Brothers and sisters of Thunder Bluff, you know me! For years I served you as your Elder Crone, as advisor to our High Chieftain, as wisened elder. Recent events have driven me from our home, but I could stay away no longer!
My name is Magatha Grimtotem! Hear my words!
For far too long have we sat dormant atop our peaceful mesas, growing docile and weak with content! Our once-mighty warriors busy themselves with corn and bread, while our enemies invade our lands and strike out against us, unopposed!
Look what they have done to us! Look at how we suffer! Do you see the smoke drifting westward on the autumn air? Do you smell the unmistakable scent of charred fur and scorched timber? These are all that remain of our beloved Taurajo, burned and butchered by Alliance dogs!
Oh, they did not dare challenge us in open combat, even a peaceful camp such as Taurajo. They fear our strength, fear the losses they would incur in open, honest combat, even with a mere trading post. No, the cowards from Theramore waited until our hunters had left for the fields, then fell upon our unsuspecting camp and razed it to the ground!
They slaughtered everyone they could find, my brethren! Civilians, merchants, all murdered in the blink of an eye. Even the children! Their bodies still lie in the smoldering wreckage, tiny tributes to the cruelty of humans, their brief, bright fires snuffed by butchers' hands!
I have personally interrogated one of these monsters, and do you know what he said? He DARED tell me that at the orders of their fiendish commander, they intentionally left a gap in their lines, so that some of our civilians could escape. And the whelp looked at me arrogantly, like he deserved to be lauded for only butchering SOME of the civilians population!
This is the type of beast that opposes us! These are the monsters lurking at our gates, waiting for us to show the slightest sign of weakness! If we do not fight back, we are doomed.
Also, I ask you, my brothers and sisters! Where is the Horde now? Garrosh Hellscream so boldly talks of his vaunted honor and warrior's pride, yet I see no orcs or trolls arriving from Orgrimmar to help us!
Oh, they gladly enlist our braves to serve in their militia, to provide the strength and size that makes up the Horde's military backbone when it is time to battle the Alliance. But when we need their support? They are nowhere to be found!
Their silence is deafening, friends. It shows you what they truly think of us!
Have they come to avenge our fallen kin, murdered for the sake of THEIR war?
Has Garrosh sent troops to help us retake Taurajo so we might recover our dead and properly lay them to rest?
Where was the Horde when our babies were burning? Where are our so-called allies now, in our hour of need?
Our dead kin cry out for justice! Their spirits linger in torment, unburied and trapped, unable to leave this plane to join our ancestors. Even now, as we speak, human scum rifle through the ruins, despoiling and pillaging the remains!
This is an outrage! Is it not enough that the humans murdered our friends and family, but now they desecrate the dead by plundering their corpses? We lived alongside them for years, perfectly willing to stay out of their way and let them live in peace. And this is what we got in return!
And yet, despite these atrocities, Taurajo still burns, and the guilty parties go unpunished! The ghosts of our fallen still wail their pain into the night, unavenged, yet here we stand, barely an hour's ride away, and we do nothing!
Where are our furious war parties? Why have we not retaken Taurajo, driven off the looters, and properly given our dead their proper repose?
Brothers and sisters, are we cowards? Are we weaklings? Have we lost our heart, our fighting spirit?
What has happened to us, that we would suffer such sacrilege without response?
The answer is Cairne.
I realize many of you hate me and my clan for our past actions, for attempting to take command of our people. And I know many of you, if not all of you, have not forgiven me. I understand this. I do. I grieve for those who fell that fateful night, and I realize now that I should have acted differently, without violence.
But I do not apologize for what I was trying to accomplish! Do you not see? This is exactly what I spoke out against, for all those years! This is exactly what I was trying to prevent!
I mourn for those who have fallen because of Cairne's foolish stubbornness, his refusal to listen to reason. Over and over again did I try to convince him that we were simply being used as fodder by the Horde, that we were little more than pawns in the Horde war machine. But Cairne, wise, trusting Cairne, insisted that this was untrue, that the orcs regarded us as brothers, as did the trolls.
I look out at you gathered here today, and I see not a single green or blue face amongst us.
I think not.
You might view our actions as treachery, as betrayal. But I did what needed to be done for our people! I did what needed to be done for us to survive!
Look out at the horizon, I implore you. Look at the Great Gate that pens us in like animals, the only thing keeping the rabid Alliance hounds from our throats! Behold the acrid smoke rising from the ruins of Taurajo! Think of our fallen, wandering the Barrens as ghosts, unable to join our ancestors because we have not avenged them!
