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Author Topic: Chapter III: The Drums of War  (Read 5595 times)

Kozgugore

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Chapter III: The Drums of War
« on: July 03, 2018, 11:28:56 AM »


Part 1: History Repeats Itself (4th of July, 2018)
Part 2: True Colours (6th of July, 2018)
Part 3: Hard Learned Lessons (8th of July, 2018)
Part 4: The Instinct of War (10th of July, 2018)
Part 5: The Call of Home (13th of July, 2018)
Part 6: A Hollow Triumph (15th of July, 2018)
Part 7: To Blighted Lands (23rd of July, 2018)
Part 8: The Burden of Principle (28th of July, 2018)
Part 9: A Different Perspective (2nd of August, 2018)
Part 10: The End of the Horde (10th of August, 2018)



The world of Azeroth bleeds. And with it, its denizens cry out... but not out of pain. But for blood. With each passing week, the world is going a little more mad as both the Horde and the Alliance flock to their banners to prepare for a war that seems to be inevitable. Fueled by new technologies brought forth by the bleeding of this very world, the eagerness to test them only serves to increase the likeliness of open conflict.

Now, Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner has called for a massive mobilization of the Horde's forces. The wound of Azeroth, located in Silithus, has been the site of some skirmishes and conflicts already. However, she now appears to be poised to send an entire army to the south of the continent of Kalimdor in order to secure any and all Azerite, the lifeblood of the wounded world, for herself. The day that the Orcs of the Red Blade suspected would come, has finally arrived. And so, the Red Blade clan rallies to the Horde's banner as well. Some willingly, some out of a sense of duty and honor, and some simply because friends or family choose to do so. The hour of reckoning is at hand, and the long awaited Fourth War is at long last about to engulf Azeroth. Caught in the middle of it all, Chieftain Kozgugore Feraleye maintains a campaign log. A book of war. This is his side of a conflict gone out of hand.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 08:06:43 PM by Kozgugore »
Kozgugore Feraleye - Chieftain of the Red Blade

Kozgugore

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Re: Chapter III: The Drums of War
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2018, 11:44:55 AM »


Part 1: History Repeats Itself
4th of July


I have said my goodbyes to the young ones this morning. The youngest two do not yet understand why their father continues to disappear into the wilderness, absent any promise of a safe return. They continue to loathe me for it. They may not dare speak it aloud, but I can read it in their eyes. I could still feel their condemning gazes look after me as I turned to set upon the road. They do not yet understand what it is I do, or who I do this for. But this time, the eldest does. Kraag has seen me abandon him in the pursuit of certain death more times than he should rightly be allowed to count in such a short life. And for all the arguments we have had over it, I have known full well the pain that he carries within his heart to once again see me part ways. At his age, he does not yet care for honor or glory. He cares for the presence of his father. For a childhood. But unlike past times, he is now old and wise enough to understand that it is that very childhood that I do this. It is not for glory, honor, bounty and most certainly not for resources that I now march upon the road to war. It is for them. My three children, and the entire rest of my people's fate along with them.

I find myself reminded of this, as I find myself in the presence of the other Horde leaders and representatives at the war council in the Valley of Honor. The sentiments in Orgrimmar have been shifting ere the days of young Hellscream. But not into the direction I had expected them to go. Whereas my people should feel responsibility for the crimes committed during the Rebellion and the acts leading up to it, many have already receded back into hubris and belligerence. And with a Forsaken Warchief maddened with lust for resources at the helm, who can blame them? These are no circumstances that call for humility or discretion. It is an ideal climate for total, unrestricted war. A chance for many of them to prove their mettle now that the time of a veiled peace has come to an end. No, it fast became clear that at least half of those gathered here had different motives than my own entirely for going to war. After all, it are always the ones with the loudest mouths who make their intentions clearest and most contemptible. I find at least some solace in the knowledge that there are yet some left who take our people's interest at heart, such as the blunt but steadfast Grashka Redcleaver of the Iron Wolf clan and the wise and dependable Rogmasha Thundercaller of the Frozen Paw clan. We shall have to choose our comrades in arms wisely, if we are to fight this war absent any infighting. For infighting is always a surety in conflicts of this scale.

Our target is to be the forest of Ashenvale. Not the sands of Silithus as we all first expected. I should be content, knowing I need not set foot upon that cursed desert once more. But instead, we exchange one cursed land for another. Many of my kin have already fallen to Kaldorei arrows from the tall and commanding trees of Ashenvale. Far fewer from the wide, open sands of Silithus. They say Astranaar has been razed by an advance force, but I have known the elves longer than today alone. Rarely have I happened upon a stauncher or fiercer foe than a Kaldorei defending her homeland. They will fight tooth and nail before they give up on it. Let alone our ultimate target, Teldrassil. I will not even begin to speak of the folly of that plan.

