Chapter 24

The Undercity was an unearthly place. Dark and gloomy one would wonder, what kind of being would want to live down here. However, that kind of questions were answered the moment you would look at the inhabitants, creatures who gave themselves the name "The Forsaken". And forsaken they were.

As outcasts of Azeroth itself, they dwelled in this underground bastion of their stubborn resistance against anyone who would oppose their most basic claim to live, even if they knew firsthand that it was a cursed life. It was the only one they had left. Some of them had been farmers in their previous life, simple humans who barely knew how to read and who only worried about the next harvest. Others have been soldiers, powerful warriors; scholars, too, were among them, mighty mages and priests. They were all part of a gigantic machine now, some only tiny gears, other bigger ones, and each and every one of them as important as the other. And on top of it all, their, in their eyes, goddess-like Queen. They were more than the remains of a once proud kingdom, they were a new kind of people – because she made them that way, and they were proud of it, it gave them a new sense, a new meaning to exist!

However, even after many years and many more battles, there were still those who want to wipe them off existence, to free the world from them and their undead disease.

Horacio had heard them all in his new life. All these so called explanations, why the Forsaken or the world itself would be better off, if they would simply vanish. Garrosh had tried it, when he used them as cannon fodder at the Greymane Wall two years ago. And he didn't even bother to declare, that he had anything else in mind than the simple extinction of their race.

The moment the Dark Lady returned from Northrend with the Valkyr, to take over command and to boost the Forsakens forces with newly risen recruits, the whole Horde gasped in shock and disgust, finally showing their true attitude about their undead "allies".

Now at least they, the Forsaken, knew their place in this world once again, which turned out to be even more merciless than they claimed to be themselves. Even their own allies turned from them, though they claimed otherwise, of course – they needed them and their army. At least they would know, when orcs or others would plan an attack or anything. Thanks to the magic of the Banshees, in life powerful high elven nobles, they could put their disguised informants anywhere in every Horde town, some of them even in small Alliance outposts.

Still, a pity that even their magic could not fool a worgen. Their sharp noses would catch the scent of every Horde member within seconds, making it impossible to sent their own people into Gilneas, this land of promises with plenty of unused raw material and space for them to expand. And its inhabitants? Well, they were already outcasts themselves. Horacio still didn't understand, why they rejoined the Alliance. From what he knew, these dogs were almost as isolated within their faction as the Forsaken were in theirs.

A new bunch of "Forsaken", the High-Executor thought, grinning at the irony. Cursed and everything, but not undead. That might be the key-factor why Varian Wrynn accepted them back. A pity, that Garrosh had rushed his army against the Alliance during those negotiations. Otherwise, the King of Stormwind might have refused to allow Genn and his dogs back in.

Horacio shook his head, while he walked along the greenish channelwaters of the Undercity, his destination already in sight. Garrosh was a fine tactician, and he would probably grow into his role as warchief, but he tended to rush things instead of simply waiting. Being passive and wait for the right moment to strike, that was something that Brute could learn from the Forsaken... if he would live long enough, that was. Something told him, that not only the Banshee Queen's patience wasn't endless: things were stirring on the Echo Isles; it was well known among the Horde that Vol'jin openly defied Hellscream. And since Garrosh killed the Tauren's chieftain Cairn (even with unfair methods, never mind that he hadn't intended them), it was no surprise, that Thunderbluff kept its distance to Orgrimmar as well...

But this wasn't about the inner politics of the Horde, and unfortunately, even with patience the best plans could be for naught, if ill fortune would cross them as thoroughly as it happened during their last assault against Gilneas. – While walking past the stoic Royal Guards, who stood every few paces along the corridor, that let to their beloved Queen's throne room, Horacio frowned deeply. He was well aware that he made mistakes, too, that day...

The corridor opened into a high room, round in its shape with pillars and little alcoves; in the center, a high platform rose up before him, he had to go side wards to the stairs to get on it and to finally face her: the most wonderful and beautiful of the Forsaken, the Banshee Queen.

A true Forsaken would never get used to her flawless appearance. Kneeling down, head bowed, he balled his fist over the place, where his heart used to be, in silent salute and honor. Normally a Forsaken would never bow or kneel to anyone, but she was the one and only exception.

"Rise, High-Executor," her voice rasped. It echoed from the walls surrounding them, yet there was some otherworldly sound, that made his hairs stand upright and his bones shutter. "Report."

"My Lady, the enemy is roused," he began, after standing upright again. "It is safe to assume, that they are finally aware of our field-agents. Since one of our primary targets survived the assault, he might have guessed that he had been sold out by spies within his own band. I am afraid, my Lady, that we will have to work out the situation without further insight."

"Wasn't Gharion Wallace your assigned target?" the Banshee Queen said, her red glowing eyes piercing his, yet he didn't flinch.

"Yes, my Lady," Horacio answered with a bow. "However, I am afraid I failed to do it as properly as I should have. I take full responsibility for this."

