((Ok! I've fixed some parts and tried out the handy dandy format button. Alright, I understand this stretches the lore, but I hope I will be justified. There is some explicit content in this and it is indeed long (30 pages.) Please if you're interested do read and leave a comment. Let me know what you think and enjoy. Oh, and is there a way to double space this easily?))
It was a cold day in Lordaeron. At least I remember it being so. I don’t recall much, but despite that it was a new beginning. It was a change from the blood and fighting, the scars and bruises, broken bones and torn joints. I felt I should write this down, just in case someone was ever interested. So, no one was barred from my past if it ever became important. Terenas Menethil the second, the man who would turn out to be my father would have seen to the opposite, should he have gotten the chance, but for my sake I’m writing this piss poor excuse for an autobiography. So, to whomever it concerns my name is Cyrus, and this is my story.
As I was saying, there was a change in my life. It was important, life altering, but wasn’t my salvation. I knew I’d never see it, but what I found among human beings could be considered monstrous, even from my original family, the Forstwolf Orcs of Alterac Valley.
I don’t know where I was born, or why, but my mother was Lianne Menethil. I don’t remember her at all, but I discovered that she was banished along with me after the First War. I never gave it much thought, but somewhere along the line she was killed by orcs while wandering near the mountains. I have no clue why she was there, but the consequence was death, at least for her.
I was taken in by orc sentries. Again, unsure why, but seeing as I ended up as a prisoner of war at such young an age suggests I was to be a practice dummy. I was raised by an orc warrior named “Gru.” He hated me, but gave me a purpose. I fed his prized worgs before every fight. Big beasts, there were nine all together and could have easily eaten me, but they never laid a paw on me. Despite Gru’s hatred for humans and unfamiliarity with raising one he saw this as a command for respect. “Worgs can sense many things, most lead to a kill or mates. But sometimes, they can smell destiny. I hope to the spirits they’re just messing with me.”
That was the first conversation he and I had. And even though it would only be coupled with another I felt it was special. I didn’t know any language, but I remember feelings well, still do.
Not long after that, give or take a few years, I had my first fight in the Pit. The Pit was a small arena, made of large trees laid in a square. The top was tied with ropes, hence the first rule. “Never touch the ropes in here. We’ll all die.” I was facing off against a class of would be warriors. They were eager bastards, couldn’t wait to crack my skull open. Gru nodded to one as he said something similar, I’m sure. The orc stepped forward towards me. He was massive and older than me; keep in mind this is when I was very young. He picked up a tree branch and began to beat with it senselessly. I remember this well, my first bout of true fear. I had always felt content with my cell, food and fire. I had been beaten by Gru before, many times, but I don’t know, this was different. This was a stranger, an orc I’ve never seen; an orc who thought he was better than me.
The fight ended with me bloody on the ground, for a long time. I came to that night and looked towards the sky. It was night and the wind was howling. The sky was a deep blue and I was so confused. I remember laying there, feeling comfortable, despite me wearing virtually nothing. I looked down and I had a festering wound. I recall worrying about it, noticing the bleeding had stopped. What’s worse though, is what happened next. I was surrounded by fur, an animal had me in its clutches.
I remember the terror that came over me; a primal fear of animals outside, bears, wolves, large birds. I was frozen in shock, knowing for sure I was going to be eaten. But no, I sat for a long time, wondering when I would meet the stomach of some animal and watch as my body was chewed apart. I wanted to see it, I was so curious of what my guts would look like. I decided to turn towards the creature, hoping that whatever situation I was in, would end. Hopefully in my death, dying sounded lovely, it brought honor if I remember right. Lok’ Tar Ogar was my first thought as I turned.
The creature was familiar, a worg, one of those that I have fed many times. It was sleeping, blood caressing it’s chin. The worg had me wrapped with it’s appendages, it wanted me to stay warm. I looked around and saw the other eight sleeping closely. All ten of us were warm that night, thanks to nine of us. I went to sleep with the most energetic feeling in my heart. I think it was love.
For days I looked to my new friends for comfort. I offered stay with the worgs for far longer than usual. I remember Gru laughing as I attempted to tell him that. He found it amusing that I couldn’t speak; also that my scar was infected. He understood eventually and let me stay in the worg pen. Certain that I’d make a good snack one day; I always thought it was amusing, the orc didn’t know his own pets.
The scar grew worse, yellow puss would occasionally drip from it. The worgs didn’t lick it anymore and I felt helpless. More fear set into my heart as the cur progressed from a wound to a pit. I had no idea what it was, and I remember panicking. I’d cut the puss out despite the pain, but it would always feel worse. I returned to Gru, hoping for a way out. He looked at the wound and ignored it; I remember the words he said, only now I could understand, “Disposable.” After some time of pondering and reflecting, I haven’t been able to come to any conclusion by what that meant. Did he mean me, or the dogs?
I awoke the next day, the scar had grown and I was shaking. I remember the terror in my heart, an icy blackness had taken hold. The cell door opened and an axe was thrown in. It clanged on the straw floor and almost landed on my head. It was Gru, he looked down at me and grunted. He motioned for me to follow, which I did, clutching my wound.
He arrived outside, the bright light nearly blinded me as I stepped into the frozen arena. I began to cough and dropped my axe; a tiny woodcutter’s axe for a tiny boy. Gru laughed as he thrusted me forward, along with the axe. The axe landed near my hand and I grasped it,
the terror had suddenly vanished. I didn’t know why at the time, but I felt as if someone familiar was nearby, a friendly face. I looked up and my heart sunk again. In the middle of the ring, a rider atop one of my beloved worg friends waited. The orc was a student, learning to charge into battle on top of a battle worg. Charge at a human being a destroy them.
I struggled to stand, and the young orc watched from atop my friend. I stood, but had trouble balancing, the axe was heavy and I had hardly eaten. The scar was getting worse as well, it still hurts today. The orc pointed towards me and kicked the worg in the sides. The dog barely flinched and stood still. The orc tried again, still no response. Gru walked past me and towards the worg. He punched the dog in the side of the head and grasped it by the jaw. “Move.”
The dog shook its head and Gru backed away. The younger orc kicked it once more and the beast charged at me. “Lok’ Tar Ogar!” The orc screamed. He was excited, he was finally going to kill me, as he should have days ago. I stood motionless, my friend who I’ve fed for so long was going to kill me. The primal fear filled me and I stood like stone, I was powerless, and I wanted to die.
I opened my eyes and the worg was near, the rider was swinging his axe, ready to chop off my head. He screamed again, “Lok’Tar Ogar!” I listened as if separated from his world, the air had become grey and the nearby fires burned blue. Time seemed to have stopped and I though for sure that I was finally free. A joy filled me as I closed my eyes one final time; only to be awoken by a howl. I looked again, everything had stopped, except for the fires. They swayed back and forth and then still, as if paying repentance to someone, a guest. I felt a surge of emotions as a white wolf appeared before me, in place of the battle worg. It watched me with it’s deep blue eyes as if sad. It sat there as the void’s wind was alive and it’s fur was blowing. Then, like the snow it hurled into the air in millions of snow particles, following the wind. Another howl thundered in the grey skies above and suddenly I felt something, something strong. The world suddenly became red; I suddenly began to feel a force twisting inside my wound. The howl stopped and I was left alone in the cold, the red world began to spin and I was no longer in pain, rather the opposite, I felt alive.
I awoke as the worg stared into my eyes, the beast had stopped mid charge and threw it’s rider over me. The orc was yelling as his arm was shattered, but the worg stood still, staring into my eyes. I saw the grey world I just visited, the grey realm, the world that saved me. I dropped the axe and reached for the canine, hoping that it would accept me. Perhaps it was the white wolf, or it would take me back. Whatever the outcome, I knew the worg was my future. It had what I wanted, and I hadn’t a clue what that was.
The worg yelped as it was cut at the back of the skull. Gru was chopping the poor creature into ribbons and was ready to kill it. It had disobeyed it’s master and the orc was certain to punish it; the worg had to die. I watched as the worg screamed in pain, I felt it’s blood spill as if it were my own. Without hesitation I lifted the axe and charged at Gru. The orc had been like a father to me, he fed me, clothed me, and taught me the basic words. He was all I had, but that didn’t pass through my mind then, only now. I wanted to punish him; he needed to die.
The snow fell slowly outside the cell. It was silent and peaceful, as if nature itself was in awe. That, I did think at the time. I looked out the window, barred from the valley outside. All I knew was this cell, the Pit and the worg pens. Even now I think back to that moment, when I struck at Gru. I look to those days of staring at the snow fall, hoping the white wolf would return. I knew it wouldn’t, somehow I knew, but didn’t know. It was a strange feeling, I felt alone, but yet I felt alive. Worse yet, I was being watched; but by who? The wolf that saved me or the orc that now has an axe lodged in his back?
Weeks passed before I left the cell. Other orcs who I’ve never met before guided me out and into the arena. They wore plate armor and were adorned in blue; they carried great axes and said nothing as they escorted me from the cage. We entered the arena, there a great many orcs stood in waiting in and around the arena. They had come to watch the execution.
A great orc nodded at the orc guards and they in turn nodded. I looked up as they unchained my hands. The great orc was wearing black armor and had a patch over his eye. He had white hair, combed back and he looked at me with pity; I can only know the look as I write this. I stood motionless as the great orc addressed the crowd behind him. They cheered as he finished soon afterward and the guards handed me a sword. They walked away as I struggled to lift the weapon. The great orc stood aside and walked towards the arena entrance with his guards. They stood at the doors as if blocking it, leaning against the wooden planks, ready to watch the spectacle unfold before them. I had the sword in my hand and looked onward, a young orc approached, axe in hand and clad in leather. He was the orc that rode my friend against me.
I remember that day well, it was important. So important in fact, it changed my destiny. No longer would I be a prisoner, a human in a cage, a child who was disposable. That day I became more, I became like them. My world turned red at the sight of him, I felt alive again. But this time, my heart boiled. I couldn’t describe the feeling back then because I felt it every day, but never had this emotion evoked so much from me. It actually meant something now. I hated this orc.
The crowd cheered as the child orc lifted his axe. He screamed, “Lok’Tar Ogar!” Just as he had those weeks earlier, I remembered them well. I had my head lowered, to the ground. The world spun and the redness was increasing. My hate builded as I watched the orc charge at me, not slowed, but in real time, I saw him as he was. I lifted my sword with ease and all thoughts were erased from my mind. I no longer felt fear, just hate. I looked up and the look on the young orc’s face was synonymous with absolute terror. His face is always in my mind, my first kill.
I stabbed into the orc and pivoted to the left away from the falling body. The young orc screamed as he landed. He turned and looked to me in terror, my hate was not averted, instead I moved closer. His eyes widened and he screamed, but I couldn’t hear him. All I saw was the color red and his outline, I smelled his fear, his blood. I no longer wanted to know what my own guts looked like. I lifted up my sword over his head and smiled wickedly. I wanted to see his innards, to drink his blood, to revel in the fact I was better than him. I screamed, “Lok’Tar Ogar!” I smashed my sword into his skull, killing the young orc instantly. The crowd was silent and I turned to them, my hate was still building and I looked at them, I wanted to see their guts too.
No one moved, instead they looked onwards in awe. I also did nothing; rather I began to watch the snow fall. Slowly I recollected myself, the winter flakes calmed me from my bloodlust. I looked back to the orc and walked to it. I turned towards the crowd and smiled; was this it? Was I finally going to die? A moment passed and the crowd began to leave; I looked to the great orc who watched onwards. His guards left, but he remained, as did I.
