Commander Gor'shak's Journal
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.
This story is intended for mature adults. It contains violent themes.
"Sergeant Val'agg..." a gentle but sturdy voice whispered into the darkness of the sleeping quarters of New Kargath barracks, a few hours past the midnight.
A moment of silence was the only reply to the whisper, which got a little louder the second time.
Another, but this time a shorter, moment of silence.
"Sergeant Val'agg!" the voice was now loud enough to waken the person it was directed to.
I woke up to Guard Chograk's voice from a deep but restless sleep, after a long and exhausting day spent at the Scar of the Worldbreaker, searching with two of my men for one of our scout squads, which was sent to the recently unearthed ancient tomb on the other side of the Scar three days ago, but never came back. They were supposed to gather information about the excavation progress and whether or not there had been any noteworthy discoveries so far. They were last reported as seen within the Scar, hence, we had focused our search efforts in that area. We had spent the whole day and half of the night walking on foot, checking every corner and under every rock in the Scar, hoping to find their tracks, and had returned to New Kargath a few hours ago with no success, to give a short break and continue our search with the first lights of the morning.
New Kargath, named after Kargath Bladefist -one of our legendary warriors-, was a small but critically important foothold established at the far west of Badlands, on the border with the Searing Gorge, as a key point in controlling southern Azeroth and re-taking the Blackrock Mountain from the Dark Iron Dwarves and their allies. This place was one of the many my people had built by the orders of our Warchief, in pursuit of our grand mission of conquering the whole Eastern Kingdoms and ridding it off Alliance and anything else that threatened our very existence.
It was my fifth year of duty in New Kargath; I was mostly assigned with search and rescue missions as I had a natural skill for finding and following tracks and going into stealth where necessary. Even though I had a strong urge to be in the front lines and join my fellow warriors in the heat of the battles as they made the enemies taste their sharp and merciless blades or swift and deadly arrows, I was content and proud with what I had been doing for my people, as I knew finding and rescuing missing or captive soldiers and officers was as important as thinning the ranks of the enemy.
I had heard Guard Chograk's voice starting with his first whisper, but being so tired, I couldn't really wake up or open my eyes and respond to him until he called me for the third time. Between trying to be as quiet as possible in order not to wake anyone else in the room and wanting to wake me up as quickly as he needed to, the level of his voice had started as a whisper and risen to a mild shout.
When he saw the dim light in my eyes as my eyelids slowly opened, he whispered again:
"Chief Gorn wants to see you immediately, sir."
It felt to me as if only a few minutes had passed since I closed my eyes after coming back from the Scar and till the moment I heard Guard Chograk's voice. Not feeling rested enough, but still ready for any new task, I gently told Guard Chograk that I would be at Chief's hut in a moment, as I jumped off the bed and started to equip my armor again. He slowly walked out of the room, leaving the door open, not to make any further sound.
I was one of the most trusted men of the Chief, and I had a rooted respect towards him, as he had been nothing but like a father to me since the day I came to New Kargath. So, even though my body was desiring to go back to bed so badly, I continued with gearing up, feeling the honor of being called by the Chief. I could still feel the warmth and sweat of my body on my leather armor as I was wearing them, since they were kept apart from my body for only a short time. Once fully clothed, I quickly grabbed my daggers and left the sleeping quarters, closing the door behind me.
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.
After taking a deep breath of the volcanic and metallic air into my lungs, I cursed the Dark Iron Dwarves for causing the Blackrock Mountain to erupt and for turning the once lush forests and fertile lands into nothing but a vast zone of burning steppes and sea of cinders. I then hastily walked towards the Chief's hut as I didn't want to keep him waiting any longer.
As I was approaching the Chief's hut, I heard a cry-like groan:
"Ahh... good Lord... if only I could walk... if only. I would have ran to him right now."
I had never heard the Chief's voice in such a miserable tone before, so, I rushed to the hut. The door of the hut was wide open, but I still knocked it before entering, and said with a determined tone:
"At your command, sir".
Chief Gorn, with a face as pale as the skin of a white kodo, trying hard to show no signs of emotion, spoke clearly and to the point:
"Come in Val'agg, and close the door." the Chief quickly turned his face after taking a quick glance at me.
I wondered what might have caused the disturbing impression on his face, as I entered the commanding hut and closed the door. He was alone in his hut, sitting at his wheelchair behind the command table, staring sadly at something he was holding in his hands on the table.
Chief Gorn had lost both of his legs in a battle against Dark Iron Dwarves in Searing Gorge about three years ago. He had since been using, I should say living on, his special wheelchair the Warchief had sent from Orgrimmar, when he heard about the tragic incident. The Chief sure had lost his legs, but he hadn't lost anything from his leadership or being the best chief I had ever known. However, since losing his legs, he had turned into a lifeless person in general, but I had never seen him as lifeless as that night, since the day he learned about the death of his brother last year.
I approached the table a few steps and stopped. Standing afoot and looking at his eyes which were fixated on the thing that he was holding in his hands, I waited to learn why he had wanted to see me. He made a silent gesture telling me to sit on one of the chairs in front of the table. I sat and continued to look at him, not having an idea what to expect to hear.
