Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ch2 Pt2 The Problem with Retirement

"That is quite a story Charibdys." the ageless and ancient Night Elf mutters in his monotone voice.  "You know of course that the few that have returned from the sleep report wild and horrifying dreams.  It seems something has warped the Emerald Dream.  But, the only person that can tell us what it might be, won't speak about it."

He was of course referring to the Arch Druid Malfurion.

I feel my nostrils flare in anger as I look across Elune'ara Lake from the balcony in Nighthaven.

"But what about the things I saw?  How can you explain that?  The assault on Icecrown Citadel?  Ulduar? the war between the Alliance and the Horde?  For that matter, the Horde was not even around when I laid down in the Barrow Den, how could I even know about it!?!"

Rabine gazes across the lake and again shows no emotion or reaction.  He is sometimes infuriating to talk to because of his stoic demeanor.

"I don't have an answer for you Charibdys.  Your tale is amazing and unique.  I suspect you will only ever get an answer from Ysera herself." he replies slowly.

He was right of course.  In my heart I felt a sense of despair that couples with unanswered mysteries.

As the days and months pass, I stay in ever-Springtime forest of Moonglade, going about my business pretending to be a common dweller.  For a time I served as a Warden, then I went on to training young druids to use their abilities.  All the while I quietly carry these intense memories of a counterfeit life, the life of an exalted hero of the Alliance.

Then came the day that it all came crashing down.

Word came to the glade from a group of humans that the Deathwing himself had been killed by a brave band of heroes led by none other than Thrall himself.  Deathwing was the grandfather of the entire Black Dragonflight.  It is said that he was driven mad for some unknown reason and the former Earth Warden set out to destroy the world.  In fact, it was his own followers that attacked the Barrow Den on Mount Hyjal where I was laid to sleep.

News of this event led a council to decide to send an emissary from Moonglade to first Darnassas, and then the great city of the humans, to decide how we would repair the damage done by Deathwing. 

In spite of my refusal to go, it was decided that I would be that emissary.  I am certain that this was a misguided attempt to get me to leave Moonglade and see the world.

In a days time, I was on the back of a hippogryph and soaring through the sky towards the Night Elf city in the great tree, Darnassas.

The great tree seemed bigger than I remembered.  My mount landed at its base near the sea and I could see it's soaring branches clawing into the clouds.  My races misguided attempt at replacing the great tree that was destroyed an age ago atop Mount Hyjal.

A magical gateway quickly brought me to the heart of the city high in the sky.  It was largely how I remembered.  Marble towers and colonnades, pathways going here and there, a tremendous aura of peace and harmony.  I strolled down the various paths, looking with pride at the heart of my people.

I admittedly wandered for a bit, invigorated by the adventure and the glory of this great city.  My steps took me to the steps of the massive Temple of the Moon.  Walking through the archway, I could feel the primordial magic swirling all about me.  A great fountain in its center poured water from a basin into the pools below.  I strolled for a while in its interior before ascending the steps up to the balcony.  My heart was full of joy and peace.

Until I saw...  him.

Standing at the edge of the great balcony stood a twisted, hunched over man dressed in fine clothing with a tall hat.  His long arms hung awkwardly at his side, covered in thick oily fur.  In place of his hands he had vicious, dirty claws.  His face was a snarling visage of horror something between a slobbering wolf and a human.  He turned to me and bared his yellow fangs.

"Good day to you m'lady" he growled.

My heart felt as if it stopped in my chest.  My mouth opened to scream, but nothing came out.  My knees went weak and I fell to the ground.  Cold terror washed over me like a wave.

"Ma'am?  Are you all right?" he said as he turns to face me.  Those burning eyes, searing my soul.

"AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!"  The scream finally came out as the tears erupted across my face.

The nearby sentinels were at my side in a flash.  My scream echoing across the serene temple.

The Worgen held his claws up in the air, as if pleading for mercy.

"Sentinels!!  Kill him!!  He is a monster that will destroy us all!!  Calmfury!!  How could you come here?!?" I stammer

The Sentinels stand in bewilderment.

"What is the meaning of this?" a firm, commanding voice rings out.

"Priestess Tyrande!" one of the Sentinels calls out.  "This Druid seems be frightened of our Gilnean guest."

The beautiful and graceful Night Elf Priest kneels in front of me, blocking my view of the Worgen.

"Charibdys, do you know this man?"

"M'lady, I swear I have never seen this elf before." the bewildered Worgen stammers

"Charibdys...  snap out of it and speak to me." Tyrande says firmly.

"She called me Calmfury...  I don't know who that is M'lady.  My name is Karl, I'm with the refugees" he stammers on.

"Sentinel, bring Malfurion here immediately" Tyrande commands.  A soft glowing light rises from her hand and washes over my chest.  "Let the Goddess remove your fear Charibdys"

"M'lady, if it's all the same, I'll be leaving back to the refugee camp."

Tyrande nods her head and the Worgen strides off down the stairs and out of the Temple.

"Priestess, how could you let those beasts come here?!?" I manage to say with a sob.  "I have seen the terrible things they do."

"She does not know." Tyrande turns to say as the hulking form of Malfurion Stormrage, greatest of all Druids sprints up to us.

"Take her into the tower in the Temple gardens, have Chardryn make her a tea to soothe her."  Malfurion says

"We will talk to her" Tyrande says as she steps back for the Sentinels to lift me off the ground.

