|Balancing the Scales|
Cover B by Jim Lee
|Artist(s)||Ludo Lullabi, Sandra Hope|
|Publication date||Febuary 20, 2008|
Balancing the Scales is the 4th installment of the World of Warcraft comic.
Lo'Gosh remembers more secrets from his past as he and Broll fight alongside the night elves in Warsong Gulch. Will Lo'Gosh's gladiator prowess and Broll's druidic rage be enough to ensure their success? Plus, Valeera uncovers an assassin's plot while in Thunder Bluff, and must warn Lo'Gosh of the danger headed his way.
The issue begins where Destiny Awaits! left off, with Lo'Gosh getting knocked off Sharptalon's back by one of Rehgar's slavers while he and Broll are escaping Thunder Bluff. Luckily, Broll manages to grab hold of Lo'Gosh's arm and maneuvers Sharptalon in such a way that his companion can get within striking distance of the slavers and cut them down from their wyverns. During the fight, Lo'Gosh notices that Sharptalon has been wounded and, after dispatching the last of Rehgar's guards, questions his and Broll's next course of action; while they need to go back and rescue Valeera from Helka Grimtotem, Sharptalon is in no shape to carry the pair all the way to the Merchant Coast. Broll replies that he has family in the nearby Warsong Gulch and that they can land there to let the hippogryph recover before backtracking to free Valeera, assuming she hasn't escaped already.
Back in Thunder Bluff, Valeera and Bristlefur are hiding behind a tent on the Elder Rise, having lost sight of Lo'Gosh and Broll after their escape. Suddenly, Valeera sees an ebon gryphon arrive on the mesa, carrying the Stormwind Assassin's Guild member that was hired by the mysterious hooded figure to kill Lo'Gosh. The assassin meets with Magatha Grimtotem, who received a message through the Forsaken that he was coming. The assassin states that he wants Lo'Gosh dead or alive and will pay for information about him. Magatha replies that the champion of Dire Maul has escaped but tells the assassin to come into her tent so they can discuss things further. Valeera decides to eavesdrop on the conversation.
As dawn breaks, Sharptalon is seen carrying Broll and Lo'Gosh through Ashenvale. Broll tells Lo'Gosh about how Ashenvale has become disputed territory, and of how orcs known as the Warsong Outriders began harvesting wood from the forest to construct their nation in Durotar while Broll was a gladiator. Suddenly, the group comes across a vast swathe of the forest that has been completely felled and desecrated by Horde forces, and nearby they spot a large group of Horde soldiers preparing to ambush an approaching Alliance force. Broll concludes that the Horde's wanton destruction of the forest was a ruse to lure the Silverwing Sentinels into a trap.
Landing Sharptalon, Broll and Lo'Gosh greet the Sentinels, who include a night elf priestess and Broll's cousin Telandria, and inform them of the nearby Horde contingent. Lo'Gosh suggests that the Sentinels use the same strategy the orcs were hoping to use on them: quietly set warriors in the forest behind the orcs, then lead a small force directly into the open that will flee at the sight of the Horde soldiers, luring the orcs into a chase and allowing the warriors hidden in the forest to attack from the rear. The priestess suggests that Broll sit the fight out. Lo'Gosh protests and instead suggests that Broll sweep down on the battle on Sharptalon to frighten the Horde forces. Broll agrees and assures the priestess that he has spent years learning to contain his rage.
During the evening in Thunder Bluff, Valeera overhears the conversation between Magatha and the assassin. Magatha throws a set of rare herbs into a campfire to create a vision of where Lo'Gosh has gone, revealing that he and Broll are in Warsong Gulch and that their lives are already in danger.
