By the time the three Druids neared Camp Mojache the day was already giving way into the dusk hour. Draccus Moonsayer was walking in the rear of the procession behind Akabeko Runetotem who was carrying Karegina Runetotem, who had been wounded severally and needed further treatment from other healers, on her back while transformed into a magnificent Stag.
He was questioning the wisdom of walking into a hostile encampment silently to himself. He was not questioning the trust he placed in these two Sister Druids though. They had shown a deservingness of his trust by offering him friendship and reaffirming their bond to one another as members of the Cenarion Circle.
Slow stalking shadows crept up along the dirt path that bordered a small lake that had a waterfall pouring into it at one end. The steady rumbling of the waterfall muffled the noise of the party’s approach. The two Horde guards that were on watch were not alerted until they were almost directly on top of one another.
“Halt! Who dare goes there unannounced so near a Horde Outpost?” A rough voice barked out to the traveling trio.
Out of the bushes stepped a large male Orc that was easily seven feet tall with a muscular build that showed his races most notable trait, raw strength and brute power. He held in one hand a freshly lit torch that illuminated the area, and in his other hand he grasped a two-handed bone mace that was stained from its previous victims.
“I will not ask again who it is that draws near to our Outpost. The next questions to be asked will be at the end of my weapon here.” He strained his eyes to see the faces of those he addressed. The Orc flexed his hand around the leather wrapped handle of the bone mace.
“What are we going to do about getting Sister Karegina past this aggressive brute of an Orc?” Draccus asked Akabeko through their shared thoughts. “She needs additional healing and rest, not to suffer another fight.”
“Trust me Draccus. Let me handle this situation.” Akabeko reassured her Brother Druid. “I will need to transform back into my Tauren form to communicate with this guard. Members of the Horde who are not a part of the Cenarion Circle do not share our special link. Stay close to my side and help Karegina as able.”
There is an ongoing language and communication barrier between the two opposing factions, the Alliance and the Horde. Within each faction there are several diverse racial dialects that have their own distinct language structure. To an untrained ear someone might only hear grunts, barks, grumbles, groans, screeches, hisses, or noises wholly unfamiliar. There are a few scattered scribes, scholars, and those not in a leadership position that speak Common. Common language allows for communication across all lines, but this universal bridge is more rarely crossed then it should be. Peoples pride and prejudices often kept them cut off from such interactions.
After gently lowering Karegina to the ground where she could stand with the assistance of Draccus supporting her weight. A mist of transformation enveloped the mighty Stag, and now there stood in its place a proud female Tauren wearing regal leather armor.
Akabeko Runetotem was a capable Druid in her own right having fought numerous foes across all of Azeroth. The armor she wore was crafted by the best leatherworkers available. The head, shoulder, chest, and leg pieces had the markings of attention to detail of the highest order. The materials were of the most exotic and magical of properties, and yet they still retained the durability needed for combat readiness. She had in her hands a one-handed mace that looked like the miniature version of a dragon head and in her other an offhand weapon that could possibly be a powerful artifact of some sort.
“I am Lady Akabeko of the Runetotem Tribe, a respected Sister of the Cenarion Circle, and an accomplished member of the Horde on several campaigns. And as such, this Druid does not answer to threatening questions from a simple guard.” She pointed her mace straight at the Orc guard.
“I am on a mission. You may escort us into Camp if you like, but you will not threaten my party again.”
The second Horde guard had remained hidden and had silently observed the situation unfold. From its concealed vantage point the guard realized it needed to intercede before the Orc guard acted impulsively and attacked the Druid that had just checked him down a few pegs.
While looking for an appropriate opportunity to break up the tension or at least create a more favorable atmosphere to use to their benefit, the guard’s eyes went wide when spotting the Night Elf among the three travelers.
Immediately the guard’s hands went for the pair of daggers that were tucked in its belt. These weapons were even deadlier in the hands of an Assassin Rogue that had fought friend and foe alike for many years.
“Night Elf wretch!” Spat the guard through tusks protruding from the sides of its mouth. “Move one more step and I will carve you to pieces, starting with those glowing eyes of yours.” The Troll guard spoke broken Common with a very thick accent so that the Night Elf could understand its vile hatred of him and his race.
There had been a feud going back through the ages between the Kaldorei and all the various Troll empires. Some historians suggest in ancient scrolls that before the Sundering of Kalimdor on Azeroth that there was a great civil war between the Elves, and that the defeated were cast out and over a couple millennium they became the transfigured race know as Trolls. This was pure speculation, but the animosity each felt towards the other was as old as the ancient forests.
“Hold fast Skrarto.” The large Orc commanded the Rogue that looked ready to sprint over and start attacking out of pure spite.
“I will not have you poking holes in that Alliance member just yet. You can keep you personal vendetta on cool down until we bring everyone into Camp Narche. Let the Commander of the outpost decide what is to be done with him.”
“Fine. But I will personally be guarding that enemy of the Horde, and I claim first right to one-on-one combat in the Arena if that is his doomed fated.” Skrarto answered sourly.
