“Khaad?” Cham said through the radio as Khaadgrim gazed over the Path of Glory. “Come in Khaad, where are you?”
It was an unruly sight, the Path of Glory. Despite all these years it stunk of blood and rotting flesh like the first day the corpses were paved together. The forces of the Alliance and Horde may have retired to Northrend months ago but the road of corpses found more bodies to join it through the efforts of straggling demons and enemies that continued to fight a battle long lost. Khaadgrim heard Cham but the orc was too busy walking down the path toward Hellfire Citadel, staring at its bleak nature, the fortress’s outer shell composed of steel and stone, looking down upon its intruders with a twisted form of what looked like a grin.
“What is it?” the orc finally responded after a few minutes. “I told you to leave without me, I’ll find my own way back.”
“It’s unlike you to break protocol, Khaad,” Cham remarked, sounding a bit suspicious. “Are you meeting another carrier or something? Maybe a friend?” Khaadgrim went silent again as he walked, his brows furrowed deep in thought. To alleviate any further suspicion the orc decided to lie instead.
“Yes, a friend.” He waited a few minutes but no response came. Did he see through his ruse? Was this battle even that important to fight alone? Why didn’t he simply ask for help instead? Time was up, Cham responded once more in his usual upbeat tone.
“Ah!” Cham exclaimed, sounding convinced. “Sorry ’bout that, foot got stuck on somethin’.” There was a bit of struggling on Cham’s side that the orc sighed at. After the headmaster freed himself of whatever obstacle he simply noted the orc to be careful and signed off the line. The orc stopped and let the bitter feeling of lying sink into him.
“What the hell am I doing?” Khaadgrim whispered to himself. He shuffled his helmet and stopped to glare at the intimidating structure that stood just over yonder. The orc was no different, Hellfire Citadel looked down upon the mortal, looking as if its twisted form of steel and stone mocked Khaadgrim with a evil, devious smile. Khaadgrim glared hard at it but a voice suddenly cried out which put him into an alert stance.
“Khaadgrim!” a menacing voice barked out with a vile chuckle at the end. Khaadgrim turned, catching sight of a large fel orc standing several feet away from him. The two locked gazes as the fel orc began walking slow circles around Khaadgrim.
Khaadgrim braced himself for anything as he kept his glare on the fel orc. “You’ve certainly made it easy for me to track you down, Khozarg. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to walk all the way to the citadel to rip your head open.” Khozarg simply barked out another laugh, still circling the Kor’kron and letting his glare fruitlessly dig through his red skin.
“My my, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Khozarg’s smug attitude only made Khaadgrim’s blood boil further. “How long has it been? A year? Gods Khaadgrim, a year and you’ve only taken this long to get back at me! Precious leader had better things to do didn’t he?”
“Hold your tongue, traitor!” Khaadgrim snarled as his words left him. Khozarg scoffed at the threat and stopped moving, facing the orc head on now.
“Of course, leader!” Khozarg said sarcastically. “Yes, leader! By the Warchief, leader! You were always a lapdog, Roark, always the one to blindly follow your orders.” He sized Khaadgrim up for a moment. “Have you even gotten any stronger since then? Where’s your blade? Are you intending to die like a good little mongrel?”
Every puff of breath from that miscreant made Khaadgrim more furious. Khozarg chuckled vilely, shaking his head in pity at him, then raised his arms to the sides. “Look at me, Roark! I’ve become stronger than you’ll ever manage. This blood that courses through my veins?” Khozarg sliced his palm open with the spikes adorning his left forearm and began sucking his own blood down. Khaadgrim watched in disgust as the fel orc licked his chops and sighed in relief. “This is the power gap, my friend. You’ll make your grave along with these pitiful wretches under our feet!”
Khaadgrim cracked his knuckles. “I don’t need a damn weapon to get rid of traitorous scum like you. You can say your farewells to the comrades you’ve slaughtered once I put you out of your misery!” Without any warning Khaadgrim unsheathed his throwing hatchet and hurled it towards Khozarg. The blade sunk deep into his right arm and caused him to slightly reel back at the force.
What Khaadgrim expected were groans of pain. Instead, Khozarg slowly drew into a cackle and simply tugged the hatchet out of him and looked over it. “Oh my, what is this, Roark?” He slid his tongue over the blood as he grinned wickedly. “Such a fine weapon. Allow me to return it!” With a maniacal roar he hurled the axe back towards Khaadgrim.
