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The Path Ahead
#1
He stood atop the Elder Rise, looking out across the rolling green plains of his people's land.  A breeze stirred his mane, rattling the beads and bone ornaments twined into the braids.  Smoke from the funeral pyres wafted past the battered tents and charred totems. The Druid absently scratched the healing scars on his chest. The Bloodhoof controlled Thunder Bluff once more, but the cost had been high.  His frown deepened.  So many lost...   

Cairne was dead.  Betrayed. Blood marked the face of the traitor; that dark and twisted branch, matriarch of his despised clan. Yet shu'halo blood also stained the hands of the one now called Warchief of the Horde. 

He looked at his own hands, bruised and scarred.  The blood of his people was there, as well.  He had killed many of his own clan in the fight to retake the city.  His fists clenched at the memory of claws slashing through bodies and faces so similar to his own.  Were they uncles? Cousins? He would never know.  

Where should he look now for direction, for a path into the future?  The Oath was sworn to Thrall: a shaman, a visionary, a true friend when friends were needed.  Now Thrall the Wise is gone, and in his place stands a stranger to these lands.  The Orcs embrace the new Warchief, cheering the glory and power of an unrepentant warrior, reveling in the return of strength and bloody conquest.

"But I am not an Orc," he thought, "I do not lust for glory and trophies of war. How do I follow a chief who sees victory only in dominance, and despises those who do not seek power?  I have fought fiercely against the enemies of my people.  I have earned honor in the use of my strength and my skills at war.  But when the fighting is done, I wish to return to my studies, my travels, and my home. Am I to be called a weakling, fit only to fetch and carry?

"A Warchief answers to all of the peoples he leads, not just his own.  This son of Hellscream speaks to the Orcs, and the Orcs respond.  He spits upon those who have fought and lived and loved in these lands before he even knew of their existence outside his sheltered green haven.  How should we respond?

"The Tauren live with honor.  'Keep the oath for the oath's sake' is the banner under which we were raised. Yet when that oath turns to bitter dust in the hearts of its keepers, where do we go?  When the path of the Horde leads to destruction and subjugation, must the shu'halo follow?"

The Druid sighed. Perhaps in this time of chaos and upheaval he could only try to do right by his friends and keep his family safe. 

"I will not sever ties with the Horde.  I owe that to Cairne, who pledged the fealty of the shu'halo, and to Baine, who maintains the Oath in the shadow of his father's totem.  But I will not be led blindly by this Orc who peers through the mist of bloodlust and sees only tomorrow's battle, not next year's famine. I will act as my conscience demands. My allegiance is claimed by forces greater than those in Durotar.  Let any who think me weak or fearful come to me in honor, and I will prove that victory is in the joining of heart and mind and spirit, not solely in the fist and the lash."

Nganga cast a last look over the restless sea of grass, then turned and walked inside the great tent. "Archdruid, I am ready. Send me to Hyjal.  I will assist the guardians there."
Nganga Nyeusi
He is fast and is the danger.
What's a dazzling urbanite like you doing in a rustic setting like this?
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