Tiponi's Journal

Wyrmrest Accord
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((After letting it sit on my hard drive for many months, I've decided to share my characters story with the forums.

Tiponi came about a funny way. I joined a co-op writing project on the old RP forum called "Shallow Grave". The original poster was an undead warlock named Hyzanthlay. Other posters came and went but in the end Hyzanthlay and I wrote ourselves a little saga. Tiponi was born. I loved her character so much that I decided to roll her on an RP server. Unfortunately this was still in Wrath of the Lich King days and Tauren paladins didn't exist yet. So I rolled her as a young warrior, a prequel to the days where she would meet the undead warlock that would change her life forever.

To the point, this journal was written in a number of sections. Section one, is Tiponi as the young warrior, finding her place in the world. Section two is the forum saga co-written by Hyzanthlay. Section 3 is when she has become a Sunwalker and joins the Shadowhoof tribe.

Now I must apologise if Tiponi's opinion offends anyone. She's more than a little naive and jumps to the wrong conclusions occasionally. Luckily I've had nothing but the best experience with the folks of Wyrmrest Accord and I am grateful and honoured to be surrounded by such mature and creative role players. Nevertheless, if you find your character mentioned and you wish my to alter your name, please contact me.

I hope you enjoy and I do love feedback, after all this has been my first attempt at roleplaying in game and writing anything of significance ;)

Love Tiponi))
This leather bound journal appears to be quite old. It is scuffed along the binding and the pages are yellowed. The first few pages of the book have been torn out, their remnants testament to their disappearance. On the first intact page, small, neat letters flow across the parchment.

I cannot believe it. Tonight is the night my dreams came true. I had dreamed for so long of leaving, of seeing the whole world and experiencing all of it. I dreamt for so long that it started to feel like only that, a simple dream. It was up to me all along. I thought about it, pined over it, reconsidered and wondered, but all it took was the one decision to change everything.

I decided to join the Earthspear.

I’d heard so much about them, and as I spoke to some of them by the pool in Thunder Bluff this past week, I became convinced that this tribe would give me the opportunity I sought. The opportunity for adventure. I wish to see the mesas and plains that stretch far beyond the boundaries of Mulgore. I want to see the other cities of the horde, talk to a Forsaken and lie beneath unfamiliar stars. Once I decided that, the rest was easy. Father will forgive me.

Please Father, forgive me.
Elder Pishnek has shown me a wondrous thing. The Earthspear tribe can communicate across great distances through the use of a totem blessed by an air spirit. I have seen the shaman of my village use such a thing before, but never thought I could possibly duplicate the feat. He says that I will learn in time, and soon I will understand the strange sounds emitted by my totem. The Earthspear can use it to contact me whenever they have need of me, and vice-versa. I just need to make one...

I’ve been thinking hard about my totem. It needs to be significant to me, in material and design. Pishnek spoke of the animal spirits and suggested that I craft my totem in that form. I’ll admit that I crept into father’s tent while he was out and I went through my grandmother’s old things. She had this tiny figurine of an owl, carved out of a pale crystal. I think it might have been her totem. I was too young to ask her this while she was alive, I just thought it was a pretty toy to play with. I took it from father’s chest of valuables. I plan to return it before he notices, I just...need a little guidance.

I’m no stone crafter, and I’ve never been very good at wood-work either. I could make my totem out of leather, but then it might not last very long. Perhaps I could make it out of clay? I would need to fire up the kiln while everyone in the village is asleep. I think I’ll go out to Red Rocks tomorrow. The clay there is naturally very fine and it would be ideal.

Now all I have to do is find my totem animal. Easier said than done... I heard some of the warriors say that they smoked a pipe full of magic herbs to discover their totem spirit. I broached the subject with the Elders lightly, just to gauge their reaction. They laughed at me and told me to come back when I am older! My brother always has it easy, the Eagle came to Kwahu in a dream. Perhaps I will be so fortunate.
As I write I am taking a break from my task up at Red Rocks. I did not manage to find my animal totem in my dreams last night but I am not concerned. There is still plenty of time. I have collected a good portion of fine red clay. I have it wrapped between rolls of wet linen to keep it fresh until I can work on it tonight back home. As I was finishing my gathering I spied a strange yellow colour in the rocks on a high ledge. Getting a sample down took me only about ten minutes and I’m glad I did. Father called this ore Q’uellu’hua’sun, it can be turned into a bright golden pigment. I will use this in the making of my totem. Surely the Earthmother has given me this gift, I take it as a sign that she is pleased with the path I have chosen.
I suppose there is no shame in asking for help. I’ll admit that I am very unknowledgeable about matters outside my people’s ancestral lands, but surely I should be able to recognise my own totem animal? For the last few nights I have risen under Mu’sha’s light. I have sat by the kiln with the clay on the bench. Ready to go. Nothing.

