Tales of the Hunt
The brilliant keeper Mimiron crafted many firearms, but Titanstrike was his crowning achievement. It was his first rifle, and he designed it to harness the raw fury of storms.
Mimiron gave the weapon to his good friend, Keeper Thorim, to use in battle. Thorim was a legendary fighter who relished the hunt, and he wielded Titanstrike with great care and skill. No beast, no matter how mighty, could withstand the rifle's explosive power.
With you, Titanstrike has found someone worthy of carrying on Thorim's legacy.
Hunt wisely. Aim true.
Titanstrike was not conceived by a mortal mind, nor was it crafted by mortal hands. This rifle traces its origins to a mirthful being named Mimiron. He was one of the keepers, a race of noble creatures who warred with the Old Gods and imprisoned the wicked entities beneath the earth.
Some of Mimiron's fellow keepers could wield the fury of storms. Others were mighty warriors. Mimiron's strength was not physical but mental. His intellect and creativity had no equal.
Day and night, Mimiron tinkered away at unique mechanisms. He was especially fond of experimenting with weapons that the keepers and their servants could use to protect Azeroth. When the earthen suggested that Mimiron make something that could strike at enemies from a distance, the keeper devoted himself to the challenge.
Before long, he developed the first firearm in history, a rifle known as Titanstrike.
Mimiron's invetions rarely worked as intended. At least, not at first. He embraced the process of trial and error, often to the detriment of his faithful servants, the clockwork mechagnomes.
While testing one of the earliest versions of Titanstrike, Mimiron set part of his workshop on fire and damaged over a dozen mechagnomes. The keeper learned a great deal from the disaster. After repairing his injured servants, Mimiron fine-tuned Titanstrike. He took the next prototype to a stormy mountain peak, a remote place where no one would be injured if the weapon went haywire.
Mimiron's decision to test Titanstrike atop a mountain peak proved disastrous, but it was also illuminating. He had forged the newest version of the rifle with a mix of rare metal alloys that unintentionally attracted electricity. When Mimiron fired the weapon, a bolt of lightning leapt from a storm cloud and blasted Titanstrike into two pieces.
Mimiron wasn't angry or disappointed. He was ecstatic. The accident gave him an idea. The keeper would reassemble Titanstrike, and he would embrace its connection to the elements.
He would infuse it with the power of storms.
From chapter four of The Storm Thieves, by historian Evelyna:
"Mimiron needed help to make his idea of Titanstrike a reality. He needed Keeper Thorim.
"Thorim commanded the cracking powers locked within the skies. His lair, the Temple of Storms, acted as a conduit for thunder and lightning. It would serve as the perfect forge to remake Titanstrike.
"One day, as an angry tempest churned over the temple, the two keepers went to work. Thorim wrestled with the winds and the lightning until they bent to his will. He gathered the storm, and all its fury, into a concentrated orb of energy called the Thunderspark, and then he bound it to his temple.
"Mimiron was ready. He channeled the Thunderspark into Titanstrike. Lightning rocked the temple before the keeper finally sealed the wrathful storm inside the rifle."
From chapter eleven of The Storm Thieves, by historian Evelyna:
"The earthen have a legend of a time when 'the sky went mad.' It is said that thunder rolled through the heavens from distant corners of Azeroth for weeks on end. Most of the keepers thought something terrible had happened, that the sky itself had broken. But Mimiron ignored the sounds.
"Several keepers, led by Loken, followed the thunderous noise across the world. They finally tracked its source to an island far to the south, where monstrous devilsaurs and other scaled creatures roamed. There, the keepers discovered Thorim and his two worgs, Hati and Skoll, in the midst of a hunt.
" Loken hurried to the keeper's side to warn him of the sky's unrest. That was when he realized that Thorim himself was responsible for it.
"Thorim had received Titanstrike from Mimiron shortly after its creation, and he'd wasted no time using it in his favorite hunting grounds. His own energies amplified the rifle's explosive power. Every time he fired it, a thunderclap would split the heavens and rumble over the world."
