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Saurfang had better things to do than babysit a human, especially a human who did not want to be watched. Tyrathan Khort refused to have body guards following him, but he was usually content to allow a rogue sneak behind him at a discreet distance. However this morning, he had slipped past the rogue.

Saurfang stormed through the Hold, checking every room. The human was not here. If Vol’jin were here, he would simply say let Tyrathan be. He was free to come and go as he pleased. He would come back when he was ready, and he could take care of himself. Easy for him to say, it was Saurfang’s responsibility to oversee both Vol’jin’s and Tyrathan’s safety. Then, there would be the days when both of them would sneak off without anyone knowing where they had gone. But Vol’jin was on Draenor, and Saurfang was in charge of Orgrimmar until he got back. If something happened to Tyrathan while Vol’jin was gone, it would be Saurfang‘s head.

Saurfang exited the Hold. He would start checking with Tyrathan’s usual haunts. He did not understand Vol’jin’s attachment to this human, but the human seemed to make Vol’jin happy. A happy Warchief was an easy one to deal with. As Warchief, Vol’jin could have whomever he wanted as a mate. It was not Saurfang’s place to dictate who Vol’jin could be with.

Tyrathan was not at any of the archery targets. None of the hunters there had seen him. Saurfang checked the orphanage, but the Matron said Tyrathan had not stopped by. The flight master denied selling him any flights. The goblins on the zeppelin towers swore he had not boarded any zeppelins. The guards at all the gates reported that he had not been through. The human had not climbed onto the roof of Grommash Hold again. He finally found Tyrathan in the Valley of Honor, fishing behind the waterfall.

“Hello High Overlord,” said the human when he noticed Saurfang’s approach.

“Don’t High Overlord me. Where have you been?” growled Saurfang.

“Right here fishing,” Tyrathan shrugged as if he had not wasted any of Saurfang’s time.

“Why did you sneak off without the rogue?” demanded Saurfang.

“It’s not my fault if he overslept.” His fishing bobber went under the surface and Tyrathan began to reel in the fish.

“You should have woken him up or at least told someone where you were going. I have spent half the morning... Are you even listening?”

Tyrathan gave his fishing pole a good yank and finally reeled in his fish.

“That’s Old Crafty,” said Saurfang in disbelief. “People have been trying to fish for him for years.”

“There’s a fish in Ironforge like that called Old Ironjaw.” Tyrathan casually unhooked Crafty and tossed him back into the lake.

“You’re letting him go?” Saurfang could not believe his eyes.

“It’s what I did with Old Ironjaw.” The human began to rebait his pole.

Leaving the rogue behind to guard the human, Saurfang turned and began to walk back to the Hold, shaking his head. The sooner Vol’jin got back, the better.

Chapter Text

A meeting of the Horde leaders had been called in Orgrimmar. Usually Halduron Brightwing stayed behind in Silvermoon, but this time, him and Rommath were both going with Lor’themar.

“And remember,” said Lor’themar, “no one is allowed to lay a hand on Vol’jin’s human. He was very insistent on that. So just stay away from him.” Lor’themar gave Rommath a hard look as he said that.

“Like I would even want to get close to him,” snorted Rommath. He began to open a portal to Orgrimmar.

“I’ve heard he is an expert marksman,” said Halduron. “Perhaps a friendly competition...”

“No! Just leave the human alone. I don’t want any trouble,” growled Lor’themar as they crossed the portal.

It had been awhile since they had learned that Warchief Vol’jin had taken a human mate. Since then, Sin’dorei ambassadors to Orgrimmar had passed along some interesting information about the human. He was a hunter with excellent aim. He was fluent in Orcish and Zandali. He could also speak Pandaren. The Alliance had declared him a traitor and had placed a bounty on his head. All this had aroused Halduron’s curiosity about this human. Especially since humans and trolls did not normally get along.

The meeting was long and mostly boring. Halduron kept his eyes open for the human, but there was no sign of him. Vol’jin probably had him hidden out of sight somewhere. It was sunset when they finally ended for the day. They would begin again tomorrow.

Halduron headed for the archery targets to get some practice in before it got too dark. The area was mostly deserted, except for a couple of trainees packing up for the day and a single archer.

As Halduron got closer, he realized that the archer was human. There was only one human in Orgrimmar that Halduron knew of. It had to be Vol’jin’s.

Suddenly a troll rogue stepped out of the shadows. “Keep walkin’ blood elf,” he said.
“I was just watching,” answered Halduron .

The human had looked up at the voices. Lowering his bow, he said, “Ranger-General, I’ll get out of your way so you can shoot.”

“No, I had no intention of running you off. We can both use the targets,” said Halduron.

“How did you know who I was?”

The human smiled disarmingly, “I just knew. You can have first shot.”

The troll rogue opened his mouth to say something, but closed it the moment the human gave him a glare that could have frozen lava.

Halduron could not believe his luck. He was going to get to see if the rumors about this marksman were true.

So, they began to shoot. The human matched Halduron shot for shot. They began to keep score. One would pull ahead and then the other would catch up. The sun set and the light began to fade, but neither called it quits. Finally, Halduron made a shot he was sure the human could not match.

“Tyrathan, stop playin’ around and finish dis. It be late.” Halduron looked behind them to see Vol’jin standing there with an annoyed look on his face. Halduron remembered the warning Lor’themar had given about staying away from the human so as not to anger Vol’jin.

Tyrathan did not even look over his shoulder at the sound of Vol’jin’s voice. He smiled and said, “As the Warchief commands.” He let loose his arrow and split Halduron’s arrow right down the middle. Vol’jin chuckled.

“That was fun,” he said offering Halduron a handshake.

Halduron watched as Tyrathan walked over to Vol’jin. Vol’jin had a smile on his face and a soft look in his eyes. He seemed completely different from the way he had been in the Hold all day. He seemed relaxed and content.

“Did you come looking for me?” Tyrathan asked.

“Ya be late for dinner,” answered Vol’jin.

“Sorry. Lost track of time.” Tyrathan shrugged.

“Obviously. Good night, Ranger-General,” said Vol’jin as he turned to walk away.

“Good night, Warchief, Tyrathan,” said Halduron .

“Good night,” said Tyrathan as he and Vol’jin walked away. Before they were out of sight, Hauldron saw Vol’jin wrap one his arms around the human’s shoulders.

 

Chapter Text

 

Rokhan: Champion! I be havin’ a need of ya services. Da Alliance, dey be takin’ somethin’ dat does not belong to dem.

Horde Champion: Okay, what did they take?

Rokhan: Dey took da Warchief’s mate. Dey ambush him while he be out on a hunt.

Horde Champion: I bet the Warchief is not happy about that.

Rokhan: Vol’jin be away for da day. We be needin’ to get him back before Vol’jin be findin’ out dat he be missin’. Otherwise it be Ol’ Rokhan’s head on a pike.

Horde Champion: You were suppose to have been watching him weren’t you?

Rokhan: Trouble be findin’ dat human no matter what ya do.

Horde Champion: He snuck away when you weren’t looking, didn’t he?

Rokhan: Aye. We need to go, now.

During the rescue.

Rokhan: Ever since da human left da Alliance, dey been after him. Dey plotted against his life, branded him a traitor, and attempted to capture him several times. Yet, da Horde be strong enough to protect him.

Horde Champion: Says the guy that lost him.

Rokhan: Watch ya tongue.

Horde Champion: You better be nice or I’ll tell the Warchief about this little rescue mission.

After the rescue.

Tyrathan Khort: Thank you, Champion.

Horde Champion: So, what do I get for not telling the Warchief about this?

Rokhan: Well, I guess...

Tyrathan Khort: You don’t get an arrow in your back. Sound good enough?

Horde Champion: Okay, bye.

 

Chapter Text

Mathias Shaw: Champion, we have a need of your services. The Horde has something of value that we want back.

Alliance Champion: Okay, what do they have?

Mathias Shaw: They have given asylum to the traitor Tyrathan Khort. I would like you to retrieve him. Preferably alive, but we will accept dead as well.

Alliance Champion: Oh no, I’ve heard about him. Not going to do it. I don’t want an arrow in my throat. You want him, you go get him. I’ll see you at your funeral. Bye.

Mathias Shaw: That’s the tenth one today.

Chapter Text

Rokhan had always wondered who his Chieftain would take as a mate. He knew whoever it was would have to be someone worthy, that Vol’jin would not just pick anyone. Over the years, many trolls in the Darkspear tribe had tried to catch Vol’jin’s eye, with no success. Some trolls from other tribes had also tried to get Vol’jin to notice them, but with the same results.

When Vol’jin became the Warchief of the Horde, it got worse, and funnier. Members of the different Horde races tried to seduce the Warchief, as did some neutral races. It did not work, but it was hilarious to watch as a promiscuous goblin female flirted with Vol’jin. Vol’jin ignored her, staring off in the distance, clearly wishing he was someplace else.

Rokhan also noticed that Vol’jin’s mood had changed since he had returned from Pandaria. In the quiet moments, with no distractions, his mind would appear to be somewhere far away. In a crowded room, Vol’jin would have an air of loneliness about him. It did not take long for Rokhan to recognize the symptoms of lovesickness. Rokhan was not the only one. Many of the Darkspear trolls noticed it too.

Rokhan wondered if it was unrequited love since he did not see Vol’jin flirting with anyone. So Rokhan observed everyone Vol’jin interacted with. Soon, it became clear that the object of Vol’jin’s affections was not someone Vol’jin saw on the regular basis.

Then Vol’jin’s mood changed again. He seemed preoccupied and worried about something. Visions of something haunted his sleep. The only thing Rokhan knew that was going on was that a human hunter Vol’jin had spies watching was missing. The Alliance had declared the hunter a traitor and was searching for him. Rokhan figured the human must have been secretly a Horde spy or something like that.

Then the human was in Orgrimmar. Vol’jin looked at the human with a softness in his eyes. That’s all it took for Rokhan to realize where Vol’jin’s heart had been all this time. He could not believe it. Vol’jin did not like humans. For him to fall in love with one, it just did not make sense. Perhaps it was just a passing fling that would run its course.

Rokhan found Vol’jin and Tyrathan a few nights later, sitting together on one of the battlements of Orgrimmar. They were looking up at the stars, talking, and laughing. The human rested his head on Vol’jin’s chest as if it was the most natural thing in the world for him to do. Vol’jin wrapped his arms around the human, holding him.

