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Posts with tag mists-of-pandaria-factions

New faction short story: The Untamed Valley

I have a soft spot for the Tillers. I think they're one of my favorite factions from Pandaria. It wasn't just the fact that I got my own farm, it was the fact that each character involved in the Tillers' quests was so fleshed out, so well written, and so engaging that you really couldn't help but be enchanted by Halfhill and the surrounding farms. Of all the pandaren we've met in Mists, I think I'm going to miss the gang in Halfhill the most.

That said, the absolute last person I ever expected to show up in a short story surrounding the Tillers was Vindicator Maraad. Yet there he is, accompanied by Sentinel Commander Lyalia, another Alliance face we haven't seen for quite some time. The thought of a towering blue-skinned alien from another world interacting with the jovial and decidedly down-to-earth farmers of Halfhill seems like a really strange idea for a story. And yet in Blizzard's latest short story offering, The Untamed Valley, it works. It really, really works, in the most unexpected way.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Faction short story Over Water now available

New Faction Short Story Over Water
It's only appropriate that the faction short story for the Anglers involve one of the biggest fish tales ever. Just released on the official site, Over Water by Ryan Quinn isn't quite as Anglers-centric as one would initially think. In fact, the faction isn't even mentioned by name. But, as it's becoming clear with these faction stories, the tales universally have less to do with the factions, and more to do with the characters in the stories learning lessons about themselves. Over Water illustrates this in a big way.

Tarlo Mondan is not a happy man. A member of the Alliance, he looks at the outcome of the war -- the Siege of Orgrimmar and new Warchief firmly included -- with bitter disdain. Oddly enough, he seems to share a lot in common with many Alliance players, dissatisfied with conclusion of the Pandaren campaign and wondering exactly what he'd gotten out of the whole mess while traveling home by sea. Unfortunately, a heavy storm knocks Tarlo overboard, and the ship sails off without him -- which is really where the story begins.

Left adrift, Tarlo is rescued by a trio of pandaren fisherman with a tale unlike any other -- and hidden within that tale, and the journey, is a lesson for Tarlo to learn. Taking place after Garrosh's defeat, Over Water feels a lot more introspective and subtle than prior short stories. It offers a glimpse into the heart of the Alliance through the eyes of a lone soldier, something we really haven't seen much of lately. I don't know exactly what I expected out of an Anglers story, but Over Water left me pleasantly surprised -- it's an incredibly well-written tale. You can read Over Water over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.

Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Faction short story The Strength of Steel now available

Faction short story The Strength of Steel now available
The Order of the Cloud Serpent is one of those factions that while pretty long, is a satisfying grind in its own way -- the promise of a mount at the end of the quests and dailies is pretty compelling. But the one thing that really made the faction worth it to me, was the resemblance to the Netherwing quests of old. With the Netherwing, you were helping a beleaguered race of subjugated dragons regain their freedom. With the Order of the Cloud Serpent, you were raising a hatchling of your own, caring for it, watching it grow larger, and waiting for the day when at last it was strong enough to carry you into the skies.

It was touching because there was a distinct sense of heart surrounding the faction -- and the latest faction short story, The Strength of Steel by Raphael Ahad, illustrates that journey in a completely different way. One of the new allies of Garrosh Hellscream's Horde are the Dragonmaw -- a clan of orcs bent on subjugating dragonkind, forcing the beasts to obey and act as steeds of war. So what happens when a Dragonmaw, living with the ideals of the Dragonmaw firmly ingrained in his mind, comes across a cloud serpent hatchling of his own?

It's an oddly touching, beautiful little story that highlights the difference between pandaren and orc, between trust and control. As Koak struggles to raise his hatchling, there's also that internal struggle between what it means to be a Dragonmaw, what it means to be Horde, and where Koak stands in between it all. I have to admit, I didn't expect much out of a story surrounding the Order of the Cloud Serpent, but Raphael Ahad really hit a home run with this one, penning a heartfelt tale that in the end, was well worth the read. You can read The Strength of Steel over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Faction short story Death From Above now available

Faction short story Death From Above now available
How many were paying attention as they leveled through the Dread Wastes and into a path of discovering the Klaxxi and their long lost Paragons? Were you paying attention as the final truths of the mantid were revealed at the end of the Klaxxi reputation grind? That's all well and good ... but those weren't the final truths to be learned. The latest in the faction short story series, Death From Above, is a look at the Klaxxi thousands of years before the events of today -- in fact, years before the pandaren had even begun their rebellion against the mogu.

Written by Robert Brooks, Death From Above tells the tale of Kil'ruk the Wind-Reaver and how he came to be a Paragon, cleverly winding in the story of Warlord Gurthan and his final resting place on the Terrace of Gurthan in the middle of it all. It's a story of the mantid swarm, the Empress, and the cycle -- but it's also a story of the Klaxxi, their place in mantid society, and the unique origins of the Paragons who are laid to rest around the Dread Wastes, their locations kept secret until we uncover them.

