Matt Burns, also the author of Charge of the Aspects from last year, tackles this subject with flair -- but it's a dark flair, one that was entirely unexpected. I'd mentioned before that Trial of the Red Blossoms, Blizzard's first foray into Pandaria's many factions, was a little dark. Bleeding Sun beats it, hands down -- and all by using a character who is entirely devoted to the Light of An'she's sun. Sunwalker Dezco makes a unexpected return in Bleeding Sun, along with his twin sons, now named Redhorn and Cloudhoof. Dezco has been trying to to come to terms with the death of his wife Leza and the result of their grand journey across Pandaria. He and his followers found the Vale ... but what now?
And that's where it gets really grim.
I really only have one bit of advice for those planning on reading this tale -- bring tissues. It's not often that a Warcraft story can really wrench my heart. But Dezco's journey was one of those moments from leveling my character through Krasarang that I really never forgot about. I was always happy to see Dezco pop up in later moments, even happier when he appeared to be firmly on his own side of the conflict between Alliance and Horde, choosing to protect Anduin Wrynn rather than try to kill him. I loved the latest leg of Wrathion's legendary quest chain particularly because Dezco made an appearance. But I wondered where his children had gone, and assumed they were being taken care of elsewhere.
Through Sunwalker Dezco's eyes, we get a glimpse of the Golden Lotus as a real organization of people, not just a group intent on handing out multiple daily quests. And although the story is a sad one, I'm hoping that this means Dezco's tale is far from over. He's too good of a character for that. I'm hoping we'll see him make some sort of prominent appearance in patch 5.4, it's only right that he be present at whatever point events with Alliance and Horde finally go down. As for Bleeding Sun, it may be sad, but it's another chapter in Dezco's story, and in the story of the Vale itself. As someone who really enjoyed the end sequence of quests for the Vale, I was happy to see a little more information about the place.
You can read Bleeding Sun on the official website, in the Destination: Pandaria section of the Expanded Universe guide. As with Trial of the Red Blossoms, the story is available for download in multiple formats -- choose from PDF format, ePUB format for the smartphone, tablet or Nook, or mobi format for the Amazon Kindle.
And bring tissues. I'm not kidding about the tissues.