Garrosh thought that what Gorgonna had said by the lake was absurd. His own father had been the first to drink the blood of Mannoroth, he knew that—by the ancestors, how he knew it; no one would ever let him forget it—but Grom had in turn slain Mannoroth and ended the curse for them all at the cost of his own life. His debt was paid in blood. What more could anyone want?
It was Krenna’s words that truly nagged him.
They nagged him when the night elves ambushed lumber caravans from Ashenvale.
They nagged him when soldiers from Tiragarde Keep robbed Razor Hill.
They nagged him when the dwarves of Bael Modan and the humans of Northwatch Hold refused to leave the Horde territory that they had usurped.
None of these things was happening for the first time.
Certainly there had been retaliation, and many of the outposts had rightfully acted in their own defense. Garrosh longed to travel and lend them his support. He would gladly fight to secure them. He would gladly teach the Alliance to leave them alone, to let them take what they needed to survive. Unlike Garadar, Orgrimmar had the might and the numbers to defend itself.
Well, it would have. If only orc forces were not tangled up at Tarren Mill, aiding the Forsaken—an aptly named people, in Garrosh’s opinion. What Thrall had ever seen in them, Garrosh could not possibly comprehend.
Still more orcs had been sent to Quel’Thalas. Garrosh’s own interactions with the elves in Orgrimmar had left him wondering distinctly why the Horde should bother with them at all. Their respect seemed thin.
And the trolls. Garrosh could barely stand to think of it. Recruit after recruit had been sent to aid them in reclaiming their land to the south, and somehow all attempts had still failed. Apparently this had been going on for years. What kind of people could not even take down a single witch doctor? Was it really going to take a full-scale invasion—yet more diversion of Horde troops—to reclaim a few measly islands?
The more Garrosh thought about it all, the more his rage smoldered. With each passing day, what Krenna had said clawed at his conscience. Garrosh’s impatience grew.
Then the rumors had started. From Ratchet, they had heard, by way of Booty Bay, that something was amiss with the grain shipments. People had begun to whisper. The few Forsaken who made Orgrimmar their home had cautioned its leaders: It is happening again.
They were not wrong.
These were times like none he had ever seen. Friends turned into foes; life, into death that yet was not. There could be no hesitation, no mercy, no quarter. This was the plague. This was sorcery of a wickedness that only one such as Gul’dan could have conceived of, yet Gul’dan had long been dead. It was another who orchestrated these atrocities, Garrosh had learned: a former prince from the Alliance. One who had been too gullible, too weak, and too stupid to prevent his own manipulation into evil. Now he rained death upon them.
Garrosh’s axes had risen and fallen over, and over, and over again in defense of Orgrimmar. He would protect his people.
Then, abruptly, the threat had seemed to cease. The plague’s spread had ended. The last of the infected had been dispatched. But this was not the end, Garrosh knew. Far from it. The only recourse against such a brazen enemy was war, brutal and ruthless. He ached for it. He would lead their armies to deliver the Horde’s justice. He needed only to wait for Thrall’s command.
From across the world the reports pour in. The plague has ravaged us, and the flying citadels send their armies to desecrate our lands. Still you wait, Warchief. You call for counsel when you should call for war. Even these…allies…you have allowed into our Horde have gathered here, and the only announcement you have for any of us is to hold. We are holding, Thrall. You are hesitating.
The challenge had been issued out of sheer frustration and rage. Thrall would not act. He wanted to scout; he wanted to consult with the Alliance—with a woman of the very people who had spawned the traitorous prince in the first place. Garrosh would not let that happen.
“You challenge me, boy?” Thrall answered in a voice deathly calm. “I don’t have time for this….” He turned away.
“So you refuse? Is the son of Durotan a coward?”
That caught Thrall’s attention. He whirled around, and it pleased Garrosh to see the fury in his eyes.
“Inside!” Thrall roared, pointing toward the Ring of Valor. Garrosh could have sung.
I will make you act.