And so it begins, the confrontation that has been most waited for since the Outland arc began! No time for intros here, let's dive right in! Enjoy! ~F

Chapter 136

The Heir of Gul'dan

Nobu'tan seethed inwardly, seeing the skull of his old mentor in the hands of the "Lord" of Outland. The way that the half-Night Elf demon so casually tossed it aside seared his bones. The thought that his master's remains were treated with anything short of respect did little to keep him from stepping forward at Akama's yell.

The taunt of Illidan Stormrage was the final straw, and Nobu'tan charged, the Fel Glaive of Magtheridon erupting in his hands, even as the two twinblades clashed mightily against the demonic metal of his weapon.

No words were exchanged, both he and Illidan had eyes only to hunt for first blood, to mar or kill the other as swiftly as possible. And yet, Nobu'tan could see clearly through his rage, as though some otherworldly presence was keeping him forcefully grounded, and unable to be lulled away in the heat of the moment.

Illidan on the other hand, seemed to be brimming with passion, and in his haste he was going over the top to try and land a killing blow. Nobu'tan felt the restraint, and knew that it would be a much longer battle than that, and he wasn't about to get ahead of himself.

Therefore, when the Demon Hunter overreached to try and take his head, Nobu'tan was aware enough to block rather than try to dodge. The haft of his glaive gave a metallic rang, but managed to throw the guarding blade backward, stopping Illidan's second weapon from the follow through attack.

Cutting back swiftly, Nobu'tan gloated inward at the dark line across his enemy's chest, and the gleam of purple blood on his weapon.

Illidan snarled, touching the wound and glaring at Nobu'tan. "Come, my minions." He shouted, dishonorably calling for aid, "Deal with this traitor as he deserves!"

"I will deal with these mongrels!" Akama shouted, even as Blood Elves and demons appeared at their master's call, and started to rush up the ramp to interfere, "Strike now! Strike at the Betrayer!"

Nobu'tan chanced a momentary glance at the others, who to this point had stood by, unable to interfere or risk harming Nobu'tan in his fight with Illidan.

But the cowardly Demon Hunter took to the air, "I will not be touched by rabble such as you!" he shouted, hurling his weapons down, where they impacted the stone of the temple's roof. "Behold the flames of Azzinoth!"

And from each blade, a massive Felfire elemental erupted, flames scorching the stones as they started toward Nobu'tan and the others.

"Contain the elementals!" Nobu'tan ordered, already dismissing the illusion of his humanoid form, wings crackling to live across his back, "I will take him from the air!"

Rocketing upward, Nobu'tan was momentarily distracted from his pursuit of Illidan by the scene of the battle surrounding the Temple on three sides. Forces of the Illidari had started surging from below the temple, and the inner chambers that he had bypassed, already engaging those of the Dark Horde in the main courtyard, and the fighting was fierce.

If he could manage to stop Illidan now, then he could destroy the moral of all his enemies in one fell swoop.

Illidan turned, hovering in place over the pinnacle of the Temple, glaring menacingly at Nobu'tan, the fire behind his blindfold sending chills up the warlock's back.

"Stare into the eyes of the Betrayer!" Illidan called, swinging a hand over those fighting on the temple's pinnacle. Purple missiles cascaded downward, faster than Nobu'tan had any chance to hinder their fall. But he could change their target.

A swift spell, a flash of the arcane, and portals erupted in the path of the projectiles and spells, flinging them off into the Nether just off the edge of the valley. "Everything you have worked for will be destroyed, Illidan Stormrage," Nobu'tan promised, "The Legion want you dead, the Naaru want you defeated… but I tell you now, I will utterly obliterate everything you love for the affront you've given me."

"Such arrogance!" Illidan replied, snarling a bit as he spoke, "you presume to understand what I am doing or what my enemies have chosen to hide from you… there is nothing you can do to stop me."

"I'm sure this glaive, courtesy of the former "lord" of Outland, placed squarely in your chest would at least set you back a few steps." Nobu'tan taunted, turning the weapon in hand as he continued to chase Illidan through the sky, circling the Temple as he tried to hound the Night Elf back to the ground.

Illidan swooped low, trying to cast once again at those fighting off the enchanted weapons and their conjured elementals, Nobu'tan hot in pursuit. The Elder Wand swished through the air, conjuring shields over his allies as the demonic missiles rained down over them.

