The Tale of Shenthul...
The Tale of Shenthul the Darkspear rogue and To’rek Silenthoof the rogue of Highmountain - as told at an evening of Tall Tales.
Lohkawas enjoyed making the monthly trip to Bloodhoof village for a gathering of Tribe and new found friends around the central bonfire for an evening of Tall Tales. There the young Highmountain Tauren had begun to tell stories of his life, his mate, and his home to those in the land beyond the Mountain. But tonight, he was bone weary and tired. Lohkawas looked forward to an evening where he could sit and listen to tales of his new home. He had been surprised to learn that some of what he knew, or thought he knew of Tauren history, let alone the history of the Undead as Father B. told it, was much different than what he had been taught as a young Tauren growing up in the village of his birth. And he had not tried to hide this from his new Chieftain, either. The new Chieftain had been kind and understanding when Lohkawas spoke of his family as farmers and that what he knew of history and had been taught to him after long days toiling in the fields. It is not to say that his family elders had been wrong, either. It was more to say that for many moons, and many more before that, there had been no respite from Harpies, Drogbar, and the neverending Bluewax Kobolds and not much time for stories or history. But Lohkawas was determined to make this right, and so tonight he would listen avidly and learn what he could and perhaps someday return to the lands of his ancestors and share new stories with his people.
At least that was the plan. Fate had other thoughts, and once again Lohkawas was asked to share a story. When Firetotem grunted at him, Lohkawas quickly protested, “I have no interesting stories to share this evening, you have surely heard them all already.” Several around the campfire said he must have something to share, and Lohkawas responded, “But you will know all that I know, for many of you have been to my land. You have kicked fish in the river, you know of Ebonhorn and Huln Highmountain, and you know of Shenthul the Darkspear rogue who saved Highmountain.” There had been grins and nods as he mentioned the first two, but the latter drew blank looks and cocked heads. Lohkawas tried again, “Shenthul… the rogue… your rogue… from Orgrimmar.” Still no recognition could be seen in the eyes of the onlookers, so Lohkawas added the most infamous rogue that he knew and tried one more time. “The Tale of Shenthul, the Darkspear rogue, and To’rek Silenthoof, the rogue of Highmountain.”
Firetotem had had enough and grunted, “Tell Tale!” And went to sit down in the semi-circle of onlookers.
Lohkawas clambered to his hooves and shaking his head softly said, “Our elders use this tale to frighten the young, who play past their bedtimes under Mu’shas gaze lest they do not live to see An’she. But we are not calves, and I am sure you will know the tale once you hear the first few lines.” Lohkawas then casually began the tale of the most notorious rogue to ever walk on the Mountain.
There was a small farming village near Skyhorn called Sepulcher of the Sky. They had a hard time compared to their Rivermane cousins who dwelt in a fertile valley surrounded by flowing rivers and large deep lakes. To survive, the Wildmanes and others of the Sky planted wheat and other grains like oat and barley, which sustained them through the long winters, and what they did not eat as spiced breads was brewed and became the finest meads and ales of the Skyhorn lands. But there was one very hard winter, and not because of the Drogbar, nor the Harpies, nor even the Bluewax Kobolds. It was hard because their stores began to run low, though the farmers were very careful to stockpile for even the harshest and longest seasons. None of the elders could say why there was missing food and as calves began to hunger, bulls and cows both lessened their portions so that their children could eat. As the situation worsened and some younger bulls began to talk of raiding the storeroom, elder guards were posted night and day to deter them. And still the next morning, the bread that had been kneaded and left to rise through the night was missing the next morning, and all that was left were a few crumbs.
The elders met from the rising of An’she to the dimming hour just before the rise of Mu’sha and there was only one thought. “This must be the work of a rogue, one who stays to the shadows.”
“The children are frightened,” cried one Cow, “that there will be no cereal when they rise and no bread before they sleep.”
“I am frightened,” proclaimed a venerable elder. “For how will we find a rogue. We are not used to the shadows, nor to walk silently on our hooves. Even our antlers can be seen from behind any tree trunk.”
