A Trail of Red Wood: A Story of Loss, Hardship, Faith, and Strength
The Stonetalon Mountains for millennia had experienced relative peace among their clay red colored peaks. The Firetotem tribe had called it home and they thrived, though that was not always that case, nor is it any longer. Back thousands of years ago after the great quake there was chaos in the land of Kalimdor. The animals were off migration, many of the elements were in pain for quite a long time, and demons that were still around roamed the land in order to build up strength and assault and twist what small holdings they could. Deeper within the Stonetalon Mountains there was a small family of 5 who lived in the southern pass where their vale was lush and the ground was close to the ocean. Desolace to the south still had centaurs and was not far from the family, but they did not venture north in fear of both the elves and tauren. Although, it had been a long time since elves have been seen. Most headed north and never returned.
Tormahk was a Spirit Talker of the elements, a shaman of those days, and did what he could to mend the land in these troubled times. During a hunt he found a centaur attempting to enslave a fire elemental. Being bound to the centaurs will and magic, the elemental was helpless and could not do anything. Tormahk charged and fought with the centaur that had enslaved the elemental, using his imposing size and skill with a maul to kill the marauder during a quick but fierce battle. The fire elemental was grateful for being set free though embarrassed to be enslaved by a mortal. It told Tormahk of other elementals being enslaved by the centaurs and would need aid in being freed. Tormahk was not strong enough he explained to the elemental. He could not take down all the centaurs alone. Understanding, the elemental introduced itself as Cindereon and offered its aid to Tormahk. Although hesitant he agreed and together, with his maul now enhanced by the elemental plane of fire, charged to help the other elementals. They would release all of the other enslaved elementals within the the desolate plain. However, it would only be a matter of time before the centaurs would seek revenge.
Full seasons had passed and the family grew, just as nature tried to return to normal in the lands. When a small band of centaur attacked, the family fled to the rocky hills to the north to ensure they safety for all. While there Tormahk would call upon Cindereon, who was wandering his mountain homes, for aid. Cindereon would arrive in time to see Tormahk fight off a few centaurs before he would join in. Continuously Impressed by the tauren's courage and strength Cindereon would make his home with the tribe to which he named Firetotem. Over the centuries within Stonetalon the Firetotem, with the help of Cindereon, would guard the southern end of the mountains from centaur incursions. Other tribes soon would help when needed with hunters, warriors and supplies to make sure the elemental and the tribe were in good health as they continued their watch. Some tribes would send their best to help defend the land from the centaurs by living with the Firetotem, some settling permanently and joining the tribe. Because of this system alliances were formed with the Riverhorn, Rockmane, Windwalker, Cliffwalker, and occasional Grimtotem tribes.
It would be centuries and millennia until another quake would rock the land. This time a call was made to Cindereon to commune with, he never showed. It was not until much later that they discovered the summoning of the Firelord stole him from the tribe. His departure diminished much of their strength over a short amount of time as centaurs occasionally began winning battles, but enough to take a toll. With their numbers decreasing, the Firetotem began to move further back into the mountains for safety. The Grimtotem began to exercise their strength and demanded the other tribes become loyal to them as protectors of the tauren. Much of the alliance began to dwindle and the Firetotem slowly began to only lead symbolically as Cindereon could not visit in times of battle. Rather, only when a new chieftain was chosen for the tribe and the knowledge of their past must be passed down would Cindereon appear the tribe due to his constraints by the Firelord.
15 years prior to Thrall's landing on Kalimdor much of the Firetotem was pushed back into the mountains with not many more than 100 shu'halo left. Worse yet, they had been devastated by a timed attack during a Great Hunt, many more were killed. The survivors of the tribe had been split into two groups, unaware of each others existence. Those that went on the hunt came home to fight off what centaurs were left and took any survivors they found and went north towards the border of Ashenvale. Those who were around for the initial attack and escaped headed south and followed the herds of others to the barrens where they would meet families of the Bloodhoof tribe. These survivors would die on the journey, the few remaining would marry into other tribes and very few of them kept their Firetotem name. Those in the north however tried to make a home in what they assumed was safe away from the centaurs. Though correct, when the legion returned the tribe would be decimated once again. In a demon attack, many of the northern Firetotem were killed off except for Tanahrok, his mother Juun, his adopted brother and a few others of the tribe. They would stay with the Cliffwalkers until the call came out for all tauren tribes to gather in Mulgore after the land was taken back from the centaurs by the Bloodhoof. Tanahrok assumed the role of chieftain at this time but was unable to communicate with Cindereon. It was during this time just before Deathwing's return that Stonetalon had become far more safe. Many of the elements were unresponsive however. Tanahrok would use theses fleeting moments in the world to try to rebuild in the tribe. Taking inspiration from their history and home, he named the tribe after the mighty tree that grew in Stonetalon and the blood spilled over defending it, The Redwood. The tribe started to rebuild in this time taking in all who wondered and lost it all uniting under their shared feature, survival through hardship.