His name was of no importance anymore, in this time of peace he is a ghost. He spent more years than he can recall as a recluse. Hid away from everything and everybody he used to know. After countless battles in wars come and gone, he never really found purpose for himself in this time of peace. So he left the world behind, names he had known and places he had been now only whisper’s on the wind that blow to places unknown. Trying to forget the past, not caring about the future he concerns himself with the day to day, A phrase comes to his mind "Live for today" an old friend would say although the meaning seemed to be more alive and carefree then he could hope to achieve anymore. Another day comes, another day goes and time stands still for him in the mountains of Khaz Modan, secluded from Ironforge and all that goes on in the world below. But....
The things he has done and his Hunter spirit cannot stay buried in these mountains forever. Dark times loom on Azeroth’s horizon and the world has woken up from the sleepy peace it has known for decades. Orders have been given, gears begin to turn and things of the past are needed once again, but tonight unaware of what comes he rests his eyes, another day gone by.
He is awoken by footsteps so faint that they could have been made by a mouse, but while he may have been lost to the world, his skill and old habits are still within him. He has lived in these mountains all his life and to him the approaching steps might as well have been a herd of kodo crashing through the woods. Visitors here aren’t a sometime thing, no one ever comes this far into the mountains unless they have gone astray and they are usually found long after their life has left this world. He moves now with purpose rifle in hand and out the side door. The bitter bite of the year round winters of Khaz Modan have little effect on him as he slips into the surrounding woods to watch and wait. Five figures, Humans stop short of the front door and call his name, he hasn’t heard his name said in years and it sounds strange to him, but now was not the time for lingering thoughts. They call again, stating they have orders to bring him back by any means necessary. And it begins....
"What means do you intend to use if I do not wish to go?" The soldiers turned quickly to find the hunter had gained the advantage and now stood mere feet away with a rifle trained at their commander’s head. They reached for the weapons but are ordered to hold their position. "No need for alarm master hunter, we are here with orders for you to accompany us to Ironforge. The matter is quite urgent and bears the seal of King BronzeBeard of Ironforge himself." he stated calmly. "Bronzebeard would send soldiers of man to find me in these mountains? What fool do you take me for?" the hunter asked. “Our King Varian Wrynn of Stormwind has asked Bronzebeard to assist us with a very delicate matter of which I cannot go into. You are still a soldier of the Alliance and a citizen of Ironforge and your king requires your presence." The soldier extended his hand very slowly presenting the letter bearing the seal of Ironforge. Without lowering his rifle the hunter takes and reads the letter. Seeing the mark he realizes the soldiers claims to be true and lowers his rifle. "I have some matters to attend to, but I will meet with you in Ironforge when I have finished." The soldiers were reluctant to leave without him, but realized very quickly that this Dwarf was not to be pushed. They left the mountains with only the hunter’s word that he would report to Ironforge. Although much time has passed, orders are orders and he has always known his duty. He must return...
Not knowing what to expect or what has required the king himself to seek him out, he prepares himself the only way he knows, for the worst. Staring at what appears to be a simple tapestry on the wall, he removes it to reveal a door. The door does not open easily, but slowly he works it open and lights the candles within. Upon the wall and shelves around are the tools of war. His signature blue and gold battle armor emblazed with the lion head emblems of the alliance. Unwrapped from cloth bindings he holds his Marines Sharpshooter rifle and hears the echoes of battles fought, lives taken and saved. He ready’s himself and although time has passed since last he wore it the feel is the same. He has not allowed himself to go soft in peace.
Born of the mountains, molded by the endless winters and hardened by countless battles he is ready. He takes another look around and says goodbye to his home and makes his way down to whatever lies below. He arrives along the tree line outside the city just in time to watch the soldiers sent to retrieve him ride through the massive gates. He had made great time for being on foot and leaving a full day after, but he’d always known his way around these mountains. Ironforge stood before him in all its might and glory. The last standing city of dwarves has stood the test of time, war and uprisings from their own race going back to the time of the three hammers. He looks upon the city and feels a sense of pride he has not felt in a long time. Sitting for a time he watches as dwarves, elves, gnomes and many other races come and go. Taking a deep breath the hunter leaves the tree line and makes his way up the road and passes through the gates nodding at the giant stone guardian within as if saying hello to an old friend. Within the city the ceiling rises to dizzying heights and he is greeted by an unmistakable sound of dwarven metal workers pounding steel on the many forges at the heart of the city. So many souls fill the caverns and it all seemed a bit overwhelming for one who has spent so much time alone.
