Lion's Pride

This is my take on the final days of the war between Orcs and Humans.


1. Lion's Pride

Anthan Fordragon of the Stormwind Guard looked on from the white stone castle walls as the last of the civilians streamed through the city gates. Within minutes, he spotted the duo he had been seeking, Mara and Bolvar, and began to make his way down the steps of the wall and through the throng of refugees. Men and women alike stepped aside once they noticed the eagle etched carving on Anthan’s plate shoulders, signifying his rank as Captain.


Mara was a handsome woman with sparkling blue eyes, a slender oval face and long straight black hair. She wore the white humble looking robe of a Northshire cleric and carried an eight-foot long staff in her hand, which denoted her as a high-ranking member of the order. Anthan’s son, Bolvar stood next to her wearing a simple blue shirt and plain brown pants, which made it obvious to others that he was a noncombatant. Although he was only sixteen and not entirely filled out, Bolvar stood as tall as Anthan. Many people had commented on their similar features over the years but Anthan knew the boy took after his mother more than him, sharing her same blue eyes and coppery hair rather than his own jet-black hair that covered his head and bristly face.


"Mara, doing well I see." Anthan said fondly, as he gave his younger sister a strong hug. He felt her respond in kind and slowly set her down so he could face his son who was sulking next to them.


"Considering the circumstance." Mara said sadly, then stepped aside to let father greet son.


"Bolvar, you are looking well." Anthan said softly. He knew the boy was disappointed because he wanted nothing more than to join him in the city's defense.


" Well enough father." Bolvar said in a sulking tone.


Without a word and caring not if anyone saw him, Anthan embraced his son tightly. The boy stiffened at first, and then tentatively returned his father’s embrace.


"I want to stay and help you father." Bolvar pleaded softly to his father. This would be the last time he would be able to make his appeal before he was to be shipped out with his Aunt Mara and the rest of the northern refugees.


As he stepped away from his son, Anthan was content, knowing his wife would have been pleased with the job he had done, raising their son. Bolvar’s mother died shortly after giving birth to him, so Anthan raised him the best way he knew how, with Mara’s help. While he had been teaching Bolvar about the martial arts, and how to become a strong soldier, Mara would soften it with her clerical teachings about the light and all of its wonders. Together the two of them taught Bolvar well when it came to honor, chivalry and most of all, kindness. They raised a boy who had already exceeded their expectation. In another year, Bolvar was to be inducted into the Brotherhood of the Horse, the most sought after position in all of the land.


"Protect your aunt, son." Anthan said smiling as he gave Bolvar’s coppery hair another affectionate ruffling and turned to give his sister one last hug.


"Be safe Anthan. May the light keep you in our darkest hour." Mara said as she released her brother.


"May it light your way." Anthan replied gently.


"Stay safe father." Bolvar said and gave his father a proper Stormwind salute.


"Strength and Honor." Anthan proudly said returning Bolvar’s salute. He then watched as his son walked out the city gate with his sister, not breaking his gaze until they had completely faded from view. It broke his heart to send his loved ones away, knowing he may never see them again. Nevertheless, he also knew he could not adequately answer the charge of the fast-approaching horde army worrying that his son was still within the city, which is why he agreed with Lord Lothar, Master of the Brotherhood, to allow Bolvar and Mara to be evacuated safely further north along with the other refugees of Stormwind.  


The orcish horde had been advancing their way, seemingly unchecked, through the lands of Azeroth for months. They would soon approach the city’s walls with their vast numbers, their dark magic, their savagery and their blood lust. They would seek to test the resolve and strength of the people of Stormwind.


People of all shapes and sizes poured out of the city gates by the thousands, mostly women and children along with the city’s elderly population. Also among the crowd were many able bodied artisans, who wanted to stay and defend their homeland, and could be used in the upcoming conflict, but they were needed to go along with the refugees in order to provide basic shelters and other necessities.