"Indeed" Malfurion says "I seem to recall she was one of the sleepers that was trapped in the Emerald Nightmare.  Perhaps I should have a conversation with her about her experience."

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Chapter 2: Pt: 1 The Dawn of Cataclysm

Darkness...  cold...  euphoria...



"Here is one, she is alive!" the Watcher exclaims.


"This world will burn in the fires of the Great One!!" A hollow voice screams from a far off place.

"Aedelia, take this sleeper, along with the others, and get out of here!  Tell Ysera that the Hyjal Barrow Dens are under siege!!"

"But Captain, you'll be murdered by these fanatics!!" the young Druid exclaims as she inadvertently wipes a long smudge of dirt across her fair face from her filthy hands.

"Aedelia, Fandral cannot be allowed to escape!!  Ysera will send help I'm sure.  Now go!!  Time is not our friend" Captain Saynna exclaims through her ominous-looking helmet.

Darkness...  pain...  Blinding light!!  Fire!!


"Wake up child, it is time for you to arise" A deep other-worldly voice rings in my ears.

It is very warm...  blinding, painful light filters through the green canopy of trees above me.

I draw in a deep breath, as a chorus of chirping insects rise around me.

"She is waking up." Aronus says "Give her time to come back from the Emerald Nightmare."

A deep, familiar voice mumbles "Earth Mother be praised."

"Hamuul!!" I croak pitfully as tears roll out of my eyes.

A look of puzzlement washes across the face of all those present, including that of the old Tauren Druid.

"She seems to know you" Aronus mutters as his green dragon wings shutter with surprise.

"It is me Hamuul, Charibdys...  I stepped through the dream, back to my body"

The forest grows quiet as the eyes of all who are present fall on the old Tauren.

"Charibdoos?" Hamuul tries to say in his deep voice.  "I do not remember such a name."

Aronus gives an awful smile, his ferocious teeth showing through his scaly green lips

"Perhaps it is a shadow from the Emerald Nightmare?"  The dragon hisses  "The mysteries of that place are limitless.  It is no wonder so few can be plucked from it's depths."

Silent awe falls over the assembled as my dried, dirt encrusted eyes open.  Despite the passage of time, I recognize the ancient stones and trees of Moonglade.  The smell of the ever blooming flowers, and the chirping of tiny birds fills my heart with joy.  I am awake, the nightmare is over.

"Take her to Mylentha for a bath and a change of clothes.  Charibdys, it may take you some time to recover.  Rest and regain your strength." Aronus says softly.

Gentle hands lift me from the forest floor.  My head turns and my eyes fall upon the bestial face of my beloved Hamuul.  He smiles with the innocent, boyish grin I remember.

"How could it be a dream?" I mouth, as no noise comes out.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pt 52 Diogenes, why do you sleep?

"Uh, I dunno why...  it just is okay?  Now stop axsking me questions!" the drunken mage stammers as he drifts in and out of consciousness.  The foul stream of warm sewage flows gently around his body as he lays prone in the canal of waste that pours out the upper city of Dalaran.

Nearby in the dark of the sewer tunnel sits the dusky form of a man.  His robes pulled tightly around his body, careful to avoid the stream trickling at his feet.

"But Erastymus, I know that the same magic that keeps this city floating high in the sky also keeps us warm.  But, how?  No runes of power are scribed on the walls?  There are no mages channelling spells to maintain the enchantment.  There are no orbs or essences being tapped.  So how?" shadowy mage says with a grin.

"Didn't you study about ley lines when you were an apprentish?" the washed-up mage replies as he sits up from his prone position.  "Nort rend has a major convergish...  er convergence of these ley lines.  That is why duh Titans chose it for their city, and that is why dah Dragons flights have dere big graveyard here.  Ley lines, leeeeyyy linesheses."  Erastymus's eyes roll back in his head as he falls back into the sewer water.

"No, I never finished my apprenticeship.  Besides, my old master never really taught me anything useful." Diogenes replies in a somber tone.

  <...the council meets with Ronin tonight to decide if the city will be transported back to...>  A booming voice echoes down a nearby sewer pipe and then fades away.

"Did you hear that Erastymus?" Diogenes whispers excitedly "if the city goes back then maybe I can get home to Gilneas...  Erastymus!!  Wake up."

Erastymus snores pitifully.  The strong alcoholic beverage he conjured up was just the thing the failed wretch needed to drown out the memories of his pathetic life, leaving him numb and mostly unconscious.

<...I heard that it was a blood elf paladin that landed the killing blow on the Lich Ki.....> another lost echo ringing down the pipes.

Diogenes picks idly at the buildup of dried sewage at the edge of the stream.  In the midst of the filth he finds a silvery button.  Lost long ago by its unwary owner.

"Hey Erastymus...  Do you still have that portal stone?" Diogenes says as he tosses the button at the drunken mage

"No...  er...  Yesh...  Oh, I dunno.  Yeah, I do.  But, I forgot how to cast the spell.  Besides, We can only portal to duh Stormwind...  an I don wanna go there cause of th..."

<...I told you madam, that is a warlock soulstone...  not a jewel...  it has no value here and....>

Diogenes stands up from his perch and tip toes carefully over to the sewer logged form of the drunken mage.