Take in these sights, citizens of Thunder Bluff, and I ask you...who has truly betrayed the tauren people?
Is this what you truly want?
Friends, do you now see what Cairne's preachings of peace and passivity has wrought? The people of Camp Taurajo lay butchered on the grass, but we are hardly any better! They are dead, yes...but so are we. We have forsaken our pride, our courage, and our sense of duty to our beloved kin.
We are the dead.
We just haven't realized it yet.
Do not blame young Baine. I know he means well, that he cares for our people, but he has his father's heart. It is not his fault that we now lie on the brink of destruction, for he is doing his best working with what scraps his father left behind...scraps of a once-proud people who would now rather tend their crops than fight our foes.
Swords to plowshares, my friends. We fought hard, and we earned our peace. But such days are over. Oh, we can turn a blind eye as the Bloodhoofs would have us do, and hope the conflict passes us by. We can keep ignoring what is right in front of us, right until the moment a human sword plunges through our unarmored, defenseless chest.
Or we can pick up our fallen arms, brush off the dust and grime from years of inactivity, and make our enemies regret ever crossing our paths!
After all, what was PEACE gotten us? Our FRIENDS have not come to our defense! Cairne's gentle platitudes will not avenge our fallen. Baine's peaceful aspirations will not stop the Alliance when they break down our gates and besiege our home! No, brothers, sisters, we have been abandoned, and the lions prowl about our doorstep. And they are hungry.
Do you think our lack of reprisal has gone unnoticed? Absolutely not! The humans and their allies are enraged over what that upstart Hellscream has done to them, and they are out for blood! And here we sit, fat and listless, too lazy to even seek retribution! Cairne has not simply turned us away from our warrior roots. He has turned us into pushovers, mere sheep to serve the will of any who would cross our pride.
My brethren, we should be ashamed.
How long will it be before we see human soldiers marching across the plains of Mulgore, razing our ancient ceremonial lands? How long before dwarven tanks are crawling over our hills, knocking down trees and trampling our lush fields under their heavy treads?
Are we going to let this happen? Are we going to lay down our weapons and surrender without a fight? Will we sit and await our fateful demise like mere cattle, our horns dull and harmless?
We will not! We are TAUREN, proud and strong! We are the Earth Mother's chosen! It is time we remember it! I will never let us succumb to such a fate!
Baine may be too weak or scared to fight back, but WE are not! WE will not let the humans' crimes go unpunished! My Grimtotem battle the Northwatch murderers in Dustwallow Marsh, striking back for our fallen brothers and sisters! They murder our friends? We will capture theirs. They burn down our homes? We will return the favor!
We fight alone, without the aid or consent of Baine, without the supposed allegiance of the Horde. We are outnumbered and without allies, but still, we fight. We fight for the dead...for Taurajo. We fight for justice! We fight for YOU.
We will never forget. Never. The humans will pay in blood for their heinous deeds. I swear this to you on the ancestors.
Remember this, citizens of Thunder Bluff. Remember who fought to avenge your friends while your leader sat back in his tent and did nothing. Remember it well.
However, while the humans are weak and fall easily before our might, they are innumerable. Like roaches, or quillboar. We know that it is only a matter of time before their king sends them reinforcements, reinforcements which will quickly overwhelm our meager numbers.
I knew we would need help if we hoped to hold out against Theramore's forces. Would Garrosh Hellscream send us warriors to bolster our ranks? What about the kind and benevolent Baine Bloodhoof? Or would they both ignore our pleas, despite our righteous cause, and leave us to die in the mud?
Yes, you guessed it, friends. Even though our enemies were the killers who destroyed Taurajo, neither Garrosh nor Baine would lift a finger to help us. What noble leaders sit upon our thrones, basking in our dutiful reverence.
I say to them: Fine. Hide in your shelters, oh brave and courageous leaders, while we do the dirty work. I shall lead us out of this lethargic fugue that is Cairne Bloodhoof's legacy! I will never let the Alliance take our lands! I will never let there be another Taurajo. Not while I still draw breath.
I see some of you exchanging skeptical looks. I am not angered by your doubt, for my exile has taught me patience. Yes, I have lost my connections to the elements. Baine shattered my totems, and the elements have not yet forgiven the affront. But I do not hold a grudge against the young Bloodhoof, for my punishment was just, his sentence fair.
But I do not stand before you a powerless crone, my friends. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We have actively opposed the terrible Twilight Cult that threatens our entire world, and fought them back from our borders! Ancestors only know what disasters they would have unleashed upon Azeroth had we not stopped them in their tracks and scattered them to the winds.
