andaria. I looked it up in a book:
Shrouded in fog since the world was sundered more than ten thousand years ago, the ancient realm of Pandaria has remained unspoiled by war. Its lush forests and cloud-ringed mountains are home to a complex ecosystem of indigenous races and exotic creatures. It is the homeland of the enigmatic pandaren, a race that celebrates life to the fullest even while under siege by an ancient menace.
But if you are like me dear reader, then you don't know much about the actual facts of the place. Pandarens love food, they often favour an unarmed combat style, and they drink almost as much as dwarves, but without getting aggressive when they do. Its all cliches of course, stereotypes and generalisations, or is it? Halite, our secretary, and I decided it was time to dive deeper into the Pandaren history, its people, its culture, and its food. I was lucky enough to get in touch with a Pandaren Lorewalker through a friend of a friend of a friend, and Halite and I ventured forth to the Gates of the August Celestials, located between Valley of the Four Winds and the Kun-Lai Summit. It is an amazing feat of engineering and just looking up at them makes you almost keel over from the sheer size of the things. This is the first articles in a series, and as part of the next article then we offer a raffle amongst our readers. After reading this article, there will be a question in the end of it, answer that question in a letter to The Lion's Roar and enter the raffle and a chance to win a spot on our next trip to Pandaria. There will be food, picturesque scenery, stories and of course a chance to see us “in action”. But now on to the main thing, our talk with Lorewalker Sun Shiao. H.Lester: Evening Sir. Are you our guide? Sun Shiao: Greetings to you both, indeed I am. I welcome you to Pandaria. H.Lester: Thank you, I have really looked forward to this. I'm Hardhy Lester H.Lester: This is Halite Halite: Thank you, this is the first time I have been here without wearing a dress... Sun Shiao: It is an honour to meet you, Halite. Sun Shiao: It was my belief that the Gate of the August Celestials would be an excellent place for us to first meet. It was not long after the arrival of your people that these gates opened for the first time in millennia, after all. I am sure that you have many questions. H.Lester: Could start with.. why have a gate if it is never opened? Sun Shiao: An excellent question. To answer, we must turn back the clock to before even the Great Sundering. It was the Mogu capital, and was of course the capital of Pandaria throughout the existence of their Empire. When the Mogu were overthrown by we Pandaren, we moved our capital to the Jade Forest, and so the gates were closed to all those but its sacred guardians. It caused much mythology about the Vale to be born, and you may have seen it in its peak. During the life of Emperor Shaohao, he travelled to the Vale, having purged himself of his burdens. It was here that he became one with the land. As he entered, each and every tree blossomed, continuing for millennia. It is a dangerous place, home to many Mogu, but beautiful nonetheless. While sealed off, it still influenced the rest of Pandaria. For example, its mystical waters are why the vegetables in the Valley are so large! Halite: A-ah... that is why they are so voluminous, that makes sense. What makes the waters enchanted? H.Lester: Just vegetables? or fruit as well? Imagine a fist sized strawberry Halite! Halite: Or... a boat-sized banana? Though bananas are technically berries, not fruit. H.Lester: That would be so sweet. Pun intended. Sun Shiao: An excellent question. I confess that I do not know what caused the waters to be the way that they are, but stories recall that the Jinyu found their origin through them. H.Lester: Through the water? So are they.. like fish? Halite: It is believed the jinyu are descended of murlocs. H.Lester: Oh Sun Shiao: Transformed by the waters of the Vale, yes. After the initial gabbing from me and Halite we turned out attention back to the Lorewalker who was about to start his history lesson, turning back the hands of time and telling the story from the beginning. Sun Shiao: When there was order brought to a chaotic world, there was an age of a golden light. The Mogu were great in number, obeying the whims of their masters, the titans. The Mogu carved every river, lake, and mountain, as commanded by the titans. There was one titan above the others, and he was known as the Storm. They were extensions of him, in truth. There came a time, though, that they sought their master for guidance, and he was not there. It was when their stone skin turned to flesh! It is unfortunate that we have no texts from this time, but could you imagine how terrifying it must have been? What if the Draenei lost their connection to the Naaru, and lost their armour, their strength? Flesh was not the worst curse that came. Pride, Greed, Anger, Fear. They were not united in defending the creations of their masters, but fought for land, and tore all that they built apart. In time, long after the age of the Titans, Lei Shen came to be. The Titans had not spoken for quite some time, and so the mogu found somebody else to listen to. As you can imagine, this was Lei Shen. H.Lester: Is that like the curse of flesh which gnomes talk a lot about as well? Halite: Yes. All titanborn races were.. well, born that way. Sun Shiao: I hope that such history was understandable? H.Lester: Quite. So to sum up, Titans made Mogu, at some point the Titans vanished and the Mogu turned fleshy, panicked and started to worship this Lei Shen guy? Halite: Lei Shen is the Thunder King, is it not? Was he not an enemy of the Alliance in recent memory? Sun Shiao: He was resurrected, yes. Lei Shen was the first Emperor, and there have been failed attempts to resurrect him in past. H.Lester: What makes him special? besides being the first? Sun Shiao: He is the most powerful warlord in Mogu history, having united the Mogu