This was originally part of my Top 15 caves post, but in my research, I came to realize, that it actually did not take much part in caves; I mixed up various quests, I did at the same time.
But this quest deserves mentioning regardless of that, because of what I came across (and have forgotten earlier, it seems!)
It inspired me to write this piece, and with the help of old quest descriptions, screenshots from back then and screenshots from today, paired with a matching transmog from that exact era of the game, I will try and recapture this captivating quest, just as it was, over a decade ago.
The quest took place in…
This beauty of a zone holds a very special place in my heart, because of it. The quest I think back on is Saving Sharpbeak.
Sharpbeak was a very young gryphon back then, destined for great things. But upon arriving at Aerie Peak…
…the Gryphon Master Talonaxe, belonging to the Wildhammer clan, informed you, that Sharpbeak had been captured, most likely by the viscious trolls in the area.
“The son of our mightiest gryphon is gone! Swiftwing’s heir, Sharpbeak, was lost while hunting with his parents a few days ago, and we believe it was the trolls who took him. You must aid us! Search the cages in the two Witherbark troll villages to see if Sharpbeak is there.”
You probably could not help but admire the gorgeous view that met you, as you began your search.
You did your best in order to track down the son of Swiftwing…
And the trolls you encountered were indeed viscious!
…But despite your best efforts, sadly, your search was not succesful.
When you returned to Mister Talonaxe, you learn, just how important a role Sharpbeak had been destined to fulfill.
“Sharpbeak wasn’t at the villages? Hm… this is grim news. That gryphon is destined to lead the next generation of gryphons. If he is lost then the strength and spirit of our fleet will suffer immensely.”
Of course there was no giving up.
“Sharpbeak was not with the “Witherbark trolls. Perhaps the Vilebranch trolls took him. Go to the Altar of Zul on the western edge of Vilebranch territory and search for the gryphon child.
Hurry, Alunaria! If the Vilebranch trolls have Sharpbeak, then who knows what they might be doing with him!”
And as you continued your search, this time, it brought you to the Altar of Zul…
You were met by countless of Trolls, but fuelled with rage and a desire to return the son of Swiftwing to his parents, you marched on, and did not let nothing stand in your way.
…But to no avail.
No sign of Sharpbeak at the Altar of Zul either. And once again, you had to return to Aerie Peak…
And deliver the sad news to Mister Talonaxe.
Troubled, Mister Talonaxe said…
“Sharpbeak wasn’t there? That is bad news, but it is good news too…
It is good that he was not at the Altar of Zul for the Vilebranch trolls are known for performing sacrifices.
I thank you for all of your aid, but I’m afraid I have an even greater task ahead.”
…Famous for this era of the game, a magneficient quest like this rarely occured in one zone alone. You were often sent across the continent, and this time was no different; Mister Talonaxe now asked you to venture to Blasted Lands, in hopes that someone named Thadius could help in locating Sharpbeak…
“Take this feather to Thadius Grimshade, the diviner. He left Aerie Peak years ago to pursue darker knowledge, but in his heart he is still a Wildhammer!
And perhaps his talents can help us find Sharpbeak.
This feather was taken from the nest where the gryphon child sleeps. If you give it to Thadius then, with luck, he can use his divining magics to find Sharpbeak. Good luck, Alunaria. You will find Thadius in the Blasted Lands, in the mage tower of Nethergarde Keep.”
Blasted Lands? You thought to yourself, and swiftly checked the map Talonaxe provided you with…
Without a flightpath – perhaps this was even your very first time to Blasted Lands, your journey now continued on foot and gryphon – if you had not managed to save up the needed, 100 gold, was it – for a mount. (Luckily I had – I think – enough money around level 46)
Most likely a few flight paths were in your reach at least, so you might have been able to travel to Duskwood by gryphon.
As the gloomy forest of this zone surrounded you, you begun making your way towards Blasted Lands, through unknown territory. You hesitated to go down the road leading south in Deadwind Pass…
…and instead continued through Swamp of Sorrows, making sure to stay clear of the grunts that would patrol the road…
And as you would reach Blasted Lands…
…You attempted to resist straying too far from the sidewalk, and instead went straight towards your destination; the mage tower in Nethergarde Keep.
You were filled with relief, once you reached Thadius Grimshade , as he proved capable of assisting your cause.
“Alunaria, you come bearing a gift?
Ah, yes. This feather belongs to a fine gryphon. One destined for great things… if he can survive into adulthood undamaged.
You wish to find him? Then listen close, brave Druid.”
But all magic comes with a price, and apparently Mister Thadius belives, that it is one favor for another, so he asks you to bring him a Medallion from – not just any place, but Zul’Farrak.
“I’ll find out where your gryphon is, but first you have to do something for me. There’s a troll in Zul’Farrak, Nekrum Gutchewer, who possesses a medallion I would very much like to study. Bring me that Medallion and I’ll use my powers to find Sharpbeak.
Zul’Farrak is across the ocean to the west, in the desert of Tanaris.”
