Summerlands AU: Brain Dump on the Shado-pan and Jade Forest and Valley/Krasarang
For real, the whole of Jade Forest frustrates me.
The Horde and Alliance show up, start tearing into each other, start pulling whole villages into their conflict, destroy shit left and right, dredge up the sha in ways never seen in centuries, cause a direct manifest of the Sha of Despair when they destroy Yulon’s statue…
And the Shado-pan just kinda shrug and let them go on their way into the Valley. Nobody goes “wait just a fucking second here, you’re gonna answer for this!” People died. Civilians working on what was essentially a public works project found themselves in the middle of a paramilitary conflict by two opposing, invading factions. The temples across Pandaria are over run. Families want answers. The celestial’s clergy are outraged.
But, yanno, the Pandaren are just so friendly they just dont care. They’re so innocent and sweet. They clearly need to be protected from the ravages of war.
Seriously, fuck Varian and Anduin’s bullshit imperialist-as-fuck opinions. At least the Horde was honest with what they wanted. To hell with your Alliance Man’s Burden.
Summerlands AU? Taran Zhu comes down like the fist of an angry god on both Horde and Alliance. The sky is fucking dark with Shado-pan on cloud serpents. Even the Order was called in for back up. The Skyfire? Hahaha, that thing is heavily armed and armored because its meant to combat against Horde airships. But it fucking falls to a battalion of boarding Shado-pan on small, swift serpents in minutes. Both factions are indiscriminately thrown into a mutual jail cell somewhere and the player right along with them.
And Yulon makes a plea in the name of wisdom to not go this course, but Yulon has not had to bring the word of dead stonemasons to families, seen parents collapse at his feet in grief and sorrow. Seen the barely-living dragged away from the ruined statue, wracked with so much sha energy that they’re alive by mere technicality. No, Taran Zhu can understand and accept Yulon’s wisdom, but he cannot afford to be wise. He must be smart.
And Yulon understands this. Not everyone can act on the wisdom she gives. But she can convince Taran Zhu to release just one prisoner. Give them one chance to prove they can be more than the violence and war they’ve brought to Pandaria. And Taran Zhu, because he knows the Jade Serpent has already suffered greatly this day, acquiesces. One. Just one.
And that’s you. You’re hauled out into the daylight and dropped off at the edge of the valley and told that you get one chance. And you will be watched.
So off you go, alone on a foreign continent, and try to put on your best face. And the pandaren aren’t all ‘howdy neighbor’ at you either, you are literally the first non-native pandaria species to step foot on the continent since the fucking War of the Ancients. People are surprised, scared, nervous, curious, the whole gambit. And thats why Chen and Lili are important because they’re your liason/buffer/interpreter/etc cause if these Wandering Isle pandaren (and that gets its own level of reaction and none of this “wild dogs” racist coded response either) are chill around you, you should be okay, right?
And as you’re walking around, you’re constantly seeing something out of the corner of your eye. Someone’s following you and you can tell they’re there but never spot them. Its an eerie feeling.
And that sets the tone for the whole zone: why you volunteer and pick up a plow to impress the Tillers (cause the Tillers and the Mudclaw family especially are long friends with the Shado-pan. And Gina Mudclaw? A Shado-pan Listener, which is why she’s so keen on you from the start) and do stuff for Stoneplow and why the Sunwalkers and Sentinels showing up at Stoneplow is REALLY IMPORTANT because both sides are trying to make nice, at least for now.
And then Operation: Shieldwall and the Dominance Offensive happen and all the good will you spent weeks cultivating gets blown to fucking hell.
Cause there’s no FUCKING WAY Taran Zhu is gonna tolerate both factions setting up fucking military bases on his continent. Varian and Garrosh both get their ears chewed off and told to take their troops and their war machines and go right back where you came from. He’s not even gonna allow for a repeat of Jade Forest.
Buuuuuuuut because you helped a lot little with the mantid and managed to not blow up any more monuments of immense cultural significance, and because it’ll benefit Pandaria, he’ll permit trading posts.
And hahaha oh man how Varian and Garrosh scowl and yell and bluster because they are NOT used to being told no. But the Wandering Isle pandaren that joined each faction help arrange a strict, but mutually beneficial trade treaty and mostly every one goes home happy. Mostly.
But trying to tell the Horde and Alliance not to fuck with each other is like asking for gravity to not work. So the gist of the whole patch is being nice to each other’s faces while the Shado-pan are around, but actually sabotaging the bejesus fuck out of each other’s vessels and cargo. There’s this peace line that exists like, two miles off the coast, out of reasonable line of sight of the shore where the shit is actually hitting the fan with naval battles and shit happening all the damned time and even the pirate fleets are showing up and thinking both sides need to calm the hell down cause less than half the goods that are put on ships make it north of Booty Bay.
TL;DR: Summerlands eliminates the bullshit imperialist crap on Pandaria from Horde and Alliance by giving Pandaren authority actual spines and teeth.