Goodbye, My Son [Letters]

Orthus, my son,

If you are reading this letter, then our fears were accurate, and your father and I now rest with the ancestors. We love you so very much, and we are so proud of the gentle soul you have become. We wanted you to know this and know that we will always be with you.

We are writing you this letter in case our meeting with General Grebo goes poorly. Your father thinks that Grebo will listen to reason, but he has always been the optimistic one in the family.

As you know, Grebo is a maniac. He is obsessed with his supposed theory that the Alliance are hiding some sort of massive weapon inside Thal'darah Grove, the druid training grounds. I know, Orthus, I know the idea is ludicrous. I can already imagine you shaking your head in protest. When Grebo first told us of this so-called bomb, you immediately said it was untrue. And we believed you, baby. We still do. We trust you.

Our tribe has lived next to the ancient grove for generations, and those druids are like our own kin. Your father studied there in his youth, and you have spent countless hours as a guest there, learning their ways. And despite your youth, you have already shown great maturity by not allowing racial differences to divide your loyalties, instead befriending many of the young Night Elves who live within the grove. We have always shared a warm relationship with the residents of Thal'darah, and we are proud that you carry on this tradition.

As for this weapon of Grebo's...I know it is ridiculous, as does your father. But this infuriating Orc refuses to listen. I don't know if his dogged insistence is a result of bloodlust, stupidity or stubbornness, or maybe a combination of all three. Even worse, it sounds like he has the full support of his warmongering commander, Overlord Krom'gar, who is rumored to be constructing a terrible explosive device designed to lay waste to the Alliance in one sudden attack.

The thought of such a weapon makes your poor father nauseous, and I am decidedly less than thrilled by the idea. Such a detonation would have a disastrous effect on our home, which has already been ravaged by these silly wargames. And how many lives would be snuffed out in an instant, thrown aside in the name of conquest and glory? I think the Earth Mother would weep for our world if this calamity were ever to occur.

Even now as I look out over the pass, I see not the pristine trees and wilderness that has always marked our land, but instead, smoking war machines, blackened pits of smoldering oil, and senseless carnage as far as the eye can see. Little remains of the majestic forest but charred skeletons, and the sky chokes under an oppressive mix of soot and ash.

Though you are too young to take up arms, we have seen the pain in your eyes as you witnessed what this pointless war has done to your home. You know we did not have a choice, that we could not refuse the Horde when they came knocking on our doorstep. You know this, so you do not protest or complain. But we know you. We can see your gentle heart breaking at the sight of the anarchy surrounding us.

We are sorry, Orthus. We know we have failed you. After all, what purpose does this fight serve if the land itself dies in the process? Why do we fight if nothing remains for our children?

Perhaps we should have resisted, refused to accommodate Krom'gar's aggressive demands. He likely would have had us executed for treason, but maybe without our support, they would have had to withdraw, leaving the land intact.

Perhaps it is not too late to do the right thing.

Your father and I have discussed this in great length. When Grebo arrives, he is expecting a full assault force to be waiting for him. He no doubt intends to attack Thal'dorah and burn it to the ground in search of his mythical weapon.

While witnessing his failure would be priceless, the cost is too high. We cannot simply stand by and let him slaughter those poor druids. They are but students, young and scared. They are not warriors. They are no threat to us or the Horde.

What kind of mother would I be if I let this creature murder those frightened children? I would never be able to live with myself, Orthus.

We are going to deny Grebo his warriors, and insist once and for all that he is mistaken about the Alliance weapon. But we do not know how he will respond. Knowing Grebo, he will not take this rebellion lightly. We would not be surprised if he ordered us killed on the spot for our "treachery," but we are prepared. This desecration has gone on long enough - we must put our hooves down and do the right thing. And if this is the cost to ensure that innocent lives are saved and that you still have a home to return to, we are ready to pay this price.

I hope you understand.

You may have been wondering why we asked you to go to Thal'dorah and search for Grebo's bomb. The truth is, we do not believe for a second that the bomb exists, but we feared for your safety. A creature like Grebo would not hesitate to hurt or kill you simply to strike back at us. The only way we could guarantee that you would not suffer for our actions was to make sure you were safely away, with people you could trust.

Please Orthus, help your friends in the grove as much as you can, and then leave this place before it is too late. Do not worry about us, about burying us or building a cairn or pyre, just go before Grebo catches you! Head to Sun Rock Retreat, where friends still remain. You will be safe there.

Be strong, baby. Be brave. Remain true to your heart and do not let anger or hatred darken your spirit. Grow up well and become a good person. Our hearts are breaking, that we will not be there for you, but we know you will make us proud.

Goodbye, my son. My dear, precious Orthus.
We love you.

Show/Hide Letter Notes

This is probably the most tragic questline I've experienced in Cataclysm. Sure, there are quests and zones out there where you see dead bodies of familiar NPCs that you remember from the good old days, but you actually experience the tragedy in this story as it takes place, and the raw, grieving emotion from the Cliffwalkers is just brutal. Not only does poor Orthus get murdered by General Grebo, but after the distraught parents avenge their son, Krom'gar then shows up to punish the Cliffwalkers for "Treason" because they killed his guy. He then BURNS DOWN THEIR VILLAGE, and KILLS MASHA. :'(

THEN, Krom'gar forces High Chieftain Cliffwalker to watch as he unleashes the huge bomb he'd been working on. It drifts down to the druid grove and obliterates it, killing EVERYONE and leaving only a smoking, ruined crater behind. It's one of the most shocking and sickening scenes I've ever witnessed in the game, honestly.

Garrosh does arrive and "dismiss" Krom'gar for all the horrible acts of slaughter committed in Stonetalon, but it's too late for Orthus, for Masha, for all those druids. Poor High Chieftain Cliffwalker does convince Garrosh to spare your life (Garrosh thinks you were helping Krom'gar) but the poor old Tauren...what does he have left? He's lost everything, and that's how the zone ends. In pain and death.

I felt a letter written from Orthus' poor parents, about how they were prepared to sacrifice themselves to the crazed Grebo to save their son and the druids, would be extra sad and heartbreaking considering what ends up happening to, well, everyone. And it's very believable, because what parents wouldn't do that for their child?

Poor Orthus. Poor Masha.

4 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar

    So sad. :(

    This isn't quite as bad as Grimclaw's story for me, but it's up there.

    November 4, 2011 at 9:16 AM

  2. gravatar

    I really like this one. :)

    November 4, 2011 at 2:10 PM

  3. gravatar


    No parent should ever be forced to bury their child.

    November 5, 2011 at 10:20 AM

  4. gravatar

    Definitely one of the most heart-wrenching zone stories in the game. I actually wrote a pretty long post about my own experience shortly after the Shattering.

    November 13, 2011 at 10:52 AM