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((This was originally posted elsewhere about 8 days ago. Thought I'd bring it here too.))
*A parchment tucked neatly into a small, thin leather pouch resembling an envelope, reads as follows:*
To Sister Red Earth of the Blackhide,
Sister, I hope this letter finds you well and your tribe's hunts and harvests prosperous. With the land cooling as autumn sets in, I thought I'd send some words your way as we shu'halo reflect and give thanks for Por Ah's blessings upon us.
It has been mostly quiet for the Ishnu Por Ah. Most of the brethren and sisters (myself included) have been busy in more personal endeavors. After some inspection, it appeared the lodge's vaults were in some serious need of cleaning and reorganizing. Let's just say I found a thing or two that Abominus could make use of. In any case, the vault's much cleaner now with plenty of space we can use.
I did think it worth mentioning that the other day, on my way to Spirit Rise, I came across a flyer from the Modas with talk of adding to their numbers. I don't frequent the darker corners of the Horde cities and outposts where these are more likely to be found. Imagine my surprise (and disgust), then, when this one was found outside the Pool of Visions entrance in relatively open view. I don't know if the flyer was put there erroneously, or if they're simply making bolder steps to get word out about them. Either way, it's been taken down and destroyed.
It's been quiet otherwise...for now, at least. I hope it stays that way.
Por Ah guide you,
Ishne'alo por ah, Brother Kaeevanrash!
It is good to hear from you. Having realized how many moons it has been since we returned to the tribe, I must offer you my deepest apologies for not writing to you sooner myself. I am glad to hear that things have been quiet. A relief really to know things have been peaceful under your watch. On occasion it would cross my mind, wondering how things faired for you and the others on Thunder Bluff. Though there were no details, the winds assured me all was well.
As for the Modas, don't be so surprised by their openness. While I know many of their dealings occur in the Dark places, they have never hidden their existance before. And in the past have even advertised themselves as the strength and saviors of the Horde. But they live in a world of egotistical lies and deception and that alone tends to keep them at bay.
There was much celebration among the tribe when they all saw how Por Ah had blessed me with black fur. It is good to be accepted fully once again. My days with the tribe have been full ones. Coming back, there has been little time for me to simply relax. Always much to do among the tribe, but the work has not made me unhappy in the least. It is good to be home. It is good to be in the place where my father saw me, guiding my tribe, even though the red hide of my birth told everyone else otherwise. Young Jumping Stone has taken to my teachings quickly, just as if I have been teaching him myself these past several years. He is wise beyond his years, though sometimes the eagerness of his youth does creep up and make him reach for more than what he's ready for.
Not long after my arrival, we organized the tribe and left the mountains as was necessary. We couldn't have stayed there much longer. The hunting and fishing was growing very thin. We headed south to Feralas. Risked clashing with the Grimtotem. And we did have a few encounters with them. But it was a wise choice. Our hunts were fruitful and we now have an abundance of hides and other things to trade. The season there has also given me time to prepare the tribe for their inevitable encounters with the Horde when we come to cross through Mulgore to spend our winters in the Barrens.
As promised, we will soon be sending a delegation of some of our warriors to aid in the protection of Mulgore, along with some of our goods, both to trade and as gifts of thanks for Chief Baine's and the Elder Council's understanding of our needs. Kickfeather will be with them for sure. She is eager to take the lead of this company and she is well suited and deserving of the responsibility. So be prepared for her. I have given you ample warning. Depending on my duties here, perhaps I will join them for a short visit. As always I go where Por Ah guides, so we will see.
Once again, it is good to hear that things are well with all of you. And in the future we must try to remain more in touch. Hopefully things will remain that way. But be aware. Something is coming. Not a surprising prophecy really, but still, the winds are shifting once again. And the winds are wet, though I'm not yet sure with what.
On a last note. I assume that Brother Mishkwaki has yet to return from his own journey. I have not heard of him myself and it worries me a little that there has been silence. He has been part of my family for a long time and it would be good to know that he is safe. Keep your ears open as I do and send me word if you hear anything about him.
