Heroes of the Storm

Lore of Chen Stormstout — Character Lore

HeroesoftheStorm 4 - Lore of Chen Stormstout — Character Lore
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"The most important thing I've learned in all my journeys is… balance. Work and play. Good and bad. Right and wrong. Honor. Tradition. A good brew. And most especially… family. These are things that bring me balance. These are the things I fight for!"


><noscript><img src= - Lore of Chen Stormstout — Character Lore

Heyo folks,

So I've been effectively gone from the sub for about 3 months, but as I've previously stated I do want to continue my Warcraft lore thread series. To get back in the swing of things, I figured now would be as good a time as any to cover the history of everyone's favorite brewmaster given his recent rework.

… Well, okay, I know I'm about 6 weeks late on that front, but I'm doing it anyway. As usual, I'll save his in-game quotes and abilities for a separate thread on Sunday. Enjoy.

All previous "Lore of" episodes

The Wandering Isle

First off, I'll cover some general background.

10,000 years ago, the Great Sundering shattered Azeroth's single landmass of Kalimdor to into several smaller continents. The land of Pandaria at the southern end of Kalimdor survived the disaster in an unusual way: Shaohao, the last emperor of the pandaren people, sacrificed himself to become one with the land, enshrouding Pandaria in a magical mist that would keep it hidden from the rest of the world for millennia.

In the following centuries, most pandaren believed the rest of Azeroth to have been destroyed and were content with living out their lives in peace on their isolated continent. However, around 9,000 years later, the young pandaren Liu Lang ventured beyond the mists on the back of his turtle Shen-zin Su, knowing he'd be able to find his way home since sea turtles always return to the beach where they're born. Five years later he returned with stories of strange lands he had visited, proving that the rest of the world had survived the Sundering. He soon set out again, always returning to Pandaria every five years and convincing other bold pandaren to join him on Shen-zin Su. The turtle constantly grew larger over time, eventually becoming so huge that mountains, forests, and villages sprung up on his back, and the pandaren began calling him the "Wandering Isle". When Liu Lang passed away years later, Shen-zin Su stopped returning to Pandaria. While he continued traveling around Azeroth's oceans, his inhabitants became less and less adventurous over the generations and eventually lost their ancestors' spark of wanderlust.

One of the first brewmasters who joined the Wandering Isle before it left Pandaria for good was a widow named Mab Stormstout. While many members of the Stormstout family remained on Pandaria, Mab and her son Liao thus became the ancestors of the Wandering Isle branch of the Stormstouts, and it was into this family that Chen was born.

The Lure of Adventure

Chen Stormstout was born and raised on the Wandering Isle and, as a youth, trained in martial arts alongside his brother Chon Po and best friend Strongbo (more commonly known as "Bo"). While Bo preferred the element of earth, Chen attuned himself to storm, earth, and fire. As the best students in their school, Chen and Bo both knew that they would one day face each other to determine who would be given the title of geomaster, the trainer of the Wandering Isle's pandowan students. As years passed, however, Chen grew restless: he decided it had been too long since anyone had explored the outside world and—as a brewmaster and maker of beer—he also wanted to discover exotic ingredients for his brews.

Bo became frustrated with Chen's daydreaming and tried to convince his friend that exploring the world was pointless since the most important things in life were already right in front of him. The two had an argument, and when the day of their duel arrived, Chen never showed up, having abruptly left the isle behind. Bo and Chon Po both came to resent Chen for having—as they saw it—abandoned his friends and family to chase delusional fantasies. In reality, however, Chen never stopped caring for his family and continued sending letters about his travels to Chon Po's daughter Li Li, instilling in his niece the lesson that life is an adventure.

Chen's search for brew ingredients led him all over Azeroth. One of the earliest places he visited was the continent of Kalimdor, where the orcish Horde led by Warchief Thrall had established the city of Orgrimmar and the nation of Durotar. There, Chen encountered the beastmaster Rexxar and asked him to gather several rare ingredients for his latest brew. Chen then offered some of the resulting beer to the hunter, but the brew was so strong that Rexxar coughed it out and asked if Chen was trying to kill him. Admitting that the drink could use some further work, Chen decided to accompany the beastmaster on his journeys:

Chen: "Well, now that my brew is complete, I can experience more of this strange, rugged land. Would you mind if I tagged along with you, warrior?"

