Have you ever awakened from a deep slumber filled with such sadness that you wanted to weep, not truly understanding the reasoning behind it? This morning was such a morning for me and I sat in my bed pondering many thoughts as to why I might feel this terrible sadness. No, it was not a premonition of things to come, these feelings were buried deep and came from the past.
Rather than sit there wallowing in my own self-pity, I decided to get up and prepare breakfast while the others still slept. I had brought several bags of pine nuts with me when I came to Pandaria since I knew that they were a favorite of my children and myself. As I set about pounding the nuts into a nice coarse grain for their favorite pine nut mash, the thought came into my mind as to why I was so sad.
I was once married to a wonderful Bull and he was indeed the love of my life. He had a kindness that made me feel that he cared for everything in the world even though he was a very skilled hunter. I know that some of the other hunters used to make fun of him because he would always stop and make an offering to the Earth Mother for the life taken. He would always tell the Earth Mother that he took this life so that his people would live and the blessings of the Earth Mother had led him to this particular prey.
Oh, we had a happy and full life, my Bull and I. We were able to enjoy life and live those days blissfully happy. Before the children started arriving, we would go out together into the wilds, he to hunt and me to gather my herbs. We truly felt blessed by the Earth Mother and embraced each day as it arrived with such vigor that we were probably more blissfully happy than we even realized.
Our first born, Naton, was born in the Spring of the year and we were very proud parents. He looked very much like his Father and had his strength – we also knew that he had a very healthy set of lungs to go with his bulk too because he would wake us up as well as the surrounding tents in the village when he wanted to be fed. As he grew older, his Father took him out to teach him how to hunt and he became quite good at this profession, very much like his Father, and he followed the traditions that his Father put before him.
Our second child arrive and she was a sweet little thing, much quieter than her older brother and not nearly as demanding. Her name was Mahamura, after her grandmother. She was one of those children that was always a bit shy in joining in to play with the other children, however, as she grew, she became a bit more self-assured and actually became one of the leaders of the gang of children that played in the village as their parents were out working. She definitely showed a proficiency with the bow as a young girl, so, she too soon started going out with her brother and her Father to hunt in the wilds.
Our third child was definitely a gift from the Earth Mother. His name was Nahai, naturally, he looked very much like his Father, however, his personality was more like my own. He was quiet, polite and showed the signs early on in following in his Mother’s footsteps of being a druid. I can remember taking him with me when I would go out to gather herbs, he learned very quickly and was always excited to be out with me in the forests and plains, gathering herbs, learning how to grind them up so that we could use them for whatever we needed, be it potions, be it for inks – he always was a willing and helpful child. I hate to admit it, however, I will say that of our three children, he was probably my favorite because he was more like myself and less daring than his Father.
Our fourth child, Tahfal, was one of those pleasant surprises that happen to couples that are intent on having a large family. He was the darling of our group of children. A bit smaller than the others at birth and seemed to be slow growing, however, he was more inclined to read a book rather than to go out and play with the others. Oh, he had his rough and tumble side and his older siblings made sure that he was active because he was never allowed to sit alone for very long. He was the one child that I had that always wanted to go and talk with the elders, the priests as if he were following some path that his Father and I couldn’t ascertain. Time would later reveal where his true talents like.
Why am I sad? It looked like I had everything a Bessie could want, a home, children and a loving husband. We should have known that the Fates would draw a card for us that would bring it all crashing down one day, however, our faith in the Earth Mother was stronger.
We had lived through the assaults on Thunder Bluff by the Grimtotem and lived through all of the tragedies that had stuck our people. We went through the trials and tribulations when the Grimtotem were driven from our tribe to form the nomadic group that they are today. We lived through the death of our chieftain although that was indeed a terrible time for us.
It was this time of year that my husband and I decided that it was time for us to go out into the wilds together again as we had done prior to the arrival of our brood. It had been such a long time since we were able to slip away together like this and we were looking forward to it like two small children awaiting Winter Veil.
We left our children in the care of our neighbors and set out on our journey which we knew would be for several days. We felt young and carefree again, no children to remind us of our responsibilities to hearth and home. I think that in our jubilant mood is what made us get careless and less aware of the things that could actually harm us.
My first notice that things were amiss was when I was gathering my herbs, I knew my husband was nearby, I heard a loud clash and yells coming from the direction that he was in. I quickly donned my stealth cat mode and made for the sound of the noise. There on the ground lay my poor husband, trussed up like some kind of animal and there were several Grimtotem warriors standing around congratulating themselves on such a fine catch.