May all be well with you and Por Ah guide,
Red Earth of the Blackhide
*Another envelope like before, with a parchment to match, reads as follows*
Sister Red Earth,
I have not seen nor heard word of Brother Mishkwaki of late. The fact that you are asking concerns me too. I will keep my ears open for any word of him.
You have said you felt something coming on the winds, and I know the feeling. Even with Deathwing defeated by heroes and the Aspects, and Grennan avenged, the winds still whispered of something on the horizon. Life has taught us well that the wind's always whispering.
Only a few days after sending off my first letter to you, there were rumors on the hearthstone, and whispers among city folk of Theramore having fallen to the Horde, in a battle that was terribly one-sided. I will not go into more detail on what the rumors were. Rumors are just that: rumors. However, their portentous nature merited at least some investigation.
It is...words alone will not do justice to describe the terrible scene there. I came to Dustwallow Marsh and invoked a vision ritual to see the place from a safe distance. It is in complete and utter ruin. Theramore Isle seems little more than a massive, purple crater that reeks of a stench I haven't smelled since my first journeys into Outland.
You know we have been for retaking our shu'halo lands in the past.....but not this way. These lands were given to us and blessed by Por Ah. Retaking them by such gross defilement does not honor Her.
It is a spit in Her face.
I do not ask that you or Sister Kickfeather come swiftly to rejoin us; I know and understand your calling lies largely with your tribe. Now, at least, you know somewhat of our state of affairs.
The path Por Ah has set before us is not clear......yet. I have little doubt that a few steps down that path will be made clear to us soon enough.
Por Ah guide you,
((How's the arm? *wink wink*))
That is some news you send me. I will have to gather more news of it when we pass through Mulgore. I have sent prayers to honor the dead and ask Por Ah to keep special watch over those affected. Dustwallow is a strong place. It will recover in its own time unless the means for destruction were of the darkest sort. I hope it was not. It would signal a change in the Warchief that I have been fearing might happen despite his own conscience.
The thought of a whole city being left in ruin. It is truly ashame and saddening that it has come to this. I simply think of even a small village being burned to the ground, something we are all too familiar with ourselves, and the pain it causes. Sadly, such pain will not be soothed with a simple words anymore. But I have had alot of time here to think about things outside and away from it all. And I must admit to you that I am quietly glad it happened.
You know that I have always been apprehensive of the Horde and the path it would take. I have not agreed with everything they have done, the alliances they have made, the means by which some of them have conducted their affairs. I have always been open about my disagreements with the Horde and I will continue to be. Especially the past couple of years with Garrosh now leading the way. He walks along the borders of darkness and I fear it will fail his people. His nature is reckless and even though the mantle of Warchief tempered it a little, I do not believe that hefty burden could have suppressed his fire. But he feels strongly about defending his people. I understand that feeling. And even though I would not have made the same decisions had I been in his place, I see why he chose to build such a great war machine out of his nation.
And we have taken advantage of that war machine as needed. In the past few years it has just barely kept the Alliance forces that invaded Kalimdor from sweeping across the rest of it, including our precious Mulgore. But just barely. From across the water, Alliance now overrun the Barrens. Why? Because of Theramore. They established that foothold on our side of the water and eventually used it to take more with no favor or respect to the people who live here. All because of their hate and fear of the orcs. I know that the Horde and Alliance both came as strangers to these lands and neither is innocent in the matters which have led to Theramore's destruction. But though sometimes I think we should have, we did not need to build a wall to keep the Horde out of our lives and from spilling our blood. Theramore's destruction was a necessity to protect our people. In my heart, I would have wished it slow and amicable. But all the signs showed such was near to impossible now. It is an age of war.
This is not the kind of war I was raised knowing. The sheer numbers and amount of destruction that will ensue hurts my heart thinking on it. But with two such large nations, it seems it was inevitable. They are not the north and south wind meeting over the plains, singing for a light rain. They are the gales of the east and west crashing over the ocean, brandishing hurricanes. I would say come inland and wait for the tides to retreat. But Por Ah does not give everyone the means for that choice. Many will drown, many will get dirty in the muck, many will mourn.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry about my morbid musings, Brother. The time away from you all has kept me protected from such things and there are still few here who would understand my thoughts on it as you would. And I admit that I am not at all eager to return to it. And, in truth, it is not my intention to.
