Khaadgrim watched from afar, gazing towards the large, sundered island that floated over an abyss of nothing. The orc’s wyvern, dressed in red armor, was curled up beside him, content with itself. Soon they would move out, and soon the dangers of being a Dragonmaw spy would finally be over. Khaadgrim did not show it, but the wyvern knew the orc was becoming homesick.
“Last day, boy,” Khaadgrim said to the wyvern, who peered towards him with an eye. “I’ve had enough of these traitors. I hope they learn their lesson in hell.”
Khaadgrim continued to gaze towards the outpost, watching the Dragonmaw move about like tiny ants on an anthill. He watched the skybreakers and transporters flutter about in the air, scanning the area, but unaware of the traitor orc and his companion. Hopefully, they would never have to be aware of them and would find themselves in confusion forever.
Several minutes passed. The two rested on the floating chunk of rock for a few more minutes. The magic that was shielded over the area went into effect once more and the two companions quickly manifested into their treacherous counterparts. The disguised Kor’kron mounted the wyvern and ordered a command, and the winged creature quickly flew off under the guise of a netherwing.
Overlord Mor’gor had something special planned for Khaadgrim. After weeks of endless work, the special occasion had to call for something positive. When the orc finally arrived, the news was pleasant at first, but quickly descended into controlled panic.
“You have been promoted, highlord,” Mor’gor spoke, bowing in sincere reverence. Khaadgrim lifted his head, brows furrowed with interest as the overlord lifted his head back up. The next statement was what caused the panic.
“We must initiate the ceremony at once! You must see Lord Illidan!”
Khaadgrim stifled a gasp and swallowed air. He quickly began to object.
“Must we? I’m sure Lord Illidan is too busy for such frivolities.” Despite the panic swelling in him, Khaadgrim continued to stay in control of himself. The magic allowed him to fool the Dragonmaw orcs over the island, but if he should meet with the Betrayer himself, his disguise will quickly be noticed. Overlord Mor’gor shook his head in respect.
“No, you must! We must show him how much you’ve participated in our dealings. You have been a great help, we must show him your competence! It would be an honor should you be invited directly into the Black Temple itself!”
Khaadgrim looked around, panic growing. He hesitated, but found no choice and accepted the offer. Overlord Mor’gor beckoned the disguised Kor’kron outside and prepared to summon the Betrayer.
“You are truly a fel orc,” Mor’gor commented. “We’ve had traitors before, but I am positive you are no such thing. Yes, you are truly one of us!”
Khaadgrim’s panic began to grow. Everywhere he looked, there were fel orcs. There was no way out, and should he try to simply fly off, the fel orcs in the area would know without a doubt that he was a traitor. At this point, he only hoped that Illidan would not see through his disguise. He had come in contact with some disguised Netherwings, but they were nowhere in sight.
Mor’gor praised Khaadgrim, and shortly afterwards Illidan came into view. Khaadgrim froze with fear, but controlled it from showing as he locked eyes with the Betrayer himself. Right there and then, the Kor’kron knew he was caught.
“What is the meaning of this?” Illidan spoke, anger in his words. The overlord looked between Khaadgrim and Illidan, perplexed as to what he meant.
Mor’gor tried to speak, but was quickly cut off. “You fool!” Illidan shouted, “This whole mission has been compromised!” Khaadgrim took a step back. Illidan launched some sort of projectile towards the orc and his disguise quickly dissipated into the air. Khaadgrim lost focus and passed out, floating slightly over the ground.
“Another traitor, you damn fool!” Illidan glared at Mor’gor, who tried to hide is cowering. “You are just as incompetent as my other subordinates. How can you let all these traitors slip by you as if they did not exist!?”
Overlord Mor’gor began apologizing, bowing and apologizing endlessly to no effect towards the Betrayer. Illidan silenced the overlord and ordered him to finish the traitor off.
“Yes, Lord Illidan.” Mor’gor looked to the unconscious orc and glared at him. “I will not fail you with this one.” He unsheathed his axe as Illidan dissipated into nothingness, the vision gone from their presence. Mor’gor slowly walked towards Khaadgrim, and uttered vengeance.
“I’m going to enjoy this, traitor. I’m going to tear off your flesh and eat it! Your heart shall be my main course!”
