Torrent: Path of Blood

‘Wake up! We’re under attack!’

Attack? Here? But it was so warm…

The tent was on fire.

Hails of arrows flew back and forth as we regrouped further back. Commotion rained. The ceasefire had stopped. Why? What had happened?

‘It appears that our support would have failed anyway. Jaina has exiled the Sunreavers for assisting the Horde. We are to get into the city through the Sewers and save the civilians from her madness.’

It took the best part of ten minutes to fly unnoticed away from the battlefield and reach the sewer exit, which poured waste into the pristine forest. We quietly made our way up the passage to the string of underground shops comprising the Cantrips and Crows.

‘Proceed.’

We went in, expecting a large fight… but the entire place was empty. Various corpses lay scattered around. All of them Sin’dorei. Of our thirty-strong company there were various expressions of shock, horror, and outright cursing, but I felt little except sadness. We were in the sewers, the hiding place of the scum of society – they probably hadn’t even had any warning. After setting up a base of operations for survivors inside the inn, we pushed out into one of the exits that led into the main city.

Plonk.

‘What was that?’

The others took up positions, ready to scout and defend from our fortified tunnel, as I discovered a delayed tripwire. Any element of surprise went out of the window as a magical alaram briefly paralysed us with noise. As guards rushed for our position and combat broke out over my head, I destroyed the alarm with my dagger, cutting it up.

We spread out after the battle ended, the Military Division heading for the centre of the city to support the forces of the Grand Magister, while the Research Division (mainly Kal’es) moved into the Sunreaver’s Sanctuary to help the civilians evacuate. I kept watch by our entrance, checking for High Elf movements.

An explosion sounded nearby, and we went to investigate. Khairan had obliterated a shopfront rather dramatically, and had moved on to assist the military division. I issued a short warning via the communicators:

‘Are you mad? This is meant to have some semblance of a covert operation! Stop attacking civilians while people are dying!’

No response. Maybe Dalaran was interfering with the signal. We returned to our posi-

‘AETHAS!’

Jaina’s angered voice boomed out from the far-off courtyard of the Violet Citadel. We dived for cover as high elves streamed from the Violet Hold to reinforce her. The sounds of battle broke out close by. The military division had found Rommath’s forces – and the high elves. We fell back to the Sanctuary, where the Research Division was embroiled in battle with hidden high elf agents, which were cleared out relatively quickly.

‘Convocation, please assemble in the central courtyard. Our mission is complete. The Regent Lord will arrive and go on with the Grand Magister shortly. We are to remain and keep the way clear for any other survivors to the Sanctuary.’ Sorlain’s voice crackled over our communicators, distorted by the intense magical signals.

Devastation greeted us when we reached the courtyard. Several statues had been toppled, and fires danced around what had once been a park. The place was littered with high elf corpses. I clapped my hand to my mouth. I felt like I could vomit.

‘What the fel is this? How is mass murder equivalent to covert rescue? So many…’ I gagged, and went quiet as we moved back towards the Sanctuary, my anger building. Arguments jumped up, but my head span. So many dead, for what? Those were our people. Our people.

At least, they were. This probably meant they never would be again.

We had not been in the Sanctuary long when a sonic boom forced us to our knees. The ground rumbled for almost five minutes. Panicked news eventually reached us from the scouts.

Dalaran was moving.

‘Get out! Return to the city immediately!’

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