Tuesday, April 3, 2007

((OOC)) Moving!

Please update your links! Araven's Earthwalk has moved to Wordpress.

New address is http://stonehoof.wordpress.com.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

In Flight

I once swore that I would never ride a wyvern. Now I do so frequently. Here I am flying into Orgrimmar from Thunder Bluff.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

((OOC)) Racial Thoughts

I posted a profile of Araven on the Moon Guard forum and wrote a little about her views of the other races. Here's the cheat sheet version.

Trolls: "Clever and brave, if a little on the blood-thirsty side."
Forsaken: "I am wary of them, but it is unjustified and I am trying to remedy my attitude."
Orcs: "Honorable, though a little volatile at times. They are still searching for the steadiness of the Earthmother."
Blood Elves: "I know little of them. Their city has an undercurrent of... pain.... that I cannot ignore. I am cautious of them, particularly warlocks."
Night Elves: "They walk with the Earthmother, though they do not call it that. They are allies, not enemies."
Humans: "Humans are as changeable as the wind. Some can be trusted, others cannot."
Gnomes: "They would replace nature with technology, but I do not think they intend lasting harm."
Dwarves: "Their thirst for ore has brought them to steal from our land. They are not evil but they are trying my patience with their continued invasions."
Draenei: "The night elves believe they are demons, but they care more for the earth they walk on than many of their allies. Such care for the Earthmother must be respected and honored."

Monday, March 26, 2007


I met with my shaman friends tonight. They want to start a guild exclusive to those that understand the spirits of the elements. I decided to look into it because I am tired of journeying alone! Druids should mesh well with shaman, since the spirits speak to us also. And, I am a Stonehoof, so my bond with earth is stronger than most.

We spoke for a bit about a name for our little group. Several suggestions were made before I timidly proposed "Earthwalkers." If you read my journal entry about my philosophy, you will understand why I made that recommendation. After some debate, the name was accepted by those present, much to my delight and surprise.

Then we discussed who should lead us. The hunter that organized our little group offered to lead if no one else would and I was content to let that happen. Then someone suggested that I do it. Me! Araven Stonehoof! A druid! I was stunned into silence for many moments as the others debated the suggestion. Finally, I acquiesced. If everyone wanted a female Shu'halo druid to lead them, then who am I to deny it? I have been around for a while and I understand the training of hunters and warriors, though I have no experience as a shaman at all. I am flattered by their faith in me, though! We ultimately agreed to sleep on the matter and vote at a later date.

Once that matter was decided, someone mentioned the Sin'dorei that was supposed to join us, which sparked a huge debate. Not only is he an elf, but he is also a warlock! Many were opposed to him being allowed into the guild. Only three of us spoke in favor of giving him a chance.

I am not certain how I feel about him. I know that not all the Sin'dorei are bad, but it is difficult for me to believe that a Sin'dorei warlock can be shamanistic. I will give him a chance; listen to his story before I make my decision. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is to give everyone a chance. Sometimes your first impressions were correct and sometimes they were not, but either way you learned something.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Philosophy

If we look at the path, we do not see the sky. We are earth people on a spiritual journey to the stars. Our quest, our earthwalk is to look within, to know who we are, to see that we are connected to all things; that there is no separation, only in the mind. ((Native American quote))

I went from hunter to warrior to druid, from glory to duty to destiny. That is my path and I am still finding my way. I use those words to remind me that it is the earthwalk that matters, not the destination. This is the heart of what it means to be a druid.

Kaihe's Description of Araven

Here is letter my sister Kaihe sent to one of her friends. She was trying to describe what I look like so that her friend could find me. I think she did a fairly good job, though she has not seen me in a few moons!

Hey Chi,

My sister, Araven, is a druid. She is hanging around Crossroads somewhere, so if you go hang out by the mailbox in front of the inn you should see her eventually!

She's big and tall, like all the Stonehoofs. She's got a brown pelt like mine, but it's solid brown instead of spotted. Her horns are kind of stubby and turn down at the tips. They're black too, just like mine. The right horn has a big chunk missing near the base. I keep meaning to ask her how she got it, but I forget every time I see her. Maybe you can ask for me?

Karn says that she has the spirit of the bear in her and sometimes I think he's right! She looks like a bear, even when she's not in bear form. Her black mane is all wild and shaggy like a bear, except for two short braids under each horn. She has little rune-inscribed, polished stones and gems tied to them.

