Commander Gor'shak's Journal - Part 3
There are things that can be traded, freedom is not one of them; because when you lose your freedom, you lose your life, your loved ones, your honor, your ideals, and sometimes, even your humanity.
Continued from: Commander Gor'shak's Journal - Part 2
Journal of Commander Gor'shak
Commanding Officer of the Kargath Expeditionary Force
For the Horde!
First of all, anyone who is reading this, you should know that this is not a standard commander's journal that was kept on a daily basis, with days marked. This is a journal that I could only start writing when I had enough courage to start it, and I could only continue writing when I had enough energy to keep writing. I don't know how much time I have left or how much more I can stand losing blood, so I will try to note down all the important things regarding our mission as quickly as I can, and if am still alive, I will continue with telling what happened to me, what happened to us... I... I have to tell... not for myself, but for my people, for our future generations, for they must know what war really is and what freedom really means.
As you would remember, Chief Gorn had taken out the first ten pages of the journal, so, what was left of the journal that I was reading now as the wheels of the wagon cycled towards Blackrock Mountain, continued as the following:
I don't know for how long I had been lying unconscious but when I opened my eyes, I couldn't see anything at all; it was as dark as a tomb. As my eyes slowly got accustomed to the darkness, I realized that I was alone in a very small prison cell with no windows, no lights, no bed or chairs, just a locked door, ice cold floor and hard walls made of dark iron. There was only some hay scattered around, as far as my hands could feel.
The last things that I remembered were that our secret camp near the entrance of the Blackrock Depths was raided by the Dark Iron Dwarves, and my fight with the General Angerforge and his golem bodyguards. I must have lost my balance for a moment while trying to reach to one of his golems, when I got hit on the back so powerfully that I might have passed out. Between that moment and opening my eyes in this cell, I remembered absolutely nothing.
Remembering the unbearable pain, I checked my back with my hands and noticed that the wound was still there; it was deep and unwrapped, but thankfully it had stopped bleeding. I slowly tried to stand up but failed and fell on the ground as my legs did not have the strength necessary for carrying my body.
I started to inspect the walls and the ceiling of the cell with my eyes, hoping to find anything that might help me get out. Just a few minutes had passed, when I heard a click at the door. The heavy dark iron door slowly opened, making a horrible sound that would be punishment enough for any prisoner, whatever their crime was. I had to cover my eyes, as the light that filled the cell with the opening of the door hurt them, but I could still see two Dark Iron Dwarf wardens entering the cell, and heard one of them saying in the common tongue:
"Wake up boy, we thought you wouldn't want to be alone, so we brought your three friends to accompany you, hahaha!" followed with an annoying laugh. If only I had just a little bit of energy to stand, I could have jumped on them and broken their necks at the spot. But I couldn't, and I just watched them bring three of my brethren into the cell.
They were not in any better shape than me, but they were still alive, which was what really mattered. After the wardens left and locked the door, with an expression of thankfulness, I slowly crawled towards the corner where they were sat together, and to my surprise, I saw the faces of my captains: Truk'thor, Galgannesh and Mazdorak. Without making much noise, between the happiness of coming together again alive and the sadness of being captured, we hugged each other and briefly shared what has happened during and after the raid as much as we recalled.
I had fallen not long after the raid had begun, so, hearing from them that most of our companions, our brothers, were either slayed or captured, the new pain of loss instantly made me forget about the pain of my wound. They were also wounded at different parts of their bodies in varying severity. With the remaining cloth pieces on our bodies, we tended to each other's wounds and covered them as much as we could. Galgannesh had medical training; we were twice grateful for having him with us as he did the majority of the job.
We had no idea where we were being held, possibly within one of the prison dungeons inside the Blackrock Depths, and we had no idea what they were planning to do with us, hence, thinking that our best course of action for the immediate future would be to rest and gain a bit of our strengths back, we lay on the hays and tried to rest for a couple of hours.
We woke up to a crazy, loud laugh echoing between the cell walls. As we four crawled to the back wall of the cell instinctually, I noticed that the laugh was made by the big Dwarf standing right at the center of the cell. He was General Angerforge, the man I was tasked for killing, the man who had wounded me like this, the man who was responsible for the deaths of my companions. He was looking at each of us with a great pleasure, as if he was a wild lion that had just cornered his prey and was preparing to do the deadly move. He spoke to us in a cheerful tone, half shouting, half laughing:
"Well, well... Look who we got here? Isn't that Commander Gor'shak with my signature on his back? Ha ha ha!" he asked to one of the wardens and got a confirming reply, even though he didn't really need the confirmation. "Oh boy, this will surely make it a lot more fun for us! Oh hah hah ha! Uhm... as it is customary for me to have the first dinner with our new guests -his right eye blinked at the same warden-, you, Commander, and your friends, as well as all other new guests, are all invited to have the dinner with me at the Dining Hall of the West Garrison. The dinner will be served at eight in the evening, I will appreciate if you won't be late, that is, unless you have a more important invitation you need to attend to, hah ha hah ha hah ha!" he and the wardens left the cell, locking the door on us, before he finished his laughing.
