The air was still, and the sky cloudless. The moon shone bright down upon the city of Thunderbluff, and everything was going as it normally would. A lone tauren walked off the elevator, and made his way to the entrance of Hunter Rise. Many of the vendors and other townspeople recognized him, and tried to speak to him. They were met, however, with angry glares, and harrumphs. This was not the tauren they knew. His name was Stomphoof, and he was a changed tauren. No more was he the shiny happy and stupid one that everyone knew. No, he was a being filled with rage, anger, and violence. Also intelligence. He was, without a doubt, the opposite of what most considered the “real” Stomphoof.
He made his way to the rise, and crossed the bridge. Once across, he glanced and found that a pet trainer was sitting in a home. “So, they changed my childhood home into a….trainer station. Such a pity.” He walked beyond the hut, and stopped at the edge of the bluff and kneeled, and sat in thought. [i]This is where it all began. My imprisonment…and the death of my mother. The fool. Trying to repress me![/i] He sat, and kneeled, and thought about things.
Meanwhile, Lopa and Malcho landed in the Thunder Bluff Skytower. They had received word that Stomphoof had come, and they were determined to find out what was going on. Lopa herself had just returned from her foray into the jungle, and had no idea what was going on. Malcho had been there at the time of the emergence of the other Stomphoof, and was not happy to see his friend be changed. Lopa was simply worried. She had gotten word of Zeelatani’s actions, and the theft of Stomphoof’s soul.
The search for a while before they found him, still kneeling in thought at the edge of the bluff.
“Stompie…” Lopa said quietly.
Stomphoof heard it, and stood slowly and turned. He looked impassive as he spoke. “Can I help you with something? Or are you just here to bother me?”
Lopa’s eyes flashed angrily, and Malcho glared.
“What have you done with our Stompie?!” Lopa demanded angrily.
Stomphoof snorted. “I am Stomphoof, Lopa.”
Malcho spoke up at this. “You are a stranger.” The response however, was something Lopa and Malcho didn’t expect. Stomphoof laughed.
“A stranger?! I am free! He tried to lock me away because he was afraid of me, and of himself.”
Stomphoof turned back around, and began to explain just what was going on*. After several moments, Lopa finally had seemed to have enough. “Stompie, I know your in there! Fight him!” Malcho joined in, with a “Yea fight him!” Stomphoof laughed again.
“He can’t fight! He remembers everything now! He remembers that he killed his own mother, and is too grief stricken to fight back!” He laughed again. Lopa growled, and then began to cast something, and Stomphoof felt an intrusion in his mind. “So, you wish to fight?” Stomphoof said, and drew his axe. Malcho stepped back, his eyes wide. The spell failed, and Lopa looked up just as Stomphoof swung, the fiery blade slicing across her chest. He stepped back, as she bled. Malcho quickly healed her, and she ran around a nearby tree, her back to the edge of the bluff. She began to cast again, and Stomphoof simply shrugged it off. “So you wish for death. I shall grant you that.”
He walked slowly forward, and Lopa backed away, shouting to Malcho “My spells do nothing!” Stomphoof swung his axe at her, and she quickly cast a shield, only to find that the blow was so strong it shattered it like it was nothing, and found herself cut again. She was right on the edge of the bluff at this point. “Goodbye Lopa.” Stomphoof said simply, and then he shoved her off the cliff, while Malcho shouted “NOOOO LOPA!”
Inside the mind of Stomphoof, behind the barriers, something stirred. It thought “Mama Lopa…?” It then realized what just happend, and surged forward, smashing against the barriers. “MAMA LOPA!”
Outside, Stomphoof was smiling as Malcho ran up. “Fight me Stomphoof!” Malcho demanded. However, suddenly Stomphoof grabbed his head. “What…no…” Malcho stared, and took a step back.
“No…No you can’t come out! I was just freed!” Stomphoof said, shaking his head violently.
“LEAVE ME BE!” he shouted, and Malcho stepped back even further.
“NO! BEGONE!” And then Stomphoof collapsed on the ground, right at the edge.
The mind is a funny thing. It can be a landscape sometimes, and in this instance, it had become something akin to a battlefield. On one side, a lush green forest, with happy birds and singing. In front of that forest stood a Tauren clad in armor, wearing the tabard of Eardstapan. On the opposite side, with a barren wasteland that was scorched and burned stood another Tauren, in the same armor but without the tabard. That one near the forest glowed a green, and the one near the wasteland glowed a red.
“Why did you bring me here? I was free!” The red one said.
“You hurt Mama Lopa.” The other said simply.
“She was tryign to stop me! Of course I did!” The red one responded. “I was free! You imprisoned me!”