From chapter twenty of The Storm Thieves, by historian Evelyna:
"The only beast to escape Thorim and his worgs on their great hunts was a monstrous jormungar worm. The creature, covered in thick plates of white stone, was the largest of its kind ever to exist.
"When Thorim discovered the worm, he took aim with Titanstrike. His first shot cracked the jormungar's stone hide. Before he could fire again, his prey leapt forward and knocked Titanstrike from his grasp. Thorim pummeled the worm with his bare fists and forced it to burrow into the earth.
"So began a hunt that would last decades. Thorim and his worgs tracked the jormungar across the north, battling the worm whenever it emerged from the ground. In his last encounter with the beast, the keeper landed a shot between its armor plates. The jormungar fled, and it was never seen again."
Betrayal eventually shattered the unity of the keepers. Most were imprisoned within their fortress of Ulduar. Thorim sank into depression and secluded himself in the Temple of Storms. Even hunting no longer made him happy, and he stored Titanstrike in his lair.
Ages passed, and the keepers' servants spread across the icy north. The vrykul formed clans and sought to dominate the land.
A warrior named Volund yearned for more than that. He dreamed of lording over every vrykul. To do so, he searched for the powerful mechanisms and weapons crafted by the keepers. Volund's journeys would bring him to a lone mechagnome. The vrykul took the defenseless clockwork creature prisoner and forced him to reveal information about Mimiron's creations.
From the mechagnome, Volund learned of Titanstrike and its location.
Following Loken's betrayal, Thorim secluded himself in the Temple of Storms. He often drifted off into bouts of fitful sleep for years on end, while Hati and Skoll roamed the wilds as they pleased.
Volund waited for one of these periods of slumber to steal Titanstrike. He ensnared a mighty proto-drake and used the beast to ascend to the Temple of Storms. Right under Thorim's nose, the bold vrykul pilfered Titanstrike and fled the keeper's lair.
After Thorim awoke and discovered that Titanstrike was missing, he called Hati and Skoll to his side. The worgs and their master picked up Volund's trail and stormed after him. The vrykul narrowly stayed one step ahead of his pursuers, but he knew he could not do so forever. Thorim and his worgs were legendary hunters. They would eventually track down Volund and punish him.
Along with his captured mechagnome and the relics he had uncovered, Volund escaped the north. He journeyed far to the south, to a land he'd only heard stories of--a land known as Stormheim.
From chapter three of The False Keeper, by the historian Llore:
"Volund bragged of his might, and he demanded that Stormheim's vrykul follow his command. Of course, they did not obey him. Not yet. A few vrykul stepped forward to silence the arrogant newcomer. Volund felled them all with Titanstrike, each shot booming like a giant's footstep.
"When the vrykul witnessed Volund's power, they were in awe. He wielded the strength of the keepers, and therefore they believed he must have earned the mythical beings' favor.
"Volund declared himself warlord, and he rallied Stormheim's warriors under his banner. He and his army marched out from Stormheim to conquer the surrounding land for the glory of the vrykul."
From chapter seven of The False Keeper, by the historian Llore:
"Warlord Volund had the strength of numbers and the weaponry needed to bring the lands around Stormheim to heel. What he lacked was unity.
"As the vrykul ranks made war against the mighty drogbar near Stormheim, Volund grew suspicious of his followers. He believed they were planning to murder him and take Titanstrike for themselves. After all, if he had stolen it from a keeper, surely someone could steal it from him.
"Volund's paranoia drove him to torture and execute many of his allies. The bulk of the vrykul soldiers abandoned the crazed warlord, and his once-formidable army crumbled."
Many years later, as Volund neared death, he ordered his enslaved mechagnome and his few remaining vrykul followers to bury him alongside Titanstrike. The warlord used the keeper-wrought mechanisms he had stolen as defensive wards to keep grave robbers out of his tomb. Even in death, Volund would let no one touch his cherished rifle.
Fortunately, Titanstrike did not remain buried beside the would-be conqueror forever. The rifle was not forged to spread terror or to dominate; it was forged to protect Azeroth.
Now reclaimed, Mimiron's masterwork can fulfill its original purpose. It will strike wherever darkness stirs, and its thunderous report will herald the death of all who threaten the world or its people.
