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Pride, a Short Story by the Red Shirt Guy

THE FOLLOWING IS A WORK OF FAN FICTION AND IS NOT ENDORSED BY BLIZZARD NOR TO BE CONSIDERED CANON IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM. I mention this because this is primarily a news site and I don’t want anyone getting confused.

Pride-for-web

Pride

 Garrosh had left Taran Zhu for dead, and now surveyed the destruction wrought upon the land. Where moments ago there had been pools of sacred water bordered by golden fields, now lay only blackened earth, tendrils of white sha energy bursting out in scattered clumps. Even the areas beyond the main blight had the life sucked from them, the golden grass and blossoming trees died instantly, leaving everything not touched by the sha a lifeless gray.

Just immersing the Heart in the waters did this, Garrosh thought while looking towards the pillar of sha energy emanating from the lake’s center. His lips curled into a smile, No… I, did this! The mana bomb, the Divine Bell, they are NOTHING. I now wield the power of a GOD!

“Warchief! We’ve killed the last of the pandaren, what now?” A surviving Kor’kron soldier called out. Interrupted from his thoughts of conquest, Garrosh turned angrily towards the grunt.

“Secure the Heart for transport to Orgrimmar.” The soldier saluted Garrosh and ran off to gather his comrades. Everything was falling perfectly into place, soon Garrosh -and the Heart- would be back in Orgrimmar and he could begin to harness its true power.

Suddenly the Warchief lurched forward; his thoughts clouded by something… else… something alien.

The Heart had first spoken to him at the excavation site. There were no words exchanged between the two, yet somehow Garrosh knew the heart thirsted, and quickly realized how to sate that thirst. Now the Heart’s attempts at communication were stronger, clearly the Vale’s waters had empowered or revived it.

Go… back… to the… vault. It was not a suggestion, and this enraged Garrosh. “I am in control here! Do not forget that.” He yelled out, startling several workers. But despite his proclamation, Garrosh could not help but feel drawn back to the mines, the Heart must have had some reason for drawing him there.

Perhaps it is grateful, and wishes to reward me? He chuckled under his breath and, giving the Heart a final glance, started towards the mines.

***

The workers in Big Blossom Mine were celebrating, chugging freshly-tapped mugs of big blossom brew and settling bets made on how long it would take to finish the excavation. They were not happy just to have completed a job well done, but also happy that they could leave this place and never return. Dozens of goblins had lost their lives in this mine, whether from the still-living blood of an old god, or from the very rocks themselves. By far the most horrifying fate was that of Crafty the Ambitious; exposed to fluids which had leaked directly from the Heart of Y’Shaarj, he had been transformed into a hideous abomination which took three of the Horde’s greatest champions to take down.

Garrosh paid no attention to the laborers, shoving them out of the way whenever necessary. None dared talk back, and even tried their best not to cry out. Up ahead, the sound of the Warchief’s footfalls interrupted any merrymaking ahead of him and the goblins skittered away, clearing a path to the vault. He stepped past the crowd and into the Vault of Y’Shaarj.

The Vault of Y’Shaarj had changed little from when it was first unearthed. Norushen, the titanic construct originally guarding the vault, had retreated behind a door which all attempts by the goblins to open had proven futile. The large container, once suspended from the ceiling, had been torn down and cracked open to reach the Heart held within. Of course, the main employees of this venture being goblins, the attempts to “crack open” the container had reduced it to a pile of rubble, and very nearly took to the Heart with it. Garrosh had the goblins involved executed for their “discard to the Warchief’s property”.  With the removal of the Heart, there was little in this room of interest, so why had it brought Garrosh here?

A thought pushed itself into Garrosh’s mind, urging him to look to the right. Growling at the Heart’s attempt to direct him, he did however look over and saw what appeared to be his reason for being here. Collecting by one of strange titan machines embedded the floor was a puddle of think, purple blood. It had likely spilled from the Heart when it was being transported away from the chamber, and even now Garrosh could feel the faintest slimmer of Y’Shaarj’s power from the fluid.

Garrosh walked towards the puddle, and with each step he took, the puddle reacted. First a dark mist began to rise from it, while the blood itself coagulated and several bubbles formed on its surface. He came closer, the puddle began to contort, thinner here, wider there. Closer still, the edges of the puddle hardened into sharp edges and spikes.

