I need no home to know I still have a place in this world. The tribes will see … all of them. They fight amongst one another, and for what? Scraps left over by vultures … lands infested by the Legion … bah!
The centaur should be proud of their heritage—it is just as noble as any Night elf’s or orc’s—it is time we started acting like it! Though exiled as a heretic, my beliefs still ring true—that alone drives me onward. But for my destiny to be complete, I need the aid of an outsider … one not of any centaur tribe.
The task requires someone to enter the holy halls of Maraudon—a tomb my people protect, and only the most devout are ever allowed to enter.
Can you help me? Will you set foot on holy ground to help me forge one great centaur tribe!? If you agree to aid me, then you need only nod. I will pass you a parchment with my instructions on it. Read it over and consider my words.
The Pariah’s Instructions
Set far back in the Valley of Spears is the holy temple of Maraudon. If that were not transgression enough, you will quickly see why I have asked a non-centaur to aid me in my plight.
There, just beyond the doors where only spirits and our most sacred priests and priestesses may travel is one called The Nameless Prophet. He is hte highest of any tribe in spiritual matters, and is one of the oldest of any tribe.
The prophet is powerful, and communicates with hte spirits of our ancestors. But he is a fool! He has no idea the true power he possesses. On his person is the Amulet of Spirits—it is where most of his strength comes from.
I have learned that the Amulet is powerful, but it is incomplete.
There are five gems missing from the amulet. And if those gems were found and placed back into the symbol, its power would far exceed that of its current form. I have found the five gems, but need one of your skill to help gather them. Slaying the Nameless Prophet is heresy for sure, as is stealing from his corpse, but what I would ask of you next would condemn any centaur for even thinking it.
Throughout the caverns of Maraudon raom the spirits of our first Kahns. Our Mother and Father’s first children. And our greatest Leaders—they are Gelk, Kolk, Magra, Maraudos and Veng. Each of these spirits holds one of the missing gems.
Use the power of the Amulet of Spirits to force them to manisfest and take the gems from them! After, place the gems within the Amulet of Spirits and return it to me. Once I have the Amulet of Union, I will be powerful enough to reform the tribes so we can finally be as our ancestors wanted us to be!
First Kahn: Kolk
Second Kahn: Gelk
Third Kahn: Magra
Fourth Kahn: Maraudos
Fifth Kahn: Veng
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Salutations. My function is to offer access to and, when permissible, Insight into information regarding the Creator’s synthesis of the Earthen on the world designated as Azeroth. I am ready to share this information with you at your leisure.
> Who are the earthen?
The Earthen are a synthesized race engineered by the Creators, functioning as one of the seed races in the initial population of the world designated as Azeroth. The Earthen were created to aid the Creators’ efforts in shaping the deep regions of this world.
They are a modification of the standard subterranean being matrix used on other worlds that the Creators have seeded. The construction of this prototype race created various anomalies that were observed after initial synthesis.
>What is a “subterranean being matrix?”
It is one of the synthesis matrices the Creators use when seeding a world. Each synthesis matrix is used to achieve the Creator’s goals. For Azeroth, a subterranean being matrix was modified to create a being with increased durability with an affinity for deep region shaping; the Earthen are the product of this modification.
After the earthen had been put into service of the Creators, unforeseen anomalies were discovered that affected their synthesis matrix due to high-stress environments.
> What are the anomalies you speak of?
Additional background information on the Earthen must be given to you before this question may be answered properly.
To understand the anomalies of the Earthen, it is first important to understand what the Earthen represent in their design intent. The Earthen represent the Creator’s attempt at improving the survivablity paradigm of the standard subterranean matrix. This was done by incorporating a resilient foundation of construction inherenet to the world into said matrix,
>What is a “resilient foundation of construction”?
It is the baseline material used in race synthesis. A cross-section of Azeroth’s crust was used by the foundation for the Earthen’s synthesis rather than the typical biomass construction foundation used by the Creators.
Research on the world’s composition led the Creators to theorize that an enhanced being could be synthesized that would epitomize the resiliency of this world’s essence. This was accomplished by choosing to use a blend of Azeroth’s various stone core compounds as the foundation.
> So… the Earthen were made out of stone?
Simply stated, this is correct.