I was curious at the time. Why was this orc keen on standing here? Why wasn’t he like the others? Why did he stay? After another moment or two, he answered me. The great orc walked towards the corpse of the fallen student and picked it up in his arms. He looked at me as he did so, “Lok’Tar.” As he said that he carried the body out of the arena and into the night. I myself, found my way back into the cells. I was sure to die by morning, or so I thought.
I kept my sword on me that night; they forgot to take it from me. I slept, cradled next to it, certain I would need it that night, certain I would not go down without a fight. I woke in the morning; the sword was in hand, the stray plush as always and fresh food before me. The dish had a large piece of animal on it, a rare delicacy in my situation. Rare enough to have never have happened before.
I finished the animal parts and looked onward towards the embers in the cell adjacent to mine. I watched as the embers rose into the ceiling only to be extinguished. I still watch these particles today, mesmerized by their powers. Whenever I watch snow or embers I always think back to those peaceful moments. I think back to those times where life was simple and had a singular and dominant goal. I have to live, or die trying. It was a simpler time back then.
The embers were blocked by a massive figure. My eyes weren’t adjusted to the dark and I heard the clatter of metal. I immediately reached for my sword and held it forward, towards the darkness. The figure becomes clearer after a while and I realize it to be Gru. The orc was struggling to stand straight and he looked at me with anger in his eyes. He motioned his head to the outside, suggesting I should leave. He was not armed, but I wasn’t to be taken as a fool. I held my sword towards him, but he started growling, “Move.” I grasped my jaw, lest he treat me like he did my worg friend. He grabbed me and took my sword, clearly frustrated, and dragged me towards the arena.
I didn’t struggle, I wasn’t afraid of pain anymore.
He threw me into the arena, my sword in his hand. I stared at him, eager to get back my weapon. I wanted the feeling again, the emotion that made life worth living, the one thing I could cling to. The feeling of living, of accomplishment, of life outside a cage, of… I don’t know how else to describe it.
I realized he wasn’t going to give me my sword back, another friend he has taken from me. I looked back towards the arena, expecting an orc to charge at me as they did the day before. A crowd cheering for my death; a haze of red to overtake me, not today it seemed. I looked as the great orc stood before me, his hands on his sides, axe on his back. He looked down at me with his one eye, an orange color, one I have never seen before. Yes, that was my first experience of the color orange.
The orc stared into my eyes and motioned for me to get up. I did, unsure of what to do next. He threw me a strange garment. It was square, except for the sides, two other squares. It seemed to be made for wearing your upper body, much like the orcish students wore. I looked in awe at the cloth and tried to put it on over my chest. I succeeded after a time and the great orc nodded. He motioned me to follow him, which at first I was skeptical. I looked back to Gru who in turn shooed me with his right hand. At that instant I felt another emotion, something clean and pure. I think it was relief.
The great orc taught me many things over the following years. He took me on as one of his warriors, a student of the Frostwolf. I became like one of the orc younglings, though fairer of skin and less of a muscle mass. For years I trained along beside them, learned their language, fighting styles. I was taught to wield an axe in battle, to hunt, fish, survive. The Great orc’s name was Ballock and he was of the Frostwolf’s elite warriors. Ballock taught those who showed promised in fighting the enemies of the orcs, of the Horde. Though human, I swore to defend them till death. I followed Ballock and his orcs for a long time, finding my way in the world.
Though one of Ballock’s chosen I was never allowed to stay in the village. They didn’t trust me and were certain Ballock was making a mistake, teaching a human their ways. I didn’t need the village, I didn’t need the orcs, I just needed Ballock, the Great orc.
There are some things one must learn on their own, things that given a certain upbringing could be difficult to do. Though Ballock taught me much I was still an outsider, a thing. Things like sex drives were so alien to me, they seemed like a variety of things, but most of all confusing. Why did I like women? This is a strange question, yes, but I had a feeling when I saw them. These orc women were strong and beautiful, they had long hair and were fit. They could watch out for themselves, a trait I came to expect in females, even of the other races. Balloack told me women weren’t worth dealing with, the exist and that was it. I was inclined to agree, not because I held his word in such high regard, but because I always had a feeling when I laid eyes on orc women. “You are weak.”
Ballock watched as I grew into a strong warrior. I did as the other students did; I sparred with them, for hours every day. I lifted heavy pieces of timber, rocks and boards as was expected to complete our chores each morning. We practiced Horde tactics in the field, all sorts of weapons and armors. We hunted in the icy winds and snow covered wasteland of Alterac. There was a lot to do in those short few years. But as I grew, I never forgot to watch the snow or the white wolf from those days in the cell. I hoped to see her, I hoped she would show me the way, grant me with new power.
Me and the Great orc talked at length about the wolf. He was surprised at first, saying that such a being could only be seen my shamans. He said spirit wolves were reserved for seers and students of elemental magic, humans could not be shamans, we lacked the birthright. I told him of the red eyes and how they appeared soon after I saw the spirit. We were sitting in front of a fire, just me and him and he had been fiddling with my beloved embers. He had been driving a stick through them, playfully for the last few hours. However, when I mentioned the eyes, he stopped. “Those eyes are our curse, human. We forever live in hatred and shame. The Blood Curse of Mannoroth holds our hearts.” I asked him about the Blood Curse; he continued on by saying that years ago the orcs succumbed to demon magic in their old home world, a faraway place called Draenor. They came to this world because of them and sought to conquer the races of this new world. Some orcs, such as the frostwolves, broke away and instead sought to be at peace.
I admired the orc’s way with words, he spoke clearly and bluntly. “Know this human, orcs carry a heavy burden. We are destined for sorrow and remorse because of that blood, the blood we now share. Remember human, whether you be man or orc, demons are always a threat. Never forget that.” I nodded in front of the fire. Ballock didn’t know why I, a human housed the cursed blood, but there was one thing we were both certain of. This blood made us kin.
I recall the next morning all too clearly. That day was terrible, an absolute destruction of my self. I still cringe at the thought of reliving that day, the day of the dark clouds, when they came. Ballock told us of a coming darkness, something the Frostwolves hoped to keep at bay. That morning many from the village came to watch, they stood outside that day, away from their duties. There they witnessed the strangers in robes. From the forests, three orcs came, dressed in black and silver robes. They held their hands together as they walked forward. They approached the village entrance, where the awaiting orcs watched them. Some had weapons drawn and others looked onward with malice in their eyes. These creatures were not welcome here.
The lead figure stopped before the crowd and raised his hands. Black magic flowed through the air and her hands guided it. “I am Shael’na, servant of my masters. Herald of the legion, I come to ask for your strength of arms. I come to ask for your help!” The Frostwolves said nothing as they stood ominously. The wizard lowered her hands and the magic disappeared. “Will you not help us brothers? It is your duty! As Horde, we…” Just then she and the others were blasted back by an unseen force. An impact forced them into the nearby trees. They quickly recovered, but looked up from the snow to see a tall orc with two spirit wolves at his side. One looked at me I remember, it was her!
“We are the Frostwolf creatures of darkness. We seek to rid ourselves of your demonic influence, rid ourselves of your damned Horde!” The crowds cheered as the orc shaman continued, “We shall not be swayed by your magics, or your words. Leave this place before we rid ourselves of you in the proper orc way!” He raised two axes, one per hand and a fire began to swirl around him. Ballock and other elite orcs suddenly appeared at his side. “This is not place for the Dark one’s puppets!” The cloaked woman smirked, “Very well, but know this. You bring a tide of fire to your homes. If you will not serve, then you will not live.” They turned and walked back to the forests, “This will not be the last you see of us.”
The Great orcs stood diligently before the village gates, the hill surrounded by wooden walls. I watched from this hill, brought her among my peers to meet the wise and powerful Drek’Thar, the village shaman and leader. After what seemed to be an eternity they approached the summit; the wolf was no longer with them. We stood before a large orc lodge on top of the rise and was addressed by the high shaman. “Welcome to the top, warriors of Ballock, of the Frostwolf!” We pounded our chests with our fists, “Lok’Tar Ogar!” The old orc looked at me in particular, “Those words do not belong to your kind human, perhaps one day you will find your own?” I looked at him puzzled, but still with discipline as taught. What did he mean? Had I not proved myself?
We entered the lodge, following Drek’ Thar and Ballock. Inside, two wolves stood guard, black with yellow eyes. They looked at us intently, as if welcoming us. Drek’That stood in the center of the circular room and looked at us. At the time he had black, oiled hair, emerald green skin and a long beard. He watched us with his hazel eyes and examined us as we did him. “So, my friends, how does one train with a human? How have you fared beneath his tyranny?” I shook my head slightly, tyranny? One of my peers stepped forward, “Enlightening. I understand they will be clever opponents, not to be underestimated.” Another orc stepped forward, “Indeed, I look forward to facing them on the battlefield!” Another one, “As do I.” The other five stepped forward and expressed their respect for humans, of me. To this day, such fills my heart with warmth, the thought of winning over my enemies.
The orc shaman then looked to me, “And what you human? How do you fare under the tyranny of orcs?” I looked onwards and paused for a moment, what was I to say? I stepped forward, “ In my years here, I never felt that orcs were tyrannical. I always felt they were honest and blunt, just as I want to become.” The shaman nodded, “I thank you for that Cyrus.” That instant my heart melted, I was shocked and filled with a flurry of emotions. “Cyrus?” The shaman looked at me and smirked; he walked to me and motioned for me to open my hand. I did, and he pulled a metal object on a chain from his armor. He let it flow into my hand, it was gold! The orc put his hand on my shoulder, “In the human tongue these words say Cyrus Menethil. It is your name and what you shall be called for now on.” I smiled and looked to my orc brothers as they smirked. I finally had a name, other than human.
We resumed our line, object around my neck. We watched as Drek’ Thar paced before us. “As you saw this morning the warlocks of the Burning Legion have found us. These creatures will stop at nothing until all of our people lay in ash piles.” We watch as he continues, “I ask you, you orcs who have come of age to find and murder them.” My peer’s face brighten, “As a final test of your prowess I send you to destroy these pitiful demon worshippers, put an end to their deeds!” Ballock and the other orcs cheer, but I stare ominously, does he mean me as well? Then, Drek’ Thar looked to me, “Not you friend, this is an orc battle alone.” I sighed and was about to leave with the others, “Cyrus.”
I turned to Drek’ Thar who still stood before me. “You stay, I have something to discuss with you.” I did as the others left to prepare for
their test. Drek’ Thar and I stood in the dome-like room and watched one another. “Cyrus, I understand you’re familiar with my friend here?”
I watched as a white spirit wolf came from behind him. My face brightened, “Yes, I know her!” He smirked, “How strange.” He began to pace before me and the spirit sat and stared at me. The other wolves, the ones the protect Drek’ Thar stared at her in turn as if a god. The orc stopped and continued, “Very few beings can see her, she a being of great power and foreknowledge. Reserved for the people of Draenor, she and others have protected us for generations. To Orcs she is known simply as an ancient, but only to orcs.” I stared at the shaman, what did he mean?
“Traditional only those of orcish blood could see such a sight, which means…” I continued to watch as the orc hovered over me. “You are both orc and man, cursed and pure; a powerful combination.” I shook my head, unsure of what he was saying, “What does that mean?” The orc shaman walked back towards the spirit wolf and placed his hand on her head. “Come Cyrus, she wants you to pet her.” I stood frozen for a moment, why would I do such a thing? She was a spirit, something humans shouldn’t be able to see. I walked forward and slowly and almost reluctantly placed my hand on her head as well. Suddenly my world changed, everything became clear, horribly clear.
