Upon arriving in the Echo Isles, Zulimbasha had sent Lengua ahead to meet him in Bilgewater Harbor, while he met with his apprentice, Silna. A two-seater plane with an automatic pilot was outside Darkspear Hold, waiting for them; despite his misgivings about the contraption, he took his chances and climbed aboard, while Silna took her seat in front of him.
“You’ve drawn quite a crowd,” the blind Darkspear priestess said in Zandali. “They await you at the dock. The ship is ready.”
“Still no word from our goblin mage friend?” he asked, in the same tongue.
She shook her head, looking worried. “None. She disappeared during the elemental uprising, and if the dragons know, they haven’t told us. No one’s heard from them.”
“They’re probably there waiting for us. Us, and our friends from Stormwind.”
Silna tilted her head at his tone. “You don’t seem to buy the idea that they are our friends.”
“I don’t,” Zulimbasha admitted. “Half of these ‘Deathsworn’ fought in Zuldazar, when they slaughtered our people and murdered the King. It is only by Bwonsamdi’s grace that Rastakhan and our other fallen did not end up in the Maw like so many others.”
“You realize they likely think the same thing about the Horde, Master,” Silna pointed out. “They think we all stood by and let Sylvanas burn Teldrassil. Even if some condemned the action - or, like you, some weren’t even a part of it. Indeed, it was their actions that led the Zandalari to formally join the Horde anyway.” She shook her head. “No one who screams for war ever seems to know the price that is to be paid.”
“Let us hope that the Alliance is not among the foes we face out there,” Zulimbasha agreed grimly. “If these Primalists were any indication, we will have enough to deal with.”
“I’ve heard that it’s a joint expedition between the Reliquary and their Explorers’ League. Maybe the focus on knowledge will prevent such conflict?”
“We will see.” The plane arrived safely (much to Zulimbasha’s relief, though of course he did not show it) at the dock, where their ship - a zeppelin, in fact - was waiting.
“Hey there, Zuli.” Both turned and looked down at the sound of that voice as they stepped out of the plane, and found that Kitrik the Assassin - now adding “Baron of Blades” to his titles, having bought a barony from the new Trade Prince after the last war - was standing there, dressed in his flight gear, a pair of titansteel daggers at his hips. He raised his goggles onto his forehead, grinning. “Nice to see ya made it in one piece.”
“Always a good t’ing,” Zulimbasha replied with a grim smile, as he switched to Orcish to respond to the goblin. “Who all be here?”
“The elves got a lot of representation today. Lord Vendross and Countess Melanius from Suramar, Master Sunblade, that ‘Accursed’ guy, and… did you really recruit a dark ranger? Ain’t they with --”
“Not dis one, not even when da Banshee was here,” the Collector interrupted sharply. “You of all people know dat who ya boss were don’t make ya who you be. Or do ya still be workin’ for dat waggle-chinned traitor who still be lookin’ down from da mountainside?” He gestured towards the sculpture of Gallywix, visible even from there.
Kitrik raised his hands to placate the priest. “Alright, alright, point taken! Yeesh. Tear my head off, why dontcha.”
Zulimbasha sighed. “Apologies, Kitrik. I admit I still be adjustin’ to de idea of workin’ with such a creature, but… events be showin’ me ta keep my mind open. Who else be dere?”
“Coupla Highmountain tauren, shaman and a druid… couple pandaren from the Wandering Isle… our vulpera pals, Eldex and Vilaya… Farseer Urgan, who I think’s a lot scarier than the greener version… oh, and that dracthyr gal, what’s her name. Lengua, that’s it. I think a bunch of 'em are just here to see us off.”
“Like me,” Silna said with a slight grin. “Who be going with you?”
“Other than Zuli here… Vilaya, Lengua, Lord Vendross, Master Sunblade, the Accursed guy, one of the Highmountains, and the dark ranger. And me, of course - and not only because it’s my ship you’re flyin’ on.”
The Collector nodded. “Everything be prepared, mon?”
“Locked, stocked, and barreled.”
“Good. Then let’s be about it.” Zulimbasha and Silna followed Kitrik to the dock, where the group was waiting. On the deck of the zeppelin, the Assassin’s Treasure, were those who were accompanying Zulimbasha to the Dragon Isles - Vilaya, the vulpera who had become his personal assassin; Master Nor’taeron Sunblade, a veteran Blood Knight whose golden hair eclipsed his dark armor and tabard; Poquelin the Accursed, who had found a surprising sense of peace in Revendreth, and worked with Zulimbasha during the recent elemental upheaval; Lord Randarel Vendross, who looked surprisingly pleased these days (possibly because he was now a grandfather, Zulimbasha had learned - his daughter Telisa had married Andris Melanius, the younger twin son of Countess Severine, who was there at the dock, and they’d just had a son); Kirenna Summerlight, who notably kept her distance from Randarel, as it had been his hand that had killed her and left her corpse to be violated by Sylvanas’ val’kyr; Tenatsali Windspear, the Highmountain hunter who had discovered his natural attunement to the elements during the Shadowlands war; and lastly Lengua, who was in her visage form, wearing Valkia’jin’s armor and carrying Vim’bal’s staff.
The Assassin stepped onto the deck, heading to the controls. Zulimbasha followed, as Silna took her place with those who were remaining - Eldex, the caravaneer and shaman known as the “Foxwolf” for the wolf-pelt armor he wore; Urgan of the Mag’har, the former Iron Horde shaman and counterpart to the mad warlock called the Corruptor; Archdruid Arihnda Wingmender, the Skyhorn healer; Chaoyen Greenacre, the pandaren farmer who’d taken up monk training; his ex-girlfriend Lazhna Trueflight, who some thought might not be “ex” for much longer; Nevasa, the Zandalari prelate who wore armor still marked with the visage of the martyred Rezan; and Euphrati Velade, daughter of Sekhesmet of Stratholme, who had abandoned the legacy of both her father and the Dark Lady to pursue the healer’s art.
Zulimbasha looked to those behind him, and then to those in front, and began to speak. “My friends, we be departing for a new land, ta aid da dragonflights at de request of da Dragonqueen. Some of ya be choosin’ ta stay on da homefront, where ya t’ink ya be needed most. Others be comin’ ta join us in time.” He paused, marshalling his thoughts. “Dere be some in de Alliance we be workin’ with over dere, who say dey be ‘sworn unto death’ for a cause dey believe in. Now, I be askin’ ya to do da same with me. Dere been some who call me ‘Herald of de Other Side’. I ask ya all ta be Heralds with me!”
To his surprise, there were nods and sounds of approval from them all.
“I have worked with ya all in some form or another since da war in Zandalar, and am proud ta call ya friends,” Zulimbasha continued. “I only ask dat ya swear da souls of dem ya kill ta Bwonsamdi, and dat ya uphold honor in all t’ings. Protect da innocent, and uphold da balance of life and death. Bring healin’ to those who yet live, and bring mercy ta any who be hearin’ da call of da Shadowlands.” His tone now had a hint of menace as he raised his staff, glowing with soul energy. “And for dem who seek to bar our way… Bwonsamdi be a Loa of death! Remind dem what dat means!”
“For Bwonsamdi!” Silna shouted. “For da Horde! For Azeroth!”
The group cried out as one: “For Bwonsamdi! For the Horde! For Azeroth!”
“Raise the anchors!” Kitrik shouted. “Engines to maximum power! Anybody who’s not with us, clear the way! We’re off to the Dragon Isles!”
And whatever awaits, Zulimbasha thought, as the Assassin’s Treasure lifted up into the air.