Legion: War's Wake

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[[Post-Broken Shore reaction thread]]

The air itself seemed to fight against Azeroth's defenders. Ash and fel swirled and danced on updrafts, and drifted down to a black-stained surf. In the water, the husks of ships smoldered. Weapons, bodies, and banners lay among the sand and rocks, forlorn and wind-whipped.

The end was near.

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Kailei had of course been with the assault force that went into the Broken Shore battles. She had seen much she thought never to see again after battling against the Legion the first time around. So many demons it was near impossible to believe, like some kind of bad dream. She sat now in Orgrimmar's Wyvern's Tail, checking over her weapons and armor as she mused on what she had seen. The fall of the Warchief... she could not believe that such an impressive force had been taken down when she herself had made it out.

It was a lot to process... but the Horde was not going to be given time to rest, and neither would she. Standing she would sheathe the blade at her hip and her shield would be slung on her back. She had pledged her loyalty to Sylvanas, she would defend Azeroth against all that came. Nanori she knew had made it out her sister had contacted her on the radio as soon as she was back in Orgrimmar, Kailei hoped that Darynthis had as well. She had not heard from the priestess since the battle, but if she knew Darynthis the priestess was elbow deep in wounded soldiers aiding them in their recovery.

With one last look around the familiar tavern, Kailei grabbed her supplies and headed outside. With a whistle for her phoenix she hopped on the back of the beast and took off into the air. There were demons to kill.

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Demons and fel energy, there was nothing more opposed to the elements than that kind of destructive force. Rheyza had always hated warlocks, how could she not? Her people had been forced from Draenor and she had lost her father as he had tried to protect her mother and herself by sending them through the portal to Alterac Valley. So with this uncontrolled force of Gul'dan bringing the Legion into Azeroth there had been no other option for the orcess but to bring her axes and lightning into the battle on the Broken Shore.

The thrill of the battle rode her hard even as they returned from the shore, battered and broken were the Horde soldiers. So many had lost their lives in the battle, and even in the escape. Somehow though, Rheyza had been one of those lucky enough to survive the fight. She had gone into the battle with that of the mercenaries of Borrowed Time, even some of those from Sanctuary. Their respective organizations aligning themselves to take the battle to that of the Legion. And she returned with them, many of them surviving when others had not. 

Upon her return, she attended the funeral of the Warchief, uttering prayers for the Ancestors to watch over the troll's spirit... even though she knew the trolls believed in a different kind of protective force. Battle was nothing new for Rheyza... she ran on the adrenaline of the fight, as soon as the demons broke through to Azeroth proper she was off. Taking to the Crossroads to battle the forces of Gul'dan before even taking a moment's rest for herself. When the battle rage ended she would be hurting for now...

"FOR THE HORDE!" She would cry out as she leapt from the back of her drake into the Crossroads a crackle of lightning following in her wake as she charged into battle alongside her Horde brothers and sisters.

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((this is Nanori and Selash's response to the event))

The invasion had only just begun in the days that would pass since the Legion made planetfall. And the ensuing battles had begun to take their toll on everyone. Even Quel'thalas, which had seen its own share of demonic taint since Kael'thas's return from Outland was now reeling from the damage of a demonic assault, and standing ready for the next.

At their home, the damage would still linger. The world too occupied with defending itself to spare the resources to fix the damage that had been done. Regardless, it did nothing to dissuade Selash from his work. Already the new armor he had begun creating was starting to take shape. Nearby, the arcane battery that Kailei had provided to him was hooked up to various cables and clamps, an analysis in progress as the hunters hands continued to work ferverently. But it was obvious by the look of him that even he was being worn down by the battles and constant work on his armor, despite the goggles covering the telltale bags under his eye.

He would move from one pile of materials and parts to the armor as he would begin to shape things together. Kahlan watching from her stool in the shop as she clutched her stuffed giraffe. Silent. But obviously worried.

Nanori would make her way down the stairs shakily. Her legs were still weak from leaping through combat just a few hours ago, and it is not like she really slept. She'd lain there in the bed clutching her daggers desperately and praying to the Light that nothing else would plague their home. At least not for awhile. She hadn't even taken off her battered and fel stinking armor. She refused to be without it on her body right now. As she made her way to where the pair was in Selash's workshop she collapsed in her favorite chair down there and leaned back against the back of it. She said not a word just watched her husband work. "Hey... husband... you should rest," She said softly after she sat for a moment.

Selash would speak as he continued to work, trying to stay focused, "I should...But I think we both know that we can't." His goggles moving a darker lens over his good eye as he grabbed a welding torch and lit it before proceeding to weld some parts together. The room growing brighter as sparks would fly from the end of the white hot torch. "Why aren't you resting, sugar?"

Kahlan continuing to watch the two. Her ears twitching as she chose to just listen for now.

"Like I could sleep," She chuckles softly and shrugs a little. "I sat there in bed hugging my daggers wishing this was all a dream. Plus I just ache all over." She patted the space beside her for Kahlan if she wanted to come and join her.

Kahlan would look at her mother before slowly walking over and plopping herself next to Nanori and burying her face against her in a hug. She was clearly scared. The hunter watching their daughter with concern, but continuing his work after a moment. "So do I." He says with a sigh before setting the torch down and lifting his goggles. By the bags under his eyes and the droop on his good eye's eyelid, he was indeed exhausted. He reaches for his cigarettes, taking his time to draw one and screw it between his lips.

As Kahlan came closer Nanori wrapped her up in her arms and hugged her tightly letting her hand rub along the little girl's back. "It's okay sweetheart you're safe here..." She said with a soft nod. And she glanced to Selash. Nanori didn't look too good herself. She just was pale, as if she'd lost a lot of blood. If she was bleeding she didn't know it as she hadn't removed her armor since this all started. She wasn't going to check now. "Yeah... I wish the Doomsayers had just been crazy."

"Hindsight's always perfect..." He mumbles before lighting up and taking a drag. Coughing as he'd exhale. He'd then frown with concern noticing how pale she was. "Did you get hurt? You look like you lost a few pints..."
Kahlan would whimper with some concern as she too would look up at Nanori, clearly worried.

"I don't know," She responded. "I haven't checked. It's alright Kahlan honey... I'm okay." She said softly as the little girl whimpered. 
Nano was just worn out, that's what she told herself at this point. But it was possible. There were some slight rips and tears in her armor... nothing major anyways...

Selash frowns and sighs, "You're not doing anyone favors by ignoring injuries, sugar." He pauses to reach for a radio, clicking it on, "Al, bring the first aid kit to the shop please, along with a new change of clothes for Nanori."

"Right away, sir." Alfonze's voice would echo through the radio as Selash would set it down before moving over to her to her and Kahlan.

Nanori grumbles as he mentions her ignoring injuries. "It is not that I am ignoring them. I don't want to remove my armor. What if we are attacked? Hm?" She mused as he approached where her and Kahlan sat and she sat up a bit more in the chair. "Are you going to be stubborn and make me do this?"

"I am. Now stand up and let me look you over." He says as his demeanor shifts, clearly concerned for her. "And if we are attacked, I'll deal with them."

Kahlan letting Nanori go so she could stand up. Her arms immediately wrapping around her giraffe again tightly.

She sighed heavily. "Fine fine," She muttered as she stood up and started unbuckling the straps of her chestguard. "But your armor isn't done... so you better check me over quick..." She chuckled as she let the leather fall off her body standing there in her shirt that was underneath. Beneath the black and red armor, it was hard to tell that there was singes at all, but the white shirt beneath it... was all singed up and down her back from fel fire. The shirt had burned away in spots and her back beneath was raw... several spots were worse than others... but her back was warm to the touch.

Kahlan gasps in horror, "Minn'da!" She says quietly. Her arms tightening around the stuffed animal.

Selash's own eye widening. "Looks like they got you pretty damn good. Your back is nicely cooked." Alfonze's footsteps could be heard coming down the stairs.

"As you requested, sir." His eyes catching a glimpse of Nanori's back, "Oh my."

"I was surrounded by demons at one point." She said with a slight shrug of her shoulders, followed by a wince as now the fabric could move across the burns. "I didn't even notice..." Obviously her adrenaline had been non stop pumping since then, cause she should've noticed this sooner but had not. From the reactions of her family now she knew it was bad.

"I'm surprised you were able to lay down at all with this." Selash comments, "I won't be able to take care of all of it but I can at least get this bound and cleaned." He says before starting to dab at the blood and carefully apply pressure to one of the places on her back that was bleeding after removing what was left of the shirt.