Last night I sat there staring at that little malformed lump until An’she rose in the sky. Kwahu teased me all day about looking like a Forsaken. I’ve never felt like this before. I’m at a complete and total loss... I tried to sculpt wings at first. Like Grandmother or my brother, I thought my totem animal might be a bird. The clay felt apart in my hands, the shape refusing to take form. Every night I pray that I will find my totem in my dreams, but when I awake all I hear is laughter echoing inside my own head.

There is no shame in admitting that I do not know. Roakkeal gave me a fragment of a book to read, it holds a great list of many totem animals and their qualities. I’ve been reading it every spare moment I can get. Perhaps mine will be a bat totem, after all bat can be a “powerful totem for change.” I’ve had to change a lot to get this far I suppose. Or perhaps it should be a plainstrider or zhevra totem? Both are wanderers and all I have ever wanted has been travel and adventure.
The ink pools here, as though the writer paused for sometime without lifting the quill. It’s quite a long list, I’ll try to get more done tomorrow.

Totem animal, can’t you hear me looking for you?
I fell asleep on my way back home from the village. I suppose it’s not surprising given all the restless nights I’ve had, trying to discover my totem. Well, the good news is, I have the answer. It’s just... not quite what I expected. I curled up under a thicket of trees and fell asleep as soon as my eyelids closed. No, I did not dream of my totem animal coming to me. He came while I was awake...

It was the breath on my face that disturbed me from the dream world. I came back around, and for a moment I was paused in that place between worlds. I was half-asleep, half-awake, but I was aware. I could see An’she beginning to go behind the mountains, and the sky staining red at her passing. The birds were silent, there was nothing disturbing the air but the sounds of our breathing. His nose was close to mine. When I awoke, I was staring into his eyes and I knew that he had found me. I wish I had said, “Thankyou my totem for answering my prayers.” That would have been ideal. Instead I said:

“No, no, no, no. Please, go away. Not you, anything but you.”

I no doubt offended him, but he only sat and regarded me, as I regarded him. We were like that for what felt like hours, our faces only inches from each others, staring into each other’s spirits. I felt the connection and I knew I had found my totem then. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, he seemed to smile, then off he went.

I do not doubt it, but I can scarcely believe it...

My totem is the Coyote.
My air totem is done.

The block that had been keeping me from its completion finally fell away. I sculpted the beast out of clay with skill I never knew I possessed. Judging by the light I must have spent hours working on it, but I was not aware of even the minutes passing. I captured the deep pools of his eyes hinting at endless mystery. I textured his fur, his delicate paws. I even managed to capture that slight smile he seemed to bear as he judged me and found me fitting. I ground the Q’uellu’hua’sun ore into a fine powder with my mortar and pestle and painted the sun-gold pigment onto his fur. While my beautiful little clay coyote baked in the kiln, I fell into a satisfied sleep.

It was there that Kwahu found me.

“Is this what you’ve been sneaking off to do?” he demanded while I was still bleary eyed.

“You don’t understand brother-“

“I understand perfectly.” He stood tall with his head held high. He has changed a lot since he began his training with the druids, but he is not the only one who has changed.

“It’s my totem.” I told him simply, standing my ground. I became aware of the first rays of light coming through the window. I would need to be gone soon.

“You were serious then? About joining this tribe and abandoning your real family?” he punctuated each question with a finger jabbed at my chest. I raised my gaze to meet his.

“I have joined them. I have been accepted.” The look on his face pleased my selfish aspect for a split second, but I regretted it a moment later.

“I’m telling father.” He strode off.

“No! Please!” I called out to him vainly as he left.

It is done.
This page is marred by dried droplets, some of which have creased the page, others have made the ink run.

He said such horrible things. He said I am no longer his daughter. That he never wants to see me again.

I’m so sorry.
I had a nice long chat with Ushi tonight. He was troubled and we ended up speaking for hours until Mu’sha fell below the horizon. The talk helped me too, by trying to help him I forgot my own problems for a while. He told me that he had attacked his own kin, and that the Chieftain and Felgar were going to kill him by throwing him over the bluffs. I tried to assure him that they must have been joking but he believes they were deadly serious. He thinks he was tainted by a [s]man[/s] thing named Apophan. I have heard this name before. He is an evil Shu’halo who has fallen as far as I think it is possible to fall. Ushi said the shamans tried to cleanse the taint but were blocked by some kind of serpents. I find it all very strange. I’d like to think he feels better now. If he is tainted perhaps it was very foolish for me to sit and talk to him alone. I didn’t feel in danger with him. Maybe I’m just a fool...

He’s going into Desolace tomorrow to begin his rites. Maybe I shouldn’t have written that, I’m not sure if it was a secret... no matter, no one is going to read this. I told him to throw himself against the meanest monster he can find, to channel his rage into a good cause.
The ink pools here.

