September 25, 2009 § 3 Comments
When I was leveling Thistlefizz I tried to avoid all the zones with the undead. I’m not a big fan the horror genre, so by extension zombies and undead. So when I reached the 50-60 ranged I headed for Ungo’ro Crater and then Winterspring. But while I was there I got a quest from one, Jessica Redpath. She informed me that she had been living in Lordearon just before the Scourge Invasion. For some reason that isn’t really given, she wasn’t actually in her homeland when the Scourge swept through the land. Ms. Redpath told me that she was concerned that the other members of her family hadn’t survived and asked if I would help her find out their fate.
Well, even though I didn’t really enjoy the thought of fighting zombies, I was touched by Jessica’s plight. Here she was, stuck in Winterspring, trying her best to help fight back the Burning Legion, and she had no idea what had come of her family. And so since she wasn’t able to do it herself, I agreed to take up her cause. I seem to recall one of the soldiers in the area asked me to go to Chillwind Camp in the Western Plaguelands–and since I was headed there anyway….
I’m really glad I accepted those quests.
The Western and Eastern Plaguelands became two of my favorite areas in the game. It’s not because the quests are particularly fun or the land is pretty. It’s because of the lore. The story lines that interweave in the Plaguelands are some of the most heart wrenching in the game (like the one about little Pamela Redpath). And it kind of makes me sad that so many people just blaze right through the two zones, if they bother going through them at all.
Warning–beyond the cut are what might be considered ‘spoilers.’ I say that in quotes because what follows is a mixture of actual in game lore and personal extrapolations, and interpretations of stories and events.
Let me tell you about Darrowshire and the Redpath family. As most of you should know by now (if you’ve paid any attention), during the Third War, as the Burning Legion was making its return, a mysterious plague was darkening the lands of Lordearon. A shipment of infected grain had made its way into the bustling trade hub of Andorhal, and from there it was only a matter of time before it spread throughout most of the nearby cities (including Stratholme). Rumors sprang up of empty graveyards, and of walking undead. Villagers thought to be long-dead, were seen aimlessly wandering the lands. The small village of Darrowshire had managed to hear about the grain before hand, and so remained unaffected by the deathly plague. However, as time went on, the undead became increasingly aggressive. At first it was small attacks, but it grew it to larger and larger groups of organized zombies.
The villagers of Darrowshire did their best to defend themselves, but they were not proper soldiers. They were farmers, and tailors, and blacksmiths. They sent word to Lordearon, petitioning for aide. At most all they hoped for was a small contingent of trainees, something to at least bolster their ranks and provide real military support. They never imagined that the Prince himself would come. As the plague spread through the land, Prince Arthas Menethil set out himself to find the source of the plague. He learned about the tainted grain and that it was causing people to turn to the walking undead. Because of this Arthas made the decision to purge the land. And he wasn’t just after grain. He was going to purge the land of the grain and everyone and everything that may have come into contact with it.
Now, as Arthas was beginning to loose his grip on sanity and had already made the decision to kill everyone in Andorhal, it’s not a stretch to think that the villagers of Darrowshire were a little freaked out. Would Arthas know they didn’t have any infected grain? Would he care? Would he kill them all just to be safe? Well, whether it was fortunate or not, Arthas chose a different route to Stratholme and didn’t pass by Darrowshire.
Perhaps if he’d passed by, he would have spared them. Maybe he would have even left behind a contingent of soldiers. But the villagers were on their own. Or perhaps he would have slaughtered them like cattle. Regardless, this plague, this scourge, was growing stronger. And there were no reinforcements.
At some point Joseph Redpath set his eldest daughter off to Winterspring. Why he only sent her and not his youngest, we can only speculate. But eventually they came. The Scourge came. Joseph Redpath was infected. But rather than becoming a wandering zombie, Joseph was turned into a Death Knight. It wasn’t long after this that he betrayed his village to the scourge. How he did this is unclear. All we know is that the entire village, including his little girl Pamela, was wiped out.
Ok, so the astute among you may have noticed that I have taken a few liberties with the lore here. I didn’t change any of the established facts–just embellished a little. Anyway, this brings us up to speed to where the quest starts.
