Commander Gor'shak's Journal - Part 6
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 5
In the next couple of weeks, we continued to do what we had to do to survive, until nothing other than the bones were left. Then, we carefully brought the bones together and put them at the far corner of the cell, in a way, making it a shrine to Mazdorak. From that day forward, whenever we woke up in the morning, we gathered in front of that shrine and made prayers for him and thanked him for helping us survive.
With the new energy we had gotten from Mazdorak's body, we continued from where we had left with our digs, as well as shouting as loud as we could in case someone passed nearby. We were still making unnoticeable progress with the digs, but it was the only thing we could do, so we kept doing it.
One day, as I and Galgannesh were digging the floor and Truk'thor was scratching the wall, we heard bloodcurdling screams. Screams that we couldn't figure whether they were coming from far away or from a closer distance. It sounded as if the symphony of Interrogator Gerstahn had just continued from where it had stopped before the major explosion. We approached the door and put our ears on it to listen to the faint screams and try to understand from where they were coming. It was impossible to figure out their locations as they seemed to be coming from all directions, I started to shout towards outside. Galgannesh and Truk'thor joined me, and we shouted many times.
For the first time since a long time, we had hope again, but that hope did not last long as no one replied to our shouts. The screams continued day and night, slowly making it impossible for us to sleep or rest. I was feeling like we had descended to the second level of hell after all those tortures and deaths we had been through.
As days passed, we spent the energy Mazdorak's body had provided, and started to work less and less, till one day none of us could get up from where we were lying. Truk'thor was now making disturbing sounds, as if he had joined the symphony of the tortured souls. Galgannesh was mostly crying, but sometimes laughing, speaking to himself. I, I had no idea what I was doing. I was in my body but what was in my body was not really me. I had become a different person; lifeless, hopeless, purposeless. The only thing I could think of was my hunger; I was even not thinking of getting out anymore. I had long forgotten the concept of outside world; all the world that I knew was that cell and those two poor guys lying next to me.
At one of the days, as we were lying more lifeless than the day before, Galgannesh whispered to Truk'thor:
Truk'thor was busy excelling his part in the symphony, so Galgannesh had to whisper again:
Hearing Galgannesh's voice, Truk'thor responded, slightly angry for being disturbed:
"What is it?"
"I had been... I had been trying to get a bite from my arm as I am not really using it anymore, but I just can't lift it up till my mouth, would you please help me, brother?" Galgannesh asked, as if he was asking the most natural question that could ever be asked.
"Don't you see that I am busy compiling my masterpiece? Can't you hear the amazing music filling all around us in this wonderful place?" Truk'thor replied, not paying attention to what Galgannesh asked.
I simply didn't have any energy to say anything, so I kept watching them with eyes that even tears had long abandoned.
Another day, as I was lying at my corner of the cell, thinking about absolutely nothing, as I didn't have energy or desire to think of anything, Galgannesh and Truk'thor slowly crawled to me. Galgannesh started with a low voice:
"Commander, we came up with a game idea with Truk'thor, it's a fun game. Would you like to play with us?" without waiting for a reply, Truk'thor continued:
"It's a really easy game brother, it is called Who Has the Shortest Beard Strand. Here is how it is played..."
Their voices were so faint that I thought they were speaking to me from another cell. I listened to Truk'thor with lightless eyes, as he continued to explain the rules of the game. Each of us was going to pull one single strand from our beards and compare it with the others'. The one who had the shortest strand was going to “help” his companions the way Mazdorak had done earlier.
My ears were listening to what Truk'thor was saying, but my heart was crying inside with echoes only my soul was hearing. I couldn't say anything, I couldn't even move my mouth to make any sound. I just slowly turned my back to them and continued to lie as motionless as I was when they came to me, more broken than I ever had been. The tears that could not come out of my eyes were now burning my soul, trying to force my soul out of my body... if only they had the power to do so... I wished that so much.
After a long period of silence in the cell, I turned back to them. Seeing them as helpless as newborn wolf pups, who would die soon unless their mother fed them, I crawled towards them and said:
"Are you two sure you really want to play that game? You know, one of us will never be able to play it again."
I just did not have the strength and courage to prevent the game from being played. I just could not say them that they two didn't have to play it, at least, not while I was still alive. I... I couldn't say that. Even though my body had long past the torture of hunger that had been mauling us for many months now, the natural instinct my soul kept forcing me to be, to continue to live, did not let me say that.