Thas'dorah, Legacy of the Windrunners
If only we could see the true glory of Quel'Thalas again. Thas'dorah was created to aid in the defense of the Highborne kingdom, but over the course of its storied history, the weapon became so much more. It has journeyed from Azeroth to the darkest corners of the Twisting Nether, and it has spilled the Burning Legion's blood on the demons' home territory.
The rightful owner of this bow is still missing. But Alleria Windrunner was stalwart and practical; she would insist that a worthy champion use it to strike fear in the Legion's heart once again.
Nearly 7,000 years ago, the Highborne founded a new home in the Eastern Kingdoms. Their journey had been hard, and the land was hostile. But the end result was astonishing.
The elves built upon a confluence of magical ley lines and created a city, Silvermoon, near the Sunwell, a fount of pure arcane power. The kingdom of Quel'Thalas rose over the land as a shining monument of the glorious civilization that had once surrounded the shores of the Well of Eternity.
As the Sunwell's magic radiated outward through Eversong Woods, the forest's oldest tree began to absorb its energy. The massive tree was named Thas'alah, the "Light of the Forest." From its enchanted branches, the entire region seemed to be bathed in the glow of an eternal spring.
This bow would be made from Thas'alah's wood, and it would bear the legacy of a Highborne family whose members showed heroism for thousands of years.
The Highborne elves of Quel'Thalas had fended off constant attacks from Amani trolls. To keep their enemies at bay, they constructed a series of monolithic Runestones that acted as wards against intruders-and also hid the elves' use of arcane magic from the Burning Legion.
The wards succeeded in keeping their enemies out of Silvermoon, in part due to their anchor: the elven arcanists had linked the Runestones to Thas'alah, tying the power of natural magic to their arcane spells.
However, the tree's power could not keep the Highborne safe when they left their city. For that, they needed skilled fighters.
The Amani trolls were wary of launching direct attacks on Silvermoon. The elves' magic kept them at bay for several millennia, but eventually the trolls lashed out again. The conflict would become known as the Troll Wars, and the death toll rose quickly. An order of fighters called rangers was founded to defend Quel'Thalas.
The greatest of these early rangers was Talanas Windrunner, a master of archery and ranged combat. He swiftly rose in the ranks and was named the first ranger-general of Silvermoon for his bravery and valor. The leaders of Silvermoon commemorated the occasion by declaring that their champion be given a weapon befitting his new status.
Highborne weaponsmiths set to work immediately.
A trio of skilled artisans joined together to create a great bow for Talanas. They carved its body from a limb taken from Thas'alah and infused the wood with waters of the Sunwell.
Immersed in arcane power, the bow began to change. It was hardened, becoming nearly indestructible, and yet it still maintained its connection to the natural magics of Thas'alah.
When it was retrieved from the Sunwell, the bow radiated power. Talanas was humbled by the gift. He named the weapon Thas'dorah, "Valor of the Forest."
He promised that, as long as this weapon protected Highborne lands, Silvermoon would never fall.
Talanas made good on his promise. Thas'dorah's power was so skillfully wrought that even a novice would have been able to hit a target from a hundred paces. In his hands, each arrow sang as it sailed to its mark.
The Amani trolls soon learned to fear the sight of his bow, for if they ever caught a glimpse of it, they were within its range. They were forced to retreat, allowing the Highborne elves to settle deeper into the forest.
Talanas Windrunner became a legend for his part in securing the land of Quel'Thalas for future generations.
Thas'dorah remained with the Windrunner bloodline for thousands of years. The family dedicated their lives to the defense of Quel'Thalas, and in each generation, one would carry the bow into the forests to drive away any interlopers
Because Thas'dorah never left the region, it continued to bask in the radiant magic of the Sunwell and the surrounding forests. Slowly but surely, the bow was seasoned in a way no one could have anticipated.
Its strength only increased. Its powers began to manifest in surprising ways. An arrow launched toward a target might be joined by other, magical arrows, also aimed at the enemy.
Ever after the Troll Wars drew to a close, Thas'dorah helped repel countless enemy incursions.
