Archive for the ‘Troll’ Category

I think we can all pretty well agree that the Helm of the Fire Festival, however practical it may be, is a fashion disaster.

The best fire-hats currently in the game are cloth and mail; I didn’t find any fire-hats that appealed to me in leather or plate. It’d say that this must be because the classes with Fire-themed damage specs — Fire Mage, Destruction Warlock, and Elemental Shaman — wear cloth and mail… but the first mail fire-hat has stats for a Hunter or Enhancement Shaman.

The cloth fire-hat is the classic Circle of Flame from Ambassador Flamelash in BRD. Many Transmogrification Template Kits have been created using this hat — but here are a few more.

Left: Mantle of Closed Doors (Normal), Corsair’s Overshirt (Normal), Archmage/Elementalist Belt, Spellstrike Pants, Soulcloth Gloves, Ritual Sandals
Right: Geomancer’s Spaulders, Corsair’s Overshirt, Sash of the Burning Heart, Crimson Silk Pantaloons, Ebony Flame Gloves, Embersilk Boots

The Soulcloth Gloves and Ebony Flame Gloves display under the sleeves of the Corsair’s Overshirt in MogIt. The display of these gloves in WMV is bugged rather badly, so the pictures show the Jumanza Grips and Embersilk Mitts — which display over the sleeves in MogIt as well.

Left: Exquisite Sunderseer Mantle, Cindercloth Vest, Grom’tor’s Bloodied Bandage, Crimson Silk Pantaloons, Earthmender’s Bracer of Shattering + Gloves of the High Magus, Infernoweave Boots
Right: Consortium Mantle, Flameheart Vest, Voidweave Cilice, Spellstrike Pants, Red Mageweave Gloves, Ritual Sandals

Arachnidian Spaulders, Corsair’s Overshirt, Wise Man’s Belt, Spellshock/Arachnidian Leggings, Soulcloth Gloves (not shown due to WMV bug), Outlander’s Boots (light brown shoes, invisible on this model)

The first mail fire-hat, the Crown of Destruction, drops from Ragnaros1.0 in Molten Core and is visually almost identical to the cloth Circle of Flame. The second mail fire-hat, the Crown of Flame, drops from Ragnaros2.0 in the Firelands. I prefer the Normal version to the Heroic version, and Kamalia will never, ever get rid of hers.

Left: Crown of Destruction with Bloodlust set
Center: Crown of Flame with Engraved set and Rocket-Chief Pauldrons
Right: Crown of Flame, Bloodforged shoulders, Bloodlust breastplate, Chiselbrand Girdle, Engraved leggings, Molten Fists, Radiant boots

I like the look of the Amber Filigreed Shirt underneath the Engraved Breastplate for the less-slender races.

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or should that be “turtle-mutant ninja tauren”?

Kamalia uncovered the Extinct Turtle Shell while doing Archaeology the other day and promptly declared that because neither my Paladin nor my Warrior are likely to be able to use it anytime soon, she wanted to use it to Transmogrify her shield for her Elemental set.

That reminded me of this Goblin Shaman I spotted a while back who was using a similar turtle shell shield with an almost entirely green Transmogrification Template Kit.

Looking at this outfit, I couldn’t help but think of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Here’s a survey of items to consider if you, too, want to be a Hero in a Half Shell.

Plate (Prot Warrior or Paladin)
with Extinct Turtle Shell, Dragonscale Shield, or Petrified Bark Shield

A: Talonguard Helmet, Heavy Lamellar shoulders chest gloves & boots, Savage Saronite belt & pants, Fel Edged Battleaxe
B: Oathkeeper’s Helm, Emerald set, Dragon’s Call
C: Fel-Steel Warhelm, Gor’drek’s Pauldrons (Horde-only), Fel Iron Plate set, Tooth of Eranikus
D: Kraken helm chest gloves & boots, Pauldrons of the Wardancer, Rustproof Waistguard, Protective Engineer’s Leggings, Nifflevar Bearded Axe

