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Baern

Baern Ashtotem

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Full Name: Baern Ashtotem (Formerly Grimtotem)
Date of Birth: Autumn, The Year before The Dark Portal Opened
Age: 33
Race: Grimtotem Tauren
Gender: Male
Hair: Black
Skin: Black with white frosting
Eyes: Green
Height: 10'
Weight: 600lb
Place of residence: Ashtotem Village
Place of Birth: Ashtotem Nomad Caravan
Known Relatives: Mourne Grimtotem (Half-Brother, Slain), Aggar Grimtotem (Father, Deceased), Lonnra Grimtotem (Mother)
Religion/Philosophy: Though not an outright religious Tauren, Baern's spirtuality is rooted in the reverence for the Earthmother of his people. 
Languages: Orcish, Taur-ahe, Pandaren, Darnassian
Occupation: Chieftain of Ashtotem Village
Group/Guild affiliation: Sanctuary, The Ashtotem Tribe
Guild Rank: Praetor
Enemies: Ohmr Grimtotem (Rival Chief, deceased), Mourne Grimtotem (Rival Chief, deceased)
Likes: Two-Handed Axes and Hammers, Titansteel Weapons and Armor, Splitting Wood, Antiques and Archaeology, Humility, Loyalty, 
Favorite Foods: Hot Wolf Ribs, Heavy Crocolisk Stew, Heavy Kodo Stew, Buzzard Bites, Charbroiled Tiger Steak, Chun Tian Spring Rolls, Pan-Seared Talbuk
Favorite Drinks: Whiskey, Badlands Bourbon, Hot Apple Cider, Pearl Milk Tea
Favorite Colors: Red, Black, Grey
Weapons of Choice: Though he's typically been partial to axes and hammers, the two handed swords of the Valarjar has grown on him. Baern doesn't name or get overly attached to his weapons. To him, they are tools to be wielded and yielded as necessary. When he comes across a better weapon, he equips it without a second thought.
Dislikes: Ale, Beer, Wine, Baine Bloodhoof, Garrosh Hellscream, The Kor'kron, Self-Righteousness, Bureaucracy, Presumptuousness
Hobbies: Archaeology, Exercise, Barbecuing, Grilling
Physical Features: Tall and domineering, Baern has the physique of a lifelong soldier. With a thick and bulky musculature, Baern nonetheless hides that from others by wearing a copious amount of thick plate, which also has the benefit of keeping the lion's share of his black fur out of eyesight. His horns are long, sharp, and wide, though they bear more than a few chips and cracks from deflecting or inflicting damage. Baern brushes his black mane regularly and keeps his long, black beard neatly wrapped in red linen hanging off the end of his chin. Smiles are rare for Baern, who tends to approach situations with a sullen contempt or apathetic disinterest before displaying any kind of enthusiasm. It's rare that he doesn't wear plate, but in the event that he doesn't, he prefers loose linen pants with a light vest. If he's indulging his archaeological curiosity, though, it wouldn't be uncommon to see him wearing that kind of clothing.
Special Abilities: Having spent most of his lifetime doing so, Baern is particularly adept at fighting and killing other Tauren and he has used those same kinds of tactics to great effect against others who share the Tauren's size and strength. From Draenei to Yaungol to Felguards to Dreadlords, toppling those kinds of foes comes naturally to Baern. On the other hand, smaller and more nimble races like Goblins or Gnomes or Imps are harder for Baern to deal with and they typically outpace him. During his time with the Valarjar, Baern was trained in the use of traditional Mountain King abilities such as Thunder Clap, Stormbolt and Avatar. Unlike the stonebirthed dwarves, though, when Baern enters the Avatar state he glows black and white, like the August Celestial, Niuzao.
Positive Personality Traits: Loyal, Pragmatic, Intrepid, Determined, Confident
Negative Personality Traits: Pessimistic, Proud, Contemptuous, Apathetic, Single-Minded
History: Before the coming of the Horde, the Tauren were a nomadic people, roaming from Stonetalon to Tanaris in great caravans. Some caravans, like the Bloodhoof Tribe's, were grand, hosting thousands of Tauren, and others, like the Ashtotem Caravan, were small and pledged their fealty to the larger tribes for protection. Born a bastard son on to the Grimtotem Chieftain of the Ashtotem caravan, Baern lived the life that many young, male Grimtotem did: Harsh training in an effort to turn him into a peerless warrior and savage raider. The Ashtotem caravan, unlike other Grimtotem nomads, would attack any target that wasn't Grimtotem. Centaurs, Quilboar, and especially the other tribes knew the dangers of the Ashtotem, as stories of their rampaging assaults led by Aggar Grimtotem spread across Kalimdor. And though the Ashtotem brutality was never endorsed by Magatha Grimtotem, they were never condemned either. The perception (and reality) that the Ashtotem followed Magatha's orders allowed her to demolish or subjugate weaker tribes at her whim and contributed to the Grimtotem's rise to prominence. 

