Journals of Alhazred

Fiction based on the World of Warcraft game setting

Monday, December 26, 2005

Of Defias and Honor Betrayed Pt.1

Journal Entry

What defines a nation? Some might say it is the laws by which it governs itself. Others may look to the general prosperity of its citizens or the marvels of its architectural achievements. For myself, I believe that the underlying worth of a people can be determined by how it meets it obligations to even its weakest members.

A poignant example of this is the region of Westfall. Once considered the breadbasket of the nation, this once fertile territory learned a harsh lesson about the priorities of those to whom obligation is an inherited responsibility. Having spent selflessly the flowering youth of its sons and daughters in the dark times of the Third War, the Westfallians returned to find the land they fought so desperately for over run by brigands and the marauding depredations of its indigenous gnoll tribes.

Having received the empty regrets of the capital concerning the necessary manpower and resources needed to retake their lands, those that once wearily dreamed of laying down their swords have had to strap on their burden once more to stand with those few remaining men of honor that believed in their vows to safeguard the realm they once swore allegiance to. Ask any veteran what the true lesson is of warfare and the promises of its ruling class. Most will tell you that only in fairytales do the costs of Happily Ever After end with the defeat of the enemy…

A month after my introduction to Ethani and her party saw me laying claim to a bunk in the garrison tower of Sentinel Hill in Westfall. Marshall Dughan, having realized his attempt to draw uncomfortable attention to my occupation with The Order had not born fruit, decided that he would be rid of my presence by banishing me to the edges of the kingdom. I am sure that he no doubt looked forward with anticipation to news of my demise from the blades of the Defias that over ran the area, or possibly from the stubborn traditionalist peoples that still made it their home.

I will admit that my first week was filled with suspicion, but the harsh reality of their situation quickly helped the beleaguered guards and homesteaders to look beyond my vocations reputation and accept the unique help I would be able to provide. I must admit that my willingness to help the Westfallian’s with the most basic of tasks, such as recovering lost property or helping one Mrs.Saldean acquire the ingredients for her rightly famous Goretusk Pies, did not hurt as well. Although the hand I had in the thinning of the malfunctioning Harvest Golems, as well as the ever present gnolls, may have went a long way to opening the doors of my fellow kinsmen, I believe it was most likely the pies that won them over more than anything. Certainly the head of the People’s Militia, Gryan Stoutmantle, seemed to appreciate the change from the usual rations.

Gryan was an interesting example of the people he safeguarded. Creased and scarred from a lifetime of martial experience, he nonetheless retained a stoic and dry sense of humor that I found I appreciated along with the frankness with which he entered conversations. The most distinctive impression I had of the man was that while keenly aware of the odds against him and his men, he would not put aside the burden he had taken on for his people till his duty eventually called upon him to make the inevitable sacrifice that all true heroes makes in the end. I only hoped that when he was eventually called upon one last time to give up his life in their defense, the people of Westfall would properly honor the man, who even with the crushing knowledge that his kingdom had abandoned him, had stood as a shield against the chaos around them.

As a symbol of his growing trust in my desire to prove my worth and sincerity, Gryan told me of information he had acquired that spoke of an encampment of Defias that had recently setup an outpost in the Jangolode Mines on the western edge of Westfall. Seeing this as a perfect opportunity to prove my abilities against their greatest threat, I assured Gryan that I would deal with this outpost. After the meeting, the scout Galiaan found me preparing for the mission. He asked, that if possible, I recover any of the symbolic red bandannas the Defias always wore from the ones I managed to dispatch. This would go a long way to not only boosting the moral of the farmers, but the rest of the garrison as well he said. I agreed to do my best in this regard and set off to start making a real difference to these people.


Two days later I returned to the tower exhausted and battered, but bearing fifteen bloody and torn bandannas as proof that the Defias Brotherhood would have to be a bit more discrete the next time it planned on expanding its foothold.

Stoutmantle was much pleased, so it was no major feet to get him to agree to allow me to scout among the Dagger Hills. This range comprised the eastern edge of Westfall and included the abandoned town of Moonbrook and the acknowledged stronghold of the Defias leadership, the Dead Mines. Gryan also charged me with further removing any of the Brotherhood I might find in the mountains close to the mines. So after a hot meal and a night’s undisturbed rest, I made what repairs were needed to my gear and set off once again.

I found the Dagger Hills to be an interesting lesson in stealth and field craft, as the entire range was infested with sentries and small camps. Were I could, I managed to catch the bandits in unguarded moments away from their brothers or relied on the talents of my servant Voxil to even the odds when single combat was simply not an option.

Strangely, in the midst of all this, I stumbled upon the encampment of a rather peculiar dwarf named Grimbooze Thunderbrew. After speaking with the odd little brewmaster and sampling a bit of his wares, I could only come to the conclusion that he had wandered into these mountains while under the effects of rather potent stout, and had simply not recovered enough since then to make his way on to his homeland. Here it seemed was a unique opportunity to do a little something for the guards of the tower of a more personal nature and I quickly inquired about purchasing a keg of the dwarf’s best brew. Grimbooze sadly informed me that he could not meet my request, as he barely had any of his own personnel stash left. But, if I would be willing to bring him the ingredients necessary for his gods given gift, he would produce a keg of ale the likes of which would make the King of Ironforge weep gratefully in his cups.

It was with this promise that I made my way to the Saldeans farm. I was well acquainted with the Saldeans, and knew that Mr. Saldean would be willing to part with some of the recoverd hops we had found within the Harvest Golems I had helped him deal with. So, with cargo in hand it was not long before I was back at Grimbooze’s camp watching a true artist at work on a craft he loved.

The rich and tantalizing aroma of his brew promised a grand celebration when I returned to the Hill with my latest collection of Defias apparel. Using a special alchemical process perfected by dwarven brewmasters, Grimbooze was able to have a perfectly aged keg of his finest stout ready by morning. As I thanked him for his generous hospitality the previous night in sharing not only tales of his adventures but more of his personal stock, along with the accompanying headache, he agreed to seek out Gryan and company. After all, men who could truly appreciate the rightous glory that was dwarven lager were rare and precious in this world and in need of cultivating he said.

