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The Ironsong Hunt
#1
A dozen members of the Ironsong had gathered in Grommash Hold around the circle that had contained so many Ironsong Moots over the year just ending. Adamos Trask, Chronicler of the Ironsong, a male Forsaken clad in black and silver, stood at the head of the steps leading down into the circle as the Warlord of the Tribe, Sreng Skull-Claimer, crouched nearby and watched the proceedings through lidded eyes.

Grunts and Blademasters alike fell silent as Trask's precise voice cut across their conversations abruptly.

"Greetings, Ironsong. Thank you all for attending this gathering. Today marks one year since the founding of The Ironsong Tribe by Warlord Sreng. While there will be a celebration of this no doubt epochal event in the history of the Horde at this week's Moot, tonight I have been asked to seek your assistance in another, related, matter.

"As we have approached this anniversary date I have reviewed the history of the Tribe and have made a number of what I find to be interesting connections between some of the earliest battles Ironsong took part in and those we fight today.

"In light of this it has occurred to me that while the Tribe has been largely reactive in our efforts fighting the foes of the Horde we may be able to change this trend should we be able to foresee -- and thus plan for -- the future."

From a diminutive form in garish attire sitting cross-legged along the edge of the circle rose a distinctly childlike voice. "You want to plan what bad things will happen and make them better before they go boom?" asked Zarraema, child-Priestess clothed in an unliving while not quite Forsaken form.

Adamos nodded. "Indeed, Zarraema."

"Oh. Well, that would make sense if we could see what would happen tomorrow," she replied, trailing off for now as she pondered how exactly to manage that notion.

Adamos turned back to the group. "However, my information is incomplete. I was not awakened into the free-willed state I now enjoy until the Tribe had already been active for a time and some of the founding members have been unaccounted for since prior to my admission."

The Warlord frowned darkly at the mention of the continued absence of some of his old comrades but withheld comment for the time being.

"The Blademasters and Farseers of the Tribe, as well as Warlord Sreng himself, will be travelling through Horde territory on various tasks of their own. The rest of you I ask to aid me in completing this research.

"First, I have some information on the whereabouts of one of the lost founding members of the Ironsong Tribe. A Tauren Hunter by the name of Rygnar, he retired from active adventuring some time ago and was out of contact with us for a number of months. It is possible that he may have information useful to us, gleaned from his travels abroad in the intervening time."

Sreng's faraway drawl pushed aside the terse flow of information at this point, "Rygnar was a great hunter in 'is day. Me an' him, an' Akora, we went into Ragefire Chasm together de first time, along wit' Ooluhtek an' one other... who was dat again?"

"Bloody lecherous fool, that orc," Ironsong's Champion, the Fel Warlock Damoxian Dread-Caller, all but spat at the mention of Ooluhtek.

Without missing a beat, Adamos continued. "I ask you, Tribemates, to seek out Rygnar and find out what he may have learned that has kept him away from the Tribe for so long, if in fact there is more to the story. Even if not, I will be pleased merely to update my records with his recent travels. Should the latter prove true I will seek another avenue of investigation for your to pursue."

"Umm...what does he look like, Amamados?" piped the child-Priestess.

Damoxian affirmed the question. "Yes, I don't feel much like asking every tauren I meet for his name on the off chance of bumping into him."

The warrior Lucrey muttered darkly to himself, suspicious of what was sounding to him so far like a wild goose chase.

With a pointed look around the circle, Blademistress Merrina said, "This is important, Adamos, or you would not send the Tribe after this person." At once the skilled diplomat and counselor both defended and questioned Adamos with just a few words.

He bowed to her and continued. "Rygnar is a black-furred Tauren who as last account was accompanied by a wolf called Sharpfang. He also has a prediliction for firearms, I bel-"

The Chronicler was again interrupted. "A woof! What color of woof?!" Zarraema blurted out in sudden enthusiasm.

Troubled as she often seemed to be by events in the world, the Shamaness Valtrinity let out a sigh.

"It is a Mulgore prairie wolf, Zarraema; I believe them to be grey. My initial inquiries suggest that he was tracking one of the mightiest beasts known to the Tauren of Mulgore recently and may still be in that area."

"Oh...maybe he went home and decided to go fishing for a long long time," said Zarraema.

Ronx, a relatively newer member of the Tribe, spoke his mental question aloud, "Mazzranache?"

The warlock Draxan, clad in his Shadow-woven armor, nodded. "Or perhaps that Kodo..."

"I am not certain which of the legendary beasts he was pursuing, but that is the lead I possess," Adamos said.

