Described in the following texts are the campaigns carried out by the Beastmaw Warband in the name of the Horde and Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner in what they now call the Fourth War…
It began with the warband’s renewed assignment to serve under Warlord Kon’taka of the Darkspear Tribe, herself answering to higher figures of authority based in Orgrimmar. The Beastmaw was paired with members of Kon’taka’s personal guard, the Taka’ai, and sent to the newly established outpost of Warfang Hold in Kul Tiran territory. There, with the Taka’ai’s Howling Sisters wolfrider unit, the Beastmaw were to locate and capture an important Alliance envoy from Stormwind.
Lord Blackhall, a somewhat neglected Stormwind noble of limited authority, had recently won the funding to rebuild his ancestral home of Blackwarden Keep on an island in Stormwind waters; a speck on the map, its location was too far off and just about out of reach by Alliance naval patrol routes. Its inhospitable rocky terrain made it useless as a port, and its near-barren landscape, a scar left from the Second War, made the promise of producing resources there a bleak one. It fail to grab the attention of Stormwind’s leadership and the support of its armies. Though of little use to the Alliance, its existence was discovered and deemed attractive by the Horde, and its capture became the main objective of Warlord Kon’taka’s forces.
The first step of the objective was finding the actual location of the island. That is where the Stormwind Envoy came into place. The Beastmaw succeeded in tracking down their wagon at the border of Stormsong Valley, stuck in a line and waiting to cross the border. There, the Beastmaw assaulted it from ambush, fighting its way through Stormsong border guards and Stormwind Knights. Though the prey was successfully captured and the Beastmaw fled back to the wilderness, the target was not whom they expected.
The Beastmaw had been briefed to seek the capture of Sir Welford Darling of Blackhall’s Household Guard and captain of Blackhall’s knights, who had been sent on a diplomatic mission to Stormsong Valley. Instead, that diplomat turned out to be Lady Eleanor Darling – Welford’s wife and Blackhall’s daughter.
Though the naval coordinates of Blackwarden Keep were obtained by interrogating Eleanor just the same, the response of her capture had been different to what had been expected. Lord Blackhall employed the service of the Order of the Night Gryphon commanded by Dalathar Locke, an old friend of his, to hunt down his daughter’s captors and to bring her back. In the Night Gryphon’s campaign against the Beastmaw in Stormsong Valley, they confronted the Howling Sisters and won a decisive victory against them, capturing their leader – Blood Guard Khulan Arrowsong.
Though personally caring little for the confrontational and proud Khulan, the Beastmaw could not allow the Alliance to possess such a high ranking member of the Horde. Therefore, through third-party contacts, a prisoner trade was agreed upon. The Beastmaw and the Night Gryphon met on a tropical island off the coast of Stranglethorn, and traded lady Eleanor for the now-pacified Khulan, who was suffering an Alliance warlock’s curse.
The exchange had been strategically timed. As soon as it was concluded, the Beastmaw sailed with haste to the location of Blackwarden Isle in order to assault it. Kon’taka’s spy, Azhai the Shrewd, newly recruited from Suramar, had informed the Beastmaw that Blackwarden Keep was undefended. Sir Welford and his knights were in Stromgarde, aiding the warfront, while the Night Gryphon, the only potential other reinforcements, would be outraced from Stranglethorn.
Arriving at the inhospitable island, the Beastmaw succeeded in landing a scouting team in stealth to explore the isle before the lightning attack could take place.
The scouting failed.
The spy warfare taking place in the background was tipped in the Alliance’s favour. An Alliance spy, yet uncovered, had warned the Night Gryphon of the Beastmaw’s intentions, and the castle was well-prepared for the Horde’s arrival. Armed patrols with hounds scoured the island’s wilderness, gryphon riders controlled the skies, and Blackhall’s personal galleon chased the Beastmaw’s Gorath’s Tide away from the island shore, cutting it off from the scout team.
The scouts were captured, and the Beastmaw’s vessel underwent a month-long pursuit by the Alliance galleon. Ultimately, the galleon was sunk in a region the Beastmaw provisionally called Barracuda Rocks and the Gorath’s Tide sailed back to Blackwarden. There, with the help of stragglers who had escape the capture – the tracker Tragdem Rimefang and the shaman Karda Stormweaver, as well as a hostile Mountain Giant who secretly called the island his home, it aided in freeing the Beastmaw scouts awaiting trial under the castle’s Guard Captain Katherina Bradley. During the heated escape, they succeeded in slaying Vypen Teague, the Archmage in service to lord Blackhall and member of his war council.
Blackwarden Keep was now heavily fortified and expecting attacks from the Horde. The Beastmaw returned to Zandalar, a half-way checkpoint across the Great Sea and a temporary base of operations, in time to see it assaulted by the Alliance. The battered warband aided in the defense of Dazar’alor. After the battle’s conclusion, the campaign to take Blackwarden was renewed, and made even more urgent – now the Alliance had naval superiority over the Horde, and any potential advantage for the war effort had to be seized.
While the Beastmaw recovered, the Order of the Night Gryphon hunted down and slew Kon’taka’s spymaster, Azhai. In response, and with the help of the order known simply as the Coven, the Beastmaw assaulted a prison wagon in Westfall, freeing two of their own scouts which had been transferred from Blackwarden Keep – Talekeeper Guln and Sanarala Thalana - and the disgraced human lord and rival to the Night Gryphon: Victor Commadore. With the incentive to seek vengeance upon Dalathar Locke and his followers, he agreed to serve as Kon’taka’s new spymaster.
