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Everything posted by Vilmah

  1. Vilmah breathed slowly, the warm Durotar air filling her lungs. It tasted heavily of sweat and ash, the price of training indoors. Wearing only cloth pants, she stood in a crouched defensive position. Her bare skin glistened with sweat, reflecting the torches on the wall. Holding her sword parallel to the ground in front of her, every muscle taut, she waited for the blademaster to make his move. Ronokada stood opposite of the smaller orc, his own sword held diagonally in front of his face. His calm demeanor seemed to radiate through the room, and it put Vilmah on edge. It was the sort of calmness she felt desperate for, the complete disregard for rage that her kind so often used to amplify their power. In an instant, the blademaster shortened the distance between them. Taking two long strides, he slashed downward toward Vilmah’s left side. The missing arm made for an easy target, something Ronakada already told her he wanted to exploit. It was a weakness, something that anyone else would use to defeat her if given the chance. To her benefit, Vilmah was prepared. Twisting her body, she slid one leg in front to turn herself to the side, avoiding Ronokada’s blade altogether. It only took a single turn of her arm to slash her own blade against Ronokada’s, steel meeting steel, his attack paused. Unfortunately, there was no time to congratulate herself. The blademaster recovered quickly, turning his blade to the side, hacking at Vilmah’s bare midsection. It might have gutted her, had she not speedily turned her own sword to block him. They went on like that for a long while, the loud ringing of metal against metal rhythmically singing like a bird. Eventually, the singing stopped. Ronokada slashed so hard at Vilmah’s sword that it went flying from her palm and spun against the floor. Rather than stop in his attack however, Ronokada raised his sword and thrust it toward Vilmah’s unarmored chest in a move that could easily have killed her. Instinctively, she twisted her body and slammed her fist against the flat of his blade. It was just enough time to twist herself and slam a bare foot against the older orc’s stomach, sending him stumbling backwards in surprise. Wiping bloody knuckles on her pants, Vilmah waited for him to continue. The blademaster cracked his neck, peering at the female curiously. “That was not expected. Where did you learn that?” “Uh…” Vilmah looked at her fist. “…I’m not sure. In the field, I guess. Always helps to know how to use your hands if you lose a weapon.” “First, never lose your weapon. Second,” Ronokada sheathed his sword. “My sword could have removed your fingers.” “Better my fingers than my head.” The blademaster nodded once, acquiescing. “You take a lot of risks in the name of survival, Bloodborne. It seems to me you have a strong desire to stay alive.” Vilmah raised an eyebrow. “Doesn’t everyone?” “Not enough to risk losing their limbs,” he replied pointedly, nodding toward her missing appendage. “Or to continue on without one. What is it you’re fighting for, exactly?” Vilmah walked toward her sword, retrieving it from the ground. “Everyone, I guess,” she said quietly, contemplative. “I swore a blood oath to serve my guild, so them of course... but not just them. Anyone who can’t defend themselves. I want to leave the world a better place than it was when I came into it.” “And you think killing will do that?” The smaller orc licked her dry lips. “In some cases, yes. There are some out there who do nothing but cause more suffering. They need to be dealt with so that others can have peace.” “And what do you know about peace?” Sheathing her own sword, Vilmah smiled sadly. “Nothing much, really. The only peace I ever knew was before the third war, but I’m not sure I’d even call that peace. Before the liberation, all I knew was captivity. After we were free, all I knew was building and training.” Ronokada folded his arms. “Why did you choose to become a warrior?” “I didn’t really think I did, to be honest. I just sort of, I mean, we were all trained to fight. Some of us had other talents, like the shamans. I wasn’t really good at anything, but…” Her voice trailed as she remembered. “…I just knew I wanted to fight for Thrall and his vision. I knew that what he wanted was the right thing. I wasn’t able to talk to the spirits, like he could. I wasn’t quick, I wasn’t strong. I just knew what I had to do, so I kept at it until I was good enough to go out and and do it.” “Thrall is no longer our warchief,” the blademaster pointed out. “Yet you continue to speak of him as if he were.” “You’re right. He’s not the warchief,” she admitted, no small amount of disappointment in her voice. “But that doesn’t make his vision any less important. I’m not fighting for Thrall.” “No,” Ronokada said firmly. “You are killing for your own ideology. Our people glorify the battle, but death is death, regardless of how strong you are or how strong your opponent is. You are fighting because it is what you are, not what someone else made you. That is an important distinction. Make sure that you understand this, before you pick up a sword.” He walked toward a nearby bench and grabbed a towel to wipe the sweat from his neck. “The way you fought, it reminded me of the Burning Blade. The chaos, the willingness to lose your own flesh just to win. The fight is not always just between you and an enemy, Bloodborne. It is also between you, and the guilt within you that seeks your own demise. You know what I’m talking about. The glory of death in the battlefield? It’s not glorious. It’s an end, and I’ve seen that guilt in you. It will kill you if you do not put it behind you. You think missing an arm is a weakness? It is nothing compared to the longing for death I’ve seen in broken warriors.” Vilmah looked up at the blademaster, meeting his eyes. “I’m not broken, blademaster. I just… I have this feeling, still, that even if I know I did what I had to do, it felt wrong.” “Good,” he replied with a grunt. “Maintain that honesty. Killing isn’t supposed to feel right. The day you convince yourself that it does is the day you truly lose yourself.” “Isn’t that what the Burning Blade was?” She asked boldly. Ronokada furrowed his brow and sat down. He motioned for Vilmah to join him, and she knelt in the dirt floor. “The Burning Blade was like no other clan. We were a force of chaos, those broken so far that we cared not for any lives, including our own. When the Alliance stormed Blackrock Spire, Doomhammer commanded that we be unleashed.” Vilmah knew this story. “You were defeated.” “Yes,” he replied calmly. “It was the bloodiest battle I ever witnessed. We were pure madness, led by the thirst for death; both our enemies’, and our own. Few of us survived, we wanted so badly to die on the battlefield. Those who did not die were taken prisoner, our greatest nightmare. You know that you were born in Hammerfall, Bloodborne. You know what happened in those internment camps. That is where they studied our bloodlust, attempted to discover what it was that made us such a force to be reckoned with.” The smaller orc watched as her instructor told his story, but saw no changes in his demeanor. “What did they find?” “That the only thing making us different from the rest was our insatiable bloodlust. We had been broken years before, in the gladiator battles, where we fought for survival to a point where our survival meant nothing. The Burning Blade was simply made of orcs who didn’t care if we lived or not, so long as we could kill as many as we could along the way. The demon blood we consumed only served to make it worse. When Thrall liberated us, he gave us the choice to join this new Horde. Many of my brethren refused. Those who stayed became blademasters. Those who did not..” Vilmah shook her head. “I know. The Burning Blade clan still exists.” “Not as it once did,” he corrected her. “They are no longer the chaotic entity they once were, but I digress. The history of my clan is a lesson, Bloodborne. The battle of Blackrock Spire was lost before we ever raised a blade. It was lost the moment we gave in to that demonic bloodlust, and stopped thinking about the consequences of our actions. Do not repeat our mistakes.” “Yes, blademaster,” Vilmah said respectfully, placing her hand on the ground and bowing her head. Ronokada watched his student, her thin neck an easy target for any would-be assassin should they be waiting for an opportunity to strike. Naked from the waist up, she had placed every ounce of faith in his ability to train her, regardless of the consequences. She had entered his building a paranoid brute, waiting for an attack, her judgement clouded with the fear of the unknown. She knelt before him now with an unexpected calmness. “You’re doing well, Bloodborne,” he said finally, which allowed her to raise her head. “But you won’t be a blademaster by training with me alone. Go into the field, again. Fight. There is still a part of you that is missing, and can only be found on the battlefield. When you discover what it is, return here, and we will continue.”
