as seen on FlagRSP
A lot can change in a year, and this young Tauren certainly personifies this. Youthful softness has transitioned to meaty muscle, honey-light hide taking on a bristly, tougher quality and marred by the occasional furrow or pattern of opposite-growing bristles from old, healed scars. Her hair has grown into two thick braids, bound and twined with leather strips and wooden-carved leaves hanging from it. Her horns, once promising nubs of bone, are wider points sweeping out at each side of her face.
She walks with slow deliberation, and her stride is hampered by a heavy limp where half of her left hoof has been shorn off and bound by hammered metal to flatten and stabilize her leg. Scars of note include this, a deep furrow carved into the edge of her right shoulder, and a healed burn that splatters over her right palm and fingers. Her armor or clothing is always simple, and though well-worn, it's carefully maintained. Her weapons are even more so: both worn and extremely well-cared for, and she is never caught without at least one visible. A leather cord wraps twice around her neck and a bone spiral pendant, inlaid with copper, hangs from its length. A small, weathered lantern hangs from a loop at the back of her belt.
Ihoni Skychaser is a proud, impassioned spirit. She is a defender, the type of person who will pick up the battle standard of someone who cannot do so for themselves, and this often lands her in the middle of conflict. A peacekeeper by nature, she nevertheless is all too willing to engage in a fight if she feels it's the only way to solve the issue at hand. Unlike her brothers, she will seek out the fight, rather than wait for it to come to her.
Too young to mediate herself with patience and too old to fly off the handle, Ihoni walks a careful balance between a steely strength of will and the impetuousness that often marks the greatest of her actions. Wisdom is close at hand, though often too subtle for her sometimes short-sighted mind to grasp, and so it often appears as if such gems of wisdom come from nowhere.
Much of the Skychaser tribe is alive and well beneath the wise rule of their chieftain. Many of the most notable can be found in Thunder Bluff, taking young shamans beneath their collective wing and teaching them the ways of the Skychaser legacy. Ihoni's eldest brother, Beram, is the head of the immediate family, and her second eldest, Roshanar, roams Azeroth and Outlands.
Chief Hawkwind is both a mentor and a friend to the young Ihoni, having taken her in when she fled the Skychaser home. Greatmother Hawkwind, the chieftain's mother, is as close to Ihoni as blood, and it was thanks to the old Tauren's wisdom and guidance that the younger Ihoni began her journey into adulthood.
Her ties to the Cenarion Circle are deep but fragmented. Once, she deliberately flew in the face of the Skychasers' shamanistic influence, but now Ihoni watches these ties with a care and caution that didn't used to mark her dealings.
After the death of Thorm Skychaser, Ihoni watched the rift grow between her much beloved older brothers. Though she was not incredibly close with either due to their respective ages, she had only just lost her father, and so she felt the added loss of Roshanar keenly. In the four years that followed, that loss developed into an emotional scar that would shape her future.
In his absence, Beram would often belittle their brother, casting him out as clearly as if he had done the rite that would make him an exile forever. Though Beram never went that far, the result was the same: Ihoni simmered. Frustrated with Beram's ceaseless attacks on their brother, Ihoni spent much of her time arguing with him. She defended Roshanar, who in her eyes had done nothing, and the fights grew sharper and more vitriolic. Pushed beyond frustration, Ihoni threw her personal totem at Beram's feet and stormed away from Thunder Bluff. Her promise to find Roshanar herself lingered long after she had gone.
A fortnight later found Ihoni at Camp Narache, taken in by the Chieftain Hawkwind and his mother. Rather than force the still-angry Tauren to return to her family and tribe, the Greatmother instead counseled time and space, and in time, a different path. Now, Ihoni Skychaser has set aside her shamanistic roots to follow a path Beram had often and loudly scorned as divided and borderline treasonous: that of the druid.
