Tarlach lost his father, Rilken Steelmane, at a young age, leaving him with only his mother, Narashi. He remembers nearly nothing about his father, having repressed the memories as a child. His mother grieved for the loss of her husband, however, and in her grief fell into a deep depression. shortly after Tarlach journeyed to Camp Narache, his mother fell deathly ill. She would not eat enough to sustain her, and she only ventured outside on rare occasion, until she was too weak to do so. Finally, on a starless night in late Autumn, as a chill wind blew, Narashi breathed her last. It was Grull, the son of Chief Hawkwind of Camp Narache, who brought the news of Narashi's death to sixteen-year-old Tarlach. For three days, he walked the foothills south of Red Cloud Mesa, grieving and praying as he had been taught. He then returned to Bloodhoof Village, where he was greeted solemnly by his friend and childhood mentor, and the chief of the village, Baine Bloodhoof. ((Yeah, I know "Friends in High Places" associations are lame...but that's really how the story goes.)) Baine offered to help in any way he could, for which Tarlach managed only a half-hearted "thanks." Baine could not know the internal turmoil that boiled behind Tarlach's steely blue eyes.
Tarlach walked north, to the shore of Stonebull Lake, where his mother's open casket still rested, and stood for a long time, looking at his mother's peaceful face. He knew she was now among his ancestors, who stood vigil over the Tauren people. But he could not shake the feeling that, somehow, he had been to blame for his mother's sickness and death. "If only I had stayed...," Tarlach whispered over his mother's body, holding tightly the necklace around his neck. And suddenly, something like regret began to well up inside him. But it wasn't regret--it was something else. Something ugly. A transformation was taking place in Tarlach's mind................in retrospect, one that he could have halted. But he did not. Instead, he made his way to the grasslands in the northeastern section of Mulgore, and began hunting. From the moment he awoke, until he was too exhausted to do any more, Tarlach hunted, stopping only to eat a small amount of the raw meat from his kills. To Tarlach, it wasn't hunting...it was killing. As rage drove him on, and the carcasses piled up, his hurt only seemed to increase. Finally, after nearly fourteen days, Tarlach allowed himself to ponder a plainstrider's dying scream, and realization swept over him -- this was not right. This would never bring healing for his spiritual wounds. Utterly broken, in the fading light of day, Tarlach knelt and wept bitterly, his axe blade half-sunken in the rain-softened soil. There he spent the night under a starry sky, sprawled on the ground with his axe handle sticking up nearby.
As the morning light flooded his senses, Tarlach groaned. Somehow, he hoped he would have died during the night, but such luck was not to be his. He sat up, and rubbed his eyes. This was the first night in many that he had not woken up in a cold sweat, from a dream of his mother calling out for him. It was the first morning in many that every muscle in his body did not cry out to him in agony. Nearby, carrion birds squawked loudly, fighting over pieces of the carcass of a dead cougar. One that Tarlach had killed. As he watched the carrion birds tearing at the creature's skin and golden fur coat, he felt a new feeling -- remorse. It was then that Tarlach realized that he had finally made peace with his mother's memory. He returned to Bloodhoof village, and immersed himself in the company of other Tauren, until his mother's face no longer haunted his consciousness. And Tarlach Steelmane began to pick up the pieces of his shattered life, making a simple hunter's living in the central plains of Mulgore.