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It's not easy being green.

It's not easy being green.

Some of the kind folk in Thunder Bluff asked me if I would accompany them on a supply run to Camp Mojache, Feralas. I tried to find an excuse not to go, but the tauren have a way about them that makes them seem needy. Not needy in a weak way, but in a way that makes you just want to hug them and tell them that it will all be okay. But it never really is, is it?

The centaur haven’t been harassing the transport caravans from Thunder Bluff lately, but you never can tell when one of those wretched centaur has managed to round up a few of his bloodthirsty friends. The tauren requested that I scout ahead for them.

The trip took a couple of weeks. The worst part was probably the lack of any good bathing spots. I am pretty sure we all smelled like jungle gorillas when we finally rolled into Camp Mojache. I was swimming naked in Wildwind Lake before I even bothered to greet anyone.

In spite of the fact that there is the constant threat of attack by gnolls or Grimtotem clan people, the jungle of Feralas is one of the most serene places I have ever been. This is mostly due to the military guidance of Rok Orhan. That is one orc woman to be reckoned with.

It has been warm but not excessively humid. On the occasions where there has been rainfall, it was cool and pleasant.

I have been here now for several days and I’ve been able to get some thinking done. That wasn’t the purpose of my visit (Cairne promised me a hundred gold for assisting) but it has been a welcome by product.

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The night that the bluffwatchers brought Zane Cinderhoof’s corpse back to Thunder Bluff was the second worst night in Elsinne Starsong’s relatively short lifetime.

Zane Cinderhoof was a young tauren carpenter who was responsible for much of the upkeep on Thunder Bluff’s Elder Rise. While Elsinne rested in Elder Rise some months back, recovering from injury, she befriended Zane, who was often nearby making repairs on various tauren structures. The tauren had a strong oral tradition, and Elsinne would be amazed at how much knowledge the young Zane retained.

Zane and his younger brother Iram had recently taken the perilous journey from Mulgore to Desolace to buy a couple of tamed kodo beasts from the goblins. They had taken a couple of bluffwatchers with them for safety, but only at their mother’s insistence. A few hours before reaching their destination, the group was ambushed by a group of centaur.

For her brief seventy-two years of life, centaur were little more than mythical creatures to Elsinne. This was so until she landed on Kalimdor and saw them for the first time. She was horrified by their hateful spite and capacity for brutality as she watched them from safety during her wanderings through the Barrens and Thousand Needles.

These centaur had been exceptionally savage. Attacking the tauren group from behind, they made easy work of the younger Iram Cinderhoof. Barely an adolescent, he was unable to put up much of a fight. The centaur had taken hold of Zane before the bluffwatchers had time to react. There had been six centaur, but they were not able to match the abilities of the two bluffwatchers that remained. Two centaur were killed before the others fled. Iram was no longer recognizable; the inflamed stomping of the centaur had mangled him. Zane had been run through several times with incompetently fashioned spears. Out of dignity, they buried Iram where he was slain.

Elves were often very prejudiced towards others and, after leaving Silvermoon, Elsinne fought very hard to remain free of that elf inclination. She watched the bluffwatchers through tears as they carried Zane’s body to his mother’s door. She listened in anguish as the mother’s cries pierced the night air. Perhaps all of Mulgore heard her.

Elsinne was there when Arthas marched on Quel’Thalas. But she knew that the Lich King’s minions were nothing more than mindless puppets. Elsinne was no fan of the Scourge, but she had no deep seated hatred for them. They were weak, poor souls under the control of an insane human. She could destroy Scourge on sight, but there would be no emotion behind it, just necessity. But these horrible centaur, they did this of their own free will. The rumors of their boundless ferocity were true.

The tears gradually stopped flowing, and suddenly Elsinne felt heavy with heat within her breast. This was the fever of hatred, unadulterated abhorrence that Elsinne had never felt before.

I spent a good bit of time this weekend reading World of Warcraft lore and also visiting the blogs and websites of other role-players to see what their characters were all about.

Many of these characters had some lofty goals and aspirations, in most cases based solely on an incident that occurred to the character in some time past. One common “purpose in life” that I run across is: vengeance against the Scourge in general or Arthas in particular. The character’s life was destroyed by the Scourge, and likely a large or meaningful part of their family was destroyed as well. This gives them the drive to press on until one day Arthas is destroyed.

