She glares at me from across the fire, and I’m torn between being deeply wounded at the hatred I see in her eyes or sobbing with relief that she’s alive and free of that damned citadel, if not its hold on her. I shift guiltily on the hard ground. “You know I can’t untie you,” I tell her for the thousandth time. “I want to, but you’ll just try to kill me again, and then you’ll run right back to Kargath and I’ll never get another chance to get you help. So stop looking at me like that.”
She twists her mouth into an impressive scowl, despite the gag, and I grunt at her. “Promise you won’t start howling and bring the whole Peninsula down on us?” I demand, trying (and failing) to keep my irritation from my voice. She snorts in answer and I decide that was an affirmative. Probably. I hope so. I get up and move over to her, loosening the knot at the back of her head enough to pull the gag free of her mouth and drop it down around her neck, then move back to my spot.
“What makes you think I want help?!” she demands, and in her voice I can hear the red haze that clouds her eyes even now. They used to be so beautiful, her eyes. The same pale gray as a cloud’s shadowed underside. Now they’re just red. Red and angry. They used to dance, in joy or rage or mischief. Now they just burn.
“The Blood Haze doesn’t want help,” I note with a shrug. “My sister does. You’ll thank me when it’s done.”
“I’ll kill you,” she hisses, and means it. This time there’s no fending off the hurt, but I don’t let it show. No sense feeding her when she’s like this. She’s not herself and I know it. It hasn’t been so long since I was there myself.
“No you won’t,” I say with a growl. “You’ll thank me.”
“I want to go home,” she snarls. “Take me back!”
“There’s a creature in Shattrath,” I tell her, ignoring her outburst – Draenor isn’t our home. Not anymore. I take a swig from one of the bottles I swiped from Kargath’s room at the same time as I swiped my sister. “I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard of it. They say it’s like a crystal, or a bell. It’s made of light.”
“Take me back or I swear by the Betrayer’s lost sight I will have your head!”
“It’s supposed to have incredible power. Healing powers, magic powers, I don’t know. It’s the opposite of what you’ve come to understand as power.”
“And what would you know of power?” she sneers. “You and your brothers traded it for a barren hunk of land in another world.”
I ignore this with a supreme effort. There are too many sarcastic, useless responses. Too many smart-ass comebacks. She’s baiting me. “I’m taking you to Shattrath,” I snap impatiently, gesturing violently. “I’m taking you there, and I’m going to find that creature, and I’m going to get on my knees and beg it to break you of the haze.”
She laughs, then, and it’s an ugly sound. “What’s it going to do?” she demands. “Kill Magtheridon?! It’s his blood I drink, you know. His power I take. You’ll never get to him. You’ll never get through the Citadel! The Shattered Hand will destroy you!” She sniffs contemptuously. “The true Shattered Hand. Not your false Warchief’s lapdogs.” And she laughs again, like she’s said something funny.
I give up. I get up again and replace her gag, holding her by the hair to keep her from trying to bite me. Kargath took her heart and her soul and her innocence, but at least I know he didn’t touch her fire. “Listen to me,” I tell her, leaving my face close enough to hers to kiss her and peeling my lips back from my teeth angrily, “Thrall is the first real Warchief in a long time. He saved our clan when Kargath would have doomed us all. He’s given us the chance to serve something greater than ourselves. A real Shattered Hand would recognize that opportunity and take it.” I drop her back onto the ground and return to my spot and my drink once more. I stare, broodingly, at her. “Mannaroth is dead, sister. And if one pit fiend can die, they all can. The blood haze was lifted once. I will see it lifted again. At least from your eyes. If I can save no other, I will save you.” I discard the empty bottle and roll over to sleep, trying to ignore the sounds of her thrashing against her bonds.
Hellfire Peninsula stretches out before my tired eyes. The Citadel is little more than a speck on the horizon – still far too close for comfort, but I have to sleep or we’ll never make it all the way to Shattrath. That pile of bent iron and twisted rage is just one scar on a blighted land. Too many others to ever hope to cure it. Its face has been ruined forever by the greed and foolishness of my own race.
And those of us who stayed have come to reflect it.
There are those who say we need to distance ourselves from the Fel Orcs. We need to draw a line between them and us. And I suppose, on a purely logical level, I can understand that.
But how true would such a line be?
We were all Fel Orcs once. Why should we condemn our lost brothers and sisters for making the same choice we did, once? For not being so lucky as to live in a world still whole, its elements intact, its lands wide and open. The Fel Orcs are a product of our own devising. Of demon blood and a broken world, and we bear culpability in both. Should we damn them simply because we, ourselves, were saved?
The last thought I have before letting sleep take me is that no line could be thick enough.
She’s not a Fel Orc. She’s my sister.
And she will be whole again.