Did you know it's Harvest Festival in WoW this week? Yes, Siege of Orgrimmar, the raid where we take down Garrosh Hellscream, went live the same week as the annual event where Horde players go honor Grom Hellscream's grave in Ashenvale. Wow.
As soon as I realized this, I had to write up a little fiction about it.
This post contains major spoilers for the Siege of Orgrimmar ending!
If you want to remain spoiler-free, here, you can read the last time I wrote about Harvest Festival instead.
Man, that was three years ago.
Or just go straight to the previous post, Proving Grounds: Silver Tank as a Holy Paladin.
It was the day of the Harvest Festival.
Deep in the underground fortress he had constructed beneath Orgrimmar, Garrosh Hellscream hung his head low to the floor. He hardly noticed the thick adamantine shackles they clapped over his wrists, the weight of the massive chains that dragged beneath him as they carted him toward the exit. He didn't notice, because the weight upon his soul was heavier.
Every year on this date, people celebrated the fallen heroes that had given their lives for their beliefs. And every year since coming to Azeroth, Garrosh had made the solitary trek to Ashenvale to pay tribute to his father’s grave marker. It was planted in the fel-scorched grove where Grom had made his final stand, slaying the demon Mannoroth, but dying in the process.
His hands twitched, empty. Gorehowl was gone. Taken by someone…Vol'jin maybe, or perhaps Varian, to hang above his throne like a trophy.
Gorehowl. His father's axe. His father’s legacy.
Garrosh had many things on his mind. His defeat. The loss of his rank as Warchief. The humiliation and shame of being taken prisoner, to be paraded through the streets, the same indignity the legendary former warchief Orgrim Doomhammer had suffered. These all ran through his mind, his thoughts a jumble of despair and anger.
But right now, none of these things mattered.
"Vol'jin," Garrosh whispered, suddenly desperate. "Thrall! I must...I must speak with you..."
The burly tauren dragging him from the hall stopped as a figure stepped before them. Garrosh looked up, in a daze. Was it Thrall? Surely he would understand...Garrosh would go willingly, but let him go to Ashenvale first, for just a moment...
It was not Thrall. It was Jaina Proudmoore.
"Vol'jin is busy. As is Thrall, Hellscream," she said icily. "Are you going to beg? For an honorable death? For a death properly befitting a 'proud orc warrior'?"
"I..." Garrosh began. He swallowed what was left of his pride, and forced himself to continue. "I want...I need to go to Ashenvale. My father..."
Jaina's eyes widened in disbelief. She rose, and burst out laughing. It was harsh, and ugly. "You? You of all people, need a...a favor? Oh, this is too priceless."
She waved away the curious looks her outburst had drawn, then turned back to the manacled orc on his knees before her. "You wish to visit your father's grave, do you? Yes, I know. I knew his fate before you did."
She paused, chin in hand as if deep in thought. "Let me see. No. You deserve no favors, no mercies, no rights. You are a butcher. A murderer. You destroyed the Vale. You nearly killed Anduin. You bombed my city. My answer is no. Take him away. Get him out of my sight.”
Garrosh slumped in his chains, held upright only by the strong Sunwalker arms carrying him. With grunts of effort, they began their arduous journey once again.
"Besides, Garrosh," whispered Jaina, leaning down so he could hear her words. "From what Thrall has told me, Grom was a hero. He died saving your people, not leading them into ruin."
"What makes you think his spirit would want anything to do with the likes of you?"
Garrosh flinched, but did not react. He forced the numbness deep inside, where no one would see it. He waited until he was being dragged through the smithies, the massive furnaces blasting acrid smoke, the billows bellowing their deafening, damning dirge.
There, where no one could hear him, not even the tauren grasping his limbs, he spoke.
"Father," Garrosh whispered brokenly, staring into the stone inches from his face. "I am sorry..."
The tauren took him out of Ragefire Chasm, out of Orgrimmar. The people of the city let out a ragged cheer as they watched him go.
It was the end of the nightmare. It was the day of liberation, of freedom. It was the day Hellscream fell.
It was Harvest Festival.