“Yes! You hurt our real mother! Who knows how many other people you would harm!” The green one shouted. “I should destroy you here and now!”
“You can’t!” The red one taunted. “I am you! A part of your mind! Destroying me would destroy you as well!”
The green one frowned. “Then I shall beat you again! And this time lock you away for good!” And with that, the green one charged, and the red one smiled grimly and charged right back.
The landscape rippled from the effect as the two taurens, each a part of Stomphoof’s mind, clashed.
Back in the real world not even a second had passed, and Stomphoof sat on the ground whimpering. Malcho stood over him, watching him twitch and moan.
Back in Stomphoof’s mind, the battle was raging. The landscape rippled as each blow was landed, and changed slightly as they battled. The green Stomphoof was using a sword and a shield, while the red was using a huge axe. The red one seemed to have the upper hand as he landed blow after blow on the green’s shield. As the green one was pushed back, the wasteland began to take over, and the forest began to be pushed back.
“Do you see?! I am rage! You cannot hope to beat me!” The red one declared as he swung again and again. Then, the green one struck.
He dodged to the left, and using his shield slammed it against the side of the red tauren’s head. Then, slammed his sword into the side of him. “I am love. And love conquers all, including you!” The wasteland shrunk down, and a small chamber appeared. Carrying the bleeding tauren to the chamber, the green one tossed him in, and slammed to door. He heard, as he shut it “I will always be here! You can’t hope to get rid of me!”
“Perhaps not…but maybe I can fix this…” The green one replied as he locked the door.
Malcho waited, as Stomphoof had stilled. Only a few minutes had passed from when Stomphoof had pushed Lopa off the cliff, and had collapsed. Then, Stomphoof’s eyes snapped open, and he stood up. Malcho leapt back and took a fighting stance. Stomphoof turned, and looked up at Malcho.
“Mr Malcho….I was a bad boy…” His eyes filled with tears, and he cried.
“Stompie?” Malcho asked gingerly.
“I hurt Mama Lopa!” Stomphoof wailed.
“No no Stompie! The bad man did it!”
Stomphoof turned to Malcho, and sighed. “But Mr Malcho, he was right. He was me, and I am him…” Stomphoof began to cry again, and Malcho put a hand on his shoulder. They talked for a bit, and then Stomphoof dried his eyes. “I have to go Mr Malcho! I am dangerous… If you see Mama Lopa again, tell her I am sorry.” And with that Stomphoof ran off.
Malcho of course, being a very stubborn tauren, followed right after him. He found Stomphoof talking into his hearthstone, apologizing to everyone in the coaltion for his actions. Malcho sighed. “Its not your fault Stompie.”
“Yes it is! Everything that bad man said was true!” Malcho nodded, and then spoke. “You have to fight him.” Stomphoof nodded, and sighed. “I am Mr Malcho… I am.” Malcho smiled, and Stomphoof walked towards the bridge leading to Eldar rise. “I can’t be around you all Mr Malcho. I have to beat this thing…”
Malcho nodded, and sighed again. “You can’t beat him alone though Stompie.” Stomphoof sniffled a bit. “But I could hurt you! I could lose control again and that would be bad… I was not a shiny tauren…not shiny at all.” And then a voice from behind Stomphoof spoke. “Don’t worry Child…we are here to help you.” Stomphoof turned his head around slowly, and standing behind him, beaten a bit but otherwise looking alright, was Lopa.
“Mama Lopa…” She smiled, and suddenly found Stomphoof hugging her. “I am sorry Mama Lopa I am sorry I hurt you!” He cried again, he couldn’t help himself. She smiled, and whispered “Its ok Stompie…your back now right?” Stomphoof nodded, and let Lopa go. He then took out of his pack some Mageweave bandages, and began to tie them on. “I learned how to make bandages see Mama Lopa? These should help till we get ya to a doctor person…” Malcho nodded, and the three of them began to talk, and Stomphoof began to explain everything as best he could.
Saiynt showed up after a few moments of discussion, and offered his help. Stomphoof sat down as the three of them, Malcho Lopa and Saiynt chatted about what could be done. About Hakkar. About Puppet, and about the evil Stomphoof. Stompie however just sat and thought for a moment.
[i]What should I do? I am not shiny now…I was bad…but the bad side could come out! But…I am not fixed..I am a broken tauren… Hmmm[/i]
Stomphoof sat and thought and thought, and then suddenly stood up and said in a very clear voice “I know what I have to do.”
They stopped talking, and Saiynt spoke. “What must you do Eldar Stomphoof?” Lopa nodded, and Malcho spoke “Whatever it is, we are here for you.” Stomphoof nodded, and took a deep breath, and began to explain.
