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A Little Ball of Fury
#1
Anca looked around at all the people, all the little notes brought to them. Some were exuberant, some disappointed, some solemn. But all those in the Hall who participated in the Argent Tournament had such a note. All except Anca.

She checked the messengers. None for Anca. Brow furrowed, the little girl checked others' notes. Even those people who wouldn't be directly attacking the Citadel had orders, whether to protect the homelands or wait as reinforcements, all part of the huge campaign to strike down the Lich King. Her brow furrowed harder with each note they let her check. She looked at each for the marks that meant her name, A-N-C-A, thinking maybe the messengers accidently gave her orders to someone else. No, the marks weren't there.

Papa Sreng, noticing how increasingly upset the girl was getting, passed his own orders down to his daughter, and though hopeful, she quickly noticed that it was his own name written there, so she gave them back.

Someone needed to answer some questions.

==============

The girl was a strange sight at three-feet high, dressed up in her battle armor, too-big-for-her weapons on her back, looking much like a green-skinned gnome, except cuter. And with her grumpiest face, Anca marched herself right into the Argent Pavilion and right up to the Justicar, who was sending aspirants out on their tasks for the day. There Anca stood, arms crossed. It took several minutes before the Justicar took notice and asked the girl what she wanted.

"Anca apposed to go for fighting BadKing! Anca got no note! Where note for Anca?"

The Justicar blinked a couple of times as she tried to parse what the orcling was taking about. "Are you a squire? Here to pick up orders for your master?" Inside, the Justicar was cursing the fact that orcs 'never learn to speak properly.'

Anca stomped her foot once. "Anca not square! Anca hunter! Anca Kor'kron! Anca apposed to go for fighting BadKing!"

"Oh, the little Kor'kron mascot!" said the Justicar. "You can't play in here. You should go get ready to be flown back to Orgrimmar," adding to herself "with the other children people were stupid enough to bring up here..." She waved her hand dismissively. "Go. Shoo."

The little orc was shocked. And furious. She stomped again, and noticed the Justicar's shins would be perfect for kicking at. However, she knew attacking someone in here fell into Anca's category of "bad things," and so restrained herself. Instead, she turned and stomped back the way she came. She knew there were others she could turn to.

========================

Overlord Garrosh Hellscream surveyed the tournament grounds, pleased with the war preparations. He smiled to himself. Then he saw the miniature orc hunter standing before him, hands on her hips, staring up at him with a very angry look on her face, and his smile turned to outright laughter.

"Well, you look ready to fight, little one! What are you doing here?"

"Anca apposed to go for fighting BadKing, but Anca got no note! Anca want note!"

Having had his laugh for the day, Garrosh was in no mood to play this little game with a child who apparently sneaked away from her parents. After all, he still had a battle to prepare his troops for.

"Go get on that zeppelin, kid! Civvies are getting shipped out of Northrend!" he shouted. "GO! NOW!"

Anca's eyes went wide and she scrambled away, even more upset that no one was listening to her when she was telling them something was wrong. But the Overlord gave her a thought. Getting on the zeppelin to Orgrimmar WAS a good idea. There was someone there who could help her. As quickly as she could, she grabbed her packs and shooed Snuffletusk up onto the vessel.

=========================

Head held high, but with her jaw set in her most serious pose, Anca marched into Grommash Hold, saluting the Kor'kron officers as she entered, each time receiving a nod and wave-through, sometimes with a proud smile as well. Vol'jin, Eitrigg, and some other were in council with the Warchief, speaking quietly over a series of maps spread haphazardly on table. Anca stood at the center of the room at attention. After several minutes, Thrall looked over to her, and she dropped to one knee, fist against her chest, and head down.

"Stormchild, and her warboar. What brings you here?"

Anca stood upright again and spoke very calmly, but firmly, well aware that utmost respect was necessary in this room.

"WarBossChief, Anca no get note for fighting BadKing. No note at all. Anca need go fight BadKing but got no note, and nobody at tourmammet have note for Anca."

Thrall, of course, had no trouble understanding the girl's words. Nor with her meaning. He closed his eyes for a moment and lowered his head before approaching the young hunter and lowering himself to one knee, bringing him closer to her height so he could speak directly to her.

"Stormchild, I know you wish to fight Arthas, and I have indeed heard that you fought well at the tournament. But it seems the Argent Crusade does not know the fierceness of your heart the way we do." Thrall stood to his full height, once again taking on his commanding presence. "I do not wish you to fight Arthas at Icecrown Citadel."

Anca's heart fell, though her outward appearance was unchanged. "Anca not go stay with little orcs. Anca want to fight."

"You are right, you will not go stay with the children. You are Kor'kron, and Kor'kron fight."

