Archive for the ‘Story/RP’ Category

This is a story about the patch 5.4 trailer. If you haven’t watched it yet, you probably shouldn’t click through the cut until you have.

A sudden loud peal of the chimes hanging in the Tillers Shrine in the front garden awoke Kamalia in the wee hours of the morning. As she sat up, the chimes continued to jangle and clamor, more loudly and cacophonously than any thunderstorm winds had ever moved them — and she did not hear thunder, nor rain pounding on the roof. She grabbed the nearest weapon before opening the door.

“Miz Kamalia!” Tak-Tak rushed up the stairs and began pulling her out the door, “Oh, Miz Kamalia, we must hurry! Something very bad going down, very bad!”

“Just a moment!” she said, “Let me get my armor first.” She shut the door in his face, dressed quickly, and grabbed the bag containing her other gearset, as she didn’t know which of her two specializations would be more needed.

Tak-Tak was already hovering on his kite when she re-emerged, and he took off steeply as soon as she was settled.

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I’m not sure just what you’re doing here. I mean, yeah, you’re using the Demon Chain to subdue this monster proto-drake, but why? I sure hope we’re not going to end up killing you and this drake as an encounter in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid. That would be a horrible, senseless, tragic waste of your tremendous potential. If we do have to fight you, I’d much rather see the encounter end with us convincing you to change your mind (sort of like the Keepers in Ulduar), so that you then help us take down Garrosh and come out of this civil war as the new racial leader of the Orcs.

Do the Alliance SI:7 spying quests for the Battlefield:Barrens quest chain shed any light on what Warlord Zaela is up to? I’m not going to be playing through the 5.3 content as Alliance anytime soon, so I don’t mind being spoiled a little bit.

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“Wow… you’re tall, even for a tauren. And what happened to your face?”
“I’m not a tauren, I’m a taunka. We’re relatives of the tauren who live in Northrend. We all look like this.”

Alas, Matron is a title I will never obtain in-game until “School of Hard Knocks” is removed from the Children’s Week meta requirements. Although certain of my characters would like to be able to use that title, it doesn’t fall into the category of things I want badly enough to suffer through PvP for them.

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In mid-spring — or what she was told was mid-spring, back in Azeroth; here in Outland, there did not seem to be any noticeable seasons — Kaumalea returned to her lodging house one evening to find the public areas filled with chattering orcish and blood elven children. Surprised, she asked the innkeeper what was going on.

The innkeeper raised an eyebrow at her. “Ah, right, you’re one o’ them taunka from Northrend, ain’tcha? So you wouldn’t know ’bout Children’s Week. There have been so many wars everywhere that all the big cities have orphanages overflowing with children that have lost their parents. Once a year, the orphan matrons do a charity drive to get adventurers to recognize the cost of the wars by giving a little of their time to these poor kids.”

“But what do you, well, do with one of these children?” Kaumalea wondered.

“Oh, mostly you just let them follow you around as you do whatever it is you do everyday anyway. Usually, the kids have a few particular things they really want to do, too — places they’ve dreamed about going, famous people they want to see for themselves, that kind of thing. And it’s nice to buy them a treat or a toy or something at the end of the week, to help them remember you.”

Kaumalea looked around the crowded, noisy room. “It certainly seems to be popular.”

“Aye,” the innkeeper smiled. “The kids, they want you to remember them, too. They’re always taming little critters of one sort or another, and of course the orphan matrons won’t let them keep them, so they’ll give them to you. A lot of adventurers treat the orphans they sponsor kind of like a little sister or brother — write them letters, send them trinkets, that kind of thing. Those folks over there,” the innkeeper indicated an orc warrior and a troll hunter who were playing cards with two blood elf children, “have sponsored those same kids from the orphanage over in Shattrath for three years or so now. It’s great experience, they say — doesn’t strengthen the body much, but does wonders for the heart.”

Kaumalea considered this. She could definitely use more experience, in whatever form. The Battle for Light’s Hope Chapel had left her severely debilitated, making the usual ways that adventurers gained experience very difficult for her. It had taken her nearly a year in Outland to gain enough strength to even think about trying to return to her once-home of Camp Winterhoof, and when she’d gotten there, she’d soon realized that she wasn’t nearly strong enough yet to contribute meaningfully to the defense and provisioning of the tribe. So she had come back to Outland. She had surely created orphans herself during her time as the Lich King’s thrall. Because of her weakness, she was used to being careful, so she wouldn’t have to be any more careful than usual with a child in tow. Sponsoring an orphan was something that was certainly within her power to do.