In Ashenvale, Broll and Lo'Gosh prepare to perform the feint. Broll asks the human how it feels to be mounted on a horse after his time atop Sharptalon. Lo'Gosh replies that it feels natural and that he must have spent much of his previous life on horseback. Without further ado, Lo'Gosh leads a handful of Alliance soldiers as they rush out in front of the Horde army before turning around and riding back, luring the orc forces into the open and allowing the bulk of the Alliance army to sweep down on them. As the battle is joined, Broll leaps down from Sharptalon and shapeshifts into a bear to join the fray. However, at the back of the battle lines, an orc shaman suddenly summons a huge, uncontrollable lava elemental.
Indifferent to the warring factions, the elemental begins wreaking havoc on the battlefield and setting fire to the surrounding forests. Broll is overwhelmed by rage and — despite the priestess' protests — shapeshifts back into night elf form and summons the elements of fire and thunder to Ashenvale, conjuring a chaotic storm and causing roots to erupt from the ground to envelop the combatants. Lo'Gosh yells for Broll to stop while the rain from the storm destroys the lava elemental. Even so, Broll remains enveloped in rage, and Lo'Gosh is unable to reach him until he rips free of the roots that bind him and knocks his companion unconscious with a branch. Immediately, the storm breaks and nature begins to return to normal while the Sentinels apprehend the defeated Horde forces.
Back in Thunder Bluff, Magatha and the assassin have finished watching the vision of the battle. The assassin gives Magatha a hundred gold for her help and leaves on his gryphon. Valeera quickly follows him on Bristlefur.
In Ashenvale, Lo'Gosh and Telandria discuss the unconscious Broll. Lo'Gosh reflects that he never knew what Broll was capable of, and that the druid had restrained himself in Dire Maul by only ever fighting with his staff and as a bear. Telandria explains that Broll was not always so quick to anger. He was born with antlers, a rare sign of great potential, and people long waited for his greatness to manifest. However, wile he grew up into a powerful druid with great skills of shape-shifting, he didn't seem to be anything special. In time, he was gifted with the Idol of Remulos, an artifact crafted by Remulos and connected to a green dragon that linked Broll to the Emerald Dream. It was thought that the idol would allow Broll to manifest his full potential, but he advanced no further and he began to feel as if he had failed to fulfill his promise. During the Battle of Mount Hyjal, Broll fought Scourge and Burning Legion forces alongside his daughter Anessa. His command was cut off from the main force and was attacked by a group of powerful demons drawn to his hiden core of druidic power. Desperate, Broll called on the deep earth to protect his allies and stood his ground, allowing the others to pull back towards the main force while the trees uprooted themselves to attack the undead and demons. In the end, however, he was overwhelmed by the pit lord Azgalor and dropped the idol as he fell. Anessa rushed to her father's side, but when Azgalor's blade, Spite, struck the idol, it unleashed an explosion of fel energy that killed Anessa instantly.
While Broll's sacrifice saved many lives and contributed to the mortal races' victory, the fel blast left him traumatized and tainted. Blaming himself for the loss of the idol and his daughter, he was unable to contain his rage and his manifestations began to endanger others. His animal transformations became monstrous and eventually ceased altogether, with only the bear standing by him and allowing him to use its form. Shortly after, Broll vanished. Telandria finishes her tale by saying that if Broll became a gladiator as Lo'Gosh says, he chose that path willingly, for if he had wanted otherwise, no master could have contained him.
Suddenly, Broll wakes up and immediately apologizes to his cousin for thinking he was ready to be among them again. He concludes that without the structured aggression of arena combat, he is still a danger to people around him. Lo'Gosh tells Broll to get over it, since his actions saved them all from the lava elemental and ensured the Sentinels' victory over the Outriders. Telandria informs Broll that while everyone thought that the Idol of Remulos had been destroyed, rumors have surfaced that it was secretly carried off by a furbolg and now taints the forest near Thistlefur Hold, corrupting the furbolgs there. Broll thanks Telandria for the information and resolves that if the idol still exists, it his responsibility to cleanse or destroy it once and for all, and that he will go to Thistlefur Hold.