Rokhan had never seen Vol’jin this happy before. Maybe those two were meant for each other. He smiled as he slipped away into the shadows. But if this human ever broke Vol’jin’s heart, may the Loa have mercy on his soul because Rokhan certainly won’t.

Chapter Text

After the Siege of Orgrimmar, Chen returned to the Shadowpan Monastery. The first person he went to see was Yalia, of course. The second was Tyrathan Khort. Chen learned from some of the monks that the man was planning to return home in a few days. It was obvious that the man both looked forward to it and dreaded it. Chen found Tyrathan at the archery targets.

“Chen, you’re back,” said Tyrathan without turning around.

Chen wondered if anyone could sneak up on the human. He doubted it. Maybe Taran Zhu could, but he had not put it to the test.

“Garrosh has been deposed and he will stand trial here in Pandaria,” said Chen.

“That’s good news,” said Tyrathan with a smile as he turned around.

“The Horde has a new Warchief,” Chen continued.

“A new Warchief? Who is it?” asked Tyrathan.

“The new Warchief is our friend, Vol’jin,” said Chen proudly.

The man’s face became unreadable. Several moments of silence stretched by. Chen began to wonder if the human had heard him.

“I know he will make a good Warchief,” Tyrathan finally said with a sad smile.

“I know you want to make things right with your wife and family. I hope that you do,” Chen paused for a moment. “But if you don’t, I don’t think you can do better than a Warchief,” Chen grinned. He knew how close Vol’jin and Tyrathan had gotten.

“I think Vol’jin might be out of my league now,” responded Tyrathan.

Chen frowned, “I don’t think Vol’jin would say that.”

“He wouldn’t say it that way, but he would try to let me down easy. Let’s face it, I really wasn’t good enough for him when he was just a Chieftain. I’m just a simple hunter.”

“Tyrathan, that’s not true.”

“Well, I guess we’ll find out,” said Tyrathan as he walked away.

Chen shook his head. Maybe he should let Vol’jin know what the hunter was thinking.

“Master Stormstout, I would advise against meddling any further,” said a voice. Chen turned around to see Taran Zhu standing behind him.

“But...” began Chen.

“Their relationship is between them. If they are meant to be together, then fate will find a way.” The monk turned and walked away.

Chen frowned. Okay, he would not tell Vol’jin what the human was thinking, but he would let Vol’jin know that Tyrathan was returning to his home. He had promised his friend that he would do that. Chen could only hope that Taran Zhu was right and fate would bring his two friends back together.

Chapter Text

Ava had always looked up to her father. He was big and strong. He was not afraid of anything. He swore he would always protect her. She loved him.

When Ava was four, her mother sat her down and told her that her father was dead. He had died in a place called Pandaria. She did not understand what that meant and asked if this meant that he would be coming home sooner. Her mother then explained what death was. She still did not understand.

Then her father came home and everyone was so happy. Even her mother, who had not seemed to be happy in a long time. Ava threw her arms around her father in a hug and never wanted to let go. Everything was perfect.

After some time passed, her mother was unhappy again. Then Uncle Morelan started visiting again and that made her mother happy. However, it made her father angry and sad.

Then they moved into Uncle Morelan’s house, but her father stayed in their old home. She still got to see him, but not often. When he saw her, he would give her a smile and a big hug. He would tell her that he loved her. Then her father disappeared.

Ava asked if he had died again. Uncle Morelan said not yet, but that he would. This time, he would stay dead. Uncle Morelan said that they would all be better off if her father died. She did not understand.

The other grownups said bad things about her father. Her friends said bad things, too. She stood up for him. He had taught her to stand up for herself and those she cared about. She wanted to make him proud. Then her friends did not want to be her friends anymore. Her friends’ parents said she had traitor blood. She did not understand.

Her oldest brother said to stop standing up for her father. He said that their father did not love them. He said that their father had abandoned them and Uncle Morelan was their father now. He said that their father had done bad things and it would be better to forget him. She did not understand. Her father was good.

People came from Stormwind to ask them questions about her father. They asked her questions. They wanted to know everything about him. They got angry when she could not remember some things. They told her that her father was bad man and had joined the Horde.

Uncle Morelan and her mother told her the Horde was full of monsters like orcs, forsaken, and trolls. She overheard the grownups say that her father was with the Horde’s Warchief. She did not understand.

She overheard a lot from the grownups. She could sneak up and hide in the shadowy corner just like Uncle Jasper. And just like Uncle Jasper, the grownups could not see her. Sometimes she would see Uncle Jasper, even though the other grownups could not see him. Uncle Jasper would then see her and tell her she should not listen to the grownups’ conversation. Their words were not meant for a little girl to hear.

She still eavesdropped anyway. The grownups said that her father lived with the Horde’s Warchief, a troll. Sometimes, the grownups would say that the Warchief was hurting her father. She did not understand what they meant when they would say the words that started with an “r” or an “s”, but they sounded bad.

She hoped that her father was not hurt too bad. She hoped that one day he would come home. She prayed to the Light every night to keep her father safe. That she did understand.

Chapter Text

Morelan Vanyst looked out the window of his uncle’s study down at the courtyard below. He could see his uncle’s hunters training at the archery targets. Overseeing the hunters’ progress was Tyrathan Khort, the ex-husband of Morelan’s wife.

Morelan frowned. He knew a lot of people judged him for marrying Khort’s ex-wife right after she divorced the hunter. Some of those people even knew that Morelan had an affair with her while she was still married to Khort. They saw his and her behavior as shameful.

Tyrathan Khort had been reported as dead in Pandaria. Morelan had consoled Khort’s wife. Morelan had been waiting for a suitable time of mourning to pass and then he was going to propose to her. Then Tyrathan Khort had reappeared, alive.
Khort’s wife told Morelan she was going to give her marriage another chance.

Morelan quietly bided his time. It was not too long before they restarted their affair. While they did that, Morelan tried to convince her to leave the hunter, but she wanted to stay for the sake of the children. So, Morelan began to plot ways to get rid of the hunter. Before Morelan could do anything, however, Khort discovered his wife’s infidelity.

Their divorce had been quiet. Khort deflected any questions from anybody about what had happened. Morelan proposed and married Khort’s ex-wife. That’s when people’s tongues started wagging.

His uncle accused him of opening the Vanyst family name up to gossip. Several of the other noble families had been snubbing them lately. They were also losing the respect of the people in their realm. If Morelan was to one day rule here, he needed to be respected by his subjects, not ridiculed.

Almost everybody in the town and surrounding area sympathized with the hunter. Tyrathan Khort was well liked and respected. They saw him as an upstanding Alliance soldier, but what if they did not?

When he returned from Pandaria, Tyrathan’s answers to what had happened to him were vague. He stated that his squad had been attacked by the sha in the Serpent’s Heart. He said that he had been injured and fell into delirium. He claimed that some helpful Pandaren had cared for him and nursed him back to health. Almost everyone believed Khort’s story.

Morelan did not believe that, however. He suspected that those Pandaren who had helped Tyrathan were the Shadowpan. The same ones that had rescued Morelan from the Zandalari trolls that night in the Vale. The same ones that Vol’jin of the Horde had fought beside. Morelan was convinced that Khort had also been there. No one else could shoot like that.

If Tyrathan Khort had been there, that would mean he had fought alongside Vol’jin. Doing that while the Alliance was at war with the Horde, that could be perceived as treason. At the time, everyone had believed that Vol’jin was dead too. Yet, Vol’jin was alive and now the Horde’s Warchief. Not only that, but that night in the Vale, Vol’jin had claimed to have killed Khort. He had known Tyrathan’s name.

Morelan grinned as a plan began to form in his mind. He could redeem his and his wife’s reputations. He could also show what a traitor Khort was and get rid of him at the same time.

“What are you smiling about?” asked his uncle, Bolten Vanyst as he walked into the room.

“I believe I know something that you will want to hear,” answered Morelan.

Chapter Text

Nathanos Blightcaller walked down the long hallway to Sylvanas’ throne room. His Queen had just returned from an unexpected summons to Orgrimmar. She had sent for him immediately upon her return. He assumed she had new orders for him based on whatever the meeting with the Warchief had been about.

“You wanted to see me, my Queen,” said Nathanos as he entered the Dark Lady’s throne room.

“Blightcaller, I just had a very unpleasant conversation with the Warchief.” Sylvanas glared at him.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Nathanos.

“Did you insult the Warchief’s precious little pet while he was here?” growled the Banshee Queen.

“Yes,” answered Nathanos. There was no point in lying about, besides it was not as if Nathanos was ashamed of it. He certainly did not care if he had insulted the human hunter.

“I did not think it was necessary to tell you that you had to be nice to the human,” complained Sylvanas.

“Why would I be nice to him?” Nathanos lifted an eyebrow.

“Do I really need to explain it to you? If you make an enemy of that human, you will make an enemy of the Warchief, which means a problem between me and Warchief. He already doesn’t trust me.” Sylvanas narrowed her red eyes.

“I did not think of that,” apologized Nathanos. Did the Warchief really care that much about the human’s feelings? From the rumors they had heard, the Warchief’s slave served only one purpose. The official story was that this human was Vol’jin’s mate, but that could not be true. Trolls hated humans and vise versa.

“Of course you didn’t. You obviously don’t know how to think anymore. Now if you had befriended the human, that would have meant you’d have a friend in the Warchief, and perhaps I would have as well,” explained Sylvanas.

“My apologies, my Queen.” Nathanos bowed his head.

“From now on, be nice to the human. I doubt you can befriend him now, after that stunt you pulled, but you can keep him from turning into an enemy. Remember that humans can be easily manipulated. Perhaps with enough perseverance, you can undo the first impression you made.”

“How long will I have to perform this charade?” asked Nathanos frowning.

“Until I say otherwise!” Sylvanas snapped.

“Yes, my Queen,” answered Nathanos.

“Don’t worry, my Champion, it won’t be for long. The Warchief will eventually tire of his pet.” Sylvanas dismissed him.

Nathanos turned to leave. He really did not want to spend any time in the human hunter’s company. Nathanos could not wait until Vol’jin tired of the human and disposed of him.

