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Old 07-01-2013, 02:52 AM
Magistrix Verdande Magistrix Verdande is offline

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Default Story Time with Verdande: Vol'jin, Shadows of the Horde

Between the site being slow and laggy, and real life being busy, I haven't had the time to sit down and read my advanced copy of Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde by Michael A. Stackpole

...But I shall do so now! And I invite you to come with me as I gnaw my way through the book, doing a chapter by chapter review. I believe the book will be officially released in a few days (tomorrow, even?) anyways, so if you're wanting to avoid spoilers, perhaps you should look elsewhere.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Pratchett
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.

The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.

No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.
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  #2  
Old 07-01-2013, 02:56 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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Please do so, kind sir. I'd rather not spend my money.
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  #3  
Old 07-01-2013, 02:59 AM
Ujimasa Hojo Ujimasa Hojo is offline

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Finally, a break from all those flame wars. How many chapters are going to post about every now and then?
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:59 AM
Nazja Nazja is offline

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Please do so, kind sir. I'd rather not spend my money.
Your passion is lacking.
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  #5  
Old 07-01-2013, 03:20 AM
Magistrix Verdande Magistrix Verdande is offline

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Chapter one.

The story opens in Binan Village, with Chen Stormstout philosophing.

Chen Stormstout has ADD. There is nothing in the world he doesn't like, only things he likes less than others. While having to wait, he needs to distract himself with other things in order to not go insane with new ideas.

There is mention of two "Chiang Sisters", two Pandaren who are alive and claim to have lived for so long that they remember when Liu Lang had left Pandaria on the Wandering Isle.

Huojin Pandaren are looked down upon in Pandaria. They are considered the adventures type of Pandaren who left on the Wandering Isle, or who would willingly go to explore Outland. They are not to be encouraged.

The Chiang Sisters are ancient, but Chen doubt they're that old. They seem respected and worshipped, and Chen is trying to earn their approval - and loves proving their narrow minds wrong.

There is a lovely story where the sisters "command" Chen to fish Tiger Gourami for them. They don't tell him, they speak to each other but make sure he can hear them. So Chen goes to fish Tiger Gourami. He fishes three of them from the river. Chen throws the first fish back. He keeps the second fish for the sisters. The third, and largest fish, he gives to a Pandaren housewife and her five cubs, as her husband is still missing from a recent Yaungol siege. He reasons that giving the sisters the first fish would only prove that he was hasty and sloppy, giving them the biggest fish (which was too big for them to eat) was wasteful and would be seen as lack of consideration, and giving them all three would be seen as a sign of pride and showing off. By doing what he did, he wanted to show "reason, consideration and charity".

Li-Li is Huojin, the Pandaren who joined the Horde.

Chen considers himself neither Huojin, nor Tushui - but somewhere in the middle. But he knows he's lying to himself, and admits that he is Huojin.

Chen is anxious about having to choose one of the two paths, at some point. He's considering settling down in Pandaria, getting a wife and becoming a farmer/brewer - and thus feels anxious about having to adopt the Tushui way of life.

Pandaren cubs are made of "muscle and fur". Li-Li and Chen both pick them up by their neck skin and throw them away without consideration, knowing that their bodies will keep them unharmed and simply "bounce back" if they hit hard surface.

Li-Li tries teaching some cubs to fight, but Chen thinks there's a difference between "fighting" and "brawling".

Chen (to Li Li)"I admire your restraint"
"You aren't kidding. Someone was biting in there.
"As well you know, someone is always biting in a fight."

Chen wants to keep wandering the world, and would like for Li Li to take over the Stormstout Brewery some day. She still wants to wander, but Chen says that he can hire sedentary brewmasters, but only a Stormstour can run the brewery. He teases that he'll find a "cute" brewmaster for Li Li to marry.

Tushui Pandaren are uncomfortable with public displays of affection and emotion, which makes Chen think twice and not hug Li-Li in public.

One of the Pandaren cubs, who have now become Li-Li's and Chen's "slaves" (think wax on, wax off from Karate Kid) come running, shouting about a blue skinned monsters with red hair and claws whose bleeding in the river.

