The Prompt: Can you define a turning point in your character’s life? Multiples are acceptable.
As a writer, when I think of a character’s “turning point,” it usually involves some sort of drastic change of direction or, in some cases, a complete reversal. Some resources suggest that a turning point is just a defining moment in a character’s story arc.
If we go with the first definition, Toriah’s list would look like this:
1) Fall of the Sunwell
2) Envoy to the Horde
3) The invasion of Twilight Highlands
If it’s the latter, then it would look more like this:
1) Death of her father
2) Fall of the Sunwell
3) Envoy to the Horde
4) Refusal to fight the Alliance Champions at the Argent Coliseum
5) Invasion of the Twilight Highlands
The Fall of the Sunwell is a dead giveaway for a blood elf character. For Toriah specifically, however, this was when Lor’themar Theron granted her a field promotion to the prestigious rank of Ranger Captain. The decision was upheld by the new Ranger General, Halduron Brightwing, as they attempted to piece their lives together amidst the ruins of their capital city and settlements. While Toriah knew her people—and the Farstriders especially— desperately needed some good people to help them all move on, she was convinced she wasn’t one of them.
In the years during the reconstruction of Silvermoon City and their civilization, Toriah quickly realized just how much her comrades respected her and looked to her for guidance. The rest of the Farstriders under her command knew she would lead by example, not by simply barking orders. In her mind, she thought she was just doing her job and doing what was right. Lor’themar and Halduron had known for a long time, of course, but it’s often easier to see the bigger picture as the third party. And, frankly, Tori focused her attention elsewhere to where it was needed— they knew that, too.
Of all the things in Toriah’s list, however, the one that is most relevant to her current story is #5, the invasion of the Twilight Highlands. Or, more specifically, what happened during the invasion.
When it came time for the Horde to secure a foothold in Twilight Highlands after the Cataclysm, Toriah was feeling pretty good about Azeroth’s chances of shutting down Deathwing and all who follow him. She’d just gained the tentative trust of Therazane the Stonemother, matriarch of the Earthen Plane, after all. It was the (read: only) type of politics she liked best: prove you’re a valuable ally through good deeds. Toriah returned to Orgrimmar with high hopes and was ready for the next step.
The “next step” involved receiving orders from Garrosh Hellscream to bully the Horde’s new goblin allies into stepping up their production of machines for the war. That was only the start of it, however. Toriah admittedly had little love for the avaricious race as a whole, but knew Captain Krazz to be a solid person. So when she was aboard the airship en route to Twilight Highlands, she could not help but interfere when a Kor’kron soldier shoved poor Krazz to the deck.
“You’re out of line, marine,” Toriah snapped, helping the Bilgewater captain to his feet. “Stand down.”
“No one questions our Warchief!” the orc retorted.
“I said, ‘Stand down.’ That’s an order.”
“I do not take orders from some two-bit adventurer–”
The Kor’kron orc stopped in mid-sentence as he stared down the slender shaft of a barbed arrow leveled at his throat. A silvery blue trinket tied to the top of the bow caught his attention for a moment— something he immediately recognized from the campaign in Northrend, and he slowly realized who the self-righteous elf was. He heard the low growl of an angry lynx over the wind, but dared not look away. In another instant, Toriah shifted her aim and launched three long projectiles over the orc’s shoulder. There was an agonized screech behind him, and the marine turned around in time to see a twilight dragon fall away from the airship.
“Now pick up your weapon and help salvage this operation,” Toriah said, kicking an axe toward the stunned marine. The ship bucked, throwing them against the rigging, but the elf did not relent. “We’re here to end a threat to Azeroth, not fuel Garrosh’s lust for power and personal gain. Because, if we fail here today, then there won’t be a world for our ‘illustrious warchief’ to conquer anymore.”
He stooped to pick up his weapon, but did not stop glowering at Toriah. Champion or no, Hellscream’s eyes were upon him and she was clearly in the wrong. “The Warchief will hear of this, and you will pay for your treasonous words.”
“Gladly, considering we live at the end of all this,” she said as the airship began to break apart around them.
After the Horde base camp was established on the shores of the Twilight Highlands, Toriah returned to Orgrimmar and found herself at even bigger odds with Garrosh. He had received the marine’s reports and knew exactly what she did. Using her as bait to flush out the traitor in the Horde’s ranks was just the start of Hellscream’s punishment against the elf. When he heard she was exclusively working with the red dragons instead of the Horde’s Dragonmaw allies as a means of building up forces against the Twilight’s Hammer in the Highlands, the warchief used that as proof of Toriah’s so-called treachery and all but branded her as a traitor to the Horde.
It was then that she fully devoted herself to seeing the end of Garrosh Hellscream’s time as Warchief of the Horde. Although sometimes irreverent and pushes the buttons of her superiors, Toriah only did so within acceptable bounds. She had never acted in such a manner— mostly because she had never served a leader who became corrupt before her very eyes. (Before you ask, Kael’thas does not count. She was so far removed from the actions of the wayward prince, especially as a new Envoy to the Horde, that she hardly considered him her leader anymore. Her orders came from the Lord Regent and Ranger General— those who had truly earned her respect and admiration in the aftermath of the Sunwell’s collapse.)