Kaumalea had such an agreeable outing with the orphan that she sponsored from Shattrath — a clever-fingered blood elf girl named Ameridala who soon had her hair out of its customary braids and twined up into an elaborate crown never seen before or since on a tauren (or taunka) — that she decided to sponsor an orphan from Orgrimmar as well.

With the talkative orc boy Ezrom as her guide, she learned much more in a day or two about the history and heritage of this “Horde” that she had been swept up into upon being freed from the Lich King than she had gleaned during a whole year in Horde settlements in Outland.

“I am sorry,” Matron Aria in Dalaran said, “but only adventurers who have already reached their 70th season are allowed to sponsor the wolvar and oracle children. I have heard, however, that there is an orphanage of taunka children at Agmar’s Hammer in the Dragonblight; the matron there does not like to ask for help, but I am sure she would accept it gladly if you offered.”

“Oh!” said Matron Twinbreeze, when Kaumalea explained her intentions, “I had never thought of something like that, but, yes, it would be a wonderful thing for one of the older children!”

She introduced Kaumalea to a youngster named Omner.

“I miss my sister, Abish,” Omner said when Kaumalea asked him where he would like to go first, “She’s the only other member of my family who escaped when the Nerubians overran our village. She’s almost an adult, though, and she’s already started her real training to be a hunter. I think she’s probably at Westwind, where we’ve had a hunting camp forever. Everyone knows where it is — west of here, just this side of the bridge to Borean Tundra. That’s what made it such a good spot for the refugees from the Scourge attacks to gather.”

“I can’t wait until I’m old enough to start my real training, too!” Omner enthused. “Then I’ll get to be with my sister and her friends all the time!”


“Greatmother Icemist tells us a story about ancient druids trying to grow a huge tree in the middle of the Grizzly Hills,” Omner said next, “I don’t know how growing a big tree could fix the world in the first place, but I guess it didn’t work because she said the tree died. I don’t know if I belive that a tree could get that big, either. Can we go see the place where it was?”

“Wow,” Omner said as they flew over the fallen pieces of Vordrassil and down into Grizzlemaw, “that must have been some strong magic. Usually trees rot to splinters in only a few years after they fall, but Greatmother Icemist said that this tree fell thousands of years ago! I guess that strong magic is why the furbolg decided that this would be a good place to live.”


“Sometimes at night,” Omner confided, “I sneak downstairs and listen to the adventurers talking. Once, I heard one of them saying that he went to a place called the Bronze Dragonshrine, northeast of the dragons’ Wyrmrest Temple, and saw himself, only from the future! And then another one laughed and said that he’d done that, too, and then he’d come back later, and seen himself, only from the past, when he was there before! If we go there, do you think we might see me from the future and you from the past?”

“I wasn’t expecting that… I’ve always wanted to be a hunter. But I guess being a wind tamer wouldn’t be so bad.”


As they rode out of the pass leading to the Bronze Dragonshrine, Omner pointed at the great Titan structure rising up in the distance. “Wyrmrest Temple! That’s where the dragon queen lives, up on the very top floor. I’ve always wanted to see a dragon up close, and she’s supposed to be friendly… right? Let’s go!”

“I never knew that dragons could do that, change their shapes. It makes sense why they do it, but I’d still like to see her dragon form, someday. If her dragon form is too large for even that big room, she must be simply magnificent!”


Finally, Omner said, “I love to hear Greatmother Icemist’s stories. Matron Twinbreeze tells some good stories, too, about the place where she comes from. You know who has all the stories about our people, though? There’s an Elder named Xarantaur who knows everything! He lives at Tunka’lo Village. It’s on a mountaintop way up in the Storm Peaks, north and a little east of the frost giant place called Dun Niffelem. Will you take me to visit him?”

“That was so cool! Maybe being a wind tamer will be better than being a hunter, after all, if it lets me spend more time learning stories.”