"Erastymus..." he says gingerly "maybe I can cast the portal spell?  Wouldn't you like to finally get out of this sewer?"

<... Lu ash novAS rogesh cynegold nagan lo veld noth ash nud aesire vil va but skile...> the chattering voice of a foreigner comes echoing down the cobbletone pipes

Erastymus's eyes flutter open briefly, as if he is trying to will himself awake.  "No...  I was tolt to stay here by my master until....  I can figure out how to...."  He drifts off once again.

Diogenes takes the opportunity to slyly reach forward and begin rummaging through the mages sewer-soaked robes.  Orange dust spills from one pocket, a soggy scrap of paper is pulled from another.

<...word has it that there has been a coup in Orgrimmar...  something about one of their beastly leaders being killed in a duel...>

A grin stretches across the dusky face of Diogenes as he pulls a small amber stone from a pouch hanging from Erastymus's belt.

He stands up in triumph as he stares intently at the stone.  Focusing hard he strains to remember the words to the portal spell.

"Saldute minot precout...  debreere!!"  Diogenes utters, but nothing happens.

<... Eye tolt you tah hurry yah stoopid little peon...  we have ta take dah portal tah Orgrimm...>

Diogenes returns to his dry little perch and sits down.  His dark face curling into a pout as his stares in bewilderment at the worthless portal stone.  A sewer frog sitting across from him croaks weakly as if to mock his failure.

"... So it's dah ley lines that power Dalaran and keep it's spells strong.  The whole city sits at a crossroad of lines..." Erastymus says in a sudden outburst before drifting off once again into his drunken stupor.

< Hey does anyone know how to craft a few elixirs!! >

"Father, I wish you could see your pathetic son right now.  Tossed like waste into a wretched sewer.  No one to talk to but a disease-ridden frog and a washed-up drunkard mage." Diogenes mutters through his teeth as a tear rolls down his cheek.  "Why am I even here anyway?  If I am just a pathetic simulacrum of someone who was unlucky enough to wander through Icecrown, why didn't I fade away when the Lich King was killed?

<...dis stoopid ting is worthless...>

Erastymus sits up from the stream of waste and looks at Diogenes.  His eyes wide open, his face straight and firm.  "There is only one answer...  it's because the Lich King isn't dead.  They must have lied to us, he wasn't killed, or he escaped, or maybe even someone else took his place.  Regardless, someone has to say something...  you my friend are proof that the Scourge is alive and well."

The faint sound of a bead or a stone bouncing down a sewer pipe echoes through the tunnel. 

Diogenes glares at the soggy mage, pondering his sudden insight.  Is it possible that the Lich King is alive?  If he is proof then perhaps there is meaning to his life.  Perhaps it was fate that brought him here.

Suddenly a small stone drops out of an overhead pipe and lands in the muck at Diogenes's feet.  For no good reason, it begins to glow brightly with a greenish light illuminating the tunnel.

"Hey, what is that?" Erastymus stammers out as he stares wide-eyed at the stone.

Diogenes gently lifts the stone from it's filthy resting place and looks deeply into it's depths.  The oily surface hides a soft green glow.  The faint outline of a figure can be seen inside.

As he holds the stone, the dusky hue of skin on his hand is washed away to reveal olive colored skin.

"Diogenes...  the light, on your face...  it looks like your...  your... alive.  It looks like your a real person!"  Erastymus mutters in amazement.

The stone glows brighter, and a faint humming can be heard over the sound of the rushing sewage.  Suddenly, cracks spider across the surface of the soulstone and in a flash of light it disintegrates.

With a guttural growl Diogenes falls forward into the filthy stream of sewage.  He moans in pain for a moment before his moan turns into a growl.  Then in a puff of inky black smoke his arm turns into a wicked claw covered with supple fur, then his other arm turns.  He rolls onto his back and lets out a desperate howl.  His back arching in pain as twists cruelly.  With another puff of smoke his head and torso transforms into the feral form of a worgen.

Erastymus backs against the bars of the sewer and stares at the beast in horror.  "Somebody help me!!  There is a worgen loose in the sewers!!!" he screams.

Diogenes snorts at his paniced friend as he rises up from the ground.  Sewer water soaking his oily black fur.

"Open a portal to Gilneas...  Now!!" he growls in a guttural voice as his tosses the portal stone at the feet of Erastymus.

Wide-eyed, the mage snatches up the stone and focuses for a moment.

"Saldute minot precout debreere Gilneas!!" he utters as a magical portal opens in thin-air.

Diogenes sighs in triumph as he bounds towards the portal

"Take care my friend" he snorts "I hope to see you again someday.  As for me, I know the truth now.  I am real, I am alive, and I have a I have a filthy, low down, good for nothing Orc named Garrosh that I have to throttle.  Cheers!!"

The twisted worgen leaps through the mystical doorway and disappears.  Calmness settles upon the sewer tunnel once again as the portal closes.  The soft sound of running sewage and croaking frogs fills the air.

Erastymus stands mystified in the filthy water.  After a moment he looks about and sits down in the muck.

"I need to quit drinking" he mutters as his head drops into his hands.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pt 51 ...like a woman scorned.

The candlelight flickers as the sensual form of a woman rises from the bed and strolls seductively across the room.  Her sweat covered body glistening in the dim light as she lifts a crystal cup from the nearby table and takes a long drink.  A devilish look washes across her face as she turns back towards the bed.  Smiling contentedly, she swallows the last bit of wine.