clans, and even defeated Xuen, the White Tiger, in combat. Nobody could stop him unifying Pandaria. Legends also say that he tore the heart out of the Mogu God, and this is what gave him such power over wind and storm. It is what made him the Thunder King. The next question caught us a bit off guard to be honest, initially I was sure the Lorewalker lost his marbles, but apparently there was reason behind the question.. or well, some sort of logic. Sun Shiao: Have you seen many rainbows lately? H.Lester: Rainbows? no, I live in Stormwind, not much rain there Halite: I have seen some at sea, but not very often. Sun Shiao: After the defeat of the Mogu Empire, Chi-Ji, the Spirit of Hope, placed a rainbow in the sky. After generation after generation after generation fearing the storm, at last we had a sign that we no longer needed to fear them. H.Lester: Chi-Ji, that is the red ostrich ya? Sun Shiao: Chi-Ji, the Red Crane, yes. Sun Shiao: So every time that you see a rainbow, remember Chi-Ji. Remember hope, and to never surrender it. H.Lester: Oh that is cool! I didn't know Chi-Ji did that Sun Shiao: And now you do! Halite: It is a nice story. I'm not sure if I buy into that, that the rainbow was made by Chi-Ji to remind us of hope and to fight on, but it IS a good story. H.Lester: So when and how did Pandarens get mixed up in this? Sun Shiao: In the Mogu Empire? The Hozen were the first to pledge their loyalty to the Mogu, seeking preferential treatment. After, the Pandaren who sought Xuen were enslaved. Forbidden from learning to read or write Pandaren, we learned the Mogu language. The Zandalari, who you may know are to the north, allied themselves with the Mogu, exchanging secrets. I will also note that we Pandaren do not call their Empire by the name of their wicked regime. We say either, the Old Kingdom, or the First Dynasty, though we may also talk about specific eras, for example, the Shen Dynasty. After all, they did rule Pandaria for two thousand years. H.Lester: So they ruled over all of you, Hozen, Trolls, Pandaren.. then what happened? Id like to know about how Pandarens ended up being free, I think that would round tonight off nicely. Sun Shiao: The Pandaren Revolution, yes. As you may have guessed, the Mogu did not let us have weapons or armour. No, we became the weapon. It is the origin story of the monk, and the story of Kang, the Fist of Dawn. That is another story altogether. Students of Kang, the first pandaren monks, aimed to topple the First Dynasty. Our form of unarmed combat was found highly effective, and so we saw many victories against Lao-Fe. In time, other races joined the rebellion - Jinyu, Yaungol, Hozen. Not the sauroks, though, for they had fought and bled for their freedom earlier than our revolution. After many defeats, Lao-Fe retreated into the very Vale behind us, still the capital of the First Dynasty, with his forces. We had our chance to defeat the mogu once and for all, and so we did. It costed many lives, including that of Kang, but it marked a new era. The Pandaren Empire was then founded on justice, wisdom, benevolence. All had autonomy. Of course, peace never lasts. The Zandalari spent a hundred years after the Revolution organising themselves before invading. As for Lao-Fe? He was a wicked beast. His favoured punishment for slaves was to separate families, sending their children to the Serpent's Spine. Here, they would be murdered by the mantid swarms. Kang's own son, suffered this fate, and history does not say if the two ever met again. It is unlikely, unfortunately. In light of this, it is his fatherly love that sparked the bonfire of rebellion. Halite: Hmm... so the traditions of the monk fighting style was rooted in rebellion. I had not pictured that. H.Lester: Makes sense. If you don't have access to weapons you learn to fight without H.Lester: What is the Serpent's Spine? Sun Shiao: The Serpent's Spine is the great wall that divides much of Pandara from the Dread Wastes, the home of the mantid. Sun Shiao: It was built by slaves under the Mogu. It is to the west, and you will see it if you travel a short while. H.Lester: What an ass. Halite: I have read about this. It is one of the longest running walls in the world. Sun Shiao: I have not seen longer, if I dare say so. Halite: It may indeed be the longest. I do not know if there are any established measurements on the longest walls. Sun Shiao: The Celestials told us not to topple it upon being free of the Mogu, that we now had a responsibility to defend Pandaria. H.Lester: That is those translucent spirit-god-animals right? H.Lester: The big rhino, the ostrich, the lamb and the spider? Sun Shiao: Yu'lon, the Jade Serpent; Niuzao, the Black Ox; Xuen, the White Tiger; Chi-Ji, the Red Crane. H.Lester: Oh. I guess I got the animals wrong. Halite: The same ones as the monk fighting styles, I think. Sun Shiao: Kang was taught much by Xuen, that much is true. I encourage visiting the Temples, seeing the monks training for yourself. H.Lester: That is a thing? I thought it closed to the public. Sun Shiao: You will be able to visit the four that remain. There was another monastery, hidden and shrouded in clouds, but it was destroyed by the Legion. If this is all, I shall get on my way. I wish you the best of luck, and you may reach out to me again at any time. H.Lester: Thank you Sir Halite: Of course. Thank you for your stories. Now I promised a competition earlier, and that is still true. So here it is. Answer the following question, write the answer on some paper with your name and address, drop it in our mailbox and we will pick a winner or two. Each winner gets to join us on our next trip to Pandaria - and can bring a couple of friends. The trip will include food, walking, some Pandaren stories, fresh air and of course you get to hang out with people from the Lion's Roar. The question to answer is: What is the name of the Red Crane? Write it on paper with your name and address, drop it in our mailbox in one of our offices. Good luck!