Nightmare Within The Nightmare

King Varian stood with the host, watching as the Nightmare flowed forth. There were things both distinct and indistinct within its murky airs, some recognizable, others not.

The gathered host awaited not only his signal, but that of Broll. Varian was not so vain that he thought his command of the situation absolute; indeed, he thought just the opposite. Like everyone, he had expected Malfurion Stormrage to be the one through whom the druids and their allies would coordinate with his army.

But when Broll had briefly touched his mind, telling him that it was he who was to be Varian's contact, the lord of Stormwind had not very much minded. The two had shared savage lives as gladiators and knew one another's ways well. Thus, when Broll finally warned that the moment had come, the pair easily slipped into their old roles as comrades in war.

The dreamform army surged forward to meet the darkness. As the Nightmare converged on them, shadow satyrs formed in multitudes, their claws sprouting more than a foot long.

Yet just before the first of the fiends could strike, the druids and other spellcasters gathered began their own assault. The druids led the efforts, for they knew the Dream and the Nightmare best. Silver fire lit the landscape, sweeping across the infernal ranks. Shadow satyrs by the scores burned to nothing.

In the chaos, Varian's followers struck. Their dreamform blades cut through satyr after satyr, but, unlike in the mortal world, the creatures did not re-form. Rather, like ribbons of sliced silk, they fell in tatters that were crushed underneath the encouraged defenders' feet, hooves, and paws.

The druids worked with what still thrived in the little part of the Dream remaining. The seeds of trees became a rain of furious missiles that landed within the Nightmare, then sprouted. Within seconds, new trees molded by efforts led by Broll and the druids grew tall among the satyrs.

One satyr slashed at the nearest trunk. The tree spurted a thick sap. The shadowy fiend pulled back with a hiss as the sap splattered it, despite the satyr's supposed incorporeality.

But it did not end there, for the areas touched by the droplets spread and as they did, they burned away the satyr. The shadow sought to flee what it could not. Within a few scant seconds, the sap had entirely eaten away at it.

The trees began to extrude sap from everywhere, especially their branches high above. A rain of searing droplets guided by the druids fell upon a vast swath of terrain. Shadow satyrs burned.

The collapse of the Nightmare's first lines energized the defenders. Though they suffered losses, there seemed hope after all. Bitter enemies willingly fought side by side with one another, even shielding those left open. Not since the War of the Ancients had so many diverse forces come together. Indeed, coupled with the addition of the creatures summoned by Malfurion and the rest of the druids, it could be said that Azeroth was even better represented as one in this moment than ever before.

But Varian and Broll were concerned over what seemed too simple a battle. Remaining linked through Broll's efforts, they passed on their wariness, their suspicions that the Nightmare was not to be so easily crushed.

And moments later their apprehension was vindicated. From the mist flowed the nightmare forms, as Broll had come to think of them .the hideous, cursed dream selves of the Nightmare's thousands of victims multiplied many times over. Drawn from the sleepers' subconscious, they came in macabre versions of the innocents, which made them all the more horrific to the defenders.

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