Sylvanas shook her head, waving her hand dismissively. "I know you do, and you will accept the consequences – by making sure that the ones responsible will be punished the way you know I mean." Those red eyes, usually the Forsakens eyes had an eerie yellowish glow, were gleaming so bright, the whole room seemed to be bathed in red for a short moment – yet long enough to make her point clear.

Horacio smiled, as he returned his Queens glare. "Rest assured, my Lady, the blood elf Moonshadow will be brought forth to you, alive. As for the Duke, it will be my utmost pleasure to bring you the worgens head personally."

"Make sure to keep his remains in good shape," she snapped. "A worgens face it hard enough to recognize, and I... have plans with Genn's nephew..."

Horacio's eyes flared up at this in anticipation. "And what, if I may ask, might these plans be, my Lady?"

The Banshee Queen smiled. It was a malicious one, that would normally send people into high alert; however, not the High-Executor. "I will share these plans with you as soon as you will return to me with news of your targets whereabouts. Until that, my High-Executor, rest assured that our enemies will not forget our message."

Shattrath was the city also known as the "City of Light". Once a gigantic temple build by the Draenei to honor the Holy Light, embodied by interspacial creatures knows as the Naaru, the city has lived through many changes in the near past. Now is was a sanctuary for the refugees of countless races and two worlds. It was ruled by the Sha'tar and their leader A'dal, and guarded by the priests who once lived here.

These priests were divided, though. The majority held vast onto their tradition, the others, however, calling themselves the Aldor, refused to forgive the atrocities done to them in the past. Their clear enemy was the Burning Legion, and all who had ever had contact to them. Which included the Scryers, Blood Elves once in the service of Prince Kael'thas, who got himself and his followers corrupted by the demons. In the following, Shattrath became a silent battlefield between the Aldor and the Scryers, who now lived there.

But still there was hope for the future. In face of the all over thread of the Burning Legion, both factions reluctantly set aside their differences and forged a new order, known as the Scattered Sun Offensive. Thanks to this new alliance, they haven't been able to drive the demons out of Outland, but at least weaken them and take back several key positions, like the Temple of Karabor in Shadowmoon Valley and Tempest Keep in Netherstorm.

Both Aldor and Scryers were still not on friendly terms with each other, they eyed the other suspiciously, and in the midst of this melting-pot of different cultures and races it was unusual, if a member of the Scryers asked an Aldor-Priest to do a wedding-ceremony for her…

"What do you think, their kid will going to look like?"

Two Scryer Arcanists walked along the Terrace of Light, which held the great temple where A'dal resided. Both men were caught up in their chat, not bothering the training sessions of the Scattered Sun soldiers or the other arcanists and priests.

"Does it bother you?" the other asked.

"No, why should it?" the first gave back irritated. "I just mean that… well, will they look like him… like some wolf-man or so? Or just like any half-blood? It's just an interesting thought, nothing more. It would be interesting to know, how far this worgen-curse goes, you know? Does it only affect those, who got bitten, or does is affect the next generation, too? You have to admit, from a scientific point of view, it would be worth to find out…"

"Oh yes, sure…" The second shrugged. "At least, you will not have to wait long for any offspring. Did you see, how he looked at her?" He shuttered involuntarily. "If she isn't with child already, I bet my whole library that she will be in very near future…"

"Don't remind me," the first gave back, also shaking by the memory. "He looked at her, as if he wanted to eat her – and I mean it literally!" He paused. "But you are right, if she doesn't prevent any pregnancy, than she should be – how do humans say? – get knocked up very soon."

"Do you know, if they are staying here in Shattrath?"

"I overheard a conversation between her and Voren'thal. Obviously, he offered her and her husband a refuge here, but she refused. They want to occupy some of the forsaken Sun Fury residents in Terokkar Forest."

"Is that save?"

"I think so… and if not, I wouldn't worry about Sera and her wolf-man. I would pity the beasts that live there…"

Laughter answered. "Very true, my friend."

Scryers were known to be careful in any surrounding, except maybe in their own terrace high above the city. But these two did not notice the huddled figure, who seemed to coincidently taking the same route. He halted, following them with his eerie glowing eyes. However, instead of taking the path down to the Lower Circle, where the common folk resided, the huddled figure turned and walked over to the temple. There it headed for the Horde-Portals.

It chose the portal to the Undercity.


Of course it's not the end. After all, both our heroes are still very much alive (according to those Scryer guys) and with Horacio, a good old friend will join in the family life as well. With Blackthorn (if he makes it), they could both solicit as god-parents… No, they wouldn't, but you get the meaning ;)

Anyway, this story is finished. Maybe (but I don't think so…) I'll write some following-up or so… maybe with some kids and Horacio and so on… But until then, I hope, you enjoyed reading the story at least as much as I enjoyed writing it (though I have to admit, there were times, I simply refused to look at it…).

Yours, Talosee