Baern would eventually become a bodyguard to Aggar's heir, Mourne, a Grimtotem warrior to truly make his father proud, well known for mutilating his enemies and wearing only enchanted warpaint into battle. Baern, on the other hand, took every scrap and piece of plate that he could find and added it to a makeshift suit of armor. These young Grimtotem raiders cut their teeth for years in Feralas, battering the local tribes into submission and fighting off the Feathermoon Sentinels whenever they attempted to make a push inland. By the time Baern was 20, just before the Orcs came to the continent, the Ashtotem were at the height of their power. 

However, once Thrall landed on Kalimdor and allied with Cairne Bloodhoof, the carnage that the Ashtotem were able to inflict was severely diminished. A series of disastrous attacks on the orcs decimated the Ashtotem and led to the deaths of many of its finest raiders. Simultaneously, Cairne Bloodhoof was consolidating power among the tribes, thanks to the backing of his Orcish allies, and Magatha quickly worked to integrate the Ashtotem into this new Horde, forbidding them from raiding the Horde races and pledging them to the frontlines of the Third War. Here, Baern, Mourne, and Aggar would serve as particularly vicious shock troops to be deployed against the Legion's forces. 

And as the Third War ended with Archimonde's death, the Ashtotem were forgiven for their past misgivings. The Grimtotem settled on the frontiers of Tauren lands, where Aggar founded Ashtotem Village on the eastern mesas of Thousand Needles. But unlike the other tribes that had learn farm or ranch kodos and striders, the Grimtotem had only ever been good at one thing: Combat. It wasn't long until most of the Grimtotem resorted to raiding again, even other Horde races in Stonetalon and Feralas. And as the Grimtotem's reputation among the Horde deteriorated, the Ashtotem focused their efforts on the trading caravans travelling between Gadgetzan and cities like Thunder Bluff, Feathermoon Stronghold or Theramore. Baern wouldn't stay with hi family, however, and he spent the next few years roaming across Kalimdor and spending time with different Grimtotem villages, even as the Dark Portal reopened and the Lich King attacked. Instead, he developed an appreciation for archaeology in Feralas and a taste for Crocolisk stew in Dustwallow Marsh. 

Of course, when Magatha Grimtotem called on her people to stage a coup of Thunder Bluff, Baern followed like any dutiful warrior, slaying a dozen Bloodhoof Braves in the first night of combat. The Grimtotem victory would be short-lived, however, as Baine Bloodhoof rallied the Alliance to help him retake his home and subsequently offered an ultimatum to the defeated tribe. They could reform under a traitor that had warned Baine of Magatha's plot or follow Magatha into exile from the Horde. Baern chose the latter, though his time with the Grimtotem itself was at an end. His father dead in the coup, his brother returning to Ashtotem Village, Baern simply saw no future for himself with the Grimtotem. He hated Baine Bloodhoof for shattering his tribe, but also understood that Baine was right: The Grimtotem had no place in the Horde, so neither did Baern. Instead, he enlisted with a mercenary company contracted to protect trade caravans across Kalimdor for the Goblins, where he would defend the very caravans he once preyed upon from the people that he preyed upon them with.