Needless to say, that evening found the garrison toasting not only the success of my mission into The Daggers, but also savoring steins of what was possibly the masterwork of one of the finest dwarfs it is still my pleasure to have met.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tales of the Fallen: Kralnor's Staff

This is a stand-alone story to celebrate the genius that was Kralnor. For those of you wishing to find out more about this wunderkin, I recommend

For Kralnor, your staff was indeed a good one…

I was studying the alchemical uses for Fadeleaf the first time I came across the name of Kralnor. My master was fond of giving me quizzes on his favorite hobby, and that day saw me deep in the stacks of the library that the Conclave of Warlocks maintained.

It was not uncommon at any given time to find numerous apprentices tracking down this bit of arcane knowledge or that piece of trivial lore for one of their masters projects, so it was not surprising the see my friend Malachi two tables over. Only the top of his curly brown hair was visible above the fortress of books he had built around himself, and I smiled at the thought of him feverishly scribbling notes from one of the military treatise he always found so fascinating.

With a shake of my head, I turned back to the discourses of the warlock Alaric on the many, and rather boring, uses of Fadeleaf. After my fourth yawn in as many minutes, I closed the dusty old tome and decided that Malachi obviously needed rescuing from his barricade.

Quietly walking up behind my friend, I smacked him on the back of the head. With a startled yelp, Malachi jerked around in his chair and gave me an evil glare. “Damn it Abdul, I thought you were Yorgi come to tell me I had left a smudge in one of the books again!” Yorgi was the librarian, and spoke of in whispers by all the young warlock apprentices. Quick with a curse of silence when anyone so much as sneezed from the dust accumulated by all the many grimoires, Yorgi was also known to give his imp free reign to wander the stacks looking for young boys trying to catch up on much needed sleep. It was agreed by us all, that taking a succubus to one of the grand dances at the palace would have been preferable than to be in his ill graces.

“Stop barking like a gnoll before you drawn The Grumplock down on us fool!” I admonished in jest. Malachi quickly looked around then grinned sheepishly. “Aye your right, but you still had no cause to hit me.” He said. “Glad you’re here though, you should read this.”

Looking over his shoulder, I saw that I had been correct. It was indeed another of the accounts of the Second War that he always found so enthralling. Malachi simply could not put dreams of battleground glory and martial exploits out of his mind. A large lad with surprising physical strength, it was not shocking that he excelled at the weapons training that we all were obliged to take part in. But for Malachi, the lessons were more than simple precautions for a warlock that might find themselves in a situation were magic was slower than a good sword. I myself was fond of dagger work, and took some pride in praise from my instructor, but felt that if it ever came to me relying on a dagger for protection, I deserved what came for being unprepared. Malachi on the other hand came into his own when he held a fighting staff in his hands. Gone were any doubts about his skills or the taunting of the other apprentices when he was slow to grasp even the basics of rudimentary magic. Many were the snide comments that found their reply on the practice grounds at the end of Malachi’s stave.

“What now, some account of Sir Extremely Boring and how he saved the Hand-Maidens of Selune from their virginity?” I sked, in as bored a tone as I could. “Very funny, but no.” he said with exasperation. “This is an account of the Arch Warlock Kralnor, an how he fell holding the Searing Gorge pass from a Scourge incursion till Alliance troops could arrive.”

“So” I said

“So, Kralnor was the Warlock that perfected the technique for staff use while casting. He learned to alter the somatic gestures of many spells to be able to cast with one hand while welding a weapon.” Malachi told me. “It says here that his body was returned to the Conclave and buried in the Mausoleum of the Fallen.”

“I’m sure its all very noble and interesting, but how this Kralnor fell will not keep you from getting another trashing from your master Bogdan if he finds out you were in here skylarking again!” I told him. “I’m sure that is not the reason you were sent here Malachi. You really should be studying for you next test. I know you scored low marks on the last three you have taken.”

“True, but this could be something that might give me an edge.” He admitted. “I’m not as smart as you I know Abdul, but that just means I must find a way to play to my strengths.”

This was more wisdom than I was used to hearing from Malachi, and if he was willing to risk the ire of his teacher again so soon, then it must be something he thought worth the chance.

Taking a deep breath, I asked, “So tell me, what have you found so far?”

“Kralnor was said to have written down his fighting style along with his altered spells in a small manual. It may be that the manual was placed along with the rest of his most personal items in his crypt!” He said with more passion than I had seen him use for anything.

“Let me see, your plan then is to not only sneak into the Mausoleum of the Fallen, but then to rob the grave of this Kralnor?” I asked aghast.

“This manual could be what I’m looking for Abdul. With the knowledge it contains, I could start an arcane fighting school or find a position as a BattleLock in one of the Kings regiments. You know I will never have a seat of respect in the Conclave. I’ll make a good warlock, but not a great one. This might be my way of making a name for myself.” He said in all earnestness.

“What you could do is get yourself killed.” I told him. “But if you really mean to go ahead with this insanity, you will need someone with a little common sense.” I said with a smile. “When do you plan to do it?”

“Tonight. Bogdan is meeting with Master Algarve to discuss the relationship between our resurrection stones and soul shards. He won’t even know I have slipped out.” Malachi told me.

“Then I will tell Garza that I need to help you study for your next summoning test. He knows you, so might just believe that.” I said chuckling; “I’ll meet you at the Mausoleum after midnight.”

“Thanks, I knew I could count on you my friend.” He said as I gave his shoulder a companionable squeeze.

I returned then to my Fadeleaves and prayed that tonight would not go as badly as I knew it could…


I met Malachi at midnight. With the skills all young men bent on mischief master, it was not hard to elude the guards and make our way into the crypts. I did not fear magical traps or sentries, knowing that the Conclave traded shamelessly on their reputation to ensure that any covetous grave robber knew better than plying their trade in a tomb of warlocks. Our worst scenario was to be caught by the night watch on the way back out.

After searching for the better course of two hours, we finally found the resting place of Kralnor. The sarcophagus was impressive, being made of marble. Glyphs of Warding had been etched along its base and a crest was engraved upon the lid. Feeling more than slightly uncomfortable, I accepted one of the pry bars that Malachi had thoughtfully purchased in the Dwarvin district earlier that day.

“Ready?” I asked him

“It’s here! I know it!” he said as if to himself as he started to work the lid.

With another deep sigh, I shrugged and put my back to the effort. After a bit of near backbreaking effort, the lid finally shifted with a reluctant release of corpse gas. Gagging on the stench, I turned away as Malachi put those formidable shoulder of his to the task of pushing to lid all the way off. With a final explosive grunt of strain, Malachi succeeded in sending the lid crashing off its base.