The "monster" is of course Vol'jin. He is "hacked up", with his skin, throat and clothes all being "in pieces". Li-Li's eyes grows wide when Chen tells her who it is, while the two of them lift him out of the river, because Chen has apparantly told a lot of stories regarding Vol'jin.

The two look to the Shado-Pan monastery, and want to ask the monks if they can take care of "another" of Chen's "foundlings".

End of chapter 1.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Pratchett
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.

The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.

No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.
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  #6  
Old 07-01-2013, 03:51 AM
neoshadow neoshadow is offline

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lots of juicy lore their.

Even if chen does want to mess with the shippings that exist for li li. (I know a guy who ships her with Nomi. Yeah.....
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Old 07-01-2013, 03:56 AM
Fojar Fojar is offline

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Originally Posted by neoshadow View Post
lots of juicy lore their.

Even if chen does want to mess with the shippings that exist for li li. (I know a guy who ships her with Nomi. Yeah.....
People ship Li Li with stuff? She's like fucking eight.
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You are right Fojar.
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  #8  
Old 07-01-2013, 03:57 AM
neoshadow neoshadow is offline

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People ship Li Li with stuff? She's like fucking eight.
You`d be surprised, some people ship basic campfire with pandaren scarecrow, with ghostly campfire as a bitter rival for the basic`s affections.
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  #9  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:28 AM
Ujimasa Hojo Ujimasa Hojo is offline

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Maybe we should discuss stuff about the novel on another thread so that it would be easier to find chapter summaries.
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  #10  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:32 AM
Magistrix Verdande Magistrix Verdande is offline

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Chapter 2.

Vol'jin's official title is "Vol'jin, Shadow Hunter of the Darkspear Tribe".

Vol'jin's barely hanging on, and is hovering between life and death. As Chen carries him, the ghost of Sen'jin is keeping them company, but only Vol'jin can see and hear him.

On the other side, walking with them, is Bwomsamdi, the loa who guards the Darkspear dead. He's described as a fearsome troll with a face that looks like a "Rush'kah" mask.

Bwonsamdi is saddened by Vol'jin's refusal to die. He says to Vol'jin:

"What be I making of you, Vol'jin? You Darkspears be not offering me the sacrifices you should, yet I help you free your home from Zalazane. And now, you be clinging to life when you should be giving yourself to my care. Have I treated you badly? Be I unworthy of your worship?

Vol'jin tries to tell Bwonsamdi that there are things he still need to do in life, which makes Bwonsamdi laugh and say:

"Listen to your son, Sen'jin. Were I telling him it be his time, he would be telling me his needs are paramount. How be it you raised such a rebellious son?"

This makes Sen'jin laugh, and reply:

"I taught him that the loa respect strength. You be complaining he did not offer sufficient sacrifices. Now you be complaining that he wishes more time to offer great sacrifices. Be I boring you so that you need my son to entertain you?"

Sen'jin and Bwonsamdi bicker a bit, like a king to a servant who is also his good friend. Bwonsamdi asks of Sen'jin is questioning him, or trying to tell him his business, to which Sen'jin calmly exlplains that he's simply reminding him (Bwonsamdi) of all the things he has taught the Darkspear.

Vol'jin hears other laughters from gods and loas, and concludes that Hir'eek and Shirvallah are listening to the argument, and finding it extremely amusing. Bwonsamdi growls and says:

"Were you so easily convinced to surrender, Vol'jin, I should be rejecting you. You be no true child of mine. But, Shadow Hunter, know this: the battle you face be more terrible than any you have known before. You gonna be wishing you had surrendered, for the burden your victory earns gonna be one that will grind you into dust."

Bwonsamdi vanishes, and takes Sen'jin with him. Vol'jin asks Sen'jin if he'll lose him again, and Sen'jin says that no, there's no way for Vol'jin to lose him, since he's part of Vol'jin. He tells Vol'jin how proud he is, and that as long as Vol'jin is true to himself, Sen'jin will always be with him, somehow.

