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Included with Elegy as part of a hardback edition included with World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Collector's Edition.
Horde — A Good War
The elf’s face contorted, and for a moment, Saurfang believed he was about to cry. But no—with his last breath, the dying rogue spit onto Saurfang’s boots, leaving streaks of blood and saliva across his armor. Then he went still.
Morka stepped next to Saurfang, a small axe in each of her hands. It had been over too fast for her to use them. “Defiant until the end,” she noted. “His people would be proud.”
Saurfang agreed. Such spirit. And I never even learned his name.
“You did well, spotting this assassin,” Saurfang told her. “But he never should have come this far.”
He strode outside, snarling. There were siege crews, guards, and soldiers all around. Astranaar was swimming with Horde, and not one of them had marked the stranger walking through their midst. Not one had challenged him.
He would enjoy explaining that to them in excruciating detail.
“Listen well!” he began. Heads turned toward him. Eyes glanced at the blood on his axe and armor.
“Does the Horde need a reminder that we are in a war? Does the Horde need—”
And then he stopped. His next heartbeats seemed to last an eternity. His fatigue-addled mind had finally caught up with his hard-earned survival instincts. That boy had not been sent to kill him.
He had been trying to lead Saurfang outside.
In his haste to lecture his guards, Saurfang had done exactly what that boy had wanted. You just killed yourself, you old fool. He turned and flung himself back into the inn. An instant later, the ground shook as Malfurion Stormrage landed where he had been standing.
“Lok-Narash!” he yelled. To arms!
His advisors and tacticians were already forming a line in the common room, pulling him behind it and standing at the ready. Like many night elf buildings, this one had open walls on three sides, giving them a view of the chaos roiling outside. Siege crews scrambled away from Malfurion, only to fall from arrows and blades in their backs.
This wasn’t just Malfurion. This was the kaldorei’s last stand in Ashenvale, a decapitation strike on the commander of this battle. And Saurfang—they had drawn him in so easily. Astranaar was an island with limited access. Easily defensible.
Impossible to escape.
And Saurfang had just taken shelter in a building with few walls. To fight an archdruid.
This is the end.
As the sounds of chaos rose outside, the inn darkened. Malfurion Stormrage stepped through the doorway, eyes fixed on Saurfang. Three of the high overlord’s advisors charged him.
“Stop!” Saurfang shouted.
Malfurion moved, and the metallic claws strapped to his wrists made short work of the two orcs and the blood elf. He stepped forward, over their bodies.
Morka grabbed Saurfang by the shoulder. “Run, High Overlord,” she said. “We will give you time.”
No, they wouldn’t. Not more than a heartbeat. It was time to die with honor. “Take the maps,” he whispered. “Get them to the warchief.”
Morka’s eyes went wide, but Saurfang turned away, roaring, “Malfurion Stormrage! I challenge you to mak’gora!”
The words sounded bizarre to his own ears. What use did a night elf have for an orcish duel to the death? It didn’t matter. Malfurion was here for Saurfang. He would not pursue a bunch of advisors.
Saurfang looked at the other Horde soldiers in the inn. Seeing their confusion, he raised his voice even louder. “Stormrage is mine, you gutless whelps! If you are not out of this inn in five seconds, I will kill you myself!”
Morka looked furious, but she obeyed. She snatched up the map container and sprinted out of the building. The rest quickly followed.
Malfurion’s eyes did not leave Saurfang’s. “A duel, Saurfang?” he asked in a soft voice—soft like the eye of a storm, like the freshly dug soil of a grave. The archdruid stepped forward calmly to where Saurfang waited. “Do you think I care in the slightest for a duel?”
“You can run, if you’re afraid,” Saurfang said. He was buying time. That was all. The only victory Saurfang could hope for was for the latest Horde troop movements to be delivered to Sylvanas’s hands so the battle might continue. “Or fight me, and see if I will fall.”
Malfurion said nothing. He raised his arms. The inn trembled. The wooden floor and ceiling creaked and groaned.
Saurfang’s lips pulled back into a snarl. The power of nature was not found in the swing of a fist or the slice of a blade. It was found when a forest was rent to dust by fire and yet returned in only a few years. It was found when a mighty city was claimed by overgrowth after being abandoned for a decade. It was found in a thousand generations of predator and prey, which lived and hunted by the instincts of their ancestors.
In the hands of a druid, that power could be condensed from centuries into a minute. In Malfurion’s hands . . .
This inn, and everything in it, would be returned to the earth in seconds.
Saurfang leapt forward, axe swinging, as vines and roots tore apart the inn. Malfurion stepped clear of his blow effortlessly, and the metal claws strapped to his hands darted toward Saurfang’s head. The orc batted them away with his axe shaft. Barely.
Saurfang roared, his axe whistled, and Malfurion’s second strike snaked between a gap in his armor around the shoulder. Blood dripped to the floor. Roots, countless roots, a whole forest of roots grabbed at Saurfang’s ankles. He danced away, chopping the plants whenever they tried to snare him.
When pieces of the inn started to fall around the orc’s head, he accepted his death. Against a creature like Stormrage, there was no dishonor in failure. Saurfang simply had to meet his end without surrender.
A sudden blast knocked him from his feet, dazing him. Saurfang closed his eyes. It is done. His hands went numb, tingling from the dark power that roared through the ruins of the inn—
Saurfang opened his eyes. Malfurion was not looking at him. His arms were crossed in front of his face as an arrow, wreathed in shades of violet smoke, exploded just before him. Emerald light rose against the darkness, and Malfurion charged to fight Sylvanas Windrunner, who had another arrow nocked and drawn at point-blank range.
Saurfang would have leapt to his feet, but his legs wouldn’t obey his commands.
Then the inn collapsed on top of him, and he was surrounded by darkness and pain. But he wasn’t dead. Not yet.
Death wasn’t supposed to hurt this much.