Rexxar: "Not at all, Chen. But my path is a perilous one."

Chen: "Ah, my friend. I've found no path is too perilous when doused with strong drink. Off we go!"

I won't go into their subsequent adventures too much; since recruiting Chen is an optional quest in Warcraft III, he doesn't have any further role in the storyline and is just kind of there for the rest of the campaign. Still, I'll mention the important bits: Rexxar discovered that the human admiral Daelin Proudmoore was planning to invade Durotar and exterminate the orcs, despite his daughter Jaina wanting to live in peace with them. After various events—involving, among others, the blademaster SamuroThrall, Rexxar, Chen, the Darkspear troll leader Vol'jin, the Darkspear scout Rokhan, and the tauren chieftain Cairne Bloodhoof rallied a Horde army and launched an attack on Theramore Isle that ended with Daelin's death. While Chen forged close friendships with Rexxar, Vol'jin, and the others during these events, he soon after left Durotar to continue his travels.

Brewfest and Other Journeys

Chen ended up having many other adventures, from fighting pirates at sea to battling alongside the dwarf king Magni Bronzebeard, but I'll only mention the important ones. Note that it's unclear when a lot of these events took place in relation to each other. For example, sources differ on whether the founding of Brewfest happened before or after the events in Durotar. In this post I'll operate as if the latter is true.

At one point, Chen encountered the orc blademaster Rahjak and defeated him in a duel. In humiliation, Rahjak traveled to the shattered world of Outland, drank demon blood, and transformed into a fel orc in order to become powerful enough to defeat Chen when next they met.

After hearing word of the famous dwarf brewer Grimbooze Thunderbrew, Chen sought him out in the town of Kharanos. The two agreed to sample each other's beer to see whose was superior, with Chen using a magical drinking vessel called the Jug of a Thousand Cups (see Li Li's Jug of 1,000 Cups Heroic), but in the end both thought the other's brew was better. To settle the matter, they organized a "Festival o' Brews" to let all local dwarves vote on their favorite drink. Coren Direbrew, a member of the maligned Dark Iron dwarf clan, convinced Grimbooze to let him partake in the contest as well. Early on it became clear that Grimbooze and Chen were neck and neck whereas Coren had only gotten two votes, one of which was his. Enraged, Coren attacked Grimbooze but was kicked out of the festival by Chen. When the event concluded days later, Grimbooze emerged the victor by only a single vote (as it turned out, Chen had used his own vote for Coren out of pity; if he had voted for himself, the whole contest would have been a tie yet again). Chen congratulated Grimbooze on the victory and left the Jug of a Thousand Cups with him before traveling back to Kalimdor, having heard of rare hops that grew in the Stonetalon Mountains. In time, the Festival o' Brews evolved into Brewfest, a holiday still celebrated by the Alliance and Horde each year. As for Coren Direbrew, he never got over his defeat and still sends his Dark Iron goons to try and disrupt the festival every year.

Chen made his way to Stonetalon, where he helped a keeper of the grove (a descendant of the demigod Cenarius and thus a relative of Lunara) named Keeper Orremin defend a valley of rare and sacred indellium hops from being ravaged by goblins, but in the end they were only able to save two clusters of the plant from destruction. Orremin offered a handful of indellium hops to Chen for his help, but knowing their rarity, the brewmaster refused to take them and left the grove in peace. The devastation he had seen caused him to become pensive, and before continuing his travels he briefly visited the ruined night elf Temple of Zin-Malor to reflect on the past.

Chen ultimately traveled to Outland, spending time with the draenei who lived there and eventually becoming stuck in a "situation he couldn't get out of". While this put an end to his letters to Li Li, he later managed to return to Azeroth. (It's not known exactly what happened; author Micky Neilson wanted to write a story involving Chen and the draenei that would've probably explained this, but unfortunately he never got around to it.)