There was no time to react. Khozarg was too quick in throwing the hatchet back and the blade flew into Khaadgrim’s left foot and immobilized him, causing him to roar in pain and collapse onto the ground. Khozarg kept cackling, watching as the Kor’kron struggled fruitlessly to free himself from the weapon.
“Arrogant bastard. They’ve sent dozens to their deaths trying to kill me!” Khozarg approached Khaadgrim and planted a fist into his face. Not only did the helmet dent from the feral blow but the spikes on Khozarg’s forearm utterly shred the helmet into disrepair. He ripped the helmet off and tossed it to the side, revealing Khaadgrim’s bald, bruised and bleeding face.
Khozarg yelled out some orcish words and then looked to Khaadgrim once more, pulling his head up to face his. “I’ve killed more since then, Roark. I’ve even manage to convert some of your pitiful comrades while you were off pissing around here!” One by one fel orcs began surrounding the two, hungry for blood and war, salivating like mindless creatures. Some began chanting, others roaring and punching their fists. An expression of satisfaction came over Khozarg and he looked down at the helpless Khaadgrim with a vile grin.
“Your pride is your weakness,” he said as he chuckled. “It would be selfish of me to relish in your screams and pain alone so why not allow my comrades to taste your suffering?”
Khaadgrim glared at Khozarg as he laughed in his face. The fel orc was about to speak once more but was interrupted as Khaadgrim rammed his forehead into his nose, tossing Khozarg back a few feet. Khaadgrim ripped the hatchet from his foot with a grunt of pain and tried to brace himself as best he could against the drooling, mongering group of fel orcs that growled and snarled around him.
Khozarg swallowed the blood as it dripped from his nose. “Typical. A dog such as you would die trying rather than accept your fate. This death will surely fit you!” He ordered a command and the fel orcs began rushing Khaadgrim from all sides. He took some fel orcs down with his hacking and slashing but eventually one of them managed to disarm him. Khaadgrim didn’t stop there however and began punching and weaving through the enemies as best he could, and as he moved the wound in his foot spat out blood and his vision began to blur slowly.
“Feeling tired, Roark?” Khozarg shouted spitefully as he watched Khaadgrim fend off his attackers. The orc showed no signs of backing down, flipping bodies and breaking arms as the attacks continued with unrelenting speed. Khaadgrim finally buckled to a knee as his foot gave out and a fel orc slammed its elbow into his back, its jagged spikes sinking deep into him.
The blow left Khaadgrim helpless to react. The fel orcs around him mercilessly beat him down as each punch flung him to other parts of the circle and with each transition another punch or kick. His armor was no match for the fel orcs and their brutality as they wore the armor down so much the breastplate and shoulder pads shattered to pieces, most of the fragments imbedding within the orc’s flesh. Khaadgrim’s vision blurred and dulled as black blood smeared over his face and body, soaking him down and over his multitude of wounds.
Too many, there were simply too many enemies to combat against. Hope tried to surface but he began seeing darkness cloud over his vision as the fel orcs beat him down. They were ready to feast on Khaadgrim’s near-dead body but Khozarg signaled for his comrades to stop and simply gazed at the orc as he groaned in pain and writhed in his blood.
“Prideful, stubborn and weak.” Khozarg placed a foot down on one of the imbedded shards in Khaadgrim’s chest and pushed, causing him to let out a hoarse and weary wail of pain. “Failed to avenge your comrades, failed to redeem your honor, failed to act quick enough. How does that make you feel, Roark? Does it make you feel regretful? Don’t you wish you ran away like a coward instead? Now you have to die like a dog, but I suppose it’s a fitting end for the likes of you.”
Khozarg looked over the ground and found the bloodied hatchet. He looked over it, then gave it a long lick with which he gulped the blood down. “You always admired your weapons and armor, Roark. Pity they did nothing to prevent any of this.” Everything slowed down for Khaadgrim. As Khozarg lifted the hatchet for the final blow Khaadgrim couldn’t help but to endure his own final judgment.
I’ve failed. Why did I wait this long to avenge them, to believe that this was not my task to fulfill instead of my other comrades? Now many more have died or worse, all due to my foolishness.
It was such a simple mission. We only needed to scout around the Citadel but it seems things turned for the worse. Khozarg, you bastard, you’ve betrayed more than your brothers and sisters, you’ve betrayed the whole Horde.
