After months of trying to get into Tanaan Jungle there was finally a way. By Sea. There was a small dock on the eastern tip just south of the Dark Portal and it was there we’d find our way to continue taking the fight to the Iron Horde. Crossing the path we looked towards the looming presence the portal emitted remembering the first time what happened when we stepped through it so many years ago, and how this was so, so different. We continued west before running into a scout which landed earlier and showed us to Lions’s Watch. We made a few preparations, gave orders to workers and guards and continued on our way down the wide, cracked, stone path until the shadow of Hellfire Citadel was before us. Without wavering we walked across the short bridge over the mote of fel sludge and proceeding through the ominous open gate.
We found ourselves in a large room with makeshift barriers and cannons on either side of us, the same cannons that were giving grief to our soldiers back at Lion’s Watch. It was organized chaos, the Orcs seemed to not notice us enter as we surveyed the situation at hand. We had to bash down the second gate leading into the Citadel itself. Working our way forwards we began to slay Orc after Orc, monstrosity after monstrosity after finally clearing the room. An idea shot through our brains and all at once we looked at the Hellfire Cannons. With short notice they would have to do. We flipped them around and aimed them at the Iron Hordes own doors, before we could begin firing however, we were stopped by someone who introduced herself as Siegemaster Mar’tak. With her posse behind her she suddenly rushed us. As we charged to meet her we sent two of ourselves off to make sure the cannons were firing at the gate, and to keep them loaded with ammunition. The only way we could stop the onslaught of enemies was to get the gate down as quickly as possible. After what felt like hours one of the two Hellfire Cannons stopped shooting all together, it was completely out of ammo and we couldn’t find anymore to salvage. Pressing on we cleared the remaining enemies as they air dropped onto us, and poured in from the sides to try and sneak up to their own cannon to destroy it. The final Hellfire Cannon shot off another deafening shot and the gate ahead of us crumbled and fell away revealing the guts of the citadel. We were in. We surveyed the area for a quick moment finding a cache of leftover Iron Horde gear, replacing our own scraps with we set off again, this time to walk through the gate into the fortress of death.
One of the sides of the gate hung by it’s hinges, the other dented and blown open completely smashed into the wall it opens up into. There was no way they’d be able to shut the gates on us. They were broken beyond repair. As we stepped closer to the opening we felt explosions all around us, retreating backwards a few yards the debris that was once in the room was gone, replaced by fire. The fire died after time and looking from behind the walls of the Cannons where we retreated to fortify we saw a large shadowed figure standing above the gates we destroyed. The arms of what had to be a machine lifted and we bolted out of our cover again. Artillery strikes shooting right for the turncoat cannons, destroying them completely and igniting the small amounts of Fel Fire they had left in them, trapping us in a room with what we could now see. A Fel Reaver piloted by Mar’tak herself. She must have slipped out of the first fight in preparation without any of use realizing it. Fire came from her feet as she leaped from where she stood, spraying fire and missles from her arm cannons as she fell. Destroying any other debris there was, hitting the ground with a deafening thud. The grass and stone beneath our feet shook as she slowly stood straight in her Iron Reaver. She taunted, waiting for us to make the first move. So we did. Rushing her she began to throw out unstable orbs, sticking to us wherever they hit and exploding all around us, we spread out in a loose formation dodging barrages and any fire left on the ground as a result. Our plate wielding deities took turns distracting her as she let off artillery strike after artillery strike. The ground cracking and shaking with each explosion. She began to pound the ground out of frustration sending reverberations up our legs, our bones feeling on the edge of splintering. Finally she ran forward twice, catching any of us in her way before setting us on fire and dropping us if we got caught. She flew up into the air and laid down patches of slick oil in large strips before carpet bombing the area, igniting the oil and leaving behind ticking bombs each bigger than any of us. Disarming them quickly she seemed to run out of fuel and landed, crashing into the ground harder than she first did and resumed her attack. After a few minutes she and her machine finally fell. The plate armor surrounding her cracked, chains and cogs imploding from the force of the machine twisting in ways it was never intended as it fell. Finally laying in a heap before us. Mar’tak laid in the cockpit, eyes closed.