On the bed lies the lean and sinewy form of an elderly orc.  His nude body entangled in the rich velvet blankets of the elaborate bed, he breathes heavily from the exertion of these past several hours.  His long grey hair is tied into a knot behind his head.  Strange, ornate tattoos adorn his bright green skin, grotesque fel runes and images scribed carelessly across his body.

"Dis wine is magical I tink." Felika says as she sets the empty glass down and shakes a nearby empty bottle.  "Puhaps da steword woult bring us sum more?"

Orkimedes snorts at the woman and frowns in disgust as he rolls over and plucks a small glowing stone from the side table.

"You drink too much Felika.  Why don't you go downstairs and order us some more food." he commands in a cold, flat tone.

The orc woman frowns back at the old shaman.  Her seductive playfulness is gone in an instant.  After a brief pause she smiles again and walks slowly to the foot of the bed.

"Eet is cold in ere.  Could you talk da spirits inta passin a little warmth ar way?" Felika says with a whisper.

Orkimedes glaces up from the glowing stone in his hand and gives her an angry look.  The muscles in his creeks tighten, the vein in his forehead bulges out.

"I told you woman, I am out of touch with the elements right now!  Even if they listened to me, I wouldn't ask them such an insulting task." The shaman replies with a growl.

Felika's face goes hard as a flash of hot anger lights up her eyes.  To come all this way to spend a night of passion with the one that she loves, only to have him turn so distant, is an insult that would no orc woman in her prime would tolerate.  Many an unwary orc would find an axe in his back for such a thing.

The tension in the room is thick as Felika glares balefully, the muscles across her voluptuous nude body ripple with apprehension.

Orkimedes ignores his mate as he goes back to staring at the glowing stone, rolling it back and forth in his fingers.

"Ey would make ya a deal mah love"  Felika says with a dangerous sneer "Ey weel git us sum food and more of dat wine, if you weel talk ta me about buildin us a house an settlin in Orgrimmar"

Orkimedes rolls onto his side trying to ignore the conversation.

"Comon... wit all dah gold dat Garrosh gave yah we could build a grand home on dah bluffs.  We could have servents and a few slaves."

The woman's words are like daggers to the old shaman.

"Orkimedes, ey am talkin to yah!" Felika says angrily.  "We could have a good life in Durator!  We could evin have a child of our own."

The shaman rolls back over and takes a deep breath as he stares blankly into the stone.  "No Felika...  No.  I won't be going back to Orgrimmar anytime soon.  I have to return to the Throne of the Elements in Draenor.  My work here is done, and I have a long atonement ahead of me if I ever want to get back in the good graces of the elements."  Orkimedes says flatly.

The room goes silent once again.  The woman's face gets tense and angry. 

Suddenly, and without warning, Felika lunges forward onto the bed like a lioness leaping on her prey.  In a flash she clamps her steely hands around the fallen shaman's throat.  Her eyes sharp with fury and hatred, all of the muscles across her body bulging like iron cables.

In sheer surprise, Orkimedes tries to fight back against the woman atop him.  He kicks and struggles in vain as the mageweave blankets entangle around his legs.  His mouth hangs open in a ghastly mask, he gasps desperately for air.  With a last ditch futile effort he mouths the words to an old warlock spell that would send her running in abject fear of him.  But, her grip on his throat prevents any sound from his mouth.

"You pathetik peon!  How dare yew betray me!!  Ey waitid for you!  Ey gave you mah love, for dis?  If you tink you can just walk ah way, you have anodder ting commin."  Felika growls, a sinister smile washing across her face.  "Eye am not one of those whorse you can just thro a way!  Ey am Felika of da Warsong Clan.  And ey am yer end..."

With a desperate wheeze the shaman's eyes roll into his skull and he falls limp on the bed.  Saliva rolls out of the side of his mouth, and tears wash across his cheeks.  The room suddenly goes cold, and the flickering flames of the candles dim and extinguish, as if despite his fallen state, the elements themselves give pause to the passing of the ancient shaman.

In the blankets of the bed, the glowing stone lies.  It's intensity seeming to increase with the murderous rage played out before it.  The pale green light bathes the room in a sinister hue.

A gentle tapping rattles the door to the room.  "Mastwer?" the soft voice of Orkimedes's gruntling breaks the tension.

Felika snaps out of her furious haze and looks wide-eyed around the room.  Her gaze falls on the glowing stone as she is transfixed by it's seductive light.  The inky black surface of the stone ripples gently, inside the faint outline of a luminous figure can be seen.

The door to the room creaks on it's hinges as it is slowly opened.  "Mastwer?" The gruntling says with apprehension.

Felika snaps out of her stupor and jumps out of the bed and races towards the door.

"Eets okay litle one, Master is sleepin rite now" Felika says with a nervous smile.  "Go an git dah bags.  Weez gunna go fer a walk around Daleran.  Ey weel take you to dah toy shop if yer good."

The gruntling smiles broadly and turns back to the common area of the Legerdemain Lounge to fetch the travelling bags.  Behind him the door slams suddenly.

Felika turns with her back to the door.  She stands in the dark for a moment to catch her breath and collect her wits.  Then, with a purpose she hastily puts on her clothes, and snatches the glowing stone from the bed.

