I posted a section on the Tanaan Invasion quest chain yesterday, but I realized I wanted to set it up a bit different. Instead of arbitrary chunks of writing, I’ll post for the end of each quest chain. Sometimes this means it will be a long entry, like the one for this section, and sometimes they will be shorter, it just depends on how it rolls. After the story there will be a commentary section to follow-up, and hopefully I’ll keep this format from now on! I hope you enjoy!
From the moment the summons reached me, I knew I’d be there to help defend my home. The portal was monstrous, a blight upon an already deadened landscape. The beasts in their bloodied iron waited for us, but with a quick push we beat them back and secured an opening. As we poured through the door, the sight of rippling dark metal and the smell of gunpowder and grease assaulted us. The Iron Horde were ready and waiting. As our forces poured out, I charged forward. My superiors tasked me with finding orders or a missive or anything to be of value, and I sliced my way through the vastly inferior orcs until such an item was found. We learned that the orcs were powering the enormous portal with the forced magics of warlocks. I wished to slay them instead of releasing them, but my orders were clear, the priority was stopping the portal as quickly as possible, and so I let Teron’Gor and Cho’gall escape with their miserable felblooded lives. I’ll admit that to slay Gul’dan would have proven a much more difficult challenge, and thus his escape was not something I would have been able to prevent, even if Khadgar had given that order.
We are stranded now, in a foreign land, yet I’ve never felt more alive since my dead eyes opened again. This thrill, the exhilaration of the unknown, it’s intoxicating. I can taste it in the air, our eventual victory, and no amount of sweat and blood will prevent us from seeing home again. If I could defy the king of undeath himself, what chance do paltry orcs have? My steel will taste their blood, and it will be for the victory of the Night Elves, of the Alliance, of Azeroth!
Garrosh….Grommash….We are coming for you.
The forces of the Iron Horde proved overwhelming, now that we were cut off from our support, and our vanguard slowly fell in the onslaught. Still, we could not falter, as it was only a matter of time before they found another way to link their world and ours. As our soldiers fell, the last of us escaped into the jungle. Still, the thought of our fallen troops at the hands of those murderous creatures filled my dead heart with bitter anger. They deserved better than that, and if we could not do them that honor, then we would honor their memory by destroying those who did this to them, even if it meant having to fight another day. As we fled, I noticed an ax in the hands of one of our fallen soldiers. It was clearly a weapon from this Iron Horde, and it looked as if the soldier had ripped it from the hands of his enemy before another weapon felled him from behind. Quickly, but as gentle as I could be with the body of my fallen comrade, I pulled the ax away from him. I needed a new weapon, and this would not only do nicely, but also would be a great symbol to help inspire our remaining troops. We will rip the weapons from the enemy and turn their forces back upon themselves!
We regrouped our small band of forces in a Bleeding Hollow tower, outside of a small encampment. By the time I had gotten into the building, our forces had dispatched the orcs, and their bodies littered the room. We needed to get by the encampment and the forces within, but a distraction was required. Being the warrior that I am, I knew I was perfect for the job. Fleeing, even if it was the right course of action, did not sit well with me, and I was already restless to find and hunt down every damn one of those orcish bastards. Still, my priority was creating a big distraction, and a crazed night elf cleaving through them is still only one person. Luckily, Khadgar had the solution, and created an orb for me to use. With this, I could burn their huts, and we could slip by in the confusion. Plus causing casualties to these brutes and setting them on fire had a certain amount of satisfaction to it.
I quickly discovered that the Bleeding Hollow clan had been keeping Draenei prisoners here, working them as slaves and bleeding them dry for their sick rituals. A grieving widow, whose husband died before we could get him help, pleaded with me to take vengeance, and I was very pleased to oblige. In addition, I found two sets of cages, where living captives were being kept. There’s nothing quite as disturbing as seeing 5 or more beings crammed into the space that doesn’t even look like it’s enough for one (granted, I’ve never been one for enclosed spaces). As I burned down the huts and slayed the orcs, the prisoners were able to meet up with our group, they escaped into the hills, as I quickly caught up and guarded the rear of the group.
We soon realized why the Bleeding Hollow had been so concentrated and had been bleeding out the prisoners- their ritual altar was nearby. It was here that their members used the blood of others mixed with foul magics to transform into hulking, brutish beasts of orcs that set many of their clan apart from others. Atop the altar area, an enormous eye looked down upon the proceeding ritual. It surely did not need to spot our group, whoever it belonged to, and so another distraction was needed. This time, an orc that had accompanied Thrall’s portion of our company, Ariok, came along. He seemed just as eager as I was to fight, and while I don’t enjoy orcs of any sort, at least his similar mindset made the company more enjoyable. We quickly dismantled the ritual, but too late did we realize that the eye belonged to Kilrogg Deadeye, leader of the Bleeding Hollow, and that he was in fact very close by with a large contingent of warriors. Before I could protest, Ariok made the decision to stall them, jumping into the pit of blood that was left after the ritualists had been destroyed. It’s power made him enormous, and he sacrificed himself, demanding that I reach our group and warn them while he held them off. Even though he was an orc, his decision and determination made him a very worthy fighter on the battlefield, and I do feel sorrow for his passing.
As Khadgar quickly dispatched the bridge behind me, we realized that Shattered Hand forces were close by. They had several captives they were torturing, but two were lashed to a stake and left to burn, one being a Draenei. Armed with another borrowed magical power from the Archmage, I quickly made my way to the stake, dispatching the deformed Shattered Hand orcs as I went. Those who willingly cut off their own limbs, and replaced them with blades…the thought made me shudder. I may be all in favor of the fight and battle, of putting down life and limb in battle if it’s for a cause, or hell, even to just fight, but I’d never intentionally maim myself for a symbolic gesture…you’d think these people had never heard of ceremonial tattoos or something. Using the ice magic, the flames were quickly extinguished, and we escaped through the back of the pit, before the rest of the encampment noticed the fire had dissipated. It turned out that the Draenei captive was the esteemed Exarch Maladaar, and the orc was none other than the Farseer Drek’Thar.