"I laid on my side..." She said with a sigh as he removed the horrible cloth from the raw burns. "Do what you gotta do... I need to be able to fight." She said as he started dabbing at the blood. She sucked in a sharp breath and shivered. It was like a really bad sunburn... skin hot to the touch but feeling cold all over to her.

"I'll try, but this is serious, Nano. I don't think you'll be doing much until Darynthis or another cleric can look at you." He'd start to run the bottle of numbing agent down her back. It'd burn at first but would cool to make the pain bearable so he could do his work.

"Darynthis is probably elbow deep in injured after the assault on the isles..." She mused as she shuddered again not letting out a peep at the pain as he applied the numbing agent. She swallowed hard. "I'm able to move... I'll be fine... just need more of that numbing stuff." She said with a sigh. She knew with the amount of pain she felt now, that it was serious... but she wouldn't sit on the sidelines and let her family fight for her. "I'm sure Dary will come check on us soon enough. She wouldn't rest till she knew me and Kailei were alright."

"It doesn't last forever, Nanori." He says as he'd continue to clean her wounds, running clean water to flush and cool the burns. Moving to whisper in her ear, concerned, "What if you're with child?" Clearly not wanting Kahlan to hear. No need to get her more stressed out than she was.

"Then I'll just need more Selash," She responded as her back finally felt numb and she could breathe again without wincing in pain. She listened to his whisper and she frowned slightly. "Then I need to protect my unborn child," She whispered back. "I can't let demons run free over Azeroth love. Nor can I let you go into battle alone," She  said and she managed a smile for Kahlan's benefit.

He lets out a sigh before continuing. "I guess there is no convincing you on that..." He murmurs quietly as he continues. Kahlan would look down the whole time, lost in her thoughts before she'd finally speak after a long pause.

" the warchief...really dead?" She asks quietly, clutching the giraffe tighter. Selash looking over to her after stopping a moment before slowly nodding.

"He is, pumpkin. Minn'da and I were there." A pause, "But he died fighting for us. For all of us."
"He gave us perhaps the gift in this fight we could ask for; A chance to win."

Nanori nodded. "And Sylvanas made sure we all got home..." She said with a sigh as she finally after several hours felt some relief from the burns upon her back. "Although... to what kind of home that is yet to be seen. Hopefully the Horde and the Alliance can work through our differences to meet this threat."

"They won't." Selash's tone rife with doubt, coughing a few times after taking a long drag before beginning to wrap Nanori's wounds under a bandage. "So long as humans continue to be the self-righteous pigs that they are, there will never be peace."

Kahlan would shiver, afraid and trying to be brave like her mother and father, but her insecurities were getting the better of her, falling silent again.

"Well then the Horde will face this threat alone," She said as she held still and Selash wrapped her back in bandages. All she needed was more scars... but already it seemed that she was going to have more. Burns that bad didn't leave no marks. "And we will do what we have to to protect each other and our family... it is the only option," She said and she smiled to Kahlan again. "It will be okay Kahlan... I promise you."


"Minn'da's right, pumpkin. We're going to win this." He says as he finishes binding the bandages in place. "Ann'da always wins. Right?" Cracking more of a smile at his daughter. She seems hesitant but finally nods. Smiling behind the head of her giraffe.

Nanori chuckled softly, sucking in a sharp breath as the bandages shifted slightly, but she grit her teeth and then bit back the pain. "We will win," She said. "And the Horde will always survive... as will our family." She said as she continued to let Selash tend her wounds. They had demons to fight... and she would take a moment after they were done with wound tending, and then she would have to get back out there. She really hoped that Darynthis was okay. She needed to see a cleric at some point.

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((Apologies in advance for taking slight liberties with some of your characters. I used the log from the RP Broken Shores event that was mostly dialogue and added some emotes where they were needed. Hopefully I didn't misrepresent anyone!)


"ONE WHO KILLS THA LEAST FEL-SUCKER BUY THA FIRST ROUND!" Cobrak yelled back to the group as they left the ship, ready to bring war to the Legion. 
"Thats...." Fenlao paused, staring out at the army of demons that waited for them. 
"Sulfur." Finished Saelyx. 
Meanwhile, Selash made his preparations with Nanorii. "We don't get seperated," He said, and his bracelet glistened. 
"By the Light..." breathed Cerryan, as he realized the magnitude of the battle that lay before them.
"ORCS FIRST! SEE YA AT THE PARTY PRINCESSES!" Bellowed Cobrak. He wasted no time, charging into the midst of the battle. "BORROWED TIME! FUCK THEM UP!"
"Anchor down!" Megeda called out.
The rest of the battle seemed a blur. Shaelie sent her mechanical wolf out to intercept a pit lord and brought her rifle to her shoulder, sighting between the eyes of a demon that closed in on the party. She tried to listen for the shouted orders and communication of her group as they cut their way through the Legion. 
"Get the crystals!"
"Hold strong! The Light is with us!"
"Back ta tha nether, ya fel-pissin' cunt!"
The battle raged on.. but as she fought, Shaelie began to take notice of the incessant banter between Sylvanas and Wrynn. She understood the necessity of the two factions putting their differences aside to combat the Legion. But there was a difference between temporarily joining forces out of dire need, and the overly friendly way Sylvanas was acting towards the Alliance King. She glared angrily at Sylvanas, anger and frustration building. 
"FOR SANCTUARY!" Julilee was  yelling. 
"Hold....strong!" Cerryan called out. 
Cobrak manically cackled, "THIS BE A GOOD FIGHT!"
"We'll take the ridge and cover your flank." 
"Sylvanas.. thank you."
"Good luck, Varian."
Shaelie, blinded by rage, saw red. "STOP FUCKING TALKING TO HIM!" She screamed, snarling at Sylvanas as they rushed up the ridge. By now, she was so angry that she couldn't even concentrate. She fired shot after shot at the demons that closed in on them. She's not even calling him by his last name, now. We aren't friends! She thought. Talons pulled at her clothing and hair, and the wings of imps beat around her head, swarming so thickly that she could barely see past them. She pushed a button in her glove to call her wolf to her, but there was no response. When was the last time she had seen it up? She smashed two imps aside with her rifle. Where was the rest of the group? She could no longer see them..only the demons. 
"DER COMIN' FROM BEHIND!" She heard Vol'jin shouting from across the ridge. A weapon smashed into the side of her head, spinning her and the world tilted. Her knees hit the ground. 
"Someone get her back on her feet!" 
"DON'T LET THE-" Vol'jin's words cut off abruptly, becoming a bellow of pain. 
Shaelie hit the ground. And a split second later, Vol'jin fell. 
(To be continued.)

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Janala had managed to keep him ignorant, protected from the call to journey to the Broken Shore, but she couldn't hide the Legion invasions raining down on the wider world from her husband. Everyone was scared of what was to come, tense, or weeping for lost ones. Not many of the injured had come all the way out to the isle, but the call for fighters, medics, supplies... anything and anyone that could be spared for the fights against the Invasions resounded in every village and city. She knew Aruku couldn't be stopped from going to mend those wounded in the battles, his heart was too big, too kind to say no. It was one of the reasons she loved him so much, and feared the day that his so much more fleeting life would end.


So she didn't stop him. Instead they had both loaded up their packs with herbals and potions they'd made over the year. She made sure he had extra emergency potions for his heart tucked into his bags, clearly labeled in Elven script, Common, and Orcish. One never knew where they might end up after all. They'd left the tangle of kids in the care of a retired friend for the week and made sure that everything they'd need was stocked, along with some emergency funds for anything they couldn't plan for.


They had set off for Stormwind first. It still bothered her that she had to entrust the safety of her husband to someone else while in the air, since she still wasn't large enough even with her larger than average animal forms to carry him. Instead that grumbly netherdrake took him into the skies while she transformed into a bird and launched up with him. Fortunately most of the trip was by boat, not air so that pleased her. Less chance for some klutzy flier to drop her love.


What they found on arrival was worse than they'd imagined. Out of the chaos there was some semblance of order, or at least people trying to make order. Before they'd even gotten to triage areas they'd heard one of the things ailing the city, bringing tears, mourning and despondency. The King was dead. Varian Wrynn. And demon hunters walked the city, freed from their prison.


