Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mataoka, Ph.D(raenei)

First stop: Speak with Emissary Taluun
Well, damn, it's really Kellda who's the 'sexy librarian' in the mix, the one who spends hours in the libraries of Ironforge and Stormwind (and who would love to get her hands on tomes and scrolls in the Undercity's vaults, but you know, the whole 'forbidden' thing, and the dying, and whatnot); regardless, it's time to do some focused research on my favorite race: the Draenei. Speaking with my go-to RP friend and very knowledgeable source yesterday, the discussion and importance of age, timelines, and points in history cannot be overlooked or discounted in terms of character development. Foundational literary cornerstones, such as setting, exposition, conflict, resolution/denouement, and character(s) interact to create the plot. Characters interaction with setting influences or demands conflict, and gives entry to exploration of themes. In other words: loss and war is an eternal conflict/theme: what loss, and what war, can be specific to a character and story. 

Az, you're blocking my light!

One of the best resources I discovered is Yhtomitus' forum post: (Note my studious use of a Highligher in my virtual textbooks on key notes)

2. Age
First things first: 
In the Warcraft universe, longer-lived races also mature slowly. Regrettably, no definite figures exist for the draenei. They are an extremely long-lived race - possibly immortal; although there is no evidence either way about the entire race, Velen is explicitly called immortal in the new starting narration. Whether mortal or immortal, they live at least long enough for some NPCs, most notably Velen but not limited to him, to remember Argus, which makes them more than 25,000 years old. The closest we have to the rate of maturing is a reference is Rise of the Horde, where Durotan notes that a child in Telmor remained virtually unchanged for about three decades.
I've used the night elf figures as a rough reference for Sikon, so she's an approximately 300-year-old equivalent of a human twentysomething-year-old. I can see strict lore-adherers trying to avoid exact numbers. It's safe to say, however, that today's adult draenei were born long before the rise of the Horde. Your character could be born on Argus, on one of the worlds the draenei visited during their flight from the Legion, or on Draenor in times of peace - but in any event, they remember the orcs turning evil and destroying their civilization, and everything that followed then. 
This article: - contains some speculation (not canon) on what exactly it means to reach adulthood at a later age for long-lived races like the night elves and draenei.
What is problematic for me is, what if Mataoka was born in Azuremyst? Are lore geeks going to pounce on me? For nerds they scratch deep. (Just read Ready Player One and you'll know what I'm talking about.)

Voidwalkers as study-buddies. Awesome.


This is a writing sketch, based on preliminary research:

She is a child of Azuremyst (because I say so).
Shamanism (spearheaded by Nobundo after the fall of Shattrath, under Velen's personal blessing) is still a new development in the draenei society, and mistrusted. [Unbroken] 
She is a shaman. And she is an adventurer. 

Reading very strong lore opinions, I think--perhaps--there is another way of looking at this. Many writers put things squarely in their own perspective, of how another race/existence relates to human/earth time, and I think this is a fundamental miscalculation. There are more dimensions and ways to consider time/space than a narrow linear perspective. Saying an "old Draenei mother" is comparable to a "100 year old Earth/human mother [sic] is one of those narrow perspectives.  Judging gestation, reproduction, marriage, and placing a fan-fiction framework around it is fine, but I evoke Rule #10: Write What I Want.

And in one of the first stories I wrote about her, she does have a father and mother:
Mat loved her sisters, but she didn’t always understand them. Luperci, the middle girl, could be as self-righteous as an hagiographer, one who begins to believe he is just as holy as the saints’ stories he records.  The notch in Mat’s right horn was a result of Lupe slamming a flaming shield to Mat’s head when they were children. Mat had made some crack about the color or shape of Lupe’s horns. Matty often spoke before thinking, having a sharp tongue on occasion. Lupe had learned a bit more patience over the years, too; thank heavens, because that irascible arrogance and self-importance would have grown tiresome if left unchecked. Mat avoided her as it was.Rumors, mostly faded now, persisted that Matty was the love child of their mother, Alenke, before she married Arkkis. These rumors were true. Her mother had been in love; sincere promises were made, secret vows taken, but he died in battle before a priest could sanctify the marriage. The only thing that wasn’t widely known was the draenei warrior in question was Arrkis’ brother. Arrkis admired Alenke, and married her to protect her honor and out of a sense of obligation to his brother’s memory. Compromises created out of duty do not inspire love, and kills lust. Even so, they were fond of each other. But when eyes were closed and lights extinguished, each dreamed of other faces in the dark in their minds’ eyes. He never loved her as his brother had. That would have been impossible.