I heard his exclamation as he peered into the sarcophagus and hurried to peek inside. Kralnor was nothing more than a yellowed skeleton encased in rotting silk robes. Clutched in his bony fingers, and running the length of his body, was a staff that gave off a faint silvery glow and seemed to be made of metal. Strangely, the stave seemed to also have a grainy pattern along its surface as of some highly polished wood.

“Do you know what that is?” Malachi turned and asked me, wonder in his eyes.

“An interesting alternative to glow lights?” I asked disgustedly.

“And you talk as if you’re the Gods gift to alchemy.” He said reproachfully; “All that horticulture knowledge and you don’t recognize Ironwood?”

“Ironwood?” I asked defensively.

“Yes, Ironwood. It comes from an extremely rare tree found in the oldest sacred groves. Harvested by druids and properly enchanted, its harder than dwarvish steel.” He exclaimed in exasperation. “It is also rumored to have the power to absorb some of the magical energies thrown at its welder to allow them to cast a stone form spell once a day.”

“So it’s a good staff.” I said in a huff

“It’s the best staff! There are warlocks that would give the entire contents of their lab for a staff such as this! Think of it Abdul, nearly unbreakable with the power of spell absorption, it can also channel the strength of the very stones…” He implored in near ecstasy.

“Warlock rocks. I get it, now can you take your new toy so we can leave?” I said testily.

Hurt by my cavalier attitude for so obviously a monumental treasure, Malachi turned back to the sarcophagus and gently pried the staff from Kralnor fingers. No sooner had the stave left its clutchs, the skeleton crumpled into dust; robes and all. Buried within the pile, was a worn leather bound book. With shaking hands, Malachi reverentially lifted the old tome from its resting place and opened the cover.

With his eyes alight and a look of pure excitement on his face, Malachi turned to me and said; “This is it! All of the secrets of his fighting art are here!”

“Great, we’ll both look it over at our leisure once we get the hell out of here!” I told him sarcastically.

“With luck we will make it of here sometime before dawn! “ I said furiously as I turned and started to walk away. “I for one don’t relish getting caught down here and reported to the Conclave.”

Just as we made it to the door of the crypt, we heard a sound behind us. Frightened out of our minds, we turned and beheld a ghostly figure leaning against the sarcophagus with its arms folded.

“Powers of Light Preserve Us!!” I cried out,the image of my life being ripped away by this spectre flashing through my mind.

Malachi took a shaking step forward toward the apparition. “We meant no harm Lord Kralnor.” He said with more steel in his voice than I thought anyone faced with such a sight ought to have. “Its criminal to let such gifts be lost to the ages. You have so much to impart to those of us you have left behind." He implored.

Kralnor’s ghost gazed at us in silence, with what I later swore was a twinkle in his eye. “Took someone this long to learn that huh? He said gruffly.

“And I suppose you believe you have the heart to take my teachings into the world boy? He asked Malachi with a scowl.

“Sir, I know my heart as well as my place in this world. Your techniques are the fulfillment of my path. I will do you justice.” Malachi told Kralnor with sincerity.

At that Kralnor gave Malachi a piercing stare, spending a long moment contemplating the young man before him. I believe he must have seen into my friends soul and knew the truth of his words for he eventually said; “ You may at that. Go with my blessing then, and leave me to my rest.”

“Thank you teacher!” blurted Malachi as he clutched the staff and book closer to his chest. “I will make you proud!”

“Get the F*** out I said!! My rest calls me and you two have disturbed me enough!! roared Kralnor. And with that, he faded away.

We both turned and fled as fast as our feet could carry us to the entrance of the Mausoleum. Taking just enough time to make sure the guard was not patrolling by, we ran till we came to the canal and there stopped before parting ways.

“You owe me Malachi.” I told him with a grin. “ That was the most idiotic thing I have ever done since meeting you!”

“Aye my friend, I know.” He admitted. “If you should ever have need of someone to guard your back, you have but to say the word and my arm is yours.”

I reached out and cuffed him quickly on the side of the head. “That’s what friends are for. Now I really must get home. If Graza finds me coming in at this hour, I’ll find myself feeling less charitable toward you in the morning. “ I said with a laugh. And with that, turned and started heading toward a long overdue rendezvous with my bed.

My last glimpse of Malachi that night was him standing at the edge of the canal, staff and book in hand wearing a foolish grin, bathed in moonlight and happier than I had know him since first we had met.

Yes, I looked forward to the next time he taught someone a lesson on the martial grounds…I looked forward to it indeed.

By the hand of Abdul Alhazred
Vizier of the Conclave of Warlocks

The Burdens of Faith and Darkness

Journal Entry

Elthani and her band, despite their allegiances, proved to be surprisingly companionable. The cynical side of my nature realized that it would hardly do to go around terrorizing the villagers of every hamlet they might stop at. But the easy with which they affected such disarming charm, given the usual methods they were known to employ, was almost more sinister in its implications than any outright manifestations of their authority. It was quickly apparent that winning the hearts and minds of the simple peasantry, like those found in Goldshire, would be fairly easy regardless of whatever deference the threat of their Order might bring them. It was no hardship to image facing the flaming end of a torch-welding mob, were I to come to odds with the group, after all I was a warlock. The usual gamut of fears and prejudices that word implied would weigh heavy against what meager goodwill my time with the patrols and the defeat of Hogger would afford me. If nothing else, the threat of having the village burned to the ground for harboring heresy would force their hands.

So it was that I put on my best smile, and with a skill that almost half convinced me I had squandered an obvious talent for the stage, proceeded to indulge in idle conversation with Elthani and party. Eventually after much ale, and the hour grown late, I found myself nursing my last stein in the company of the priest Japheth. The usual patrons of the tavern having already made their way home, and the rest of the inquisitors taking to their rooms for the night, I found myself quietly contemplating the fact that I owed at least a votive candle to the Goddess of Luck the next time I passed the Great Cathedral in Stormwind.

Such thoughts also turned my mind toward Japheth. During the evening, Japheth had remained mostly silent only rarely offering commentary on the conversations we all shared. It was not difficult for one of my vocation to discern the touch of Darkness in those around me, so I found myself quickly fascinated by the fact that sitting next to me this evening was a being even more wrapped in dark tails of folklore than myself; a Shadow Priest.