Meanwhile, he veered to his left sharply, slashing one of the elementals, causing it to rear back and halt its advance in trying to corner the same allies that he was protecting.

A blast from Teron and Voldemort took the same elemental down completely, causing the wild Fel energy to snap back to the weapon with a shuddering blast. The entire glaive ripped itself from the ground, and whirled back to Illidan's hand, and suddenly Nobu'tan found himself the prey in their game of midair chase.

But, unfortunately for Illidan, the warlock wasn't as willing to play cat and mouse. Taking the attack head on, he lunged with the glaive of Magtheridon, spinning out of the path of the slashing blade before circling quickly for another lineup between the pair of them.

Hexes and curses blasted from his wand, forcing the Betrayer to perform various aerial acrobatics in order to close distance with him, even as he pooled Fel energy within himself, and readied the glaive.

Their next pass, Illidan was not in an ideal stance, having had to escape a bone-shattering curse from the Elder Wand, and Nobu'tan thrust with his Fel-empowered strength, scoring a deep hit on the torso of the half-Night Elf demon.

The glaive pierced through the left pectoral, and damaged the wing behind, forcing Illidan back to the ground in a hurry, before the limb failed completely and sent him down in a graceless heap.

Still, his landing was far harder than Illidan clearly wanted. He slammed into the stones, his hooves leaving small craters as the second blade returned to his free hand. Nobu'tan was unsurprised to find, as he himself landed among his allies, that Illidan was fighting through the clear pain of the deep wound, slashing and parrying with a series of agile movements.

"Feel the hatred of the ten-thousand years!" Illidan bellowed, releasing a torrent of shadow magic, which threatened to choke them all with the dreadful presence of the powerful Night Elf.

But Nobu'tan wouldn't be daunted, not even by a creature ten-thousand years old. In a flash the glaive was returned from whence it came, and the staff of the Guardian appeared in its place, a powerful blast of arcane light erupting from the raven-crowned top.

"Your strength in the Fel cannot match mine," Nobu'tan said, feeling the weight of the shadow magic dispersing quickly.

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Illidan growled as he felt his aura fade away.

The runt of a human-turned-demon was more powerful than he gave credit. The wounds across his torso was proof enough of that fact, and he couldn't let rage carry him away to his own folly. There was more than enough strength that he could give, but he was concerned that his forces hadn't returned yet. It was their return that he knew would turn the tide in his favor, now that he had actually seen the strength of these disposers.

"Behold," he said, allowing all the Fel energy of the Black Temple into his body, "the power... of the demon within!"

It was rare anymore that Illidan allowed this secondary power, the darkness that clawed at the heart of every Demon Hunter, to emerge. With how strong he was, it was very possible that he would become an unstoppable force of destruction, irrational and uncontained. There were few, even among his elite warriors, which Illidan thought could stand up to him in this form. But these fools and traitors had pushed him to require the strength that the demon possessed, and so he gave in.

Whatever skill, however considerable, that the little warlock had with the Fel, this was something he couldn't have contended with, Illidan mused. He roared, allowing the air to buffet away from him in all directions. Those fools that came with the warlock were thrown back, even as his forces started to break past Akama and the other traitors on the stairs.

That would serve to further separate their forces, and increase the likelihood of Illidan's victory. And indeed, the pair of Death Knights, as well as the Banshee-possessed former lieutenant of his forces split off to contain the other Elves, Naga, and demons, leaving Miaev and the warlock Nobu'tan to face him on their own.

But now he held the advantage, and Illidan was not one to waste such opportunities. Lashing out with both claws, his arm now strengthened and healed by the Fel flowing freely through him, he sent Maiev flying, and tore through the arcane shield that the much smaller demonic-human created to defend himself.

"You were a fool to challenge me," he said, his voice booming over the din of battle at the stairs, "You have talent over the Fel, I admit, but I am a natural master of it. You have no chance to defeat me!"

It was no idle boast. Illidan could sense the raw power of the Fel rushing through the smaller part-demon's form: it was constrained, resisted, and therefore weaker than his own. He did not know how long the human had been in contact with his own internal demon, but it couldn't have been nearly as long as Illidan.

The disparity in their strength was apparent as he batted around the smaller demon, magic splashing harmlessly from his shadowed aura of power, and weapons finding no purchase to bite into him.