But it doesn’t seem to matter now. He basks in his victory as I lay here dying, watching as my blood seeps away from me, helpless. It seems my life was only saved numerous times to allow my pride to get the better of me and lead me to this point.
Understandable. This is my punishment for being such a fool. When I could have risked my life to find her I opted to follow orders instead. When he wished to know me better I decided to shun him away for so long. It is only right that my pride and foolishness be repaid with such an unclean death.
I’m sorry, Demura. I’m sorry, father. I’m sorry, my comrades. Mother… how will you greet me when I venture into the spirit world? I suppose we will find out soon…
Wait, what is that?
“Alright Khaad, take it easy and be careful, yeah?” Cham signed off the radio with a sigh and ordered the carriers to fall in and prep the wagon for movement. “Jeez, this isn’t like him at all. Maybe he’s meeting Zaranaku somewhere or somethin’.” He lifted his hood up a bit to gaze over the sky but there was no sign of the netherdrake. The mace on his back began to glow a cloudy blue and a womanly form took shape as it seeped out from the weapon.
When Reichel finally popped out in spirit form she looked to where the lower-ranking carriers were and began counting them. “Wait a minute, something’s not right.” The numbers didn’t match up and Reichel counted a second time before fixing a confused expression onto her face. “Where’s Khaadgrim’s father? Wasn’t he with us during the journey here?” Cham blinked, looked to the carriers and began counting them over slowly as they chattered around the large, empty wagon that used to be filled with supplies.
“Weird, he was.” Cham yelled to the carriers. “Hey fledglings! You see where that old orc that was with us go?” Most of the carriers shrugged, others echoed the same answer in some other shape or form which made Cham palm his face. Thankfully one carrier was aware of his surroundings and mentioned the old orc heading alone toward the Path of Glory.
“Wait,” Cham muttered, looking to Reichel, “why the hell would he go there?”
“Maybe he’s meeting with Khaadgrim?” Reichel squeaked innocently. She wasn’t even confident in her own words and that caused Cham to make a funny, I-think-something’s-wrong sort of expression. In other words he tensed his face so much it looked like it became lopsided.
After Reichel bonked him on the head and he relaxed his face Cham looked over to the Path of Glory and furrowed his brows at it. “Something’s not right, obviously. He didn’t even bother telling anyone.” Their thoughts were interrupted as Zaranaku flew down and landed in front of them, looking as concerned as a netherdrake could.
“Pardon the intrusion, headmaster,” the netherdrake said modestly, bowing his head in respect. “I cannot find master Roark. Would you know where he is by chance?” Cham and Reichel looked to each other and then looked back to Zaranaku. The netherdrake blinked, confused by their gazes. “I’m sorry, is there something I said wrong?”
Cham slowly shook his head. From his position in Honor Hold he stared hard at the Path of Glory. “But there is something wrong here. Did you see Khaad’s dad wandering around by any chance?”
Zaranaku nodded. “I did. He was trailing over the Path of Glory for some reason but I did not wait to see what he was seeking. I believe he departed once the caravan arrived here.”
“Two sightings and no answers.” Cham scratched his head.
“Perhaps we should call them over the radio?” Reichel suggested.
Cham shook his head. “Kardus didn’t give us any warning. Khaad was kinda fishy about his situation too! This calls for a undercover operation.” Cham nodded matter-of-factly. Reichel scoffed at the idea and Zaranaku simply blinked at the conversation.
A female orc in Kor’kron armor approached the three and put her hands on her hips. “Yo, headmaster, we’re ready to roll.” She looked to Zaranaku and nodded to him. “Hey there Zarr! How’s my mate doing?”
“Sorry Dem-boss,” Cham said with a silly tone, “your mate’s gone missin’ like the dickens!”
Reichel scolded him, saying, “Stop that!” She let out a sigh and went in thought, tapping her ethereal cheek. “Something doesn’t feel right. We should scout out the Path of Glory and see what’s going on.”
“What’s goin’ on?” Demura asked, a look of concern replacing her relaxed expression. “Don’t tell me he’s run off on his own again.”
Before anyone could respond Cham’s radio began shooting out a sharp, pulsating sound. He glanced at it and blinked, realizing something was officially wrong now. “It’s Kardus’s radio,” he muttered as he pressed some buttons to bring the radio’s magically-powered map up. “And it looks like he’s… still at the Path of Glory.”
