- Full Name: Cualgne Setanta
- Aliases: simply "Setanta"
- Title: "The Brown Bull" ("Setanta" in Taurahe); alternatively "Quin'nehtukqut" (derogatory; meaning "The Red Bull" in Taurahe, see History below)
- Allegiances: The Runetotem, Ragetotem and Bloodhoof clans.
- Race: Tauren
- Class: Warrior
- Professions: Blacksmith, Miner
- Gender: Male
- Apparent Age: 19
- Height: 8'10"
- Weight: 637lbs.
- Eye Color: Golden-Brown
- Hair Color: Black
- Age: 15
- Home: Thunder Bluff
- Place of Birth: Thousand Needles
- Parents: Sualtim Ragetotem (Father), Dechtire Runetotem (Mother)
- Siblings: None
- Other Relations: None known.
- Language(s): Orcish, Taurahe
- Occupation: Blacksmith
- Associates: Jazirah
- Alignment: N/A
Though Cualgne demonstrably carries his father's fighting spirit as is the legacy of the Ragetotem clan, he bears the characteristic brown and white mottled markings of his mother's line--the Runetotems. He keeps his mane gathered in two hefty braids which drape over his shoulders. A strong brow forms the setting for golden-brown eyes that gleam like tigerseye in the right light, and a brass ring adorns his snout. He has a startlingly imposing physique for such a young Shu'halo, nearly nine feet in height at an age of scarcely fifteen seasons.
((WORK IN PROGRESS))
In the chaotic days leading up to the third war, a rash and somewhat unlikely romance blossomed from a pair of young Tauren from the clans of Ragetotem and Runetotem. A young Sualtim Ragetotem courted the young druidess Dechtire Runetotem with an ardent fervor matched only by his valor in battle. The young lovers sadly found themselves at odds with a world determined to tear them apart. Before they could consummate their love the betrothed found themselves cruelly seperated- Sualtim was called off to help fight the growing incursions of the Burning Legion, while Dechtire had responsibilities to care for the wounded in the many border skirmishes Freewind Post still had with the marauding Centaur.
Dechtire prayed to Cenarius for his safe return, but it would seem no such happy reunion was fated. Nearly eleven full moons hence, Dechtire recieved word from that front that her lover had met his end valiantly- leading a doomed charge against the Legion to buy his companions, many of them wounded- the time to retreat. Dechtire was crushed.
Sorrowful, she withdrew from her village for almost two moons, traveling aimlessly at first, eventually finding herself back in her peoples' native holdings in Mulgore. Even her belief was shattered, despite consolations from her fellow druids that all must follow the cycle to it's inevitable end, and that Sualtim's time had come. All these ministrations and comforts came to her as poison, for all she saw was that she had prayed to Cenarius and to Elune for the protection of her loved one, and they had not answered their child's call.
When the sorrow was almost more than Dechtire could bear, she went down to the waters of Stonebull Lake, its surface caked with the ice of the first moon of winter. She resolved to end her pain, and cast herself into the lake...
It was then, perhaps that her prayer was answered.
A voice called to her through the mounting blizzard, "Do not give yourself to the teeth of winter, my child, there is beauty still to be had in this world."
"All the beauty of my world departed with him," answered she, "are you here to haunt me as well, spirit?"
"No, I am here to show you that in the spring thaw, new life blooms," replied the voice, "but you must weather the harshest to bear witness to that verdant time."
"I love none but he," she said stoicly, "and from the ground where he is interred no new bloom shall follow to match his beauty and strength."
"You are wrong, child," replied the voice, and now even through the howl of the storm she thought she could hear the voice as if it had been that of Sualtim.
"My love?" she asked to the chill winds, "How?" she heard a branch snap, and glancing in that direction, caught sight of the sillouhette of a great stag.
The stag shrugged, a fresh powder falling from it's flanks, and the voice answered only, "Follow, but swiftly now," and the stag bolted. Dechtire knew she must follow quickly, or risk losing the apparition in the blizzard...