Chapter Text

Go’el knew something was bothering Vol’jin. He knew his friend well enough to read it in Vol’jin’s eyes. At first, Go’el assumed it was the stress of becoming Warchief. He could understand that. So Go’el stayed in Orgrimmar to help Vol’jin sort through the chaos that Garrosh had left behind.

However, Vol’jin seemed to be handling his new position well. In fact, when Vol’jin was busy, he was fine. It was when things got quiet that the look in his eyes would change as his thoughts seemed to wander to someplace else. That was what was happening now as they were discussing that status of Horde spies.

“Alright, Vol’jin,” said Go’el as he put down his papers. “Something is bothering you. Talk to me, my friend.”

“Nothin’ be botherin’ me,” answered Vol’jin. He kept his eyes on the paper in front of him, refusing to meet Go’el’s gaze.

“Who is it that you’re wanting to send spies to watch?” asked Go’el.

“Just somebody I be worried about,” said Vol’jin, frowning.

“Who is it? They must be quite a threat if you’re worried about them.” Vol’jin was not the kind of person to sit around worrying about threats. If something or someone was a threat, Vol’jin would usually come up with a plan to deal with it.

“He not be a threat,” explained Vol’jin. “He be... a friend. I just be wantin’ to check to make sure he be okay.”

“Then why don’t you go see him?” asked Go’el. That would seem like the obvious thing to do. “You can take a short break from Orgrimmar to visit him.”

“I can’t.” Vol’jin shook his head.

“You could write him,” offered Go’el.

“I can’t do dat either.”

“Why not?” Go’el was confused.

“It be puttin’ him in danger,” said Vol’jin, grimly.

“Why would it put him in danger?” Go’el frowned.

“Bein’ friends with me be dangerous for him.” Vol’jin paused. “He be... a human,” he whispered.

Go’el frowned. He knew Vol’jin’s opinion concerning humans. It was odd that Vol’jin would befriend one. Go’el wondered if there was more this story.

“Well, you could send a spy to check on him before sending them off on another assignment,” explained Go’el.

“I be wantin’ somebody to keep an eye on him.” Vol’jin narrowed his eyes.

“Why?” Go’el lifted an eyebrow. Okay. Vol’jin’s explanation was getting stranger by the minute.

“He be havin’ a tendency to get himself into trouble.” Vol’jin smiled when he said that.

Go’el noted that smile and the softness in Vol’jin’s eyes. There was definitely something more to this. “What’s really going on, Vol’jin?” demanded Go’el.

Vol’jin sighed. “I think I did somethin’ stupid.”

“What?” asked Go’el.

“Fell in love,” answered Vol’jin.

Of all the things Vol’jin could have said, that was the last one Go’el would have ever thought of. He wondered what kind of human could have had this effect on Vol’jin. Knowing the history between humans and trolls, Vol’jin had told him all about it, Go’el considered his next words carefully. “Does he feel the same way?”

“I not be sure. I think so, but...”

Go’el listened as Vol’jin told him about the human hunter, their time together in Pandaria, and the human’s domestic situation at home.

“If he be workin’ things out with her, den I not be doin’ anythin’.” It was obvious that Vol’jin meant those words even though it was painful for him to say them.

“And if he can’t work things out with his wife?” asked Go’el.

“Den maybe we have a chance?” Vol’jin’s eyes lit up.

“I hope so,” answered Go’el. He wanted the best for his friend. Yet, things were rarely ever that easy.

 

 

Chapter Text

Jaina Proudmoore walked out on one of the balconies of the Pandaren temple for some fresh air. She glanced up at the night sky and sighed. It had been a long day of negotiations with the Horde. She snorted. As if the Horde could be negotiated with. They would turn back on any promises made at a moments notice.

Suddenly, she saw someone walking out on one of the balconies on the Horde side. Too skinny to be a pandaren. Too short to be a tauren, orc, or troll. Too tall for a goblin. He pulled the hood of his cloak back, revealing his face. A human?

It had to be the traitor. He had been one of the issues brought up by these talks. Jaina slipped behind a pillar and watched as the hunter leaned on one of the rails. Anger surged through her. How could he betray the Alliance for those monsters?

She had a good shot at him right now and no one else was around. She could kill him and remove him from the equation of these peace talks. One less card in the Warchief’s pocket. She summoned an ice lance to her hand.

At the same time, she remembered some of the rumors going around about Tyrathan Khort. Some of those rumors suggested that he was not with the Horde on his own free will or perhaps he had been tricked. Jaina remembered how she had been tricked when she was naive into believing the Horde could be reasoned with.

Varian was going to be allowed to speak with Tyrathan for a few minutes. No Horde would be around. Perhaps he could convince Tyrathan to return to the Alliance, offer him safety in exchange for information the hunter had on the Horde. Perhaps they could save him. Perhaps he could become a useful asset.

Tyrathan turned and looked over his shoulder. He smiled at someone. Then Warchief Vol’jin stepped into view. Jaina could not see Vol’jin’s expression, but she could see Tyrathan’s. It was a look of love and trust.

Jaina clenched her jaw. No. She recognized that look. The hunter would not agree to betraying the Warchief. Tyrathan Khort could not be saved. He went into this with his eyes open. Now he would pay the price. Jaina summoned another ice lance in her other hand. She could take out both the Warchief and the traitor. Then they could dismantle the rest of the Horde.

“Jaina? What are you doing?” asked a voice behind her.

She looked over her shoulder to see Kalec standing behind her. Her ice weapons vanished.

“I was just...” She looked back at the lower balcony to see that both Vol’jin and Tyrathan had left.

“Jaina, that wasn’t the right way to handle this situation and you know it,” said Kalec.

“They both deserve to die,” she said icily as she stormed past her lover, ignoring the look of shock on his face.

Chapter Text

Varian Wrynn shook his head as he returned to his office. The meeting with Tyrathan Khort had been unsatisfactory and left him with more questions than answers. He still could not understand how someone could turn their back on their own family and people for the enemy.

Tyrathan Khort had not appeared to be under the influence of a spell. He also seemed to have no fear of Vol’jin or the Horde. Wrynn had come to the conclusion that Khort was with Vol’jin of his own free will.

“As important as that information was, I do not think it was necessary to attack that monk, Genn,” complained Wrynn as his two companions followed him into the office.

“That monk shouldn’t have gotten in my way,” growled Greymane. “He’ll be fine.”

“Shaw, maybe this could have waited until after the meeting,” said Wrynn.

“Your Majesty,” began Shaw. “I felt it was necessary to interrupt the meeting, especially considering how we had just received word about Bloodtwist from his partner, who is still among the Horde.”

“Is his cover in danger of being blown too?” asked Wrynn. That was just what they needed; two Alliance spies discovered by the Horde.

“According to him, his position was compromised when he and Bloodtwist attempted to poison the hunter for the first time,” said Shaw.

“So, Vol’jin was telling the truth? We have tried to poison Khort?” Wrynn shook his head. Some of SI:7’s tactics were unsavory but necessary in certain situations. He just wished he had been informed of this earlier.

“Twice. The first attempt, the two operatives attempted on their own before notifying us of Khort’s location. When it failed, one of the operative’s position was compromised. Both he and Bloodtwist decided to lay low and let things calm down before informing us. That is when we learned of Khort’s location through other channels. The second attempt may have poisoned the Warchief instead, but wasn’t strong enough to kill a troll,” explained Shaw.

“Unfortunately,” added Greymane.

“So is that agent in danger? Yes or No?” asked Wrynn. He could feel a headache coming on.

“He feels that he is safe for now, but he does not have a high position or access to Grommash Hold,” said Shaw, shaking his head. “Bloodtwist was one of our highest operatives in the Horde. He had access to the leaders of the Horde. His position was secure and no one suspected him of anything. There is no way a simple hunter from a small noble kingdom should have known that he was a spy.”

“Maybe Khort had contact with Bloodtwist before, or had seen him somewhere,” suggested Wrynn.

“Negative,” answered Shaw. “Since his assignment first began, Bloodtwist had not dropped character once. I’ve also gone through Khort’s past with a fine toothed comb and found nothing to suggest a previous connection.”

“What are you suggesting?” asked Wrynn. “That Khort still has connections in the Alliance who knew about Bloodtwist?”

“We have investigated the entire Vanyst family, retainers, and anyone else who was known to have contact with Khort. All connections to Khort appear to have been severed at the time of his desertion. His connections with his children appear to have been severed some time before that,” explained Shaw. “Apparently, the Vanyst family felt that he was an unfit father.”

Varian was not surprised to hear that. He agreed with Vanyst’s assessment of the hunter’s ability to be a father. The man had walked away from his children, his family and friends, his people. All for a troll.

“So what are you implying?” asked Wrynn.

“We have another traitor,” said Greymane.

“We have a leak,” frowned Shaw. “A leak that is feeding information to Khort.”

“Find it,” ordered Wrynn as he narrowed his eyes. “And put a stop to it. Now!”

Chapter Text

Elanora had always been shy and timid. When she was a little girl, people had accused her of being afraid of her own shadow. She was most certainly afraid of the wolves that had threatened her sheep when she worked as a shepherdess. Luckily, a brave hunter had come to her rescue.

That was the reason she had been drawn to Tyrathan Khort at first. He was a protector, a provider, and not afraid of anything. In the beginning, she appreciated all that, and had felt safe with him around. Then, her fear began to open her eyes to see the things she had missed.

Tyrathan was a hunter and a soldier. He killed as part of his duty. It was so easy for him to do that. It did not seem to matter to him if it was an animal or another human. Try as she might, Elanora found that disturbing. Her husband could be as sweet and kind to her as he wanted to be. Yet, to her, he had blood on his hands.

Morelan Vanyst was the exact opposite of Tyrathan Khort. He was cultured and civilized. He showed Elanora a better life. He provided for his family without having to kill anything. He did not come to the table with dirt under his fingernails. He did not come home with blood stained clothing. He did not sleep with a knife by his bed and wake up at every little noise. He also did not speak any other language besides Common.

Elanora would never forget that day when she came to pick up her children from their visit with their father to find Tyrathan teaching their two youngest children words in some savage language. She told him that she did not want her children learning the language of monsters.

Tyrathan had told her that it was Pandaren and that there were Pandaren that were members of the Alliance. He told her that it was good for the children to be exposed to other cultures and languages.

She told him that she did not care. The Pandaren were walking, talking bears. They were not human and she did not want her children speaking or acting like them. It was the same reason that she would not let her children play with the children of Gilnean refugees or that half elf child that lived down the road. They were not completely human.