  2. Present Day Blademaster Ronakada looked at Vilmah for a long time before speaking. She told her story with as much detail as she could remember, and it wasn’t until she reached the end that her eyes glistened with tears. Gritting her teeth against the show of emotion, Vilmah held her position and swallowed down the sickness that she felt rising in her throat. “You realize what it is you’re confessing to?” The Blademaster said quietly. They were alone in his training room, but he cautiously glanced toward the closed door. “Does anyone else know?” Vilmah sucked in a breath, her demeanor finally breaking. Tears rolled down both cheeks, a reminder of her own weakness. “No. No, Blademaster. No one knows.” He took a moment to let Vilmah compose herself before standing in front of her. The orc used his coarse callused hands to fix her positioning, firmling grabbing her elbow and wrist, straightening her arm. “Do you regret your actions?” She took in a shaky breath and searched herself for an answer. Clarity was difficult, but it came eventually. “No.” “Then let it fade from you,” he said quietly, releasing her arm. “No one is sinless in this world. The Burning Blade Clan committed all manner of atrocities during wartime. What is honorable in the midst of chaos? You could debate it all day. It does not matter. What matters is that you are willing to accept the consequences of your actions. Are you?” Without hesitation, Vilmah answered. “Yes.” “Good,” he grunted, circling her again. “You must make peace with your past. It does not define you, it simply leads you to the place you are now. It led you here, to me. What is important is the future, and what you make of it. Do you understand?” “Yes, Blademaster.” “Close your eyes,” he instructed, his footsteps soft against the dirt floor. “Focus on the present. Listen to your breathing, your heartbeat. Feel the ground against your feet, the heat in the air.” Vilmah breathed in deeply and focused. She felt her pulse, a steady drum beat that reminded her of Draenor. She tasted the hot Durotar air, made hotter by their enclosed space. She smelled the sweat of her own skin, and that of Ronakada’s as she walked past her. She felt the dirt floor, every tiny pebble digging into her foot, the weight of her body heavy on her ankle. Vilmah took another breath and felt calm; with herself, with her past, with the world. “Good. Now, pick up your sword,” Ronokada said with a grin. “It's time I taught you how to fight.”
  3. 30 years after the First War (Year 604 by the King's Calendar) It had been three months since the raid on Sanctuary’s guildhall. There was no word from Nojinbu or any of the other guild members, but Vilmah would not have wanted any. “Scatter,” she told them, once. “If anything ever happens, we know who will be the first to be targeted. Don’t let them find you.” Following her own advice, Vilmah went somewhere she knew no one would think to look; Northrend. Since the campaign against the Lich King, it was sparsely populated. The frozen Stormpeaks were not friendly to outsiders, as storms raged one moment and hollow silence followed. Vilmah hated this place, the cold, the loneliness. In a cave she’d discovered at the crest of a mountain range, she sat by herself, her windrider and wolf out hunting. Unwilling to risk building a fire, she was instead covered in fur from animals she killed when first arriving from Orgimmar. The first few days were the worst. Sick with dread and worry for her mate and the guild, Vilmah tried to take her own advice and lay low. She killed animals for food and warmth, found a cave for refuge, and stared at her hearthstone for signs of life. No one spoke, which both relieved and worried her. After a few weeks of silence, she finally broke and made the attempt to communicate with someone. Thankfully, it was someone that she knew would be safe. It was past midnight when the windrider approached. The night sky was covered in dark clouds, hiding the moon and casting shadows throughout the icy ground. Vilmah did not see the windrider until it was close enough to smell. A hand on her sword, she made no move to show herself until she could see the red eyes of her visitor. “Warboss?” Came a melodic voice. Vilmah stood quickly and ran to the windrider. Sliding off the animal’s back was a blood elf in black robes, her eyes red behind the hood. Ninorra Bloodstone. “Come inside,” Vilmah said quickly, her voice hoarse and low. Ninorra followed the orc inside of her cave, and was followed by the windrider. The large creature took up most of the cave’s entrance, effectively shielding them. “Have you been here this whole time?” The blood elf asked, concern in her voice. Vilmah nodded. “Have to keep out of the way, for now at least. Eventually I may have someone I can reach out to, but for now I think it’s best to stay out of the way. Are you and your family alright?” Ninorra shook her head dismissively. “We are fine. Our home is in Quel’thalas, and the Horde has seen no reason to attack us but we have been warned by Silvermoon to remain inactive. Vicailde is so angry, after what happened…” “Nojinbu?” Vilmah asked quickly. “Anything from him?” “No, Warboss,” the elf sighed. “Although there are rumors of a troll killing Kor'kron. I believe his calling card is the removal of their tusks. It could be Nojinbu, they are hunting him now. No word from anyone else, though our home is open to them. It is open to you, too. You do not have to be here.” The orc shook her head quickly. “No, I won’t put you in danger. What’s happening in Orgrimmar?” “Well, Hellscream is certainly making a name for himself,” the elf said with lowered eyelids, irritation in her tone. “He has been having his Kor’kron raid other peace oriented guilds, though not as well-known as our Sanctuary. The Kor’kron actively intimidate Horde allies, which is why I do not go to Orgimmar any longer. The last time I went, I saw Kor’kron stringing up trolls by the throat. For amusement.” Vilmah looked horrified, but did not interrupt. “They do it to anyone they want,” Ninorra continued. “Goblins, Sin’dorei, their desire to intimidate has turned them mad. My people do not go to Orgimmar, and the Forsaken steer clear as well. The tauren are even more displeased, but the trolls, you know how they are. They were such close allies with the Horde, it is difficult for them to leave. However…” The blood elf spoke in whispers now. “I have heard rumors concerning a hunt for Vol’jin. It seems Hellscream considers him a threat, so at least you are not alone in your exile.” The orc nodded and pursed her lips. “Hellscream… have you seen him?” “Only once,” Ninorra sighed. “I saw him and several Kor’kron females tormenting a troll. They laughed as one of those ‘ladies’ threw him by the tusk. His… his jaw was broken. I…” The elf seemed overwhelmed by the memory. “I could not bear it, Warboss. The cruelty of this Horde. I had to go. I have not been back since.” Vilmah’s eyebrows knit. She looked up at the elf, curiously. “Did you say ‘females’?” “Yes,” Ninorra answered. “Big ones, almost as big as Garrosh himself. He seems to be enjoying his status,” she added dryly. Vilmah’s eyes darted as she considered the possibilities. Eventually she nodded at Ninorra. “Thank you. I appreciate you telling me all this. I’m going to leave here soon, but I won’t be telling anyone about where I am for a long time. If anyone asks, don’t tell them anything, alright?” “Even Nojinbu?” “Especially Nojinbu,” Vilmah said sadly. “If he’s alive, I’ll find him, but not now.” Ninorra reached into her bag and pulled out several stacks; food, clothes, and water. “Please take care of yourself, Warboss. I will keep your secret safe.” In the months that followed, Vilmah found herself in the crosshairs of a handful of assassins sent by the Warchief. One of them, a rogue, was able to sneak close enough behind Vilmah that she used both knives to cut her throat. In a blind bloodrage, Vilmah used her mechanical arm to slam against the rogue’s jaw, breaking it into a dozen pieces. The rogue went down, struggling for a moment until a plated boot crashed into her skull. Wasting no more time, Vilmah searched for health potions on her would-be assassin and found enough to stop the bleeding of her throat. The scars never faded, and