When he stood at the foot of the puddle, the bubbles opened and yellow eyes stared back at him. Their opening signaled the end of the strange metamorphosis, and what lay before Garrosh was no longer a puddle of blood. In its place was an axe, roughly the same size and shape as Gorehowl. Garrosh’s eyes briefly met the largest of the axe’s and a single word forced itself into his mind:

Xal’atoh!

Garrosh looked towards this new weapon, then, still held in his right hand from the earlier battle, to Gorehowl: the axe of his father, the symbol of everything Grommash Hellscream is and was. His reflection gleamed off the iron of Gorehowl’s blade, and Garrosh scowled. “It is no longer worthy of me.” Unbeknownst to Garrosh as he examined Xal’atoh, a dark cloud began to coalesce in the center of the vault. Small tremors shook the room, causing dust and loose bricks to tumble from the ceiling. Garrosh paid this no heed.

“Is there no end to your pride, Hellscream?” Most would have been startled, and impressed that not only had Taran Zhu survived his encounter with Garrosh, but had also managed to enter the mines without being detected by any of the guards. Garrosh however felt only rage at Zhu’s continued defiance. “Even your father…” Taran paused a moment to cough, “would have seen the folly of what you’ve done.”

“My father is NOTHING compared to me!” Garrosh tossed Gorehowl aside and knelt to pick up Xal’atoh. Gorehowl made one final shriek as the wind rushed through its namesake-providing grooves before slicing deep into the floor, the tile around it splintering from the impact. There was no reflection in Xal’atoh, its surface was constantly obscured and unobscured by swirling sha energy. Now this is a weapon fit for a Warchief, he thought.

The quakes intensified, knocking Taran Zhu to his knees. “This time, I will make sure you die.” Letting out a cry worthy of his surname, Garrosh charged at the fallen monk ready to test Xal’atoh against its first opponent.

Halfway across the gap between them, the purple mist erupted in a burst of sha energy and the entire mine shuddered. Garrosh was thrown off balance by the quake, and had to hold his ground.

“Warchief, you must get out of here, the entire tunnel is collapsing!” A Kor’kron grunt called from the vault’s entrance. Garrosh scowled and started to run towards Taran Zhu once more, despite the intensifying sha fount mere feet away from him. A massive, skeletal arm rose from the cloud, bone dripping with a dark blue coating. The arm crashed down in front of Garrosh, inadvertently separating him from Taran.

Before he could react, a brute force slammed into Garrosh, shoving him away from the emerging creature and out of the vault. In a slight daze, he could only watch as massive boulders fell from the tunnel’s ceiling and blocked off the vault entirely. They finally came to a rest just beyond the mine’s entrance, and the entire tunnel behind was filled in.

***

Garrosh howled and swung Xal’atoh at the rocks, and while the axe sliced through several, it made no dent on the cave-in. He turned to the surviving goblin laborers, who were huddling in fear at the far end of the chamber, likely more from Garrosh than the collapse.

“Get back to work! There must be another way into the vault, and none of you will rest until you find it!” The goblins all hurriedly grabbed their picks and set to work on the cavern’s walls. “And as for you,” Garrosh turned to the Kor’kron grunt who had in all likelihood saved his life.

“Y-you would have been killed… my Warchief. The Kor’kron are to protect you at all costs.” The grunt stammered.

“So, you doubt your Warchief’s judgment? Doubt is what the Horde instills in its enemies! Are you an enemy of the Horde?” Before the grunt could even answer, Garrosh buried Xal’atoh into his midsection.

Carve more slowly… so that I may feed. The voice was clearer than ever before in Garrosh’s mind, but he did not obey it. He sliced forward, cleaving the grunt in two and walked away without a second glance.

***

Garrosh stepped out of the Big Blossom Mine for what would be the last time, in the distance he saw the Heart, back in its chest, being loaded onto a zeppelin primed and waiting for him. As he drew closer to the heart, visions filled his mind. He saw mountains of skulls and rivers of blood. He saw Stormwind awash with flames and sha energy alike. He saw a new world. His world.

Ian Bates

WoW lore fan, aspiring writer, video game player, fish keeper, maybe employee of Blizzard one day I hope?

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