A secret war council was held in a secluded Horde camp deep in Kul Tiran land known as the Wolf’s Den. The Beastmaw called upon their old allies of the Hand of the Titans, and recruited the mercenaries of the Wayward Vagrants. Together with Commadore’s intel and the brute strength of the Mountain Giant they discovered on the island, they now had a considerable force to throw at the now heavily defended castle.
The attack was a success. It was timed in such a way as to find Blackwarden Keep without the presence of the Night Gryphon. The Mountain Giant, along with an Azerite mortar designed by Kon’taka’s engineers, demolished one of the castle walls, and the combined force of Horde warriors and mercenaries took the courtyard. At the sime time, a covert team snuck into the Keep from the mountains and lowered its drawbridge.
Though lord Blackhall and his closest warriors were evacuated, the Beastmaw managed to capture Guard Captain Bradley. For the first time since the Second War, the island belonged to the Horde.
As repairs began, the Beastmaw set sail to chase other objectives: they had made a promise to the Mountain Giant Mossfoot to restore nature on the island, and after paying the mercenaries the warband was forced to renew the strength of its coffers. Blackwarden Keep was left in the hands of the now-cleansed Blood Guard Khulan. Guard Captain Bradley was taken along with the Beastmaw to keep as prisoner, as a bargaining chip should the Alliance be confronted elsewhere, and to take some burden off of Khulan.
While chasing the location of the Folly of the Waves, a pirate vault ship that the Beastmaw captured at the start of the war and mistakenly sailed within range of the Golden Fleet’s ballistae, the warband encountered trouble with the self-proclaimed Pirate Lord Spinel. He had survived the sinking of the Folly and had made it to Vol’dun, where he had formed a small army of his own composed of Zandalari exiles. Spinel tricked the Beastmaw and captured their frigate, the Gorath’s Tide. Stranded, the Beastmaw was forced to find another way back to Dazar’alor.
There, they found out that while they were cut off, the Alliance had retaliated and taken back Blackwarden Keep, dishonourably executed First Sergeant Relana Sunsorrow, and even converted Mossfoot to their side. Without a ship (an increasingly rare asset in the Horde fleet), without gold and with the Taka’ai completely scattered, General Torakk Bloodrain and Blood Guard Khulan would have been in a position of disgrace before Warlord Kon’taka. Torakk sought to lead an expedition and reclaim Gorath’s Tide to restore his honour before having to face the Warlord. That expedition is best described in detail elsewhere.
By the time the Tide was reclaimed, rebellion had stirred back in the Horde. The Beastmaw returned to find the Warchief at odds with the former High Overlord Saurfang, and the warband was forced to pick a side. The majority chose honour over duty, while the rest remained in Orgrimmar out of necessity. No bad blood was formed in those events.
With the Warchief dethroned, the campaign against Blackwarden Keep was no more. Kon’taka was missing, and the Beastmaw had no reason to seek its conquest any longer. A final prisoner trade was organised, and Guard Captain Bradley returned to the Alliance. In return, the Night Gryphon had the captured Taka’ai released for a monetary ransom, which served also as reparations to House Blackhall. Sergeant Ker Garnfang was still kept as prisoner, and the Night Gryphon demanded the surrender of the traitor Commadore in exchange for him.
After a hardship which began with the hunting of Alliance renegades and resulted in a deadly expedition into Nazmir, the Beastmaw were reunited with Warlord Kon’taka, with whom they had had no contact since before the Alliance had retaken Blackwarden. It appeared that after leaving the Arathi Warfront, her ship had been lured into the newly revealed Nazjatar, where she was ultimately put in a position to side with the Alliance in order to ensure Queen Azhara’s downfall.
Kon’taka was now back, and with news of N’zoth’s return. Her command to the Beastmaw was to sail to Blackwarden Keep, and continue what Lor’themar and Jaina Proudmoore had begun. Only with the cooperation of the Alliance in the bastion of Blackwarden Keep would the Taka’ai and the Beastmaw be able to contribute to this new war effort.
Though reluctant, the Alliance agreed. An influence on them was Guard Captain Bradley, who had been exposed to and convinced of the Beastmaw’s sense of honour during her captivity. As corruption spread across Blackwarden Isle, Kon’taka regrouped the Taka’ai. The Alliance command allowed the Horde to establish a base camp in the mountain vale which was named Taka’mar, and through the use of Blackwarden Keep’s mage towers it received supplies and reinforcements from Orgrimmar.
Faceless minions and fleshbeasts emerged on the island’s shores, and insectoid creatures swarmed the skies. The Beastmaw and the Night Gryphon held council and agreed on a plan in order to deal with the most prominent champions of the Void – a corrupted wolf which roamed the island’s forests and a Great Worm from Beyond which patrolled the skies. With the help of an artifact obtained by the Night Gryphon and enchanted by magi from both sides, the Night Gryphon and, unadvertently, the Beastmaw were able to slip into a void-corrupted mirror of the island and slay the twisted versions of their own friends and commanders.
Even so, a ritual took place, and the forces of the void brought about a twisted creature that the Night Gryphon called the Drowned God, a fiend they had slain months ago. It now occupied the body of a Faceless, and it emerged from the sea to assault the island. Alliance and Horde ships formed a blockade to stop it.
Despite the victories, they were all for naught. The minions of the Old God seemed like they would have overwhelmed the island, had the Champions of Azeroth not defeated N’zoth elsewhere in the world.