(Looking over this writing now I see how clunky it is, but whatever. As my writing group says, "Writing is never finished, it's only due." Even self-imposed deadlines.)

Then, Kil'jaeden's flunky Talgath stumbled upon Draenor.Rather than launch a frontal assault, Kil'jaeden manipulated the orcish shaman into thinking that the draenei had hostile intentions. Trusting their spiritual leaders, the orcs attempted to wipe the draenei out.The few draenei survivors (about a quarter to a fifth of the population) went into hiding.About thirty years later—after the orcs blew up the planet—Tempest Keep materialized off Netherstorm and was immediately mobbed by Legion-affiliated blood elves. The draenei mustered a strike force to capture a wing of the Keep.Unfortunately, they missed a few elves, who sabotaged the fortress and crashed it into an obscure archipelago off northern Kalimdor. And that's where The Burning Crusade begins. 
See? All a big misunderstanding --which can be used to allow Mataoka to see diplomatic pathways to the Orcs. Maybe.

The draenei do not love war, or see it as particularly noble or honorable, it's true. They are not enamored of bloodshed. They do not sing songs of valor on the battleground, or commit acts of genocide to prove their prowess. Dominating the weak and crushing their enemies are not concepts that have much appeal to them. They know mercy, and restraint - forever haunted by the actions of those that were once their own people, they are constantly aware (and afraid of) their own potential for darkness and evil action. This is why they are at time slow to respond to a threat, and often choose to retreat rather than come into conflict - not because they are incapable or unsuited to it, but rather because they are aware of just how suited to it they are. One needs only look at Archimonde, shattering Dalaran to dust with a few spoken words, to realize the potential for power and cruelty every draenei fears lurking within his or her own heart. It's tempting to look at the draenei response to the broken as a reflection of this fear - that without the presence of the Holy Light, they will inevitably fall to the madness of the Man'ari Eredar.

Annotation: why did Matthew Rossi feel compelled to write this post? Was there some underlying misconception that Draenei are pacifists, and he's responding to those misconceptions? Pacisfism itself is a tricky concept: Quakers are pacifists. Not getting involved in a conflict, however, holds many underlying motivations besides not 'believing' in war: simply not wanting to clean up the mess afterwards is one good reason. I think the Draenei have enough to do with all those crashsites. 

I could use the "30 Days of Character Development" guidelines, ala Garrosh (who's a great writer, by the by) and this link:

One thing is clear: I have my work cut out for me, and an overwhelming wealth of resources. Synthesizing this material to flesh out Mataoka, Ceniza, Luperci, Zeptepi, Haanta, and now Sajja will be a rich reward. Keeping in mind the existing canon, and creating my own headcanon will take time.

Why do all this? Why not just play the game, and let the spaceship pieces fall where they may? Well, I am really looking forward to the next expansion, but am also grateful for the serendipity of its release timeframe: I need more time. If the Draenei have been around 25,000 earth years, that's a lot of catching up to do. Thanks to Effy for this, too:
Az, would you get me some tea? We've got work to do...

Other resources:


  1. OMG! That is so much work. Okay, I've decided that Cat was found in a basket outside Darnassus and nobody knows where she came from. Whew, that'll save me a lot of work,lol.

  2. Okay, I know you have heard me laughing in Vent: I am laughing so much right now - I look at that one player's HUGE forum post and think holy Velen, dude! It's going to get real simple real fast; she's a girl, she meets a boy, she saves Azeroth, the end. LOL!


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