The Trollish Art of Diplomacy

Shalkis had spotted a contingent of Red Blade works exiting the jungle outpost of Grom'Gol. Windclaw tilted his head quizzically. The raptor was as intrigued as his mistress. With a tug of the harness, Windclaw darted into the jungle. It was not time to reveal herself yet.

Shalkis directed Windclaw on a small hill overlooking the road to the Arena. She sent the raptor away and sat next to the tree. She adjusted her goggles to get a better view of the road without compromising her position. And waited.

Eventually the orcs came into view. Young orcs. Old orcs. Strong orcs. Weak orcs. Even Taerak. Leading the group was a female orc with a wolf at her side. She must be the Matron. Akesha. As Shalkis had guessed, they were heading towards the Arena. And there was only one group that called it home. The Second Gurubashi Empire.

The Empire and the Red Blade? Odd. Ever since Tziak had taken over, the xenophobia had run rampant within the empire. Why would they even allow the orcs inside their Arena? It had to be a trap. And although the orcs would probably consider it dishonorable to even think to avoid a head-on confrontration, they would always appreciate some tactical advice. Shalkis dug deep into one of her pockets and retrieved a small whistle. If the Empire was indeed there, one extra raptor call would not be considered odd.

In less than a minute, the familiar figure of Windclaw appeared from the bushes, his fangs gleaming with fresh blood. He had eaten his fill, and would not mind waiting outside the Arena. She mounted the blue raptor and rode to the road and towards the Arena.

The orcs had taken up positions at the southern end of the Arena, and the Empire was at the north side. The ramp was filled by Blood Elves. Their presence was not surprising. A few months ago the Empire had sent a crate of elven heads to Silvermoon. Now they sought to return the favor. But since they were still not completely accepted into the Horde, they could not act rashly. There would be no point in charging the trolls, only to have the orcs charge them. They had to wait for the orcs' approval.

Rlaris, one of the Blooddrinkers was acting as an announcer. The standards had indeed been dragged through the mud if they allowed him into the esteemed ranks of the Blooddrinkers.. Once they were trolls of the highest honor, champions in the fight against the Hakkari, upholders of the law. Now they were simple thugs..

Shalkis heard the words and could not believe her ears. A negotiation for peace? Preposterous. There had to be a trick. Something that gave the Emperor leverage to force the orcs to submit. The Blood Elves around her were as sceptical as she was.

The two forces circled around the arena edge towards the ramps. As the orcs passed her, Shalkis spoke.

"A word of advice about trollish politics. Always prepare for a fight."

The warning had been given.

The orcs settled on the southern end of the Arena floor, and the trolls on the northern end. Akesha and Tziak approached each other, flanked by bodyguards. They were ready to start. But one of the orcish bodyguards eyed the crimson sand with suspicious eyes, aimed his flare gun and fired. The flare landed on the western part of the arena, right next to the ramps. And right next to the brightly burning flare was a very surprised assassin. An orc, but her tabard was one of the Sixty Thieves, an organization that recognized no wows or racial unity, only the will of the highest bidder. The female looked around sheepishly and leaned on the arena wall. Maybe this was Tziak's plan? To get an orc to assassinate Akesha to spark a civil war among the orcs? No.. there had to be more to this.. What about that Forsaken at his side? He was in plain sight and clearly in the favor of the trolls. If he acted it would be too obvious. There had to be more.

The trolls were shouting insults, mocking the blood elves and claiming that they had ridiculed the orcs' ancestors. No doubt it was true, but.. the orcs remained relatively calm. A few stinging rebukes were uttered. This can't be Tziak's grand plan, either. A shouting match?

Shalkis adjusted her goggles to get a better view, but the two negotiatiors had started to walk back towards the ramps. Was it over already?

At first the trolls did not notice him and walked right past her. Akesha, the matron addressed the blood elves. Tziak did the same, although he spoke no words himself, but instructed Rlaris to speak for him in Orcish. The Blood Elves were asked to leave. They of course resisted and wanted their revenge. But for a change, the cooler heads prevailed and the Blood Elves moved back to the entrance of the Arena. With the issue of hecklers somewhat resolved, the negotiations continued.

Oh yes.

Shalkis adjusted her goggles to get a better view. She could not hear Tziak's words from this distance, but the reactions of the orcs were more than enough. Their anger grew, word by word. Distrust turned into dislike, apprehension turned into disgust. Slow, calculated gestures turned into sharp, rash movements. What could he be saying to them to anger them so? And yet, he seemed oblivious to the effects. His face was hidden by his mask, but his gestures were as disinterested as always. Then.. Akesha's surprisingly strong voice echoed in the Arena.

"You all heard, Tziak admits he plotted to kill me."

That.. was Tziak's grand plan? To admit his treachery to people who value honor more than their lives? Before Shalkis could fully grasp the meaning of Akesha's words the warcries of the orcs.. and the elves filled the air, along with blood, fire and death of various colors and forms. The trollish bodyguards were cut down in seconds and the masked face of Tziak vanished in the veritable sea of angry orcs. Scores of elves were already jumping into the arena, raining down death and destruction upon the shocked trolls. In less than a minute, there were only orcs and elves standing on the Arena.

"What a mess", a male voice spoke in trollish. Shalkis was sure that she had heard him before.. but when she turned she did not recognize him.

"Ah yes. Tziak still has the touch. I have to admit that this was quite impressive. Not only has he allowed the Alliance to roam the vale, he also brought the wrath of thee orcs and the elves upon the trolls.", she replied.

That comment sparked an angry glare from the unknown troll male. But before he could act, he spotted the orcs walking up the ramp and wisely stepped aside.


The orcs were celebrating, brawling and drinking at Orgrimmar, under one of the few palm trees still left in the city. A veiled figure, dressed in blue from head to approached them.

"Matron Akesha of de Red Blades, a few words if ya will..."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice story as usual Shalkis. You inspired me to pitch in the thread.