...None know precisely what happened after that, but a caravan caught in the storm told of a pair of elk bolting through their camp by night, one in pursuit of the other. Dechtire was not seen by any of her people for nearly three seasons.
When she returned, she was heavy with child. The village was in an uproar. Not only had Dechtire apparently returned from the dead, but bearing a child who had no clear father. Accusations and gossip were rife, and already some were saying that Dechtire had consorted with demons. Fortunately for Dechtire, Hamuul Runetotem- whose daughter she was cousin to- was staying in Freewind at the time, and spoke for her at a Council held to determine what was to be done.
He disputed the claims that she was carrying some sort of demon spawn, dismissing them with a wave of the hand and an affirmation of a vision he had two nights prior, that Dechtire's son- the son of Sualtim- would go on to become a great warrior and protector of the Shu'halo. Murmurs persisted, particularly among those of the neighboring Grimtotem clan, but none dared challenge Hamuul's vision publically.
And so it was that in the fullness of the season, she gave birth to a son, whom she gave the name Cualgne, an ephitet remarking on the handsomeness of his features. Hamuul blessed and marked the birth himself, and so it was that Dechtire set about raising her son.
Dechtire raised her son through his first seven seasons under the watchful eyes of Freewind willage and Hamuul- who scarcely made himself known save to see that distrustful eyes upon the boy and his mother remained only that. Those times that Hamuul did take the time to visit Dechtire and her son, he brought news from Mulgore- of goings on at the Bloodhoof Winter camp.
Hamuul regaled the mother with the great goings-on of the outer world heard there, and the boy with stories of the other youths and their war games and hunts. Soon the boy's head was so full of stories that he could contain his curiousity and wanderlust no longer. With the next spring thaw on the plains, Cualgne begged his mother to go to Mulgore, and Cairne's camp, so that he might join the boys at their games.
"It is too soon for you my son," said she, "but wait until the time when you can travel so far, and until I can place you in the charge of someone seeking Cairne's camp, that will place you under Cairne's protection."
"It would be too long for me to wait, mother," the boy retorted, "but tell me the way and I will travel there on my own."
"The journey is too far for you, my pretty one," she repeated, "For it is beyond the Bramblescar."
"Is it east or west of the Bramblescar?" asked he, and when she answered he resolved the next day to set out for it. He took with him only his throwing hatchet and his silver throwing ball. And on he went, asking passers by and roving bands about where Cairne had set his summer encampment, until he came upon the vale at the Golden Plains.
There upon the village grounds before the tents he saw many young braves at sport hurling a ball and learning other feats of war. He went in among the boys' game and the ball landed between his hooves. The other boys' were agape as he with a mighty kick drove the ball far beyond the goal they had set. There was a great uproar among the young braves who had seen what he had done, and Baine, Cairne Bloodhoof's son, who was chief among them, called the others together to drive out the newcomer.
"He has no right," said Baine, "to come into our game without asking leave, and without putting his life under our protection. And you may be sure," he said, "that he is the son of some common Shu'halo, and it is not for him to come into our game at all!"
Thus resolved, the boys cast their balls and their hurling sticks at Cualgne, but he dodged them all and came round to charge them, throwing some of the boys to the ground. It was then that Hamuul saw the commotion and witnessed the wonderful defense the young boy was making, and brought Cualgne before Cairne, telling the Chief what the boy had done. Cairne asked if this was true, that he had cast these boys to the ground, his son among them.
And Cualgne answered that it was true, saying that they had brought it upon themselves- he was a stranger to their game and they did not give him a stranger's welcome. Cairne the asked if Cualgne had known that no one may join such a game without first asking the boys' protection and leave, and Cualgne answered that he did not- that if he had he would have asked it of them.
"What is your name and clan, boy?" asked Cairne, "And who are your parents?"
Hamuul darted a knowing smile at Cualgne, and the boy answered proudly, "I am Cualgne Runetotem, the son of Sualtim and Dechtire." And Cairne knew that this was the boy Hamuul had oft spoken of, and thus made for the boy a great welcome. He bade Cualgne to go out among the young braves again, and that they should make safe his games with them, and they said they would do this.
