The Lion and the Wolf

   The Path of Glory. If there is one thing I remember the most back in the days, it were the memories of when I first came here, to the Citadel, to join the Horde’s stronghold.
   A clear, sunny day, it was. The lands were still green. Orcs still brown. A glorious parade of Warsong orcs led by Grommash himself. The waving banners and blowing horns accompanying us, and the winds guiding our wolves to a new home.
   Our new home, as both the lands and the orcs started to deteriorate. It became the Hellfire it is today. Soon after, the Dark Portal would follow, with the Path of Glory leading us there with the draenei-bones of those fallen at the city of Shattrath it had been made out of.
   Then, taken over by the fel orcs. Now, a path of endless battle. Surrounded by a red earth and overseen by a sky ripped apart by the great sundering. A panorama of thunder everywhere and surrounded by an endless chain of hills and mountains. Hellfire Citadel at the beginning of the path, the Dark Portal at the end. Thrallmar to the north. And then there was Honour Hold, jagging into the sky on a hill to the south.

   It was in Thrallmar that I was sitting on my dragon, waiting for the blacksmith to finish reparing my pigsticker, that a scout came running up to me. An orc. Still quite young but regardless not untouched by battle.
   “Commander! Before being driven away, I spotted a lot of Alliance activity in their fortress of Honour Hold! It seems like some of them were preparing to move out already!”
   I have no idea what makes these orcs think I am a commander of any sort. Hardly a leader, even with the rabble I have been leading the past few days. Still, I gave him a nod and waved at him dismissively.
   The word spread faster than the winds. Before I even bothered to look down again from the starry sky, I noticed several had answered the call for battle. Some known, yet some unknown warriors as well. Exactly like the rabble I had been fighting with the past few days. This would be enough to defend Thrallmar?
   I had no time to think it over, as the first wave of Alliance already struck. The voices of the front gates’ guards erupted like a volcano.
   “May we crush the Allaince on our very own grounds!” Loial shouted as he and some others already ran off to the gates with their battle cries. However, as I made my way to the gate, I could already see we would not hold out long without reinforcements. Despite our help, the guards would soon be overwhelmed by their superior numbers.
   “Defend your ground!” I roared while I raced for the blacksmith to hand me my spear. “Stand until we are reinforced!”
   A skirmish followed at the gates, with a small group of the Horde trying to fend off the Alliance wave. Arrows filled the sky and spells penetrated the air. Warriors were yet reluctant to charge in too far, afraid to be cut off from the rest and get lost in the fray. I tried to shoot down as much of the Alliance gathering as I could while we were about to be forced back. Slowly, our fighting force increased, but it was not yet enough to hold them off for long.
   If it was not for mindless demon machinery to aid us.
   As we were holding them off at the gates with all the force we had, a Fel Reaver suddenly appeared before us. But it was not us it was attacking for a change. It was harrassing the Alliance group, pounding and stomping them in their backs while the Horde was hacking them down at the walls. “Push forward!” an undead cried with his jawless head. “Drive them back to hell!” another elf replied to the cry, already taken over by the illusion of battle. It happens to every cloud-minded fighter. Unlike orcs.
   It then took only the blink of an eye for the battle to take over and end. Alliance forces panicked, scattered and retreated. Luckily, the Fel Reaver was too caught up in the urge to kill Alliance, and managed to leave us unharmed.
   “Back! Let them run! Hold Thrallmar!” I yelled as some of our remaining forces tried to chase the fleeing Alliance off, while the healers were already busy raising the fallen to their near-death with their own strange methods and rituals. Healers like Djazeeb, who was eating some petal and started jumping around like an excited talbuk in mating season. “Loa Samedi be guidin' ye frough da spirit world or Lukou be bringin' ye back!”
   “Koz, lets counterattack their base,” Loial said as he was returning to the gates. “We have the strength.”
   “Not yet. I doubt that was the last wave,” I grumbled. “We leave Thrallmar to its fate, we will surely lose this night.”
   While the Horde was regrouping, tending to its wounds and mocking and laughing at the Alliance’s attack, I was wondering what took the next Alliance force so long to arrive. Only a few minutes had passed, and we were luckily greatly inforced by relieving forces. We had the strength to launch a counter-attack, but it was not the time yet.

   My feeling served me right for a change. Not a minute later, we already heard the screams of incoming humans, dwarves and whatever you would name the overcourageous creatures.
   While Djazeeb did his last few prayers on what was a battleground a few minutes ago, and will be again soon, he raced back to the gates on his clumsy troll feet, yelling out in his usual troll-orcish speech. “Dey be cumin’!”
   “Here comes the second wave! Hold them off!” I yelled again as orcish blades were sharpened, tauren hooves made a footing in the dirt, trolls performed their battle-rituals, undead prepared their spells and elves readied their bows.
  “For the Dark Lady! For Sylvanas!”
   “Don't let them an inch!”
   “For Doomhammer! Drive the invaders out!”
I joined in with the yells and songs of the combined Horde of orcs, trolls, tauren, undead and blood elves.
   Before us stood one of the biggest Alliance armies I had seen in the years after the Second War. Their banners were countless, blue and yellow, their armours shining despite the darkness and instead of steadily marching like they usually do, they charged at the gates with determined force.
   The humans were first to charge. Their hatred for us is no doubt still cold and bitter. As soon as the host of our enemies was dense in the front gates, they sent against us a shower of arrows and spells, and each flickering like a blacksmith’s fire. Behind the arrows, tons of their footmen ran up to the gate and charged. The yells were deafening. The rocks and walls would be filled with blood.
   A charge of plated humans paired with firebolts and warlock curses crashed into us. Hellfire burned as the Horde intercept them with pikes, shields and barriers. The red rocks seemed to be filled with fire. Perhaps it was actually so, or my visions were narrowed by blood craze again.
   Hundreds would die this night. A glorious, blood-ridden battle in a scarred land of old memories. I remained where I was, rooted to the earth, watching as the orcs fought and killed and died. Slowly forced back to the inner grounds of Thrallmar, and eventually to the entrance of the hold, while Horde and Alliance forces were still fighting over the towers at the entrance. Archers and warriors using everything they could get their hands on to kick the Alliance off their towers.
   Alliance and Horde screams echoed together within the walls of the Horde settlement. The Lion standing in the gates, raising its mane and the Wolf guarding the entrance to the keep, flashing its canines in a desperate attempt to scare the Lion. To give it one last chance of retreat or surrender.
   And this is where the Lion was put to a halt. With a sudden rallying cry, orc guards and warriors alike charged out of the hold to repel the invaders, lead by Commander Nazgrel himself. About Grom-damned time.
   “Plenty of meat to feast on, wolves! Lok'Tar Ogar!” I joined in once again with all the other cries of battle. The Lion’s flanks were unguarded. Soon the attackers were attacked, and they were forced back through the gates, facing every way. After a short stand-off, the Alliance was quickly forced back to the gates again, and eventually all the way back to the Path of Glory, and to Honour Hold.
   The wolves were having a glorious feast. And this was only the first course.