The elected commanders are to be Stone Guard Zeep of the Hand of Conquest, Styrros Stargazer of the Duskwatch Outriders and Kunzel Gutskewer of the Shattered Hand. I could have thought of worse options to be at the helm of this, even if I do not find myself in complete agreement with every single choice. Be that as it may, I am content to follow in this conflict, to instead ensure the safety of my own clan and people above all else. With that, I have volunteered the clan to be responsible for any prisoners of war that others do not wish to look after. Better that we get our hands on them than the likes of Forsaken, who will be sure to treat them with barbarity. Let alone those who spoke openly of executing prisoners during the war council. The Horde has been witness to enough dishonor and disgrace to allow further depravity. Furthermore, I expect we shall primarily concentrate our efforts on securing the roads and supply lines throughout the forest. The past has proven that the elves are capable of launching surprise attacks behind the front lines with greater effectiveness than fighting upon the front line itself. So it is not so much the front line I am concerned of, than I am of the entire rest of the forest. A region as vast as Ashenvale is sure to be host to numerous ambush parties.

We now prepare ourselves for the mustering of the Horde forces. Tomorrow, at the eighth horn, we make for the front lines. Some claim that clearing the region adjacent to Orgrimmar will ensure a safer border in the long run. I remain unconvinced. Even if the elves are defeated, they will not yet be pacified. Like any resolute orc, they will continue to fight and tire out our forces until either we retreat, or each and every one of them are wiped from the face of this earth. Personally, I have had my fill of attempted genocide decades past. I fear that regardless of this war's progress and outcome, our people will not gain any victories from it. My peers would have cursed me for such thinking, had they heard me voice such concerns in my youth. But they have not witnessed what I have. They have all perished in our endless pursuit for conquest. Conquest that has thus far left us unrewarded in new or safer lands. Rather, conquest that has only led our people to certain extinction. A fate I would see avoided... both corporeal as well as morally.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 12:19:12 PM by Kozgugore »
Kozgugore Feraleye - Chieftain of the Red Blade

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Re: Chapter III: The Drums of War
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2018, 04:13:11 PM »


Part 2: True Colours
6th of July


War has engulfed Ashenvale Forest. Following our initial incursion, we survived our first encounter with the Alliance forces when they subsequently stood their ground at both Darkshore and Felwood. There is no penetrating their defenses as it stands, but it is only a matter of time before they are forced to give away more ground and eventually withdraw further into Darkshore. With the amount of Horde forces occupying these forests, they shall soon be stretched too thin to offer a worthy opposition. Victory, it seems, is but a matter of vigilance and patience.

Following our encampment at Splintertree Post, the clan has personally undertaken a valiant effort to seize the nearest Kaldorei base, the Silverwing Outpost, from the enemy's clutches. Though gravely outnumbered, we managed to gain the upper hand when support from the west bank arrived at long last. Ere the first day we arrived here, the eastern region has proven severely undermanned compared to the vast amount of Kaldorei who yet stalk these forests. One way or another however, we mustered enough orcs of our own and some of the others to pose a serious threat to the Alliance forces occupying Silverwing Outpost. It was a long and heady battle, particularly troubled by the last stand their sentinels offered upon the outpost's structure, but through sheer force of will, we persevered.

Silverwing Outpost was but the first step in securing the eastern bank of the Falfarren River. In order to ensure the Mor'shan Ramparts remain in Horde hands and the caravans passing through its gates safely reach the western front, all opposition must be rooted out. I am fully aware of the unlikeliness of this great task, but we would not be children of Akashok if we would not give it our all to at least make the attempt. And otherwise fall doing so. The Silverwing Grove to the south of the outpost is now their last bastion of resistance in the eastern forest. I have given orders to surround it: lay traps, place barricades and put a constant guard upon the perimeter. Reinforcements already managed to force their way through when Silverwind Refuge was assaulted, so none more should be allowed to bolster the grove. It is the best we can do for now, for we find ourselves with naught but a skeleton crew occupying the Silverwing Outpost for now. Should the defenders marshal forth from their defenses to assault the outpost once more, we can only hope that aid from across the river will reach us in time. For Splintertree Post is all but abandoned up until now. It would seem but few realize the importance of maintaining the supply lines. One way or another, the Red Blade's and the Horde's banners fly over Silverwing Outpost. A great battle has been won, to be recorded into our annals.