Much to my dismay, and due in no small part to the ale I had drank all evening, I found myself turning and asking the one question his nature fueled my curiosity to ask. “Why do you do it?”.

Lifting his head from what I assumed was contemplation of the contents of his own stein, Japheth focused his gaze on me and asked why I, of all people, would need to ask such a question of him. I stammered a quick apology, but Japheth merely sighed and turned more fully toward me, inviting me to ask my question again.

My curiosity getting the better of my sense of self-preservation, I asked him again why he would willing devote himself to the worship of Dark Gods. I at least made the pretense of fighting for the portions of my soul I sacrificed toward my art. Granted the distinction was slim indeed, but it made me feel less a monster when people learned of my calling. He on the other hand willing gave of his humanity and despite also paying homage to the Gods of Light, could not wipe away the stain of blood his other Patrons demanded for their favor.

With more patience than I likely would have been able to show, he explained that while the Gods of Light offered comfort and succor to the troubled, as well as gifts of healing and restoration, the Gifts of the Dark Gods were not without merit as well. Yes he admitted, destruction was their dominion, but destruction in the cause of righteousness was a burden worth carrying.

The Dark Gods, he said, were not particular about what their priesthood did with the power they bestowed so long as they received due tribute and their pound of flesh. Darkness shed no tears over the loss of individual evil in the world, such was their wisdom in the nature of creatures, that they knew another would rise to take its place with a quickness that Light could not engender in its own followers. So by allowing a simple priest of Light access to the bounty of The Dark’s Gifts in exchange for homage, the balance was never in real danger of shifting to righteousness. The two-fold boon of winnowing the chaff from its own ranks as well as the opportunity of seducing the priest fully to the Left Hand Path was pragmatic in the eyes of the Gods.

Surely, I said, the Gods of Light would take a deem view of one of their Shepards walking such a murky line. Judging by the sanctimonious speeches I had heard spouted by certain Paladins and the general members of the clergy, the Gods of Light brooked nothing less than unswerving devotion to purity.

Japheth laughed at that. The Gods of Light understood that the condition of intelligence was a constant balance between the profane and the exalted. He understood that blind devotion was not what they desired but rather the reasoned choice to nurture those around us, as well as being an example of perseverance and grace to the ideals of the Light. In Japheth’s eyes, anyone could be pious while fortune smiled on them, but true faith was forged in adversity.

I admit, that such philosophical insights were not normally mulled over by my kind. Warlocks are generally cold in their logical approach to the dark forces they weld. For the most part, we view the energies we channel as no more than a tool to meet our needs, and most would view that which is Holy as just another form of weapon, if they bothered to think about it at all. Make no mistake, we are as prone to self-doubt concerning our motives and the lengths we will go to achieve them as the next man, but most of us rationalized the constant choices more as challenges to our commitment than as a way to sooth our often troubled spirits.

I found the idea of walking such a precarious balance as the shadow priest not only troublesome, but dangerous as well. The chance that one would find oneself abandoned by their source of power simply for straying too far to either side of the line they walked must require more diligence than I could conceive of. Truly, Japheth and those like him must have had inhuman levels of personal strength.

At that, he admitted that the selection process for training of would be Dark Priests within the Order was harsh indeed. Not only selected for specific aspects of personality, they were endlessly put to the test proving their ability to contain and control the Evil they willingly took upon themselves. Apparently the amount of priests that could endure the path long enough to reach the zenith of their power were almost nonexistent. Most he said, eventually either gave up the boon of dark power to better service their comrades in a supporting role more appropriate to their clerical desires. Some fully slide into the abyss from the ecstasy of their ability to force their desires on those around them. Generally, those who chose the later were eventually hunted down by the very comrades they had once stood shoulder to shoulder with.

Japheth was as aware of the rumors as I was of rogue priests that managed to continue their growth in darkness despite the vigilant eye of the Church. These he said were thankfully rare, with the idea of a fully empowered rogue Shadow Lord being as beyond reach as recovering the lost art of Necromancy. After all, whom would willing endure the company of such a creature so far lost and with so little to offer aside from endless pain?

With that last thought, the obviously weary priest excused himself and left for his room. I stayed by the fire a bit longer musing over our conversation. With my newly acquired insight, I realized that Japheth was at crossroads within himself. I imagined that the burden of his vocation and the choices he had made so far explained his stoic yet somber demeanor. As I finished the last dregs of my drink, I silently wished him luck in his decision regardless of the eventual outcome.

I knew the unwholesome fulfillment that utilizing my own shadow talents provided me, and the struggle that all warlocks fought to remain their own masters in the face of that power. To think of that darkling pleasure being a never-ending presence in everything I did in service to my own profession was sufficient to provide me a shudder as I stood and made my way to my own bed.

As I lay there waiting for sleep to come, I came to the conclusion that the continuous link a priest maintained with their Deities, and what those confusing and capricious Entities demands from their servants, was a price that even I would not willing pay. I would never be the pawn in some cosmic game of control. Indeed, the ways of Warlocks were preferable, for aside from the obvious sense of paying your respect to a Higher Power when they had obviously intervened on your behalf, I mastered my own destiny.

By the hand of Abdul Alhazred
Vizier of the Conclave of Warlocks

The Fall of the Dogmen's Champion

I imagine that hubris is a trait that all practitioners of the arcane struggle with during their long careers. Channeling the energies of death and creation as well as those of the soul seems so much grander than merely welding a sword against destiny. I was certainly full of my power on the day of my quest for Hogger. After all, I was no novice to combat and fully believed that I had the measure of this gnoll regardless of his daring and obvious prowess.

He would teach me a lesson of conflict I have yet to forget. That while power and skill are equally as important as preparation, they will only see you as far as the first blow against a desperate enemy with nothing to loose. After that, Fate and Lady Luck rule the battlefield. If you are fortunate, the Gods will favor you that day and you will live to heed the lesson. It is said that the Gods are sympathetic to the foolish, given that I am sitting here writing this after all these years, I would say that I agree…

Journal Entry

Taking the gnoll’s past attack pattern into account, I felt they were mostly likely crossing the border from Westfall to make their raids, then fading back to the safety of the plains. Given the large numbers of Gnolls roaming the grasslands, it made the most sense for him to make camp along the West Elywnn River. This would put him in a good tactical position to not only watch the Westbrook garrison, but also the road from Stormwind in case the capital finally decided to take matters into its own hands.