"Soooo....he's hunting! With a woof!" Zarraema clapped her hands in childish glee. "Fun. This is like hide-and-go-seek!" Zinthas, the warrior Zarraema ever referred to as Father, pat her on the head. "Um, except that he doesn't know we're looking for him..."

"Or does he?" Merrina offered.

"...and I'm not counting to ten!" Zarraema giggled.

Adamos smirked at him. "Aye, Zarraema. Just so."

"I have many doubts about this," Valtrinity said, "I spent many weeks searching for Tybrious when he went missing. What makes you so certain we'll find this lost tauren?" Lucrey nodded, sharing her concern.

"If I were certain I would have gone myself, alone, and be done by now," Adamos replied coolly.

Ronx grinned broadly. "A logical solution would be to send a message to him through mail."

Jahir, a trollish youth new to the Tribe, mused, "Hmm. Well, if he isn't actively trying to hide, he shouldn't be dat hard t'be findin'. Trackin' in Mulgore is not too bad. Assumin' dat we find him, where should we be askin' him to go? I guess de tribe leaders will be wantin' ta speak with 'im, right?"

"Nay, simply gather the information he possesses yourselves. He is still a member of the Tribe and indeed a former Blademaster of the Ironsong, his loyalty is not in question. As I mentioned, all of us will have our tasks, and I do not expect this matter to be fully resolved this evening."

Zarraema clapped again, giggling, "Hide-and-go-seek and tag...without spells... and get stories!"

"OK," Jahir said, "I've not much time this night misself, so I'm gonna head dat way now. I'll be lettin' ya know if I find anything."

"Indeed, any who wish to involve themselves feel free to do so now. I have other matters to attend to as well. My thanks for your attention and patience. I wish you good fortune in the Hunt." Adamos stepped fully out of the circle as the Tribe began to buzz with talk, anticipating the search for Rygnar, former Blademaster of the Ironsong Tribe and founding member as well.
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#2
Jahir proved correct -- Rygnar was found following the path taken by the great Kodo bull Arra'chea in his wanderings through the eastern plains of Mulgore without great difficulty and was pursuaded to come speak with those Tribemates who had come on the Hunt to find him.

They gathered in the lodge on Spirit Rise among the great Shamans of the Tauren and Rygnar shared his tale.

"I knew the Tribe would seek me out when the time is right. I have
walked the lands of Hordes on a vision quest for many months and there is
much to be seen in our own lands. At length I was given my vision and it
filled me with dread. You must follow the path I walked before you are
ready to know these things, as the vision unfolds as it must and cannot be
hurried.

"Let me speak to you of our allies for a time. The orcs, the
Darkspear, the Shu'halo live here together and seek to make of
Kalimdor a home to our people. Across the ocean, set apart, are the
Forsaken. You all know this of course. Not all may know that it was the
Shu'halo who urged Thrall to accept the Forsaken among our people, in the
hopes that with our lore one day they might be healed of their curse.

"Their greatest enemy, the undead Scourge, has even come as far as to
infest isolated locations in the southern Barrens, and it is of them that
I must speak to you first. The Scourge are those undead in the thrall of
the Lich-King and most believed that the Dark Lady Sylvannas Windrunner
was the only one strong enough to maintain her undead state while breaking
free of the Scourge's sway.

"With her unbreakable Will, she tore others from the dominion on the
Lich-King and set herself against the Scourge with her new followers,
grateful beyond death for the release from unspeakable torment they had
been given despite the pains of undead existence. Again, many of you may
already know this, just as our Forsaken Tribemates draw upon her Will to
free themselves from all manner of compulsions.

"Who was once in shackles does not easily submit again once freed. In the
glades where the secret enemies of the Burning Legion first met and for
which they were named there is a man. While it is said that no man is an
island he perhaps comes closest in more than one way. Find him and learn
more of the Scourge, the Forsaken, and their unbreakable Will.

"Another of the Tribe will be found there and will aid you on your
way."

((The Ironsong Hunt continues Tuesday 6:30pm game time in the lodge on Spirit Rise in Thunder Bluff, where there will be a brief recap and those gathered will set off in pursuit of the vision, in the footsteps of Rygnar. I will flesh out the above with more details from the event in time, I wanted to get the basics up here on the totem asap for folks to read if they were late or missed it. I have extensive screenshots of the event as well.))
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#3
Following Zarraema the Panda Priestess to Tirisfal Glade, the Ironsong Hunt troupe found Gunther Arcanus on his island and the Lady Eveline there with him! She was surprised to see them arrive and spoke to them of their quest.

