"I know..." replied the king grimly, already seeing multiple versions of both his son and the nightmare of his dead wife. Varian thrust forward with his sword and led the way, cutting at the first image of his son. Even though the visions of his wife helped remind him that this was not the true Anduin, he still cringed as Shalamayne cleaved through and the figure vanished.
And that, they all knew, was also a part of the Nightmare's insidious intentions. Strip away the defenders' morale.
But under the king's guidance, the dreamform legions continued to press. There were costly hesitations along the way, but they could not be helped. Varian and Broll could only pray that seeing one's loved one madly attacking them over and over would not wear down the brave souls.
Then, a garbled cry arose from one of the defenders. Varian glanced to his side in time to see one of his own soldiers from Stormwind—his dreamform a paling green—clutch at his own throat. The stricken fighter dropped his weapon, which, also being a dreamform representation, faded away. With a last gasp, the soldier keeled over.
His dreamform dissipated before it could even strike the ground. There was no doubt in Varian's mind that the man had not simply woken up, but rather died.
A second fighter, a gruff orc warrior, grabbed at his stomach, then, like the human, tumbled over and faded away.
As a third perished, Varian desperately reached out for answers from Broll. To his surprise, however, a different voice, a different creature, touched his thoughts.
I am Hamuul, King Varian Wrynn...you must beware...the Nightmare now strikes against us in Azeroth in a manner that should not be possible...
What do you mean? the lord of Stormwind demanded. Two more of his army dropped. The others were beginning to take notice of the mysterious, debilitating threat in their very midst.
The sleepwalkers are attacking the slumbering bodies of those who make up your host...and somehow are causing your fighters' dreamforms to perish at the same time as their physical shells...again, it should not happen so! The dreamforms should remain"alive"...
The king bitterly recalled the nightmarish figures assaulting his men prior to Malfurion Stormrage's summons. He had feared that they would turn upon the still, helpless bodies of the defenders and now that nightmare had come to pass, with results even more terrible than he had imagined.
What do you suggest?
We must continue to fight... replied Hamuul. We must continue to fight...
Where is Broll? Varian asked.. .but the tauren did not say.
Another orc warrior collapsed and vanished. Varian let out a growl of exasperation and did as Hamuul bade. He had no choice. None of them had a choice.
Where is Broll? he continued to wonder as he desperately slashed again at his son and wife. And where is Malfurion Stormrage?
They stepped out into what was clearly not any land near Teldrassil and Darnassus. A corrupted Remulos had used his new master's power to drag himself and Malfurion far through the Dream/Nightmare.
Tyrande peered around, stunned. "Mal, where are we? Where is this desolation?"
The archdruid did not immediately answer, instead seeing to the unconscious Remulos first. When it was clear that the forest guardian was still out, Malfurion shifted to his true form, then surveyed what he could of their surroundings. The mists of the Nightmare were strong here, but there was something vaguely familiar about where they had stepped out. He was not surprised to find them near this place, considering that it coincided with the area Remulos had brought him, and had actually wanted to reach it...but like Tyrande, the desolation struck him hard.
"Close to where we must be, unfortunately," the archdruid cryptically replied. Indeed, now was the moment he had been waiting for, but not all those he needed—whether they wished to be a part of his plan or not—were where they had to be.
He looked again to Remulos. The catatonic presence of Cenarius's son was something for which he had not planned.
"Tyrande, can you see that he is protected? We may have to leave him here for a time."
Malfurion did not add that the last was based on the assumption that they survived what was to come. If not.it would not matter where Remulos lay.
The high priestess bowed her head and prayed. A moment later, Elune's soft light came down, piercing the mists. It settled on Remulos, draping him like a protective blanket. The forest guardian was completely covered.
"This will do him as good as anything," she solemnly promised.
At that moment, a voice he had been anxiously waiting to hear from briefly touched his thoughts. I have a pair of roving fools for you...
They are not fools...any more than you, Eranikus...
The green dragon's tone radiated his disagreement with Malfurion. I was a fool long before you contacted me in secret while the cartographer rode upon my back! I was a fool to agree to any plan...and yet, I could not refuse...if only on the slim chance it could help rescue her.
The archdruid had to push beyond Eranikus's self-recriminations and fast. Each moment meant that Xavius might divine his plan. You have both Lucan and Thura with you...see now where I need them to go...
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