Using the tracking techniques I had learned during my time with the boarder guard, it was not long before I found signs of raiders in the area. Deciding that strength was needed now more than stealth, I pulled out a shard to summon the voidwalker Voxil. As the soul energy opened the rift to Voxil’s domain. Voxil was twice the width of a man and full of the malice characteristic of his kind. I had seen the frightening strength that Voxil contained, so it was with some relief that I saw the shackles of my power materialize on its wrists before it fully entered our realm.

With its fierce presence at my shoulder, I continued moving along the rivers edge till I came upon a clearing. Peering through the trees, I saw a camp of the Hyena men. It was no real surprise to see that no sentries had been left to keep watch, but it was still unexpected that I would find them carousing and so totally off guard. As I watched, the Gnolls passed along great casks of wine I assumed must have come from one of their many raids on the caravans plying the trade routes to Stormwind. They even had the carcass of some large animal roasting on a spit over their campfire. Truly, it seemed they had little fear of discovery.

I continued to sit and watch the gnolls at their feasting till eventually I saw an abnormally large specimen get up and make his way into the woods. Judging from the deferential treatment the rest of the party showed this creature and the large necklace of boar tusks worn around its neck, I assumed this was my quarry. Realizing that he was most likely going off to deal with the effects of the large amounts of alcohol I had seen them all consume, I knew that this would be my perfect chance to take him without engaging the others. The trick would be to draw him far enough away from the others that they would not hear the fight, although with the boisterous nature of their revelry, I likely could have ridden a patrol of light calvary past their camp without drawing notice. Regardless, with any luck they would assume that he had merely passed out in the woods and was sleeping off a drunken stupor. Deciding a trap was my best chance; I had Voxil move on ahead of Hoggers direction with instructions to wait at the river.

Keeping to the trees, I made my way around the clearing to the spot that Hogger had entered the woods. Moving as silently as possible, I tracked him several yards into the forest and circled him till my back was once again pointed toward the river. When I judged that Voxil had had sufficient time to position himself, I deliberately stepped out from around the tree I was skulking behind and stepped on a branch at my feet. Hogger drew the sword at his back with a speed that was surprising for one in his inebriated state and turned to face me. During those precious few moments, I casually raised my hand and gave him a gesture that even one of his intelligence would have no trouble understanding then turned and bolted through the trees.

The audacity of a lone human standing there showing such contempt worked exactly as I planned, for with a ripping snarl Hogger took up the chase. To make sure that he would continue in pursuit, I reached into the satchel at my side and flung an apple I had been saving over my shoulder at his head. I admit, it wasn’t the most impressive display of bravado I could have made, but judging from the sounds I heard behind me at the time, it was effective.

When we finally made it to the river, I broke through the trees and gave a quick mental command to Voxil. In a faintly unsettling display of initiative, Vox had hidden himself in the water. With my command, he surged up from the river and sprung onto the bank. Even protected as I was from his power through the nature of his binding, I still felt the tail end of his enchantment as he sent a blast of augmented hatred at Hogger. Focusing on the new threat, the gnoll leader launched himself at the voidwalker.

Voxil, with his usual disregard for injury merely opened his arms wide to accept the bone jarring impact that flung them both back into the water. As they both broke the surface, I saw that Hogger had dropped his sword and was trying to choke the life from my servant. I took a moment to incant a demon skin spell at the same time I started the somatic gestures needed for my spell of corruption.

Hogger and Voxil’s struggle had taken them back onto the riverbank just as I finished the spell and I saw the first effects of the mystical rot take hold as the hair on Hoggers body started to turn gray. Despite the darkness eating away at his flesh, Hogger’s strength seemed to increase as his rage grew and as I watched in stonishment, Hogger lifted Voxil over his head and hurled him several yards away. I could feel through my link that Vox had been stunned and quickly went through the passes of an agony curse as the Gnoll sprinted toward me.

In what seemed like the blink of an eye, Hoggers massive paws were around my neck strangling the air from my lungs. As blackness started envelope my sight, I could feel the muscles of his forearms writhering in the grip of my curse. Truly, I knew my death was upon me for nothing seemed to affect this monster as more than a goad to further destruction. In desperation, I quickly gripped his head in both my hands and sank my thumbs into his eyes. As I felt one of his eyes rupture, Hogger flung me away with a howl. Never before have I ever been as thankful for my obsession for preparation as I was that day, for as I hit the ground the health stone I had prepared earlier that day broke in my satchel. I immediately felt the rush of stored vitality start healing my brutalized throat. As quickly as I could draw breath, I poured forth my terror into a word of fear that I spit out at Hogger. Pouring the remaining reserve of energy I had into the enchantment, it hit the reeling gnoll like a physical blow and drove him to his knees.

Gone were thoughts of tactics and strategy; gone were thoughts of the alchemical aids I had nestled in my pack. My only purpose was survival and to achieve it, I had to quickly end the life of this foe I had so badly underestimated. In my training, I had learned a technique to draw on my life force to replenish the well of my magical power. Although dangerous in my already depleted state, I siphoned off some of my remaining strength and staggered over to the warchief. At the same time, Voxil finally managed to recover from the mauling it had received. With a roar of its own, it rushed over to the kneeling and wounded gnoll leader and wrapped its massive arms around Hoggers chest in an attempt to crush the life from him. Giving no thought to the fact that my aid had returned or the fact that I now had precious time to make use of the restoratives I had prepared, I reached out desperately and grasped Hogger’s head in my hands again. With one last great effort I drew deep of my reserves and with a scream poured out pure darkness into his face. The bolt of shadow was almost a solid rope connecting us so furious was my casting. With a violent shove, I pushed myself away from the now silent and twitching gnoll champion. As my knees gave way to exhaustion and I sank to the ground, I saw Voxil take hold of Hoggers head and with a sound like thunder cracking, snap the gnolls neck.

Eventually, I regained my senses enough to take my small dagger and sever a paw from my fallen foe as well as retrieve the necklace of tusks. I realized that my word would hardly be good enough for the dear marshal and proof would be needed to stay any talk of falsehoods. I also finally had presence of mind to make use of one of my precious healing potions to mend enough of my wounds to allow me to make it back to the garrison of Westbrook. I was both weary in body and soul when I finally laid those grizzly prices upon the desk of the duty sergeant and it was with some reluctance that I turned down the offer of rest and food to recuperate. I wanted nothing more than two things before the sun finally went down. One was the sanctuary of my own room, where I planned on sleeping like one of the dead and second was to see the look on Marshal Dughan’s face when the runner sent by the sergeant reached Goldshire with word of my achievement.

