Name: Aquenda Tenderhoof
Birthplace: The Barrens
Professions: Herbalism and Alchemy
Affiliation: Defender of the Argent Dawn; Deckhand of Big Booty; Former Reaver of The Haven; Former High Priestess of Sanguis Nox
Appearance: At first glance, something about Aquenda seems a bit off. She's small for her race, but while most tauren are slightly hunched over, this young tauren holds herself with a straight-backed posture that at times makes her seem even taller than her brethren. Her hands and fingers usually bear ink stains, and sometimes a smudge even finds its way to her cheek or chin. Her golden eyes are full of life and curiousity, eagerly taking in everything around her.
Despite her somewhat reclusive lifestyle, she does take measures to pretty herself up. Tiny beads carved from kodo bone and horn are woven into her hair, along with a few blue glass beads and red and green feathers; symbols of the Light, Argent Dawn, and Mu'Sha (the moon) are engraved into her horns; around her neck is a thin leather cord bearing a moonstone, a pearl, a pair of tauren horns, a set of human teeth and more red and green feathers.
Aquenda is generally friendly and very quick to take a liking to someone, but it's rare that somebody should earn her trust. She's also polite and shy, unless in the company of her closest friends when she feels comfortable enough to be a bit more talkative and even make a few relatively "risque" comments.
At times she can seem very distant, as though her mind is on other things-- most often this is while she's feeling troubled by the problems of those around her, a never-ending internal moral debate, or she's just going over a memory.
When not relaxing and trying to enjoy the company of her friends, Aquenda is either reading historic texts, fighting Scourge, and continuing her eternal struggle to do what's right. One would almost never find her on the battlefield, unless she is trying to stop the fighting.
Her religious beliefs might be considered eclectic; Aquenda accepts a little bit of everything into her life, but for the most part she follows the Light, the Night and the Earthmother. As well, her values of right and wrong are extremely questionable.
Aquenda was born into a small Barrens-wandering tribe as daughter of the chieftain, Garraga Tenderhoof, and his wife, Nizhoni Mistrunner. She grew up without any special treatment just because of her position in the tribe, as her father believed everyone had an equal part. As a child, Aquenda had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and took great joy in the hunting lessons from her father and the spiritual teachings from her mother and older cousin.
As time went on, the tribe began to encounter various people from distant lands. They showed no open hostility, and so the tribe was more than happy to give them food and a place to sleep for the night in exhange for a story or two about their travels. Aquenda was fascinated by these tales, and eventually left her tribe to see the wonderous world for herself, vowing to come back with a story of her own.
Not long after heading into Mulgore, Aquenda overheard a tauren speaking out against Cairne Bloodhoof. The bull's name was No Grimtotem, and after some persuasion he managed to convince Aquenda to follow his teachings of the Grimtotem ways. For a while Aquenda was more than happy to have him as her mentor, and did her best to convince other tauren that Cairne was unfit to be a leader. Over time she grew close to No, adopting him as the older brother figure she never had.
Various people had tried to dissuade Aquenda from the Grimtotem path, but to no avail. It was only after witnessing actions of the malicious tribe itself and those of their allies, the Royal Apothecary Society, that Aquenda realized that what she was doing wasn't right, and even began working against them in some cases.
Despite her current dislike of the Grimtotem beliefs, Aquenda continues to look up to No and call him "Big Brother."
While under No's teachings, Aquenda found herself drawn to the Forsaken town, Brill. It was here that many of Aquenda's troubles began.
No killed a Forsaken by the name of Maybe, who had been flirting with Yes. Simply killing him hadn't gotten rid of the pest, however; his spirit appeared to Aquenda in Brill one evening, and, being the only shaman there, she was the only one who could see him. Maybe quickly saw his chance to exploit her shamanic powers and possessed her, proceeding to make obscene gestures and comments at No. After making a scene that attracted the attention of most of those in the inn at the time, No promptly shot Aquenda in what was apparently an attempt to exorcise the spirit. It worked, and she passed out the moment it left her body.
Maybe didn't stop there, though. After a period of absence the spirit came back, more of a threat than he'd been before. He'd found a host body and gained telepathic powers, using them to torment the members of Sanguis Nox for what felt like months to Aquenda, who was used repeatedly by Maybe to get to No. One of the spirit's attacks led to Aquenda contracting the Dark Plague, which caused her to become exceptionally violent at night.
Eventually Aquenda went mad with her illness and ate Maybe's body, hoping his reign of terror would end. It did, for a time...
Meanwhile, Aquenda's impulsive action had led to a new problem entirely: an addiction to rotting flesh. All too quickly the tauren's appetite for regular food vanished, entirely replaced by her hunger for the undead. Disgusted with herself, Aquenda refused to eat unless it was absolutely necessary, and even then she would sneak off alone and pick off lone Scourge. She wasn't always able to control herself, and sometimes a friendly Forsaken would be unfortunate enough to become one of her victims.
Aquenda's behaviour caused a stir amongst the Horde, and while many were too disgusted to even speak with her, an old orc shaman told her of an enchanted spring deep within Stranglethorn Vale. Out of utter desperation Aquenda trekked through the jungles until she found the spring and drank the purifying waters, relieved to find that it worked in ridding her both of her addiction and the illness.