After salvaging what we could from the broken wreak we finally proceeded through the smashed gates. The heat from them bursting open was still radiating from each large door. Seeing the extend of the damage was awe inspiring. The door that crashed into the wall behind it was welded open, the other door hanging by the hinge was propped up against a large pillar inside of the citadel, there was no wonder it hadn’t fallen. The view inside of the gates was sickening. Green light emanated through cracks in the foundation from the fel sludge that the fortress was built on. The red fire of torches barely illuminating the halls they were designed to brighten. There was a dank smell. A stench that smelt like death itself, of rotting corpes. It came from just ahead of us though the path was blocked. We turned to the right and passed up the stairs, making quick work of any who opposed us. The path winded in typical Orc fashion, making no rhyme or reason as to why the halls turned and dipped around until finally we came to another grand opening and walked through, greeted by a pit with 3 pools on each side. One purple, one red and the other green. Iron Horde Warlocks were making incantations with large Gronn sitting in each pool. After easily defeating the first two and clearing our way through the middle we saw before us our challenge. Sitting in the green pool, eyes closed was a giant Gronn named Kormrok. His arm green and pulsing from the pool he sat in, a glow came from his closed eyelids. The warlocks had fused this once physical beast with an abomination of magics giving him control of the elements around him. After ending his warlock captures his eyes snapped open at that same instant and he leaped from his pool, showering us with the green burning sludge before landing in the middle of the room letting out a bellowing roar. We stood ready, he was blocking our way out of the room. We rushed, treating him like any other Gronn for the moment until the bounded away again, landing in his original putrid pool, absorbing the energy and jumping out to rejoin us, once again showering us in the sludge. Hands grabbed at us from the earth we were standing on, dragging us into the pool. He summoned runes that exploded should we stand on them and pounded the ground we stood on just as the Iron Reaver did. Occasionally he would flex, his muscles rippling as he seemed to pull the pools towards us, waves of energy came crashing as we scrambled to avoid touching the deadly substances. He leaped from pool to pool, continuously empowering himself until he finally fell to the weight of our steel and magic. We had won. We all sat for the first time in hours. Taking a quick rest as we reversed the magic done on him to augment our helmets. We slept for a few hours each, sleeping in shifts so nothing could creep up on us. Finally awaking and after a quick meal we continued on to the other side of the citadel, looking for a way to blast through the destruction we had caused from the gates stopping us from going towards the stench of death.
Again the halls twisted and turned without reason. This path illuminated better by the fire filled chandeliers and standing torches. It was as if we were approaching a kind of royal place. The ground cracked less, the upkeep of this part of the citadel borderline immaculate in terms of an Orc. There was what looked like to be a split in the path footsteps going from the direction we were about to travel but one of our hunters noticing they also came from a closed wall. Upon further inspection it was evident there was a passage way that was only able to be opened from the other side. We took a left at the split and continued on walking down the immediate stairs welcomed by a bright lit room, with three Orcs welcoming us to their domain. The Court of Blood they called it, introducing themselves to us as the High Council, consisting of Gurtogg Bloodboil, Blademaster Jubei’thos, and Dia Darkwhisper. They were slightly more refined than the other beasts of Orcs we went up against. Talking with perfect Common only with a slight Orcish accent instead of a broken version of it as the others before us had. They waited atop their pedestal. Flags above them signifying who they were. Two of which were brightly lit, the other belonging to Dia Darkwhisper more tattered and darkened. They continued to talk before we finally attacked trying to catch them off guard. They hopped down from their elevated rise undaunted. Two of which focused on one of our protectors, Dia Darkwhisper taking the other one into the nightmare of her world on the other side of the room. Gurtogg BloodBoil was the first immediate threat. He seemed to be able to boil our blood from inside of our very veins causing us to shake in pain every time he did it. He would rage and go on a rampage, ignoring everything we did to him as he chased one of us at random. He seemed to be drunk with power, radiating an energy our mage was able to steal from, giving our ally part of his power