I have run across other characters who want to live out some general purpose – perhaps serving the Dark Lady or Tyrande Whisperwind without question because in some way their character owes Sylvanas or the night elf high priestess their lives. Still more characters are crusaders of some kind, perhaps keeping their homelands free of demon taint or wandering elementals.

Elsinne, my character, doesn’t have a purpose at all. I don’t know if that’s good or bad in terms of role-play. As I have indicated in days past, she is an admirer of Sylvanas Windrunner but she does not share her goals and ideals. Elsinne is from Quel’thalas but she has no deep loyalty to Silvermoon. She wishes that she could have left it under better circumstances, but she is glad that she left. She is a member of the Horde mostly in name only. The Scourge invasion has left her largely emotionless when it comes to anything political. She sees little point in drawn lines and boundaries. They seem to create more problems than they solve. Elsinne isn’t interested in being ruled by anybody.

This is why she gets along so well with the tauren in Thunder Bluff and can usually be found among them. They just want to survive, not scheme and conquest. But that doesn’t necessarily mean she stays out of trouble. She often leaves Mulgore for months at a time, adventuring and making her way the best way she can. On occasion she has been known to get involved in local problems, whether it be for coin or genuine interest.

The bottom line here, I guess, is that Elsinne isn’t “epic” and she’s okay with that. She’s never been on any adventures thus far with any major players. In fact, she’s only ever met less than a handful of people who could have been said to have any real influence at all. Elsinne doesn’t want to change the world, though she does recognize that there is plenty wrong with it.

“Three days,” Elsinne Starsong muttered softly to herself.

Elsinne crouched down behind a dying bush, squinting her eyes against the dust-filled wind. Normally, Thousand Needles was not a very windy place. But every now and then, especially during the late winter, cold and violent winds would sweep in from the Barrens to the north and then down into the canyon, bouncing bitterly between the mesas. The tauren people of Freewind Post and Darkcloud Pinnacle were unaffected by these winds since the chilled air was so heavy that it drafted straight down into the bottom of the canyon, sparing the folk that lived in high places. But for the inhabitants that made their living on the ground, it could be a major annoyance.

It was certainly annoyance to Elsinne. The unclouded night sky was beautiful to behold, but it allowed the warmth of the day to escape. The night winds seemed to claw straight through her clothing. This was the third night of waiting.

Elsinne had great respect for the tauren folk as a whole and she spent much time with them in Thunder Bluff. It was there that she met Melor Stonehoof. He was a well known hunter of beasts who had great pride in his skills. But it wasn’t enough that he rambled on for hours on end about the ways of a hunter. He felt that every adventurer would be a little better off in life if they knew how to hunt. Whether that was true or not, Elsinne didn’t care. She had no desire to pursue loathsome animals.

But one evening Stonehoof offered Elsinne something she could not resist—the Talon of Vultros. She recognized by sight that it was the legendary dagger. Some said that it was a literal talon, ripped clean from the foot of a giant carrion bird that supposedly roamed the abandoned farm lands of Westfall. Others said that the bird tale was a children’s bedtime story and that the blade was crafted in the Eastern Kingdoms by the hands of humans. She didn’t know how it came to be in the possession of Stonehoof and she didn’t care. She wanted it. All she needed to do, according to Melor Stonehoof, was to get rid of a vicious hyena called Steelsnap that roamed the northwestern edge of Thousand Needles. If getting her hands on that blade only meant killing some dirty mongrel, she was up for it. How hard could it be?

That was six days ago. It took her three days of traveling to arrive in Thousand Needles. The next three days and nights, she would wander the dry floor of the canyon, hunting for this beast.

After a few more minutes of muttering to herself passed, she caught a glimpse of a shadow moving about sixty yards away. It was moving towards her, this figure which was slow and low to the ground. Moments later, fighting the dust in her eyes, she was able to make out two more similar shadows. These were smaller, but similar in shape. They followed the larger shape obediently. As they drew closer, the dim starlight revealed them to indeed be hyenas, the larger one confidently and slowly leading the pack, sniffing and huffing every so often.