So I went to Darrowshire and found a little girl named Pamela Redpath. She was lonely and sad because she’d lost her dolly and didn’t know where her family went, and didn’t understand why they wouldn’t come back for her. She didn’t realize she was dead. It was heartbreaking. I gathered up the pieces of her doll (getting attacked by cranky spirits along the way), and returned it to her. It really stuck with me, the image of this poor little girl, scared and alone, having no idea she was dead.
Once I hit level 58 I hoped through the Dark Portal and set my sights on the Outlands. It wasn’t until long after I had hit 70 that I finally made my way back to the Plaguelands to finish up the quests there. I was trying to get the mount in Stratholme so I was spending a lot of time there.
Eventually I ended up finding a book called The Annals of Darrowshire which lead me back to the ruins of Andorhal, and had me talking to a little gnome named Chromie. Or at least I thought she was a little gnome. It turns out that she’s one of the great Dragon Aspects. Anyway, I told her about the book I found, and about Pamela and how all she wanted was her daddy back. (Ok maybe I didn’t actually say anything except ‘complete quest’ but hey, I can pretend right?)
Chromie was touched. The Redpath family had given their all to defend their home and people, and had lost much. She knew that the timeline had to be preserved so there wasn’t anything I could do to prevent his corruption and death, but perhaps something could be done to set his spirit free. Chromie gave me a bundle of relics that would summon the spirits of Darrowshire. I was instructed to join the battle and ensure that Joseph survived long enough to be corrupted and then defeated. Once the corrupted version of Redpath was defeated, his spirit could be saved.
So I girded up my loins, and shoved off to Darrowshire. I placed down the bundle of relics, and the battle began. Wave after wave of scourge poured over the hills. Had I actually done this at the appropriate level, I would have been destroyed. It was hard enough to keep up at 70. I made sure to keep Joseph alive, and once he was corrupted, killed him. I was all set for his glorious moment of redemption, when suddenly I heard that sound, and saw in my chat log: The Battle of Darrowshire: FAILED. WTF? Well, turns out I hadn’t read the quest close enough. There was this other guy, Davil Lightfire, and I was supposed to make sure he stayed alive until after the death of the ghoul Horgus. Heh, oops.
Ok, try agian. The battle starts. I kill the Scourge. Some elite fellows show up. I kill them. I have a heck of a time making sure both Redpath and Lightfire stay alive since often they are on opposite sides of the battlefield and I’m not a healer (Bandages ftw!). Horgus goes down. Redpath is corrupted and kills Lightfire. I kill Redpath and the battle ends. Now the moment comes, and indeed there was a glorious moment of redemption. Redpath’s spirit came walking down the path, and as he got near the well in the center of town his daughter came running after him. It was such a touching moment that I actually teared up a little. Here’s what Pamela says when you turn in the quest:
The fighting is over! I heard my daddy whisper to me. He scared away all the ghosts and he says he’s coming home! I’m so happy! He also said I should welcome you if came to our house, so I made some tea! I hope you like lots of sugar!
At the end of this event I decided that I would do all I could to help out the Argent Dawn. I did all their quests. Helped snap Tirion out of his emo-daze. Became exalted with them and eventually the Argent Crusade. Now Thistlefizz proudly wears his Argent Crusade tabbard and the title “The Argent Champion.”
So the next time you’re looking for somewhere to quest at level 50, or even going back as 80, I recommend the Plaguelands. If you’re big on the lore, you won’t be dissapointed.
“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]“
There’s an amazing song written about this by a guy who calls himself Cranius that really captures the essence of this questline. The song/video can be found here.
Here’s the lyrics in case you can’t watch the video right now:
I’ve seen a great many things that can tear a man’s heart asunder..
But the day that will not let me go, it haunts me to my burning soul..
Is the day I found Pamela wandering Darrowshire.
“Can you help me find my dolly?
I left her by the window sill.
Have you seen my daddy?
I think he went off to war.
And can you tell my family I’ve been missing them for oh so very long.
Ask them why’d they leave me here alone in Darrowshire.”
I bring word from your sister, she’s alive and well in Winterspring.
Here I found your dolly, it’s up to you to keep her safe
The war for him is over,