Journey to Grom Gol
Dreydak smashed his fist down hard on the dark wooden guardrail as the dock master unhooked the last metal chain link mooring from the Zeppelin. “Grom Gol Base Camp” he muttered through gritted teeth. Peering down at his fist, he slowly uncurled his thick fingers, flexing them a few times. He clenched the guardrail and looked out toward setting crimson sun and scanned the horizon as the Zeppelin slowly drifted forward and up into the reddish purple sky departing from Orgrimar. Thoughts raced through his mind. Why did it have to be Grom Gol? Hasn’t’ he suffered enough? Born a Frostwolf Orc. Taken from his home as a child. Raised from a young age to know nothing but how to be a warrior. Fighting and war. And demons. Those horrific, foul smelling abominations who invaded his home world. That is what he knew and nothing more. Dreydak never even had the chance to bond a wolf as his clan elders had when they were in the prime of their youth.
Dreydak’s face tightened and he looked down at the deck floor. He realized his prime had long since passed and felt robbed of the chance to grow up the way Orcs traditionally did.
Dreydak’s thoughts wandered to the past, to memories of Dreanor, his home world and to the Demon armies who conquered it. The Demons decimated and corrupted the Orcs with their tainted green blood potions turning the majority of the race into pawns to do their bidding. Some of the Orc clans lusted for power and were tricked by the Demons, leading them into a life of submission and subservience. That’s when his race’s fight for survival began. The war with the Demons lasted many years, ending with most clans fleeing the Orc home world. Dreydak lifted his hands, palms up staring at his wrinkled skin. Once Orc skin was light brown or tan. The Demon corruption had turned their skin green. Dreydak used to have green skin. Not now though. His hands looked like the color of charred blackened meat. Dreydak lifted his head, chip up and held his hands behind his back. The zeppelin soared high above the clouds now, the sun almost set. He felt the cool breeze of the dawn air whisk through his long gray hair. His thoughts drifted again.
Dreydak thought of how the Orcs first invaded Azeroth. Immediately upon arrival to this new world, long war between the Alliance and Horde began. Dreydak was seriously injured and almost died. It was a horrible time filled with more betrayal, lost hope and vengeance. Many Orcs including friends and comrades were lost forever in what ended up being a flight from their homeland rather than an invasion. Only the resurgence of the shamanistic ways of the Orcs, the reconnection to the elements was what enabled the rise of the Horde. This sparked a change in tide for his race and is what lead Dreydak to almost fully recover from from his injuries. He was never quite right since his near death experience.
The war with the Alliance had taken its toll on both sides. Too much blood had been shed and many lost everything that meant something to them. The effects of the demon corruption were not completely gone and it drove some Orcs to madness. Madness led to an unrelenting need for blood lust. Ogrim Doomhammer, the Orc Warchief at that time, was obsessed with only one thing. Conquer this new world. Azeroth would be for the Horde. This was what led to his race’s second downfall and ultimately the fall of the Horde. The aftermath of this defeat sent Dreydak’s entire race scrambling to hide from Alliance forces or else be captured or killed. Those that were captured were herded like animals and sentenced to confinement for life in the internment camps. Some fled and went into hiding. Many others were just simply slaughtered. Dreydak grunted. It was a miracle that they all survived through to this day. “Ha!” he barked. “Survived!” he spat the words out to no one in particular.
The Orc race was headed toward certain doom until the sudden rise of their current Warchief, Thrall. This very intelligent, green skinned Orc had completely turned the tide for the Orcs. Thrall escaped from a life of slavery, abuse and being raised as a thing. Thrall refused to be a puppet at the hands of human Alliance scum. He traveled the land, rescued and subsequently recruited all Orcs he could find, freeing the beaten down and docile race and rallied them together to reform the great Horde that they once were. Dreydak’s face relaxed and a grin began to split his face. The Orc warriors followed Thrall and raised him to Warchief! Dreydak eyes became watery as he remembered what it felt like to finally feel free of corruption from the demonic taint that ran through the blood of the original Horde. Thrall lead the Horde, but not into a new war. Instead he forged a tentative peace treaty with the Alliance. Dreydak was once again a warrior of the Horde. As fate would have it, peace did not last long.
