Heartbreaking Lament of the Whales of Ashenvale
During my adventures in Azeroth, I find great immersion locations, where I just stop by, and enjoy the surroundings and ambience. I found such a location in Ashenvale, which was the witness of a recent tragedy.
Hello fellow adventurers,
As I continue my adventures and explorations in Azeroth, my list of immersion spots, places where I feel quite immersed, almost like I'm inside the game world, as if I am a natural inhabitant of Azeroth, continue to grow. All those spots have their distinctively beautiful atmosphere, scenery and ambience, creating different feelings and inspiring unique stories of their own.
I discovered one such spot last night, following the suggestion of Alunaria, a fellow night elf explorer who passionately writes about her explorations on her blog at Alunaria's Avenue, when I came to a nearby place to see the rising moon on the northwest shores of Ashenvale.
Ashenvale, as most of you will already know, is one of the sacred places for night elves, located on the southern skirts of Mount Hyjal, covered with lush forests and beautiful flora, as well as many night elf establishments, which have long been in ruins. As a side note, Ashenvale is also the place where Casiel met Shainella.
I came to the location where I was going to witness the rising moon in its largest form, near the small Blackfathom Camp at around 9pm. While waiting for the moon to rise, I decided to check around and see if I would find anything interesting, so I headed towards northwest, where I saw the remains of some night elvish structures.
As I was passing by the nearby night elf ruins, also called as The Zoram Strand, just to the northwest of the Blackfathom Camp and to the southeast of Blackfathom Deeps, I started to sense a strange feeling. It felt like there was something sinister about that location which was putting its inhabitants, mostly the wildlife creatures, at unrest, causing them to attack each other or do wild things, harming the nature. For example, if you walk around the ruins for a little while, you are sure to stumble into fights between Ghostpaw Runners and Wild Bucks.
Once I passed the entrance of the Blackfathom Deeps, I saw a small island to the west and continued walking till the end of the shore and then started swimming towards it. As I approached the island, I thought I heard something strange, hence I muted the music and listened to the ambience attentively. After a few minutes of making no noise and closely listening to the environment, I was sure that I was hearing some sounds coming from far far away, about once or twice a minute, sounds the likes of which I had never heard before.
It did not sound like any humanoid I've heard so far; it sounded like a creature, or a group of creatures, wailing in great pain. Swimming a bit more past the island towards northwest, I turned the volume up and stood still for a moment, trying to understand where the sounds I was hearing were coming from and what they were telling. I could almost feel the magnitude of the pain the creatures were suffering from the tone and melody of the sounds and how they were causing me to shiver to my bones. For some time, I felt lost in the spiritual realms of Azeroth.
Not seeing anything or anyone on the sea surface till the horizon, I swam back to the island to explore it. As I was trying to figure out the source of the sounds and what they were telling, my eyes caught a glimpse of the remains of a half-buried humanoid body near an excavation site, just a few dozen yards inside from the shore. Without stopping listening to the sorrowful sounds that I continued to hear occasionally, I quickly moved towards the body remains and started digging it up by removing the earth around and over it. It would have taken me a long time to fully uncover it with bare hands, had I not found the pickaxe that the body's dead hand was still holding.
I don't exactly know for how long I dug, but when I stopped, I had already unearthed the body remains, a large wooden box, a lantern, a few more pickaxes and shovels -from the count of the tools, it looked like the camp was occupied by three dwarven excavators and possibly one or two helpers-, and to my surprise, a notebook that the body's other hand was holding. Unless the waves wash what I dug out at that camp, you may still see them if you pay that small isle a visit.
Putting my pickaxe on the ground, I picked up the notebook, which looked slightly worn but not so old, making me think it couldn't have stayed under the earth for too long. It looked intact, undamaged from the waves continuously beating the shores of the island day and night.
The notebook was the diary of a dwarven explorer, seemingly the chief excavator at that dig site on the island. The first few pages read just like any excavator's notebook, logging their dig-related activities and documenting their findings at the dig site. But as I continued reading, it became obvious that things did not continue as peacefully as they started for them.
From what I could gather, a few weeks after the dwarven exploration team settled on the island and started their excavation mission, a crowded group of naga came from north, from the recently unearthed underground cavern, Nazj'vel, and attacked the dwarves, as well as any other creatures in the area. Since they were outnumbered, the dwarves did not have a chance and fell one by one. The author of this diary, as the leader of his team, was kept alive for extracting information about the Alliance and Horde formation in Ashenvale, under unimaginable tortures, unfamiliar to most Azerothian races, but commonly practiced among the naga.
His remaining words created the impression that he was secretly continuing to write to his diary, till one of the naga officers ordered him to be taken care of as they had already gotten what they needed to from him. Knowing the loyalty and stubbornness of the dwarves, I can't even imagine the level of pain this poor guy had to go through under the horrible naga tortures, so that he had to give what information they needed.
