Hamuul responded with a slight rumble in his voice. "Now is not the time for self-doubt, young Baine. You are doing every bit as good a job as your father. I know beyond a doubt that he would approve of the wisdom you have shown and the passion you have to see this done right." He waved his hand. "Let those who cannot see that be off, and find their own way."
Baine smiled slightly. "I remember not too long ago you expressed much the same opinion as they."
Hamuul stiffened perceptibly. "I spoke hastily and out of frustration. I happily admit that I was wrong. We will get through this, and you will see that you are a leader, even if you do not believe it at present."
At that same moment, Garrosh was preparing the Kor'kron for the invasion of Brambleblade Ravine. Fifteen stood rigidly before him, eyes unwavering yet sparkling with the malicious excitement of the upcoming battle.
"These tauren can talk the tail off of a kodo, but will they take action when their very land is threatened by invasion?!" Garrosh raved. "We need to show them what true warriors can accomplish. Our target is the quilboar dens in southern Mulgore. The attack will commence shortly before dawn. See that you're ready."
His warriors saluted and ran off to prepare. Garrosh returned to his seat with Gorehowl resting across his lap. He would lead them all to victory, and his father's axe would sing in the glory of battle once again. Garrosh bared his teeth in a sharp grin.
The Kor'kron were elite; they were lethal; and they had the element of surprise. The darkened zeppelins slid silently through the air in the early pre-dawn hours, coming to rest near the quilboar-occupied land. Garrosh in the lead, the warriors rappelled down ropes to land nearly on the heads of the quilboar patrols. Blades flashed in a flurry of attacks, and ten quilboar lay still. Only one minor squeal escaped the lips of one enemy, and the guards near the entrance to the burrow moved to investigate. They, too, were quick to fall to a flurry of axes and swords that exploded into the stunned crowd. As the zeppelins moved off to a safe distance, the Kor'kron moved down the tunnels, and any resistance they met was dispatched quickly and efficiently.
The battle was short but intense, and the quilboar defended their home territory with a ferocity that surprised even Garrosh. Used to fighting in cramped tunnels, they made use of even their tusks if need be and attacked with a mindless zeal. They were not afraid to die in defense of their home. Garrosh smiled to himself as the quilboar before him fell one after another. He would teach them fear today.
A few minutes later the group reached the main chamber, Garrosh triumphantly in the lead with Gorehowl raised before him, ready to strike. He nodded proudly. The floor lay littered with bodies, and no sounds could be heard over the labored breathing of the warriors. They poked around, looking for signs, deciding on which of the myriad of tunnels to follow. After a few minutes, scuffling was heard to their rear, and they turned slowly, expecting to pick off the few stragglers left.
More than a few stragglers, the tunnels behind them were choked with the beasts. These new arrivals paused for a moment, noting the dozens of their brethren covering the floor. Garrosh shouted to them, "Today you shall all pay. Today you shall witness the wrath of the Horde!"
At Garrosh's signal, the Kor'kron launched a hail of axes into the gathering, and dozens of squeals erupted and echoed around the cavern. But the quilboar did not yet move to attack. Another flight of axes met its mark, but still not one beast moved forward. "What is this?!" yelled Garrosh. "Have you all surrendered so easily? I shall not grant you mercy, but cut you down where you stand!"
As one, the members of the crowd before him raised their arms and squealed loudly. The cavern behind the Kor'kron erupted, and as the orcs whirled around they saw a flood of hundreds of the beasts appearing from tunnels in the floor and holes in the roof, moving fast.
"Swing to the left flank; press forward!" shouted Garrosh. "Do not let them cut us off from the surface!" The warriors launched themselves at the quilboar, keeping the exit to their rear. Gorehowl was a blur, singing through the air to make contact with the lead attackers. They fell with a crunch, and more beasts poured over their fallen brethren.
"Forward!" came the command, and his warriors pushed harder against the deafening squeals and grunts as the quilboar pushed back without hesitation. Flashes of color illuminated the contorted faces of his Kor'kron as the quilboar shaman cast spells into their midst. Thunderous roars exploded and echoed throughout the cavern each time they made contact. Garrosh noticed with a sinking feeling that every flash showed one fewer warrior in his party. As they fell, the torches his fighters carried dropped to the floor and were quickly snuffed. With renewed vigor, Garrosh roared and fought more furiously still. He was a Hellscream, and a Hellscream did not fall to pathetic beasts. He would lead them out of this.
He swung Gorehowl around, faster and faster, and the air was filled with the unearthly song of the axe's motion. The howl reverberated down the tunnels and was answered in return by the screech of still more beasts. Quilboar flew in all directions or were sliced apart beneath his axe as Garrosh pressed on, but their numbers were endless. There was no relenting; there was no retreating; and Garrosh was pushed farther and farther into the cave until even the light from the surface could not reach. He was now alone, darkness closing in, and surrounded by the endless stream of quilboar, all squealing horrendously. They began to pluck at his armor, scratching and biting exposed flesh, pressing him farther still down the tunnel.
There was nothing left now but to retreat in the direction they were pushing, ever downward. He could feel their hot breath and squeals of excitement. He turned, groping for a way back to the surface, but all he found was a short side tunnel that ended abruptly. Finally, his back against the wall of the tunnel, Gorehowl became lodged in a crack in the side and would not pull free.
With a hoarse roar, Garrosh launched himself at the rushing tide of bristles and swords. He wrested a spear away from one attacker to bury it in the head of another. As he did so, the torch the beast was holding, the final source of light, dropped and was snuffed out. All became dark. On and on they came, and though he was alone, lost in the darkness, Garrosh would never stop until they all lay dead. His arms began to ache and his breathing grew ragged, but still he pressed on, using whatever weapon his hands made contact with. For each beast that fell, another rushed in to take his place.
Slowly, he began to get overwhelmed, and more and more of the quilboar attacks found purchase. Dimly, he could see a light permeating the darkness, but his concern was with the fight at hand. As the light grew brighter, many of his attackers paused, and he could hear a faint commotion from the main tunnel. Suddenly, impossibly bright light was streaming down in various radiant beams, and its source was growing closer by the second. The quilboar around him screamed in anger and charged back the way they had come. Blinded though he was, Garrosh could see beasts flying left and right as though they were nothing more than paper dolls.
The light grew brighter still and approached the bend where he was making his final stand. From around the corner he could see Baine, flanked by Hamuul Runetotem and a handful of Sunwalkers. Baine shouted down the tunnel, "Stand fast, brothers! You need not fear the darkness!" as Fearbreaker glowed bright in his hand, brighter than the radiant Light from the Sunwalkers themselves. Baine wondered dimly if Anduin Wrynn would approve of his gift being used in such a manner as beast after beast fell before the dwarven mace until, en masse, the quilboar retreated farther down their burrows into the safety of the darkness.
Baine rushed to the warchief's side. "Garrosh, grab your weapon and let's go. We need to move out of here before they flank us." He pulled Garrosh to his feet and helped him remove his weapon from where it was lodged in the wall. "Make haste."
Quickly they made their way toward the surface, and save for the bodies littering the floor, the way was clear and free of obstacles. Baine was counting his good fortune, hoping they had routed the quilboar completely as they passed through a rather large cavern. Upon reaching the other side, Hamuul called for a halt. He knelt and began to mutter, looking for the proper guidance for the correct path to the outside. As he stood and motioned toward the route, the walls of the cavern erupted. The group whirled to face the new onslaught, but stopped suddenly at the sight of the attackers.
Garrosh shouted above the din, "What are those?!"
Baine took a cautious step backward. "I wish I knew, Warchief..."