Bad Bear please be safe.
I had a dream.

It was a good dream, and it did not vanish from my memory when I awoke as some of my dreams are want to do. In my dream I saw my Grandmother... I miss her so. Sometimes I feel like she is the only one who ever understood me.

She told me that the Earthmother has a plan for us all, and that father will forgive me eventually.

I was still upset, I didn’t even want to talk about father.

She talked to me of the coyote. I raised my concern, that he is often viewed as a trickster and as a bringer of death. She replied that those are only a part of his nature. Coyote completes the cycle of life, and he also brings new life. He plays tricks as a way to remind us to be mindful of our actions. He shows us how the consequences of our actions can affect more than just ourselves and that we must learn from our mistakes if we intend not to repeat them. Roakkeal’s paper tells me that coyote is also a shape-shifter, a transformer of personality. He too symbolises change. I will honour coyote...

Oh one more thing... Coyote’s philosophy is that no matter how difficult or dire a situation we find ourselves, we must always take time to laugh...

What an amazing day. I do not know where to start...

Oh yes, Daethon has returned from his rites in Tanaris. We sat by the pond and he told me about his amazing adventures in the desert with the Sandfury Trolls. We went for a little trip down to the faire grounds. I realised last week when I ‘borrowed’ father’s kodo to journey with the Earthspear through the Barrens, that I will need a mount of my own in order to keep up with my tribe mates. Unfortunately now that father has disowned me and cast me out I have little in the way of money. I have the clothes on my back, my little coyote totem, Grandmother’s owl figure, a few personal odds and ends like this old journal, and my Grandmother’s old armour. I’ll admit it, I stole it. I won’t be going back to father so I have no means to return it. I was feeling rightly horrible about it until Daethon pointed out that my Grandmother and I were so joined in spirit, I know it to be true that she would have wanted me to have it. I feel better thinking that I am honouring her wishes.

So I made bread. There’s not a lot I can do. I can hunt prairie dogs and cook and sew. Not a lot going for me there... So I baked bread to sell at the faire. I saw a human there, can you believe it? But no one wanted my bread. Why would they? They sold these amazing things at the faire called Darkmoon Dogs, they are delicious but I don’t recommend eating more than three at a time. I’ll have to think of some other way to increase my income. Kodos are expensive.

I ran into Sisika again today. I met her only briefly before, and she was just as strange then. The others told me she is the Cheiftain’s daughter. She sure has a peculiar manner... I’m not sure if I like her or not, she puzzles me.

Oh fantastic news! When Rorark, Roakkeal, Daethon and I were discussing our rites, I admitted that I was concerned. You see, I’ve never been trained to fight. The only combat experience I’ve had other than hunting rodents for supper has been once long ago when our caravan was attacked I was shoved in a barrel. That’s it. Rorark has offered to train me! I hope I can improve quickly, I will need to approach the Elders in a week for my rites and if I am unprepared than I will dishonour the tribe and my oath.

I’ll admit it started poorly. I nearly carved off the...
the ink pools here ...the manparts of my friends. It was then that Rorark switched me to a wooden training weapon. We trained out in the fields of Mulgore until the sun had set and it grew too dark to see. I think I’m getting better. I was abysmal before, now I’m only terrible.

When we rejoined Roakkeal back at the bluffs I saw he was already in the process of attuning his totem with shaman Crowstorm’s help. I watched carefully in the hopes that I too would get the chance and Crow didn’t let me down. It was a simple little ritual, and I think it helped to attune me to Coyote even more than it helped the wind speak to reach my ears.

It’s strange. I’ve experienced such changing flashes of emotion all week. I was ready to die yesterday from sadness, but today I feel like I could float away on a cloud. Everything will be alright now, I’m sure of it.
I’ve started training with a wooden dummy while Rorark isn’t around. I’m actually finding it a lot easier to hit the thing when it’s not moving and I don’t have to move either. Fighting is a lot harder against a real opponent. I think I’m getting better. At least, I’ve stopped hitting myself in the head with my own weapon- which is a good sign. My whole body aches though, and I’m running out of time.

I had an amazing opportunity yesterday. Daethon, Roakkeal and I rode down to Feralas. Can you believe it? The trees stretch as high as the sky there and there is a fresh green moss that grows on everything. Strange bird calls echo through the canopy and ancient fallen trees are home to all manner of beasts. I would love to have explored more but we went with a purpose. It was called the Hornet’s Nest, some sort of fight club with orcs. I saw an orc! He was shorter than a bull, but you should have seen his muscles. They were like a tree’s trunk! Daethon and Roak suggested that I watch the fights to learn. I’m not sure I can do the things those warriors could do. They fought with their bare hands, with raw power. Daethon fought an orc. I thought he did rather well- better than I could have, but he seemed disappointed in himself.

