That night, visions mocked Vol’jin. He found himself in the midst of fighters, each of whom he recognized. He’d gathered them for that final assault on Zalazane, to end his madness and free the Echo Isles for the Darkspears. Each of the combatants took on aspects of a jihui cube, faced to be at their maximum power. Not a fireship among them, but this did not surprise Vol’jin.
He was the fireship, but not yet turned to display his maximum power. This was not a fight, though desperate, in which he would destroy himself. Aided by Bwonsamdi, they would slay Zalazane and reclaim the Echo Isles.
Who be you, this troll, who be having memories of a heroic effort?
Vol’jin turned, hearing the click of a cube snapping to a new facing. He felt trapped inside that cube, translucent though it was, and shocked that it had no values on any face. “I be Vol’jin.”
Bwonsamdi materialized in a gray world of swirling mists. “And who be this Vol’jin?”
The question shook him. The Vol’jin of the vision had been the leader of the Darkspears, but was no longer. Reports of his death would just now be reaching the Horde. Perhaps they had not yet gotten there. In his heart, Vol’jin hoped his allies had been delayed, just so Garrosh could dwell one more day wondering if his plan had succeeded.
That did not answer the question. He was no longer the leader of the Darkspears, not in any real sense. They might still acknowledge him, but he could give them no orders. They would resist Garrosh and any Horde attempt to conquer them, but in his absence, they might listen to envoys who offered them protection. They could be lost to him.
Who do I be?
Vol’jin shivered. Though he thought himself superior to Tyrathan Khort, at least the man was mobile and not wearing sick-robes. The man hadn’t been betrayed by a rival and assassinated. The man had clearly embraced some of the pandaren way.
And yet, Tyrathan hesitated when he should not have. Some of it was a game to make the pandaren underestimate him, but Vol’jin had seen through that. The other bits, though, as he’d hesitated after Vol’jin complimented a move, those were genuine. And not something a man be allowing in himself.
Vol’jin looked up at Bwonsamdi. “I be Vol’jin. I know who I was. Who I gonna be? That answer only Vol’jin could be finding. And for now, Bwonsamdi, that be enough.”
©2013 Michael A. Stackpole (P)2013 Simon and Schuster Audio