Vol'jin finds himself in a vision, fully healed and under the scorching sun. He's surrounded by thousands of other trolls, who are all at least a head higher than him, and nobody seems to notice that he is there. Vol'jin recognises parts of the scene, noting that it's not broken, or ruined, but whole. It was the capitol of the Zandalar empire.

Vol'jin sheds some light on how the Zandalar empire destroyed itself. Political intrigue came from greed and avarice, and factions would split, eventually becoming their own empires.

Vol'jin senses Titan magic, and notes that Titans predated even the Zandalari. He compares the might to Zandalari against that of things that crawl, and notes that there is a similar difference between a Titan and a Zandalari, like that between a Zandalari and an insect. And their magic is no different.

Vol'jin muses that Bwonsamdi has sent him this vision, as he enjoys blood sacrifices, and would like for Vol'jin to give in to Zul and join the Zandalari.

The Zandalari are revolted and offended by the fact that elves, humans, trolls, orcs and goblins had banded together to destroy Deathwing.

Vol'jin knows the Darkspear will do whatever he asks them to. If he asked them to subjugate Durotar, they would. He starts scheming about how he could manipulate Thrall and, within two years of returning from Pandaria, conquer the Horde.

Vol'jin suddenly finds himself in the company of Bwonsamdi, whose controlling the vision, and this exchange takes place:


"And what be that gaining me?"

"I would be pleased. It would gain you peace, Vol'Jin, for you be doing that your troll nature demands."

"Is that all we be meant for?"

"The loa do not require you to be more. What purpose be there in you bein' more?"

Vol'jin feels an immense darkness and despair, and then wakes up.

It is revealed that Vol'jin knew of Pandaria because Chen had told him about it during their travels, and Vol'jin wanted to see the land before the Alliance and the Horde destroyed it. He had no plans of stopping Garrosh when he came to the land... But since Vol'jin had threatened to shoot Garrosh, he had packed a bow. Just in case.

Vol'jin mentions the Dagger in the Dark scenario, and briefly touches upon the Horde PC and Rak'gor Bloodrazor. He claims that he accepted Garrosh's mission because he wanted to explore - and he immensely enjoyed the journey up the mountain.

Vol'jin saw large bats in the cavern, and knew that none of his adventuring companions could see or hear them. He remembered that Hi'reek was a bat loa, and was wondering if this was a warning from him.

Vol'jin has a vision of how the Saurok came to be.

Saurok are flesh-shaped from snakes.

Flesh shaping is an extremely painful process which is used on living animals. It "stretches" skin, bone and flesh on animals, forming it into new shapes, while they're alive and screaming loudly. Vol'jin claims the magic is a "volcano to the ember most magi can command". He then envision a snake being "sown" into a saurok, like being knitted together.

Vol'jin muses that the titans must have done the very same thing.

Vol'jin is seduced by the magic, trying to justify spending decades to learn it. He wants to unmake the murlocs who killed his father, and he wants to transform all humans back into vrykul... But then he masters himself, realizing that such powerful magic will corrupt a mortal user, which is likely what happened to the Mogu - and brought them ruin, as it would the Darkspear, if Vol'jin embraced it.

Vol'jin muses that the reason the orcs are so willing to die for Garrosh is that they might be convinced that Garrosh will flesh shape them back to life, stronger and better than they were before.

The player character leaves Vol'jin in the cavern, and Vol'jin tells them that we must pretend to be dead. He starts regenerating, but didn't count on there being more Saurok.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Pratchett
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.

The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.