The Earthen’s physical features are that of a smaller stature humanoid, though their composition is that of Azeroth’s various stone core compounds. Their design maximizes strength and stamina without sacrificing cognitive processing power. Their skin and musculature are nearly impervious to physical damage, and with very minor modifications the Earthen display a remarkable resilience to unwanted magical forces.
>Anything else I should know about the Earthen?
It is integral to the assimilation of this data that it is understoof that the Creators wanted to synthesize a race that would long be an integral part of the world’s development cycle after they had departed. This race would be instrumental in fulfilling the creator’s long-term development objectives for Azeroth.
As an ancillary note, the nomenclature “Earthen” was deemed apropos for the new race by the Creators, based on the Earthen’s composition.
>I think I understand the Creator’s design intent for the Earthen now. What are the Earthen’s anomalies that you spoke of earlier?
The Earthen’s only anomaly in the synthesis is the tendecy for matrix destabilization while being utilized in high-stress environments.
Addendum: deep earth sculpting was naturally suited to the new matrix design and thus never met the qualifications of duplicating a high stress environment.
Destabilization was not discovered until well into the Earthen’s primary service cycle for the Creators. The Creators began to work on post-synthesis modification, rather than recall and re-synthesize.
>What high-stress environments would cause the Earthen to destabilize?
There are two potential results when the Earthen’s synthesis matrix destabilizes. Initiating visual aid representation number one.
The first variant matrix is a degenerative product of synthesis, hereby designated with the common nomenclature of “Trogg”. This variant maintains strength and stamina comparable to the earthen, but its cognitive processing power has been almost completely compromised. Force of will and a strong sense of cunning are the only driving factors in the psyche of the trogg.
>Troggs?! Are the troggs you mention the same as the ones in the world today?
I am unable to process your chronological reference in comparison to the recording of this data, my apologies.
The trogg retains some composition of Azeroth’s various stone core compounds, but the loss of cognitive power makes this variant unacceptable to the Creators.
The trogg procreates as per a standard biomass. By default it consumes stone and anything else it can acquire, including other troggs. Cannibalism is considered unacceptable by the Creators.
>You mentioned two results when the earthen destablize. What is the second?
Initating visual aid representation number two.
The second resultant variance of the Earthen matrix retains many desired elements when compared to the standard subterranean matrix. The common nomenclature for this variant is “Dwarf”.
This variant retains strength and stamina inherent to the Earthen. In some cases, the dwarf even exceeds the cognitive powers of the Earthen’s matrix. The dwarf, however, retains none of the physical composition of Azeroth’s various stone core compounds.
>Dwarves!!! Now you’re telling me that dwarves originally came from the Earthen?!
The data stored in this repository does indeed correlate with your astute proclamation.
The dwarf maintans an affinity for the stone composition of Azeroth, but due to the high-stress environmental anomaly within the Earthen’s synthesis matrix, the dwarf reverts to a default biomass composition as seen in the standard subterranean matrix.
Ergo, the dwarf variant does synthesize from the degeneration of the Earthen creation matrix, as you inferred with your query.
>These dwarves are the same ones today, yes? Do dwarves mantain any other links to the Earthen?
I am unable to process your chronological references in comparison to the recording of this data, my apologies.
Though the dwarf maintains most of the Earthen’s mental attunement to Azeroth’s stone composition, the reversion back into living biomass remains the main degeneration of the matrix. Dwarves eat and procreate through means typical to other standard biomasses.
The creators view the dwarf as an acceptable variant, worth of genesis in its own right.
>Who are the Creators?
The Creators are… the Creators.
They are the beings that seeded and shaped this world by their own design. They are the reason for this world’s existence, as well as many other worlds. They are the wellspring from which Azeroth flows.
>This is a lot to think about.
The Creators are cognizant of the magnitude of the information housed in this repository. Subsequently, a portable copy of this data stored here will be made available to you once you are attuned with the Discs of Norgannon.
Please consider your cursory requirements for the assimilation of this knowledge to be complete. At your leisure, access the Discs of Norgannon to being synthesis of your discs.”
—from the holographic image of the Norgannon Lorekeeper, after defeating him at the halls of Uldaman, Badlands
The original survey crew sent by the Explorer’s League was indeed correct in their findings. The ground here holds artifacts of unlimited value to our people. No doubt we will find many answers in our quest for knowledge beneath the sand and rock of Bael Modan.