The overlord roared, heaving his mighty axe upwards. Before he could bring it down, Khaadgrim’s wyvern swooped over the hovering Kor’kron and wisped him away, letting Mor’gor cleave the ground. He gazed upwards, roaring in anger as the wyvern began to fade into the distance with a dispatched Khaadgrim on his back.
“After him”! The overlord shouted. “Kill the traitor! I want his head on a plate damn you!” Skybreakers began swarming through the air, bows at the ready. The wyvern flew as fast as it could, the weight of the orc slowing him down and the speed of the netherdrakes too fierce. Arrows began reigning down onto the wyvern, some of them piercing through the armored plating.
There was no backup, no reinforcements, not even Khaadgrim’s usual companions to cover him at the last minute. There was no friendly air support hidden, no ambushing squad, no soldiers firing with bows or other ranged weapons. At this moment in time, there was Khaadgrim’s faithful wyvern, the abyss below, and the impending doom that the skybreakers carried with their arrows.
Opposition was fierce over the skies. Skybreakers continued their barrage of arrows as the wyvern flew as quickly as it could. It weaved between floating rocks and debris, attempting to escape the skybreakers, but they were too quick. The netherwings carried half the size of themselves, but the problem was not of speed, it was of size.
Several skybreakers found themselves stuck between floating chunks of rock, unaware of the dangers that presented itself from the path the wyvern took. Some skybreakers were riding too fast, and when they became stuck, they practically flung themselves off of their mounts and dropped down into the abyss. Some other smarter skybreakers decided to fly over the field of rocks and pursue the wyvern from above.
The whole pursuit group was whittled down to a few. The wyvern continued to fly, but didn’t realize that the enemy was still present. The wyvern felt a sharp, throbbing pain in its side, and realized it still wasn’t alone. Blood began to drip down from the arrow, into the nothingness below. Its speed decreased and it began roaring in pain. More arrows began to seize into it, and soon the wyvern found itself struggling to keep itself in the air.
However many arrows pierced into it did not matter. Nothing about it mattered at all. The only objective the wyvern had was to escort Khaadgrim to safety. The wyvern knew how its master would respond, so if he died, his master would surely come to avenge him. All he had to do was land….
The wyvern began descending. The edge of Shadowmoon’s mainland was only a few feet away. The wyvern let out a hoarse roar, its blood flowing quickly out of its body, and stopped flapping its wings. It began falling through the air, dazed, as it slammed into the cold, dusty ground, sending its master off. Khaadgrim hit the ground with a grunt, began sliding over the ground, and was stopped by a steep hillside.
For whatever reason, the few skybreakers that were left landed, dismounted, and slowly came over with their crystallized blades in hand. The wyvern struggled to see them, breathing hoarsely as death came closer and closer. One of the skybreakers lifted his blade up and sent it down. Blood sprayed all over the darkened ground and the wyvern went still.
Khaadgrim groaned as he tried to set his mind straight. The jolt from the landing woke him up, and his eyes fluttered to open, pained from the instantaneous shock of bright green lights and lava. His blurred vision quickly cleared, and his mind went into an unstable moment of shock. He forced his eyes to open wider, ignoring the skybreakers that were coming towards him.
Behind the skybreakers, his wyvern lay dead, bloodied and hacked up with arrows, blood streaming down into the fel lava and dissipating on contact. Anger rushed through the Kor’kron’s head, an unspeakable amount of rage and hatred. He lost his senses for just a few minutes and let out a fierce roar that made the surrounding land tremble in fear.
His fists clenched with anger. The blood rushed through him, his sight sharpened and his concentration targeted the enemies in front of him. His breathing increased, his anger came out in puffs of air, breathing, growling and roaring. He was outnumbered and unarmed, but his mind told him to kill and avenge despite the odds.
The orc unbuckled his helmet, stomping his way towards his assailants, still growling and roaring in anger. One of the skybreakers charged, heaving his sword upwards, but was unable to bring it down as the Kor’kron lunged towards him. Khaadgrim gripped the skybreaker’s arm and began using his helmet as a weapon, slamming it repeatedly into the enemy’s face. Blood shot out as one of the helmet’s horns came in contact with the skybreaker’s neck, ripping off a chunk of flesh.