There was no time for gossip or questions though, there were people needing healing. Some still recovering from the Broken Shore fiasco, and others arriving in a steady stream from where Invasions were being fended off. Together, the priest and druid set to work; putting right bones and muscle, cleansing poisons, disease and other ailments... but there was no magic cure for the horrors witnessed or the shocks to the mind those in the field had endured. Many of those that could talked while they were being tended to, wanting the contact, the distraction from their pain.


The one thing that they all cried, gnashed their teeth with helpless fury was how the Horde had abandoned them when facing Guldan. They'd all heard Sylvanas agree to cover their flank while the Alliance forces went to face the warped orc and his forces directly. And they'd all heard the Hordes retreat horn blown just as they were about to bombard that blasted fel orc to dust with their gunship. It was like a whispered undertone in the survivors, an echo of what Greymane had said... 'I knew we couldn't trust them.'


At the end of the first day, Aruku and Janala rested in bed together, sharing the events and comforting one another. His green eyes had that concerned, compassionate look. Her long ears drooped, she knew that look. Clinging to him and kissing his bald spot the elven woman begged him to at least stay the night, rest before heading to Orgrimmar. That, at least he could agree to.


There had to be a reason the Horde pulled back, another side to this story. His heart wouldn't allow him to believe anything else, even of the undead. The last thing this world needed was the two largest factions fighting one another while the Legion attacked, and if he could do anything to calm the growing bitterness of the Horde's betrayal of the Alliance, he would.


The pale light of the next morning found him already dressed, trollish necklace falling over the top of his old Argent Dawn tabard as he kissed his wife goodbye, a Horde-linked hearthstone in hand. She tried to give him a brave smile as he dissapeared in the light of the teleportation.


One was never truly retired, in a world so filled with need. Once an Argent, always an Argent.

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Shaelie didn't see who exactly rescued her from the battlefield, or what mender had stabilized her injuries enough that she could walk on her own again. Mostly, she was numb. The last thing she had seen was Vol'jin hitting the ground, a glaive pierced through his torso. The ship docked at Bladefist Bay and the group, battered and beaten, prepared to make their way to Grommash Hold. 
Cobrak hobbled off board, ripping out a spear from his shoulder. "Fuckin'....FUCK...."
 "Boss! You made it." Nanori congratulated him.
Megeda shakily  removed his dented and scarred helmet. Numb fingers drop it to the planks of the deck
Fadjafwahji pulled off his fel-singed shoulderpads, throwing them over the edge as well.
Selash's armor was clearly damaged.
Faylea unhooked her broken bow string and tosses it to the side.
Shaelie reached up and grabbed Cobrak by the arm, dragging him down to whisper. "Did Vol'jin really fall?"
Cobrak looked to Shaelie, and lowered his head. "C'mon...le's find out..."
"To the Hold...quickly." Cerryan urged.
A large crowd had gathered around the Hold, waiting to hear the news. Fearing the worst. Finally, the door opened and Sylvanas emerged. The crowd grew silent and she stood to face them.
"Vol'jin.. is dead."
For a long moment, there was utter silence. Only the sound of the wind stirring the dust could be heard. Then the crowd began to murmur. People looked from one to another as they digested this information. 
Fenlao turned around and vomited. "Why.. Why why why why?"
It's her fault..
Nanori collapsed to the ground, and Selash knelt next to her. 
Fenlao wretched again, dropping to his knees. 
It's her fault he's dead.. she wasn't watching Vol'jin.. she was too focused on Varian!
Shaelie's teeth were clenched so hard, her jaw creaked, and her face was flooded with tears. IT'S HER FAULT! It was everything she could do to keep the words inside. To not hurl accusations at what was now their new Warchief. She looked as much angry as grief stricken, and without a word to the rest, turned and took off. Shouldering her way through the crowd until she was able to retrieve her rocket. Behind her, Sylvanas was still addressing the Horde. But Shaelie wasn't listening. Unable to see through her tears, she took to the air. She didn't even know where she was going. Just away, she needed to get away. 
She flew for several minutes, heading in the general direction of Hyjal. The communicator at her side crackled, and Megeda's voice could be heard. 
"Shaelie. Where did you go?"
She didn't answer. Finally, she reached the highest peak of a mountain and landed. Snow crunched beneath her boots as she stepped off the rocket and walked slowly to the edge of the cliff, looking out over a blanket of treetops far below. Grief clenched at her chest, making it hard to breath. 
"IT'S HER FAULT!!" She screamed at the heavens, releasing all that pain and anger she'd been holding inside. Then she knelt in the snow, sobbing hoarsely. 
"Shae....ya kin come ta us. We be family....but take yer time...." Cobrak could be heard over the communicator, a few minutes later. 
Shaelie didn't answer. She felt bad for keeping her silence. But for now, she was trying to come to terms with what had happened. The intensity of her grief surprised her. She never thought she would take the death of Vol'jin quite so hard. It hurt.. and the pain of grief was always most difficult for her to cope with. It was easier to focus on anger. And so she did- blaming Sylvanas directly for what had happened. After all, it was because of Sylvanas that she had become so angry that she got distracted, lost focus and became separated from her group. That's how she fell. And the last thing she saw before slipping into unconciousness was Vol'jin falling as well. Because of Sylvanas. 
"Borrowed Time...mourn our Warchief....our TRUE Warchief...but live on, an' fight...Thar be demons still ta kill."
Cobrak was right, of course. Now was not really the time to indulge in grief or recollection. There was a war to fight. And angry and upset as she was, she knew it was time to pull herself up and go help defend against the Legion. On the communicator, the rest of Borrowed Time organized their assault teams. Some heading for Tanaris, and others splitting off to cover the Barrens. Shaelie mounted her rocket again, and began heading in the direction of the Barrens. She listened to the chatter over the communicator as she flew. 
I'm heading to Everlook, going to get in contact with the Alliance and work out a... well, Alliance." Fadjafwahji announced. 
"What?" Shaelie said slowly. Anger started to rise slowly up inside her again. It's her fault.. 
"Watch yourself out there Fad..." Megeda was saying.
"Horde isn't winning this war on its own, all of you know that."
Shaelie slowed the rocket, briefly debating making a detour to Everlook. If she could get there before Fad.. maybe she could kill the Alliance before he arrived. We don't need them! They're the ENEMY!
"Git in contact wit yer people Fad, dig us sum info."
Cobrak's voice brought her back to reality. She was no longer Grim. But it was times like this that she realized how deeply rooted the Mandate still was, in her. Even still. With some reluctance, she turned back towards the Barrens. For the next few hours, she fought. Usually joining up with strangers to help defend the horde territories near Orgimmar. From time to time, some Alliance would appear. Presumably to assist with the demons. 
They are not our friends! Because of Sylvanas, we've lost our Warchief. 
Fueled by anger, Shaelie fired indiscriminately. Her rifle had a wide spray, and she would not be held responsible for any Alliance who found themselves between her and the Demons. 
"We be 'eadin' ta Westfall nex'." Cobrak announced over the radio. 
"Westfall??" Said Shaelie, in disbelief. "Let it burn."
"I care more bout denyin' tha Legion a foot'old."
"I'm sure our Warchief is over there protecting them." Shaelie retorted, coldy. She probably is. Defending Alliance territory. Like she was defending Varian while Vol'jin DIED.
 "Then it be our duty ta make sure we dinnae lose anutha one." 
She could tell Cobrak was trying to be patient with her. But stubbornly, she held her silence. 
"I dinnae care if the whole Alliance burns, but one base fer tha legion be bad news fer er'ryone."
Megeda's voice sounded like he was trying to chew gravel* " Understood... Vol'jin saw the necessity of the Alliance's attack... If they could have made it to Gul'dan this war might have been over."
Cobrak's tone was growing frustrated. "I loathe tha Alliance pricks much az anyone else 'ere, but I know that it be tactically better ta deny tha Legion a foot'old than ta watch tha Alliance burn. So, Shae, pull yer 'ead outta yer arse an' figure out whass more important!"
Shaelie felt bad. She always liked Cobrak, and she wanted to follow his orders. But this time, she just couldn't. Ever stubborn, she remained in Orgimmar. At some point, demons appeared at the gate and she helped to drive them back. But she remained in her city. 
Some hours later, after most everyone else had turned in for the night, Megeda spoke up again over the radio. "Shaelie... Believe me I understand your hatred of the Alliance. But Chieftain is right for now. While they are dedicated to tearing our home apart we must fight them wherever possible."
Shaelie was sitting atop a zeppelin tower, taking refuge from the busy streets below. Her heart squeezed painfully. Her answer came after a considerable silence, her tone sorrowful. "It's her fault he's dead." There. She had finally said it out loud. 
"Yes, she was too busy focusing on Varian. She wasn't paying attention to Vol'Jin."
"What are you talking about? It was her that saved him when he fell."
"But he WOULDN'T have fallen to begin with if she was paying attention to OUR people and not THEIRS."
"You are blaming Vol'jin's death on Sylvanas's banter with Wrynn? Not Vol'jin's own distraction in the field?"
"Yes, he didn't fall because he was distracted- he was over run." Just like I was. "There was only so much we could do."
"Agreed... Only so much that we could do. Vol'jin, Thrall, Baine, Sylvanas... We all played our part in this."
Fhenrir spoke. "Vol'jin was killed by the Legion. He would not have left his fate to a woman he didn't trust." Shaelie didn't know he was listening. She never heard much from the Tauren that Leyu'jin called Brother. 
"I don't understand why he appointed her Warchief and not someone else." She muttered, stubbornly.
"None of us do, yet." replied Fhenrir.
"Do you truly believe a few cocky words were responsible for vol'jin's death Shaelie?" asked Megeda. 
She didn't answer. 
"We all grieve in different ways Shaelie," he continued. "But pinning the blame one someone helps nobody. For now, Sylvanas was chose by the spirits that vol'jin saw. Until a better Warchief rises or she dies it seems she has our best interests in mind." 
Shaelie felt her eyes brim with tears again. She rested her face against her drawn up knee and sobbed quietly for a few minutes, before answering. "What if she forces us to align with the Alliance?"
"I do not know... Aside from combatting the legion she would be hard pressed to find anyone who would agree with it. We may turn our weapons away from one another for the moment, but that does not mean we will fight side by side with them. Even tonight we kept distance between us."
"That's what I'm so upset about, though! I understood that the Alliance was going to be there also, and I agreed to keep my gunfire away from them.. but that doesn't mean we have to talk to them or thank them, we could just stay clear of them. She was talking to Varian like they were allies! We AREN'T their allies!"
"You are offended by her familiarity? Her teasing and slight signs of respect?" 
Did he understand? "Yes."
"Because they are the enemy! And during all that familiarity and teasing and slight signs of respect, our warchief died."
"That teasing and signs of respect only happened when we fought the biggest foe we had encountered on that isle. After that, we were seperated and new what our task was to ensure the success of the offensive. Vol'jin fought bravely but shouting orders in the battlefield distracted him just enough."
"She let her guard down.." She trailed off and there was a pause, but her comment was never finished. She just sounded defeated. Somewhere, deep down inside, she really did understand that it wasn't really Sylvanas's fault. And she knew she was being completely irrational. But she was angry. Anger hurt less than grief. 
" ...I hate humans just as much as anyone else. But turning on our allies does nothing. If we want justice for Vol'jin's murderers. Our weapons should be kept on the Legion and any who follow them.... I am sorry for berating you. We all handle loss differently." 
Shaelie didn't answer. His last comment brought forth the tears again. Even if he didn't understand or agree with her blame of Sylvanas, he did understand that she was grieving. 
"It has been a long day... And it's only a matter of time before the Legion attacks again. I am going to rest... Farewell." 
The gentle hiss from the radio went quiet as the frequency was turned off. Shaelie sat on the zeppelin tower long into the night, keenly mourning the loss of their Warchief.
Edited by Nikaa

