Poison. It came to him suddenly: the axe was poisoned, and this was wrong. This was not the way of these people. The tauren hit the ground with a loud thump. Everything began to move at normal speed again. The crowd roared in adulation and outrage.
It all melted away, and a new vision formed. He saw it, and he was in it. He found himself at the head of a line of trolls once more. They carried their belongings and looked determined. He was still in the strange orange landscape. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw the great city from the earlier vision. It was darker, somehow sharper. Orcs lined the top of the wall, watching the departing trolls with sullen menace. Vol’jin felt a deeper sense of unease; there was something else that bothered him about the vision. Then it struck him.
Zalazane was nowhere to be seen.
Where Zalazane? Vol’jin wondered. I need my friend now more than ever.
Vol’jin felt apprehension and uncertainty in his heart, overlaid by a cold anger, a determination to bring the Darkspears through the dangerous times ahead.
“You told my brotha that it better to survive,” the loa said, “even if it mean bein’ weak, so you can fight another day. Better to endure than die with glory.” The voice ripped Vol’jin’s mind from the vision; it rattled around in his chest. It was the voice of one who had seen greater glories and horrors than Vol’jin would ever know. “Now you take the Darkspears from the safety of Orgrimmar; you risk an alliance that represent strength. You can’t make up your mind?”
Vol’jin hesitated. He was being asked a very important question, and he had no context at all. Why would he do this? He looked around. His people were angry, afraid, determined, excited. He looked back up at the wall.
Then his eye fell on Garrosh. The imposing warchief watched from the battlements, ostensibly stern, but with a tiny smile of satisfaction playing about his lips. He was framed against the sky in his armor, light striking the stark black tattoo on his lower jaw.
He was a brute with a gift for violence and war, but no understanding of diplomacy or compromise.
Then Vol’jin knew.
“I brought de Darkspears here to protect our bodies,” he said. “We live to fight another day. But that just our bodies. One thing the Darkspears can’t lose, loa, we can’t ever lose, is our soul. The Darkspears have a soul, and if we stay with this orc, do his bidding, we lose our soul. And there be no comin’ back from that.”
“Darkspears must survive, but it worth nothin’ if they lose their souls. Darkspears must be true. Be true,” the voice said. “You hear all loa now. You will hear us all the time. You got to learn how to listen.”
Vol’jin opened his eyes. He was lying on the always-muddy surface of the jungle floor. Several types of insects were happily building mud cocoons over his body. He was still next to the fire, which now burned low. There was no sign of Zalazane. Just as in the vision. Vol’jin struggled to a sitting position.
A moment later, Zalazane limped from the darkness and sat beside him. They stared into the fire in silence for a few heartbeats.