A: Hard Headed Helm, Acid-Etched Pauldrons, Wildguard breastplate & leggings, Khan’aish Girdle, Refitted Bruiser Gauntlets, Marjhan’s Stand, Ethereum Phase Blade
B: Greathelm of the Unbreakable, Bog Pauldrons, Silithid Carapace Chestguard, Girdle of the Immovable, Jade Legplates, Ooze-Ridden Gauntlets, Boots of Avoidance (alternate: Boots of the Colossus), Blade of the Wretched
C: Dreadmaul helm & shoulders, Krakken-Heart Breastplate, Stormtempered Girdle, Greaves of the Bloodwarder, Royal Gauntlets of Silvermoon, Tyrant’s Greaves (alternate: Ancient Skeletal Boots if Tauren, Draenei, or Worgen), Razorwind Axe

Mail 1-40 (Prot Warrior or Paladin)
with War Paint Shield, Kresh’s Back, or Baobab Fruit Shell

A: Thick Scale helm, Sparkleshell Mantle, Brackwater chestpiece & leggings, Thick Scale belt gloves & boots, Bronze Mace (I love the Brackwater Girdle, but it is common-quality and not usable for Transmogrification.)
B: Sparkleshell Mantle, Cadet’s chestpiece & leggings, War Paint belt gloves & boots, Bronze Mace (The Turtle Scale set is similar to the Cadet’s set. The Cadet’s set has common-quality belt and boots and no gloves. The Turtle Scale set has Transmogrification-friendly gloves and no belt or boots. The Cadet’s chestpiece is sleeved, whereas the Turtle Scale chestpiece is sleeveless.)
C: Captain’s Circlet, Sparkleshell Mantle (alternate: Elite Shoulders), Tortoise Armor, Cobrahn’s Grasp, Cadet’s leggings, Algae Fists, Savage Trodders, Bronze Mace

Mail 40-85 (Elemental or Resto Shaman)
with any of the above shields

A: Captain’s Circlet, Spaulders of the Protectorate, Fenclaw chestpiece & leggings, Belt of the Gladiator, Handguards of Savagery, Sabatons of the Flamewalker, Reactive Waraxe
B: Unyielding helm, Bog Epaulets, Green Dragonscale chestpiece leggings & gloves, Skull Rock Belt (H)/Gol’Bolar Miner’s Belt (A), Windreaver Greaves, Giant Club
C: Turtle Scale helm, Unyielding shoulders, Der’izu set, Lifeforce Hammer (Because this mace is similarly styled to the Nifflevar Bearded Axe, I think they’d look great double-wielded!)
D: Thick Scale helm, Spaulders of the Protectorate, Protector set, Emerald Ripper

A: Fel Iron Chain helm & chestpiece, Unyielding shoulders belt & boots, Turtle Scale pants & gloves, Grom’tor’s Charge
B: Remtravel Thinking Cap, Der’izu shoulders, Improvised Breastplate, Archery Belt of the Broken (alternate: Lifecycle Waistguard), Legguards of Nature’s Power, Gloves of the Passing Night, Impressive Greaves, Stealthblade
C: Fel Iron Chain helm (alternate if Alliance: Vindicator’s Chain Helm), Dragonbone Shoulders, Tortoise Armor, Doc’s Belt, Chimaerascale Legguards, Gilded Gauntlets, Boots of the Qiraji General, Water Blade

The Breastplate of the Terrible Price outfits I presented in the Shamadin Collection would also be suitable for being a TMNT.

TMNT Hallow’s End Costume

Red Mageweave Headband (alternate if Alliance: Keeshan’s Bandana), Sparkleshell Mantle, Turtle Scale chestpiece & leggings, Apothecary’s Waistband (H)/Captain Sanders’ Sash (A), War Paint gloves & boots, Assassination Blade

Cowabunga, Dudes!