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They lived.  Somehow.  Light, shadow, even flame worked together to smite and burn the enemy.  It wasn't enough.  It was miraculous that her healing was enough.  Undoubtedly someone else picked up the slack.  Probably the goblin that came with Cobrak's people.  But they were safe now.  Safe?  Numbers were counted while standing on the docks.  Cobrak's people stuck together and tended to one another.  Aaren stood next to Cerryan, who seemed to have the same blank look in his face that she felt she had herself.  She wanted to reach out and touch his arm.  Shake him from his daze?  Assure herself that this was real?  She didn't.  She rushed off to the city when she felt she could breathe again, when she felt could take a step again without using her staff as a crutch.

Horde soldiers rushed off to the Crossroads to fight back against an attack by massive demons yet again.  They were successful in repelling them, if anyone could call any action a success, now.  Julilee, Cerryan, and Aaren stood across from one another in a triangle almost, looking at each other and the aftermath of the battle.

"Are you holding up all right?"  Juli looked directly at the priestess.  Aaren was slow to turn her head and look back at her.

"Are you alright, Commander?"  Cerryan asked the Commander, having been the front line of defense in the fight. "I faltered...the attacks were overwhelming."  Julilee shook her head at Cerryan, dismissing his question.  Aaren sighed and her shoulders drooped.

"I'll take that as a yes,"  she said with an unmoving gaze.  Almost reassuring, as if telling Aaren that she was alright.  Her voice was strong, as would be expected of any commander.  And she spoke with all the kindness and patience that could be expected out of the best in this situation, but Juli didn't have time to stand around and wait.

"Not gonna get any easier... so..."  Aaren shrugged and swallowed, and nodded her head slowly.  Her breath was shallow and she looked horridly tired after it all, but otherwise she was probably fine?  She was fine.  "I'll manage."

"Let me know if there's anything I can do."

"What... what do we do now?" Cerryan finally spoke up, again.  Julilee checked her hearthstone.  Cerryan's green eyes flickered almost manically as he scanned the horizon of the town for the injured.

"Pretty much everywhere needs help.  I'm going to head to Tanaris."  Cerryan nodded at Julilee in response.  "I trust you two to use your abilities to best effect where you see fit."

"I need to return to the Manor. Knowing what we face....there are more defenses to activate," Cerryan finally said.  Julilee nodded, and studied Aaren for a moment when she began coughing into her hand, but was swiftly on her way to the desert.  He spoke into his hearthstone, asking the Commander to alert the Doctor of his intent to meet with him.

"I might go find him, soon."  Aaren spoke up, in response.  The two of them stood dumbly for several moments.  Each trying to catch their breath for different, yet exact reasons.

"Yes, you were... injured recently, yes?  I'm sorry that I did not take the time to see how you were doing..."

Aaren looked at Cerryan blankly and shook her head.  "Was nothing," she lied.  She cleared her throat, and there were several more moments of silence.

"Right... well, there are larger things at stake now... I knew that we could not rely on time to be on our side..."

Aaren nodded her head silently.  She wanted to talk to him, of course.  She wanted to thank him for watching her, having been the one asking if she was alright when she fell down to her knees while they fought for their lives.  Even when she ignored him to force herself to her feet and rush past him to call upon the Light again for the sake of another.  But there were no words, now.  She only frowned.

"Take care of yourself, then..." she said, hoarsely.  There was no time for standing around.  She would be even more useless without rest, and went on her way.

"You as well, Aaren..."

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The incessant buzzing of the airship had faded long ago from Resileaf's ears. The flight from the Broken shore had gone without any issues. They flew back in Stormwind's direction, and the elf could see that everyone appeared to feel the same. Everyone was silent, even the wounded as they were tended to by the priests.

No... They were not silent. She just couldn't hear them anymore. She couldn't hear anything because her mind was still filled by the screams of agony of Varian Wrynn as Gul'dan tortured him to death. His screams had resonated even above the thunder of the fel lightning that crashed around them. Even above the rotors of the airship as it fled the scene. Above the screams of rage of Genn Greymane as the King's life was extinguished. Or maybe she was still hearing the screams of Tirion Fordring as a massive demon destroyed his Light barrier before the assembled armies. He too was gone... He too was another victim of the Legion, another hero gone forever from the world. Or maybe those were the screams of all the soldiers who perished during the initial assault. Those too wounded to continue fighting, who had to be left behind. Those who fell from the airship when the fel reaver grabbed it like a toy. Maybe those were her own screams of fear, of terror when death stared her in the face. When she herself hung to her dear life to the airship, watching with disbelief the ridge that the Horde had abandonned, sealing their defeat. She had truly started to believe then that she would die without ever knowing why they had left them to die.

She couldn't tell anymore what she heard. Maybe everything at the same time. Maybe she just imagined them. It wouldn't have been surprising that she had gone deaf from the battle. It was like every other moment had someone yelling an order in her ear, or the explosion of a spell or siege weapon happening near her. She felt dulled to emotions, unable to react to anything near her. She did not even notice that they were now hovering above the docks again. They had arrived, and the wounded were being shipped off to the cathedral. Some of the survivors were staring at the horizon and pacing aimlessly. Perhaps they were already looking forward to payback? Or were they also in disbelief about the situation? She could see a lot of survivors with thousand yard stares sitting on the deck, much like she was.