In a sign of appreciation for my actions, the sergeant pressed upon me his desire that I at least accept some meager reward from his grateful men. Not wanting to be rude in the face of such sincerity, I made my way to their small armory and without much thought grabbed a fighting staff off the rack. I thanked the garrison for their generosity and using the staff more for a walking stick, started on my journey back home.

When I finally entered Goldshire, a throng of cheering peasants in front of the inn awaited me. As I made my way through the gathering, accepting their thanks and affectionate pats on the back, I finally came face to face with Dughan. With a smoothness that belied the anger I knew he must have been feeling, the Marshall gripped me by the shoulder and in a loud voice proclaimed that a speech was in order. With a weary sigh, I turned and faced the crowd. I told them then that what I had done was only what should be expected from those charged with the safety of our small town and that with the threat of such depredations a constant companion, the fact that the good towns people continued to ply their trades showed that heroism was not merely a trait of a select few or the stories of past accomplishments, but was something that was nurtured everyday in the lives of those that lived in these troubled times. As I turned and looked at Dughan again, I still believe that at that moment he would gladly have sacrificed his commission in his desire to throttle the life from me, so with was much surprise and some small amount of trepidation that I watched an unholy glee light the Marshall’s eyes as he leaned over and whispered in my ear that he had someone he wanted me to meet.

Upon entering the Tavern, it was quickly obvious that our destination was the well-appointed and heavily armed group at the bar. As we came up to them, the lone female of the group turned and offered me the same curious look I had seen across the body of Surena Caledon on the Brackwell farm. Caught momentarily off guard by meeting the beautiful mage face to face, I wondered what she and her companions were doing in the company of Marshall Dughan.

To cover my surprise, I took a moment to look over her attire. I felt my face blanch as I saw the crest on the tabard she wore over her silken robes. It was the emblem of the Orden de la Sangre Rosa, the Order of the Blood Rose.

The Order of the Blood Rose was the militant wing of the Church of Light charged with rooting out the taint of the Infernal. After the last Great War, the sovereigns of all four of the alliance races agreed that there was a need to safe guard the integrity of their realms from internal and external corruption. Taking the lead in the crusade against treachery and heresy, and with the tacit agreement of its sister religions, the Church of Light empowered a cadre of heroes. Drawn from the various monastic orders of the Great Races, with unprecedented legalistic powers, the Order was of the understanding that any excesses in pursuit of their mandate would be over looked.

Based in the Dwarven city of Iron Forge, the Order was rumored to employ the very same tactics and profane knowledge as the criminals they pursued as it suited their needs. Certainly one would need to have access to the same knowledge as ones foes in order to prepare for any eventuality was the general observation given on the few accounts the Order was called on to justify its methods and generally accepted as prudent in these troubled times. Acknowledged wisdom was not to delve too deeply in the business of the Order, despite rumors of corruption within its very ranks. My own order, the Conclave of Warlocks even allowed The Blood Rose to recruit from within its ranks as needed, despite the knowledge that we were certainly under constant observation by the Order. Even the zealots of the Scarlet Crusade were said to tread lightly when the Order was on the march.

With a grin usually only seen on the face of sadists at their play, Marshal Dughan introduced me to the mage whose name was Elthani. Elthani extended her hand as a chuckling Marshal Dughan turned and walked over to join her companions, who had moved to a nearby table. Despite the very real danger this Lady represented to one of my calling, I took the proffered hand. To do other wise was unthinkable and I resignedly accepted her offer of a flagon of mead in toast to my exploits, as well as to share a table with her and her companions.

The harrowing adventure of earlier today hardly seemed of consequence anymore… the Inquisition was in town.

By the hand of Abdul Alhazred
Vizier of the Conclave of Warlocks.

Marshall Dughan and the Skein of Hogger

Journal Entry

I spent over a month learning what I could about the nature of the voidwalker that I now was able to summon. I must admit that at the time I was appalled that the ritual would require the living spark of another life in order to succeed. The spell to drain the soul into the enchanted crystal for fueling the magic was innocently simple in its application but repugnant in its implications. As a consequence and more to relieve the burden to my conscience, I experimented on the wildlife teeming in the forests of Elywnn.

Through trial and error, I found that the life essence of sufficiently robust animals could be used as a substitute to human sacrifice. Many a wolf and bear found their death at my hands while I perfected my spell craft, but I realized intellectually that a time would come when a conveniently located alternative would not be available. To be frank, I found that I had no compunction when it came to using the soul draining technique on what I have always considered lesser beings. Thus murlocs and gnolls were considered acceptable in my eyes and sufficient for my needs when available, truthfully they were little better than animals themselves despite being cunning and vicious combatants. I could only hope that when the time came to turn such art on another human being, that my training and instincts would take over were I was sure my emotional reactions would fail me.

During my tenure with the border guards, which all citizens are obliged to spend time in service to, I had ample opportunity to develop my distain for the humanoids inhabiting Elywnn. I found it no real hardship to be under the orders of Marshal Dughan and tasked with assisting in the efforts to drive them from our lands. Enduring the patronizing and self-serving speeches of Dughan was another matter entirely.

Marshal Dughan was the epitome of the politically appointed commander. Often vehement in his condescension of the intelligence and abilities of both Murlocs and Gnolls, it did not escape my notice that our proud Marshall was not know to sully his hands by leading any of the raids himself. I had joked on more than one occasion with a couple of my fellow patrol that if Marshall Dughan was as able with a sword and shield as he was with rhetoric and officiousness, I could see no reason why we were not already drinking to his honor in the very shadow of Orgrimmar.

So it was with no real surprise that during a supply run to the Westbrook garrison on the western edge of the forest that I noticed a wanted poster for an especially brutal gnoll named Hogger. It appeared that this Hogger was making an attempt to rally those of his verminous brethren too stupid to realize their time on our lands were over. Hogger was credited with at least a dozen organized attacks on the surrounding farms and homesteads as well as ambushing several patrols.

I spoke with the garrison leader concerning the warrant. Inquiries into the specifics of the raids proved that this new war leader was more daring and innovative than I was used to hearing of from gnolls.

