Post by Skreeran
Garrosh pulled his hood over his head, grunting in slight irritation at the pouring rain. Still, the fortress of Theramore seemed just as formidable in the rain as it did in fair weather, and he knew better than to let his guard down over a little drizzle. He grunted again as a thunderclap echoed menacingly through the stone walls of the keep.
“An inauspicious start to your summit…” he nodded to Thrall.
“This is merely a storm, Garrosh,” Thrall assured him. “Not some portent of disaster,” he added, turning his attention to the human sorceress approaching them.
“Thrall, I’m glad you’ve come!” she called out, taking Thrall’s hands in her own. “Though I’m amazed you can walk, for bearing the weight of so many weapons…” she chuckled, glancing behind him at the heavily armed guards unloading the zeppelin.
“What point in having a ceremonial laying down of arms, Jaina, if there are no arms to lay down?” Thrall chuckled in response as he regarded the human.
“And you’ve brought Kor’kron bodyguards?” Jaina asked, a slightly nervous look on her face.
“For demonstration purposes only,” Thrall nodded with a smile. “Once this ceremony is complete, they’ll return to Orgrimmar,” he paused. “A show of force never goes amiss, as you well know.”
“You and Varian think much alike,” Jaina laughed. “His crew is bristling with blades. It seems we’ve already found one thing on which you agree,” she nodded, turning to the tall human and his company walking towards them.
“Thrall, Warchief of the Horde,” Jaina nodded respectfully as she gestured to the human, “may I present Varian Wrynn, King of Stormwind,” she finished, allowing the two leaders time to size each other up. “I have invited you here to peacefully discuss your differences with an eye toward mutual gain. It is not time to lay down our weapons and enter Theramore Keep.”
Garrosh grunted suspiciously and glanced back toward the Warchief and the human.
“Father…” a smaller human—who Garrosh correctly assumed to be the prince—nodded. “Lord Thrall…” he paused again. “For the duration of our summit… peace!” the prince finished, laying down his bow.
“Ha!” Thrall grinned. “It seems there is a diplomat amongst us after all,” he nodded, laying down the Doomhammer and turning back to the prince. “What is your name, my young diplomat?”
“I am Anduin, my lord. Son of Varian Wrynn, King of Stormwind,” the prince answered.
“Then lead on, Anduin, son of Varian Wrynn,” Thrall nodded with a hearty smile, “and we will follow.”
“Hmmph…” Garrosh grunted. “The prince shows respect for orcs. A healthy trait and a sign of wisdom. But only time will tell if the heart of a warrior or the heart of a noble beats within him…
” he thought.
“My lords,” Jaina was saying. “Trusted guards will carry your weapons out of the rain, into the armory where they will be well cared for. Now come inside! The feast is waiting!”
Garrosh grit his teeth in mistrust as he watched human guards carry away his weapons, but said nothing. If they did
decide to betray the trust of the Warchief, he would be ready. They might have had Thrall fooled, but Garrosh knew better than to let his guard down. Already he had spotted several guards that were tired and lethargic from the storm. An easy source of weapons, if the need came.
The group entered the keep and immediately moved to the feasting hall, where an elaborate display of food was laid out. Garrosh immediately sat down and pried a leg off of some manner of roasted bird, tearing at the flesh with his teeth and swallowing it mostly whole. Thrall grunted with an air of slight disapproval and took his seat next to the Mag’har, taking a plate and piling it high with foods of various types.
“I see that the humans of Theramore have not lost their good taste,” Thrall chuckled, taking his knife and beginning to cut apart his meat, before finally moving the bite to his mouth with a pewter fork.
” Garrosh thought, regarding the word with discomfort and slight disdain. “A human tool,
” he mused, glancing down at his own before taking another bite from his drumstick.
Rehgar glanced over at Garrosh, his enmity barely concealed beneath a façade of politeness, before preparing his own plate and beginning to eat.
Soon, they had all eaten their fill and the servants had taken the remainders away. Garrosh couldn’t help but wonder what would be done with the leftovers. He wondered how many orcs were hungry and cold now, while the humans hid away in their castles and squandered their food.
“So you see, Thrall,” Jaina began as the last of the food was taken away, “before the previous summit, Varian was kidnapped and ensorcelled…”
“It is clear, Valeera, that you and Lo’gosh have come up in the world…” Rehgar interrupted. “While your winnings made me rich, when Lo’gosh and Broll escaped, I realized my heart was with them instead of the profit I could have made from their service,” he nodded. “At that moment, I knew I had had my fill of the Crimson Ring. I chose, instead, to offer my services to Thrall.”