I am where Por Ah wants me to be, with my tribe. They are my first concern. As a tribe we will deal with the effects of such a war as it comes to us, but we will not be seeking it out. Some among the Horde would call me traitor or coward perhaps for not chosing to get involved. But I cannot be a traitor to people I held no loyalty to in the first place. And as for coward. Well, all I can say is that they do not know me very well and what they think doesn't really matter so long as my tribe and family are safe. That would include all of you. Stay safe. And if any of you go to war, make sure you go with honor.
Just know, Brother, if and when we do meet, it is just a friendly visit. At least, that is my intention.
Earthmother guide you,
Red Earth of the Blackhide
Sister Red Earth,
Believe me when I say that I completely understand your position. When I last wrote, I did so with a fire in my heart, as you might have been able to tell. At the time, I was nearly dead-set on what I was planning on doing. I wanted you to come, but I was prepared to carry out that fire alone if I had to.
But, I have learned many times--especially more recently in instances such as dealing with the loss of Grennan, or not knowing whether or not you would fully heal--that in the face of uncertainty, the wiser course has been to wait, and that acting on fire of that sort almost always ends up being rash at best. And so with time, more meditation and confiding my feelings in another, I have since calmed.
I apologize if I came across as wanting to pull you from the path that Por Ah has called you to. When one knows in their heart and mind what path Por Ah has set before them and follows it, there are few callings more sacred. For me, knowing my own path has sometimes also meant knowing and accepting that others’ paths may differ. So again, I apologize; I did not mean to seem intent on swaying you.
Nevertheless, the wind is still whispering. It is still wet with something, but I do not know what yet. I have a feeling I will know soon enough. Thus, I am content to wait. I don’t doubt you will hear from me again when things become more clear.
Spirits watch over you,
There is no need to be sorry for anything you have said. I would expect nothing less from a friend. I have hopes that any of you will one day come and visit me here in my home. The tribe would welcome any of you like family. Kickfeather and I have extolled your many virtues. And having been so much a part of my life, they could do no less than accept you as such. Admittedly, my wishes for your presence are simple and selfish compared to yours. I remember what I left behind and so know very well what sort of thing it is that you will be facing. And there is that part of me that does want to come and join you again.
But then I see the few hundred faces that now surround me everyday. Their isolation has allowed them to continue to live as we've lived for generations. But it hasn't made them immune to all the changes in the world. If I were not here to make them aware and guide them through those changes, then one of the most precious things to me would be lost. Knowledge of the world will help them be more prepared when that world comes to the tribe, whether as a friend or a foe. Or when some of them decide to go out into it. But it is a risky proposition. We treasure the old ways and knowing more about the world threatens its purity. It is a precarious challenge, in truth. But I know there must be a balance there somewhere, we must adapt, and I am determined to find it.
You know I have never been truly comfortable as the Matriarch of the Ishnu Por Ah. It was a responsibility I never felt truly worthy to bear. Now I find myself as advisor to Chief Greymane and guide to tens of times more people than the small lot that Ishnu Por Ah is. An esteemed elder in my youth. I thought being Matriarch was intimidating. But I do the same that I did with all of you. I do my honest best. There is no other thing I can do. With Por Ah's blessing it will all work out.
Fear not, Brother. Our trade caravan will be heading out very soon. You will have a piece of me soon enough with the presence of Kickfeather. She is very eager to come back to Thunder Bluff. And I have the suspicion that it may not be for just a short visit. She's always had a wanderlust and it is only her intense loyalties which have kept her in any one place for very long. I believe I've equipped her well should she choose to stay awhile. I will not be joining them this time around as I had wished. There is a small issue involving a turtle infestation, if you can believe such a thing. Jumping Stone has something to do with it, I am sure. But he's feigning innocence as young boys are sometimes apt to do when they break things.