Eveline looked up from her Extended Annals of Darrowshire, smiling at the crowd of Tribemates around her. "I must admit, I was not expecting company out here. What has brought all of you to such a deserted spot?"

Edonil: History.
Zarraema: The TaurenMan with his puppy!
Karlaki: And some really big guy.
Dispaya: Ho ho ho!

"That is very obscure... Hmm."

Ronx: Rygnar said to come here looking for a man who comes close to an island.
Haida: We ahh... we are not invading your reading, are we?
Zarraema: He said something about a dream.

Eveline looked to the Forsaken Archmage beside her with interest, but he remained silent.

Pehush: We have come following the vision journey of Rygnar, aye, who predicted we would meet you here and you would aid us on our way.
Ronx: He said to come and we'll learn about the Forsaken and the Scourge.
Edonil: We chase the dream of another, Lady Eveline, seeking to see what's already been seen. Perhaps you know something of Rygnar's vision?"

"Rygnar predicted this? The Shu'halo continue to be a great mystery. I thought him a simple hunter, but it seems all tauren are able to see further than just eyes can."

Pehush: Indeed, and he implied that the power of Dark Lady Sylvannas Windrunner was not the only one capable of freeing folk from the Lich King.

"It is interesting, my close friend Adamos had told me that he was seeking Rygnar. I wonder if he knew something of the vision he had. It is true, though. Not all of my people gained their free will through the blessing of our Lady Sylvanas.
"In fact, Gunther here is one of those unusual individuals! He was formerly a mage of the Dalaran, as was my friend Bethor Iceshard who sent me out here to bring him some supplies. He freed himself from the thrall of the Lich-King and hid away here in this camp, believing that this land was overrun with Scourge and having no idea that the Forsaken existed at all, for a long while!
"He and Bethor have been working on new ways to do battle with the Scourge, as we Forsaken they feel are uniquely suited to it, seeing as how living armies could be Plagued and brought back to fill the ranks of the Scourge. Forsaken forces would not be vulnerable to such an attack, and our Will makes us more resistant to the mental powers of Ner'Zhul.
"Now, you say you were meant to find a clue of some kind in this place? Do you think he meant a suggestion of some other place to visit?
"Hmm. Well, it seems to me like that could mean one of two places. I don't think Rygnar could expect you all to go into the Plaguelands! He himself would have been hard pressed to survive in such a dismal place.
"There are two others who were acquainted with Bethor and Gunther when they were all in Dalaran together. One of them you have heard much about from Master Ebberk I am sure. Arugal, once a hedge wizard named Argul, who now is the master of Shadowfang Keep.
"The other is Thule Ravenclaw, the master of Fenris Isle. Hmm... but what do the two of them have in common?
"I suggest you stay together and investigate that area soon. Surely some part of this vision can be found there, in Silverpine Forest. I will give Bethor your regards and ask him if he has any insights to share on this matter."

The troupe's discussion suggested a link between the two somehow related to the doglike minions of each -- the Scourged gnolls of Fenris Isle and the Sons of Arugal, not to mention the giant wolf guardian of Shadowfang, Fenris, who also bears Thule's island's name. They agreed to meet again at a future date in Silverpine Forest to look for the next clue to the vision of the future that would enable Ironsong to prepare for new threats to Azeroth.
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#4
The Hunt continues this Tuesday as a number of Ironsong members and some other friends of the Tribe gathered in Silverpine and decided to head for Fenris Isle, after a short retelling of the events to date for those who had only just become part of the Hunt. The group made its way to the Decrepit Ferry on the shores of Lordamere Lake and crossed over together for mutual protection, having fought through the minions of Thule Ravenclaw on the way. These Scourge fell easily and on the far shore the Rot Hide gnolls were visible patrolling. More significantly Blademaster Kosath Whitehorn was discovered fishing on the small pier there in a meditative posture.

"Greetings friends. I will only be a moment more. Haida's seamonster form seems to have frightened off most of the fish..."

Pehush: Gather around my honorable cousin here. He is a well known storyteller of the Clan Whitehorn.

