"Live by these words: lok'tar ogar. Victory... or death."
"Grommashar. He is there."
Vilmah overheard Thrall say this, but she nearly couldn't believe it. Garrosh Hellscream, son of Grom and former Warchief of the Horde, led the Warsong clan on Draenor from Grommashar.
“Nagrand,” she said aloud, more to herself than anyone else. Though this was not the Nagrand that welcomed her, where she met her grandmother and discovered that orcs could have a different future. This was the Nagrand of the past.
Thrall seemed conflicted with their decision, but that was not the case for those speaking with him. They were planning an assault that would silence the former warchief, something that clearly weighed heavily on Thrall’s heart. The guilt he felt for bringing Garrosh into their lives was obvious, and Vilmah still harbored both love and deep respect for the Warchief that liberated her. That anyone could betray him, or their people, still angered her more than she was willing to admit. Vol’jin may have led the Horde, but no one could replace Thrall.
The difference between them was that Thrall’s desire to put an end to Garrosh was not vengeance; it was necessity. Given the chance, Garrosh would have destroyed everything that Thrall had built between the Horde and the Alliance, but his hatred was felt by more than the humans he despised. Trolls, Sin’dorei, they were all the same in his eyes and unwelcome. He could not be trusted to live, and Thrall understood this.
Vilmah felt differently. True, his death was a necessity, but that wasn’t the only thing that the orcess desired. What truly fed Vilmah’s desire to travel to Grommashar, and help put an end to Garrosh’s life, was the desire to make him suffer. There would be no peace in her heart until he felt the same pain and humiliation that he gave her, three years ago.
The first thing that they smelled was smoke. It was a distraction, obviously, as the Sanctuary guild hall was not completely engulfed in flames. This would have been an easy feat, but the Kor’kron did not simply want to incinerate the guild. They wanted to cause them pain.
Standing outside of the Sanctuary guild hall, they burned banners of purple and gold. One of the orcs kicked open the front doors and called out for those inside; “Come out, little mice!” He laughed, walking inside.
He was disappointed to see that it was mostly empty.
“Can I help you, sir?”
He wasn’t quite what the Kor’kron was expecting. An Undead male, wearing no armor and holding several books tucked under one arm. Steinburg smiled graciously, as he had been trained to do back in the bank of Daleran when dealing with an unkind customer.
“Why yes,” the orc chuckled, grabbing Steinburg by the throat and lifting him off the ground. The undead was nearly weightless in his grasp. “You can tell your traitorous ilk that the time has come for them to say goodbye.”
“Put him down.”
Several other Kor’kron entered through the destroyed doors as Vilmah walked down the stairs. She wore armor dented and damaged from battle, a familiar axe on her back. Though made larger by the armor, she still stood smaller than the other orcs, her youth obvious.
The Kor’kron let Steinburg fall to the floor unceremoniously. “And who are you supposed to be?”
“I’m Vilmah Bloodborne, and this is my guild,” she stated, approaching the Kor’kron. “We are proud members of the Horde and you have no business here.”
The other orcs laughed. Steinburg scrambled to his feet and ran for another door as the banners burned outside. “We have business indeed, orcling. The Warchief has decreed that no traitors shall be allowed within these walls. You, and all your merchant weaklings are no longer welcome in Orgimmar, or with the Horde. The Warchief has commanded that we should place you under arrest, and have you put to work with the other peons, but I do so hope you try to fight back. Orgrimmar has plenty of peons, and I’d love to see that purple tabard of yours turned red.”
Vilmah took a deep breath and reached for her axe. Pacifism was something taught to her by many people throughout Azeroth, and peace was a virtue that she wholeheartedly believed.
“Pick up your axe,” she grunted, reaching back to slide the visor down on her helmet. “I am no one’s peon.”
The Kor’kron laughed, but he stepped forward anyway. A swing toward Vilmah’s body was blocked by her axe, and as the two clashed, the rest of the Kor’kron made their way through the guild hall. One of them threw open the door Steinburg ran into and found what was left of his office; papers and books had been strewn about hastily, and an open window signaled the undead’s escape. Cursing, the Kor’kron ran with the others upstairs, and finding nothing living, ran back toward their leader as he fought the diminutive orcess.