Oh speaking of Roakkeal, I’ve discovered that he has an amazing talent. I have heard of beast masters being able to see through their animal companion’s eyes, and take on some qualities of the beast, but Roak does something different all together. He merges somehow with his cat Lyra. His lynx took over his body! I had a conversation with a cat! Something I never imagined I could do outside my dreams. She likes chocolate, and watermelon...and Daethon apparently. I wonder what that means...

I’ve been looking into other ways to make money. Roak says he does odd jobs for people for cash. I’m sure I could do something like that, I just need to get my name out there so that people know to ask me. In the meantime I have another lead I want to follow up. I’ve heard there’s a wigmaker in Ratchet who buys hair! Kind of gross I know, but gold’s gold and right now a kodo is more important to me than my braids. Next time I’m in the Barrens I’ll have to chase it up.

I had a lovely chat with Crowstorm tonight. She’s such a sweet shaman. I’m sure she’ll make an excellent Elder if she wants to be. We talked about battle scars and she told an amazing story about how she got her totem from a black dragon.

Now as I sit by the pool, writing by torchlight I’m thinking about what tomorrow will bring. I might tell another one of Grandmother’s stories at the Circle. Now I just have to decide which one.
It’s just started raining in Thunder Bluff. I don’t mind the rain, but usually I prefer to be indoors or around a nice roaring fire. Today it felt good on my skin though. I’ve been training a lot lately. Roakkeal and Daethon have been teaching me how to block and dodge incoming attacks. These sorts of things I can’t learn from a training dummy. Roakkeal has helpful advice. He is a beastmaster and often takes on what he calls “aspects” of the animal spirits. For example, if he wishes to be quick, he might call on the aspect of the cheetah. This puts him into the right frame of mind, granting him some of the abilities of that animal spirit. My friends are so blessed and they hardly see it. I am trying very hard not to be jealous of their abilities, but it is sometimes difficult. Especially when they seem to take them for granted...

Anyway, Roakkeal suggested I try drawing from the aspect of my totem animal coyote. To think like the coyote, move like him, and fight like him. I gave it a go. I decided to trick Daethon the next time he charged at me in his cheetah form. I tried to leap over him, hoping to surprise him and gain the advantage. I mustn’t be a very good coyote... He seemed to know I was about to try something and just as I jumped he called upon his druidic powers and transformed into a bear! Needless to say I didn’t make the jump over him... but at least I avoided getting impaled on his horns. It’s been great sparring with them. I can feel myself getting better. It’s strange. Not only can I feel that my muscles are getting stronger, and my reflexes quicker, but I also feel like my senses are becoming more like a warrior’s. I hear noises in my sleep and I find myself trying to grab for a weapon before I am even fully awake. As I walk through the bluffs I find myself noting advantageous positions for a scuffle. I’m changing, and I like it.

I told the story of How the Prairie Dog Lost his Tail at the Story Circle. It was one of my favourites as a little girl because it tells of how the animals came to be as they are. I think it went down well. Crowstorm told us the same story she did earlier but she made it even more exciting, if such a thing were possible. Let’s see, there were so many. Ah yes, Daethon spoke. He told the story of the Butterfly that Stamped. I had heard it before, it was another of my Grandmother’s favourites. It was strange though, Daethon told me he heard the story from a troll. The story was the same, but small details were different. I would love to see how many of our stories take another form in Orc and Troll cultures. In the version I knew, it was not Loas that came down from the sky, but mighty Ancestral Spirit Warriors, and it was not a great sea beast that ate all the food, it was my dear Coyote. Rorark also told a tale, about how he earned the name “Shatterfist”. It was very amusing, to think- he punched a kodo horn! I laughed so hard.

We had our tribe meeting today. Padania stood down as the Head Brave’s second for the safety of her unborn child. I don’t know her well, but I admire her actions. Anocken has taken up the position, and I’m certain she’ll do a great job. Ushi and Daethon were made kin today. Ahh Daethon... I learnt something about him that took me completely by surprise. He..
the ink pools ...got very close to one of the Chieftain’s daughters... It was very strange. I felt very weird hearing about that, and after the meeting I hurried off to get my head in order.

I put on my armour and headed out to the Hunter’s Rise, where I proceeded to hack into the training dummies there. I’m not jealous. I’m not even old enough for a mate, and I never even thought about Daethon in that way. Besides, he has that weird thing with Lyra going on... I don’t know what came over me. I couldn’t rationalise my weird emotions. I think it’s my hormones. At the beginning of the year I noticed my body begin to change and grow in weird ways. I wish mother or grandmother were around to explain things to me, but I think I’ve figured it out mostly. These weird emotional mood swings are new though... I hope they don’t last. Who knows what Daethon thought about my actions?

