“Get the skiffs…. Deploy the lifeboats. We must attempt a rescue!!!” Talar was yelling now in a concentrated frenzy of action.
“But the storm swells keep coming, Talar! Wave after wave!” a sailor shouted. The words burrowed into Genn’s ringing ears.
“They keep coming, my lord, wave after wave! They just keep… coming! I… there is but little we can do.” The captain of the guard couldn’t hide his terror, mouth agape, eyes focused below. Genn, a teenage Liam, the captain, and the infamous royal archmage known as Arugal were standing on the ramparts high above the Greymane Wall.
Below them was a sea of shambling undead bodies, countless charging arachnid creatures, and massive monstrosities whose bodies seemed to be stitched together from the skins of rotted corpses. The root of this evil necromancy was unclear, but its origins were not—Lordaeron. Lordaeron, who weeks before had begged Gilneas for help and had been refused.
“By the Light, look at them. There are just… just so many.” Genn was startled by what he could see. Moonlight shimmered off the skeletal figures’ tattered armor. Their moans echoed up, persistent and unrelenting. The undead moved as one with a clear goal: the breaching of the wall.
Gilnean soldiers outside the wall below held the line, futilely launching fire-tipped arrows into the throng, their trails streaking across the darkness until they found their marks. But as soon as one among the undead was set aflame, another stood in its place.
“There is no end in sight, sire. We have been at this for days now. I… I do not believe we can hold out much longer. Even our great wall will give against countless numbers.” The captain was rattled. He’d seen much horror over the last few days, things no man should ever see—things no man could ever forget.
“Calm yourself! You are a Gilnean. Where is your sense of pride? Of course the wall will hold, and of course we will outlast even this.” Genn was stern. He had to show leadership, no matter what. He had to be the lord of his pack, Gilneas’s beating heart.
He looked out, listening to the cries below, seeing his men losing ground, scrambling back to his wall. He wondered what his father would have done at a time like this. There had to be a solution.
“Father, you should have… you should have listened to me.”
Genn turned to the voice. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His own son, Liam, his own boy, questioning him again and here, in front of the others while Genn was doing all he could to instill faith.
“Now is not the time, boy! Not now.” Genn’s eyes burned with fury.
Genn looked to the archmage who stood silently with him. Arugal, always a bit of a mystery, that one. Even here he showed no discernable emotion, no fear, instead just the calm, calculated gaze of one who was analyzing the living corpses below, intrigued. But such was the way of those who dedicated their lives to the arcane. Genn had never met one whom he would have called empathetic.
“Yes, my liege?” Arugal’s words were cold and breathy, and his eyes were devouring the sight below.
“Do what we discussed. Just do it already!”
Arugal bowed his head slightly, a strange smirk on his face as if he were a child given a new toy. “It will be done, my lord.”
And he was off, leaving Genn, Liam, and the captain to the horrific sounds below—the clanging of steel on armor, the cascading groans of the undead, and the shrieks of dying Gilnean soldiers. For the briefest of moments, Genn considered what he had just done. He had seen the wolf-men, the worgen, that Arugal had summoned. They were dangerous beasts, and more of them could be a liability. But these were desperate times; perhaps it took monsters to defeat monsters.
The flotilla was taking the brunt of the storm, gargantuan waves pounding down on the ships, but the combined might of the hardy lumber and steel rivets of an entire fleet was holding firm. Any damage taken by one ship was addressed instantly by the members of the others.
The flotilla wasn’t helping the Elune’s Radiance, however. It wasn’t helping Mia and Tess. The ship, or what was left of her, was slipping farther underwater.
Four lifeboats splashed into the ocean, white and frothy from churning waves and pelting rain, its color a stark contrast to the onyx-clouded sky. Several Sentinels made their way down rope ladders into the skiffs, the night elves’ sharp glaives strapped to their backs. Genn followed Talar toward the starboard side of the ship.