... But eventually, she had to leave. She mechanically walked over to the side of the airship, looking down to the docks far below, and then whistled for her hippogryph. The beast, which she had left at the docks before taking the ship that took the reinforcements to the Broken shore, recognized her voice, and flew up to the airship to find her. She mounted it wordlessly, and flew back down into the city. The news of Varian's death had already spread throughout the city. The trade district was gloomier than it had ever been. Perhaps fittingly, a heavy rain fell over the entire city, adding to the feeling of desperation that filled the air. Even the sky wept for the fallen king.

Resileaf found herself soon by the edge of the lake within the city. She did not remember why she had directed her mount there. Maybe to escape the cries of mourning from the citizens? Or the screams in her head? She sat by the edge of the lake, not bothering to care about the muddy ground. It was the least of her concerns. What she wanted now... Was peace. She closed her eyes and waited.

She needed to silence the screams, just as she had in the wars before. The first battle was always the hardest, when the brutality of your enemy was laid bare before you. When the ashes fell and the first fires were extinguished, this was when the time came to strike back, when her heart was hardened and her resolve strengthened. It had happened during the Third war when the Warsong orcs rampaged across the forests of Ashenvale and slew Cenarius. It had happened when the Horde had destroyed the school her daughter had studied at. It would happen again now. When next she fought, the demons would know the fear of ten thousand years of battle experience unleashed against them.

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He had been reluctant to split his squad from the main group of Sanctuary and Borrowed Time. Ignoring the machismo had become second nature. Julilee, Cerryan, and the rest had gone with Borrowed Time, while he, Zhu, Baern, Billamong, and the priest Lomani watched the Broken Shore approach. All were silent, and Billamong let his line trail off the side of the ship, its cruel barb trawling for Light knew what.

The ship arrived on the beach, and the small party descended the gangplank onto rock and black sand. Baern’s hammer whipped out at a felguard, and Zhu’s illusions forced a trio of felstalkers into a head-on collision. Lomani tended to the wounded left behind by the initial assault team.

Kex’ti trusted Julilee to handle things on her end; Aaren and Cerryan would keep her safe. A deep unease settled in his stomach. They would, wouldn’t they? The thought of friendly fire, of any of his guild being caught in crossfire between groups like the Grim and the Alliance, chilled him to the bone.

He smirked as he brought a demon to its knees, drawing out what little chi he could from it to amplify his next surge of mists. The energy boiled over a limping orc, aligning and repairing the meridians in her body and earning the monk a brief nod of thanks. Kex’ti swung his staff in a semicircle to drive back a wrathguard. He could not help wondering where Shokkra was. She would thrive in an environment like this.

He wondered also if his own fears were justified. Arrogantly, he thought, “If I cannot set aside my own prejudice, how should I expect the Grim, or Borrowed Time, to?”

The group, and the other Horde, pushed themselves up the shore and into the ridges beyond. He occasionally glimpsed familiar tabards at a distance; the blue of Twilight Empire, the black and red of the Grim, and others.

Kex’ti and his party arrived late to the confrontation with Gul’dan. He did not see Vol’jin fall. The monk did not watch Varian die, or the Alliance airship limp away through the sky. All he saw was his wife continuing to fight on, surrounded by demons as Sylvanas commanded a retreat, with no conflicting orders from Vol’jin. It was not an order directed to her Forsaken, as many might have imagined, but instead to the Horde as a whole. And still Julilee fought.

The monk decided that it was better to live with her being upset than live with a proud memory. He gathered the smaller woman in his arms, armor and all, and gave orders to follow the Dark Lady’s commands. Julilee didn’t make it easy. What only made it harder was the mixed feeling in his stomach as the others reluctantly followed his orders to retreat, even as the Commander thrashed and stared, aggrieved, at leaving the Alliance to their fate.

Eventually, they made it back to the shoreline.

He sat silently, his helm in his lap, his staff in the crook of his arms. There was no more that could be said. The monk was tired, and he closed his eyes. The trials of tomorrow could wait.


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How many more can there be?

The military had been fighting almost from the moment they made landfall. Demons continued to pour from innumerable portals in the surrounding area. One portal closed just meant another opened nearby.

This makes the Quorum look like a small scout force.

The words were a low growl in her mind. The Legion invasion struck Azeroth with earnest, there seemed to be no end to the onslaught. She spun in place, the borrowed shield strapped to her arm raising to block a blow from a large felguard. She missed her father’s shield, but didn’t regret the choice to leave it at home. She knew the enchantments on it could be broken by the legion forces, and the magic may call other demons to attack her. The alliance shield, dispersed through the military armory, had performed admirably but she would feel more comfortable with an item she personally forged.

She could see the early fighters beginning to flag in energy, even her battlerage was turning sluggish. Time had blurred, blocks and parries bleeding into sword swipes and return attacks. A sound cut through the clashes and clangs of the fight, sounds of metal squealing and wood cracking. She turned towards the sound to see Rorrek and Brianna, her fellow imperials in trouble. Rorreks’ shield had shattered; the destruction was the sound she heard. felhounds surrounded Brianna, eyestalks drawing magic and life force from the priest.

Myaka charged trying to clear a path to the pair so she could provide aid. A pit lord, massive in weight and height, intercepted her. The beasts’ pike tore through demons and alliance forces alike. She dived down to avoid the pike, her mind flitting between evasion or fight.

Dodge, continue to Therrien and Mackinzie, demon still active and danger to them. Discard.

Fight, finish quickly, abdomen weak point, unarmored. 

The decision, made in mere heartbeats, sent her dive into a roll. Her crouched form rocketed upwards, she put all her normal power she would normally use in the upward leap and let her weight and momentum aid to the power behind her blade as it angled towards the edge of the pitlords’ armored chest. The blade hit home, digging deep into the demon’s stomach. It cut through flesh and innards like paper, leaving a large mortal wound when she landed. The demon had already begun its death throes and she turned to continue towards Rorrek and Brianna.

Heat blossomed then, overwhelming and scorching. Felfire ballooned from the mortal wound on the demon, growing into an inferno. She barely had time to lift the shield in an attempt to defend herself from the conflagration that swept over her. After a few moments, the felfire dissipated leaving only a seared and twisted alliance shield in it’s wake.

Edited by Myaka

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Juli stood by the Bladefist Bay dock, checking her hearthstone. A steady stream of conversation tuned so that only she could hear filtered out of it. The sound of approaching footsteps didn't make her look up, but the voice that accompanied them did.

"Lok'tar, Commander," Cobrak grunted. "Me vanguards'll be 'ere soon.... whar's yer troops?"

The orc seemed oddly stern, almost calm. Around them buzzed the barely withheld energy of the other Horde troops who had gathered on the docks. Preparations were still being made; rumors were exchanged, not to mention blows as excited soldiers warmed up for the coming battle.

"Those who aren't fighting the invasions will be here soon," Juli said. "Vol'jin reached out to you too, then."

Cobrak nodded. "Aye. The calls went out. Me forces be stretched ta try an' aid whar need be."

"We've prepared for this," Juli said. It was an echo of what she'd been saying for awhile now; to Cerryan, to others. Looking toward the ship that would take them to the Broken Isles, she hoped it was true.

Kex'ti was the next to arrive. Juli recognized the sound of his gait before she looked to see him, her mood lightening. Despite the circumstances, or maybe especially because of them, she couldn't help but be glad to see him. Some part of her always felt eased by his presence. There was something about having someone at your side who truly understood and believed in you, with whom you could communicate with just a glance. She saw him read her wordless love in her eyes before he bowed and said, "Commander."

Behind him was Aaren. The priestess looked diffident as usual, and with no visible sign of injury, except maybe some tiredness to a trained eye. Cobrak sized her up and spoke. "Ye're seemin' well lass."

"Always am," Aaren said, though she leaned on her staff.

"If she's here, she's ready to fight," Juli said. To her, that was the end of it. They had all sworn their oaths. Juli trusted Aaren to know her limits, and, more importantly, would never disrespect the right of one of her sworn members to make their own decisions. Kex'ti looked at her, his head inclining slightly in agreement.

Cobrak made a sound somewhere between a snort and a laugh. "Right then."