One good thing came of it though... as I hacked into that wooden dummy I was not focused on who was watching me. I wasn’t embarrassed or concerned that I might make a mistake. I just unleashed my raw feelings on my target. I wasn’t even aware of my swings for the most part, so preoccupied was my mind. After a few minutes I was dripping with sweat and feeling a whole lot better. It’s taught me a lesson too, I need to loosen up. If I keep worrying about embarrassing myself in front of my tribe mates, that will only make me more likely to stuff up.

I feel like laughing. Such a weird day, but it’s all becoming clearer. I’m almost ready to undertake my rites. I’m no longer the girl I used to be.
How could I have been so stupid? I embarrassed myself in front of the Head Brave and nearly got myself killed...

It started by the pond in bluffs. Adalina was resting beside me as Roakkeal and Lohawq talked about tracking great beasts. The druid Kunawen came up and started, well, irritating me to be honest. First she was chewing on Lina’s tail but then she started gnawing on my own. I left partly to get away from her but I also had an ulterior motive in mind. I had heard the Bluffwatchers speaking of a great beast that they could see sometimes from the lifts. It comes out at night as if a ghost and its pelt gleams white under Mu’sha’s light. I decided to hunt the beast. Its pelt would make a fine trophy for my first kill. I know that I am no tracker, so I enlisted Roakkeal’s aid. He protested that his skills lay in other areas but I think he performed admirably. His cat Lyra raced ahead, and she found the scent of the ghost wolf quickly. I think my heart stopped beating for a moment when my eyes first caught sight of him. His glorious fur truly did shine with the light of Mu’sha. Roakkeal gave me some sort of blessing, I’m not exactly sure what, but other than that he stayed back and let me make the kill my own. It was over quickly. I cornered the beast against the cliff face north of the bluffs and swiftly felled it with my spear. I was so proud my heart sang at that moment. Roakkeal was kind and claimed little credit, but I knew he and Lyra aided me greatly. I skinned the beast and took its pelt as a trophy like I intended, and its meat I harvested for a hearty meal. My head was soaring in the clouds when we returned to the bluffs, so much so that it took me a moment to realise that something was wrong.

The druid Kunawen was nowhere in sight, but Adalina was being attacked by an elf. As I moved towards her, as though in a daze, I saw her fall. Apparently I screamed a warning into my totem, but I do not remember this. I drew my spear and charged at the elf standing over Lina. It was a foolish move. My training with Daethon, Roakkeal and Rorark was nothing compared to a real fight. I was clumsy, and I moved without thinking. Luckily the Head Brave was there and the Chieftain. They fought off the two elf attackers as I stood there like an idiot. I thought Adalina was dead and I began to cry, revealing my pitiful weakness to the Head Brave. He snapped at me to stop my foolishness, and sent Roakkeal and I to scour the bluff. I was so ashamed I wished I could melt into the ground. I not only displayed my pitiful fighting skills but I also bawled like a child, revealing my immaturity as well. The attackers had disappeared.

Tasicala comforted me afterwards. She is so wonderfully nice. She said that it was I that gave the tribe the warning of the attack, which made me feel better. She told me that she also had a hard time during her first fight with the Shadow Reserves. She, however, has a horrible scar to show for it. I told her that I felt as though, just when I thought I was prepared- I found out that I truly knew nothing. She said something profound. She said: Just when I thought I knew all life’s answers, they changed the questions. Ha! It’s a lesson I want to heed well. We sat by the pond and Roakkeal was amazingly lucky, he managed to fish up a bloated trout that had swallowed Lina’s false eye! I didn’t even realise that she had lost it during the attack. She came back down to the pond and we spoke for a while. I am relieved that she will be ok. She thinks that her connections in Silvermoon had something to do with the attack, and this might not be the last of them. Next time, I will not be such a fool.
The last sentence is written with such force the quill has torn through the parchment.
Tiponi’s Rites

The parchment before you has been scratched out multiple times. The words flow across the page in small, neat letters, and if you squint you can make out the scratched-out sections.

Dear The word has been scratched out.
To Sir
Scratched out again.
Head Brave Rakhalen,

It has been ten moons since I pledged myself to the Earthspear tribe. Since that time I have been training hard. Rorark, Daethon and Roakkeal have been teaching me how to fight.

I need a chance to prove I’m not such a disgrace
The line has been scratched out.
I’ll do better if I just
Scratched out again.
I ask for the opportunity to undertake my rites and prove my worth to the tribe.


Love hearts, flowers and cartoons of kittens are drawn beneath her name and are not scratched out.
Well, this is it. It’s finally time for me to undergo my rites and prove my worth to the Earthspear tribe. I packed up my few meagre belongings and started off on my journey. I’m tasked with travelling to Un’goro crater. Just wait until I tell Daethon! I’ll get to see Tanaris desert after all on my way through. I’m so excited!