“Do you think he was following Khaadgrim?” Reichel asked. Cham shrugged and yelled to the carriers near the wagon once more.
“Change of plans, ladies!” The carriers groaned at the yell, wishing he wouldn’t make fun of them like that. “Take a break, go piss or something, we’ll meet back here in an hour!” Once the order was received the carriers disbanded and went their separate ways, some going to the tavern, others going to the potty and the rest continuing to mingle near the wagon.
Cham looked to Demmy. “Dem, you make sure they don’t stab themselves or something, yeah?”
She scoffed. “To hell with you! They’d stab themselves even with my supervision! Lemme go with you.”
Cham wanted to argue but Zaranaku cut him off. “If my master and his kin are in danger it is best if we not argue and depart as soon as possible.” Reichel agreed, Cham shut up and Demmy nodded. The three decided to mount on Zaranaku as the quickest path possible and they took off into the skies.
Wait, what is that?
All of a sudden an axe from the sky came down upon one of the mindless fel orcs and buried itself into its skull. The base of the axe suddenly flickered into a glowing ember and quickly became stronger. Khozarg’s eyes widened and he shouted.
“Get away from it!” It was too late however. The flame suddenly burst into a nova and surrounded any nearby fel orcs in flames. Even though Khaadgrim wasn’t harmed from the flames his blood loss caused him to black out afterwards. Khozarg brushed away the smoke and ash and watched as another green-skinned orc leaped from the hillside of the path and down into the fray with a thundering crash.
“That’s my boy’s ass you kicked,” he said with a wild smile as his red eyes fixated on Khozarg. The old orc was a menacing 6″8 and towered over Khozarg and his cronies a few inches, amounting the demonic blood to nothing it seemed. Khozarg simply grinned at the newcomer and scoffed.
” That’s a nice trick, but you’re going to need more than that to save you.” More fel orcs began crowding around the aged one but he didn’t look scared in the least. Instead his smile widened as he cracked his knuckles.
“Sorry young’n but I got more tricks up ma sleeve!” As his left hand reached for another axe his right hand began emitting fire. “And they’re gonna slide on through and kick yer ass!”
He hurled the axe, aiming for Khozarg but he narrowly dodged it, allowing it to cleave right through a fel orc’s head and spray brain matter all over the ground. The fight reignited as the axe landed near Khaadgrim. Strangely enough the axe’s handle began to pulsate with globs of water that hovered over to Khaadgrim’s battered body and sink into him, causing the orc to stir slightly.
The old orc took one of the fel orcs, heaved it over his shoulders and pressed down, breaking its spine in half. “What’s the matter? Can’t beat an old asswipe like me?” He laughed and began using the dead fel orc as a club, swinging it around like there was no tomorrow and beaning some with its spikes. Blood sprayed around as the fel orc club was torn to shreds by its own friends and then the old orc resumed fighting with blazing fists against the rest.
He fought viciously as the assault endured. Despite the lacerations and bruises the old orc didn’t stop laughing as he pelted his enemies with punches, kicks and elemental warfare. One of the fel orcs eventually thought grabbing the axe shooting fireballs was a good idea but when it tried to pull the axe out of the ground the old orc slammed a foot into its forearm and broke it, then picked the axe up himself and tore the fel orc’s head off with it.
“You can’t hold out forever, old one!” Khozarg pushed his way through the mess of fel orcs and charged at the old orc. Before he could even reach him however a large wall of earth suddenly came between the two and Khozarg slammed hard into it. Flesh, bone and blood shook off from the slab and the old orc climbed to the top of it, grinning down at Khozarg.
“I can sure hold long enough ta get ma boy up ‘n runnin’!” Khozarg blinked, whipped his head toward Khaadgrim and realized the orc was glaring back at him as he pulled the last piece of imbedded armor out from his chest. As he did so blood shot out but another glob of water from the axe repaired the wound before Khozarg’s eyes. As Khaadgrim pulled the axe out of the ground the old orc sent the slab of earth down, covering the battlefield with a thick sheet of red dust.
Khaadgrim charged through the dust, hacking down any fel orc who stepped in his way. The red dust clung to the dried blood and trembled off as he beat his way through his blinded foes. The old orc slammed a foot down, causing the ground to quake and send the dust away. Once the field cleared Khaadgrim realized he was standing beside the old orc.
