The air underground was musty with the dampness seeping through the walls of the mine. It was dark, except for the flickering lights of small lanterns spread out in the larger cavern. Lantresor had been furious when he arrived at the Frostwall Garrison to realize that they had lit torches underground! He had – in not so gentle terms – explained to the Commander that the foreman was an idiot and it was just pure luck that no one had died of smoke poisoning yet.
Sweat was pouring down his brow as he hacked at a newly discovered vein of true iron. Before meeting the commander and joining him, the half-orc had never been in Frostfire Ridge before, having spent his entire life in Nagrand. After arriving in the garrison, Lantresor had volunteered to run the mine, as he had been a skilled miner back in his clan. He enjoyed it at first – feeling useful and wanting to help the troll shaman that was one of the most accomplished fighters he'd ever met, but now, two months later, he was starting to regret his inital decision.
Every day, the green orc - Warmaster Zog - would send out people on missions. Their job was to fight and bring glory to the armies of the commander and Lantresor couldn't help but feel envious. His job was to supply ore to the forge – an honorable job all the same – but not the one he'd been training for his entire life.
A shadow passed on the wall in front of him and the half-orc spun around quickly, wielding the mining pick as a weapon in front of him.
"Hey mon, take it easeh!" the redhaired troll called out and jumped back, out of reach of the impromptu weapon.
Lantresor lowered the mining pick as he realized exactly whom he'd almost decapitated in pure reflex.
"Commander! I apologize for my behavior, sir," he quickly spoke, attempting to wipe off the dirt and sweat with his arm, but only succeeding in smearing it all over his face.
The troll made a tsk-ing sound. "No need ta be so formal, mon. Ah told'ya ta call me Zenji!" He grinned and spread his arms, only to wince slightly and cradle his left arm.
"Are you injured? I heard you and a few of the soldiers were going to face the Iron Horde," Lantresor tried not to sound too envious. They were going after Azuka Bladefury – his nemesis – and he'd been left behind, like a common miner.
"Nah, not'ing bad. Da gates of Tanaan be open now – da worst is before us, Ah t'ink," Zenji sighed and slumped his shoulders, suddenly looking like the old troll Lantresor knew he actually was. "Anyway, mon, Ah want'ya ta come to da Town Hall wit' me. Somet'ing Ah need ta discuss wit'ya."
The blademaster nodded and started following the shaman up through the dark and narrow mine shafts. As they exited the cave, he had expected to be met with a blinding light as the sun shone harshly on the white snow – but it was dark. He realized he'd been down in the mine longer than he'd intended – the garrison was mostly empty now, only a few people walking about. The Town Hall was mostly the same way, only two trolls – Shadow Hunters, Lantresor knew – and the green-skinned mission specialist were present.
They were huddled around something standing in the middle of the floor – he couldn't see quite what it was, but as they realized they were no longer alone, the three men turned around.
"Ah know ya wanted ta come wit' us ta face Bladefury, Lantresor. And Ah regret not bringing yah wit' me. Dat woman was a damned good fightah. Could have needed a blademastah," Commander Zenji said apologetically, but Lantresor was barely listening, staring intently on the item behind the two trolls and one orc.
"Is… is that…?" He couldn't even say it out loud.
"Yah, mon. It's her weapon, Zangetsu or somet'ing."
"Sanketsu," the blademaster corrected. He stepped up and lifted his arm, letting it hover over the hilt of the sword before he remembered himself. "So Azuka's dead?"
"Yes, we were victorious," Warmaster Zog was the one who answered him. "Hellscream fled, as the coward he is, into Tanaan Jungle and we must quickly establish a base of operations there if we're ever to catch him."
"And Ah want'ya ta come wit' me, Lantresor." The half-orc could barely believe his ears.
"But, the mine…" he started lamely before remembering his longing for battle and shut up.
"Heh, da mine will be fine wit'out'ya, mon. Ya ain't a miner. You're a warrior, and a warrior needs his sword," he nodded towards the greatsword before them. Lantresor didn't need to be told twice. He grasped the hilt and in one fluid motion drew the massive sword into a defensive position. Despite its size, the blade felt completely natural in his hands – like an extension of himself.
"Heh, it took two of us ta carry it here. Heavy t'ing," one of the Shadow Hunters confessed.
"Ah got dis from Bladefury as well," the troll shaman opened his palm to reveal a small amulet, the color of amber. "Ah want'ya ta have it." The blademaster took the offered trinket. He was surprised to feel warmth radiating from it.
"We be leaving for Tanaan as soon as we get a ship, so yah better be prepared ta leave anytime," Zenji advised, suppressing a yawn. "But not tonight." He turned to head to his sleeping quarters on the second floor, giving the half-orc a pat on the shoulder as he passed him.
"Thank you, Commander. I won't let you down," Lantresor said.
"Ah know yah won't. And call me Zenji. Dere be no time for titles when da gates of Hellfire open."
Lantresor of the Blade nodded. The Tanaan Jungle was filled with dangerous animals, and now also with felblood-infested members of the Iron Horde. He grasped Sanketsu in his right hand and the Blademaster's Necklace in his left and grinned. He could barely wait.
A/N: So, I decided to turn this into a collection of oneshots/drabbles. Important to note that the chapters will not necessarily be in chronological order.
Thanks for reading!