He had not been allowed to look long before he is met and asked to follow a pair of the cities honor guard. They led him down a long corridor which opened up to the molten core and heart of Ironforge. Standing now within the Kings chamber he bows respectfully to the king and its court.” I have come as requested and I await your orders good king. What is it that you ask of me?” Bronzebeard cleared the court with but a wave of his hand, then after all had left from behind the thrones curtains appeared another mighty leader of Azeroth. King Varian of Stormwind had come seeking help of Bronzebeard and the answer to his request was now standing at the foot of the throne waiting for his orders. “It honors me that you have come” said Bronzebeard. “While we have never met I have heard many stories of your great deeds and of the battles you have fought.” “I wish there was time for us to drink ale and hear of stories past, but our guest King Varian has asked for help with a serious situation.” Varian slowly walked down steps while explaining what it is that has brought the hunter down from the mountains.
He spoke of his son Anduin and how the ship he had been on had been ambushed and sunk off the coast of a continent called Pandaria. He believed Anduin to be prison to a perhaps a rogue group of horde that had been reported sailing the same waters. He was not sure of his son’s current condition or the group of sailors he was taken with. "King Varian if you know your son to be prisoner why not just order the soldiers of Stormwind to destroy this camp and recover your son?" asked the hunter. “As a father that was my first reaction, but as king I must be more cautious." Bronzebeard spoke from his throne “We do not believe that this group of horde knows who they have. They have been attacking ships in those waters for months and Anduin was not aboard a ship of the Alliance at the time. King Varian and I suspect if they knew the identity of Anduin he would have been ransomed or killed by now." Varian turned, his head down looking heavy hearted." Anduin is my only son and prince of Stormwind, but even so I cannot risk an assault on a horde camp and its ships even if they do appear to be rogue. Such an act would kill dozens of Alliance soldiers, possibly Anduin and thousands more if it were seen as an act of war from Ogrimmar." The hunter seemed confused and asked why they hesitate when the horde have struck the first blow. "If we do nothing and Anduin dies King Garrosh of Ogrimmar would not claim responsibility and simply deny that this rogue horde group are part of his military, but if we attack first Garrosh could use this act to declare war." stated Bronzebeard." This is why you are here. Over the next hour he is given the details of what needs to be done and is sent on a transport to Stormwind.
Standing before a portal he is told that Pandaria waits on the other side. While he does not understand the inner workings of such things he is told that portals require a lot of power to keep open so he must go now. He had been told it is the only way to get to Pandaria fast enough to rescue Anduin before his identity is uncovered and that they were quite sure he would not be ported into a tree or rock formation. He had not found that comforting but duty called. With a nod from King Varian and the small group of his advisors here to see him off, he jumps through the portal and lands alone in a forest far from any place he has known.
He waits very still listening for signs of anyone that may be around. The sounds and smells of this jungle are a new to him. He had been to the Un’guru crater once before, but this is different still. He had been given general maps and directions of last known location of the ship and he could hear the crashing waves of the ocean not far from his location. The hunter had been given many things to aid in this rescue mission, but it would still come down to his skill and experience. Moving through the jungle his feet barely touching the ground as he moved towards the area he had seen on his map. Just along the forest line he came to the beach edge and stops. The hunter had not expected to come across horde so fast, but being ported directly to the location cut out a lot of the travel time he was accustomed to in wartime. Just moments ago he was in Stormwind and now he is looking upon a small horde scouting party. The Orc scouts moved two by two with a pair of worg attack dogs taking the point. He could have let them be but his maps only gave him so much info and he didn’t have long before phase two of this rescue mission would be here to pull them out.