Once the Mists of Pandaria were lowered, however, Baern and his company found themselves travelling, as the new continent quickly became the focus of warfare in Azeroth. Reformed into the Thunder Pan Mercenary Company, Baern and his allies were quickly deployed all across the continent on assignment from Horde, Alliance and even the Pandaren themselves. On a tour of duty working for the Shado-Pan, Baern earned himself a coveted Shado-Pan Tiger mount for his dauntless service in repelling the Yaungol from crashing into the Serpent's Spine. His experience with fighting Tauren helped the weaker mercenary/Shado-Pan forces overcome the followers of Ordos and ultimately defeat them. From Kun-Lai Summit to Krasrang Wilds, Baern fought with humans, orcs, elves, dwarves, trolls and more without a second thought and it was here that he abandoned the prejudice of the Grimtotem, learning to fight side by side with Horde and Alliance. 

After the defeat of Garrosh Hellscream, the Thunder Pan Mercenary Company disbanded and Baern returned to Kalimdor with his new friends and allies. Kex'ti, one of the closer friends he'd made during his time in Pandaria, invited him to join a new group, Sanctuary. Not quite the mercenary company that Baern was looking for, but as long as he was willing to respect the tenants of the organization, he'd have a bed and food whenever he needed it. As the Dark Portal opened to Draenor, Baern took oddjobs guarding caravans travelling across the foreign planet or settlements erected across its surface. While not a soldier enlisted with the Horde military, he was working for them, and Baern believed that, perhaps, his exile was at an end. Unfortunately, any notion that he was welcome in Vol'jin's new Horde was swiftly ended when he was imprisoned for returning to Orgrimmar.

Baern spent six months in prison, and on his release, found a different Sanctuary needing his aid. Now concerned with finding and preserving artifacts of great power across Azeroth, Baern knew that perhaps now was the time to return to Ashtotem. Looking for the Doomstone, an artifact of significant power belonging to the Grimtotem Tribe, Baern instead found his half-brother, Mourne, cavorting with Demons of the Burning Legion. As he reassured the Chieftain that he too would drink of the Demon's Blood and help return the Ashtotem to their former power, he rallied Sanctuary and Borrowed Time to intercept Mourne before he could poison the entirety of the village. In the process, Baern killed his half-brother and the Nathrezim who'd corrupted him. 

After the fighting was over, Sanctuary and Borrowed Time took their leave and Baern remained. The sole remaining Warrior of the Ashtotem, he decided to rebuild the village and usher them into a peaceful future. But in order to do so, he needed to solve several problems. The fel corruption remained, for instance, and the Grimtotem to the West would surely look down on Baern's coup against Mourne. To help, he recruited a team from across Kalimdor. Maralah and Greytooth, Cenarion Druids, would help cleanse the fel corruption, while Arahe the hunter and Billamong the fisherman would keep the village's food stores from drying up. Together, Baern hoped, he'd be able to keep his people safe from the dangers of the world around them. 

As the Legion's assault first made ground against the Broken Isles, it soon became clear that Ashtotem needed a defensive force. A longrunner that he sent to Darkcloud Pinnacle, hoping to guarantee peace between the two villages, was butchered and returned to him. It seemed there would be war between once allied tribes. Journeying to the Broken Isles, Baern pleaded with his Highmountain cousins for aid, but they were beset on all sides and could offer none. It was only when Baern found that the Bloodtotem tribe had corrupted themselves with the same demonblood that Ashtotem had denied that he realized he might have an answer. He journeyed under the mountain with Arahe and a captured Drogbar until he found more than a hundred Bloodtotem that had refused the fel and were being kept as prisoners under the Fel Lord, Zudj'gaz. Reaching an agreement with their de facto leader, a hunter named Orrak, Baern fought the Fel Lord in single combat as the Drogbar and Arahe helped him escape. Baern killed the demon just before he succumbed to his wounds and died. 