But when they returned to play, Cualgne showed them scarcely any mercy, overcoming them as he had before. When Cairne asked the boy what it was he now wanted of the other boys, Cualgne replied that he'd sworn by the Earthmother that he would not relent until the boys came under his protection in the same way he had come under theirs. The other boys agreed to give into this. And so it was that Cualgne came to travel with the camp of Cairne, and was brought up and taught by the best among his council.
Despite the boy's lack of seasons, his determined disposition, valor, and uncommon strength and hardiness gained him respect among the other young braves, many of whom were nearly twice his age. Cualgne, like many of the other younglings that he played with, had yet to make a name for himself. And it was thus that Cualgne began setting out with the boys on their "mimic hunts", whereupon the young braves practiced their hunting skills by attempting to capture kodo calves that had been left behind by their herds.
During the hunt, Cualgne noticed a large worg snatch one of the wayward calves from the loose band the other abandoned ones had formed. He asked Baine about the worg, and Baine replied his name was Amaruq. Then Cualgne asked if he preyed only on the old or ill, or calves unfortunate enough to stray from their herd, as thes had done. Baine answered that Amaruq, as the Shu'halo had come to know him, took what he pleased, when he pleased- he had grown to such a size that not even the largest bull or matriarch dared give more than a token chase if he fell upon their herd.
"Amaruq is a plague upon the herds," Baine went on, "he has grown too large, and his greed has grown with him. But out bravest and finest warriors are fighting the legion, and none of our people who remain are bold enough to arrange a hunt for him."
"Then I shall hunt Amaruq," Cualgne stated bluntly, "and I will kill him so that the herds will be safe of him."
"And where will you get the braves to hunt such a beast?" Baine scoffed, "Will you draw them from the women and babes that remain in the camp?"
"I will hunt Amaruq to make safe the women and children, as well as to put food in their bellies," Cualgne said, "not to endanger them."
"Then where--" Baine began, but Cualgne cut him off-
"I will hunt him alone," he replied flatly, no trace of boast was in his tone.
And at this Baine laughed heartily, "Truly you and I do not hunt on the same plain, Cualgne. He will not fear you as the prairie wolves do, and if you think to catch him unawares, then know that as old as Amaruq is, he is as crafty. He would catch your scent within a league of him."
Cualgne was undaunted, and watching Amaruq's behavior for the remainder of the afternoon, said little more that day of it.
The following morning Baine rose with the other young braves, but Cualgne was nowhere to be found. Baine asked the other boys, eventually hearing the account of the boy Hunkshni- who had gained his nickname for being notoriously slow of wit. Hunkshni told Baine that Cualgne had rose earlier than the other boys that morning, and set out for the kodo soon after, taking only his silver ball but no weapons.
Baine chided Hunkshni for his foolishness in letting Cualgne go and demanded to know where Cualgne had gone exactly. Soon realizing the vainness of asking, Baine reasoned that the youth must have headed for the west bank of the river, where the herd was wont to drink and gather at this hour of the morning. He pressed Hunkshni and two other boys to come with him and made a mad dash for the river.
Within yards of the east bank, Baine caught sight of the herd on the opposite side, and of Amaruq, who had just made his first kill of the morning- a large bull kodo. The immense worg glared straight at Baine and his companions, knowing them powerless to intervene then took his prize to the river bank to eat it.
Nowhere in sight was Cualgne, and Baine feared the worst- that the youth must have tried to stop Amaruq and the bull kodo was in fact the old worg's second kill this morning. "It is a cursed day this is," said Baine, "for this day we have failed our friend and sent him to the worg's maw!"
No sooner had Baine cursed his luck than Hunkshni cried out to the others to look across the river. Something on the mud of the bank was moving! Nay! Something arose from the riverbank covered in the brownish-red silt of the riverside, and it was then that the boys heard a terrifying war-whoop that was assuredly none other than the Son of Sualtim. It was followed by these words:
"I know that you are not afraid of me Amaruq!" and the old worg, angry at being so surprised, and cornered between the river and Cualgne, little more than snarled a response. And Cualgne said, "but know that I am not afraid of you! Now come for me Amaruq! Let's have an end to this!"