“Father?” Khaadgrim looked to him for a moment before focusing his gaze upon the numerous fel orcs that surrounded them. Kardus enveloped his fists with flames and cracked his knuckles, chuckling at the odd-sounding question.
“Damn boy, don’t be surprised t’see yer old man tailin’ you around! Who else is gonna keep yer ass outta trouble, eh?” Kardus chuckled and winked at Khaadgrim. Khaadgrim sighed and shook his head afterwards.
Khaadgrim stumbled over his words, ignoring the cries and growls for blood from the surrounding fel orcs. “Father, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—”
“You tell me whatever you gotta tell me when you aren’t near death, yeah?” Kardus nudged Khaadgrim with his elbow and winked again. “If ya really mean what ya say then you won’t ferget once we’re done here.”
It was embarrassing. Khaadgrim knew he had this helpless face on right now but he couldn’t help it. He felt so certain he was going to die, and the words were hard to express to show his gratitude. Even so Kardus was right, this wasn’t the time for such words. Khaadgrim steeled himself and prepared for the upcoming onslaught.
“How touching,” Khozarg commented, scoffing at the two from behind the crowd of fel orcs. “Like father like son. You both will die like the dogs you are!” He sent the command and the fel orcs began another rush toward the two.
Despite his repaired wounds Khaadgrim felt the sting of weariness over his body. The large amount of blood loss prior was still trying to compensate and Khaadgrim knew he couldn’t fight at peak capacity. Just as the fel orcs moved in Kardus shouted for him, causing him to whip his head.
“Young’n, here!” Kardus tossed Khaadgrim another axe from a satchel and reached for the last two for himself. The bases of Khaadgrim’s axes pulsated with water and fire while Kardus’s axes emanated air and earth. The realization that these axes were enchanted with elemental energies caught on to Khaadgrim and he charged with the weapons in hand. With each successful blow that his enemies dealt to him the water from the axe mended; with each successful blow he struck the wounds given to his enemies singed and roasted.
These pathetic, mindless orcs could not possibly kill these two. Khozarg clenched his teeth as he watched his lackeys die left and right, unable to stop the two green-skins due to their strengths. An unfortunate truth to drinking demon blood is that without it the body would decay slowly. These fel orcs have lasted a long time without the precious demon blood but it’s become painfully obvious that their strength has degraded into rushing head-on into enemies without a second thought. Fortunately Khozarg still had Khaadgrim’s throwing hatchet, and aiming it towards the Kor’kron he finally decided to participate in the battle and also end it once and for all.
However, something suddenly resounded from above. Zaranaku swept over the battlefield with Cham and Demura in tow. As they hovered over the horde of fel orcs Cham swung his mace down and knocked a fel orc’s head off, blood and bone splattering everywhere. Demura hopped off in mid-flight and began her own ring of chaos amidst the field, swinging her sword around and blocking attacks with her shield whenever she could.
Cham hopped off closer to Khaadgrim and Kardus and began swinging Reichel around like there was no tomorrow. He blasted frost and boiled blood that caused some fel orcs to spontaneously explode, erupting fountains of blood in numerous parts of the battlefield. The fel orcs were so weakened due to having no demon blood that the battle’s victory would become unanimous at this rate. When Zaranaku finally joined the fray the victory accelerated as each fel orc was gripped by the netherdrake’s vice-like jaws and hurled like a ragdoll into its own allies.
Impossible, this was impossible! Khozarg watched in dismay as his lackeys were cut down in quick succession by the newcomers. The mindless fel orcs knew no fear but they also knew nothing about combat tactics or environmental awareness, that was for certain. Khozarg let out another vicious roar, alerting any other surrounding fel orcs to rush into the fray. Many heeded the call as dozens more came scaling the cliff sides and running up the path.
“Good gods!” Cham barked out as he let a fel orc kiss his mallet in the face. “Khaadgrim, we gotta get outta here NOW!”
Khaadgrim looked to Cham before focusing on another fel orc and cleaving his arm off with fire and using the other axe to pierce its throat open. “No!” he yelled, trying to gaze around the battlefield as he fought. “Not yet!” He finally saw Khozarg glaring from afar, seething with anger as he watched them fight. Khaadgrim let out a furious yell and began to cleave his way through the fel orc horde toward Khozarg.
“You see, this would’ve been way easier if you let us join in sooner!” Cham carved his own bloody route beside Khaadgrim’s, covering the orc’s flank as the onslaught continued.
