Ashes And Arrows: The Bright Fire

A novel involving my former WoW character Ashe and her adventures.

After the horrid destruction of Kezan caused by Deathwing tearing through the heart of the world we know as Azeroth, Âshe finds herself in the great Horde city of Orgrimmar. A stranger to these lands and with her entire family perishing to Deathwing's destructive power, she has sworn to carry on the legacy that is her family, many generations of proud Hunters. She soon find herself drawn to help heal the lands hurt by the Cataclysm and gets involved in a long journey, taking her far and wide to areas she could only dream of.

I want to point out, while there is ALOT of lore and actual facts from World of Warcraft involved in this story, there WILL be inconsistensies, seeing as it is still fanfiction, so do not take it serious.

Disclaimer - The name Ashe is in fact not stolen or nicked from League of Legends. I've had the name for roughly 10 years, ever since I started playing World of Warcraft back in Vanilla Beta.

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15. Prelude to Battle

  "Mirza huh? Strange name. But for one of your kind it's probably regular." Mirza wasn't impressed by the small Goblin. She had a big mouth, but that was just about all he figured. "And what about you? What is your name?" Âshe hesitated to tell MIrza her name, but then again, he had just done the same. She felt it was alright to exchange the favor. He did patch both her and Ome up after all. They owed him their lives. "My name is Âshe of the Nightfall and the Tauren at my feet is Brewmaster Ome." Mirza looked with skepticism on the huge beast. "Well, despite the pickle I have put myself in by rescuing you two, it's nice to see that the Horde cares what's going on in Hyjal." Mirza had peaked her interest with his latest statement. "To what are you referring?" Mirza poked the logs on fire with a long stick as he talked. "The elemental invasions. Your presence here confirms that the Horde cares what happens to Hyjal. As you no doubt know by now, Ragnaros has arisen from the plane of fire once more. Deathwing brought him back to wreck havoc upon Hyjal and burn down the World Tree Nordrassil."

  She nodded in acknowledgement. "I do. We took a defensive stand at Aessina's Grove as the fire poured over us. We also had the chance to face one of Ragnaros' new lieutenants, Shannox. I have never seen a being like him." Mirza leaned towards the small Goblin. "Shannox? The Houndmaster?" Âshe was silent. She feared she had already said too much. But at this point she wasn't thinking about code or honor. She was trying to get answers. "Mirza, do you know of the Druids plans?" Mirza shook his head. "I do not. I have barely arrived before I was ordered not to proceed down the mountain as long as the Flamewakers and Charbringers control the only mountain path towards Malorne's Shrine further down the mountain. I was travelling to the Shrine of Aviana to seek aid there."

  Âshe took a good look at the Draenei in front of her. "You too? Me, Ome and our friend Targok was on our way there for the same reason. All I remember is we were ambushed by Alliance and Targok was carried away." For a moment, she could have sworn Mirza had a look of sadness on his face, but he turned it away quickly before she could confirm her suspicion. "Most likely for questioning." Âshe could feel how her worry turned into fear. She feared Targok was going to collapse under torture and reveal information. Then again, she wasn't familiar with any of the Alliance methods to extract information. "Care for some bread and water Âshe? You look like you could use some nutrition to gather your strength."    

  She nodded and as Mirza handed her a loaf of bread, she briefly touched his hand. She felt something strange and was frozen solid in a silent admiration of his silk soft skin, covering his big hands. For a moment time stood still until Mirza cleared his throat and she snapped out of her dreaming moment. She quickly took the loaf of bread and turned her face to conceal her blushing cheeks. Mirza chuckled lightly to himself as they shared the bread and sp,e water. There was a few moments of silence where the crackling sounds from the campfire was the only thing breaking the silence. Mirza finally got on his feet and looked at the Goblin with a kind expression on his face. "Get some rest Âshe and you will recover in the morning."

 

  Kevin couldn't fathom what he had just heard. How could they be dead? What happened? Who killed them? And where are their bodies? "You look troubled my small friend. I can not imagine this information has been easy to hear." Hamuul and Kevin was sharing a bottle of wine at a small table inside the temple associated with Aessina's Grove. "You're right Hamuul. This isn't easy to take in. But I refuse to believe they have been murdered until I see some proof." Hamuul exhaled deeply. "I understand Kevin. But you must prepare yourself and accept the possibility of their demise." Kevin shook his head. "No. I refuse to accept it. There is no chance all three of them were caught off guard. It's simply not possible." Hamuul stood up from the table and looked around. "Follow me Mage." Kevin looked up and saw the serious tension in Hamuul's eyes. He quickly got up and followed Hamuul deeper inside the Temple.

  They walked a short distance. The silence between Hamuul and Kevin was only broken by their loud footsteps onto the stone floor, echoing along the endless hallway walls. They reached a chamber filled with books and old scrolls. If Kevin didn't know better he would have said this was a vault of secret tomes, hidden away for a reason. But upon further inspection, the scrolls and books were mostly descriptions and depictions of how to resurrect the Demigods of Hyjal. Hamuul waited for Kevin to enter the chamber and closed the iron door behind them. "Kevin. There is something urgent we must discuss." Kevin say down on an old wooden chair. "What is it Hamuul?"

  Hamuul's facial expression had turned from serious to worried. In a slightly breaking voice, he continued. "Kevin. My scouts reported more than just blood in the dirt around a specific area. I have hesitated to hand over this information because it impacts my reputation as a neutral leader of a neutral faction in these times of war. As you know, the Guardians of Hyjal are a sanctum to both Horde and Alliance alike." Hamuul's eyes kept a close eye on the door throughout his entire ramblings. "During the investigation of the area, my scouts reported that there were three separate trails of bloods. Two of the trails were leading off in the same direction. But the third..." Kevin rose from his sitting position and was now watching Hamuul closely. "What aren't you telling me Hamuul? If you know something you better damn well..." Hamuul interrupted him briefly. "I am not hiding anything from you, Kevin. But I need to make sure."