That last laugh was so long and annoying, I could easily kill him right there just for that laugh, even if he was not General Angerforge and he had not committed the crimes I mentioned above. Alas, we were all dying of hunger and thirst and even if it was not an order that we would be forced to obey, we had no better option other than to attend the dinner, to eat something to gain our strengths, and see if we could learn about their plans for us and learn further about where we were held and start to plan an escape. Asking the opinions of my captains, we came to the conclusion that we were going to attend the dinner, regardless of how many more annoying laughs we would have to endure; as if we had a choice, we did not, but it still helped us feel that we were still in command.
I don't know what time it was but about a few hours after the General's visit, a large group of wardens and soldiers, led by a marshal and accompanied by many bloodhounds, came to take us and other new “guests” from other cells to the dining hall the General had mentioned. The small Dark Iron army took us from tunnels, rooms and chambers we hadn't seen yet during our past couple of months of stealth operation.
It was one thing to watch and observe the Dark Irons from a distance; it was another thing to walk among them, pass through the places they lived and used on a daily basis. I knew we were not against a regular enemy, but the things I was beginning to see, the things I was beginning to hear were making me better realize the kind of evil we were fighting against. It felt like, the information we had gathered about them so far was just a small rock on a rocky mountain, they had not only a base of operations under the mountain, but they had a gigantic city with anything you can think of: colossal forging and crafting chambers, testing labs, training grounds for thousands of units, creatures of flesh, stone and iron, some of which I had never seen before. Anyway, I won't go into further details about my observations and findings here, as I already noted them all within the reports section. Let me just continue with our dinner with the General.
The General came to the dining hall, once after all the new captives were ready and sitting at their chairs around the huge dining table. Looking at his captives' faces with a face as cheerful as a Dwarf face can be, he started his speech with a laugh:
"Hoh hah ha ha! Welcome to Shadowforge City my dear guests, the city under the burning mountain, the city that would make any other Dwarf city jealous. I won't take much of your time talking as I know you all are pretty hungry; I bet you would eat me alive if you could, ha? Hah ha ha! In short, I hope you enjoy your stay, as we will enjoy it beyond your imagination, and have many fun days ahead together. Please do not be shy, eat as much as you can, you sure will need all the energy you can gather, in the following days. And remember, this will be your last meal you will ever have in our glorious city. So, enjoy it! Ha hah hah ha ha!" he tried to stuff a big chicken drumstick into his mouth as his laugh faded.
Being grateful that he stopped laughing and started eating, and that we were able to put something into our mouths, we started eating what was served to us with great appetite, but without having an idea what was going to come to us after this “cheerful” meal. I could say the meat tasted very bad, but there was something about its sauce that made it delicious to eat. So, we ate as much as we could, not because the General said so, but because our bodies really needed that.
As we continued to eat, I started to observe the General, other captives at the table and the Dark Iron personnel around the table overlooking us. The man was certainly not sane and he could certainly not be reasoned with, whatever your proposition might have been. I don't think anything my people would offer would be interesting enough for the Dwarf General to release us. From the look of our situation, in order to get us out of here, either the Horde and Alliance were going to launch a joint attack on the Blackrock Mountain and rid the Dark Irons away for good, or we were going to find a way out on our own. No rescue mission had a chance of success. None could rescue us, not in here, not under this mad man's watch.
I was deeply immersed into Commander's journal that I had difficulty recalling where I was, when I heard the wagon rider's lowered voice, directed at me and the guards following us:
"We just entered Searing Gorge fellas, from this point forward, we shall all be more careful, silent and as usual, on guard".
It was now noon time, the air had become foggy and warmer as we got closer to the huge open forge, named as The Cauldron by the Dwarves. I pulled my head out of the wagon for a while and looked around. I had been to the Searing Gorge a few times before but it had never seemed as dark as it was now. It was all ashes, burnt soil, melted metal smoke as far as eyes could see. Not seeing anything of interest, I quickly got back to reading the journal.
That was really the last meal we had, as the General said, as it would also become obvious in the following days. He was at least a man of his word in that sense, I have to give him that.
The following days... weeks... months... If there was a hell on Azeroth, its residents would sure be running back to it after a short visit to this place. Let me explain why.