The geology of the region dictates we use extreme measures however. Many of the sand deposits have solidified under the harsh conditions and varying climate.
The solution is quite simple however. Using wood pulp as an absorbent, we can combine traces of nitroglycerin with sodium nitrate to develp a strong blasting charge capable of breaking through even the most dense masses.
The work will be noisy and disruptive, but our search is of far greater importance than the comfort of the local inhabitants. In fact we’ve already had to drive a band of bull-men out of the area who were proving to be a nuisance.
The fact that we are dealing with various rogue elements out here leads me to believe we will need support from the King’s army. Not only will the excavation require military support, it would seem to my novice eye that the location of Bael Modan might be of strategic value to the Alliance considering the volatility of world politics in their current state.
Alas, I have digressed. There is much work to be done beneath the rock, I have spent too much time writting and not enough digging.
Journal drops from Prospector Khazgorm in Bael Modan, The Barrens
The terror of these past few weeks is almost more than I can bear; why is it that by writing words into this book I can somehow keep the madness at bay? Perhaps it is as if I’m confessing my sins to a silent companion, or freeing my mind of these tortured thoughts and confining them to paper. I began a journal before this one, but it remains in a place to which I cannot return. So I will start afresh. But this time, I will start from the true beginning.
It began with the finding of that cursed scythe in the mine they call Roland’s Doom. Yes, that was the start of it. Before that, the Defias Brotherhood was happy with our progress in Duskwood. Before the Scythe, the terrors of this place seemed as tame as Northshire Valley.
But ever since I found the haft of the Scythe jutting from that pile of rubble in the mine and, curse me, pulled it free, Roland’s Doom became a place of vile death!
If I had known what would happen, I would have cut off my own hand to keep from grasping that rune-carved wood. So many regrets! I always thought that was a privilege of the old. I now know that it is not the old – it is the hopeless – who don the mantle of regret, unable and unwilling to shrug it from shoulders stooped with misery.
But enough waxing like a pipe-mad poet. I must continue with the chronicle…
After the Scythe was freed, a change rippled through the mine. Light from our flickering torches warped, and the strength of our voices seemed beyond our control. Sometimes a man’s whisper roared through the tunnels forcing hands on ears, and sometimes our shouts barely traveled a few steps before diminishing into a hint on the wind.
Unnerving, yes, but we did not have long to wonder at this strangeness. It was but a harbinger of what truly drove us from the mine. The Worgen.
They came at us from everywhere, clawing from hidden holes at our feet and dropping upon us from silent perches above. Half our men fell in those first panicked minutes. The rest, including myself, tried to flee. As I ran I saw so many of my brothers taken by tooth and claw, heard so many screams cut short or gurgle to silence.
For all I know, I am the only human to escape that place.”
I can only guess why I survived that night. I have always been cautious, always quick to flinch from jabs and leap free of pitfalls. My nickname, Jitters, comes from this trait. So perhaps it was just that knack for caution that saved me…
Or maybe it was the Scythe I pulled from the rubble. It cannot be the Scythe itself, for I lost it during my frantic flight. But if it was I who brought the Worgen to Duskwood, then perhaps the Worgen afforded me a rare courtesy. Curse them.
Or perhaps, I am doomed to witness the change I wrought on Duskwood. Perhaps it is my fate to watch as the Worgen tear into this land, staining it ever darker with their foulness.
If that truly is my fate, then it is twofold. For the Worgen are not the only power to clutch at Duskwood – the fiends from Deadwind Pass have also staked claim.
That is the next chapter of my tale, and I pray it is the last…
After surviving the flight from Roland’s Doom, I hid within a barn owned by a man named Sven. I spent a few days in the barn, and such horror lingered with me that I never once made myself known to Sven or his family. But from what I saw from my hiding place, I knew these farmers were quite decent folk. Had I stepped from my concealment I think they would have taken me in, but trust is hard for me. Harder still after that shock in the mine.
So I remained hidden. And it saved my life.
A few days after I arrived at the barn, Sven left his farm for Darkshire. He kissed his wife and smiled to his children and promised to return soon with toys and sweets. The poor man. That was the last time he saw his family unmutilated.
At least they parted happily. And at least his wife was the first to die, and was freed from seeing the slaughter of her children. But these small graces do nothing for me. I saw what happened, and it will ever haunt my dreams.
