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Vor'tok's Journey -- Chapter 5
Recommended readings for this chapter are "A Pirate's Life for Me" and "Dreams - a short story" by Kretol. Thanks again to Kretol for approving of my usage of his character.

The Storm at Sea

The Kar'togar was a fairly small ship, but it seemed to soar across the calm blue sea, racing for the horizon. On deck, her captain flipped through stacks of maps, scrawled in his own handwriting on tattered pieces of parchment, while his crew shuffled busily about, tending to their work. Their spirits were high, for it was a pleasant day at sea, and their most recent victory over a small Alliance fleet had been a huge achievement, making all their pockets a little heavier. Kretol's mood, on the other hand, was bitter, and getting worse the deeper he dug into the stack of maps. There was something missing, something he could not find, and what was worse, he could not remember what it was he was looking for. He finally came across a piece of parchment that roused his interest. He couldn't make out the writing, couldn't really even tell if it was a map at all, but it did strike a chord in his curiosity. He heard shouts and raised his head.

Two of his crewmen had gotten into a scuffle. Mothok, who was easily the largest orc on the ship, save for maybe Kretol himself, and Tiuk'kal, a wily individual who, while may have been a forest troll, was born for the sea. Their shouts had ended and the fight was on. It was a humorous battle for all observers, the large enraged orc swinging madly but slowly in comparison to the cool, agile troll who danced gracefully about him. It wasn't long before the whole crew was shouting and laughing louder than the fighters, and coin purses were emptied as bets were taken. At the helm of the sip was Gor'treg, Kretol's first mate, trying in vain to make himself heard above the rest and restore order. Kretol, chuckling softly to himself, returned his eyes to the parchment. The chuckles were cut short as was his breath by his heart leaping into his throat.

Slowly he reached down for the page. He carefully grasped it by the corner, as if he was holding a venomous snake by the tail, and lifted it with a shaky hand. He knew this writing. This was the writing of one who Kretol had once called master: Gul'dan. The writing was in demonic, but Kretol read it all too clearly. It was a spell used for sacrifices, conjuring an unholy fire. Kretol had used this spell once before. He could see in his mind the beaten, broken body of a young orc warrior, screaming in pain, screaming for mercy. A hand clasped Kretol's arm, snapping him out of his nightmarish vision. "Boss mon!" It was Tiuk'kal. He was bleeding from an open wound on his cheek bone; apparently Mothok had managed to land a hit or two on him. Kretol wondered if he had been noticed by his crew, and looked over Tiuk'kal's shoulder... all his crew was standing at the helm of the ship, backs turned to him, staring at something he could not see.

"Boss mon!" Tiuk'kal said again, this time Kretol could hear the urgency in his voice. "Gor'treg sent me ovah. You should come have a look a' dis!" Kretol nodded and Tiuk'kal returned quickly to the others at the helm. Kretol looked down at the parchment once more. It was merely a map of what could be any number of islands along the Savage Coast. Dropping the map on the table, Kretol hurried to join Gor'treg. What he saw next left him breathless.

A large red plateau erupted from the ocean. The waters around it were violent, swirling around it, striking its high walls. The peak was entirely engulfed in a large fire. The sky grew black as Kretol's ship came closer to it; the only light came from the fire and the bright blue and white bolts of lightning streaking across the sky, rapidly exploding from the fire itself. Realizing he had laggard for too long, Kretol struggled to find his voice and spoke.

"Gor'treg. Turn us away from this! ...Gor'tre-" Kretol looked upon his first mate, who stared back at him, solemnly. "Gor'treg! Wake up!" But Gor'treg only continued to stare at him. Kretol looked over his crew. They all stood still, silent, and facing Kretol now; their heads looking straight up at the sky with mouths gaped wide open. Their eyes were wide open too, but they held a blank, empty gaze. He looked back to Gor'treg. "Damn it Gor'treg, I demand you turn this ship around or I'll-" Gor'treg spoke in a voice belonging to no orc, "The Dark Legion comes to consume the Storm... sir." He then held an evil smirk on Kretol as the crew, remaining still with empty gazes towards the sky, burst into screams of agony... screams matching that of the warrior Kretol had sacrificed so long ago. This was too much. Two nightmares in one waking day was simply too much for any orc. Snarling, Kretol grabbed Gor'treg, but his hands only grasped ash as Gor'treg and the entire crew exploded into a billow of ash. Kretol could see nothing. He could only feel himself spinning.

Waking in a cold sweat, Kretol bolted upright. Struggling to catch his breath, he took in his surroundings. He was in Orgrimmar. He covered his face with his hands, the dream still vivid in his mind. His thoughts raced: The warrior... sacrificed to the Legion... the parchment... Gul'dan... the Dark Legion... the Burning Legion... consuming the Storm... the red plateau, mesa... something missing... Kretol took a deep breath and lie back down, trying to force his mind to calm itself, but it drifted none the less. Storm... Stormsage, Vor'tok! Vor had gone to the Red Mesa weeks ago and had not been heard of since. Kretol cursed himself for not having noticed this before. He was gone from his bed and on his wolf in a flash. He rode for Razor Hill, hailing a messenger as he went.

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