After the long dinner with the General that night, all the captives were sent directly back to their cells, so were we. We were still tired and in considerable pain due to our wounds; with the addition of the heaviness of the meal, we quickly fell asleep on the cold, naked floor of our cell, which offered nothing but a few hays as bed.
When I opened my eyes, I had no idea for how long we had slept. I would have guessed it to be at least two days, because the first thing I felt when I opened my eyes was a great hunger in my stomach. I was in a large, nicely illuminated room, lying on something softer than the cold iron floor of the cell, but something definitely felt wrong about it. I tried to move my arms and legs but I couldn't. It didn't take me long to realize that I was tied with my hands and my feet on a table, some kind of an interrogation, or torture I should say, table. I was able to move my head, so I looked around and saw my captains on different torture tools scattered across the room.
Truk'thor was hanging down from the ceiling, his head downwards, his feet tied to a chained mechanism. Galgannesh was sitting inside a cauldron, his eyes closed, but still breathing. Mazdorak was tied on a small platform with a cutting tool at its center. As far as I could tell, they were all alive, but I really had no idea how anyone could describe those poor guys as alive in such conditions.
Shortly after I opened my eyes and located my captains nearby, I heard a soft and pleasant-to-hear woman voice, speaking in almost perfect Orcish:
"Can you hear it, love? Listen... you hear it now, don't you? Doesn't it sound beautiful? Don't bother trying to count how many talented individuals are contributing to this masterpiece of a symphony, I lost the count at a hundred, a long time ago." I could now see her as she slowly walked towards me and stopped in front of the table I was tied to.
She was a human woman, averagely beautiful I would say, but she had such an impression on her face that as if she had been through all the evil things that could happen to a person in this life. Looking at her eyes, if she didn't talk, you could swear that she was dead; her breathing was not even noticeable. She was wearing the sign of the Twilight's Hammer on her forehead. Until that time, I had not realized that the Dark Iron Dwarves were working side by side with the Twilight's Hammer. Whatever they were doing together, they were surely doing it perfectly undercover, as no one in the Expeditionary Force had reported seeing any of them in the Blackrock Depths.
Compared to the horrible laughs of the General, hearing her voice was like finding an oasis in the desert. She had something quite charming in her voice, something that almost made you want to do as she asked, without questioning. Seeing the relaxed impression on my face, she continued to speak softly:
"I do wish to harm neither you, nor your men, believe me in that. But, darling, I have a reputation that I need to protect; when someone is sent to the Detention Block, I make sure they leave only after providing the information whoever sent them here is interested in. And you know what? I don't really get paid for that. What I am doing here is art..." she listened to the heartrending symphony she had referred to earlier for a moment and then continued: "and I am destined to master this art. Now, whether those who are sent to me leave alive..." she touched my chest with her fingers and caressed my chest for a brief while. I was almost beginning to feel as if I was at a medical ward in Orgrimmar, being cared by our good nurses. "or dead, that is totally up to them." she stabbed the long and pointy nail of her forefinger right to the middle of my chest, which caused me to cough badly and come to myself.
That's how our interrogation began and that was the best part of it as you would guess. Interrogator Gerstahn, as we learned her name afterwards, and her torturer apprentices kept asking us questions not only about our mission to the Blackrock Mountain but also about Horde's other plans and activities in the central and southern parts of Azeroth. We, of course, resisted and did not provide any answer that would be useful to them.
The following weeks, each one of us had our good share on every single torturing tool of Gerstahn, multiple times. We were hung down, stretched, grinded, cut, boiled, burned, marked, thrown down, dragged around, put in nailed coffins; in short, we were introduced with every single torture tool that was ever invented in the history of Azeroth. When Gerstahn realized she was not going to get anything from us any time soon, she left us to her torturers and let them experiment anything they wanted on us, only by keeping us alive. There were many times that we begged our torturers to kill us, but all they were responding with was horrible laughs and more intense tortures.
"Sergeant Val'agg, sir, the sun has set a while ago, the night is descending fast and it is getting colder; we will need to camp and spend the night at a nearby cave our scout just located."
Hearing the voice of one of the guards made me jump from where I was lying and drop the journal from my hand. Only then I remembered that I was traveling at the back of a wagon towards the Blackrock Mountain, where the atrocities Commander Gor'shak had been telling about in his journal took place. The sky was already getting dark; I couldn't tell how quickly the time had passed since we entered Searing Gorge at noon. I quickly grabbed the journal and put it back into my backpack, then I jumped off the wagon to help the guards with preparing the camp.