Even closer now, Elsinne realized that this Steelsnap was no ordinary hound. The top of its head was four feet from the ground and its muscular body appeared as though it would burst through the hairy skin at any moment. Unwilling to wait until they reached her, she slowly moved towards them, staying low and silent in the shadows. The wind was hard in her face now, but welcome because this meant that her scent would not reach them before she did. When she was within ten yards of them, she tossed a rock behind them. As they turned to see what caused the sound, she pulled her weaponry from her sides, dagger in her right hand and sword in her left.

In a flash, she was on Steelsnap himself, right arm around his neck, knife at his throat. Before the other two hounds had a chance to react, Elsinne had sliced the blade across the breadth of his throat. Steelsnap howled in pain, but to Elsinne’s surprise, the cut had not nearly been deep enough. The beast bled, but was not disabled. He was now, however, considerably more angry.

One of the smaller hyenas charged into her left side and drove her savagely into the ground. As its jaws snapped at her throat, she clubbed it in the side of its head with the hilt the sword in her left hand. It fell unconscious on top of her as she felt the pain of a hundred nails being driven into both of her ankles. Steelsnap had his jaw locked on her right foot and the remaining smaller hyena the other. They pulled her quickly from beneath the unconscious beast.

She shoved her sword into the neck of the smaller hound with all of the force she could muster. It broke through the other side as the hyena bayed in pain. Steelsnap released her foot and charged for her throat. Elsinne immediately pulled the bloodied sword back, twisting her body to the right, blocking her head and neck with the sword. Steelsnap caught nothing but sharp metal in his mouth as he bit down, blood from his gums spraying into Elsinne’s face. Steelsnap jumped back with a yelp.

Elsinne stood up painfully and with some difficulty, warm blood beginning to ooze into her boots. Realizing now that Steelsnap was probably twice her weight, she couldn’t resist him charging and jumping her. She would go first. She ignored the piercing pain in both her ankles, and ran as fast as she could to towards Steelsnap, with a scream that she was sure was coming from somewhere else, not inside of her. Steelsnap went back on his hind legs, completely unfamiliar with being on the defensive. Just as she reached him, she jumped straight up into the air, further disorienting the beast. She spun into a tight ball over his head and landed behind him, burning pain shooting from her feet up into her thighs. She plunged the dagger in her right hand into the back of his neck, which caused a small cry to come from the beast but little else.

This was one tough puppy. Before she was able to pull the dagger from him, he had turned on her. She shifted deftly to one side as his jaws came down where her face had been. The sound was dreadful, tooth slamming against tooth. With her now free right hand, she pulled a small ball from her belt and threw it forcefully into the ground. Smoke poured forth from the ball, filling the air with dark clouds and the smell of bitterness. Steelsnap howled and began to cough and convulse. The smoke burned his eyes as he barked. Disoriented, he felt the dagger pulled from the back of his neck.

A high pitched blood elf scream caused him to wince painfully in the smoky darkness. For a thousandth of a second, Steelsnap saw faint stars reflected on the sword blade before it tore straight into his mouth and down his throat. Blood rushed into his lungs as he felt a smaller blade come down directly between his eyes, piercing his skull. The last thing the dog saw before life left him was a pair of dim green eyes staring back at him.

A week later, Elsinne sat at the edge of Lake Stonebull removing bandages from her dusty feet. She dove into the water, as much for relaxation as cleanliness. After thirty minutes of swimming lazily in the lake, she returned to the edge where she had left her clothing and other belongings. Only now there was a box among the other things. Hoofprints led away from the lake and disappeared over a hill. She opened it, slowly revealing the Talon of Vultros. She sighed with satisfaction as she held it up to the sunlight. She went through a great deal of pain and suffering to get this blade. She smiled as she decided she would go with the story that she ripped it from the foot of Vultros himself.

It’s taken me a little while to put together a little back story for Elsinne. Thanks to alot of help from my buddy Arrens, over at Through the Eyes of Death, I was able to put this little bit of info together.

Even though she couldn’t make a fireball out of thin air to save her life, Elsinne Starsong was unimaginably agile. During her younger years she was constantly scolded for balancing on furniture and jumping around on rooftops. These artful displays went completely unappreciated by anyone until one day she met Elara. Elsinne was on her way home from the futility of arcane school one evening, walking carefully but effortlessly along the top rail of an iron fence. Elsinne gave little thought to this; it was a mindless activity. Elara, a petty thief who lived in Murder Row, was impressed by Elsinne’s almost musical motion.

