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In Service of the Horde

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To anyone standing amongst the crowds gathered, the air outside of Grommash Hold was thick. Orgrimmar, situated in an already hot and dusty part of Durotar, was roasting at the peak of summer. The smell of sweat from thousands of different Horde citizens mingled alongside the wafting aroma of food from a nearby feast that was being laid out as the crowds waited. Most of them weren’t waiting for the food. They were common folk of all kinds; orcish tradesmen, goblin merchants, Forsaken refugees (to name a few), and their goal wasn’t an invitation to the celebratory feast being laid out for the Horde’s leaders, it was to catch a glimpse of those leaders together.

It might have been the first time many people would have seen them together, or some of them even at all. Calia Menethil was rumored to be arriving, and Princess Talanji rarely left Zuldazar. The idea that they would all be gathered in the capital city together was too exciting for most to pass up.

Vilmah was one of those common folk. The Warboss of Sanctuary had little intention of staying for the feast itself, even if she had earned a place there after years of service to the Horde. What she wanted was to satiate her curiosity and see for herself that the Horde had indeed moved forward, finally, and the dream of peace between the allied races and the Alliance was actually becoming real.

The diminutive orc stood beside a few others, but she had shoved her way forward and stood against the street a few yards from Grommash Hold’s entrance. Dressed in a blademaster’s attire, her beads, katana, and scars held enough sway that no one bothered to question her place at the front. Though she usually left it loose around her shoulders, she took the time to tie back her hair into a few braids, decorated with beads to match her beaded necklace. She wore no expression, but the sweat on her brow wasn’t just the effect of the crowd and the dry Durotar heat. Vilmah stared at the entrance and waited.

When the Horde’s leaders finally emerged, she let out a deep breath of relief. Nobody was injured, and for the most part, nobody looked too angry. Perhaps Talanji looked less than pleased, but as far as Vilmah could tell their meeting seemed to go as expected. Thrall, his familiar face weary with duty, turned his attention to some children a few feet from her and waved with as much of a smile as their former Warchief could muster. Vilmah felt her heart freeze for a few seconds, recalling the words he spoke to her as if they were yesterday.

Have you come to serve the Horde?

A cheer erupted from the gathered audience and she joined them, raising her arms, both flesh and mechanical into the air. Their leaders formed a little procession that led to the feast, waving at their people. Vilmah noticed that some were a bit more enthusiastic on this front, and Lor’themar specifically took the time to smile with a twinkle in his good eye. The Warboss, however, kept her attention on Thrall.

“How long do you think he’ll last this time?” Came a voice from behind her, then a chuckle.

Vilmah clenched her jaw. She was used to hearing people speak ill of their former Warchief, but it seemed even less appropriate now. Taking in a calming breath, she made the valiant attempt to clear her mind of the budding anger that was being pricked by both words and the blistering Durotar sun. 

“Who knows. His mate isn’t here, you think he’s going to stay alone?” Came another voice, triggering a twitch in Vilmah’s eyelid. 

“Maybe if he wanted to. Thrall could have a mate in every continent,” the first voice laughed. “Maybe that’s why he’s got that little place in Orgrimmar. Why go back and forth when you can enjoy a few different shades of green?”

“Excuse me,” Vilmah said calmly, turning around to face the voices. An orc and a blood elf stared back at her, bemused. “I don’t think the Warchief.. Thrall, would appreciate your insinuation.”

“The former Warchief is too busy wining and dining Princess Talanji to care what we think,” the blood elf said with a grin. “Lighten up, this is a celebration.”

Chewing on her tongue, Vilmah forced the rage bubbling in her stomach back down. Why be so upset over a few strangers teasing Thrall’s honor, anyway? Exhaling through her nose, she turned back around and watched as the Horde leadership walked toward their feast. Thrall looked particularly downtrodden, his shoulders slumped with an invisible weight. 

“What’s her problem?” Muttered the elf.

“Probably wishes she was the one keeping Thrall in Orgrimmar,” the orc said under his breath.

Vilmah had to stop herself from using her left arm, but her right one seemed to have a mind of its own. At more than a foot shorter than the other orc, she didn’t have the reach to punch him as squarely in the jaw as he would have liked, but she was the perfect height to knock the wind out of his stomach.

A strange silence overtook the crowd surrounding them as dozens of eyes turned toward the commotion. The orc fell backwards and hit the ground, both the wind and his pride knocked out of him. A flash of red clouded Vilmah’s eyes as thoughts of what she could do to this disrespectful orc were listed in the back of her mind, pushing her to act. It took a few seconds for them to fade, even as her eyes faded back to hazel. All the while, she and the other orc held each other’s gaze. 

“Ha! That’s what you get, Kro’han!” The blood elf said finally, slapping the orc’s shoulder as the rest of the crowd erupted into laughter. 

After all, what was a little fist fight amongst seasoned soldiers of the Horde?

Kro’han grinned sheepishly, and accepted Vilmah’s mechanical hand to stand again. “Well it ain’t the first time my mouth has gotten me into trouble,” he said remorsefully, shaking his head. “Sorry ‘bout that, ma’am.”

“Don’t apologize to me,” Vilmah said with a forced calm, her heart slowing from the drums she felt in her temples. Sighing, the hint of a smile lifted the corners of her mouth. “Just don’t push your luck. Thrall might not be Warchief anymore, but if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t be here. And if I was his mate, I wouldn’t have let you off so easy,” she added, elbowing him good naturedly. 

As the Horde leaders’ presence faded from view, the crowd began to disperse. Vilmah remained on the street, the heat of so many packed bodies slowly fading to give her a little more air. Kro’han and his friend laughed to themselves and left with the crowd, their little conflict with Vilmah practically forgotten. With the chatter of the crowd dying, she could hear her own thoughts more clearly, but Thrall’s voice was still on her mind. 

The armistice was signed, and peace between the Horde and the Alliance was finally becoming a reality. This was the dream she had been fighting for, ever since she took her first trip out of the Valley of Trials and met the shaman who would change her life, introducing her to both the concept and the guild known as Sanctuary. For nearly ten years she bled for the Horde, was bled by the Horde, and still stood by the possibility that someday Thrall’s vision could be reached. Now, with it actually happened she considered her place in this city, where her life once burned for her loyalty, and wondered what the world would need with a Warboss if there was no war?

Nearly ten years since she swore allegiance to the Horde and promised her blade to Thrall himself, she stood alone on the streets of Ogrimmar and considered his question again.

Have you come to serve the Horde?


Edited by Vilmah

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