30 Days of Character Development #9: Tirion Fordring

[Periodically — granted, that’s been a long period in this case — a post will profile one of the blog’s many supporting players. (See the first profile for more details.) Feel free to chime in with recommendations for other characters you’d like to see more about! I promise the next one will come along with much less delay than this one…]

 

Name: Tirion Rutherford Alouicious Wulfric Fordring IV

tirion_profile1Occupation: Supreme Commander of the Argent Crusade, Highlord of the Silver Hand, co-leader of the Ashen Verdict, lord of Mardenholde Keep, governor of Hearthglen

Race: Human

Class: Paladin

Age: 59

Group affiliations: Argent Crusade (leader), Knights of the Silver Hand (founding member and highlord), Ashen Verdict (co-leader), Hearthglen (former and current governor), Kingdom of Lordaeron (former citizen), Alliance of Lordaeron (former member)

Known relatives: Karandra Fordring (wife, deceased), Taelan Fordring (son, deceased), Devlin Fordring (father, deceased), Talya Fordring (mother, deceased), Lucius Fordring (uncle, deceased), Tirion Fordring III (grandfather, deceased) (Apparent survival tip: Don’t be related to Tirion Fordring.)

Earth Online notes: Tirion Fordring doesn’t play Earth Online, as far as anyone knows. (And you know it wouldn’t be even remotely difficult to pick him out if he ever turned up online…)

First appearance: “Monday mailbag” (first mention and anecdote), “Where did all the words go?” (first transcript appearance)

Key posts and plot points:

  • Tirion Fordring, obviously, is a major lore character whose backstory is long and voluminous (fittingly enough, eh?). We’ll only be touching on plot points here that are immediately relevant to his blog appearances; those interested in a broader look at Highlord Paragraph’s history should check out his entry on Wowpedia.
  • Tirion, as it turns out, had a hand in some of the…ahem…cranial oddities of Garrosh’s Cataclysm-era model. When asked by a mailbag reader about his unusually small head, Garrosh related that he accidentally squeezed his own head down to its smaller size while trying to cover his ears to block out Tirion’s endless droning in Icecrown Citadel.
  • Tirion’s first major appearance in the blog occurred early in the Anti-Plague of Southshore arc, in which he set Garrosh on the trail that would eventually lead him to old Southshore by relating the story of the mysterious crystal that the Knights of the Silver Hand used to forge the Ashbringer. (The blog version of the Ashbringer story, incidentally, blog-canonically confirms a longstanding fan theory: that the crystal from which the Ashbringer was forged was actually the remains of a dying Naaru.) He later gave the human incarnation of Edwin Faranell a home in Hearthglen (until everything started to go all wibbly whimey splodey).
  • In the subsequent Timequake storyline, Garrosh found himself drawn into an alternate timeline in which Tirion died in Icecrown Citadel and was raised as the first of the Lich King’s new Deathbringers. In this timeline, the Ashbringer had passed to Lady Liadrin, who had assumed leadership of the Argent Crusade after Tirion’s death.
  • Argent Confessor Paletress, as depicted in “Argent Gossip Girl,” suggests that to those who work with him closely on a daily basis, Tirion may be more temperamental, lewd, and alcohol-driven than his outer persona might suggest.
  • Tirion made a memorable appearance in Orgrimmar in “Anger Management,” in which, “sponsored” by Eitrigg, Tirion attended the anger management class conducted by Ben-Lin Cloudstrider. Evidently, Tirion gets rather angry when drunk. There was some indication that Eitrigg has been laboring with mixed success to steer his friend away from his worse inclinations. Poor Eitrigg.
  • Tirion’s appearances in the blog are often accompanied by cameos from Daria L’Rayne, one of his aides in Mardenholde Keep. As a coda to a number of these posts, the long-suffering Daria offers words of wisdom in the form of Daria’s Pro Tips for Dealing with Tirion. Pro tips enumerated thus far have been:
    • #8: Do not wear black mageweave leggings. Ever. Ever.
    • #11: If he asks you if you want to hear a story, say yes. He’s going to tell you either way, but if you say no, he’ll just take longer getting to it. Think of it as steering into the skid, only with the skid being a tedious barrage of words.
    • #14: Never make eye contact. Eye contact makes him assume you’re interested, and increases word output by 25%.
  • Let’s establish some bonus blog canon for the first time: Tirion shares a birthday with our very own Warchief. Specifically, December 17. (Backstory: While working on a timeline of blog and canonical lore events — which will be added to the When Is This? page as soon as I finish getting a table set up and formatted — I noticed that Garrosh mentioned being 34 years old in one post that, in the world of the blog, would have taken place in November, then later noted that he was 35 years old in a post that took place in February. This meant that Garrosh’s birthday would probably be either in December or January, and since my own birthday falls on December 17, I figured, what the hell, I’ll give Garrosh that birthdate too. Shortly thereafter, an Ask.fm question prompted me to do a little research on famous people who shared my birthday. One notable I discovered who was born on December 17 was actor Bernard Hill, who, in addition to playing Theoden in the Lord of the Rings movies (dock yourself 20 nerd points if you needed me to tell you that), is also the in-game voice actor for one Tirion Fordring. And from there…well, really, those last couple dots just connect themselves.)
  • Thanks to regular commenter (and unofficial blog historian) Shen Wei, Tirion Fordring has a presence on Twitter as @HighlordFordrin. Yes, you read that right. Tirion on Twitter. The 140-character-limit jokes practically write themselves.