More members of Borrowed Time and Sanctuary arrived, as well as Lomani. Because the two guilds had experience working together, and Lomani with both as well, they had all been assigned to the same wave that would be landing on the Broken Shore. They discussed the upcoming battle, several stating their trepidations. Fen'lao shared food for everyone, and Leon and Feorn played a card game while they waited for the order to roll out. Juli listened and watched with half her attention.

When a light rain began to fall, Juli glanced upward. Aaren didn't look up, but she held out a hand to catch some raindrops. Cobrak grumbled, and Nanori mused on if it was a bad omen. Lomani disagreed.

"Swear it rained when we landed on Northrend too..." Cobrak muttered.

"We won there," Juli reminded him.

He didn't look reassured. "Won wit a lotta blood, anna lotta sacrifice. A lot, a shit ton."

Juli looked toward the bay again. Beyond the horizon, the Legion was gathering. Her hand was on the hilt of Mercy, checking its draw without her realizing it. This would be her second campaign. Going through the Red Portal to face the Iron Horde had been difficult, but veterans of the Northrend campaign were still haunted by memories of facing the Scourge, as she could see on Cobrak's face. She glanced at Kex'ti. He had a grimace at Cobrak's words, his own memories returning to the fore, but when Cobrak switched to grumbling about trusting the Alliance, who were coordinating with the Horde to launch the Broken Shore assault, Kex'ti caught her gaze and gave her a smile.

"They might attack us? Really?" Fen'lao was saying. "WE HAVE GOT FUCKING DEMONS!"

"Some enjoy chaos on the field, but I imagine it will be few, or none," Leon said.

"Fen... it's going to be fine," Nanori said. "We will... make it back. I'm trusting in that."

"Let ehm try it... an' we'll bury them underneath a pile o' demon bodies that'll blot out tha sun!" Cobrak roared.

"You only need, like one, two tops to blot out the sun," Feorn said, unheard.

"I wish Shu was here..." Fen'lao whimpered. "I hope she's okay..."

Kex'ti closed his eyes, meditating lightly. As the others continued their conversation, Juli leaned toward him and spoke quietly, so that no one else could hear. "Do I look as calm as you look?"

"I am not calm," Kex'ti responded similarly quietly, not opening his eyes. "I am more afraid of Cobrak shooting us in the back than I am of the Legion."

"Why would he do that?" Juli said, for a moment genuinely baffled before she remembered Kex'ti's dislike for the Borrowed Time Chief. Kex'ti had stated similar concerns before, but Juli was sure she could trust Cobrak despite their differences in philosophy. They had worked together well to combat the Quorum, and since then had had a good working relationship. She glanced Cobrak's way, but he was immersed in conversation with the others and didn't notice.

"Why does Borrowed Time do anything?" Kex'ti replied, then moderated his words. "We need to make it back from this. No making a sacrifice if it makes Rylie an orphan again."

Juli looked at him. Rylie was safe, hidden away in Sanctuary's Orgrimmar guildhall. A minor illusion was all that had been needed to make the slim young woman look like an elf. It had seemed best when Khadgar had decided to move Dalaran, and the Draenor garrison was amidst shutdown operations. "If nothing else, I'll ensure you return to her," Juli replied.

"No. No compromises." The monk opened his eyes and looked at her. "We go together. We come back together."

"Do I ever compromise on the things that really matter?" Juli said simply.

He reached for her hand and gave it a squeeze. His familiar smirk touched his features. "No. You do not."

Orders were arriving, Juli scanned them, then handed them to Kex'ti. He looked at her and nodded. They were being split up, Kex'ti taking a squad up an alternate route once they hit the beach, while Juli would be taking the rest of Sanctuary and joining Borrowed Time for the frontal assault. "Take Billamong, Zhu, and Baern," Juli told him.

"Exactly who I was going to ask for," Kex'ti replied.

Shaelie was asking about who was leading the attack. "Sylvanas be spear'eadin' tha assault," Cobrak said.

The huntress shook her head. "No, I mean among this group. It's important to know whose orders to follow during combat."

Juli spoke up. "Cobrak and I are leading our soldiers."

"Aye, iffin I kinnae give orders ya'll follow Liene's command, we clear?" Cobrak said to his soldiers.

Juli looked at him, then nodded at her own. "Same with me."

Kex'ti glanced at her, but didn't object. The others made sounds of acknowledgment. Juli and Cobrak spoke of who would be taking what positions. Saelyx and Juli would be at the front as vanguards, with healers protected in the midst of the formation. Nanori would scout. Realistically, Juli didn't expect the plan to last long after their feet touched sand. Battle was chaos. The battleplan was mostly an idea to help guide their actions once combat went underway; everyone would need to react dynamically to the state of the battlefield.

Horde soldiers were stirring down the line as the sense that they would soon be moving spread. Juli found herself checking the draw of her sword again. She wrapped her fingers around the hooked hilt and remembered that Azeroth had bested the Burning Legion before.

Cobrak stepped forward. "Lok'tar brothers an' sisters!" he bellowed. "Today we fight! We WIN! We go ta the Broken Shore, an' stomp a mudhole so deep in these demonic arses that our boots'll permanently stain wit their BLOOD!"

As cheers broke out, Juli raised her voice as well. "Today, we fight for the protection of the innocent, those who cannot defend themselves. For our friends, our family. And ourselves. FOR AZEROTH!"

Cries of "For Azeroth!", "For the Horde!", and "For family!" erupted. The signal went out, and they boarded the boat.