even as more came to kill her, somehow, she managed to survive. She made her way down to neutral towns, dressed in furs designed to disguise her physique. Her time in the mountains had made Vilmah harder than before; there were lines in her face, her muscles were sinewy, and without help from a good barber her formerly shaved skull was reclaimed by thick purple hair. She may have appeared different, but she remained cautious. Wrapping her mechanical arm in leather to make it appear as if it were a real part of her, she went to Shattrath in the hopes that maybe there would be more news. There, she learned of the approaching attack on Orgrimmar. It seemed both the Horde and the Alliance would work together to overthrow the Warchief. Vilmah considered the possibility of rejoining her people, fighting side-by-side with the Horde to overthrow their own leader, but she could not find it within herself to trust that they would not betray her. Not yet. Eventually, she found a way. Sending word to Kimiji and Stranglethorn Exports, Vilmah was able to procure a potion that would temporarily make her appear to be human. She received enough to practice a few times, walking through Shattrath in her disguise, attempting to make friendly gestures to the Alliance forces who were there. The language barrier was a problem, but eventually Vilmah learned a few words of common. Nobody seemed suspicious of her heavy accent, or her arm as she disguised it with wrapped leather and used it to carry a massive shield. As the day of the siege approached, Vilmah prepared herself for what was about to happen. Having rented a room at a small inn, she dressed herself as if she would were she going into any normal battle. Plate armor, a sword, a shield, and a helmet. A mirror on the wall reflected her image; a small orc, ready for war, her long purple hair tied into a tight braid to keep it out of the way. With a deep breath, she drank down the potion. It wasn’t the first time she saw herself as human, but it always jarred her. The way human physiques were so similar to her own, the way her face shifted, the way her skin didn’t have to change very much from its original brownish green to a more neutral brown. Her long purple braid was black, but besides that, remained the same. Even her eyes were the same, a light brown and gold. Her mouth felt strange without tusks, and she had to move her jaw a few times before it became comfortable. Staring at her reflection, she thought about what her father would say if he knew what she was about to do. The idea was almost laughable; he would try to kill her himself. Taking up her sword and shield, she went to the meeting place. It would all be over, soon. The siege of Orgrimmar was unlike any raid Vilmah had ever been involved with. The Alliance were friendly with one another, and although the situation was dire, there was an air of optimism. As if they all seemed to agree that this was what needed to be done. She couldn’t recall the Horde ever having that kind of unity, outside of her own guild, and even there her bloodsworn would often be at odds. With her heavily accented common, the humans directed Vilmah toward the back where she could protect their magic users. She kept her helmet down and fought beside them, careful not to break from the group until they grew closer to Garrosh himself. The Alliance forces were so preoccupied by the coming fight that they did not notice a single warrior slip away through Grommash Hold’s halls. Vilmah could not help but think of all the times she had been there. When Sanctuary, in its infancy, would hold interviews for prospective members in the same room as Thrall and Vol’jin. She remembered coming to Thrall for advice, she remembered the calm way in which he spoke to her and every other member of the Horde. She remembered the hope he had for his people, and the rage she felt when it was shattered. Walking down the halls, she noticed that they seemed empty. The Kor’kron had been alerted to the attack, and in the chaos had left many of the hold’s doors and halls unguarded. That is, until she came to the room she remembered. Thrall’s private room, the place he went to when he needed to be alone. It was one of the most heavily fortified rooms in Grommash Hold, where she knew Garrosh would keep whatever he wanted to protect more than anything. Two Kor’kron guarded the entrance. By the time they caught sight of her, she was already close enough to bash her shield into the face of the first one. He went down with a grunt, lips bloody, a tusk knocked loose. The second Kor’kron roared like an angry bear and swung his axe toward Vilmah’s back. Turning her body to meet his blow with her shield, her sword arm jabbed upwards and sunk deep into his torso. It was a quick and fatal blow, but the Kor’kron did not give up. Rage inflamed his red eyes, and he punched Vilmah with a massive fist. It sent her flying backwards into the opposite wall, her back aching as she struck solid stone. “You’re dead, human!” The first or said through a bloody mouth, spitting out his tusk. Vilmah took a deep breath and counted her options. With no sword, she was left with only her shield. Switching it to her other arm, she felt her own rage erupt from the pit of her stomach as she charged at the tuskless orc and jabbed the edge of her shield directly beneath his jaw. The serrated edge punctured his flesh and dug an enormous tear into his throat, effectively forcing his own blood down his windpipe. The orc choked and spit blood into Vilmah’s face, which she returned by spitting back into his. Eye-to-eye with the Kor’kron, she spoke in clear orcish. “Say hello to Hellscream for me. He'll be joining you soon.” One more jab with the shield was all it took for him to go down like a sack of meat. The other Kor’kron, still scrambling to pull the sword from his stomach, fell to his knees with exhaustion. Vilmah kicked his skull with her heavy boot, forcing his back to the ground, and reached to retrieve her sword. Pulling it out, she watched for a moment as his blood came gushing from the wound, covering the ground in a shallow pool. Vilmah breathed heavily as she watched both orcs struggle against death. By the time they stopped breathing, she felt calm again. The door was unguarded. Behind it was, she predicted, Garrosh’s most precious commodity. The reality of what she was about to do screamed at her from within. You’re not a murderer. You can’t do this. But I am a murderer. I’ve been murdering people since the Horde trained me. They taught me to kill. They sent me to kill. But you killed terrible people, didn’t you? People who deserved it? Don’t I deserve it? We’re all killers in the end. She opened the door. Standing inside were three Kor’kron women. They were all heavily armed, still in their armor, and stood at least a foot and a half taller than Vilmah herself. For orcish standards, they were beautiful. Tall and muscular, with thick torsos and thighs. Their hair was cropped short for battle, their skin varying shades of brown and green. They were physically the opposite of Vilmah, a reminder of her diminuative weakness. Smirking at the tiny human, the first Kor’kron took a step forward, twin axes in hand. “Well what have we here,” she said with a chuckle. “Some human meat, hand delivered.” Vilmah raised her shield. The first blow was harder than she expected. One axe went into her shield, the other came from the side. Just shy of biting into Vilmah’s waist, it hit the wall behind her as the smaller fighter pushed her shield into the Kor’kron. The huge orcess grunted with irritation and tried to hack behind the shield, but Vilmah was too small and the shield too wide. With a burst of energy, she pushed forward and slammed the top edge of her shield into the orcess’ face. There was a yowl of pain, followed by a snarl. Blood ran freely from her nose, and she grinned again. “Can’t hide behind that shield forever,” a second Kor’kron grunted, stepping forward. She held a sword the length of Vilmah’s body, and swing it directly at the shield, biting into the thick metal. With the enemy sword connected to her shield, Vilmah slid from behind it and scrambled to the third Kor’kron female. This one had been ready and waiting, a massive axe in hand. She swung downwards with