“Maintain the line! Do not let them pass!”
Hoards of Scourge and Burning Legion demons swept through the hills like a flood. Left and right members of the Horde fought side by side with the Alliance, attempting to fend off the assailants with combined might. As zealous as they defended the legions of death and demons did not sway and the combined forces were quickly faltering with each enemy felled in combat.
Mount Hyjal was quickly losing its extravagant beauty, now marred by flames and rot. No bed of grass or tree was left unhindered and the predicament only worsened. Blood of all races mixed and fertilized the ground in what seemed like a twisted attempt to fend off the legions of death and destruction from destroying the area.
The ferocious battle raged on with clusters of soldiers here and here fending off wide stretches of land against the oncoming raid. No matter where one was, the screams could be heard – those screams that persist in the silent night, acting like daggers stabbing at the back, those blood-curdling screams only a soldier can remember and never forget. The voices of the commanding officers ordered and barked but in the midst of battle those screams could only be heard.
“Khaadgrim!” One orc yelled out. The orc named Khaadgrim snapped out of daydream and quickly lifted his shield up to block an undead’s attack, then twisted his body and cleanly severed the rotting corpse into two.
“C’mon, Khaadgrim!” the female orc yelled out with a smile, trying to beat away the rage of the battlefield, “I can’t have your back all the time, pay attention!”
“You just watch out for yourself, I can take care of myself, Demura!” Khaadgrim charged straight into the fray, cleaving undead left to right, roaring ferociously as his kill count lifted. Demura followed beside, slashing and hacking her own kill count with her blades. The two were reinforced by several other soldiers, a mixture of Horde and Alliance that also hurled themselves into the fray with great resolve.
They battled for what seemed like eons. Alliance and Horde were working together to destroy a common enemy with no sense of humanity or mercy! Was this what surviving was truly about, to push aside differences to battle enemies such as these? A flicker of thought approached Khaadgrim during his frenzy and he automatically agreed with an axe to another Scourge’s face.
The others battled viciously, cutting down abominations and doom guards alike with their combined strength. But as quickly as they cut down the opposition the favors did not fall onto their terms. The assailing forces grew strength with each of their kind fallen in battle and the troupe quickly came to realize their line was being destroyed. One by one they were cut down.
The sounds of demolishers and siege engines rattled throughout the field, tearing apart the bigger enemies on the field. The sounds could be heard everywhere, those screeching sounds, those explosions and the misfires; the screaming and the opening of bodies exposing organs, seeing them pour out. Every single impact caused Khaadgrim to flinch as he realized his battle brothers and sisters were being shredded into pieces in a few short minutes.
A sharp, whizzing sound slowly crept its way toward the field. Khaadgrim looked up, then found himself being hurled away by some great, rumbling force that struck the ground. His body stopped receiving commands and his senses were blindsided, ears only hearing the sound of a sharp, constant ring. He tried to keep his eyes open but all they could see was blood, black blood of his body! He wanted to look away but his body told him to survive and live, don’t fall asleep damn it!
It was no use, his mind was blurred, senses hijacked by the sharp ringing in his ears. Blood continued to seep out of his battered body as the battle raged on, as he saw what happened to his comrades just several moments ago. One was snatched by an abomination right in front of his eyes and torn in two. Another was ganged and gutted like a fish, and another was simply crushed by the hooves of a demon. His eyes moved to the corner and saw her.
She was unconscious, stuck and helpless under the corpse of a demon. Blood stained the rotting grass under her and trickled down, slowly down and into the hillside. Was she destined to become fertilizer for the soil as well? How about himself? Was his destiny meant to take that path as well? Khaadgrim tried with all his might to stand up but the sharp ringing only intensified and his body fought further to hold him down.
A blurred voice permeated through the battlefield. Soldiers retreated past him, screaming and running for their lives as throes of demons swept the area. Here and there fleeing ones were caught by the grips of the enemy and torn asunder, just like the comrades from before. No mercy or compassion were given, but the soil was quenched with even more blood.
