Episode 18: Fallout from the Wrathgate

The Wrathgate in the frozen lands of Northrend.

      The hope that I felt when I left the Crystalsong forest was shortlived.

      I arrived at Wintergarde Keep, and there I was informed the Alliance had already moved against the Lich King, making their way north to the Wrathgate. My objective was still clear. I had to befriend someone with enough authority to gain entrance to Dalaran, and joining the battle to take the Wrathgate would still gain me favor, even if I had to massage some of the details after the battle was over.

      I spurred Surfal to go as fast as he could all the way across the frozen plains of Northrend to reach the Alliance forward base. The cold air was fierce, but I heated my body with fire magic and drew power from the arcane energy that flowed within Surfal.

      When we arrived at the massive gate, the fighting had already started.

      I could see the Alliance and the Horde, pushing together against the Lich King.

      It was coming together. The battle was nearly won.

      Bolvar stood against the Lich King at the gate. There would be no way for the Arthas to stop us now. I flew down, ready to join the final push against our mightiest foe, but then I caught sight of several forsaken machines being wheeled to the cliff that overlooked the gate. They were positioning themselves to fire, but their aim… it was off.

      It looked like it would hit the soldiers below.

      I thought they must be planning something else. Surely it was a show of force, or a ploy to confuse the Lich King. Then, I watched in horror as they fired.

      Green barrels flew down into the attacking forces and exploded in massive clouds of gas. I willed Surfal to stop his descent and he did as I asked, turning us away from the green mist that swirled up and out of the battleground. We were close enough to hear screaming from below. Soldiers of the Alliance and the Horde were crying out in agony.

      The Lich King retreated, sealing the gate behind him, and those from either faction that escaped the gas fled deeper into the winter winds to escape the gas. I didn’t know what to do, but before I could decide, several massive dragons flew down over the area, their fire breath erupting and burning away the green gases.

      I didn’t understand.

      The Lich King had been there. It was nearly done.

      Then I realized my task. So many had fallen. I was a witness, and I had to report this event right away. I took hold of Surfal and channeled my energy through him, stabilizing a portal that would carry me all the way to Stormwind.


      My aiming was precise.

      When I appeared in the throne room of Stormwind Keep, the guards were on me in an instant. I was impressed at their speed, and I realized that even if I had been here with ill intent, I never would have touched the king.

     “Hold!” King Varian shouted.

      They stopped short of stabbing me through.

      “How did you breach the barrier?” the King asked.

      “Family secret,” I said in response. “My king, my name is Sionis Sepher.”

      “Sepher?” King Wrynn asked. “As in Maron Sepher?”

      “My King, I bring news from Northrend. Highlord Bolvar is dead. The assault against the Lich King at the Wrathgate has failed.”

      “What? How?”

      “We were betrayed by the forsaken. They struck us with a virus just as we made our final push. It killed all of them… the Horde and the Alliance.”

      “The Horde?” Varian asked. “They attacked the Horde as well?”

      “They did.”

      “This news is unbearable. We must rally the troops right away. Whatever the Forsaken might be up to could extend beyond Northrend. They could be preparing to attack our city right now.”

      There was a flash of light in the room and I saw Jaina Proudmore appear beside the King.

      “King Varian,” she announced. “I have news.”

      “I’ve heard it already,” Varian growled. “We’re figuring out how to deal with it now.”

      “My King,” she said, glancing at me, but probably not recognizing me at all. “I suggest we contact Thrall, the orc warchief. After all, his people were also harmed in this attack. Perhaps we can try to negotiate something.”

      “No,” Varian snapped. “I’ve negotiated long enough, Jaina. I’ve stood by and watched those monsters turn Lorderon into a freakish nightmare, and I can stand it no longer. We’ll retake the capital city of Lordaeron. We’ll purge the lands of this undead nonsense once and for all.”

      “Please Varian,” Jaina pleaded. “Let me speak to Thrall first.”

      Varian seemed steadfast, but his face soon softened. “You can speak while I prepare to fight,” he said. “Know this. I will make the forsaken pay for their crimes today.”

      “Very well,” Jaina said with a sigh. “Come mage, you will be going with me.”

      I was reluctant at first. She couldn’t know who I was, so why would she want me to come along? Perhaps because I could well be the only witness to the war crime?

      Still, you don’t say no to Jaina Proudmoore, so I took her hand. Together we snapped through time and space once more. When we fizzled at our destination, I was impressed, and slightly terrified, to see that Jaina had transported us directly into Orgrimmar. 