The refugees were boarded within a few hours and were escorted out of the city by a regimental guard of one thousand men. Once the ships had departed, there was an eerie silence throughout the city. The usual sounds of people talking and of children playing were all gone. The soul of the city had left with its people. The only ones who remained within Stormwind’s tall sturdy white walls were its defenders and those civilians who stayed behind to help defend the city.


"The king has summoned everyone to the center of the city, Captain."


Anthan opened his eyes and saw his Sergeant at Arms, Marcus Lazarus, and with a nod, he walked in silence with Marcus as they made their way to see the king.


Anthan observed hundreds upon hundreds of Stormwind soldiers stream toward the center of the city, many of them dressed in stone white plate armor, which was simple and plain in every way except for a plume of dyed blue horsehair on the top of each helmet that signified them as Stormwind soldiers. The armor had been specifically designed to provide soldiers with maximum protection against stray arrows. Even the visor area was small and thinned in a "T" shape to leave as little of their face exposed as possible. Many of the soldiers carried shields, which were two-thirds their body lengths and nearly as wide, etched with golden lions with mouths open as if to roar defiantly in the faces of enemies. Their long swords were as simple as the rest of their armor, with "T" shaped hilts and cross guards. What Anthan had that the other soldiers did not was the two handed sword strapped to his back. It was his family's sword; the Fordragon blade.


The Fordragon blade had been in his family’s possession for generations. It was rumored to have been made with elven steel which was put to use during the Troll Wars long ago. The blade was pristine metallic silver and had never once needed to be oiled. Instead of the traditional cross guard on the hilt, there was a small square that acted as a cross guard. The silver blade itself was intricately designed with two dragons carved on the flat of the blade. On one side there was a long red serpentine beast stretching from the hilt all the way down to the pointed end of the blade. It's mouth opening as if to breath out fire just before it reached the tip of the sword, on the other side was the same exact serpent, except where the other one was blood red this one was sandy bronze. Anthan hoped one day to give the sword to Bolvar, knowing his son would wield it with honor.


There was rustling amongst the Stormwind soldiers as some made way for the Knights of the Brotherhood, who were dressed in black imposing armor and appeared to stand broader and nearly a foot taller than everyone else in the crowd.As if their pitch black armor and size alone were not intimidating enough, each Knight of the Brotherhood wielded a great sword, five feet in length with a foot long width that would make anyone think twice before challenging them. The Knights of the Brotherhood were known as the greatest and most proficient knights in all of Azeroth. Unfortunately, their Order was only a shadow of what it once was, since their base in Karazhan was taken from them when their brothers had fallen slowly before the orcish forces when, despite their skill, the orcish horde overwhelmed them with sheer numbers. Anthan could only hope the knights took many orcs down with them before they died.


Anthan’s thoughts were interrupted when he was suddenly addressed by a knight from the crowd with a familiar voice. As the knight broke away from his comrades and came closer, he removed his helmet. Just as Anthan was about to give his customary salute, he recognized the knight as someone he knew well.


"Vernad? Vernad Hasting?" Anthan said incredulously. Vernad Hasting had been a childhood friend of his. The two had been inseparable as kids all the way until they came of age and pursed different paths.


"Anthan Fordragon." Vernad said warmly as he clasped Anthan’s hand in greeting. The clanging of the plate startled them a bit before each looked at each other then laughed aloud. "Still alive I see!" He said with mirth.


"Me? What about you, I'm surprised you aren't dead already!" Anthan bantered back.


"Bah! It’s not as if the Orcs didn't try." Vernad said as he stepped back to show the various dents on his black armor peppered around the horse head on his chest plates and the two tiny black lions head on the shoulder clasp which denoted his status as a knight of Stormwind.


Anthan noticed from the corner of his eye how star struck Lazarus seemed to be as he watched Vernad display his armor. Every kid dreamed of being a knight of the brotherhood, yet only a select few ever made it.


"The grown man who is staring at you in admiration would be my sergeant. I hope he still has his wits about him when the orcs come knocking." Anthan said, grinning to his old friend.


"Sir!" Lazarus said looking indignant. He flushed red when Vernad also joined in laughing at him, but then was rewarded when the knight gave him a salute shared only with an equal.