No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.
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  #11  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:34 AM
Fojar Fojar is offline

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How would turning humans into Vrykul help him? Vrykul are badasses.
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  #12  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:36 AM
neoshadow neoshadow is offline

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How would turning humans into Vrykul help him? Vrykul are badasses.
weren't they mentally dumber tho?
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Shape up, Neocat. Fuck's sake.
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  #13  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:37 AM
Fojar Fojar is offline

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weren't they mentally dumber tho?
No they weren't. They were just as intelligent as everyone else.
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You are right Fojar.
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You are right Fojar.
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  #14  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:42 AM
neoshadow neoshadow is offline

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No they weren't. They were just as intelligent as everyone else.
Then perhaps theyr`re weaker? I don't know, otherwise that line is pointless.
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based neokitty
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Shape up, Neocat. Fuck's sake.
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  #15  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:46 AM
Magistrix Verdande Magistrix Verdande is offline

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He could see a way - just the glimmer of a path - he could pursue its study. The same magic that had made a saurok could unmake the murlocs that had killed his father, or cause men to regress back to the vrykul they clearly had been crafted from. Doing either of those would be a worhy use of such power and would justify the decades of study its mastery would require.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Pratchett
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.

The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.

No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.
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  #16  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:48 AM
Zaelsino Zaelsino is offline

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Cheers for doing this. I'm a spoiler hound.
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  #17  
Old 07-01-2013, 06:24 AM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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You`d be surprised, some people ship basic campfire with pandaren scarecrow, with ghostly campfire as a bitter rival for the basic`s affections.
Some people are batshit crazy. Noted.
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You are pretty cool for being one of the bad guys.
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I was probably just upset about the Horde fleet in the Second War.
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  #18  
Old 07-01-2013, 06:32 AM
Magistrix Verdande Magistrix Verdande is offline

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Err, I might have dozed of for a few minutes, and my neck's feeling odd.

It's been an, err, long night. ;

Will finish this chapter, and then sleep for an hour or two.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Pratchett
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.

The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.

No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.
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  #19  
Old 07-01-2013, 06:41 AM
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Your passion is lacking.
I don't really want to go through atrocious writing only to find lore tidbits of the game.
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  #20  
Old 07-01-2013, 07:08 AM
Magistrix Verdande Magistrix Verdande is offline

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Chapter 3.

The Shado-Pan Monks are different from all other monks in the world. Their fighting style reminds Chen of immense rage, but their practioners are not at all angry - quite the opposite, they are in a peaceful state. Chen doesn't understand it.

Chen is sweeping dust away with a broom, when he is approached by Lord Taran Zhu.

Chen believes Taran Zhu is older than the Chiang Sisters, but he looks very young.

Li-Li has sent a letter, saying she's on her way to the Temple of the White Tiger. Taran Zhu seems to relax by the fact that Li Li will never again return to the Shado-Pan monastery.

Taran Zhu wishes to discuss the two people Chen has brought to the Shado-Pan, one being Vol'jin who has begun healing, but not yet awoken.

The two walk into a secret tea room of sorts, where Yalia Sagewhisper is waiting for them. Chen smiles widely, and it's hinted that the two of them are romantically involved. Chen notes that Yalia doesn't appear to be native to Pandaria, but have gone through immense lenghts to conceal that fact.

The entire session is very cryptic. Taran Zhu asks Chen to brew tea for the three of them. Chen notes that the terracotta teapot is shaped like a ship, and it's lid bears the motif of an ocean wave. Chen knew they weren't randomly made, but couldn't understand the message.

The caddy holding the green tea powder was painted black and covered in red images of birds and fishes, and symbols representing the districts of Pandaria. Taran asks Yalia a riddle of sorts:

"Sister Yalia, there is a ship in the bay. It is stable. What is it that makes it so?"

"I would say, Lord, that it is water that makes the ship stable. It is the ship's foundation. It is the ship's very reason for being. Without water, without an ocean, there would be no ship."

"Very good, Sister. So you would say that water is of Tushui - to use the term common on Shen-zin Su - the foundation, the meditation and contemplation. As you say, without water, there is no reason for the ship to exist."

"Yes, Lord."

Chen notes that, unlike himself, Yalia isn't seeking Taran's approval. She knew she was right. Taran Zhu had asked her a question - and she had answered, thus she was correct, whereas Chen himself would have wanted approval or a reaction to see if he had answered right.