First I made a stopover in Ratchet. I had planned to visit that wig-maker to see how much gold I could get for my braids, but in the end I didn’t need to. There is a goblin bank at the port town and they do loans! Oh surely the Earthmother is with me on this day. Oh course, the goblins weren’t willing to just give out a large sum of gold to a Shu’halo they had never met. They wanted [s]collat colateral[/s] ... something they could count on me returning for. I emptied out my pack of belongings to show them that I really didn’t have much on me, but wouldn’t you know it, their eyes just lit right up when they saw Grandmother’s crystal totem. They agreed to take the totem until I return and repay them their loan. I’m so happy! Clearly the goblins could understand the deep spiritual significance that item holds for me.

So with my pockets full of gold I went to a kodo handler to buy myself a mount for the journey. It’s rather shocking how much a fully trained kodo costs, and I ended up paying extra for some armoured barding. I’m sure there will be many fierce creatures in Un’goro so it will be safer to have some protection. My kodo is a beautiful creature with pale scales and spots the colour of Red Rocks sand. I think I’ll name her Denali, which means Tall One. We rode swiftly through the Barrens, making great time. At first I found her bouncing gait very unsettling on my stomach, but I think I’m growing accustomed to it swiftly.

We took the Great Lift down into the canyon of Thousand Needles. It has been many years since I was last here. I have the vaguest memory of travelling the trading route with father, but that was many seasons ago before mother died. It was truly beautiful, unnaturally silent and still. I rode carefully, because I know that our enemies- the centaur, populate the region. As it was I saw nothing but hyenas and wind serpents until I emerged from the Needles into the great basin called the Salt Flats. The sun reflected off the sand in a way that made it shimmer, and colours seemed to flicker on the horizon. We started south, according to my map there is a trail through the mountains that leads into the desert. As soon as I led Denali onto the flats, all manner of beasts began nipping at our heels. I urged her on and we were swarmed by desert vultures, and creatures I have never seen before except in drawings- I think they were basilisks and scorpids. Denali was beginning to tire as we ran, that heavy barding must surely weigh her down. I was considering my options when suddenly as one all the creatures backed off. I must remember to thank my friends even more profusely for the training they have given me, for without those reflexes I might have continued on in blissful ignorance. As it happened I pulled tightly on Denali’s reins and she skidded to a stop just before a demonic contraption sped by, roaring and belching fire. I thought it might have been a dragon like the others talked about, but as I neared the cluster of buildings further south I got a closer look. It was some kind of mechanical mount, fuelled by magic and fire and piloted by a truly insane goblin. Whatever it was, it would have killed me if I got in its way just the same.

We passed the town and headed toward the mountain pass. It wasn’t that hard to find, even for an inexperienced tracker like myself. The path was worn flat from years of use. I urged Denali up the slope and as we crossed the threshold of the mountain peak I breathed deeply in my excitement- and got a mouthful of sand. I couldn’t see the desert ahead of me, it just looked like a strange, storming brown cloud. I later learned that it was a sand-storm, impossible conditions for travelling. I caught the faintest glimpse of torches through the storm and headed down until I found the goblin trading town Gadgetzan. It was beginning to get late at this point and I was not willing to venture out into the desert in the dark, so I rented a bed for the night and began to stock up on supplies: food, blankets, water, and all of the essentials. The traders in town warned me that storms like this can last several days sometimes and only the suicidal would travel in this weather. I hope the storm clears up soon, I want to see Tanaris with my own eyes! As it write in the goblin inn it occurs to me that this is as far as I have ever been from home. I’m so happy. I’ll pray to the Earthmother that the storm clears up fast so that I can continue my rites soon.
The Earthmother has blessed me I’m sure. The sand storm has lessened- it no longer rages like it did yesterday and so I decided to go ahead with my trek across the desert. I took a tip from the goblins and wrapped my cloak around my face. It not only shelters my eyes and face from the sun but it also stops a lot of the sand blowing in. As I started out I was immediately taken by how beautiful and white the sand is. Unfortunately it began to heat up fast. An’she was not yet overhead and still I could feel the warmth emanating from below. Ahead I spied a makeshift settlement around a watering hole. I was careful not to get to close. I could make out the forms of the Sandfury trolls, ready to fiercely defend their water. It wasn’t worth a confrontation yet, not while I still have full water skins.

I came to a place as I headed west that felt wholly unnatural. The earth was marred and great spires protruded from the ground and twitched as if they were alive. Amidst these spikes scuttled what looked like giant beetles and wasps, but these are unlike any insect I have ever seen. Ants can seem intelligent as they follow a trail to their food source and back, but if you block their route, the ants quickly fall into chaos because they lack the intelligence to find an alternate path. The eyes of these creatures glimmer with malign intellect, and their movements are considered. They are no insects like I have ever known. I have heard of these creatures, they are called the Silithid. They are a parasitic plague on the earth of Kalimdor. As a part of my rites I am to learn why the jungles of Un’goro have not succumbed to the infestation of Sithilids to their west, or to the desert that surrounds it.