   And soon, the wolves were mounted, kodos climbed and wyverns prepared. We marched on to Honour Hold. Onwards to retaliate, to drive the Lion of the Alliance back. And that is when we met them: at the Path of Glory.
   A mighty gathering at the other side of the valley that the Path was made out of. This is where Wolf and Lion both stood and observed. Observing each other’s next moves, at any moment ready to strike. Bows were readied, shields were raised, hands started to shine blood-red to unleash whatever spell may flash out of them and spears and blades were pointed.
   And the time, the numbers and the bravery was there for a charge.
   “We have a world of enemies! Move in! Show them their blood!”
   One big cheer erupted from the Horde. Some orcs shouted clearer than other elves, yet none shouted their own battlecries. Only three words were yelled out.
   With hundreds of roars unified in one unit, the Horde rode and ran onward and down into the valley of the Path of Glory. The Alliance already pulled back out of the small valley to make a stand at the top. But it would not stop the waves of wolves.
    Arrows rained down upon us as we ran and rode onward, red fire emerged from the red rocks as we ascended upon the hills, and flashing blades drove into us at the top. But with the falling of a brother, the wrath would only redouble. Much sooner than expected, the Alliance’s ranks were broken and they turned around to their last stronghold: Honour Hold.

    As the lion turned tail and ran, the wolf followed. With a bellowing howl of unity, the pack of wolves ran and rode onwards and up the hill towards Honour Hold, biting down each and every lion they could catch.
   Suddenly a clefthoof horn called, and as if the wolves were already dancing in the fires of victory, they rushed onwards to the hold. As the army of wolves split up into two smaller attack forces – one to the gates and one towards a breach in the wall caused by a previous war – I was already raging through the breach, and my companions followed me. A red light leapt from their eyes and despite their blood-ridden armour and weapons, everything was shining in the Pale Lady’s glorious light. “Victorey to da 'ord an' to da Cov'nant!” again, shouts and songs of battle.
   The army poured now in rage into the hold, driving wildly in between the ruins of the human hold, seeking for the foe. All came in like a tide in fury and disorder. A few brave men made a faint resistance, and many there fell before the rest drew back and fled to either the keep or the inn, ready to be intercepted by the other part of the Horde’s forces.
Thunder joined the deafening battle cries of the mortal forces. And as if Outland itself was fighting along with us, lightning struck the Alliance forces. The rocks were stained with both black, blue and red blood. The elements were on our side!
   “Feed the wolves! Drive them back to the keep!”
   The tide was turned now. The Lion was forced to back down towards the doors of its cage, and the Wolf ready to push it back in by force. Just as the lions were recovering from the onslaught and the charge was halted, deep-throated roars rose across the hold’s walls. Savage cries of “For Doomhammer!”, “For the Horde!”, “For the Red Blades!” and “For blood and honour!” the wolves of Hellfire charged at the remaining gathering of Alliance.
   Despite the sheer prowess, courage and strength of the Horde, the lions desperately made their stand at the gate, and as their marshals and commander joined in themselves, rocks and arrows poured down upon our heads, along with Alliance-curses and screams. Not simple rocks, but Grom-damned infernals! It was obvious they were giving the last piece of strength they had, and when such happens, something will inevitably go wrong. With a silvery, white horn, the Alliance was rallied and returned to the assault. The bodyguards of all so-called lords came charging against us, and drove in upon our ranks like waves upon cliffs of sand. Bows twanged and arrows whistled from atop the roof of the hold. On either sides, the fighting was renewed with redoubled efforts. On either sides men, orcs and alike were being slowly beaten down.
   Panic came upon the wolves; and even as they withdrew and turned to meet new waves of lions, the humans, elves, draenei and dwarves charged again with renewed numbers. There was no end to them.

   I was shaking, and as chilled as stone, but my head burned with fire.
   “Hrmm. A fire for a beer,” I grumbled as I slumped down on the red soil in the middle of Thrallmar.
   “On it,” Nergul replied. And he started to light a fire for two exhausted orcs, calming themselves with Rumsey Rum and sharing stories of old, glorious times. The time when the land was green and the orcs were brown.
   Hear me, filthy devils. We will return for your blood.

From: Warsong offspring, the journal of Kozgugore Feraleye, entry 57: Throw them to the Wolves.

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