“Humpf…” Garrosh grunted. Earthfury was not in service to the Warchief. He was the Warchief’s pet. He had probably been outed as a slave master and now doted on the Warchief in exchange for pardon.
“You let them
escape…” an elf—presumably Valeera—was saying. “But you sold me! Why?”
“Have you forgotten already?” Rehgar answered. “You and Broll fought constantly. Then Helka offered a fortune for you…” he paused, tapping on his tusk thoughtfully. “…and offered you leadership of her group—a role you were well quited for,” he nodded. “It was a kind of advancement. But I see you, too, chose… a new career path…” he paused, thinking of something else. “Where is Broll?”
“The champions you created stayed together,” Varian answered. “He and Valeera helped me kill the dragon Onyxia…”
Garrosh suddenly turned his attention to the human. He had slain the Broodmother of the Black Flight? He had heard legends of the great black wyrm that lived in the swamp here, but had paid little heed. That a mere human could slay her was impressive, even to him.
“Now he’s returned to Teldrassil, on urgent business,” Varian finished.
“I, too, was once a gladiatior… owned, in my youth, by one of king Terenas’ subjects in Lordaeron,” Thrall replied. “I, too, escaped and became a ruler of my people. I imagine we also share a dislike of slavery.”
Garrosh scowled, remembering the stories he had heard of his people here. Captured, beaten, enslaved… Well… Except for his father.
He smiled slightly, and turned his attention back to the conversation.
“Slavery is wrong,” Varian was saying. “But Broll, Valeera and I did learn to fight as a team. It was us against the world.”
“Even when you didn’t know your true identity, your body had not forgotten how to fight,” Rehgar smiled.
The elf began speaking with Earthfury and Varian, recollecting matches that Garrosh cared little about. He sat frustrated in his seat as his listened to them ramble.
“We orcs have found a homeland on Kalimdor across the sea from the Eastern Kingdoms,” Thrall was saying. “But we lack certain resources.”
Garrosh’s ears perked up. This was why he had come.
“We are engaged in constant conflict with the night elves over the felling of trees for timber,” Thrall continued. “You can only build so much out of sand and mud.”
“Our merchants might be glad to trade their timber. What can you offer in return?” Varian answered.
“We have large copper deposits near Orgrimmar, and exotic hides from the creatures that roam the Barrens,” Thrall answered.
“Bah…” Garrosh grumbled. The Orcs couldn’t afford to give up any more. The copper was needed for weapons and armor, and the hides kept his people warm.
“A discussion fit for merchants,” he grumbled absently. “Why should we orcs make concessions
when we have the strength to take what we want?”
“But, sir,” the human prince interjected, “why waste your warriors and resources in battle when a few words will bring you greater profit?”
“Well said, young prince,” Thrall nodded.
Garrosh sighed, but said nothing. The prince was right. There was a time for diplomacy. Sometimes, words were more useful than blades. But the Alliance could not be trusted. They would never give enough. This ‘peace’ that had been set up was starving his people. The Alliance was using this peace to withhold resources that the orcs needed, and the orcs would never get what was fair.
Yes, words were useful in a conflict where ones opponent plays by the rules. But when your opponent plays unfairly, what choice does one have?
Garrosh remained mostly silent for the rest of the meeting. Thrall and the human king agreed to meet again to better negotiate trade, and there was talk of a firmer peace treaty. Mere pieces of paper as far as Garrosh was concerned.
“At least the rain has stopped,” Varian nodded, stepping out of the keep. “But I may have to cut short our summit, Thrall. I just received word of simultaneous Scourge attacks on Southshore and Goldshire in Stormwind.”
“Yes,” Thrall nodded. “the Lich King has stirred, and now begins a new campaign again the living. I’ve already begun to send a few ships to Northrend…” he paused. “It would be good to have some level of cooperation between our peoples before we face this common enemy. Neither of us wants to fight a war on two fronts.”
“Indeed, you’re right,” Varian answered. “Perhaps it is time that the Horde and Alliance made a lasting p—”
“Varian! Thrall! Above you! Look out!” Valeera screamed.
Suddenly, a massive wyvern bore down upon the two leaders, a green-skinned female figure atop it.