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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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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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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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