Operation: Reckoning

Wyrmrest Accord
Too much bloodshed.

Far too many close calls, far too many more tragic horrors, and by far too many dogtags now hanging from around his neck.

And that didn't even get him started on the ever-increasing amounts of letters to grieving families he was required to notify per his duties of rank.

It had been a long, bloody year for Kanas Renard; even before when he had offered his services to the Alliance as a marksman, he never found himself so steeped in crimson splash before the war.

Now? He supposed that he said it best, trite as it was: "Killin's easy as breathin'."

For almost a year's time, he had been skulking around on either the front lines or beyond them. Rarely had he known the now-distant pleasures of a full night's sleep, or a warm bed and a hot meal. Instead, his wakening call often persisted of jungle beasts or the booming voices of orcs trudging through the jungle; or, if he were proving more difficult to awaken that morning, the sound of steel being drawn to bare was more then enough to spring him to life.

This discounted the fact that sleeping in the jungle was a test of endurance and misery; the humid air of the jungle timbers and shrubberies sapped as much morale from a man as they did any moisture in the air, the tropical surroundings practically drawing the life from everything that lived and breathed. And then, in the night, it was not only dangerous to sleep alone and/or low to the ground thanks to tigers (Poor Private McGillian had learned this the hard way when he woke to one such giant cat biting into his throat), but everything became abysmally dark; every noise loud enough to pierce the chorus of crickets could either be harmless or lethal.

The relentless rains did little to soothe any of the men stationed within the jungle; though the rain soothed the heat and humidity of the day, it too had it's own dangers; for when it rains in Krasarang, it pours. The sound of a blade being drawn could easily be mistaken for the splashings of a nearby waterfall or a bird in the din, and visibility near-completely vanished altogether.

At least, Kanas still had Jed with him; the gray fox at his side had loyally endured many hardships with his master over the course of the conflict, from taking turns at the night watch, to safeguarding one another in battle.

Even Jed could see the dreadful toll that the conflict was taking on his master, however. Kanas almost never laughed or smiled these days, and with good reason; of the original 30 men assigned to his command, only four of the original personnel of the Bloodhound Company remained excluding him. Indeed, of the twenty-six fallen brothers, Kanas remembered each and every one; every letter to their families penned personally, every dogtag having once been part of the standard battle dress of an Alliance soldier who had fought Bloodhound's banner.

But maybe, just maybe his one desperate wish since the start of this dreadful conflict would be coming about soon.

The orders had come in last night, handed down directly from Sky-Admiral Rodgers herself to her subordinate officers.

Well, to be accurate, only some of them.

As he relished one of the few hours in which he could find relative safety of Lion's Landing, Kanas absent-mindedly sliced into the letter using an arrow; an odd thing to be sure, but on a battlefield, you learned to improvise.

Captain Renard,

I first want to commend you and the Bloodhound Company for holding the line above and beyond as you all have; for a unit consisting of so few, you and your men have managed to create chaos and mayhem for the Horde in multiple ways while at other times saving many alliance lives; sometimes, at great cost of your own.

While I could go on at length on their commendable spirit, that isn't why I am personally sending you orders.

Captain Renard, you and the Bloodhound Company are to stand down from your post in Krasarang and seek out Archmage Linnath Cloudcaller for an immediate portal transfer to Kalimdor; when you emerge, you will disembark from this point and head into the Barrens.

The war is starting to wind down, Captain, and we are winning; those green-skinned savages fight amongst themselves as their Horde comes unraveling around them. With the valiant efforts of your unit, Alliance heroes and so many more, we have held the Horde and repelled much of their forces from Pandaria; though we cannot drive them out of the continent yet, we have assured the powers here will not be turned on the Alliance or the Pandaren.

Once you arrive into the Barrens, you'll know what to do.

Operation: Reckoning is in effect. Victory for the Alliance!
War Journal of Kanas Renard
May the 21st, Year 1229 on Stormwind's Rise

I have decided that I am going to keep a personal journal of my time here in Kalimdor. It's the best way that I have to cope, at this point; most of the Company has yet to turn in, and I dread trhat I will likely be selecting replacement personnel to replace today's casualties. Although at first our assaults were a surprise to the well-prepared Kor'kron, the battles became more intense as the day wore on.

