I write this journal entry only now that I know I will have a chance, in later times, to look back at it. I am sitting on a bench on the Tundra-Orgrimmar zeppelin, and awaiting to see my city again, and take in its sights, it sounds, and its smells. Happiness has washed over me, and as I look around the zeppelin at my Daggers, I cannot help but smile at each one of them.
I am thankful that so many survived - the Daggers and the Defensive as a whole. I am thankful that Dishka survived, who I thought would meet her end in this conflict. I am thankful that the Sergeant, Junka, has fought his way through yet another war, another threat. Without he, I would not have a rock to lean on, when I need something more than the Earth to stand on. I am thankful, that those of whom who took on the most dangerous jobs - the scouts, the drake riders, and the Death Knights - lived through to remember this conflict, and have legends told of them.
I warned the troops. I asked them to remember that we won this campaign thanks to compassion and consideration. Not rage. Not arrogance. We were not a mindless swarm, we were not faceless brutes disregarding our very souls without a care for honour or harmony with the spirits. Everything we have worked for here may crumble because of letting anger and rage and hatred get the better of us. The troops that I led here were not of the same breed that Hellscream takes authority over. We are the key to this campaign. Though I still worry that many will go on to slaughter any who even show any hints of challenging us, when the bigger picture is the threat to the far north, the threat of the Scourge.
I also told them, before I gave up my title and authority of Overlord, that to prevail, the Horde has to work together. Race is irrelevant in the Horde. I advised that Elf fight alongside Troll, Tauren fight alongside Forsaken. I did not wish my last speech as Overlord to be a preach, but I did wish to secure this union that we built up over the week.
At times, it was a union of euphoria. When the head of Paggorn, the head of the vile dreadlord was hung from the doorway of the Hold, the euphoria that gripped me, gripped everyone led to cynical elves, hateful Death Knights and quiet Tauren shouting and cheering, rejoicing. All listened to Sergeant Junka's words as he commanded the assembled troops to gaze upon our defeated foe's head. All shouted, or screamed "FOR THE HORDE!"
Just before that moment, as I walked to the front of the Hold, Dishka approached me. We hadn't been long back from the Temple City, and she wished to know if the conflict was over. I said it was, and her reaction was to fall to her young knees, and sob. We are but a few years apart. We could have been mates. She is pretty enough. But no. As tears rolled down her smooth cheeks, I held her to my chest, and realized that we are so far apart. We are so different. It it my job to take away all the innocence she has, all these emotions, and make war into a usual thing for her. Though it will properly train her to serve the Horde, and the Warchief, it will still pain me to see her expression harden, to see her body marred by scars. It will be a proud moment, but also a sad moment. The childish pup will grow into a proud worg. A transition that I never had the chance to go through...
We owe a debt to the dragons today. The drake-riders were an essential part of our campaign, and the Bronze especially gave us insight time and time again. We owe a debt to the Horde Triage, who kept most of our troops alive, despite their youth and inexperience.
Youth. Inexperience. Two words that troubled me throughout this campaign. Two words that I thought may cause more trouble than they actually did. Far from that though, and far from letting this war grind the troops into the Tundra earth, this war has elated them, and has given them experiences and memories and a sense of purpose which will take a while to be succeeded. Yes, they have seen horrible things, suffered brutal wounds, and battled foes that towered over them, but each kill, each battle won rose their spirits. It has been a war where every scrap of optimism is grabbed, chewed, and devoured. Because in this war, you could never tell when those scraps were going to run out.
No matter the dangers, the Horde at least has a young military waiting to shine when its time comes. When older soldiers like Junka and Valtheras eventually reach their end, whether through battle or through their bodies and minds giving way, their legacies will live on in their successors. In young but already immensely able troops like Adera (in which I believe I have found a friend. She has been a comrade throughout my time as a shaman, but the conflict signalled to be what a fine orc she is, and Dust. I must battle alongside her more), like Gorik, like Kergo, like, I presume, Lonika. The decision to take on the blood-elves, the decision to take on the Forsaken... these were decisions which were tested in this war, and they paid off thoroughly. It was a joy to see our forces fight as an army, and not as several packs. Variety and youth! It feels so fresh, especially next to Hellscream's Offensive, which is bound by paying extreme diffidence to your leaders. I do not follow this. I do not want my troops kneeling to me, as they did tonight. I expect them to carry out my orders, and not utter a word of disrespectful dissent, but to make them look down? To make them lower their height? They were in my power because of their ability and intelligence - things they should be proud of. How can you be proud when you are nothing but your Overlord's ammunition?
I hunger for the feast tomorrow! I will be there as a friend and comrade, rather than an Overlord. This war has filled me with a sense of pride and joy that makes our campaign in Icecrown seem so much more surmountable. I will be sure to honour the One Who Died, too...
Grakan. There was nothing I could do for him, when he perished. His spirit was too weak, too fragile, to return to its body. Warlock spirits often are, because, I feel, they are filled with self-doubt, self-hatred. You can only have so much contempt until it outweighs everything else you fight for, and Grakan... Grakan had been consumed. Still, he died a hero, and though his spirit would not, could not return to its owner, in death, it lingered in the Hold. It gave the Defensive an eerie mood which some troops did not react well to. But to I, a shaman? Ha! I could communicate with him perfectly well. He wished to see Paggorn dead. He even admitted to me he had followed the wrong path, all those years ago. I saw no triumph in that, only sorrow for him. He could not forget his atrocities, or the evils that he had committed.
I returned to the front of the Hold, when I sent the troops home. As they walked off to the zeppelins, or through the portals, in happy exhaustion, I went to see the warlock. He was speaking quietly with Lonika. She had not coped with his death well. They are of the same school - the arcane. It was strange then, because as I saw them together, I held no real dislike to the thing that they had in common. Not since the arcane had helped us so much. It had masked our forward camp, so the Scourge couldn't destroy it before we were able to use it for its intended purpose.
I digress. I spoke with the spirit of Grakan. He was pleased, but solemn. There was no energy in his words, though we shared a joke between us. One final conversation before he departed from the world completely. We saluted, said "For the Horde". We did the things that honour our peers, honour ourselves. And there has rarely been a time when a salute felt more genuine, a "Lok'tar Ogar" felt more like it mattered. As the image of the warlock disappeared, I knew that, finally, the Defensive was over.
We should be in Orgrimmar soon. I'm going to get some rest, and I'm going to start making the preparations for the warlock's burial. I'm going to make sure I don't eat anything tomorrow, so that when the feast comes, I eat and eat and eat. I look forward to speaking to my allies in a situation of revelry, rather than a situation of desperation.
My life for the Horde
- Overlord Gremkarc of Orgrimmar, Leader of The Warsong Defensive