World of Warcraft: The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm Page 0,1

stilled them. He knew that touch. It was Palkar, the orc who had attended him for several years.

“Come now, Greatfather Drek’Thar, it is only a dream,” the young orc chided.

But Drek’Thar would not be brushed aside, not with the vision he had had. He had fought in Alterac Valley not so long ago, until he had been deemed too old and weak to serve in that capacity. If he could not serve there any longer, he would serve with his shamanic skills. His visions.

“Palkar, I must speak with Thrall,” he demanded. “And the Earthen Ring. Perhaps others have seen what I have … and if they have not, I must tell them! Palkar, I must!” He attempted to rise. One of his legs gave way beneath him. Frustrated, he pounded at his betraying, aging body.

“What you must do is get some sleep, Greatfather.” Drek’Thar was weak, and struggle as he might, he could not offer sufficient resistance to escape Palkar’s steady hands pushing him back on the sleeping skins.

“Thrall … he must know,” muttered Drek’Thar, slapping ineffectually at Palkar’s arms.

“If you feel it necessary, tomorrow we will go and tell him. But now … rest.”

Exhausted from the dream, and feeling the cold in his aged bones afresh, Drek’Thar nodded and permitted Palkar to prepare him a hot drink with herbs that would send him into a peaceful sleep. Palkar was a good caretaker, he thought, his mind already wandering again. If Palkar thought tomorrow would be soon enough, then it would be. After he finished the drink, he laid his head down, and before sleep claimed him, wondered driftingly, Soon enough for what?

Palkar sat back and sighed. Once, Drek’Thar had been mentally as sharp as a dagger, even though his body was growing increasingly fragile under the weight of his years. Once, Palkar would have sent a runner off to Thrall immediately upon learning of Drek’Thar’s vision.

But no longer.

Over the last year, the sharp mind that had known so much, had held wisdom almost beyond comprehension, had begun to wander. Drek’Thar’s memory, once better than any written record, was becoming faulty. There were gaps in his recollection. Palkar could not help but wonder if, between the twin enemies of the War Against the Nightmare and the inevitable ravages of age, Drek’Thar’s “visions” had deteriorated into nothing more than bad dreams.

Two moons ago, Palkar recalled painfully as he rose and returned to his own sleeping skins, Drek’Thar had insisted that runners be sent to Ashenvale, because a group of orcs was about to slaughter a peaceable gathering of tauren and kaldorei druids. Runners had been sent, indeed, warnings issued—and nothing had happened. The only thing that had been accomplished by listening to the old orc was that the night elves had grown more suspicious. There had been no orcs within miles. And yet Drek’Thar had insisted that the peril was real.

There had been other, lesser visions, all equally imaginary. And now this. Surely if the threat was real, others than Drek’Thar would be aware of it. Palkar was not an inexperienced shaman himself, and he had had no such forebodings.

Still, he would keep his word. If Drek’Thar wished to see Thrall, the orc who had once been his student and now was warchief of the very Horde Drek’Thar himself had helped to create, in the morning Palkar would prepare his mentor for the journey. Or he might send a runner so that Thrall would come to Drek’Thar. It would be a long and difficult trek; Thrall was in Orgrimmar, a continent away from Alterac, where Drek’Thar insisted on making his home.