He tried to scream, with all his might he tried to open his mouth and yell out, “Help me! Help her damn it!” Nothing came out and he could only try to get his body back to its senses. With each strain his vision blurred and brightened, combating against his better half to run with the others, like prey for the wolves.
The screams came back, the artillery, the wailing, all at once they flooded his head. Constant, deafened words attempted to crack through the numbness of his body but he didn’t know where they were coming from. He struggled to look up from the ground and realized a soldier was trying to claw his way up to him, eyes filled with intense fear, mouth uttering words that Khaadgrim couldn’t interpret. Even so he knew what the soldier was trying to say.
Help me. Khaadgrim knew it was being said over and over again without hesitation. In a frenzy, in fear and with maddened eyes the soldier continued to yell it over and over again but was responded with the sounds of the battlefield, the horrid and sorrowful cries of the to-be dead, the unbridled rage of the machine and its weaponry, unprejudiced against its enemies. There was no way to save this man; there was no way to even save himself or Demura. There was no saving them all.
The cries echoed through his mind. Khaadgrim continued to struggle and heard himself panting in his head. Get up, get up damn you! He thought it, but the body refused to move. His motor skills were about to cease all function but they continued to stay up, almost as if a joke was being played. The screaming soldier continued to yell for help even as he was dragged away by a demon, that expression of horror and helplessness fixated in the orc’s mind, like it was branded to his brain.
The demon flung the screaming soldier up into the air and cut him to pieces. Blood showered the area and poured over Khaadgrim. The sharp ringing in his ears intensified with all the sounds possibly conceived throughout this whole battle all at once. Images flashed before his eyes, the expressions of horror, the helplessness, soldiers trying to crawl away to save their lives only to be consumed by the blanket of enemies.
As the whole battle flashed before Khaadgrim’s eyes, the shadow of the same demon lurched over his helpless body and flashed a horrific, sly grin that jabbed thousands of needles into the back of one’s body. A bloodied blade slowly lifted itself up high, ready to end the madness. But senses played more jokes on him. Demura suddenly lit up and started right to Khaadgrim with a horrible, monotonous face.
“Help me, Khaadgrim,” she said, toneless and dead. “Help me.” She kept saying that, over and over again as the images of death and decay littered Khaadgrim’s mind. The screaming soldier attempted to crawl back to him, also muttering the same words.
“Help me, orc!” he said fanatically, the expression of horror still fixated on his face even though he was dead. “Help me! Please, help me! Please!”
The demon laughed, blade still high and still watching Khaadgrim struggle against himself. Its voice permeated through Khaadgrim’s head, jabbed and rocked it, quickly filling it with misery, hopelessness, vain fulfilling. And then it spoke.
“Get up, Khaadgrim!” It said mockingly, chortling all the while. “Help them, Khaadgrim, help them! Save them!” The voices meshed together like an abomination and flung themselves into the plethora of horrible images and sounds that were already being broadcasted in Khaadgrim’s helpless body. Almost in slow motion, the demon’s blade went down as the voices cried for help, as the screams quaked the surrounding areas, as the sounds of artillery reigned the land, and as the sharp ringing in his ears heightened. As the blade came closer to Khaadgrim’s face, everything slowly blacked out with the demon’s chortling voice still lingering in the air.
Everything slammed to a halt and darkness overtook Khaadgrim’s sight. Everything was silent for a moment and then a crick was heard somewhere. The orc opened his eyes, paused, and then gazed at the ceiling.
The small had little to speak about other than the nightstand beside the bed, a table with two chairs and an armor rack that held up the orc’s armor. Khaadgrim slowly lifted himself up and gazed around, listening to the night. Crickets chirped and the distant sounds of work could be heard, almost as if rest was foreign to those workers. Khaadgrim lifted a hand, inspected it, twiddled his fingers, then swept the sweat off his face. The nightmare was over for now.
He laid there, looking around, taking in the peaceful silence that prevailed in the small house. But then he glanced to the armor rack at the other side of the room. Distant, echoing screams wrapped themselves around Khaadgrim as he stared at the armor. He furrowed his brows, blinked hard and casted those voices away, reestablishing silence into the house.
