Orgrimmar felt like Silvermoon when the Warchief himself announced that the Legion had come.
Not the Silvermoon of now, the city he could barely stand to be in because it was full of shadows and lost dreams. No, it felt like the Silvermoon of his youth when the Scourge had wiped out everything he had known.
As he’d stood there listening, it was suddenly like he was back there. Like he was the gangly young man (for Quel’dorei standards anyway) of back then, some near thirty years ago now, scrambling through the broken streets. For a moment he could feel the dirt and grime underneath his fingernails again, the sticky sheen of his friend’s blood where it had landed against his throat when a ghoul had murdered her, the sputtering heat of flames burning his palms as he called fire again and again and again to fend off the Scourge. He could still smell the choking scent of death in that moment and Hresden turned and fled from his spot thankfully at the edge of the crowd before he had a full on panic attack in the middle of the city.
Somehow he found his way to the secluded corner where he’d left his horse, Corain, since the undead steeds tended to cause issue with the living ones. She whickered at him, flicking her ears to and fro, as he staggered and hit his knees. Hresden bent over to press his gloved hands against the ground, closing his eyes tightly as he fought to control and slow his ragged breathing.
It was harder than it ever had been.
Ever since the fall of his once home he’d had these attacks. They had gotten better over the years as he’d grown older and dealt with his fears as well as learned much of the Forsaken. Though many claimed the undead to be little better than the Scourge they’d come from, he had met many an undead who wished little more than to love what life they had left.
Corain’s bony head butted against his shoulder gently and as her echoey whicker sounded again, he lifted his right arm up and cupped his hand underneath the bulk of her jaw. Turning his head towards her, Hresden heavily breathed in the scent of cold pine that seemed to have followed the horse out of Winterspring where he’d found her years ago. Here was no smell of death, no fire, no blood.
Just him and his horse.
Finally he managed to start slowing his breathing after several long moments but his heart still hammered in his chest, a wild staccato akin to the war drums of the Horde. As he shifted to settle heavily on the ground, legs tangling in his robes, Corain turned to follow him and butted her skull hard against his chest.
“Oohpf, easy girl,” Hresden managed to breathe out as he wrapped her arms around her neck and leaned against her. “I’m okay.”
She snorted in response, shaking her whole body to in turn shake him.
Somehow he managed a laugh despite the tightness taking over his whole body. It was the sort of taut feeling that his sister had always described to him about the time before a hunt or task when she’d been a Ranger of Quel’Thalas and not whatever they called themselves now. Like a bow drawn up so tight that the string sings with stress, what what Lymalis had said. The sort he’d felt facing the Scourge on the icy plains in Northrend or the strange new creatures of Pandaria or the familiar names and faces ( legends practically, almost all long dead in his time) in Draenor.
Yet this was different.
This was the Legion .
Not a part. Not the scattered fragments in Outland or anywhere else. The Legion itself was coming, coming to take or destroy everything and everyone he cared about.
He’d rebuilt his life after Silvermoon and then later Theramore when his sister had left. The Horde was his home…and he would lay down his own sword before he let another home fall without spending all of his magic and possibly his life seeing that it stayed standing.
He would answer his Warchief’s call.
He would go to war again.