tirionprofile1

In his own words:

Describe your relationship with your mother or your father. Was it good? Bad? Were you spoiled rotten, ignored? Do you still get along now, or no?

Greetings and good day, my friend! A pleasure to have your company this fine afternoon in Heathglen! Far too few visitors have graced these halls in recent days — not always so, I assure you! There was once a time — not long ago, in fact, but soon after I made my return from Northrend to take my place once again in Mardenholde Keep — when travelers would frequent Hearthglen, and these halls would sing with the raucous voices of fellowship! But strangely, my friend, most strangely, those voices have of late grown fewer and less frequent, as these past few years, for reasons unknown surely to any but the sagest seers, fewer and fewer visitors have found their way to these gates. Do not misunderstand me, of course, good pilgrim; a regular stream of adventurers still make their way here — often at the behest of my friend and colleague Nathaniel Dumah — drawn in equal measure from the peoples of the Alliance and Horde alike, offering their most-welcome aid to our noble efforts here. Nevertheless, their numbers grow few, and often transient, arriving in haste and departing just as swiftly, caught up, no doubt, in the rush and tumult to which youthful fervor is predisposed; and so our halls grow strangely quiet, our streets peculiarly empty of the visitors who once passed routinely within these walls. Surely not, however, for the lack of a warm welcome to be found here in Hearthglen, I assure you, my friend! To which you yourself, I hope, might attest! And even not, dear visitor, you may rest assured that I will endeavor personally to amend such failings before your time here as my guest has come to a close. A time, I can only hope, that will not run its course too quickly!

But now, I fear, I may have gone briefly astray of your original inquiry. But you will, I trust, forgive me my preamble, born as it was of the enthusiasm of a delighted host! Now then, to your question! What was our topic again, my friend?

Oh. Um… your relationship with your mother and father?

Ah yes! I recall it now! So you care to hear of the Fordring line that came before me! Quite the yarn to be spun, I can assure you, my friend, as the Fordrings, I will have you know, were present among the earliest of settlers to make their way north from the kingdom Arathor to lay the foundation of what would in time become Lordaeron. My kin arose from humble beginnings, as did many noble houses of their day, but thus began the story of a family line which, if you will forgive the brief immodesty of familial pride, may now lay claim to a legacy to rival those of some of the most celebrated houses on our time. Alas, my friend, it is a legacy that now nears its end, as — with the tragic passing of my beloved, departed son Taelan — I now stand as the last of the line of Fordrings. I do not ask your pity, though, good sir. All great stories must of necessity find their end — and I assure you I have every hope that my own chapter is yet far from its final pages! Regardless, I know you are not here to hear of endings, and no endings will you be forced upon you! Beginnings, then! The beginning of our tale, of the House of Fordring, a story — nay, a saga! — that now spans well past a thousand years! A thousand years, my friend! Can you fathom it? Such spans of time must tax the imagination of even the greatest of mortal minds, at least among we races who are so short-lived. Surely to the night elves — my esteemed aide Miss L’Rayne proudly among their number — this millennium-long expanse might seem as fleeting as a summer afternoon, and yet, to we more mortal beings? An endless expanse, long enough to encompass the rise and fall of empires and string together generations by the dozen. And so allow me to grace you, as per your inquiry, some small sampling of those generations: the line of Fordrings as they reach out across a thousand years! Again I ask you, my friend, can you imagine it? A thousand years of Fordring!