The Pearl of Pandaria

Back on the Wandering Isle, Li Li grew up reading Chen's letters and, after an argument with Chon Po, ran away from home to search for her uncle. She was reluctantly joined by Strongbo, who had been sent to bring her home to her father. Li Li (going to stop bolding her name now) eventually ended up kidnapped by her uncle's old rival Rahjak and the naga Zhahara Darksquall, who believed that Li Li knew the location of an artifact called the Pearl of Pandaria, which had years before been found by the pandaren fisherman Wanyo before he subsequently vanished. Since Li Li didn't know what the naga was talking about, she was brought to an island and chained up, forced to watch as Strongbo arrived to the island and dueled Rahjak for her freedom.

By splitting into several mirror images (Samuro's Q ability), Rahjak managed to mortally wound Bo. Meanwhile, Li Li escaped her bonds but was grabbed by Zhahara. Just as Rahjak prepared to finish his opponent, Chen suddenly arrived to the island on a rocket, having found Li Li thanks to her worry stone: a trinket commonly thought to be useless, but whose magic had been activated when she was captured by the orc. Rahjak attacked Chen with mirror images, but the brewmaster responded with
Storm, Earth, and Fire (which should of course be familiar to any HotS players) and managed to kill both Rahjak and Zhahara with Bo's help.

Chen and Bo had a heartfelt reunion, with the latter admitting that part of his resentment towards his old friend had been due to jealousy. However, Bo knew that he was dying and asked Chen to take his niece home so she wouldn't have to watch. After Li Li reluctantly said her farewells, the two Stormstouts departed on the brewmaster's rocket as Bo died in peace watching the sunrise. The two returned home to Shen-zin Su, where Chen reunited with his brother and the rest of the Wandering Isle and went about settling into a permanent home, something he hadn't had for years. Li Li later suggested that she and Chen could set out to find the long-lost land of Pandaria together, but while he agreed that it sounded like a great adventure, for the time being he was just happy to be home again.

One evening while Chen, Chon Po, Li Li, and Li Li's brother Shisai were having dinner together, an argument erupted between Po and his daughter about the dangers Li Li had put herself in and which had led to Bo's death. Chen took his brother out to the back porch to argue but quickly realized that Po's frustration didn't actually stem from Li Li, but rather from Chen's departure years prior. The following day, the long-lost fisherman Wanyo suddenly reappeared with the Pearl of Pandaria after being coughed out by Shen-zin Su: as it turned out, he had been swallowed by the Great Turtle years ago. Not long after Wanyo's return, Li Li and the Pearl of Pandaria both conspicuously disappeared from the isle, with Li Li leaving a letter for her father and uncle. Chon Po naturally blamed his brother for filling Li Li's head with foolish notions and informed Chen that it was his responsibility to bring her back. Chen agreed to find his niece to protect her from danger but warned that he wouldn't force her to return against her will.

It didn't take long for Chen to find Li Li in the dwarven city of Ironforge. She admitted to stealing the pearl and explained that it had given her a vision of Pandaria, leading her to believe it was her destiny to find the lost continent. While Chen didn't entirely trust the artifact, he agreed to help his niece on her quest. Following Li Li receiving another vision from the pearl, the two pandaren traveled to the goblin port town of Booty Bay. There they became acquainted with a human known as Catelyn the Blade, only to later discover that she had stolen the pearl while they weren't looking so she could use it to pay a debt she owed to her employers, the Steamwheedle Cartel.

The two pandaren confronted Catelyn and her crew of Blackwater Raiders on her ship, the Neptulon's Bride, but were soon forced to fight alongside them when the ship was attacked by a rival pirate group, the Bloodsail Buccaneers. The Bloodsail quickly overwhelmed the Blackwater and would've easily won had it not been for yet another unexpected arrival: a group of magi of the Kirin Tor—led by none other than Catelyn's estranged father, Archmage Ansirem Runeweaver—who quickly routed the Buccaneers. In the end, Ansirem assured his daughter that he would always love her regardless of her life choices and gave her a magical gem she could sell to pay off her debt. Catelyn subsequently gave the Pearl of Pandaria back to Li Li and Chen since she didn't need it anymore and offered them free passage to the city of Gadgetzan in Kalimdor as repayment. During the voyage, Li Li pondered what Ansirem had said, and the night after they arrived in Gadgetzan she asked Chen if he thought the same was true for her own father. The brewmaster replied that he was certain of it.