"Is this it, mortal?" Illidan challenged, hurling the small human heavily to the stone ground, stomping on him for good measure to prevent him from fighting back any longer, "Is this all the fury you can muster?"

The smaller demon's claws sank heavily into his leg, but the pain was fleeting at best. The wings flapped helplessly from where they were caught, and Nobu'tan's free arm tried to find purchase to pull him out from under Illidan's hoof.

"His fury pales before mine, Illidan." The voice of Maiev cut through his thoughts, "We have some unsettled business between us."

He turned to look at the Warden. It had been so long since he locked her in the dungeon outside the Black Temple, with Akama and his Ashtongue to guard her.

"Maiev…" he said, unable to truly fathom why her fanatical lust after him took her to the literally end of this world, "How is it even possible…"

"My long hunt is finally over," she overrode him, "Today, Justice will be done!"

At that moment, a flash of power knocked Illidan to the side. Whirling back, the former Night Elf widened his eyes to see Nobu'tan rising, the Skull of Gul'dan clutched reverently in his hands from where Illidan had dropped it.

Fel magic was flooding into the younger creature, untapped vaults of power that the Skull had never willingly shared with even Illidan, who had had to wrench every ounce of magic from the artifact even when he had first liberated it from Ticondrius so many years ago.

"No!" he started forward, but a magical binding clamped around his leg, sent at him from Maiev.

"That is for Naisha!" she shouted, slashing him with her crescent, the magic of the blade cutting even through his shadowed armor. How much had the Warden prepared for this confrontation? "There shall be no prison for you this time!"

Illidan could only glance up, seeing the collected calm that rushed over the features of Nobu'tan. He was starting down at the orcish skull in his hand, completely oblivious to all around him. But then in a rush he returned to the waking world, and glared back at Illidan, contempt burning in his eyes.

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Nobu'tan never thought he would feel a more powerful connection to the power of the Fel, without succumbing to it like the creature before him, more shadow and flame than creature now. But his Master's skull still seethed with raw power, and recognized him for who he was. The joy and relief that flooded through Nobu'tan was not his own, and for a fleeting moment it was as though the old orc was there with him in person, wrapping his arms around the wayward son who had at last returned.

But there was yet more power that was not present, memories that had been taken and stripped from the skull, bound to the creature that was now Illidan Stormrage.

Lifting a hand, Nobu'tan conjured an orb of primordial chaos, swirling shadow with flame and Fel merging and erupting within, and whispered a Fel enchantment. The spell launched forward, spiraling as it struck the trapped Demon Hunter, exploding outward and devouring his demonic form, returning the flesh and blood form of Illidan, and denying him the power that until this very moment had more than dwarfed the very best Nobu'tan could have thrown at the former Night Elf.

Nobu'tan winced as he felt his magical core tear, widening past its maximum in order to try and absorb all the magic that surrounded him from the skull, as well as that being leeched off of Illidan to reunite with its origin in the skull.

Still, the knowledge coursing through him, memories of his old master and the associated emotions were nearly overwhelming. Without the power of the Fel to sustain him, Illidan's wounds burst open once again, and the curse upon the glaive of Magtheridon resumed its effect in earnest. Blood poured down his side, and Nobu'tan could sense that the great amount of energy that the Demon Hunter had used was lethal.

Illidan fell to one knee, his hoof still caught in the trap that Maiev had ensnared him with. Rather than try to fight his way out, it seemed that all the energy, along with his magic, had been siphoned out from the spell that the skull had inspired Nobu'tan to cast. He struggled just to hold himself up on his fists, with his glaives still clenched in them.

"It is finished," Maiev said, looming over the dying Demon Hunter. "You are beaten."

Taking a moment to control himself, and the wild magic swirling through the air, Nobu'tan funneled the stolen magic back into the Skull of Gul'dan, feeling the artifact start to brim with power as the green mist of Fel flowed through the air and into the empty eye sockets.

Illidan started to laugh weakly, his attention on Nobu'tan and the skull, "You have no idea what you have undone…" he spat a glob of purple blood on the stones, "the power that you seek from that skull, will be your undoing…"

Finally, when the glare of the Night Elf could be felt even through her armored helmet, Illidan turned to address her, "You have won… Maiev. But the huntress... is nothing without the hunt. You... are nothing... without me."

