Hey all,

This isn't related to the Demon Hunter storyline whatsoever. It's mostly me just venting a little steam at the way some bits of the Cata storyline have been handled. Especially in regards to GJ.

NT

Extra

Ashenvale Offensive

Silverwing Grove.

Malfurion could recall hundreds of visits to that hallowed place in his more than ten thousand years of life. It was not the first place nor the first time he'd made love to Tyrande, and yet by her profession it was the time when the Moon Goddess had formally blessed their union.

Beyond that it was a place of exquisite beauty and peace. Even the most bloodthirsty demons had given it a wide berth on their march to Hyjal, unnerved by the feeling of calm and power that permeated it. The spirits of ancient trees and beasts roamed in animal and elvish form, young elves were brought there to grow up and meditate in the serenity of that sacred place, bathing in holy waters and sleeping under warm stars and the light of the moon. And at one time Cenarius himself had called it home, and his daughters the dryads had been its stewards.

By the Goddess, had the savages no morals whatsoever? There were few places holier to his people. Particularly the Sentinels who loved it well. And to bring chained toys from the campaign in Northrend, the magnataur and proto-drakes, many of which Garrosh had captured only by fighting alongside the Alliance.

Garrosh Hellscream. He fought at the head of his soldiers in this unprovoked attack, from the report Malfurion had received. He didn't know all the specifics, but what he did know was that before the day was through the false warchief of the Horde would be torn to pieces by the treants he commanded. All the orcs who thought to defile the sacred groves of his homeland and slaughter his people, and any ragtags they brought with him, would perish as nature itself came alive in response to this affront.

"Where are you going, Shando Stomrage?" a voice asked quietly from behind.

Thrall, or as he'd taken to calling himself in the presence of his mistress, Go'el. Aggra of the Mag'har seemed to find it offensive to hear her pupil referred to by his "slave" name. Malfurion had been in council with the former warchief and high-ranking members of the Earthen Ring and Cenarian Circle when word of the atrocity at Ashenvale reached him. Likely the young shaman was wondering what was going on.

Or perhaps he knew perfectly well.

Malfurion drew himself up, his emotions surging into a roiling whirlwind. You dare stand before me, orc? You dare call me to task after the news I've heard? I should strike you down where you stand.

No, he couldn't say such things. If there was to be any hope of peace some words would have to remain unspoken. However justified.

"I've just received word from Ashenvale," he said instead.

Thrall's expression grew grim and sad. "Ah."

"Ah?" Malfurion repeated incredulously. "Your Horde invaded night elf lands. After our last round of negotiations I thought this was settled, but that pup Garrosh seems intent on taking what he pleases over the corpses of the innocent." Thrall said nothing, so he continued, letting his anger loose. "This is an act of war, Thrall!"

The young shaman weathered the tide of his rage like an old oak. When Malfurion finally fell silent he spoke quietly. "What will you do?"

He met the blue-eyed gaze steadily. "You know what I'll do. What I must do. I'll rouse the ancients to war. I'll wake the druids and gather the Sentinels, and lead at their head as I did in the Second Legion War. I'll drive the invaders from Ashenvale and to the gates of Orgrimmar itself." He let his voice drop, low and full of promise. "And then I'll seek reparations."

Thrall shook his head in sad disbelief. "Is this the time to be letting such conflict grow? Deathwing roams free, killing indiscriminately. The Twlight's Hammer sow their seeds of nihilism in every city and war camp. The World Pillar is shattered and Deepholme is but a sliver away from merging with the Prime Material Plane. Ragnaros stirs and Hyjal burns. We must work together or see all of Azeroth destroyed. As the head of the Cenarian Circle, your duty is greater than any consideration of race or faction. As the leaders of Earthen Ring and Cenarian Circle, we must make the first gesture in-"

"Make the first gesture?" Malfurion cut him off forcefully. "Are you mad, Thrall?"

Thrall's jaw tightened. "Do you think I like leaving the fate of my people to another while I concern myself with the worries of Azeroth itself?"

Malfurion laughed in the orc's face. "You dare talk of neutrality? You dare? When the Alliance captured you and took you in to stand lawful trial for the war crimes of the Horde, you slaughtered them all while claiming neutrality. But now that my people are threatened, and by the figurehead you set up to rule in your absence no less, you suddenly remember your high-minded ideals?"

Thrall opened his mouth, but Malfurion continued fiercely. "Ancient trees, Thrall! Trees with voices of their own and wisdom going back thousands, tens of thousands of years, hacked down to be made into weapons and used against my people! Innocent women and children butchered unawares in an act of unlawful and unmitigated aggression. A civilization that has prospered in solitary peace for ten thousand years, now on the brink of extermination, and you ask me to ignore the actions of your people and watch my own race die for the sake of Azeroth?"

"If we do not face the threats that come against us now, the extinction of your race is certain. Peace can be brokered when Deathwing is defeated."

It shocked him, that in spite of his rage he could hear something outrageous enough to make him laugh not once, but once again. "You bloody-handed hypocrite. Prattling on about peace and the greater good while for years you willfully turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the people under your command. Always claiming ignorance, and yet somehow the people who commit those atrocities remain in power, unchecked. And now, the very moment when you set aside your mantle of warchief, suddenly your people become the same brutal, bloodthirsty savages they were in the wars against the humans? Convenient, that you can cheer your people on while personally claiming to be above the conflict."

Thrall's jaw had clenched during Malfurion's tirade, yet somehow he kept his temper. "The World Pillar must be mended, and now. I cannot afford to tarry while it threatens to collapse and hurl us all into the Plane of Earth." He turned away. "If your conscience bids you so, go, lead your people in a fruitless war while Azeroth burns around you. Or remember your duty, to Hyjal no less, and set aside your differences until the crisis is past."

Shoulders straight, the young shaman took his first step towards his duty. Towards his destiny.

On his second vines sprang up from the ground to catch him and hold him fast. He froze, marshaling his power, but did not loose it as yet.

"No, Thrall," Malfurion said quietly. "You speak as if the only problem here is me. If the danger is so present that no one can be spared from the fight against it, go to that madman Garrosh you set as warchief in your stead and force him to recall his troops to a worthier purpose. Let Nobundo and the rest of the Earthen Ring deal with the World Pillar while you, personally, finally accept responsibility for the people you command and check their barbarity."

Thrall pulled free from the entangling roots enough to turn, seeing Malfurion Stormrage with all the fury of nature at his fingertips, poised and ready for violence. "If the two of us cannot escape these bonds of hatred for the greater good, my friend, I weep for Azeroth."

Malfurion was deadly grim. "As do I, orc. But you're a newborn, birthed upon this world in blood and devastation, while I've wept these tears for more than ten thousand years. And whatever facade you show the world, I judge your tears those of a crocodile, washing your eyes with false grief as you devour whatever you please." His voice hardened, the vines around Thrall tightening painfully in answer. "Go to Garrosh, Thrall. Your people are sprinting down the path back to the Old Horde you claim to despise, back to the example of Grom and Orgrim and Rend and all the other butchers and monsters you loudly proclaim you've learned your lesson from. Turn your people back from this path, or by Elune and the light of the moon I'll hunt you and every last one of your kind from one end of Azeroth to the other and excise you like a cancer from her surface."