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Know Your Lore: The dark mysteries of the Darkmoon Faire

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Doubtless you've been there by now. You've seen the brightly colored banners, heard the cheerful greeting of the Darkmoon Faire Mystic Mages in all major cities, offering to teleport you to the portal that takes you to the new and improved Darkmoon Faire. You've wandered the dusty paths, drunk in the sights, played the games and watched the shows, and maybe even participated in a death match or two for fun. For a once-a-month event, the Darkmoon Faire certainly wasn't anything special to look at until now.

In their new home, the residents of the Darkmoon Faire have a permanent residence to open to the public once a month like clockwork. Presiding over it all is Silas Darkmoon, who runs the Faire and takes in those who wish to join, with one major rule -- no violence on the Fairgrounds. Travelers both Horde and Alliance alike are welcomed and encouraged to participate in the fun and games by the pleasant vendors as long as they keep any fights to the arena, and nobody is excluded.

The people of the Darkmoon Faire are certainly the most cheerful, amiable group of ruthless murderers you'll ever meet.


An eye for an eye

Meet Kerri Hicks, the Strongest Woman Alive. While she seems pleasant enough, Kerri's got a temper to be reckoned with. In Warcraft Legends Volume 4, you learn a lot about Kerri and a lot about the Darkmoon Faire in the story Blood Runs Thicker by Tim Beedle. While we may think the Darkmoon Faire is pretty amazing, not all of the residents of Azeroth would agree. Some view the Faire as a collection of freaks and paupers, giving them little to no respect. It was two of these patrons, the sons of a nobleman, who set off Kerri and started a fight that resulted in bloodshed, and that didn't stand well with Silas Darkmoon.

Though Kerri dearly wanted her revenge, she listened to Silas and spent the evening drinking her sorrows away. The next morning, the town marshal arrived to arrest Kerri for murder -- the murder of one of the patrons who started the fight the day before. The man, Erik Fallrook, was found dead, his head crushed like it had been squeezed by a vice -- or between the hands of someone incredibly strong. Such as the self-proclaimed Strongest Woman Alive.

Kerri was dragged off amidst protests of her innocence, and Silas had to think quickly. The main theme hammered home throughout the story is that the Darkmoon Faire isn't just a collection of freaks; it's a family, a family of outcasts brought together under Silas' wing. And family sticks up for each other, defending each other no matter what. Silas hunted for proof of Kerri's innocence, but his time was running out -- Kerri was quickly sentenced to execution for the murder of Erik Fallrook.

With time running out, Silas sent Yebb Neblegear to search for the one witness to the actual crime, a long-time servant to the Fallrook house. It wasn't Kerri who murdered Erik Fallrook; it was his brother Cedrick, the other son there during the fight with Kerri. Cedrick figured he'd murder his brother, pin the blame on Kerri, and collect double the inheritance from his father, with none the wiser. After all, who would step up and try and prove the innocence of a freak from the Faire?

Though Silas sent Yebb to find the witness, there was still the matter of Kerri's execution -- and rather than wait to see if Yebb's mission was successful, Silas had the various members of the Darkmoon Faire work together to break Kerri out. They were successful in freeing her but not in getting away; the town marshal showed up just as they were about to make their escape. But the marshal wasn't alone, he also had Yebb, and the witness -- and he'd heard the whole story, the real story.

Cedrick protested, trying to turn the gathering crowd against the members of the Darkmoon Faire, but he failed miserably. As the son of a nobleman, Cedrick wasn't immediately arrested; he was simply sent home, the town marshal promising to look into the incident the following morning. And home he went, dragged there by his father, who was furious at Cedrick for what he had done. He believed the servant's story, and through Cedrick's protests, threw him a bag of gold and told him to get out and never return. The gold was more than enough for greedy Cedrick, and he took his leave in the middle of the night.

But what he failed to realize was that the Darkmoon Faire took care of its own. And they certainly didn't appreciate anyone dragging their name through the mud.

Cedrick Fallrook was buried alive, next to the corpse of the brother he'd murdered.

Darkmoon Island

My, but the Darkmoon Faire is a cheerful place, isn't it?

Mist-shrouded Darkmoon Island is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma. It's a place of mystery and wonder, and you wouldn't believe the deals we made to get it... or who we made 'em with.

The question of where exactly Darkmoon Island is located hasn't been answered, nor has the mysterious comment above, suggesting the island itself was part of a particularly shady trade. Though we don't know where the Faire is located or who the deal was made with, the island itself seems to be innocent enough ... provided you ignore the black mists that cloak the place.

