To the Ends of the Earth
When his granddaughter vanishes after the Wrathgate massacre, an elderly orc goes to Northrend to find her.
Disclaimer; Blizzard owns WoW, not me. Ahnka and Nar'grin, Torild, Xephyra, Skya, Brightcloud, and Aannu are my characters in the game. More may appear, but that wouldn't be until much later.
Prologue; The Soft Goodbye
The siege had been completely unexpected, but the resulting clamor for war was not. Much of Orgrimmar's population had lost someone, and they all wanted revenge. Revenge against the Scourge menace that had forever changed all their lives.
For Ahnka, it was more of a preventative measure. As she made her way to the city's gate, and Bloodfist Bay beyond, the image of her elderly grandfather, cornered by a hulking abomination, rose in her mind. The young rogue roughly pushed the memory away. She did not want to think how close she'd come to losing her only remaining family; didn't want to remember the healer telling her that the exertion and fear of the situation had nearly stopped his old heart.
She wanted to think about Scourge heads flying off their bodies as she swung her blades; wanted to know that the monsters would never threaten her own again.
Regardless of what she wanted, her hands tightened into fists as the memories came. She saw her grandfather grab an axe that was at least as old as he was, saw herself beg and order him not to fight. She relived his swift look of anger, before he pushed past her with surprising strength for his age. And worst, she watched again as the fear in his eyes suddenly turned to pain and he clutched at his chest as the abomination bore down on him. She remembered her fear as he had collapsed, and the protective anger which drove her to slaughter the abomination.
Again, Ahnka shook her head hard, closing her eyes and willing the memories to go away. They wouldn't, and a few tears rolled slowly down her cheeks.
Suddenly, a pair of knotty, twisted hands were cupping her face, thumbs gently brushing away her tears.
"You cry, my child," a wavering voice whispered, filled with affection. "What troubles you?"
Ahnka opened her eyes to look down at her grandfather. Age had not been kind to Nar'grin. The elderly orc was stooped and small – thin as a rail. And yet, his eyes were still keenly bright and intelligent. He was a shaman, and his connection to the elements was likely what had kept him alive for so long, despite everything. His snowy hair was half-pulled back in a topknot, the rest of the thin mane allowed to fall over his shoulders. His beard was tied in a single braid. He wore several thick furs – at Ahnka's insistence; his circulation was poor, these days, and Nar'grin got cold easily, even in the warmth of Durotar – around his narrow shoulders, but, like most shaman, chose to go barefoot.
Looking at him now, knowing that he was still with her, Ahnka smiled.
"It is nothing, Grandfather," she assured in a deep voice. "Only memories. They will trouble me no more."
Nar'grin looked at her for a long moment, then smiled.
"Would that I had your enthusiasm, and strength to match," he said fondly. "You go to glory, whatever your end." His eyes suddenly grew sad, and he gripped her shoulders with a frantic desperation. "You stay safe, Ahnka." Nar'grin begged, looking worn. "You come back to me, my little Frostwolf."
Ahnka took his bony green hands in her own, and pressed her lips to his forehead, mindful of her tusks and his paper-thin skin. She pulled back, her expression loving and determined.
"I will come home, Grandfather," she promised. "No matter what, I will find some way to."
They embraced again, and then the captains were sounding the last call to board. Ahnka looked torn, but Nar'grin gripped her hands even as his eyes grew wet.
"Go, Ahnka," he rasped. "It is your destiny, my child."
"I will come home," Ahnka repeated, before turning and walking up the plank to the waiting ship.
For a long time, Ahnka watched the crowd on the shore, her eyes glued on the bent form of her grandfather. She was suddenly filled with dread, and the desire to stay; Nar'grin was old, and not well. If he had another attack like the one when the Scourge came, who would be there to help him? With her gone, he would be completely alone.
And, like a thunderbolt, Nar'grin's words from a week ago rang in her ears. She had told him, then, that she would go with the others to Northrend. Ahnka had expected him to protest, and though his face clearly showed worry, he had expressed support.
One person, just one, my child, may mean the difference between victory, and defeat.
He'd still been bedridden at the time. What a wonderful thing for him to experience in the first few days he was back on his feet; his only remaining family leaving to, quite possibly, certain death.
There really were only two ways for their attack on Northrend to go, Ahnka reflected; either complete victory, or utter failure. There would be no limping back to Orgrimmar because the Scourge was too strong. No, if the world's armies did not defeat the Lich King, they would die in the attempt.
Only when the docks of Bloodfist Bay had shrunk to dots on the horizon did Ahnka finally turn away. If she could help it, if she could be that one to tip the scales, the Scourge would fall, and she would be on the prow of the first ship home.
Chapter one done. The others will be much longer. Review, please!