A few years before Horde invaded Azeroth, the ranger-general of Silvermoon was Lireesa Windrunner, who had three daughters: Alleria, Sylvanas, and Vereesa.
As the eldest, Alleria was to take on the mantle of ranger-general, but she had little use for tradition or expectations. She decided to apply her training to practical matters, so she became a Farstrider, a member of a group of rangers focused on fighting for the Highborne all across Azeroth. She made a name for herself after a number of quick, decisive victories. Her sister Sylvanas would one day rise to leadership in her stead.
Thas'dorah remained in Lireesa's hands. It would not be passed on to Alleria until tragedy struck.
When the Horde invaded, most of the kingdoms of Azeroth did not believe it was a threat. After the orcs burned Stormwind to the ground, a few leaders took notice. The rulers of Silvermoon were reluctant to commit significant aid to the humans of Lordaeron, but Alleria thought that the demon-possessed orcs were a grave danger to the entire world. She led her group of rangers to Lordaeron-against orders-and fought at the Alliance's side with bravery.
It wasn't until the orcs allied with the Amani trolls and turned their attention to Quel'Thalas that the Highborne understood the true threat. Many elven rangers--including Lireesa Windrunner, the ranger-general--died in a bloody attack.
Sylvanas Windrunner would become the new ranger-general, but she passed Thas'dorah to her older sister Alleria. Sylvanas needed help to secure Quel'Thalas; she trusted that Alleria, a Farstrider, would have better opportunities to exact vengeance on the front lines.
Her instincts proved correct. Alleria struck fear into orcs and trolls alike, bringing down countless enemies with her arrows.
When the Second War ended, the orcs retreated to their homeworld of Draenor and rallied under a new warchief. Ner'zhul, the former chieftain of the Shadowmoon clan, promised that he would open portals to undiscovered worlds, ones ripe for plundering. The Alliance had no intention of letting him. Alleria volunteered to join the Alliance expedition as its lead scout. She carried Thas'dorah to Draenor with her.
The need for revenge still weighed heavy on her heart. It wasn't until she became close to a human, Turalyon, that she began to see a future beyond this war.
The Alliance expedition fought the Horde all across Draenor, but Ner'zhul succeeded in opening countless portals. The magical stress on the orcs' homeworld was so great that it was torn apart.
Those among the Alliance who had not escaped through the Dark Portal, including Alleria and Turalyon, were presumed dead.
When Thas'dorah was recovered from the Legion world of Niskara, it renewed hope that Alleria had survived the destruction of Draenor. Vereesa believed that her eldest sister had continued her war against evil by hunting the Burning Legion itself, pursuing it into the deepest recesses of the Twisting Nether.
Just as Thas'dorah had absorbed power from its native realm, it had drunk deeply of the chaotic magics swirling through the Nether. Its arrows grew more potent, more accurate, and more lethal against the minions of the dark.
The bow became a symbol of the war against the Legion, a means to rally the greatest hunters of Azeroth against the demon horde.
Quel'Thalas is not what it once was. Thas'alah, the tree from which this bow was crafted, was cut down by the forces of Arthas Menethil. The citadel of Deatholme now stands atop its withered roots. The Highborne suffered massive losses at the hands of the Scourge, so much so that the few remaining survivors call themselves blood elves in remembrance of that tragedy.
This bow was crafted to protect innocents from evil. It has done so admirably, on this world and on countless others.
Now it has been returned to Azeroth. Launched by one of the world's greatest champions, Thas'dorah's arrows will fly once more against evil.
Talonclaw, Spear of the Wild Gods
Crafted before the War of the Ancients, this spear has a unique tip, curved to resemble an eagle's beak, and it is infused with the energies of animal Ancients, or Wild Gods. Talonclaw has helped the tauren defend the world of Azeroth against all enemies, and it was passed to the greatest hunter of the Highmountain tribe until it was lost. Its wielder will be honored among the tauren, to whom it is legendary, but they will be hunted and reviled by the Legion.
