A Shado-Pan of a doubt

shadopan1

So, based on the early returns, this sha energy and I are going to have a real love/hate relationship.

Let me explain.

While Burzum and Krimpatul were doing their respective investigating, I went back up to Kun-Lai Summit to do a little more checking around.  Ponytail and his blood elves had cleared out of the Valley of Emperors, and by the looks of it, the mogu who had been up there had decided not to take their chances coming back after the grade-A ass-kicking I’d given them.  Which, by the way, makes the mogu smarter than at least half the enemies I’ve run into over the years.

I flew around the mountains for a little while to see if I could spot any more mogu activity, but didn’t have a whole lot of luck, so I decided while I was in the neighborhood to check in at that monastery I’d heard about – the Shado-Pan Monastery, I think it’s called.  I figured the monks there might have something they could tell me about the mogu, or the sha, or, hell, even just give me some idea why that Cloudfall guy at Tian Monastery felt the need to be so damn cryptic.

Problem is, all of that assumed the monks would actually, you know, TALK to me.  When I got there, though, I could barely get anyone to answer the damn door.  I knocked away for a while, and at first some fat panda dude poked his head out and asked who I was…but then after I told him, he just slammed the door shut again.  After that, they just let me knock away all I wanted, and the only answer I got was one time when someone behind the door yelled “We don’t want any,” and this other time when I guess they decided to get cute, and one of them did a bad troll voice like “Dere nobody home, mon” – which, I can HEAR you TALKING, idiot, so there obviously IS somebody home.

Fucking pandas.

Eventually, Burzum and Krimpatul arrived, and we set up camp near the monastery to compare notes.  Krimp reported that the sha outbreak around the Temple of the Red Crane was mostly gone, other than some stray animals in the area that had been affected, but that those animals seemed a good bit stronger than the garden variety.  Seems like they were able to be infused with sha energy just from proximity to the manifestation there, which tells me that it shouldn’t be that difficult to tap infuse some of our soldiers with that power, assuming we can find a sha source to draw on.  THAT’s going to be the tricky part, I’m guessing – finding a source – since it’s not like we can reliably just summon these sha things up out of thin air.

Burzum, on the other hand, gave a whole breakdown of the pandas fighting an ongoing sha outbreak near the Temple of the Jade Serpent.  (By the by, don’t ask me why these pandas seem so obsessed with naming everything after rainbow-colored animals.  Can the Temple of the Mauve Meerkat be far behind?)  The sha down there were still much more active, and according to Burzum, the pandas there deliberately took steps to AVOID being affected by the sha energy.  Because, I don’t know, I guess they feel like a dose of extra power might take the edge off their signature bouncy goofiness.  Don’t ask me.

Whatever they’re thinking down there, though, it seemed like Burzum had gone native on us some, because while he was talking about it, he got really insistent about not thinking it was such a hot idea to try to tap into this sha energy.  He seemed to get really stressed out over it, actually, to the point that I could even see him going a little pale in the face.  I managed to calm him down some, but he still seemed more than a little antsy.

At that point, I gave the blademasters the rundown of the warm welcome I’d gotten at the monastery.  Burzum wanted to try talking to them himself, and I figured what the hell, if he wanted to try beating his head against the wall, let him knock himself out.  So he went over and knocked on the door, and one of the pandas stuck his head out to see who it was…and I’ll be damned, they let the fucker in!

So Burzum was in there for a little while, and I figured eventually he’d be back to bring me and Krimp inside with him – you know, after he’d finished buttering up whatever antisocial panda had had the bright idea to lock me out.  After a while, sure enough, Burzum came out again, but instead of showing us the way in, he let the pandas shut themselves up in there again while he came staggering back to us looking more upset than ever.  And I’m talking SERIOUSLY shaken – I don’t know what those pandas said to him, but dude was beyond just pale at the point and was looking out-and-out GRAY.

That’s when he started yammering a bunch of incoherent nonsense – “Is this what we’ve come to?” this, and “losing our way” that, and all the while getting more and more visibly upset.  Krimpatul and I tried to talk him down from the crazy, but Burzum wasn’t having it.  He kept ranting on and on, until finally the ranting gave way to flat-out growling, and the next thing you knew, Bruzum’s arms started to morph into these tendrilly black claws and his whole body seemed to exude shadows.

And that’s when he attacked us.

I’ll say this for that sha stuff – because obviously that’s what had to be coursing through Burzum’s system – it really is no joke.  I’ve sparred with all the blademasters a bunch of times, so I know their strength, but this was way beyond the normal Burzum scale.  It took Krimp and I everything we could muster to keep the upper hand, and even then we were only barely able to hold him off most of the time.

Eventually, though, Krimpatul got in a few solid blows to disorient Burzum, at which point I hacked off one of those creepy-ass claws at the elbow.  That turned the tide in our favor for good.  I made one last attempt to talk Burzum down, but he was long gone by that point.  So Krimpatul and I finished him off.  As he fell, he muttered something about “should have remained in Garadar,” and the rest was silence.

I’d just as soon spare Burzum’s memory from people seeing the state he was in at the end.  He was a good man, and whatever came over him in those final moments, I’m certain his spirit will find its way to those of the honored ancestors, even if he’d fallen far from home.  Krimpatul and I found a quiet spot in the mountains nearby and laid Burzum’s body to rest.

Except for that severed claw.  That’s coming with me back to the Sanctum of Two Moons so the braintrust can give it a good going over.

Rest well, Burzum.  Spirits willing, we’ll make sure you didn’t die in vain.

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