I think I’m beginning to understand what that would be like.

Hah! Indeed! Then yours is a keener intellect than mine, my friend! Often have I pondered the vastness of history, and equally often have I found my mind incommensurate to the task of grasping its enormity. But then, I labor under no delusions: I am an educated man, good fellow, but I do not presume to count myself among the great thinkers of our day. Perhaps history will count you among them, eh? Perhaps so! It would not surprise me in the least, noble scholar, for I see in you the quiet focus that oft accompanies great minds: you speak little, and think much! Is it not so? Indeed, I count myself fortunate to have found myself, by serendipity, in the company of many such minds.

And so, let us begin, let us not? The day grows short, and we have centuries of history to discuss! And so, to the beginning, and the mighty realm of Arathor!

Actually, this question was really just about your parents.

Ah! I see, I see — and here you prove me right, my friend! The focused mind of the scholar you do indeed possess, training with marksman-like precision upon the key object of your inquiry! It is a discipline of mind that serves you well in your studies, my friend; I myself would make a path through libraries and symposia that would surely prove more discursive. A credit to you! Yet if you would indulge an old man his musings, might I urge you in your pursuits to be wary of too great a focus, a narrowing of vision so intent as to cause all the world around you to fall away. My own dear uncle Lucius, I’ll have you know, fell victim to just such proclivities; he was a scholar in his own right, in his day, though he fell victim to misfortune ere he could complete such research as might be remembered. He, too, was ever focused on his studies: toiling night and day over tomes and scrolls; scrying into the records of the past in tireless search for hidden clues to unfathomable puzzles; never wavering, never relenting, until, at last, from too long reading and too short sleeping, my poor, dear uncle finally lost his grasp on reality, and spent his remaining days rambling through the world chasing bats and railing against windmills. His is, indeed, a tragic but fascinating tale in its own right, one which I suspect you may well find instructive. I recall all too well the final days of our interaction, when he lived near Andorhal, not far from this very place.

I’tirionprofile3m sure that’s fascinating and all, but… your parents.

Hah! Well played, good sir, well played! You catch an old man once again in his departures into memory. For such is the burden of so long life, is it not, my friend? The ease with which one may yield to the temptation of memory, to wander wistfully back to revisit a life well-lived. Ah, but I forget myself now, for I see your eyes yet glimmer with the brightness of youth, though I suspect I may yet catch as well the momentary, ephemeral shadow of hardship. Such is the burden for us all, is it not, my friend, all of us who have lived through the mounting troubles of our troubled age? Dark days, my noble scholar. Yet hope endures for a world we might yet build.

In any case, your question deserves an answer. Let me turn now, at last, to the crux.

Oh thank goodness.

My parents were modest in means but noble in mien. As I have alluded to, our family had been among the earliest of Arathi settlers to undertake the sojourn north into the land that would come be known as Lordaeron — ah, fear not, my friend; I see the shadow of vexation fall over your eyes, but I assure you no harm befell them during the trek, and while the details of their travels could spin into many a captivating a yarn in their own right, I must surely for not stay the course with the matter at hand. You shall not lure me into digression, my friend, so for now you must need content yourself with noting down points for subsequent inquiry! I commend you, though, for your obvious fascination — ah, your curiosity recommends you, good sir.