I found myself angry that with the capital no more than a couple of hours away by brisk walk, that Marshal Dughan had not at least appealed to the commander of the standing army in Stormwind for a small contingent of Paladins to deal with this marauder. I imagine that the need to save face in front of his peers combined with his almost pathological aversion to anything that smacked of personal responsibility was what held his tongue and allowed these rampages to continue.

After some thought, I decided that with the aid of my new servant and the spells I had researched, I would see if I could bring this Hogger to accounting. Not only would this garner me notice within the Conclave, but would also serve to expose the uselessness of the good Marshall in the minds of the simple peasants of the region.

It was with these thoughts in mind that I made my way to the room I had taken at the Goldshire Inn. Realizing that the coming battle was likely to be the greatest test of my abilities so far, I pulled out my spell books and alchemy tools and started to prepare. The coming day promised to be a long one indeed.

By the hand of Abdul Alhazred
Vizier of the Conclave of Warlocks

Further Down the Path: The Sacrifice of Surena

Journal Entry

Surena Caledon was to be my first object lesson concerning the authority of the Conclave. Surena was the renegade student of Gakin the Darkbringer. Gakin, while powerful, had always been known to take on female students more for their comely shape than any real talent or loyalty they might have possessed. Needless to say, this had caused Gakin to be censored by the Conclave on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, Gakin was also the senior member of a prosperous trading family in Stormwind and used to having his indiscretions sweep under the Conclaves rugs.

The populace at large might be surprised to learn that the Conclave is ever vigilant and tends to deal harshly with the renegades of our order. The sentence is usually brutal and swift. Most often, such tasks are given over to the younger warlocks of the order as both a test and reminder that the grace of the Conclave is mercurial at best. The Conclave is ever aware that we are always one atrocity away from the inquisitorial fires of the Church of Light. Certainly high priest Rohan and his crony; the paladin Lord Shadowbreaker; have been know to give rather pointed sermons on the perils of allowing the infernal to fester within the very heart of fair Stormwind.

So Surena’s fate was sealed and I was to be the agent of the Conclaves justice. Gakin would provide my payment when I had returned with a token of success; a bloodstone choker he had given his former student in exchange for a meaningless tryst. My fee for this butchers bill, the means to summon a voidwalker. According to Gakin, Surena apparently had joined a bandit party operating out of the Brackwell farm somewhere to the southwest of Goldshire in the Elwynn Forest. Armed with this knowledge, I packed my travel satchel and made for the countryside.

Stopping in Goldshire to get directions from the always resplendent and equally pompous Marshall Dughan, it did not take long to find the farmstead. The Brackwell Farm grew pumpkins and the harvest was in evidence as well as an abundance of wild hogs that apparently had moved in when the bandits had taken over. I glimpsed one particular sow in the middle of the patch that strutted through the rows with an entourage of two boars in tow. I was amusingly reminded of certain noble women I had the dubious pleasure of meeting while accompanying my teacher Graza to functions at the palace.

Bringing my mind back to the task at hand, I noticed a handful of sentries spread throughout the grounds with a small group clustered near a decrepit farmhouse at the back of the pumpkin patch. I decided that my best bet was to circle around the farm to the right sticking to the tree line as much as possible till I could come up behind the cottage.

Eventually I had a clear few of the back of the cottage and one sentry to the front left of the building. I decided this was the appropriate time to call up my imp familiar Gyax. Gyax materialized in his usual cloud of sulfurous stink and listened attentively while I outlined my plan. Moving to within 30 yards of the sentry, I gestured for Gyax to move off to my left and waited for the sentry to move away from the cottage. Gyax had called a fireball into his hand and intently focused on the human before him. After a brief moment, I quickly nodded my head and Gyax let loose with his hellfire.

The ball of hellfire streaked away from us and slammed into the back of the sentry staggering him and drawing a startled shout of pain. Whirling in our direction, smoke billowing from the back his of leather cuirass, the bandit pulled the short sword at his side and charged my servant. The surprise and shock of the attack had just the effect I had desired and I started to cast a spell of corruption while the foolish bandit was focused on Gyax. I felt the energy leave me in a rush as the bandit finally closed the distance between us and swung at my imp. I saw the rot start to spread across the bandits face as the shadow energy spread through his body. With a cry of pain and disgust, the bandit turned to me and attempted to take my head with a backhand swing right as I completed my second spell. My curse of agony struck quickly enough that the bandit convulsed and dropped his weapon in mid swing as I threw myself to the side. Gyax was by this point beside himself in glee at the destruction before him and with a shivering giggle leaped upon the fallen bandit. I just had time to see my familiar jam a flaming hand into the mouth of the flailing man on the ground as I snapped my head around to see what was happening at the farmhouse.

Coming around the back corner was the second sentry at a dead run, sword raised high. I quickly jumped to my feet and hastily muttered the words to a demon skin spell. As I felt the fel energies coalesce around me, I flung my hand out toward my coming attacker and shouted a word of power. The shadow bolt hit the enraged sentry in the chest but did not completely halt his headlong rush. As a consequence, my arm was opened up from shoulder to elbow as I tried to pivot to the side. Gyax at this point had finished off the first bandit and jumped upon the back of our second attacker. Reaching around with a taloned hand, Gyax began clawing at the throat of the bandit and I realized this needed to end quickly. Concentrating despite the pain, I gestured at the man and watched as his leggings caught on fire. Following up the immolation spell with another curse of agony, I stepped forward and stabbed him in the back with the dagger I always keep handy for just such emergencies.

I must confess, I was surprised that the whole farm had not risen in arms with the noise we seemed to have been making but as I looked around, I did not see any more guards making their way toward us and heard no sounds of alarm being raised. Thanking the fates for small miracles, I pulled a health potion from my pouch to deal with the gash. As I downed the bitter potion, I remember silently thanking my mentor Graza as well for his love of alchemy and his desire to impress upon me it desirable results. I vowed to make sure I took the time to keep a ready supply of the little concoctions on hand if I was going to be engaging in any more clandestine assassinations in armed camps.

Gyax made his way to my side after taking a moment to pull a choice tidbit from the carcass at his feet. I started toward the cottage and shook my head as I noticed the imp gulp down the last of the tongue he had recovered.