Elara was a good twenty years older than Elsinne, but they became friends. Elsinne always had a bit of a rebellious streak and this played right into Elara’s hands. For some years, they would get themselves involved in mischief and petty crime. They’d never be discovered. Elara would eventually become part of a rogue society that operated out of Murder Row. Elsinne couldn’t join—her family would disown her in a heartbeat—but often Elara would meet with Elsinne in secret and give her private lessons. Elsinne always trained fast and often ended up performing even better than her teacher who had official training. The main lesson that Elsinne took from Elara was that of efficiency. Do what needed to be done. No more, no less. Nothing fancy. No showboating. Showing off is what gets people thrown in prison or killed.

As with most other surviving blood elves, Elsinne’s family was destroyed during the Scourge invasion. Her brother’s body, though, was never found. She searched for it for weeks after the Scourge had been driven back, but there was no sign of him. If it can be said that there was an upside to any of this, though, there was now nobody left to continue to push her towards arcane arts that she never had the aptitude for. She was free to leave the oppressive, authoritarian Silvermoon City without feeling that she was disappointing anyone. She left Silvermoon directed only by the winds and largely motivated by the desire to stay alive.

Other Interesting facts about Elsinne Starsong
Age: 72

Favorite color: White

Favorite activity: Swimming/Bathing

Favorite place: Mulgore (for meditation and Lake Stonebull)

Favorite race to deal with: Tauren—they appreciate peace and living simply, efficiently

Fears: Bears (also has a logical distrust of druids by extension)

Dislikes: orcs for their perceived savagery, humans for their recklessness, authoritarian societies (blood elf in particular), cold weather

Admires: Sylvanas Windrunner for her ability to inspire, lead, and command (Elsinne desires these abilities herself)

Friends: Elara

Family: None

Elsinne didn’t get much play time this holiday weekend. She took the weekend off and spent it trying to teach some tauren at Freewind Post how to play cards. She told them she would help them with their centaur problem, but only if she could win some gold off of them first. She has that chicken mount purchase coming up! It wasn’t easy, what with their giant hairy fists.

This weekend, in what I like to call the “real world” I spent a day in a rural town called Buena Vista, Georgia. There isn’t much to Buena Vista. There’s a lumber mill and … well, that’s just about it other than lots and lots of trees.

The people who live in this town pronounce the town name BYOON-A-VISTA. I found that disturbing, since quite clearly it should be pronounced BWEN-A-VISTA, right? I mean, I didn’t take two years of Spanish in high school for nothing! And yet the locals insist that it is called Byoona Vista.

So—here’s my question. Is the correct pronunciation of a word what you think it should be or what the locals say it is? If you say it the way you think it should be, is that being a bit uppity or snooty?

It reminds me of the people who pronounce jalapeño as HALLA-PEENA when ordering at the fast-food drive-thrus. That man has been saying Halla-peena his entire life. Who am I to tell him that’s HALLA-PENYO?

Or am I getting all worked up over nothing but a “to-may-to” or “to-mah-to” thing? Maybe it doesn’t matter what you call it as long as the person you’re talking to knows what you’re talking about.

Language is a funny thing.

Elsinne has pretty much robbed the tauren at Freewind Post blind by now. They’re pretty peaceful folk up there, and I shouldn’t have left here there for that long to take advantage of them. I’d better go check on her.

orc-female

My last post got me thinking.

Well, specifically, it wasn’t my last post that got me thinking. It was my visit to Silvermoon last night combined with my last post.

I was hanging out in Silvermoon last night. It’s not a heavily populated city, as you know. But there was a little bit of traffic.

Where are all the female horde characters? I saw a couple of forsaken females hunched over, doing their business–maybe consuming one of their friends. Of course, lady sindorei are everywhere. But I don’t recall seeing a single female troll, tauren, or orc the whole time I was there.

Are they no longer allowed in the world? Is there some sexist action being taken against them in public?

At first I thought, well, maybe people don’t like lady trolls with their strange feet or girlie orcs because they feel sexually intimidated by them. But forsaken with their bones sticking through their sleeves and their bottom jaw missing completely from their heads, that’s not so bad?

I’ve been Alliance for years so I’m used to tons of female humans and night elves and gnomes. Though, come to think about it, there weren’t very many female dwarves running around either, except for the annoying NPCs selling their goodies in Ironforge.

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