And yet, I am concerned. Not only for the night elves and their continued attempts to break us behind enemy lines in order to force a withdrawal, but perhaps even more so for the Horde's very own forces. I have made my clan's intentions crystal clear when prisoners of war were briefly discussed during the war council. And yet, there are plenty others who would see our Horde fall into shame and anarchy. Pending a prisoner's interrogation, the clan found itself continuously dogged by the despicable rot-walkers of the fallen kingdom. And even more shameful, aided and encouraged by orc grunts from the Hand of Conquest. Rather than to put the prisoner to good use in order to further the vital war efforts here, they desired to sate their pitiful self-worth by murdering the unarmed human. Despite express instructions, they saw fit to go through with their plans and show their true colours. A report has been sent to High Command, but I earnestly doubt any consequences shall follow. Even so, I trust our intentions have been made clear. We shall no longer support any efforts by the Rotgarde or the Hand of Conquest until responsibility has been taken for these crimes. Responsibilities that I do not expect to happen. Be that as it may, the Code forbids us to honour an alliance with the dishonourable. We will continue to fight in the name of the Horde so long as the Horde's interests lie in this foolhardy plan. But we shall do so on our terms. The enemy of my enemy has the potential to be my friend. But if that friend harbours dishonourable and despicable cretins, it may soon turn out that their battles shall be their own should this infantile and inane conduct continue.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 12:19:04 PM by Kozgugore »
Kozgugore Feraleye - Chieftain of the Red Blade

Kozgugore

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Re: Chapter III: The Drums of War
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 01:42:03 PM »


Part 3: Hard Learned Lessons
8th of July


A home is not a home until it has been someone else's first. This was one of the first things I was taught as a young pup in the Warsong camps back in the Old World. We drank deep in the challenge of conquest, found glory in the expansion of our domain and hunting grounds. Every Warsong was taught that home was not a place, but a people. And a true people takes what they are owed. There were times when this resulted in great victories. At other times, in death. A necessary price for upholding the clan's time-honoured ways. And a price each of us would gladly give in homage to the clan we were born into. Our family.

There is another wisdom my family passed on to me, however. Like the grasses on the plains of Nagrand we were raised upon, we Warsong may bend with the wind, but never do we break. We adapt to where we venture. To time, to circumstances, to the lands and to our enemies. But with the founding of the Horde, we have found ourselves adapting to our allies as well. First to the other clans. Next to the ogres and to the trolls. And finally to even the Sin'dorei and the Forsaken. It has proven a necessary side-effect to our enduring survival in the New World. Had we clung to our elders' ways of antagonising every people out here, it is likely this world of enemies would have driven us to extinction more than we have thus far been already. And so we adapted, as our clan's wisdom has taught us. Perhaps not in the manner it had primitively intended, but for the same end goal.

But not the Kaldorei we face here. The Night Elves have had the luxury of isolation. They may have only recently joined forces with the Alliance, but the better part of them still remember well their own ways. Their traditions. Their culture. And their art of war. They know millennia of fighting experience. A part of me wonders if they may have made a valuable ally once, had circumstances taken a different turn following the Battle of Mount Hyjal. That knowledge, too, is a burden I now carry upon myself, having followed Chieftain Hellscream willingly into these forests. It was our incursion into this place that first led to the awakening of the elves' fury. Hence the very first day I set foot here many years past under the leadership of my old Chieftain, we thought it haunted. Strange spirits shimmered through the trees and mirthful voices would keep us awake at night, as though they were mocking us. We believed the first orcs who did not come back from the forests were spirited away by the vengeful spirits of this new, mysterious continent. Little did we know that our newfound adversaries had the talent to strike and disappear with the same swiftness as vindictive shadows do. When we found out they were not spirits, but warrior women, we knew we had made ourselves a worthy enemy.

Little did we know our worthy enemy would cost us so many lives. It is in these cursed forests that I have lost the last of of my old brothers who were bound to me in blood from my childhood village. Still I am reminded of this when I walk underneath the dense roof of this forest, impenetrated by the sun's light. Still I can see the leaves and the branches moving, as if stirred by an unseen force. Still I can hear the ghosts of my brothers howl their songs of war through the forests. And still I can see their lifeless husks cover the forest ground, pinned with the arrows of an enemy they did not see coming.

It is a fate I would see avoided for my new brothers and sisters. My new family. Hard-learned were the lessons when I made my first, foolish steps into this forest. But like my ancestors, I have bent to circumstance. For all the Night Elves' millennia of fighting experience, I have made myself conversant with their ways. I may not have learned of their ways as an ally as I might have preferred, but I have learned of them as an enemy. An enemy that now slowly sees them driven out of their homeland. Our fist has tightened over their last bastion in the eastern forest, Silverwing Grove. With the aid of the Frozen Paw clan and the collective of the Shattered Shield, we have culled it from our enemies' existence. The forest east of the Falfarren River now lies secured, laying the foundations for caravans and more war machines of the Horde to be sent westward. As such, the clan has now paved the way with the first caravan from Mor'shan, supplying the Silverwind Refuge and Hellscream's Watch.

