The Aberrant Chapter: Defending Thelsamar

Miwok, Azrail and I stood over the collapsed body of Margol the Rager. The fight had been fairly short for such a large and powerful creature, but we had been well-prepared and work well as a team. I looked across at my companions and saw the satisfaction spread across their faces, beads of sweat on their brow. As I had initially spoken with Mountaineer Pebblebitty I was given the honour of taking Margol's horn back to her, to prove our victory against the kodo. I summoned my felsteed and bade my fellows safe travel, and headed on my way. I rode back through Searing Gorge and the Badlands to Loch Modan, and headed south to the locked gate of Searing Gorge with the hope of getting the key. Pebblebitty wasn't convinced of the authenticity of the horn when I showed it to her, which, while frustrating, was perhaps understandable. I had to travel to Ironforge to visit the curator of the hall of exhibits to obtain his expert appraisal. I was far south of Thelsamar and its gryphon point and all ready on my mount, so I decided to ride the short distance to Ironforge. Oh, but if I hadn't.

As I entered the great gates of Ironforge I heard a call from guild members that Miwok, now in Thelsamaar with Azrail, was reporting a Horde attack on that very village! I couldn't believe that I had left my companions only for them to run in to the Horde, although I knew that I could not have forseen this and was glad that the guild's channels were so quick with such news. I didn't stop to dismount as I entered Ironforge, ignoring the disapproving looks from the guards, and weaved between the busy throng of people to get to the gryphon point as quickly as I could. I declared my haste and agitated state to be caused by a Horde attack and the gryphon master was swift in his commision of a flight for me, and I found myself in the air, heading backing to Loch Modan, to Thelsamar, to face the Horde.

Never has the gryphon flight between Ironforge and Thelsamar seemed so long, in both time and distance, knowing that not only was the village in peril but so were my friends. But it was not long before I had landed, and I had landed amongst some confusion. There were over a dozen adventurers scattered around the entrance to Thelsamar. Fighter, Rogue, Paladin, Priest, Druid, Mage and Warlock, all together for the common good, all together to fight back the forces of evil. Azrail caught my eye and hailed me, and I saw Miwok standing close by. As I moved to join my friends I also noticed Nillin some distance off. There were at least as many up-and-coming heroes willing to protect Thelsamar as there were seasoned veterans heeding the call against the Horde, the veterans obviously instilling great courage from those less experienced. I looked around in the general confusion that is indicitive of what was still a new and unexpected attack; I could see no Horde directly. Wait! There: a beast of a humanoid. I catch sight, as do others. We do not even stop to worry about our own safety, but charge forwards, others following as they also see the enemy.

It is still some distance away from me, yet I can tell from its battered and scarred armour that this orc has seen plenty of battles. And survived them thus far. I am able to cast a couple of spells on it as I run, even though others get to it first, showing courage in battling toe-to-toe with such a foul creature. The orc looked most capable, managing sadly to take down at least one of the local adventurers who was brave enough to stand up for his village, and it did so so swiftly that I, and I imagine others, knew just how seasoned this monster was. But even it could not withstand such a dedicated onslaught, now outnumbered as heroes of the Alliance had heeded the call to protect Thelsamar. The orc fell to the ground, its body collapsing lifelessly. But just as the mixture of pride and relief came to the faces of those who fought the beast another cry went up, as another orc was spotted. There was no time to celebrate this little victories, however big they seemed to individuals at the time, as we ran and stumbled our way over the bumpy grassland to face our next enemy.

There were several small skirmishes like this, each one following the next quite closely, if not at the same time, amplifying the danger. Despite our numbering at least double the Horde who dared to attack an Alliance village they were clearly much stronger than most who were prepared to defend with their lives. And these were not simply beasts we were facing, fighting to survive on instinct alone, nor low-intelligence humanoids who fight simply to fight. Even the Defias, who have turned their back on the Alliance, are not as savage a threat that we were facing. These were experts in combat, and looked like they had access to the same level of training and equipment as did friends of the Alliance. It was obvious to me, and from the shared looks of others, that these Horde invaders posed a considerably greater threat than any other fight we could face from adventuring alone.

