Real quick: This was an exchange that would go on periodically on Yojamba Isle before the Cataclysm. Yojamba Isle, for those who don't know, was where those heading the Zandalari Tribe faction were situated. They were essentially the quest/reputation/reward hub for Zul'Gurub. Most of the speaking parts once the questioning begins comes directly from Blizzard.


The Questioning of a Hakkari Zealot


The ocean breeze was warm, the smell of salt filling the air over Yojamba Isle. A hot sun beat down from a cloudless sky, warming the large palm trees and making the animal life lethargic. Birds squawked happily, and a tide beat lazily at the isle's shore. The day was peaceful, relaxed.

Exzhal, servitor to Rastakhan, sighed, staring out over the ocean. In the distance he could see the mainland, the jungle of Stranglethorn stretching far to the south. No matter how he tried, he couldn't relax. Not with the danger he knew was stirring in the distance. It itched at the back of his mind, demanding his attention, agitating him. Hell, he didn't think he had slept in a week.

Beside him Falthir shifted, the blind troll rubbing a hand over his forehead. Sweat glistened on his skin, and he gave a displeased grunt. "It's too humid on this cursed isle," he said, wiping his hand the shirt beneath his armor.

"Maybe if you took off your armor every once in awhile," Exzhal replied, a small smile on the edges of his lips.

Falthir cocked an ear toward Exzhal. "You think I'd go about unarmoured in a place like this? Not outside Zandalar, my friend. A place to which I dearly wish to return."

"I didn't know you to be one to complain," Exzhal said. "You're getting cranky in your old age."

Falthir simply snorted, staring out over the water with blind eyes. Exzhal couldn't blame his companion. He too wished to return to Zandalar, to be amongst his people and safe once more. He was miserable where he was, despite the lush, tropical atmosphere Stranglethorn provided.

But he had a duty to perform. Deep within Stranglethorn's jungle, the Gurubashi were gathering. And Exzhal knew, could feel it in his bones - the Atal'ai were summoning the Soulflayer into their world. Hakkar, the being that had once already attempted to gain access to their world, the manifestation of evil that had corrupted the Gurubashi empire. The civil war that had ensued was rarely spoken of, even amongst trolls. Now the Hakkari survivors of that war were surfacing once more. They had overtaken Zul'Gurub, the ancient capital city of the Gurubashi empire. The small contingent of trolls that Exzhal had accompanied to Stranglethorn aimed to thwart the Atal'ai's plans. With the help of a group of adventurers, they were planning an assault on the city. If the Atal'ai were successful in summoning Hakkar into Azeroth, it could spell destruction for their world.

Turning away from the ocean, Exzhal mentally prepared himself for what he was about to do. It would doubtlessly tax him, but it had to be done. Any information gleaned could help in the fighting.

"Bring forth the prisoner," he said, nodding toward one of the Enforcers standing guard along the isle. "Place him in the circle of binding."

"Right away, servitor!" the Enforcer saluted, springing to action. He jogged over to the small cage in the center of the isle and began to fumble with the lock.

They had been successful in capturing a zealot of Hakkar. He was to be questioned in hopes of finding a weakness against the Atal'ai priests. Exzhal didn't hold out much hope.

The cage door finally creaked open, and the Hakkari captive stepped out. He stretched, ignoring Exzhal and the Enforcer and instead appearing to enjoy the warm summer sun.

"Move!" The Enforcer struck the captive in the back with the butt of his weapon, and the captive stumbled as he was propelled forward. Grumbling in defiance, the captive strode over to where Exzhal had prepared a small spell on the ground. Exzhal waved a hand, and the spell activated, preventing the troll from leaving the glowing rune on the ground.

Exzhal stared at the captive in disgust. It was one thing for someone to attempt to summon such an evil force as Hakkar into the world. It was another to know that those who would damn the world were of Exzhal's own race. Exzhal felt ashamed to be a troll every time he lay his gaze on one of these mindless monsters.

"Kneel, heathen," Exarch demanded, his tone broking no patience for games. He already felt he was wasting his time.

A smile crept up on the captive's face. "Curious. A servitor of Rastakhan that does not know the Hakkari do not converse in the old tongue?" The troll had spoken in common.

Switching to the captive's language of choice, Exzhal rose his voice. "I said kneel." He had to struggle not to shout, feeling anger welling up in him already. The captive dropped to one knee, but Exzhal could see a twinkle in the troll's eye. Exzhal restrained his urge to kill the captive on the spot.

"Do you know who I am, zealot?" Exzhal demanded.

The captive cocked his head in thought. "You are a fool, soon to forfeit his life. No?" The smile returned to his face. The damned beast was enjoying this!

Exzhal tightened his fist. "I could crush you with but a single motion. Do not anger me."

The zealot threw back his head and laughed, the sound loud and asinine. Trolls around the isle turned to stare at the Hakkari captive, and some even came over to watch the proceedings. By the time the imbecile troll silenced his mirth, a small audience had gathered around the binding circle. Exzhal had to wonder whether the zealot had gone mad under the influence of Hakkar.

"How pathetic," the captive spat. "I am infused with the power of the Soulflayer. I fear nothing but the almighty Hakkar."

Exzhal was taken aback slightly by the comment. "So Hakkar has returned?" He was struck by a pang of fear as the captive let out another peal of laughter. Not fear of the troll, but fear at even the suggestion that Exzhal and his companions had already failed in their quest. Hakkar, in the physical world. Surely if such an event had already occurred, the sky would be red and the sun black.