Morelan supported her decisions. He agreed that it was the best way to ensure that her children would grow up to be ladies and gentlemen. Elanora did not want her children to follow their father’s example and put their lives in danger or become killers.

Morelan also pointed out that they could not be sure that Tyrathan was teaching the children Pandaren and not the language of the orcs or trolls. Tyrathan also knew both those languages. The idea that Tyrathan could teach her children how to speak the language of such creatures frightened her. Who knew where that could lead. It was what led to them deciding that Tyrathan could not be trusted to be around their children anymore.

Despite all this, it was still a shock to Elanora when she learned that Tyrathan had abandoned his post while on an assignment and was on the run from the Alliance. That was not like him. She almost had a heart attack when she learned that Tyrathan was in Orgrimmar, apparently as a guest of the Warchief.

It reminded her that almost a year ago, a hunting friend of Tyrathan’s had come to town on his way to Stranglethorn. He had invited Tyrathan to go on a hunting expedition. They were going to go hunt trolls for sport. Tyrathan had turned him down, saying that he was not interested. Elanora wondered if there had been more behind Tyrathan’s refusal.

Then, she heard all the stories and rumors going around about what the exact relationship was between Tyrathan and Vol’jin. She was worried that perhaps Tyrathan had been captured by the Horde and was being harmed by the Warchief himself. Tyrathan was still the father of her children and a good man at heart; he did not deserve that. She refused to believe that the man she had spent so many years with was a traitor to the Alliance.

She did her best to protect her children from the stories. Yet, she could not protect them from the prejudice of other people. Many thought that Tyrathan was a traitor and refused to let their children continue to be friends with her children. As long as her children carried the last name of Khort, it seemed that there would be adversity following them.

Fortunately, Bolten Vanyst agreed with her and Morelan that the children’s last names should be changed. Within a matter of a few weeks, all four of her children had their last names legally changed to Vanyst. Not only that, but Morelan signed the adoption papers making him their legal father. It was the best way to protect them.

Elanora was sure that Tyrathan would understand given the circumstances. She was relieved when she heard that the Alliance was going to try to get Tyrathan released from the Horde as part of the new peace treaty. She was sure that once he was free that he could explain that all this was a big misunderstanding. Bolten Vanyst took several members of his family and retainers to be of asssistance to the Alliance.

Then when Bolten Vanyst returned from the summit meeting between the Alliance and Horde, he told her that King Wrynn had offered to rescue Tyrathan and had been rebuffed. Tyrathan had chosen to remain with the Horde, claiming that he was in love with Vol’jin. Tyrathan had also helped the Horde unearth an important Alliance operative who had been working undercover in the Horde. The man that she thought she had known was a traitor. Elanora fainted.

Chapter Text

Tyrathan Khort appreciated the help and care he had received from Chen Stormstout and the Shadowpan monks. Despite his appreciation, though, he still felt that he should have died. Most likely, everyone he knew assumed he was dead.

It was late at night. Tyrathan lay in his cot in his room and counted up the days. By now, word of his death should have reached his family. The thought of never seeing them again was breaking his heart. Why was he even alive? What was the point?

In the stillness of the night, he could hear some commotion nearby. He reached for his cane and got up out of his cot. He slowly made his way over to the door. Each step was still painful, but at least now he could walk. He opened the door just enough to peer out.

The infirmary was lit up with lights. Several healers were rushing into the infirmary. Someone must be hurt or sick. Even though he did not have any faith left in the Light, he automatically sent a prayer for the welfare for whoever was in trouble.
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Over the next couple of weeks, Tyrathan learned that the injured person in the infirmary was Vol’jin, one of the leaders of the Horde. Since Tyrathan was an Alliance soldier, that meant that Vol’jin was his enemy. Just the fact that Vol’jin was a troll and Tyrathan was human meant that they were supposed to be enemies.

Chen was friends with Vol’jin. Even as the Pandaren was telling him stories about the adventures he had with Vol’jin, Tyrathan intended to stay as far away from the troll as possible. He had seen Vol’jin once on a battlefield. He had no desire to repeat that experience.

Taran Zhu, the leader of the Shadowpan, had other ideas though. Tyrathan stood in Taran Zhu’s office as the monk told Tyrathan that he expected Tyrathan to help care for Vol’jin.

Tyrathan leaned on his cane and nodded. He wanted to object, but he knew the rules of the Monastery. If the Shadowpan turned him out, he honestly had no idea where he would go. This was just something that he was going to have to endure, unfortunately.
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The moment Tyrathan stepped into the infirmary, the injured troll resting on the bed snapped his eyes opened instantly. Those sharp amber eyes focused on Tyrathan and followed him closely as Tyrathan moved about the room, assisting the monks. It almost felt like those eyes could burn a hole right through him.

Even though Tyrathan doubted that Vol’jin had the strength to get out of bed, Tyrathan never turned his back on Vol’jin. Turn your back on a troll and it would be the last thing you would ever do. Never take your eyes off the enemy. Those were rules that Tyrathan had learned a long time ago and he lived by them.

“Change his pillow case,” directed one of the female monks as she handed him a clean pillowcase.

Tyrathan took the clean linen without complaint, although he was mentally cursing his luck. Seriously, what spirit had he ticked off? Whatever he had done to deserve to be punished like this, he was sorry.

Vol’jin watched him as he approached the bed. Tyrathan noticed that Vol’jin took note of his limp and how much support he was putting on his cane. Tyrathan clenched his jaw. Of course, Vol’jin would look for any weakness in an enemy. Tyrathan did the same thing.

“I need to change the pillowcase,” Tyrathan explained.

“I heard,” answered Vol’jin in what sounded like a cross between a whisper and a growl. He suspected that Vol’jin really wanted to growl threateningly, but that had been the best he could do.

Tyrathan could see the thick bandages on Vol’jin’s throat. Someone had really tried hard to kill him. Chen had mentioned that he suspected it had been on Garrosh’s orders. The Horde was turning on itself.

Vol’jin must have noticed Tyrathan looking at his bandages because he glared at Tyrathan and made that weak growl again. Vol’jin lifted his head just enough for Tyrathan to slide the pillow out. He quickly changed the pillowcase and placed the pillow back under Vol’jin’s head.

Even though Vol’jin was injured, Tyrathan could still sense how dangerous the troll was. Tyrathan remained calm on the outside, but his heart felt like it was racing. Every instinct he had was telling him to get away from the troll.

Tyrathan had leaned his cane against Vol’jin’s bed while he worked. Suddenly, the cane started to fall. Vol’jin’s hand was near it. Vol’jin reached and caught the cane to keep it from falling to the floor.

“Thank you,” said Tyrathan, surprised by Vol’jin’s action.

Vol’jin snorted as he looked away.

As Tyrathan left the infirmary, he could still feel Vol’jin’s eyes on him. He hoped that Vol’jin would recover soon so he would leave the Monastery and Tyrathan would not have to be around him anymore.

Chapter Text

Baine followed Vol’jin down the hall of the Pandaren temple. They were taking a break from the negotiations with the Alliance. They were at an impasse anyway. The Alliance was requesting that King Varian Wrynn be allowed to speak with Vol’jin’s human mate, Tyrathan Khort, his former subject. Vol’jin was flat out refusing to let that happen. In return, the Alliance was refusing to finalize the peace treaty.

The Horde was split about whether or not the human should be allowed to speak with King Wrynn. Baine did not see the harm in allowing it. Of course, Vol’jin had the final word on the matter.

“Ya be wastin’ ya breath, Baine,” said Vol’jin as he entered his office.

Baine followed him. “Warchief, it is a reasonable request. The Shadowpan will be present and they will not allow him to be harmed.”

“I don’t care. It not gonna happen,” growled Vol’jin. “Da Alliance not gonna get within spittin’ distance of him.”

“You’re very protective of him,” noted Baine.

“I have to be. He got a target on his back. I got no intention of losin’ him to da Alliance or anyone else,” said Vol’jin, shaking his head.

“I have to admit. You’re one of the last people I would have seen falling in love with a human,” said Baine.

Like many in the Horde, Baine had been surprised when the human had shown up, seemingly out of nowhere, and Vol’jin had introduced him as his mate. Baine had no objection to Vol’jin having a human mate. Vol’jin’s private life was his own business. Unfortunately, the Alliance did not see it that way.

“Me too,” Vol’jin chuckled. “I fell for him before I realized what was happenin’. And I not be tradin’ a moment of it for anythin’ in da world.” A soft look slid into Vol’jin’s eyes.

Baine had never seen Vol’jin with that look before. He had noticed Vol’jin and Tyrathan exchange glances with each other, light teasing remarks, and casual touches. The affection between the two of them was clear to anyone paying attention.

“Maybe if we agree to the Alliance’s request, we can negotiate a way to make that target on his back smaller,” offered Baine.

“Da answer be no, Baine!” yelled Vol’jin as he slammed his hand down on the desk, breaking it.
——————————————————————————————————————————
The human’s sudden arrival to the temple should not have been a surprise to Baine. He should have known that Go’el would do something like this. It was astonishing that Tyrathan seemed to be agreeable to the idea of speaking to Wrynn. What surprised Baine even more was the human’s willingness to talk to Vol’jin alone when he was this angry.

Not many people would want to be alone with an angry troll. Yet, this human seemed to have absolutely no fear of Vol’jin’s anger. He appeared to be a hundred percent convinced that Vol’jin would not do anything that would harm him, even unintentionally.

Baine was not sure how much good it would do to talk to Vol’jin though. The Warchief’s mind was made up. Baine was aware of some of the things that had befallen the hunter at the hands of the Alliance. He really could not blame Vol’jin for being protective of his mate.

So, it came as a complete shock to Baine when Tyrathan convinced Vol’jin to change his mind and negotiate with the Alliance about a meeting between King Wrynn and Tyrathan.

Chapter Text

Markus had idolized his father when he was little. He wanted to be just like his father when he grew up. His father was his hero. He was strong and brave. He protected and loved his family. His father was everything that Markus wanted to be when he grew up.

When Markus was ten, his father taught him how to shoot a bow. His father was patient with him, even when Markus made a mistake. His father was an expert with a bow, and Markus wanted to be just as good as him. Once he learned how to shoot a bow, his father would take him on short hunts for small game. As he got older and more skilled, they would hunt larger animals.

