“A Scourge agent?”
Dueg watched the local militia gather up the corpse of the impostor blood elf as the troll who had intervened spoke in hushed tones with the captain. He turned back to look at his other savior, a slim but muscular blood elf with close cropped hair and a thin, angular face. The elf nodded slightly as he raised the flagon of bitter beer to his lips, quaffing the remains before placing it back on the table and wiping his moist lips.
“A rather inept one, it would seem,” stated the elf simply, “I don’t think we could have made it more obvious that this was a trap. We were trying to flush out his contact by leaving clues to your arrival as bait. I suppose he figured he would take the opportunity to rise in the ranks. Must have had at least some skill to be able to hold that illusion long enough to feel confident he could get you out of town. Scrat.”
The troll nodded as he returned to the table holding two new steins in one hand and a wine glass in the other. “Reyk.”
He turned to Dueg, “‘E be telling you of de scourge agent, but ‘e no tell you why ‘e be looking for you, mon. De fact being dat you ‘ave been named a special envoy to someone who be having much information for de Horde. We be letting it slip dat you’ll be speaking wit-”
Reyk laid a hand on the troll’s shoulder to quiet him, “Let us not put the strider before the cart,” he turned back to Dueg, “We shall have proper introductions first. I am Reyk, from House Lightblade, a paladin in service to the Blood Knights and through them the Regent Lord of Quel’thalas, Lor’themar Theron. My azure hued companion here is cal-”
“Scrat, mon, just Scrat,” he looked sideways at Reyk, “I no be needing all dem fancy words to go wit my name. I am a shaman of de Darkspear tribe and my dedication to de Horde be whole. Dat is enough. I have spoken wit de elements and dey have agreed dat dis journey is of great import.”
Reyk rolled his eyes, “Always so dramatic with his elements,” Scrat frowned, and picked up his beer, drinking clumsily around his tusks, “and of course you are Duegathalas, disgraced priest of the light trying to redeem himself, correct?”
Dueg scowled at Reyk’s mocking smirk, “Yes, well, we can’t all be such shining examples of Quel’thalas, can we? Now tell me, why have I been roused from my studies and sent to this awful continent? It simply can’t be to hear you talk endlessly of your exploits and lineage, can it?”
Scrat placed his beer down, “As I be saying, de Horde be needing us to travel deep into de highlands nort’ of here and find a special contact. Seems dat back when de Scourge was young and Art’as were still killin’ ‘is own men for foot soldiers, one of dem managed to escape into de wilderness. ‘E died, of course, for Nort’rend be a most unforgiving land. But undeath still took ‘im, for Art’as ‘ad already begun de slow corruption wit’in all of ‘is men. ‘Is mind was still ‘is own, do, and ‘e escaped de draw of de Lich King. De elements whispered dis to oracles much stronger den meself, and we have been asked to find ‘im.”
Dueg nodded slowly, “So we are to find the first Forsaken?”
Reyk shook his head, “He is not Forsaken, nor is he Scourge or any other type of undead you have come across before. It seems as though he is something unto himself, an oddity that resulted from an incomplete turning to Arthas’ army. The elements who spoke to the Darkspear elders also mentioned that though he does not heed the call, he hears the whisper of the Scourge and can draw strength from the fel magic that sustains all of those wretches.”
“Interesting,” Dueg sipped at his wine then looked at his two new companions, “and wholly ridiculous. A forgotten footman of Lorderon’s army in the hills of Howling Fjord? Whispered of to trolls by phantom wind and water spirits is enough to send the mighty Horde on a wild goose chase to this light forsaken place? I expect these sort of fanciful flights from the races of Kalimdor, but I would think that you would have some more sense, Reyk.”
Reyk’s hand shot out, grabbing Scrat’s shoulder as he was about to stand abruptly, causing Dueg’s eyebrow to rise, “You would do well to watch your tongue, my friend. You are already on thin ice with the leaders of Quel’thalas due to your abandonment of the offensive in Outland. Regardless of what you believe, your duty to your city and your people are paramount, and we are now part of the Horde. You will do your duty or we will execute you as a deserter in time of war, the choice belongs to you.”
The words hung in the air as Dueg sat across from the two, not doubting that they would attempt to carry out the threat should it come to that. Once more he thought back on how he had ended up here, feeling as though his past had pushed him to his present situation as sure as his wine was mostly vinegar. When the Blood Elves had joined the Horde, Dueg had seen it as his way to once more feel pride in his broken race. Now he didn’t know what didn’t know what to feel anymore. He let out a gentle sigh.
“Very well,” he spoke as stood, smoothing his robes, “I shall return to my room and rest for the night. In the morning we shall leave to find your contact so I may be done with this wretched mission and continent.”
With that, Dueg turned and stepped from the bar, making his way back up the stairs. Whatever he felt, he knew that one way or another, this would be his last mission for the Horde.