After being unable to find a captain willing to take them south to look for Pandaria and following another vision from the pearl, Chen and Li Li accompanied a group of dwarf explorers to Uldum, a desert land inhabited by the catlike tol'vir. The tol'vir were originally stone constructs created by the godlike titans, but long ago they and many other titan creations had been turned into creatures of flesh and blood due to a curse by the malefic Old Gods. After the recent Cataclysm had struck Azeroth, civil war had erupted between the Ramkahen and Neferset tol'vir tribes after the latter allied with the evil dragon Deathwing and the Windlord Al'Akir to regain their stone forms. In the end, the Ramkahen had all but wiped out the Neferset.

Upon arriving in the Ramkahen's city of the same name, Chen and Li Li befriended Menrim, a tol'vir who was advocating for King Phaoris and Ramkahen's High Council to show mercy to a group of Neferset prisoners. It turned out that Menrim had been born a Neferset but sworn allegiance to the Ramkahen when his tribe allied with Deathwing, whereas his younger brother Bathet had loudly supported the pact and was now one of the prisoners facing possible execution. Chen decided he had to do something to help the brothers and so snuck out to the city prison one morning to talk to Bathet, who was completely unrepentant and made clear that he hated his brother and would rather die with his "real family".

Meanwhile, Li Li learned that Menrim had barely ever seen his brother after he came of age. She theorized that Bathet thus resented Menrim out of a sense of abandonment and that he'd joined Deathwing simply to have a place to belong. When Chen asked how she could know this, Li Li revealed that it was because Strongbo had once said similar things about Chen himself. The brewmaster was shocked and realized that Chon Po still felt the same way as Bo had. He sought out Menrim and told him he needed to apologize to Bathet if he wanted his brother to show remorse. This didn't go well, however, and on the following day King Phaoris announced that the prisoners would be put to death. Chen and Li Li immediately went to find Menrim, who was furious with the brewmaster for having the gall to storm into his life and demand that he apologize to a traitor he was trying to save the life of. Li Li tried to comfort Chen and tell him he couldn't fix everything, but that didn't help her uncle feel any less miserable.

The pandaren forced themselves to watch as Bathet and the other prisoners were publicly executed by being crushed with rocks. The spectacle made both of them feel ill and want to get out of Ramkahen as soon as possible. As they were preparing to leave, a grieving Menrim approached them again to apologize for what he'd said and express regret for having been unable to put aside his pride. He thanked Chen for having at least tried to help and gave the pandaren the key to his family boat before bidding the two Stormstouts farewell. With the fate of the two tol'vir brothers fresh on his mind, Chen decided to write a letter to Chon Po to apologize for leaving him years earlier.

Chen and Li Li finally set off for Pandaria in Menrim's boat, but at sea they were overtaken by a violent storm which threw Li Li overboard. Believing his niece to have drowned, Chen became despondent but was shortly after picked up by the Horde warship Warchief's Fist. The ship's captain Aldrek was at first suspicious of the pandaren, but the shaman Karrig verified that Chen had fought alongside Rexxar and the Horde against Admiral Proudmoore at Theramore years earlier. Aldrek then saw Chen's presence as a sign from the spirits and indirectly revealed to him that the Warchief's Fist—which was being trailed by the Alliance vessel Elwynn—was performing reconnaissance for a new Horde attack on Theramore. This made Chen very uneasy, but he decided to play along for the time being.

The Alliance and Horde ships later agreed to open negotiations by each sending a diplomat to the other side. However, when the Alliance emissary Baenan arrived, Aldrek made him a prisoner and prepared to launch a surprise attack on the Elwynn. Meanwhile, the Elwynn's captain Marco Heller held the Horde diplomat Nita hostage in hopes of forcing the Warchief's Fist to leave the area. Chen quickly went to rescue Baenan, who to his immense joy revealed that Li Li was alive and had been picked up by the Elwynn after she was washed overboard. With the help of the blood elf Talithar Swiftwind, who sacrificed himself by using his fire magic to blow up the ship's munitions hold and cause it to begin sinking, Chen and Baenan managed to escape the Warchief's Fist and sail over to the Elwynn, which had similarly erupted in chaos after Heller had tried executing Nita and the night elf Lintharel had stepped up in her defense.