Chen tries to conserve his power as he whisks the tea, as to not be too violent. Taran Zhu points to the teapot, and says:

"There are others, of course, who would maintain that the anchor is the source of the ship's stability. Without the anchor rooting the ship in place, it would be ground against shore by wind and wave. The anchor gouging the bay's floor is what saves the ship, and without it, the ship would be nothing."

Yalia bow's her head and replies;

"If I may, Lord, then you are saying that the anchor is like Huojin. It is the impulsive, decisive act. It is what stands between the ship and disaster."

"Very good... Do you understand what we have been discussing, Chen Stormstout?"

Chen notes that the tea is all "shipshape", and that he's been thinking of what has been said. Tara Zhu asks for Chen's understanding, to which Chen replies:

"I would say it's the crew. Because even if there was an ocean, if there was no crew who wanted to see what was on the other side of that ocean, there would be no ship. And the crew chooses the anchorage and when to sail. So the water is important, and the anchor is important, since they are the start and the stop, but it's the crew who does the discovery."

The three drink their tea. Taran Zhu takes a sip, approves, which means the other two are now allowed to also sip theirs. There's a lot of detail as to Pandaren customs in this book, which would take too long for me to write down here. It's very well written.

Taran Zhu says that he has allowed Chen to park two ships in his harbour, but will accept no more. He asks if Chen is curious as to why, and when Chen says that he is, Taran gives the following explanation:

"Because they are of balance. Your troll, from what little you have mentioned and the fact that he is a shadow hunter, doubtless is of Tushui. This other, the man who every day goes up the mountain a bit farther, then returns, he is of Huojin. One is Horde; the other is Alliance. They would, by nature, oppose each other, and yet it is this opposition that unites them and gives them meaning."

Yalia objects respectfully, wondering if the two may not murder each other. It is revealed that the Pandaren are unaware as to how Vol'jin has been damaged, but speculate that it could be either an Alliance ambush or the Horde having turned on itself. Taran notes that the un-named human bears many scars from the Horde, some in the mind.

The Alliance man is revelaed to be named Tyrathan. Chen assures Taran Zhu that Tyrathan will not murder Vol'jin, and that he shall speak with Vol'jin about not murdering Tyrathan.

Yalia wishes to turn Tyrathan and Vol'jin over to the Horde and/or the Alliance, but Taran notes that the Horde and the Alliance have proven useful, and helpful against the Sha in Towlong. Yalia fears the Shado-Pan might get politically embroiled, to which Taran states that it is already so.

Chen noted that many Pandaren considered Wander Isle Pandaren to be "wild dogs". He hopes Yalia doesn't share that view of him.

Taran Zhu notes that the reasons he wants to keep both of them at the monastery is that eventually, the mutual enemy will be gone, and the Alliance and the Horde will return to wage war on each other.

And so, the Shado-Pan will observe the two factions, so they can choose which one to side with, when that happens.

End of chapter 3.

...Also, I'm no longer tired. Will make coffee and jump straight to chapter 4.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Pratchett
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.

The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.

No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.
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  #21  
Old 07-01-2013, 08:23 AM
Magistrix Verdande Magistrix Verdande is offline

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Chapter 4.

Vol'jin is being pampered and taken care off by unseen aides. He hasn't the strenght to speak or act, not even to say stop. Vol'jin feels confused at sleeping in a matress with soft pillows. It is common place for trolls to sleep on thin mats on wooden floors, or stretches of ground. They went inside to sleep seldom, only if there was a storm coming. Vol'jin is uncomfortable by being comfortable, as trolls are "supposed" to live in misery and discomfort. He likens it to a shark being out of the sea, being unnatural.

Vol'jin is able to identify not only races, but individuals, by their scent.

Vol'jin is very happy to smell Chen, who comes sitting down next to him. Vol'jin's eyes were not damaged, but the Pandaren healers have sealed them with pandages as to not overexcite the troll, and Chen removes them gently.

Vol'jin considered that, indeed, had a foreigner been brought to the Echo Isles, they too would have been blindfolded until Vol'jin had decided what to do with them.

Chen offers to tell Vol'jin the story of what's going on, saying he can start either from the beginning, the end, or the middle - but the middle would be the beginning of the middle, or some such. The other Pandaren in the room can sense a boring story coming, and so they leave.