Before returning to Agmar’s Hammer, Kaumalea took Omner to The Wonderworks in Dalaran. His eyes grew big and round as he took in the variety of toys. He inspected them all carefully, lingering longingly over the copper racers. Eventually, he chose a paper zeppelin kit, explaining that this toy was simple enough that maybe he could figure out how to make more, to share with the other children, from materials he could scavenge.

When Kaumalea at last came back to her lodgings in Outland at the end of the week, the innkeeper asked, “So, how did you enjoy helping the orphans?”

“It was good experience. It made me feel… warm. On the inside. I think I’ll do it again next year,” she replied.

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The most recent Blizzard short story, “Bleeding Sun”, not only thoroughly jossed the picture of Dezco’s Boys that I posted a couple of weeks ago, it also reveals an interesting similarity between the Golden Lotus and the Jedi. Like the old Jedi, the Golden Lotus choose new members as infants or small children and take them away from their parents and families to be specially raised and trained. Reading this newest story prompted me to get caught up on the rest of the Pandaria short stories, and I found that this particular Jedi-like practice of the Golden Lotus had already been hinted at in part 9 of “Li Li’s Travel Journal”.

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As she handed the last of the re-stolen vegetables to Farmer Yoon, Kamalia felt a sudden burning sensation on her forehead. It flared intensely for a second or two, then faded away.

Puzzled, she rubbed at the spot.
“Are you okay?” Farmer Yoon asked. “Your eyes turned red there for a moment. Come, sit down.”
He prodded her up the stairs, into the house, and onto a chair, then bustled around making up some ginseng tea while Kamalia tried to figure out what had just happened.
As he handed her the steaming mug, Farmer Yoon’s gaze fell on Kamalia’s mace. He frowned at the deep black gem glimmering on the pommel, and, shuddering slightly, hurried back outside.
Then Kamalia remembered. Only a few days after the Black Prince had given her that gem, she had visited him again with the news of the arrival of the Horde and Alliance warfleets on the shores of the Krasarang Wilds. He had received it with a rather childish degree of glee — but then again, she supposed, he was still very much a child, especially as dragons age — and challenged her to prove to him that the Horde was worthy to be the ultimate victor in the ongoing strife with the Alliance. Then he had done something entirely unexpected

Without warning, Wrathion sliced his thumb and pressed it against her forehead. His blood burned to the touch, but rapidly disappeared into her skin.

“There!”, he said, “My eye is upon you, shaman. I am watching.

The Pandaren, like the Horde, value the concept of “Valor.” There are many ways to prove yourself valorous on this continent, from daily tasks to the defeat of heroic enemies within their lair. I will let you choose your own course.

Prove your bravery to me!”

That had been nearly three months ago. Much had happened in the interim. Blood and oil soaked the sands of once-pristine beaches in Krasarang Wilds. Pressured by Warchief Hellscream, the Sin’dorei had helped him obtain a dangerous ancient mogu artifact — costing the Sunreavers their neutrality — and the Horde’s foothold in Dalaran — in the process. The young Prince of the Alliance, at once wise and brave and very foolish, had destroyed the Divine Bell. It had collapsed on top of him. Kamalia did not know his fate, but she hoped that he had survived, somehow. At this worst of all possible times, the Shado-Pan reported that the ancient mogu hero, the legendary Thunder King, who had been stolen away and resurrected by the Zandalari trolls at about the same time as the Horde and Alliance first arrived on Pandaria, would soon return to his full, terrible strength. While the Warchief continued to press the battle with the Alliance in Krasarang, the displaced and utterly outraged Sunreavers took this matter into their own hands, hoping to show the Shado-Pan that at least some of the Horde were interested in honorably helping. Kamalia had helped them secure an outpost on the island where the Thunder King’s stronghold was located. She’d spent most of the last month there, fighting trolls and mogu and mogu and trolls and occasionally some saurok and more trolls and more mogu, until finally the way to the gates of the palace itself was cleared. She had carefully stayed out of the sniping between the Sunreavers and the Kirin Tor, who were leading the Alliance’s effort to aid the Shado-Pan. She had a handful of keys to the palace treasure room that she hadn’t yet mustered up the… greed to use. And yet.. and yet… after all of that, it was completing a simple task of service, one that Kamalia had done many times before and would probably do many times again, that had apparently been the final “proof of bravery” that Wrathion wanted.

