The smell of battle was heavy in the air.
It was cold in Frostfire Ridge, and usually cold temperatures helped in ridding the air of the telltale sign of war; rotting meat. The ogres didn't typically bury the dead, or even burn them. They left the corpses of their slaves out to rot as a warning, but orcs were not afraid of death. Especially not the Frostwolves.
Since arriving in Draenor, Vilmah had served this clan as willingly as anyone could. Thrall could have commanded her to do anything, but she felt more than obligation to serve the Frostwolves. They were honorable, they were just, and after having to kill the orc that might have been her father on another world, she felt the need to bury her mind with battle. It did not take long for the Frostwolves eagerly assisted her in this desire. Though more brown that most orcs on Azeroth, she still bore the green twinge of one who's family drank from demon blood. It was difficult, she could see, for them to trust her. Vilmah understood this and remained obedient, until they gave her the chance to aid them in a dire matter. Frostwolves by the dozen had been captured in battle, and now stood in chains and cages in Bladespire Fortress.
For any creature, chains are an insult. To orcs, however, it was more then that. It was an affront to their honor, their clan, their entire race. A chained orc was an orc filthy with dishonor, and these Frostwolves must be freed or die in battle. Vilmah was given the task of not only freeing them, but supplying them with weapons. It was a mission she embraced with both willingness and fervor.
The Fortress was daunting, but it did little to intimidate the orc. Alone, she went inside, leaving a trail of bodies in her path. The ogres here (nor anywhere, really) weren't the type to negotiate, and the sight of an orc, even a green one, led to one thing; conflict. Armed with a two-handed mace, she fed their appetite for battle with very little finesse. A warrior, Vilmah was not known for grace or skill, but for her tenacity. It wasn't much of a talent, she knew, but she was proud all the same of her unwillingness to surrender. Instead of allowing herself to train in smaller weapons, she did what she knew she could do; swing a bludgeoning weapon twice her size at a creature ten-times her size, until it's body was rendered a pile of steaming meat in the snow. The ogres never quite stood a chance against her.
The fights were easy. The ogre would charge her, expecting to swat the small creature like vermin. Instead, Vilmah swung her mace toward their legs, breaking them at the ankle. In agony, the ogre would swing with their giant arms, but her mace would find their arms and break them, too. Down they went, and finally she had a shot at their most vital spot; their skulls. Her mace bit into them like ripe fruit, spraying blood and brains into the ground. This was repeated dozens of times, until she made her way toward the cages with blood caked into her plate armor. Whatever shine it might have had before was long since dulled by the gore.
The sight of her, however, was a rallying cry for the enslaved Frostwolves. A few beckoned her forward with yells of encouragement, their hands reaching forward from their cages and chains, as if they could free themselves by sheer will alone. They had been starved and beaten, but nothing could erase the fire from their eyes.
Vilmah approached their cages with purpose, breaking open the locks with her mace. The enchantment enhancing her weapon kept the bone and metal in pristine condition as she destroyed the metal binding them, leaving bits of broken cages and chains in her wake. In her enchanted backpack, she pulled out weapons; swords and polearms, but mostly axes. The orcs reached happily for these axes, the wood secure in their callused and frost-bitten hands. They thanked Vilmah with a hearty pat on her shoulder, some with tight bone-cracking embraces that one would not think a starved orc capable of. Other simply grabbed the weapons and went running toward the nearest ogre, screaming obscenities as they tore through the pink flesh of their captors.
One orc, however, did not meet Vilmah's gaze. It was a female, around Vilmah's age, with a single long black braid coiled over one shoulder. She wore the destroyed armor of a warrior who had been bested, and little to protect her from the cold. Hunched over in a cage, she stared forward into space as Vilmah approached her.
"Are you alright?" The greener orc asked, before smashing open the lock. Regardless of whether or not the Frostwolf could fight, she would be freed.
"No, I am not," The Frostwolf answered as she crawled through the cage door, reaching immediately for a loose rusted chain on the ground.
Vilmah watched as the orcess marched further into Bladespire Fortress, as if searching for something. She followed her closely, mace at the ready, but saw that the Frostwolf was not simply walking into danger. She was stalking someone. "Can I assist you?"
"Stay close," the former captive grunted quietly, pointing out a group of ogres sitting around an open cask of grog. They drank and laughed, oblivious to the danger stalking them.
The Frostwolf glanced back at Vilmah, a smirk on her dirty face. "You take the middle ones. I have a score to settle with that one with the scar on it's face."
To Vilmah, and most non-ogres, these ogres looked identical. However, the Frostwolf pinpointed this one with the scar for a reason, and Vilmah was not about to argue with her. Comfortable in her usual role of "attention-seeking berzerker", she charged toward the ogres. All three turned their attention to Vilmah, who swung her mace through their soft pink skin and crushed their bones. Two of them, she targeted specifically. The third, she left for the Frostwolf. It did not take long for her to attack.
Though armed only with a chain, this Frostwolf knew how to take down an ogre. She swung the chain around her head once before throwing it toward his skulls, and wrapping it around both necks. Swinging to the ogre's back, she twisted the chain in her hand and planted her feet against his wide torso, pulling backwards, yanking the metal until the ogre choked.
