An'she's Gift: The Focus of Rage
Tanahrok knew all had changed that day. The vale in which his village overlooked was no longer the vale of his ancestors, Cindereon had abandoned them, and the village itself was in a critical state of damage. The dragons peered over, across the still molten vale, at the tribes as the tribe did the same to them. Behind the village deep in the woods ballistas were hastily being made from the down homes and broken trees, stealthily pushed up within the dead of nights in hidden locations aimed high in the sky waiting for another attack. Weeks passed as ballista were formed, the village repaired, those lost were ceremonially cared for. Days later, Tanahrok's hunters brought back reports of increasingly high amounts of Horde forces in the area, many battling and pushing back the native elves, much to their personal gratitude for aid and relief. The Redwood and Firetotem that had come before them had done much of what the Horde could not and now, the Horde is here to support the mighty tribes.
With ballistas in place and braves on watch, the Chieftain sent a few of his mystics to speak with the Horde forces, although appalled with what they had learned. Goblins have stripped mines and forests of Stonetalon, humans had pushed into the barrens taking Honor's Stand, burned and slaughtered all of Taurajo, forcing Baine personally having to push back against encroaching humans, with Cairne already dead by the hands of the Warchief and Magatha's treachery, the Grimtotem fleeing to the mountains and killing the troll commander to the south, the black dragon aspect bringing the world to ruin. Disheartened but not without hope Tanahrok doubled down his resolve upon rebuilding the tribe to fight off the Earthmother's enemies. Although largely unable to take part in the greater campaign against the black dragonflight and Twilight's Hammer, found to be at the center of it all, the Redwood continued to battle the dragons and brood mother across their ridge with deadly success, unable to spot the Redwood ballista squads before being brought down. Whelps chained and dragged by their beast masters in the dead of night as their elder cousins subdued prior fought the wild, twilight corrupted and brainwashed dragons still stalking the mountains.
Taking this opportunity against the dragonflight, the Tanahrok had sent out more scrolls of the tribes accolades successes against both them and the rogue Grimtotem who would venture further east in hopes of escaping Horde vengeance drawing further interest in the tribe from across Horde held territory. So much so, Sin'dorei and troll alike sent aid in the form of supplies to the tribe. What a massive shu'halo would do with a small elven dagger was beyond everyone gathered, but someone figured it would be a good practice tool for a calf. In truth, it was a sword meant to be wielded with two hands to increase a users affinity to the arcane but sometimes culture and physiology is lost in translation, who would have guessed it. The tribe grew once again with the needed supplies but remained secluded dealing with local issues to serve the greater Horde, though horrified when they saw an explosion rock the druid enclave, hoping no shu'halo were visiting at that time.
As the hostilities in the mountains died down, so did the village in activeness. War and conflict was part of their sworn duty to the tribes and the Earthmother, but peace was always very welcomed. Their blissful isolation soon continued as word of the Twilight's Hammer defeat came in, soon followed by the death of the Earthwarden himself by the former Warchief, something Tanahrok new would have made Cairne proud.
Unimpressed with Garrosh's continued war against the Alliance, particularly the Night Elves which have always been estranged friends to the tribe, Tanahrok cut most ties with the official Horde army, instead on communicating only to the wandering braves and long runners of the Bloodhoof and the combined tribes. Any extra weapons with a greater quality than 'scavenged' that were produced were often supplied north to those still fighting off the Alliance at Honor Hold and Fort Triumph, although Garrosh's war machine took care of many of those stationed at what can be classified as 'Alliance Holdings' at best. It was not until Tanahrok heard of the Horde's escalation and the Dawnchaser's discovery of a land named 'Pandaria' with yet another shu'halo cousin did he find any interests in Garrosh's Horde. Though no supporter of the war monger himself, Tanahrok knew that these 'Yon'gol' would face overwhelming pressure and force from the Alliance on their own, aid would be needed for them surely. Unknown to the Redwood, these "shu'halo" were aggressive and could hold their own, largely unwilling to join the Horde unlike their cousins to the north though a few still did see reason and kinship among the two peoples.