Kamalia carefully placed the empty mug with the rest of Farmer Yoon’s dirty crockery, and, smiling, went out into the garden to tell him that everything was just fine.

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Dezco’s Boys

Sunwalker Dezco says that he named one of his twin sons “Kor”, after Kor Bloodtusk, and the other after the adventurer who assisted him at Thunder Cleft. I suspect that, should the twins ever appear in some later expansion as larger children, the other one will actually be named “Kang”, after Kang Bramblestaff.

Edit, 3 May 2013: This picture has now been jossed by the publication of the short story “Bleeding Sun”.

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Leza’s Dream

The Dawnchaser tribe are close cousins (on a tribal scale) to the Dawnstrider tribe, so Kamalia and her siblings spent their childhood and adolescence mingling as much with the Dawnchasers as with the Dawnstriders. Like young Dezco, heir to the Dawnchaser chieftainship, Kamalia’s youngest siblings, the twins Kaohana and Karaelia, were drawn to the philosophies of Tahu Sagewind and Aponi Brightmane. In those early days, as the fledgling Seers and Sunwalkers studied ways to effectively draw upon the Light of An’She, they were few enough in number that they all knew one another by name. Although increasing numbers of Shu’halo chose to follow the paths of An’she as the Cataclysm raged, Kaohana and Karaelia remained close to their Dawnchaser friends.

Around the time that the elite warriors of Azeroth were battling the Old Gods at Wymrest Temple, preparing to take on Deathwing himself, Dezco’s wife, Leza, began to have the same strange dream over and over. She described a beautiful valley, rich and fertile, watered with streams that glowed softly golden, giving the grass and trees shades of gold and crimson. When Karaelia and Kaohana told Kamalia about their friend’s dreams, Kamalia asked if perhaps Leza might be thinking of the enchanted lands of the Sin’dorei, where it always seemed to be simultaneously spring and autumn. The girls brought this suggestion to Leza, and she emphatically responded that she had been to the Eversong Woods, and this place in her dream was certainly not the same. Although no-one knew of anywhere on Azeroth like it, the more often Leza had what she began to call “The Golden Dream”, the more strongly she felt that this place did exist on Azeroth, somewhere in the uncharted southern seas.

That winter, Chief Dawnchaser passed into the arms of the Earthmother, and Dezco became Chieftain of his tribe. When, following the final Madness and defeat of Deathwing and the exhaustion of the Dragon Aspects, High Chieftain Baine Bloodhoof began to have strange dreams, he remembered hearing old Chief Dawnchaser tell of his daughter-in-law’s visions, and he requested Sunwalker Dezco and Seer Leza’s counsel. Upon discovering that his dreams were the same as Leza’s persistent visions, the High Chieftain decided that this place of golden peace must be found. He commissioned four ships to carry Sunwalker Dezco, Seer Leza, and any who wished to accompany them on their search. With their Chieftain, Dezco, in charge of the expedition, many of the Dawnchasers chose to brave the unknown seas. A few Seers and Sunwalkers from other tribes, including Kaohana and Karaelia, also joined the pilgrims. The ships departed from Ratchet barely a week before Warchief Hellscream began gathering his forces for the assault on Northwatch Hold that ultimately led to the destruction of Theramore…

Like Akabeko’s Weipon, the actual leveling of my Tauren Priest and Paladin lags severely behind their RP stories. For Kaohana and Karaelia, questing through the Jade Forest and most of the Valley of the Four Winds will be purely ‘out-of-character’ game mechanics. Their ‘in-character’ experience of Pandaria will begin at Thunder Cleft in Krasarang Wilds, because RP-story-wise, they came to Pandaria with the Dawnchaser expedition. Karaelia is among Sunwalker Dezco’s honor guard of Dawnchaser Braves at the Shrine of Two Moons, and Kaohana has stayed at Stoneplow with the greater body of the Dawnchaser settlers.

In the artwork, Karaelia is wearing her Grunt’s/Outrunner’s “Sunwalker Initiate” set, but I didn’t get the other clothes quite right. Leza is wearing Flirtation Robes when she should be wearing Magus Tirth’s Robe, and Dezco is wearing the BC recolor of the Battlegear of Might when he should be wearing the Vengeful Gladiator’s set.