making it so with each spell or swing of sword our wounds healed immediately. Finally over time as he seemed to physically wither he gained a second wind. The blood in our veins tainting, burning constantly we felt our stamina drop, fatiguing more and more until he finally fell with his last breath cursing us, the blood in our veins still burning we turned our focus to Blademaster Jubei’thos. Who was a threat during the whole ordeal with Gurtogg. The Blademaster was much more refined in his fighting style, twirling a blade with such expertise it rivaled our own use of weapons. He would infused his blade with a dark fel energy before throwing it towards a group of us having it also return to him taking the same path. Still fatigued from Gurtogg we leaped out of the way each time, chainmail and plate grinding against the stone as we landed. The cloth and leather wearers showed more grimace each time they stood. Robes and jackets beginning to tear. Jubei’thos would then begin to spin. Shooting the same fel fire at all of us, coupled with the burning blood in our veins it felt as if we were about to spontaneously combust. To make matters worse he would create mirror images of himself adding confusion to which target was actually himself. Persevering we destroyed each image before finally finishing the Blademaster himself, with one last swing of his sword he attempted to finish us before falling. To our disbelieve he persisted even after death. We turned to Dia Darkwhisper the one of us she took with her seemed to be going insane as they fought. She must be the one behind everything. Rushing her was a mistake, she cursed each one of us turn after turn, attempts our healer making to cleanse the curse only made matters worse as it would simply split and jump, infecting every single one of us until finally we were burdened with our own actions. Dia cackled as she fought, reaching into the air as she pulled shadows of the room towards herself temporarily morphing into an apparition. Each time she would the one who was alone with her would grimace, they knew what was coming next. She would swipe through into their soul, shredding it indefinitely. She emerged from her shadowy form laughing each time, our attacks seeming to fuel her as she continued on to cloud the entire room in a purple haze, our lungs burning as we breathed in the fumes made of pure shadow. Ghosts of past enemies she had defeated wailed above us twisted in agony and torment, the cries piercing our ears, slowly causing us to lose sense of reality. With a shout it all ended, our senses crashing in around was deafening we regained our senses and continued on. The curse that we all carried was finally torn away from our spirits. Dia Darkwhisper cackled as we began to be sucked into pools we left underneath ourselves. Trying to climb to the surface it finally all ended. The blood in our veins slowly becoming less sour, the burning feeling of our skin subsided with each second that past. Our previously tormented minds returning to their usual state of solace. We lay on the floor surrounded by the bodies of the High Council, a grin spread across the lips of Dia as she lay dead. The only one of us standing was the one who had to go through it the longest. We got up, healers tending to wounds any had suffered and took another short reprieve of a break. Eating a quick meal supplied by the Night Elfs to regain our psych we continued on down the pathway that had opened.
The halls were still brightly lit, fire light dancing along the walls as we walked with caution through the twisting halls of the lower floor. As we continued down the massive tunnels of stone and steel the light of fire slowly disappeared and was completely replaced by the green glow of the sludge that was beneath the citadel. The fire chandeliers and torches replaced by a matching green light. Glancing at each other we continued on, keeping our eye open for any enemy, slaying them as we sauntered through the halls, our consciousness still shaking a small amount from the previous fight. These halls lit by green had abandoned rituals along the entire way. Books with skulls laying on the floor, pikes with animal and Orc heads sticking from piles of skeletons that lay unused. Larger pools of sludge were surrounded by books and candles. Small pots of boiling substances that smelt of hair and burning skin littered the floor. Walking up a short flight of stairs and the rituals nearly ceased. Instead of dozens there were only few, turning to look towards the next opening of our challenge we could see the culprit, we had reached Kilrogg Deadeye himself. The rumors and stories of him were not fallacy as we had believed our scouts were right. Kilrogg was death himself. Entering the room he resided in we could see Ariok in the middle of a large stone carved symbol that laid on the ground. The cracks filled in by the same fel sludge that filled our nostrils with every breath. Kilrogg was standing before him, chanting in Orcish. With each