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Warcraft by P-SimonSchuster


Author: Chris Metzen

Chapter One: A Clash of ArmsA soft, cool breeze blew through the upper branches of the mighty oak
trees of the Hearthglen Woods. A peaceful quiet had fallen over the tranquil forest, leaving Tirion Fordring
alone with his thoughts. His gray stallion, Mirador, trotted at an easy pace along the winding hunting
path. Though game had been strangely scarce for the past few weeks, Tirion came to hunt here whenever
the opportunity presented itself. He preferred the grandeur and crisp air of the open country to the musty,
confining halls of his keep. He had been hunting in these woods since he was a small boy and knew their
numerous, winding trails like the back of his hand. This was the one place he could always find refuge
from the burdens and bureaucratic pressures of his station. He mused that someday he would bring his
young son, Taelan, to hunt with him so that the boy could experience the rugged majesty of his
homeland for himself.Lord Paladin Tirion Fordring was a powerful man. He was strong in both mind and
body, and was counted as one of the greatest warriors of his day. Though he was slightly over fifty years
of age, he still looked as fit and dynamic as he had when a younger man. His signature bushy mustache
and his neatly trimmed brown hair were streaked with gray, but his piercing green eyes still shone with an
energy that belied his years. Tirion was the governor of the prosperous Alliance principality of Hearthglen,
a large forested region nestled at the crossroads between the towering Alterac Mountains and the mist-
shrouded shores of Darrowmere Lake. He was respected as a just governor and his name and deeds
were honored throughout the kingdom of Lordaeron. His great keep, Mardenholde, was the center of
commerce and trade for the bustling region. The citizens of Hearthglen took great pride in the fact that the
keep's mighty walls had never fallen to invaders, even during the darkest days of the orcish invasion of
Lordaeron. Yet, of late, Tirion was disgruntled to find a different kind of army scurrying worriedly through
the halls of his home. In recent weeks the keep had been overrun with traveling dignitaries and
representatives from the various nations of the Alliance, who passed through Hearthglen on their secret
diplomatic errands. He had met with many of them in person, offering his hospitality and assistance
wherever he could. Though the dignitaries were appropriately appreciative of his efforts, Tirion could sense
a growing tension within all of them. He suspected that they were charged with carrying dire news directly
to the Alliance High Council. Try as he might, he could not discern the specifics behind their urgent
communiqués. Yet Tirion Fordring was no fool. After thirty years of serving the Alliance as a Paladin, he 
recognized that only one thing could cause the otherwise stoic emissaries to be so troubled: War was
returning to Lordaeron.It had been nearly twelve years since the war against the orcish Horde had ended.
It was a terrible conflict that had raged across the northlands, leaving many of the Alliance kingdoms
razed and blackened in its wake. Too many brave men fell before the rampaging Horde was finally
stopped. Tirion had lost a number of good friends and soldiers over the course of the war. Though the
Alliance had rallied at the eleventh hour and pulled victory from the clutches of certain defeat, it had paid
a heavy price. Almost an entire generation of young men had selflessly given their lives to insure that
mankind would never be slaves to savage orc overlords. Near the war's end, the battered and leaderless
orc clans...

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