Another skybreaker charged, and soon after the other remaining skybreakers attacked. Khaadgrim let go of the bleeding fel orc, took his sword and shoved him towards some of the other skybreakers. The Kor’kron flung his helmet towards one other fel orc to the side, and the helmet slammed into the assailant’s face, the horn of the item lodging into the fel orc’s eye. Blood sprayed out as the skybreaker began to shake and rattle, struggling to stand up, then came down and hit the ground with a loud thud. The helmet lodged deeper into the fel orc’s head, causing him to finally go still.
The other skybreakers fumbled with the bleeding corpse that was thrown at them. They finally flung it off, then readied for another charge. One skybreaker caught Khaadgrim’s stolen weapon in the face, blade first, and slumped to the ground, dead. The others quickly charged to the Kor’kron, who was standing still, glaring at them with unfaltering resolution. A skybreaker thrust his weapon into the Kor’kron’s chest, but there was no reaction. The plated chest piece on Khaadgrim did not weaken or falter, just like the bearer.
Khaadgrim slapped the weapon away, twisted, then sent a fist right into the skybreaker’s throat. He began wheezing and coughing for air, letting go of his blade to grip at his neck. Khaadgrim quickly took the blade and helped the choking skybreaker by performing a trachea operation, severing the fel orc’s head. The remaining two skybreakers charged undaunted, brandishing their weapons towards the unfaltering Kor’kron.
Khaadgrim tossed the blade to the ground. He looked at his enemies right in their red, tainted eyes without blinking. He centered himself towards them, fists relaxed, then widened his eyes as the skybreakers swung towards him.
Khaadgrim’s plated gauntlets forced themselves against the skybreakers’ crystallized blades. The two fought for ground, and the skybreakers used their extra hands to create more force against the struggling Kor’kron. His feet began to give way, creating a small dent in the rocky ground, struggling harder to push the fel orcs away. The Kor’kron growled, gripped the tips of the blades, and roared.
He pulled on one blade, using the momentum to his advantage. The fel orc unexpectedly lunged past the Kor’kron, lodging his weapon into the hard, rocky hill behind the fighters. Khaadgrim took the other skybreaker’s blade by two hands and lifted a boot upwards, causing the fel orc to lose his grip. The Kor’kron shoved the fighter away, twirled the sword, then quickly heaved it up and struck down into the skybreaker’s neck, lodging the weapon into the hardened, red flesh. Blood began to spill out, the fel orc’s muscles began to weaken and struggle to balance, but all was for naught. The skybreaker finally fell to the ground and bled to death with the sword still lodged in his neck.
Meanwhile, the last remaining skybreaker tried fruitlessly to dislodge his weapon from the rocky hill. Khaadgrim began to calmly walk towards the fel orc, his glare piercing through the orc. The skybreaker was too preoccupied, trying to unloosen his weapon, and Khaadgrim used this disruption to his advantage. He wanted this one to die slowly.
The Kor’kron wrapped his arm around the fel orc’s neck, moved his feet to lock with the skybreaker’s, arm locked the skybreaker’s right arm, then pushed the fel orc’s remaining arm towards the side of the lodged sword. The fel orc began to wildly swing about, roaring, grunting and bleeding. Khaadgrim gripped the fel orc’s neck harder, watching as the skybreaker’s time began to shorten.
Khaadgrim also continued to move the fel orc’s unlocked arm into the crystallized blade. It began quicker and quicker, and soon the whole thing completely came off. The fel orc’s wild screaming and roaring continued to come by, but after some time he started to slur. The skybreaker began to slowly weaken. His growling and roaring started to quiet down, and his wild actions came to a halt. Blood poured over the crystallized blade over time, drenching it. Finally, the fel orc stopped struggling and went still.
Khaadgrim pushed the unconscious fel orc towards the rocky hill, pulled the blade out without a struggle, and stuck it into the skybreaker’s cranium. He lodged the blade in place, turned around, and left the skybreaker standing, bleeding and dead. The Kor’kron looked to the wyvern and moved towards it, feeling a pang of sadness come over him as he watched the trails of blood go into the fel lava pit just to the side.
