So what does all of this have to do with the creation of tauren paladins and priests? Unlike the Shen'dralar, whose history is well known and documented and therefore easy to pin to the night elf mage class, the origin of tauren paladins and priests is tied to a piece of history that was never fully explained or realized until one bright young tauren had an idea, a thought regarding these scrolls and what they could potentially mean. I'm speaking of course of Tahu Sagewind, a tauren introduced during Wrath of the Lich King who has some valid thoughts and theories about those Thunder Bluff scrolls that make a lot of sense -- particularly the eye of the Earthmother that was lost to time, An'she.
Tahu Sagewind can be found in the same tent as the Thunder Bluff scrolls with his friend Aponi Brightmane. The two NPCs, along with a quest associated with them were added in patch 3.2.0. The quest An Injured Colleague starts in Dalaran for Horde players. Players are asked to deliver a lost shield to Aponi, who was injured with an infected wound in her arm and sent to Thunder Bluff to recover. It's not really the quest that matters -- delivering the shield gains a thank you and a small sum of gold for level 80 players -- it's the conversation that follows between Tahu and Aponi that is the interesting part:
Tahu has the right idea -- the tauren revere nature and the balance of life, and yet for thousands of years they've been ignoring An'she, the other eye of the Earthmother, even though they acknowledge and appreciate Mu'sha and her contribution to the earth and the history and origins of the druids. For a race that supposedly holds the balance of nature and life so reverently, it is downright odd that they'd ignore the balance between Mu'sha and An'she, favoring one over the other. It's Tahu's suggestion that the tauren may want to look at this other side of the Earthmother that sparks Aponi and a host of others to form what is known in Cataclysm as the Sunwalkers -- the order of tauren paladins.Aponi Brightmane says: Talk to me, Tahu. Something. Anything! I'm going stir-crazy.
Tahu Sagewind laughs softly.
Tahu Sagewind says: All right, Aponi. I've enough on my mind to share. Have you ever spoken to the elves of Moonglade?
Aponi Brightmane says: Not much.
Tahu Sagewind says: The elves speak of a moon goddess, did you know? They put great stock in the light given by the moon.
Aponi Brightmane says: Like Mu'sha.
Tahu Sagewind says: Just like her. The parallels I've heard are interesting. And it's no secret all druids, Shu'halo and elf alike, can call upon Mu'sha's light.
Aponi Brightmane says: Where are you going with this?
Tahu Sagewind says: I wonder. Hamuul has guided us well, and I've learned so much from. The legends say that our people were druids when time began...
Aponi Brightmane says: I hear the "but" in your voice...
Tahu Sagewind says: ...but what Hamuul teaches is what the elves know. The night elves. They put such stock in their moon goddess, as creatures of the night.
Aponi Brightmane says: Do you think his teachings are wrong?
Tahu Sagewind says: No! No, nothing like that. He is an elder for good reason, sister. Mu'sha is one of the Earthmother's eyes, and she watches over us. That isn't sinister.
Tahu Sagewind says: But we're nothing if not people who strive for balance. Our warriors fight only when there is need. Our hunters take only what the tribes require to live, and use all they can when they do. The shaman stand as guide and mediator to the elemental spirits.
Tahu Sagewind says: And while we, as druids, are guardians of nature, I wonder if we've overlooked a key aspect of balance in all things.
Aponi Brightmane says: So are you going to bring this up to the elder?
Tahu Sagewind says: No, no. No need for him to trouble about a student's idle philosophizing while he entertains a friend.
Aponi Brightmane says: I suppose so. It's not silly, though, what you said.
Tahu Sagewind says: Well, it isn't exactly a new thought, sister.
Aponi Brightmane says: I see that thoughtful frown, Tahu.
Tahu Sagewind says: Sorry, sister. It's nothing to worry about.
Aponi Brightmane says: But something is on your mind, right?
Tahu Sagewind says: I'm thinking about the front to the north. The one you're so eager to return to.
Aponi Brightmane says: What about it?