“Who is this shadow that steals our very lives?” whispered a Brave, one who was honored as the foremost protector of the village.
“I can ‘elp ya,” whispered a voice from the shadowed corner of the storehouse. The crowd drew back from the shadows with an astonished gasp, and an elder shoved a torch in the direction of the voice. “Watch were ya poke dat, mon,” whispered the voice and this time it came from the back of the room by the door, but no one had seen the shadowed voice move past them. The voice grew louder and stepping into the light of the room, a large male troll, blue skin the color of the sky, a flame orange mohawk and tusks as long as his forearms, “I said I can ‘elp ya.”
For a long moment, no one said a word and then the Tribe breathed a collective sigh, recognizing Shenthul, who often came to the village to purchase a deep dark mead, one he often claimed, kept him secured to the world due to the strong earthiness of the brew. Of course it took many elders to decipher the meaning from the Troll’s patois. “Dis brew is te reason I stay in te world” had sparked many a late night debate around the bonfire.
“We would be glad of any assistance friend,” said the Brave. “Do you think there is a rogue involved?”
Shenthul laughed heartily, “Of course tere is a rogue. And since I want wat ya brew, I will catch ‘im and bring ‘im into te light of te bonfire dis very night.”
The Highmountain Tauren sighed with relief and nodded, their hearts gladdened. They went to their tents full of hope and rejoiced that they would soon see an end to this thief in the night.
Shenthul, who had trained many a rogue in Orgrimmar had already been on the case, but he did not want to tell his friends that he knew he was up against one of their Tribe, for the thief had been in that very tent, and none of them the wiser; and none would have believed him had he said the rogue was a Tauren, one whom Shenthul had refused to train in the ways of the rogue. Instead he would have to show them that To’rek Silenthoof was the thief.
He disappeared into the shadows and it was not long before To’rek emerged from his tent, nodded in Shenthul’s direction and then faded from view accepting the challenge without a sound. They each moved as silent as a still wind, large blue feet and polished hooves slipped through the shadows from tree to hut and back to tree and Shenthul was not disappointed when his quarry whisked behind a cairn of rocks, lying flat or standing so still that even Mu’sha could not see the stocky Tauren, as if he were a scarecrow in a field on the darkest night of winter.
The game continued through the night and the bonfire began to burn low. Shenthul began to tire in the Highmountain air and knew his raspy breath was giving Silenthoof an advantage. He was an honorable rogue and bound by his word to produce the Tauren rogue before the light of the bonfire gave out that night and An’she rose shining over the mountainside. He stepped on a small sliver of a branch, and that was all that Torek needed to reach out and snag Shenthul by the wrist and draw him in close; wrapping him in his bulky arms. With all the strength of the farmer’s physique, To’rek began to slowly squeeze the breath from Shenthul. Shenthul tried every trick he knew, but with his arms pinned at his sides he grew cold with fear.
As Shenthul stomped his large feet onto the Tauren’s hooves, To’rek Silenthoof felt nothing and whispered in the Troll’s ear, “You thought we could not hide behind trees.”
As Shenthul squirmed, To’rek squeezed even more and said, “And that we could not be silent as the breath between the leaves.”
As Shenthul thought, “Dis is de end,” To’rek hissed, “And now you shall die by a rogue that you said could never exist.”
Shenthul felt the last of his breath escaping through clenched teeth, but instead of the world darkening, it was getting lighter and lighter, his eyes opening to find An’she climbing into the horizon and suddenly there was a different hiss, that of an arrow loosed from the string, and To’rek Silenthoof fell dead under An’she’s gaze.
The village’s stalwart Brave helped Shenthul to his feet and both looked upon each other with great relief.
“Tonight dere be ale, but I will buy, for et was by te sun dat ‘e died and not by te bonfire,” croaked the Troll, and the Brave grinned in return.
That night the elders proclaimed that, “From that day forth, no Tauren shall carry the name Silenthoof, for all shall remember the deeds of To’rek and how he stole from his Tribe.”
Lohkawas sighed, “And this is why there are no Tauren rogues.”