In her time away from her tribe, Aquenda earned the affections of many men (and even a woman!), none of whom she was romantically interested in. She wasn't ready for a romantic relationship yet, as she felt that it would interfere with what she wanted to do with her life-- which was research the history of Azeroth and explore the world, visiting ruins and studying different cultures.
A tauren named Mithis happened to strike her fancy, though, and soon enough the two were involved in an unstable relationship. No greatly disapproved of this, and after several attempts to get Aquenda to break up with Mithis, the Grimtotem finally resorted to using a special powder to control the girl's mind for a long enough time to convince her that Mithis was a spy working against him, using her only to get information. Even as she ended her relationship with Mithis, Aquenda felt that something wasn't right. Another suitor, Rothius, was able to guess what No had done and for the longest time Aquenda grew distant from her mentor, but never managed to get back together with Mithis.
After a time she found her attention on Alyonn, a human who'd managed to sneak into Brill on various occasions. She adopted him as a pet as a joke, and tried to teach him Orcish with little success. Brill turned out to be a disastrous meeting place for the two, as the guards often found the paladin and nearly killed him on several occasions. Fearing for Alyonn's life, Aquenda decided to risk her own life instead, and donned a human disguise to sneak into Stormwind and find him. By pure luck, he managed to run into her before a guard did. Most of Aquenda's day was spent evading guards, trying to pick up on Common, and meeting Horde-friendly people at the Wisps and Spirits. Before the tauren went home at the end of the day, Alyonn presented her with flowers, and it was then that Aquenda decided that they were "love-mates." Alyonn did not protest.
After many long months of failing to contact Alyonn, Aquenda has reluctantly given up on her relationship with the human.
Rebel And DemonEdit
Just as soon as one problem was taken care of, it seemed as though another would quickly take its place. After observation of the Royal Apothecary Society's activities and listening to Vaien's protesting against the Forsaken as a whole, Aquenda decided that she too needed to put an end to the rumoured "new plague" in development.
The two-man rebellion involved such stunts as openly speaking out against Sylvannas in Forsaken territory, killing Deathguards and Apothecaries, and stealing Apothecary documents. Wanted posters for the pair appeared all over Tirisfal, and eventually the news spread to even Thunder Bluff...
Magatha Grimtotem quickly became unhappy with the pair's interference, and No was sent to "deal" with Aquenda. For reasons not entirely known to the girl, she was spared, but was also met with the news that Vaien had abandoned their cause and reluctantly allied with the Forsaken. Rather than fight alone in a losing battle, Aquenda decided it was time to hide out and lay low.
One bull, Slorn Banethorn, had heard of Aquenda's troubles and offered to help convince Magatha that she was dead. After some coaxing, Aquenda finally agreed to let him cut off her horns and take her moonstone to present them to the Grimtotem Matriarch. With her horns gone, it was somewhat easier to wear her human disguise, so Aquenda hid in the Wisps And Spirits tavern.
No was less than impressed with such a childish plan, and lectured Aquenda on the dangers of giving her moonstone away, as it provided a mental link between the members of The Haven and an outsider could prove less than beneficial. When Slorn continued to pester the Haven and grow more aggressive, Aquenda realized her mistake. It was after hearing of Slorn threatening Ephe that she decided enough was enough, and the small group made an unsuccessful assassination attempt at Caer Darrow.
While travelling Felwood alone, Aquenda happened to encounter Slorn, who requested her aid in an experiment. The very word sent shivers up her spine after seeing what the Royal Apothecary Society considered "experiments," so she declined. Slorn wouldn't take no for an answer, however, and forcefully injected a demonic substance into her body, using a gnomish device to erase her memory of the event. She thought little of her memory lapse, but was troubled by the unexplained soreness in her arm...
After a time the Fel running through her veins began making noticeable changes in her; not only was she having increasingly violent thoughts, but her fingernails and teeth were becoming sharper, but there were also small black spikes protruding from her back and the tip of her nose. This distressed Aquenda greatly, and in an attempt to stop it she reluctantly had a ritual performed by Cromwell (a man she'd dealt with before, see Rituals and Sacrifices) to cleanse her blood-- it didn't change her body back, though, but it did prevent it from any further mutation.
Aquenda finally discovered Slorn's laboratory in Ratchet, and with No by her side she went to confront the mad genius. A heated debate tried her patience, as she was only after one thing; she left Ratchet with blood on her mace and a pair of horns hanging from her necklace.
Rituals and SacrificeEdit
During one of her many ventures into Stormwind, Aquenda met Remrant, who at first was oblivious to her true identity. It was only after hearing the comments of other patrons of the Wisps And Spirits did he seem to suspect that something was amiss with the woman, and confronted her. Aquenda openly confessed to being a tauren, and offered herself to be killed if being unarmed in a tavern was a crime. Remrant couldn't bring himself to do it, and the day ended with the pair on good terms.