Any further conversation was cut off as two trumpets blared loudly signaling the arrival of the king. In unison, the soldiers and knights of Stormwind stood at attention and watched as their king walked to the center of town. Suited in a stone white plated armor, his short brown hair adorned his noble visage and the crown of Stormwind sat comfortably on his head. To the right of King Llane in black armor with an elven greatsword strapped to his back, was the legendary Anduin Lothar, the head of the Brotherhood knights, who was an imposing figure despite the fact he was old, balding and probably closing in on sixty. To the left of the king and walking slightly behind the two grown men was Prince Varian Wrynn, a shy black-haired boy of no more than eight years old. He seemed virile and healthy for his age – the future of Stormwind should be secure provided he lived through the coming assault. The king then climbed to the highest point he could in the center of town and visibly took a deep breath.


"Defenders of Stormwind!" King Llane Wrynn said loudly so that his voice would carry to the back. "We are the last line of defense against the Orcish Horde. Word has arrived that our forces at both Grand Hamlet and Westfall have fallen. We are now all that stands between the Orcs and our loves ones. We must keep their attention on us or they will go on to ravage countless lands. I have sent several letters to the northern kingdom asking for help, so we just need to hold our ground long enough for them to get here. I promise you this, so long as I stand, Stormwind will not fall! Who will stand with me?"


The ten thousand Stormwind knights and regular army let loose a bellowing roar in answer to their king.


"For Stormwind!"


"For King Llane!"


"Death to the Orcs!"


"Let them come!"


"Captain." King Llane said looking directly at Anthan. "The city defense is yours."


"Sir!" Anthan replied standing at attention. Then to his men he said, "You heard his majesty! Man the walls! They will be here shortly and we must teach them that the people of Stormwind do not give up without a fight!"


The soldiers dispersed and went to their posts while the engineers got their anti-siege weapons ready. The Orcs would pay dearly if they thought they were going to take Stormwind.


Then sun was beginning to set when the defenders of Stormwind felt the ground rumble beneath them. The vibration permeated everything.


"Ready!" Anthan snapped out as hundreds of guards started to fill the battlement walls. They lined up side by side with their shields linking up with one another creating long line of shieldmen. Behind him, down on the battlements, he heard the catapults being moved closer to the gate.


"Sir, Look!" Lazarus said as he stared at Elwynn forest.


Anthan looked on impassively as the Orcs filled in the valley before him. At first, bands of orcs could be seen making their way toward the city. Then came the ogres. Standing over a foot taller than an orc and double its bulk, these savage pale skin giants had wreaked havoc against Stormwind forces with their great strength and their thick hides. As time passed, the forest continued to be filled with Orcs. For as far as Anthan's eyes could see, the forest of green was moving toward the pristine white walls of Stormwind.Anthan clenched his blade tighter as he recognized Stormwind armor pieces being worn by many of the Orcs. There was only one way a soldier of Stormwind would have given up his armor.


Anthan had fought orcs before and had been there six years ago when the savage orcs first tried to take Stormwind with a force of fifty thousand strong. They had green skin like forest trolls, with little pig-like tusks utting out from their lower jaw, and were taller, faster and stronger than the average man. Most were barely half dressed, but their ferocity more than made up for their lack of armor. The orcs were ultimately rerouted when the battle-hardened soldiers of Stormwind responded swiftly with deadly force.


Fifty thousand seemed like a small number now as the valley continued to be filled with orcs. As far as his eyes could see, the Horde host stretched before them like a green sea ready to smash the Stormwind defenders for daring to stand against them. Anthan looked on at the mass assembled before them not with fear, but with determination.  As if incensed at the lack of fear the Stormwind soldiers were showing, the Orcs roared and stomped their feet on the ground and many of them struck their crudely made axes against their shields. The noise was deafening as hundreds of thousands clamored in unison. It was a sound unlike any that had ever been heard by the men on the wall.