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I drew the lineart for this picture in February 2008. Around February of this year, I decided it would be a lot more interesting with some color. I’d always mentally titled it “Kids in Shatt”, thinking of the children from the orphanage in Lower City, so I filled in the background with an appropriate screenshot. The wrong angles and sizes of various ears and the Draenei boy’s missing chintacles are due to the early date of the drawing. Fortunately, the much-too-small size of the Gnome girl’s head in the original lineart was easily remedied in Photoshop. I’m not sure anymore whether the Troll youth was originally intended to be a boy or a girl. The idea for the sign he-or-she is carrying came from my very poor recollection of this classic Norman Rockwell painting.

A doodle from February 2009. I’m not entirely satisfied with it because I drew the Gnome child first and then all the other children ended up looking much older than him. The gender of the Night Elf child is intended to be ambiguous.

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Mixing things up a little, I’m going to present my “also-ran” ideas for this round of Mog Madness first and reveal my actual entry for the contest later. The Mog Build criteria for round 4 were pretty challenging. I made multiple Transmogrification Template Kits for each armor type, then picked my favorite out of them all for my contest entry. It was a tough choice, and I’m still not quite sure I chose the one with the best chance of getting me into round five.

Shadow of Affliction
cloth, modeled by Kivrinne

Mag’hari Ritualist’s Horns, Bloodstained Surgeon’s Shoulderguards (normal), Cat Lover’s Vest, Cord of the Patronizing Practitioner (normal), Darkweave Breeches, Bracers of Dark Blessings (normal), Delaris’ Gloves, Boots of Duress, Thalassian Wildercloak, Trophy Tabard of the Illidari, Heartshiver, Telestra’s Journal

Karabor Voodoo
cloth, modeled by Kikimaia

Venomshroud Mask, Pads of the Venom Spider, Cat Lover’s Vest, Feralfen Sash, Darkweave Breeches, Greenweave Gloves, Vinerot Sandals, Trophy Tabard of the Illidari, Webbed Death, Forsaken Ball

Decontamination Specialist
cloth, modeled by Kelilla

Green Tinted Goggles, Mantle of the Tribunal, Chillwind Tunic, Ivycloth Sash, Darkweave Breeches, Delaris’ Gloves, Boots of Duress, Trophy Tabard of the Illidari, Vengeance Staff

Darkmoon Wanderer
cloth, modeled by Khrissalys

Shadowbrim Travel Hat, Mantle of the Tribunal, Chillwind Vest, Ivycloth Sash, Darkweave Breeches, Delaris’ Gloves, Boots of Duress, Syrannis’ Mystic Sheen, Trophy Tabard of the Illidari, Staff of the Four Golden Coins

Lament for the Ata’mal
cloth, modeled by Kandrista

Crown of Burning Waters (heroic), Mantle of Nefarius (heroic), Cat Lover’s Vest, Belt of Arcane Storms (normal), Darkweave Breeches, Supplicant’s Discarded Bracer, Delaris’ Gloves, Boots of Duress, Periwinkle Cloak, Trophy Tabard of the Illidari, Terokk’s Shadowstaff

Deadly Messenger
leather, modeled by Kelisanna

Other-Eye Patch, Dark Leather Shoulders, Wild Leather Vest, Crystallized Girdle, Gypsy Trousers, Madwolf Bracers, Ranger Gloves, Mud Stained Boots, Trophy Tabard of the Illidari, Shard of Azzinoth, Heartshiver or Webbed Death for off-hand

Jumblebeary Pie
leather, modeled by Kilannas

Emblazoned Hat, Dark Leather Shoulders, Dark Leather Tunic, Crystallized Girdle, Huntsman’s Leggings, Clefthoof Gloves, Clefthoof Wanderboots, Hibernal Cloak, Trophy Tabard of the Illidari, Wildfury Greatstaff

mail, modeled by Kerithian

Unyielding Helm, Spaulders of the Protectorate, Green Dragonscale Breastplate, Lifecycle Waistguard (normal), Green Dragonscale Leggings, Green Dragonscale Gauntlets, Auchenai Boots, Green Workman’s Shirt, Trophy Tabard of the Illidari, Tracking Bow