While Arahe brought the Bloodtotem refugees back to Thousand Needles, Baern was brought somewhere else: The Halls of Valor. Resurrected by the Val'kyr to serve the Valarjar, he was freed back to his life with a debt hanging over his head; when the Valarjar called him, he was oathbound to answer. Returning, Baern met a stunned Arahe and organized the defense of the village against Grimtotem incursion. At first, Baern began to draft his allies and deployed them aggressively. When the Grimtotem began repelling hunting parties north and west of the village, he responded to their threats by leading hunting parties of his own and going in for the kill. Unfortunately, the Grimtotem met that by cruelly murdering fisherman near the village. Semalo, an old friend of Maralah's and Nightmare druid on the run from the Cenarion Circle, arrived in the village with her disciples to deliver an ultimatum: Leave all lands north and west of the village to Darkcloud, or face destruction. To prevent war, Baern accepted. 

But that was not the only warning Semalo gave. Not long after issuing the ultimatum, she returned to the mudhut of her old friend to warn Maralah to leave the village. This peace, she whispered, would not last and Darkcloud was only buying its time. Undetered, Maralah brought the warning to Baern who quickly rallied his allies to prepare the village's next move. But that meeting quickly went awry when Baern's debt to the Valarjar was called in. Confessing his love for Arahe as he placed the village in her hands, he was transported to the Halls of Valor to face demons rather than the Grimtotem threat to his village. While Arahe organized the defense, Baern was forced to learn more about himself and the powers that lay dormant within his body. Trained by the Mountain King, Shruem, Baern fought valiantly for weeks on the Broken Shore with every victory getting more and more anxious for his return to Ashtotem. And when the Grimtotem assault on the village finally came, Baern was in luck. With the brothers he had bonded with in Skyhold, he rallied the defenders to repel the attack and ultimately drive them all the way back to Darkcloud Pinnacle. 

There, Baern slew the Grimtotem chieftain for breaking the bonds of their people, and advised that now and forever the Ashtotem tribe would be independent. Symbolically, he adopted the name Baern Ashtotem and invited any who were disgusted and disappointed with the Grimtotem ways to join him in the Eastern Mesas of the great, flooded canyon. Over the next few days, many Grimtotem would take him up on that offer, but Baern was surprised to find that other refugees had also sought Grimtotem as a place for peace and tranquility. A tribe of wandering tauren from the North also found their home here as well as a group of renegade Death Knights. With the treat to Ashtotem Village curbed, Baern now gets to focus inward on the health and structure of the village, as well as the fledgling relationship he's entered into with Arahe...

Edited by Baern

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Kex'ti smirks. "My favorite memory of Baern is the moment we were back to back on the Isle of Thunder, his weapons up, my mana drained, mogu coming down into the hollows..."

He rubs his beard. "Actually, that is not true. It was after we liberated his village from the Legion. He was covered in Fel and blood and Light knows what else. But he stood there, quiet for a moment. The Grimtotem is not afraid to speak his mind, but to see him stand there, undaunted to what lay before him, told me all I need to know of Baern which I did not already."

Kex'ti leans against his staff.

"Baern is a good friend. Dependable, clever, resilient. I am proud to fight alongside him."

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"Grimtotem." T'suro nods sagely. "A name that normally would make my blood boil. But Baern is a different sort. Legitimately kind and helpful, he wants to redeem himself in the eyes of the Horde. He's a wise one, and I hope to see his Ashtotem become a powerful tribe one day."

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"I remember when I first met him," Julilee says after a moment. "In the tavern in the Draenor garrison, one busy night. Kex'ti had suggested to him that he make a home in Sanctuary. He wasn't quite sure if he'd be welcomed. He was very upfront about his Grimtotem ties."

She reflects, having not thought about this for some time, and holding it in new context now after all the time and events that had passed since then. In the end, she just offers a few more words of opinion.

"He's not the type to waste words or time. He just wants to get the job done. He can come across as brusque, but if you understand that his priorities lie with not letting others down, that shouldn't bother you."

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"Keep your shields up on any tauren that runs straight into the fight. The longer you keep him up and energized, chances are no one will bother you." Her brow creases as she thinks for a moment. "So long as you're lucky, anyway."

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