Now, we find ourselves awaiting further orders at Hellscream's Watch as our conflict here in Ashenvale draws to a close. With even more of the Horde's forces advancing further west, it is but a matter of time before the Alliance is forced to withdraw. Their home shall soon be ours, as my people's ways have taught me... and yet, there is but little rejoice within my Warsong heart. There is only a cry for survival, for I know full well that the fighting shall only grow headier the further we make it into the heartlands of the Kaldorei territory. After decades of ceaseless warfare, that is how I have chosen to bend to the wind.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 12:18:56 PM by Kozgugore »
Kozgugore Feraleye - Chieftain of the Red Blade

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Re: Chapter III: The Drums of War
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 02:50:03 PM »


Part 4: The Instinct of War
10th of July


Some say the end of this conflict is drawing near. In but the course of two days, we have advanced from Hellscream's Watch, up to Orendil's Retreat in northern Ashenvale and then charged through the wall of their magics all the way up to the ruins of Auberdine. We spent most of it fighting on wolfback, serving as support from the flank in the battle for Orendil's Retreat and successively as outriders in our charge into Darkshore, riding all the way up to Auberdine. We were fought back on our first attempt, when we overreached our extend under orders of Stone Guard Zeep and were forced to withdraw to an abandoned Furbolg camp. Alliance skirmishers then drew us out, however, and by their own hand, they forced us to advance as far back north to Auberdine once more.

It took hours of fighting, but we have now set up a forward base camp at Auberdine. Still I find myself concerned with the thought of being so far ahead of the main force. Many are still as far back at the southern tip of Darkshore, putting us at risk of being cut off should the Alliance show enough tact to but move around and encircle us. Some would claim they have not that tact, for there is talk of infighting amidst their military leaders. To that I say, let us concern ourselves for our own leadership first. The fighting around Auberdine today has made clear that my previous concerns regarding discord amidst our ranks may well become a threat to our success here. I already mentioned the trouble we found ourselves in when we first followed the Stone Guard here in the preliminary charge. During our second incursion into Auberdine however, Tagar Bearmaul of the Bloodsong saw fit to actively counteract Zeep's orders. I will not deny that there may have been some reason for questioning his authority, for ordering a charge through a heavy current unto a heavily defended cliff seemed like certain death even to me. But the challenge of authority did not end there. Even after the fighting had subsided, their dispute threatened to overtake the securing of Auberdine as a priority. So not only are we stuck too far north, we also find ourselves in the middle of a potential power struggle.

It is a smear on an otherwise surprisingly successful offensive. But a few days past, we found ourselves securing roads in the eastern part of Ashenvale. Now, we can already see the tree that is their home from the beaches here... And yet, I still cannot fathom how any might be foolish enough to think that seizing Teldrassil would end this war in one, fell stroke. Even if we are successful in this foolhardy offensive, this war will only escalate further. If not for the elves' tenacity and willingness to continue fighting from the shadows, then certainly for the rest of their Alliance. Word has already arrived of sabotage, skirmishes and raids behind the front lines back in Ashenvale. These are the circumstances in which the Kaldorei fight best. When they are least expected, on the offensive and in small numbers. It may not be easy fighting here at the front, but I would almost rather be out here, than back in the forest sniffing out elf ambushes.

Part of that feeling is not only based out of a feeling of anxiety of having to deal with Kaldorei ambushes in Ashenvale, however. I must confess, all this fighting at he front line is threatening to draw me back into my old ways once more. When the fighting was heaviest here in Auberdine last night, I could almost feel myself enjoying it. The clamour of battle, the rippling of the Horde banners, the tearing down of their own in a great, overwhelming charge... I can feel my instincts attempting to take over, pulling me back down into that pit of anger and a lust for blood. Do I embrace it, knowing we have a long and onerous way yet to go, or do I fight it, knowing a collected head is required to carry my brothers and sisters through all this? I have dealt with these questions before, but rarely has the fighting been this unrestrained hence the days of the Great Wars. I would be a liar if I would say I take no pleasure out of all this conflict whatsoever. And it concerns me, knowing full well what other objectionable people walk here amidst our ranks, committing crimes of war.

