“I owe much to you and your people, Talar. Perhaps our differences are great. But do not let them divide us.”
Talar bowed his head gently. “They certainly shall not. Archdruid Stormrage believes that you and your people will be an important asset to the Alliance. I would not question his wisdom.”
“An asset to the Alliance?” Genn was taken aback. “We owe your people a great debt, this is true… but I cannot offer you or your leader any assurances as to whether or not we can rightfully participate in the business of your noble Alliance as an asset of any import.”
“This is unfortunate to hear. But these are political matters. Our business is to survive this day.”
The daylight outside was scarce. Shards of dulled illumination peeked through the clouds only to be devoured by the dark horizon. The fresh salt air filled Genn’s nose, and loud gulls squawked dreadfully in the distance.
Dozens of violet humanoids busied themselves about, doing all they could to prepare their ship for what certainly appeared to be a massive storm. But among the purple he could see his own people. Pink skin and then, of course, the worgen: lupine beast-men and women unwilling to adhere to the requests of their saviors.
“As you can see, King, they intend to partake in preparations and ignore the orders given. They have refused my call for all non-deckhands to go below.”
Near the bow, Genn could see two Sentinels, beautiful warrior women, trying to pull a worgen away from working on the sail lines. It was not going well. The wolf-man was pushing a third night elf sailor back, infuriated at being yanked away.
“You must understand that the mission we were sent on was not originally to bring the remaining populace of a nation back to Darnassus. It was to assist with the worgen. We are already stretched thin. Look out there. This is no mere squall. We may be facing our greatest obstacle yet,” Talar continued.
“Fair enough, Talar.”
There were several more night elven ships in the ocean surrounding the vessel. Genn knew that on one of them, the Elune’s Radiance, were his wife, Mia, and his daughter, Tess: his family. It was strange for him, now, to think about family and not include his son. It hurt more than any physical pain he’d endured his entire life. It hurt more than losing a kingdom.
“The scouts return!” a lookout in the crow’s nest shouted, pointing toward the bleak sky.
Three black smudges veered away from the storm-ridden gloom ahead. They came into focus slowly, no longer smudges, but giant storm crows flying at breakneck speeds toward Talar, their loud squawking a cacophony of urgency and, it seemed to Genn, fear.
Then the massive crows morphed. Genn was still getting used to seeing this transformation. He had heard that druidism was practiced among some of Gilneas’s agrarian folk, but he hadn’t been exposed to it until recently. The bird shapes twisted and jerked, wrenching their anatomies into their more natural forms—those of kaldorei druids, two males and one female.
Panic was written across each of their faces.
“We must order the ships to take immediate action!” the female druid said.
“The storm… it… it is like none I have ever seen. Waves three times the size of giants come with it…. The sea boils with the frames of broken ships,” one of the males said. He was trying with all of his will to maintain composure, but his terror was apparent.
“It is as I had feared,” Talar said. “Go now, hurry, warn the captains. A ship on its own will not survive. Tell them that we must form a flotilla immediately!”
Without hesitation the druids contorted into their storm crow forms before scattering out toward the other vessels. Genn could see the ocean roiling and black rain clouds smothering the sky not far ahead. He was not from seafaring stock, but the situation, even to his limited nautical knowledge, looked severe.
“This cursed black dragon still haunts us,” Talar said. It was the most emotional Genn had seen him in the days since they had barely escaped from Gilneas. “This Cataclysm… the world still shakes; these storms have ripped apart the seas….”
“Deathwing the Destroyer is a monster, no doubt… but to imagine that beast caused this great Cataclysm… that the aftershocks are still lingering because of him… I just—”
“Believe it, Genn Greymane. As I have said, we find ourselves in the most bleak of times. If we survive this, the worries of Gilneas are only the start. Now, get your people below decks. My crew must work with precision, no distractions. Send orders for your people to comply on all vessels.” Talar had already begun waving his arm to the sailors perched on the bridge above.
“We can assist, Talar. My people are capable…. They will want to take part in the saving of their own hides.”
“There is no time to argue! I would prefer for their hides, as you say, not to end up on the Great Sea’s floor as food for naga! In this affair, on our vessels, Gilneas must cooperate.”
Sheets of rain skated in. Tethers of liquid now bore down hard on the struggling crew. The sea began to rise. Genn realized that this was no moment or place for his people to dispute. This was a situation where they would have to give their destinies over to the kaldorei.
The winds howled, as seemingly out of nowhere a massive wave crashed into the hull, tipping the strong vessel and sending the humans, night elves, and worgen teetering across the deck. Genn slipped, then gripped one of the mast lines hard, doing everything in his power to stay on his toes. This storm, this tsunami, had hit faster than even the scouts had predicted.