June 18, 2008
The Return is the 8th installment of the World of Warcraft comic.
The Return begins a new story arc set in the WORLD OF WARCRAFT. Upon learning he is in fact the missing king of Stormwind, Lo'Gosh returns to reclaim his throne with his comrades-in-arms Valeera, and Broll. But all is not as it seems in the eastern kingdom, especially if one informed dwarf has anything to say about it. Enter Thargas Anvilmar!
In Stormwind City's Valley of Heroes, hundreds of citizens gather in a great parade to welcome the lost King Varian Wrynn home. Lady Katrana Prestor, Prince Anduin Wrynn, and Highlord Bolvar Fordragon ride at the head of the ceremony. Anduin and Bolvar quietly discuss how the people of Stormwind know only that Varian was supposedly captured by the Defias Brotherhood and ransomed back using gold that the House of Nobles wrung from the common people with a special tax. In response to Bolvar's surprise, Anduin says that just because he's a child doesn't mean he doesn't hear things at court. When Varian arrives through the gates of Stormwind, he seems to show a marked interest in Katrana and dismisses Anduin's concerns about the raised taxes and instead begins discussing the banquet celebrating his return with Lady Prestor.
During a stormy night, Thargas Anvilmar waits in Menethil Harbor, having been sent by King Magni Bronzebeard to secretly meet with a "dignitary" from Theramore and escort him to Ironforge. A Theramore ship finally arrives carrying Lo'Gosh, Broll, and Valeera, and Thargas decides to follow the three newcomers as they head into town. Valeera complains about aches in her body, which Broll points out are symptoms of withdrawal after Valeera absorbed the arcane energy from Morgala Darksquall's trident. When Valeera drains magic from a nearby fortune-telling woman to restore some of her strength, Broll admonishes her for giving in to her cravings.
While walking past a building, the trio bump into the drunken Tapoke "Slim" Jahn, who is shocked at the sight of Lo'Gosh and exclaims that he's supposed to be dead. Lo'Gosh, Broll, and Valeera pursue Slim to a nearby tavern packed with Defias Brotherhood members. As soon as the trio enters, the Defias attack them and a vicious tavern brawl ensues. Thargas quickly joins the fray and saves Lo'Gosh's life by knocking out an eyepatch-clad mage that was aiming a fireball at the human's head. Lo'Gosh thanks him for the assistance, but as the fight continues, Thargas expresses confusion at what Varian is doing in Menethil when the ceremony celebrating his return is taking place in Stormwind. After the fight is over, Thargas explains that he knows Varian since one of the king's past tutors was his brother Hjalmar, who taught Varian dwarven combat stances such as the "Anvilmar feint". Thargas asks "if you're here, then who are they embracing at Stormwind?".
During a banquet in Stormwind Keep, Bolvar raises the issue of the Defias and Blackrock orcs to "Varian", who is bored by the discussion and seems to only be interested in planning a hunt and ball with Katrana. Anduin reminds him that King Magni will be arriving the following day to discuss the incursions of the Dark Iron dwarves, but when Varian continues to only show interest in spending more of the kingdom's gold on entertainment, Anduin turns to Bolvar and wonders what could have caused this change to his father.
Back in the tavern in Menethil, Thargas explains that the thugs he and the group fought were members of the Defias Brotherhood. Anvilmar notices a Dark Iron among the thugs and asks him why the Defias attacked them, to which the dwarf simply replies "boss said 'kill'". Broll points out that the drunkard the trio followed has disappeared. Valeera notices the thugs' leader, the dying one-eyed mage that Thargas knocked out. Lo'Gosh interrogates the man, who claims that he led the Defias who delivered Varian to the ship and that the person who wants Varian dead paid the Defias in Stormwind gold. The mage finally says that the Defias' employer won't give up and will destroy Varian's kingdom and murder his son. When the mage begins charging up a fireball in one of his hands, Valeera instantly drains him of magic and throws a dagger at his chest, killing him and angering Lo'Gosh and Broll. Valeera defends her decision by saying that the mage was about to kill Lo'Gosh and that they'd learned all they could from him anyway. Thargas agrees, but Lo'Gosh nonetheless tells Valeera that it was not her decision to make and that she should watch her thirst for magic, lest it betray them all in the end.
As the group leaves the tavern, Slim is seen running through the Wetlands away from town, resolving to seek out the Brotherhood and tell them that the king has returned.
Cover A artwork by Samwise.