      In fact, when I turned around, I realized we were standing directly in front of Thrall’s throne. My eyes nearly bugged out of my head as several enormous Orc soldiers started rushing toward us with weapons drawn.

      Then, a voice growled loudly, and the soldiers stood down.

      “Jaina,” Thrall, the ruling Orc Warchief, said aloud, sounding confused. “What in the world are you doing here?”

      “Thrall, it’s terrible! Have you heard about the Wrathgate?”

      “My chief shaman was supposed to report in when it the battle was over. Why?”

      “There was no battle. The forsaken ambushed our forces, Thrall. They killed hundreds!”

      “What? The Horde attacked you at the gate?”

      “The forsaken attacked US!” Jaina shouted. “Both the Horde and the Alliance fell at the gate today.”

      “That’s impossible,” Thrall stuttered. “Why would they do that?”

      “Your guess is as good as mine,” Jaina said with a shrug. “King Varian is already gathering forces for an assault. He is going to attack the Undercity.”

      “This is insane!”

      There was another flash of light. I turned to see yet another mage, this one undead. He stumbled forward a few steps, and then fell over, dead. Next to him, another woman had arrived. When she stood, I recognized her as Sylvanas Windrunner; the Dark Lady of the Forsaken.

      “Thrall,” she murmured. “The Undercity is lost. Putress and his men…”

      She too collapsed, and Thrall shouted for a warlock to aide her. Truthfully, I had always felt sympathetic to Sylvanas following the Third War, but she had proven time and time again that she had no interest in helping the Alliance. Now, to see her so weak almost made me pity her.

      “What is happening, Sylvanas? I’ve been informed that the undead attacked us at the Wrathgate! Is this true?”

      “It is, Thrall,” the Dark Lady replied. “There has been a revolt within the city. Grand Apothecary Putress rounded up followers against me. He has taken complete control of our city.”

      “Well, you won’t have to worry about that for very long,” I replied. “King Varian is going to take back the Undercity and reclaim Lorderon for the Alliance.”

      “What?” Sylvanas snapped. “Your human king had better not touch…”

      “Sylvanas,” Thrall said with a raised tone, “we are in no position to challenge the humans.”

      “Thrall,” Jaina said, her voice full of sorrow. “I don’t know what we can do. Things are spiraling out of control now…”

      “I know Jaina,” Thrall replied. “I don’t know what will happen.”

      “Then, I should leave you for now,” she replied. “I hope when we meet again, it is in peace.”

      Jaina took my hand, without me even realizing, and we were suddenly ripped back to Stormwind.

      I should note that too much teleportation can do a number on someone that isn’t prepared for it. A mage like Jaina could probably teleport this way and that for days on end without feeling too much. For someone like me, malnourished, tired, and overwhelmed by the events unfolding around me, well… my head was pounding, my eyes felt like they might start bleeding, and I was so dizzy I wasn’t sure which way was up.

      When we appeared in the Stormwind Keep again, King Varian was nowhere to be found. Jaina cursed loudly, then rushed off toward the back chamber of the Keep. I followed along, mostly because I didn’t know what to do at this point, and we entered the Stormwind War Room to find the King was already in battle gear. He had several old maps of Lordaeron spread out across his table, and his best military advisors were all here too. Several mages were gathered in the room with portals already formed between all the major capital cities.

      “Jaina,” Varian grunted when he saw her. “How did it go?”

      “The Undercity is no longer in Horde control,” she replied.

      “Then who is controlling it?”

      “A rogue group of Undead that claim responsibility for the attack at the Wrathgate. They have taken control of the city and forced Sylvanas out.”

      “Good,” Varian replied, turning to look at me. “Grab your battle regalia, mage. You’re going to need it for this fight.”

      I nodded in a panic. I didn’t know what to do. I had seen the King before, sure, but never had I been so directly involved in something like this.

      “As you wish,” I said, adding a salute for good measure.

      “Jaina, you get ready too. We’re going to the Undercity. As long as the Horde doesn’t get in the way, I’ll kill these betrayers and reclaim our lost capital in the name of the Alliance.”

      Jaina didn’t look convinced, but she gave a bow regardless. “I shall do as you request.”

      “Thank you, Jaina.”

      With that, my mind switched back to the destruction these undead had caused. I wanted revenge just as much as the next man, and thankfully, the King himself was giving me that chance. I decided I needed to get moving. 

      Not to mention, being in the same room as such famous and powerful individuals as these bode well for me on the other side of this fight. If I did what I needed to do, the King would remember my actions here today.

      There was a war to win.

      Then, I’d be back in Dalaran, and I could end this once and for all.


TO BE CONTINUED…

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