And what about you, Brother? How soon before you have a little 'tribe' of your own, hmm? I hope you and Sister Karoa are pleasantly enjoying your married life. I admit my prospects for such a thing as marriage and family are still quite small. But having Jumping Stone to mentor as well as a whole tribe to look after makes up for it some. Don't let the world keep you from having the things all us Shu'halo need.
Earthmother guide you,
Red Earth of the Blackhide
Sister Red Earth,
I had the pleasure of meeting Sister Kickfeather again just the other day. She is glad to be back among her “other” family again, which I am happy to hear. She also seemed quite intent on the idea that we change the location of our Lodge. I told her I would consider it. And she was very curious about the news I shared with her that I now share with you.
What has become an open war between the Alliance and the Horde is still in full swing, but as you might expect, there are only echoes of it lingering in shu’halo lands. Part of that may be due to what happened at Theramore, but I feel that the bigger reason is the emergence of a newly-discovered land that both sides seek to claim for their own, the Horde more so.
The land—Pandaria, I believe it is called--is home to many a people new to us, particularly those the continent is named after, the pandaren. The best way I can think of to describe them is like furbolg. They are bear-like, but stand taller and are far from primitive. They cherish their history, their ancestors, and the need for caring for the land—many things that we have in common. Already, they are mingling themselves among both the Horde and the Alliance. Sister Kickfeather’s reaction on seeing one pass by while we conversed in Thunder Bluff was classic.
They are a curious people. It’s still a struggle at times to understand them, their culture and their language, but I’ve been managing all right so far. Many of them refer to me as or say that I look like a…yongol? I don’t know how I would spell that, but they seem to base the observation on the fact that I have horns. I don’t think they mean it as an insult.
Alas, with the arrival of the Horde and Alliance to Pandaria, new enemies have arisen there that threaten both sides, the pandaren and even the land itself. Perhaps I can tell you more about it in a meeting or future letter, but for now, I will say that I have made my decision on how to proceed now. One of my teachers once taught how history is like a river--flowing, repeating, changing very slowly and very subtly--and so it would seem that way this time. While the war rages, other enemies have emerged that threaten all--Horde, Alliance, human, orc, tauren, pandaren or otherwise. They all have a common enemy once again, and that is what I will fight. Not as a member of the Horde, but as a shu’halo, as a Stormspeaker, as a member of the Ishnu Por Ah. Where we stand, I say, is where we have always stood.
As for myself, well…I always have something to do. The Stormspeakers are more a tribe by purpose than by blood (like the Ishnu Por Ah), and so matters I deal with there only occasionally concern the families of its members. Their role has not changed. I try my best to keep my role as Stormspeaker chieftain and patriarch of the Ishnu Por Ah separate, though there certainly are times that they run together. My family of Winterhoof and Dawnstrider continue to have their own shamans and advisors in family matters that rarely require my input. I don’t doubt that will change as they wax older, but for now, I think they are content with me acting largely as a quiet observer.
Karoa and I are doing well and continue to be happy together. How soon before we have our own little “tribe”? That, Sister, is an excellent question!
Spirits watch over you,
Yu were rit. I ever tell yu I hate it when yur rit. Wich is always! Not meenin to insult yu and yur great birthrit shaman superpowers and all, but yu cood get sumthing rong sumtimes. Ha! Im just joking. Abowt the hate part. Not the rit part.
Im staying in hord !@#$ry like yu new I wood. Met with the Kaavbro. He told me abowt all the things! Thermor is really gone! And he sez of course the Alliance are all mad abowt it and so theyr all fiting about it. But sumware else rit now. Far away. So for now its all the sam in Mulgor.
They found a new land! And its full of thees new peepl! Pandamans! Theyr little chubby bears, but smartr. And theyr two colord fur lik yurs truly. I saw won in Thunder Bluff! Kaavbro says ther is another kind of Shu'halo too like in Northrend but diffrent. So I gess yu no wear Ill be going. Hav to see all that. I think its important. Pandamans been forcd to deal with Allians and Hord ther in thyr own land. They all think they can tak it even though thers Pandamans ther already. Sound familiar?