"Ey bet you are werth a mountain of gold my litl purty" she utters as she slips the stone into her pocket.  With a graceful flourish she opens the door and steps out into the bustling halls of the Legerdmain Lounge and onto the streets of Dalaran beyond.

Monday, February 18, 2013

pt 50 A reckoning denied

Garrosh Hellscream sits on his massive throne in his beloved hall.  He has missed this place, it's smells, it's very atmosphere. Around him are his loyal honor guards, confident that each one would gladly give their lives in his service. 

His hall lies in the middle of Warsong Hold, his massive fortress in a land that he conquered.  Placed in charge of the Warsong Offensive in Northrend with scores upon scores of determined and fanatical orcs, tauren, trolls, blood elves, and forsaken, all at his beck and command.  Their purpose, to hunt down and destroy the human called Arthas, who has taken the title of Lich King.

In the past two years he has worked tirelessly to advance across this frozen continent.  Facing all manner of horrors, and defeating them.  His Horde scratched, clawed and slashed their way to the very gates of Icecrown, only to have the weakling Thrall order them to form a pact with Trion Fordring and the Argent Crusade.  A pact that forced them to fight alongside the cursed humans in order assault Icecrown and kill the Lich King.

Still, he was determined to get to Arthas first, and took great efforts behind the scenes to insure that the best and the brightest of the Horde were ready and equipped to do the job.

However, this night despite the news that Arthas has indeed been slain, Garrosh is in the foulest of moods.  Trion refuses to tell him how the Lich King was killed or who did it.  None of his mercenary units have returned to report directly, and none of his spies have information.  It is all a festering secret bent on robbing him of the ultimate glory of his command.

If he can take direct credit for killing the Lich King and leading the Horde to victory, then perhaps he can have the leverage to challenge that weakling Thrall for the title of Warchief.

His mug of hot Nagrand ale tastes stale and lifeless, just like his mood.  He ponders this situation like a pouting child.

"Garrosh!" a familiar voice calles out from the ramp into his war room.  "Garrosh, it is Eitrigg!!"

The elderly warrior steps off the ramp and approaches Garrosh's throne.  Behind him walks another elderly orc that is vaguely familiar, dressed in the robes of a shaman.

"Eitrigg!" Garrosh says with a scowl "What brings the decrepit dog of the warchief into the frozen north?"

For a moment Garrosh wonders where his spy from Orgrimmar is, the bloated festering death knight is long overdue.

"You speak too boldly and without reverance for your elders boy!!" Eitrigg exclaims "I come with words from your warchief!"

Garrosh clenches his teeth hard, his nostrels flaring in anger.

Suddenly, a terrifying roar echoes from the upper reaches of the fortress.  It's rattle reverberating down the stout walls of Warsong Hold.

The Guards leap to attention, moving to shield their beloved Overlord.  Garrosh stands, grabbing his matching pair of battle axes.

A shout calls from above "We are under attack!!"

Garrosh and his guard push past the startled emissaries and charge up the ramp to the roof.  Each one grinning as they relish the idea of a fight to end the monotony of guard duty.

Once on the lift, the assembled warriors begin to snort and froth, preparing themselves for the fight ahead.  Above them, the sounds of a battle echo into the night.  Screams and growls along with blood spattering raining upon them from high above.  The lift rattles and starts to climb.  From the ramp Eitrigg and his shaman come running towards the lift, only to be left behind.  Several of the guards along with Garrosh chuckle at the desperate looks on the faces of the elderly orcs.

"They can catch the next lift.  Stupid old fools." Garrosh hisses.

The slow moving lift takes forever as the sounds of battle above begin to subside.

"Aye Chief looky ere" one of the honor guards gestures to a broken battle axe on the lift.  "Dat looks like Morgut's axe."

Garrosh stares hard at the shattered weapon.  He remembers giving that blade to Morgut as a reward for leading a warband that held off a particularly vicious scourge attack.

As the lift finally reaches the top of the fortress Garrosh sees several of his faithful honor guard sprawled like bloodly rag dolls across the icy platform.  Against the battlements stands Morgut, and before him crouches a gore covered tauren druid in lion form.

"Who dares to interrupt my celebration!!" Garrosh Hellscream bellows

The oily beast turns around, his baleful yellow eyes shining in the night, in them everyone present can see a sort of intelligent madness.  The beast snorts and moves cautiously towards Garrosh, neglecting the former object of his attention.

"Garrosh Hellscream!" the beast utters in an otherworldy voice that echoes across the battlements and into the cold northrend night. "At last justice can be done.  At last we can have a reckoning for the bloodshed and evil you have brought to this world!"

"Then come demon, and I will bathe this fortress in your blood and entrails!"

"Your broken body will be dragged across Azeroth for all to see.  Only when you have suffered, as you made poor Meekha suffer, and you have made me suffer, will be dismembered and allowed to freeze into the glaciers of Northrend for all eternity."

Morgut takes his opportunity to inch forward as the beasts back is turned to him.  Clenching his sword tightly he prepares to leap.

"No!  This abomination is mine!!"  Garrosh steps forward, his brown knuckles turning white as he grips his axes tightly.  The honor guard step backwards, each one greatly anticipating the chance to see their master in action.

