A rickety old cart trundled down the path toward the Great Gate, where a small patrol waited to guard it on its way to the distant zeppelin tower. There, the water it carried would be distributed to the orc settlements around Durotar, the land hit hardest by the recent drought. The young kodo pulling the cart moved with the languid pace of a well-traveled routine, cresting the hill before disappearing from sight.
An aggravated goblin watched as the cart vanished. His own cart should have been right behind that caravan, but he was still stuck at the water well because the breeze had died, rendering the wind-powered pump useless. “Hurry up with that, will ya? We need to catch up if we’re going to get a patrol escort this trip.” The goblin tapped his toe in irritation while his ire was directed at the young orc wrestling with the crank.
“Relax, Izwix,” said a nearby orc warrior as he lay in the grass. “What’re a few little Alliance lackeys going to do? They make any move, they get an axe upside the head.” He grabbed a twig off a nearby bush and picked his teeth.
“The Alliance is a menace, Grotz!” the goblin snapped. “And I would rather have an escort and not have to rely on your limited skills… or his,” he said, pointing to the assassin crouching in the bushes.
“Don’t you worry about me, Izwix,” said Dras, suddenly appearing from his hiding spot. “Anyone comes near me, they get a pig sticker in the back. Let the Alliance curs come.”
Izwix sighed. “What did I do to get stuck with these two… eh?” The bushes around the well shivered as he cocked his head. “What was that?”
Everyone turned his head toward the sound; Grotz grabbed his axe and stood up. The sound stopped. He took a cautious step forward as a rippling wave began at one end of the hedgerow and traveled the full length to the other side. Each bush began to shake violently. Izwix moved away warily, inching toward the kodo lashed to the water cart. Dras flipped his knives nervously as the rustle of the leaves intensified.
Dozens of boar-like beasts, armed with spears and an assortment of other weapons, covered in patchwork armor, exploded outward and swarmed the group. One or two fell to Grotz’s axe before he was overwhelmed, and Izwix turned to flee. Dras dove for cover, running headlong into the lead attacker. The quilboar swung wildly at the orc, finally managing to make contact with the side of his head.
The other caravan members dropped one after another, the grass quickly staining red all around the well. Izwix had managed to unhook the kodo, hop on its back, and spur it forward before a spear sailed through the air and knocked him from his perch. The kodo continued lumbering onward as the quilboar ransacked the cart and disappeared where they had come from, back toward Brambleblade Ravine.
Sometime before this attack, Baine Bloodhoof, high chieftain of the tauren tribes, had found himself in his lodge in Thunder Bluff with Garrosh Hellscream and Archdruid Hamuul Runetotem. This was no casual encounter: Baine had willingly chosen not to pursue vengeance against Garrosh for the death of Cairne Bloodhoof in favor of a united Horde leadership. Baine knew that the Horde needed a strong guiding figure if it was to survive, and Garrosh could give his people inspiration. The meeting, however, was not going well. Garrosh, once cautious due to his role in the murder of Baine’s father, was again full of bluster and bravado, arriving in Mulgore with an inordinate number of demands.