I blame the title on my friend, who recently reposted her “Students’ Psalm 23,” which is a funny rendition of the Psalm known to most as “The Stuff I Hear At Funerals.” It starts off with, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not flunk.” Whether you’re religious or not, that’s still hilarious (and true!) stuff. It’s been a rough past seven days for me outside of Azeroth, though it could have been a lot worse… I can ramble about that in another post.
Now, onto my adventures in Pandaria so far.
I just finished the big finale to the Valley of Four Winds in Pandaria earlier this week. To say that I’m pleasantly astonished or even floored would be a massive understatement. Maybe it’s because I’m still in “Must observe and experience ALL THE THINGS” mode, but while I’m trying to get to 90 as soon as humanly possible, I’m also stopping and just enjoying myself, too. I’m reading quest text, looking for lore objects, sitting in an inn, stopping at a vista to listen to the music.
I had a moment of the latter the night before while trekking through Kun-Lai Summit. Either the zone developers and music composers conspire together during production, or they’re the same person. WoW has a knack for placing the most epic music in an expansion within the mountainous region. They did it with Storm Peaks in WotLK, and they’re doing it again with Kun-Lai Summit. Valley of the Four Winds is another area that has great music suited to the magnitude of the lore as it’s exposed through questing, though it didn’t quite sneak up on me like it did at the Summit. I fault the high altitude and thinner atmosphere.
At this moment, Toriah’s just a smidge away from 90 and still trekking through the peaks of Kun-Lai Summit where things quite literally just got real. She’s found a kindred spirit in Lorewalker Cho— so much, in fact, that she puts up her Loremaster title every time they cross paths. It all started with the incense ceremony in the Jade Forest, you see. I was a little choked up during that scene for many personal reasons on my part, and even Toriah’s part. She finally found someone who was willing to get to know her before judging her outright as an enemy, even after all she’s done under orders from the Horde. Hell, she finally found someone who was willing to know her despite the history of her people and affiliations— this is a big deal for a blood elf like Tori.
Rubbing elbows with Chen Stormstout in the Valley of Four Winds was more than I could hope for following the aftermath of the Jade Forest. I left behind the destruction and fallout with regret and even shame— and what does Yu’lon, the Jade Serpent, give me in return for destroying her next manifestation? Forgiveness and a second chance. In many hero narratives, the protagonist finds him/herself in a rural, agricultural area where life is simple and, therefore, inherently beautiful in its simplicity. It’s in such a place that the hero sheds their familiar trappings to begin a journey of the self in order to become an even better hero. It’s used in episodes of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Here Toriah meets with familiar faces and does a little brewing, a little farming, and then a whole lot of hero-ing when trouble strikes. It’s just her, Orion the cat, and a whole bunch of Pandaren who need help in small and, eventually, big ways. The only thing that differed from my self-exploration journey and those of Buzz and Zuko is that I was never revealed to be a person of import. I just got to show the people that I truly was a hero through my actions and deeds. How refreshing!
I’m also glad Blizzard gave Anduin Wrynn the chance to play a part in regular questing in Pandaria when I got to the Krasarang Wilds. We were there to vanquish the Sha of Despair, no less. The implications were not lost on me, and I hope they go further with that idea. Logic inserted itself, however, at one point and I wanted to ask Anduin, “What makes you think I won’t take you back to the Horde after all this?” even though Toriah would never do such a thing.
In any case, Toriah is now scaling the peaks of Kun-Lai Summit after spending some time with the delightful Grummles and their Luckydos. She’s given Orion a little bit of R&R time, favoring her big white bear Alioth to accompany her in the snowy reaches. The revelations are alarming, as an old enemy has resurfaced even in the lost land of Pandaria. What will happen? Only time— and the final push to 90— will tell.