Shadowmoon Shocktrooper
mail, modeled by Keshona

Malefactor’s Eyepatch, Krom’gar Champion’s Mesh Pauldrons, Thick Netherscale Breastplate, Lifecycle Waistguard (normal), Bloodmail Legguards, Formidable Gauntlets, Formidable Sabatons, Green Workman’s Shirt, Trophy Tabard of the Illidari, Blood Fury, Maimgor’s Bite

Dark Retribution
plate, modeled by Khitka

Warleader’s Crown, Talonguard Epaulets, Chromite Chestplate, Symbolic Belt, Chromite Legplates, Symbolic Gauntlets, Symbolic Boots, Thalassian Wildercloak, Trophy Tabard of the Illidari, Sword of Nefarian’s Hand

Spectre of the Black Temple
plate, modeled by Karaveline

Horseman’s Horrific Helmet, Dreadmaul Pauldrons, Chromite Chestplate, Symbolic Belt, Chromite Legplates, Emerald Gauntlets, Emerald Sabatons, Recovered Cloak of Frostheim, Green Workman’s Shirt, Trophy Tabard of the Illidari, Lava Spine, Netherwing Defender’s Shield

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Amateur Azerothian, Effraeti, and Tome of the Ancient have teamed up to bring Mog Madness to the WoW blogosphere! There will be five rounds, and each round will have a different “Mog Build” prompt. For the third round, the Mog Build criteria are these: mail, shoulder armor must be the Wavemender’s Mantle.

Persona-wise, I thought of an Elemental Shaman who has spent her life out in the wilds dealing with truculent elementals, so I looked at staves and axe/shield combinations for the weapons. In an effort to avoid cross-contamination by influences from the ensembles presented in Round 2, I decided immediately to use the bronze/brown tones of the Wavemender’s Mantle as the main color for my ensemble, keeping the blue as an accent color in very small amounts. And as soon as I’d decided that, I knew that I wanted to use the Battle Scarred Leggings for the pants. I loved how the Helm of Pilgrimage interacted with the shoulderpiece as soon as I saw it; although this helm may bring “Val’kyr” most immediately to mind because of all that time we spent in Northrend, its design is actually quite similar to the classic Tier 1 Earthfury Helmet, making it very appropriate for a Shaman.

My junior Shaman, Kryztalya, Kilauea, Kjerstin, Keshona, and Kermione, will be the models for this round.

Helm of Pilgrimage, Wavemender’s Mantle, Veteran’s Armor, Vicious Gladiator’s Links of Accuracy (ilevel 371), Battle Scarred Leggings, Gloves of Foolish Innocence, Earthen Netherscale Boots, cloak hidden, Icecore Staff

Some alternate weapon choices:

Ruthless Gladiator’s Battle Staff; Spell Axe of the Farseer (Alliance Shaman-only) + Lost Pavise of the Blue Flight (Normal)

Frostbite (Horde-only) + Grunt’s Shield; Frostbite + Zom’s Crackling Bulwark

I won’t be making an “also-rans” post for this round, because I didn’t come up with any dramatically different ideas for the overall ensemble, and the variations for this one are limited to the weapon combinations shown above and the two alternate chestpieces shown below.

yes, that IS my GBNEH3 egg on her belt buckle!
The Circuit Design Breastplate (Heroic) looks made to go with the Battle Scarred Leggings, even though one first appeared in Cataclysm and the other in Burning Crusade! The Battle Scarred Leggings & Earthen Netherscale Boots also have a matching pair of gloves, the Murkblood Oven Mitts, but those did not work well in the context of the rest of the outfit. Although a matching chestpiece style is available in BC, it only comes in blue, and not in bronze.

The necklace of teeth strung across the Cuttlefish Scale Breastplate gives it a rather wild sort of appearance.

Round 3 Results!