"Ah, greetings Tribemates. I suspected our paths might cross here. Eveline told me you are following the path of Rygnar's vision thoughout Horde territory. You honor ancient Tauren tradition in this quest. I am pleased to see it.
"Why am I here? Long have I sought deeper understanding of the powers at work here in Silverpine, since the days Eve sought the aid of Tae and myself in investigating Shadowfang and this Isle.
"The creatures you know as the Sons of Arugal, the Worgen, are perhaps the harbingers of a greater threat to the world yet to be fully revealed. I have my suspicions and will share what I know.
"For a time, I decided to travel among the Alliance races. I was aided by a disguise provided by Myranda the Hag, who has mastered the art of illusions. I did this to fully investigate the rumors I had heard surrounding the appearance of the Worgen in these lands.
"It would seem that the night elves recently lost a powerful artifact known as the Scythe of Elune. Its primary ability was to summon the Worgen to our world. I tracked its whereabouts for many days, and finally learned that it was lost in Duskwood. Somehow it was found by a human and brought a great army of Worgen to that place, only to disappear yet again.
"It is now sought after by many in that area, most notably whatever fell power now inhabits the tower of Karazhan. It is rumored that the old Lieutenant of Ner'Zhul, named Teron Gorefiend, may rule there now.
"He was a death knight of great power during the Second War and was last seen fleeing the destruction of Draenor through a portal to an unknown destination. It is possible it was Azeroth, or perhaps the home of the Worgen themselves."

Valtrinity: This tower you speak of, Brother, where is it located?

"The tower of Karazhan lies in Deadwind Pass."

Valtrinity: Ah yes... I remember now. When I first became a Tribemember.

"Somehow at this same time the wizard Arugal, a rather talentless wretch from the circles of Dalaran, managed to discover the ability to summon the Worgen on his own. He now tries to spread a wave of terror across these lands through his servants, along with the current wizard of this Isle."

Pehush: Indeed, Master Ebberk has many ways of referring to Arugal, none good.
Zuipol: It was more dan dat, wasn't it Kosath? Wasn't Arugal turnin' humies inta Worgen?

"Aye Zuipol, somehow he has managed to do both, depending on the phase of the moon. The entire village of Pyrewood turns to Worgen at night."

Eveline: It is a horrible place. The villagers seem so normal and friendly, but they are all cursed.
Voran: As terrible as the situation is, this problem seems to afflict the Alliance currently. Do you think this has deeper ramifications, ones that can threaten the Horde?

"This effects our Forsaken allies as well as the Alliance, Voran, and the Worgen do not differentiate us from them. They are an alien presence."

Pehush: Disturbing. The orcish peoples once arrived here through portals and ultimately these portals doomed their homeworld. I wonder what the Worgen's summoning portends.

"Thule Ravenclaw, while clearly linked to Arugal through the wolf Fenris, seems to have little to do with the Worgen problem. He is a human traitor who turned to the Scourge while alive and as such is an utterly accursed being. Hmm...
"I assume you are looking for a thread to follow to continue the path of the vision? Perhaps that is it. If you want to learn more of humankind's betrayal of its own then seek out the tower where the Scarlets guard tomes of dark magic. I'm sure this is purely to keep the tomes out of the hands of dire 'villains'. No ulterior motives to the Scarlets, of course." Kosath rolled his eyes, words dripping with sarcasm, his scorn for the Scarlets shining through brightly.

Voran: The Orcs were an alien presence at one time as well. From what I have heard so far these Worgen have been forcibly removed from their home realm against their will. Would you not be ornery if this happened to you? Has anyone tried to open a dialogue with these creatures?
Uglawha: I not alien, I born in Ashenvale! <nods>
Eveline: I am sure that Arugal has discovered a means of communication, since he controls them.
Zuipol (smirking): He either controls them through communication, or simply by holdin' dere leash!

"The Worgen themselves, while possessed of some intelligence, seem more beastial then sentient. In their own world, they face a threat known only as the Legion of the Emerald Flame. I only know what I have read of the notes of the Night Elven Priestess who originally received the Scythe of Elune, supposedly as a gift from her goddess.
"I do however recommend continuing on your vision quest. It is a noble venture."

Waltimus: Emerald Flame?
Pehush: Aye, a strange name.
Valtrinity: I have never heard of such a thing before.
Gajitsin: Aye, what be da Emerald Flame?
Voran: Beastial you say, has a Druid attempted to communicate with the Worgen?
Pehush: It seems there is nothing else we know about this Emerald Flame. Hmm. We have heard of the Scourge and Worgen, and learned that they are possibly connected in this Death Knight.

"It would seem the Dreaming calls to me my friends. I wish you good luck in your Hunt just as I continue my own."

The troupe agreed to investigate Scarlet strongholds and meet again in the Ruins of Lordaeron some time before the Moot this week in order to hopefully complete their visionquest and bring their findings to the Tribe at the one year anniversary of Ironsong's gaining new allies in the form of the Raiders of Durotar, who joined the Tribe en masse on that day.

Good hunting! The final lore of the Ironsong Hunt will follow!
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