She has this little, creepy, brown snake that follows her around, too. She said Huthfet got it for her in Orgrimmar one day and it almost never leaves her side. It's either following her around on the ground or she has it wrapped around her arm or waist, or draped over her shoulders.

Anyway, she has a crooked tail too. She said she got her tail caught under a rock and it never mended properly. That's probably the most obvious feature. If you see a big, brown Shu'halo with a crooked tail, followed by a little brown snake, chances are good that that's Araven!


My Story

I am joining my shaman friends tonight! I am very excited, but nervous too! I have never spent much time around shamans. I know hunters very well though.

I thought that I should write my story down in case the shamans are curious about me. Here it goes!

I was born in the wilds of Feralas near the border with Thousand Needles. My people were still nomadic, running from the endless waves of centaurs coming from Desolace. Many chose the hunter path and I was no exception. Hunters provide food, shelter, clothing, and protection to our clans and families. They are revered by Shu'halo and honored by the Earthmother. The shamans often speak of their great deeds.

I am a Stonehoof though. Our clan has a close bond with the Earthmother. We specialize in transforming her gifts of ore into weapons and armor. Many of us become blacksmiths, miners, and weapons merchants. Those that choose to fight become warriors. Our name did not come by chance! Our hooves are strong, our muscles powerful, and our frames are large. The strength of the Earthmother runs in our blood.

It was against the wishes of my parents that I chose the hunter path. They desired that I become a warrior. I bravely (and a little foolishly) pointed out that the leader of our clan, the great Zangen Stonehoof, was a shaman. I was sternly lectured on how the leaders of all the clans were shaman and that Zangen was a warrior before training as a shaman. I did not want to hear it though. I was young and impetuous. The glory and fame of the hunters called to the wildness in my blood! I stormed away from my parents, all angry fire.

I traveled aimlessly through Feralas, too young to know how to live on my own. I was stubborn in my youth and refused to go back. I broke my tail while wandering and was unable to set it properly. It is crooked to this day - a constant reminder of the costs of pride and stubbornness. I am not entirely sure how I survived those years on my own. The Earthmother was watching over her errant daughter.

After years of stumbling around Feralas, I finally discovered Thousand Needles. Oh, just thinking of that beautiful land makes my heart swell! It is a barren land but without the trees and plants, the spirit of the Earthmother can be felt so readily! I was battered and broken from my years in the wild. It was a wonder the Darkclouds ever recognized me as a Shu'halo at all! They reside in Thousand Needles, one of the few stationary clans. They took me in and I started training as a hunter under the great Chend Darkcloud.

The wilds were in my spirit though. I could not stand to live in one place, particularly with so many rules and laws. Civilization was not for me! I was restless and often left the camp for weeks at a time, wandering between the needles and exploring the flats. I remember the day I first discovered the wyvern grounds. Upon seeing those noble creatures flying free and unfettered, I realized that I wanted to be like them! For years after that, I refused to ride on them and looked down my nose at anyone who did.

Ah, the arrogance of youth! I thought I knew everything! Then word came to the Darkclouds about the discovery of Mulgore and fierce wars between the Shu'halo and the evil centaurs. I knew my family would be in the thick of it, as they were warriors before all else. For the first time in many, many years, I missed my family and wanted to return to them. I wanted to see this beautiful Mulgore and defend my people from those awful horse-men. I argued fervently, but the Darkclouds refused to help and forbid me from leaving. They thought I was one of them! I realized that I had come to a fork in my path. To stay meant turning my back on my clan and people. To go meant that I would not be hunter. In the end, it was an easy choice. I ran for the wyverns. Chend chased after me and took a swing at me with his ax. I didn't duck quite fast enough and he took a chunk out of my right horn - another reminder. I managed to jump onto one of the wyverns and flew all the way to Mulgore.

I was not the only errant child to return that year. Many young Shu'halo heard of their clans' plight and journeyed to Mulgore in defense of the land and their families. When I arrived, my parents had already perished, as had my older brother. My little sister, who was not born when I ran away, still lived. I pledged to look after her in my parents' names.

