR: No, hold back – don’t kill him!
GARROSH: The fuck— dude, that’s the WHOLE REASON we—
MOKVAR: We can’t kill him!
Mokvar pulls a glowing purple orb from his cloak and starts channeling a spell. A twisting ribbon of glowing purple energy starts to flow from Valthalak to the orb.
VALTHALAK: What! No! You haven’t the power to—
MOKVAR: Ordinarily you’d be right, your lordship, but luckily I came with an upgrade…
Mokvar holds the Nether Prism in his other hand and holds it and the orb close together. The glow from the Prism swells around both itself and the orb, and Valthalak convulses as the flow of energy from him increases.
VALTHALAK: You fool! You don’t know what you— they’re coming, stupid orc, they… AAAARRRRGGGHHH!
The ribbon of energy between Valthalak and Mokvar’s orb breaks, and Valthalak collapses to the ground, motionless. Mokvar stands over him, holding the orb in one hand, the Nether Prism in the other, both still glowing.
SHAYARI: So… did we not stop fast enough?
GARROSH: Looks dead enough to me.
MOKVAR: He’s not dead. Not exactly.
GARROSH: Oh, so you mean he’s approximately dead.
MOKVAR: That’s not a terrible way of saying it, actually.
DELIANA: Valthalak can’t be killed. Not entirely. We thought we killed him once before. Then we had others try again years later. He keeps coming back.
GARROSH: See? SEE? I keep SAYING nobody stays fucking DEAD anymore.
DELIANA: If we’d killed him, he just would have lain dormant for a while, then come back all over again.
MOKVAR: And I’d rather not have to keep going through this for the rest of my life.
SHAYARI: What did you do, then?
Mokvar holds up the shimmering orb.
MOKVAR: Technically, Valthalak’s body is dead. But this time, so long as his spirit is contained in here, he can’t manifest again.
SHAYARI: So…what now? Do you…I don’t know, do you destroy the stone?
MOKVAR: Can’t. If I break the soulstone, it’ll just release his spirit. The only way this isn’t just a temporary fix is if I keep him sealed up in here, permanently. So… well… I’m sure there’s somewhere at home I can stash it. Assuming I’ve still got a place to go back to?
GARROSH: Your house is still there. No guarantees that Malkorok didn’t turn it upside down looking for clues when you first disappeared. But yeah, you get to come back, so long as you hold up your end of the deal with your new toy there.
ARIOK: Garrosh, I’ll tell you again, you mustn’t do this – even if you were still considering this insane plan about the sha, surely even you can see the enormity of what this warlock is doing to—
GARROSH: Dude, I am SERIOUSLY getting sick of listening to you bitch.
ARIOK: He’s imprisoning a still-living soul, Garrosh, and—
DELIANA: It’s the only way to stop the monster who’s been trying to kill us for over a decade now!
MOKVAR: Look, Ariok, I can see why it might not sit so well with you, but you’re coming in late on this. You don’t know—
ARIOK: Don’t know what happens when we start to treat lives and souls and honor as options to be dispensed with when convenient? I’m starting to think I’m the only one here who does! I came here because that Pandaren claimed his friend was in dire need, but if I’d even suspected that he was setting out to allow the likes of this to—
In a flash of light and puff of smoke, Ariok turns into a sheep.
SHAYARI: Okay, that takes care of that. Is it just me, or does he, like, really seem like somebody who’d be a downer at parties?
GARROSH: Heh. So okay, while you’ve got the hocus-pocus queued up, let’s get another portal to home going.
SHAYARI: Coming up!
MOKVAR: Once we all get back to Orgrimmar—
GARROSH: Yeah, not so fast with the “all” – I’m giving YOU the clear for now, Mokvar, but as for your little human friend here…
Garrosh looks over to find Deliana is gone.
Shayari finishes opening a portal to Orgrimmar. She, Garrosh, and Mokvar start to move toward it; just in front of the portal, Mokvar looks back at Ariok-the-sheep.
MOKVAR: So…we’re just leaving him there?
SHAYARI: The polymorph will wear off by itself in a few minutes.
MOKVAR: Okay… What if something jumps him first, though? I mean, the place still isn’t completely empty…
SHAYARI: Then it sucks to be him.
GARROSH: Eggs and omelets.
Garrosh and Shayari turn back toward the portal.
MOKVAR: Huh… she really is your daughter, isn’t she?
Just arriving back in Orgrimmar now. Finally. Heading over to see what the word is on Gurtash. More soon.