“Cyrus, the spirits are not limited to one world, but many. Through her you saw what you needed to see. What you would need to survive the coming days. You now know the truth.” The spirit laid next to me, wrapping me in it’s appendages, as if keeping me warm. The two had waited patiently for me to awake; I had been unconscious for hours. “Now do you see? You have a destiny human, one that transcends this village.” I looked to him, “I didn’t see anything. Only black and the red world; there was nothing but color.” The shaman looked at me with a disturbed look on his face, “Perhaps it will come in time; the spirits work in mysterious ways. I looked to the spirit wolf as she freed herself from me. She stared at me and she sat, her eyes still that bright blue. Suddenly a flash of memory engulfs my mind. I saw a village, one of people, like me, it was burning. It was night and the fires made it seem like day. A large orc was on the ground, his hand holding something below him. The thing was a woman, she was screaming and naked. I looked into her eyes and saw something I am far too well aware of, terror. The orc turned towards me, he was Ballock and the woman was my mother.
I came to moments later; both the spirit and Drek’ Thar were gone. The world had become grey and the fires blue. I recognized this place from my cage years, the realm of grey. I walked outside, hoping to find the spirit wolf, but found nothing of the sort. Instead I came onto an icy hill, the snow swirled around me and lead me forward. I followed the particles and came upon a lone figure in the snow. It was robed and carrying something in it’s arms; I approached and immediately recognized the figure. She was the woman who was violated by Ballock, but she now had grey hair as if she had tuned very old. I looked to her arms and saw a small human child, it was crying and the woman was weeping herself. She then brushed it’s head with her hand and kissed it’s forehead, “May the Light guard your path…” I watched then, in horror as orcs on worgs appeared from the whirling snow towards the woman. “I tried to scream, but nothing came, instead terror, dread, my mother was about to die. Just before the orcs reached her the figure suddenly turned to me, the real me, not the child, “…Cyrus Menethil.”
She was struck in the head by one of the orcs. An axe had crushed her head and blood splattered over them. The child screamed as it hit the snow, blood covered it’s face and the cloth it was housed in. The two orcs looked to the child, “What should we do?” The other orc snuffed, “Leave it. The thing can die as it deserves.” The orcs then walked off, leaving the baby in the snow, still screaming. I looked in disgust, “How could they have left me? How did I survive?” My answer was in the making, the white wolf had appeared.
The baby no longer screamed as the white wolf approached. It sniffed the child and howled; the baby giggled as the dog did so. I looked onward as a figure appeared from the snow, it was another orc, but not the two from before, he was a stranger. A stranger that is until much later, the orc was young, but was a bright green. He had a black, braided ponytail, his jaw was profound and he had a comforting voice. I learned not until recently the identity of this orc. His name was Thrall and he would take me back to the Frostwolf village.
The snow and mountains shifted from view and I awoke in the lodge. Again, I was alone, but not in a dream, just a daze. Who was that orc? Why did he save me? Do I have a purpose? I walked outside of the lodge, hoping for answers, but instead nothing. The sun glew brightly in the west and the orange soon became purple. It was sunset and Ballock would surely be back by now. I returned to the camp, but found no one.
I slept fitfully that night. I could hardly sleep, I needed to see Ballock. I needed to ask him if it was true, if he was my father, if he did rape my mother. I needed to know everything, for the sake of sanity. I hoped to have answers the next morning, for the white wolf or Drek’ Thar to appear, but none came. I was alone, not in a world of grey or red, just in the real world, isolated from my life.
The morning came and there was no sign of Ballock or my peers. The fire still burned, but in measly embers. I left my tent and sat next to it, enjoying the left of a deer. I watched the embers float into the sky an wondered what had happened. I hoped for answers, a sign, an epiphany, anything. “What’s happened to my comrades?” The embers began to float in funny directions, some left, some right. The appeared to be making a shape, that of a creature; it was large and had four legs and two arms. It looked at me and smiled, “My blood rules you all!” The world became red and his words rung like adrenaline, I sat, mesmerized by the floating embers, I wanted to hear more.
The embers became a different shape and I saw a cave, on the other side of the valley. There, my peer’s head lay on spikes and Ballock was being tortured by the wizards from the day before. The red world subsided and again, my heart was instead filled with fear. I stood and the fire had been snuffed out. I look below, to my left, there sat Drek’ Thar. “You heard Mannortoth, Lord of Destruction and master of the orcs. He spoke to you, as he did me. He wants us to go there, to the cave.” I looked at him, “Why? So, that he can kill us?” Drek’ Thar chuckled, “No. He wants your soul, our souls.” He looked up to me, “I didn’t send you with them because I felt you were too vulnerable. But it seems I may have gotten it backwards, it seems you may be the only one who can stop him. Only one pure of heart of the blood of a demon can stop him now.”
He lead me to the Frostwolf village and we watched as the orcs were getting ready for battle. “Cyrus, demons come from the other side of the valley. In great numbers, they are sure to break our gates. I hadn’t anticipated this, but it seems I must send you to the cave while we distract the army here.” I looked to Drek’ Thar fearfully, “I can fight here. I can help defend the village!” The orc shook his head, “You must free Ballock and bring him back safely. We will need him in the coming days, war is on the horizon.” I nodded, “I will go. But I don’t know the way.” The shaman nodded, “Perhaps she can help you?” The white spirit wolf appeared from behind the shaman, “May she guide your path, Cyrus Menethil.”
The wolf and I dashed through the forest towards the worg pens. We arrived within minutes and I unhooked the cages, allowing for them to head towards the village, they will be needed soon. I mounted one, he was familiar, I had fed this one before. The white wolf led the way across that valley and we passed the Fields of Strife. As we did, we could hear marching from the distance. We approached a rise on the right side of the valley and witnessed red banners being waved, an army of creatures was on it’s way to the Frostwolf village. The spirit barked and motioned towards a pass, I followed her through it and arrived high above the valley. We overlooked the army of demons and I was conflicted. Not even Drek’ Thar could match an army of that size! I continued to follow the wolf along the cliffs overlooking the valley.
We found another pass that led us around the army and came across a ravine. We followed it until the white wolf led us to the cave. There, two large demons guarded the entrance, they held giant axes and wore heavy armor. “I can’t kill those things! All I have is an axe!” The white wolf looked to me and nodded. For some odd reason I understood what it was trying to say, as if the thought was projected over my own. “Fight.”
I dismounted the worg and drew my axe and shield. I approached the demons who in turn stared at me. One of them stepped forward, the ground quaked as he did so. He held out his axe and said something along the lines of, “Heal’ kallenoy.” I assume that means, “Prepare to die.” I held out my axe and shield, ready for the monster and watched carefully as his fellow guard did the same, watched. The demon swung at me and I dodged it. The axe slammed into the ice and slid forward, causing the demon to lunge for it. I took advantage and slashed at the back of his leg. It didn’t faze him; instead he turned and slammed once more with his axe. I barely dodged it; the ground quaked with each of his movements. I was undeterred, Ballock was in there.
I thrust for the throat and landed an impact. The demon simply got up, but massive amounts of black blood were spewing from his neck. The axe was stuck in there however, and I was weaponless, except for the shield. He charged at me, but before making it to me, he fell, the blood loss finally subdued him. I grasped my axe from his throat and looked forward towards the cave, his friend was standing at the ready.
“Heal’ kallenoy der spuchas!” The second guard rushed at me, axe in the air just like the other. I pulled a dagger from my belt and charged in turn. I slid under his legs, sure to stick both my axe and dagger into his legs. The demon screamed and fell to the icy ground. I lifted my shield and jumped on the back of it’s head. The demon yelled in pain, but I was undeterred. I took my shield with both hands and smashed it multiple times into the back of his neck. I eventually broke it and the demon bled to death within seconds.
I recovered my weapons from the corpses and descended into the cave, leaving the wolves outside, this was my fight. I traversed the dark caverns in search of my lost mentor and that of my peers. Their heads were not on pikes like the vision proclaimed. I found the antechamber and search around, demonic tablets and drawings laid over tables and desks. Blood writing was on the walls, and a circle laid in the center. The circle housed a cage, a prison for an orc. The orc inside was trembling, sniveling and in terrible pain. He was colored red and had spikes sticking from his shoulders and jaw. “C-ccyrus?” The orc spoke from within the cage. “I-is-that-yyyou?” I ran to the cage, I recognized the voice. It was Gru.
“What are you doing here Gru? Where’s everyone?” The orc struggled to speak, “I went with Balloack and the students to this place, we sought to rid the cave of evil, but we didn’t realize it was already amongst us.” The red orc clutched it’s stomach, “Ballock was behind the attack Cyrus! He aims to destroy the Frostwolves!” I was horrified, there was no way that could have been true. “He’s in the other chamber, quickly, stop him!” I looked behind me and saw a light coming from deeper from within the cave. “I’ll look into this.”
I entered the next chamber and saw a moving picture. There, I could see Ballock speaking to Drek’ Thar in the lodge. I could also see on other moving, magic portals, demons stood before the village, waiting to strike. I got closer and saw the warlocks appear next to Ballock, as if friendly. “No! It can’t be true!” Then a voice from behind me, “Oh, but it can!” Gru tackled me and attempted to stick a dagger in my throat. “Mannoroth wants your blood human! I want your blood, to see your guts!”
My world turned red then, my hatred swirled within me. “As do I.” I thrust Gru off of me and stood before him, my eyes a heavy crimson. “But not today, yours will do, orc!” He charged at me and I caught him in my arms. I took the small sword and pierced his chest with it. Blood squirted from his mouth and I continued to cut down his abdomen. I ripped the sinew apart with my hands and thrust my arms into his innards. “Glorious!” I put his ichor and blood on my face and then looked towards the magic mirrors. “Ballock, must die!”
“What do you hope to accomplish through this Ballock? Why betray your own kin?” asked Drek’ Thar. He, Ballock and the warlocks stood at one another in the lodge, “I trusted you Ballock.” The Great orc smirked. “Do you not see Drek’ Thar? Do you not see that victory is within our grasp? That peace can be achieved? The Burning Legion seemed unstoppable before, but there was always something impeding them, something no one took into account. If one was able to find that final hope and silence it, all of their wished would come true!” Drek’ Thar grunted, “What are you saying? You trust the demons to give you you’re so called just reward?!” Ballock nodded, “We found that one thing Drek’ Thar. We found Cyrus, the best of both worlds!” I watched in hate as he continued, “The blood of demons, the blood of the pure. You know who’s prophecy that is? That such a being would be able save or destroy this world?” Drek’ Thar leaned in, “Sargeras himself said that. We’ve found his mistake! Once Cyrus is ours the Frostwolves will become his great champions. We’ll be all powerful shaman! Peace at last!” The shaman summoned totems around him, the warlocks backed away slowly. “I will never let you have Cyrus, he will never serve demons!” Balloack smirked, “He already does, the Blood Curse!”
My hate had filled me and I went to touch the portal. Something told me, that my answers were in touching it. I had to feel the event. My blood ran hot as I impacted the moving portrait. My world became ever more red as I entered the lodge. “Ballock!!!” I screamed as he and the warlocks looked at me shocked. “So, you weren’t in the village after all. How unfortunate.” I charged the warrior, sword in hand and eyes glowing a deep red. The warlocks flung black magic at me, but I blocked them with my shield. I impacted into Ballock, but he thrust me away. I looked up and saw him remove his eye patch. His eyes were red, “Indulge in the curse my friend! I will be your salvation!” Drek’ Thar cast a lightning spell at Ballock who is turn took it in the chest. He recovered as the warlocks stemmed a black power into him. “I am Frostwolf! And Sargeras is my master!”
