My dear, beloved child. It is with aching heart that I record these thoughts, for I fear you are forever lost to me...lost in the eternal curse of undeath.
It breaks my heart to see your ruined body now, a hollow shell of your former, vibrant self. The brilliant scales that you spent hours polishing, until they shone brighter than the sun cresting over the frozen horizon...now rotting, blackened, torn. Your cunning wit, the devilish charm with which you made friends and calmed enemies...reduced to mindless moans and grunts.
You were my pride, my joy. And whenever I doubted myself or questioned my ability to lead our people, your light shone through the dark clouds obscuring my judgment and showed me the way. You would have been the finest leader the Chillmere clan had ever known.
My son. My Sun.
All stolen from me by the ruthless plague of the Scourge.
For generations our people have lived upon these shores in peace. Our Azerothian ancestors saw many years ago the savagery inexorably building in our race, and realized that if we did not leave, did not find a new home for ourselves, we would soon be overcome with madness, becoming nothing more than bestial, frenzied animals.
And so we migrated, to the frigid waters of Northrend. Here, away from the sweeping civilization of the humans and elves, away from the constant fighting, did we find our peace and become one with the land, as we were meant to be. It was not an easy journey, and we lost many on the voyage to vicious predators, disease, or simply to the merciless, hungering cold of this land. It was many years before our bodies become inured to the freezing winds and sparse resources available in these waters.
But it was the right decision. We now know the fate of those who chose to stay behind in the polluted waters of the south. Devolved to little more than beasts, hunted for sport, a mockery of our proud people. No, despite the hardship, we are better off here.
We established homes, built communities and slowly explored the coastlines and shores. We even met other races and struck tentative allegiances. Though the Tuskarr are everything that we are not, our mutual passion for the open water and natural world brought us closer together than any shared language or heritage ever could.
Things were pleasant. Peaceful. Until the vile Scourge swept upon us like the most vicious of waves, scattering our tribes and suffocating us beneath its pervasive weight.
We were unprepared for such a fight. We hunted fish, crabs, the occasional shark if a hunting party was feeling brave. But the undead? We were destined to lose.
But that didn't stop you, my brave, heroic son. As the cultists and necromancers began filtering to our shores, only you had the courage to step forth and oppose their strength. I pleaded with you to change your mind, to let them have this land, but you gently refused.
You told us that yes, we could run. We could flee to another, untouched, untainted piece of land. This time. But what about the next time our home was invaded, you asked? Or the time after that? We could not run forever, you said. You asked our tribe if we wanted to run our entire lives, or stand and fight for our cherished home.
I have never been so proud.
You chose your moment perfectly. We watched for days, monitoring the Scourge bring in strange devices, arcane artifacts, and began leeching the life from our land. Still you urged us to wait, to be patient. A skirmish now would accomplish nothing more than alerting them to our presence, and an open war with the Scourge was a battle we could never hope to win.
But then, that fateful morning, we spotted it: a large ship drifting through the hazy fog, its belly dipping deep beneath the waves from the massive weight of its cargo. Though the Scourge had established a rudimentary base camp, you realized that they would need to establish a more permanent shelter if their living members hoped to survive here. And this was it.
I held my breath as you led a small strike force out into the depths to intercept the craft. From afar, I saw the morning light shimmer off your prized trident as you prepared the ambush.
As the behemoth passed overhead, you struck! Within seconds, your team had torn numerous gaping holes into the ship's underbelly, grievous wounds that the Scourge would never be able to counter in time. Soon the ship lay half-submerged, gutted, its valuable wood and stone materials lost to the eternal embrace of the sea.
You did it, my son. By destroying their vessel, you deprived the Scourge of the vital tools they needed to construct a stronghold here. Now, instead of conquering and destroying this land, their numbers dwindle, their shelters little more than flimsy tents and pits in the soil. Additionally, no further attempts have been made to send more supplies, likely due to fear of what lurks in the unseen, out of their reach.
