That which has been lost
Oh, well…I guess I was one of the first humans to meet the Draenei. Scary stuff I’ll tell you. I was a deckhand for Admiral Odesyus. When our ships were forced to drop anchor at what is now called Azuremyst Island, I was one of the men who ventured out to gather food. We were there for a few days before anything happened…and then everything happened.
I was gathering some fruit a few miles from the camp, when there was an cacophony of sound from the sky, a fortress, appeared from nowhere, and fell towards the island breaking apart as it careened towards the ground, I ran for a nearby cave and took cover, praying like I had never prayed before. The world shook, crashes, and…screams.
It was over in a few minutes, but I did not dare to move, I remained there, in that cave for the entire evening and night. When the first light of morning breached the tree line, I made my way out into the forest. What I saw confused me, there were some small fires around, and a few bodies. The bodies were Eredar. Or so I thought at the time.
I couldn’t help myself, I laughed. I had heard stories, descriptions. These were Eredar. The tails, the hooves, the tentacles on their faces. Some calamity had stricken an invading Legion army! I wandered around the wreckage a few minutes longer taking in the surroundings, most of the flying fortress had landed considerably further away but there was a lot to see where I was. Before long I saw the first elf, a blood elf lay on the ground killed by the force of the crash. I knew they had been cast out of the Alliance but I tried to leave his body in some dignified position, it seemed these elves had struck a major blow and perhaps saved Azeroth from another invasion. It was the least I could do for them in return.
I knelt before the elf, praying and I was so caught up in it, I never heard the demon approaching me from behind. I was lifted from the ground by the back of the neck and slammed into a tree, I was in shock, confused, frightened. The demon released me and I turned to face it before it lifted me by the shirt back into the air, I got my first look up close at an Eredar, and I was too frightened to even cry out, it was a giant, arms as thick as trees, its body..well what I could see of it, covered in small wounds from the crash, battered and bruised. Its lips were curled into a snarl and I could make out the fangs in its mouth.
It looked me over, turning my head side to side and glancing at the elf on the ground before speaking to me.
- Arakalada mannor golad, kar lok maz?!* It snarled at me, pointing with its free hand at the fallen elf.
I had no clue what it was trying to say, I was terrified, the armour it still wore was dented, scorched and battered. Across its back it wore two blades, each as long as I am tall. I looked back at the Eredar, its eyes bore into mine. I reasoned that it was asking me if I was like the Elf, you may call it cowardice, but had you been in my position, that of a man who had never been involved in anything worse then a bar brawl, to suddenly be confronted with the stuff of nightmares. I was amazed I retained control of my bodily functions.
I looked at the fallen elf and back to the Eredar and shook my head, frantically.
- N..no! I’m not like him! Please!* I wailed, I wasn’t sure if it understood what I said, or merely read the fear and desperation in my voice, but the snarl vanished, and it lowered me to the ground and released me, I fell back and slid down the tree, shaking. Looking back at the Eredar, it had turned its back on me and looked around it strode quickly to the nearest of its kind, and laid a finger on its neck, testing for a pulse. Taking its fingers away it shook its head and sighed. It continued this process for every body in the area, and I sat there, dumbstruck, watching as it did.
It felt wrong though, surely the demon should have been ill concerned with its fellows, such consideration was not like what I been told of the Eredar race. There was no mistaking what it was though, perhaps it was just in shock, I thought. If demons could suffer from such things. Reluctantly I got to my feet and the demon looked at me, one of its hands moving towards the hilt of one of the blades slung across its back.
Slowly, I made my way towards a body he had not yet touched at, and checked its pulse, before looking to the demon and shaking my head. It nodded stiffly and we worked over all the bodies in the clearing, slowly but surely we wrote off all of its fellow demons. I glanced over at him as he strode towards me, a look of true, sorrow on his face and before he could speak again a Blood Elf launched from the tree line straight at him.