And our efforts paid off, my friends. Deep within their shattered camp was hidden an artifact of immense power, charged and brimming with untold elemental power! I unlocked only the tiniest fraction of its true potential, but I can already tell that with its might at our disposal, no human vermin will be able to stand in our way!
Furthermore, I have recovered ancient tauren relics, irreplaceable objects of great spiritual significance to our people! Long were these precious links to our past thought lost, but thanks to my clan's industrious efforts, we have unearthed and recovered them, and brought them home. I have the utmost faith that our elders and shamans will be able to unlock their mysteries.
WE fight the humans for the sake of our fallen kin. WE have found and retrieved these priceless heirlooms and returned them to where they belong. WE refuse to be Garrosh Hellscream's disrespected pawns any longer!
I ask you, my brothers and sisters gathered before me...what has Baine done lately?
You have heard my words! You have seen what we have become! Look around you. Look at your neighbors. Do they hold a sword? Or a rake? If you should be killed, will they honor your passing and lay you to rest? Or will they be too busy selling grain or weaving some new shirts?
What will Baine Bloodhoof do if you are wronged? If you are murdered by vicious Alliance killers? You already know the answer! It lies still smoldering beyond the Great Gate, being picked clean by human bandits! He will do nothing!
Who will defend our cliffs, Thunder Bluff? Who will avenge Taurajo? Who hears the cries of the dead? Who is not afraid to make the wretched humans of Theramore pay for their crimes? Who is not afraid to destroy the vile Twilight Cultists to gain the power necessary to save our people from the yoke of Cairne's weakness and docility?
Citizens of Thunder Bluff, think what our world has become, and what we will face in the future. Think hard, and with your heart and soul.
In whom should you trust, in these dark days?
Not the Horde!
Not Garrosh Hellscream!
Not Baine Bloodhoof!
Show/Hide Letter Notes
I'm not sure where this idea came from, other than it started as a random comment in passing during some conversation, probably on Twitter. It occurred to me that, you know, with what's happened with Camp Taurajo, and how Baine has basically done nothing, Magatha could totally make a decent effort to usurp his leadership, and legally this time.
I'm sure a lot of tauren are NOT happy about Camp T, and yet Baine has really done nothing to avenge the dead, or more significantly, lay them to rest! And neither have the Horde. (Not yet, anyway. We know what's going to happen with Theramore down the road.) On the other hand, Magatha and the Grimtotem are busy assaulting Theramore soldiers in Dustwallow. An interesting contrast.
I thought it would make a very convincing argument/apology by Magatha, if she stated that the reason she wanted to be in command was not for personal power, but because she felt the tauren were growing soft, and to avoid EXACTLY what happened with Camp T. With the anger and bitterness likely running through Thunder Bluff, and the lack of action of any kind by Baine or Garrosh in retaking Camp T, I think her words would have a pretty dramatic emotional effect.
Poor Baine. Things just aren't shaping up very well for him lately. But really, what HAS he done since becoming Warchief? Magatha might not be able to sell people based on her own merits, but as we all know, aggressively attacking political rivals hurting their image is a very effective strategy. And Magatha might be an evil, selfish witch, but she is clever, canny and charismatic. I don't know that young Baine really stands a chance in such a fight.
She also has some pretty potent ammunition in pointing out how the Horde (and Garrosh) has treated the tauren so far. Not only have there been no Horde reinforcements to come take back Camp Taurajo or scatter the Alliance troops outside the Great Wall, but it's even worse when you consider that this hostility is really a direct result of Garrosh's aggression in other regions, such as Ashenvale. And there's always tauren in the Horde troops you see training or fighting, but how many Kor'kron are hanging out in Thunder Bluff to help Baine?
Writing the letter was interesting. I tried to use colorful, evocative language, much like Magatha would use if she were standing on a dais speaking to the gathered residents of Thunder Bluff, including little things like telling the audience to not blame Baine (subtly patronizing him and making him look weak and pitiable) or repeated shouts of outrage, much like an orator would do to try to stir up a crowd into a passionate frenzy.
I think Magatha presents herself pretty well here, and to an angry tauren grieving over lost friends killed at Taurajo, I think they would find her words compelling and painfully true. Hell, even if they didn't really forgive the Grimtotems for their attempted coup, maybe it wouldn't matter - maybe they'd be willing to let bygones be bygones, if it meant being able to avenge their fallen kin. After all, justice - or revenge - is a very powerful motivator.