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Tauren (shu'halo in their native language of Taur-ahe) are huge creatures who after generations of nomadic existence live on the grassy, open plains of Mulgore in central Kalimdor.
The plains of Kalimdor have long been a home to these tremendous nomads. The tauren are a race of shamans, hunters, and warriors who long ago developed a complex culture and system of living without the aid of stonework, steel or conquest. This is not to say that the tauren are a race of pacifists, for when they are angered they are capable of retaliating with swift and decisive brutality. Tauren are, in a word, stoic, embodying the strong and silent type with their quiet contemplation. This introspective air combined with their immense size can lead a person to understand as to "why" many regard the tauren as a wise and dangerous race. Tauren rarely speak unless there is a true reason to, preferring to act instead of talk. However, once a tauren has learned to interact with a companion, there seems to be a more open and enthusiastic exchange of words. Since tauren warm slowly to non-tauren, they are usually silent and may sometimes appear brooding. If anything, a person could attribute the silence of the tauren on the strife of recent times.
Tauren have no love for bloodshed, as their deep spiritual beliefs do not have a place for warfare. The elders of a tribe solve most issues, or two tauren might resolve a conflict with a ritual challenge resembling a duel. Having become members of the Horde, the introspective race has been involved in more and more conflict, creating a demand for tauren warriors and healers. Many must spend time putting great thought into the actions they perform on the field of battle. Taking another life, whether it is man or beast, is an act filled with great significance and responsibility to the tauren.
Tauren ancestors dwell deep within the Emerald Dream.
Tauren have a long and complex oral tradition that has been handed down for generations. Since almost no written record exists of tauren history, the accuracy of their tales is unknown. Regardless, many of their stories provide the only known account for several events in history, and so these stories must be regarded as having at least some believability. The tauren race was presumed to be as old as the night elves since both races are said to have awoken during the creation of the world. According to Brann Bronzebeard's research however, the tauren race actually predates the Titans' arrival on Azeroth (and correspondingly, the creation of the first Well of Eternity and the evolution of the night elves), and may have evolved from an unknown bull Ancient.
Much like the elves, they have a strong attunement to nature and the elemental spirits. Thus, their society is largely based on shamanism. They live to serve nature and maintain the ever delicate balance between the wild things of the land and the restless spirits of the elements. In addition, elements of druidism, which was taught by Cenarius and then forgotten over millennia, have been recently incorporated into tauren society, further highlighting their service to nature. In particular the presence of accounts regarding Cenarius before he was known to the elves are confirmed by others sources as being accurate. In particular, the birth of Cenarius is covered and their version confirmed by night elven mythos.
War of the AncientsEdit
In the primary timeline, the tauren did not take part in the War of the Ancients, the battle against the first demonic invasion approximately 10,000 years ago. However, in the altered history created by the intervention of Krasus and his companions, they were convinced to join the alliance against the Burning Legion by the dragon-mage. The xenophobic night elf commander, Desdel Stareye, refused to use the tauren to their abilities, namely heavy melee fighters, on the grounds that they were apparently as likely to kill night elves and earthen as demons. They were led by Huln Highmountain. After the "tragic" loss of the commander, the tauren were re-deployed to extreme effectiveness by his replacement, Jarod Shadowsong. The tauren who survived the war maintained fairly good, or at least cordial, relations with the Sentinels.
The New HordeEdit
For countless generations after the war, the tauren roamed the plains of the Barrens hunting the mighty kodo, and sought the wisdom of their eternal goddess, the Earthmother. Their tent cities were scattered across the landscape and changed with the seasons and the weather. The wandering tribes were united only by a common hatred for their sworn enemy, the marauding centaur.
At the brink of extinction, the chieftain Cairne Bloodhoof, desperate for help, turned to the strange green-skinned warriors from over the sea. Cairne quickly befriended the Warchief Thrall and the other orcs, and recognized that they shared a love for honor and battle. For their part, the orcs and the Darkspear trolls that composed the Horde found much in common with the tauren. Each of these races wanted to achieve a more shamanistic culture, and the tauren, long versed in the lore of spirit and nature, were well-prepared to provide counsel and support to the budding shamanism within the Horde.
With the orcs' help, Cairne and his Bloodhoof tribe were able to drive back the centaur and claim the grasslands of Mulgore for themselves. For the first time in millennia, the tauren had a land to call their own. For this alone they were forever indebted to their orcish allies. Upon the windswept mesa of Thunder Bluff, Cairne built a refuge for his people, where tauren of every tribe were welcome. Over time the scattered tauren tribes united under Cairne's rule. There are but a few tribes who disagree about the direction their new nation should take, but all agree that Cairne is the wisest and best suited to lead them toward the future. Helping the mighty Cairne in the duties of ruling his race are the Archdruid Hamuul Runetotem and the elder crone Magatha Grimtotem.