The demon saw him just as I did, and managed to ready himself. The Blood Elf was unarmed, and barrelled into the demon trying to knock him over, the demon staggered but kept his footing, he brought one of his massive fists down onto the blood elf’s back and knocked it straight to the ground. Yet he did not kill it, he walked over to the Elf I had been praying for and tossed his weapons over to the one who had attacked him. The elf swore in its native tongue and staggered to its feet, readying the sword and moving in to attack the demon again, who by now had drawn one of his own swords,
The elf moved in to attack again, making quick swings and stabs, testing the demons guard, I gripped the knife at my belt, waiting for my chance. The elf, ducked and weaved and tried to outpace the Eredar, who was matching the elf move for move. I’d never seen a duel to the death before, I was unable to take my eyes away from it despite being fearful of the outcome. The elf, took a chance and lunged forward to stab his opponent, and in a single motion the demon parried the blow and grabbed the elf by the neck, and with a flick of its wrist, snapped the elf’s neck and dropped it. Just like that, it was over.
I was distraught, I had been too afraid to get involved and my saviour was dead on the ground. I prepared to try and surprise the Eredar when a call came from across the clearing.
- Ormel!?* a female Eredar, ran forward and embraced the male, they held each other for a time while I watched, more confused than I had ever been in my life. These were demons, and yet this was a display of love and affection. The female turned to me and smiled slightly, beckoning me to come over. I was in no position to refuse and she looked up at the larger one,
- Mannor refir tiros, zekul..Ormel?* I took Ormel as being the larger ones name. Looking up into his eyes, I extended my hand.
- Thomas Valan, of his majesty King Varian Wrynns’ navy.* The two looked at me, slightly puzzled and I flushed, I would have been lucky to explain just my name, full titles would have to wait. I pointed at the male.
- Ormel?* I said, before pointing to myself *Thomas.*. The two Eredar smiled and the female introduced herself as, Alahnna.
So it was, I had made friendly contact with demons of the Burning Legion. They spoke to each other for a while, I made a vain attempt at following the conversation, but from their expressions and tone it was clear they were worried about something. Alahnna managed a slight smile and nodded before turning to me.
- Thomas, ral zelth moll?* She said to me, taking the male’s hand and walking away, I took this as an invitation to follow, and so I did. We were walking for about a half hour, maybe more before we reached the camp.
Larger parts of debris had been cleared out and formed makeshift shelters for Eredar who milled around the camp, most were carrying some kind of wound, a few lay on the ground being tended by what I took as healers. When I was noticed all eyes turned on me, and I believed for a moment I had been led to be some kind of sacrifice. Ormel raised his hands and addressed the crowd, I hear my name mentioned once or twice. Once he was finished a few of the Eredar stepped forward to meet me and took my hand, smiling and, I can only assume, welcoming me.
Gathering my courage, I looked to Ormel and he smiled at me, I took a deep breath and asked the question I had been holding back since I had met him.
- Eredar?* Immediately a hush fell over the camp, all eyes, once again were on me. I couldn’t read the expression on Ormels face, but some of the others were clearly shocked and disturbed by what I had said. Ormel patted my shoulder gently and pointed to a piece of unoccupied bedding, consisting of various scraps of cloth. I took the hint and sat down as the ones who could move around gathered in the centre of the camp.
The discussion lasted hours, the tones of those speaking frequently changing. Sometimes I thought I heard, fear, others anger. Eventually, Alahnna returned to me and sat beside me. Again, the whole camp was looking at me. She pointed to herself.
- Eredar, ma amanare, kar laz ante.* She shook her head, gesturing towards herself and her people around the camp. *Draenei, belan no ul.* Her voice was quite soothing, I nodded, understanding, they were not Eredar, they called themselves Draenei.
