Vaelarian Ashclaw crouched in the tall grass over the ridge behind the orc fortress. He had been watching for sometime now, and it seemed the blood elf had been telling the truth. The zeppelins here were carrying the reinforcements that had been attacking Stardust Spire. The blood elf had betrayed his horde, and why? To find the girl? What was his interest in her? How much was that Highborne paying to have her returned to him?
Why had the girl run away in the first place, only to freely choose to return with the blood elf?
He wished he had been able to speak with Latahlali. He was, initially, very angry to see her. That old Highborne had promised she would be safe, but there she was sleeping, out in the open, just as orcs were cresting over the ridge to the former camp. If he hadn’t passed by that way when he did– How could that Highborne had let her into such danger after all the fuss he made about it being unsafe in the first place? She would have been safer if she had not gone at all. Vaelarian had moved. She would have moved with him.
He realized now that it had all been lies. The Highborne were proving they were still not worthy of being trusted. The old fool had seen some sort of magic potential in Latahlali, and wanted to teach her. Magic! And she had stood there and told him that she wasn’t playing with it, she was learning it, as if there were any difference.
Now she was gone again. He frowned as he looked down at the orcs. If he survived this he vowed to show that Highborne just how unsafe Dalaran could be.
He should have finished killing that blood elf. Maybe he would yet.
Vaelarian slid down the slope behind one of the orcish towers. No guards were on this side. There was a path leading down on one side off to one side of the tower. On the other side, more buildings, and a lot more orcs. He chose the side with the path to sneak around to the door on the other side. He hid behind some crates, and waited for a patrol to pass. He rubbed the spot on his chest where the blood elf’s water elemental had hit him. It had bruised, not too heavily, but enough. Vaelarian was certain the elemental had cracked a rib or two. It felt like it. After the Spire was safe, he may take a trip to Astranaar for healing before continuing on to Dalaran. The orcs needed to be stopped first.
Vaelarian was certain the sentinels at the spire knew of the orcs’ reinforcements. Perhaps they were waiting for their own reinforcements before making their attack. Vael had written a letter for Avaniel just in case. Of course, she wouldn’t get it until after he was done here. The message had been sent anyway. There was always a chance he might not make it. The information he got from the blood elf shouldn’t die with him. If the sentinels didn’t know, they would soon.
The patrol turned and started going back down the path again. Vaelarian cautiously made his way around to the front of the tower. The guard by the door stood looking off into the distance. Vaelarian stayed close to the wall, sneaking up behind the orc. There would be no magic tricks to save this one. He grabbed the orc’s head with one arm, simultaneously slashing it’s throat with the blade in his other hand. He quickly dragged the orc back along the quieter side of the tower, and left the body among the crates there. He hurried back around and went inside.
More crates littered the inside of the building. They looked to be weapons crates with newly forged axes. They had been packed in straw. Some had been opened and half-emptied already, others had been clumsily stacked against the wall. There were sacks of grain and some barrels under a ramp that led up. He carefully opened one of the barrels. It was water, from what he could tell. He took a bottle out of his small bag. Lali had left it in the hollowed tree stump. He had found it there when he went back to see if she had really gone. She had.
He uncapped the bottle, and dumped the poison into the water. He put the lid back on the barrel.
It might not kill them. There was enough water that it would be diluted quite a bit, but they would, without a doubt, feel ill. Vael tucked the empty bottle away, and started moving up the ramp.
He heard voices up top, then the noise. Another zeppelin was coming in. He reached the top, and hid between some crates, as the orcs worked to secure the zeppelin at the dock. There were another 20-30 orcs on the zeppelin, all armored. They went down the ramp. Vael held his breath as they passed him one by one. None of them seemed wary enough to notice the elf hiding between the crates. The orcs that worked the top of the tower were on the zeppelin now, working with the goblin that piloted it. Vael slipped out of his hiding spot. The goblin was looking at a map. One of the orcs was checking the ropes. His back was turned. The other orc approached the goblin and was discussing something in grunted phrases. Vaelarian slipped onto the deck, going straight for the stairs.
Another goblin was there, at the bottom of the stairs. Vaelarian stepped quietly down the last few steps. He grabbed the goblin’s hair and pulled her back, at the same time he thrust his sword forward. She went limp with barely a gasp. He stuffed her body into a small room off to the side.
The zeppelin started moving. Vaelarian could see the propeller out the back begin to turn. He ran to the back and jammed one of his daggers between the gears. The engine sputtered and stalled. The Zeppelin continued to drift out over the valley. One of the orcs from above shouted something in orcish. Vaelarian hid and waited. The two orcs came down to inspect. He slipped back up the stairs as they checked the propeller. The goblin was checking the engines and with his back turned, was easily dispatched. Vaelarian left the body slumped over the engines, and began to cut the ropes that tied the balloon to the gondola.
As he sliced them the gondola tipped. He heard shouts from below and quickened his blade. He tied one loose rope around his waist as the gondola became increasingly unbalanced. The last rope on one of the sides snapped as his blade cut through it. He was thrown up on the side of the balloon, which had now tipped to be the top, the ropes of the other side dangling the gondola below.
Vaelarian sat a top the balloon, and untied the rope from his waist. It was certain that this zeppelin would be out of service for a while. What troubled him now was the direction it was traveling, straight towards where the windriders would patrol. As it drifted over a lake, he closed his eyes and jumped.
The reinforcements had been stopped.