“Enough of this posturing and postponing!” Akabeko yelled at both guards that were standing in front of her. She had had enough of them both. The Orc guard appeared to be a thug and tool of the local chain of command, and the Troll guard was a mercenary at best a liability at worst. She needed to get this situation moving.
“I have a Sister Druid standing over there next to that Alliance Night Elf who needs further healing from an attack that was stopped by that same Alliance Night Elf, who would have been killed had he not intervened.”
“Let us proceed with haste. Darkness is closing in fast and dangerous creatures are lurking about.” A sideways glance was directed at Skrarto whose eyes still beamed with a hunger for a fight.
After they started off down the path Draccus could hear the Orc grumbling to himself as Akabeko and him carried Karegina between their strong arms. Skrarto fell in behind Draccus almost as if the Rogue had shadow danced in an instant.
“Make no mistake Kaldorei trespasser I would gladly garrote you and leave your body in the bushes.” The female Troll Rogue whispered in his ear. “But hopefully Commander Blazeburner of Camp Mojache either has another horror awaiting you or he will grant me the honor of killing you in single combat.”
After a few minutes of travel they arrived in Camp Mojache proper.
There was quite a commotion when the news traveled throughout the encampment that two Tauren Druids and a Night Elf had arrived under the escort of Lagtovar and Skrarto. The gathering crowd circled around them and many of the faces clearly showed open disdain for an Alliance member in their midst.
Two towering Warriors stood with their massive battle axes resting in front of them while they licked their lips and snickered to one another. Some unspoken bet about which one of them could split a foe in half with a powerful single stoke from their blades.
There were many races that made up the throng: Orcs, Trolls, a few Tauren, one Blood Elf, and a hooded figure that was a part of the Forsaken. The cloaked undead individual looked out with lifeless eyes that peered from deep sockets that used to be covered in flesh.
It was this last figure standing out in stark contrast in the Horde crowd that sent chills running through Draccus. The unnatural state of death, that which had been reanimated from the grave, ran against everything that he had come to love and respect about life. There was a dark evil grin across the bony face that stared at him from behind the ash grey hood that made his flesh crawl.
At the feet of this walking corpse there danced an Imp about a foot tall that had the blackest of black skin and eyes that burned like fire. Unbeknownst to Draccus Moonsayer this sinister being and his pet were the personal interrogator and torturer for Commander Blazeburner. He was a feared Affliction Warlock that even the Warchief Garrosh Hellscream had requested to be removed from Orgrimmar.
The crowd grew as silent as the grave when the Commander parted those standing around the newcomers and stood in the center of the circle. He wore a decorative robe that had a satin black base with elaborate patterns of flames which climbed up from the bottom of the helm line. He had on an outer layer jacket that was padded and held many smaller pockets for all his potions and spell reagents. He carried with him a simple looking staff, crafted from the purest Mithril topped with a brilliant ruby gem that sparkled.
Draccus Moosayer was expecting a taller figure, one that swayed people with their very presence, someone that exuded a noble birth, a leader capable of reining all the different races to their will. Who now stood before him was a bit of a surprise.
The Commander was a Goblin barely three feet tall with a patch of hair atop his head and a toothy smile. He had beady red eyes that bore judgment on the three Druids, weighing what he should do, all the while entertaining ideas of profit and control over the Horde staying in his outpost.
Clearing his throat the Commander began to speak in Orcish, the unified language of the Horde. “We have a gift this night in the form of a Night Elf prisoner.”
Akabeko Runetotem started to interrupt and counter that false claim, to state the truth that this same Night Elf was a member of the Cenarion Circle, and that he had helped a Horde member justly. But one glaring stare from the Goblin and her voice was shut up. She had been silenced with a spell.
“I am so sorry Draccus.” Akabeko pleaded with her thoughts reaching out to her Brother Druid. “I had no idea that we would receive this kind reception at the hands of the Horde. Camp Mojache once used to be a peaceful place, a place of refuge from the wilds of Feralas.”
“Take these two Tauren Druids to the first-aid building near the back of the Camp. One of them appears to have suffered injuries and needs medical care.” The Goblin gestured towards the two Warriors. He flashed a devious smile while turning back to face the object of his attention.
There was little that could be done at the moment but comply with the instructions of the Commander while his guards carried out his will. There had been a dramatic shift in policy recently. Where once order and justice had ruled, what now governed was a mob set on blood and racial warfare.
Akabeko Runetotem helped her sister Karegina Runetotem walk slowly away under the escort of the two Warriors. She cast her face back to the crowd and saw Draccus’s face briefly. She tried to hide the tears she was shedding for her Brother Druid. He was at the mercy of the Horde for now. She vowed she would find a way to help him.
“Time we have some fun and information from this Night Elf.” Commander Blazerburner looked to Skrarto with his hands out wide. “Please translate for me the best way you can.”
The female Troll Rogue reached into a small leather pouch and started to coat her daggers in a green slimy substance. “This may hurt a little as the poison has a bit of a sting. It is meant to keep you awake and alert to what lies ahead for you.” Skrarto closed the distance to Draccus within melee range.