Suddenly, the fell-druid changes into a massive bear.  Then, to their amazement his bones begin to crack, his flesh begins to boil, and the wretched beast begins to grow.  It howls in pain as it's body takes on a massive shape.  It's fur turns black and oily, it's broad face lengthens and looks something like a cross between a dire bear and a worg.

With an unnatural and earthshattering roar the abomination lunges forward, his massive black claws like glistening sabers.  The power in his hind leg buckling the wooden timbers as he charges, his thundering paws shaking the ground like cavalry.

With one smooth and graceful motion, Garrosh steps to the side to avoid being trampled, and brings his mighty axe down into the forehead of the beast.  The razor sharp blade bites into his thick skull.  Stopping the mighty monster in it's tracks.  With a sickening crash the druid falls and slides across the icy platform.

The honor guard suddenly roar with cheers and shouts as Garrosh stands triumphantly over the carcass of the defeated attacker.  Never did they think he would bring the loathsome animal down with one strike of his axe.

Before their eyes, the creature shrinks down to a dire bear, then it shifts form to that of a gore covered tauren as it sighs it's final breath.

"So much for your pathetic reckoning beast!" Garrosh exclaims with a toothy smile.

Without warning, Morgut leaps at Garrosh, his sword swinging wildly at the brown skinned orc.  His blade bites into Garrosh's thigh, drawing a thin trickle of blood.

"My reckoning has just begun Nagrand dog!!  By your death Calmfury will be redeemed!!" Morgut says in a other-worldly voice.

A surprised Garrosh swings wildly with his axe, catching the orc corporal in the midsection.  His body falling to the floor, nearly severed in two.

Instantly, a troll guardsman charges forward, and once again Garrosh spins around and slices the assailant in half. 

"What is happening!?!"  Garrosh exclaims

Another orc guardsman hurls his axe at Garrosh and lunges forward to grab him.  The axe narrowly missed his head as Garrosh brings both of his blades down, severing the shoulders of the guard at his neck.

"You cannot stop me!!  You will have to kill everyone in this fortress.  You cannot fight forever boy!!"

Wide-eyed, Garrosh swings his axe and severs the head of the possessed orc.

Behind him the bloodied form of an orc woman in armor leaps on Garrosh's back.  A thin dagger in her hand plunges into his shoulder.  Garrosh howls in pain and anger as he grabs the woman and tosses her into the nearby wall.  Her body making a sickly crunch as she hits hard, her battered face staring blankly at the Overlord.

"This is madness!!  What kind of demon is this?!?  Who is Calmfury....  Calmfury?!?"

Garrosh's eyes widen in realization.

A guardsman rushes forward, his shield held in front of him and his sword swinging wildly above him.  Garrosh swings hard, imbedding his axe in the broad shield.  The orc stabs clumsily with the sword, trying in vain to sink the blade into the Overlord's brown flesh.

"Haha  You fight like a worthless peon with your sword.  You don't even know how to use it.  Give it up Calmfury, if you are that pathetic wretch I slaughtered so long ago."

The possessed guard howls in contempt as another guardsman moves behind him and splits his skull with his axe.

Then, the avenging guardsman drops his axe and rips off his thick breastplate.

"You are correct Garrosh, killing you with my claws is much more rewarding."

Before Garrosh can react the orc fluidly changes into the twisted form of a hairless green bear.  The foul beast lunges with its claws slashing at Garrosh and biting down on his thigh.  The Overlord howls in pain once again as blood trickles down his leg.

Dropping his axes, Garrosh grips the unnatural creature tightly as if he is squeezing the life out of it.

"The rest of you guards...  jump off the battlements before the demon steals your body." Garrosh commands.  The bewildered guards stand in confusion as they consider this horror that is using them to kill their leader.  Not one of them obeys his command.

With a sickening crack, the back of the orc bear is broken and the beast falls limp to the ground before changing back into an orc guardsman.

A tauren guard springs on Garrosh, slamming his massive fists into his head.  He pummels and pummels the brown orc drawing blood from a split lip and his nose.  Garrosh grapples the tauren in desperation, lifting the bull off the ground.  The possessed tauren slips his meaty hands around Garrosh's neck and begins choking the life out of him.  For a moment the overlord's strength fails and his eyes begin to bulge in his head as he gasps for breath.

"Feel it ebb away Garrosh.  Feel your wretched life pass away.  You will never live to be a great leader like your father.  Instead, you will die in this cold wilderness, killed by your own guardsmen."

Suddenly, the taurens eyes go blank as he releases his grip on Garrosh's throat.  The overlord staggers back as he gasps for air.  He assailant falls helplessly to the ground.  Behind him, Eitrigg and his shaman companion stand.  From the hand of the shaman comes a magic that seems to suck the very soul out of the tauren.

"I have him brother.  Whatever that was is now contained" Orkimedes whispers.  He opens his hand to reveal a glowing soulstone.

"Garrosh, are you okay?" Eitrigg says in astonishment.

The brown orc looks at the pair with fury and confusion in his eyes.

"Where did that thing go?"

"It is gone" replies Orkimedes.

Four very timid honor guard cautiously step forward.  All that is left of the mighty host that joined Garrosh on the lift.  The rest left broken and bleeding on the fortress platform.

"Garrosh, I have come by order of Thrall himself to bring you back to Orgrimmar." Eitrigg says in a commanding tone.