Dont worry abowt the tribesmen I browt her. The Bloodhoofs welcumd them grat and lovd the gifts. Mity impressd by the full feathered griff hide. Mom's, not min. Thats okay. She's way bettr at it. I'll mak shur theyr settld in good befor I head out. Think theyr going to start with Wall duty. I told Kaav we shood get a bigger plase. Old lodge is dead. Need to moov. I wantd to moov it all rit away! Burn it all even. But I did wut you sed to me and I respected his othority and askd him first. Gonna mak shur its all moovd and settld before I head out. And wutever happens, Ill make sure to be back by the time Winters Val is heaviest. If yu dont heer from me by then, get worried!
Luv and stomps! Kickfeather
Oh! And my orc riting is bettr, yeh? And yu thaut I wasnt practicing back home!
Sister Red Earth,
I hope this letter finds you well. I apologize that it’s been so long since my last letter. I’ve been...rather busy, of late.
First things, first. I wanted to tell you that Brother Mishkwaki is back among us again! He hasn’t been very forthcoming about what his personal business was. All he really said on that, if it means anything, was that he was finally heeding something the birds had been chattering to him about for some time. It sounds strange to the casual observer, but after some thought, I think I know to some extent what he meant. We shamans often talk of whisperings on the wind speaking to us, or promptings of the Spirits directing our thoughts, sometimes urging us to action. Perhaps this is how he experiences such things as a druid. That doesn’t tell me much about what he was up to, but that’s all right. I’m sure at some point he will be more than willing to share that story, and it is something I am merely curious about and won’t press.
There was one thing he did say that I thought was telling, though. I don’t remember his exact words, but he suggested that what he had experienced had changed him (presumably for the better). I found that...encouraging, actually. Anyone who’s handled a lump of clay for a long time can tell you that it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to mold and shape it once it has dried and hardened. Similarly, I have seen and heard many a time of people becoming hardened--set in their ways, as it were--with age. They would rather leave a flaw uncorrected, or remain complacent with a good quality that could become better. Whether the change Brother Mishkwaki spoke of was righting a wrong in his life or taking something good in it and making it better, I do not know. Either way, his willingness to do that in his old age is a sign of great wisdom.
After conversing on this for a time, he then expressed his gratitude for my handling of things (quiet as they generally were) in his absence, and asked if he could have the mantle of patriarch for the Ishnu Por Ah, as you had originally desired of him. I agreed, and so it is his now.
He’s already busy at work, moving the Lodge back to its....wait, did I even tell you about that? Well, maybe Sister Kickfeather said something to you about moving the Lodge to another location. After some thought in considering her suggestion, I decided to do just that, moving everything to one of the larger buildings on the main rise in Thunder Bluff. That is how it was for some months, but Mishkwaki is already getting everything back in the old lodge. Oh well..it doesn’t bother me terribly. My effort in moving it was done in a very gradual manner, such that it never at any given time was any grievous burden to carry out. So, everything’s all back in the old Lodge again, or at least is on its way there.
....It’s rather...impeccable timing on Mishkwaki’s part to ask the mantle of me when he did, when I think on it now. I’ve been awfully busy in Pandaria, helping the cause of the pandaren across the land where I could, establishing trust...and it’s all taking a toll on me. I am weary, and my edge (so to speak) feels a little dulled, and my judgment growing more fallible. In the numerous battles I’ve been in, I’ve been having more recent close calls that have proven unnerving for me and even more so for Karoa. We have both felt a growing need to just get away for a time, to rest, reflect and renew someplace where the cares of the world cannot touch us. Mishkwaki’s request for the mantle of patriarch at such a time, I feel, was a sign that this is something Karoa and I need to do, not simply yearn for.
So, expect me--or us, rather--to go away soon for some days. I don’t anticipate it will be for very long. We’ll be back before you know it, refreshed and ready to lend our aid again!
Spirits watch over you,
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