The cave we camped in was guarded by a giant thunder lizard which allowed us to rest for the rest of the night without really worrying about being noticed by the Dark Iron Dwarves. We were even able to make a small campfire to get warmed, as it was certain that it wouldn't be seen from the outside. My companions were all tired from the long journey in the cold and smog, so it didn't take long for them to fall asleep around the campfire, after we had our meals silently. Since I was not feeling tired, and since I had an enhanced curiosity to continue reading the Commander's journal, I had told the others that I would be awake and on guard as they slept and rested.
As soon as I heard all four of them breathing deeply, I took the journal out of my backpack again and continued to read from where I had left.
Continue: Commander Gor'shak's Journal - Part 4
- The Future of Profession System in World of Warcraft
- Ghosts of Ahn'Qiraj
- The Voices of Zangarmarsh Mushrooms
- Commander Gor'shak's Journal (Story)
- What Did the Dwarves Dig Up in Bael Modan?
- The Darkest Corner of Azeroth
- Twin Exiles of Tanaris
- Appreciating the Small Details in World of Warcraft - Part 1
- Heartbreaking Lament of the Whales of Ashenvale
- What Happened in Genevieve's Barber Shop?
17 Aug 2017 07:47 UTC
Gosh... Mature adults only, for sure! And not those with a vivid imagination and fragile souls. ;)
Thank you very much for the read, Eom - I kept coming back to it over the course of the last days, but finished the last part today; finding it hard not to continue through the next part, and the next after that.
I had to know, despite wanting to just walk away from the story all together! (Because of the horrors, not your writing skills)
You certainly made an impact on the way I look at all the places you describe, and all the various sounds that haunt them.
My favorite part of the whole story was actually this section:
"It was a long and rather cold winter night with an open sky decorated with stars, that was slightly warmed by the hot winds blowing from southwest, from the Blackrock Mountain and over the Searing Gorge, bringing not only the heat of the fire and lava of the volcanic mountain and the gorge that was now turned into a huge forge, but also the smell of the cinders, burnt earth and forged metal."
That was a fantastic description, especially the last part. And throughout the entire story, too; it was, sadly, almost as if I was there. Which I rather not be!
It was a very fine way to build it up; with following Sergeant Val'agg while at the same time discovering what the journal had to reveal, back and forth.
But, oh. How I wished he would have helped Commander Gor'shak along, to find peace and be reunited with his men. Then again, I might not have been able to, if it was me...
17 Aug 2017 14:38 UTC
Welcome back Alunaria, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts about it. It means a lot to me as someone who is trying to not only "write about Warcraft" but also "improve his writing in general". Also, I know fan-fic stories are long and they can take quite a long time to read, especially if they don't feel much interesting. So, thank you for taking your time to read it.
To me, creative writing consists of two parts: The first one is the content, which is the story, the characters, the events. The second one is the style, which is how the content is sewn together, how it is presented, the words, sentence structures, descriptions used - the technical side. I believe that I do some things right in both parts, but I do know that I have a long way to go to master my writing. I don't know what the time will bring, but I do enjoy writing about World of Warcraft a lot and I will hopefully continue with that for as long as the inspiration keeps flowing.
I am glad to know that the story made you want to abandon it, but at the same time grabbed you to continue reading. This tells me that the ugly parts of the story felt real which made you not want to continue, but also the flow of the story created enough curiosity for you to continue.
I felt, still feel, that impact you mentioned about the places so strongly, that's the only way this story was able to come to life. Glad that I could transfer that feeling to you as a reader.
I also wished Commander Gor'shak was going to accept being rescued after so much pain and suffering, but he had long passed the point of return when Val'agg found him. Only those who have been through what he had been through can truly understand him.
18 Aug 2017 03:34 UTC
I'm not a writer, so havent got much insight into the process and "build" of a story, but I understand what you mean - it's like a whole building coming together, paying attention to every single detail.
Ah, I should have explained myself clearer; I wish that Sergeant Val'agg had been able to help Commander Gor'shak find peace and be reunited with his men, in death.
Not be rescued and return to a world he no longer could be a real part of.
18 Aug 2017 10:25 UTC
I got it now, I understand your thinking.
Well, the core idea of the story popped out from the initial premise that Commander Gor'shak is still alive. If he was not alive, then the story would have been a different one. Perhaps, it could be considered as one of the alternative endings, but only this ending made this story complete in my mind.
Gor'shak continues to live, his tortures and suffering continue, I and the reader feel for him, but we know very well that there is nothing we can do for him, just like Val'agg felt.
18 Aug 2017 12:23 UTC
Ohh, yes, yes, I know - I didn't mean to make it come across as a "I think you should change the end" kind of way :)
I entirely hear you; sometimes stories have to take the turn they do, in order to make the largest impact.
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