Surrounding the island are various rocky reefs and shipwrecks, everything from what appears to be Alliance vessels to ships bearing sails reminiscent of Sylvanas' fleet. But there's nothing to be found on the ships, their inhabitants long gone. As for the Faire, it's taken a large chunk of the island for itself. The tents, vendors, barkers and animals all happy to have someplace to call home, at last.

In Warcraft Legends, Silas states that the Darkmoon Faire is a family, a family that takes care of itself. This sentiment is echoed by all involved with the Faire, whether alive ... or slightly less so.

If one dies while on Darkmoon Island and happens to take a stroll around the island proper, one will find several ghostly residents haunting the local woods. All have their own stories to tell, stories of how they came to the Faire, stories of what the Faire was doing for them, and stories of their demise. It's never stated outright what killed these people, but all are associated with the Darkmoon Faire, which means that they died after the Faire took residence on the island.

The question is, was their deaths accidental, some sort of dark attack, or is it possible their deaths came from the Faire itself? There are seven ghosts scattered around the fairegrounds, and most speak of the Faire in a positive way, suggesting they didn't come to an unpleasant end. One ghost, Kupp Coincare, talks about a debt he had to repay, one that Silas was apparently repaying in his stead as long as he worked at the Faire. He says, "I didn't think anyone would mind if I didn't stay to help run the Faire. My debt was almost repaid. No one was going to miss those last gold coins ..."

Perhaps someone did miss them, and Kupp paid the price for his duplicity. In Blood Runs Thicker, it's made blatantly clear that the Faire looks after its own -- and it can be assumed that they look out for their own as well. Any attempt to dip into the profits, any attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of Silas Darkmoon will likely not be met with idle pleasantries.

As if that weren't unnerving enough, the rest of the ghosts seem to share a single-minded devotion to the Darkmoon Faire bordering on obsession. Even in death, these spirits will not leave, dedicated to the task left to them at the moment they died. Arlon Surehoof steadfastly watches over the camp from above; Sithera Wellspun still wanders the woods, eternally in search of firewood. And Martha Weller stands beside the spirit healer, determined not to desert her family and unwilling to desert the wounded.

Still other ghosts speak of their devotion to Silas and the Faire. Brenden Paulson left his home in Strom as a child after his father tried to kill him, growing up in the Faire. Franklin Jenner wanted to escape the horrors of war, and the Darkmoon Faire gladly took him in. And a troll named Zazla was rescued during a shipwreck, saved from certain execution.

All had their own reasons to join, and all willingly stayed. The Faire presumably watched over them, protected them, and kept them safe from harm. So what killed all these ghostly residents? Why did all seven die upon reaching Darkmoon Island? And why do the spirits stay behind -- out of devotion or out of a need to see their deaths avenged?
Though these mysteries are unexplained for now, perhaps we'll see more development of the Faire as time goes on. After all, there are several large tents that don't seem to serve a purpose at this point, and there are plenty more inhabitants at the Faire itself. And of course, there are all the visitors now that the Faire is open for business, travelers from all over Azeroth and beyond. It'd be pretty neat to see some sort of mystery unfold over time now, wouldn't it?

Silas and the Darkmoon Faire offer plenty of things to do, but they also hold a unique puzzle that has yet to be unraveled. Silas' involvement in any mysterious events surrounding the Faire has yet to be pursued, but hey -- he does warn people not to wander the woods alone. After all, people have disappeared into those woods, never to return.

As far as the Faire itself, as far as Silas is concerned, it's still a sanctuary, a haven for all, Alliance and Horde alike. Other than the Deathmatch Pit, the Faire itself is completely safe; Silas still holds to his beliefs, and doesn't condone violence at the Faire. And you can be certain that a tight-knit family like the carnies of the Darkmoon Faire will be quick to report any misdeeds to the boss himself.

After all, the eyes of Darkmoon are on you, from the moment you step through the gates. I wouldn't try anything funny, if I were you. The family will make certain that justice is met, on their own terms.

For more information on related subjects, please look at these other Know Your Lore entries:
While you don't need to have played the previous Warcraft games to enjoy World of Warcraft, a little history goes a long way toward making the game a lot more fun. Dig into even more of the lore and history behind the World of Warcraft in WoW Insider's Guide to Warcraft Lore.

Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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