My hand trembles as I recall the details of that night, when Sven was away and his family was doomed to face the Black Riders alone. Again regret claws at me, for I was there and could have risen against those fiends from Deadwind Pass. But it is a false regret. It is the same that plagues any survivor of a tragedy. I know that, had I left my place of hiding I too would have been killed, my body ripped and torn, and its pieces spread so widely that I would not be recognized.
But, even though I know I could have done nothing to stop this heinous murder, one true regret does remain: I brought the Black Riders to Sven’s farm. My discovery of the Scythe not only unleashed the Worgen upon Duskwood – it drew the Riders from Deadwind Pass.
I know this because, just before they began their slaughter they asked one question to Sven’s wife as she held her children close, giving them what comfort she could though she was certain death was near.
“The Scythe of Elune.” one of the Riders shrieked in a voice both harsh and shrill, like the grinding of an axe on stone. And the last word – Elune – it croaked, as if choking on the sound.
Dread gripped me when I heard that voice, both from the horrid sound of it, and because…I knew the Scythe of which the Rider spoke. It must be the same cursed thing I drew from the rocks of Roland’s Doom days before. It was what the Black Riders sought!
And it was what would kill Sven’s family.
I never learned the name of Sven’s wife, as she was only ever called “dearest,” and “my love,” and “mommy” by her husband and children. But I wish I knew it. I am the only living memory of her deed that day, and although she was just a farmer’s wife, never have I seen a man or woman act with such bravery.
Of course she did not know of the Scythe, but when she learned the Riders sought it, in an instant a plan formed in her head.
And it was bold and clever. If only it had worked.
“The Scythe?” she said in a calm voice. “Of course I do. Who here wouldn’t?” She looked at the Riders with steady eyes, and I would have sworn she spoke the truth if I had not known better. There was no way she could know about the Scythe.
Her gambit paid off. The same Rider who uttered the question before bent his head slightly toward her, and shrieked, “Where?”
“I’ll take you. All of you,” she said, and I could see a small hope flicker behind her eyes.
“But the way is far, and my children would slow us. We must leave them.”
Her trick was simple, but simple tricks have the best hope of success. If it worked, it would lead the Riders away from the farm. She would be lost, but her children would be safe. And it would work, if only the Riders believed her noble lies.
Although I have never been a student of the Light, I prayed fiercely for Sven’s wife as she stood against those terrible Riders.
“Please,” I prayed. “Let them believe.”
They stood, frozen, and she met their gazes with calm. Then one rider looked up, as if hearing a distant call. He drew from his garb a small gem and peered into it. He then gestured with the bauble toward Sven’s wife. A light crept from the Rider toward the woman, shaping itself into a grim, white hand. She stared into the light, unflinching, but I could see uncertainty behind her mask of confidence. When the hand reached her, it spread its fingers over her head.
And it squeezed.
Sven’s wife stood rigid as a board, and her eyes grew wide. And although her lips pulled back to mouth a scream, no sound escaped. Afte
r a few moments of this torture the hand released her, dropping her to her knees. The Rider who held the bauble then sat erect in his saddle, and
a loud voice erupted from it.
“This woman lies,” it said in a voice that has scarred my dreams. “She has not seen the Scythe.”
After this, the Rider’s shoulders stooped slightly, as if a spirit within him had fled. And then in the old, shrieking voice it used earlier, these final words were uttered:
“The Lord has spoken. Kill them.”
I cannot describe what happened next. It is clear in my mind, but even my wretched soul cannot put to paper the events of those next few, grisly minutes.
I can only write that Sven’s family was killed. And soon after, Sven returned to this grim, deathly scene. Such grief was in him that I was afraid to show myself. And so afraid was I that he would find me, I fled from my hiding spot in the barn. I do not know where Sven is now, but I pray he will, some day, find peace.
I spent the next few weeks moving from place to place, never lingering for fear of the Riders. I am now in the abandoned town of Raven’s Hill, as always, hiding. I cannot face whatever power they used against Sven’s wife, and I know it searches Duskwood, even still, for the Scythe. It is lost to me, and I thank the Light for this, for had I kept it I know I would have been found. Even now, I know in my heart that I will be found.
I’m so tired.
Book found at Raven Hill, Duskwood
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