‘The Warchief is on the move.’
The word spread like a plague across Pandaria. By the end of summer, all of Pandaria had learnt of Hellscream’s crimes, both within and outside of Pandaria. Scouting reports suggested that the full force of the Grand Alliance Fleet was mobilising – and those battleships hadn’t seen activity since the Second War.
The Rebellion was at its peak, as the influence of Ratchet was beginning to turn the tide in the Barrens. Stonetalon was cut off from Hellscream, and the Kaldorei were making ground in Ashenvale due to the stagnation of the goblins in Azshara. The time to cut the head of the hydra off would be soon at hand, which had led many to Pandaria. If the Warchief could be taken out without having to assault Orgrimmar – well, that would be too good to be true.
The Golden Lotus and the Shado-pan had mobilised along the ridge cutting the eastern valley off from the rest of the Vale. Both the shrines and Mistfall Village had been evacuated to the Jade Forest in anticipation of a large battle.
Along with the Alliance representatives, we rendezvoused with the Golden Lotus and Shado-pan briefly at the Golden Pagoda in order to discuss last-minute tactics.
‘Good luck to ya. Shed some blood.’
There was little to be said. Hellscream was inside the excavation, and had plans to leave today. There would not be another chance until we attacked Orgrimmar – the entirety of the Dominance Offensive had relocated to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
‘They are leaving now.’
We were arrayed on the southern side of the ridge, above the excavation that had cut into the Vale. Kaldorei, Sin’dorei and Pandaren. THe Tauren and humans were further north. As soon as we saw the convoy leave, we opened fire, cutting down the magi around the edges.
Meanwhile, Archon Kal’es sung songs of morale directly into the heart of Hellscream’s camp.
‘I am your Warchief Hellscream
My graces are infinite
And I shall leave you breathless
For 2 gold 95 per minute.’
Several calls came from the fighters in the north of the camp, who were struggling against the numerically superior Dominance forces, and I scaled the ridge, heading along the northwestern side to reinforce their numbers. The air became filled with the sounds of battle as fire streaked down into the encampments and flew back out.
‘I am the mighty Hellscream
My strength is in my loins
If you see me on the street
Please kick me in the groin.’
‘Hellscream is warded! We can’t hit him!’ The calls quickly came over the communicators, and I turned my attention from the melee at the northern edge to where huge iron cranes stretched over the camp.
Now is not a time for mercy.
I conjured fire, letting it streak into the tops of the cranes, following up with frostbolts. One by one, they toppled, wrecking the camp. Hellscream, sure enough, continued on without a scratch, a large pulsating chest behind him.
Kill them your enemies no one is your friend you are alone-
I turned my view swiftly back to the combat in front of me.
‘The Warchief’s dressed a jester
He acts the fool and mime
All the actions of him curse
And spit on him all the time.
I can’t believe I stand here
With Hellscream time I waste
And you who sit and cheer at him
Sincerely have no taste!’
The tide very slowly seemed to be turning in our favour, but Hellscream continued unfaltered. The camp was mostly ruined by this point, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw peons grappling with a large wooden construct.
‘They’re building a bridge across to the Palace!’
I teleported closer to the Shrine, atop a vantage point that several of the Shado-pan had been using to fire into the camp, and Archon Kal’es joined me. I rained fire down upon the bridge. Nothing. Barely even scorchmarks. Attempting telekinesis yielded similar results.
‘It must be reinforced.’ I murmured. Hellscream continued to advance. The battle was dying down, but any who attacked the Warchief were easily struck down. Edanna pointed to the road.
‘Look! It’s Xian!’ The Pandaren guide who had let us enter the Vale a week ago raced across the battlefield faster than sound. He appeared to be more wind than humanoid.
‘That can’t be…’ Edanna spoke into her communicator. ‘I don’t think Xian is a guide… I think he’s Taran Zhu.’
Sure enough, the figure reformed, blocking Hellscream’s path to the centre of the Vale’s waters. A full foot taller than the Pandaren we had been travelling with, there was no denying that the imposing stance of the monk who stood in the way of the Warchief belonged to the leader of the Shado-pan.
It was impossible to make out what they were doing, and we resumed our efforts, I collapsing part of the camp onto the mines while Edanna maintained her demoralising song.
‘I will sing in praise of Thrall
I will croon in praise of Baine
I will laugh in Hellscream’s face
When I recall his name.’
The song was interrupted by the sickening crunch of Gorehowl entering Taran Zhu’s chest. A collective gasp rippled through the Vale as Hellscream tossed Taran Zhu’s body into the water, and proceeded. Edanna attempted to pull him towards us with levitation, but doubled back when she saw what Hellscream was doing.
‘Get back! Now!’
Hellscream cut open the chest with Gorehowl before tossing the axe itself aside. Our minds were wracked by oblivion in the form of a thousand screams and laughs.
It’s true. He has an Old God.
My vision began to blur as the land warped around me, a flash of purple before everything went black.