'RAGE OF THE WILD'
The spirit owl plunged into the canopy with a screech of terror, but the jagged arrow swung wide and the shimmering owl continued to dive into the depths of Ashenvale. The Troll scout cursed as the owl escaped him and he slunk back to the encampment in Silverwind with a shamed bow of his head.
The spirit owl continued to fly silently westward, away from the simmering onslaught of the Orcish war machine. The fluttering, pale form of Dori’thur was caught by Tyrande from afar, even as the bird was obscured by the low branches of the ancient trees. Astride her mighty Frostsaber, Ash’alah, the High Priestess Whisperwind growled softly to her companion while the Sentinel detachment followed in her wake.
The owl brought the terrible news from the west: Silverwind Refuge had fallen. As her owl hung in the still air beside her, Tyrande barked out an order to the Elves who followed her.
“We are too late! Get off the road at once; expect the demon filth to pass us shortly! Bandu Thoribas!” Her rising voice echoed about the glade with a calm certainty; at once the Sentinels vanished into the undergrowth on either side of the path, their silver armour glinting softly in the dim light of the forest.
Tyrande pounced from Ash’alah onto the paved path with effortless elegance. Pressing her head against the hulking Frostsaber she willed her back to Astranaar with a simple message: “The Horde is moving west”. The beast responded with a low rumble and then wheeled around to hammer her way along the western road, the spirit owl followed her form for a short distant, before he glided north, rising towards the towering shadow of Mount Hyjal. The High Priestess frowned as she followed the owl in the cloudless sky and then reached for her bow as she watched her ancient friend fade into the distance. Once the owl had passed out of sight, she rushed into the dense brushwood lying along the side of the roadway.
“How long until they are with us, Sister?” Sentinel Shyela hissed from her position in the wild growth.
“Soon, Sister. Dori’thur believed a caravan was leaving Silverwind at once.” Tyrande glanced deeper into the low growth of the forest, searching for Shyela amongst the tumbling roots.
“I am here, Sister, there are four of us. The rest are on the southern side of the road. Our blades are ready. The ambush is prepared.” Only the glint of her glaive gave Tyrande any idea where ‘here’ was, the High Priestess simply nodded sternly towards the source of the steady voice, before turning her attention back onto the road.
The group must have crouched amongst the knotted low growth of the vale for an hour or so. Tyrande pressed herself up against the slender trunk of a towering tree, resting her polished armour against the rough bark; the archers waited beside her, hidden from sight, their soft breath and murmured conversation masked by the light breeze carried east from the shattered coastline. Tyrande’s thoughts drifted to her friends who now challenged the Burning Rage which threatened to engulf Hyjal. Malfurion was occupied, this she could understand, but Cenarius must have felt the pain of the forest as the Orcs continued to tear apart the sacred groves of Ashenvale. Had his purpose not been to protect all of nature? Were the rising Ancients not enough to defend the Crown of the Heavens? Surely if the Circle were prepared to consort with Orcs, Goblins and even, it was rumoured, some Undead... Surely that was enough to protect the sacred mountain..? She recalled what Cenarius had promised her on their first meeting, an eon before the petty war which now waged all over the world: ‘the forest saves those who seek to save the forest’. Hope still lasted, so long as she had faith in those words.
Crouching in the undergrowth alongside her, Shyela was beginning to wonder if the High Priestess could have been mistaken, the Horde, afterall, were already engaged in Azshara and the newly risen mountain of flame to the east of them may have confused the spirit owl. Perhaps they were cutting a new path through the wild; they may have expected an attack on the central roadway... Doubt filled her thoughts; the Sentinel assured herself that the Horde would not come.
Then the sound of the horn thundered along the path and coarse cries of hatred rumbled after it.