The orc knelt down besides the dead wyvern, gently trailing a hand down the animal’s tan-colored fur. Khaadgrim sighed, rubbed his bald head, then began unbuckling the wyvern’s scathed metal armor. He threw it into the lava pits and watched as the metal quickly melted, then disappear. He took the wyvern and hoisted it around his back and began the arduous walk to search for some sort of civilization.
Khaadgrim had dismissed his wounds during the battle with the skybreakers. As he walked, specks of blood dripped behind him, caused by the numerous rocky formations that were on the fel orcs. His neck was bleeding and his arms were slashed, but the Kor’kron continued to trudge through the broken, fel-tainted wastelands despite the wounds.
At long last, for who knows how long, the orc stumbled upon an encampment of some sort near the road that circled throughout Shadowmoon. However, upon closer inspection, the camp was made of some humans of which were strangers to the orc. He did not want to take a chance, but where else was there? Struggling to hold himself up now, Khaadgrim began walking towards the camp, hopeful to persuade the humans for help.
One of the larger humans wearing old and worn Stormwind armor slowly stood up from a crate as the Kor’kron made his way towards the camp. The bald man furrowed his brows, watching as the orc carried the wyvern upon his back, wondering what would possess a person to do such a thing. The other humans quickly stood up and readied themselves despite the orc’s grave wounds. This was a take no chance, prepare for anything group that had little interest in peaceful relations.
But, the bald man lifted a hand up to his cohorts. At first, the members were hesitant to sheathe their weapons. The orc continued to tread towards them, and then man turned to his companions and gazed hard at them. Within a moment, the group stood down and refrained from causing any more tensions. Khaadgrim gently let his wyvern down to the side, with the help of the bald man. Khaadgrim looked up to the man and nodded to him. He nodded in return, then gazed at the large animal, astonished at how the orc managed to haul it with such morbid wounds. Black blood continued to dribble down Khaadgrim, but he kept himself from losing consciousness, panting and wiping off overflows of blood from his arms.
“You need some help,” the man said, looking over the bloodied Kor’kron. He motioned to the crate he was sitting on and asked the orc to sit. “Please, rest. You must have had your own share of battles.”
Hours passed. Khaadgrim rested among the humans, now properly bandaged and tended to. The humans were incredulous to their leader’s deed, and whispered words of arrogance and mutiny. Sometimes one brave soul was daring enough to question the tall, six-foot-five man, angered at the act of hospitality. They all knew what the orcs had done in Azeroth, and the bad blood still swam on in their veins.
“Look around you,” replied the leader, gesturing over the wastelands of Shadowmoon. “This was done by an orc such as that one. I’ve come to believe the enemy isn’t of this or that faction, but of who shows the most deception in acts. When you’ve finally passed your arrogance, you will understand what I say.”
The group glared at their leader, trying to stave off their anger and keeping to their arrogant ways. The leader, however, was unfaltering, resolute, and did not take his words back. He was bald, in his thirties, and had just enough experience to understand who and what made a true enemy. The group took their leader’s words in discontent, then went back to their seats in the encampment.
Khaadgrim watched as the leader lectured his group. After he was finished, the group sent glares and stares towards the orc, as if they were ready to plan a mutiny anytime this minute and kill their leader. The Kor’kron knew the group wasn’t that brave, ignored them for now, and then looked to the leader, who was now making his way towards him.
“You’ve said a lot of treacherous things,” Khaadgrim said. The leader took it as nothing, smiling and nodding. He took a crate and sat beside the orc.
“Soldiers kill the enemy,” the leader replied, relaxed and calm. “The leader makes sure who the enemy is. You’re not him.” Khaadgrim chuckled, and the leader gave the orc a canteen of water, who drank from it quickly and yearningly. They spoke for some time, exchanging small stories, talking of a little philosophy here and there about the war, and some other things that humans and orcs probably would not do in their lifetimes.
Amongst a conversation, Khaadgrim decided to dispatch a realization. “If we’re going to become this friendly with each other, then allow me to introduce myself. I am Khaadgrim Roark, a Kor’kron of Warchief Thrall.”
The leader furrowed his brows, humming with interest. “I see. I’ve noticed your kind here in Shadowmoon. Why is your armor different from theirs?” The orc looked over his armor, which was covering some of the gauze tape stretching over him.