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In the end, though the Warchief's Fist and the Elwynn both sank, Baenan, Lintharel, Nita, and their loved ones made it out safely and began heading back to the mainland in a lifeboat while Chen warmly reunited with Li Li and resumed their journey in the tol'vir boat. The Stormstouts soon reached an area engulfed in thick fog, which after a few days suddenly dispersed around them to reveal their goal: Pandaria. The two made landfall in the Jade Forest region on the continent's eastern coast and so became the first Wandering Isle pandaren to set foot on their ancestral homeland in centuries.

Fate of the Stormstouts

Chen and Li Li headed into the Jade Forest and soon stumbled on and defeated a group of lizard-like raiders called saurok. They learned that the saurok had been terrorizing local pandaren and stealing jade that was being used in the construction of the Serpent's Heart, a massive statue vital to the reincarnation of Yu'lon the Jade Serpent, one of the four August Celestials that watch over Pandaria. The Stormstouts traveled to the Jade Serpent's temple, where an elder sage named Rain-Zhu gave them a tour of the surroundings and allowed Li Li to ride on a flying beast called a cloud serpent as thanks for their help. Before leaving, Chen and Li Li decided to donate the Pearl of Pandaria to the temple since it had fulfilled its purpose of leading them to the continent.

For three weeks the Stormstouts walked through the Jade Forest. While Li Li was impatient to rush out and explore Pandaria, Chen insisted on frequently stopping to take in as much of the land as he could. Not long after the Stormstouts' arrival, the warring Alliance and Horde also landed in the Jade Forest, with Chen at one point


at a place called the Shrine of Fellowship while Li Li was asleep. The two factions soon began sweeping the locals up into their conflict, but by that point Chen and his niece were moving out of the forest and into the tranquil farmlands of the Valley of the Four Winds, where they were joined by Alliance and Horde adventurers. Li Li again became annoyed at Chen's slow pace:

Li Li: "It feels like we were in that forest forever. Let's go! We've got to explore the valley!"

Chen: "Do not be too hasty, Li Li. This is how I traveled Kalimdor: one stop at a time."

Li Li: "No wonder it took you so long, then. You can't explore anything sitting on your butt."

While exploring the valley, the Stormstouts and adventurers met a friendly brewer called Mudmug and helped clear out some rabbit-men called virmen from his land. Shortly after, Mudmug suddenly mentioned that the valley was home to a huge Stormstout Brewery, operated by the biggest brewing family in the whole region. Chen was stunned by the realization that there were other Stormstouts on Pandaria and ran to see the brewery for himself. However, upon arrival he found that his ancestral home had become infested with virmen, rambunctious monkey-men called hozen, and beer monsters called alementals under the watch of the incompetent Uncle Gao Stormstout, who shunned Chen and told him to leave.

After sulking back to Mudmug's farm, Chen resolved to show Gao what it meant to be a real brewer and concocted a masterpiece using ingredients gathered by Li Li, Mudmug, and the heroes: an Emperor Stout. Once the brew was complete, the group traveled back to the brewery (Mudmug was reluctant to intrude on family business, but Chen convinced him that having made beer together practically made them brothers). They found the building in even more disarray than before, but eventually Chen and the adventurers managed to clear out the pests, get the brewery under control, and confront Gao, who revealed that all the other Stormstouts that normally worked in the brewery had left to travel west beyond the great Serpent's Spine wall and fight an insectoid race called the mantid.

Chen and Gao reconciled, but a few days later another crisis appeared in the west: the mantid


using a massive colossus and threatened to overrun the small village of Stoneplow. The Shado-pan—a shadowy order responsible for protecting Pandaria—found themselves outnumbered, and the commander Loon Mai prepared to order a retreat. However, hope arrived when Chen, Li Li, Mudmug, and many other people that adventurers had encountered all across the Valley of the Four Winds and the neighboring Krasarang Wilds rushed to defend the village. Chen told Loon Mai:

"You were surrendering? Why? Because these invaders can break down a wall? You have got another wall… and it's made up of the people who call this place HOME. Any one of us would lay down our life to protect this land. This land, it belongs to us… It belongs to our ancestors… It belongs to our children. And we are not about to let that change."

After a fierce battle, the makeshift army defeated the mantid and their colossus, saving the valley. But this would only be among the start of Pandaria's troubles, for the mantid's recent aggression was in truth caused by the sha: evil spirits of negative emotion that had haunted Pandaria for millennia.