No. I must resist my primal ways - my clan's ways - of submitting to a warrior's haze. What my clan needs is a sound leader. Not another great warrior. The thrill and glory of battle may draw me in once more, but I must keep a clear head to get us through this. Even more so if our very own leadership threatens to collapse. Were it not for my own call for withdrawal, we would have fallen in that first, ill-advised charge into Auberdine already. Now more than ever, responsibility is needed of me. No matter how much I can feel my old brothers' spirits pulling me into that blood haze. I would ask for my ancestors' forgiveness, but I already know their answer. I already know my very own father's spiteful gaze. You may all berate me when I one day join you.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 12:18:44 PM by Kozgugore »
Kozgugore Feraleye - Chieftain of the Red Blade

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Re: Chapter III: The Drums of War
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2018, 12:03:53 PM »


Part 5: The Call of Home
13th of July


It is as I feared. Although we pushed deep into Darkshore territory and drank deep from the cup of victory there, it did not take long ere we were forced back. First by the ancient trees that were brought to life and saw us hunted out of the ruins of Auberdine... but even worse, all the way back to Ashenvale. But not by the fury of the primitive powers of this land... No. By naught but the persistent nature of our insurgent enemies. The supply lines that we fought so hard to control during our time in Ashenvale were being hit hard, and with scarcely any left to supervise the roads from the Mor'shan Ramparts to Darkshore, we were left to pick up the pieces. I had predicted an unending conflict in the forest even when the Horde would have claimed dominance over the elves' ancestral lands. And now it has come to clutch on to our heels sooner than I had even dared expect.

In truth, it should come as no surprise. A part of me cannot help but reflect on the gravity of the Kaldorei's loss. For millennia, this has been their homeland. And if there is one thing I know, it is the pain that comes with losing one's home. I know all too well the emptiness of a heart that yearns to return home. I may have previously claimed that a home may be a people, but a land is a symbol for that people to cling to. A memory. What you are born into. A part of you. Forever will I remember the rolling hills and steppes of my own homelands... And forever will I walk with the pain of knowing that I will never set eyes upon it again. But if I ever could? Had I but the most scant of chances to see it again in all its wonder, its soft winds drifting through my hair, the blades of tall grass brushing past my feet... I would give everything to see that - experience that - one last time. Even if it meant to die soon thereafter, so that my children might instead savour it. It would be the finest gift a father could give to children borne unto a world at war.

For a land that has not yet fallen to corruption, the elves who call these forests their home for aeons will fight just as diligently. We might claim that the Horde reigns supreme now, even as we join forces with the Hand of Agony and the Blood Howl to tighten our grip over the last bastion of their resistance in the ruins known as Forest Song. But only a simpleton would expect the fight to be done with that. Even when we inevitably see them driven from their makeshift military base, they will continue the fight. And many more will fall, defending caravans and patrolling roads. A waste of resources and good orcs - all for a vision I see fading ever more.

When we soon return to our own homes to be welcomed back by those we left behind, the true battle will only just begin here. For there is a sadness, an emptiness, in the hearts of those who are banished from their home and bear with them a longing to return to its splendour. I know this better than any other. There will be no peace once these forests have been claimed and its people have been bereaved of their homeland. There will not even be an armistice. There will be only be the cries of vengeance and the resolve of a homeless people.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 12:18:30 PM by Kozgugore »
Kozgugore Feraleye - Chieftain of the Red Blade

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Re: Chapter III: The Drums of War
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2018, 01:30:21 PM »


Part 6: A Hollow Triumph
15th of July


Many victories have I basked in throughout my years of war and conquest. Each of them different from another. Some were laden with glory and joy as we celebrated total victory. Others were bittersweet, for the victory had been attained at the cost of dead friends and family. And some simply left me cold, for it served a cause I cared little for. And yet, I cannot remember victory ever having tasted solely bitter. Nor smell so virulent.

It has been some hours hence the last battle at Auberdine took place. We set out with a sizeable host in order to buy the Warchief's forces time to break through their wall of magics and allow the flanking force to strike from Felwood. Yet as it turned out, the Alliance set out with an even greater force. We held the line - barely - after we were threatened to be surrounded. But I almost paid for it with my life. In the chaos of it all, I was separated from the others. And then, just when I thought I had rid myself of any remaining pursuers, a straggler showed up. A lone wolf. But she was not like the others. No, her intent was not to kill me. She wanted to hurt me. A great deal. Rather than to attempt any killing blows that would allow me an easier opening, she simply kept on cutting me with those starred blades of hers. It was almost as if she was toying with me, like a cat with its prey. Until the prey would ultimately bleed dry in its suffering.

I am no prey to be toyed with, however. The water offered an escape, although an unintended one. When I fell, the current dragged me under and down along the river. I will say that there is a certain kind of peacefulness that water offers. Down underneath the surface, there is no clamour of battle or cries of the dying to be heard. I could have easily accepted my fate there and then, wounded as I was. But it would not have been in my nature to stop surviving. I somehow still found the strength to crawl to shelter. An abandoned bear den. And thus here I am, waiting. Gazing upon that tree that has now ignited an inferno. And with that inferno, a war will no doubt be ignited as well. One far greater than any would have foreseen. This battle may have been won, but the war is only just beginning.