“Sergeant, they’re gone! Someone must have warned them!”
The Sergeant shouted toward Vilmah’s face as he swung at her with his axe. She raised her own in response, her blocks growing weaker with each attack.
“Burn it!!” He shouted. “Burn this place to the ground!”
The helmet hid a look of rage in Vilmah’s face. Orgimmar was her home, and regardless of her differences with the orcs here, it was never hostile toward Sanctuary’s goals. This was different. This Sergeant had been sent to destroy them, her especially, and everything that she had built to create a safe haven.
A heavy slam of axe against axe sent Vilmah to the floor. The Sergeant reared back and swung his axe down toward her torso, but the smaller orc was faster. She rolled out from under his attack and had just enough time to swing her own weapon at his legs. The Sergeant howled with pain and rage as blood gushed from his Achilles tendons.
“Kill her!!” He shouted, though the other Kor’kron had already rushed to Vilmah with swords drawn.
Fighting in such close quarters put her at a disadvantage, especially when they were twice her size. The young orc looked for an escape, but finding little to help her, ran toward the danger instead with faith that her armor could withstand a few blows.
The axes and swords dented the plate mail, bruising her flesh underneath. A few bit through the joints of her armor, tearing a few new scars into her skin, but it was nothing she couldn’t bandage later. Her height finally an advantage, she managed to run through the Kor’kron as they swung their weapons, directly through the main doors and into the blazing fire they set outside. The Sergeant yelled in fury, ordering them to follow her, but it was too late. Vilmah’s windrider had been waiting for her call, and before the other orcs had a chance to run through the fire themselves, she was gone.
The sun was rising over Sen’jin Village as Vilmah approached. She could see the Echo Isles in the distance, looking almost peaceful as the sky changed from purple to red. Down in the village, Master Gadrin stood with a large group, chanting over a small fire. Vilmah landed her windrider and ran for the group, immediately counting their numbers.
“Vilmah!” Steinburg said with obvious relief. “You were right. They came immediately after you sent out the warning. Everyone was able to get out on time, but many of the animals were scattered.”
She clasped the undead’s shoulder. “That’s alright. Is Nojinbu—“
“Gone,” Ninorra said, her red eyes glancing in the direction of Orgrimmar. “He took Rosette. Don’t worry, they’re both fine. He said that he would meet you tonight, but, he didn’t say where.”
“I know where, thank you,” Vilmah sighed, looking at the group around her. They weren’t many, and they weren’t prepared to fight an entire Horde, but they were alive. “Thank you all. It looks like we’re in very big trouble.”
Sanctuary looked upon one another with a sense of foreboding.
“…does this mean we’re all criminals?” Asked one of the elves, a death knight female.
“Yes, Catalinetta,” Vilmah answered sadly. “Which means that the safest thing to do is for us to split up, or Garrosh and his cronies will hunt us down. I know that we all have things to protect. Be it family, or a home… I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I couldn’t protect us better.”
“Think nothing of it,” Ninorra said brightly. “This is not the end, Vilmah. This is only a pause. Perhaps we shall all return someday, and give that orc a taste of his own medicine.”
The other guild members nodded, agreeing. Vilmah saw that not all members of Sanctuary were present, and held her hearthstone.
“The safest thing now,” she said sadly. “Is that we not contact each other. At least, not for a while. If absolutely necessary, we can communicate through go-betweens. Stranglethorn Exports. But these,” she held up her hearthstone. “We have to destroy them.”
Pulling each of their stones forward, Sanctuary placed them in a pile in the middle of their circle. Vilmah waited until she was last, and held the stone close to her mouth.
“If you can hear me,” she said through their secret channel. “Please, listen. Don’t come looking for us. Find a place where you can be safe, and if you must fight, do it under another banner. The Horde wants us dead, but we will not die. Sanctuary will not go quietly into the dark. We may not have our hall, or our banners, but we will not lose our goal. We will fight.”
The other members nodded solemnly.
“Goodbye, my friends,” she said one last time, and placed her stone in the pile.
Ninorra rubbed her hands together, and murmured something under her breath. The warlock’s red eyes glowed brighter as fel fire rose from the ground and enveloped the stones. Together, they crumbled, and returned to the earth.