They both nodded their heads, showing their interest in playing the game. Their nods were so weak, it wouldn't have been surprising if they couldn't raise their head again.
Cut off from the world, cut off from the reality, cut off from Orcity; helpless, hopeless and even senseless, that day, three honorable Orc soldiers of the victorious Horde army played the most terrible game any living creature could ever play.
We all pulled a strand from our beards without looking at each other, and put them in front of us at the center of the cell. Truk'thor made a sound of happiness, as if anyone could have felt happiness in his condition, seeing that his strand was longer than ours. Galgannesh, surprisingly also made a sound of happiness, in a different way, but his strand was shorter than mine.
Nobody said anything in the following couple of minutes, our heads were lowered down, looking at our beard strands, the thin dark lines which had just determined our fates.
No matter how hard what was left of our Orcity was trying to prevent us from what we were about to do, we were going to do what we had agreed to do. I was not sure what was happening was happening for the success of our mission or for the satisfaction of our animal sides, but it was surely happening.
Truk'thor and I crawled towards Galgannesh, our heads still lowered, like the lions, almost dying of hunger, approached to their kin unwillingly.
Galgannesh did not make any sounds when his companions unwillingly started the terrible act on his body. His eyes were looking at us at his final moments; those eyes held no pain or anger, no hatred or enmity; those eyes held the understanding and peace of a soldier who was sacrificing himself in order to save his companions, in order to serve to their mission. He was looking at us so peacefully that, for a moment, I wondered whether what we were doing was ok and whether Truk'thor also felt the way I did.
He did not make any sounds before he died, but as if all the tortured souls had made an agreement to stop screaming at the same time, a moment of silence descended upon the Detention Block, a disturbing silence that kept echoing the sounds of teeth and fingers tearing flesh and bones apart, which were following the undeniable order of the most natural instinct of the creation.
A couple of weeks later, we put Galgannesh's remains next to Mazdorak's shrine and performed the same ritual for him too. Galgannesh, one of the bravest soldiers I had ever known, brave in life and brave in death, was no more. May his soul rest in piece.
In the following weeks, we continued to live, thanks to Galgannesh, but since he had gone, an evil darkness had descended over us. Except Truk'thor's disturbing wailing, which just sounded like a natural part of the neverending screams coming from the outside, no other word was spoken inside the cell. I was not looking at his face and he was not looking at mine. We were living like strangers, if you could call that living, partly ashamed of their acts, partly for really feeling like strangers.
A couple of times, I caught Truk'thor with a creepy look in his eyes, I bet he caught me with a similar look too. We were now mostly lying at our corners, without moving at all for whole days, except for drinking some water from the ceiling hole. Days and nights were passing, without us being able to tell the difference, and we were getting closer to join Mazdorak and Galgannesh.
A few days before I started to write this journal, I woke up with two hands on my throat, trying to squeeze as strongly as they could, as weak as a newborn infant could squeeze, trying to tear my soul apart from my body, as if anything was still left of it. I tried to scream but I couldn't. The body that was lying on mine, the arms that were attached to my throat was of an Undead, no, of a creature that looked more dead than an Undead. With what strength left in my arms, I tried to grab its arms and push it away from me. It took me a while to do that as I had difficulty closing my bony fingers around his bony arms. The struggle had lasted for a couple of minutes when I was finally able to throw the creature away from me, but it did not stop, it attacked me again, this time more viciously. I hold it from its throat too and we started to squeeze each other's throat at the same time. For one instant, I felt like my soul was finally leaving my body, but with that last bit of energy fear of death provides to your body, I squeezed the creature's throat as much as I could. It started to make sounds I couldn't recognize, then, before it gave its last breath, it made the wailing sound Truk'thor used to make, a wailing sound that joined the symphony for one last time.
It took me almost a minute to start breathing again and to slowly realize what had just happened. In an insanity moment, Truk'thor had tried to kill me, no, the poor guy had just tried to do what was necessary for him to survive, and during the tussling, I had killed him instead.
I looked at my hands, the hands that had committed unacceptable crimes against my own kind. I wished they had burned the day they put us in the lava cauldron. I wished I did not live long enough to witness what the silent walls of this small cell had witnessed with us.