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Before I remembered that I had printouts of my oldest screenshots that I could scan for Vidyala’s “Then and Now” challenge, I thought perhaps I would use these drawings instead.

This is one of my very first WoW-inspired doodles, from about fall 2007.

I was playing with some new Pentel V5 pens, trying to use every color in the set. I hadn’t yet played enough of the game, or paid enough attention, to remember that Trolls have long, pointed ears and had to correct the picture later.

This one is from mid to late 2008, I think.

I still hadn’t grasped quite how long Night Elf ears really are, and I didn’t have the right angle for Blood Elf ears internalized yet, either. I really like the profile Night Elf face, though.

My most recent (early 2012) iteration upon the theme.

I was again playing with some new pens and wanting to use every color in the set. I’ve finally managed to get the ears right, but I still need to study the profile & head shape of the various races more carefully.

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Kelisanna the Rogue is a Farstrider spy. Someday, she hopes to rise to the level of Anara or even Thalodien. For now, she is working on mastering the art of disguise.




She did get a few of these masks from Handfuls of Candy, but most of them she just bought with Tricky Treats.

Yes, you can look wicked, hot, cool, and smart all at the same time!

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#1) Are Troll women chattel, or equals?

The information about their status on WoWpedia’s sexuality page, which is drawn from the paper RPG source books, is conflicting. One manual says that either gender of jungle Trolls may battle to the death over a prospective mate, and that a fight with blunt weapons to establish which partner will be dominant is part of the jungle troll marriage ceremony. This implies that Troll women are considered equals. Another says that Troll women are considered entirely as property and have no status other than that which they give to their father, brothers, or husband. According to this book, Darkspear Troll women have only just begun to seek out greater equality after having seen the honor and respect granted to Orc and Tauren women.

In the game world, however, Troll women seem to have more equality than these sources suggest. There are both female and male Frostmane, Sandfury, Witherbark, Vilebranch, and Atal’ai Troll mooks in Dun Morogh, Tanaris, Arathi Highlands, the Hinterlands, and the Sunken Temple. Revantusk Village and pre-Shattering Jintha’Alor both had powerful female leaders in Primal Torntusk and Vile Priestess Hexx & Hitah’ya the Keeper. In Zul’Farrak, Hydromancer Velratha has a prominent role. Three of the original bosses of Zul’Gurub were female: High Priestess Jeklik channeled the Bat loa, High Priestess Mar’li channeled the Spider loa, and High Priestess Arlokk channeled the Panther loa. While the Bat and Spider bosses are gone, High Priestess Kilnara has succeeded her sister as the chosen of the Panther loa. Outside of Zul’Gurub, however, all of the Bloodscalp and Skullsplitter Trolls in Stranglethorn Vale are male, as are the various Amani-aligned Trolls near Zul’Aman. Zul’Aman itself has no female Trolls. In Zul’Drak, we find a number of Zandalari Trolls who seem to be about 2/3 male and 1/3 female. The Drakkari Trolls themselves are mostly male, except for High Priestess Tua-Tua, one of the disciples of the loa Quetz’lun, and the wife and daughter of Warlord Zol’Maz. The wife is a mage and the daughter is a warrior. The loa priests and priestesses in Zul’Gurub also originally came from Zandalar, but were subverted by Hakkar instead of defeating him.

Perhaps this shows that female Trolls have greater equality in Zandalari society than in other Troll societies. This may be a development since the Sundering, or the loss of female power and equality in the tribes of Stranglethorn Vale may be a marker of the decline of those civilizations. The appearance of female Trolls elsewhere in the world may indicate that each Troll tribe has its own subculture and customs regarding the degree of respect and equality accorded to women — certainly a more realistic scenario. Troll women who are innkeepers and shopkeepers are not inconsistent with a culture of repressing female independence. It would also not be improbable for a male Troll to want his wife (or wives) and daughters to be strong warriors and hunters and still consider them as chattel, with their prowess contributing entirely to his own prestige. Troll women who are leaders and scholars, however, seem to me to be more inconsistent with that idea. The Darkspear have many such women and their society does not seem to be in the kind of turmoil that would result from a cultural revolution instigated by something as recent as their joining the Horde. Although the Darkspear originally derive from the Gurubashi tribes of Stranglethorn, perhaps their culture evolved during their generations of exile on the South Seas islands such that even before meeting Thrall and becoming part of the Horde, it was more accepting of female independence and power.