It wasn’t the Alliance who broke the peace. It was the Scourge, the undead mindless ones, driven by the will of Arthas, the Lich King. Dreydak’s jaw tightened and his eyes narrowed. These thoughts greatly pained him. His life was one tragic event leading to another. And worse still, his death and subsequent undeath was the pinnacle of his grievous existence. His soul was stolen by the hands of the Lich King. He was slain and subsequently risen as a Death Knight to serve Arthas, and become a pawn in the undead Scourge army. Dreydak, the Orc Warrior was transformed into Dreydak, the Death Knight. Granted dark powers by Arthas and stripped of his own will, Dreydak was forced to spread death and disease across all of Azeroth. His actions, his life, his very essence was controlled by pure evil. He had no sense of self control or free will nor was he able to determine right from wrong. How honorable was that for an Orc? It was the largest insult and desecration of the honor code that an Orc could endure. Over time, the Horde and Allince were able to defeat Arthus and all evil ties to the Lich King were broken. Death Knights gained their own free will back but their mortality, or immortality that was unknown. Dreydak was already dead. How could the dead walk? How could the dead die? This was something he had yet to resolve. At least the Warchief gave his kind a second chance, much to the behest of the majority of the Horde. Thrall accepted the Death Knights back into horde and in fact granted them boon. He named them to positions of honor for the sacrifices they endured at the hands of Arthas.
The zeppelin jerked, bringing Dreydak back to the present as he stumbled for purchase on the wooden deck. He closed his eyes for a moment and cleared his mind. Dreydak forced his thoughts to current mission. Grom Gol base Camp. A small base in the middle of Stranglethorn Vale. A hot sultry climate with lots of wildlife, vegetation and many stench ridden goblins. Also home to some of the meanest trolls on Azeroth. Not that goblins or trolls really bothered Dreydak all that much though, it was mainly the sultry climate. He was a Frostwolf Orc. His blood preferred the colder environments over the hotter ones. He grimaced. Couldn’t his commander have dispatched him to Winterspring! Or maybe given him another tour in Northrend! But Stranglethorn? Even the harsh blizzards of Northrend were more appealing right now. He felt more at one with the elements in Northrend. Perhaps, just maybe, he could even find a frostwolf and try to bond with it. Something he never got to do, something he longed to do before his death. His brow furrowed. Is its possible to die again? I’m undead already. His eyes darted from side to side. Could an undead Orc even bond a wolf? It was still confusing for him. He shook his head and tried to clear his mind again.
Grom Gol Base Camp. Not Northrend, not Wintergrasp, just the sizzling hot Jungle. He had to accept the fact he was on his way to Stranglethorn. He decided to go below deck and found place to review his mission details. He removed the scroll from his leather script. He unrolled the and read the orders his commander sent with him. It seemed standard enough. Investigate the shortage of supplies flowing into the Horde camps in Southern parts of the Eastern Kingdoms, starting at Grom Gol Base Camp in Stranglethorn Vale. He read through the rest of his orders, but that was it. It seemed almost too trivial of an assignment for him to waste time with. Shouldn’t he have been dispatched with the force that went to investigate the sightings of that blasted dragon? Surely Thrall couldn’t be ignoring the numerous reports of Deathwing, the Aspect of Death appearing in the skies all over Kalimdor. This assignment was much to simplistic for a veteran of Northrend to be bothered with. Dreydak wondered why he was chosen for this. What was the significance? Was the acceptance back to the Horde a farce? Do the commanders believe him not trustworthy for a vital mission? Or was there some ulterior motive behind it? Dreydak lowered his head and ran his fingers through his hair. He finally decided he was thinking way too much about about everything. He stuffed the orders back in leather script and returned topside to try to relax and enjoy the rest of the ride over the Great Sea. He found an empty spot on a wooden bench covered with a comfortable feather sack. He sat down on th bench, leaned his head back and felt the cool wind on his face. In no time at all, his eyelids grew heavy.
Dreydak didn’t realize he dozed off until he was free falling over the middle of the ocean. He looked up and saw the remains of the Zeppelin engulfed in a ball of flame. He thought he saw birds. But they looked to big to be birds. And that flames! No, not flames. Was it…Yes! It was lava. Molten lava. This wasn’t some goblin fuel experiment gone wrong. The Zeppelin was attacked by dragons. And not just any dragons, but black dragons. Only black dragon innards burned hot enought to spew forth molten lava. Like the molten lava which was melting the Zeppelin above! As he fell, and tried to remain calm and not lose his senses. His mind raced. Was it Deathwing? Was it the black dragon flight? Why did they attack the Zeppelin? Panic started to set in. All he could think about was if the fall was going to somehow permanently kill him, if he was going to break apart when he slammed into the ocean below or…or what? He had difficulty focusing his eyes and became so disoriented he no longer was sure which way was up. His thoughts, now cloudy, his head light as air, he knew he was about to black out. His instinct told him to take a breath…but that made no sense. He didn’t breathe any longer. His eyelids flickered open and he spotted the swirling ocean below which somehow turned from blue to the deepest black he’d ever seen. He was now barely conscious. Was this the end? Could it be the end? He began to recite the names of his elders, so sure he was about to die for good this time. It would be any second now, he would hit whatever that black swirling surface was and would die instantly from the impact. Just seconds before he hit, all went black.
….to be continued.
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