Looking down the beach he looked for the closest point to which the scout party would come to the tree line. He moves towards this point and prepares himself. Removing his Alliance emblems and placing them in his bag he had been told that there can be no record of the Alliance in this matter and to leave no Horde witness’s alive. Varian wanted these horde pirates who had his son sent to the underworld. Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath he had hoped an old friend would have been here by now but he could not wait any longer. The horde scouts where here and the time was now.
He emerged from the jungle tree line just a glimmer. The horde scouts had just a moment to realize there worg pets had been frozen in place, before the ground beneath their feet erupted in an explosive fire. The hunter circled moving behind the group and unleashed a concussive grenade that sent the Orc soldiers scattering. He focused his scope on the closest orc and with a pull of the trigger he finally felt like he was doing what he was born to do. The Orc fell not to be heard from again. Without hesitation he phased back to a glimmer and moved to the next soldier and shot him point blank with a shot that incapacitated him where he stood. Both the remaining Orc’s where on their feet and surrounded the hunter who had enough time to raise his rifle and block a broad axe that was meant for his head. With a twist he sent the offending Orc into the other. He brought his rifle down and fired killing one and injuring the other who had been within the radius of the hunters well aimed shot. By this time a mental timer in the hunters mind had gone off and he spun around in time to duck below the biting jaws of a very angry worg. With just a thought the hunter disengaged from the fight with a mighty leap backwards while tossing a net to tangle the worg and injured orc together. He landed, planted both feet and charged his rifle….3…2…1 and fired a massive powershot. The orc and worg where but a memory of this world. He had just a thought of the second worg before it rammed him along the side and sent him sprawling into the sand. With all his skill he rolled with the impact to his feet, but the worgen was already upon him teeth aimed for his throat. One last defense a trait born into the dwarven race since the titans, he closes his eyes and changes his body to a soft type of stone hoping it reduces the damage enough for him to survive and finish off the worg.
The hunter had just opened his eyes when a huge blur passed his vision and clamped its powerful jaws around the worgs neck breaking it with easy and tossing its body crashing into the sand a broken thing. With a Mighty roar and golden mane stood his old friend Six. Realizing he had been holding his breath the hunter lets out a sigh. “Were you waiting to see if I could handle them or just late old friend?” The hunter had asked King Varian for only one thing for this mission. To find his combat pet Six, a lion that after wars end had returned home to the Barrens of Kalimdor. Varian had asked how they would know which lion was Six? He gave King a token that when shown would let the lion know he was needed again. Six had come through the same portal all be it far later than the hunter would have liked. Better late than dead he thought. He gave the lion a shove on the shoulder, a friendly hello between friends who had not seen each other in years and then brought his focus back to the task at hand. The last remaining orc was just shaking off the effects of a sleepy daze only to find himself face to face with a giant golden maned lion and a huge rifle barrel pointed at his head. With unmistakable seriousness the Hunter asked “Where are the hostage sailors?” The orc looked at the bodies around and was afraid…
The sole remaining orc gathered himself and spoke in broken English that the hunter barely understand, but he was able to pick up words here and there. The orc spoke of a river outlet to the sea. “Follow trees, water exits to sea, go to our camp, you see you not come back, you die, cat die, all Alliance die.” The orc lunged at the hunter, but he was sent to meet whatever god’s horde monsters believe in. The hunter went through the orc’s bags and found a picture of Anduin with orcish words scrolled down one side, giving the hunter a sense of it being some sort of wanted poster. He checked the other dead horde bags and found the same pictures. He was not able to quite put it all together, but understood one very real truth, the horde knew of young Anduin’s position as Prince of Stormwind. They must he thought. He had been given specific instructions by King Bronzebeard as to what to do if it came to this particular situation but he must be certain before he was to proceed with those instructions. That route ends in War.
