Dragillon, Worgen Huntmaster: The smell of burning wood
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He’d never seen anything so big burn before.
Even days after it had happened, he could still close his eyes and see it, that enormous, towering tree wreathed in flames. The smell of burning wood so strong, and unlike anything he’d smelled before. It had taken a long time to catch fire, but the Horde had the catapults to spare.
Even now, waiting for the order to begin the final march on Undercity he could smell it. Partially that was because they’d razed Brill to the ground for the wood to make more siege towers, and many of their campfires were sending smoke aloft. His sensitive nose could pick out even faint traces of the campfires, but those were nothing compared to the smell as Teldrassil had burned around him.
“When do you think we’ll go in?”
“First light.” Two Stormwinders by their accent were chatting away downhill from him — he could hear every word, could smell the fear of their sweat. Up the hillside, past the siege towers, he could see individual Forsaken on the wall waiting for dawn.
This time we hunt you. He remembered being forced to flee Gilneas when the shambling corpses had invaded, with catapults loaded with their Blight. They’d lobbed the filth right into the city, made it uninhabitable. Drove them out of their home. Now they were the ones penned up. He traced one lovingly with his scope, watched it walk the wall and knew he could pick it off right there.
But that wasn’t what he was there to do. He was there to fight a war, not snipe at the wall and start it early.
Dragillon (because that was his name now, whatever it had ever been before the curse, before the worgen form became his true self long gone) sniffed at the air and judged that sunrise was an hour away. He remembered many sunrises — the last one he’d seen in Darnassus, the day the Horde finally reached Lor’danel with their catapults, the last one he’d seen in Gilneas City just before the Horde finally reached the city walls with their catapults. The last one he saw before he was bitten, when his brother Jodi decided to fight in the Civil War because Crowley was right and Greymane was wrong, and he’d been unable to fight against Jodi. Jodi was his brother. They were all his brothers.
Many of them were dead now. More thanks to those shambling corpses up on that wall.
Greymane wasn’t always right but Dragillon had a hard time disagreeing with him about that much. The Forsaken had come to Gilneas and murdered their people and blighted their land so that they had no home. Then their leader brought the entire Horde to Teldrassil and burned their second home, their refuge. The Horde would never leave them alone, never just let them live. They all had to die, because if they didn’t, they’d just keep chasing them wherever they went and kill them there, too.
He sighted another on the wall, a young Troll. He was using lightning to ignite a fire. It would be the work of a moment to pull the trigger, kill him where he stood.
There’ll be enough killing when the orders come. He took the gun down from his shoulder. He wished they’d just left well enough alone. He’d missed Gilneas — he’d wanted to reclaim his home as much as anyone. But after the demons, he’d been comfortable with the idea of a peace, a time of rest. Instead, here he was, waiting for some officer somewhere to give the order so that he could kill people who’d been fighting the same demons not a month before. All they would have had to do was stay in their city, not march north, and Teldrassil would still be there and he wouldn’t be where he was, waiting to do what he did.
The smell of smoke was everywhere. He didn’t know if he’d ever stop smelling it again. He’d inhaled enough of it trying to get people out of that burning hell. Some of the smoke had been people once, and he knew that because he was a Worgen, and he had a very sensitive nose. There was no way to wash that away, no way not to know he’d breathed in people who’d become his friends and acquaintances, his fellow refugees finding a new home. Mindy, the bread vendor from Stormglen who’d ended up working in a bakery for a Night Elf girl named Mira. They’d both smiled when he came in, hungry for that sour Gilnean bread he’d eaten as a boy.
Both of them now ashes in his nose forever. Along with so many others.
The light was coming up. The order would come soon. Until then, he waited, his gun ready. At last, he was hunting them.
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