“More nightmares?” a voice pierced itself through the darkness. Khaadgrim whipped his head to the window beside him and realized a female orc was standing there, leaning on the sill. It took him some time to recognize the face and he furrowed his brows quite a bit before realizing it was Demura. Khaadgrim nodded slightly and wiped his forehead, letting out a drawn-out sigh.
“The same one again,” he responded. Demura nodded, head planted on the sill, then smiled at him. She reached an arm out and touched him by the shoulder, rubbing it gently.
“We survived,” Demura said reassuringly. “You don’t have to regret anymore.” Khaadgrim only shook his head slightly, murmuring under his breath.
“I wasn’t strong enough,” he said, almost like a whisper, a terrible secret known to him and acknowledged with great displeasure. “I couldn’t have saved him, couldn’t have saved you.” He looked to Demura. She frowned and noticed something that she never noticed before in his eyes. It was the look of complete and utter defeat as if all spirit and will was stripped away and only a husk of flesh replaced in its stead.
Khaadgrim quickly looked away after seeing her frown, glancing to the bed sheets, whispering to himself. Demura looked Khaadgrim over, the frown still on her face, then rubbed her head and flicked Khaadgrim on the shoulder. He immediately looked back to Demura, as if waiting for some sort of hope to draw from her, those glazed eyes seeking comfort from years of sorrow and torment.
“Hey now,” Demura started, her tone cheerful. “Don’t be like that. If anything let that day serve as a reminder for why you do you the things you do.” She smiled a pleasant smile. Khaadgrim stared at her for a minute, jaw slightly dropped, trying to comprehend the words just said. Finally he nodded, swallowed a breath and slightly smiled back. Demura chuckled and tapped him on the shoulder again.
“That’s the Khaadgrim I know and love,” she said with confidence. “Plus, if you’re feeling any worse you could always punch Cham a few times.” They both laughed quietly at the thought because they knew it was going to happen one way or another. Silence observed for a minute and then Khaadgrim spoke.
“You remember that one day, right? Who saved us?” Khaadgrim looked to Demura and she tapped her cheek, contemplating at the thought with a hum.
“It’s been a long while,” she said, still thinking. “It wasn’t Berlshenk, though, I remember that much, but I also remember it was a dwarf. It started with a ‘G.’” She tried sounding the name out with a soft tone, then slowly trickle into a comprehensible word. “Oh! Galvrin, I remember now.” She tapped the sill with victory. “Galvrin Rumbleshot, one of Berlshenk’s Mountaineer buddies. He was an interesting guy to say the least, had a good talk with him after the fight.”
Khaadgrim nodded with a smile on his face. “Galvrin. I’ll be sure to thank him.” Demura nodded back, saying that it would be a nice thing to do, considering. The two fell silent and silence returned to observe the two.
“You want anything while I’m here?” Demura finally said, allowing silence to retreat once more into the corners of the house. “You want to talk about anything else, get those nerves tempered up?” Khaadgrim shook his head.
“I’ll be alright now, I’m certain of it.” He flashed an assuring smile but Demura saw through it and shook her head at him.
“Always the tough one.” She smiled. Khaadgrim grumbled under his head but couldn’t help to grin. He knew it was true, he always tried to act strong and tough during his job, but it was always to help troops and subordinates gain morale. She knew that too and she was fine with it, but even the most hardened of soldiers can fall from regret and lack of closure.
Demura pecked Khaadgrim on the cheek and said her goodbyes, vanishing into the shadows of inner Orgrimmar. Khaadgrim closed the window and locked it, then laid back to bed face-forward to the ceiling and closed his eyes. A flash of some odd picture went through his head, the faces of comrades all standing together in a bunch. Demura, Cham, Berlshenk, and a motley crew of others were present in the picture, all of whom Khaadgrim was familiar with.
He let out a sigh of relief, settled into the bed and went straight into sleep. Silence came back and observed the orc, a ward against all things terrible that could enter the mind. The rest of the night stayed that way and no other terrible memory returned to rear its ugly head for the duration of the solemn night.