|Leader||Xiphol, Windmane, Zan'jin|
The Earth Walkers are a loose coalition of the beast races of Azeroth under the current leadership of three Elders. They are joined due to their will to protect the living things of Azeroth and welcome new members.
Whilst no actual recorded history of the Earth Walkers remains, various stories and accounts that have been passed down through generations of members are now widely accepted as it's history.
Originally, years before the Third War and orcs settling on Kalimdor, the tauren were a nomadic race, wandering the plains of Kalimdor hunting Kodo. The tribes and camps of which they were all a part of ranged from small villages all the way to vast tent cities.
One such nomadic village went under the tutelage and leadership of Lokka and Muhale Earthwalker. It is told that the Earthwalker family lead the village for a great many years before the orcs settled and, although the true origin of the name and story of the family's rise to leadership has, sadly, long since been forgotten, one myth is still kept alive.
It is said, that whilst on a hunt, the first Earthwalker - who's name did not survive the years - once came upon a great White Lion drowning in a river. Without a thought for his own safety, the Tauren waded in and pulled the Lion to the shore. In thanks, the Lion blessed the young Tauren with unnatural sight and boundless endurance.
Before he left, the Lion told the Earthwalker that somewhere in the plains, a great Black Lion stalked, and that should the Tauren ever come across it, he must tell it the name White Mist, lest the Black Lion devour him on the spot. With that, the Lion left in a bound and disappeared before the Earthwalker's eyes. The young tauren sat by the river, contemplating this strange omen for many days before returning to his camp.
Upon his return, he counselled with the camp's Seer, who told him of a vision she had received whilst the Earthwalker was away. In the vision, a great Black Lion was terrorising a town at night. Many of the cities inhabitants had attempted to catch or slay the beast, but had failed at every attempt. Hearing this, the Earthwalker left immediately for the town, believing it his destiny to aid the townspeople.
He reached the town on his fourth night of travel. Upon his arrival, he was met with the usual hospitality of the tauren and was offered a place to sleep, an offer he declined, instead asking for permission to sleep on the town's borders. He was warned by the town that a Black Lion often came at night and that anyone asleep outside would likely be killed. The Earthwalker thanked them for their concern and explained his task to the astonished townspeople before walking to the borders to spend the night.
It was then, a few hours after he had settled himself, that he heard a low growl directly behind him. Turning slowly, he came face to face with the Black Lion. It was easily twice the size of the White Lion, and it's fangs were as long as spearheads. It continued to growl at him, speaking in an animal tongue and gnashing on each of it's words: “Who are you to be so foolish as to sleep outside? An easy meal you are for the shadow!”
The Earthwalker pushed himself to his feet and stared defiantly at the Lion. The exact words he used have been forgotten but it is assumed that he mentioned White Mist's name as the Black Lion roared in anger and ran off into the wilderness.
Many from the town heard the roar and rushed to the tauren's aid. Finding him unharmed, and no trace of the Lion, the townspeople immediately congratulated him on scaring the beast away.
He stayed for many days afterwards, basking in the hospitality and praise of the town, but soon he pined for his own village and set his mind on returning. Several of the tauren from the town insisted on going with him, and so it was that he returned to his tribe with new members and tales of victory.
The Myth ends at this point, and it is assumed that because of this great deed he was granted leadership. Whilst none know how true this story is, the myth is always kept alive by the Earth Walker's lorekeeper.
Many generations of Earthwalker went by before anything remarkable happened. The tribe had grown larger and more prosperous, and content with their leaders' abilities, all members became known as Earthwalkers. They were renowned for their bravery and for their incredible care of the earth. It was always passed down that through a respect of living things of the world, one could become more in tune with it and more prosperous because of it.
Eventually, the Earthwalker family themselves lost all lineage with a sterile leader, so instead leadership was passed on in the traditional method of rewarding great deeds, such as it had been in the time of The Myth. In homage to the greatest of their leaders, all members vowed to keep the tribal name.
Note: It is also possible that distant relations of the Earthwalker family still exists, although this would now be impossible to prove, as many years have passed since their reign.
During the next few generations, there were of course skirmishes with centaur, but as they roved so much, the Earthwalkers rarely met any real resistance and led a generally peaceful life.