I will rest here before I attempt to make my way back to safer territory. I can still hear the occasional elf slipping past my den, either to flee or to search for enemies. While I wait out the storm that rages on outside here, I cannot help but reflect on the words the elf woman said to me when she attacked. She spoke of poisoned daggers and innocent civilians slain. Children, even. Butchered in the name of 'my' Horde. We had received no word from what fate befell Astranaar when we first invaded the forest, save for that it was wiped clean by an advance force. We did not ask questions, but we did see the rot-walkers freely parading their prisoners and executing them for a mob's pleasure. Perhaps that above all else is why I cannot taste the sweet honey of victory in my mouth, but the bitterness of soot and ash. Perhaps we should have asked questions and stood up, rather than to allow our so-called 'allies' to run rampant through these forests. I would say with a clear mind that we did whatever we could to prevent dishonour to fall upon us and to treat our enemies with the respect they are due. But perhaps that was not enough. We should not have been conveniently blinded to that which passed outside of our gaze. We should have shown responsibility for the acts of the full breadth of our Horde. We should be better than this. The Horde deserves to be better than this.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 12:18:22 PM by Kozgugore »
Kozgugore Feraleye - Chieftain of the Red Blade

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Re: Chapter III: The Drums of War
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2018, 12:17:39 PM »


Part 7: To Blighted Lands
23rd of July


Once more, the clarion call to battle has been sounded. It barely took the Alliance a week to give response to the burning of Teldrassil. It must be the least surprising declaration of war that anyone here has ever witnessed. Let it not be said that the Alliance is not effective, for they certainly mobilized their armies with astounding haste in order to send their response back to the Horde.

Their target appears to be the old human kingdom of Lordaeron. Presently, the home of the Forsaken. As I reflect upon this grave matter (cursed be Sharptongue for making me realize the double meaning of that sentence), I cannot help but wonder if it is ill-thought of me to feel relieved that it is not orcish lands they see fit to direct their ire towards. When all is said and done, the Banshee Queen has provoked this response purely by her own volition. Better is it for the battlefield to move to those lands where it belongs. Even if some fools continue to deny it, the Night Elves deserved not the fury they were delivered. So although we are now called to arms to defend a land that - in truth - I care little for and a people who have just as easily chastised me for my ways as they are likely to show some shred of dignity, I feel more comfortable fighting here than I do back on Kalimdor. At least here, the Forsaken can Blight and murder naught but their own villages.

Be that as it may, I still would have rather been elsewhere. This is not a war any of us orcs asked for. But even so, all of our orcs - save one thus far - have chosen to follow me to these despoiled lands. It is clear to me that a great many of these orcs still value the Horde just as much as I do, even if some of them have proven to be false and dishonorable. Be that as it may, we have chosen to remain vigilant of any breaches to our Code of Honor. Not towards our own orcs, but to those we serve with. They may not live by the same Code, but we have chosen to weigh the value of our allies according to its guidelines. And should any of them be found breaching too many of its tenets, we will carve our own path.

For now, that path has taken us to Silverpine Forest where the Alliance has begun its invasion from the Greymane Wall. It appears we arrived precisely on time, for the Horde found itself outnumbered by a great margin. A margin we have tipped with our arrival alongside the forces of the Shattered Shield, it would seem. The neighboring Pyrewood Village was cleared of its hostile occupancy before we withdrew to the Forsaken camp once more. Is it there where we now build up fortification and set up a vigil to watch over the southern approach. They will undoubtedly come at us sooner rather than later. We already know that additional fighting has been unleashed upon Tirisfal and the Western Plaguelands already. So the Alliance - most of those present here Worgen, no doubt - shall be eager to link up with the rest. As ever, our fate is to patiently await the coming of the storm. It almost makes me miss the times when -we- were the conquering force that ran rampant across these very lands. Almost.
Kozgugore Feraleye - Chieftain of the Red Blade

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Re: Chapter III: The Drums of War
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2018, 12:28:38 PM »


Part 8: The Burden of Principle
28th of July


Honor is a strange thing. Orcs can be moved by it, made to execute the greatest of feats. And yet, it can bind orcs into place, hold them back from doing what must sometimes be done. I will be the last to deny that I, too, have forsaken honor sometimes. Bent it to my will in order to see others act accordingly. It is not a thing I am proud of. But if there is one thing I have learned throughout my long life... it is that our convictions can also make us weak.

It does not matter of whose or what conviction I speak. Honor, chivalry, justice... in a way, they are not real. They are but things we pretend to, a shield we hold in front of ourselves. There is a weakness to this shield, however. It only guards against those who carry the same shield. Against those who have discarded them, they are no shields at all. For them, they are but additional weapons to use against their victims. A weakness to be exploited. It is a weakness my people exploited when they made use of the compassionate courtesy of the Draenei and even the notion of chivalry of the Humans when we sought to eradicate them. When we had abandoned any notions of honor, it was the easy road to a bloody conquest. Far easier is it to defeat your enemy and to discard the burden of shame or guilt when you do not carry such principles with you. I have witnessed what it is like to stand on the other side of that shield and to not carry one myself. So now, I know better than to allow myself to be deceived by others.