Ballock charged us, eyes a glow and claymore in hand. I tackled him and his sword fell back, my world had grown an even deeper red . I picked up my sword and stabbed down, but was caught by Ballock. He grasped the sword tip, “What are you doing Cyrus! Why defend these people! They’ve brought you nothing but misery! All they wanted was to see you die in a cage, rot in the field! I took you in, raised as my own, like the son you took from me!” I flashed back to that day, when I had my first kill, the orc he carried away, it was his son! “These orcs would have had you die in the snow! I would have had you made a king! A king of the dead!” My world had finally turned a complete red, my chest filled with hatred and pride, “You raped my mother, butchered her, left me to die!” His eyes widened, “How do you know…?” I thrust the sword through his hands and into his skull, as I did my own brother. “Because I’m part orc!”
The warlocks were killed by Drek’ Thar and I remained atop my dead orc father. His mouth gaped open as the sword holds it still. His blood covered the floor and the shaman placed his hand on my shoulder, “We have more demons to kill.” I stood and retrieved Ballocks claymore; left my childhood sword in his skull. Even as I write this, Ballock’s claymore still is held close, it has always been my weapon of choice.
We exited the lodge together and found that the demons had begun their attack. The Frostwolf village was being attacked and the doors remained unclosed. “Cyrus, we have to secure that gate, it’s the only hope for our people!” I nodded, eyes still aglow, world still red, “I’ll get the gate closed!” I ran down the slope and through the Frostwolf village. There were archers firing their arrows from the cliffs and warriors ran towards the gates, attempting to keep the demons out. I jumped into the fray and slashed around, impacting some of the evils. They screeched, but I could no longer see them.
The Blood Curse, it’s more than a means to greater strength and speed, it also blinds someone. I was literally blinded by hatred, my own and that of the demon lord Mannortoth. His blood ran hot in my veins, but I maintained control. I hear his voice when in a rage; it says things, faint things. “Kill, torture, meat.” An endless cycle of verbs and nouns that propel one into a blood frenzy using dark magic. Those afflicted by the Blood Curse are often completely entranced and under Mannoroth’s control. Most orcs suffered from this and some still do. I on the other hand was special somehow. I would find out why later, but what I will say now is this. The heart of the pure can overcome anyone and anything; yes, I was pure. Somehow I was pure of heart, me a born and bred killer.
Me and the Frostwolf warriors were able to push back some of the demons and close the gate. The monsters outside immediately began to hack at the door and orcs threw fires in return. The fires were on torches and thrust them over the walls. Others took cooking grease in large pots and ran to douse the flames in it. The demons would be roasted in due time. The orc archers launched volley after volley into the demonic lines and caused their rows to topple. I aided in pouring the grease fires, which worked wonders on clearing the walls. Though made of wood these gates were well protected, not by themselves, but by the orc trainees who hurled snow and sand over the walls. The sand and snow protected the walls from harm while still allowing the fires to blaze around it.
We fought on for days; the demon siege seemed endless for a time. The grease fires eventually died out and our supply was short. We snuck hunters into the nearby forests to obtain food while the demons continued at the walls. We had food for a time, prepared for a month long siege. It never came to that thankfully; the army retreated after the third day.
After the battle, In remember my hate just seemed to grow. The demons were gone, but I wanted to hunt them, to desecrate their bodies. I wanted to burn Ballock, I wanted him revived so he could feel the pain I felt. Alas, this wouldn’t come to be, instead his farewell was subtle, honorable.
I looked to Drek’ Thar as the village attended his funeral. The Great Orc’s body was held high on a wooden frame. Tinder was collected and placed at the bottom, ready to burn the corpse and release his spirit to see that of his ancestors. I didn’t understand it then, but I do now, he deserved to be remembered, despite his faults.
“Ballock was an honorable warrior; a brave orc who has proven his worth and prowess for years.” The villagers looked onwards, with
little expression on their faces. “Though he betrayed us in the end, he has more than made up for it in life.” I stood, arms crossed and stared at the corpse; I hated this orc. “For that loyal service, we have a unique product. Cyrus, come here.” My arms uncrossed and I stood bewildered. I approached the shaman on the other side of the pyre, the dusk was rolling in and darkness hoped to stop the coming light. “This human here is the culmination of his work. Ballock and Cyrus has shown us that peace is possible. He showed us that humans can survive as we do, suffer as we do and live as we do.” He turned towards me and granted me a light torch. “Cyrus, would you do the honor?” I looked to the shaman and he saw the hate in my eyes, not red eyes. Normal greys eyes returned his gaze, the grey world stared back at him. I grasped the torch and threw it on the pyre. It burst into flame and sparks spewed from the inferno. I watched as the embers floated into the night sky. Whenever I see embers I think back to that moment, the sight of his spirit joining the ancestral stars. I was a powerful moment. I remember all that I had lost to make it to this point. I looked to my scars and markings. Not too long before the ceremony I received the mark of the Frostwolf on my right shoulder blade. An outline tattoo of a wolf, in cobalt blue, it had bright blue eyes, a personal favor I asked.
After the ceremony I stayed to reminisce about my life. With Gru and Ballock’s death I reviewed my life in detail. I looked to the metal object Drek’ Thar had given me. It was gold and had the name Cyrus Menethil etched on the front. I couldn’t read the Common language, but I knew one thing. I wanted to see them, my fellow humans. I wanted to know more about them, what kind of life I was once destined for. I wanted a life, one that was free of betrayal, of discrimination of being different.
Drek’ Thar soon approached from the lodge. It was morning and the sun began to rise in the East. I sat facing the now pile of ash and watched as the arctic winds began to carry them away. “Cyrus, what’s wrong?” I winced as I turned, the marking still stung. “What is there left for me here?” The shaman sat beside me on a piece of timber. “You have made an impact here Cyrus. We thought a human wouldn’t survive a day, let alone so many years. He examined me, a young man near adulthood, strong and riddled with scars. “You’ve done well here.” He looks down towards the icy patches of earth beneath him. “But, I think you’re ready.” I turned to him, “I think you’re ready to seek out your own destiny, to return to the humans.”
The shaman and I spoke at length about my future. He felt that as a orc bred human I had little chance in their world. But he saw something else to, a chance at understanding, a chance for me to find happiness. He explained that I should climb the mountains in the north, over to a place called Lordaeron. He told me that this was a human realm where I could find my place, away from the cold. I nodded, “But what of you?” The orc smirked, “We’ve done fine before, we will prevail in the future. The Blood Curse will die one day Cyrus. You and I will be free, and when that day comes we will have lived our dream.” He stood and walks off towards the lodge, “Now it is time to live yours. But know this; this village will always be a home to you.” I sat in awe as the High shaman left, I was filled with concern, how would I present myself?
I left the village that night and said goodbye to the surviving initiates. We exchanged our farewells and granted each other luck, should we ever meet on the battlefield. I left and followed the cobblestones paths towards the north. I had Ballock’s claymore on my back and a bag of food and blacksmithing hammers. I trekked through the night and eventually made it to the ravine from earlier. I climbed the mountains and over snow banks and finally reached the top. There, the most glorious sight a man could ever behold. I saw Lordaeron, a beautiful and lush place. Vibrant and full of color, not white like the Alterac mountains. I descended the slopes and made it to the green fields by morning. I suddenly got a feeling of dread, the winds here were friendly. I walked the fields of green, strange grasses made it up to my hips in places.
I explored northern Lordaeron for hours, making note of streams and towns I saw in the distance. I didn’t want to approach while I spoke Orcish; as I understood humans were very fearful of anything orc related. I made camp that night and reviewed what I had found. I began to mark them on a piece of parchment before the fire. The embers dance for me as I scrawled. Ballock’s spirit was with me I was certain.
After a time I simply stared at the embers hoping for a sign. I hoped that the white wolf would appear and show me the way. How do I become human? Where do I go to learn the language? I looked above the fire and saw a figure behind the trees looking at me. I did nothing; after all there was more around me at the time. I was surrounded and their eyes glew an emerald green. I looked to the one before me, I could tell it was a female creature; I never mistake a woman’s eyes. They stared at me mockingly as if to suggest she was better than me. I never liked women in those days, they were snide and hot headed. I wanted to kill this female, but I wouldn’t. She could have been human.
I raised my hand and motioned for her to approach. He eyes blinked in disbelief, I knew she was shocked. I pointed and motioned for her to come over to the fire. I wanted to see her, I wanted to know what she was. The figure didn’t move, instead she chose to cower in the bushes. I stood, but immediately cocked bows were ready and drawn towards my head. They were not orcs, they were slim people, pale and had long ears. They were male and wore blue armor. I looked around as they cautiously motioned for the female from the bushes to come. She came from the forest and I was stunned, she was beautiful.
She stood tall, slim and had flowing blonde hair. Her skin was slightly red and her eyes were piercing. My heart melted at the sight of her, and I faced her. I hoped she could speak Orcish, I wanted desperately to ask for her name.
She examined me, a tall man, muscular, wore tattered clothing colored grey. The chest was exposed, revealing a sound build, but many scars. The female was intimidated, who was this man? Why was he so destroyed? What is his name?
“Who is he?” One of the elves looked to the young apprentice. The female elf paused for a moment, “A mercenary perhaps?” One of the elven rangers approached him, “Who are you stranger, state your business. This area is full of bandits.”
I listened at the scattered syllables and couldn’t make sense of them. Instead I held out my map that I had drawn. The elf took it and looked intently at the scribbles and notes. I hoped this would lead him to thinking I wasn’t dangerous.
“What is it?” asked one of the rangers. The captain flipped the map and saw that they were towns. This was a very primitive map of the local area. He saw the mountains and saw what looked like an fire going on it that area. “Alterac?”
I nodded and pointed to my back. I recognized the word Alterac and was excited. The elf looked and examined the markings.
“It’s a tattoo. A blue wolf with even brighter eyes.” The captain looks to the map again, “I think he’s an escaped prisoner.” The female
and others were in awe, before them stood an orc bred human being, but why was he here, shouldn’t he be dead?
Cyrus looked onward from behind the fire and the elves lowered their bows. I was still a bit shaken, not because I was so close to death, but because those that held me were so much smaller than I was. I remembered at that instant that Drek’ Thar gave me the metal piece, the one with my Common name. I reached into my satchel and they watched with interest. I pulled out the gold piece and presented it to the captain. He read it and his eyes widened and he stared at me. “What?!”
The female elf looked to her captain, “What is it?” He turned to her and then the rest of the rangers. He opens the locket and reveals a hidden note inside. He opens and reads it aloud, “To whoever finds this…” I looks at me in shock, “This man, according to this, is Cyrus…. Menethil. Prince of Lordaeron.” The elves stare ominously, “WHAT?!” screams the female apprentice, “That can’t be! This has to be a rouse!” The captain shakes his head, “There’s no way to be absolutely certain apprentice, but this is a letter signed by Lianne Menethil and is dated long ago.”
The female looked to me and a hand was put on my shoulder. I decided to follow willingly, lest I be even more unwelcome in this strange place. “What will we do to him? It’s impossible that there is another prince. There’s only Lord Arthas and Lady Cianne!” The captain looks to her as they travel the road, Cyrus in tow. “We will make it to the capital city by morning and see for ourselves. But do not put it past the human king, there are many secrets in politics and we may have stumbled onto one.”