But before Thrall could continue, a low horn was heard through the valleys. The battle horn. Enemies at the gates.
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#2
The hammer leaped to the Warchief's hand.

Eitrigg was already fastening his helmet.

The grin on Vol'jin's face, as sharp as the spears in his hands.

The sound of the deep horns, resounding through the Hold, through the canyons of the city, the tunnels of the Drag, roused the hearts of all who could hear them.

The battle had come home again.
-----------------------

The orders barked by Thrall were immediately followed, no hesitation, no questioning. Thus the presence of the Warchief. Archers to the canyon walls, warriors to the gates, healers to their assigned stations, civilians...civilians to the safest place in the city: underground. Anca would not go with the civilians.

She heard the order given to those who can strike at a distance, and followed it in her own unique way. Through the hidey-holes in the city, she sprinted to a perch with a tactical vantage point over the front gates. She could look down on the lines of warriors, the walls of metal making a living wall between the city and...and the small force that began throwing itself against the shields in futility. Ghouls and skeletons, shambling up to the gates, easily cut down.

She looked down upon Warchief Thrall, and could see the concern on his brow. This could not be the only force, it was too small, to inefficient.

Anca heard another hunter whistle. On a nearby perch was Zue'min, a troll who favored a red-tailed hawk from the Outlands. She saw the hawk land on his arm, and the call went out, spreading from hunter to hunter with the speed of the wind. When Anca heard the word, she passed it on faithfully. "SKYWARD!"

A cloud approached over the main gates, a flapping, squealing cloud of flying scourge, carrying their gibbering, drooling cargo over the first line of defense.

The arrows flew, with the fire, ice, lightning, and pure magic as the undead rained down, either through being shot out of the sky, or strategically dropped into the midst of the city. In an instant, the battle had changed significantly.

-----------------------------

The confusion of having the enemy dropping into the midst of the defenders brought the city to the brink of panic, but not close enough to drown out the sound of the Warchief, who raised his hammer high above his head, calling the shamans to move as one.

Throwing down their totems, the shamans began a chant. The druids raised their arms to the sky. A breeze blew past Anca's face, slowly gaining in strength until she and the other hunters needed to grasp the rocks to keep their footing. The winds swirled above the heads of the defenders, roaring to the skies as the Warchief's bidding. Lighting flashed as the druids' storms met the blasts of cold and fire. The Scourge would not remain in the air for long, and would be in poor shape when their bodies would fall to the ground.

---------------------------------

"Regroup! Reform!" called out the squad leaders as the wounded were pulled back. Another call went out from the spotters, and Anca nocked another arrow to her bow. From the west approached a pair of skeletal dragons. But now, the city was ready.

Five elder paladins stood atop the tallest tower, glowing in the last sunlight over the horizon. Vol'jin called out to his shadow hunters, and a dozen spears flew into the sky, striking the dragons as they drew in their breath. The paladins reached out, and the top of the tower exploded with blinding holy light. The dragons screamed and lost their air, crashing down heavily to be dispatched by the ground forces.

As the wounded Scourge were unceremoniously dispatched, a cheer went up through the city.

------------------------------------

Many were wounded, but it was clear that the Scourge attack was not at full strength, and Orgrimmar was well-prepared for another invasion. Anca scrambled back down the bluffs and threaded her way back through the soldiers and the wounded to get back to where the Warchief and council stood. His orders were being given out again, and nearby, a portal opened. A messenger and some others were being sent north to inform the Argent Crusade of the attack. And Thrall and his advisers were going as well. There was no more time before the attack on the Citadel.

Anca caught the Warchief's eye as he was about to step through. He paused for a moment, appraising the small orc in her over-sized armor. She stood still, silently willing that she come along.

After a long moment, Thrall pointed at the portal and jerked his head towards it. Anca had never run so fast as she did towards that portal.
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#3
((WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILER TO THE BATTLE WITH THE LICH KING AT THE END OF THIS POSTING))

This was not a good place to be alone.

Anca hid near the wall as she moved through the Citadel hallway, desperately trying to make no sound as Scourge guards paced the floor. She was scared.

But still, she edged ever closer to the sounds of battle ahead.

---------------------------------------

(less than an hour ago)

Thrall's entourage stepped through the portal and into the howling winds at the base of the Citadel. Anca stood beside her Kor'kron brethren, waiting for her orders.

She and the bodyguards followed Thrall through the bent, twisted gates to the base that had been established.

"Status!" he called out to an important-looking man in an Argent Crusade tabard. The man looked surprised at the gathering coming to him.

"Warchief, we expected you earlier."

"We were delayed in Orgrimmar. We will be joining the rear defense soon. What is the status of the attack?"

