The Sunthorn Shelf
Status: high rocky ledge looming to the south of the Fordawn vale, with a single small blood elf town and growing tensions between the locals and the newly arrived elven lord, which seeks to reclaim his family’s legacy. At the while, far east to the other edge of the area, Amani trolls had made a secret encampment, chasing an old relic of theirs… a mission so important until they are willing to make dirty deals with some alliance scouts to secure it back. Or at least, so they claim…
And deep down, a long forgotten race of slaves lurk, anraged with etenral hatred for their former troll masters, and for nearly everyone else as well, blood elves included.
Instances: in patch R.0, there are no 5-men instances here, but the old mines under the ledge are deep, complex and some parts of them deadly and crawling with crowded hostile packs and elite mobs.
In the south part of the vale, an ancient stone shelf is hovering high above the steppe, called the Sunthorn shelf.
Old is that rocky highland, colder and much less forgiving then vales below; and few elves ever lived in it during the ages; this is a land of flat, cracked stones with foggy water streams running deep between them, before falling from the heights into the vale below; With nearly no trees, the land is littered with old, moss covered stone sentinels; not strictly trollish in shape, but still strange, only half-humanoid, and believed to be older the Quel’thalas.
Some more plainly Amani ruins does exist in the eastern part of this highland, where the slopes become more moderate, descending into the troll sacred land of Rustusk; in those part, there are also some rocky, windswept paths that lead south, into the great mountain passage which the trolls named “shattered loa crevice” – a region of endless skirmish between the mountain elves and the Amani trolls.
In spite of plenty of iron veins, valuable mountain herbs and other resources, few elves nearly no dwarves ever lived on Sunthorn shelf. The few locals lived mainly in the western part of the high shelf, reluctantly sharing the heights with some mysterious strange beings – rumored to remains of a forgotten slave race created long ago by the Amani empire.
Return of The Sunthorn Dynasty:
The wealthy Sunthorn family had ruled those remote lands in ages past, in the early days of the high kingdom; but for several millennia, those elven nobles left those remote, harsh lands, and haled far to the north, in Kul’Glorel city. The Sunthorn lords did kept some assets behind, mainly some fertile lands surrounding their old castle, overlooking the main roads leading ascending from the vales below into the high ledge; and their hirelings used their ownership to collect some moderate funds from some of the valuable goods coming from the rocky high ledge.
Recently, most of the Sunthorn family was wise enough to escape from Kul’glorel in time (before the city was sacked by the scourge). Retreating into their assets high in the shelf named after them, they re-inhabited their old castle, bringing some of their servitors and guards as well.
Here, Lord Garlenthir Sunthron mourns his lost riches, and dream to reclaim his family’s former power within the high kingdom. And so, earlier then he thought, he found himself involved in the deeds of his famous sister: Althelaria Sunthorn, the newly appointed civil supervisor, and her burning hatred to the local dwarves (lowly creatures that the lord himself is much more indifferent to their puny existance). Those new ties and plots, may drag the whole Sunthorn family into the eye of the storm, much sooner than they anticipated.
The town of Myr’thalor (“Sunthorn’s retreat”) and the Lord’s Castle
The main settlement in the high ledge is an ancient, rural elven small town called Myr’thalor; sitting on a high, round rocky cluster overlooking the cracked steppes all around it, and built around a deep, warm lake emanating from the dark depths under the land.
Some winding roads, becoming more vague and traitorous the more they get far from town, are leading from Myr’thalor into some smaller settlements – mainly minor clusters of farms or remote, half-abandoned holds, built long ago to guard the path into the eastern, wilder parts of the high shelf.
The Sunthorn’s castle is built about 10 miles south of the town, overlooking the vertical cliffs and waterfalls that fall from the ledge into the greenish-grey vale below; thus, the castle controls the main and only wagon-road leading from the foredawn vale up into the Sunthorn shelf.
The original castle was not much more than a lonely dark greyish-black tower, built above a deep crevice in the rocks, which served as a well- protected, half natural yard, with some small water ponds emanating from the nearby rock walls, and many storage holes carved into the rocks.
Nowdays, after long time in which the tower was mostly deserted and the yards were mainly used for winter storage and some petty trade posts, the new lords is struggling to reshape the whole place, to fit the needs of “modern, civilized ruler, with Silvermoon’s standards”.
Architects, mages and artisans were brought; the dark shadowy yards were forced to transform into typical blood elf gardens, and strong colors of red and crimson fights to rule the yards and the walls… finding themselves struggling against the shadow, mossy and wild nature of the region.
The lord had also ordered an avenue of grand shining statues of his ancestors, but the work was not yet complete, as the Sunthorns ran out of funds. The frustrated lord asked his famous sister, Supervisor Althelaria Sunthorn for help, and impatiently waits her response.
“You sure be asking ye’self, mon, why respected Amani as I be, won’t be removing ya’ ugly alliance pig head from ya shoulders, and be feeding it to da warbears. Answer be, that even da greates’ an ancient as we be, sometimes be needing… t’ings from da lesser ones. And while da great leader of us be gone to da north, we be needing t’ings… without be reveling o’selves to da elf worms for now.