Across the continent a young veteran, Abarahof Ragetotem, had just started his 3rd tour among the Horde swearing a renewed vow of loyalty to the Horde, and the new Warchief Vol'jin. Tanahrok, although aware of the civil war, kept largely separated from it, only supplying the Bloodhoof with supplies directly to Mulgore. Abrahof would be part of one of the few first regiments to land upon the shores of Ashran, unwilling to fight the defending orcs when communication and peace between the two Hordes seemed so simple in his mind. Knowing the strategies of the humans and dwarves extraordinarily well for a shu'halo, Abrahof was placed in charge of a regiment of his own as he was promoted to Centurion responsible for the western cliffs and coastal bluffs of the island, ensuring the ogre watch towers would become theirs sooner rather than later. His tour had lasted for quite some time; he had seen the Horde pushed back nearly past their watch tower to the gates, and had seen them siege the Alliance fortification with machine and elemental alike the walls crumbling but never succumbing to the onslaught.
Months past of constant fighting on the critical island but Abrahof had always found time to read Scouts Sample, the monthly letter to the troops from the Warlord, about the on going progress of the rest of the Horde though often dismayed by titles of "Warsong Washed Out!" "Shadowmoon Sundered" and "Blackrock Bombed!" He often sat upon his normal stone reading this with the same thoughts on his mind, "I have seen the Warsong and Frostwolf fight together years ago, how is it so hard to band against the Alliance? To at least bring peace among the Hordes?" He solemnly stood placing down another copy claiming the liberation of Shattrath by Horde and Alliance forces before going to sharpen his axes; draenei had just a tad heavier armor than most and needed that extra sharp edge to really drive through, even with the primal fire element's help. He swore to himself though after this tour was over in another few weeks, he wasn't re-enlisting for another for some time.
Within this time frame Tanahrok had also decided a time for change had to come; the Redwood no longer could be as secluded as they were before. Although they reached out often times to newly encountered tribes and distant relatives, their blissful isolation in Stonetalon began to sour. Younger members of the tribes demanded adventure, needed exploration beyond their high rocks, wanted to visit others, just as any new and young generation does in an ever changing world. Knowing he could only contain them for so long Tanahrok and Torahate suggested an plan to the rest; to become auxiliary Bluff Watchers for the High Chieftain himself giving the tribe the opportunity to adventure as well as maintaining their name and reputation as stalwart defenders of the shu'halo. Where better to do that, they hoped, than at the center of them all. Tanahrok knew this would likely be temporary leaving a circle of elders back at the village to look over the tribe. Thunder Bluff was the most secluded and defensible tauren city of them all, the Redwood's village was not. Had an enemy try and siege it Thunder Bluff, one snap of the elevator leaves no way to scale the natural defenses. Had an enemy siege the village, it would be destroyed easily without decisive action.
Abrahof had a similar idea; he would travel to Thunder Bluff to meet many of the other tribes he had only heard of or fought with temporarily while on duty. The Ragetotem were fighters, smiths, and relatively stationary. They had little diplomatic connections with the other tribes even after joining with the Horde. Upon his ride to the top of the bluffs he found a shu'halo cosmopolitan, no larger than a small city or large town for human standards but being three times the size of one helps even things out. To his disappointment though there seemed to be a sizeable amount of veterans much like himself out in the public circles of the bluffs, squatting, depressed, worn and unkempt. He approached one, his rucksack had the insignia of Horde airborne forces and had the arms of a cannon master, asking "What is with such gloom among the bluffs? I had heard nothing but great tales of the home of the Bloodhoof." To which the airman replied, "We all had heard the same tales, it turns out that those great tales are only reserved for those they have room for. It is the only disadvantage of a home such as this; if you build any further out, you fall." Abrahof nodded in agreement pondering what he were to do if even Horde soldiers like himself could not find room, looking up to the great totem, "One of the only things that have kept our spirits up" the airman continued, "are the Redwoods." "The who?" Abrahof replied, "The Redwood" the airman continued, "A tribe from the mountains, broken and reformed, their duty blessed by the elements to protect the northern borders against centaur raids for others may live peacefully. They put on a monthly Great Hunt for us to enjoy and eat well as well as another monthly gathering of all for we may tell of our tales and adventures, usually upon the highest bluff." "Really?" Abarhof replied, "I will have to seek them out then. Thank you." The airman nodded as he dozed back off to the sky, waiting away at another day.