I stayed there for a few days, helping where I could, I was assisting some of the Draenei with learning some common, I’m no teacher of course and my lessons consisted merely of pointing at things and telling them the word in common. They picked up quickly though, remembering each object or animal I pointed out. A few of the Draenei pressed me to teach them more and I think I managed pretty well.
On the third day, what I saw astonished me. They had called on me to help bind the wounds of one of the more severely injured Draenei, and as I held the bindings keeping the gash in its chest wound tight, Alahnna channelled magic, her hands glowed faintly with what was unmistakably holy magic. She nodded at me and I released the bindings, the Draenei lay still, breathing slowly and the wound on its chest was closed, a length of scar tissue running down its body. I was stunned, I had thought them demons but here they were channelling holy magic to heal wounds. I wanted to run back to the Admiral and explain what was happening, but I dared not leave. I wanted to stay and help these people.
I noticed that every morning, Alahnna, or Ormel, or sometimes both of them would venture off into the forest, at first I thought they were gathering but they nearly always returned empty handed, or sometimes with a few more Draenei. I approached one of the Draenei Ormel had introduced as Talaak and tried to ask him what they were doing.
- Small one, searching.* He said, pointing across the camp he was indicating what I assumed to be a family. My chest tightened, they were searching for their child. I nodded and thanked Talaak before walking off to think. I still had no explanation for the Blood Elves attacking, these Draenei clearly weren’t malicious. What then could the provocation have been? Perhaps a terrible mistake, I mean, I nearly made the mistake of attacking Ormel, thinking him to be a demon.
A few more days passed, the small camp had grown to house about eighty or more Draenei. The dead had been buried, at least those who had been found. Some of the Draenei were at this point able to have conversation with me, albeit strained ones, generally limited to a greeting and some small talk.
I remember, the fateful day I went with Alahnna and Ormel, to search for their child. They smiled at me and thanked me for my aid and concern. We left the camp at daybreak and set off into the forest, staying relatively close, Ormel had given me a sword, taken from the supplies they had retrieved from the wreckage. It was heavy and I didn’t fancy my chances of fighting with it, though I felt safe, he had retrieved some new armour and looked as though he would put the fear of the Light into anything that attacked,
Here and there, large chunks of debris lay scattered about, sometimes large crystals stuck from the craters they had created upon landing. The forest was alive with sound, as I looked around at our surroundings I thought I saw something moving in my peripherals, I wrote it off as my imagination and ran forward to keep up with Ormel and Alahnna, they branched out farther with their searches every day apparently.
We had been trekking through the forest for about two hours, when the blood elves ambushed us. In a clearing we spotted a fallen Draenei and Alahnna ran forward to check if it lived, unfortunately it had been dead some time, and she looked over Ormel and I shaking her head sadly. At that moment, a group of blood elves emerged from the trees, surrounding us, there were eight of them, to the three of us, and I hardly counted.
One of the Elves stepped forward and said something in Thalassian, I prayed I could reason with them, and that they knew common.
- Wait, wait! These aren’t Eredar! They are called Draenei! They don’t mean us any harm, this isn’t an invasion!* I yelled, the blood elves turned to look at me, as if only noticing me for the first time, the leader’s lips curled into a sneer.
- We know what they are, ape. We are here to finish what we had started in outland.* My mind reeled, these Draenei had come from outland? The Orcish home world. And what had the Elves started there?
I was still trying to process this when the elves moved in to attack. One charged forward and was impaled on Alahnna’s blade when she parried his attack with her shield. Another went straight for Ormel and dived back as the giant swung his blade. A third came for me and I nearly stumbled and fell as I clumsily raised my blade to ward of his attack.
He had been about to run me through when Ormel took his head with a sweeping swing from his blade, I turned to thank him and cried out when another elf caught me with a glancing blow to the arm, the cut was deep and I dropped my blade clutching the wound, it was about to strike again, when a shield connected with its nose, shattering bone and dropping the elf.