Now where was I? Oh yes! My parents were the most recent of tradesmen and craftsmen in the Fordring line — occasionally taking arms in defense of the kingdom, but, while serving with honor and distinction, never garnering acclaim for heroic deeds of particular note. Nevertheless, we were an honored family, respected, and while never affluent, my parents never wanted for the necessities, nor indeed some modest few of the pleasantries, of life. Just so, I cannot say I knew want as a child, though in retrospect I likewise cannot say I was showered with material things — the world, it seemed, furnished me with toys and diversions enough, without my needing to pester my parents to secure me others from the local shops. That, I suppose, was an austerity of nature instilled in me by my mother, Talya, who I recall would often remark on the misguided avarices that often plagued the ambitious: that the sense of one’s own happiness oft would rise from comparison between the measure of what one has, against what one wants; and that far too many of us err in thinking that the key to their contentment lies in maximizing the former, when in truth the key is minimizing the latter.

Clearly, of course, good fellow, I did not fully apprehend the wisdom of my mother’s words — hardly was I a deep thinker as a child. Indeed, one might yet argue, hardly am I one now! Hah! I see the look in your eyes, my friend, and know that I have beaten you to the jest! Hah again, I say! Well played again, sir!

Where was I?

Well, I think that pretty much covered–

Ah yes! My parents! And so, my dear, departed mother instilled in my a modesty of want that, I am sure, forestalled in me any sense of limitation in our means. My father, meanwhile, the late sir Delvin Fordring, took pains to teach me of duty and honor, and the kinship of all mortal souls. It was he who instilled in me an understanding of the fine line that separates even the most fortunate from the least, and the resulting shared duty that unites us all in turn. For we are all our brother’s keeper, are we not, my friend? And just so, under my father’s influence — aside perhaps from the earliest of youthful misjudgments, which, I assure you, Father was only too quick to correct, with no small degree of sternness — even before I had reached my teenage years, more than one would-be schoolyard bully had found his nose bloodied at my still-growing hands. I recall, indeed, on more occasion than one, returning home bearing on my own person the unmistakable marks of scuffle; to which Father’s only inquiry would be “Whose bruises would they have been, if not yours?”; to which — provided my truthful response: one smaller, one weaker, one set upon by an assailant against whom they could pose no defense — his only judgment would be “Then wear them well.” It would be the sense of duty and compassion instilled in me by both my parents in kind that would send me, soon enough, into service in the defense of Lordaeron. Would that they were still with us, to witness the world that yet we — I — strive to build in their memory, in their honor, a lasting tribute to their guidance.

So… Are you…finished?

My friend? Did I omit some salient detail you had hoped to glean from my youth? By all means, sir, if you feel some facet remains overlooked in my haste to expedite the tale–

No, no, that’s fine. I should probably get to the next question.

By all means! The night is young, and I am, of course, at your disposal, my friend, for however long I might be of aid to you!

Right… I kind of figured. Okay, so…next question:

Name one scar you have, and tell us where it came from. If you don’t have any, is there a reason?

I am a veteran of many battles of many wars, my friend — too many, indeed, for who but a fool or a monster would wish upon this world further bloodshed, when far too great a toll in lives has been paid, sacrificed upon the ill-begotten altar of all our foolish vanity? Who would seek such a thing? None, I tell you, good scholar — at least none that I should ever wish to find in my company. Not a problem we find here now between us, though, eh, my friend? None indeed! For I look into your eyes and know that we are two of a kind, bound in fellowship by our shared desire for the prosperity of our world, and the final attainment of that precious peace that has long — too long — eluded us.

Now, my friend, as to your question: scars, you ask! Scars indeed, good author, for after all the many days that I have spent awash in the conflicts of our age, many are the marks upon my person that I have taken with me as trophies, mementos of time spent amid the sober work of battle. I see that you, too, bear such trophies — you have seen a battle or two in your day as well, eh, my friend? A shame that fate has deemed it necessary, and yet an honor to know what such valiant souls as yourself yet walk among us.

tirionprofile2Okay. So we’ll put you down for “several scars but no particular stories”–

I beg to differ, good sir! No stories? No stories indeed! Ah, you have a fine sense of humor about you, and, rest assured, I appreciate your kind effort to spare an old man the need to delve into memories that, I suspect, you fear may be too painful to recount. Rest assured, though, my friend, after the horrors I have beheld in my day, a mere jaunt down the dusty halls of memory shall offer no such deterrent! A tale you requested, my good fellow, and so a tale you shall have!