When he was fourteen, Markus was told that his father had died on a mission in Pandaria. Markus was torn between anger and grief. He could not imagine his life without his father. He was angry at his father for leaving them. His father had promised that he would come back. He always came back. How could he break that promise? Markus was still just a kid. He needed his father.

When his father returned from Pandaria, alive, Markus was relieved. His father promised that he would never do that to them again. Their lives seemed to return to normal, and Markus would go on hunts with his father again. Everything was perfect.

Then Markus’ parents got divorced and their perfect world shattered. Markus could not understand what had gone wrong. His parents never fought, at least not in front of him if they did. Both his mother and father just told him that sometimes these things did not work out. Markus began to wonder if maybe it was something he had done. What if it was his fault?

His mother then married Morelan Vanyst and they moved into Morelan’s large house. At first, he resented Morelan. Morelan was not his father and he was never going to be. Markus took every chance he got to spend time with his real father, but then those times became shorter and rarer. Finally, he did not get to spend any time at all with his father.

Markus asked his mother when he could go see his father. She told him that his father was too busy to spend time with him. She suggested that he spend time with Morelan and get to know him. She said that he was a good role model for him.

That is how Markus found himself in Bolten Vanyst’s office helping Bolten and Morelan with paperwork. At one point, the older men left the room and Markus was alone.

Markus was shuffling through some papers they had asked him to go through and he found the copy of his parents’ divorce papers. With a cautious glance at the closed door, he began to read it.

He could not believe it. According to this, his father had been the one to file for the divorce. Underneath the reason for the divorce, loss of affection had been written. Did that mean that his father had stopped loving his mother? Did that mean his father could stop loving him and his siblings? Was that why his father did not want to spend time with them anymore? He did not love them?

Markus wanted to talk to his father about it, but not long after that, his father left on another assignment. Markus planned to confront his father when he returned. He wanted to know the truth. His father would tell him the truth. He had promised that he would never lie to him. Then, his father disappeared again.

Morelan explained to Markus that his father had betrayed the Alliance and was on the run from them. Then, they were told that he was in Orgrimmar and was living with the Horde’s Warchief. Markus could not understand it. His father was a troll hunter and an Alliance soldier. How could he do this? How could he just abandon them like this? How could his father abandon him?

Things got worse very quickly. SI:7 agents came and questioned Markus and his siblings about their father. Those rogue agents were not like Uncle Jasper. There was a frightening coldness about them. They scared Markus, but he did his best to hide his fear. However, Ava and Kole cried when they were questioned by these agents. It made Markus angry at his father. This would not be happening if his father was here. Did he not know what his actions were putting his family through?

People said that his father was a traitor. People then began to say that Markus would be a bad seed just like his father. Markus did not respond to remarks like that, but when people began to say horrible things to his siblings, that was where he drew the line.

The worst part was when one of Markus’ best friends, that he had known his whole life, said the worst possible things to Markus’ sister Clarissa.

“So, Clarissa, do you think your dad is planning to marry you off to one of those Horde monsters?” asked Markus’ friend.

“He wouldn’t do that,” whispered Clarissa, her eyes widening.

Markus froze. He felt like he could not move. That idea had never even occurred to him. It frightened him.

“I bet he’s picked out some orc or troll to be your husband,” his friend continued.

“No.” Clarissa shook her head, her face turning pale.

Markus began to feel sick.

“You’ll have your wedding, and then that orc or troll will drag you back to his cave and throw you on the ground. Then he’ll strip you down, crawl on top of you, hold you down, and...”

“Shut up!” screamed Markus as he tackled and punched his now former friend.

Several adults came rushing over and pulled the two of them apart. One of them was Uncle Jasper.

“Another Khort, another fight,” muttered Jasper under his breath. Jasper and several other Vanyst servants escorted Markus and Clarissa back home.

After they got home, Markus stood in Morelan’s office. Clarissa was hysterical. She was crying, screaming, and shaking. Markus’ mother was almost on the verge of collapse, between fussing over Clarissa’s state of mind and Markus’ cuts and bruises from his fight. Morelan was hard pressed trying to calm down both Clarissa and Markus’ mother. Markus was fuming. This was all his father’s fault. This would not be happening if he had not left.

Finally, the priest that Morelan had sent for arrived. The priest gave Clarissa a sleeping potion to calm her down. He tried to give one to Markus’ mother, but she refused. Markus saw the priest hand the potion to Morelan, who said that he would sneak it into her drink. Markus did not say anything. He agreed that his mother needed it. The priest then healed Markus’ scrapes before he left.

Later that night, Markus grabbed the bow and arrows his father had made him from his room. He walked out onto the balcony and snapped the weapons in half. He threw the pieces over the side of the balcony.

“You’re going to regret doing that,” said Jasper as he appeared, standing on the railing of the balcony.

“No, I’m not,” spat Markus.

“You’re a lot like your father. Make him angry and he’ll be your worst enemy. He’ll also jump into any fight to protect the ones he cares about,” explained Jasper.

“He’s not my father. Morelan’s my father. We’ve got paperwork to prove it,” said Markus.

“It may say that you’re a Vanyst on a piece of paper, but you’re still Khort in your blood. You can’t get rid of that,” said Jasper.

“He abandoned my mother with four kids to care for! He betrayed the Alliance! I will never be anything like him, ever!” screamed Markus. “If it wasn’t for Morelan, I don’t know what would have happened to us.”

“Please don’t tell me that you’re falling for that malarkey they’re feeding you. Can you not see that the Vanyst are trying to manipulate you? It’s what they do to everybody,” complained Jasper.

“They’re not manipulating me. They opened my eyes so I could see the truth. You’re just jealous of them,” spat Markus as he turned and marched back inside.

“Stupid, messed up kid,” he heard Jasper say as he closed the door.

 

Chapter Text

Evia had not felt comfortable capturing the human and dragging him to Orgrimmar. It made her feel guilty. She was not entirely sure why Vol’jin wanted this human brought to him. Jenji told her not to worry. He assured her that the Warchief had a good reason, even though he had not told them what it was. They just needed to trust him. Besides, according to the Warchief, it was necessary to keep the human out of the hands of the Alliance

When Jenji was assigned to be Tyrathan’s bodyguard, Evia knew that meant she would eventually have to face the person she had helped kidnap. She still found it hard to believe that the Warchief had a human lover. At least, that was the official story.

Rumors flew around Orgrimmar. Some of those rumors implied that the Warchief was less than honorable in his intentions with the human. Other rumors painted the human as a spy, who would turn on the Warchief in a heartbeat.

Evia stepped into Grommash Hold’s library and was surprised to find the human hunter sitting in a window seat, reading a book.

He glanced up at her. “Hello,” he said in perfect Orcish.

“Hello,” said Evia. “I’m sorry. I did not mean to disturb you.”

“You’re not bothering me,” he said as he went back to his book.

Evia quickly found the book she was looking for and started to leave. She paused in the doorway and glanced back at him.

She was uncertain of how this was all going to play out. Right now, Tyrathan was here under the Warchief’s protection. Yet, Evia was aware of how quickly things could change. Also, there were some people whose hatred of humans could outweigh their fear or respect for the Warchief. A human here among the Horde could end badly, for the human.

If that happened, the blame would lie with her, for bringing him here in the first place. Evia really did not want the death of another person on her conscience. That just was not the kind of person she was.

 

Chapter Text

“Well, look who it is. It’s Vol’jin’s pet sitter,” said a voice from the shadow of a shop in the Drag.

Jenji looked over at the speaker and recognized him immediately. He muttered a Zandali curse under his breath. It was his night off, and he was just trying to walk to Evia’s house. Why did he have to run into this orc of all people?

“What do ya want?” Jenji demanded.

The orc rogue walked over to him. “I seem to remember a troll who turned down a job with the Shattered Hand in order to become a personal rogue of the Warchief.” The orc laughed. “Did you ever imagine that you would be taking his pet human out for walks?”

Jenji grabbed the orc’s shirt and jerked him forward so they were making eye contact.

“Dat human be da Warchief’s mate, and ya are gonna to refer to him as such,” ordered Jenji.

“Or else what?” grinned the orc dangerously.

“I be teachin’ ya some respect,” threatened Jenji.

“Really?” snorted the orc. “If you were of any actual use, Vol’jin would have you doing more than just playing babysitter. I’ve even heard that the human has slipped away from you at least once. You better keep a close eye on him. It would be a shame if something were to happen to him,” said the orc menacingly. “Accidents happen every day.”

Jenji’s eyes widened at the implied threat. “Ya have no honor,” he hissed.

The orc roared and threw a punch at Jenji. He dodged and sent a stinging blow back to the orc’s face.
——————————————————————————————————————————
An hour later, Jenji sat in Evia’s living room while she fussed over him. Jenji resisted the urge to wince a she applied a bandage to a stab wound from one of the orc’s blades.

“It be better by mornin’,” Jenji assured her.

Orgrimmar’s guards had broken up their fight. Witnesses confirmed Jenji’s statements that the orc had started the fight. The guards had arrested and dragged the orc rogue off.

Jenji sighed. The insults against him did not really bother him, but it was not just him that the orc was insulting. He was insulting Tyrathan and Vol’jin too. Jenji would not stand for his Chieftain to be insulted like that, which meant that Vol’jin’s mate could not be insulted either.

Jenji frowned as he considered the threat the orc had implied. He was going to have to tell Vol’jin about it. Jenji knew that this orc did not make a threat that he did not intend to carry out. Jenji had swore a promise to Vol’jin that he would keep Tyrathan safe. He was going to keep his word.

Chapter Text

Jasper got summoned to Bolten Vanyst’s office a lot. More so now since Khort had left the Alliance. Jasper had not realized just how much trouble Tyrathan had kept him out of until recently. It made Jasper miss having his partner in crime around. Yet, Tyrathan seemed to be happy, despite the disaster at Darkmoon Faire.

Tyrathan seemed to be in good health and good spirits. There was no trace of the sadness that had clung to him after his divorce. There were times that Jasper still found it hard to believe that Tyrathan was with Vol’jin, the Horde’s Warchief. When Jasper had warned Tyrathan that the Vanyst were plotting to have him killed, Jasper had never imagined that the accusation they were bringing against Khort was true.