And yet, I still find myself a prey to the untruthful and the false.

I have met my share of paladins in my lifetime. Some who call the Horde their home well enough, but most of them Human. The Argent Dawn, the Silver Hand - the Alliance, even - ... I have worked with them in the past because I know the shield they hold is none too different to my own. So call me naive if you will, but I have reason to believe that there are some among them who can yet be reasoned with. Imagine my disappointment when it turns out that they, too, are now blinded by hatred and self-righteousness. Even for an exchange of prisoners, they would happily cast aside their shield the moment they find out they outnumber the opposing party. I care little for petty notions of vengeance. But should this sanctimonious Galford who so complacently refers to himself as "Righteous" ever dare show his face in diplomacy again, the same shield will no longer stand for him. He will be met with fang and claw.

That is what the past has taught me. However commendable it might be to maintain a Code of Honor, it is but a weapon to be used by those who do not live by it. This is is why our Code dictates that any dishonorable conduct may be met with the fury of the elements themselves. Many codes and guidelines have weaknesses like that. But ours knows no such burdens. It is a shield to protect ourselves with, but so too a weapon to strike at those who would dare lash out against it in kind. It is an arsenal we will need now more than ever. For the Code is not only something we ourselves are tested by with each passing day, but our enemies in times of conflict as well... And just as importantly, our allies.

It just so happens that we do not appear to be the only people of the Horde who yet live by such standards. Although it is too early to speak of it in detail, there has been a first gathering of those who still value the principles of honor and courtesy. An awakening, if you will. It shall remain to be seen what becomes of this... Whiteclaw Communion. But the foundation has been made for an alliance within the Horde that will stand together against corruption and immorality. Now we need but pray that we will live to see the end of this conflict here in foreign lands, lest such ambitions are met with a quick end. The Alliance continues to march ever onward, their determination to regain their old homeland stronger than our resolve to fight for a home that is not - and never will be - ours. It is a reflection of the events that I described passing in Ashenvale not too long past. What one people loses, the other seeks to regain. The retaking of a home is a conviction none can ever withstand for too long. We may soon find ourselves trading in one people's homeland for another. And thus, the cycle continues on, unending.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 12:37:19 PM by Kozgugore »
Kozgugore Feraleye - Chieftain of the Red Blade

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Re: Chapter III: The Drums of War
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2018, 08:15:19 PM »


Part 9: A Different Perspective
2nd of August


It has begun. Whereas I thought it would yet take several moons to gain momentum, more and more voices have begun to arise to publicly speak against and condemn the acts of the Warchief and some of her people. As we fought tooth and nail to maintain control of Fenris Keep and the isle it stood upon, I could already overhear the discontent that was present among some of the troops. They had already begun to question some of our allies among the Horde, as well as our purpose here. But it did not end there. Rumor had begun to spread that it may have in fact been the Warchief herself who was responsible for setting ablaze an entire home of innocents. Furthermore, one of our own orcs, Lom'rak Steelskull, had been struck down by one of the conceited drones of the Ebon Blade. We chased the rotting elf out, but had we our way absent repercussions... I would have relish in severing his head from his body. More so than severing any Alliance heads. After all, the Alliance are but here to do their duty. That Ebon Blade, along with several others who have been seen committing war crimes and acting with dishonor and indignity? That is little more but spite and hatred. Petty notions in attempts to prove their false superiority.

It came to a head when we received word from Tirisfal Glades. Chieftain Rogmasha Thundercaller and her Frozen Paw Clan had attempted to maintain a semblance of honour among the others there, but nearly paid for it with her life. They mobbed her people, locked some of them up and even appeared to have tortured them. With Fenris Isle as good as fallen, we pulled out and saw to her aid. It was then that I unveiled to the orcs the plans we had spoken of little more than a moon past: the intentions of the Whiteclaw Communion, and that the time had come now more than ever to rise up and to defend the honor and dignity of the Horde. Blood has been spilled on this matter, so our fate is now bound to that of the Communion.

Although we have now withdrawn to the Frostwolf encampment in Hillsbrad to recuperate and collect ourselves, reports tell that the war still commences up north. The Alliance forces in Silverpine are on the brink of breaking through into Tirisfal, assuring the inevitable siege of the Undercity itself... and its denizens with it. I know full well the faction of the Forsaken is not comprised solely of honorless and despicable creatures. Even today, we tracked down civilians who fled Tarren Mill following the recent Alliance attack and returned them safely to their kin. They were honest people. Simple in their needs and indiscriminate in their judgement towards orcs, having found themselves freed from the hands of ogres by us. Lordaeron and the Undercity is their home, too. Even if it is shared with less agreeable individuals. On top of all that, there are still our allies who are committed to the fight. We met with the Blood Howl in Tarren Mill, and they intend to return to the fold as well.