The night turned to day and the road widened. The road suddenly became paved and people could be seen traversing the paths with wagons and barrels. I looked onward as the blue sky appeared and we walked past marvelous green trees and an amber morning sun. The elves were very generous and let me wear some of their extra clothing, blue vestments with silver trim. I felt somewhat feminine, but at least I was warmer and more confident. Wherever these people were taking me I hoped to find answers, the white wolf seemed to be guiding me in a way.
In the distance, a great castle could be seen. It became a city and the people grew more numerous and the road wider, with whiter brick. It was by far the most beautiful place I ever saw and it was where I was from. Crows flew overhead and towards the city as we approached; my heart raced as we saw guardsmen encroach towards us. “What is your business here elf? Why have you come with a human dressed in your clothes?” The captain smirked, “I was not aware our clothes were so unfashionable in your city. Your kin looks good with it on.” I looked down and despite being comfortable, I did feel a tad ridiculous, mainly because I’m used to furs and chains. The guardsmen grunted and looked to me, “You, what is your name? Do you give these people passage?” I looked up and to the guardsmen. I looked then to the female elf and she slightly nodded, so did I. The guards let us pass.
We entered the city and the elves were walking bold and confident. I followed behind and saw a great, white structure in the center. We navigated the city and eventually came to the palace, a place where my heart seemed to sing, this place was amazing, a god’s realm. We entered and more guards approached, but this time, more than before. “Elves, state your business. What brings five armed elven rangers and a man from the west?” The captain walked forward and presented the amulet. The guard read the note and looked up in horror. “Why haven’t I been informed you were coming?” He looked to me and bowed his head as if I were to be worshipped. He stood quickly, “Follow me please. Leave your weapons here with the guards if you’d please.” The elves did so and we entered the palace.
The courtroom was a marble wonder, high windows that allowed the amber glow of the sun to spill into the room like olive oil. The columns were beautifully crafted with leaves stemming from them, but not alive, stone leaves. I watched the world of stone as officials prepared themselves. A man came from behind a large chair and sat on it looking at us. He was adorned in a white suit of robes. They were wonderfully trimmed with golden flecks and he wore a spiky helmet, with jewels and made of gold. I watched the man with the black hair and wrinkles sit, high above us. This must be the ruler of the realm, the dreaded human king.
“Why are you here Pascal of Silvermoon? I understand from some of my guardsmen you bring someone claiming to be my son?” The elf stands forward, “He claims nothing my lord, he cannot speak.” The king looks down to me, “Cannot speak? Surely a human being can speak.” He pointed at me, “You, enough of these games. If you have the audacity to claim lineage you best speak your proof!” I watched ominously, unsure as why he was upset. The elf continued and handed a guard the amulet, “We found this on him and thought you may find it interesting.” The guard ascended the thorne and gave the king the gold piece. He read it and the note and then stared to me. “So, it has come to this then? Elves, leave us please, I have matters to attend to.” They bowed and left the throne room, I watched the female as she left, suddenly bowing away, as if I were higher than she. I didn’t like this feeling, I liked proving myself to others, not be handed respect so easily.
The king descended towards me, “So, you can’t speak? Good, because this will be brief.” He came inches from my face and his was red as fire. “You killed my precious wife! You are an abomination! Orc and man, Bloodlusted trash! I will never allow you into my city again, do you hear me?!” “Father?” The king turned, “What’s going on, I heard screaming.” A man, similar age as me came from behind the throne, “Who is this?” The king was shocked and was unable to speak. The man approached, “He killed mother you say?” The king gulped, “Arthas… I—“ I looked to the man, he had blonde hair and blue eyes. He wore plate armor and carried a hammer on his back. I recognized the symbol on his chest, he was one of the Light wielders, the most feared of all humans. I cringed at the thought of being blasted by light.
“Arthas, this isn’t what it looks like.” Arthas turned to me, “Your name?” I watched ominously, but recognized the word name, I’ve heard it before. “Cyr-eess.” Arthas looked at the being, he looked a bandit, an ample killer of women to be sure, one in elvish robes he probably stole, but why wasn’t he chained? And why was father so interested in this one man? “Well, Cyrees, if you truly killed my mother, then…” He began to reach for his hammer and the king grasped his hand, “No, he did not. Not directly…” His face became full of sorrow and Arthas looked confused. “This man here, is your brother, Cyrus Menethil.” The man’s face was filled with horror, he stared at me. I was taller than he, more structured, but brutish. “I’m sorry Arthas, I was hoping you’d never find out like this.” The man turned, “At all, apparently.” The king continued, “Your mother was in Stormwind during the First War, she barely escaped but not without…” He began to sob, “She came home pregnant Arthas. Not with you, or Celia.” He pointed at me with an open hand, “This man is our family secret. I banished him when born, and sent him to Alterac to be taken under the care of advisor Wheaten.” He began to walk aimlessly into the courtroom, “Your mother insisted on going, she and a contingency of men ascended the mountains to present the child to Wheaten, the foremost scholar of orcs at the time.” Arthas face was filled with terror, “Mother was… “ The king nodded, “They were attacked by orcs in the mountains, Frostwolves.” My face brightened and I muttered the name, “Frostwolves…” The two men turned to me as I removed my shirt. They saw scars, an especially large on in the stomach, I turned and saw a large tattoo, a blue wolf, with bright blue eyes.
“Oh, Light. What have I done?” I went to put the shirt back on, but felt a hand on my back. There the blonde man stared at the marking. “Langaneise?” My eyes widened, “Langaneise Horb voila.” The blonde man nodded, “Arthas, you know Orcish?” The blonde man turned, “Fractions, I asked him if he came for answers.” The king watched, “He said yes. I think he more than deserves them. As do I.” The king watched his sons in sorrow, “Very well, he will have the life he was denied to by fate, and me.” He came over and placed his hand on my shoulder, “I King Terennas Menethil the second promise to you Cyrus, you will have a life.” I stared into his eyes, “Lok’ Deroiled Menethil.” Thank you Menethil.
Months passed and I was given a place in the castle. I was provided with a room, tutors and great food. I remember those days, I learned much, like Common. I was very excited as I began to slowly understand the language of humans and I eventually perfected it, thanks to advisor Wheaten, son of the man originally meant to be my father. I learned astronomy and politics as well as I could, but the sciences seemed very alien to me. I preferred combat and sparred with the guards after one day of helping them practice. They were impressed as I easily bested them, but struggled with a sword and shield. I fought like an orc they’d say. I needed more control, I grasped the idea soon enough and I became a good shield man by their standards. I fell in love with the phalanx and aspired to train with it. I wanted to become a master shield man, a master at arms.
Arthas introduced me to his teacher, Lord Uther Lightbringer of Lordaeron; a paladin commander with great power. They attempted to teach me about the Light, but I secretly regretted agreeing. I came to appreciate my new brother but he put so much time in his faith I felt it weakened him. I never dared say it, lest I be wrong. This was a different world and I worked hard not to break the rules. This wouldn’t last long however, nearly a year after I arrived everything began to fall apart.
It was the midst of the Second war and Lordaeron was under attack by the Orish Horde. Humanity and it’s Alliance of elves, men and dwarves fought desperately against the orcs and the land was in turmoil. By this time Arthas was fighting in the war and I was left in the castle, alone. The tutors had stopped coming and my food was becoming meager, something I was no longer used to. After weeks I was summoned by King Terenas to join an advisory council in the war against the Horde. I arrived as asked and the throne room was filled with ambassadors. They libed the walls and many people were below the balconies, looking onwards.
“Southern Lordaeron is under siege my lords. Southshore is under attack and we require aid!” Other ambassadors joined into the fray, “What about the reports of orcs near Strahnbrad?” “Strathholme?!” another yells. The king sat in his seat, his hair had greyed recently. After other booming questions, he raised his hand as if to hold the conversation. “My friends, we are here to decide for once and for all the fate of the Orc race.” My heart sank, What of the Frostwolves? “We stand here tonight, not to argue, but decide what is to be done. I ask you all to put aside your bickering for a moment and create a contingency. We must stop the Horde fleet at Southshore.” The crowd began to argue with one another and the king had lost the reins of the gathering. I grew angry and decided I would take action. “SILENCE!” I yelled. The crowd turned as a large creature hopped from the balcony and crashed into the floor before them. I stood, eyes glinting in a grey light.
“Hold your pitiful tongues! Your king asks something reasonable of you and you ignore him! Shut up!” The ambassadors do just that look to me, “Go, my king continue.” Terenas nods, “He is right. We must learn to listen to reason when we see it. The fleet in Southshore…” An ambassador approaches, “My lord, we are besieged on all sides, we must seek diplomacy!” The ambassadors screams at the man and he is pinned to a corner by booing politicians. I watch as they do so and turn to my father, “Perhaps he can be right?” The crowd turns to me as does the king. “The Horde cannot be bargained with!” I turn to the ambassadors, “No, but orcs can be swayed, using other means.” King Teranas continues, “We must fight the Horde, it is the only way.” I look to the king, “No, you’re wrong. The Horde may not know your branch of diplomacy, but they know mine.” The ambassadors begin to talk behind my words, “My lord, who is that to tell us what orcs think?” Terenas’ face is filled with terror, no one knows about Cyrus outside the palace, not even the ambassadors.
I come from thought, a powerful alibi. “I am frontier captain Cyrus of the former kingdom of Alterac.” The crowd gasps and begins to speak, “Why is a traitor holding the court? Why let one of those dastardly Alterac dogs advise you king Terenas?!” I think quickly, Alterac is a hated place as of late, suspicious on many levels. “I know the orc clans well and I’ve lent my services to the king for the principle reason to ensure our peoples safety.” The king is holding a hand over his face, embarrassed beyond belief. I had to make my political maneuver work, or else we’d be doomed.
“I offer to speak to the Horde leaders, let me try to reach a deal.” The crowd explodes and they argue again. King Terenas walks from the throne room and exits. I follow him, away from the wayward politicians. I follow him inside the catacombs entrance where he stands in fury, “What were you thinking?!” I raised my arms in repose, “I couldn’t think of anything else to say, I’m sorry.” Terenas pulls two fingers unto his nose, “What am I supposed to tell them when they found out that you’re not a guard captain of a different nation?! That was stupid and bull headed!” I nod, “I know, but more than likely they won’t care if I get results.” The king stared at me, face red like when we met. “Results?! You actually expect to talk to the orc war chief and get results?! He stands as we speak atop a massive fleet, bound for Southshore, with thousands of blood thirsty orcs!” I nod again, “I know, but you knoew where I was raised. In the mountains; I’ve told you the story. You should know by now, I’m closer to the orcs than any man.” The king sighs, “I had hoped that would change in time.” He looks at me from his exhaust, “I can’t lose another son. Not again.” I watched him and my heart ached, I barely knew this man, but I still felt close. “For the good of your kingdom it must be done. I have to try.” He nodded, “I suppose if you’re confident I can send in advance of the armies. Board their ships somehow and talk to the war chief. I doubt you’ll live, but you know orc politics better than I unfortunately.” He stares into my eyes, “Talk to Uther about this assignment, he may know where to start. Cyrus, do not fail and do not die.” I nodded, “I will return, one way or the other.” I walk away and head towards Silverpine, the staging area for the preparing Lordaeron forces.