Garrosh stares at him blankly for a moment...  as if he is trying in vain to make sense of the whole situation, of everything that has happened this night.  Was that, thing, Calmfury the defiant, miserable tauren he killed last year in Icecrown?  Who the hell is Meekha?  So many of his beloved guardsmen lay dead at his feet.  Some that he even called friends, killed by his own hand.

If this beast comes again he will be prepared.  He must consult with the warlocks in Orgrimmar on this matter.

"Very well" replies the Overlord as his retrieves his bloodied axes.  "Guardsman, prepare my things for departure.  The sooner I am out of this place the better."

Orkimedes stares out at the frozen horizon as he palms the soulstone into his pack.  He knows that the elements will never forgive him this sin, using this forbidden power.  His only recourse will be to return to the Throne of Elements and try to atone.  Felika will not understand.

pt 49 Death comes on a bloody wing.

The cold, merciless wind of Northrend howls across the battlements of Warsong Hold.  Several figures huddle in the darkened night around a flaming brazier.  Drinking up every ounce of warmth that the inadequate flame can produce.

"So, wut do yous tink about dah Garrosh coming back frum Icecrown tuday?  A burly orc warrior in menacing armor says.  His red tabard flapping in the icy wind.

Another warrior, this one a female, dressed in thick hides adored with spiky metal studs look at her fellow guardsman and rolls her eyes

"Isn't it obvius?  I thout even ah kodohead like yerself would figur eet out.  Dah Lichking is ded!  Weer all goin home soon!"

The burly orc scoffs loudly, his hot breath rising like a vapor cloud into the night sky.

"Yew may be be-youtyful Anga but you sur ar stoopid sometimz.  Har har!!  Dah Lick King cant beh killd.  Dats why heez dah king of dah undead!!

The orc woman glares balefully at the guardsman.  A low growl rising up in her throat.

Off in the distance, the familiar sound of the zepplin motor cuts through the frosty night.

"Sumone should make yah eat yer tusks Morgut!!" The woman hisses.

"Haha!!  is dat gonna be you yah lousy git?  I dunt tink so!  Ya coldnt even raize a welp on my hide yah old hag!!

Morgut turns in disgust and look about the  icy platform at the collection of vigilant yet miserable guardsmen.  The rattle of the nearby elevator chain breaks the tension.

"If yah didunt have such a thik skull yah mite see dat Garrosh haz been down in dah hall celibratin and laffin.  Weez goin home soon an yew dont wanna admeet it!!"

The loud horn of the goblin zepplin sends a shudder through all the chilly guardsman as the bloated skyship enters the docking area of the massive fortress below.

The orc guardsman turns and spits as he leers at the tauren wind rider master standing nearby.  His glob of phlem and spit turning to ice before it hits the platform.

"If dats tru den why hasnt he told anywon yet?  And why didunt Saurfang come bak wit ehm?

"I heard that Saurfang found his son in Icecrown, and that the Lichking had changed him.  The pathetic old orc had to kill his own beloved son." says another nearby guardsman, this one a Forsaken.

"Ey shoult break yer rotten back fer talkin about Saurfang like dat.  He's a hero!  Yah festering whelp!" The burly orc says with a growl.  "As fer you...  Imma gonna make sur yah never get home!  Dunno wut yer all fired up tah leave for, yer weedy husbands prolly ran off wit some troll wench!!  Harhar!!"

With a loud clatter the sword and shield of Anga hit the floor and she leaps forward like a vicious lioness at the guard corporal.  With vengence and rage fuelled strength she wrenches him off his feet and slams him into the battlements.  Morgut's massive axe falls from his grip and skitters across the platform, falling down the shaft of the nearby elevator lift.

 The startled corporal rises to his feet and lunges at the defiant orc woman with a growl.  The pair lock in mortal combat pulling and wrestling with one another.

The half a dozen guardsman scurry across the platform, not to stop the fight, but to watch every bloody detail of the attempted coup.  Anything to break of the monotony of the endless frozen night.

"Stop it you two!!" Turida Coldwind, the Tauren Wind Rider Master barks out.

Morgut deftly slams the defiant woman onto her back and straddles her to hold her down.

"I'm gonna give dat purty face of yers a nasty scar tah teech you a lessun!!"

The Corporal slams his fist into Anga's face, knocking her leather helmet off her head.  Then again, snapping one of her tusks and sending a shower of blood across the deck.

The woman tries in vain to push him off of her, but another flurry of fists into her head knocks her senseless.
With wide-eyed abandon Morgut continues to pummel the helpless guardsman.  Savoring the lucious feeling of battle, of taking something that is beautiful and turning it into a bloody pulp.

Suddenly, out of the frosty night sky a massive shape falls onto the deck.  Its black oily fur contrasting with the icy wooden planks of the platform.  The creature slams into the crowd of unsuspecting guardsmen with a terrifying howl.  In an instant steely claws and ripping fangs tears through armor, sending a spray of blood into the night.

Morgut lifts himself off the prone woman and stares wide-eyed for a moment at the nightmare that is tearing into his guardsmen.  It looks vaguely like a black lion with bloody horns jutting from its head.  He has seen plenty of tauren druids in his time, but somehow this one is larger, with malevolent yellow eyes, filled with a sort of madness.

