Lord-Commander Alezander Talwind had almost forgotten the brutality of battle; the unpredictability, the panic, the chaos. Unfortunately, reminders had never been most gentle of things. His memory could only bring up the first and the last lines of the speech he had spent half the trip practicing in his cabin, only to end up improvising the vast majority of anyway. It was with a headache that he recalled his entire world spinning as their ship was struck. He remembered shouting at everyone, half deserved and half in frustration, as the men and women who had come with him rushed about to their duties in the midst of an attack that was both sudden and felt much too organised to be random.
The rest of that evening was much a blur lost in a pool of blood, sweat and screaming. He considered it a prank of the universe that his mind chose to retain no memory of what he did right that night, yet remained capable of replaying every decision made less than perfectly; seemingly in order to plague his conscience.
At least there was one decision, made long after horns had sounded the final charge and victory was assured, that offered him no doubts as to its rightfulness. The draenei, Bristera, would never likely be welcome in their ranks again – her pitiful decisions having almost cost them lives.
“Stupid goat…” The noble muttered to no one in particular. The sun was beginning its assent in the east, signifying the beginning of the first day after their arrival on the coast of Arathi and giving at least some illusion of warmth to the chilly highland air around the rise where the young Lord now held his lonely vigil.
Luckily pushing aside thoughts, both prideful and humbling, had been one of the first skills he learned among soldiers. There was limited time to both worry and bask in glory, before the hammering of workers and seductive smell of raptor stew being cooked en masse reminded one that it was just another day; that there was an entire camp below looking to him for direction.
At least this part of the job was relatively easy; though tedious in its own right. Half-erected tents had to be overseen and scout reports listened to. Food and water stocks, already pitifully low after much was lost with the ship, had to be accounted for. There were always complaints too. Paladins complained about Death Knights, Death Knights complained about puppies and workers demanded that the servants cook more, faster and better. It was as though they had never been in a hostile territory before.
The sun had long reached its zenith when he had finished his rounds, his mood at least somewhat improved from the simple work. For all his grumbling, he enjoyed this role; probably more than he had ever enjoyed the wealthy courts of nobility. There was something remarkably endearing about walking among off-duty soldiers gambling and drinking, tired craftsmen slurping down large quantities of rather poor-quality stew. Even the odd prostitute among the tents, one of many seeking their fortune at a camp full of men whose wives and sweethearts were too far away to occupy them, brought a feeling of sentimentality. Good or bad, it was normal.
His first set of responsibilities over with, the young commander headed over to the cave where a dutiful mage was always on hand to open and close the portal to Stormwind which had been so painstakingly set up during the battle. Granted, it wasn’t near as permanent or impressive as he had expected but if his advisors told him it was the best possible… Well, he wasn’t about to argue with magi on the topic of the arcane. He knew a losing battle when he saw one.
Carefully he stepped through the first tendrils of the portal open before him, trying to keep from becoming dizzy as the world changed from one place to another within a moment that defied all logic and sense. As the first buildings of the Alliance capital came into view, the King’s Keep looming in the distance, a feeling of dread washed over him; the next part of his daily duties now feeling too close for comfort. Paperwork, Alezander’s bane.