And so the old worg lept at Cualgne, maw agape and bearing his many teeth, any one of which could have speared an elk or stag clean through. Cualgne stood his ground, and drew back his silver ball. In the seconds before Amaruq would be upon the boy, Baine and the others witnessed a startling transfiguration upon the riverbank.
Cualgne's mane bristled like that of a quillboar, and it seemed as if each hair was as straight as if it had been hammered into his scalp, as he wound up to lob the ball, the boys watched the muscles of his arm turn and twist beneath his skin, bulging in knots the size of a small war drum. Cualgne coiled and released the ball, hurling it at old Amaruq with such force that it not only went straight down the worg's gullet, but bored a hole clean through Amaruq!
Cualgne was not done however. As Amaruq sailed past him, Cualgne siezed the giant animal by it's hind legs and whipping about like a toy, dashed Amaruq upon the rocks on the bank until there was no life left in the huge worg.
Baine and the others were in awe, and as afraid to approach Cualgne as they would have been if Amaruq were still alive and not the broken, bloody and nigh unrecognizable mass that lay upon the bank now. They feared that the Son of Sualtim did not know friend from foe in his frenzied state, and they were right to fear it.
Fortunately Cualgne, weakened by the onset of this paroxysm, collapsed into the shallows of the river. So great was his anger, the boys' were heard to say that steam arose from the bank as the cool river water washed over Cualgne's rage-reddened flesh. When Baine thought it safe, they retrieved the boy from the bank, fearing he may drown in his unconsciousness.
Once brought back to the camp, and Cairne was regaled of the deeds of the son of Sualtim that day, Cairne bestowed upon Cualgne the name of Setanta- "The Brown Bull" in Taurahe- saying that the stench of the mud and the river was still upon him, and had made him brown. A feast was made that night in the boy's honor to mark the event.
Cualgne, for his part said that he was not sure if he liked the name Setanta, and said that he was quite happy to have the name Cualgne, son of Sualtim. Hamuul chided the boy's stubbornness, telling Cualgne that the name Setanta would some day find itself on the lips and tongues of all the Shu'halo.
"If this is so, then I should be happy to keep it," Cualgne said.
But still others, mainly of the Grimtotem clan, regarded the boy with suspicion, and such it was that Cualgne gained a second, less honorific name that day- Quin'nehtukqut, an ephitet which meant "The Red Bull" in Taurahe. It was coined to mock the event which had gained him his name, and cast doubt on the origin of his berserk paroxysm- which his detractors thought of as further proof that he was demon-spawned.
Rite of PassageEdit
It happened one day in Setanta's thirteenth season that Hamuul the Druid was teaching his students within the sanctuary that was now Thunder Bluff. Eight boys there were, and one of them asked of Hamuul, "Do the signs tell of virtues that this day is good or bad for, Shan'do?"
Hamuul thought for a long moment as he was often wont to do, and a wry smile graced his stony features. He then said, "If any young brave should take arms this day his name will be known far and wide, across the plains and beyond..." he waited as the students murmured among themselves, then added, "...but his life shall be short."
Setanta had been at play nearby, and had overheard Hamuul's pronouncement. Without delay he rose and sought out the tent of the Chieftain, finding him asleep at this early hour, he greeted the greatest of the Bloodhoof Clan exuberantly, "All good be with you, great Chief!"
Bleary-eyed, Cairne rose and aksed the boy, "And with you, Setanta, Son of Sualtim. What it is it you want this day?"
"It is my wish to take arms this day, great Chief," replied the boy matter-of-factly.
Cairne, still groggy, looked the boy up and down. It was true that he had grown strong and fine, and rather faster than a boy his age should, but he could not overlook the boy's youth. "Who put this idea into mind, boy?" asked he.
"Hamuul of the Runetotem," Setanta answered bluntly.
"Did he now?" said Cairne, "If what you say is true, then I should grant you your request, should I not?"