“Shut up!” Khaadgrim barked back as he grunted, splitting another enemy’s head open. “Bah! I’ll apologize later! Help me go after the fool behind these miscreants!”
Kardus, Demura and Zaranaku joined in. As Khaadgrim wormed his way toward Khozarg the others assisted him and covered. Even though the fel orcs were weak they were numerous; the group was slowly waning in strength and knew if they didn’t escape soon they would be overwhelmed.
Khozarg barked out a haughty, mocking laugh as he watched the group slowly make their way to him. He let out another yell and more fel orcs began to shower over them. It became more difficult to keep Khaadgrim’s warpath cleared as he began sustaining injuries to his flanks which the healing powers of the water axe could not keep up with. Another fel orc rushed toward Khaadgrim and tried to tackle him but Kardus intercepted and knocked it down, crushed its skull, then hurled the limp body towards its allies and knocked them all down.
“Kid,” Kardus yelled through the angry cries of war from their enemies. “You better get outta this alive!” Khaadgrim couldn’t respond as Kardus slammed his fire-engulfed fists into the ground and bought up a wall of fire that encircled Khaadgrim and Khozarg, blocking them out indefinitely from the rest of the battlefield. The remainder of fel orcs within the circle were put to quick work by the Kor’kron and now nothing stood in his way against Khozarg.
The sounds of battle prevailed but nothing else was heard between the two. Khaadgrim tossed the axes out of the ring of fire and glared at Khozarg as he smirked.
“Always so prideful,” he said, his smirk turning into a chuckle. Khaadgrim paid no mind to him and simply stood there in silence, putting himself into a battle stance and raising his fists up to prepare for battle. The battle was still unfair as Khaadgrim already had wounds during his journey but he paid no mind to them.
“You always saw your comrades as cannon fodder. “Khaadgrim shook his head at Khozarg, who scowled at the statement. “This is why you were always pathetic, you could never act as a fellow warrior. Even today you still continue using your comrades as meat shields.”
“Well then Roark, let’s see which is the worse sin: Pride or sloth!” Khozarg rushed the orc with a blood-curdling roar. Khaadgrim sidestepped and kicked Khozarg in the side and he retaliated with brutal, graceless swings to try and lacerate the Kor’kron. Khaadgrim then spun around and slammed a fist into Khozarg’s back, causing him to grunt with pain.
The blow barely did much as Khozarg lunged back, piercing Khaadgrim’s arm with the spikes on his back and tearing the flesh to shreds. Khozarg then stuck the spikes on his forearm into Khaadgrim’s back and heaved his arm downwards, ripping more flesh and making the Kor’kron bark out a cry of pain as black blood began streaming down his back. As Khaadgrim toppled to the ground and gripped his side Khozarg swung his knee into the wound, tossing Khaadgrim a few feet away.
He laid still for a moment, then slowly lifted himself up, groaning and spitting out blood. He ignored the wounds, stood his ground and returned into his combat stance. He paid no mind to his labored breathing or the dripping of blood from his body, only concentrating on Khozarg. Khaadgrim knew Khozarg saw victory coming but there was only one way to find out, and by the gods he was going to wipe that smirk off his face and disappoint him.
Khaadgrim lunged. He swung with his left but Khozarg blocked. With the flick of his wrist Khaadgrim twisted the arm, grappled the spikes and let out a roar of fury as he tore the spikes off from Khozarg’s forearm, letting loose a stream of blood. Khozarg screamed out in pain as Khaadgrim punched him in the face, pulled him down and then tore off the spikes from his back.
“You bastard! You –” Khozarg kept trying to scream as the blood flowed out of him like a stream. Khaadgrim then twisted Khozarg around and began sticking him with his own spikes, starting from the abdomen and working up, and as he stuck him Khozarg’s screams were escalating until a quick stab in the throat turned his screaming into bloody gurgles of pain. Khozarg helplessly gurgled and writhed in his own fluids as Khaadgrim looked down to him with a stern glare.
“You have lackeys,” Khaadgrim said, panting as his blood trickled over Khozarg’s face. “However, I have friends, and because of that your death has come to such a terrible fate.” Khaadgrim looked over the last spike in his hand and then to Khozarg as he squirmed in anger. As the final peg went down Khozarg’s gurgling scream of rage was quickly silenced. Khaadgrim stepped back to look over Khozarg’s still body, then collapsed himself as the fires of the ring simmered to smoke.