the heavy weapon, loosing a chunk of stone from the floor as Vilmah dodged its blade. Using the axe head as a platform, Vilmah jumped up and thrust her sword into the Kor’kron’s throat. It went straight through to the other side. Leaving the weapon buried in the orcess’ neck, Vilmah retrieved her axe from the ground. It was a familiar heavy weight. Holding the two-handed weapon, her helmed face covered in blood, the remaining two Kor’kron narrowed their eyes in realization; this was no human. “You’re going to suffer for that,” the orcess with the twin axes grunted, spinning her weapons around each wrist. Vilmah remembered what Ninorra said, about how the Kor’kron had been tormenting the other allied races. Spitting out blood, she spoke to them in orcish. “Like the trolls you’ve been torturing? Like the Horde allies you put to the sword?” The sword wielding Kor’kron frowned deeply. “The only Horde is the orcish Horde. You’re going to learn that before you die.” With a deep shaky breath, Vilmah lifted the axe and took a step toward the other two orcish women. They separated and came at her from different angles; one with a wide swing of her sword, the other with a fury of axes sweeping in from below. Vilmah twisted her body and used the two-handed axe’s head to block her assailant’s sword, but she wasn’t fast enough not to miss being hit by one of the smaller double axes. One bit into her thigh, the other into her mechanical arm. A loud “clank!” followed by a whir of broken mechanical pieces brought a surprised look to the Kor’kron’s face. “Wait a second…” Before she could finish her thought, Vilmah stumbled back and swung her axe at the sword-wielding Kor’kron’s body. The blade struck her side and bit deep, bone stopping the blade from going any further. She fell with a grunt, her sword clattering to the ground. Vilmah left the blade inside and rushed to her prone body, stomping her skull squarely with the heel of her boot. A crunching noise echoed through the room, and she was dead. “You’re no human,” the remaining Kor’kron growled. “You fight like an orc. Your arm is metal. You’re that traitor that the Warchief wants dead.” Vilmah took in a few shallow breaths, her wounds bleeding profusely. She had to finish this before she lost too much blood. “Yeah.” The huge orcess laughed, then sneered. “Do you know what you’ve done? The Warchief will not let you out of here alive. He is going to have your flesh flayed from your bones, and then he is going to make you watch while he does the same to every fucking troll in Orgrimmar.” Gritting her teeth against the rage, Vilmah took a step forward. “Garrosh isn’t going anywhere. He’s surrounded. You know he’s outnumbered, that they’re going to kill him or at least bring him to justice. He’s failed. You’ve all failed. If I were you, I would run, and never look back.” “I’m not running anywhere, bitch,” the Kor’kron growled, spinning her axes once more. “The future of the Horde is with me. Hellscream will never die, but you will.” She ran at Vilmah, though it only took a few steps to close their distance. With a two-handed axe, it was more difficult to block the Kor’kron’s furious attacks. Vilmah had to sacrifice an injury for the opportunity to strike, and allowed one of her enemy’s axes to bite down into the metal of her plate mail torso so that she could kick the other one out of her hand. With one axe buried into Vilmah’s armor, and the other spinning away on the floor, the Kor’kron headbutted her enemy’s head to send her flying into the wall. Vilmah shook her head and ripped off the helmet, revealing a human face covered in blood. She spit some out and, in her closeness to the corpse with her sword buried in her neck, Vilmah abandoned the large axe to retrieve it. The Kor’kron grabbed for her own axe and rushed at Vilmah again, hacking at the smaller woman from the side while her other hand grabbed on to the breastplate of her enemy’s armor and hoisted her into the air. Vilmah flailed as she was lifted, but having no time to block the attack, let it sink into her side. The plate mail absorbed most of the blow, but the force caused the metal to buckle inward and break several of her ribs. Without thinking, she thrust her sword into the orcess’ chest. Both went down with a crash. Blood gushed from the Kor’kron’s wound, but she had no more strength to stand. Vilmah held her side, broken ribs sending waves of pain and nausea into her that threatened unconsciousness. Swallowing down the pain, she crawled to the Kor’kron. “You… do you know what you’ve done...” The orcess wheezed, her lungs filling with blood. Vilmah spat more blood on the floor, her vision dizzying. “I did what I had to,” she said hoarsely. “The Kor’kron are over. Garrosh’s reign of terror is over. Hellscream’s will is dead.” The orcess coughed more blood and turned her head. Within moments she was dead, and Vilmah knelt beside the three bodies of dead Kor’kron women. One of them, she saw, was thicker in the middle than the other two. The gravity of her actions hit Vilmah then, a weight in her stomach that forced her to vomit on the floor with grief and shame.
  4. There was a thick heat in the air, sticky and foul smelling. Orgimmar was home to many craftsmen, from leather workers of Mulgore to old Blackrock Clan blacksmiths. Near these metal workers and their enormous forges were training buildings, where veterans from the third, second, and even first wars trained young fighters in arts that may have otherwise gone on to be forgotten. The orcish Horde had many warriors, but for most the desire for quick bloodshed created a legion of new fighters that utilized rage and speed. Using twin weapons was popular these days, especially for warriors in the field. Vilmah held a single weapon in her single hand, an enormous sword from the Isles. Her arm strained to hold it straight, above her head in a fighting stance taught to her by Blademaster Ronakada. He watched patiently as she stood in a crouched position, her back straight, her knees bent, her right arm bent behind her head to hold her sword at an angle. Sweat rolled down her neck and off of her bare chest, which Ronakada insisted was part of their training. “Don’t worry,” he assured her. “I’ve seen better.” It took some getting used to, but they were alone in his training area. Wearing only cloth pants, she stood on the dirt floor with bare feet, toes spread to absorb the weight of her body and the sword. The Blademaster circled her as she stood perfectly still, her muscles burning from the strain. Ronakada spoke in a deep voice, low and quiet as she stared intently at the wall in front of her. “The path you will walk is paved with rage, anger, and fear. If you stumble on these emotions, you will fall. This is the breaking point for most of our kind, the inability to escape that rage. This is why we fell,” he added, standing close to Vilmah’s face. “They will say you are slow and weak. That this way of fighting is lost for a reason, and the Burning Blade Clan were slaves to the Legion and nothing more.” Vilmah blinked but did not change her stony expression. “So more of the same,” she said calmly. “I’ve been told I was slow and weak my whole life, Blademaster.” Ronakada sneered and continued to circle her. “You are weak, Bloodborne. Had it not been for that Frostwolf mother of yours, you would have been drowned. I would have drowned you myself.” Vilmah swallowed, her throat dry. “Yes, Blademaster.” “They adopted you out of pity, you know. Soft hearted Frostwolves,” he spat. “They speak of honor as if it were something you can just obtain. They are the weakest of us, and you are evidence of that weakness.” The heavy thumping of Vilmah’s pulse was thudding in her ears. “Yes, Blademaster.” “A runt, a coward, and down one arm,” Ronakada continued. “You’re practically useless as a warrior. What place is there for you in the Horde?” The orcess inhaled deeply from her nose, but the tips of her ears were dark. She let out a shaky breath and kept her position. “I will show you, Blademaster.” “Show me what? You’re tenacious, I’ll give you that,” he said with a grunt. “That Guild of yours burning, Kor’kron beating and killing your bloodsworn. You came back only to have it all taken by elves. They don’t need you, Bloodborne. Stop