Chen pretends to be jolly and clownish to conceal his vast intelligence and cunning, which Vol'jin knows and respects. Chen tells Vol'jin he assumes it wasn't Alliance soldiers who had hurt him, to whcih Vol'jin grunts something about his head being gone. Chen laughs and says:

"Someone would be supping with the king in Stormwind, with your head the centerpiece, no doubt. But I figured you'd never let the Alliance catch you where they could hurt you so much."

Chen asks Vol'jin if Garrosh is leading the Horde, now that Thrall is away. It seems he didn't know before. He makes an educated guess, that Garrosh is eliminating his rivals. The following exchange occurs:

"There's not an Alliance head that's touched a pillow that's not had a nightmare of meeting you. Not surprising the same is true of a few in the Horde."

"Never...You?"

"Me? No, never. People like me, like Rexxar, we've seen you in battle being fierce and terrible. We've also seen you mourning your father. You've been loyal to Thrall and the Horde and the Darkspear tribe. Thing is, those who can't be loyal never believe when others are. I trust in your loyalty. Someone like Garrosh figures it's a mask over treachery."

Vol'jin being found in Binan Village ties up with the player character visiting him there in 5.1. Vol'jin asks how long it's been since Chen found him, and Chen estimates one month and two and a half weeks.

Chen tells Vol'jin of the deal he struck with Taran Zhu. He also draws parallels that the Wandering Isle pandaren are viewed by the mainland Pandaren, much like the Darkspear are seen by other trolls - as something lowly. Chen tells Vol'jin that Taran considers him Tushui - thoughtful and stable. Chen says he agrees with Taran, and Taran is interested in Vol'jin for this reason, as Tushui is not something he has ever seen in the Horde. Taran wants to know why Vol'jin is different.

Supposedly, there are Darkspear trolls who adopt tauren customs. Chen says:

"But this means he wants you to learn the pandaren way. SOme of our words, our customs. It's not like he wants you to be one of those trolls who go to Thunder Bluff and become blue tauren. He wants you to understand."

Chen says that Garrosh is very Huojin.

Vol'jin is placed under the care of Tyrathan - it is a test for both of them. Tyrathan must nurse Vol'jin back to health without murdering him. Vol'jin protests violently, and attempts to get out of bed - but Chen restrains him, telling him that the man can't hurt Vol'jin. Chen explains that Taran Zhu believes that Tyrathan must heal VOl'jin in order to heal himself. "That is part of our way, my friend. Restore the balance and you encourage healing."

Supposedly, there is a "long history" or human - troll relations. A very violent history. Vol'jin thinks for himself. Taran Zhu considers Vol'jin a troll. No matter how true information may be, it may be tainted by one who delivers it. By observing Vol'jin and Tyrathan, Taran Zhu would learn objective truth as to how man and troll interact, rather than what someone else tells him of how they interact. Vol'jin realizes that yes, Taran Zhu is very smart, but this also places Vol'Jin is a position of power - for he can now choose how to act, and what Taran Zhu learns.

Vol'jin inquires about the human, to which Chen says his name is Tyrathan Khort. He's an Alliance commander in the Pandaren campaign, but not very high ranked. He was wounded in a battle which somehow aided the Pandaren, which is why Taran Zhu has allowed him to stay in the monastery, but he is afflicted by a sadness which can't be cured.

Vol'jin asks if not even alcohol staves of the sadness - to which Chen says that, like Vol'jin, they both drink a lot, and can hold their liqour well, but they are more the introspective kind of drunks. Vol'jin asks if that makes Tyrathan Tushui, which makes Chen laugh in a friendly manner. He then explains that while, yes, the alcohol thing would be very Tushui - Tyrathan has, since the day he could stand on crutches, heads out to climb the mountain. He increases his journey by one hundred yards every day, and then stops and returns. He's not physically spent, but spiritually. Vol'jin thinks this is curious and interesting, and wants to learn more.

End of chapter 4.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Pratchett
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.

The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.