"Remember me?" She grunted, though the ogre was in too much of a panic to effectively recognize his former prisoner. After a few seconds, he stumbled to the ground.
Vilmah was finished pummeling his comrades by then, and searched the corpses for loot. The Frostwolf kicked her victim's skulls, making sure that it was dead.
"Filthy creatures," she grunted, stumbling down his body.
It was then that Vilmah saw how injured the Frostwolf was. Clearly she had been hiding it until she could exact revenge, but she was clearly weak and thin from her time in the cage, and her left forearm appeared purple and swollen.
"Come on," Vilmah said quickly, ducking beneath the Frostwolf's arm and helping her to stand upright. The orcess did not argue, but did not thank her either. Together, they left the fortress' walls, meeting only a few ogres on the way out. Vilmah would gently let down the Frostwolf and charge at these ogres before them, rather then let them engage the two orcs first. It took longer than expected to finally be free of the fortress, where Vilmsh could call upon her wolf to carry both orcs out.
The sight of the gray creature brought tears to the Frostwolf's green eyes. "He is your companion?" She asked, as if shocked that green orcs could also be connected to their wolves.
Vilmah smiled and pat Edmund's head. Though long removed from his puppy phase, the wolf was still overly affectionate and sniffed curiously at the Frostwolf. "He is. This is Edmund, and I'm Vilmah Bloodborne. Please, let us take you back to the Frostwolf garrison."
"Thank you, Vilmah Bloodborne. I am Kaggia Iceblade, warrior of the Frostwolves. My group was ambushed by those damned ogres, weeks ago. Had it not been for you, I likely would have died there. I thank you for aiding me in killing the one who put me in chains. Honor demanded his destruction."
"It was my honor to help you," Vilmah replied dutifully.
The Frostwolf nodded, satisfied with this. She mounted Edmund, who walked slowly beside Vilmah on their way back. "Bloodborne," the Frostwolf repeated. "I do not know this name. To what clan do you belong?"
The green orcess shook her head, unable to shake the embarrassment. "I... I have no clan. Not really."
It was the truth, but it wasn't the entire truth. Her father had survived the prison camp, only to remain there, trapped within his own memories and hatred. Gor'mul of the Blackrock, once a proud warrior, too full of rage to accept his surviving daughter. He died before the Cataclysm, at the hands of an Alliance invasion. More recently, Vilmah met a younger version of Gor'mul. An unrepentant Blackrock who sought to invade Azeroth with his brothers, Vilmah had been forced to kill him. Two fathers, in a way, now dead. Both Blackrock. Her grandmother, also Blackrock, was now a Mag'har and somehow remained in Outland. None of it made much sense, so Vilmah attempted to make it simple.
"My mother and father both died in Azeroth. I.. did not know their clan."
"Your people come from a strange land," Kaggia considered. "For a clan not to raise one if it's children."
Vilmah cleared her throat. "Our people.. they were scattered. Our clans were broken. The place where I was born, it was liberated by Thrall. He is the green orc who came to your people, to the Frostwolves. Anyway, there were so few of us, rather than unite as clans we united as a single Horde. I was raised by the Horde army to be a warrior."
"I see..." Kaggia muttered thoughtfully. "This is a strange story you tell me, but they must have trained you well to be able to kill so many ogres. I am impressed."
Vilmah smiled a little. "Thank you."
As they approached the Frostwolf garrison, Vilmah saw that the rest of the liberated Frostwolves had made it back safely. Leaning on each other for support, they were cheered and fed by their brothers and sisters. Kaggia dismounted Edmund and gave him an affectionate pat.
"This is a good wolf," she said kindly.
Another orc approached them both, this one male. He stood a full two heads taller than both Vilmah and Kaggia, whom Vilmah suddenly noticed was nearly as short as she was.
"Kaggia," he grunted, placing both hands on her shoulders. "My mate. How my blood boils to see you in this way. I trust you killed your captors?"
"This one here aided me," Kaggia said, pointing toward Vilmah. "One of the green ones, from Azeroth. Vilmah Bloodborne, this is Garr'kash, my mate."
"I thank you, Vilmah Bloodborne," he said loudly, grasping Vilmah's hand to thank her. The two shook wrists firmly. Garr'krash, however, did not release her immediately. Instead he peered carefully at Vilmah's brown eyes, as if recognizing something. "..forgive me, Vilmah Bloodborne," he said quickly. "Let us celebrate this victory! We will drink, and tomorrow, we will destroy those ogre bastards. Never again with they enslave a Frostwolf."
Vilmah nodded, and watched as Kaggia embraced Garr'krash. Her mate pushed the disheveled hair and grime from her face, exposing what he had seen within Vilmah's.
The same round features, the same nose, the same mouth. Kaggia's green eyes were large, but they did not bear the color of an orc who's veins were tainted with demon's blood.
Vilmah's stomach sank with sudden realization. Kaggia, here in Draenor, was the shadow of her mother who never left Draenor. But Garr'grash, huge and brown, his hair red as the sunrise, was not her father. He never would have been.
Here in Draenor, Vilmah never would have existed.