So, this be da’ deal, alliance pig. You be helping us get some’ting which be ours, deep, deep under the da sleeping stones, and we be letting ya skulk around and use the da eagles wit’out spilling yo’ guts”.
Far away from Myr’thalor, hidden in a shadowy deep valley above the sacred troll ruins of Rustusk in eastern end of the Sunthorn shelf, the Amani had built a large war camp – still hidden from the eyes of their sworn enemies, the blood elves.
From there, their newly appointed leader, Zul’jeera son of Zul’Shara the Dawnbane, was gone to a strange emissary to the horde, annoying the blood elves while “peacefully” attending their tournament grounds, his trusted lieutenant stayed behind to deal with other, more mysterious matters concerning the ancient rocky shelf… and is willing to make dirty deals with unlikely temporal allies to get things done.
Shortly after the alliance fleet makes his secret landing in Thel’tholas shallows, some shadowy troll middlemen arrive, searching for adventurers that are willing to earn a lot by doing some tasks with few or no questions.
Though, many are disgusted by the sheer idea of aiding Amani trolls in questionable goals, some of the dwarven officers see it as a rare opportunity to send a handful of man far into blood elf territory in the other side of the red dawn mountain, gathering intelligence and maybe, just maybe, gaining access to the legendary ancient ores that are rumored to be found deep under the lands of the high kingdom.
The only thing the troll middlemen explain, is that long, long ago there was a traitorous troll priestess, that stole or took away something important she had no right to, and sealed it away from her brethren. And now, it is in the hands of some lowly, misshaped beings. They want it back, and they are even willing to make deals with hated humans and dwarves for it (maybe- before “it” will be found and obtained by their blood elf rivals).
The Rage of Jama: Horde and Alliance Sunthorn shelf questlines
All of the different questlines in the area, are dealing with the growing danger of the zone, each in its own way.
Horde questlines start with the inner tension between the ambitions of Lord Sunthorn and the rural blood elf locals, and Alliance questlines starts with some questionable deal with some of the Amani encamped over rustusk ruins, all of those storylines are drawn to the dark twisted caverns below the shelf, and the long-forgotten race calling themselves “The sons of Jama” – once half-mindless slaves of the Amani empire.
Those strange beings, looking like vaguely humanoid furry dark-green shapes, with flate long face that resemble some kind of a living tiki mask and big, round ears, and long claws suitable for digging into stone, were hidden for generation of generatiomn deep underground, fearing the renewed wrath of their troll masters (and without really knowing that the Amani empire was long gone).
Now, something caused them to pour upwards, and act extremely hostile to both blood elves and Amani (and anyone else from both alliance or horde), while also wielding ominous magical abilities they never had before. And a strange, unknown name is whispered into the darkness: Bŭb Kathuk, the bane of legacies.
Militant horde questline: To the aid of the high lord
The Supervisor Althelaria Sunthorn is seeking some brave horde loyalists to send to aid her brother, lord of the southern rock shelf.
The high lord need urgent help in securing his assets and the lands, reclaiming some ancient rich mines, and deal with rumors about monsters and even worse – dirty alliance spies skulking into his lands, for the glory of the horde!
Non-Millitant horde questline: Shadows of the Stone.
A Blood elf priestess near the Argent encampments met few merchants from Myr’thalor, and she is growing worried from their tales -growing shadows over their distant homelands; mysterious attackers skulk the roads, people gone missing and never return, and other signs of growing dark magic… while the local lord is indifferent, caring only for his assets and even making reckless plans to re-open a long-sealed mine, that is considered cursed by the local blood elves. And though the woes around the tournament grounds prevent her from venturing herself, she asks the kind adventures to do it instead – and if possible, draw as little attention as possible from the lord and his minions.
Alliance questline: Daughter of the mountain (later divided to militant/non militant lines)
Alliance adventurers arrive to the eastern, lower part of the shelf using the tamed forest eagles, which fly them to the outskirts of the Amani warcamp – which most of it is hostile (red) but non-aggressive for them, aside from the flight master and few others.
The trolls are seeking some kind of “holy thing” stolen from them long ago by some traitorous loa priestess which forgot her duties and allied with her inferiors instead. While about that, the Amani hint about some misshaped race of slaves hiding dark under the land.
Alliance adventures will be asked to patrol the darker parts of the shelf, seeking and securing entrance to the long-forgotten mountain caves, while checking and mining rocks samples, thwarting blood elf patrols that may reveal the operation, and gather hints on the whereabouts of the mysterious priestess Jam’galla.
Sooner or later, it will be revealed that things are much darker and dangerous than anyone – including the trolls – could have guessed (or else, they simply double-crossed their new ‘allies’…)
Then, a moral or immoral decision will have to me made… with high cost to be at the “brighter” side.
 Zul’jeera’s emissary will be described in-detail in the campaign description.