I hobbled back and Alahnna ran to me to check my arm while Ormel held the other Elves off, she muttered short prayer and managed to stem the blood flow with that. I nodded my thanks as she ran back to assist Ormel who was struggling to hold back the remaining elves. Alone they were formidable, but together they complimented each other perfectly. Each sweeping blow from Ormels blade, left him open to an attack and Alahnna stepped in to repel the counters with her blade and magic.
He was the blade and she was the shield. I was the gap in the armour. The other elves, bar the leader had all fallen, he stepped in to strike at Alahnna and I stepped out, blocking the blow with my own blade, I was stronger but the elf had the benefit of skill and experience. He let by blade slide along his and knocked me off balance, I stumbled into Alahnna, she caught me and threw me aside.
I landed hard and was about to turn and swear at her, but as I raised my head I heard a cry of pain, unmistakeable, and for a second it was the worst sound I had ever heard, until Ormel followed with a cry of anguished rage at whatever had just happened. I turned to look and saw Alahnna on the ground clutching at her stomach, blue blood pooling around her already.
The look of triumph on the elf’s face was replaced within seconds by one of terror, Ormel had thrown his blade aside and the elf struck out, stabbing at the Draenei. Ormel, grabbed the blade in one gauntleted hand, and grimaced as the sharp steel cut through and into the meat, he yanked the elf forward and delivered a bone shattering head butt, dropping the man.
Rather than finishing his foe, he ran to Alahnna, whom I was at this point trying to comfort, having bound her wound with a length of cloth torn from the cloak of a fallen elf, it was a pathetic gesture, I’m no soldier, but I knew a death wound when I saw one. The blade had undoubtedly pierced vital organs, and she lay there breathing quickly as Ormel took her from me, cradling his wife in his arms. I, I could not even think of something to say. I just sat there, dumbstruck replaying what had happened in my head, the elf had parried my attack, and I had fallen into Alahnna, she threw me aside and then it hit me, she had saved my life. My chest tightened, I looked back up, Ormel was speaking to her quickly, his eyes already welling up, he knew what was coming.
- Dae aashj. Arakal zennshinagas Alahnna… kar laz ur!* Ormel was, pleading…from the sounds of things. Begging his wife not to leave him? I don’t know..
- Elani, d..dal.ante belan, enkil kanrethad sofar renis.* Those were the last words she spoke, the light in her eyes died, and she died with it.
Alahnna was dead, I was about to move to Ormel, to try and offer him some support, Light, I didn’t know what I was going to do. He sobbed, and wept. I remained still, for over half an hour he stayed there with his fallen wife, only when the elf who had killed her began to stir did he look away from her. He laid her down gently on the grass and stood, facing the elf he strode over, not stopping to retrieve a weapon, the elf was rising, to face him, he saw Alahnna on the ground and dropped to his knees.
- Please, please! I’m sorry! I had orders, the rest of my unit is dead, please, I..I’ll help you, I’ll serve you!* He pleaded, and begged…Ormel wasn’t listening, he kicked the elf back onto the ground and hit him, once, twice, he kept punching him, he wouldn’t stop. Ormel throttled the elf to death, only when the last whimper escaped its ruined lips did he rise again.
Picking Alahnna’s body from the ground, he walked away, not even looking at me, I followed keeping a respectful distance. When he returned to the camp there was an..aura, of grief. The Vindicator, Taleek, wept openly. I learned later that she was what known as, an Argus born. A Draenei who had lived on their home world before it was lost to them. Which I learned had happened twenty five thousand years ago. The idea of this, length of time, I still cannot fathom it. But I understood now, why the death of one like that came as such a blow.
I couldn’t stand to be around the camp any longer, I blamed myself for Alahnna’s death, and from the look in his eyes whenever I saw Ormel looking at me, I began to feel he blamed me too.
So a few days later I..bade them farewell and returned to my own people, I was welcomed back, and introduced to the Draenei representatives who came looking to make contact with the Alliance. The rest, as you know is history.