Illidan's strength seemed to finally give out, and he collapsed, unmoving as his blood leaked from his wounds across the stones.

It seemed that that was the final stinging rebuke against Shadowsong, "He's right," she said, almost dejectedly, "I feel nothing... I am... nothing."

Nobu'tan had no words for her, and turned away, even as she started to use her own brand of magic, encasing the body of the fallen Demon Hunter in Fel crystal.

What did manage to get Nobu'tan's attention was the flare of magic as a Fel portal tore open. Whirling to see, the warlock was surprised to find more Wardens starting to surrounding the body of Illidan, while other Demon Hunters exited from a Fel gateway, their fiery eyes widening as they saw the aftermath of the battle with their master.

"No!" one cried, "Lord Illidan has fallen!"

"Illidari, avenge the Master!" demanded another, and the group of warriors brandished their glaives, and charged the wardens.

Two of the armored females fell quickly, but Maiev was already prepared. She was not even amused as she used the same magic on the Demon Hunters as she had on Illidan's body, sealing them alive in cases of Fel-enchanted crystal. "You bear the mark of his corruption," she said, raising her crescent as the weapon glowed with the magic she wove. "And so, the demon blood within you will be your prison!"

More Wardens emerged from the shadows, and Maiev spoke to them, some amount of her fire returned in her voice, "Take them to the Vault, there they shall be with the Betrayer… forever," she ordered.

"Found your next duty it seems," Nobu'tan queried, watching the Night Elves haul away their new captives.

"So it seems," she replied, "We have a location where we can places these, and keep them from harming the rest of Azeroth, or Outland. Farewell, then."

With a swish of her armored cloak, the Night Elf female channeled a swift spell, and teleported away, surprising Nobu'tan, even as Akama approached.

"The Betrayer is dead, and the Ashtongue have control of the Temple of Karabor once more. The Light will bless these dismal halls once again... I swear it." He said, and Nobu'tan nodded. He had no care for the structure, and the darkness that still gripped it.

Looking down at his Father-figure's skull in his hands, Nobu'tan was numb inside. "So now the Legion's desire of the death of their enemy is complete, as well as your personal bout of revenge," Voldemort said, standing by him, with Teron and the Banshee-possessed-Elf at a respectable distance.

"We go home, for something important," Nobu'tan said quietly, "but I have one important stop elsewhere in the Valley first."

The Death Knight was watching him curiously, but Nobu'tan was not ready to meet the gaze of the one that was supposed to, at one time, be his ultimate foe, a nameless, hateful creature beyond all concept of love or respect.

"The orc was dear to you, I see," he said, breaking the silence with an emotionless statement of fact, "It is good that you closed this particular loose end. Those who have uncontrolled emotions are the easiest to manipulate. A weakness I am sure you will root out and dismantle with this closure."

Nobu'tan ignored the subtle barbs at the concepts of care, choosing to interpret Voldemort's words as the closest to actual consolation that the undead was capable of.

"Teg'Ramm is in charge of returning our army to Hellfire Citadel," he instructed, "I will meet with you all there, and plan our next moves, now that this Outland business is at last complete."

Voldemort nodded, departing with Teron and the Banshee in tow. Nobu'tan had several moments to himself, before Akama returned, where he gaze out at the volcano that had ben created by the power of Gul'dan long before he had known the orc.

"What will you do now, Lord of the Dark Horde," the Draenei said, his motives guarded. Clearly, despite everything, the creature's trust for other beings was strained to the limit.

Cradling the skull in his arms, Nobu'tan spoke softly, "I have to honor my fallen Master, and meanwhile my army will depart. The Temple is yours to do with as you will. We will not challenge you for it, although I may come in future to research some of Illidan's powers…"

Akama seemed unconvinced, "It would be wisest to leave those dark secrets where they lie… we will be clearing them away soon enough, so that this temple can shine as it once did, many years ago."

"Perhaps it would be for the best," Nobu'tan agreed, not really caring about the dead Night Elf's powers. Most of it was gathered from the Skull now in his hands, and Nobu'tan only had one plan with it for the time being.

Without even saying farewell, the Lord of the Stormreavers spun on his heel, apparating back to a known location. The Altar of the Damned, where he had first encountered the spirit of Teron, as well as memories of Gul'dan, was silent now, but power still radiated here in connection to the volcano nearby.