The last page of the diary briefly depicted a scene. It seemed like the dwarf had difficulty writing his last words, but I felt grateful to him that he found the strength to log this one last incident, so that we were able to learn what cruel things took place on these shores.
In the last log on his diary, the chief dwarf mentioned witnessing a crowded group of warrior nagas coming together and swimming towards the open sea, geared with protective armor and armed with their tridents. He thought he heard some words about "whales" and "hunting" before they left. A couple of hours later, he saw the same group of naga warriors returning to the isle, dragging a huge fish with them. A fish so huge that it could swallow two dwarves together (this was his words). The last things he saw, as his last words on the diary, were the brutal butchering of the fish by the naga, while it was still alive, preparing for a major feast that night, during which the slaying of the dwarf was going to take place too.
After gently closing his diary and attaching it into his hand again, I remembered a scene I had seen as I was coming to this island. A scene I had not thought much about, just became obvious to me now, and made me turn back to the main land.
It was the "fish" the dwarven chief excavator was referring to in his diary. The remains of it actually. Half of it was still in the water, perhaps the poor creature struggled a lot in its final desperate attempts to save its life. Considering it was small in size for an adult whale, and also comparing to the medium-sized young whale I had seen off the shores of Silvermyst Isle a while ago, which would have been a much harder target for the naga and perhaps resulted in many casualties, I concluded that this was a baby whale, approximately between 6 months to 1 year from its birth.
I stayed near the creature's rotting body for a moment, sending my prayers to its poor soul and its family. I was having difficulty holding my tears when I noticed the trident marks on its scales, which you would also see on the half-eaten corpse of the baby whale, if you take a close look at it. My guess was this defenseless creature was eaten alive for days by the creatures lurking around such as Hydras, Crawlers, and the nearby Wrathtail naga tribe.
I looked at the baby whale's corpse one last time and with a fury I had never felt before, I charged back to the small island, which I then learned to be named as Ruuzel's Isle, where the bigger naga warriors wandered, to make the naga pay for their crime. I slayed all the Naga wandering around the isle, in cold blood, and reached the top of the isle, where I met their leader, Ruuzel.
I made sure it was a quick and painless death for her, even though one part of my soul wanted to make her suffer as she and her tribe caused the dwarves and the baby whale to suffer.
After leaving no naga alive on the isle, I searched around one last time, to see if I missed anything. The giant turtle skull that I found on the southeast side of the isle strengthened my feeling about the naga having committed many more crimes against the balance of the nature in this parts of Kalimdor, clearing my mind off any guilt thoughts for what I have done that day.
The strange sounds coming from far far away still in my ears, I started to swim towards northwest, to the uncharted oceans of this part of Azeroth. As I was swimming towards the source of the strange sounds, I was now sure that the strange sounds I first heard as I approached the small isle, and I was still hearing now, was the lament of the whales of Ashenvale.
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27 May 2017 16:36 UTC
Aw, gosh. S.t.u.n.n.i.n.g screenshot at the end. A-mazing.
Thank you for another captivating story, Eom! You know, you make the world of Azeroth become alive to those that read - the next time they pass by that place, they will feel as if they have been part of it too. Isn't that great :)
Where I am not fond of brutal slaughtering in the name of revenge, justice, sometimes even balance, murdering a babywhale seems to cause a malfunction in that system of mine.
How much distress it must have felt, and how much its family will continue to feel.
If I ever spot a Naga in the area again..!
27 May 2017 18:13 UTC
Thank you, Alunaria, your feedback always boosts my motivation to write. "they will feel as if they have been part of it too" If you felt that, then I can say I am on the right track with my writing style :)
You know, since I started writing about Azeroth, my best of the best moments in Azeroth have been the special moments when I feel that unique inspiration comes, due to a place I see, a scene I witness, a soundtrack that starts suddenly or a character (player or non-player) I interact with. I wish I was as talented in putting into words, as the strength of the effect that inspiration creates in my soul.
As you can tell, some parts of this post are the product of my imagination, the lament of the whales is not. Just wanted to clarify that.
29 May 2017 19:27 UTC
Aw, I'm glad to hear! :)
Oh, I will for sure search that place out soon to listen to that. I am very fond of whales in the real world as well. Very, very fond of...
I know just what you mean. My ongoing RP story started simply because of a detail found in one room, and then my imagination took over.
Thank you for sharing the inspiration with us :)
30 May 2017 07:18 UTC
I thought about making a video-sound recording of that whale sounds, but wanted my readers to hear that sounds themselves in Ashenvale :)
19 Aug 2019 00:28 UTC
New guy here, really enjoying your work. I very much like to get in depth thinking while playing the game and allow my imagination to take over.
3 Sep 2019 09:16 UTC
Sorry it took long for me to see this comment of yours, and thank you for your kind words.
I am very much like you. Not simply wandering around and slaying things, but paying attention to everything around me as much as possible and think on them further and write when the inspiration flows.
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