It took him several hours to track slowly up the coast line to find the river he was told of. He phased to a glimmer as he approached the camp and was certain things where normal with no alarm as to the missing scout team. Horde check ins and security measures seemed to be quite relaxed compared to alliance or perhaps they believed they could not be touched here on Pandaria. The camp was massive and much larger than King Varian believed it to be with more ships and soldiers than just a simple group of rogue pirates. There where worg security dogs and sentries at every obvious entrance so the hunter knew even when camouflaged he would be seen. Time was not on his side and sooner or later the missing scouts would be found. The hunter looked around the jungle canopy and saw what he was searching for, a hawk. He cleared his mind and focused his thoughts toward the bird of prey and it responded by taking flight and soaring high above the camp. The hunter and the hawks mind became one and its eagle eyes gave the hunter vision beyond his own. The camp was indeed massive, but from this view he could clearly see a tent with obvious guard postings and knew what he needed to do. Waiting for night fall the hunter and his pet moved around the camp following the tree line toward the shortest distance to the tent he believed to be holding the Prince. There were four guards facing out to the jungle and one standing at the tent entrance with a worg. He paused to give thought of his strategy and noticed strange monkeys walking like men coming and going from the north entrance, but he did not give this much attention. By the time the hunter was ready his strategy worked out to perfection it was maybe a half hour to sunrise so he had to move with precession and hoped it would all go as planned.
The hunter raised a rabbit he had caught so it was staring Six in his eyes. The lion bared all his teeth wanting to make a meal of it, but the hunter released it at that moment and out of fear it ran out onto the sands straight toward the horde guards. He hoped the guards where hungry. The first orc to catch sight of it immediately threw a net, but the rabbit had changed course heading back towards the jungle. The rabbit disappeared into the tree line with one of the orc’s in pursuit where he was met by massive teeth and claws. He died before he could make a sound. That would only work once, but one less orc to deal with he thought. From here on out it was going to be loud and messy. Six emerged from the jungle dragging the dead orc and sat down. The three remaining guards at this entrance moved toward the lion with polearms ready, angry and confused at what they were seeing.
The hunter had phased and stood as close as he thought he could to the entrance without the Worg sensing his presence. The guards where still approaching Six and when they had gotten close enough the hunter concentrated his thoughts once more to the jungle, but this time his focus brought the sound of thunder. The guards looked around as they felt the ground begin to shake and when they looked back to the jungle Six was gone, but something else came. A Stampede of Mushan crashed through the tree line and trampled the guards and all in their way as they continued on into the camp. The hunter moved quickly into the camp following the mushans wake of destruction and came upon the tent entrance still being guarded by a lone orc who did not run or take cover from the mushan rampage. The orc was told to guard this tent and that was what he did. The hunter ran full sprint still just a glimmer and tackled the orc guard, there combined weight carried them into the tent and they both came to a crash. The hunter his camouflaged state broken by the contact with the orc pulled his knife and lunged for the orc stabbing him through the abdomen. The orc grabbed the hunter’s hand removing it from the knife and tossed him into the nearby cell doors. The orc removed the knife and charged the hunter who had recovered with gun ready but hesitated firing for fear of bringing more soldiers. In that same moment a leg extended from between the cell bars to up end the orc sending him crashing into the ground were the hunter brought the butt of his rifle hammering down into the orc’s skull. The orc would not be trouble to anyone for some time.
“Thank you for the assistance young Anduin” said the hunter as he removed the keys from the downed orc and opened the cell door. Just then Six entered dragging the worg sentry dog into the tent. Anduin jumped back into the cell, “behind you hunter!” he yelled. With just a bit of a smirk on his face the hunter tried to calm the young prince. “Be still your highness he will cause no harm, except to those who mean to stop us from leaving, which is something we must do with haste.” From outside the tent he could hear an approaching commander giving orders to horde soldiers. The hunter’s orcish was very rusty, but he could make out some phrases “Kill the mushan beasts, clean up mess and check on human.” The hunter took his knife and cut a slit down the back of the tent and instructed Anduin that they need to make to the jungle quickly before the whole camp was on them. Anduin grabbed up the orc’s sword and dagger and readied himself. The hunter set out some explosives with a 60 second timer and then stood waiting, gun ready. The first horde soldiers to walk through the door was met by the hunters steady aim and a shot that sent him dead to the ground several feet from the entrance
The Camp came alive after the loud shot and all descended on the prison tent with several shouts and orders being yelled all around. “Now!” Shouted the hunter. “Make for the jungle!” All three were out the back and running with Six leading the way. They had just cleared around twenty feet when the tent behind, now filled with horde entering weapons drawn ready to fight had exploded killing everyone inside and creating quite a getaway cloud of sand and smoke. But plans change and things rarely go as hoped. Out from the jungle came a horde attack party of around twenty five soldiers and one commander mounted on a massive scorpion. “Greetings” the Orc commander said in relatively good English. “We found what you left of our scout party and have been tracking you master hunter, Very nice work for one so small. And such a marvelous beast you have there. How would he taste after being roasted over the fire you have so graciously set for us I wonder?”
