First fanfiction, rated T for Violence, language, and mild adult themes.

I've played enough WoW to know what I'm talking about as far as the basics, but I'm not keen on the lore by a long shot. So, to those of you who expect perfection, this story will most definitely have flaws. I do my research, but I am not perfect - not to mention this is my first time writing. It is a long learning process. Bear with me, if you can. :)

Reviews are always welcome, and feel free to send any suggestions or questions to me via private messaging. I'll try to respond within a week or so.

Hope you enjoy!

The stone room of the Horde base felt stuffy and packed as Norivana limped in from a tunnel that weaved south toward the Warsong Gulch battlefield. Even with the healing she had received during the fight, she felt drained. Her muscles seemed to nearly quiver with something so principal as walking. Dark blood—not all of it her own—caked her leather armor, and her helmet was ruined. A large, clean cut ran across the left side of it, and she could still feel the ghost of where the harsh blade had sliced clean across her left cheek bone. A Shaman comrade had done his best to fuse the skin back, but even so she knew a large scar rested there. Had the blade been but an inch higher, she would no longer have sight in her left eye.

Grimacing at that thought, the elf tossed the helmet down to the side, and it clattered loudly into a pile of other ruined armor pieces and broken weapons. A few healers of various races bustled about, bandaging a troll here and an orc there, and they took no heed of Norivana, as she fared far better than the majority of the injured soldiers that littered the area. Unlike those with missing limbs and psychological damage from the more malicious magics used in the battle, she herself was simply nursing a tender ankle.

The Horde had just taken control of the gulch, having slaughtered all members of their opposing faction. The Horde were a primal, fierce faction of savage creatures that played the game of war with no rules, and that had been the winning factor here. It was brutal, and it was rough, and it was her life.

There would be more to come, as always, but today, it was over. Today, Norivana could rest for the first time in eight days.

She slumped down next to the wall, sitting with her back against it and her legs sprawled out on the stone floor. Her tangled crimson hair had encrusted to her cheek with blood from her now-scarred cut, and her ankle throbbed relentlessly, no doubt broken. A quick glance confirmed this, as her usual slender leg was mottled and swollen, a deep red hue welling up in one area and a more purple in another. During the fight, the adrenaline must have kept her from collapsing, but now the pain was definitely setting in.

A soft noise brought her attention to her right, and she glanced over to the mouth of the tunnel as a large, menacing feline padded in and slumped down where it stood. He was a druid; the telltale tattooed markings on his hide gave that fact away, not to mention the large, unmistakably Tauren horns that protruded from his forehead. The druid looked exhausted, and Norivana watched in awe out of the corner of her eye as the creature transformed back into his more bovine form.

Norivana couldn't hide the wonder that flitted across her face as the creature switched forms. Like a mixture of magic and illusion, one moment he was on all fours, and the next he'd fluidly transformed into something nearly twice the size he had been before. The air around him contracted, bending at the druid's change in volume and then altering its nature by letting off a quick burst of pressure at the end of the transformation. The sight was familiar, but Norivana was nonetheless awestruck every time. Druids had always fascinated her. Of course, all combat classes had their perks, but the idea of possessing the ability to transform into a myriad of deadly predators was intriguing.

She herself was a Rogue, trained in the art of stealth and shadows. A subtle killer. Many would even consider her a cheat, a backstabber, and to be honest, she knew that was true. It was a lifestyle she'd grown into: trust no one, not even family. As a mere child, Norivana had already picked up combat skills with ease. Her father, a proud elven warrior himself, was convinced that skill like hers would be best suited for an army, and so, she'd been packed up and sent away to train, to never again see her family or return to her old life in Silvermoon City. She'd be a part of the ongoing, ceaseless fight, just another soldier in the vast expanse of armies that had been commissioned to fight for the leaders of the Horde.

She'd been so young—and to most, too young to be fighting in such gruesome battles. Not for the army commanders, though. No, definitely not. They accepted every able-bodied man and woman they could, even if it was a child. So, in the past ten years, Norivana had been raised a soldier, a warmonger.

As the woman crawled out of her deeper thoughts, she continually stared at the druid.

He peered up at a large canteen that was handed to him, and he offered a grateful look to the forsaken woman who presented it. After taking two large swigs, he had enough energy now to stand, and after a moment, Norivana realized they'd been making eye contact for longer than she'd care to say.

The young-yet-experienced Tauren approached her silently, kneeling in front of her with one hand raised, drawing nearby energy to create a plasma-like swirl that whirled around his three large, furry fingers and continuously became larger. Small, ethereal leaves and flora grew within the force, straight from his fingers, like visions.