I have literally gone from a jungle that will boil a man alive in his armor, to a vast short-grassed wasteland where one can fry eggs upon their own chestplates given enough time and determination... or boredom.

Though, I hardly see any reason to be bored out here; as I write this I am half-way caked in blood, dust and sweat; I must smell putrid now, even to Jed. I feel bad for him; at least in the jungle, water was plentiful, and the local druidesses helped assure he would remain free of any... pests that dwell in the jungles of Pandaria.

Now, we're in a place that must be hellish for anything covered in fur; I am surprised that the Tauren managed to survive out in this wasteland for centuries; or so their folklore claims.

The fighting is as intense as ever, even if every shadow and cleft doesn't hide danger like it did in the jungle; even as the Darkspear provide a useful distraction which we are so graciously supplying, the orcs hold up to the tenacity often granted them in stories of the veterans and washed up drunks I've heard in passing. Regardless, I have fell many today; by my counts, another twenty have met their end.

I am certain more rumors will swirl with that goofy nickname of mine, both among friends and foes; that is another subject for another day, however.

Now that I think, however, I find that I miss the comforts of the Elwynn woodland.

I hope ma and pa are okay; they've known why I've decided to go off to war, and though a grown man, I know that woman worries.

Not as much as I worry for ma though; if word ever got out that woman was-

I best not write that here, not out in the Barrens. Who knows what could happen to me, out here behind enemy lines. Even as Fort Triumph's walls provide a bulwark against the Kor'kron outriders, I would not so recklessly endanger my own kin, even as far away and safe as they are.

It is getting dark now, and I'm watching the sun set over the dusty grasslands; though the fighting is dying down with the heat of the day, I know that this sluggish tapering of hostilities can itself be a deception.

Jed will be sleeping with me thankfully, so that's a small comfort here, out in the harsh and unforgiving desert. It's becoming very cold now, and I can see the White Lady rising in the sky.

I only have seven hours left on my rest, but for now, after enjoying some water I shall sleep, and hope that we do not come under attack in the shadows of night.

There will be more orcs to kill in the morning.
War Journal of Kanas Renard
May the 22nd, Year 1229 on Stormwind's Rise

It was as I feared this morning as I woke just an hour before the dawn; Bloodhound has suffered heavy losses yet again, but my soldiers are tasked with the impossible at times; we aren't called "the blood drivers of the Alliance" for nothing. As it stands, six more personnel fell against the Kor'kron yesterday:

Jacobs, Warren. 31, formerly of Southshore.
Thunderbrew, Doinar. 47, of Ironforge.
Malvaadar, Yulandra. Of the Exodar.
Togfizzle, Binzap. 28, of Gnomeregan.
Petusky, Laurence. 25, of Stormwind.
Gallina, Rolando. 27, of Stormwind.

They shall all be missed, especially Yulandra; she was one of the few who could put a smile on my face these days. I will be tending with a priest to assure each are given their last rites before their burial, simply out of respect for their service. It is only fitting I do so as their command officer. I would have all of them sent back to their families, but sadly that is not possible for some of the bodies; namely, Yulandra and Rolando.

The shamaness confessed to me not long ago that she is the only surviving member of her family; therefore, I have decided that she will be laid to rest here in the Barrens, and take note of her name; in this way, she will not be forgotten.

Rolando's death was most disturbing, however. When the Sentinels found the body, the corpse had been desecrated in one of the most brutal manners I have seen yet; the head had been severed, and the flesh peeled away from the skull.

It was how they had identified him at the autopsy table, as his tag was partially smashed and too scratched to read.

From what my intelligence reports tell me, this manner of desecration is similar to one element of Horde troops that I haven't heard about in quite sometime: the Garrosh'kar Skullcleavers. Supposedly, they collect the skulls of their fallen enemies as some sort of macabre tribute to that murderous brute on Orgrimmar's throne.

If they have it right, it's not a stretch as to guess where Rolando's skull has ended up.

Being of the Gallina family of winemakers, I will have to have the body sent back to Stormwind eventually; it will obviously be closed casket for his funeral, no exceptions.

Nor do I plan to tell the Gallina of family this when I inform them by letter. Thankfully the Kirin Tor allow for easier communications like this over longer distances, even if I don't quite understand all there is to arcane magic.