I honestly didn’t know what I could do other than to try to get my husband untied before I was discovered. I succeeded in getting some of his bonds released enough to where he should have been able to manage the rest when I was discovered. Oh, discovered I was, and I fought back with all of my strength, fangs barred, claws ripping at anything that came in my direction as I stood close to where my husband was trying to get unbound.
Let me just say that we were captured. It was a situation where I should have gone for help as quickly as possible instead of trying to rescue my husband alone, I know that now, and the guilt that has followed me all of these years is not any easier to bear. In hindsight, there are so many other things that I should have done and didn’t see it at the time.
The Grimtotem were looking for slaves and my husband and I were put in with that group of other Tauren. It was indeed a sad time. To see my poor husband beaten almost on a daily basis because his pride would flare and he would try to withstand the indignities that were placed on him by our captures. I know that I was trying to just survive, trying to find a way for us to escape, endured the hardships and the indignities that were placed on us – trying to find a way to get back to our tribe and our children.
We knew and we hoped that our tribe would send out people to look for us when we failed to make our return at the appointed time, however, that seemed as though it was years ago. I know they must have looked for us, our children needed us.
A full year went by and my poor husband and I were still captives. I was beginning to give up hope and I was beginning to think that this was what the Earth Mother had intended for us to live. My faith was and is still strong, however, my heart was yearning to get back to my children. My husband was growing weaker with each season that passed and I could see the fire in eyes starting to dwindle – all the hard work and the tortures that were forced upon this one proud hunter was almost more than I could bear. I knew that one day, he would give up all hope and would become as some of the others had become – quiet, only doing what was ordered and living each day as if it were a sentence of some kind.
One day, I don’t know what happened exactly, I heard loud cries from the center of the village and I ran to see what was going on. My poor husband had finally snapped and was attacking anyone that came near him, Grimtotem, other slaves, anyone that came with arms reach met a crushing blow and possibly death. I screamed and ran towards him to see if I could bring him under control although I knew that the Grimtotem would probably kill him as punishment for his rebellion.
Our eyes met and I could see the pain in his eyes even as he took another’s life, he screamed at me to run. Although I wanted to stay, I did as I was told and I ran as hard and as fast as I could out of the camp, hearing the noise grow louder as I sped away. I knew then, my husband had done this to sacrifice himself so that I might be able to escape and get back to our family.
I know that I ran for days and it seemed like I was starting to get back into familiar territory – places that I had visited with my husband and other members of our tribe. I did make it back home, knowing full well that my husband probably lay dead in the village of the Grimtotem. Between my grief for my husband and the joy of seeing the Bluffs, I was definitely home again.
After several days of recovering from my own injuries and exhaustion, I was told that my eldest son had gone out to find us after the tribe had given up all hope. He never returned and a search party went out to look for him as well, however, they were unsuccessful.
The Grimtotem were known for the atrocities that they would visit upon our people after their banishment from our tribes in Mulgore. One of the things that they had taken upon themselves to do was to sell some of their captives to the Lich King’s minions to be turned into Death Knights.
So, I had lost my husband and I had lost my eldest child. My grief was horrific and my other children, try as they might, could not get me to come out of my deepest depression. I know that I had stopped believing in the Earth Mother for a while, I lost touch with my inner feelings, everything that I had known and loved had been taken from me even though I had done all of the things that I thought would please the Earth Mother, she had allowed my husband and my son to be taken from me. I was bitter and I am afraid that I was not good to my living children, although, they will say that they understand now, I can remember the looks on their faces sometimes when I would argue with them over such trivial things. It was if I was punishing them for being alive.
Time passed and eventually, a young Bull returned to our village and I thought at first that it was an apparition of my husband – he looked so very much like him. The young Bull was making inquiries about various things, he was searching for his family, his memory of his family was there, however, he was a Death Knight – a thing to be feared and one to look upon with pity.
I know that my youngest son, Tahfal, was one to go to the Story Circle that was a tradition in the Bluffs and he is actually the one that found his older brother, Naton. You see, Naton was now known as Sadheart – the young Death Knight that was asking questions about homes and families. Naturally Tahfal brought the Death Knight home with him…I was both revolted and relieved to see my son again – I was happy to have my child back and did the thing of ignoring what he had become.
I think I can see why I awakened so sad today. This was the time of year that I lost both my husband and my child – my child has come home to me, even if he truly is not the child that I gave birth too many years ago. I can be grateful to the Earth Mother for what I have now, however, I will always mourn the loss of what was.