"I don't know if there's anything left of you but your magical power," Nobu'tan said to the inanimate skull, setting it on the ruined altar, after shoving the ancient sacrifice away, "but I'd want you to know that I will continue your work to secure a land for the orcish people. I will carry you and your goals in my heart, and your enemies, the Burning Legion, and all those who stood against you, will be destroyed at my hand…"

"A worthy heir indeed," a voice said, and Nobu'tan spun, trying to find the origin of it. No spirit manifested itself, no image or figure to indicate that his old Master was there, but the feeling that came with the old orc's words remained.

Slowly, Nobu'tan returned his attention to the Skull, sitting there innocently on the raised altar, although the magic within had flickered ever so slightly.

"I had a feeling that you, of all the Stormreavers, would have found a way to subvert death…"

"Not of my own choice…" the Skull replied, "I would have willingly joined you in death, but the Legion wanted to use my power for their ends…"

"What are you then?" Nobu'tan asked aloud, "If you're not some manner of ghost, are you just the combined magical power and memories of my Master, infused into his skull…"

"More or less," Gul'dan confirmed, "But after a manner of speaking, I am the last remnant of Gul'dan the warlock in life. And from his knowledge, I know of ways that can restore me to a semblance of living."

"True," Nobu'tan agreed. It would be very simple to prepare a body for Gul'dan to inhabit as a Death Knight, but to limit his own master's power in such a manner, "But we need to find some other, more fulfilling means to bring you back to me."

"Yes," Gul'dan said, "A Death Knight was such a crude attempt to bring the Shadow Council back to service, but indeed they are shells of their former power, despite how strong the likes of Teron have become afterward."

Sinking to a sitting position in from of the Altar, Nobu'tan allowed his guard to drop, relaxing for the first time in many months. He just spoke with his old Master, of old times and their future plans, and whatever else he had wanted to tell the old orc for the long lifetime they were separated.

"I missed being on Azeroth," Nobu'tan admitted, "the first four years I was separated from you, I longed for nothing more than to return to your side… I did, unspeakable things, worked willingly for the Legion, to return to your side, all for the cruel joke of you already being dead by their hands…"

"You were an impressionable youth," Gul'dan said, his gravelly voice soothing with the nostalgia that it brought to Nobu'tan's memory, "They would have done anything to make use of such a powerful individual such as you; just as they set out to do when they first delivered you into my care."

"I will end their plans…" Nobu'tan said darkly, not caring if the masters of the Legion were listening in on him anymore or not.

He had done what they asked, and eliminated every asset they had on Azeroth and Outland, through his various followers and minions. There was nothing that the Legion could do to enter his world unless they came to him for help. And he would sooner die than allow them on Azeroth once more.

"Then there is much left for you to learn, related to their schemes and the myriad of agents at their disposal…" Gul'dan explained, "You cannot afford to spend time here, out in the open and mourn my death."

Nobu'tan nodded. It was true; there were no more time for reminiscing and tears. He had to move on, and if this small reflection of his old master was to be his reminder of the old orc, then Nobu'tan would carry it always with him. A whispered spell of animation have the Skull more power over its position, even as it rose into the air, controlled by the ambient magic that gave it power and memory.

"We shall go, and I will show you what has become of your legacy…" Nobu'tan said, tearing a portal open to where the rest of his army prepared to move out, departing the battlefield of the Black Temple to march back to their lands.

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Lucius was concerned when Teron Gorefiend, Voldemort, and the possessed Elf alone returned from the central citadel. There had been a significant shift in the battle, from what he guessed was the fall of Illidan. The countless demons that had been supplementing the Illidari forces had all ceased fighting, either disappearing back into the void, or turning on their former allies and slaughtering many of the Elves and Naga that still rallied under the Betrayer's banner.

Their victory had been assured at that point, and Lucius had taken the time to prepare for their depature, primarily seeing to the careful extraction of Blaise Zabini, who had not completely recovered, despite the power of the Light healing him. He had not awoken, and Lucius commissioned some of the less injured warriors to carry him through a portal back to Blackrock.