I must end this entry for now; I have more dog-tags to add to my chain, replacement personnel to select, and letters to write and send out to families.

And then there is the matter of Yulandra's burial, followed by putting more of these greenskin animals in the ground.

Here we go, day two.
War Journal of Kanas Renard
May the 23rd, Year 1229 on Stormwind's Rise

The second day was just as intense as the first, if not more so; now painfully aware that he is besieged from all sides and effectively confined to the Barrens and the Durotar desert, Garrosh is sending his legions forward to safeguard Orgrimmar.

As I rose for the morning from my tent I was informed by Lieutenant Japes that the replacement personnel I selected to hold the line in place of Jacobs, Thunderbrew, Gallina, Petusky, Malvaadar and Togfizzle will be delayed for sometime; something to effect of Goblins creating some sort of interference field that hampers teleportation magic; I'd have to look at the documents he turned in again, I'm afraid I cannot recall them at this early hour.

Thankfully Jed is finally adjusting to the unearthly heat of this wasteland; as a result, his summer coat is growing in early, his winter fur falling out at a rapid pace. He isn't showing signs of any pests or fleas, but I'm still keeping an eye out.

We buried Yulandra yesterday, right on the shoreline just outside Ratchet; she always loved the seas, and given she has no known living kin, I found that it was an appropriate resting place for her. Thankfully, I was able to flag down a friendly anchorite to perform a draenic blessing on her burial; I know nothing of the draenei of their ways, but everyone deserves to be buried as they would in peace.

She rests now beneath the waves.

As the heat of the day dragged on, the flames of war continue to fan all across the Barrens; and Bloodhound continues to do me proud, living up to our legacy. By the end of the day, our combined "tally" of slain Kor'kron and their supporters sat at 60; not bad considering there's only 24 of us at the moment, myself included.

Ah, but I did have an interesting couple of encounters yesterday as well. The first was with the leader of the so-called "Darkspear Revolution": the troll known as Vol'jin.

I must confess, I knew that there was domestic strife in the Horde, but not even we Bloodhound suspected how deep it ran; the brutes are tearing themselves apart, figuratively and literally.

So the stories were true; Hellscream tried to have the leader of the Darkspear killed off. I have to say, I'm not surprised that the tyrant is taking such measures to preserve his bloody hold over the Horde, but even I sympathize a bit with the fact that Vol'jin looks haggard as horse hockey. It would appear that somebody tried to slash his throat; whoever tried obviously didn't succeed, however.

But I'm rambling; it wasn't anything major, but the shadow-hunter and I met to discuss coordination of sabotage, assault and recon efforts; nothing big, like what Agents McLeary and Kearnen are up to (those two are half-mad, I swear), but enough that we'd have to be informed of each other's moments.

Needless to say, it was only bareboned in terms of pleasantries; I don't exactly like trolls, and they sure as hell don't like us.

That said, I admire Vol'jin a little; he hasn't given me a reason to think he'll stab us in the back, and has kept his word as we keep ours. Even if we'd otherwise be at each others' throats, we can respect each other in that regard.

After including that business, I bit the Darkspear the afternoon and headed back into the Barrens to hunt more Kor'kron.

From there, it was pretty routine, until I saw an interesting situation; from atop Vigil, it appeared to be two head-butting ants until I flew lower to see a lone draenei fighting off a few Horde thugs.

Amazing, even now some of those idiots would but this fragile "Support" of Vol'jin's efforts in jepoardy as the Alliance fleet rallies to crush Orgrimmar.

Not all of them are so stupid, but in my experience the Horde can be mostly comprised of bloodthirsty imbeciles; we're trying -help- them, and this is what they do...? Unbelievable.

But I digress.

Flying even closer, I realized the woman was a priestess who I knew very well; Tanria, the leader of the Undercross Collective, a paramilitary group.

And she was in trouble.

After taking only a moment, I didn't hesitate to sweep down with Jed in tow and help her out; we barely got away, but together we felled at least ten of the brutes.

Hiding out from our would-be murderers until nightfall, the two of us had a lengthy discussion; catching up, and the nature of war.

I hope you're safe wherever you are out there today, my friend.

For now, the third day of my war here awaits. The sun will be up in another hour; time to get Jed up and go hunting.

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