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Spirit walkers are shamans with a powerful connection to their ancestral heritage. Capable of channeling ancestral spirits through their body, spirit walkers are revered in tauren and orc societies for the history and wisdom they carry within them. However, they are also considered ill omens of a coming age. The eyes of a spirit walker are ancient and shine with the light of a thousand souls. Their bodies are vessels, conduits from the realm of the dead to the world of the living. Spirit walkers are often looked upon with awe and fear by their brethren. A spirit walker strong enough to bear the weight of so many souls achieves a mystical transcendence, embodying the collective will and experience of the generations that are reaching out to him.
Role in Society
Tauren and orcs hold spirit walkers in near reverence, yet they also fear them. A spirit walker lives only partially in the mortal world. His mind roams freely, and countless personalities enter his memories and his thoughts. When speaking to a spirit walker one can never be entirely certain that only the spirit walker responds, for they speak with the voices of the ancient ancestors. Elderly spirit walkers sometimes lose all memories of their original selves, slipping from one spirit to the next without warning or control. The stress of handling so many souls turns a spirit walker's pelt or hair snow-white over the years. Some tribes consider a tauren born with a white pelt to be destined to become a spirit walker. Such children sometimes refuse their destiny, but almost all give in eventually. Elder tauren have been known to develop spirit walker powers sometimes only days before their deaths.
Most spirit walkers learn of their unique natures during puberty. The young spirit walker experiences intense lucid dreams over the course of a month, and their waking hours still seem half-dreams as they begin to remember places they've never been to, recognize people they've never seen before or know how to handle situations they've never faced. The young spirit walker is confused and disoriented upon awakening, unable to decide if he is now truly awake or if the other life was his real one, and this life in fact is the dream. Shamans can guide a spirit walker through the early stages of this transition, but those apart from their communities do not understand what is happening to them. Such spirit walkers may never fully resign themselves to their path after having been traumatized by their awakening. Not all spirit walkers realize their purpose in youth. A few live normal lives into adulthood until one night the lucid dreams begin.
The loyalty a spirit walker feels for his community is zealous. The spirits of countless ancestors fill his mind, impressing a powerful need upon their host to guide and safeguard the tribe. Despite this devotion, a spirit walker is often set apart from his others. He knows his friend not only as his friend, but as the child of a slain warrior spirit, as the grandchild of an elderly spirit, as the parent or sibling of a mournful child spirit. This makes any personal relationships complicated and very difficult. A spirit walker is a loner who sits apart from his others but defends them fanatically in times of peril. The rest of the tribe senses this conflict within a spirit walker, and while they treat their spirit walker with great respect and deference, they will resist forming close relationships with him to avoid further complicating his life. Spirit walkers rarely establish families. They live apart from the tribe they devote themselves to forever.
Providing guidance and spiritual sanctuary to their community in times of the greatest peril and uncertainty is the spirit walker's sacred calling. These transcendent shamans channel the collective life's experiences of all the generations that preceded their own through their mortal frames, calling upon this sacred communal soul to attain profound wisdom and insights. By performing the chant of ages the spirit walker reaches out for the collective knowledge of his or her forebears, guiding the present generation through the hour of midnight and ensuring the people will persist to continue the chain of life. Recently spirit walkers have appeared in never before seen numbers, and many consider them the ill omens of things to come. Great courage and discipline is required for a spirit walker to unlock the true extent of his gifts, but those who persevere come to embody knowledge and willpower that is wholly beyond even the most experienced of shamans.
The only culture in Azeroth's history known to have brought forth the spirit walkers are the formerly nomadic tauren tribes. However, the orcish people have steadily been returning to the shamanistic practices of their Draenor ancestors, and the far seers of the Horde have taken a growing interest in the mystic phenomenon of spirit walking. Whether orc spirit walkers may have existed in Draenor's ancient past or not is lost to history, but when tauren and orcish shamans established contact with one another the tauren discerned that their orcish peers showed the potential for this level of spiritual awakening. To many of the orc shamans, the path of the spirit walker represents the only means left to them by which to recover the lost wisdom of their forebears.
Ties to the Emerald Dream?
The spiritwalker's soul shares a deep bond with the Emerald Dream. He can summon forth an animal spirit companion from the Emerald Dream. Killing the spirit companion on the mortal plane sends it back to the Emerald Dream.
The spiritwalker can step partially into the Emerald Dream, becoming immaterial for a short time. The spiritwalker still occupies his place on the Material Plane, but has shifted to his "Ethereal Form", and can only affect the physical world with spellcasting while so shifted. Only the highly skilled spiritwalker can ethereally shift others.
In Warcraft III
- Main article: Spirit Walker (Warcraft III)
- Mystical Tauren caster with Ethereal Form, which allows him to avoid physical damage. Believed to be the ill omen of a coming age, white Tauren are held in near reverence by their people, often becoming reclusive priests who wander the land in search of kindred spirits. Attacks land and air units.