"What do you mean Nobu'tan just disapparated?" he demanded of the former dark lord. If he hadn't been so overly concerned of where the Lord of the Dark Horde had gone, he would have been able to consider the strange predicament of him asserting authority over the man, now Death Knight, who had once had commanded Lucius himself.

Before the chieftain of the Blightbringer Clan could react, a Fel portal opened, and Nobu'tan himself appeared, a floating skull following in his wake, Demonic energy pouring from it in waves.

Lucius halted, understanding spreading at the moment he spotted the clearly orcish visage floating after the warlock. "I see…" he said, relaxing and permitting the private moment that Nobu'tan had clearly needed with the severed head of his father-figure.

"All Dark Horde forces are preparing to withdraw, Lord Nobu'tan," Lucius reported.

"Good, the quicker we depart, the better for everyone it will be…" Nobu'tan replied, absently looking over the army as they reassembled and prepared to depart. The drummers and pipers were already sounding their instruments, and the swiftest clans were started to march. The Dragonmaw and Shadowmoon had significantly less area to traverse to return to their places of home. Stormreaver warlocks would be joining them, and setting up secure portals so that they were all interconnected between Outland and Azeroth.

The rest would be heading back to Hellfire Citidel, where the remainder of the Outland Clans would gather and hold in the name of the Dark Horde, and their Azeroth counterparts would return to Blackrock Mountain, to rest from this extended campaign.

Personally, Lucius was hoping for a long moment to rest, visit with his wife, and otherwise unwind from this second life of secrecy and war. He hoped that Nobu'tan would take some time for that as well, but glancing over at the Supreme Leader of the Dark Horde, with the Fel Skull floating around him as he spoke with Teron in a hushed voice, Lucius highly doubted that anything close to rest or relaxation had even crossed the younger man's mind.

Perhaps he needed to conspire with his wife to 'kidnap' Nobu'tan for a mandatory vacation from all this warfare and political juxtaposition with the other factions.

The horns blared, signaling for the leaders to return to their various clans and move out, and Gorefiend, Voldemort, and Teg'Ramm departed to rally their forces, leaving Lucius and Nobu'tan to manage the Stormreavers. "Justice was done this day," Nobu'tan said, "for many, and yet I feel empty inside…"

"That is the problem with justice and revenge…" Lucius said solemly, "They solve very little, except punishing the offender. Those who are harmed must work out for themselves how to move on, rather than lashing out at those around them, guilty or otherwise, to sate their own need for closure."

Nobu'tan didn't respond, but Lucius could tell that the young man was pondering his words. Their clan was the first ready to move, the warlocks and warriors having remained primarily to the rear of the fighting, supporting their fellow clans as the battle progressed.

As they marched, rounding the massive volcano called the Hand of Gul'dan, many of their warlocks gazed up at the conjured mountain, drawing Lucius' attention. The Green Fel fire of the volcano had gone dormant, blanketing the land in a stillness that was almost eerie in its contrast to the constant burning that had heralded their arrival.

Lucius glanced at Nobu'tan, wondering if he was the cause of it, or if he also was bemused by the phenomenon. However, it seemed that the Grand Warlock was lost in his own mind, the Skull of Gul'dan bobbing along around his shoulders.

It was almost like when the young man had fallen into his deep depression, but somehow Lucius felt that this time was different. Nobu'tan was almost, calm, as he rode along in the wake of their outriders, going through the motions outwardly, but inwardly carrying on some intensity that took all of his attention from the outer world.

Lucius decided to let him be, for now. But he would certainly be keeping an eye on him in the near future, to prevent any downward spiral from occurring again. The Dark Horde had grown so massive now that they couldn't hope to hold them all together easily without the charismatic leader of the Stormreavers keeping the peace between the inevitable conflicts that would arise from so many clans and tribes working together.

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Mephistroth smirked down at the image of his pet warlock, even as the little demonling was whisked away by his forces from their victory at the Black Temple.

"So, the Betrayer is dead," the Eredar, Kil'jaeden said, looking up at the Dreadlord from the large mystical orb that they were using to scry the location of their servants.

"Indeed. Nobu'tan performed his role quite well, and even salvaged the Skull of Gul'dan as a bonus…" the Nathrezim reported, keeping his personal thoughts on that matter to himself. The human had too much attachment to the spirit of that old orc, enough to even wring power from the relic that even the greatest of the Legion had failed to do.