But the cultists were vengeful. One scrambled atop a high perch on the mast, delaying his frozen fate just long enough to spot you and the others triumphantly making your way back to the safety of the shoal. I cried out a warning, but it was too late - the man's face contorted in vindictive, awful spite, and he raised black-clad arms to the sky and shouted a terrible, blasphemous phrase. And the clouds ripped asunder.
Ghastly, necrotic energy began raining down from the rift, blackening the water, the rocks, anything it touched. It fell upon you, my brave child, and I could only watch in shock as your face twisted in agony, as your mouth let loose the most horrible cry I could ever imagine. Your scales paled, rotted, fell away, and your lustrous orange hide turned a dull, pallid grey...the colour of decay. All around you, fish and plants withered and shriveled, and within seconds nothing in the area retained a single speck of life.
To my horror, your broken limbs broke the water's surface, and your cold, dead eyes gazed out upon us. I saw nothing of you left in that stare, but before I could call out to you, you sank once again beneath the waves, returning to the ruined corpse of the ship.
Many months have passed, but still you remain, bound to that shattered hull, doomed to forever patrol its perimeter. Your father wishes he could help you, my son. But they are too many. Though you stymied their advance upon our shores, their foul magicians and ghastly monsters still vastly outnumber our tribe, and their vile necromancers would make short work of my tired scales long before I could draw near enough to put you out of your misery.
But I will not give up on you. You sacrificed everything to thwart our foes, to save our homes. Father will never rest until you are laid to rest. I swear it. I will find a way.
Could it be that the aged murloc is grieving?
Is that just extra moisture pooling at the base of his eye?
Show/Hide Letter Notes
Pertinent Lore: None. There is but a single quest: Trident of the Son.
This was one of the storylines I had in mind when I came up with this project. I found Old Icefin's story, while short and simple, INCREDIBLY moving and sad.
The bizarreness of a Murloc father mourning his son, so unheard of for their race; the bitter irony of his cursed son wandering the shoreline just within sight, but due to all the other undead haunting the area, completely out of reach for the poor dad; and the stoic but heartbreaking reaction of Old Icefin when you hand in the quest, everything about this quest tore at my heartstrings.
In the whole game, I don't know if I've come across a more terrible, poetically quest resolution than "Reaching out to take his son's trident from you, Old Icefin's hand shakes a little. Could it be that the aged murloc is grieving?" Just...wrenching. So sad. I'd compare it to Gerk, honestly.
In fact, WoW has a lot of sad stories, but I think what really does it for me about Old Icefin's quest is that it just seems so damn REAL. Icefin's behavior is EXACTLY how a father would react at the loss of his son. I was chilled with how horribly realistic it seemed. How he refused to give up on him, how he stood atop his rock perch, waiting, watching for someone who could help him save his son...
In his 2-3 lines of quest text, Old Icefin made himself more human and sympathetic than almost anyone else I've encountered in the game. To look at things in a roleplaying perspective, Bolvar is remembered as a hero, the Horde & Alliance soldiers who fell will be mourned and remembered, but no one will mourn a single fallen murloc except his old, heartbroken father. That is true tragedy.
In terms of the actual letter, I wanted to colour Icefin's son as being a brave, heroic young murloc, who was charismatic, kind, etc. All great qualities. But these are MURLOCS, so how would that be possible? Well, I figured, maybe the murlocs who are in Northrend are smarter and less savage than their Azerothian cousins? They seem more capable of community and communication, and less barbaric. Perfect - there was my hook.
As for the Scourge camp and the wrecked ship, that's all true. There really is sunken ship off the coastline, and the Scourge activity there always struck me as strange, since they didn't have any sort of building or base. They seemed awfully exposed and unprepared. The idea that the murlocs had fought back against the Scourge to defend their homeland would make sense. After all, the murlocs might not be friends with the Alliance or the Horde, but the Scourge is everyone's enemy.
This is probably my favorite letter. There's so little information, and no lore about this quest, yet it will always stand out as one of my most memorable experiences in the game. It's fun to write about Sylvanas or Garrosh, but what I truly enjoy is showcasing minor, overlooked NPCs who have amazing stories. Gerk is one. Old Icefin is another. Poor old murloc.