Long before the War of the Ancients, tauren tribes roamed the sprawling wilds of ancient Kalimdor. The Highmountain tribe was led by Chieftain Moren Highmountain, who saved Ohn'ahra, a Wild God in the form of a giant eagle spirit, from an attack by fire elementals. In thanks, the eagle infused a portion of her essence into Moren's spearm gifting it with powerful magical abilities. Moren carved Ohn'ahra's name onto the haft of his weapon, which his people took to calling the Eagle Spear in her honor.
To commemorate other heroes he encountered, enemies he bested, and events he witnessed, Moren carved their names onto the Eagle Spear. As the spear was passed down to his descendants, they, too, carried on this tradition. In this way, the spear became a living history of the Highmountain tribe.
Moren's granddaughter Eruna was expected to become her tribe's leader. But before she could believe herself worthy of this responsibility, she took the Eagle Spear with her on a pilgrimage, a rite of passage to prove herself. In the northern lands, she rushed to defend a family of night elves from a cabal of tentacled beings issuing forth from a vast cave, wielding sinister magic--servants of the Old Gods who slumbered in dark places but were now awakening. She was joined in the struggle by a mighty bear, who revealed himself as an Ancient named Ursoc. Together, Eruna and Ursoc drove the strange creatures away.
In the aftermath of Eruna Highmountain's battle alongside Ursoc, the colossal bear took Eruna's measure and judged her worthy. Ursoc told her that a great darkness was coming and that the world would need strong warriors and leaders like her to face it. To aid her, he blessed her spear, adding his might to its enchanted power. In gratitude, Eruna carved Ursoc's name into the weapon, continuing the living story of the Eagle Spear, and returned to her people, ready to lead them.
Long after Eruna's passing, the spear was handed down to Huln Highmountain. Facing a devastating invasion from the Burning Legion, Huln unified other tauren tribes under his banner to join the night elves in fighting the demons.
During one heated battle, Huln tried to protect the two-headed wolf Ancient, Omen, from the forces of the Legion, but the great beast was gravely wounded and poisoned with fel energy. Before he succumbed to demonic corruption, Omen gave his last breath of purity to the spear, adding to the powers that other Wild Gods had left therein. Huln placed the Ancient's name on his spear so that his courage would always be remembered.
During the War of the Ancients, Huln fought alongside many warriors who would go on to become legends in their own right. Among them was the night elf Jarod Shadowsong, who saved Huln's life from a demon attack in one of the last battles of the war. Huln carved their names into the Eagle Spear as well. He even crossed paths with the greatest of all druids, Malfurion Stormrage.
From legends related by the elders of the Highmountain tribe: "Huln handed the spear to the druid, who examined the weapon closely, remarking on the sharp, curved end fashioned to resemble the eagle's beak, and on all the names carved into the shaft by the tauren and his ancestors. Malfurion communed with the spirits within, and approved."
Tauren elders still tell that the doomlord Xyburn made it his personal mission to eradicate their race, and that Huln swore to kill him. The two bitter foes finally clashed during the battle for the Well of Eternity, and their fight ended only when Huln, seemingly beaten, landed a near-killing strike to Xyburn's face with his spear. The demon narrowly deflected the weapon, which, imbued with spirit powers, nonetheless struck him in the left eye, blinding him on that side.
Huln won his battle, but before he could slay the doomlord, Xyburn--along with most of the demons in central Kalimdor--was expelled from Azeroth. Back in the Twisting Nether, he licked his wounds, awaiting the Legion's next campaign and vowing revenge on Huln, all tauren, and the weapon that had taken his sight. But there was no rest for Huln; shortly thereafter, the Well of Eternity imploded, creating massive earthquakes that tore through the world. As the land of Kalimdor shuddered and began to break apart, Huln and his people fled for their lives.
Following the War of the Ancients, the tauren tribes went their separate ways. With their ancestral land destroyed in the Great Sundering, Huln led his people on a quest to find a new home. They traveled far and saw many parts of the reshaped Azeroth before making their way to the Broken Isles, where they built the village of Thunder Totem in the shadow of the isles' tallest peak.