Dwelling so far inland at the time, the landing of the orcs wasn't heard about by the Earthwalkers until quite a while after the event. Curious at the news that Cairne Bloodhoof had built a refuge for all tauren, the tribe began to make their way to Mulgore. Some members were unhappy with this decision and refused to go, instead heading further north.
Upon their arrival, they saw that the great city of Thunderbluff was already a vast collection of tents. Many of the members stayed in the city itself, whilst some preferred staying at the bottom of the mesa. During their stay, they met many of the orcs and trolls that had come to the shores of Kalimdor, some of which even requested to join the tribe.
The inclusion of other races to the Earthwalkers was debated for a great many days whilst the tribe stayed in Thunderbluff. The final decision came to the Elder at that time, Odah Wildcall. Reticent to make a decision whilst some members were split and still travelling north, he called the tribe to return to wandering. Those orcs and trolls that wished to come along with them, were allowed for the moment, but under the condition that if after they had met with the rest of the tribe, the general consensus was to disallow the inclusion of other races, they would have to find their own way back.
During the long walk north, the tribe were attacked by a savage bunch of Centaur who were already fleeing from orcish forces. Odah was mortally wounded, but in his last moments he saw the brutal efficiency of the trolls and orcs they had brought with them drive back and defeat the Centaur. One orc in particular had prevailed above all others, taking down Centaur left and right, with whatever weapon he had to hand, and a great black Worg that followed him. With his dying breaths, Odah granted the orcs and trolls membership and passed leadership of the tribe to the orc that had saved so many of the tribe: Xiphol Skullslinger
The tribe accepted Xiphol immediately due to his bravery, and the fact that he carried Odah's body alone, refusing any help. Surprisingly, later that day they came across the members that had refused to travel to Thunderbluff.
They were far further south than when the group had split and amongst their ranks, there were several new faces, mostly trolls that the tribe had found washed ashore at the north eastern edge of the Barrens. It transpired that the split group had helped the trolls gather their belongings and tend to their wounded and fatigued. For this the trolls were grateful and some had promised to join the tribe. The others now went on their way to join up with the rest of Thrall's new horde.
The two halves of the tribe now joined again, one of the first tauren to accept Xiphol from the main group explained to the others what had happened. Together, tauren, orc and troll buried Odah beneath the shade of a tree, a spot that still exists in the Barrens and is often travelled to.
Xiphol's sudden rise to leadership brought about a great many changes. A few of the Original tauren who's families had been members of the Earthwalker tribe for generations found it hard to immediately adjust. In order to resolve this and avoid any tension, at Xiphol's insistence a second leader, with equal rule, was appointed from amongst the original tribesmen: Windmane, the one they called The Traveller.
Things settled and stayed this way for a while. The tribe continued to lead it's nomadic lifestyle, though soon some orcs and trolls became restless and a few of their number left for Durotar and Thrall's expanding new city. The few that stayed became permanent members, embracing the tribe's virtues and way of life.
Soon however, tensions once again began to mount. This time, from the trolls. Seeing a tauren and orc leader, they felt it unfair that their own views weren't represented as fully. A council was held and so it was that from the trolls, Xiphol and Windmane selected Zan'jin as the third Elder. It was at this same time that the tribe was renamed as Earth Walkers.
The current Elders are the same as they were at the beginning of the new Earth Walkers. Many of the orcish members ignored the rediscovery of their home world of Draenor, instead concentrating on the continued well-being of their new home.
During the events prior to the landing of Horde forces on Northrend, the Earth Walkers took up the fight and helped defend several positions in the Barrens and Mulgore, whilst those with the capacity helped the wounded. The current events on Northrend have also largely gone unnoticed, though there is interest amongst the ranks in Grizzly Hills and the destroyed World Tree attempt that rests there: Vordrassil.
Previously known as Xiphol Skullslinger , his name was changed by one of the seers of the Earth Walkers shortly after his rise to leadership. The first Elder of the new Earth Walkers, he stands as a symbol of the tribe's strength and determination.
A member of the Earth Walkers for countless years before Xiphol's arrival, Windmane often travelled off alone, returning in times of need. He represents the wisdom and tradition of the Earth Walkers.
The final member to become an Elder, Zan'jin was originally the priest of a small tribe of Darkspear Trolls who crashed on the north eastern edge of the Barrens during the orcs' landing on Kalimdor. Zan'jin is a symbol for the spiritual and philosophical side of the Earth Walkers
The Rest of the TribeEdit
The tribe was started with the tauren, and so long as they remain, it's roots will always be remembered, and it's values upheld. They are the backbone of the tribe, and make up the majority of it's members.