There was a sudden movement as one of the Orcs dressed in a dark bloodstained robe stepped out from the orc ranks and stood before Stormwind's gate. His eyes glowed red as he flashed a cruel and sadistic grin. Adorning his neck was a necklace made entirely out of the skulls of human children and in his hand was a long gnarled wooden staff. Anthan knew right away that this was an Orc warlock, who, unlike the conjurers and wizards of Stormwind, channeled magic from demonic forces. The Orc warlock raised his free hand up into the air and the banging of the orcish horde stopped. As if by magic, silence reigned before the city walls. The orc warlock scanned the battlements until his eyes fell on Anthan.


"You are in charge of this pathetic army, human?" The Orc warlock asked contemptuously.


"Crossbows." Anthan said evenly. As one, several hundred crossbowmen lifted up their weapons and aimed it at the orc warlock. The Orc warlock laughed then yelled in return.


"As you can see the might of the Horde is undeniable!" His demeanor was confident and unimpressed. "Surrender now and we might show some mercy. Resist and we will make your death so gruesome they will talk about it for generations to come!"


Several of the Orcs who heard the warlock’s statement laughed. More than one growled menacingly at the defenders on the wall, the orc warlock silence the Orc grunts with a wave of his hand. He then looked up expectantly at Anthan.


"Well human?" The Orc Warlock asked.


"Fire!" Anthan said, as hundreds of cross bolts slammed into the Orc warlock. The suddenly and abrupt attack startled the Orcs and, as one, they roared and charged at Stormwind walls.


"Catapult!" Anthan bellowed raising his arm high in the air waiting for the Orcs to get closer.


The cross-bowmen were peppering the invading force from high above barely needing to aim – there were so many orcs advancing their shots were bound to hit something. Anthan waited until the orcs finally reached the wall and when he saw that there were no more gaps in the Orcish ranks, he slashed his hand forward in the air.


"Loose!" Anthan bellowed. With a groan several hundred gallons of oil was shot over the wall covering the screaming orcs in the black substance. This only staved them off for a short while and soon the oil-soaked orcs were trampled by their own forces who continued to advance.


Anthan watched as the Orcs passed crudely made ladders towards the walls after realizing they could not be scaled with their hands and feet. Behind him, the catapult was being reloaded with burning kindling waiting for his orders to be launched. Wordlessly he signaled for them to do so as hundreds of small fire logs were launched over the walls.


As if on cue, the moment the fire touched the oil below it set the orcs and their surrounding companions on fire. There were cries of pain and surprise before the walls of Stormwind. It was a horrible sight and the Orcs did not realize their mistake. The back of their forces were still pushing forward eager for battle and the front, which had been set ablaze, was pushing toward the back trying to escape. Leaving themselves no room to move and packed tightly together, the orcs continued to burn each other.


Four days into the battle, Stormwind’s oil supply  ran out,  they now had to rely solely on their strength of arms to kill the orcs. The king reluctantly ordered ships to be built at the refugee encampment so that if the worse happened. If the northern forces did not arrive in time their people could sail north to safety. Fifteen days after the start of the siege, the orcs numbers still seemed limitless. Even after inflicting upon the Orcs considerable casualties, the Orcish Horde still filled the forest with their numbers.


When a month had passed, the battle had become a war of attrition as Stormwind’s stalwart defenders continued to hold off the innumerable invaders. The once lush green forest of Elwynn was all but barren now. What had supported whole generations of people had been deforested in a matter of weeks by the invaders. The orcs attacked constantly, not giving the Stormwind defenders time to rest. The piles of dead orcs began collecting at the front of the wall, disheartening their frontline grunts.The Orcs sent their massive army against the defenders and from sunrise to sunset, they would try to breach the wall, but they were rarely successful. Tenacious defenders always plugged up any gaps in their defense, constantly frustrating the Orcs.


During one such instance, as Anthan was helping seal a breech on the lower levels, a monstrous beast managed to scale over the battlement walls.


"Ogre!" A deep voice bellowed out across the ramparts.