Although the tauren have reclaimed their lands and battle alongside the Horde, not all is peaceful. The Grimtotem tribe tries to this day to usurp the rule of Cairne, plotting to overthrow his leadership. At the same time, the Emerald Dream, realm of the green dragonflight, is tainted with a strange evil. Malfurion Stormrage is trapped inside, and the green dragons act strangely as they attack all who pass near. Both elven and tauren druids are researching these events since the Emerald Dream, home of Ysera the Dreamer (the Green Aspect), must be kept safe.
After the death of the noble Cairne Bloodhoof through Grimtotem treachery, the Grimtotem quickly seized control of Thunder Bluff and other major Tauren settlements. His son Baine became High Chieftain of the Tauren and led an attack against the Grimtotem, retaking Thunder Bluff. He then banished the Grimtotem to Stonetalon Mountains. Grimtotem forces were able to corrupt the water wells within Mulgore. However Baine's forces were able to heal the wells and kill Orno Grimtotem, the leader of the Grimtotem forces invading Mulgore. The Grimtotem, hunted by the Horde, were forced into an uneasy truce with the Alliance in Stonetalon Mountains, the likes of which was broken shortly after.
Within Mulgore, the Quilboar began attacking tauren caravans. While many tauren and Garrosh Hellscream wished to confront the attackers, Baine looked towards diplomatic measures to find a compromise. Several of the tauren began to express dissatisfaction with Baine's compromising attitude with Garrosh. Viewing his willingness to bow down to every demand made of him as an affront to their peoples' interests, they considered walking away from the Horde. Led by Greyhoof Farwanderer, these tauren prepared to leave both the Horde and Mulgore. When yet another caravan was attacked, Garrosh and his Kor'kron personally assaulted the quilboar, only to be nearly overrun. Baine, Hamuul and the Sunwalkers arrived to relieve the battle and help the orcs escape. Hamuul then demonstrated the power of the Earth Mother to Garrosh as he called upon a river. Baine stood over the defeated quilboar, and instructed them that this river will provide them with all the water they need - providing no more attacks are made on the tauren people. The quilboar anxiously returned to their tunnels. Later on, Baine was approached by Greyhoof Farwanderer and the tauren that had prepared to leave Mulgore prior, and having witnessed Baine's victory over the quilboar, apologized for doubting the high chieftain's ability to lead; requested a pardon for this rash action. Baine granted it, and urged them to remain strong and steadfast in these trying times for the good of their people.
When Alliance forces invaded the Barrens, Camp Taurajo was burned to the ground. The survivors fled to Camp Una'fe and Vendetta Point. To protect Mulgore from being invaded, the tauren created a mighty wall named the Great Gate.
Mists of PandariaEdit
When the Warchief issued a call for the leaders of the Horde to gather for a meeting in Orgrimmar, Baine answered the summons despite not feeling right within the "new Orgrimmar." Garrosh then informed them of his plan to destroy Theramore. While Baine and other leaders protested such a plan, they all agreed in the end. Baine lead his Tauren forces from the Great Gate and then joined up with Vol'jin and his Darkspear forces. Baine then co-led the combined Tauren and Darkspear army as it marched from the Gate to Northwatch, killing any Alliance that got in their way. Baine ordered his forces to attend to the bodies of the fallen. He further ordered that that his people not desecrate any of the fallen Alliance soldiers. After they finally arrived at Theramore, Baine led his tauren in battle. When the battle was won, Baine and the tauren returned to Thunder Bluff.
Baine and the tauren of Thunder Bluff had dreams of a valley, golden with blossoms, filled with the hope of peace. Baine Bloodhoof ordered Sunwalker Dezco and his Dawnchaser tribe to sail into uncharted waters in search of this mysterious place. Guided by the visions of Dezco's pregnant wife, Leza, the last vessel was able to find Pandaria, and landed on the southern shore of Krasarang Wilds. After heading inland by canoe, the group set up camp at Thunder Cleft. The tribe continued on in their search for weeks until they finally discovered the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. They moved into the vale and settled at the Shrine of Two Moons.
When Vol'jin declared open rebellion against Garrosh, Baine and the tauren pledged their support. The two forces, along with the rest of the Horde and the Alliance, then marched upon Orgrimmar, where Garrosh was ultimately defeated.
Tauren have very large bulk and weight. They have long tails, bipedal hooves, and only three fingers per hand. Both males and females have horns of varying size and shape.
Tauren are large, muscular humanoids and bovine in appearance, complete with hooves and horns. They weigh anywhere from 400 to 800 pounds. Their immense bodies are covered with fine, short fur that ranges in color from black to gray to white to red to brown to tan and any mottled combinations or variations thereof.
The earliest history of the tauren is recorded in a series of myths. These chronicle the period of time from the creation of the world to the appearance of the centaur, speaking of the creation of the tauren by the Earthmother, their meeting with Cenarius, and the coming of the centaur.