I lay motionless, soundless, lifeless for a couple of hours; not feeling anything, not thinking anything, not wanting anything. I looked at the open eyes of Truk'thor, just lying next to me. His dim eyes were almost telling me “Forgive me, brother...”. I then looked at the remains of Galgannesh and Mazdorak. I cried, but nobody who saw me lying at that corner of the cell like that would have been able to tell that I was crying.
I did what I had to do to survive. And I continued to do that in the next couple of weeks, till the remains of Truk'thor found their place near the remains of Galgannesh and Mazdorak.
At one of the days as I was lying like a natural extension of the floor, a strange feeling rushed through my almost empty veins and I thought about my duty as a Horde commander, about my responsibility to my people. Even though I had failed my major assignment, which was to kill General Angerforge, even though I had failed protecting my men, even though I had done unspeakably horrible things; as long as I still breathed, I felt like I had to keep doing anything within my power to be of help to our grand mission; that was what a Horde officer was supposed to do. Therefore, I decided to note down all the important things I had seen, witnessed, observed and learned from the Dark Irons and Twilight's Hammers during the times we had been through countless tortures across their damned city.
I looked around myself, but naturally couldn't find anything to use as paper or ink. I thought... I thought... An idea finally came to my mind: I was going to use my skin as paper and my blood as ink, at least what remained of them. I easily found things I could use as pen such as broken nails and teeth on the ground, not knowing which were mine and which were my brothers'. If I just could prepare some flat skin pieces and some blood, I could easily start writing. I had no idea how I would be able to make it found by a member of the Horde, or even the Alliance, as it did not matter anymore at this point, but I was determined to do it.
I started to strip my skin on the belly region, I was going to write as much as the skin surface allowed and continue with stripping new skin pieces as needed. I collected the little blood that dripped from the cut surface on my body in the dent Galgannesh and Mazdorak were digging on the floor and started to write.
The lack of light, as well as the lack of paper and proper writing tools were making it difficult to write quickly; I think I spent over a week writing everything in the first ten pages of the journal and continued with telling our unfortunate story. I was stitching the pages together using hair strands I was pulling from my head.
One day, as I had finished writing my journal, I thought I heard some voices coming from the outside, suppressing the endless symphony of the tortured souls. I crawled to the cell door and listened carefully. If my ears were not playing games with me, I was hearing Dark Iron voices, some of which I was familiar with. I would have never imagined that I would ever be happy to hear Dark Iron voices, but I was, at that moment.
I tried to shout with what breath I had left but I couldn't make my voice heard. Nobody came to my cell that day.
The next day, I heard some cell doors opening from a distance and hoped that someone would come to my cell too. I was so desperately broken and helpless that I even thought of hugging the first Dark Iron Dwarf that walked into the cell.
After a couple of cell doors opened and closed, I heard a familiar laugh approaching my cell. When the door was opened, General Angerforge entered the cell filling it with his cheerful laugh, accompanied with a group of wardens and bloodhounds. The man I hated, the man I had sworn to kill, the man that caused the death of my companions, the man that tortured us and caused the deaths of my captains, the man that had turned me into something that could no longer be considered as an Orc, was standing right in front of me and the only thing I was able to feel was a matchless gratefulness for seeing the face of a living creature once again. His loud laughs were mixing with my silent cry as he started to talk:
"Gor'shak! My old friend! Aren't you a tough one, eh? I gotta confess, you're in perfect shape! Hah hah ha ha!" he laughed and continued: "Wardens! Mark this cell to be cleaned with tomorrow's cleaning shift. Tell the cleaners to get rid of all the dirt and scum but keep the bones lads, I'm sure the Commander would prefer his friends to continue accompanying him. Tomorrow, on the day of ... we will have a feast the Shadowforge City has never seen before. And Commander, you are invited too! We must feed you well for the upcoming new fun events, right? Ah hahah ha ha ha!"
I didn't have an idea about what happened after that major explosion, which unfortunately had saved our lives, but whatever had happened had its toll on General Angerforge's face and body, but definitely not on his character. His laughs continued to echo inside the dungeon tunnels for a very long time, after he and his men left the cell.
Indescribably glad for finding the chance I was praying for, I will now end my journal and bury it under the dirt inside that small square division at the corner of the cell. All I can hope is that once it is taken by the cleaners with the remaining dirt tomorrow, it will be found by a Horde personnel and delivered to my brother one day.
This time, I am absolutely sure I don't have much time left, not with Angerforge back and ready to continue from where he had left with me, with us...
Continue: Commander Gor'shak's Journal - Part 7
- 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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