Khaadgrim laid there, quiet, listening as the battle still raged on. Soon his friends would fall just like he did and there would be nothing he could do. As regrettable as he felt at least he did his past comrades a favor and avenged their deaths.
“You moron, don’t die on us now!” Demura barked out as she noticed Khaadgrim laying on the corpse-ridden road. “You don’t have permission to die, do you hear me? Who’s gonna help me take care of Karma if you die!?”
“Master!” Zaranaku began clawing his way over to Khaadgrim but some of the fel orcs blocked him, jumping all over him and wounding him with their spikes and claws. Cham swung his way over to help Zaranaku but one of the fel orcs swatted Reichel of out his hands and tackled him down. Reichel then hovered over the battlefield and began fighting on her own, moving left and right and breaking bones as she fought with her spiritual powers.
He heard them fighting still. He struggled and grunted to get up but his body wouldn’t obey. Demura fought through the horde and stood beside Khaadgrim, still fighting off enemies. The fel orcs began swarming over the female orc and it was apparent her strength was close to depleting.
She knelt down and blocked with her shield as the fel orcs beat down on it, drooling and enraged. She fought against her fatigue as they beat down on her shield but her focus was more on Khaadgrim’s blood-smeared body. “Khaadgrim! Khaadgrim, get up damn it! Don’t tell me you fought all this time for nothing! GET UP!”
The screech of metal filled their ears as Demura gave way. Several fel orcs began beating down on her and she grunted and cried out in pain as their blows landed. Khaadgrim could only watch helplessly as she struggled to fight back but he knew there was no way for her to win. He began growling, snarling, vision turning red as he watched them claw Demura through, the blood spilling everywhere over her face and armor.
Then suddenly every wound in his body spurted out blood at once and he let out such a vicious and furious cry of anger that the ground before him trembled. The fel orcs who were beating down on Demura looked to Khaadgrim and then charged toward him with their maws wide and the lust for battle in their red, fel-consumed eyes.
As one fel orc charged directly to Khaadgrim he swung. The blow connected, and the force was so great it broke through the skull and caused the fel orc to slam the back of its head into the ground, dead on impact. Khaadgrim’s brown-colored eyes were now outlined by red, furious glows and his wounds were letting out simmers of steam as he walked. The wounds began to gradually shut as he beat down his enemies in quick succession and each punch that landed broke through bone.
Cham’s hand shot out a tendril of unholy magic and send one of his enemies into the air. Once he got up Cham looked to where Khaadgrim was and saw his enraged state as the orc beat down his opponents without mercy. Cham looked around and wrestled away his assailants to catch sight of everyone but the only person he didn’t see was Kardus.
“Kardus!” Cham yelled out as another fel orc swung at him. He put the enemy into a head lock, froze its face off and then punched it, shattering the head into pieces. “Kardus! Damn it!” He was nowhere to be seen. However, after a moment there was a ghostly howl that permeated throughout the battlefield. Two ethereal wolves jumped into the fray from above and began their vicious slaughter as they literally chewed and clawed through their foes. Elemental warriors of earth, fire and water then followed and entered the battle, blasting their respective elements through their opponents.
“I bought some friends!” Kardus finally leaped into the battle and began punching and swinging with utmost grace and discipline. The old orc tripped and splintered bone as his hand-to-hand prowess encumbered the fel orcs and their graceless flailing of arms. Cham laughed as he used his death knight abilities to beat down his enemies, then shot another tendril of unholy magic toward Reichel and swung the female mace with all the might he could muster.
The warrior of water made its way toward Zaranaku and blasted a scolding stream of water against the fel orcs beating down upon the netherdrake. The element them fell onto Zaranaku and dissipated within his body and all the wounds he suffered closed within several seconds. The netherdrake then let out a ferocious roar and rushed into the air, surveying the battlefield, looking for Khaadgrim.
The orc was standing beside Demura’s unconscious body as he beat down his enemies. Zaranaku then dived toward him and shoved any nearby fel orcs away. Gently, he picked up Demura and ushered Khaadgrim to climb on his back, which he did with a fatigued body.
“Cham!” Zaranaku shouted as the headmaster turned. He put his hand up and Zaranaku swiftly clasped onto it, dragging Cham away from the battlefield. Kardus finished breaking another fel orc’s neck and then leaped upwards as Zaranaku passed by. With everyone in tow Zaranaku flew away from the Path of Glory and left the fel orcs and their deranged minds to wander in battle lust. Without a similar enemy to fight they began tearing each other apart, eating and drinking the blood of their former allies.
