He had missed the massacre at the woodcutter’s hut by mere minutes.
In the dusk-dark of the hut, Yorvald Bungleboot found the woodcutter lying hacked to pieces next to the wide-eyed corpse of his wife. Though spared the indignity of dismemberment, the woodcutter’s wife had probably known a violation of a different kind – her torn, bloody dress and the position of her body made his gorge rise. The blood stood out on her pale, lifeless cheeks; stains of scarlet imperfection on luminous alabaster. A brief touch revealed that she was still warm.
He had known these two humans; good people who’d traveled so far from their ancestral home in Elwynn Forest to start a new life among his own people in Dun Morogh. He knew them to be kind, fair-speaking and plain-dealing folk… and he also knew them to be the parents of a small girlchild. The modest hut revealed no bodily trace of her -- there was much blood slowly soaking the dirt floor, but it all seemed to have issued from the two cooling corpses in the corner.
The first of the girl’s piercing screams rang out from the forest. The dwarf sprang through the doorway toward the sound, then slowed his pace to creep closer to her. He was certain the girl was the child of the murdered human couple – he had no wish to frighten her, yet he knew she needed to be silenced, lest she draw attention from their murderer...if it was still near.
He saw her clinging to a tree a small distance from the hut’s clearing. She did not hear him as he approached, slinging his rifle and stepping slowly in the snow.
The dwarf began to sing softly, a wordless, lilting tune. The girl quieted, her fearful cries becoming a low whimpering that barely carried over the dwarf’s melody. He began to add words to the tune, Common words he was sure the girl would understand.
“Quiet, little one,” Yorvald sang to her, “I am yer guardian spirit, here to take you into me careful embrace, to tuck ye in and keep ye safe.”
He was near to her now; in a moment, he would take her close to him and flee toward Brewnall Village and safety; he prepared himself for her cry of panic. He reached out his arms…
…and let out a grunt of dismay as she was seized from behind, fright-eyed and struck mute with panic, by the very darkness of the forest. The dwarf quickly followed, drawing his trusty rifle.
The child’s screams tore at his soul; the wordless, feral cries of dread seemed to fade, little by little, as she and her abductor gained distance from him. Yorvald willed himself to run faster, throwing away the advantage of stealth to gain greater speed. He crashed through the forest’s undergrowth, keen eyes seeking.
Up ahead, through the trees, a flash of light and then a dull, orange flickering. The child’s abductor had ignited a torch! What madness was this? If he did not wish to be followed, why had he announced his presence in such a way…
…unless he wanted to be followed.
Yorvald followed the torchlight to a clearing in the trees; the abductor, an orc dressed in ragged leather armor, clutched the frightened girl beneath one powerful arm, the blazing torch in the other. The girl whimpered quietly, but did not struggle. The orc was standing still, facing Yorvald.
The dwarf felt a glimmer of recognition – he searched the mottled, green visage of the orc. The deep scar and missing right eye confirmed the orc’s identity. Yorvald himself had taken that eye and left its owner to die – or so the dwarf had believed.
“Bagarm,” said Yorvald.
“You are remembering me,” replied the orc in passable – but heavily accented - Common. “I am feeling flattered. What luck it is for me that you would be the one to coming upon my kills.” He nodded toward his victim. “What are you thinking of my new pet, dwarf?”
“Ye’re a mighty one indeed,” growled Yorvald. “It takes a truly brave warrior to engage a child in battle. Even braver still to slaughter her father in cold blood and violate her mother.”
The orc chuckled. “Blades and cudgels, dwarf. Blades and cudgels, but never words. I am not shamed by a being whose head I can easily seeing over if we stood toe-to-toe.”
“Why have ye done this?” asked Yorvald, giving in to his anger. “The parents, the woman… and now this girl… this is not the way of the true Horde.” The dwarf narrowed his eyes. “Ye won’t win any favor with Thrall this way, ye ruttin’ coward.”
Bagarm turn his head and spat angrily. “Thrall has the soul of a frightened child. His bringing-up-years among the humans are being make him more man than orc. I am caring not what he would think of my deeds. There are those among my kind who tire of Thrall’s restraint. When I am finishing with you… and, in a few days, when I am finishing with my pet here… I will return to Durotar with your head in my pack and tales of my blood-hunt in enemy country.” The one-eyed orc grinned, an expression made even more ghastly in the light of his torch. “When I return to your lands, dwarf, it will be at the head of an army.”