I rode from the capital southwards toward the great pine forests of Lordaeron. I follow the roads as they help me navigate the misty forests, eventually I find Uther’s encampment near Gilneas. “Uther Lightbringer!” The paladin turns from the map in his tent, he recognized the cry, but could scarcely believe his ears. He’s been closed in that castle for a year now; why leave today? A man enters the tent, large and has a faint accent, “Cyrus, what are you doing here? I haven’t time for your schooling.” I shake my head, “No, Uther. King Terenas sends me on an important mission, and I need your help.” The paladin stands at attention, “And what does my king command?” I hand him a parchment, “I’m to negotiate a peaceful solution.” The paladin looks to me in disbelief then reads the document. “He’s sure about this? To send you on a suicide mission?” He sits, unsure how to take the news, “It was my idea.” The paladin smacks his face lightly, “Of course, the half brain thinks of it.” He turns to me, “I know you lived with them, but this is the Horde. A merciless armada that wants nothing more than to eat raw human heads!” I nod, “I understand, but we share more than just my upbringing.” I kneel before Uther and stare into his eyes, “I speak to him in Orcish, “Se Nu’deal Utareous.” My eyes glow a crimson red and his eyes widen, “Yes, paladin, we are of the same cursed blood.”
Uther hurriedly exits the tent for air and I follow, my eyes back to their silver color. “Does Terenas know of this?” I nod, “Light! Why didn’t he tell me?” He looks down in shock and turns to see if anyone can hear, “How did it happen?” I look to him, “Use your imagination Uther, where was my mother in the First War?” His face grow pale, “Gods…” I grasp his shoulder, “You can marvel at me all you like paladin, but know this. I’m the best hope for peace in Southsore and if you can get me on those ships it would be greatly appreciated.” He nods, “There is a way, but Cyrus it’s our secret weapon.” He points behind me to a tarp, covering a large machine. “The gnomes of Khaz Modan made these for us, and we need every one.” I look to the tarps, “What are they?” He sighs, “You can’t take them. If the orcs find out about these machines they may replicate them.” I turn to him, “It may not matter if they arrive ashore.” Uther graps his face in his hands,
“You’re right. The orc numbers are too great and you may have a minuscule chance of pulling this off.” He sighs and walks over to the cloths, he pulls one of them off a machine and reveals a strange contraption of metal and paint. “The gnomes call them planes. These can fire bullets from the air at lightning speeds. They’re strange I admit, but we’ve tested them for ourselves and they work marvelously, given the right conditions.” I slide my hand across the metal, a painting of a short woman sucking candy is on the plate. “Strange people these gnomes. How hard would it be to fly?” Uther frowns, “It would require training. That’s why if you’re doing this I’d have to send one of my pilots with you.” He motions from the right and a gnome appears. No larger than I child I look at him in awe, “Master gnome, this is a friend of mine. He’s been tasked with trying to find a peaceful solution to the Horde’s coming and he requires transport.” The gnome looks to me and gulps, “I can’t land anywhere near those things! How am I supposed to get him aboard when he’s at sea?” I look to backpacks with symbols of people with wings above them. “What are these?” The gnome dashes over as I point to the sack. “Brilliant! I can throw you off and you can land on the ships! And probably die…” I watch the sack as it moves around in the gnome’s hand, “What does it do, give one wings?” The gnome chuckles, “No-no! It creates a parachute! A parachute will allow you to safetly touch the ground from great heights!” I nod, “Well, I suppose we have a plan. We’ll use the machine and I’ll use the parachute to land unto the Horde ships.” I look to the gnome, “And probably die.”
We prepare the plane and Uther speaks to me before liftoff. The plane rattled and the gnome was very nervous. “Cyrus, despite the outcome, please make it back. Arthas would be devastated if you died!” I nod, “Fear not Uther, I don’t plan on it.” I look away thinking to myself that was the only reason I was even alive, because Arthas had the dream of having a brother.
We launch from the camp and head south, over the sea. After a half hour, Horde ships come into view, we take a few moments to marvel at them as we eventually come over them. The plane rattles and smoke spews from the back, “Now Cyrus! Make sure to pull the pin after exactly five seconds in the air! Let me show you how to—“ He looks over the side and spies a man parachuting onto the Horde ships, “Well, time to clock in I guess.”
I watch below as orc archer point their arrows at me and aim carefully. I hold out my arms, asking for peace. They let me land and strip me of my weapons; my sword and shield are held by an orc peon. The orcs lead me forward towards the mast. I’m held there at spear point and await whomever is in charge. After a while of waiting and the smell of orc breath a large orc walks unto the ship from elsewhere. “Who are you?” he asks in Orcish. “My name is Cyrus and I’m here to ask for peace.” The orcs are shocked I spoke their language, fluently even.
“We don’t have any intention of peace. We’re here to rid this world of your kind. The high lords demand!” The orcs cheer, “Mannoroth has no business here. Other than in us.” The orc looks at me with great interest, “How do you know of Mannoroth?” I open my eyes and show him my true self, crimson eyes stare back into his own. “We share the curse orc.”
The orc laughs, “I’ve heard of you. You’re the brat you doused the demons in Alterac?” My eyes widen, “How do you know of that?” He smirks, “The Frostwolves aren’t all so isolated, we have friends in many, many places.” I look grimly to the orc, “How can we settle this without blood being spilled?” The orc caresses his chin, “Well, if you surrender and enslave yourselves now…” I stare at the orc, my world turning more red by the moment. “Reasonably?” He stares back at me and notices my eyes start to bleed, he knows the time for words is almost over. “There is none. We want war, just as you do.” He smirks and paces before me, “I think you should be worrying more about yourself than that pesky village over there.” My world becomes a pure red and I’ve had enough, “Lok’Tar!” I screams as I break through the orcs and attack the captain. I smash his head open as he is in full surprise. The other orcs charge, but I grasp one of the spears and slaughter them. I run over and kick a small rope bridge off the side of the ship, preventing reinforcements. Before the fleet notices I dash into the cabins and slice the orcs in there to ribbons. I go below deck and light the cannon’s fuses, “Time to start this Light begotten party!” The cannons erupt and I jump from the boat, astounded by the success. The Blood frenzy subsided and I swam towards shore. The cannons ripped holes in two of the orc ships and more guns from the shore open fire. The battle for Southshore has begun.
The snow was falling and nostalgia was setting in. I swam in the frigid waters, orc spear in hand and a horrible realization came to mind. “I started the potential genocide of my people.” I was long in thought as I approached the coast line, oil docks lined the waters and swam past them. These orcs had no sense of honor. They admitted it themselves. I am such a fool, Drek’ Thar warned me, then the humans. The Horde must die. I reached the shore and was picked up by elves, the armies of Silvermoon has arrived.
I was escorted to Uther who stood before a table as the snow fell. “I trust negotiations went well?” Explosions could be heard rocking
the coast to the south. “We didn’t even get hallway to the ships before you blew them up? Couldn’t you have waited longer?!” I looked at him puzzled, “You weren’t listening then. We had a support force en route while they were busy with you. We were going to assassinate their war chief!” I was stunned, “That wasn’t part of the mission! If only you had told me!” Uther stared at me, “It was part of your own father’s plan!” He handed me the parchment, “It says you and he discussed it at length and you understood the risks.” I stared at the parchement, “He never mentioned a strike force! No wonder they didn’t listen!” Uther smacked me in the side of the head and I was surprised. “These are orcs, did you really believe that they’d parlay? Without huge amounts of gold or slaves to serve them!?” I sighed and walked off, “I’ll try to fix that mistake then.” I threw the spear away and went for a sword rack. I retrieved a shield as well and headed to the coast, I had to avenge Lordaeron, even if it wanted nothing to do with me.
I caught up to an advancing regiment, equipped with standard Alliance plate and weapons I was determined to join my fellow humans in their defense. A swirl of pride came from my heart as I sayw the masses of elves and men marching towards Southshore. We arrived soon afterwards to a fortified coast with orcs charging towards us. “For the Alliance!” Many of us screamed as we clashed with the orcs. I sliced though many with ease, taking advantage of their blind rage. I looked onwards and saw many of my brethren falling, blood and dirt flew through the air, why were we so weak? I watched as orcs cut down so many men and realized my people were not prepared for war. They were content on peace and the rage they had built was wanted, not earned. That would change after that day.
I fought on, determined to even the scores, determined to see the ratio of death in our army double theirs. I wanted to see five orcs for every man. Even if I had to slay ten thousand I wanted to see that. To have confidence in this rag tag group of plate wearers, Light wielders, potential warriors. I looked in pit as I cut many orcs down but still saw my brothers fall. I began to scream at the orcs, asking them to face me and was soon joined by others. A paladin took to my side and joined me as we taunted the enemy. “What’s your name soldier! Who warrants such courage in this battle?!” The paladin was large and wore a green cloak, he had blonde hair and swung a large hammer, much like Arthas’. “I am Cyrus sir paladin! I seek the end of the Horde!” The paladin smiled as he thrust an orc to the ground and smashed his skull. “I am Causis of the Grey, pleased to meet you Cyrus!” Other soldiers joined us and the orcs began to struggle.
I thought back to the days at the palace, desperate for an edge. The guard captain had shown me a strategy that would be used in the king’s personal defense. I looked around and saw all the ingredients of its execution. “Causis! I trust you’re the commander here today!” He nodded, “Yes, why what is it?!” I yelled, “We need to create a phalanx! Tell the men as we hold the orcs at bay to get in a line and raise their shields!” The paladin nodded, “Excellent idea!” He began to scream and soldiers in the back began to form the phalanx. I turned, waiting for Causis’ word to begin. I marveled at his strength, even as a Light wielder he was exemplary even for my standards. Even in heroism and death; which unfortunately came next.
Causis was grasped by chains and swung underneath a huge orc. A young soldier with two hammers laid on the ground next to them and he screamed, “No! Father!” I watched helplessly from a crowd of angry orcs. Causis was stabbed in the chest and my eyes widened. The young one soon smashed the orc’s head with a hammer and the orc fell.
A very impressive feat; a yelled to him, “The phalanx!” He looked back from atop Causis’ corpse, he was crying and time seemed to slow. The world had become grey once again and the red of the orc’s eyes became blue. The young man’s face was frozen in tears and I watched in horror as words came to mind, Father! Causis’ son held the corpse and I watched as a white wolf approached from behind them. My heart lightened as I saw Causis next to her. Though I knew him for minutes he and his son made a profound impact. I knew from then on that I was not like these orcs, I had heart and this was it’s greatest tragedy. I looked into the man’s eyes and knew that I was human, and I was still more fortunate than some. Regardless of the destinies of the day I would protect this land. This land of human would be under my watchful eye and I’d use the orc’s curse against them.
The world became red and I ran to the man as I could move once more. He stared in horror, not at me, but his father’s body. “Get up! Come on, Lordaeron needs you!” He turned to me with his grey eyes, ignoring my red ones. As if in a daze or dream he nodded and followed me to the phalanx. We assembled and smashed into the orc lines, me at it’s head. I assumed command, simply because I seemed to know what I was doing. “FORWARD!” We moved and slowly brought down the orc lines. They fell and we were suffering minimally, but orcs began to get around us and we became a clump of plate wearers. Elves came from the hills and began to fire at them, but hit us as well.
That battle ended shortly, the phalanx worked, but orcs escaped. A paladin of the Silver Hand laid dead and a wayward son of Lordaeron had taken the reins without consent. Southshore would soon fall and Uther Lightbringer attributed me for some of the failures. To he and Terenas, it was my fault the battle was started and lost, and very least in part. The phalanx was credited to Causis and his son Aldean of the Grey, though he protested. I was taken back to Lordaeron in disgrace and irons. I was to be court marshaled and blamed for the massacre at Southshore.
I awoke in the prison cells below the kingdom. I wore nothing but cut pants, supplied by the guard. I was clasped in irons and was beginning to catch a cold, a near death sentence in due time. I looked through towards the snow outside my bars and watched as they slowly descended. I reminisced about the cell years in Alterac. I felt like I was in that place again, I almost felt comfortable, as if my past self shared the space with me, over time, waiting for me to come back. I would nod and say things like, “Yes, death is coming.”