  Kevin was now more confused that curious. "Make sure of what?" Hamuul knelt down and put a hand on Kevin's shoulder. The weight of just Hamuul's hand was enough to make Kevin push his muscles into gear in order to not drop to his knee. "If this comes back to me Kevin..." Kevin looked deep into Hamuul's eyes. "It won't. Whatever you say, it stays between us." Hamuul exhaled deeply. "The third blood trail was leading towards a nearby settlement. I fear one of your friends has been taken prisoner." Kevin was getting frustrated and you could almost feel the anger in his voice as he asked the question: "By whom?" Hamuul rose from his kneeling and turned his back to Kevin. "By the Alliance."

 

  Targok was awoken by bird song the next morning. Though bound in chains and on a strict diet of bread and water, the  warm rays of the sun falling into his dark cell, was a welcome sight. He pulled himself up into a sitting position on the small leather bed that was bolted into the stone walls. He had slept surprisingly well considering the circumstances. At this moment he started to wonder. How long would be here? Was Âshe and Ome still alive? What would happen when these Alliance captors had gotten whatever they wanted? His mind was riddled with questions and not enough answers. He was however interrupted in his thoughts, as the sharp noise of clinging iron keys came closer and closer. The footsteps stopped outside his cell door and the distinguished sound of the lock being opened and the door opening, didn't bode well for him. But he was determined, not to give in to pressure, no matter what they did to press him for information.

  "Good morning my friend. Did you sleep well?"  Targok rubbed his eyes and the picture of the slightly disturbing Captain from the night before was now clear before him. "Still as ugly as I recall, Captain." The Captain smiled and ordered a large plate with multiple colored bottles placed on the small wooden table. In addition a man covered in dark blue robes entered the cell and sat down by the table. His face was covered by a long hood and the only part of his head visible was his bearded chin. Targok looked with suspicion as the man started to mix herbs and water into a small bowl. The Captain noticed this and shifted his sight between the man and Targok. "This man will help you, help us. And the more you cooperate, the better the condition you will be sent back in. Of course, you can always be sent back in a thousand pieces if that is what you prefer."

  The Captain spoke like he had no fear, as if his fear had been removed by decades of torture and hard mental training. Evidently something as morbid and extreme as chopping up people into tiny bits was not even a concern for this Captain. Or at least, that was the impression Targok had of the rather large Human in front of him. "Now, if you would be so kind. Take a seat. But first..." The Captain quickly pulled out a syringe and jammed it into Targok's arm in a swift move so fast, that even Targok couldn't react fast enough to make even a small ditch effort to dodge the needle. The yellow liquid quickly poured into Targok's blood stream and he could feel it taking effect immediately. He felt weak, disorientated and confused. His muscles went relaxed and lose, as two guards unchained both his arms and one of his legs, leaving a long ball chain to his right ankle. They carried him over to the table and he sat down in an upright position and maintained this position as if he was stiff as a board. "Good. Doctor, I leave the rest to you. Make sure he doesn't suffer too much. After all, we will need to return him in a decent state so there will be no suspicion." The man in the dark robes bowed to the Captain. "Very well Captain. I will do my best."

  The Captain left the cell and the door closed behind him. The man sat down on the opposite side of the table to Targok and revealed his true identity. The man was more pale than a ghost and had an enormous scar across his left eye, which explained the glass eye in his skull. His hair was long and had a tainted green color. The man finally spoke and his voice was dark and gritty. "I am Alchemist Drazel. It's a pleasure to meet you." Targok was fully conscious, but couldn't move his body. It was as if he had been cursed and trapped inside his own mind, only able to watch as horrors would proceed before his eyes. Targok cursed the man from inside his own head, but despite his best efforts, he couldn't move even a single finger. With a wicked smile across his lips, the Alchemist scrambled his feeble hands among the elixirs on the plate and picked up a bottle containing a gooey, blue substance. "Well then, shall we get started?

 

  Morning had dawned. It was time. Through the camp, battle-cries and fierce yells could be heard as the soldiers slowly made their way into formation. General Ruk'Thar exited his tent in full battle armor. His was bearing armor braided with the symbol of the Horde on every possible plate of steel. Medals and ribbons hanging from his chest and steel-helm in hand, he approached the army from a high hill, as the last few soldiers fell into formation. In a booming voice throughout the encampment, Ruk'Thar had prepared his final words. "Brothers! Today, we will teach those Alliance bastards a lesson they will never forget. They can run. They can hide. They can fight. And they can stand in defiance. BUT THEY WILL NEVER DEFEAT US!" The crowd roared in acknowledgement and Ruk'Thar could feel the anger stirring in the army standing before him. "LET'S MAKE THEM REMEMBER WHY WE ARE WERE THE ONES VICTORIOUS IN HILLSBRAD. Let's make sure they will never forget that despite their countless efforts to destroy us, WE ARE STILL HERE AND WE WILL NEVER SURRENDER!" The roar of the crowd was reaching enormous heights and it filled Ruk'Thar with strength to know he had all these loyal soldiers by his side, ready to die for the Horde.

  "These Alliance dogs believe they can burn down our camp and not suffer the consequences! BUT TODAY, WE WILL MAKE THEM PAY! LET US MARCH TO OUR VICTORY!" And as Ruk'Thar raised his clenched fist in the air, holding his battle-axe, he needed only to say what his men needed to hear. "LOK'TAR OGAR, FOR THE HORDE!"

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