Sorry for this taking awhile. As you can see, it contains almost all of my characters…everyone except Tock Plasmawrench, Ellye Axewrench, and Emily Fielder. Anyway, this is the post-Archimonde journal. Whenever the Archimonde fight happens to take place in timelines. I’ve kept it free of other specific storyline references, so that it can be just “whenever Archimonde dies.”
It also reveals a new character and tells us something new about Rann. Enjoy!
Emma ripped her sword free of another fel-infused orc…another Iron Horde soldier under the Shadow Council’s command. In the hellish siege, she had learned to tell the difference between these thralls and the actual members of the Shadow Council, who were usually clad in warlock robes. Searching the seemingly never-ending tide of enemies for this group’s warlock commander, she unlatched her hammer from its normal place at her side. Jabbing her sword into the ground, she hefted the heavy weapon and, seeing the Shadow Council commander, she spun in a wide circle and flung the hammer at him.
No sooner had it shattered the leader’s face than a cry rung out from the direction of the Dark Portal and its new, improvised Black Gate. The cry sounded like good news…the death of an eredar. The fel-infused soldiers took notice, pausing and looking in transfixed horror in the direction of the sound. Emma and the other footsoldiers nearby wasted no time cutting them down while they had an opportunity.
Someone over the guildstone had said something about Archimonde… Emma had to see this for herself. She climbed to the crest of the hill and looked out. The area immediately before the Dark Portal had always been the site of the fiercest fighting…and now it was utterly unrecognizable, save for the lone wicked statue that still loomed above the battlefield. And there, in its center, with the tiny fighters swarming around his body, was a massive eredar in what looked like the Burning Legion equivalent of regal attire…what little he chose to clothe, anyway. So it was true… This was Archimonde… And he was dead.
But…hadn’t she read something about the deaths of demons being only temporary unless they were killed in the Twisting Nether? Emma shook her head, shaking away the thoughts of reprisal. This was a victory hard-won…and she would remember it. She allowed herself a smile. The war was over.
She sighed and raised a different guildstone to her lips, and whispered. “Shadow Trader…it’s over. Archimonde is dead…and it looks like he took Gul’dan with him. The operation was completed successfully.”
* * *
Doradrassil did not smile. This was a textbook provocation of the Burning Legion. Defeating Archimonde would only send him screaming back to whatever hole he’d crawled out of. He was likely ordering retaliation already. To be felled by the races of Azeroth meant that Azeroth would be the world to suffer retribution. For her, the war was just beginning.
She carried the book of Claret, securely wrapped as it had been since she had received it, making her way to the ancient Vault of the Wardens, where it could be stored safely. She would stay in a secure abode close by for a few days before heading back to the rest of the world. Maybe she would even head back to Draenor, if only to help the Templars close their official business there and return ceremonially with Teams Vanguard and Triumph. It meant little, but was still important. People needed those moments of victory, those moments of high morale. Light knew they would need it in the times to come.
* * *
“Understood. I’m glad you’re safe,” Mallory answered her sister. �When you return, send word. I’ll have a team meet you for debriefing and escort to your next mission.� She clicked off the custom guildstone that Zen had designed for her Shadow Trader network. Distorting her voice to protect her identity, it was one of her most valuable tools for managing her increasing resources. Emma knew the truth, of course, but played along with the narrative that she had never met the Shadow Trader. The shady facade kept Mallory safe and her enemies at a distance. Having discovered that someone was after her…an enemy of Sage’s… Mallory had swiftly disappeared.
“Tha’s good news, right?” came a voice next to her, shaking her out of her thoughts.
“Right,” Mallory said, smiling at Daldrin. “Archimonde is the Burning Legion’s greatest general. His fall can only be a good thing. It worries me that Gul’dan was able to summon him…and that we don’t have Gul’dan’s body…but a win is a win.”
“‘At’s good then,” Daldrin replied, and gestured over his shoulder. “Soo now that ye won, come have some dinner! We’ll serve up some o’ my finest beer ta celebrate.”
Mallory chuckled. “You know I don’t drink beer…but thanks. I forgot how late it was getting.”
Daldrin tutted at her, turning and heading up the stairs. “Ye humans always forget tha important things! No wonder yer skin and bones, Mallory.”