“We have different branches. The ones here are for something else.” The leader quirked a brow. “Then what are you doing here?” Khaadgrim grinned from under his beaten helmet, shrugging at the question.
“You haven’t told me your name yet.” Khaadgrim’s attempt at changing the topic made the leader chuckle a bit. He nodded, earnestly, then held up a hand in defeat.
“I’m Orlom, Gainsborogh.” Khaadgrim looked at the man curiously, acknowledging the response.
“You saved one of my companions,” the orc noted. “Yes, Orlom, that name is familiar.” Orlom blinked, the expression on his face becoming a stern neutral once again. Khaadgrim began explaining.
“There was a young man wandering Tanaris some months ago. You were sent out to save him.” Orlom nodded at the fact, but wondered how the orc knew of the feat.
“How did you know that?”
“Simple,” Khaadgrim said, matter-of-factly. He tapped on the radio that was strapped to his shoulder. “We’re all connected. How did you think we found you? We communicate together.” A grin spread over the orc’s face. Orlom blinked again, surprise obvious, but his face showing no signs of emotion other than his widened eyes.
“I know you have a daughter too.” The orc looked around, trying to find the little one. “Actually, it’s more like ‘we’ know.” Orlom’s face began to change. His brows furrowed and his face tensed. He began to feel paranoid once more.
Khaadgrim noticed the change, but before he could utter a word, Orlom cut him off.
“We’ll get you to where you need to go, but know that I will have a difficult time trusting you, for all you know.” Without another word, the tall man rose from his seat and walked off, leaving Khaadgrim alone with his dead, wrapped wyvern. The orc looked to it, then began to pet the wrappings gingerly
“My mistake,” the orc quietly admitted to himself. He watched as Orlom walked away, towards the edge of a cliff just a few feet from the encampment, gazing over the fel-tainted wastelands. Khaadgrim sighed and looked away, going into his own thoughts for the moment until it was a good time to move out.
The small troupe traveled from the far, southern edge of Shadowmoon towards the north, to Shadowmoon Village, the Horde settlement which harbored the Kor’kron. Soon thereafter, Khaadgrim prepared for a journey to Nagrand, where he would finally let his wyvern rest in peace. The travel would be arduous, and many foes littered the area in between. The fortunate part of this situation was that Khaadgrim would be traveling alone, save for his companion, Kagaresh, the large worg that usually accompanied the orc in his endeavors. But, then things changed a bit once the Kor’kron headed out.
Amidst the chaos of the infernal attacks that usually invaded the village, there was a young human dressed in dark plate armor that was helping out. Khaadgrim narrowed his eyes in an attempt for a better look, but it was only to confirm his suspicions. Without a doubt, he knew who it was.
“Cham!” The Kor’kron yelled out. The human twisted to watch as the orc rode along the rocky trail, towards him. Cham waved to the orc, but then faced front and shoved a palm out, spewing frost from it. An infernal glittered and gleamed from the ice, and Cham brought his sword down and shattered it into pieces.
Khaadgrim finally reached the young man and demanded an explanation.
“Just waiting for you,” Cham replied, grinning. “I need a lift!”
“What!?” Khaadgrim exclaimed. It was too busy to be talking, so Khaadgrim pulled the young human aboard Kagaresh and quickly rode off. The worg panted and growled as the weight of the orc, the human, and the dead wrapped wyvern strained his back. He quickly sped off to find a safer place and unload the cargo for just a moment, hopefully.
The three found a safe spot among a clutter of rocks and hid within the center of it. Khaadgrim gently hoisted the dead wyvern off Kagaresh and settled it down to the side. Meanwhile, Cham leaned on a rock, watching curiously as Khaadgrim did his work. The human opened his mouth to speak, but the orc quickly turned around and interrupted him.
“Just what the hell are you doing here?” The orc yelled, angrily. Cham blinked, then pursed his lips, trying to stifle a smile. He tried to speak again, but then a ghostly voice interrupted him.
The ghostly voice was coming from Cham’s sword, which glowed a brilliant green as it spoke, a warm, heart-felt voice that sounded motherly and tender despite where it was coming from and how it sounded. “Your radio was on,” it explained. “You never turn off your radio.”