“I have to fix myself…I am not shiny, and I was bad. But that is because I broke myself.” They nodded, each seeming to not quite understand what he was talking about. Stomphoof then took out his hearthstone and said simply into it “I am gonna try to fix myself…so I won’t be bad no more.. Wish me luck!” Before he put it away he heard Gunn speak “Say what? Anyone know what he is talking about.” Then Stomphoof closed his eyes and went back into his mind as he heard Saiynt say “May the Earthmother be with you Stomphoof.”
Once again in his mind, in the lush forest, the green Stomphoof approaced the prison. He could feel the hate and anger rolling away from it like a wave. He went to the door and peered in, and the red Stomphoof looked up from his place on the floor.
“What do you want you goody two shoes of a bastard?”
“We need to have a talk.” The green one replied.
The red one snorted. “What is there to talk about? I am beaten, for now.”
The green one smiled. “I think we should merge.” The red ones eyes widened. “What do you mean?”
“Well, think about it. We are the same, you and I. Two sides to the same coin. Out there, I am stupid, friendly, and I don’t understand much. But I have friends and loved ones. You on the other hand, have no one out there or in here…. I saw we combine again..become whole again.” The red one eyed the green one.
“Your insane. What makes you think I would ever want that to happen?! I am my own being now! You would have to force me!”
The green one sighed. “I could beat you into submission you know. You are very weak, and I am whole right now. I am offering you a chance…to be whole again.”
The red one sat there, in his cell, and seemed to ponder. “Let me think about it. We have been apart for so long. I am not sure we could take it.”
Time passed. In the mind, time passes much differently then it does in the real world. The red and green tauren chatted, learning about each other. They had been apart for so long that they knew nothing of the other.
In the real world however, minutes simply went by, as Lopa Malcho and Saiynt watched.
“Alright green…I think we can do this. We can be whole again… I think we are ready to accept what we each are, and what we each have done.”
The green tauren nodded, and opened the door. The two tauren embraced, and a shudder passed through the mindscape. Suddenly the landscape changed to something more normal. A mix of both forest and plains. And standing in the center stood Stomphoof.
Suddenly Stomphoof eyes snapped open, and he sighed. “I am whole again…”
Malcho, Lopa, and Saiynt looked at him. “What do you mean, whole?” Stomphoof smiled, took out his hearthstone, and began to explain to everyone what had just happened.
“Well, let me explain. I was born a half grimtotem. When me and my sister were kids, we were taken by the grimtotem. Back then I was a normal, intelligent tauren, with a very wicked temper and prodigious strength. The grimtotem saw this, and trained me, focusing on the bad, the anger and the rage and the intelligence, and neglecting and repressing the good. I became, well, a killing machine.” He breathed for a moment, and continued.
“Eventually after training we were brought back home. One day I got into a fight with another child, and I broke his shoulder. My mother scolded me as always, however, this time the training took over, and I stabbed her in the chest with a knife, killing her. The good that had been repressed for so long surged out in guilt, and I threw my mothers body over the cliff. No one ever knew that I killed her. Not even myself. For shortly thereafter I repressed the bad. I locked away my memories, my hate, my anger. All of it. From what I found after talking to the, ahem, evil me, was that it grew into its own personality.”
Lopa and the rest nodded, and Stomphoof continued.
“During the fight with Puppet and them, when my soul was removed I was weak and the bad surged forth. It took over as you all saw, and locked my good side away. Well, when you, Mama Lopa and Malcho, came and found me tonight, he was in total control. When I pushed Mama Lopa off the cliff, my good side once again surged forth, and in my grief, I fought, and freed myself. However, while talking with you all moments ago I realized that being in two pieces was both dangerous and foolish.” The group nodded thier understanding, and Stomphoof continued.
“So, I went back and had a chat with that ‘evil’ side… and I repaired myself. No more are there two personalities. I am whole again. I am both smart, and intelligent, and kind, while at the same time I once again have my temper. This time however I think I have a better understanding of it and can reign it in. And of course, my love of the shinies remains. Which reminds me…”
Glancing over at Lopa he grinned. “Your my Mama Lopa, and you definetly need new shinies!” The group laughed, and they talked for a while more, discussing plans for taking on Hakkar, and finally Saiynt spoke. “I am grateful to have shared this moment with you all. I must be off, for I am tired. May the earthmother be with you.” Stomphoof smiled, and waved. “And may the Shinies be with you!” Then Stomphoof yelled across Thunder Bluff.
“FOR THE SHINIES!” Malcho and Saiynt joined in. Saiynt left, and Stomphoof nodded. “I must be going to. I am tired from tonights ordeal…and I have so many things I must atone for. So many wrongs to right…”
And with that Stomphoof called Junior, and rode off.