"This base has been established, and the Champions have entered the Citadel proper less than an hour ago. Reports are favorable thus far. Scourge waves are forming outside, converging from the north."

"Cities and outposts have been attacked within the last few hours," an aide to the Argent officer stated. "We've been receiving reports that the attacks have been turned back."

"Disorganized retaliation, probably," the Argent replied. "Reflexively attacking when we began the assault here. Now, the forces outside...well, you will see for yourself."

Thrall nodded and turned, looking towards the gates. "Is the Skyship ready?"

"Yes, it will begin the assault on the upper walkways within the hour."

"Good." answered the Warchief, and he began his march back to the the front steps. "We will join the defenders at the gates."

The wind was cold. The courtyard below moved like wheat in a breeze, slowly filling with Scourge rushing in from all over Icecrown. Anca clutched at her ponytail and at Snuffletusk's ridge of hair at his shoulder. The battle at the gates was about to begin again.

----------------------------

(now)

Anca wished Snuffletusk was with her, but he was, hopefully, still outside fighting aside the druids and the other hunters' animals. Her left arm hurt where she'd landed on it, but her emergency glowy-drink Eruadan had given her weeks ago helped quite a bit.

The hallways were mostly empty now, save an occasional sentry, and there were signs here and there that the Champions had been through, leaving remains of the Scourge behind. She could track their progress easily, but what was slowing her was having to dodge those sentries, who were far too strong for her on her own and wounded.

Clanking footsteps, she found a shadow to hide in again. These were louder than the others she'd been dodging. Silence, silence.

A hand grabbed her collar, hauling her up into the air, and she looked into the glowing eyes of a death knight.

-----------------------------------

(a few minutes ago)

"Ready for the next wave! Keep them back!"

The battle was not easy, but it was simple. The Scourge would attack in a wave, the Horde defenders would fight them back, and pull their wounded back for healing, and the line would form again, just in time for the next wave.

Anca's job, though, was easy. Shoot, shoot, shoot again. Stand there and shoot.

Easy until the familiar sound from the sky came again. More of the dragons.

They would dive and strafe, but the defenders would hold. They would crash and crush, still the defenders would hold. They would fall and die right atop the defensive line, and still the defenders would hold. And Anca would stand and shoot.

Until one dragon made a dive at her line. Its claws grabbed at the defenders, raking and smashing, and finally grabbing a handful of people and lifting up into the air again. Anca was among those held.

The dragon rose, but not unscathed. The spells and arrows struck its body, its wings. Anca struggled to breathe in the squeezing power of the dragon's claws. It beat its wings, trying to get higher and out of range, but crashed high into the wall above the gates. Finding no grip on the ledges, what with prey in its claws, it pushed off, only to crash again, this time breaking through the stone, and it died there.

Anca fell through the crack in the wall, into the Citadel itself, high above the gates, landing hard and laying still, alone in the silence and darkness.

--------------------------------

(now)

The death knight looked into her eyes. Slowly, recognition crossed its face.

Anca looked into its eyes. Quickly, fear turned to terror.

Its free hand grabbed for its greatsword, bigger than the girl herself. The recognition turned to elation at the thought of such a murder.

In Anca, the terror turned as well. Like a rat cornered, she was at her most dangerous.

Her sword and axe leaped to her hands, and she twisted and spun like a cat held by the scruff of its neck. With a yowling warcry, she aimed her blows at the elbow of the arm holding her up, and two blows of the axe split the forearm from the shoulder. She dropped hard to the ground and leaped back, the trick she learned to gain distance from her opponent.

In midair, she sheathed her weapons and threw down a handful of traps. She pulled her bow from her back and aimed for the knight's chest, landing one of the special black arrows and one with a tiny goblin-bomb attached to the head. The thing howled in pain. She turned and ran again.

It tripped the traps, spewing flame, ice and snakes. Two more arrows hit its chest as she backed away, but she was running out of space, and it was closing distance. Another one hit its throat as her back slammed into the wall behind her, and its good arm bringing down the greatsword to smash into the girl's armor.

And 350 pounds of angry, squealing boar crashed into it, knocking it off its feet. Snuffletusk charged low, and struck upwards with his great tusks, lifting the knight from the ground and slamming it back to the floor. As the boar ripped into the creature, it could only bat the animal away and prop itself up on one arm, raising its head enough that the girl put one very special arrow, with Skrap Special carved into the shaft, right between the knight's eyes. And with a muffled boom, the knight's head was gone.

Anca limped to Snuffletusk and embraced him.

----------------------------------------

Running to the sound of battle as fast as her little, and wounded, legs could carry her, the pair arrived at the top of the spire, just in time for the Lich King to kill everyone present, including her, in a single blow...



((Anca's story now merges with that of the Champions.))
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