Yorvald shook his head, his anger cooling into calm determination. “Ye’ll not be returnin’ to Durotar.” He nodded at the girl, drawing his twin hand-axes.. “Let her go and come to me, so I can finish what I started when I bled ye like a pig in Ashenvale.”
Bagarm let go of the girl. “Stand clear of us, girl. But if you run,” he told her, “I will cut off your head.” The girl moved away, eyes hollow with dread.
The orc knelt, thrust the torch into the ground, and drew his large two-handed axe. “I am not the only one who will be happy to see you again, dwarf.” The orc made a clicking noise. From the shadows of the forest, a large, night-black worg appeared. Its yellow eyes fixed on Yorvald, saliva dripping from its slightly parted jaws. “Take him,” said Bagarm in Orcish, and the black worg sprang.
Yorvald fell aside, avoiding the worg as it leapt. Bagarm stepped forward and swung at him, a powerful strike which Yorvald parried with both of his axes from a half-crouch. The orc stepped back, hefting his own axe. Before Yorvald could stand, the worg was on him from behind.
The worg’s jaws clamped down on Yorvald where his neck met his shoulder. The animal’s fangs were not sharp enough to penetrate Yorvald’s thick leather armor on the first blow, but the worg’s jaws were powerful. It would not take it long to rend the leather and expose flesh. Yorvald tried to rise, hampered by the crushing weight of the huge worg. He could hear Bagarm chuckling. Yorvald drew a deep breath and whistled, two short, piercing trills that echoed in the dark forest.
With a growl, a shadowy form burst from the trees. Ghost-white wolf struck black worg, sharp claws and dagger-like teeth shredding fur and flesh. The worg yelped, a surprisingly helpless sound from such a large animal, then began to snap at Yorvald’s wolf. The two animals rolled away in a flurry of fur and a cacophony of snarls and howls.
Bagarm watched in helpless fury, and Yorvald seized the moment. The dwarf threw out a booted foot, connecting with the orc’s shin. The orc stumbled. Yorvald struck, first with one axe, an armor-rending cut across the orc’s chest. With his left handed axe he cut low, chopping into the flesh of Bagarm’s thigh. Bagarm howled in pain and fury.
Yorvald, on his feet now, hooked a boot under the haft of Bagarm’s axe and kicked upward. It flew aside easily, leaving the orc weaponless. The orc snarled in fury and threw himself at Yorvald, hands closing around the dwarf’s neck. Orc and dwarf struck the ground in a bizarre mirror of their animals. Bagarm throttled Yorvald with one powerful fist, and began to pummel at his arms with the other. The dwarf swung his head forward, connecting solidly with Bagarm’s nose and mouth. The orc was momentarily stunned.
Ignoring the explosion of sickening pain in his head, Yorvald slashed Bagarm’s throat. The orc’s hands went to his throat, blood gushing through his fingers, soaking the dwarf. Yorvald pushed the orc from atop him and stood.
He watched as Bagarm writhed in the bloody dirt. “Meet my eyes, barstard,” said Yorvald. “At least die with some honor.” Bagarm looked at Yorvald. He was still glaring with his one malefic eye when the life finally flickered out of it.
Yorvald looked over at the animals. The worg lay dying, bleeding from what seemed like hundreds of wounds. Yorvald's wolf sat nearby, licking her own wounds, occasionally watching her prey expire with an expression that seemed like intense self-satisfaction. Despite the pain and ebbing battle-fever, Yorvald smiled. "That's my girl, Magda. That's my girl."
He felt a soft tug on his elbow. He looked over to see the human child, her dirt and tear streaked face looking up at him. She said something, very quietly. Yorvald turned to her. “What did ye say, little one?”
“Momma always said I had a guardian spirit,” she said, “but I never believed her ‘til now.” She leaned her head on Yorvald’s shoulder, unmindful of the blood that soaked his clothing. “It’s too bad momma and dadda didn’t have one.”
Yorvald nodded solemnly, letting his axes drop to the dirt as he enfolded the little girl in his arms. “Aye, little one. Too ruttin’ bad indeed.”
Yorvald at Thorium Brotherhood Wiki