"And while all eyes had turned upon our enemy," Kil'jaeden continued, already lost in his own scheme to notice those happening right in front of him, "Sunstrider is already hard at work making ready for our arrival in Azeroth."

"Twice using the Sunwell against his own people was indeed a stroke of genius," Mephistroth said, more to sate the ego of the Deciever, rather than out of genuine appreciation. He did not foresee this plan working out, as Kael'thas was unstable, and already had a massive target on his back from all factions of Azeroth. When they learned of what he had planned, they would all rally against him.

"Yes," the Eredar agreed, "but we must have some manner of assurance that he will succeed. Your little pet would be ideal to see this through to completion, as all our other minions and servants went and got themselves killed, imprisoned, or turned from out ways…"

"As you command, Kil'jaeden," Mephistroth assented, "I will send Nobu'tan to Quel'Danas to aid in the summoning as soon as possible."

"Good, I will see to the other end of the future portal," Kil'jaeden informed the dreadlord, "soon I will succeed where even Archimond did not, and tear the core of Azeroth from its wretched bones…"

Disappearing in a rush of fire and magic, soon Mephistroth was left alone to his musing, and the images of Nobu'tan as the latter slowly wended his way back to their stronghold in Outland. There was something different about the young human; his manner was more sedated, less volatile as it had been since he entered Outland. Others wouldn't have noticed it readily, but Mephistroth had made a great effort to keep tabs on his little pet as long as possible.

Steadily, his own plan was working towards its ultimate goal, where only a spark of it had been gleaned from the beginning when the Dreadlord had seen the magical power that the little baby human had possessed, even as an infant.

The power held within those beings that had magical cores was far superior to their Azerothian cousins, and the Burning Legion would make use of that fact. Unbeknownst to those who had fled, or traveled with Nobu'tan to Azeroth, the Legion had taken many of these 'wizards' captive, and even now the experiments and tortures continued, striving to understand the mystery behind their special brand of magic, and how the Legion could best exploit this natural resource.

The Dreadlord himself had several special ideas lined up, and some already in the works among Nobu'tan's own followers, currently acting through his fellow, Mal'Ganis. The lesser Dreadlord had slipped into the shadows quite well after his supposed 'death' at the hands of Arthas, and was still hard at work preparing those souls that the Dreadlords needed, as well as stirring up as much trouble for the rebellious undead, both in Northrend and those still in Lordaeron.

Still, once Banehollow and his toy had escape their confinement, the real work for Mal'Ganis could begin, and a new era of research and power for the Burning Legion could be unveiled. How little the other realized, Mephistroth thought with a chuckle, that these Terran wizards would be the dawn of a new age for their grand crusade, and the utter defeat of any that hoped to stand in the way of their tide of destruction across the stars.

There was the concern that other factions, especially those on Azeroth, may start to piece together the gravity of those people that they had readily accepted onto their world, but the Nathrezim were prepared for that eventuality, and had diverse ways to delay it. Illidan had been an easy target, as would Kael'thas and Kil'jaeden's half-hearted attempt to enter their world.

Aftward, the Lich King, already awakened and moving because of the surge of Fel that had opened the Dark Portal, would likely become the next great threat to the free peoples of Azeroth. Beyond that? There were many pokers in the fire that Mephistroth could, and indeed would, manipulate to keep the string of war and battle blinding the eyes of those mortal fools, until it was altogether too late to stop him from achieving his goal.

Azeroth would burn, but it would not be Archimonde, nor Kil'jaeden that fulfilled Sargaras' greatest wish. The Nathrezim would rise in statue and favor, eclipsing the Eredar forever as the favored servants of the Dark Titan, and Mephistroth would be their new leader.

Ticondrius and Anetheron were not fit to lead their people, let alone hold much standing in the Legion after their many failures. Mephistroth had seen it as far back as the War of the Ancients, when Tichondrius had fallen to the weapon of a Tauren, of all the lowliest of races.

No, they were most unfit for the roles they were given, the roles that Mephistroth himself was overlooked for. But that would change soon enough. The people of Nobu'tan, the humans of Earth, and especially their wizarding kin, would be the key to his ascension. Glancing once more at the floating Skull of Gul'dan following his heir, the Dreadlord suspected that it was time for him to dust off a few artifacts of his own, specially kept in secret for just such an occasion.