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For Akabeko.

In one farming village, after what even Akabeko could tell was one ale too many for her pandaren companion, Weipon was convinced to break out her sanxian. Although Akabeko often heard Weipon humming or singing to herself, the long-necked instrument had remained in its case, quiet and safe from the elements while they traveled.

Now, though, eyes swimming with drink, Weipon laughed, said something that made the pandaren closest to her gesticulate encouragingly, and plucked a string experimentally. The room quieted as she carefully tuned the instrument. From the bar, a voice called out something that had other pandaren nodding in what Akabeko assumed was agreement.

“They are requesting songs,” Weipon said suddenly, looking at Akabeko. The sudden burst of Orcish made the druid jump, sloshing ale over her fingers. “Some of the titles sound familiar. Others may be songs I know by a different name.” She grinned, looking like a very different pandaren than the one that had shied away from an angry General Nazgrim, and began to play.

The gathered audience was mostly silent for the first verse. The pandaren nodded their heads, clapped, or turned to each other to whisper excitedly. Akabeko listened with interest, appreciating the sincerity and huskiness of Weipon’s voice. By the second verse, the older pandaren in the inn were singing along, ribbing each other when they forgot the words or differed from what Weipon was singing. The song continued, picking up speed, and those who couldn’t sing along made up for it by clapping, pounding the tables, and stomping their feet. Even Akabeko found herself humming along by the end.

Before the last note had died away, Weipon was slipping into another song, this one eliciting more cheers of recognition. Akabeko drained her glass, absently thanking the person next to her as they topped it off again. It seemed that the night was just picking up.

The following morning, Weipon still managed to look only slightly rumpled compared to Akabeko, who was more or less wrecked. She rubbed irritably at her temples, trying to pay attention to the new map the innkeeper was explaining to Weipon. The impromptu concert the night before had gained them not only a clean, locally-drawn map of the area, but a handwritten introduction from the village leader to the mayor of Dawn’s Blossom, which appeared to be a major nearby city.

The title of this post is a reference to the song of the same name from the Brubeck/Armstrong collaboration “The Real Ambassadors”, in which, after a chorus by the state department ambassador characters, Louis Armstrong’s character, a jazz musician, sings:
I’m the real ambassador.
It is evident I was sent by government to take your place.
All I do is play the blues and meet the people face-to-face.
I’ll explain and make it plain, I represent the human race.
I don’t pretend no more.

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Physically, the towering personage who seemed to be the leader of the strange beings camped around the hermit Wei Palerage’s hut reminded Kaoling very strongly of Wugou. He had nothing of the ancient earth spirit’s sleepy, placid nature about him, however. As the — tauren, Kaoling remembered from her childhood lessons — briskly described to Ji, Aysa, Kaoling, Koralyra, and the others who had come from the Academy and the Temple the circumstances that had led to the crash of the sky-vessel into Shen-zin Su’s side — a battle of ships off an unknown coast, the capture of himself and his “Horde” companions by their “Alliance” enemies after their ship capsized, an insurrection against their captors, an attack by lizard-men who had stowed away on the airship that took everyone by surprise — and his efforts to locate his comrades and survive in the Pei-Wu Forest over the past weeks, he was also listening to reports from his people and issuing new instructions. The tauren’s decisiveness impressed Kaoling, as did the shelters, the pile of crude weapons, and what appeared to be the skeletons of several small boats he and his people had constructed from broken bamboo trunks and other woodland materials.

Aysa and some of the others left to find the survivors from the other side of the sea-battle the tauren had described as soon as he had finished telling them about why the airship had crashed.

“We want to return to our homes,” the tauren was saying, “but that airship isn’t going anywhere ever again. We can help you dislodge it from your island, but we need to find our engineer. He parted ways with us when we were escaping the wreckage. We’d also appreciate it if you helped us find a way back to our own country.”

Ji quickly agreed, and Kaoling could see the twinkle in his eyes that meant he was thinking up a Plan.

They found more small groups of “Horde” survivors, including the engineer, as they pushed through the woods toward the crashed airship. They also discovered that the strange lizard-men had survived the crash, too, and were wreaking havoc on the entire Pei-Wu Forest ecosystem.