#2) Do Troll tusks come from the upper jaw, or the lower?

Male Troll tusk styles, both in-game and in official Blizzard art of Trolls, look very much like elephant tusks, which come from the upper jaw. The tusks of forest/Amani Trolls, however, look more like they could be coming from the lower jaw, but they could be coming from the upper jaw, just with more extreme curvature. The female Troll tusk styles, again both in-game and in official Blizzard art of Trolls, appear more like Orc tusks, arising from the lower jaw. The “straight” female tusk style, however, looks more like the male Troll styles, like it probably comes from the upper jaw. The tusks of Troll Druids in Bear Form look more likely to come from the upper jaw, whereas the tusks in Cat Form look more likely to come from the lower jaw.

Overall, though, it seems that this is a case of sexual dimorphism, with the male tusks arising from the upper jaw and the female tusks arising from the lower.

The large carvings of troll heads found in and around Troll ruins, however, seem to show the tusks coming from the lower jaw.

If Troll culture was really so very male-dominated, however, wouldn’t these carvings reflect the male skull, rather than the female?

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for Bimini

In the beginning, Azeroth belonged to the Trolls.

First the Zandalar, perhaps the most ancient highly intelligent race on Azeroth, then, as the Troll population grew and factions arose within it, the mighty Gurubashi and Amani empires. They spread across primordial Kalimdor, building stone cities wrought with marvelous carvings of their loa gods. Before the Gurubashi and Amani could spend too much effort on fighting each other over their philosophical differences, however, a threat to all Trolls arose: the Aqir, molded out of the silithid insects by the Old Gods. After a great war of untold length and brutality, the Aqir were beaten back on two fronts and effectively disappeared. The Trolls had won their survival and their superiority over Azeroth, but they had lost much, perhaps too much, of their best resources and people. In the quiet “well, what do we do now?” period after the end of the war which had dominated their civilization for so long, the Troll empires began to splinter and fall into decay. The Amani in the northeastern part of Kalimdor exiled some of their number even further northward, producing the satellite Drakkari nation. Other groups broke off and ventured into the far northwestern and southwestern reaches of the continent, perhaps to monitor the borders with the Aqir.

It is something of a mystery how, in all that great, continent-spanning war between the Trolls and the Aqir, the combatants neither discovered nor made use of the Well of Eternity. Nevertheless, it was not until after the retreat of the silithids that a tall, long-eared tribe of humanoids with cool-toned skins wandered into it and, fascinated, pitched their tents there to stay.

Empowered by the arcane energies of the Well and blessed by their new goddess, Elune — who, like the Well itself, seems to have had no involvement in the Troll/Aqir war — the Kaldorei were not long content merely to settle around the shores of the mystical lake. Soon they pushed outward, and the Trolls found, to their dismay, that the power of their loas was not enough to protect them. The Amani and the Gurubashi, formerly separated mostly by the transcontinental distance, were completely cut off from each other by the manifest destiny of the Kaldorei.

What, if anything, did the Troll empires of primordial Kalimdor know of the Tauren?

Nozdormu’s meddling with the War of the Ancients brought the Tauren into the final battle, so they must have been present before then. If the Trolls spanned the continent, surely the Tauren and the Trolls must have encountered each other, but Shu’halo history, such as it is, comments only upon neverending battles with the centaur. I wish that Anne Stickney had gotten around to editing Tauren territories into her speculative map of pre-Sundering Kalimdor; I would place them in the southwestern area of the map that isn’t currently colored anything other than the yellow base color and over the western light green area. It’s possible that the major Troll empires didn’t have much contact with the Tauren because they were localized to the eastern half of the continent, whereas the migratory Tauren was localized to the western half.

