Varok Saurfang woke up. The silence of his quarters was undisturbed but for his breathing. His cheeks were wet again, he noticed.
Dreams. Such useless things.
He did not have the sleep of the blessed, with visions that spoke of the future and offered truths about the past. Just as well. Such visions would have been wasted on him. Imagine trying to fight a war you knew you were destined to lose—or worse, destined to win. Nothing was more lethal to a warrior than complacency, and if the past year had taught this world anything, it was that fate was not easily understood.
No, his dreams were simply a stew of memories.
Sometimes, he dreamed of battles from decades past. He would be running through the streets of Shattrath again, his ears ringing with the screams of draenei and the choking rattles of mighty warriors poisoned by the warlocks’ red mist. He would chase down humans in the streets of Stormwind, feeling his skin warm as the entire city burned. He had delighted in those slaughters. The corruption pulsing through his veins had made them a joy. There had been no thought of dishonor, no hesitation at spilling the blood of innocents.
The regrets came after waking. He would feel daggers of shame buried in his middle, as painful as the day he had been freed of that corrupted blood. He did not hate the pain. He welcomed it. He had earned it. It weighed upon him heavier with each passing year, but he would bear it silently, honorably, and without complaint as penance for his wrongs. It was a small price to pay for survival. As a young orc, he had expected a quick, honorable death in battle. These days? He wondered if he was cursed to outlive everyone. He rose from his simple bedding and stood at the window that overlooked Orgrimmar. Dawn was still many hours away, and the night’s chill surrounded him. A sudden stir of shouts came from the south. He craned his neck out the window to catch a glimpse of the main gates leading to the deserts of Durotar. His quarters were in one of Orgrimmar’s highest towers, giving him a wide view of the city. He had awoken countless times over the past year to screams and alarms. The Burning Legion’s invasion of Azeroth had touched the entire world. Demons had tried to crack open the rear gates in Azshara more than once, and Orgrimmar had borne a heavy burden in victory.
Today would not be so dramatic. He could faintly see movement near the gates. The only sounds were the angry shouts of an officer of the night’s guard yelling at his subordinates.