Tahu Sagewind says: I know I'm counseling patience, Aponi, but I don't like remaining here any more than you do. Times are bleak, and failing to act only makes me worry that my idle hand may have been the one to turn the tide.
Tahu Sagewind says: Still... there is balance in all things, even death. I simply hate the concept that such destruction and darkness might be necessary.
Aponi Brightmane says: There's a phrase... "It's always darkest before the dawn." The dawn will come, though, Tahu. the sun will rise. The balance will shift back to where it should be.
Aponi Brightmane smiles and gestures to the north.
Aponi Brightmane says: Even on the glacier itself, the sun manages to peek through the gloom. I have hope, Tahu. I think we'll make it through this, no matter how dire it looks.
Aponi Brightmane says: But I'd rather still be there on the front lines helping it happen rather than trying to placate myself with belief. We can't just sit around and hope it happens.
Tahu Sagewind says: I know, sister. I know. We'll return to fighting one day. For now, though, maybe it's best to spread the word to others... give them the hope you have.
Aponi Brightmane says: And through that hope, strengthen our side in the fight?
Tahu Sagewind says: That's the idea.
This is where the tauren find their power of the Light, through An'she -- the forgotten eye of the Earthmother, the sun that shines on Azeroth with the break of every day. Or at least, that's how the tauren see it. What remains to be asked is this: If Elune is Mu'sha, and the moon and the deity known as Elune are one and the same, empowering both tauren and night elf druids ... then what of An'she? What is his correlation, what god or deity is he connected to? For that we have to look at the Holy Light of the existing paladins of Azeroth -- the Light that has empowered both human and dwarven paladins for years.
This "Light" has no name or identifier; it is simply present -- like the eye of An'she, watching over Azeroth by day just as his companion Mu'sha watches over the night. This opens the origins of the Holy Light debate up all over again -- with the introduction of the naaru in Burning Crusade, it was shown without question where both draenei and blood elf paladins received (or in the case of the blood elves, took) their Light-given powers from. However for the paladins of Azeroth, this question remains unanswered. Where did the Light that the first human and dwarven paladins discover originate, exactly? Is there a naaru connection, or is it simply some undefined presence, much like the Earthmother herself?
At the current time, there are no answers to be found in Cataclysm. But the subject of religion and its existence on Azeroth is a hotly debated one -- religion as it exists on Azeroth is largely confusing, a strange mesh of pantheism and magic with no real definition attributed to it. While some are content to leave this as it is, others constantly try to uncover the source of the magic that is at its heart the basis of religion on Azeroth, with little success. I have my own theories on the subject regarding the naaru and their presentation in Burning Crusade, but again these are all speculations at best.
What we do know is that the tauren have a very valid, very solid root to their sudden undertaking of the Light, and all it took was a little nudging to an injured tauren to create the catalyst for an entirely new order of tauren warriors. Aponi apparently took Tahu's suggestion to heart, as she is currently one of the main paladin trainers located in Thunder Bluff come Cataclysm. As for Tahu and his incredibly perceptive line of reasoning ...
Well, Tahu decided to follow the path he set for Aponi, but in his own fashion. Tahu Sagewind is now the tauren priest trainer located on Elder Rise in Thunder Bluff, surrounded by the scrolls that helped nudge him towards the realizations that would become the catalyst for an entirely new way of tauren life. It's only appropriate, after all. As for the sudden origination of the Sunwalkers, it makes a person wonder -- if discovering a whole new path to follow was as easy as examining history and finding a long-forgotten way of thinking, how many other undiscovered paths are out there, still waiting to be uncovered? All it takes is one visionary who is willing to look a little further than others -- so who will be next on the list?
There are times, though, where it's not a matter of history undiscovered, but a matter of heritage -- of familial or racial connections long abandoned or dismissed in the name of strife. In the case of the Wildhammer, it's not a matter of being forgotten -- it's a matter of being sensible enough to keep your hands out of the fire, because you're well aware that fire will hurt. Next week, we'll take a look at Wildhammer dwarves, their history, the dwarven shaman, and why the last thing you want to do is make a Wildhammer angry.