Edited by Julilee
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They saw it before the isles ever came in sight. A glowing, sickly green spire pierced the heavens. They didn't know for sure that it was the tomb of Sargeras, but what else could it be? Juli listened to the whispers as they sailed toward the isles. At her side, Kex'ti drank from his jug one last time and lashed it to his belt with short, anxious movements. Juli studied him; noticing, he gave her another reassuring smile, which she didn't return. Thoughts occupied her mind, a luxury she would not be able to afford once they entered combat. Her gaze moved to the others she commanded, where they were all gathered on deck to be lashed by fel-tainted spray as they sailed ever nearer to the Legion.
Cerryan sounded like he was about to hyperventilate. Kanda looked as calm as Juli was trying to be. Aaren had her eyes closed, her expression unreadable. Billamong looked excited, while Zhu looked intent. Baern was frowning, rolling his shoulders to get limber for the oncoming combat. 
 "Git ready lads!" Cobrak was saying to his own soldiers. Those in Borrowed Time ranged from nervous wreck to bloodthirsty. The rest of the Horde soldiers in their wave were much the same. It didn't matter, then, what tabard any of them wore, where they had come from, or what battles they had fought before. Juli turned her gaze to land as the boat pulled into the beach. An Alliance ship was pulling up at the same time. She didn't object to their presence, but if it had been required, she would have fought beside the Grim. Nothing mattered but protecting their world, and all the innocent people in it.
Commands rang out. Juli touched Kex'ti's arm before he pulled away to lead his squad. "Remember," he said, and he was gone.
She didn't remember how she got from the boat to the beach. Her next memory was of raising her shield to block a strike by a felguard eight times her height. The blow drove her down, but she kept her footing and returned with a leaping thrust for a gaping opening in his armor. There were crystals they had to get to and bring down, because they were helping the Legion somehow. 
The beach was sickly green and swarming with demons, an impossible number that she couldn't afford to let herself think about. Juli could only focus on her own team, their positions, and keeping her shield between them and their enemies. A pit lord roared and came charging. Juli saw four Horde soldiers trampled into grisly paste beneath his feet before her mind went blank.
Her next memory was reaching out to break open bars of a prison that held an Argent Crusader. He professed gratitude, but Juli didn't have time to respond. An imp was shrieking in rage and hurling a fel bolt at them. She lunged and raised her shield in time to block the bolt -- the fel energy dissipating with the force she put behind the block -- but when she turned around, a felguard had run the Argent through. His expression as he died was one Juli would never be able to forget. The demon flung the body aside like a rag doll and swung at her with the blood-coated blade, and her mind went blank again.
She heard the shouts directing them forward, upward. A great demon had risen from a pool of fel magma. Gul'dan was there. People were shouting for Tirion Fording, the Argent Commander. Juli turned to hold the back line as Legion forces streamed around them. She was aware of Cerryan behind her, shouting something, either incoherent with rage and anguish, or she just could not process the words. Was it one of her own? Who had fallen? She couldn't take her eyes off the press of demons. If she did, one might get through and cause another casualty. And their numbers were thinning enough already.
They were ordered up the ridge at some point. They'd be supporting the Alliance's flank as they confronted Gul'dan and tried to shut down the spire. Juli remembered looking down at the tableau. Gul'dan, alone, but full of menace and confidence. Then demons swooped down and she had no time to see what happened next. She concentrated on their task: hold the ridge. If they held the ridge, then the Alliance could take the tomb. They had to work together. They needed each other.
She fought, and fought, and fought. The onslaught never lessened. For every demon they struck down, ten more appeared. There was a pain in one of her shoulders, but her mind efficiently calculated how to compensate for the resultant slowness. She had dealt with worse handicaps. A memory that was completely unrelated to her current circumstances floated across her mind, like an oblivious butterfly: when she had woken up from her coma, finding Kex'ti at her bedside. Where was Kex'ti? Would she wake up beside him again? She had forgotten what it was like to not be in a battle; she couldn't conceive of that life anymore.
The sounding horn pierced the fog of her battle-weary mind. Juli whipped her head around to look. Retreat? Why were they retreating? The Alliance had not yet taken the tomb; the spire yet glowed, sickly and malevolent. And the demons were still coming. The Horde had been pressed back nearly to the edge of the cliff, and the small number of them left was frightening, but at the same time irrelevant.
Because they had to hold the ridge. They simply had to. The Alliance were depending on them. If they were ever going to stop the Legion, they had to work together. And trust had been given. The Alliance had placed their fate in the Horde's hands. Juli could no sooner throw that away than she could wield the Light.
Yet as she watched, Horde soldiers broke away, streaming down the ridge, dodging demons, trying to collect what fallen they could. She saw someone pick up Shaelie, who lay in a crumpled heap. They sought to help those closest to them, quick to consign those below to their fate. They didn't belong to their faction. They weren't one of them. "No," she muttered, understanding and hating it at the same time. "No," she said again, and slammed her shield into an attacking demon, knocking it flat onto its back. "No!" she cried, and charged into the midst of the unrelenting army of fel, lashing out left and right to draw as many as she could after her, and away from the ridge.
"Juli!" called a familiar voice, but she wasn't listening.
Juli's arms burned as she raised her sword. "SANCTUARY!" she shouted over the din. "OATHSWORN!"
A felguard's massive blade descended toward her. She parried it and whirled to dodge the strike of another. There was grit in her eyes, the taste of blood in her mouth, and bruises on every inch of her skin. She felt everything, remembered every moment. The stench of fel and blood and death was a visible miasma, a cloud reaching up to choke her as she fought, refusing to retreat even if it suffocated her.
Then, a cool mist swept through the air, clearing it. Juli took a deep breath. Remembering. What else had been asked of her. Rylie. Kex'ti. They needed her too. But she was sworn to defend. So was Kex'ti. So would Rylie someday, if Juli raised her to be someone she would be proud of, someone who would uphold the same oaths. What would they think if she compromised now? What example would she be setting? What would they really, truly retain if she returned to them an oathbreaker, as someone who sacrificed some else's life for her own? She wouldn't be herself. She wouldn't be the person they loved anymore. Yet...
Words from long ago returned to her. "Hard to protect anyone when you're dead."
It hadn't meant the same thing to her before Kex'ti, before Rylie. Now it did. Now her soul fought with her heart.
Her sword lowered, and that was when the demon's claws severed her hamstring.
With a grunt she fell and rolled. She tried to get to a kneeling position but her leg simply would not respond. She fell back, raising her shield to block a fel halberd that swept at her face. The felhound was lunging for her. She saw her own blood on its claws, felt no pain, and knew she would not feel it when she died.
Kex'ti seized her, pulling her out of the way, and in the same motion bodily throwing her over his shoulder. In the next moment, they were sprinting down the slope. Juli saw the demons begin to overrun the ridge behind them, and yelled, struggling against his hold. He was calling to the others. Juli saw Aaren, Kanda, Cerryan. Baern, Zhu. Billamong. They were all among the last to leave. But still, they left.
In the end, Kex'ti had chosen between her heart and her soul for her. She couldn't begrudge him as they sailed back toward Kalimdor, chin propped in her hand to watch the gray waves pass by. Her injured leg was bandaged and propped before her. Others rested nearby, some exhausted into a restless sleep, some staring off into the distance as she did. They carried the scent of fel with them, but the ocean breezes were slowly stealing it away, leaving behind a strange ache for its return. 
They would return again, to the Broken Isle. To where a promise had been broken. And when she did, she would choose for herself.
Edited by Julilee
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"Felbat Pup Tails and Big Fat Flails"

Her wild grin clamped around chain-smoked bloodthistle cigarettes, Cymbidia threw her own demons at the Burning Legion, their hooves kicking Tanaris dust into the fel-laced sky. In between barks of "Snuff out that overgrown candle" or "To my side before it's melted" she lobbed green fire at the invaders.

An arrow tore into her shoulder. She snarled, teeth bifurcating the coffin nail, and spotted the archer, a troll charging at her as he knocked another arrow into his bow. She had no problems with the Horde, and she wanted to uphold the neutrality of her new associates, but a hostile shaft marinated in her blood.

Reaching out across the Twisting Nether, she yanked some lifeforce from her doomguard. It roared a bit, but otherwise kept flinging skull-faced shadows at a Sargerei warrioress while its stolen essence coalesced around her, the next arrow wilting as soon as the head pierced the pulsing shield.

She lit the Nether around him on fire and filled his mind with troll infants being cannibalized and other images that sent him screaming and flailing past her. The red-orange barrier starting to fade, she yanked out the arrow, and then jogged to the other side of the warrioress, torching her scalp as she moved.

The assault lasted several hours. Bloodthistle and healthstone shards she held in her lip like chewing tobacco fueled her unleashed chaos. Still young, she also didn't fatigue easily, especially around demons. A constant in her life, they kept her motivated, even empowering her to run, which she hated. Though a healthy weight, Cymbidia's body didn't scream athletic, unless the sport involved being horizontal on a bed. She smiled at the thought as she glided over the Shimmering Deep on a drake she had chiseled out of the Nether.

Back at the Slaughtered Lamb in Stormwind City, she sulked at the corner of a large table. She would normally have Nazaith with her, the succubus concealed by invisibility, but the new demon hunters in town stared daggers at her everywhere the warlock strut. If she wanted to watch Nazaith die, she would just ask her prudish sister for company.

She drowned the image of Drucinda's face with a healthy pull of Darkmoon Special Reserve. Intoxication hit her head faster than it took her to kick her imp back into the Nether. The loss of control relaxed half her mouth into a smile.

A felbat pup darted into the tavern, fixated on her aura, and landed on her shoulder. She giggled and scratched its chin. "Aren't you cute! How did you get into the city?" It cooed, twitched its ears, wagged its tail.

Two demon hunters charged to her table, tattoos blazing, pecs rippling. She liked the aesthetic but not the demeanor, so she pictured lewd happenings to prevent her nose from wrinkling. "Hi, gentlemen. What a surprise."

The slightly bulkier one jabbed a finger at the pup. "Give us the runt, warlock."

"Cool your goblin gears. Your tone's so edgy I could cut my wrists with it."

The other one crossed his arms over his chest, covering up one of the few things that made their presence tolerable. "And use the blood to bring demons into the city to slaughter everyone."

She rubbed the pup between its ears. "Just what are you doing with these things anyway? Biting off their heads to prove your devotion to dear sweet Illidan?"

"How dare you mock our Lord and Master. He will drag his jagged glaives across your throat."

She laughed the dry wheeze of desert wind extinguishing until she let out a wet belch. "Oh, sorry, excuse me. I guess I can only eat so much crap."

The first one slammed his fists against the table. "Just shut your foul mouth and give us the felbat!"

The bartender and the few patrons in the tavern, most of them dressed in dark cloaks, turned their heads towards the scene.

"Let her buy the filthy mongrel." The second gripped the first's shoulder. "We have more important chores."

"You're selling these in Stormwind?" She cackled for a few moments. "Now that's rich."

"We've stripped them of harmful abilities and stunted their growth."

The first hunter gawked at the second. "Are you serious? She knows how to reverse our magic on the vile whelp."

"If she does that, we will kill her."

She leaned forward and waved her hand between them. "I'm still here, you know."

"Fine," the first hunter said. "Give us one hundred fifty nethershards, and the mutt is yours."