He stayed silent for about a minute, looking at the thing he was holding in his hands without blinking his eyes, thinking deeply. Not his body, but I could swear his soul was trembling as he kept staring at that thing in his hands. If I hadn't known him very well, I could have even said that he was worried about the future of our grand mission, but more than that, about the future of our people. I couldn't see it clearly from the shadowy ambience of the hut but it looked like his eyes were wet, the kind of wetness the eyes would preserve after crying for a major loss. I had never seen an Orc chief cry in my life, so this helped me realize the gravity of the situation instantly.
"This, is a journal." he started reluctantly, showing me the thing he kept holding in his hands. His voice was having difficulty translating his thoughts into words, as if he was telling something that he dreaded to but he had to.
The strange thing he had been holding in his hands hadn't looked like anything I had ever seen before; therefore, only after hearing the word "journal" did I start to take a closer look at it. The journal, as he called it, looked like it was half eaten, it was torn and dirty; it looked disgusting. Its pages were not made of common paper that I knew of; they looked more like thin leather, some kind of animal skin perhaps, they had scratches and cuts on them. The pages were stitched together with what I would describe as animal hair. The ink that was used on it was in dark red color. The writings were mostly worn off but they were still readable.
"Does it belong to one of the scout squad members we have been looking for, sir?" I asked after inspecting the journal with my eyes from where I was sitting.
"No, son. This is the journal of Commander Gor'shak."
Definitely not comparable to what the Chief had been going through, I had a shock when I heard the name of Commander Gor'shak. Distracted by the question I asked, the Chief continued slowly, starting to gain his focus again:
"As you know, Gor'shak was the Commander of the Kargath Expeditionary Force, but more importantly, he was my brother in life and my brother in arms." he gave a short break, lowering his head down, a heartbreaking wailing coming through his throat.
Yes, I knew who Commander Gor'shak was. He was Chief Gorn's only brother, served as the Commander of the Kargath Expeditionary Force, which was tasked with exploring the depths of the Blackrock Mountains and providing the necessary intelligence for the upcoming major battle to end the Dark Iron Dwarf existence under the mountain for good. He was reported as dead last year; it was a day of sadness for all New Kargath. If I remembered correctly, the last time I had seen him was a few months before his death, at the night we celebrated a hard-earned victory against the Alliance at the central region of Badlands.
"Did you learn new things about his death, sir? Had bad things happened to him?" I asked with a worried tone.
After a moment of hesitation, the Chief replied:
"Sometimes, one would even wish bad things to happen to their loved ones son, bad but less painful things. But this... this is nothing like that. This is nothing a brother should ever read, this is nothing a chief should ever learn, especially a chief in my condition." he said the last words looking at his missing legs. He seemed like he was out of breath, saying no more words in the following minutes. His eyes were trying to find a resting place among the shadows of the hut, but wherever he might have looked, the painful tears would not let his eyes rest that night.
Remembering the urgency of the situation at hand, he coughed to clear his throat, looked at me in the eye, and continued his words:
"One of our scouts brought it to me tonight, not long after you came back from your search at the Scar. He said that he had found it at the dumpsite of the Dark Iron Dwarves on the north skirts of Blackrock Mountain, half buried into the dirt." he put the journal on the table and pushed it slowly towards me. Taking a good look at the journal once more, I realized how it looked nothing but a disgusting piece of an animal; there was no wonder how it was able to slip through the hands of the Dwarves.
Pointing at the text that was written on the cover page of the journal with his forefinger, the Chief asked me to read it loudly. I did as he requested; the cover of the journal had the following text on it in the common Horde tongue:
"Whoever finds this journal, do everything in your capability to make sure it is delivered to Chief Gorn in New Kargath, even if it will cost your life."
He gently turned the cover and asked me to continue to read the text on the back of the cover, which was written in Orcish:
"Gorn, my brother, my chief. Don't you ever send anyone to rescue me, if you loved me as your brother. Let our people know I am dead, as that is the only thing they would have wished for me. Lok'tar, brother."
The text was written irregularly, it was clear that the writer had difficulty writing it, as if an irregularly shaped object was used as the writing tool. It had Commander Gor'shak's signature at the bottom of the back of the cover and a date, marking about four months ago.
"Sir, am I reading this date correctly? Does that mean Commander Gor'shak is still alive?" I asked, as my feelings changed from sadness to hope instantly.
"Yes, son, the signature on the cover of the journal is dated to four months ago, and I have no doubt that this is Gor'shak's signature, as I have no doubt that all the things the journal tells are his words. As to whether he is still alive or not, I can only hope. Ahh... my legs... where have you gone when I need you the most? My brother... Gor'shak..." this time the chief cried openly without trying to hide his eyes.
It touched me deeply to see our Chief like that and I didn't know what to do or what to say. I was witnessing one of the most tragic moments of my life. Between feeling happy to learn that his brother might be alive and feeling devastated about whatever he had read in his brother's journal, and feeling powerless and broken due to his missing legs, Chief Gorn looked so miserable on his wheelchair.
I kept quiet for a while as I didn't want to disturb the Chief in his suffering, and tried to think of a valid reason why a commander at such a critically important mission would request not to be rescued. My simple logic was telling me that no matter what the circumstances might have been, he should be rescued, at least tried to be rescued; so, why had he requested, especially from his brother, not to be rescued? What might have happened that caused him to abandon life like that? What might have happened?..
Continue: Commander Gor'shak's Journal - Part 2
- 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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