The hunter raised up his rifle towards the commander. “If we die, we will not die alone or easy.” The orc commander laughed. “Put your weapon down, hand over the prince and maybe we kill you quickly and without torture like the sailors who refused the same offer.” Anduin stepped forward standing side by side with Six and the hunter. “I will die fighting before I allow you to capture me again.” “Look around” said the Orc commander as dozens of horde soldiers moved to their flank from the camp. “You are already captured. The only reason you’re alive is so we can control your father in case he has any ideas to interfere with us before we have a chance to gain foothold on this new continent. Horde will control this land and we will use it to strike at the alliance and defeat our old enemy once and for all.” The Hunter had the info he needed. This was no rogue bunch of horde who moved by their own agenda. This was a forward assault group sent by the horde military as a pre cursor to war.
“I’ve heard all I need, surrender to me and I’ll see that you’re not harmed. You can rest easy in cells as prisoners of war or die where you stand” said the hunter. The horde soldiers all laughed, but there commander was not amused. “I tire of this. Kill all three. I’m sure king Garrosh will understand we had to kill the boy or let him escape.” The hunter pointed his rifle to the sky as if to surrender and fired a shot that rose to the sky and exploded into a brilliant starburst of colors. The horde all looked around at each other confused, but where brought back to attention “Kill them and bring me there heads!” yelled their commander. Six, Anduin and the hunter all stood backs to each other weapons ready as the horde soldiers charged. “For the Alliance!” shouted the prince and he ran to meet them with Six by his side while the hunter unleashing multiple waves of shots to cover him. It would have been in vain and they would have died valiantly, except there time to die would not be this day. As the horde closed on them a massive hammer fell from the sky and crashed into the ground erupting in a wave of light that rose outward sending horde soldiers to the ground, some for good. From the sky came dozens of alliance soldiers swooping in on parachutes quickly engaging the horde. Leading them was a paladin in full Cataclysm war armor. The paladin moved like a tank crashing into the horde, killing them in two’s and three’s with every swipe of his cobalt slicer sword.
All the while a giant shadow was cast over the battlefield and out of clouds came the Skyfire, its cannons firing on horde ships before they could send more troops to the field. The battle was quick and any horde left alive quickly ran for the jungle some never to come out. An Alliance landing party arrived with King Varian quickly coming ashore to hug his son and thank the hunter for his service. “Thank you hunter for aiding in my sons rescue and for revealing the hordes intent in this new land. I will use this information to defend our people and prepare them for the coming war. I’d understand if you wish to return home, your obligation to the alliance fulfilled many times over, but I could use your skills in the coming war.” asked Varian. “I have been idle to long and there will be plenty of time to rest in heaven your highness. What are my orders?” asked the hunter. “Scout this land, make new ally’s for the alliance and make life difficult for the horde when you can.” stated Varian. “The hunter smiled and with Six by his side he made for the jungle.
“Wait!” shouted prince Anduin. “I would know the name of one who risked his life for my own.” The hunter stood at jungles edge “My name is Los your highness, Losvanzandt marksman hunter of the alliance.” He phased to a glimmer as he disappeared into the jungles of Pandaria. For the alliance.
© Copyright 2016 Losvanzandt. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Action and Adventure
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