Anthan Fordragon had finished dispatching yet another crazed orc grunt when he heard the cry. Turning around, he saw the Ogre had made it onto the wall. How it managed to get up on the battlements was a mystery.The ladders had been made for someone of orcish size and the ogres were so much bigger.


Anthan brushed all thoughts aside as the ogre wreaked havoc amongst the wall defenders. In close combat situation like this, the ogre would have the advantage; only on a horse could a solider hope to match an Ogre. As there was no way get a horse on the walls, he went for the second best option.


"Bowmen!" Anthan bellowed as he pointed his plate covered gauntlet to the ogre. "Aim for its head!"


The ogre who had been maliciously killing Stormwind soldiers with glee found itself under assault from cross bolts being fired at its head. The brute immediately raised it arms only to make the mistake of leaving it's body exposed. Ogres did not wear body armor, and Anthan was certain it was because there was no armor that could fit the brutes.So intent was it on protecting itself that it did not notice it's clumsy movement had taken it closer to the edge of the wall. Anthan rushed forward, using his armored weight to slam into the unbalanced ogre and sending it over the battlements.


"For Stormwind!" Anthan yelled in defiance to the Horde. The cry rallied the men, infusing them with greater strength as once again the Horde presence on the wall was brutally ejected by the defenders.


It was finally dusk as the Orc forces once again retreated. It was only then did the weary defenders let down their guard. They now numbered a little over eight thousand.


"How long till reinforcement from the north do you think captain?" Sergeant Lazarus Marcus asked. Anthan looked in his sergeant’s eyes and saw what worried him the most, the look of someone giving up.


"Tell me Lazarus, are you afraid to die?" Anthan asked. Over the hush that had settled on the battlement, he might as well be shouting.


"No of course not!" The Sergeant said almost offended. Anthan smile as he saw some of the fire creeping back into his comrade eyes.


"Then it should not matter when the northern forces will arrive. Each day that we keep the Horde here is another day our loved ones remain safe." Anthan said seriously. He held Lazarus' gaze until he was satisfied the sergeant would not give up anytime soon


"Very well said, Captain." A soft feminine lithe voice said in the quiet night.


Anthan turned around quickly with his blade drawn; he was pleased as he heard the sound of hundreds of blade being unsheathed also. The mysterious person was cloaked completely in black from head to toe. Had the person not spoken up, he would not have noticed them walking past. He cursed himself for his laxity.


"Stand down Captain. It is I, Garona Halforcen."The orc woman said as she tugged her hood back and pulled down her mask revealing her half orc-half human features. She was pretty for an orc but taller than most human women. Her eyes were blue which was strange among orcs, who generally had piggish looking red eyes. Moreover, while most female orcs were mostly bald, Garona sported long luxurious black hair. However, that was where the human similarities ended. Garona had the green skin of an orc and the same pig tusks jutting out form her bottom jaw, though not as pronounced. Anthan knew she was a traitor of the horde, giving King Llane information about orc movements; however, he had received scouting reports that she had recently been captured.


"Lady Garona, We heard you were captured by Orc forces." Anthan said warily his sword still pointed at her firmly. He was not ready to kill her outright but neither did he trust her.


"It's alright Captain, stand down." Another voice said. Anthan turned around and drew himself to full height for this legendary figure. It was Anduin Lothar. "She helped us greatly, she is trustworthy."


"Lothar." Garona said softly.


Anthan watched as the two figures seemed to share a secret sadness. He did not trust the orc woman, but Lothar's word was law. The balding old man showed none of the weakness men of his age suffered. The dents in his armor showed that he too had been involved in the fighting, and from the red specks on his armor, had also taken out many of the invading orcs. His intense frost colored eyes could still intimidate any of the young soldiers on the wall, including Anthan. Lothar had been old even when their fathers were young, so they obeyed him instantly.


"Yes sir." He said as he re-sheathed his blade. He watched as Lothar and Garona made their way to Stormwind Keep before turning back to the soldiers, with a nod of his head he gave them permission to stand down. The soldiers went back to taking up safe spots behind the walls, in the distance they could hear orcish music playing. If they were to look over the walls, they would see the orc campfire burning far into the distance a cleared field filled with tents where once an entire forest had been.


