Tenacious. Dwarves will not let go. It surprises me very much that there are not more dwarfish Death Knights. We can appear relentless. Dark Iron Dwarves are even more tenacious than our cousins. We go it alone, believing that Azeroth is in dire trouble. Perhaps it is because we have dug deeper than the others, or because we chose a volcanic mountain to make our home, instead of the more stable ones our cousins chose.
But this does not mean that we are all cultists. Many of us believe that the world can be saved. Because of the cultists, because of Thaurissan, we are shunned by the Alliance. Considered enemies of the Bronzebeards and the Wildhammer. Still some of us went to Northrend to put a stop to the scourge. And some of us did not return when the Horde and Alliance finally go around to making a stand. For we were already Death Knights, or scourged ghouls, or worse.
When I broke free of the Lich King, a dwarf thought he knew me. I slew him out of pity, for he did not know me. He thought I was a daughter of Ironforge, when in fact, I am a daughter of Blackrock.
I search for my past. A member of the Alliance now, it is more difficult; though with Thaurissan gone, and Moira as regent to her son, it has become easier. Perhaps one day, the tenacity of the dwarves will prove to give us closure on our past, and we will live as cousins should.
Pragmatic. We are taught from the time we are wee lads and lasses that the Light is hope. That it is a beacon of goodness. I never bothered much with the Light as a child, more interested in the pursuit of things I could see, feel, taste, and hear. The Light was too ephemeral.
Then I met the Prince of Stormwind, and somehow the Light emanated from him. His quiet manner matched my own, but where he is bright, I am dark. Black hair to his blonde. Bronzed skin to his pale complection. My sudden interest in the Light was not missed by the priests in Ironforge, and they tried in vain to convert me to the priesthood. It wasn’t until I heard a story in one of the Inns that I found my calling. It was a story of how Anduin had used his belief in the Light in a way I had never heard of. It had been a small trick, but the young priest whispered of the Shadow of the Light, and how even the brightest souls could use it when necessary.
I joined the priesthood, learned the skills of discipline and the holy gifts of the light, but I was not happy. When asked why, I realized the Light is not pragmatic. The Shadow, that is practical, and a means to an end if conducted with the disciplines the Light teaches us. In that moment, I learned to walk in the Shadow, and embrace its power.
I eagerly work toward the opportunity to go to this distant land I have heard of, adventure awaits me, and I will meet it practically, with the Light and its Shadow at my disposal. And the brash ways of Garrosh Hellscream will be brought to an end.
Stoic. Persistent. Give and take. Dwarves live with this their whole lives. Warlocks especially, for we must give a little for the power of our demons, from whom we take. But with whom we also build rapport.
Stoicism is not just silent endurance, though we have that in spades. Stoicism is also an understanding of what can and cannot be changed. It helps when dealing with demons, the Nether. It helps when learning control.
I spend my time studying the ways of demons, through those I have bound to my control. I use my knowledge to help the world. To work towards true brotherhood among the Dwarves. In Ironforge, the peace between the clans is strung tight. Our stoicism hides our true feelings. But mumbles are heard in the Inns; near homes. Never in the corridors of the great city.
I hear often of the warlocks who practiced their demonology under the city of Orgrimmar, of their ultimate betrayal of their own people, and I sigh inwardly. While often misunderstood, warlocks can work for good alongside the more traditional roles of mage or warrior. We lend our strength. We provide great fighters who cannot be killed, only banished, yet we find ourselves congregating in small, dark places.
Brave. Standing up for what you believe in. Standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Drawing attention to yourself so that others can cast their spells, aim and fire, stab from behind. Displaying a banner of courage for all to see – friend or foe. These are brave acts.
Bravery is not just displayed on the battlefield, though. Bravery can be saving another at great risk to yourself. It can be standing up to someone you disagree with. It can be venturing beyond the walls of Ironforge. It can be quiet. It can have nothing to do with combat. It can be personal.
I spend my time acting brave, but sometimes it really is an act. The act, however, makes the fact when it allows you to follow through. As I grow stronger, as my presence as a warrior grows, it becomes easier. Perhaps one day I will truly be brave.
I hear rumors of the orcs, who value bravery above almost all else, and I hear of their leader, cowering inside of his city, his own people turned against him. Power became more important than bravery. He clearly never understood quiet bravery.
Explorer. Brann Bronzebeard. One of the greatest explorers of our times. Ulduar. Uldum. Uldaman. Children of the Titans, of the earth. In Deepholm we met our cousins. A league of explorers travels all over Azeroth, across Draenor, into history.
Exploration is a part of who we are from the moment we open our eyes. While we might not experiment as much as our Gnomish neighbors, we do not hesitate to see what is beyond the horizon, to dig deep into volcanic mountains. To use that heat to warm our homes and hone our skill as smiths.
I spend my time wandering, seeing how dwarves outside of Ironforge live. Using my skill with magic to assist with problems large and small. Learning. Exploring.