Though the noble tauren are peaceful in nature, the rites of the Great Hunt are venerated as the heart of their spiritual culture. Every tauren, warrior or otherwise, seeks identity as both a hunter and as a child of the Earthmother. Tauren, young or otherwise, seek to prove their bravery by setting themselves against the creatures of the wild. Despite killing the animals, the tauren are taught never to waste anything given to them by nature and to give back what they can. They learn the fine balance that exists in nature and that if they honor the Earthmother, she will bless them in return.
Despite their enormous size and brute strength, the remarkably peaceful tauren cultivate a quiet, tribal society. However, when roused by conflict, tauren are implacable enemies who will use every ounce of their strength to smash their enemies under hoof. They are noble and proud and have never, despite significant adversity in the past, succumbed to their enemies. Like the orcs, the tauren now struggle to retain their sense of tradition and noble identity.
Young, fledgling tauren are known as "youngbloods".
One respectful greeting gesture of the tauren is to touch one's heart then forehead.
Great Balance is a part of druid training.
Each tribe may have their own traditions.
For the tauren, nature is the mother of the world, and their faith holds a deep and resonant tone within their hearts. Tauren are connected to the ebb and flow of the world. They revere the spirits of the land and of their ancestors, and they turn to these spirits for wisdom and guidance. This connection manifests in their deeply animistic culture, where druids and shamans stand side by side with warriors and hunters. Tauren do not see a separation between the veneration of nature and the hunt; to hunt is to honor the spirits of nature.
Tauren speak Taur-ahe and Orcish. Some speak Common. Tauren tend to learn languages for trade or exchanging ideas.
The tauren possess a structure of spiritual hierarchy. The most talented and powerful shaman traditionally hold positions of power, though rulership is not limited to spellcasters. Shaman interpret the voice of the Earth Mother and the wishes of the ancestors; sometimes these interpretations lead to the rise of hunters and warriors in the tribe. Such is the case with Cairne Bloodhoof, the former chieftain. The leader of a tribe uses the title "chief" and/or "chieftain." The three most powerful healers in the tribe support the chief, the most powerful of whom takes the title "seer." A chief generally consults his seer and her two contemporaries before making a decision, but this consultation is not required. The leader of the United Tauren Tribes — Baine Bloodhoof, these days — also uses the title "chieftain." During council meetings, chiefs make recommendations to the chieftain, but again the final decision is the chieftain’s alone to make. "Chief," "chieftain", and "seer" are genderless titles. Aged female shaman sometimes take the title of "crone" or "elder crone", which others use as a sign of respect.
When the tauren first encountered the orcs of Thrall’s Horde, the tauren recognized the orcs as spiritual brethren. No other race shared such a similar outlook on the world, and the shamans of both races met frequently to discuss the matters of the spirit world. The tauren allied with the orcs out of a shared vision, one of a collective of allies keeping each other well guarded. While the tauren see the orcs and trolls as potential friends to welcome, they rarely trust the Forsaken with more than a nod and a place to set their withered feet.
Tauren also bear no ill will to the members of the Alliance unless threatened by them, although they do make an exception for high elves. The taint of magic on the high elven spirit is a poisonous air to the tauren, a stench of the soul that they cannot tolerate for long. Night elves are quite the opposite; tauren sometimes view them with awe and fear. Tauren and night elves have coexisted on Kalimdor for centuries, and tauren have long seen the Kaldorei as a mythic race of demigods, possessed of great magic and steeped in natural powers.
Tauren have the poorest Alliance relation with dwarves of Ironforge and two do not get along as seen in various situations. They don't seem to get along well with the Wildhammer either as their gryphon riders firebombed Camp Taurajo. Roon of the Wildmane tribe and Hemet Nesingwary is one of the few cases of friendship despite the enmity between the two races. Of the Alliance races they are friendliest with the night elves, likely due to their shared druidic tradition and connection to nature.
Tauren have an extremely close relationship with the orcs with whom they share a similar culture. Cairne is also extremely close friends with Thrall. They are less thrilled at the presence of the Forsaken at Thunder Bluff, who they grudgingly tolerate due to their alliance. The tauren place a strong emphasis on the value of life, and the unlife of the Forsaken stands as an affront to their beliefs.
In general, however, the tauren get along with the orcs well and the trolls almost as well; there’s still a bit of distrust for the Darkspears, knowing that they only recently abandoned voodoo and cannibalism.
After living as nomads for generations, the tauren have formed a new home amid the mesas of the vast plains of Mulgore. Thunder Bluff is the single largest tauren camp, a permanent settlement built atop a nearly impenetrable mesa deep in the southern regions of Mulgore. Most younger tauren travel there after questing for a time in Redrock Mesa, a place reserved for training youths to hunt, fight and commune with the spirits.
An ancient offshoot of the tauren race living in Northrend, the taunka were thought to have been lost forever but were discovered by orcish forces based in Warsong Hold.
An ancient offshoot of the tauren race, the yaungols' tauren ancestors became stranded in Pandaria when Emperor Shaohao separated the land from Ancient Kalimdor, before the Great Sundering occurred.