being stubborn. Nobody needs you.” Vilmah clenched her teeth. Her right arm trembled for a moment. “..yes, Blademaster.” “I heard that you even rut with trolls,” he said close to her ear. “Is that what you do, Bloodborne? Lie with trolls? How many? Is that why you were so broken when Vol’jin fell?” She made a sound with her throat that surprised her. Vilmah let out a choked grunt, her eyes watering. The orc kept her pose, sniffing back the tears that she denied herself the day their warchief died. Gripping her sword tightly, knuckles white with the effort. She took in another deep breath. “…just my mate, Blademaster.” “What’s his name, whelp?” Vilmah took in another deep breath. “Nojinbu of the Frostbite tribe. A Drakkari troll.” Ronakada paused, tilting his head for a moment. “The one who killed those Kor’kron, years ago? The one who used their own tusks to pin notes to their corpses.” Finally, Vilmah felt herself smile. Through the pain of her pose, and the strain of holding it, she remembered the vengeance of her troll mate. How his one blue eye was blood shot with rage, how he smelled of blood and sweat and poison. How he did whatever he could to make the Kor’kron suffer before eventually putting them to death. “Yes, Blademaster.” “I’m sure you enjoyed that, didn’t you? All the violence. It’s natural for our kind,” Ronakada explained, pacing. “The blood, the glory of battle. We all want it, but you let him do it for you. You let him kill for you, because you were a coward.” Finally, her voice rose in pitch. “No. No, Blademaster. That is not what I did.” Ronakada tilted his head, curious. “What did you do, Bloodborne?” There was a burning in her chest, now. It traveled down to her stomach until she could taste bile. Her right hand trembled again. “..Blademaster..” “What did you do?” Vilmah swallowed. “When Hellscream came to power, we were exiled. A heavy price was put on all of our heads, but I was wanted dead or alive. It was easy to recognize me, obviously,” she added with no small amount of bitterness. “There was nowhere for me to go, and I didn’t want to hide. I wanted to fight, but the enemy was in Orgimmar.” Ronakada narrowed his eyes. “The Siege of Orgimmar,” she continued. “I needed to be there. I needed to help, but I couldn’t do it with the Horde. The only way for me to fight was to... was to go with the Alliance.” The Blademaster shook his head. “How?” Vilmah grit her teeth at the memory, but willed herself to continue. “There was a potion. A friend of mine could make it. When I took it, I looked human. Nobody questioned a human with one arm, and I didn’t have to know their language to know where to go. So I went with them into Orgrimmar.” “It was treacherous, Bloodborne,” the blademaster admitted. He looked sickened by the idea. “What you did, you would be branded a traitor.” A weak laugh erupted from her mouth. “That’s not the worst part, Blademaster. Not even a little. I’m not sorry I joined them in that fight. I wasn’t looking for glory. I wanted revenge. I wanted Hellscream to suffer. To know what it's like to have everything you ever wanted stolen from you.” Ronakada waited for her to continue. Vilmah closed her eyes. “I knew they would go after him. I knew he’d be dead, or at least defeated. He was outnumbered, and I wasn’t going to be the one to strike the killing blow, not with my armor or weapon. So I took another route. I left the group and went to the place in Grommash Hold where I knew Thrall used to go to be alone. When I got there, two Kor’kron were guarding it, so I knew I was right. They went down, but it wasn’t easy. I was able to kill those guards, and all anyone ever saw was a human with one arm. Nobody knew it was me.” The blademaster’s expression turned grave. “I went inside and there were warriors in there. Waiting. The thing is, they were all female. Some of them… they weren’t fit to fight. Understand?” Ronakada’s eyebrows raised. “You know, I used to dream of a great future,” Vilmah said quietly, her voice strangely calm. “We’d follow Thrall and his commands, we’d make peace with the Alliance, and we’d finally know what it’s like to not have to spend your life killing. Thrall, my Warchief… he had a beautiful future planned. It was going to be my future, and Hellscream killed it.” Vilmah opened her eyes. “So I killed his.”
  5. Edmund was startled by the other animal, his large blue eyes in shock at the sudden change in course. Vilmah pat his neck to calm him, squeezing her eyes shut behind her helmet for a moment, willing herself to be patient. By the time Saphiara spoke again, the orc forced herself to listen. The weapon and the remote confused Vilmah at first, but after a few seconds, she understood their significance. Instinctively, she flexed the fingers of her mechanical arm, just to be sure. "Please, deliver these to those I harmed." Vilmah looked at the letters in her hand. "I cannot bring myself to do it in person." Blademaster Ronakada's voice echoed in her mind. Until you learn to forgive, you will never win this battle. She wanted to learn from the Blademaster, to discover what it was that brought him such peace. It was the clarity she needed to move on, if not to simply survive. Was this a test? She kicked Edmund's flanks gently and urged him forward. Without hesitation, she reached forward and took Saphiara's letters with her mechanical hand, a defeated expression hidden beneath her helm. "None of us are well, but it takes courage to admit it. This is a good start," she sighed, holding up the letters. "I'll deliver them. It doesn't do anyone any good to hold a grudge. I hope you find the peace you're looking for."
  6. "Uh..." Vilmah closed her eyes for a moment. The weight of her actions and her past sunk into her stomach like a stone. Years ago, it would have made her nauseous. More recently it influenced paranoia. Today, however, it fell flat. After years of exile, fear, and retribution, she finally understood the lesson of the blademaster. Vilmah opened her eyes. "Whatever helps your sleep at night, Saphiara. I'm not going to argue with you. You're mad at me for leaving? I get that. Fine, I was wrong for not fighting more. I could have come back, I could have stormed into Orgimmar, I could have challenged the Kor'kron and I could have stood my ground. You know what else I could have done? I could have died, and what happens then? You feel better? Because I let myself be killed so you can feel good about yourself? That's not how it works. "Death isn't an answer to your problems. You want me to feel bad? Well, wish granted. I feel like shit every day because I can't be the mythical hero people wanted me to be. Death is final, and the only way I can do anything is if I'm still alive. I'm here right now, I'm alive, I'm fighting. If you don't like it, that's your burden. I'm not here to make you feel good. I'm here to do my job." Grabbing her wolf by the reins, Vilmah hoisted herself on to his back. She put her helmet back on and shut the visor to hide her eyes. "Good luck, Saphiara." Kicking ber wolf's flanks, she lened to the left and guided him away from the elf. Her heart was pounding, but for the first time in a lomg time, Vilmah felt relief.
  7. Vilmah raised an eyebrow. Sliding off of Edmund, she hit the ground with a thud. "Not to my knowledge. Didn't really know there was a war.. and honestly, I don't have the energy to be hunting anyone. The Legion is in our midst and we're too busy trying to fight them off to worry about old grudges. Besides.." She sighed and scratched the back of her neck. "There's too much to worry about right now to hold grudges for something. You were one of at least a dozen people out to kill me and I don't think I care to keep track anymore."
  8. Vilmah blinked. It was a familiar voice, and she was starting to get used to hearing familiar voices. Squinting through her helmet, she saw what looked like an elven woman. Eventually her face came into focus, and Vilmah blinked again. "...Saphiara?" The name had a lot of memories, most recently of which involving Saphiara attempting to blame Vilmah for her absence during Sanctuary's scattering. She was also fairly certain that the elf wanted to kill her, but that would have put her on a very large list of potential murderers. "Uh.. yeah, it's me."