“What!? Yes I do!” Khaadgrim fiddled with the rectangular contraption on his shoulder, muttering obscenities under his breath. Just like the voice said, the radio’s red ON button was stuck in place. Khaadgrim glared at the device and, with restrained anger, unstuck the button. Cham and the ghostly voice began to laugh in unison, the man’s laughter almost stemming from a monkey or some such. The Kor’kron glared at him, and the human rolled his glowing, bright blue eyes away, giving that look as if he didn’t do anything.
“I’m beginning to think you and Reichel,” The orc pointed towards Cham, behind him to his sword, “Are actually assigned as my keeper.” The glare was still going, but the young man just smiled at the orc.
“Maybe,” he said, slyly, rolling his eyes upwards, looking over the darkened skies like a child holding a secret. Khaadgrim let out an angry sigh, turned to his wyvern and hoisted it onto Kagaresh. He growled a bit, seemingly tired, but did nothing else and continued to lay on the rocky ground.
“I hope you have another means of transportation.” Khaadgrim began to secure the ropes tying the wyvern onto the worg’s back. “This is where I leave you, and don’t bother me again!”
Cham said nothing, and instead looked to the wyvern. He shuffled his jaw, slightly, thoughtfully, as ideas and curiosities came through his mind. Khaadgrim lifted himself onto Kagaresh and motioned the beast up.
“Sorry for your loss,” Cham said, his hearty demeanor now gone and converted into a silent and respected manner. Khaadgrim stared hard at the human for a minute, then nodded quietly. Cham asked where the orc was headed, and he told him.
“Think you could wait for another minute?” The human asked.
Khaadgrim hurried him up. “My familiar won’t last in these bandages.”
Cham began fiddling with a device procured from his pocket. A button pressed here, a knob turned there, and then the contraption began beeping quietly, a red light flashing on and off. In the distance, the sound of a motor turned, and began to heighten. Finally, amidst the dust created by the mysterious machine, it unveiled itself.
A marvelous contraption consisting of wheels and a side-car maneuvered its way through the rocky formations. Cham’s device stopped flashing and beeping, and the human mounted the vehicle and prepped it. He revved the engine a few times and smiled at the orc, who was gazing at the vehicle with suspicion and marvel.
“And what the hell is that thing called?” Kagaresh impulsively moved towards the idle vehicle and began sniffing it.
“It’s a motorcycle. It’s something I cooked up back on Azeroth. We should get going before your friend starts to smell.” Cham grinned and Khaadgrim grunted in return. Reigning the worg, he lead on as Cham followed in his motorcycle, chuckling with delight along the way. The journey would be a long one, but not as dangerous anymore.
Several hours passed before the two finally made it to Nagrand. Within Shadowmoon Valley, the day was thrown into an eternal night, and no sun nor stars or formations prevailed. Beyond it, however, the sparkle of stars, worlds, and the cosmos flourished. In Nagrand, the sun was about to set, letting loose a warm, orange and yellow light which loomed over the horizon.
Khaadgrim initiated the ceremony to bring his wyvern into another world. He set the animal upon an altar, near the Ancestral Grounds, and brought forth a torch. As the wyvern burned from the flames, the orc began praying in orcish to himself. Cham watched with quiet awe as the wyvern disintegrated. From ashes to ashes and dust to dust did the wyvern come, and now it returns back to whence it came.
“I never thought of you as a religious kind of guy,” Cham commented as the ceremony ended. Khaadgrim lifted himself up from his knelt position and brushed the grass off from his leggings.
“I never thought you as a respectable person,” Khaadgrim spoke back, adjusting his helmet. Cham frowned, tilting his head as the orc began cleaning off the altar for some other soul to use.
“The things we learn, eh?” Khaadgrim nodded at the human’s comment.
“The things we learn.” The two idled for a moment, watching as the sun finally began disappearing across the horizon.
“So,” Cham started again, sounding hesitant to continue his question. “What now?” Khaadgrim slowly shook his head.“I don’t know.” The orc crossed his arms as usual, watching as the sun continued to fall. “With death comes a new beginning, that much I know.” There were other words to say, but they never came out from the orc. Instead, the two lapsed into silence once again, watching as the sun finally disappeared.