I found the path that winds through the mountains and down into the crater. This could be one of the reasons for the unique ecology of Un’goro- it’s so hard to get to! It’s remote- cut off from Venture Co. developers, dwarven diggers, marauding centaur and too far out for a trading route. As such it has probably remained this way, untouched by sentient beings, since the Earthmother first created it. I feel like I’m getting a glimpse back through time. The only marker pointing to the path are a pair of strange obelisks. I cannot fathom if they have another purpose, but they seem incredibly old.

As I wind my way down into the crater I notice that it remains hot, but it’s also growing more humid. I’m beginning to sweat uncomfortably and irritating biting insects are swarming around me. The trees stretch up to the sky as tall as the surrounding mountains. I think they’re even taller than the trees in Feralas, and they’re covered in hanging vines and flowers that bloom in bright colours. The flowers, the brightly coloured parrots and strange crystals dot the forest with spots of colour. The crystals interest me, I’ve never seen or heard of anything like them. They seem to flicker with an internal light that makes them flare. I’ve seen four kinds of crystal here, red, green, yellow and blue. I shall have to investigate further.
I was very surprised to see a waterfall here in Un’goro. I tried to climb back up the cliff face to gain a better look, but I’m afraid I’m quite unskilled at mountain climbing and I didn’t get very far. If I had rope and something to secure myself with, perhaps I could rappel down from Tanaris? In any case, the waterfall has gotten me thinking. There are no rivers in the Tanaris desert, obviously, so the water cannot come from there. My next thought would be that it came from melting snow in the high mountain peaks- but I distinctly remember the mountains surrounding the desert being bare of snow. There is only one other explanation that I can think of. There must be an underground water source, like a hidden spring. Perhaps the little rain that falls on Tanaris and Silithus soaks into the ground and drains downward to Un’goro, creating the flooded marsh plains? The more I explored the more convinced I am that this is the case. Take the trees for example, they look very different to the sycamores I’m used to. Their roots raise them above the ground, so high in some cases that I am able to fit under the living tree! I believe the trees have adapted in this way so that they are not suspended underwater to rot. There are also very strange roots that poke up out of the soil. Yes that’s right, roots growing up. I believe this is also to do with the tree perhaps trying to breathe above the water? I’m no druid so I cannot simply communicate with the trees, but I’m noticing other signs pointing to the same conclusion. I found the rotten carcass of a threshadon. I’ve seen smaller threshadon’s around the coastline of the Barrens, and I know for a fact that they are water-dwelling creatures. I also found a boat! It was rotten and half-submerged in the marshland but I think it conclusively proves that this land was flooded at one point. And for the trees to have adapted as they have I believe it’s been happening with regularity for some time now. I think I’m on to something here...

It started to storm heavily so Denali and I sought shelter under the roots of a particularly large tree. The canopy is so thick with leaves here that little of An’she’s light gets through and I was surprised at how quickly the forest was plunged into darkness. The storm worsened, lashing rain into my face as I curled up against my kodo’s side. Lightning flashed across the sky, giving brief glimpses of the jungle and imprinting strange patterns on my eyes in the following darkness. It was terrifying being blinded like that. I am certain that there is something out there. The ground shook with its heavy footsteps and I could hear deep breathing. I prayed for the darkness to consume me and for the creature to leave. Later on I heard the death-cry of a beast and the crunching and chewing sounds of it being consumed. I did not sleep at all that night.
I was not lost. I just didn’t know precisely where I was for a while... The rain has ceased by the time An’she peeked through the ceiling of leaves. The water had left a glistening sheen of dew upon everything which sparkled in the early morning light. It was beautiful, and so I started the day feeling a lot better than I had during that horrid night. I had become somewhat turned around, you see one spot of jungle looks very much like every other spot of jungle. And between the thick canopy of leaves and the storms last night I was not able to see the stars to gain my bearings. So I started out the day in the hopes of finding a landmark.

I found an abandoned campsite. It was in a state of disrepair and is being reclaimed by the jungle, but it shows that there were other people here recently. There was no food in the camp, only some strange tools. I took them, even though I do not know their purpose they might prove useful. So I spent the better part of the day exploring and cataloguing the local animal and plant life. Anything could provide me with the clue I need to fulfil my rites. Un’goro crater is mostly populated with reptiles. Large raptors, and well as strange lizards with sail fins on their backs and others with wings. I believe these are all called dinosaurs, and are the living ancestors of the reptiles we see today. One again I feel as though I am seeing a snapshot of the past. I wish I had done more research before I left. As I discover more and more things I have never seen, I feel more and more like I am unprepared for this journey.