Oh no…

Ah, it was a dark time, my friend. Dark indeed, and perilous, though I suspect I need not remind you — all too well do all remember the shadow that stretched its hand across two worlds, in the days of the Second War. When the demons’ poison coursed through the veins of the orcs — even those of my dear friend Eitrigg, as honorable a man as ever I might hope to know — whose acquaintance, perhaps, we share, my friend? but again I digress — yes, when the demons’ curse poisoned the orcish race and set them on their ill-fated rampage across their world and ours, when the Horde of old twice swept across Lordaeron, laying waste to all they met. We fought them, my friend; we nearly fell, on more occasions than one, as we struggled to hold them back, until finally we drove them back to their stronghold at Blackrock Mountain, and there, on the mountainside, we matched blades with our enemy one final time for the fate of our world.

I was there, my friend. I fought at Blackrock Spire, and saw such sights as I dare not repeat — indeed, such horrors as I might pray to wipe clean from my own aging recollection. For such are the horrors of war, are they not? The loss of life, the suffering uncountable, the nightmares forever seeded. The waste. Would that we might never see its like again, my friend; we speak at times of the glory of battle, but one need only sample its acrid taste once to understand such glimmer only exists in the imaginings of those not forced into war’s midst.

Right, so, war is bad.

Bad! Bad, you say, sir? Such understatement! I should hope a scholar of such obvious attainment should command words more fitting, for hardly does “bad” even suffice! And yet, sir — yet! — I would not wish words further from you, lest they should conjure more acutely recollection of such evils in their fullest form! For surely, all who partook in those dark days, those grisly hours of battle, spent many a year thereafter scarcely able to sleep soundly, for all the restless nights that dreadful dreams must have forced upon them. Even I, who was no stranger to battle even ere those times, was not immune to such things, and recall uneasily the weeks and months that followed, left alone to grapple with the haunting knowledge of what I had beheld.

Well, I don’t want to bring up bad memories for you, so–

The sky was angry that day, my friend! Angry and dark, overcast with portentous clouds, the air heavy with mist and dank with the stench of carnage.

Or not. Okay.

For hours — so many countless, unrelenting hours, my friend — we battled on the slopes of Blackrock Mountain, clawing our way, inch by inch, ever closer to the enemy’s stronghold. Do I say hours? They seemed as days, or weeks; nay, time itself lost near all meaning as the toil of battle weighed down upon us. And yet we did not tire, sir! Despite the wounds and blows, despite the ever-mounting aching of limbs taxed far beyond their limits, even still we pressed on, fought on, for we knew all too well what hung in the balance!

As the dark cloud gathered overhead, we marched upon Blackrock and fought our way past wave upon wave of enemy troops. There with us fought the great Alexandros Mograine, eventual bearer of the Ashbringer, the holy blade which even now I wield in his memory and honor — would that he were still with us, my friend, and not felled in the years that would follow by the vilest act of treachery. But that is a story for another day, sir — indeed, for another day, and you shall not sway me to digress from the tale at hand! Try though you might, you shall not delay me from the true object of my narrative!

Trust me, I won’t try.

As well you should not, my friend! For it is your very question that set me on this path, and you shall now lead me astray before I have forged on to a proper answer! I owe you no less, as my honored guest!

Now where was I? Oh yes!