  9. One day earlier Vilmah trudged through Orgimmar. Having visited the contracting office to learn the procedures that the Horde used to do background checks on their grunts and peons, she discovered that their department was not only inefficient but inept as well. She traded insults with one of their supervisors before being given an armful of paperwork to go through. Dumping it all into one of her enchanted bags, with her jaw in an irritated grimace, she walked through the once familiar streets of a city that felt completely alien to her. Eventually, she walked into the Valley of Honor. Dressed in her plate mail, she seemed like most of the other warriors, despite her size. Without her helmet, her long purple hair and brownish skin was recognizable enough, so in Orgrimmar she went without. Many of the orcs gave her a salute as she walked by, which she returned begrudgingly. As she approached the warrior training area, a sound caught her attention. Steel against steel, grunting. A hand instinctively went to the handle of her sword, but she did not draw the blade. Before her, in a small patch of dirt, was a circle of orcs. They surrounded two warriors; one, a young male with two blades the size of his wrists, and the other an older orc with a missing eye. The one eyed orc held a single blade in his hand, and although his opponent was fully armored, he was mostly bare chested. Vilmah watched curiously as the two orcs circled each other. She nodded at one of the bystanders, a blacksmith in a heavily charred apron. “What’s going on?” “Some pup challenged Blademaster Ronakada,” the orc laughed, grinning with a missing tusk. “Two swords are better than one, he said.” The orcess felt her eyelid twitch with irritation. Having trained in combat using only a single blade, she watched the Blademaster for the same cues her own teachers gave her. The use of a single blade, she was told, was a study in patience. To wait for the perfect opportunity and strike when necessary. Recently, Vilmah found it difficult to be patient in this way, but Blademaster Ronakada had no such trouble. He stood perfectly still, and waited for the match to begin. “One… two… three…” An orc called nearby. “Go!” The younger warrior ran for Ronakada, his twin blades glistening in Orgimmar’s blistering sun. He leapt for the older orc, a battle cry on his lips, and swept both blades toward his opponent. Ronakada took one step to the left, and drew his sword. The butt of his weapon hit the other orc squarely in the jaw. Ronakada used this moment to turn the blade, and push its sharp end against the younger warrior’s throat. The fight was over in less than ten seconds. A cheer went through the crowd, and Ronakada was hailed as the victor. Humiliated, the other orc grunted in defeat, but Ronakada pat him on the shoulder. “Quality over quantity, pup. Do not forget that.” The calm manner in which Ronakada spoke after the fight filled Vilmah with a sense of wonder. How was it possible, she wondered, for any orc to be so collected in the face of blades flying at them? Most of the warriors she was taught by put an emphasis on rage. This one seemed to do the opposite. In a way, he reminded her of Nojinbu. The troll’s abandonment of his rogue lifestyle in pursuit of peace as a monk had gifted him with a certain grace that she did not understand. After the crowd cleared, she walked to the Blademaster’s training area. “Blademaster Ronakada?” She asked, approaching him. Respectfully, Vilmah removed her helmet. The older orc looked up with one eye and regarded the warrior with a glance. “Yes?” “My name is Vilmah Bloodborne,” she said, helmet at her side. “I saw you fight outside.” Ronakada grunted. “You and every other orc out there. What about it?” “The way you fight,” she began, looking for the right words. “It’s… I mean, it’s different. I was trained in the arms style, one blade. It was always my preferred way of fighting, until I took up the shield. But I was taught to utilize my rage. You don’t seem to do that at all.” The Blademaster shook his head, folding his arms across his chest. “It’s a misconception. Some of our kind uses rage to intimidate. That is not the case with me.” “Why not?” Ronakada grinned. “Because I do not need to.” Vilmah paused, then took a step forward. “Teach me.” The other orc blinked. “What?” “Teach me,” she repeated, patting her sword. “I’m a warrior. I use a single blade. I'm obviously never going to intimidate anyone, so I need to know how to do what you do.” Ronakada grunted and waved a hand. “You’re a seasoned warrior. Already fighting on the isles, from the looks of it. What the hell would you want to learn from me for?” “Because I have to get better, and my emotions are in the way,” she explained, removing one of her gauntlets. Vilmah exposed her mechanical arm to the Blademaster, it’s metal reflecting their faces. Realization came to Ronakada’s face when he saw the arm. “…I know who you are. You are the one they put in the fighting pit. The one they said was plotting to kill the Warchief, years ago. I heard you tore someone's throat out with your teeth.” Vilmah looked away, shame in her face. “I gave my life for Thrall. I still do,” she added, holding up the arm. “I may have one that fight, but I lost my arm. I can’t lose my head.” The Blademaster was silent in his reflection. Turning his back to Vilmah, he sighed. “I can hear desperation in your voice. You have unfinished business. A weight is in you, and it has to be lifted before I can teach you anything.” “What sort of weight?” “Guilt,” Ronakada answered, turning back to her. “You feel guilt over something, and until you learn to forgive, you will never win this battle.” Vilmah pursed her lips. There was guilt, and there was fear. “When you can learn to forgive, come back,” the Blademaster said, folding his arms. “I will teach you, Bloodborne, but you have to be willing to do exactly as I say.” The next day, Vilmah rode through Azsuna. She remembered Ronakada’s words, and tried to think of a time when she was not burdened by her memories. The early years of Sanctuary, when she and Nojinbu rode together through Stranglethorn Vale, or when she and Grisch spoke of the glories of the Horde to come. Before Garrosh Hellscream, before the blaze. She cursed herself and kicked Edmund’s sides, urging the wolf-dog on. He stopped suddenly, startling Vilmah from her thoughts as he sniffed the ground. “What the.. Edmund? What is it?” Something in front of them moved.
  10. Vilmah

    The Smell

    The field is heavy with the smell of blood and sweat. Decomposition has only just begun, a feast for thousands of carrion birds. The sun has only just set and there is peace from the screams and the clash of metal. Somewhere, someone is whispering prayers. Moments later, they are gone. Dead eyes look up hopelessly, lifeless beyond the fading blue. A black fly, fearless, lands on the surface and lies eggs within the decaying eyelid. With the setting sun comes the chill of night. Bodies beneath the moon, growing warmer with rot, create humidity that rises from the ground. A warm sweet smelling mist covers the grass, envelops the bodies. Inhale. Hazel eyes open, still living. They face the sky and see a clear picture; stars, clouds illuminated by a waxing moon. Birds in the distance, growing closer for the promised meal of a thousand corpses. It is still quiet. I can't feel my arm. But that is normal. The left arm has been gone for years, but now even the phantom pain of her nonexistant fist has disappeared. She lays on her back, flexes the fingers of her right hand. Pain shoots forward, from her wrist to her elbow to her brain. The hand is broken, the shoulder dislocated. Her breathing is shallow, a gentle whistle accompanying every exhale. Puffs of mist from her lips. She wonders if the fog is a sign of life, perhaps the bodies around her still live. Vilmah opens her mouth to speak, but her her voice is gone. There is not enough air in her lungs, and the stars are fading from her vision. All around her is the smell; the acrid smell of human piss, the stale smell of the Forsaken, the earthy smell of tauren fur. The coppery smell of orc blood, the sweet smell of elf hair, the sour smell of troll breath. The mist rises and fills her nostrils, choking her. The orcess can pick apart the smells and knows that this is what lies beneath her as she dies; the bodies of allies, the bodies of enemies. Her own body is only one of them, and soon they will rot together, become part of the earth. The moon looks on without empathy, illuminating the rising mist. It's beautiful. A sound from nowhere. Thumping, like her slowing heartbeat. Footsteps? "Stray not, all ye fallen, from the depths of the earth Eternal embrace of solitude, voices whispered of your birth Sleep now and be stolen, ascend ye through the wastes In death may ye find mercy, in death find your place.." Vilmah looks toward the voice, but the light is fading faster. Blackness takes her vision. "Drink the black of nothingness, your heart has beat it's last.." No. "Flesh to feed the crows, blood to feed the grass.." No. "Will you crawl through corpses of the loved ones who will fall?" I... "Will you stand alone, stand broken, will you answer the call?" Yes. Who are you? There is silence. Slimy swollen hands grab Vilmah, the hands of the dead. The pull her down, toward the ground, toward the soup of entrails and decomposing flesh. She can feel her heart strain against the flesh wounds, her own blood pooling in the ground from wounds too numerous to count. An agonizing death with an easy end. You know who I am. Vilmah grits her teeth and pulls from the hands. They struggle to keep her in their grasp, though they are many and most are larger than her own. Troll hands, orc hands, tauren hands. The claws of a Forsaken, the soft palms of an elf. They cling to her armor, desperate to keep her close to their embrace. You know who we all are. Finally, a burst of light; the moon in her eyes. She rolls over, pain searing through her limbs, blood in her mouth and nose. Before her are the faces of the dead; a young forest troll with a sad smile, an old jungle troll with a devious grin. A tauren with a disappointed frown, as if he had been waiting for this moment and it was ripped from his hands. An orc with red eyes. An orc with no eyes. An elven woman. A Forsaken man. We're all waiting for you. A flash of light. Morning. Vilmah awoke from her dream clutching a knife in her right hand. It was tight in her grip, leaving an imprint inside of her palm. One of the many weapons she kept on her person at all time, she must have grabbed it in her sleep. The voice from her dream eachoed in her mind. "Will you stand alone, stand broken, will you answer the call?" She could still smell them.