While Chen and Gao went back to discussing brews, Li Li snuck off to have her own adventures across Pandaria. Chen later left the brewery to search for the rest of his family in the Dread Wastes, the sha-infested mantid homeland west of the Serpent's Spine. He discovered that four Stormstouts—Big Dan, Han, brave little Evie, and the elderly Mama—had visited a settlement called the Sunset Brewgarden. Dan was still sleeping in the brewgarden, but the other three had left in different directions. Chen soon found young Evie but was devastated to discover that he was too late: she had been killed while hunting in the wastes. He carried her body back to the brewgarden and held


for her; while he had never gotten to know the girl, she was still family—and she looked like Li Li.

Shortly after, Chen found Han Stormstout frozen in a block of amber (which he was later freed from when adventurers splashed beer on it) and later Mama Stormstout being mind-controlled by the mantid Iyyokuk (long story I won't get into here) and brought them both back to the brewgarden. The Stormstouts were now reunited save for Li Li. Chen sent a message to his niece and arranged for a Shado-pan monk named Min to escort her to a place along the Serpent's Spine where he would meet up with her. However, mantid attacks prevented Chen from reaching the wall and forced Li Li to separate from Min and climb down the west side of the barrier. When the attack ceased, Chen met up with Min and learned what had happened. He quickly returned to the brewgarden and was in the process of organizing his fellow Stormstouts into a search party when Li Li suddenly appeared and reunited with her uncle, having made it through the Dread Wastes on her own. Chen wanted to send Li Li back to the safety of the Valley of the Four Winds, but she insisted on staying and fighting after having seen the havoc the sha were wreaking across Pandaria. (Although to be honest, this last part never really went anywhere plotwise.)

The Fires of War

Time passed and Chen began seriously contemplating to permanently settle in Pandaria. While the idea of starting a family appealed to him, he wasn't sure if it would fulfill him enough to give up his life of adventuring. He alternated between working in the Stormstout Brewery and wandering around the continent to learn more about it, eventually pitching in at the village of Binan by performing labor for the ornery Chiang sisters (Li Li spent her time by entertaining the local cubs). One day, Chen came upon Tyrathan Khort, a human hunter from the Alliance army who had been badly injured in battle, and decided to bring him to the Shado-pan Monastery in the mountains of Kun-Lai Summit to recuperate with the monks there. About a month later, he made another unexpected find: his old friend Vol'jin, leader of the Horde's Darkspear trolls, wounded and near death after an assassination attempt by agents of the Horde warchief Garrosh Hellscream. Chen brought the troll to the monastery as well, after which he decided to stay and help out with chores while his "foundlings" recovered.

Despite their races' enmity, Tyrathan and Vol'jin gradually developed an odd friendship. Meanwhile, Chen quickly took an interest in the wise and beautiful Shado-pan priestess Yalia Sagewhisper, and she took an interest in him. One day a fierce blizzard swept through Kun-Lai. Tyrathan was nearly killed, but was saved thanks to Vol'jin and a potion called memory wine brewed by Chen. When the storm broke, the Shado-pan lord Taran Zhu dispatched monks across Kun-Lai to assess damage. Chen volunteered to go east with Yalia. The two bonded during the trip, with the priestess revealing her life story: she had been born in Zouchin Village on Kun-Lai's northern coast but had left to join the monastery when she was only a cub after realizing she had become a prize in a rivalry between two boys, a rivalry that would have only escalated until one of them got himself killed.

Chen and Yalia initially planned to head to a place called the Temple of the White Tiger and meet up with Li Li but changed course after hearing from farmers that the young Stormstout had headed to Zouchin to help with repairs. Once at the village, Chen convinced Yalia to reunite with her long-lost family. While her relatives were shocked to see her again, they welcomed Chen with open arms and he became determined to start up a small brewery in the village. However, this peace wouldn't last.

Pandaria had long been menaced by the mogu, a brutish race who had ruled Pandaria in ancient times before being overthrown by their pandaren slaves and who now sought to reclaim their empire. The mogu had recently reforged a pact with their ancient allies, the Zandalari trolls, who were for their part seeking to reunite all of the world's troll tribes under a single banner. After resurrecting the first mogu emperor, Lei Shen the Thunder King, the Zandalari launched an invasion fleet against Zouchin. While Vol'jin, Tyrathan, and a handful of Shado-pan rushed to defend the village, Chen helped Yalia and Li Li lead the villagers to the safety of the Temple of the White Tiger.