For a year, she trained and worked and became a valued member of the Circle's efforts in Silithus. When the Portal opened and the Circle was divided between Azeroth and Outlands, the Circle's efforts waned in the sandy land. Ihoni stepped up to volunteer her services time and again, one of a handful who would brave the dangers of desert and Ahn'Qiraj over and over in silent, guerrilla tactics. The Tauren who would become her mate was another, and for months, they led stealthy campaign after campaign into the depths of the infested tunnels.
It was a sad day when the group was finally defeated, the tunnels collapsing and splitting them up, only to be taken one by one by the Silithid forces. That day, Ihoni lost her hoof and her mate, two good friends, and her faith. She has returned to Thunder Bluff to heal, to re-learn how to walk, and to start a life that would not come again between the family that she had been too busy to contact and her own happiness.
Outside Thunder BluffEdit
Once she left Thunder Bluff, a whole new world opened up in front of her. What had merely been rumor and tale became real. From Camp Taurajo to the Crossroads, and again to Orgrimmar, Ihoni traveled the new land with a determination that remained strong despite the trials set before her.
Sergra Darkthorn came to know her as a reliable Tauren, a young but fierce defender. She sent Ihoni to Camp Taurajo to continue her service, and to test her mettle. There, Jorn Skyseer received her with some trepidation: even as far afield as the borders of Mulgore, rumors of the erstwhile shaman's disappearance had been passed along. The Skychasers were not a tribe to risk anger.
If Jorn was surprised to find her not a shaman at all, he was wise enough to hold his tongue. When the young one brought him the hoof of one of the great, old kodos of the savannah, he stared into the eyes framed by dried blood and smeared dirt, and discarded the rumors and any thought of censure for good. The druid, in his eyes, was welcome to her own path, for she traveled it well.
Mahren Skyseer had a message from her brother, and Ihoni and Roshanar found each other after years of silence. The great thread of her life has allowed her to leave her mark on those she has been directed to serve. Though the tasks were trivial in the small scheme of things, the greater view painted a picture of a young warrior being shaped by effort and will.
Much of her life continued in this way, until she found herself serving the Cenarion Circle in Silithus and coming to understand what the hells truly held. Now, shaped by life, experience and loss, Ihoni is older, tougher, and still as in need of her brother's support as when she was young.
Defying the WayEdit
The Skychasers are shaman, nearly to the last of them. Three of them hold prominent standing in Thunder Bluff, occupying the spirit hut to teach the young shaman who come seeking answers.
But for Ihoni, there has been placed for her a different path.
Ihoni Skychaser eschewed the shaman way, withdrawing from the studies and effort that Beram tried to force her to excel in. Though he meant well, Ihoni had never felt wholly comfortable shaping the magic of the spirits, and she quickly abandoned that role when she fled. Instead, contrary to Beram's rampant mistrust, she took on the mantle of druid, and has even consorted with the elves that he sneered upon so much.
To add insult to injury, Ihoni abandoned the skill -- if she could call it such, for she had never been good at it -- of herb-gathering and alchemy. To Beram's shame, she instead took up a profession that seemed even to take most other druids aback: the shaping of metal and fire. This, however, did not last. Out in Silithus, there was little time for her practice, and so this skill, too, fell by the wayside, abandoned in favor of practical tasks. Finally, she abandoned the hard-won mantle of druid at the last, forsaking the magic of nature as -- she feels -- it has forsaken her. Re-learning how to live without the Circle, without her mate, and without even the stalwart support of her family. She calls it 'independence', but she calls it wrong.
She defied the teachings of her family, and in so doing, it wouldn't be unheard of to hear Beram shake his head sadly at mention of his youngest sister and say only that he had seen this coming. Had she stuck to the ways of the Skychasers, she would not be grieving and lost.
Any who dare say it to Ihoni get a fiery look, but no comment. Grieving she may be, but for now, she is not wholly lost. In the company of the Vanguard, and even more, in the company of her brother, she is home.
A collection of early history may be found here: Searching for Identity
The ongoing story takes up again here: Too Young a Warrior; Too Strong a Soul