As I watch and help Dwarves, Humans, Gnomes, and even the occasional Night Elf rebuild after the devastation of the Cataclysm, one thing is clear in the Eastern Kingdoms. All is not well in the Horde, and our leaders are trying to right a grievous wrong done by their leader.
Stubborn. If there’s one thing everyone believes about dwarves, it’s that we are stubborn to a fault. Stubbornness, however, is borne from our other, more tasteful traits – Loyalty, honor, tradition.
Being stubborn is about following through. Getting it done. Being there through thick and thin. Facing hardship head on. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but rarely will a dwarf not try. I know stubbornness is what brought about Moira’s rise to power, and also what keeps the Council both working and at odds with one another.
I spend the majority of my time out and about in the Dwarven realms, doing what I can to help others tough it out and make it through these trying times. When I am in Ironforge or Stormwind, I hear of the other kind of stubbornness. That born of arrogance and greed. The kind that makes you selfish.
As I watch the Horde turn on their leader, I can’t help but think back to the Cataclysm, and Moira’s return to Ironforge. Both struggles were born of stubbornness, yet the outcome is vastly different . Moira learned from her mistakes. Garrosh refuses to admit he makes any.
Tradition. Traditions teach us, they give us comfort. They bring us together. They give us commonality. Sometimes they give us purpose.
Tradition is not just handed down. We make our own traditions – toasting fallen comrades or greeting one another with words from a meaningful shared experience. These traditions are just as important as those our grandfathers taught their daughters who teach us.
I spend much of my time these days in Halfhill, where tradition is steeped in the pure waters from the Vale, and harvested from the earth. The rumors are that the waters are at risk. Endangered by a man who hides his ambition in the traditions of the Warrior Horde. By a man who has abused those traditions so completely that his own people turn away from him.
Other shamans pass through Halfhill, interested in this place for the exquisite cooking or magnificent plants that can be grown. Trolls, Tauren, even Orcs. They hide their traditions, fearing that outsiders will think they support the man who flaunts those traditions. They speak in hushed voices only with those they know. Passing messages, to be sure. Making new traditions.
Loyal. One thing you learn young in the Wildhammer clan, as a Doyle, is that we fly together. No Doyle, and no Doyle Gryphon are ever left behind. But things were changing in the Highlands. The Twilight Cult was getting more active. Out of Loyalty to my home, I was asked to leave it.
Loyalty is not just the oaths you make, but how you feel in your heart. Brawls broke out everywhere in Ironforge when I arrived, and all of them were about Loyalty. Loyalty to our leaders, both living and dead. Loyalty to our homes, to our traditions.
I spend my days in Ironforge, my truest loyalty stripped from me while I was away. But I am a Doyle, I will live as a Doyle and die as a Doyle. I hear tales from the heroes of Pandaria, of Garrosh and his misplaced loyalties.
In the high mountains of my homes, I imagine the gryphons flying free, untethered to dwarvish loyalty. And I hope they are happy.
This is the second in a 10-part series. Hero is the first part.
The Light teaches a great deal about honor. Dwarves as a whole consider themselves honorable. But honor is more than respect. It’s doing the right thing. It’s how you know you’re doing the right thing. In times like these, there is so much shadow it’s hard to see the Light, and we must look closely to find the honorable.
Honor is defined more by what you will not do, than what you will. At Stonard, not killing those who do not bear arms against us. At the Wrathgate, standing beside the Horde rather than fighting them. Letting Maev take the final blow against Illidan. And at Orgrimar, discerning between those who follow Garrosh, and those who would stop him – regardless of previous alliances.
I spend much of my time in quiet contemplation, speaking with Lorewalkers and Shado-Pan to understand what the Sha are and how best to heal the Vale. But my heart seethes at the wonton destruction caused by one man whose sense of honor has abandoned him.
This is a 10-part series. The Clan of Three Hammers: Hero, is the first installment.
Hero. I’ve been called that. I don’t think it’s true, until I reflect on what I’ve done. What I’m doing now, sitting in this shrine turned inn. It’s a strange time we live in, and stranger still the things I’ve seen.
A broken world where the plains remained largely untouched. Our own world torn asunder by the one who should be keeping it. A frozen continent overrun with undead, whose very thoughts are driven by a madman. A place where negative emotions are manifest.
Heroes are defined by their deeds. Heroes do what needs to be done, sacrificing themselves to the cause. Am I a hero because I stood in front of Illidan and walked away when he did not? Am I a hero because I’ve face Arthas? Am I a hero because I chased Deathwing to the Maelstrom, and there, ensured he did not return to the earth?
I spend a great deal of my time on the terrace, looking out across what was once one of the most beautiful places in Azeroth. The changes were caused by one man. Am I a hero because I believe he should be stopped?
Across the wasted pools of the Vale is the Temple of the Moon. There, those who would call me enemy make their temporary home. Those who were led by the man whose lust for power is so great he will stop at nothing. I imagine that across this field is another hunter. An orc, perhaps, or a troll. And she gazes across the devastation and her heart aches just as mine does.