Sitting softly behind a safe point on the battlements Anthan closed his eyes and leaned against his sword as he slowly drifted off thinking about the day when the siege would be over and he would be reunited with his son again.


Anthan had been only asleep for a few hours when his eyes snaped open due to sounds of panic. Standing up he noticed the soldiers were in disarray. Grabbing one he made the soldier focus on him.


"Soldier, report!" Anthan ordered. "The king has been assassinated sir, it was Garona Halforcen." The soldier reported instantly.


Anthan's eyes widened at the news and for the first time he lost hope. However, just as apathy began to set, so did ingrained training.First things first, he needed to get more information and so quizzed the soldier.


"What of the prince?" Anthan asked.


"He saw his father murderer but the assassin did not kill him." The soldier reported.


"Good, we must rally around the new king, our mission is still important we WILL hold until the ships are finished for the safety of our people." Anthan said loudly so all could hear, despair would set in quickly if he did not put the soldiers focus somewhere else.


Anthan looked out on the horizon and cursed himself for not killing the Orc woman on sight, he had felt something off about her but Lothar's word was irrefutable. He promised himself it would never happen again.


With their king dead, the soldiers of Stormwind for the first time lost hope. Many questioned the futility of it all. In the intervening day where once there were thousands now only a little over nine hundred remained.


"We can't hold any longer." Vernad, Knight of the Brotherhood said gravely.


Anthan looked up from sharpening his longsword to his old friend; around him was the remnants of the Stormwind army and still the Horde numbered in the thousands.


"It won't matter, we will hold until we can't anymore." Anthan said. "We must buy time for the Regent Lord and our people to travel north."


Anthan turned back to sharpening his blade. The exodus had been called and Lothar was the only one worthy enough to lead it. An entire nation, their farmers, children, wives, elderly and artisans, all fled north on the ships they had built. It was only in the north would they have any chance of combining Kingdoms to make an army mightier than Stormwind.


When they heard the name of Lothar, the men seemed to straighten up more and the air of hopelessness cleared away. "We owe it to King Llane and our family to hold them back for as long as possible." Anthan said trying to meet the gaze of all the soldiers.


"The next time the Orcs attack they will break through." Vernad said. He was simply stating a fact.


"Then I say we strike first.”Anthan said determinately. He saw the surprised look everyone had on his or her faces. "I will show them even a wounded lion still make a deadly foe."


"How do we do that?" Sergeant Lazarus asked confused. "We don't have the men or resources to hold the wall much less mount an assault."


"We have the Brotherhood horses left. I say we mount up and ride straight for their commander. It's the big orc next to the red banner. We strike hard and fast; they would not be expecting us to attack only to defend. Surprise will be our strength and speed our weapon."


The knights of the Brotherhood had fought on foot the entire time so their horses had been stabled and remained unused. The Brotherhood of the Horse were the best equine breeder in all of Azeroth. Many soldiers here had dreams of riding such regal animals, but only the Knights of the Order had been able to. Now they were being offered to ride the magnificent creatures out against an unrelenting foe. It was a dream come true.


The remaining soldiers and knights all around Anthan roared in approval at the idea, and preparations were made to gather every usable warhorse for the final assault. Whatever the outcome, this would be how the soldiers of Stormwind made their final statement to the Orcish Horde.


It was midday when they felt the earth tremble from the marching of the Horde. No doubt, the invading army was preparing for their final assault. Nine hundreds soldiers of Stormwind dressed in full plate armor waited at the city gates. Attached to each rider was the lion banner of Stormwind, and Anthan looked at it with pride. Riding on a massive black armored warhorse he lead the men, all mounted, to the city gate.


"Ready men?" Anthan asked without looking back. He heard them shout in unison behind him. Putting on the helmet, he tucked the cavalry lance under his arm and prepared himself for what was to come. He said a silent prayer to the light to watch over his son and sister before turning to look at the soldier manning the gate. Time seemed to slow down for Anthan as he nodded his head signaling for the wooden gates to be opened.


