“I do not know, Liam” came the Tauren’s response. “Nor do I recognize the type of cargo it carries below.”
Drake was continuing to bark and gnash his teeth as the topside crew took in what they were seeing. Liam knew something wasn’t right, but was in no place to think what it could possibly be. Not on his wisest day. “Flagsworth. How long until we’ve passed Theramore?”
“At this point, be about twenty an’ we’re good and past.”
Liam looked back up at the zeppelin in the sky. “Anyone care to guess how long before that thing is over our heads, going on the assumption that it stays its course?”
They muttered amongst themselves and then decided to simply watch for a moment or two and gauge the speed of the vessel. The best anyone could guess was half an hour at best, and none of them could be absolutely certain. Though Kheiro did suggest the ship was moving slower than normal, likely due to the blue object hanging below. Had the group not been focused on the zeppelin, they might’ve noticed an equally pressing scene more quickly. It was Morrison again who spotted it first.
“What in the hells has happened there?” He was pointing at Theramore. There was smoke pluming upwards from numerous points, and the stronghold had clearly been under attack recently.
“This is not good, Liam. We must not be here.” The words sounded strange coming from the Tauren. Kheiro was always sturdy and grounded in his thoughts and his words. These came with a hint of urgency that curled every ounce of Liam’s body and it was a feeling he did not want to experience. Not in the moment, nor ever again. He told Morrison to get back up in the nest and Flagsworth to open the sails to full. He might not have known a great deal about being a captain, but he had a small sense of how to get moving.
“Kheiro, you need to tell me what’s going on. What has happened here?” Liam defied his body and remained calm as he processed what he saw. Guards were dead. Docks were broken and shattered. Ships were sank in the harbor as it came clearly into view.
“I…do not know. But the Alliance would not attack itself, so I can only fear for the worst.”
“Which is…?” Liam could read a map as well as anyone but wanted Kheiro to confirm what his eyes were telling him.
“Something has caused the Horde to attack here,” the words came out more as a sigh from the Tauren. “I do not know what, or why, but as sure as I stand here now I believe it to be the case.” He paused to look back at the zeppelin that they were seemingly inching away from. “I fear that ship is no coincidence either.”
They stood and watched the ship and took turns taking in the damage to Theramore. Even from their distance they could tell the Isle had faced a wrath that it had not expected, though the Keep still stood above the walls if one squinted through the smoke. Flagsworth kept the ship at full speed and on a safe course, while Morrison would only come down if there was something dire or new to the situation. It was all anyone could do to just wait out the situation.
Drake continued to bark, but even he had toned down to mostly a growl as they continued to push past Theramore. The dog was as concerned as ever, but seemingly tired of barking for such a lengthy time and realizing he could do nothing about his agitation. Liam felt much the same, almost helpless. They were going to get past Theramore Isle as they had planned, but what would they find in Ratchet now? All the confidence he had from the moment they took the ship began to fade to uncertainty. What he had been told about a key point in Kalimdor, a continent he had never been to, lay waste before him. Strategically speaking, something was going on in this land that even Kheiro did not know or suspect. Not having the Tauren’s conscience and guidance and certainty was unsettling to say the least.
From their distance, they were finally in position to have a sound view of the cove just off from the harbor -though it was a fading one. It didn’t have to be close up, or clear for very long, as even from their distance they could tell what Kheiro thought was exactly the truth. As the Tauren pointed, Liam saw what a half sunken Horde ship looked like. And it wasn’t the only one. They saw several. The Horde had in fact attacked the Isle. Liam wondered who had won and if this changed anything. His mind raced with “what if” scenarios about things he knew nothing even before the events he had witnessed. His calmness remained on the surface, as he knew not what else to do. He felt pangs of sadness as he briefly made out another body along the outer wall. This soldier was far bloodier than previous ones he had seen on the other side of the wall.
Morrison’s words rang out and Liam found himself perched at the edge of the ship, almost ready to leap into the sea below them. He couldn’t explain how he ended up in the position, or how long he’d been there, but as he looked up they were finally past the stronghold. However, the zeppelin had gotten there faster than any of them had expected and they found themselves now just far enough away to see it pass over the human settlement. They were also close enough to see something blue drop off the bottom of the ship and slowly descend to the target below. Truth be told, it did not happen slowly. It was but an instant before it dropped and before it could even hit the ground, it exploded in a radiance of blue.
They were almost at the wrong place at the wrong time. And Sasche says, don’t do it! She ate it once and although it WAS tasty the guilt afterwards wasn’t worth it.
I picture Sasche now as some sort of binge cannibal…