The next time Aquenda met Remrant, he had fallen ill with the plague and was desperately searching for a way to perform the final step of a ritual Cromwell was performing to cure him: sacrifice an innocent girl. As Remrant had spared her life before, she felt as though she should repay the debt, and offered herself as a sacrifice despite Vaien's protests.
Deep in the catacombs of the Cathedral of Light, Aquenda readied herself to die for something she believed in. Alyonn, incredibly intoxicated, happened to stumble into the crypt at an inopportune moment and it didn't take long for him to sober up once he realized what was going on. His concern made Aquenda have second thoughts, but as she was trying to convince both herself and Alyonn that this was for the best, Remrant shoved a spear through her throat.
The deed was done. While Cromwell finished the ritual off, an enraged Alyonn fiercely attacked Remrant, while Pook taunted him from the sidelines. After the paladin finally left, Cromwell apparently took pity on him and restored Aquenda's life and body. The shaman was extremely disoriented and confused, but after being assured that Remrant would be all right she decided to head home for the night, running into Alyonn on her way out of Stormwind and having an emotional reunion with him.
Despite having been killed by him and Alyonn's feelings, Aquenda became friends with Remrant and was sure to visit with him whenever she came to Stormwind. She tried to patch things up between the two, but to no avail, and decided not to bring Remrant up around Alyonn anymore. Eventually Remrant developed feelings of affection for Aquenda, despite her obvious infatuation with the other man.
One day, Remrant seemed to have gone mad, and was speaking of destroying the Forsaken with the same amount of enthusiasm a member of the Scarlet Crusade might. At first Aquenda thought it might be a good idea, as it would mean getting rid of the Apothecaries and the new plague, but after being reminded that it put Vaien and other innocent undead at risk she decided to confront Remrant about this. She was promptly shot point-blank in the chest, the bullet just missing her vital organs. No felt her pain through the moonstones and fought a losing battle with the human before treating Aquenda's wounds as well as he could. Later on she also recieved some treatment from Ephe, and it was while having salve applied that the affects of the aforementioned Fel were first noticed.
Aquenda wasn't fully recovered, but she decided that she was well enough to continue serving the Argent Dawn by the end of the day. Both Vaien and No found her in one of the former farm areas, and immediatly lectured her on the foolishness of being in the plaguelands with an open wound. While they were lecturing her, they happened to run into Remrant, and the trio beat him savagely and dumped his body into the vile cauldron in the middle of the field. During the fight Remrant's bottom jaw had been knocked off by Aquenda's mace, and she took his teeth to wear as trophies with Slorn's horns.
One of her next trips to Stormwind proved to be especially dangerous: Remrant was there, alive and well, but he was a puppet for the warlock Cynthia. Despite their attempts to escape, Aquenda and Vaien had their souls taken by the woman. Aquenda fled to Brill, where she was attacked and kidnaped by a jawless forsaken with a powerful vendetta.
The undead Remrant denied having any connection to Cynthia, and proceeded to torture Aquenda in horrible ways deep in the bowels of the Undercity. Having contacts in the Royal Apothecary Society, No eventually heard about it and found the mutilated and starved remains of Aquenda, who was too weak to speak and barely recognized him. The Grimtotem took her to Brill, which wasn't a safe distance from the Undercity but it was as far as he was willing to take her before she was healed. Both Ephe and Yes aided in healing Aquenda, who was bedridden for days. The members of the Haven took turns nursing and guarding her, but despite their efforts the young tauren passed away.
Over a month after her death, Aquenda stumbled into Ratchet, lost and confused. Tweck, No and Xa'ru all found her and were incredibly shocked by her return, and at first Aquenda claimed not to know any of them, but quickly regained some memory of her former life. A lot of it was unpleasant, and this upset her.
Nobody's quite sure how she came back in the first place, but there is some suspicion that her bird, Moema, has something to do with it.
For a while she resolved to follow No's teachings again, but often disappeared for days at a time. She spent most of her days in the plaguelands and other such places that upset her, and eventually the corruption of the land drove her mad. For a time she began killing lone children outside city limits, convinced that it was the only way to save them from being warped by the evils of the world. She couldn't keep up her murdering spree for long, though, and fell into a deep depression during which she tracked down her tribe in the Barrens and stayed with them.
Her depression gone, Aquenda spends much of her time in Zangarmarsh at the Cenarion Refuge or fighting in the plaguelands. She's generally happy doing odd jobs for the druids in the marsh and trying to deserve balance.
However, a few problems have arisen: Slorn has once again worked his way into her life, threatening No much to Aquenda's distress. There's also the matter of her big brother's objection to her budding romantic relationship with Vaien...
As a young girl Aquenda often had dreams in which a huge, colourful bird spoke to her and guided her. The first time she went to Booty Bay she saw the selection of birds for sale and immediately formed a bond with one senegal in particular, whom she firmly believes is the manifestation of her spirit guardian. The fact that the bird has once died yet reappeared when Aquenda did, with her old body's scars, only backs up this theory.
Although his name may mean 'sweet,' his personality is quite the opposite. The bird's one good eye glares out harshly at everything around it, softening only when he looks at Aquenda. There is an undeniable intelligence evident in the creature that exceeds that of normal birds, and Aquenda is rarely seen without him.