The Orcs had fashioned an impressive battering ram that they knew would take several hours of work to break through, and were surprised when the city gate swung open and hundreds of Stormwind soldiers charged at them.


"For Azeroth! For Stormwind! For the King!" Anthan yelled as he charged at the orcish horde. He felt the thundering of hundreds of hooves as it charged straight toward the Orcs.


"For the King!" The soldiers and knights yelled back as one, their armor dented but gleaming their golden lion banner flying high, their lance held leveled at the orcs as the charged toward the invaders.


Anthan gritted his teeth and trampled over a dozen orcs before encountering an ogre in his path. Like he was trained to do, he raised his lance up and speared the ogre's head, clearing the path for the rest of the cavalry force.


"There!" Lazarus yelled pointing at the blood-colored banner only to be cut down by half a dozen orcs seconds later having stayed in one place too long.


"For the KING!" Anthan yelled again rallying his troops. In that yell was an order; it was an order for the cavalry to reach the banner no matter the cost. So they charged on forward hacking, trampling and lancing their way through the orcish line.


The men rode on unopposed until the wolf riders of the orcs met their charge head on. There was a sickening crunch as wolves and horses died instantly from the collision. Anthan saw Vernad's steed going down upon impact, and steeled himself he continued to charge forward. Momentum was the only thing that could break though the Orcs lines.


Anthan made a fatal mistake as he parried a blow from a wolf rider; he did not see an orc spearman comming at him until the orc's spear tip bit into his flesh. He wheeled instantly and struck the offending spearman down, then wheeled smartly again to kill the other wolf rider.


Anthan ignored everything around him as he fought his way to the red banner; any orc unlucky enough to get in his way met a savage end. So focused was he on getting to the blackhand banner that he failed to see a massive orc in heavy black armor, armed with a giant two-handed axe swinging at his horse. The impact was so strong that it bit through his horse's chest armor, instantly killing the beast. He jumped off his dying steed before the beast could crush him beneath its weight. Quickly rolling to his feet, he unsheathed his family's blade and waited for the Orc to attack him.


"That one is mine, Varok." Another Orc said. The new one that was even larger than the first, if that was possible. At least seven feet tall and more muscular than the rest of it's race, it looked at Anthan with amusement.


"As you say, Warchief." The Orc known as Varok said as he put his great axe away and stood aside allowing his warchief to face the human.


Anthan had never saw a fully armored orc until now; the one called Varok and this one known as the warchief wore similar black armor. Whereas the Brotherhood black had a metallic elegant sheen to it, the orcs black armor looked like the color of dead stone. Like the forces of Stormwind, they also wore shoulder guards but where the human shoulder guards were made smooth for deflecting glancing blows, the orc ones were spike tipped. All of that seemed tame compared to the massive obsidian stone hammer the Warchief was holding, its handle as long as a spear and its head almost as wide as the chieftain’s body. It appeared to have been made only to inflict the most gruesome damage possible upon his enemies. In response, Anthan drew his own family sword with its gleaming silver metal blade.


Anthan and the Orc chieftain eyed one another; there was no need for speeches or introduction, and each wanted the other dead.Anthan closed his eyes and said a silent prayer to the light once more as he and the orc chieftain charged one another. Anthan charged at the Warchief who despite his size nimbly dance away from Anthan precise strike. Quickly switching direction he sent his blade swinging at the Warchief's head. Impossibly the creature deflected it with its giant hammer. The force of the deflection threw Anthan off balance and the Orc chief capitalized on it as he punched Anthan hard in his ribs. Anthan felt his rib snap from the blow through his armor and nearly dropped his family sword from the pain.


Gritting his teeth, Anthan felt blood flood his mouth as he backed away from the orc chieftain. He knew he was nowhere near King Llane or Lord Lothar's ability but he intended to get in at least a hit. He turned around to see if any of his troops made it, all that looked back at him was a sea of piggish orc eyes. Even the gaps and holes he punched into their lines were quickly filled with fresh troops. His men were all dead; he was the last lion on the field.


