- -by Aryxymaraki
I feel the spirits gathering. It is time for a tale to be told; one that has not been told ever before.
I tell you this story in the old fashion, as I was taught by my teacher Magaura, and his teacher Renklor before him, and his teacher Cydonixal before him, and so on until the first of us was taught by the spirits themselves.
Our story is the tale of a shaman named Aryxymaraki, and his rise and his fall, and his rise again and his fall again, and his rise again.
Aryxymaraki was born thirty-six years ago, to a mother and father whose names have been lost to time. At one point he knew them, and he is the only one who did.
One month after his birth, his tribe was swept down upon by centuars. The images of fire and blood haunt him to this day. His tribesmates defended themselves as best they could, but they were overpowered by the superior numbers of centuar. Blood stained the ground, and corpses became fertilizer for the next season of plants.
The centuar rode off, after slaughtering every man, woman, and child that they could find. Perhaps there were other survivors. Aryxymaraki knows of none, and the spirits do not answer.
He survived purely through luck. His mother had been holding him, and as she was struck, she landed on him. He was hurt and knocked unconscious, and the centuar believed him dead.
Some time later, a patrol of braves from the nearby Redhorn tribe came to investigate the smoke. Seeing them, Aryxymaraki's mother roused enough to speak one last word, and hold out her son...she held him out and spoke in a trembling voice, "Aryx.....ymar....aki." The braves assumed that this was the child's name, and it became so. Aryxymaraki was taken to the Redhorn tribe, and there he grew up under the eye of the tribe's shaman, Magaura.
As he aged, he was somewhat solitary. But it was clear to Magaura that he had great potential as a shaman, for the spirits favored him. So it was that he became his apprentice, and learned the ways of the shaman to replace him when it became necessary.
When he was not engrossed in training, he would mostly spend time with Norlak or alone. Norlak was a young warrior of the Redhorns; a warrior's training is not so rigorous as a shaman's, and so Norlak was a warrior before Aryxymaraki was a shaman. After Norlak left (that is another story, and it is his to tell, not mine), Aryxymaraki threw himself even further into his studies.
And so it came to pass that Aryxymaraki was almost completed his training as a shaman, in his twenty-ninth year of age. But before he was accepted as a full shaman of the tribes, he needed to complete a rite of passage. A malevolent force had been detected coming from the north, scrying, wishing to learn more about the Shu'halo people. Aryxymaraki was to search out this force, in spirit, and divert it.
He succeeded, but at an unknown cost. It was an extremely difficult rite, even more so than anticipated. The full story is told in this scroll. Suffice it to say that without ever moving from one spot, he shattered one of his horns, and gained a vast amount of experience and wisdom.
After this, Aryxymaraki knew that he had a quest that he must pursue. His encounter with that malevolent force had shown him what evil was, and he wished to undo at least some of the evil that he had been marked by in his lifetime.
It is a simple matter to return a willing spirit to its body. A skilled shaman or priest can even create a new body for a willing spirit. But something that cannot be done is the restoration of a spirit that has passed Beyond, and gone to be with the other spirits. At least, that cannot be done...as far as any mortal knows.
But the spirits know. And they know that it can be done. And they know how.
Aryxymaraki beseeched them to teach this skill to him. But not even for him would they teach it without first testing the pupil. First, they interrotaged him for his reason.
He wanted; no, needed; to restore his family. His mother, his father, and his older sister. All cruelly slain by the centuar before their time. This is his quest, and has been for the last seven years.
The spirits approved of his reason. And so they set the terms of the test.
He must fetch a vial of blood from General Marcus Jonathan; another from the Arch Druid Fandal Staghelm; another from the Archbishop Benedictus; and another from High Tinker Mekkatorque.
He must obtain a suit of armor, so powerful as to cast aside any blow, and yet so flexible as to be worn by a shaman or others not trained in the heaviest armors.
He must obtain enough leather from the great devilsaurs to form the bodies of those he wishes to bring back.
Finally, for each family member, he must obtain the purest essences of existence, to bring back their spirit. One essence of each of the Foundation Elements - Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. Five greater essences of each of the Magistarium Elements - Magic, Astral, Nether, Mystic, and Eternal. And finally, two essences of each of the Vital Elements - Life and Undeath.
Only then will his quest be complete. Only then can he rest. Aryxymaraki has never truly aspired to anything other than finishing his quest and retiring as the shaman of the Redhorn tribe. He would rather have lived a quiet existence on the plains of Mulgore than have become a hero of the Horde, as Warchief Thrall has declared him to be. But such are the twists of fate.
Fate comes from the most unexpected places, and strikes at the most unexpected times. As Aryxymaraki worked unceasingly to gather what he needed for his quest, disaster struck. His horn began to speak to him again.
It whispered to him of blood and fire. It murmured to him of darkness and rot. It softly purred to him about the murder and torture of innocents.
For his remaining horn was corrupted by a dreadlord named Barathum; the price of his rite of passage. And through that horn, the dreadlord had a hold on Aryxymaraki. Once more he was forced to struggle with a dreadlord. But this time, he was older, and wiser - yes, being wiser was a disadvantage in this fight, for he better knew what would happen if he lost. He took great pains to conceal the struggle from his family, the Tears of Draenor, for he was confident and did not wish them to worry.
He is told that sometimes, rarely, during this struggle, he would wake, spout gibberish, and fall asleep. He remembers nothing of this, but he is told that he did it three times over the course of five or six months.
And then it happened. He was relaxing in Orgrimmar, speaking to Asachi and the Elder Ruarc. He recalls Asachi saying something, and he responded with something that he knew to be wrong and did not care; the horn was being particularly bothersome that night. Images of his murdered family floated around him. For one moment, and one moment alone, he wished death upon the dreadlord.
His anger was his downfall, and he knew it. He knew himself to be lost to Barathum in that instant, and he ran before he could harm his family.
The horrors he experienced, and the tortures Barathum inflicted upon him, shall not be related here. Suffice it to say that when he awoke in Felwood, he was surrounded by people that he thought he had betrayed, murdered, tortured, or otherwise harmed a thousand times over. He has no knowledge of how long passed. It could have been minutes. It could have been millennia. He is told it was only months. Only months.....in his spirit's prison, in the Nether, it was years.
But thanks to his family, and his friends, he is himself again, and his quest must continue. Such is his path.