  11. You know it's been a weird day when Shokkra makes me think about my beliefs. They used to be pretty cut and dry; serve and protect. That much hasn't changed. Neither have my methods; fight your way through. I think what's changed is my willingness to believe that I'm capable of making any huge differences. I used to think that maybe, if I tried hard enough, we could really make some headway. If I just reached out enough, fought enough, represented the Horde in Thrall's image enough, we could show the Alliance who we really are. Well I did that, and then I realized that it's not who the Horde is. The Horde isn't me. I want to believe that I represent the Horde and it's ideals, but we've changed so much since I led Sanctuary that I'm pretty sure my beliefs don't mesh with everyone else's. I don't even think they ever did. I'm lucky Sanctuary still exists, because with it comes people I can put some trust in, but beyond us? I don't know. All I know is that I'm too set in my ways to be a fatalist, so I'm going to keep trying to do my best and fighting and representing the Horde the way Thrall would have wanted it, but.. Even Thrall isn't around, right now. Maybe that's this nagging feeling I've been having. I keep thinking I'm forgetting something, like there's something missing. Is it Thrall? Was he the reason I did all of this? Is he the reason I can't find myself feeling okay about it, anymore? It would be wrong of me, and weak of me to allow his absense to dictate my emotional state. I refuse to be weak, but I will openly admit that his actions gutted me. Both figuratively and almost literally. Watching your hero fall apart is like watching your life fall apart. Who do you put your faith in, now? All you have is yourself. All I have is myself. And my Bloodsworn, I suppose, though their numbers are small and our relationships complicated. No matter how things change, they seem to always stay the same. I have everything I need. I have my guild, I have my family, I have my sword and shield. I have a purpose, and a drive. I have the will to see this fight against the Legion through until the end, or until I'm dead. So what's missing?
  12. The more things change, the more things stay the same. The fighting, the arguing.. sometimes I wonder why I even bother, but then I remember I', too set in my ways not to. Besides, what else ould I do? I'm just tired of having to deal with everyone's trauma. I know we've all been through the worst the world has to offer. I'm definitely not the first person who's had to deal with being hunted, or who lost someone, and I know it's harder for some to deal with things like that.. but sometimes I just want to smack some sense into them. The world does not revolve around you, I want to say. Leave your problems at the door. We have bigger things to worry about. Stop being selfish. Then I realize I'm just talking to myself. I really hate this.
  13. "First off," Vilmah said, taking in a deep breath. "I'm not the leader of Sanctuary anymore. I sent you a cryptic letter because my name isn't a safe one. During Garrosh's reign, my guild was hunted, some of us killed. There was a price on my head. There are still some out there who'd be happy to kill me. I've had to live these past few years watching over my shoulder, always, because I never knew who to trust. I didn't give my name because I didn't want it disrupted by someone and you mixed up with it. That's all." Looking around for a moment, she uncomfortably shifted her stance. "I'm not here to tell you what you should do. We were hunted for things like this, because I tried to help the other side. I obviously haven't learned my lesson, but I guess I'm too stubborn. Or stupid. Either way, I just wanted to ket you know what I know because it seemed like.." the orc rubbed her forehead. "It seemed like the right thing to do. Even if it's not true. It could be nothing, but at least someone on your side knows. That's all I wanted to do." Vilmah tried to stand up straight but found herself glancing around again, as if looking for someone. "I assumed too much, maybe. But I remembered you, and I remembered your kindness. So if I remembered wrong, then I apologize, but if I assumed you'd be interested it's because I got the impression you'd care. If you don't, it's fine. Just tell me and I'll go."
  14. "Well... In my experience, worg are loyal," Vilmah said simply, but thought on her answer for a moment. "..though, my clan forms special relationships with their packmates. I don't know much about worgen," the orcess admitted. "I don't even know if I've ever spoken to one, really." She looked up carefully at the draenei, still confused but at a loss for what else to do. "..should I go to someone else with what I know? I didn't mean to bother you, if you don't want this. I'm sorry. I don't know if something happened, but.. anyway, I'll go if you want."
  15. Vilmah looked apprehensively at the card, her hazel eyes squinting slightly as she tried to decipher some sort of meaning. Prior to meeting Tuuroto, her only other exposure to cards were at the Darkmoon Faire, and even then she typically wasn't interested in what they had to say. The card he held had pretty art, something she appreciated, but beyond that the orc couldn't find anything particularly insightful. Was that the point? "Uh.." She began, feeling more than a little embarrassed. "I'm sorry. I'm not really good at this sort of thing," she admitted, holding up her hands apologetically. Vilmah noticed then that Tuuroto's face had changed since the last time she saw him, but in what way she couldn't name. They hadn't been particularly close friends, but there was an air about him that seemed different from the first time they met. It made her consider that perhaps his troubles might have echoed her own. "I... I guess the moon. In the sky. It seems important? It's not a full moon, it's partially in shadow. The rest is hidden. That's the important part. Maybe?"
  16. The orc opened her mouth to speak, but could find no immediate words. The draenei had surprised her, not only with his disregard for Stormwind, but for his accusation. Collecting her thoughts, she rubbed the back of her head and attempted to make senseof things. "I suppose I thought you might be interested in the wellbeing of your allies," she admitted. "I mean.. I don't know the nuances if the Alliance, but, to the Horde we watch out for eachother. If something were to attack Silvermoon, or Undercity, I'd want to know. I guess.." Still seemingly confused, Vilmah looked away. "I guess I just don't see the point in a lot of people dying for no reason. I don't care if they're part of the Alliance, that's a city full of innocent people. I didn'treally know who else to tell." Vilmah shifted uncomfortably. "Most of my Alliance connections have died. I don't have many connections, anymore. Garrosh Hellscream put an end to that.. I just wanted to help."
  17. Vilmah grinned at the recognition (and the compliment), as if to show off her tusks which had grown slightly larger than before. "Thanks, Tuuro," she said happily, looking him over. "You're not so bad yourself, you know. Glad you're still alive. I might have some info for you." Looking around cautiously, she motioned with her chin for the Draenei to follow her deeper within the Underbelly. Walking over the dead bodies made for some interesting steps, but she tried her best not to crush any of the bloated flesh beneath her feet. It didn't take long for Vilmah to find a secluded place, somewhere dark enough that she had trouble seeing Tuuroclearly if not for the white of his eyes. Clearing her throat, she spoke in a low voice. "I don't know how reliable this information is, but I've been told there might be someone within the Alliance working for the Legion who's working on something big," she whispered, her eyes darting around, looking for anyone who might overhear. "A machine that can summon the Legion. It's different from the usual portals. It's not arcane based so it's harder to find, you know? That's what I've heard. Also..." Vilmah moved in a step closer. "It may be being built beneath Stormwind."
  18. The Underbelly was a mess. As if some horrible battle had taken place only moments before, bodies lie rotting in piles on the ground. Vilmah hadn't really given the place much thought before, as rumor had it that the Underbelly was mostly home to undesireables and warlocks. Not really a place for a warrior without a good reason, which was why she asked to see Turroto there. In the years since she'd seen the Draenei, Vilmah had grown an inch or two taller and sported more scars than smiles, but she was still easy to spot with her stunted height and mechanical arm glistening beneath mis-matched armor. Pulling off her helmet, she held it to one side so that the Draenei could spot her better standing amongst the corpses as rogues and warlocks casually passed through. A few of them gave Vilmah a curious glance. Better a glance than another fight breaking out, she thought to herself. Going over what she might say in her head, the orcess considered the language barrier. She and Tuuro had been able to communicate well enough in the past, but she remembered being amused by his accent. I really need to learn another language. Eventually, he came into view. Draenei had a way of stealing Vilmah's attention, as a people who's history were so closely entwined with her own. Though supposed enemies, she couldn't help but feel as if there was still hope for the two races, that maybe someday they could put aside their differences. One at a time. "Hey, Tuuro!" She called, waving her good hand, smiling in spite of herself.