And there is so much more at stake! It is not just about the safety and security of Thelsamar, which fights off small attacks from spiders, kobolds and troggs frequently, but that of the Alliance. If we cannot protect our own land how is anyone to feel safe? And not only that, but we knew we were also protecting the reputation of the Alliance. There was no way we could be defeated by the Horde in our own territory. Such a blow would be heard across the continent, shaking any Alliance who heard it, and stirring all those against us in to further action. We all knew it, and that was why there were so many brave souls willing to stand up against this threat, despite the obvious and very real risks.

Seeing another defeated member of the Horde, a troll, I think, I took a chance to catch a breath, to take a look around and see how we all fared. Looking to my right I saw a handful of adventurers keeping vigil near the village of Thelsamar's entrance, with some others closer by, ready to push back further the Horde, who were all ready seeming to weary of our strength in both numbers and spirit. To my left, I saw an orc charging me. An orc charging me! He had caught me slightly off-guard. As he came towards me I could see that he was no spell-caster but of a fighting caste, yet he chose to attack someone less experienced than he and one who is restricted to wear cloth armour. I don't know if I expected more honour from the Horde, but I knew then that I wouldn't get it.

As the orc came towards me and I could see clearly in to his blood-red eyes there was just one thought in my mind: fear. But this was not what I was feeling, as I would never be cowed by one of these aberrations, even if I weren't becoming a master of the dark arts. I uttered the words of the incantation, matching gesture with sound, watching the orc grow closer, closer, his sword now raised and poised to strike me down. I stood my ground and finished the spell. As the last sound escaped my mouth just as the sword was starting to come down on me I could see the change in the eyes of this monster. No more was it focussed so intently on me, hatred filling him; now it turned, avoiding my gaze and fleeing from me in a state of panicked dread. If this weren't a matter of life and death I may have been amused to see such a horror looking so scared of one such as myself, but there was still more to do. Even though I only just had time to cast Fear, its effects now enabled me to cast more spells, Curse of Agony and Corruption, as the orc ran from me, and in to the path of those coming to my and Thelsamar's aid. My damage spells were taking effect and his body was becoming weaker. The other bold adventurers had engaged the orc and were able to get in some solid blows as it found itself barely able to protect its own body in its feared state. I made sure that the orc would not get another chance to wield its weapon before me, as I cast Immolate and saw the magical flames engulf the orc. It soon fell.

Through all of this there were other battles, those I was not witness to, as the fighting was in a way more confused than normal adventuring and also more intense, facing so much more of a threat that we were. In each of these battles the forces of the Alliance upheld our reputation and honour, defeating our foes if not with ease then without too much sacrifice. And it wasn't just those who fought the Horde invaders directly who deserve praise, as there were healers present who made sure that the fighters and battle mages were able to keep fighting, healing the injured and raising those who had sadly fallen. I felt the life-force return to me on more than one occasion as I fought, and not once felt my spirit leave my physical body. The healers played as much an important role in this melee as any other.

It seemed like an age, but it can't have been more than an hour when the Horde finally turned tail and rode out of Loch Modan, north through the Dun Algaz pass to Wetlands and beyond. Those with mounts followed them to ensure their departure from Loch Modan, although none went through the pass, instead staying to ensure the safety of Thelsamar, in case some forces had stayed behind in a ruse to remove our strongest fighters. Once we were sure the Horde were not coming back through the pass we headed back to Thelsamar. We encountered a lone Undead humanoid frantically trying to catch up with its Horde compatriots, who had, dishonorably, left it behind. We made sure that this Undead would think twice before visiting our lands again, before getting to Thelsamar. We returned to see relief and pride on many an adventurer's face, peace slowly returning to the village again.

It was a relatively small victory; an Alliance victory on Alliance territory. But it was an important victory none the less. All those involved showed courage and great spirit in fighting back the invaders, who posed much more of a threat than one who has not faced them can imagine. The ranks of the Alliance army will be bolstered from this battle, and rightly so. I call for three cheers for all involved!

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