The attack was repelled, but Taran Zhu knew this was only the beginning of the Zandalari invasion. After some conferring, he, Vol'jin, and many of the other monks headed back to the Shado-pan Monastery to plan strategy; Yalia and Li Li escorted refugee caravans (including Yalia's family) south to the Stormstout Brewery; and Chen and Tyrathan headed out to scout Kun-Lai. Li Li was unhappy about doing "delivery service", but Chen convinced her that she would be helping to save Pandaria by safeguarding the people at the brewery and training them to fight. Parting from Yalia was harder, however; the brewmaster realized during his and Tyrathan's mission that while he had long been searching for Pandaria, Yalia was the reason he'd been searching for it.

A few days into their mission, Chen and Tyrathan ended up in a fight with a group of Zandalari in an abandoned farmer's croft. Although Chen was disturbed by the calculating and cruel way Tyrathan killed the trolls, the two won the fight and obtained a journal revealing that the invaders were headed to the heart of Pandaria: the sacred Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Back at the monastery, Taran Zhu concluded that the Zandalari wanted to invade the vale in order to resurrect the Thunder King's ancient mogu warlords, many of whom had been buried there thousands of years ago. To stop this, Chen, Tyrathan, Vol'jin, and a small band of Shado-pan embarked to the vale, with Chen seeing to the company's food and bandage supplies. After trekking through the tranquil valley for a few days, the group was led into a trap and captured by the Zandalari war leader Khal'ak.

Khal'ak took Vol'jin aside and gave him an offer: if he joined the Zandalari, his Darkspear tribe would be elevated above all others and his friends would be allowed to go free. The following day, the Zandalari and their mogu allies entered the tomb of Warlord Kao, one of the Thunder King's top lieutenants, and resurrected him by ritually sacrificing two of the Shado-pan and two human captives. The entire company subsequently traveled to the Thunder King's hidden stronghold, the Isle of Thunder, where Vol'jin was taken to meet Khal'ak's superior Vilnak'dor while Chen, Tyrathan, and the surviving Shado-pan monk Brother Cuo were locked in a cage in the island's swamps. They were just about to escape and look for Vol'jin when the Darkspear returned and—to their relief—revealed that he would refuse Khal'ak's offer.

The quartet quickly slipped out, killing what Zandalari officers they could and—using some explosive munitions and a well-placed arrow from Tyrathan—blowing up part of the trolls' harbor before escaping back to the Shado-pan Monastery in a small boat. Everyone knew that the Zandalari and mogu would retaliate against the monastery, but Taran Zhu informed them that he and the rest of the Shado-pan would not abandon their home despite only having 30 monks available to protect it. Chen, Tyrathan, and Vol'jin all agreed to stay and help, and so the monastery's defenders became known as the Thirty-three. Knowing he might not survive, Chen wrote a letter to Li Li. By this point, Yalia had returned to Kun-Lai. As she and Chen were laying traps for the the enemy, they admitted their love for one another. The brewmaster told the priestess:

"All those brews and concoctions I made were my attempt to capture a place or a time. A bard might do that with a song, or a painter with a picture. They play to ear and eye, whereas I play to nose and palate and, perhaps, touch too. I always sought the perfect brew, hoping to find that one which would describe the emptiness in my life. It could fill it. But here, now, I know I am whole. And while I can capture a place and time in what I do, now I possess joy and happiness—both of which are compounded by your presence in my life."

The two kissed and admitted to wanting to have cubs together should they survive the next few days. The evening before battle, the monks feasted and Chen created a brew that he considered his best one yet, naming it "Thirty-three" in their honor. When the Zandalari attacked the following day, Chen fought alongside Yalia and the others. The battle was long and brutal and most of the monks were killed, but in the end Vol'jin slew Khal'ak and routed the Zandalari. Afterward, Chen decided to accompany the Darkspear as he returned home to oppose Warchief Garrosh's reign. Chen bade Yalia farewell but promised that he would return to her, stating that with her he was—for once and truly—at home.