  19. Well don't I feel stupid. Brought in Edmund to get patched up and ran into Baern. I don't know him very well, but he seems pretty smart. Gave me a good verbal smack to the face and reminded me that I've got to stop being so self destructive. There's being cautious, and there's being downright crazy. You'd think I'd have learned that lesson by now, but it's difficult. I'm still having a hard time trusting anyone, but I find myself falling into bad habits. Namely, I can't find myself saying no to people I love. My bloodsworn family, the old Sanctuary. They asked me to lead them, but I've got another responsibility to this guild, and that's bringing us all closer together. How am I going to do that when I can hardly put my trust into these new recruits? I've got to think of a way. Maybe I'll head to Outland, ask the Mag'har for guidance. If anyone will know how to rebuild trust, it's them.
  20. A letter has appeared in Tuuroto's mailbox. It has been wrapped carefully in bright purple paper. Tuuroto, Long time no see. Sorry for the cryptic message, but I might have some information regarding the Legion that will directly impact you and your allies. I've heard a pretty disturbing account regarding something that could bring in enough Legion to wipe out Stormwind. Can you meet me somewhere? I think we can help. Meet me in the Underbelly, in Dalaran. -V
  21. Okay, let's try this again. I just bought this book in Orgimmar. Can you believe it? I still have trouble walking through that city, but here I am, walking like any other orc, buying empty journals. I still can't shake the feeling of being followed, but I'm trying. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between active caution and paranoia. Which am I being? Who can even tell, anymore? The Legion is here in disguise. There are still Kor'kron who want me dead. I don't exactly have a death wish, but sometimes I think death is a lot easier than trying to figure out how to live with all this baggage. No, let's not do that. I'm not going to become one of those sad saps who searches for death. That's not me. Need to keep things in perspective. Well, here's some good news. I went to Hammerfall, and with Garinth's help, was able to free some spirits. I think I pissed Garinth off, so I owe him one. Unfortunately that little adventure busted the hell out of my arm, which brings me to another weird coincidence; Broxigan is back. What do I even say about that? I thought he was dead. I thought I was over him being dead, but seeing him again really threw me for a loop. Like all the things I tried to forget are coming back with a vengeance. I guess it would be too much for me to ask for this to be easy. At least now I can get my arm fixed. I'm not going to disappear again, though. With Nojinbu taking my place in the front, I've still got a job to do and that job is doing all the killing for him. If I sound bitter it's because I kind of am. He goes on a spiritual journey to try and rid himself of this anger and discovers he doesn't like killing anymore, okay, that's fine, but someone has to do it or you've just got two people with their backs to the wall. That person has to be me, now, and the fact that I've been enjoying it bothers me. Back before he had no qualms hunting down Kor'kron and killing them one by one, I was coming to terms with how I'd keep myself out of sight, and it involved being hired to do some dirty deeds I am not proud of. Now it seems they're not going to ever end; I'm going to be the one breaking bodies one by one, killing as many as I can, leaving an empire of corpses behind me. It seems like I only live to kill. I used to stand for peace. What do I even stand for, anymore?
  22. She scratched her scalp with her nails and nodded, visibly uncomfortable with what happened underground. "The spirit of the lost children and their guardians were trapped, down there. Trapped by fear," she chuckled awkwardly. "I guess they felt I could relate. Before I came back here, I wasn't really the fearful type. More the unabashedly optomistic type." Vilmah rubbed her sore left shoulder, the arm making irregular sounds. "You set me straight because you told me the truth. It's difficult to admit that maybe everything wasn't my fault, and I don't think I'll ever get rid of the guilt.. but at least I know that I have to move on. What else can you do, right?" She pointed toward the rocks. "All they ever wanted was to be free. Since Garrosh has been gone, I've been free too. Why waste the gift?"
  23. ((Updated significantly.))
  24. "Only my pride..." She grumbled, picking chunks of dead plants out of her hair and in between her armor. She looked worse for wear, covered in dirt and dead leaves, a defeated expression on her face. At her side, her mechanical arm hung limp, a rattling mechanical sound whirring as if something had been disconnected. One of her metal fingers twitched unaturally. Edmund ran to his master's side enthusiastically, his tail wagging back and forth with unbridled excitement. The wolf barked at her feet a few times, jumping as if in an attempt to make her smile. Eventually, she did. "Sorry to make such a mess of things," she said with no small amount of relief in her voice. "I figured out down there that you were right and I was being ridiculous. It's a good thing you set me straight before we fell or things might have turned out differently."
  25. Heavy breathing, panic, pounding heartbeat. It was so loud she couldn't focus, and the enveloping darkness had Vilmah in it's grasp. She could even swear the air was growing thinner with each breath, as if every moment brought her closer to suffocation. Somewhere, she imagined, Garinth was buried alive. Somewhere, she'd caused the death of another ally. Somewhere someone suffered, and she could do nothing to stop it. The guild was as heavy as the darkness. She thought back on what he said. What happened to me doesn't matter. "But it does.." She said to herself. "It was my fault. It's always my fault. Even if we come back.." His voice echoed clearly in her mind. Coming back does not mean being the same person. Her mouth was dry. Even that's what you wanted, life doesn't work that way. Deep breaths. This is not the way for a warrior to behave. This is ridiculous. This is petulent fear, the kind she attempted to abandon long ago, back when every other moment was rescue or be rescued. "Knock it off," she told herself, gripping her one fist. "Get ahold of yourself." With each breath the tightness in her stomach loosened. Vilmah reached toward her chest and felt her own heartbeat, grounding herself. She was alive, and if that was true, Garinth probably was as well. There was still time, but she had to know where she was and why she was here. It was the only way. "...hello?" She said finally, settling in on the sound of her own voice. It echoed enough that she realized that this was a cave. "You brought me down here. Please, who are you?" I brought you here for safety. The voice answered. Be calm, little one. The fight will end soon. The fight? "You're Agrysha's sister, aren't you?" She asked the air. "You brought the children with you to safety, right? When Thrall came?" Yes, the voice sighed. We waited. We're still waiting. The walls, they collapsed. We waited for them to find us, and... "They're gone," Vilmah reassured her. "The humans, they're all gone now. Thrall liberated us. Hammerfall is ours. You and the children, you can go now." How do you know this? Vilmah took another deep breath, remembering. "I was there. I saw what happened. I watched when Doomhammer fell, but the rest of us were free. He gave himself for us to be free, and now you can be too." And who are you to have seen such things? "Bloodborne," the orc said confidently. "Daughter of Bloodborne the Blackrock. He and my mother, of the Frostwolf clan, they both died as well. They are free, now. We are all free." The voice seemed to come from closer than before. I know you. You were one of the children, and yet your mother kept you close. Those that I took with me had no mother to do this. I took them myself.. "You did what you could," Vilmah argued. "And you kept them safe. Now you can join us, above. I promise, no one will hurt them. I swear on my honor." She paused, feeling the apprehension in the spirit. "It wasn't your fault," she reassured the other orcess. "You protected them, and because of you, they always felt safe and loved. You were a mother to them. Now please, set them free." Finally, light. The image of an orcess, young and thin with long ragged hair came into focus before Vilmah. Her illuminated spirit cast light against the cave, revealing it's horrors; the skeletal remains of orcs, mummified by time, their bodies tiny and malnourished. All but for one. By your honor, the spirit repeated, extending her arms. Beside her, a dozen smaller spirits appeared, surrounding the female orc with arms encircling her legs. I will trust in your honor, Bloodborne of the Blackrock. We will be free. The earth shook once more, and Vilmah fell to the ground with a hand over her head. It continued to tremble until more light illuminated the cave, dirt and rocks tumbling all around until a chasm above her opened. She lay there until the tremors stopped, though partially buried under climps of dirt and stones, her armor matted down with wet grass and soil. Above her, she could hear barking.