Off-topic of this post, but something I’ve been thinking about in relationship to these images and their origin in the Halls of Lightning — the Trolls were the first great power of Azeroth, the Night Elves were the second great power of Azeroth, and we can probably say that the Humans (see below) are currently the third great power of Azeroth… but when were/are/will be the Tauren a great power of Azeroth?

And then the world fell apart. Were the Troll empires also afflicted with waves of demonic invasion during the War of the Ancients? Would the Amani and the Gurubashi have known that the Kaldorei were directly responsible for the Sundering, and would they have thought to blame them?

In the wake of the Sundering, those Trolls that survived in western Kalimdor dwindled away, leaving at last the Shatterspear in the north and the Sandfury in the south. The Drakkari (and a portion of the Shu’Halo) now found themselves isolated on the new continent of Northrend. The eastern part of Kalimdor broke into two pieces, further dividing the Amani and the Gurubashi. Over the succeeding millennia, the northern and southern groups of Trolls developed distinctive body types.

The Amani held their empire together quite well, for it was not until some seven or eight thousand years later that they found themselves beset by a group of outcast elven arcanists now calling themselves the Queldorei, and yet they were still a cohesive force. Amani Trolls had not seen elves for a very long time, and the elves had not likely seen Trolls for a very long time, but the old stories and legends remained. It did not take long for the ancient rivalry to flare up.

In the meantime, unknown to the Trolls, something very strange had been happening to the metal and stone creations of the Titans. Dwarves and Gnomes awoke in the central mountains of the eastern continent, around the Titan complex of Uldaman. The iron Vrykul of Ulduar in Northrend turned first to flesh and then, after many centuries of assuming themselves the lords (at least of the surface) of that place, suffered an epidemic of small, weak births that so frightened them that they placed themselves into magical stasis. Some brave parents defied King Ymiron’s decree that all the weakling children should be killed and exiled them instead to whatever lay across the southern seas.

These tiny, feeble creatures did not alarm the Trolls at first, if they noticed them at all. The Trolls were much more concerned with their ancient enemy, the Queldorei. But the Humans were much more clever than the Trolls gave them credit for, and they hated the strong, powerful race that threatened them just by existing. At length, the Humans sought the aid of the elves, and the Amani empire splintered under their combined assault. Humans spread across the northern part of the eastern continent, which they named Lordaeron, and down into the southern part which, after encountering the Dwarves, they called by the Dwarven name of Khaz Modan.

Devastated by the catastrophe of the Sundering, the Gurubashi empire wobbled. A sect of priests attempted to bring new power to the Gurubashi by summoning Hakkar the Soulflayer, which led to a terrible civil war. Eventually the dragon Aspect Ysera thwarted the plans of the Hakkari and the Atal’ai, and the Gurubashi empire crumbled.

Where once the Trolls had dominated Azeroth, now they were fragmented tribes, fighting amongst each other so viciously that it could be said without exaggeration that a Troll’s worst enemy was generally another Troll. The smallest of the former Gurubashi tribes was the Darkspear. Without the numbers of some of the other tribes, the Darkspear were eventually forced to leave the mainland and take their chances on the southern seas. Fortunately, they soon found islands that were suitable for habitation. Unfortunately, these islands were also desired by murlocs and Naga, and the Darkspear still battled for their very survival. Eventually, the Humans of Kul Tiras discovered them, too. Were the Humans a strange and novel sight to the Darkspear? Did the Darkspear leave Stranglethorn before or after the Human (and Goblin) pirates came and established their strongholds around the cape? It is not known how long ago the Darkspear left mainland Stranglethorn for the isles of the south seas. It is known that, Sen’jin, the leader of the Darkspear at the time of the Human arrival, had developed a great desire to have his people live in peace with their neighbors, and that shortly thereafter, he had a vision of a stocky, green-skinned being who would bring his people to a better place.