Jasper had also never expected that Tyrathan would go join the Horde. Jasper did not completely understand why Tyrathan chose to be with Vol’jin. Yet, one just had to look at the way Tyrathan and Vol’jin looked at each other to see that they cared a lot about each other. After all the crap Tyrathan had been through with his divorce, he deserved to be happy. Jasper was happy for Tyrathan, even though it meant that his friend was not around anymore.

Jasper took his time in answering Bolten Vanyst’s summons. He suspected that the incident at the Darkmoon Faire today may have something to do with why he was being summoned to Bolten Vanyst’s office this time. He had dropped Khort’s children and Morelan’s son off at home a few hours ago. He knew Khort’s children would tell their mother about seeing their father. He was pretty certain what her reaction was going to be. Jasper did not stick around to see it.

As Jasper stepped into Vanyst’s office, he got the feeling like he was walking into a wolf’s den. Bolten, his three son-in-laws, Morelan, and Elanora were all there. The looks on all the men’s faces were cold and calculating, like they were sizing up their prey. Elanora looked like she had been crying.

“Close the door, Clark,” ordered Bolten.

Jasper closed the door behind him. He had picked up on the ominous tone in Bolten’s voice. The hairs on the back of Jasper’s neck were standing up. He felt like a trapped animal. He kept his steps silent and steady as he approached Bolten’s desk.

First rule of being a rogue: Don’t get rattled. If you do get rattled, never let them know that they rattled you. Because if you do, that lets them know that they are in control of the situation. That can be deadly for a rogue.

“Clark, why did you let the children see Khort?” demanded Bolten from where he sat behind his desk. His cold eyes glared at Jasper.

“I was ordered by Morelan to take the children to Darkmoon Faire for the day. I had no idea that Khort was going to be there,” explained Jasper. “We left soon after we found out he was there.”

“You mean after you found the children, after you lost them,” accused Morelan.

“I didn’t lose them. They ran off,” said Jasper.

“You couldn’t keep track of five children?” asked Bolten.

“Not when they run off in five different directions,” said Jasper.

“The children are more behaved than that,” said Elanora.

“Yeah, right,” mumbled Jasper.

“You didn’t try to eliminate Khort?” frowned Devin, Bolton’s son-in-law, from where he leaned against a wall. Jasper suspected Devin was still sore about the beating Tyrathan had given him.

“I didn’t think anyone would want me to kill the children’s father in front of them,” said Jasper.

“No killing in front of the children,” insisted Elanora, her eyes wide.

Morelan nodded and placed a hand on Elanora’s shoulder in a comforting gesture. She looked at him with a grateful look. It would have been a sweet moment if those two were not both vipers at heart.

“Besides the Warchief was there, along with their bodyguards. I would have been outnumbered, and it would have put the children in danger,” continued Jasper.

“Not only was the current Warchief was there, but also the former Warchief, that orc, Thrall was there too,” spat Morelan.

Jasper was certain that the orc preferred to be called Go’el, but he kept his mouth shut about that. There was no reason to dig himself into a deeper hole.

“Again. I didn’t know that they were going to be there,” argued Jasper. “I was only following orders.”

“Who knows what those monsters could have done to the children,” said Elanora. Her face paled. “The children were so scared when they got home that some of them were crying.”

Jasper resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He wanted to point out that Ava had been crying because she had wanted to stay with her father. Jasper had a good sized bruise on his side from where the little girl had kicked him. When she got older, that one was going to be down right vicious when she is angry. Jasper could already see that.

“I don’t think Khort would let anyone hurt his children,” sighed Jasper.

“You don’t know that! Tyrathan doesn’t need to be around the children. He could have kidnapped them, or harmed them, or corrupted them, or....” complained Elanora.

“Tyrathan would never hurt his children,” said Jasper as he turned to face Elanora. “Or any child for that matter. He loves his children. I don’t know why you’re so afraid of him. I have never understood it. Tyrathan never raised his voice or his hand against you.”

“He’s not the same man that he used to be. He’s changed. Why else would he willingly be with the Horde’s Warchief, a troll?” argued Elanora, shaking her head.

“Maybe he stays with the Warchief because the Warchief treats him well. Maybe Vol’jin knows what a good thing he’s got,” spat Jasper. “Something you never realized.”

“Bastard,” said Morelan as he pushed Jasper. “How dare you speak to a noblewoman like that?!”

Jasper stumbled back a couple of steps, but quickly regained his footing. He had forgotten, temporarily, that Elanora was no longer the simple girl he had been friends with. She had been the one to change, not Tyrathan.

Jasper clenched his fists as he glared at Morelan. Jasper had no respect for any of the Vanyst. In fact, the only reason he had not left a long time ago to find other employment was because he did not want to leave his friend here to deal with this alone. Tyrathan and his family were the only people Jasper had left in the world. Once Tyrathan had left, Jasper stayed because he felt like he owed it to Khort to keep an eye on his children. Those children were like nieces and nephews to Jasper.

“You think you stand a chance against me, Morelan?” asked Jasper in a threatening tone as he took a step towards Morelan.

Jasper was tired of the abuse and degradation these spoiled nobles dumped on their retainers. Tyrathan had always been the one to grab Jasper by the collar and haul him off to keep him from losing his temper in front of the Vanyst. But Tyrathan was not here anymore, and it was all Morelan’s fault!

Morelan paled with fear and took a step back. Morelan was nothing but a coward and a home wrecker.

“What’s the matter, Morelan? Can’t finish what you started?” Jasper sneered.

Suddenly, there was movement behind Jasper. Before Jasper could turn around though, there was a sharp pain in the back of his head. Then everything went black.

Chapter Text

Information was power. At least it could be if that information was used in the right way. Right now, one of Sylvanas’ Forsaken was giving her some very interesting information that could prove to be very useful.

“So you are friends with the Warchief’s human companion?” Sylvanas asked.

“Yes, Dark Lady. I knew him back before...” she trailed off, but there was no need for her to finish that sentence. It was obvious what she meant. The speaker was a Forsaken woman named Caryla Kent. She was one of the few Forsaken who had insisted on keeping her human name.

Sylvanas frowned as she realized that this Forsaken woman may still feel strong ties to her past. “And this human was in my city just recently?” Sylvanas asked.

“Yes,” answered Caryla.

“How could he get into the Undercity without anyone noticing him?” Sylvanas demanded.

“Tyrathan is a very skilled hunter, but I think he had help. There was a female blood elf with him, disguised as a dark ranger.” Fury crossed Caryla’s face. “But she abandoned him the moment those trolls tracked him down. She didn’t lift a finger to help him.”

Sylvanas glanced at Nathanos who was also frowning. Sylvanas had an idea of just who that blood elf had been.

“Can you help him?” Caryla pleaded.

“Did he say that he needed help?” Sylvanas asked, lifting an eyebrow. So far, everything Sylvanas had heard from reliable sources implied that the human was with the Warchief willingly. Not that Sylvanas cared. It did not matter to her or her goals.

“No. He acts like everything is fine. He must be under a spell or something,” argued Caryla.

“Tell me everything you know about him,” said Sylvanas.

She listened as Caryla told her what she knew about Tyrathan Khort. Of course, most of her information was from before the Scourge attack. However, it was interesting to learn that the human had children still in the Alliance. Not to mention a rogue friend that he apparently was still in contact with.

Sylvanas wondered if Vol’jin was aware of that nice little piece of information. It certainly made his human look like an Alliance spy. Who knows what Vol’jin’s pet could have told his rogue friend.

“Don’t worry. I’ll handle everything,” Sylvanas smiled when Caryla finished.

“Thank you, Dark Lady.” Caryla looked relieved as Sylvanas dismissed her.

“You’re just going to let her leave?” Nathanos asked.

“She still appears to be loyal. However, I want her watched. If Vol’jin’s human returns to see her or contacts her, I want to know immediately,” said Sylvanas.

“The blood elf disguised as a dark ranger. It sounds like Nystela Dawnstrider,” said Nathanos. “She’s been around that human a lot lately.”

“Of course it was Dawnstrider,” said Sylvanas. “Who else could it have been?” she asked sarcastically. That blood elf hunter had been an annoying little problem ever since she served in the Farstriders under Sylvanas.

“So what are you going to do about the human?” asked Nathanos.

“Nothing,” smiled Sylvanas.

“Nothing?” frowned Nathanos.

“Nothing for now. Vol’jin keeps his human well protected, and he is still very attached to the human. If we were to attempt to do something to the human now, Vol’jin would bring the might of the Horde against us without a second thought. However, Dawnstrider is another story.” Sylvanas paused for a moment. “Of all the Farstriders to live through the Scourge attack, why did she have to be one? She would have made an excellent dark ranger.” Sylvanas smiled coldly. “And she may still.”

Chapter Text

When Nystela received word that the Warchief had an assignment for her, she did not know what to expect. An assignment from a Warchief could be anything from deliver this letter, which required a long, boring zeppelin ride and walking up a ramp of a tall tower to deliver battle plans. Or it could be deliver this letter, which required surviving a zeppelin crash, dodging Alliance troops, and outsmarting assassins. Nystela still did not know why those Alliance wanted Lor’themar’s birthday card from Vol’jin.

Nystela was finally returning to Azeroth from Draenor and was looking forward to having some free time again. Yet, one could not just ignore a summons from the Warchief, no matter how much you wanted to.

Yet, Nystela took her time in reporting to Grommash Hold. She made a stop at her favorite leatherworker.

“What’s up, Korg?” Nystela asked as she stepped into his shop.

The orc looked up from the boots he was working on. “Same old stuff,” said Korg.

Nystela wandered over to where the leather was displayed. There were several pieces of excellent quality, even better than what Korg usually sold.

“Where did you get these?” Nystela asked as she picked up a piece.

“I bought those from the Warchief’s human,” explained Korg. “An expert marksman.”

Nystela frowned as she returned the leather to its place. She had heard that Vol’jin had a human, although she had heard several different versions of what was actually going on. Some versions stated that Vol’jin had captured the human as a slave. Other versions stated that the human was an Alliance agent just waiting to strike. Still other stories portrayed the human as Vol’jin’s mate.

Nystela was well aware of how gossip and rumors traveled with very little consideration of the truth. She had decided to withhold her own opinion of the matter until she learned what the truth was. Her sister, Evia, worked for the Warchief. Odds were that she would know the exact nature of Vol’jin’s relationship with this human.
———————————————————————————————————————————
“You want me to do what?!” Nystela yelled.