The “Alliance” survivors had gathered and set up tents quite close to the wreck. Their leader, a slender creature who looked to Kaoling very much like an oversized, oddly-colored sprite, gave a rather different account of the sea battle, the fight aboard the airship, and the crash.
“This island wasn’t on any of our charts… we came through a thick mist and ploughed straight into the forest. We didn’t see it coming,” she said.
She explained that over the past weeks, she and her people had been scavenging as much as they could from the wreck, but their efforts had been severely impeded by the lizard-men. She praised Aysa for having gone off immediately to distract the leader of the lizard-men so that a final collection of materials from the airship could be made, and she asked for help in reclaiming the supplies and rescuing those of her people who had been wounded during the most recent clashes with the lizard-men.

“I think I like these people,” Koralyra mused quietly as the two girls carried a stack of crates back from the wreck to the tents. “See how they have gotten all of their people into one place. See how they are salvaging as much of their own material as they can, so that they take as little as possible from our land.”

“But they had taken those other people prisoners,” Kaoling replied.

“Their ship was sinking. They saved them from drowning. And it doesn’t seem like they’ve made much of an effort, in all these weeks, to go find them in the forest and re-capture them,” Kora pointed out.

Kaoling didn’t have a good answer for that, but she still felt more sympathetic toward the tauren and his fellow Horde.


The blast knocked Kora to the ground. The land heaved beneath her as Shen-zin Su groaned in agony. It was the most awful sound she had ever heard, worse than a whole herd — worse than ten herds — of yaks in labor. She struggled to her feet. The wound in Shen-zin Su’s shell gushed terrible rivers of blood. Though she was not at all squeamish, Kora began to feel a little light-headed and quickly looked away. Nearby, Kaoling was getting up. Kora saw her friend sway and her face pale as she caught sight of the awful wound. Quickly, Kora grabbed Kaoling’s shoulders and turned her away.

“Remember Master Firepaw’s plan,” she said urgently. “Hurry, go find as many healers as you can and bring them here to save Shen-zin Su!” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a movement — the strange lizard-men, maddened by the scent of blood. “I will stay and defend the healers once you get them here. Hurry!”

Kaoling nodded and dashed off. Kora settled into a comfortable stance and began running through warm-up movements and incantations. Soon Kaoling was back, carrying one of the slender, white-robed Alliance priests over her shoulders. Like the wind and fire of the philosophy she favored, Kaoling darted about, bringing back one healer after another. Like the earth and water of the philosophy she favored, Koralyra was both firm and fluid as she fought off the frenzied lizard-men and kept them from attacking the healers. All around, others from the Academy and the Temple were doing the same.

For hours, it seemed, they fought while the terrible flow of blood continued and Shen-zin Su groaned and writhed. The healers poured all of their energy into their spells, until they began to collapse from exhaustion. Slowly, the torrent quieted to a stream and then to a trickle, and then, almost suddenly, the wound sealed. The troll and tauren healers joined their hands in a great spell, and everyone stumbled as earth shifted out from under their feet to cover and protect the raw flesh. The Horde healers then flung enchanted seeds over the dark, bloodsoaked soil. As they chanted, grasses, bushes, and trees sprung up, magically, to further stabilize the earthen scab. It would still be centuries before Shen-zin Su’s shell completely recovered — and there would always be a scar, a weak spot, in that place — but for now, at least, he would not die, and his pain, while perhaps greater now than it had been when the wrecked ship had still been embedded in his side, would eventually subside and vanish.



For a fleeting moment, the scent of the breeze shifted from canal water and pumpkin pancakes to cherry blossoms and ginseng tea, and a piece of parchment hastily folded into the shape of a crane tumbled through the second-story window of the inn in Stormwind where Koralyra was packing her bags and came to rest at her feet.

Kora picked up the parchment and carefully unfolded it, smiling as she recognized the calligraphic scrawl.

I promised to write to you when I got to Orgrimmar, did I not? The EmperorWarchief of the Horde would consider even this contact treasonous, yet I cannot so blithely cast aside what Master Shang Xi told us so many times: “Forget injuries. Never forget kindnesses.” And you have been far kinder to me than I deserved. May your days bring you joy.

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