Character: Vol’jin, Avatar of Hakkar
The view from the top of the pyramid was breathtaking. Quite literally, in fact, as countless lives have been taken and countless souls have been sacrificed to the Blood God. Vol’jin sat comfortably on the richly adorned throne at the very top, as the priests brought yet another human sacrifice before his altar. The human stopped wrestling with his captors long ago, because he knew there was no point to it. He had just one thought – in one, final act of defiance he would look the troll chieftain in the eye and spit him in the face. But when the human raised his head and looked into the eyes of Vol’jin he saw something he could not comprehend. Madness. Ancient hysteria. A thirst for blood that could rival only the Old Gods. The eyes of the troll chieftain were no longer his own – now there was only Hakkar.
The troll cleared the still fresh blood off his tusks and looked upon his newest sacrifice. For a moment, he pitied the weak, pink creature that could not fight the might of Hakkar, but the voice in his head, the voice he gave himself willingly to, dispelled that pity. “We are one,” the voice whispered, “and Hakkar knows no pity.”
The avatar of Hakkar just smirked at the sacrifice and asked the same question he asked of everyone. “Any last words?” His voice echoed across the chamber, with two souls speaking in unison. The human, like all the others before him, was speechless. Hakkar has that effect on people. The troll just looked to his priests. “Finish it, then.”
The human was laid down on the altar, as the high priest raised an obsidian knife. The human’s whole life flashed before his eyes, as the knife plunged into his chest and opened it wide. Vol’jin did not even flinch. He never flinched, not even when he first saw sentient beings sacrificed to Hakkar. That determination was what convinced Jin’do that Vol’jin was the right person. But Jin’do did not know the ritual would cost him his life and soul. Vol’jin continued to look on, as the chest was split open and the still beating heart was ripped out and presented to him.
The human gasped for air one last time, but the shock overcame him and he lost his consciousness for the last time. Vol’jin grabbed the heart from the hands of his priest and sniffed it carefully, enjoying the smell of freshly carved heart. A thought crossed his mind. “What was his name?” he asked.
“Jorad Mace,” the priest answered, “A formidable foe, my lord, but nothing compared to your might.”
Vol’jin just nodded before sinking his teeth into the heart.
The Arathi Highlands did not impress the Avatar of Hakkar. He was born in the great jungles of Stranglethorn, thick with raptors fiercer than anything those humans have ever seen. He stalked his prey, sentient or not, from the shadows between the trees and slain it before it could even know it was dying. And this place… wide, open grasslands. This is no place for a shadow hunter, or for the Blood God. But as the Faceless One wished, so his Face did. Just another kingdom to conquer. Just another nation to bleed to death. Just another army, crossing his path.
But this army was different. They marched slowly, but firmly. Their banners were as red as blood, and so were their uniforms – and yet they were no allies. Hakkar heard of them before. The blood elves. The remnants of a once proud kingdom, destroyed by the Scourge. Now, whatever remained of them served the Alliance… or at least pretended to. The Soulflayer has delved into the nightmares of these elves and saw their darkest thought. He knew they were not unlike him. He knew there was a craving in their hearts, a dark craving no one could sate. No one but, perhaps, a god…
Soon, fireballs launched from the elven army. Ah yes, the mages… the elves thought that would surprise us. Before the priests could begin to prepare their shields, Vol’jin raised his hands and chanted an ominous spell that resounded between his troops and silenced everyone around him. A dark barrier enveloped the troll army. While many would be shocked, the Gurubashi would not. They have seen stranger things and they knew this dark cloud served only to protect them. At least until the day Hakkar calls for their blood.
When the first salvos dissipated in the cloud of darkness, the elves had no other choice but begin their assault in earnest. Wizards riding dragonhawks appeared on the sky, throwing their spears and spells at the troll army. But the Gurubashi had their own flying troops – their renowned bat riders and the ferocious cloud serpents, the children and cousins of Hakkar himself. The mages tried to maneuver and fire at the bats from afar, but the cloud serpents surrounded them and bit into the flesh of their mounts. Many elves fell to their deaths that day, and many more gave their blood to the Soulflayer.
It was not a battle. It was a slaughter. Another in the long line of victories Vol’jin has won for his dark master. Few elves survived, and those that did wished they didn’t, as more altars were raised to feed the Faceless One’s never-ending hunger. But still that battle was special, because of a very special captive. Before Vol’jin was brought no other than Kael’thas Sunstrider – the prince of Quel’thalas, the ruler of the blood elves. He was brought here because he pleaded for his life.
Vol’jin looked down on the beaten and kneeling Kael’thas. A mockery of the once royal image the prince possessed. Hakkar inside called for blood, but Vol’jin remained silent and listened. The prince dared to raise his head. Unlike most, he did not lose his wits at the sight. He was not shocked and taken aback. He marveled at the splendor the Avatar of Hakkar was wearing. The red-scaled armor, and the colorful feathers adorning his body, and the mask of Hakkar hiding the troll’s true face. Finally, the eyes burning with an unearthly fire. Eyes full of… power. That was all Kael’thas saw. No terror, just opportunity.
“I plead with you, oh great one,” Kael said, “for my people have a great need. One they cannot fulfill anymore.”
“What makes you think,” the twin voices responded, “that I would fulfill it?”
“Because I saw the power and splendor of Hakkar, and I know you can satiate our hunger. A hunger for power and magic. A hunger we could not sate ever since the Sunwell was defiled. We turned to new sources of power… even to draining demons… but it was never enough. And your power, my lord… it has no end. I can feel it.”
Hakkar screamed inside Vol’jin’s head. “Blood, MORE blood!” he shouted, but Vol’jin knew there is more to it. Vol’jin saw this as an investment. “We will get more blood if we spare this one’s life. His armies will serve us and will conquer even more. With them… we will drown this entire world in blood.” And Hakkar went silent. He listened. And then the two looked back at Kael’thas.
“Rise, Bloodlord,” the echoing voices responded, “A new destiny awaits you.”