pause Ariok would grimace. Being pained by nothing physical, but instead mental. He looked up at us and it gave us away, Kilrogg turned around with a grin and charged immediately. His physical strength wasn’t surprising, as if half warrior half shaman he used the elements of his room as well as his physical prowess to assault us. Throwing daggers he had on his pant sides infused with a shadowy essence that shot into us, tearing part of us apart leaving in its place a blood globule that would trace it’s way straight back to him. He swung his staff at anyone near him, trying to shred their armor to make us more vulnerable to his magic. Occasionally he would spin and throw a mixture of fire and shadow at everyone, raining down his magic from the ceiling as though they were missiles made of nothingness, scrambling to dodge the downpour he would open a part of himself to us, grabbing and bringing the people caught in his gaze into his twisted mind. Showing that he was going to end us and everything we were fighting for was naught. Archmage Khadgar finally showed his presence in times of great need. With his magic he twisted his way into the mind of Kilrogg and assisted us, showing that it was never over until we succumbed to evil. With new found faith we broke free of Kilrogg’s mind and with a quick blow ended the Bleeding Hollow Warlord. With a sigh of relief we looked towards the spot where Ariok stood chained and had vanished. A waterfall of fel sludge fell from the ceiling into the spot of the ritual. His fate unknown to us we continued on through the door that had opened. The same one that was closed on our way to the High Council. As we crossed the green glow of the ritual area it began to dim into a nothingness. Whatever Kilrogg Deadeye was attempting to do had seemingly ended. Backtracking through the cleaner floor heading away from the High Councils chamber we were greeted once again by the cracked corrupt floor of the ground level. The debris that once blocked us was gone, the door at the end of the rotunda also opened, as if in greeting. The stench of death and rotting corpses was now overwhelming. With only one way to go we proceeded towards the smell.
We quickly climbed the stairs, given a second with by the vision of Archmage Khadgar, quickly making work of any foe in our way. Heading up the second flight of stairs we walked into a grand room with a spiraling broken staircase leading the way down. From up on the balcony we could see the grinning face, and grinning stomach of Gorefiend. It seemed this time instead of running he was ready for a fight. We began to make our way down the staircase until we hit the dead end. The steps were sheared apart from the floor and there was a short drop, but too high for any of us to make it back up even if working together. There was only one option, to jump. We landed each in turn with a thud of our boots, chain mail jingling and leather creaking as each of us landed. Gorefiend greeted us with a somber nod. The smell of rotting corpses was unbearable, the stench filling our nostrils with each breath we took in. He sat in what must have been a pool of souls, wailing faces trying to break through the surface before being drug deeper into the pool, only to be replaced by more souls trying to break out, hands of long lost warriors sliding against the surface from the pool. Twisted into insanity by Gorefiend they were trapped. We prepared ourselves for probably the hardest battle we’ve had to face yet, and charged. Immediately a few of us were instantly killed, Gorefiend laughing a deep belowing giggle as he swallowed our souls straight into his stomach. Inside were a mixture of spirits and essences. We put end to their torment and from inside of him we freed them, which each construct slain we felt a part of ourselves lift until we were able to break free of Gorefiend’s grasp. Returning to the world of living with a new found spirit to fight. In turn we each were killed by Gorefiend, only coming back out from his nightmare stronger than before. His plan was working against him. Wave after wave we ended his creations of mixtures of bone and spirit until finally there was nothing left. Gorefiend began to absorb the remaining lost souls of the room into himself, trying to take our souls as well we fought on through the waves of him summoning monstrosities of creatures as well as reabsorbing souls that were escaping him as we fought until finally he drew a final breath and sat in his pool visibly shaken. He let out a quick breath before his eyes closed, his twisted stomach trying to grasp for air it wasn’t able to breathe and also closed, his body slumped the souls in the pool underneath him began to crash to the surface finally free to rest in peace. We looked at each other and let out another sigh of our own, a portal opening behind us we slowly entered. Our capes waving in the fake winds the portal was emitting, we could smell cleaner air through it. It was time to go deeper up into Hellfire Citadel.