And, in a way, it's a story about you -- the Wakener, the one who has opened the amber shells of the Paragon. It's the story of a Wakener from long ago, and what he learned in the process -- the relationship between Paragon and Wakener is explored, as well as the odd attributes of the Paragons and how they came to be. Perhaps most importantly, it's a tale of the mantid, who are one of the coolest races to be introduced in Mists of Pandaria, and completely deserved a story of their own. Robert Brooks did an amazing job with the tale, right down to the chilly and entirely unsettling ending. You can read Death from Above over on the official site, and while you're there, be sure to check out the other fine tales in the Destination: Pandaria section.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Faction short story The Blank Scroll now available

Faction short story The Blank Scroll now available
A new short story, The Blank Scroll, is now available on the official site. The next in the series of faction short stories, The Blank Scroll, by Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie, takes a look at the Lorewalkers against a most unlikely backdrop. A goblin team has been delving into the secrets of what Pandaria has to offer, but their efforts are stymied by the mysterious appearance of a terrible monster, and a pandaren Lorewalker who seems to know far more than she's telling.

Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie was also the author of Gallywix: Trade Secrets of a Trade Prince, so he's already got the knack of writing goblin characters down pat. But what's surprising here is that the focus of the story is the story itself, in a weird chain reaction of events that eventually play out to a mostly happy ending. I like clever tales. The Blank Scroll is exceedingly clever. Not only do we get a closer look at a Lorewalker in action, we get a better look at goblins, their relationship with the Horde, and even Gallywix himself, oddly enough.

I have to say, while I've been enjoying these short stories immensely, I do wish they were released with more frequency. I'd like to see what the other factions of Pandaria have to offer. However, The Blank Scoll is an excellent, somewhat cheeky addition to Mists of Pandaria's collection of faction short stories, a breath of fresh air after the somewhat darker nature of Trial of the Red Blossoms and Bleeding Sun. You can read the full story for free on the official site.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Faction short story Bleeding Sun now available

Faction short story Bleeding Sun now available
A new short story is available on the official Blizzard website for lore fans. Bleeding Sun, written by Matt Burns, sheds some light on the Golden Lotus and the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Although there have been small bits of story about the Vale and its guardians, there wasn't a lot of clarification on the process itself. We knew that the Vale had guardians, that those guardians had been there before the August Celestials chose to open the gate, but how those guardians were chosen, or what that choice entailed was still a mystery.

Matt Burns, also the author of Charge of the Aspects from last year, tackles this subject with flair -- but it's a dark flair, one that was entirely unexpected. I'd mentioned before that Trial of the Red Blossoms, Blizzard's first foray into Pandaria's many factions, was a little dark. Bleeding Sun beats it, hands down -- and all by using a character who is entirely devoted to the Light of An'she's sun. Sunwalker Dezco makes a unexpected return in Bleeding Sun, along with his twin sons, now named Redhorn and Cloudhoof. Dezco has been trying to to come to terms with the death of his wife Leza and the result of their grand journey across Pandaria. He and his followers found the Vale ... but what now?

And that's where it gets really grim.

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Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

New short story, The Trial of the Red Blossoms, now available

New short story, The Trial of the Red Blossoms, now available
It appears that Blizzard is far from done with short stories on the official website -- and that seems to be a pretty good thing. The Trial of the Red Blossoms, written by Cameron Dayton, is the latest offering to hit the official website. And for those wondering, there isn't a Li Li in sight in this tale. Instead, we get a tale highlighting just what it takes to become one of the Shado-pan, woven through the eyes of a young, scrawny pandaren thief simply named Ten.

If you thought that Pandaria and its residents were all about good cheer, food and drink, it's time to think again. The Shado-pan are among the least sociable of the pandaren, and are quite vividly illustrated as a group of warriors that you really, really don't want to mess with. It's a dark, grim tale about some of Pandaria's darkest, grimmest citizens -- and it absolutely shines. Ten is nothing like the sometimes too-precocious to handle Li Li, and his past and future hang in the balance of the Shado-pan. Whether or not he can rise to the occasion is entirely up to him.

The Trial of the Red Blossoms appears to be the first of what may be the next collection of short stories. Cataclysm saw the Leader Short Story series, and Trial is filed under Faction Stories on the Expanded Universe page, suggesting there are more tales of other factions to come. If they are even half as good as Trial, I suspect we're in for a treat this expansion. And frankly, I can't wait to see if we're finally going to get some dirt on the August Celestials.

You can read The Trial of the Red Blossoms on the official website, in the Destination: Pandaria section of the Expanded Universe guide. And as an added bonus this time around, the story is available for download in multiple formats -- choose from PDF format, ePUB format for the smartphone, tablet or Nook, or mobi format for the Amazon Kindle.


Filed under: Lore, Mists of Pandaria

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