She could not believe what Vol’jin had just told her. He wanted her to be a bodyguard for his human during a trip to the other Horde capitals. Humans were not the easiest people to get along with. Couldn’t he get someone else to do this?
———————————————————————————————————————————
They were about to depart Orgrimmar for the Undercity. Nystela stood next to Tyrathan while they waited for Evia to open a portal.

“I’ll give you five gold to teach me Thalassian curse words,” Tyrathan whispered to her. “Evia refuses to teach me any.”

Really? Maybe it would not be so hard to get along with this human after all.

Chapter Text

Zuwe loved his job as one of Vol’jin’s elite shadowhunters assigned to Grommash Hold. It was a high honor and he routinely found himself posted outside the Warchief’s private rooms. He and his fellow guard were the last line of defense if someone wanted to get to the Warchief and cause him harm.

However, the Warchief was not here tonight. Vol’jin, along with several leaders of the Horde, had gone to a summit meeting in Pandaria to discuss a new peace treaty with the Alliance. That did not mean that the guards could relax though. The Warchief’s rooms were not empty. His mate was still here. Tyrathan Khort had retired for the night, just a few hours earlier.

When Vol’jin had first brought the human hunter here, Zuwe, like many of the guards, were skeptical of this relationship. Hatred had burned hot between humans and trolls for centuries. Why would this be any different? But they followed Vol’jin’s orders regarding exactly how this human was to be treated.

It was obvious that Vol’jin loved and cared for this human. The guards hoped that Vol’jin’s heart was not going to be broken. It soon became clear that this human loved Vol’jin as much as Vol’jin loved him. Zuwe had, unfortunately, overheard their... physical intimacy.

The human treated Zuwe and the other guards, really everyone he met, with respect and equality. That, combined with Tyrathan’s obvious feelings for the Warchief, made it easier for them to accept the human. The fact that the Alliance wanted to capture the human, and had tried on several occasions, made Zuwe and the other guards protective of the human. No one was going to hurt the Warchief’s mate on his watch.

Suddenly, something felt very wrong. It made Zuwe’s blood run cold. He and his fellow guard glanced at each other. The other guard had sensed the same thing. They rushed into the Warchief’s rooms, weapons drawn. Climbing into the den through a window was a goblin. The goblin saw them and jumped right back out the window. Zuwe’s fellow troll also jumped out the window, pursuing the goblin.

Zuwe went to check on the Warchief’s mate. He found the human asleep on the bed. Zuwe quietly backed out of the bedroom so as not to wake him. By now, the other guard was climbing back in through the window.

“Lost him,” he growled.

Zuwe held a finger up to his lips. “Go tell Saurfang,” he whispered.
—————————————————————————————————————————
Ten minutes later, both Saurfang and Rokhan were standing in the den, listening to Zuwe and the other guard’s report. A blood elf mage, Evia, was also here, inspecting the window.

“The ward on it was deactivated,” she said frowning. They did not have to worry about waking Tyrathan. She had cast a silence spell in the room to prevent the human from hearing them.

“Fix it,” demanded Saurfang.

Evia nodded. She began to mumble words that were unintelligible to Zuwe, but he could see the runes begin to form around the window.

“What could the intruder have been after?” asked Saurfang. “The Warchief? He’s not here. Information? All important documents are locked in the offices.”

“Dere only be one thing here dat he could have been after,” said Rokhan as he glanced in the direction of the bedroom.

Zuwe felt a chill go down his spine as he realized just how much danger really threatened the human.

Chapter Text

Bolten Vanyst stormed into his study and slammed the door behind him. He was furious. He was the laughingstock of Stormwind, and it was all that traitor Khort’s fault. The fact that one of Bolten’s most trusted and loyal men, the man he had put in charge of all his hunters, was shacking up with the Horde’s Warchief had ruined the Vanyst family name. The entire family and their retainers were under investigation and suspicion.

Bolten poured himself a shot of whiskey. How had it gone so wrong? It had been a simple plan.

First, they were going to have Tyrathan Khort arrested for treason. After he had been interrogated, tried, convicted, and hanged, Vanyst would have produced evidence that cleared Khort’s name. Evidence found just a little too late. Evidence they had forged, but it would have fooled Stormwind’s authorities.

While Morelan had been convinced of Khort’s guilt, Bolten had not been as certain, but it did not matter. Khort would have been sacrificed for the greater good, because then Vanyst would have been compensated for the loss of one of his men. Yet, his money was not the ultimate goal.

Khort’s children would have also been financially compensated for the loss of their father. Morelan would then adopt the children. As noble children, they would have gone to Stormwind Keep with the Vanyst family for formal events. It would have been the perfect way to put Clarissa, Khort’s oldest daughter, right in the path of Prince Anduin.

Yes, she was a little young, but it was better if girls married young. It was easier to train them to be obedient that way, unlike Bolten’s wife. Bolten threw back a shot of whiskey.

Clarissa would have been instructed on how to catch the eye of Stormwind’s prince, and then how to claim his heart. Prince Anduin was known to have a soft heart. He would have felt sympathy for the poor girl whose innocent father was unjustly executed. Clarissa could have been married to the prince and become the future Queen of Stormwind, and the Alliance. Then, all the girl had to do was get pregnant, like a good little bitch, and give birth to an heir.

Once that child turned eighteen, and a couple of well timed accidents to the child’s father and grandfather, the child could have claimed the throne. There could have been a Vanyst sitting on the throne of Stormwind and the Alliance! The child would have listen to its mother, Clarissa, and she would have listened to Bolten. He could have ruled through those two puppets.

Bolten tossed back another shot of whiskey and then threw the glass against the wall. The glass shattered, just like their plan. Khort’s treason was real and he was living with Vol’jin, the Horde’s Warchief. Khort’s children were tainted by his treason. Clarissa would never be in the same room as Prince Anduin, and definitely not in his bed. The dream of controlling the throne had gone up in smoke before their eyes.

Even worse, the likelihood of anyone marrying Khort’s children was nonexistent. No one would want to marry the child of a traitor. They were useless pawns now on the chessboard of noble marriages.

Bolten grabbed another glass and took another shot of whiskey. There was a knock on the door.

“Come in,” barked Bolten.

Morelan entered the room.

“What is it now?” Bolten scowled at his nephew.

“The agents from SI:7 are wanting to question Khort’s children. Elanora was hoping that maybe you could speak with the agents and...” began Morelan.

“If the agents want to question the little bastards, then let them,” interrupted Bolten. “I find it hard to believe that one of those little runts didn’t overhear something from their father!”

Chapter Text

The Unseen Path was an organization composed of the most talented hunters of Azeroth. Its origins ran far back into the mists of the past. Its members held themselves to high standards. It was an honor to be a member of the Unseen Path. At least, it used to be an honor.

From her post at the top of one of the watchtowers overlooking the grounds of Trueshoot Lodge, Vereesa Windrunner had a perfect view of everything going on beneath her. She was not happy with what she saw. She had heard about the traitor, Tyrathan Khort, who had betrayed the Alliance in favor of the Horde’s Warchief, Vol’jin. Now, that human hunter was a member of the Unseen Path.

Vereesa scowled. It was bad enough that the honor of the Unseen Path was being tarnished by the presence of the Horde. Despite having no right to be here, savage orcs and trolls walked on this sacred mountain, tainting it with their presence. Now, a human who had sacrificed his loyalty to the Alliance for the bed of a troll was also here.

Vereesa could see the Huntmaster, Nystela Dawnstrider, down below, checking on the sentries and patrols. Vereesa should have known that Dawnstrider was capable of something like this. Dawnstrider apparently had wanted to keep Tyrathan’s identity a secret in the beginning, but that ruse had been ruined. Vereesa had no idea what the so-called Huntmaster’s original plan had been, but it was most likely something underhanded.

Vereesa shook her head. Varian Wrynn should have stuck to his original demand that Tyrathan be handed over into Alliance custody if the Horde wanted peace. Not that the Horde deserved peace. Varian had been too lenient with this hunter, and now, Varian was dead.

Vereesa gripped the railing tightly. Rhonin and Varian were both dead, and it was all the Horde’s fault. The Horde had no honor. The Horde did not want peace. It had been a front, a trick, a lie. The Horde would pay for the lives they had taken, with their lives.

Vereesa’s sharp eyes focused on where Tyrathan Khort was practicing at the archery targets with Hauldron Brightwing. She would make this human hunter pay for his crimes.

“What do we do?” asked one of her quel’dorei rangers.

“Like any hunt, we track our prey, study them, and wait for the right time to strike,” explained Vereesa as she narrowed her eyes.

Chapter Text

Vol’jin hated humans. Humans and trolls were enemies. It had been that way for centuries. There was no other option. It was just how things were, and nothing was going to change that.

Vol’jin was a Shadowhunter and the Chieftain of the Darkspear Tribe. He did not like the fact that he had to endure the presence of the human hunter, Tyrathan Khort.

Every time the hunter stepped into the infirmary at the Shadowpan Monastey, Vol’jin studied him closely. Even though he felt the human was inferior to him, Vol’jin knew to never underestimate anyone. He studied the human, looking for any weakness. Knowledge was power.

The only physical weakness Vol’jin could see in the human was a limp, left over from the injury to his leg. The hunter used a cane to help his balance.

Chen had told him that the human had a deep sadness. Vol’jin was somewhat curious about what was causing that. Not because he cared about the human, but because that could be something he could use against the human if he needed to.

Yet, the human hid whatever the source of his unhappiness was. It appeared that to find out, one would have to talk to and get to know the hunter. Vol’jin had no intention of lowering himself down to actually conversing with the human.

Then, Taran Zhu had the bright idea of having Tyrathan teach Vol’jin how to play a Pandaren board game called jihui. Vol’jin resisted the urge to role his eyes. He was a leader and did not waste time on idleness like board games.

Vol’jin listened while the human explained the rules. It was a like a game of war, but the object was to balance, not win. It did not make sense to Vol’jin, but he played along. He intended to win though. He was not going to lose a game to a human.

The first game, Tyrathan won. Vol’jin waited for the human to gloat or condescend to him, but Tyrathan did not. The human gathered the pieces of the game up like nothing had happened.