Those battles were hard and numerous. It seemed that every morning we awoke to the war drums. I still do not understand why everyone was so determined to claim Mulgore as their own, though. Cairne Bloodhoof said it shall be and no one questioned it. I sometimes wonder how many Shu'halo would be alive if Cairne had not decreed that Mulgore was a home worth defending. Do not misunderstand me! I admire and respect Cairne. I cannot help but wonder how life might be different.

No matter how hard we fought, there were more centaur to kill. They seemed to come in endless waves - crashing over us. Many lost faith in the Earthmother; thinking that she had abandoned us. I even entertained such thoughts, as much as I hate to admit it. Then the orcs appeared.

They are small creatures, though powerful. Their armies swept in and helped us defeat the centaurs. There was a price for their assistance though. Cairne sent many of us with the smelly orc armies to fight their enemies. I was one of those warriors, though I argued with all my heart to remain in Mulgore to raise my sister. She was given to the elder Stonehoofs and I was sent away, with Cairne's apologies.

I have to admit that I was extremely upset over leaving. We had fought so long and so hard to obtain Mulgore and now we were forced to leave! Then I saw our enemy first hand and my grumbles flew from my mouth. The fight against the Burning Crusade was the most difficult of all the battles I have ever been in. I found my faith in the Earthmother again as I prayed fervently to save us from destruction. It was the druids that saved us and I learned new respect for the night elves.

In the end, we were victorious and the survivors were finally able to return home to Mulgore. In our absence, the clans had turned the plains into lovely homes! The kodos roamed freely and the land was finally at peace! I found my little sister grown and training to become a warrior like our parents. I was saddened to see her grow up without me but we cannot have everything. The battles I fought to defend first the Shu'halo and then all of Azeroth were the most important things I have ever done.

I settled in Thunder Bluff, determined to leave my adventuring behind me. I wanted to find a mate, have children of my own, and train other adventurers to find the bounty of the Earthmother. It did not take long before I fell deeply in love with a powerful, kind warrior named Huthfet Ragetotem. We were a great match and had the blessings of both clans. We were set to be joined when a skirmish with some Magram centaurs broke out on our borders. Cairne called upon the Ragetotems and Sharpmanes to go defend our land and Huthfet went with them.

It was the night he died that I had the Dream. I was there, watching the battle in my sleep. I witnessed the centaur rogue stab Huthfet in the back, finding a small crack in his armor. He died quickly, for which I am eternally grateful. I would not have wanted him to suffer.

I was beset with sorrow at his loss, though I could not wake. I cried for what seemed like days when a figure finally came to me. I could not see her face but she told me that I had the strength of the Earthmother in my bones. She said that my people needed me still and told me to seek out Hamuul Runetotem. Then she faded away from me.

When I woke, I was surprised to find Zangen Stonehoof, Turak Runetotem, and my sister standing over me. Kaihe showed a level of concern for me that I never thought she had - fawning over me and asking repeatedly if I was okay. Zangen and Turak were grave, though Turak looked at me with a poorly concealed spark in his eye. I learned that I had been asleep for two days and no one had been able to wake me. They sat with me and asked me what I had seen, so I told them everything. Kaihe was shocked, but Zangen and Turak were unsurprised. I will never forget their words.

"The spirits told me that you were walking without direction all these years, Araven," Zangen said to me. "They said you had the strength of the bear in you but in all my foolishness, I did not understand what they meant."

"You found the Emerald Dream, little sister. You have the spirit of a druid," Turak told me.

I knew at once that they were right. I got up from my bed and went to Elder Rise to speak with Hamuul as the spirit in my dream had told me to. Then I went to the burial grounds and watched as the shamans released Huthfet's spirit to the Earthmother's embrace. That evening, I began my training as a druid and started anew my roving life.

I still mourn for Huthfet, though my new path feels right. It will be many years before I can forget the bond we shared. I find joy in watching my sister, Kaihe, become a strong warrior in her own right.

The druid path suits me. I draw on the strength of the Earthmother to become a bear and use my warrior training to defend my companions. In my true form, I use spells in place of bullets to draw my enemies to me, just as a hunter would. I feel the Earthmother's presence more strongly than ever before! I am still a miner, but I make jewels instead of weapons. I am tired of making objects that destroy life! I am a druid now. It is my purpose to protect life and making jewels satisfies that aim.

That's my story. It's a little sad, but full of adventure and growth. I am not the Shu'halo I once was, that is for certain!