The only way for our group to push forward was through the arena ahead. We could feel the trap waiting for us in our bones, but sometimes there is nothing you can do but to accept fate head on. Inside, the fearsome Kargath Bladefist threw his men at us, demanding that we ‘kill our 100’, which was later explained to me to have some sort of significance for the cretin. Still, there is nothing more satisfying than letting your steel taste the blood of your opponents, and we rained chaos and death upon them. Yet it did not seem that it would stop with one hundred, and Khadgar had no intention of us staying to play the Warlord’s games. With more of his awe-inspiring magic, he froze the remaining Shattered Hand, and we escaped to a cave nearby, a mine full of sorrowful captives. A cave in, created by an arcane spell, gave us a precious few minutes to regroup, before their entire clan would be breathing down our necks.
While the rest of our party helped save the captives within the mine, the Exarch and our accompanying druid, Qiana Moonshadow, scouted the cave, while I was tasked with clearing out enemies. The Shadowmoon Clan infested this area, and I knew I’d take great pleasure in helping take them out. Before I had dispatched the third leader though, a captive beat me to it. She had a fiery spirit, and I asked her name. She told me it was Yrel, and I escorted her to the Exarch and the druid. Before we could escape the cave, however, we had to take care of the leader, Keli’dan the Breaker, who was desperately attempting to contact the head of the Shadowmoon Clan. While his control over the void was powerful, it proved no match for my steel or my powers over blood and frost and death. Being a death knight does have its advantages on occasion.
Ner’zhul himself showed up as his servant fell, and luck was with me, as my own allies came. Khadgar’s quick teleportation saved us from the impending cave in caused by the dark, shadowy orc. It did, however, bring us into an inconvenient location- the Blackrock Quarry. We now had enough forces to mount an assault to escape, but we needed weaponry. Luckily there happened to be tons around the quarry, and I was able to procure all we needed without being detected most of the workers. Those that did see me didn’t for long, as my ax silenced them before they could cry out and warn the others. However, fate is never always on your side, and Blackhand himself was in the fortress.
Maraad led the liberated Draenei forward, as Khadgar ported away to cause a diversion. Cordana Felsong, Lady Liadrin, Qiana Moonshadow and myself decimated the forces attacking the captives. Leave it to the men to let the women do the heavy lifting. Luckily though, we bought Khadgar enough time, and he destroyed the dam. The impact wrecked the fortress quite handily, and for the most part we were able to get to high ground, although some of the former captives were injured from the battle beforehand.
At this point, we had to take a moment to recover. In the interim, our two Dark Iron dwarven comrades, one a demo expert and the other an engineer, tasked me with finding plans and gunpowder, which are always fun things when paired with dwarves (or gnomes for that matter). Let’s just say that seeing a Blackrock orc being blasted from his own hut gives a nice sense accomplishment. The Farseer also tasked me with finding a member of his clan, Ga’nar, who had been taken by the Blackrocks. While again, I have no love for orcs, it is hard to stomach seeing someone forced to shovel outhouses. I was glad to free him and see how much chaos he could cause with his shovel.
Thaelin quickly figured out the plans for the monstrous tank, the Iron Worldbreaker, which the Iron Horde had intended upon using to use once on the other side of the portal, I believe. But we had other plans for it. It took all we had, but we fended off the orcish reinforcements until Thaelin had the controls running. The tank threw an iron star bigger than any we have seen at immense speed, and we shattered the physical structure of the portal. They can’t reopen it now, no matter how many warlocks they chain up.
The Warlords showed their faces then, and Grommash himself called for them to take our heads. As we ran to the docks, countless bodies of our comrades still littered the area of the battlefield, some from this battle and some from the one before. It was a field of death, and chilled even my dead heart to the bone. We reached a set of ships at the end of the docks, and went our separate ways. Those of us with the Alliance and Draenei are going to Shadowmoon, those with the Frostwolves and the Horde to Frostridge. While I still don’t care for the Horde, I pray that Elune is with them in this savage world. We will all need the blessings of the Goddess to survive this.
First of all, can I just say, that this has been a pretty cool expansion so far. I haven’t been hardcore during it in the least, but I have really loved the story lines and quest progressions. This is technically the 3rd time I’ve done this. I remember it being much longer on my main, but that was the first time I had done it AND right after it had come out. Since the release they’ve actually cut down some on the quests to streamline it a tad more, and it’s got a very nice flow.
The point of this zone was to make you feel like you are thrust into a world that is not your own, and that you have no foothold. Your forces are dropping like flies as you then have to shift from place to place, with not only your lives but the lives of your whole world hanging in the balance. You get good character introductions too. I just feel that they hit it out of the park with this intro. I remember the Cataclysm starting zones. Don’t get me wrong, I loved both of them, but due to the nature of the expansion, they didn’t really pull you along like this did. It was a nice, smooth flow into the first ‘real’ zone, and really set you into the mood for experiencing this land.
I can’t really complain too much about the Tanaan Invasion, partially because it was so well done, and then they streamlined any extra that was unnecessary. Yes, it did force you to follow a specific chain, but that was the very point of it. It was the perfect transition zone, and out of all of the expansions I think it has done the best job of it. MOP probably is second, as the Jade Forest was marvelous, but Tanaan really set the stage for this entire expansion, and I loved every minute of it.
Thanks for reading guys! If you enjoyed this, like, leave feedback, whatever you prefer! It really helps to know that people enjoy my writing, and I really want to continue doing this!