Zul’Farrak; A place far away, it involved several gryphons, a boatride and both forests and deserts were on your journey ahead. Perhaps an elevator or two, depending on where you would be travelling from. You might not even have discovered Tanaris yet, so the journey was long; maybe you had to sail from Booty Bay and to Ratchet and then work your way down south.
Zul’Farrak; A place that once took a group several hours to complete, filled with Sandfury trolls.
Not to mention the famous stairs event, where you would get waves of dangerous foes, that never seemed to stop coming…
Nekrum Gutchewer was the Troll you were searching for though…
…and through combined forces of a strong group, his medallion became yours, and you are finally able to return to Thadius.
“Do you have Nekrum’s Medallion, Alunaria? There are powers hidden within it that I am eager to discover…
Ah, the medallion of Nekrum. It is rumored to have given the troll an unnatural long life, but at a cost. I hope to discover a way to reap the medallion’s power while avoiding its… unpleasant side effects.
You have done me a service, Alunaria. I shall now uphold my end of our bargain.”
You waited patiently by Thadius, as he performed his ritual, in attempt to locate Sharpbeak.
“Give me room while I perform a ritual of divination. I will find the connection between the feather you brought me and its owner, and follow that connection to Sharpbeak himself.
That is… I will if all goes according to plan. If it does not, then… you better close your eyes.”
You held your breath, even after Thadius appeared done with his ritual, and anxiously you awaited, as he finally spoke;
“The ritual was a success. I have seen Sharpbeak and can tell you how to find him.
Sharpbeak is held in a cage, high on a cliff at the top of Jintha’Alor in the Hinterlands. The key to this cage is possessed by the high priestess of the Vilebranch trolls, Vile Priestess Hexx.
There. I have done my part. I bid you fortune on your quest, Alunaria.”
With no time to waste (This had, very likely, already taken you days to complete) you rushed back to Mister Talonaxe – now all the flightpaths hopefully had been discovered, and the journey back no longer took you hours.
As you arrived, even this sturdy dwarf appeared very much affected by the circumstances. So were you!
“You’ve spoken with Grimshade? What did he say?
…What? The Vilebranch trolls have Sharpbeak? That’s unbearable! We must organize a force to get him back!
We must save Sharpbeak!
Fight your way to the top of Jintha’Alor in the heart of Vilebranch territory, gain the key to Sharpbeak’s cage from the vile Priestess Hexx, and then find and save Sharpbeak!”
Now…Fighting to the top of the ancient troll city Jintha’Alor was no minor task back then.
This place was extremely difficult, filled with the strongest of foes, swift respawns, and it required a good group, quick on their feet, to make it all the way up to the Vile Priestess Hexx – the ruler of the Vilebranch troll tribe. (She was also guarding the Altar of Jintha’Alor; the place where you had to go to create the Mallet of Zul’Farrak – an item needed to spawn Gahz’rilla)
There existed no Looking For Group tools, so you couldvery well have spent hours finding a group in General/Trade chat around the zone.
But finally, equipped to your teeth, you went forward!
These trolls were not a walk in the part; they were all Elite and closely packed together in crowds. You fought bravely, and finding your way around was a challenge as well!
Vile Priestess Hexx was no easy troll to take down – she would play evil tricks and hex your group, and heal. But with Sharpbeaks destiny, his parents, and the dwarves of the Wildhammer clan in your thoughts, you were successful…
And the key to Sharpbeak’s cage was now in your hands, and only a few trolls were left to stand in your way.
You fought your way to the cave and as you ran through it, you prayed to find Sharpbeak alive.
And you did…
With the key in your hand, you swiftly unlocked his cage, and as his parents arrived, the little family was finally reunited.
Sharpbeak then turned to you and showed you his gratitude; “Sharpbeak chirps a goodbye to you”…
…before they happily flew away together.
Somewhat weary, you now began to make your way back to Aerie Peak…
And upon delivering the quest to Gryphon Master Talonaxe, you are being told the following…
“Swiftwind and Keenclaw returned with their child moments ago, and are fussing over him like new parents. Seeing them together again is enough to give even this old dwarf mist in the eyes…
We cannot repay you enough for what you have done, Alunaria. The gryphons of Aerie peak, and their riders, will sing your name for a long, long time.”
That brings us to today…
Do you know, what happened with Sharpbeak?
Let us run to the exact location, where we once saved him…
Who is there in the distance…?
It is indeed, Sharpbeak.
He has developed into a majestic and mature gryphon, who still resides in Hinterlands, and he is now assisting the Wildhammer dwarves.
He will even recognize you, and without blinking an eye, offer to take you to the skies of Hinterlands.
Also, by night… 😉
That is an example of a very nice way to “migrate” the changes to the world that Cataclysm brought, I think – and I just wanted to share it.
The post became a lot longer, than I originally had intended, that seems to be a reoccuring theme around my blog, hmm…So thank you for sticking with me till the end, and have a wonderful day 🙂
I found a great video that shows the last part of this long quest chain here.
Thank you to Wisteria for joining me on the very last step of this long quest line, making it possible for even greater screenshots and a much greater joy while doing it.
Oh, and a bonus screenshot from behind the scenes of this post in the making 😉