The creature sinks his fangs into the belly of the Forsaken guard, and then with its claws it tears the poor rotten bastard in two.  One of the guards manages to draw his sword and take of swipe at the lion, but the creature deftly ducks out of the way and leaps on the guardsman in return, knocking him to the floor and mauling him like a ragdoll.

Morgut suddenly comes to his senses and grabs Anga's nearby sword.  He then turns to the wind rider master.

"Turida!!  Climb on yer wyvern and go git some elp!!  Tellum to raise dah alarm, weez under attack!!"

The horrified tauren shakes her head and leaps on the back of her nearby flying mount.  The addled wyvern, shaken by the smell of blood and the sounds of fighting, leaps clumsily into the night sky.

Morgut turns to see the last guardsman finished off by the monsterous, insane druid.  He steels himself for battle, gripping his sword tightly.

"Aye am Morgut Spineripper!!  Corporal of dah Warsong Battleguard an da veteran of da Great War!  Ey surviv'd dread lords, I suffer'd at dah hands of the alliance, and I fougt my way into dis icy land.  All deese tings I survived...  and I weell come ta victery ova you!"

The yellow-eyed sable lion licks the gore off it's fangs as it turns to face the corporal.  It moves with cat like grace towards him, ready to pounce.  Suddenly it's muscles tense up, Morgut braces himself for the inevitable clash.

"Who dares to interrupt my celebration!!" Garrosh Hellscream bellows as the lift rises to the top of the platform.  With him are several heavily armored guards.
Morgut breathes a sigh of relief.

pt 48 The price of failure

"Do not walk away from me little brother!! I don't understand why you won't listen to reason." Eitrigg says as he stands indignantly in the shade of the gates of Orgrimmar.

The midday heat is nearly stifling.

"No brother, no I say! I cannot accept the fact that you betrayed the truth for the sake of peace! I watched you lie to your warchief, to protect a sniveling brat!!" Orkimedes barks harshly in response.

His tiny little gruntling standing nearby gets a wide eyed look on his face as he drops a heavy backpack on the ground.

Eitrigg bounds foreward and grabs his brothers arm forcibly.

"Keep your voice down!" he hisses. "I did what I did to protect our nation and our people. Besides, you should be thankful, I brought you glory and accolade for exposing the entire plot against the orphans."

"But, without telling him that Garrosh is responsible, that glory you speak of is hollow."

The two brothers square off and stare at one another for a long, painful moment.

"Eitrigg, you did not see what Garrosh was like while he was in Nagrand. Before Thrall found him he was a brooding, abusive, hatefilled child. Without his father to instruct him properly, he became a festering sore to the orcs of Garadar. Brother, he is still that spoiled child, only difference now is that he has a purpose, and a much bigger group to bully and abuse." Orkimedes whispers.

Eitrigg walks past his brother, and into the burning midday sun. The hot Durotar wind stirs up a cloud of red dust.

"Dretrigg, you don't understand what is really going on here.  Our enemy stalks us like a hungry lion.  The humans and their allies are closing in all around us, and our people are fearful.  The drums of war are pounding relentlessly.  As much as I am sick of war, this conflict will be at our gates if we don't prepare.  Also, the shamans keep telling of a sort of stirring with the elements, like an impending doom is coming.  Thrall himself has felt it as well."

Eitrigg pauses as the creaking goblin zepplin slowly comes to a stop at the tower above them.

"We need Garrosh!  The Horde puts great faith in him.  He is the kind of leader that they once saw in the Great War, full of fire and fury.   If the future holds conflict for our people, then Garrosh may be the kind of relic we need from our bloody past."

Orkimedes stares contemptuously at his older brother, his nostrels flaring in rage and frustration.  The truth of his words ring clear.

"You made your point brother.  If anything, living in the court of a warchief has given you a sharp tongue for political maneuvers"

 A loud, earsplitting horn blows from the zepplin above.  The sound echoing off the sandstone hills of Durotaur.

"Good!!  Now lets hurry, we have a boat to catch to Warsong Hold.  Thrall wants this message delivered to Garrosh as quick as we can." Eitrigg snorts with a wily grin.

The nearby Gruntling heaves his heavy pack out of the red dust and turns to follow the two orcs up the long ramp to the Goblin Zepplin above.  As they top the tower and step onto the deck of the zepplin, they notice that the railing on one side of the boat has been tore off.

"Captain, what happened to the railing here!?!" Eitrigg exclaims to the weedy little goblin in the big hat.

"Some git got in a fight wit another git." Sky-Captain LaFontaine exclaims in his raspy voice.  "They both took a tumble off the side.  Serves them right!"

Orkimedes glaces across the deck and notices a strange brown raven of unusual size sitting on the bow of the ship.  Two sharp horns jut from it's head and dried blood and gore covers it's feathery hide.  The bird glares at him with intelligent and malevolent eyes.

"Well, get that railing repaired!  The warchief doesn't pay you as well as he does to maintain a ragged ship!" Eitrigg exclaims with a snort at the ostentatious goblin.

"Brother, I have a bad feeling about this trip.  I am seeing fell omens" the grey shaman says with a whisper as the obnoxious motor of the goblin ship roars to life.

Eitrigg stares wide-eyed at his brother for a moment.  Knowing full well not to question the word of a shaman, even if he is his little brother.

"We must go Dretrigg, we are on an important mission for the warchief.  May the ancestors protect us!"

"Indeed" Orkimedes says, as the zepplin pulls away from the tower.