I feel we have had a truthful and just reason to turn our backs on the conflict in Tirisfal. But now? Now I find myself realizing that turning our backs to a few amongst many will have repercussions for the many as well. We must remember that the war criminals among us alone do not embody the Horde. No...

We embody the Horde.

We are its true spirit. We were there when it was first founded upon the Old World. We were there when it met its demise at the foot of Blackrock Mountain. We were there when the New Horde arose from the ashes of the old under the leadership of Thrall. And we were there when the Horde was saved from disgrace when the Rebellion toppled the reign of the young Hellscream. If anyone knows what the Horde truly stands for, it is us. The Horde is family. Bound by blood and oath. A family that embodies the free will of a people unified in self-preservation of not only home and family, but also honor and principle. Honor and principle that we ourselves must ensure is upheld, rather than to close our eyes to it and pretend it will go away. If we are to make a stand, we must do so where it matters. Upon the front line, among the true savages of this world. So that not only they, but the Alliance, too, may see that we will not stand for any further stains upon the Horde's banner. They have been allowed to soil its colors and our principles long enough. And above all else, they do not get to tell who gets to belong to the Horde, and who does not.

And so, we will fight. Not only the enemies of the Horde from the outside, but from within as well. Some will undoubtedly point at us like they did the Frozen Paw and proclaim we betray the Horde. But I reject such petty rhetoric. I say we save the Horde. Fight for the Horde. Not against the enemies its Warchief has made, but those who have led us down this dark path. Helping the Frozen Paw in recovering their wrongfully imprisoned clansmen was a start. But it will not be enough. One wrong has been righted... but I know the spirits remain unconvinced. They demand restoration of balance and dignity in full. And that end requires a long path yet. It is time to set upon it.
Kozgugore Feraleye - Chieftain of the Red Blade

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Re: Chapter III: The Drums of War
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2018, 08:06:07 PM »


Part 10: The End of the Horde
10th of August


The cretins actually went and did it. I knew the Forsaken were capable of committing cowardly acts, but today proved to be the very pinnacle of their cowardice and deceitfulness. Even more so than the Wrathgate. When we stood there upon the fields of Tirisfal to protect their home, they did not discriminate in who they caught in their Blight. So many of them, Horde and Alliance alike, fell around us when they began to bombard the battlefield with canisters. And when we sought to withdraw to the front gate, they did not hesitate to spray their fumes face to face - gazing into their victims' very eyes as they betrayed them. Not only Humans, but Orcs and Taurens and Trolls alike. They all fell within seconds of an agonizing and dishonorable death. I do not care to which race they belonged. None of them deserved this.

As I write this, I still find myself wondering how in Hellfire we made it to safety in time save the majority of our orcs. When the gate was no longer an option, we turned to retreat to the west. To higher ground, where the cursed Blight might not reach us. Some of us had to run through the Blight in order to make it. Still I can hear them suffering the results of it as I am writing this. Even so, they are the lucky ones... for there is one among us who did not make it. Mal'garr Firefist. I never thought his death would leave such a mark. But being the sole victim of the atrocity that we have been witness to tonight, he will serve as a reminder to us all what manner of depravity the Forsaken and their so-called Queen are capable of.

As if the Blight itself was not enough, the witch sought fit to raise the dead before their spirits could hardly have even left their bodies. Not enough was it to murder her own Horde, she had to desecrate them in their death as well. Without a doubt, this was among one of the darkest days I have ever witnessed in the Horde. A Horde that is no longer my Horde. It has grown rotten in its very heart, with its Warchief at the very core of it.

I am still attempting to come to terms with all that has happened, but one thing has become very clear to me. The Horde as we once knew it has died upon the fields of Tirisfal today. And the time has come to save its ashes before it will be scattered to the winds for good. What use is the blood oath of the Horde if those who swear it will carelessly seek to harm those they have sworn it with - bound by blood? What good is a Warchief who clearly does not think in the interests of the Horde she is meant to be responsible for? I have seen many things happen here since my arrival upon these shores. Oaths broken. Orcs desecrated. Allies imprisoned. Many things that rightly deserve an answer. And yet, we continued to call ourselves a part of the Horde.

No longer. It is time to make a stand. And when we return upon the shores of Kalimdor, we will ensure that word of what has transpired here will spread. The Horde will know. And the Horde will fight back.
Kozgugore Feraleye - Chieftain of the Red Blade