While Alexandros rallied our troops to buttress our western flank, he briefly dropped his guard and left his back vulnerable to the attack of a charging ogre. Before the vile creature could land his blow, however, I interceded, blindsiding the ogre in turn and felling him with a piercing strike through the back of his neck. The ogre collapsed to the ground, and Alexandros and I exchanged words of camaraderie as he rode off to resume his efforts at the flank — but as he departed, and I called forth some few final words of encouragement, I found myself falling prey to the self-same error that nearly claimed the life of my friend. For I, as well, had failed to maintain proper vigilance, and a second ogre — perhaps a friend of the one whose life even still bled forth onto the field of battle — bore down upon me from behind. Surely, though, the Light was watching over me, as the ogre landed a blow that wounded but did not kill: his bulky club caught my back, just at the shoulder, with one spike digging deep into flesh. I managed to gather myself and engage my monstrous attacker, and with no small difficulty, smote his ruin upon the mountainside. Nevertheless, his blow had left its mark; my left shoulder carries a deep scar even to this day, and now and again, even to this day, I occasionally feel the lingering effect of the injury, as two fingers of that hand will sometimes lose sensation. A small price to pay, nevertheless, for the safety of our people, our homes — one that I would gladly pay again, with interest, should circumstance ever demand it.

Okay. Well, I think that covers everything…

Indeed, my friend? But surely there was more you wished to ask. Why, even now I see you still have several pages of your notes right there — questions, doubtless, for our continued interview. Hardly would I rush you through your efforts, or, worse still, force you to curtail the inquiries you’ve traveled so far to pursue! We shall have no such incivility here, good sir! I would never forgive myself such a misstep.

No, that’s really okay. Those notes are for something else.

Ah, I see — forever juggling projects, isn’t it just the way, my friend? The burdens of necessity, no doubt; I know myself that I can scarcely find the time to give my many varied tasks the time they’re due — oftentimes I’ve scarcely completed dictating my daily correspondence when it seems at though the whole of the day has begun to slip away. Ah, world enough and time!

Right. So… do you happen to know where Daria went? I think she said something about getting a drink at a tavern.

 

Previous Profiles:

  1. Spazzle Fizzletrinket
  2. Ben-Lin Cloudstrider
  3. Dontrag and Utvoch
  4. Taktani
  5. Korrina
  6. Mylune
  7. Mokvar
  8. Ruekie

 

daria_tavern1

Daria’s Pro Tip for Dealing with Tirion #3: Beer is your friend. It’s your very, very best friend.

 

Monday mailbag
Monday GUEST mailbag: Gurtash
 

19 Responses to 30 Days of Character Development #9: Tirion Fordring

  1. Mogor says:

    Mogor tried reading Talky-Man’s post, but no luck. Mogor fell asleep after first 500 words. Mogor asked Lantresor for help, but Lantresor said no again. Lantresor say he not read “alot of hot air.”

     
  2. *Laughs out loud*

    *giggles*

    *smirks*

    O.o

    o.o

    -.-

    *sobs*

     
  3. Sarlin says:

    …wow.

    I…I, uh…

    *sighs* Sir, I am so, so sorry. Like, really, really, REALLY sorry. And if there’s anything I can ever do to make it up to you, I’ll do it. Quietly.

    Also, can I participate in the shot game? *sobs*

     
    • Grottee Metalbeard says:

      Heh, yeah, it was like that for me when I read your first letter. Now that you know the Warchief’s (and my) pain, the healing process can begin.

      Plus, I expect that, like me, you’ll be keeping your letters and comments relatively short from now on. Even without the wordcount limit, this probably puts it in perspective, huh?

       
  4. Valinora Lightshorn says:

    All I could really make out was “I digress, I digress, I digress, HA, YOU’RE SO FUNNY, I digress again, the point,”

    Have fun getting drunk, guys. I’m out.

     
  5. Ritaba says:

    Heh. That thousand year tangent reminded me of when I was sent to give him a letter, and a Draenei walked out of his tent shouting “I may be older than the creation of your race, and you still manage to waste my time!” I just had a guard bring it to him.

     
    • Valinora Lightshorn says:

      You let your guard suffer the fate that you were trusted to carry out? That’s an indecipherable act of evil.

       
    • corhi says:

      oi, it ate me comment–had said that I finally figured out in me head, Tirion sounds like Graham Chapman at this most Arthurish. Heck, it’s taken me from when this was posted ’til now just to get through it. I think I took a couple naps in there somewhere.

       

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