"Do you really need to ask?" the zealot replied. "Can you not feel him? Has the almighty king Rastakhan sent his Servitor and Hand here on a mission of diplomacy?"

Feel him? Yes, Exzhal could feel the god's presence. He knew he had. He had been hoping that it was simply his mind, or an early result of the summoning. He had wished dearly that the Gurubashi trolls hadn't gone so far. Not yet.

"Oh yes, old one," the captive continued, apparently noticing the worry Exzhal let slip into his expression. "Hakkar has returned. Soon the world shall crumble beneath his might. Consumed. Left in ruin..." The zealot chuckled. Definitely mad.

"We will never allow it... We have banished him once from this world before and we will banish him again." Well, they had defeated his avatar, at any rate.

The zealot began to cackle once more. Exzhal was about ready to grab the nearest Enforcer's axe and take the zealot's head off.

"Fool!" the zealot shouted, voice filled with arrogance. "Do you purport to even have one-tenth of the power you had during the Uprising? The nations were united and still were nearly consumed by the shadow of Hakkar. You stand no chance."

Exzhal twitched, annoyed at how close the captive came to voicing his own worries. With only a fraction of the force the defenders of Azeroth had back during the Gurubashi civil war, the trolls were sorely out numbered. Zandalar hadn't had much of a hand in that war, and even now they only gave enough interest to send Exzhal's small contingent. A part of Exzhal wondered if the Zandalari leaders doubted that Hakkar was truly being summoned to Azeroth once more. Diplomats were being sent out to the other troll tribes, and to the leaders of both the Alliance and the Horde, warning the peoples of Azeroth of the danger rising in the south. They had left over a month ago, and little word had returned beyond short letters explaining that other priorities took precedent. The only hope they really had in defeating Hakkar was in the band of adventurers that were lending their aid. A small band. Not enough to instill much confidence.

"And now, those nations that you would have called allies have joined forces with us..." the zealot continued. Exzhal gave a start. "Yes, old one, do not look so surprised. Bloodscalp, Sandfury, Skullsplitter, Vilebranch, and Witherbark. They all pledge their souls to Hakkar. You have lost."

So other troll tribes had succumbed to the might of Hakkar. Exzhal feared the emissaries he sent to those tribes had been slaughtered. He hoped not. Either way, the tribes the zealot named were large enough to make the threat in Zul'Gurub all the more dire.

"Times have changed," Exzhal replied, not wanting to let the zealot think he had worried him. "The younger races will join us. You will never succeed."

The zealot barked a laugh. "The young races? The infants? Humans? Orcs? Dwarves? You expect to defeat the Hakkar? To destroy a God? It shall never happen. We are legion. We are united. Where are your heroes? Vol'jin sits in sanctuary at the side of the young Warchief, unaware. Zul'jin is missing, probably dead." The zealot paused a moment, a smug smile spreading across his face. "And... do you expect to defeat the Primal Gods?"

Exzhal's eyes widened. This zealot would suggest... would attempt to make him think... No. He would not be manipulated in such a fashion. Even the idea of the Primal Gods siding with Hakkar and the Gurubashi trolls was preposterous! The Exzhal said as much aloud, glaring at the zealot angrily.

"Is it? Call out to them, Servitor."

Tired of the zealot's blasphemy, Exzhal began the ritual to contact the Primal Gods to prove this Hakkari slave wrong. He channeled his energies, focusing on the Primal Gods, reaching out to them, searching - and was greeted by nothing. Where there should have been the comforting warmth of the Gods, Exzhal found blackness, a gaping void spanning eternity and nothing. Exzhal bit back a gasp, schooling his face so as not to show any surprise. The last thing he wanted was for the zealot to see Exzhal's shock. Or for word to spread through the camp. It would crush morale faster than learning of Hakkar's return.

There were a dozen reasons why the gods would not answer his calls. They did not do the bidding of mere mortals, were not so lacking business to be able to talk to whomever called on a whim. No, he had to believe that the Gods had other reasons to leave him in the dark than having allied themselves with Hakkar. No, to think the latter would mean believing in the imminent destruction of all of Azeroth, in deaths countless. He would not believe that.

With a sigh, Exzhal motioned toward an Enforcer to take off the zealot's head. They had learned all they were going to from this captive. The troll was obviously mad, and Exzhal had no desire to listen to the ravings of the insane, let alone believe the lies of a puppet of Hakkar. It was done, for now. Perhaps the adventurers would learn more when they ventured into the ancient city to aid them crippling Hakkar's plans.

The Enforcer stepped forward, grabbing the zealot's neck roughly. The zealot stretched his neck out, defying his murderers by happily accepting his fate.

"Where are your Gods now? Where, Servitor?" the zealot screamed, his eyes rolling in their sockets. "Strike me down! I shall be reborn even more powerful!" As the zealot began to laugh, spittle flying from his mouth, the Enforcer brought his axe down. The captive's head dropped to the ground, severed with ease. The Enforcer released the body and spat on the corpse as it landed heavily on the ground. Blood dyed the dirt beneath a crimson red.

Exzhal sighed heavily, feeling one weight lift and another fall on his heart. The task that lie ahead of them was greater than he wished to ponder, and the stakes were high. If they lost, all could be lost. Exzhal turned from the body, returning his gaze to the waters, across which lie the ancient city of Zul'Gurub. There was where their task lie. There, the fate of Azeroth would be decided.