I seem to be drawn to the sadder quests in-game. Just as I can guarantee finding a matinee movie to cry to (regardless of when I turn the tv on), I have a knack for finding quests involving murdered families and broken hearts. One of these quest chains that every single one of my Alliance characters has to do whilst levelling is the “Shady Rest” chain.
We first learn of James Hyal from breadcrumb quests in the Eastern Kingdoms. Friends and family are understandably worried about him.
My brother James went with Lady Proudmoore across the sea. Last I heard, the fighting had settled down over there, and James was setting up an inn somewhere on the continent. Wherever he is, I’m sure he’s doing good business. Damn fine cook he was.
I haven’t heard from him for a while now–too busy with his inn, I’d wager–but the clerk in Theramore could probably point you to him. Look for him on the top floor of that keep near the middle of the city. What’s it called… Foothold Citadel, that’s it.
On arrival in Theramore we learn that James isn’t doing the “good business” his brother was hoping for. In fact, quite the opposite. He sits outside the Theramore Inn singing to himself, his mind broken by the terrible events at the Shady Rest Inn.
From speaking to the Captain of the Guard, we learn that when the Inn was burnt down, Mr Hyal’s wife and son died but that the people responsible have yet to be caught. Now we can’t have that, so off into the Marsh we go on a hunt for clues.
After a fair bit of fighting, a spot of arson and some amazing Nancy Drew like detective skills, the mystery is solved.
How are you meant to tell a murdered wife and son that their husband and father is now a broken shadow of the man he once was. That having brought his family to a new frontier and having failed to protect them, he spends his days singing to himself. No wonder she couldn’t find a way to talk to Jim.
However what makes this chain extra sad in my eyes is the fact that nothing changes. James is still insane and his wife and son are still dead. They aren’t together and neither can “Smiling Jim” derive comfort from the fact that you found those responsible, simply because he can’t understand (although technically no one tries to tell him). Compare that to Darrowshire, another epic and tragic quest chain. Little Pamela eventually gets both her dolly and her daddy back thanks to Chromie’s meddling in the time line. Sure, they are both still dead but at least given the circumstances it’s a happier ending.
I hope that come Cataclysm Jim will find a reason to smile again.