Disclaimer: Not mine. Just using them for a weird moment.

Relief

Sometimes, after spending hours of pouring over reports and orders and demands from politicians and governors growing more and more paranoid for each passing day, sometimes Jaina's mind wanders to places she wish it would not.

Those who are panicking already pressured her to allow a few spies to have a look at Brackenwall village, just to be sure. She could have told them that the ogres had been driven from their home by dragons, and that the brutes wished for little more than to move back into the depths of the swamp. But she could not tell the humans around her such a thing, because then, they would ask her how she could possibly know such a thing.

They aren't spies. People are scared. We must make sure that there isn't an attack coming. The only way we can do that is to send somebody to take a look at the Horde's camp.

Many of the spies were noticed and beaten up on the spot. Only luck allowed Thrall's courier to arrive in time with orders to spare the infiltrators. Restraint seemed almost an impossible hope even when the Warchief had commanded it, but however reluctantly the orcs and ogres refrained from killing their prey.

When she warned him she didn't have to tell Thrall that she was sorry. She knew even before their secret meeting, that he would understand why.

People are scared.

It has been building towards an explosion ever since the sweet taste of peace ebbed. Now, all those who fear that explosion, and those who think that they may profit from it, only work to shorten the fuse.

Those who fear the explosion know the truth, the truth beyond the fact that there may be no stopping it. They want to stop it, prolong the moment before disaster hits, but all they suggest is more spies and aggressive defenses. Things that only serve to irritate the eyes watching from the swamp.

Those who think that they may profit from the explosion also know the truth, and they make sure to always remain at a safe distance.

It is when she has spent hours thinking about all these things, and read anxious suggestions and demands for increased funds for military and defense, that Jaina sinks into thoughts she hates. Only during unguarded moments, some dark side of her mind calls up vision of everything going wrong, everything, everything. It is a playful, sinister part of her, toying with impossibilities.

It brings up an image in her head, of hundreds of swords raised, flashing in the sunlight like lightning, and thundering, wanton cheers of victory. Blood just now cleaned from the blades, but not everyone has bothered to. They still hunger for more, more blood and she's staring at iron clamped tightly against green skin, at broken armor and at furious eyes. Furious wordless eyes, proud even in defeat and the only thing she can think is why, how, why did they capture him alive? And then he's looking at her and the swords scream for more, more, still more, not understanding that if he has lost, he is already dead.

But he still breathes and the swords cannot stand that, cannot accept that there is a heart deep within that mountain of a chest that still beats. They look to her to tell them Yes.

That is when she tells them No, never, and that is when the cheers change. That is when, before she has even finished her cry, one of the swords is at her throat. And that is when he roars and breaks free, but the swords fall over him in a steel rain before he has gotten anywhere near her.

That may be the last thing she sees, the dark side of her whispers.

Jaina always wakes up from these thoughts with a start, pen falling out of her grip if she has managed to hold on to it for that long.

She can spend many precious minutes trying to calm herself, walking back and forth in her room until the terror dulls a little bit. Working it off, calming herself. Grateful when it's a daydream, and she's not waking up in the middle of the night with a scream almost on her lips.

Pacing, thinking. Wishing she could talk to anybody about it.

Talk to Thrall about it. But she cannot tell anybody, him least of all. She does not even want to think about his reaction if he knew the nightmare.

Perhaps she is going mad.

Mad, for she finds a bit of comfort in knowing that it will never happen that way. Twisted comfort, that she will be spared watching Thrall that way – comfort, comfort in the knowledge that chances are that he will be the one looking at her in chains.

She wonders what he would say if she told him that she wonders if the last thing she will ever see is the Doomhammer descending on her.

Because the truth beyond the fact that there may be no stopping the explosion, that truth is that there will be no help arriving in time to save Theramore when the explosion comes. Poor city, left on the edge of a swamp far, far from allies and close, far too close to the enemies everyone around her is so afraid of.

But deep down she knows that when she meets Thrall, she can look at him and know that when he tells his people No, never, nobody will brand him a traitor of his race. Only those who already oppose him, who are proud to be traitors themselves – and they will have no say. Thrall can afford mercy.

That is the difference between Horde and Alliance.