Mallory hadn’t known Daldrin until she knocked on his front door. She knew of a remote location where visitors were unlikely…especially the kind who hunted her. In the far east of the Arathi Highlands, and north of the Twilight Highlands, Daldrin’s tiny farm rested on the coast. She had knocked on his door and offered him an exorbitant sum to let her stay there, quietly. He had been downright hostile at first, mistrusting of her. After all, anyone who needs to pay someone to let them lay low had to be bad news. But she had gradually earned his trust, and often he hardly noticed her. In this lonely corner of the world, Daldrin was well insulated from the goings-on in the outside. Come to think of it, Mallory wasn’t entirely sure if that was by his own choice or not. Did he live here in spite of the isolation, or because of it? She decided it was time to learn a little more about her host…
“Sorry, can you repeat that?” came Peter Alabaster’s voice over the Shadow Trader guildstone. “You say the Draenor operation is complete?”
* * *
“That’s correct,” came the Shadow Trader’s distorted reply. “According to Everley’s report.”
“Copy that,” Peter said, nodding to his companion. “Maybe that means we can finally take some personal time.”
He could have sworn he heard a chuckle through the noise. “Perhaps. We’ll see. Alabaster, I’ll send a special escort to meet you when you return. The rest of your team can take some time off.�
�So the big guy bit it, huh?� Razboom asked. �Can we go home now?�
�Yes, and I�m not sure. Sounds like you get a vacation, at least.�
�Right on!� Razboom said with a fist pump. �He�s gonna work you to the bone though, isn�t he?�
�Maybe,� Peter replied, turning away and looking off in the distance at the remains of Blackrock Foundry. He smiled to himself. A �special escort to your next mission� was Mallory�s code for �come spend some time with me,� an expression she had just used with her sister as well. He surmised that Mallory herself would be the escort, under the guise of working for the Shadow Trader. Whatever the case, at least they had all survived. Mallory had grown, her resources had expanded, and she had made a real difference in the war effort by supplying the resources and funding for the Templars� garrison.
The only dark spot in all of this was that assassin who had forced Mallory into hiding…whose capture only meant that there would be another out there. They still were no closer to finding the one who had sent the assassin, and Peter�s trust in his best friend, Charles Thackery, had been shaken by some unsettling accusations.
But this was life…not without its hardships and surprises. At least they were still alive, and in this day and age, that was quite a thing to be thankful for.
* * *
Rann leaned her full weight on her staff, for once feeling all of her hundred and fifty-some-odd years. She wasn�t the oldest even in this valley, not by a long shot… But she still felt a surge of seemingly distant, buried memories surge through her.
It had taken time, but she had become able to walk through Dalaran and see it as the city it was, not the city it once had been. It seemed like it had taken forever for her to not feel a stab of pain whenever she set foot in the city. But the fateful day of Archimonde�s attack on Dalaran had been buried, distanced from her.
The massive force scurried to and fro, eager to mop up the final pockets of Fel Horde resistance and draw this Draenor business to a close. Many swarmed the body of Archimonde, his green eyes dull and lifeless. What would happen to the body was yet to be decided, but she might not have this chance again. Her weight still mostly on her staff, Rann edged closer to the fallen demon lord where he lay face-down in the dirt. She seized one of the appendages on his head, wrenching his face toward her, and spit in it.
�Damn you,� she growled. �We can never make you suffer like we have. Your filthy kind gets to just reappear out in the Nether somewhere, never to feel the true sting of death and loss.� She felt tears stinging her eyes, and wiped them furiously away. �We can kill you a thousand times, and never come close to the pain you�ve caused me alone, you bastard.� She steadied her breath, her hands shaking as she exhaled unevenly. �His name was Lathen Brightblade. He was a good man…not that you would know what �good� means. We were soon to be betrothed…when you showed up. And now he�s gone forever, thanks to you.�
She turned her eyes skyward, looking off in the direction she imagined Azeroth might be. �But at least… at least this universe�s Azeroth will still have him. Maybe this universe�s Rann will never know your name, and will never have to try to forget his just to keep going.�
She looked down at Archimonde�s dead eyes again.
�I hate you,� she whispered. �And you know what? That little quirk you demons have, that you think is your greatest advantage… I swear to you, it will be your undoing.� She leaned in closer, a cruel sneer forming on her lips. �Because now we know we can kill you. No tricks, no wisps. Just head-on, us against you. So bring on your damned Legion. We�ll kill you a thousand times just to warm up. Do you hear me?�
She spit on him again.
�We�ll make you wish you could die.