Since the first meeting with the orcs in Thunderbluff, the tribe has readily accepted them due to their similar views and values. Whilst it's true that some who join do not find quite what they were looking for, those that remain tend to be the more spiritual, shamanistic members of the race (though it is certainly not limited to these).
Viewed at the outset as the weakest link in the chain, the trolls eventually earned their place with the election of Zan'jin as an Elder. Through his spiritual power, the rest of the tribe have come to view their troll members with more respect.
The Sin'dorei are generally excluded as their values and ideals are too far apart from those of the tribe. This is not to say that all Blood Elves behave this way, but as of yet, none have demonstrated enough of an appreciation of the livings things of Azeroth the warrant their inclusion in the tribe.
As with the Sin'dorei, Forsaken are also excluded from membership. As well as a mismatch of values, the majority of tauren, Earth Walkers or otherwise, find undeath abhorrent, so the decision was made to fully exclude Forsaken to avoid unnecessary tensions.
Joining the Earth Walkers is not a simple task. But like most things in life, the harder tasks are often the more rewarding.
A prospective new member would first need to seek out a current member, and simply ask to join. The act of asking is an impressive first step, as the prospective member (especially orcs and trolls) would be committing themselves to an often new and alien way of life. In essence, this is seen as a good first step, and the prospective member will either be taken to an Elder, or be given further information on how to meet with an Elder.
The meeting with an Elder is not an event to be taken lightly. Whilst all three Elders have different outlooks on life, they are all aware of what does and doesn't suit the tribe's way. That said, it is not always immediately clear whether a prospective new member will fit in, so more often than not, they are given a chance to prove themselves.
At this stage the prospective new member will be accepted into the tribe as an initiate. Before they are to become a full, active member, they are given a short task. The tasks themselves may vary from person to person and it is entirely at the discretion of the testing Elder or Elders as to what that task entails. In the past, members have been asked to go on physical or spiritual journeys, retrieval tasks and even scouting missions that have been useful to the tribe.
The Council and The DecisionEdit
If the task is completed successfully, in a manner acceptable to the Elders, they will go to council.
The decision will then be made as to whether the prospective new member is allowed to stay, or whether they are not suitable.
If successful, the new member will be accepted into the tribe with an initiation ceremony, and their new life as an Earth Walker will begin.
If unsuccessful, they may try again when they deem themselves ready, though it is entirely at the Elder's discretion to refuse the member before The Trial if they do not feel the member has grown.
The Earth Walkers include many members with many different talents. This is not to say that every member of the tribe has a specific job to do as all members are seen as important.
Amongst their numbers currently are:
Whilst one may not find all the members in the same place at the same time, they are always there, and there whereabouts generally always accounted for.
The Earth Walkers are tolerant of all members' beliefs and ideologies and though they have no single faith of their own, they adhere to tenets and virtues usually already inherent in most of their members.
From knowledge, all other things flow. By increasing one's wisdom, it is possible to enhance every aspect of life, be it spiritual, physical or mental.
Through Tolerance, a greater understanding of others and the world in which everything lives can be gained. Tolerance teaches to understand and care for those out of your normal boundaries.
The decision to disallow Blood Elves and Forsaken as members is not an issue of tolerance, but more an issue of ideals. Their ideals and values are too far from those of the tribe to warrant their inclusion. Whilst some may call this a gross generalisation, it is kept this way to maintain order and balance. It is important to remember, though they are generally not accepted into the tribe, the Earth Walkers bear no other horde races any ill will.
Members of opposing factions should also be tolerated. However. this does not overrule reactions in a hostile situation. See Respect for Life.
Respect for Life
The Earth Walkers believe all life to be important. Be that a plant, insect or animal, or even a member of an opposing faction. By respecting the living things of Azeroth, one gains respect in return and will find their lives enriched in the process.
It is important to note that respect for life does not say that a member of the Earth Walkers should simply refuse to fight if set upon by any hostile force, be that Alliance or otherwise. They would be entirely within their rights to defend themselves. However, an Earth Walker must try not to instigate combat unless the situation truly calls for it, and killing must never be in cold blood.