Breathing in and out slowly he closed his eyes as he turned back to the Orc Chieftain. Opening his eyes he gazed impassively at the orc chieftain and charged faster than the Warchief could have anticipated. Rising his two hand sword high he slashed down hard and fast, making the orc react automatically by blocking it with his war mace. At the last possible second before his blade could land on the handle of the hammer, he pulled it back and quickly stabbed at the orc's head. The orc reacted by bringing his hammer down to deflect the blow away from his head, but Anthan's blade instead bit deep into the Warchief's shoulder. He smiled as he heard the orc let loose a growl of pain.


The Orc roared savagely as he swung his hammer hard and fast at the human.


Anthan raised his blade to absorb the impact, but to his horror, his blade snapped in two as obsidian stone met metallic silver, and he received the full force of the blow to his body. So powerful was the blow that it caved in his plate armor and flung him at least three feet away.


Anthan landed on his side, his body broken from the greenskin blow. He was beaten but he was not defeated. He felt a foot step on him and with a light kick rolled him over on his back. He looked up through blood stained eyes and saw the massive orc standing over him. Its massive figure created a shadow against the blazing hot sun. The warchief's eyes were filled with murderous intent; he saw the orc raise his black stone hammer as high as it would go and for a moment, time stood still before the orc brought it down on Anthan's head with a savage roar.


Anthan saw no more afterward.


(The Great Sea )


Varian Wrynn held onto Lothar's cloak tightly as the ship rocked violently from the storms . It had gotten so bad that the seawater was splashing onto the deck. He had no business being out on the ship’s deck but he was king of his people and felt he had to show his people that their boy-king was strong. Unfortunately, nature was not impressed and sent another strong gust of wind rocking the boat and making Varian lose his grip on his mentor's cloak.


"Lothar!" Varian shouted for his protector as he found himself falling into the choppy water.


"Your majesty!" The grizzled old veteran said in horror as he watched his best friend's son flung into the water. As he quickly removed his heavy plate armor he saw another figure dash past him, jumping into the water.


"I got him!" A young male voice shouted from over the ship. By that time several of the sailors had gotten a rope and threw it down toward the two youths.


Lothar watched as the young man expertly tied the rope around the young king and himself. Together with the rest of the deck crew, Lothar pulled the two up to safety. He picked up Varian and hugged the boy for all he was worth. The boy tried to keep his decorum but clearly, the ordeal had frightened him. He was the future of Stormwind – if they lost him, they would have truly lost everything.


He then turned his eyes to the young man who had saved the young king only find a handsome cleric woman of Northshire chiding the boy.


"Excuse me, High Cleric. May I talk to the boy?" Lothar asked politely. The expression on the woman's face went from confusion as to why he was addressing her, to beet red. The boy himself likewise looked at him with his jaws agape.


"O-of course Lord Lothar." The woman said formally and gave a curtsy before standing a bit of a ways off.


"What is your name boy?" Lothar asked seriously. The boy seemed to look at him in wide-eyed wonder as all citizen of Stormwind had.


"Your name!" Lothar said loudly snapping the boy out of his reverie.


"Bolvar sir, Bolvar Fordragon." The young man said while standing to attention.


"Fordragon? Anthan's son?" Lothar asked the boy. "That is my father's name sir!" Bolvar said still standing at attention.


"A good man, your father and a fine soldier. Tell me do you plan on following in his footstep?" Lothar asked.


"Yes sir!" Bolvar said proudly. "I will be captain of the city guards just like my father was."


"I do not doubt it." Lothar said with a serious expression. "Perhaps something even greater, however in the mean time from now on you will be responsible for his majesty. You are to protect him with your life. Do you understand me?"


"On my life sir. Nothing will harm his majesty I promise." Bolvar said with a salute.


"Good lad." Lothar said, pleased. Already Varian was looking up to the boy and asking him questions. The boy to his credit just smiled at the young prince and answered him patiently.He had a feeling these two if they survived the coming conflict would become great friends and would be destined for great deeds.


The end.

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