The cells opened one day and a guard nodded to me. I stood and he unhooked the chains to the wall. “Cyrus, you are to be tried. Prepare your soul and hope for mercy.” I nodded, “I am no child of the Light.” He pushed me forward, unaware of my heritage, only that I was a criminal, I had the scars and tattoo to prove it.
I entered the throne room, no amber light poured in, the marble looked less marvelous. My time here has made me content and I was ruing it. I should have been smarter, I should have been stronger, less brash, more human. From atop the throne King Terenas addressed me. “Welcome back Cyrus.” I stood before him, hands clasped in irons and I stared at him, eager for his judgment. What did this man think I deserved? I charge you with the blatant losses of…” I interrupt him, “Guilty.” He is taken aback and I look to him, “I did cause Southshore. I didn’t do as I was told and ran headlong into an army of orcs. In my desperation I created a disaster that caused friendly fire and for orcs to escape into the outlining wilderness. I took command when a great paladin fell and assumed I was justified due to my bloodline. I was selfish and I understand this.” I peer from the floor, “I intended the best, but it seems I had much to learn. Too late for that now, as you’re bound to have me executed.” The king nodded, “Very well.” The guardsmen grabbed me and took me back to whence I came, “As you said Cyrus, you were harmful and cruel. We cannot win a war in your matter thus you must be made example of. Death will be swift my son.”
I sat again in the cage, certain of my doom. I watched as the snow fell and wondered what remorse the snow had. It would fall despite my watching, but would it be enjoyed after I was gone? A part of me wanted to live, just to ensure the snow fall was appreciated. But no, I would die for a battle gone terribly wrong, the frontier captain Cyrus of Alterac is to be hanged.
The night seemed short, I awoke to some strange pattering sound and I looked to the source of the sound. Someone was throwing stones into the cage from above. I looked and saw a surprising sight, emerald eyes peered into my own, it was the female elf. “Cyrus, it’s me. Quickly we have to get you out.” I stood puzzled, “Why save me?” She smirked, “I was at Southshore, I saw what you did. We did not lose because of you. We were going to lose that battle anyway. If anything you were our best shot.” I frowned, “But the friendly fire, the orcs getting around?” She put her hand through the bars and extended them, as if she wanted me to grasped them. I did and she continued, “You did better than any in that situation. You should be a hero, not a caged rat.” I smirk, “Thank you, but what could I do to repay you?” She nods, “Lordaeron may not want you, but Quel’ Thelas does. Cyrus, my people don’t have many advantages on our own. We need leaders and they’re beginning to look at me; and I look to you. I want you to help me bring glory to my nation and you to yours. You can have your life back.” I shook my head and released her hand. “I don’t want my life back. I will start again, but I will help you.” She tilts her head, “Why?” I smirked, “I made an oath that the Horde would die by my hand. I also owe you greatly; tell me your name and we can leave. “Sylvanas.” I smile, “Lovely name.” We shake hands and she begins to pull on the bars, “Now to get you out.” I raise an eyebrow and walk towards the cell door, “Guard!” He appears and asks what’s wrong. He notices Sylvanas, “Hey!” I puch him and he’s knocked unconscious. I take a key and walk back towards the padlocked window. I opened it and crawl outside. “Let’s head to Silvermoon then.
There’s work to be done.”
Me and Sylvanas escaped from Lordaeron that night and made our way north, towards the eleven nation of Quel’Thelas. She stashed away two hawkstriders, large ride able birds for us to take. I hopped on and the poor thing squawked loudly, apparently I was too heavy. We found a horse near to Brill that’s owner seemed ill attentive. We took off with me saying something along the lines of, “Birds aren’t really my thing.”
We arrived at the village of Anorhal after an hour’s ride and stopped for our mounts to rest. There was a celebration under way and the town was covered with decorations and different colored lanterns, mainly red and green. “What’s going on? Why is everything so bright?” Sylvanas looked to me from her bird, “Tis the Feast of the Winter Veil. Every winter most peoples will celebrate the coming of the end of the year. Did you not celebrate after we rescued you?” I looked onward towards the lights that decorated the homes and buildings. “No. I never cele-brated.” Her eyes widened, “Well…” She grasped my hand and led me through the town. In front of a large building she was able to procure us clothes from an isolated cart.
We dressed and I was confused as to what was going on. I had a green doublet on, with black pants and brown shoes. I looked like an overly bright noblemen. I looked around for Sylvanas, and then she appeared. I was stunned, she wore a red gown with white trip along the sides. “You look –beautiful.” I stuttered, “Sorry that must have been rude.” She grabbed my hand again and we came across a crowd of people, dancing in the town square before a large hall. “Shall we dance?” she asks. “I turned to her and my heart seemed to be gripped by an unfathomable emotion, one that I understand men have a hard time describing. “I don’t know how.” She smiled, “It’s a natural thing.”
We stepped into the crowd and people began to cheer, “Wow, those two look amazing!” My face became red; apparently I was big on self-image, despite my will for the contrary. Sylvanas and my hands were still locked and we began to dance. Almost as she stepped I did, it did seem natural, immediately I felt like part of the crowd, like one of those with happy lives ahead of them. I looked then to Sylvanas’ eyes and stared into the emerald abyss. She must never see mine, must never know my past. I wanted her, her alone. I would no longer seek the life I inherited, I wanted that which I could claim for myself; a happy life with this female elf.
We danced for an hour or so, the ecstasy of the night poured into our souls and I had lost focus. I dedicated my being to impressing Sylvanas, I felt if I could do that, then somehow my life would get better, happier. No longer would I be chained to a hole, or castle, by orcs or paladins. I tried to veer from the thought of sex, I wanted to focus on one thing, did she want me too? If so, then how and why should I proceed? I was thinking to much, so I decided to take her advice. Let things come naturally; I tried to kiss her.
Her eyes widened as she held me away. I immediately backed away, embarrassed by what I had done. “I’m sorry I—“ She shushed me and held her finger high, “Quiet!” I looked behind her and saw Lordaeron guardsmen putting up flyers, it had my face on them. “We need to leave Cyrus.” She embraced me, “Don’t get any ideas, just play along.” I look down and slow music came on, I realized what I had to do. We stepped slowly, along with the others, hoping not to draw the guard’s attention. “One the count of three, we’ll make it for the hawkstriders.” I nodded, “Cyrus.” I look down and she kissed me on the cheek, “Like I said, naturally.”
He silently broke away to the hawk striders and made our way to Eastern Lordaeron. We still wore our holiday outfits and stuck out like a sore thumb. We made it to the gates of Silvermoon in Eastern Lordaeron after a few close calls with guards. Even though we were ahead of the messengers we still had to be careful in our suspicious looking costumes.
The gates of Quel’ Thelas were large and elves stood ready for trespassers. “Hold!” They forced us to stop, “Are you two here for then festival then?” Sylvanas dismounted, “No, I am Ranger Lieutenant Sylvanas Windrunner. Me and my friend here have business in Silvermoon.” The guards nod and stands aside allowing the two inside.
With the permission of the Ranger’s Guild which at the time was the foremost authority of rangers; I became Sylvanas’ personal soldier and they knew of my actions in Southshore. I was under her command and I was to serve a dual-role as an advisor for orc activities. This was a rather prestigious position and for once I felt like I belonged, mainly because the love of my life depended on me. Love is a strange thing; it makes situations that contradict your dreams into hopes within itself. I was isolated among elves, a very strange race; not only that but I failed to speak much of their native language. After learning Orcish and Common however, elvish seemed easy. I was happy, or at least I thought I was.
After years among the elves and by Sylvanas’ side I had experienced much. We fought the trolls of Zul’ Aman, orcs along the border, we even aided human forces from time to time in Lordaeron. King Teranas eventually discovered I escaped, but assumed I returned to the Frost wolf. I didn’t know what happened to Arthas for a time, but after a while I began to hear about his exploits during the war. I longed to see him and hoped to do so during our travels.
I would get that chance when we descended into Lordaeron for a campaign in Hillsbrad. I never could remember the name HIllsbrad till recently, the name seemed strange. I always heard it referred to the foothills or lowlands; I’ve always had trouble with that region’s name. The elven armies arrived and linked up with Lordaeron forces under Admiral Proudmoore, the same commander from Southshore. Sylvanas assured me politics wouldn’t get in the way and that I’d be safe under the Quil’Thillean tabard. I trusted her word; she was now the Ranger general of Silvermoon.
The orcs approached the hills from the south, not by ship, but by an inland base. The duty of this army was to take them on and secure the foothills. I remember standing in front of Sylvanas’ tent in the rain one night. Guarding her as she slept; she used to insist I could join her, not for love, but for warmth. I’d refuse saying it was an honor to serve her. She would always feel awkward, as if she was treating me like a dog, but sometimes I thought of myself as such, a mutt. Also, I enjoyed the challenge of life; I didn’t want to grow soft like I did in Lordaeron. However, sometimes that can’t be avoided.
I looked onward, on the lookout for intruders. A mass of tents before me, dim lights in some, but mostly soldiers, elves sleeping. I watched diligently as I saw someone approaching, I lifted my claymore and shield and spoke, “Who goes there?” The figure stopped and approached after collecting himself. It was Arthas and he held a parchment. I lowered my weapon, “Hello brother.” Arthas eyes widened, “Cyrus?!” He rushed me and took me into his arms, “I thought you were dead!” I patted his head and was in awe as I saw wrinkles that have creased his face. “You’ve been busy.” He looked up, “What happened? I heard that you disappeared after Southshore.” I nodded, “Yes, imprisoned by Uther Lightbringer.” His mouth gaped, “No--, that’s impossible. He wouldn’t have.” I interrupted him, “I was sentenced to death for the failure of Southshore.” Arthas stared, “But only—“ I nodded, “Yes, only father could have ordered that of me.” His eyes were filled with terror, “I-I don’t…”
A sound came from the tent behind me, Sylvanas emerged. “It is true Prince Arthas.” I turned, “My lady..” Arthas blinked numerous times, “My lady?” Sylvanas motioned for me to be silent. “Your father was going to have Cyrus executed. For a crime, something that should be considered anything but.” Arthas stared ominously, “Father would never.” I turn towards Arthas, “Believe what you will. Now, state your business with Lady Sylvanas.” He looks to me, “Cyrus—I” I looked sternly to him, “Speak.”
He sighed and presented Sylvanas with a parchment. She opened it and I stood vigilant, nearly heart broken. “Did you read this Arthas?” The prince shook his head, “Figures.” I said as I peeked at the note, “He did something similar to me.” He watched onwards, hoping we would tell him. “It says that our forces are to merge and attack the Horde by dawn.” She looks east and sees a small glimmer of sunlight. “Well, not much time is left then. Cyrus, signal the army if you please.” I nod and head towards the horn. A large horn sat on a pedestal behind Sylvanas’ tent; it is used to rouse the elves in case of emergency, or times of battle. I blew and the horn resounded throughout the landscape. Trees shook and men awoke from their slumber. Slowly the armies of men and elves rise from their tents and look up to the source of the sound. Sylvanas and Arthas stand above them on a hill that overlooks the encampment’s majority. “Elves of Quel’Thelas! Men of Lordaeron! Warriors of the Alliance!” The army gathers before the hill as Arthas continues his cries. “The orcs will meet with us within the hour! Prepare yourself for war my friends!”