No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.
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  #22  
Old 07-01-2013, 09:18 AM
Gortrash Gortrash is offline

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Is Verdande telling a story?

*sits by the fire*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fojar View Post
People ship Li Li with stuff? She's like fucking eight.
You act as if you're new to the Internet.

Last edited by Gortrash; 07-01-2013 at 09:56 AM..
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  #23  
Old 07-01-2013, 02:01 PM
Magistrix Verdande Magistrix Verdande is offline

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Chapter 5

Vol'jin notes that the Pandaren of Pandaria are very much like the land itself - you see but glimpses of them, and only when they want to. Taran Zhu is stalking him, and Vol'jin is certain that he is being watched at all times, and that he can see Taran Zhu only when Taran Zhu wants him to.

Vol'jin notices that the pandaren monks who feed, wash and clothe him usually do so for a full day, and do it three days in total before rotating out, never to see him again.

The Troll language has a "melodious flow" which the Pandaren can't detect. Vol'jin's throat has healed, but he is incapable of speaking troll. Vol'jin is worried that the loa may no longer understand him, and noted that they have been absent during his long recovery.

Vol'jin is learning the Pandaren language. The Pandaren language has an incredible amount of words, and several words for the same thing. There are nuances which are hopeless for Vol'jin to learn, and he realizes that these nuances could be used to mask intent.

Tyrathan is taller than normal humans, but lacks the common bulk. He's described as lithe with scars across his forehead, and callouses on his right hand fingers. Vol'jin recognised instantly that he was a hunter. He has white, short hair which he leaves untidied, and maintains a recently grown, white moustache and goatee. He wears a brown Pandaren womans' robe, as male pandaren clothing is too large for him. So is the dress, but not dramatically so.

The Monks are not forcing Tyrathan to care for Vol'jin, but he has to wash Vol'jin's clothes and bedsheets. He never speaks, and is very good at what he does. Tyrathan scents sheets with herbs and flowers.

But Vol'jin is not so easily fooled - he noted things which made Tyrathan a very dangerous man:

The human always turned his head at sounds. He always paused for a moment before answering a question, no matter how simple. Tyrathan was incredibly observant.

He was also incredibly patient. Vol'jin deliberately spills food or stains his sheets in order to test Tyrathan's patience, but any effort to make him deviate is unsuccesful.

Vol'jin notes that Tyra has a limp, which appears incredibly painful. He masks most of the grimaces he makes when walking, but can't hide them all.

Tyrathan wants to play a game of "Jihui" with Vol'jin. (I think this is the same game Anduin played with Wrathion). It consists of a flat, gridded game board and two cylindrical canisters, one being black and the other being red. Each of the canisters had a round hole in the middle of the lid.

Vol'jin knows Tyrathan's name, and assumes Tyra knows who he is. Yet, there doesn't seem to be any enmity between them.

Tyrathan can speak shaky Pandaren, but flawless Zandali (The troll language seems to once again be called Zandali).

One of the figures is called "The Fire Ship". Vol'jin picks up on Tyrat's accent, and notes that he must be from Stranglethorn, but Tyra doesn't reply. Tyra explains that the Fireship is a very important figure in the Pandaren game. It can destroy anything, but it is itself destroyed while doing so, and then removed from play. Some players burn the piece. Of the six ships you can have in the games navy, only one can ever be a "fireship".

Vol'jin thinks Jihui is a metaphore for much of the Pandaren philosophy. Each piece has six sides. A player can move a piece as indicated by the uppermost face and attack, or it can change the face by one side and then either move or attack. You could also pick it up and roll it to randomize it. That was the only way to get a fire ship.

Most interesting, to Vol'jin, was that one could choose to not move at all - and instead draw a new, random piece from the canister.

Jihui encourages thoughtfulness but also incorporates impulsiveness. Deliberation was balanced with chance and luck, but chance could also be punished.

The aim of the game is to eliminate your opponents figures - but it is considered rude, ill-mannered and even barbaric to pursuit the game for such a long time. Rather, one should surrender when outclassed. There was no shame in surrendering in such a scenario.