Then Thrall came along and helped the Darkspear defeat the murlocs, the Naga, and the Humans. In accordance with Sen’jin’s wishes, the Darkspear followed Thrall the rest of the way across the sea to Kalimdor and became part of Thrall’s New Horde. This was not, alas, the end of the Darkspears’ trials. They had not been on the isles off the coast of Kalimdor for long when a faction within the tribe led by the witch doctor Zalazane rebelled against the changes to their culture necessitated by this new alliance with the Orcs. In the schism, those who wished to follow Vol’jin and remain with Thrall and the Horde were forced to relocate yet again to the mainland. It took several years before the remainder of the tribe was able to build up enough strength to overthrow the rebels and finally lay claim to the islands that Vol’jin intended to be their homeland forever after. Just when the Darkspear had finally managed to establish themselves on the Echo Isles, the world began to tremble. Thrall laid aside the mantle of Warchief to take up the more important role of Shaman… and Vol’jin is not at all happy with the warmongering attitude of his replacement, Garrosh Hellscream. Like his father, Vol’jin wants his people to have a time of peace.

In the past decade, the ancient core and last remaning strongholds of the Gurubashi and the Amani have been brought down. The Zandalari themselves appeared from their secret homeland to call the Horde and Alliance together to defeat the Gurubashi and the terrible being they had summoned.

Although Blizzard axed the old L60 20-man Zul’Gurub as part of the Shattering revamp of the world, I think that they have had an eventual return of Zul’Gurub planned since fairly early in the development of Cataclysm.

In the course of doing the very first quest you are given in Northern Stranglethorn — the only quest available when you first arrive at Grom’gol — you meet a precocious raptor hatchling.

I won’t spoil the rest of the questline for you, except to say that with this little raptor at your side, your adventures soon lead you right into the heart of Zul’Gurub… a Zul’Gurub that is not dead and quiet, like a defeated former raid should be.

Furthermore, the Zandalari seem to have realized that the Trolls, who once covered the face of Azeroth, are steadily disappearing. The fierceness with which they fight amongst themselves makes the Trolls the worst enemy of their own survival. The Zandalari have come forward yet again, urging the remaining Trolls to unite for the sake of defying extinction. But this is not all — the new prophet of the Zandalari also wants to bring back the ancient glory of the Trolls, rebuffing for once and for all the usurping Elves and Humans.

And Vol’jin, Vol’jin of the Darkspear, Vol’jin of the tribe that was cast out, has turned his back on the rest of the Trolls, saying, “the Horde are my people.” But wait… didn’t the same Vol’jin threaten the current Warchief of the Horde with death? What does Vol’jin stand to gain by going behind Garrosh Hellscream’s back to recruit heros of the Horde and also of the Alliance to disrupt the revival of the ancient Troll fortresses? Vol’jin says he is against the Trolls making war on the other peoples of Azeroth, so why then is he calling up upon the other peoples of Azeroth to make war on the Trolls?

/equip tinfoil hat
Sen’jin envisioned Thrall leading his tribe to a brighter, better future. Thrall brought the Darkspear away from Stranglethorn to a new place, but because of internal schisms, it took many years for the Darkspear to make good their claim on the land Thrall had found for them. Sen’jin wanted an era of peace for his people — a time in which they could prosper and recover their strength from the losses incurred by the continual tribal warfare in Stranglethorn. Vol’jin is not willing to commit his people to war against the allies who have helped them to achieve the freedom from oppression by other Trolls that they now enjoy. Vol’jin is also widely hailed as a very clever, cunning Troll. I’m sure he has watched with great interest the successes of the Horde and the Alliance against Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman in the past. And so, perhaps, he now turns to them to prevent the Gurubashi and Amani from recovering so that his own tribe, the Darkspear, can in time become the dominant Troll tribe of Azeroth.

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For Pilfkin.

a scene from part 2 of her story Pure Shores (part 1, part 2, part 3)

With all my best wishes to Pilf and Himself for their upcoming wedding <3

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