Having led his tribe to safety, Huln Highmountain bequeathed the Eagle Spear to his successor, and he went to join his ancestors. Legend has it that Ohn'ahra herself appeared to carry the spirit of the great chieftain into the sky.
Years after the legendary Huln's passing, the Highmountain tribe found itself led by twin sisters, Arien and Gardrel. Although Arien was the greater warrior and had an affinity to the wilds, Gardrel was acknowledged to be wiser and a strong diplomar. Rather than divide the tribe or place its well-being in the wrong hands, the aging chieftain named Gardrel the new chieftain, and Arien became Protector of the Mountain, possessor of the Eagle Spear.
The sisters were happy with their roles, and Arien kept the tribe safe for many years, tapping into the blessing that the Wild Gods had bestowed on the weapon. She gave it the name Talonclaw, honoring the Wild Gods her ancestors had befriended.
From the journal of Arien Highmountain, describing her tribe's encounter with an order of night elves called the Unseen Path:
"Gardrel and I led the night elves up the slopes of a nearby mountain. As we approached the summit, Talonclaw began to glow, emanating power. Instinctively, I held it up to the sky, and all were amazed--none more so than I--to see a cascade of golden energy pour from the spearhead and take the shape of a great eagle! But Gardrel and I remembered the lore of our tribe and realized that Ohn'ahra herself had blessed this site. At that very moment, we knew this sacred place should be renamed Talon Peak."
It was only with the help of the Highmountain tribe that the hunters of the Unseen Path--who had come to the Broken Isles specifically to guard against the Legion--were able to build their new home, Trueshot Lodge. From the trio of towers known as the Three Talons, they watched over the land and vowed to be ready should the Burning Legion return. The elves and the tauren learned much from each other, and Arien eventually joined the Unseen Path, becoming one of its greatest members.
The tradition of passing Talonclaw to the greatest hunter of the Highmountain tribe was carried on for many generations. If there were threats to the tribe or challenges to be conquered, the spear would be brought into battle.
When word came that a mysterious beast was stalking the wilds of Stormheim, Nalmus Highmountain[sic] took up the spear and set out to tame the creature--or destroy it. The hunter was sent off with a great feast, and the epic "Song of Talonclaw" was sung to bring Nalmus success in his quest. All felt sure he would restore peace and calm to the land.
When weeks passed without any word from Nalmus, a search party was dispatched. Though they looked far and wide, no trace of the famed hunter or his spear could be found, and several party members were lost to the unknown beast that prowled the mists.
Over the years, many other brave hunters would set out to find the creature. Most were never heard from again, and the treasured spear had not been seen since Nalmus disappeared--until you, with the guidance and blessing of Ohn'ahra herself, recovered the legendary weapon. In so doing, you became a hunter whose name will long be remembered.
With the Spear of the Wild Gods in hand, you are a hunter with few equals in all of Azeroth. Your strength, agility, and fierceness are sure to give you the edge over nearly any prey--or any foe-you set your sights upon. And unlike other hunters with their rifles or bows, you--like Huln Highmountain--prefer to stand toe-to-toe with your enemies. You have perfected your trapping, hunting, and killing abilities on the ground, but now you have a unique appreciation for how it feels to strike like the great eagle Ohn'ahra. The spear enhances your survival skills, allowing you to become a true master of the wilds-and like the eagle, you need no help, for you have no peer.
Talonclaw's spiritual power is such that shrines or temples that resonate with the force of the Wild Gods may respond to it, and priests of the Wild Gods may sense its presence. Its owner would be an honored guest in any tauren settlement (provided that they have not shown themselves to be an enemy of the tauren). On the other hand, the spear is also likely to draw the attention of the servants of chaos, so do not wield it carelessly.
Research efforts press on. There's more information to be uncovered in these texts. Time will reveal all there is to tell.
Come back after further research has been completed and I will continue to expand this tome.
- While the book states that Sylvanas Windrunner became Ranger-General following Lireesa Windrunner's death in the Second War, the Dark Mirror short story clearly shows that Sylvanas was already an established ranger general before the Old Horde had reached Quel'Thalas in the war.
It could be speculated that Lireesa was actually killed during the interim between the First War and Second War.
- Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): Added.