Zaranaku gently placed Demura on the ground as he let go of Cham, who landed with a grunt. Once Zaranaku’s feet was on solid ground Khaadgrim slid off the netherdrake’s back and collapsed. The orc was still conscious but his body would no longer bend to his will. Cham ordered the carriers to tend to the wounded and the medical carriers began their work. Demura came out from her unconscious state and looked around with weary eyes, catching sight of Khaadgrim.
“You bastard,” she said, too tired to sound angry. She crawled over to Khaadgrim and swept a tired hand over his face, trying to punch it but failing miserably.
“Demura, I’m –” She swat his face again, interrupting his sentence but he resumed it afterwards. “I’m sorry, for not being a good mate to you.”
“You’re such an idiot,” she replied, shaking her head. She finally stopped trying to punch Khaadgrim and laid down beside him as the medical carriers tended to their wounds. “The past is behind us. If you wanna repay me then stop trying to get yourself killed.” She managed to lift her hand again and swat Khaadgrim’s face with the back of it. He looked to Demura and noticed her grinning, then simply nodded and left it at that.
Kardus loomed over the two with that usual wild smile on his face. Khaadgrim looked to him and began to form his words once more.
“Father, I’m sorry for –” Khaadgrim grunted as Kardus lightly kicked him on the side.
“Boy, you listen to yer mate,” Kardus said, scolding with that wild smile on his face. “You show me yer willin’ ta change and everythin’ll be peachy ‘n dandy.” Khaadgrim wanted to say more but Kardus kept kicking him until he finally gave up. Khaadgrim finally got a clue and simply nodded to him, which Kardus nodded in return and then began tending to his wounds.
“Were you following me?” Khaadgrim managed to ask as Kardus knelt over him and channeled healing energies. Kardus nodded with an upbeat grunt as his hand trailed over Khaadgrim’s body and closed any remaining wounds.
“Saw you leavin’ after the wagon got here.”
“Why didn’t you stop me?”
“Blame yer mother.” Khaadgrim didn’t understand that answer at all but Kardus wasn’t finished speaking. “You got that unwaverin’ sense’a honor ‘n dignity in ya. Even if I punched ya ta death you wouldn’t stop until whatever you were focused on was done.”
Khaadgrim was at a loss for words. Kardus was right whether Khaadgrim liked it or not, and he let out a long sigh as the explanation sunk in.
“Could you tell me about her?” Khaadgrim asked. Kardus’s smile widened as he nodded.
“A’course!” As Kardus finished touching up with Khaadgrim’s wounds Cham approached them and smiled.
“Can’t say that wasn’t fun but I can’t really say it was either.” He stood over Khaadgrim’s feet as Kardus chuckled, finishing his healing. Khaadgrim lifted a foot up and slammed it into Cham’s crotch, causing him to buckle into a fetal position with a loud grunt of pain.
“AUGH!” he yelled as he tossed and turned. “PHANTOM PAIN, PHANTOM PAIN!” Khaadgrim lifted himself up and scoffed, walking slowly towards the wagon. Demura and Kardus laughed at Cham’s misfortune as the headmaster tossed and turned. The lower-ranking carriers stifled their laughter but ceased completely as Cham slowly got up, grumbling.
“Jeez,” he muttered as he straightened out his hood and watched Khaadgrim hop into the wagon. “With friends like us it’s no wonder he’s got enemies. Someone’s gotta kick his ass from time to time, that’s for sure….”
“Don’t worry Cham,” Demura said with a confident tone as she got up and straightened her equipment out. “Khaad learns quick, though I’m sure he’s bummed out since his armor got ruined from that fight.”
“Yeah yeah,” Cham brushed off her words as he ordered the carriers to their positions around the wagon. “He’s probably gonna staple himself into his shack again. Gods only know how many sets of armor he’s got in there or where he’s even able to hide them all!”
It was true, Khaadgrim always had a variety of armor sets stashed somewhere within his shack, somehow always out of reach of the naked eye. As the wagon began its journey to Shattrath Khaadgrim went into deep thought. Something in the corner of his mind had an idea already in store and the orc knew that it would only be a few more months until this idea came to fruition. For now however he contemplated about the deeds done this day, dozing off into a deep sleep as the lessons sunk into his mind.