Vol’jin wished that he was strong enough to knock the game over and send the pieces flying. It would be entertaining to watch the human crawl around and pick up every single piece. Vol’jin did not have the strength to do that though. He barely had any strength left to sit up. The last thing he wanted to do was reveal how weak he was to the human.

The human bid him a good night and left. Vol’jin collapsed back on the bed. How long was he going to have to suffer the human’s presence?

Chapter Text

Clarissa’s feet hurt, but she remained silent. One thing that Lady Vanyst hated was complaining, unless she was doing the complaining herself.

“That last shop was full of nothing but rift raft,” complained Lady Vanyst as they walked into a different shop. “And their gowns were so plain.”

If that was the case, why did she buy three of them? The dress shoes Clarissa wore pinched her toes. She missed the days when she could just wear a pair of boots. Ever since her mother married Morelan Vanyst, her mother insisted that Clarissa dress and act like a young noble lady.

Lady Vanyst was Bolten Vanyst’s wife and made no secret of her dislike for Clarissa’s mother. A gold digging shepherdess was how Lady Vanyst referred to her. Clarissa wondered why Lady Vanyst had brought her along on this shopping trip to Stormwind. She was of the same low birth as her mother was. She had once heard Lady Vanyst refer to her and her siblings as street urchins.

Yet, Lady Vanyst hated to go shopping alone, and her daughters had been unable to come. All three of them had headaches. At least, that is what they said. Clarissa really suspected that they were faking, but that meant that she got to go to Stormwind instead.

“What do you think of this hat?” Lady Vanyst asked as she inspected herself in a mirror.

Clarissa knew that Lady Vanyst was not asking for her real opinion, but was wanting agreement. “It looks lovely, Lady Vanyst,” answered Clarissa. It looked like a horse’s feedbag.

Even though Lady Vanyst was now technically her aunt by marriage, she had forbidden Clarissa and her siblings from calling her that. So instead, they referred to her by her title.

“While we’re here, we may want to go ahead and start looking at wedding veils for you,” said Lady Vanyst.

Clarissa choked on her own spit and started coughing.

“You’re not getting sick, are you?” Lady Vanyst asked as she turned around with a glare in her eyes. “I do not want to catch whatever common filthy bug you might have.”

“No, Lady Vanyst,” coughed Clarissa. “My throat is just dry.”

“Oh, is that all,” said Lady Vanyst as she turned back to the mirror. She snapped her fingers. “Clark, fetch us some water!”

Clarissa glanced back towards the front of the store where her Uncle Jasper was leaning against the wall. Bolten had sent Jasper with them as a bodyguard. Jasper had spent most of the day carrying Lady Vanyst’s purchases through the city.

Jasper nodded and the saleswoman directed him towards the back of the shop.

“Now, where were we? Oh, yes, can we see some of your wedding veils? Nothing too fancy, of course,” said Lady Vanyst to the saleswoman. “It won’t be the wedding of the century or anything like that. Yet, I suppose it must still look decent.”

“But Lady Vanyst, I’m only thirteen. I’m not getting married anytime soon,” argued Clarissa.

“Nonsense. We married off all three of our daughters as soon as they were old enough to have children. Our youngest took forever to develop. She was almost seventeen. We thought we were never going to get her married off,” explained Lady Vanyst. She looked Clarissa up and down as if she were a gown that she was inspecting. “It looks like you’re going to be a late bloomer as well, but it’s not too early for Bolten to start looking for prospects for you.”

Uncle Jasper returned with glasses of water for both of them. He handed one to Lady Vanyst, and then one to Clarissa.

“Thank you, Uncle Jasper,” said Clarissa as she took the glass.

Clarissa did not see Lady Vanyst’s hand until it slapped her hard on the side of her face. The shock made Clarissa drop her glass and it shattered on the floor.

“Do not stoop so low as to refer to a servant like that!” Lady Vanyst scolded her. “You carry the last name of Vanyst! Act like it!”

Tears welled up in Clarissa’s eyes, but she fought them back.

“You, sweep up this mess,” ordered Lady Vanyst as she snapped her fingers at Jasper.

Jasper took a broom from one the shop’s assistants and began to sweep. Today, he wore a mask covering the lower half of his face. All Clarissa could see were his eyes, and they sparked with anger.

“Servants are a dime a dozen and beneath you now,” instructed Lady Vanyst. “If you are going to be a noble lady, you need to act like it. Just because your father sleeps with a troll doesn’t mean that you should act like you were raised by one.”

Clarissa nodded slowly as she gingerly touch her cheek. It still stung from the slap. She could feel a small welt forming from where one of Lady Vanyst’s rings had hit her.

“That is the biggest obstacle to finding you a husband. Your last name may be Vanyst, but everyone knows who your father is. No self-respecting noble family is going to want that traitor blood mixed in with theirs. Maybe we can find someone willing to have you marry their illegitimate son or something like that,” said Lady Vanyst. “Or maybe some old noble will overlook your breeding in order to have a young thing in his bed.”

“What if I don’t love him?” Clarissa asked softly.

Lady Vanyst laughed harshly. “What does love have to do with it? If you’re going to have the last name of Vanyst, you’re going to have to work to further advance the family. For you, that means marrying into another noble family to align them to our interests.”

By now, Jasper had cleaned up the broken glass and resumed his post by the door. His eyes still smoldered with anger.

“Your mother certainly knew how to advance herself, going from a shepherdess and the wife of a common hunter and soldier, to becoming the wife of a Vanyst. Your father apparently knows how to advance himself too, shagging the Warchief,” continued Lady Vanyst.

Clarissa noticed that the saleswoman and her assistant were pretending not to hear what was being said. Yet, both of them were looking at her with judgment in their eyes. It was the same look that was in everyone’s eyes when they learned that she was the daughter of Tyrathan Khort.

Ever since her father had left, people had been treating her different. Her friends did not want anything to do with her anymore. Adults looked at her with either suspicion or disgust. The one time she told her mother that she missed her father, she got an hour long lecture from Morelan on loyalty and duty to the Alliance.

Clarissa just looked down at the floor. She had learned that if she looked down then she did not have to see the ridicule in other people’s eyes. If she kept her mouth shut, then people would not continue to harass her. If she locked up all the heartache that she was feeling inside of her, then other people would not mock her for it. Finally, she never mentioned how much she missed her father.

By now, Lady Vanyst had purchased her hat, but when she looked at the price of the wedding veils, she balked. “I’m not wasting that much money on her. I can just get the local seamstress to make something for half that price. She’s not a real lady after all,” complained Lady Vanyst as she directed the saleswoman to give Jasper the hat box.

Jasper took the package without complaint. As Clarissa walked past him, he whispered to her, “In my opinion, you’re ten times the lady that she is.”

Clarissa gave him a sad smile and followed Lady Vanyst. Unfortunately, Uncle Jasper’s opinion counted for very little in the world. All Clarissa could do now was try to please the people in charge of her life, like Lady Vanyst, and hope that whomever they did marry her off to would be a good person.

 

Chapter Text

Khadgar was waiting in the Violet Citadel for the Huntmaster to show up. Then once he finished his discussion with her, he had a meeting with the Horde’s leaders. They were already here and waiting for him in the room across the hall. Then after that, he had a meeting with the Alliance’s leaders this afternoon.

With the Burning Legion attacking their world and breathing down their necks, you would think that the two factions would put their differences aside long enough to be in the same room together without talks breaking down into shouts and threats.

Khadgar was still shaking his head when the Huntmaster arrived. The blood elf huntress, Nystela, had brought another hunter from the Unseen Path with her. A human hunter. Khadgar smiled. Well, at least some people were working together.

As he showed the Huntmaster the message he had received from Suramar, he noticed the human hunter glancing through the open door to where the Horde was waiting.

“You might want to tell him to get away from there,” suggested Khadgar to the Huntmaster. “The Horde’s leaders are waiting in there.”

The human instead entered the room and Khadgar felt like he was about to have a heart attack.

The Huntmaster shrugged, unconcerned. “That room is probably the safest spot in the entire city for him,” she said.

Khadgar went to the door and looked in. It would not help his plea of cooperation if the Horde’s leaders killed a human, or if the human attempted to assassinate them. Although that outcome was unlikely given the presence of the Horde guards in the room as well.

To Khadgar’s surprise, the hunter walked right past the guards and they made no move against him. In fact, they moved out of his way. If Khadgar thought that was strange, what happened next was even stranger.

Upon seeing the human, Baine smiled and nodded his head in greeting, as did Ji Firepaw. Lor’themar kept his neutral facial expression but also nodded at the hunter. Sylvanas glanced at him and then went back to staring at a point on the opposite wall that she apparently found fascinating. But each and everyone of them stepped out of the hunter’s way, giving him a clear path to Warchief Vol’jin.

The hunter returned a nod of greeting to each of the leaders but did not stop walking until he was at Vol’jin’s side. By now, Vol’jin was aware of the human’s presence. The Warchief reached and took hold of one of the human’s hands.

Khadgar expected the hunter to pull away, resist, panic, but he did not. Instead the hunter was smiling and talking to the Warchief, holding his hand. Vol’jin was smiling back at the human. He reached over with his other hand and brushed some hair out of the hunter’s eyes, speaking to the human as he did so. The hunter laughed. Khadgar was at a loss as to what was going on.

He looked over his shoulder to see the Huntmaster staring at him. “Can you explain this to me? Who is that hunter?”

“Where have you been?” she asked, lifting an eyebrow. “That’s Tyrathan Khort, the Warchief’s mate. Lucky me, I get to be his babysitter,” she said.

“I was not aware the Warchief had a human mate. I would think with that being the case, the Horde and Alliance would be more willing to work together towards peace. This has to have improved relations between the two factions, right?”

The blood elf stared at him for few moments. “Seriously, where have you been?” she muttered. Then she stuck her head into the room. “Hey, I’m leaving! Are you coming or not?” She then turned and walked towards the front door.

Smiling, Tyrathan said something to Vol’jin and then gave him a kiss on the cheek. The troll’s war paint prevented any blush from showing on his cheeks, but his ears were turning a shade of purple. Yet, there was a smile on his face as he watched the hunter leave. Again the other leaders of the Horde and the guards stepped out of the hunter’s way. Khadgar watched as Tyrathan ran to catch up with the Huntmaster.

Khadgar stood there for a few more moments still trying to process what he had seen and learned.