Upon returning to Durotar, Vol'jin reunited with the ex-warchief Thrall, rallied the Darkspear tribe, and declared open rebellion against Garrosh. Chen fought alongside the Darkspear Rebellion as it liberated the trolls' homes and captured the town of Razor Hill from the warchief's elite Kor'kron troops, but the brewmaster was saddened by the bloodshed he saw. He reflected that even though he had helped found Durotar years before, he now hardly recognized the place. Ultimately, Vol'jin's revolution laid siege to Orgrimmar alongside the Alliance and defeated Garrosh, but Chen was not present for this, instead traveling back to Pandaria to visit the newly-uncovered mysterious Timeless Isle with Li Li.

The Broken Temple

Nothing was heard from Chen until about a year later, when the demonic Burning Legion invaded Azeroth. Chen and his niece were teaching a group of cubs at Peak of Serenity—a monastery in Kun-Lai where monks from all factions trained together in peace—when the place was attacked by Legion forces led by the demon Lady Keletress. A monk adventurer (the WoW monk player character) helped Chen lead the cubs to safety, but the peak ended up being overrun by demons and the lead monk Grand Master Hight was killed. Luckily, the other monks were able to relocate to the Wandering Isle (which happened to be passing near Pandaria), where they reorganized into the Order of the Broken Temple and appointed the adventurer as Hight's successor. Chen and Li Li both eagerly pledged themselves to fight for the newly-appointed Grandmaster.

The monks soon noticed that the famed Tian Monastery in the Jade Forest had fallen suspiciously quiet. Chen was sent to investigate and found the monastery under attack from more of Keletress' minions. The Grandmaster stepped in and repelled the attack but was unable to prevent several monks from being kidnapped by the Legion's allies, the vrykul (Viking-like half-giants) of the Felskorn clan. As the Grandmaster subsequently tracked the Felskorn, they learned of a magical beer called Storm Brew and ended up working alongside the vrykul brewer Aegira (the apprentice of Storm Brew's original creator) to gather the ingredients for the drink, hoping to use it against the Legion. Just as they finished collecting the ingredients, however, Lady Keletress launched an attack on the Wandering Isle itself. Chen and the Grandmaster worked together to defend Aegira while she finished the Storm Brew, after which the Grandmaster used the concoction to become powerful enough to defeat Keletress and save the isle. The monks of the Broken Temple celebrated and Chen held a short speech:

"When the Burning Legion arrived, they took much from us. Many of us still grieve for our fallen friends. We long for the yesteryears of peace. And like you, I fear the dark days yet to come. But today, is NOT that day. Today, we celebrate the dawn of a new order! Today, we toast to friendship and fellowship! Under the Grandmaster's leadership, let every day be a new dawn! And let us never give up the fight for another tomorrow! To the Grandmaster!"

At some other point during the Burning Legion's invasion (the chronology is a bit unclear), Chen and Li Li traveled to the Temple of the White Tiger to attend a competition held by the August Celestial Xuen to determine who would be worthy to wield the Fist of Ra-den, a deadly weapon capable of harnessing the power of storms. (Chen apparently wanted the Fist because Storm, Earth, and Fire was "kind of thing".) During the course of the competition, the pandaren went up in a duel against a shaman adventurer (the WoW shaman player character) and Rehgar Earthfury as part of a trial meant to test their teamwork. After a short battle (one that pays heavy homage to Heroes of the Storm), the two Stormstouts were defeated but subsequently stuck around to witness the adventurer facing the competition's final trial: mastering the Fist of Ra-den itself. As the shaman was struggling to control the weapon's power, the temple was suddenly attacked by Lord Kra'vos, a demon seeking to claim the Fist for the Burning Legion. Chen, Li Li, and Rehgar were trapped by Kra'vos' minions, but using the Fist, the adventurer freed them and defeated the demon lord. Xuen declared the shaman worthy of wielding the weapon, signalling an end to the competition.


And that's the unexpectedly longwinded history of Chen. He hasn't really appeared in any meaningful role since Legion, but while I personally like to think he's finally gone to settle down with Yalia and make a true home for himself, I've no doubt Blizzard could bring him back for more adventures if they really wanted. Anyway, see you all on Sunday for the quotes/abilities thread.

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