The boy nodded in his singleminded way, and Cairne did his best not to let his concern overtake the half-smile he wore on his features. "Seek you then the Hunter's Rise, and from there choose whatever weapons best suit you," Cairne said, "you have my leave, Setanta."
And so the boy set out for the great Hall that was on the rise, and not long after the boy had left the tent of Cairne, Hamuul entered it. Having seen the boy on his way to the Hunter's Rise, he questioned the Chief from behind a whimsical expression, "Is that Dechtire's son I've just seen headed to the Hall?" asked Hamuul.
"It is," answered the great Chieftain.
"It is sorry I would be to see the Son of Dechtire take arms on this day," Hamuul intoned.
The Chieftain wore a puzzled expression, "Was it not yourself that bade him to do so?" asked he.
"In a way..." Hamuul answered, a decidedly quizzical smile playing on his countenance. He then took his leave of the Chief and sought to meet the boy at the Hall of the Hunters.
When he came upon the boy, Setanta was testing weapons, and had selected for himself two fine axes- finding none finer than those that had once belonged to Cairne, those that had seen many battles of the Third War and carried the Chief to victory. "What I said is true, you know," said the Druid to the boy, "there will be fame on you and a great name, but your seasons will not be long."
"I do not fear death," Setanta said simply, "if I lived but a single day and a single night, my only hope would be that I had done deeds great enough for my people in that short span to be remembered by them. For what should be feared more than a life squandered, however long it may be?"
"You've grown wise beyond your years, young Setanta," said Hamuul. And he did smile upon the boy with but the slightest hint of melancholy, "Very well then, let us get you upon a kodo and we shall see whether the words I have spoken ring true."
And so it was that Hamuul brought the boy to Bloodhoof Camp to try the mounts there. It came to be noted that any among the great beasts that the boy had set saddle upon would not bear him- the animals became weary, or frightful of the boy's demeanor.
It was then that Cairne himself rode down upon the camp to see the young brave ride out. He had come upon his own kodo, led on by none other than Hunkshni- whose slow manner had prevented him from being a peer among his fellow young braves, but had proven singularly useful in the training of animals. They came upon the yard where Setanta tried with each of the mounts in futility. Seeing the great Chief arrive, Setanta called out to him, "These mounts are of no use to me my Chief, for none will bear me more than five steps without fail."
And Cairne stepped down from his horse saying, "Then let the boy use my own for this time, until such time as Hunkshni of the Wildmane can school for him a worthy kodo to ride upon," and making a gesture to the handler he said, "Hunkshni will be your guide, young Setanta."
And so Setanta mounted the Chief's kodo, and it held him without complaint or frailty, "This animal suits me," he said, "I thank you, greatest and most wise Chief," and with that Setanta and Hunksni set out onto the plains, with Cairne and Hamuul giving the boy their blessings. It was not long, however, before Hunkshni bade Setanta stop to allow for the kodo to pasture a while.
"It is too soon for that," said Setanta, "and tell me, where the road that lies beyond Taurajo lead?"
"It leads to the Crossroads in the north, and to the Thousand Needles in the south," said Hunkshni, "by way of the Great Lift."
"I know of the Lift," he said, "it is there that I first made passage towards Mulgore. Does Strong Wolf of the Ragetotem clan still stand watch there?"
"He does," said Hunkshni, "and in recent moons his duty has become more perilous, for the Centaur have been emboldened, having mostly taken control of the valley floor of the Thousand Needles, they make raids on Freewind Village and the Great Lift alike."
((WORK IN PROGRESS))
Herein may be found a list of stories concerning Cualgne:
A space for related, but arguably out-of-character information regarding Cualgne.
Cualgne COOL-ey (one of those things that is not pronounced as it looks)- This one comes out of the tale of Cuchulain (most of Cualgne's history is also roughly modeled on the myth), specifically the portion known as "The Cattle Raid of Cooley" in which the "Brown Bull of Cooley" played an integral part.
--Tai 01:33, 29 August 2007 (UTC)