This time I wanted to be more careful and prepare a campsite before dusk fell. I needed a secluded spot where I could hide safely away from that creature. As it happened I got distracted. I was still exploring when I felt a strange tingle as though I was not alone. I hid and before long I caught sight of a dwarf woman. I have seen dwarves before, the filthy things dig too deep into our Earthmother’s soil in search of trinkets. Although I have encountered Alliance before on neutral grounds, this was the first time I had seen one when I was by myself and in hostile territory. She was small, as dwarves tend to be, but she had a large (for her) shotgun strapped across her back and she was hacking through the undergrowth with a sharp machete. I decided to hide and avoid any confrontation. After my miserable experience in Thunder Bluff last week I would rather not have to risk a fight. So I stayed hidden, but perhaps out of curiosity or because I did not want to lose sight of my enemy, I chose to follow her. I am no tracker, but I have hunted small game before. I stayed hidden and kept downwind. The hunter was tracking some beast, I’m sure. She kept examining tracks on the floors and stopping, listening. After following her for what must have been at least two drums I realised that she was going in circles. What a pathetic tracker she was! It was at this point that I lost sight of her.

I stopped and listened. Not hearing anything except the calling of the wild birds I crept forth from my hiding place, trying to lay sight upon the hunter. I had no warning. A loud clang resounded in my ears as the bullet ricocheted off my kodo’s barding right beside me. I dove for cover, the only shield currently available to me was my mount who began to panic and shy as she was under fire. My friends taught me how to dodge and block blows. WHAT ABOUT BULLETS GUYS? WE NEVER COVERED BULLETS!!!

Her hail of fire stopped as she began to reload her gun. I had to take this opportunity before it passed. Swiftly I ran out from behind Denali and charged at the woman, spear at the ready. The woman raised her shotgun up to my face to blast me away but luckily I made it to her in time. My spear struck true and knocked the weapon from her grasp. She withdrew that wicked machete and sized me up. We circled around each other for a bit. I wasn’t certain what to do, all of my previous actions had come from training and instinct. My conscious mind was sectioned off from the rest of my thoughts, gibbering “I’m going to die. I’m going to die... ” while the rest of me focussed on my opponent-
-She struck at me. It was a measured strike to test me. I deflected it and widened my stance. After a few more heartbeats she struck again, faster this time and to the side. I deflected it again, with thoughts of my training echoing through my mind. Again and again, two swift blows. Clang! Clang! I deflected them both and raised my spear into a ready pose. She frowned at me then, perhaps she thought I was toying with her. To be brutally honest, I was too scared to make a move. She struck at me again but this time she reversed her direction to catch me by surprise. I couldn’t deflect it in time, but I was able to dodge it and the blade only grazed my armour. She grinned at this and said something in her harsh language. When she came at me again she did not follow through. She moved to attack me and then withdrew her blade. I would move to parry it and the weapon would not longer be there. She did this once, twice, three times I was caught off guard and each time my slow recovery gave her an opening. I was covered by this point in half a dozen small cuts to my flesh and armour. It wasn’t really debilitating, but due to the fact the my opponent was as yet unscathed I was beginning to worry at this point. I needed to strike back. So I set down my hooves, ready to counterattack the next blow. I had never mastered this strike with Rorark but I had few options remaining. When the blade came I blocked it first then quickly struck out on my own. Rorark had deflected it easily but this woman was surprised and I managed to slice her cheek open with my efforts.

She stopped, her eyes widening as she raised her hand to the gash in her face which was bleeding profusely. I readied my stance, again waiting for her to make a move. She had pulled back form me to recover so now we stood quite widely apart. My hands tightened on my spear haft, my hooves finding stable footing. She regarded me and tossed her blade from one hand to the other- perhaps it was an intimidation tactic. Finally she charged at me and when she came I was struck by a memory. Daethon raced towards me, swifter than imaginable in his cheetah form as Roakkeal whispered to me, “Call on your totem, let their spirit give you strength.” It hadn’t worked before... But what were the changes that this dwarf could turn into a bear? As the woman reached me I leapt at her. She was caught completely by surprised and pinned under my weight with her weapon out of her grasp. I held my spear point to her throat and prepared to make the killing blow.

I’m a failure. I hesitated. I don’t know what it was, perhaps my own insecurities, perhaps because it was my first kill of a sentient creature? All I know is that when I looked into that dwarf’s eyes I saw fear in them that mirrored my own. Perhaps if she had tried to run I wouldn’t have stopped her. I’m not sure at that point. Time seemed to slow as I wrestled with my inner conflicts, then it sped up so suddenly it was as if it had skipped ahead. The woman had reached for a knife and out of instinct my blade had cut through her throat. Her eyes were no longer full of fear but glazed and empty. I cannot say how long I sat there atop the dead woman. She was my enemy, and she had tried to kill me. So why do I feel so horrid? I truly am a failure.

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