She kissed the pup on its cheek and conjured a purse from which she withdrew the necessary shards. The second hunter opened a leather pouch from his belt, and Cymbidia poured the payment into it. Their unpleasant visit concluded, the hunters stormed outside.

"I'm glad that's done, little one." She smiled as it licked her hand.

She ordered roast boar with honey glaze and cloves. The demon invasions energized her spirit, but dashing all over Azeroth drained her body. She devoured her meat and washed it down with some more Darkmoon Reserve. When she finished eating, the pup landed on the plate and nibbled the crumbs.

She looked up to see a dandy escorted by a hulking man carrying the fattest flail she had ever seen and sporting armor that put even a city guard captain's to shame approaching her table.

"I notice you have taken to eating your mammals raw, Miss Ebonthorn."

She scooped the wriggling pup into her cleavage. "Lord Cumberdale! How dare you suggest I do such a thing to cute little Emerald."

He took a long look at the display before bringing his eyes to her face. "I already ate dinner at my estate. I am here for dessert."

She raised her eyebrows at him. "I was just about to order some." She gestured to the seat across from her. "Please, join me."

He rested his hands on the back of the chair but didn't sit. "Oh, I would rather have you for dessert."

She let out a long, drawn out sigh. "I'm sorry, but I don't do that anymore."

"What do you mean? You're the most talented harlot I have ever met, and trust me, that is quite the compliment coming from me."

She flashed a subdued smile. "I appreciate your praise, but after watching Lord Wellington, Lady Azikiwe, and Lord Zhao be killed, I realized all my time spent on my back made me soft."

"That was a fluke. The dirty blood elves are too busy with the Legion to send anymore assassins. Plus, you taught them a lesson they will not soon forget."

"Yeah, after three clients died." She winced. "No, not just clients--human beings."

He shrugged. "Such is life. It ends. That is why I want to live. Right now. With you."

She narrowed her eyes. "You don't even care that your business partners died?"

"It's a pity, truly, but now I own the fishing boats and the dockyard, not just the storefront." He brushed imaginary lint from his shoulder pad. "Oh, and I own the oil supply, too." He examined his manicured nails. "All this means I can buy more of you."

"I'm flattered by your lust, but, as I said, I'm no longer a lady of the night." She screwed on a sympathetic face even though her blood started boiling. The pup squeaked at her agitation. "In fact, my bedtime has become rather early--for me, anyway."

"Then the rumors are true." He shook his head. "The invasions have changed you."

She steepled her hands on the table, and the felbat pup crawled into her lap. "If the return of the Legion made wonder if there's more important things than entertaining privileged nobles, then, yes, the invasions are affecting me."

"What can be more important than people like me?" His smirk suggested a joke. His eyes did not.

She reached into the Nether and pulled out a hexweave bag. From that, she withdrew blue fabric that she unfolded into a tabard embroidered with twin golden lions.

Horror contorted his face. "How could you join those Horde lovers, you traitorous bitch? Do you not care about the Alliance slaughtered right before your eyes?"

"I do." Her lips dropped into a scowl. "You don't."

"I care that now you're going to be selling your body to blood elf girly men!"

"I said I don't do that anymore." She snorted through flared nostrils. "And you're wearing a silk blouse."

He looked on the verge of exploding, and his words leaked out like steam: "I am extremely appalled by your behavior, Angelica Sampson."

"Don't call me that!" Nether crackled at her fingertips.

"You insult me and threaten me. You are lucky I do not fetch the city guard or have Hamfist bash your pretty face in with his flail."

The bodyguard grunted into his helmet.

"Now you are threatening me."

"Yes, I suppose you are right." His posture relaxed. "While you would not find prison to be any better the second time, death is permanent, and that is what you will face serving this treacherous Empire of yours."

"It's not my Empire. It's Azeroth's, Outland's, or that of anyone that wants some stability on the planets for once."

"Whatever." He turned on his heels and left the tavern, his bodyguard lumbering after him.

She lifted the felbat from her lap and cradled it near her face. "That idiot should be called Hamfoot."

The demon licked her nose. She grinned, and then finished another drink.

Soon, she was yawning. She paid her tab, leaving some extra gold for the noise. From her robe she fetched the guildstone used by the Twilight Empire. "My new associates, I'm going to bed soon, but I can stay awake long enough to poke at any fel-inflicted wounds. Just give a shout to Doctor Ebonthorn."

Edited by Cymbidia
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Lomani had never imagined, when she decided to leave her tent wearing the white, that she'd quite end up where she did. The seer scope of enormity left her rather shaken, and cup after cup of hot tea wasn't doing anything to ease the shivers up her spine.

Lomani was a seamstress. She was a caretaker and a soother, a guide and a warm embrace for her people when they caught ill, when they needed encouragement to make the right life choices, when they celebrated the happy times or remembered fondly those that had departed. Her life was busy, yes, but it was predictable. It was mostly quiet. Almost serene. She stitched the ray burst tabards and was content to send Kerala out with her raiding party night after night under Mu'sha's watchful eye. They'd come back battered and sore sometimes, or others invigorated and charged from victory, but Lomani had never really paused to consider what they actually went through while they were out.

Now she knew.

She remembered now seeing all the fidgeting and anxiousness. She remembered the tense banter that mostly failed to contain real humor. At the time, she'd been curious about it, remembering her lessons. She stood still and calm, conserving her energy, not stressing in the slightest. She had confidence, then. She'd had ignorance. 

The trip by boat was terrible for her. Ever since losing her horn, most types of motion not directly in her own control caused an awful nausea and lingering sense of falling down somewhere endless and unknowable. When everyone else eyed the shore highlighted in fel green and recognized the start of awful conflict, she was actually glad to see it. How silly that seemed now.

Immediately the fighting had begun, and Lomani quickly realized that she was out of her element. It wasn't just her dizziness, though she tried to tell herself this was the main reason. It was the movement. Everything moved. If it wasn't alive and swinging or casting, it was aflame and licking. Everything moved. She quickly fell behind, losing track of the people she was supposed to be protecting. There wasn't time to think. She couldn't tell who was friend or foe, except that obviously the ugly fel ones were foe. Still, she mis-aimed her spells a few times in the frantic haste to close any oozing wound she could see. Only the grace of the Earth Mother kept her from renewing fallen demons to fight again, but she only realized later that some of those failures hadn't been due to the snuffing of spirits she was trying to save. 

Being slow like she was meant she encountered more of the dead than healers in the leading ranks. Their companions fell around them, she supposed, but they had no time to register and regret- there were countless more still standing to attend to, an endless sturggle to keep them from the same fate. It wasn't long before the seer began seeing faces she recognized. Just last week, she'd blessed that warrior's new son. Here lied an elder shaman that just had a bad bout of waterlung. They'd shared a meal together two nights ago celebrating her successful recovery. The woman had been planning to visit her greatchildren. Lomani came upon these lifeless bodies and her heart ached to leave them there without last rites, but there was no TIME. For every three or six or ten she stepped over, there might be one still hanging on. She clung to that hope and rushed after the main forces, trying to stay close enough to make a difference.

In the end, she felt she'd failed utterly. She saw so many eyes glaze, so many lights go out. 

The horns had sounded and she was one of the ones who couldn't comprehend. Suddenly she was surrounded. She was shoved and bullied along by a reversed tide of strangers with more sense than she, until once again she heard the clunking of deck planks beneath her hooves instead of gravel or stone. It wasn't until the sails caught wind with a resounding snap that she fully registered that it was over. They were leaving, and they were so few. 

She couldn't cast anymore. She didn't have the strength for that kind of focused healing in this sort of fel-shocked numbness, but too she could not just numbly sit and do nothing, think of nothing. Some did. She did not fault them. She could not. Too many lights... too many lights were dark.

The wind was blowing. She could see it filling the sails, carrying them gently. Lomani's voice was small at first, wordless and weak. She couldn't seem to keep her eyes from leaking, nor did she try to. She knelt where she was by the mast and turned her face up to the wind. She grieved. She hummed. The tune was soft, but gradually she was able to, with repetition, keen it out louder into the breeze. Slowly she heard other tauren join her. Most did not know the words, but this was a tune older than memory. 

Lomani found her voice, and she sang the divine hymn for all those that had been lost. She cast out the taurahe words to the winds. Let the Earth Mother hear her. Let Her gather the lost Children. Let their spirits find the way home to Her arms. Lomani sang their death song.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die.
I am home.

Edited by Lomani
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