Greatest victory was for both players to play til a standstill.

Vol'jin and Tyrathan are cold reading each other. Vol'jin notes that Tyra's pandaren language skills is much better than he wants the Pandaren to know, but Tyra admits that Taran Zhu suspects. Vol'jin also accuses Tyrathan of stalking Taran Zhu, to which Tyra admits that yes, he tries, but he succeeds only as far as Taran Zhu wants him to succeed. The two compliment each other often on the others strategic mind as the game continues.

The Pandaren game has knights, which tells me that even closed off from the rest of the world, the Pandaren must have a concept of knighthood.

Vol'jin plays the fire ship.

Vol'jin wants to pull another piece, but Tyra tells him not to - and grabs his hand. This infuriates Vol'jin, who growls for the human to let go of him. He wonders how a human could dare to touch a Shadow Hunter. Tyra says, though, that it's his task to teach the game to Vol'jin, and if Vol'jin draws another piece, then Tyra will win the game, and Vol'jin will be humiliated. Vol'jin considers the game board, and then says "For my honor. Thank you."

Tyra says to Vol'jin;

"I know what you were doing. I would win, but I would have defeated a student whom I allowed to make a frightful mistake. So you would have won. And you have won, because you forced me to act at your whim."

Vol'jin's eyes narrow, and he refers to Tyra in his head as "man-thing", asking if that's not obvious? That's the way it's supposed to be, after all.

"You win", Vol'jin says, "you read me. I lose".

"Then we both lose. No, this is not a semantic game. They are watching. I read you. You read me. They read the both oif us. They read how we played the game and how we played each other. Taran Zhu reads them all how they read us."

Vol'jin and Tyra find themselves strangely united, and the Pandaren as strangely ominous. Tyrathan says:

"The Pandaren are used to the mists. They see through them and are unseen within them. They would be a terrible force unleashed were they not so balanced and concerned with balance. In it they find peace and, with reason, are reluctant to surrender that peace."

"They be watching. Looking at how we balance."

"They would like us to balance. On the other hand, perhaps Taran Zhu wants to know how to unbalance us so much that we destroy ourselves. It is my fear that this is something he'll learn all too easily."



Vol'jin is mocked by more visions that night, perhaps from Bwonsamdi. In the vision, he is remembering his assault on Zalasane and the echo isles... But each of his well known companions are Jihui cube figurines - with maximum power. But there is no Fire Ship there, which doesn't surprise Vol'jin. Vol'jin knew that he was the fire ship... But concealed. This was not the fight where he'd need to become the fire ship, to sacrifice himself in order to bring victory. He hears Bwonsamdi's voice behind him, and turns.

"Who be you, this troll, who be having memories of heroic effort?"

"I be Vol'jin."

"And who be this Vol'jin?"


Vol'jin realizes that he's no longer the leader of the Darkspears. News of his death must have reached Orgrimmar by now - and Vol'jin fears that, in resisting Garrosh's tyranny, the Darkspear trolls may listen to other forces and turn to them for protection and guidance (I interpret this as meaning the Zandalari).

"I be Vol'jin. I know who I was. Who I gonna be? That answer only Vol'jin could be finding. And for now, Bwonsamdi, that be enough."


End of chapter 5.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Pratchett
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.

The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.

No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.
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  #24  
Old 07-01-2013, 02:38 PM
Gortrash Gortrash is offline

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If Vol'jin couldn't speak troll how was he talking to Chen earlier?

Phahaha Tyrathan is wearing women's clothes, how much more humiliation must the Alliance suffer?

Also, I'm calling it now, in the Siege of Orgrimmar Vol'jin is gonna play a "fireship" and sacrifice himself in order to achieve victory.
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  #25  
Old 07-01-2013, 02:41 PM
Magistrix Verdande Magistrix Verdande is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gortrash View Post
If Vol'jin couldn't speak troll how was he talking to Chen earlier?
I'm guessing he grunted in Orcish or Common.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Pratchett
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.

The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.

No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.
Reply With Quote
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