The army is soon ready and begins to march southward. Admiral Proudmoore follows along the coast in his ships and I follow Sylvanas and Arthas who have taken places as commanders. I sit back as a soldier and watch as they speak at length; it wasn’t long before I began to grow resentful. The army marched south for hours and finally reached a hill where the orc encampments could be seen. They were unaware and didn’t notice our approach. “Sylvanas I suppose you and your elven archers should remain on the high ground and provide covering fire.” She nods, “Take Cyrus and my warriors with you then.” I was surprised, “Are you certain Sylvanas?” She nods quickly, “Yes, protect Arthas as you have protected me.” I pound my chest and bow my head, “As you command.”
Arthas and I rally our soldiers together behind the hills, hoping to remain undetected. “Cyrus.” I turn to Arthas who’s atop a horse, covered in armor. The horse was named Invincible and it more than held that reputation. I nod, “Yes prince?” He shakes his head in disbelief, “Cyrus! I’m sorry!” I continue to stare, “Why?” Again he shakes, “I should have known.” I ask again, “Why?” Arthas looks bewildered, “You had nothing to do with it. We may be brothers Arthas, but only in blood.” I looked away and I felt a cold wind in my chest, “I meant those
words, but at the same time I felt I shouldn’t have. He turns and addresses his men as do I; there was work to be done.
Eventually we were ready for battle; Arthas sat from atop his horse and before his forces. I stood with my elven friends and prepared to charge as they did. Sylvanas and her rangers stood ready in the trees that overlooked the camps. The battle began when admiral Proudmoore fired into the camps. Orcs came flying from the bases and charged at us from up the hill; they also had guns firing at the Alliance ships. The battle was to take place in this ravine, within this forest of pines and maple trees. Our forces charged and we clashed with the Orcish Horde.
My elves were master swordsmen who, like the humans wore plate armor, but with more intricate designs. My armor was similar, but golden, covered in metallic versions of leaves that stretched around my body, as if being embraced by life itself. I had a helmet and shield, but I carried an Orc sword, Ballock’s blade, a claymore. At long last after years of training I had developed my own style of fighting, unique that it takes so much strength and endurance to use it. I held a claymore in my right hand and a shield in the other; few orcs willfully stood in the way of that.
The armies were screaming and the Alliance was gaining the upper hand. Me and Sylvanas’ elves ripped through and turned left, cutting off the advancing orcs from the Lordaeron forces. Orcs were trapped between us and the humans who pierced their bellies with ease. We advanced in phalanx, convinced that the tactic had many benefits Sylvanas implored me to use it. We did, the elves and I moved ahead of the human forces and engaged the Horde’s reinforcements in the trees. Many were toppled by the rangers arrows and they fell into full retreat towards the now burning fortress beyond the trees, within sights of the Alliance destroyers.
The battle raged between retreating orcs and free firing destroyers as we stood within the trees, safe from the ships. Arthas caught up to me and was angry; I took notice but tried to ignore him. “What was that Cyrus?” I looked over from underneath my helmet, “A slaughter milord.” I looked forward again, scanning the field for anything abnormal. “You humiliated our forces.” I looked again, “Milord?” He turned to me, face reddened, “You did that with some motive.” I recognized the scowl and became rather nostalgic, “You sounded like Ballock for a moment.” Arthas turned, “Who?” I decided it was time, for some reason I decided that me and Arthas were finished, he assumed himself higher than me, I felt it as he spoke to me. I turned and his eyes widened. My eyes glew a bright crimson and I stared at him, full of rage. “Shut your Light damn mouth.” He was terrified and backed off before stopping and exhaling heavily. “Wh—How?” I turned, “I’ll tell you just as I told Uther. Where was our mother during the First War? Use your imagination.” I turned and noticed an arrow fly towards Arthas.
“Arth-!” I was too late, he fell from his horse and to the ground. “Arthas!” I screamed as I attempted to tend to his wound. “Get a priest! Prince Arthas has been hit!” An elven soldier runs off and returns with a priest within moments. I stood, allowing her to do her magic. Arthas groaned as a thundering sound cracked from the sea. I watched as the Alliance ships were decimated by Horde naval forces. “Lord Cyrus!” I turned, an elven ranger approached in a rush. “Yes ranger?” She catches her breath, “We have reports of a massive Horde army en route. She asks for your advice.” I looked stunned, “Why me?” The ranger looks ominously, “I was supposed to ask Prince Arthas, but…” I look to my feet, the paladin has blood surging from his mouth. “I suppose I’ll assume command then.” I looked down with terror in my heart, would this be another Southshore?
I watched the Horde advance and walked forward towards the masses. The elves began to follow me and they beckoned the human as well. Arthas was tended to in place and protected by some of my elves. We walked onto the field and I held up my hand looked towards Sylvanas’ rangers on the cliffs. I nodded as I turned back to the smoking fields and hordes of orcs. The elves raise their banners and the humans follow as well. I look onwards and terror grips me as I realize I should speak. I heard a horse behind me and looked; there Invincible stood and beckoned me to ride him. I nodded and mounted the horse. He was a smart horse and began to pace the line. I was deep in thought and had trouble thinking of inspiring words, I was no general. It comes naturally
“Soldiers of the Alliance! Many of you may know me, many of you may not! I am Cyrus of Lordaeron, a soldier of men, of elves! I have lived many lives and I am certain of many things! I have been a prisoner of war! A soldier like you! A lover, a liar! I stand before you today as all of those things! Yet none of those things! I look to you now, soldiers of Azeroth, I look to you to judge me! We are defined by who we are, but that is determined by your actions! I ask you today my friends, who are you?! Are you soldiers? Lovers? Husbands, wives? Brothers and sisters? I have a brother, I told him that we were only so through blood! I realize now that’s all that matters! I realize now that blood ties us together and breaks us apart! I realize now that we must protect our family no matter the cost! Who are you soldiers of Lordaeron? Who do you protect?!”
I heard many things, all of them were heart breaking. These people screamed names and ideas. Some said the Alliance, Quel’Thelas, Lordaeron, Stormwind. No matter what they said, the cheer came harmoniously and with thunder. I turned towards the orcs and dismounted Invincible. I raised my sword and shield and clashed them together. The elves and men created a phalanx as the innumerable Horde rushed forward. “FOR THE ALLIANCE! FOR AZEROTH!” I screamed as I charged forward onto the blackened earth and struck the orc line. The armies clashed and the phalanx held firm, carving a swathe into their ranks. I held up my hand and elven arrows struck in an advancing line across the orcish ranks. I watched the sea and hoped the ships wouldn’t fire. They sunken Alliance destroyers blocked the bay and presented an obstacle for the Orc ships that were still miles away. I smirked as I realized the Orcs were without naval support. I continued my onslaught and directed the phalanx as I soon joined it. I eventually sheathed my claymore in favor of an elven gladius, a smaller sword ideal for the phalanx, presented by the elvish craftsmen after the tactic was implemented.
The Horde fought desperately but could not break our lines. Sylvanas and her rangers decimated their numbers and the phalanx proved itself to man. The land laid littered with orcish corpses and I finally sheathed my gladius. I remember looked around, so impressed with the results. “Lordaeron will be safe in no time.” A bolt of shock drips through my body as I realize something, Arthas!
I ran back across the fields and found Arthas sitting up against a tree, priests tending to him. I took my helmet off and placed my hand on his shoulder. “Arthas!” He looked up, “Did you mean it?” I stared in shock as blood dripped from his chin, “What?” I was terrified he meant if I thought he truly wasn’t my brother. “The speech.” He looked up and his eyes looked pale. I nodded, “Yes, every word.” He thrust forward and hugged me, blood dripped over my armor and he began to sob, “I’m sorry.” I looked down and asked, “For what? You were the only thing that kept me alive.” He shook his head, “I’m sorry it wasn’t me.” My heart stood still, “No, you don’t deserve that.” He turns, “Why should I live in this castle, surrounded by luxuries, bask in the Light? When you, you had to survive to live?!” I nodded, “Because there are great things in store for you.”
After the battle for Hillsbrad I escorted Arthas personally to the capital of Lordaeron. Sylvanas left for Quel’ Thelas understanding that I had found my destiny and that I was a man of Lordaeron. I decided I would return and face judgment. We returned after a week of travel and I presented the recovering prince and myself to King Terenas who sat atop his throne.
He dashed towards Arthas and ignored me, my helmet off and in my arm. He embraced Arthas and brushed off his shoulders. His hair had greyed fully and wrinkles began to develop on his face, Terenas was getting old. “I’m fine father; thanks to Cyrus.” The king turns to me and nods, “Thank you Cyrus.” I was surprised, “You’re welcome.” Terenas escorts Arthas towards a few priests who take him upstairs. Terenas turns to me, pale and sighs. “What now?” I wince, “I suppose I return to Quel’ Thelas.” “Quel--? So, that’s where you went.” I nodded, noting that I was asked to deliver a message from Sylvanas and wearing the Silvermoon tabard. “I see. It’s been years Cyrus.” I nodded again, “Indeed.” The king paces and is clearly troubled, “Cyrus, do you remember that day in the chamber, the ambassadors?” I looked onward, “I do.” He fiddle with his hands and looks up, “They spoke of being besieged on all sides. Cyrus, we’ve been fighting in the south for years now, focusing on the massive amounts of orcs that would appear.” I watch as the king continues to pace, “We have trouble in the east. I require someone to take on the task of managing the Horde in the area, a frontier general.” I look stunned, “You would dare--?” He held his hands in repose, “I’ve done terrible things Cyrus, I know. I’ve been a monster to you, because of your upbringing, your eyes.” I stare with my steel colored irises, “I’m sorry.”
The throne was quiet and I was unconvinced. “You’re asking me to do this then? Patrol the frontier?” Terenas speaks, “With a small army, you will be well equipped. I received word of your part in the battle for HIllsbrad and I’m convinced you’re the best we know of.” I blink and hold as if in pain, “I’m sorry, but I’m only here to present you with this.” I open my eyes and hold out the report from Sylvanas. I turn to leave as Terenas reads the message. “Cyrus, perhaps you should read this.” I pivot back and face the king who holds the note towards me. I walk over and grasp the note, “Cyrus, I understand that your people have done terrible things to you. They’ve abandoned you, imprisoned you, but as you said that day in Hillsbrad before hundreds of warriors, blood is what matters and we must protect family. I agree and that’s why I release you from my service. You’ve done well and my nation is better off for it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Cyrus and I wish you luck. You will always be welcome in Silvermoon, no matter what life you’re living at the moment. And as a personal note, that day in Andorhal when we danced, I look forward to an epilogue. After all, you beat me to the punch with that kiss. Sincerely your friend, Sylvanas.
I look up in awe and then down to Terenas. “I will do as you ask. I will lead this frontier army.” Since that day I’ve served as Frontier General Cyrus Menethil of Lordaeron. My name spread and lineage became publicly known. I was hailed as a hero, though reckless at times. I’m brash and impatient in spots and quick to action. I have a problem with women, I see them as snide and overconfident; but I do appreciate those that prove themselves as strong and willful within their own right. Sylvanas is such a woman and I’ve visited her often. I write this now after two years of service and I’ve had time to recollect my thoughts and figured this would make an amusing read. In all seriousness, it is a cold day in Lordaeron and I prepare for a campaign near Strathholme. Arthas will meet me and we’ve been in touch constantly. I’ve come a long way since the cage years and I feel Drek’ Thar would be proud as would Ballock.
I’ve been through so much and I suppose I should end this journal with something meaningful and profound. To whomever this may concern I thank you for reading. It may be selfish, but I want my life to mean something, I want it to be known.
Good luck to you, and may the white wolf guide your way.