Norivana took a breath as the healer then directed all his attention toward her, placing his palm straight onto her sternum and transferring the energy to her. If there was one good thing about receiving a heal, it was the initial "oomph" that came with it. Immediately as she felt the spell, she sat a little straighter, the pain in her ankle subsided, and her vision in her damaged left eye became crystal clear. Energy crackled through her nerves and out to her fingertips, and her heart itself grew stronger, thudding at a slow, continuous, firm pace. She felt the mostly-healed wound on her left cheekbone finally completely scar over, the skin around it tightening and then relaxing. She hadn't realized how much it still hurt until the pain ceased.

The Tauren let out a satisfied snort through his noble snout and stood, offering her a nod and sauntering off to help another wounded soldier. Norivana took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, leaning her head back against the stone wall and relaxing. Now content, she let her eyes flutter shut, and after a moment she dozed off, finally taking a break from her work.

"'Vana, time to head out," a low, familiar gruff voice grunted, and Norivana shifted, opening her eyes to greet the speaker. Aitto Thunderhoof, her comrade and friend who had been by her side since the day she had arrived for training, had offered a gigantic, gentle hand down to her.

He was the sole exception to her rule; she trusted him with her life, with her very soul. The two had trained as children side-by-side from day one. When they initially met, they were both wide-eyed, panicky and shaken to their core. Their similarity in arrival immediately drew them to each other, and since then they'd been inseparable. They were two halves to a whole; he was her brother by choice, her kin, closer than anything she would've had back at home with the elves. They fought together, bled together, survived together. Ten years gone, and here they were, still united in a bond of friendship and trust.

As she was hoisted to her feet, Norivana took a look around, noting the sky had darkened and was now a rusty reddish haze, igniting the stone walls of the stronghold in a false flame through the uncovered roof. She arched her back, feeling the joints and vertebrae give a satisfying crackle, and bounced on her toes a few times before taking a deep breath and clearing her mind.

She glanced at the tall, dark Tauren beside her; his fur too had lit up in the sunlight, his green eyes reflecting the light like fire, and he offered her a relieved half-smile, rejoicing in both of them surviving the battle. Of course, they'd never lost before; the fact that both of them were breathing was testament to the impressive skill belonging to them and their comrades. She returned his smile, just barely, just fleeting, just for him.

It was time for cleanup: a small team would now head back out to the battlefield to recover any lost gear, raid the enemy corpses' inventories, and salvage supplies. Norivana and Aitto had volunteered the job because it beat having to march back with the military caravan, rather they could just return later with their own at a more leisurely pace. In a place as compact as Warsong, it only took a few people to finish the job, so only one other soldier stayed behind to work the salvage with them.

Norivana and Aitto and the third soldier, an older, rough Troll with chipped tusks and a hardened expression, made their way out to the middle of the valley. Most of the dead scattered the short slopes here, and the rest would be up in the Alliance base, a few cowardly stragglers who had chosen to hide out there rather than fight. There was always at least one of the more fainthearted souls in the battle, and surprisingly that sort of people was usually the last to go. Unfortunately for those souls, a quick, exposed fight like this commonly left only the most conflicted and war-crazed soldiers alive, and thus the winning side would sometimes partake in a tortuously-slow kill.

Being the last one living on the wrong side was the worst way to go; a clean blow to the vitals is preferable to torture.

The crew collected only the most valuable items, leaving the rest to other needy scavengers who would no doubt swoop in right after the team had left. Half an hour had passed by the time they reached the base, and they were quite ready to be done with it all. Sifting through the wreckage of bloodied bodies and shattered weapons was not a fun task, but they knew what they'd be getting into when they volunteered to do it.

Norivana meandered out into the grassy hillside next to the base and was almost finished searching the packs of a fallen enemy night elf, whose silvery-white hair was streaked with angry deep red blood, when a noise came from the creature, making Norivana's hair stand on end. The elf groaned, then pulled a shaky, clawed hand up and gripped his own torn tunic tightly over his heart. His broad, wild face creased in pain, and Norivana immediately stood and took a step back. The elf didn't move any further, however, and he just lay there, motionless and tense, barely breathing save for the occasional, shallow gasp.

Knowing what she needed to do, Norivana unsheathed a sharpened, deadly blade and advanced toward the man, intending to give him a quick, easy death. She knelt down next to him in the grass, and as she held a blade to his exposed chest, she steeled herself. Killing an opponent intent on murdering you was one thing; killing a downed foe, entirely different. She'd done it enough times before.

Norivana, you're a Rogue, she thought to herself bitterly. This is what you do; you kill them while they're down.

She took a few reassuring breaths and shook her head to rid herself of apprehension. She knew full-well the consequences of letting an enemy survivor escape.

She angled the blade for a clean path, pointed it dangerously toward the man's heart, and plunged.