Pressed up against the back of the cottage, I placed my head against the wall and tried to discern how many people were inside. After hearing not a single sound coming from the cottage, I reached out with my magical sense and realized that a spell of silence had been cast within. This explained our unusual fortune in not rousing those inside. While a spell of silence is good for ensuring your secrets remain inviolate, it also renders you deaf to threats such as the one I posed. I know understood the number of guards I had spied through out the farm, as a meeting of importance must have been taking place inside.

I was just about to start making my way toward the front of the cottage when I heard shouting and the sound of clashing arms coming from the direction of the pumpkin patch. Keeping low, I snuck around the side so I could see what was occurring. I nearly laughed out loud when I saw that a band of adventurers had engaged the remaining sentries of the farm. This stroke of good fortune quickly eased my mind as to how I would proceed with those inside the building. Deciding that discretion was needed at this point, I watch as the bandits were quickly dispatched.

The party then moved on the farmhouse. With a definite flair for the dramatic, the lovely mage of the party hurled a flaming globe through the front door as her friends rushed forward. Before the warriors could barge into the confined space, a woman and two men came rushing out, cloths smoldering. While the two men drew their weapons and rushed forward to meet their assailants, I saw the female start gathering flaming energy in both hands. Well, it seemed that Surena was indeed home and not exactly disposed to entertain guests.

Surena hurled the gathered magical flame toward a burly warrior in cheap plate. The man was thrown from his feet to lay stunned more than a yard way. A young novitiate cleric moved quickly to his side to render aid while their comrades redoubled their efforts to bring down the bandit leaders. Surena was in the midst of a sorcerous exchange with the lovely lady mage when I decided to make my move. Quickly directing Gyax to assist the adventures with the two bandit rogues, I quickly began to move along the front of the house. I came up behind Surena and had just started to reach for her when she spun around and placed her palm against my chest and shoved. Augmenting her strength with magical aid, she managed to fling me into the cottage where I smashing into the back wall driving my breath out in an anguished yell. Believing me dealt with, Surena turned her attention back to the mage and started gathering flame for another strike.

Struggling to draw breath, I felt my rage and humiliation racing to the fore. I had not been handled so readily since I had arrogantly accepted a duel from a young warlock bravo during my first year of apprenticeship. By all that was unholy this was going to end! I quickly used my link to Gyax to bid him switch his assault to this arrogant renegade who would dare lay hands upon me and drew my dagger. Pulling myself to my feet, I saw that Surena’s attention was divided between the assaults of the adventurer mage and my familiar, so she was not prepared when I reached around her head with a handful of hell flame and seared her mouth shut. Spinning around in horrified shock, I watched Surena’s eyes bulge and lock with mine as I drew my dagger across her throat. Using my weight, I bore her to the ground and slowly pushing my dagger into her heart. I knelt there beside he, locked in our death gaze till the last light of her life fled.

I quickly tore the choker from her throat and stood up to see how the rest of the battle was progressing. I noticed that one of the rogues was down and the other fleeing into the woods with the party at his heels. Only the mage had remained behind, staring at me with a curious look. Finally with a small nod, she turned and raced after her companions leaving me there surrounded by the dead. I called Gyax to my side and with a sigh, turned and made my way from the now truly abandoned farm.

Later the next day I returned the choker to Gakin. I steadfastly refused his inquiries as to the method of her death, but would have gladly demonstrated her last moments on him but for the promise of the voidwalker. Knowledge and power demand sacrifice and Surena was mine. She would not be the last.

By the hand of Abdul Alhazred
Vizier of the Conclave of Warlocks

Dreams of Demons

Journal Entry

While my mind wanders, I think I should say something on the nature of our servants; the Daemons. We who have made them our study know that their natural realm is another plane of existence that has felt the rule of the Burning Legion.

These beings may have once held different forms and been not much different from ourselves, but through the twisted corruption of Fel energies now are no better than any of the many hordes of Sargeras. Evil in their basic nature, they still afford the enterprising warlock a means of power and protection. Like any user of mystical energies, often a warlock’s concentration must be focused on the complex spells they hurl forth. While this is not such an issue in the relative safety of our work chambers, the battlefield is most certainly not the place for such singular tunnel vision. Hence the service our servants perform for us. They can augment our arsenal as well as acting as a distraction whilst we get to the business of stripping the flesh from the bones of our foes with a well-placed corruption spell.

In the hierarchy of the Infernal, the servants we can draw upon are the lowly imp, the aggressive and sinister voidwalker, the tempting succubus,the magic bane of the Felhunter, the true infernal and eventually even one of Sargaras’s terror troops... the Doomguard.

The imp, while being the lowest of these spirits, provides the warlock with an affinity for the hell flames that are such a part of our natures, as well as a peculiar enhancement to our life force. Indeed, I have often found that having an imp at my side while I undertook an especially difficult project of study allowed me to concentrate for longer periods while still feeling fresh and energetic. With the addition of their ability to hurl hellfire, they certainly make for a superb companion for the aspiring warlock.

The voidwalker is generally considered the bodyguard of choice for the warlock at large. Being a creature of a more powerful nature, the use of a soul shard is necessary for the summoning of such creatures. While the use of a once living soul to fuel the entrance of such a thing onto our plan could be looked upon as evil in it’s essence, I rationalize this action with the fact that all of these servants require a sacrifice of some sort for their much desired service. Besides, I do my best to prey upon only those that are inherently evil in their nature or offer me violence. Regardless, their effect in combat more than makes up for any uncertainty my dwindling conscience presents me.

Of most interest to me about the voidwalker, is its ability to generate such loathing and animosity in those around it. I have seen hardened warriors rush blindly into combat with a voidwalker, knowing full well that the even more dangerous warlock was quickly chanting up something nasty for them. Without more research, I must simply put it down to something about the nature of the voidwalker unique to it’s breed above all other infernals, that engenders a pathological rage in those that view it. One colleague of mine postulates that the essence of the voidwalker generates artificial memories of degradation and feelings of loathing in those around them as a consequence of the Fel energies they draw from their blighted plane.

Of special and delicious concern is the succubus. By their vary nature, they are probably the most insidious of the servants we can draw upon. Luscious of form, many a man has found their life’s end in the embrace of these beautiful vipers. More humanoid in appearance that most of their ilk, they have the unique distinction of using a weapon to augment their formidable magical arsenal. The lash is their weapon of choice and in their skilled hands one can find the truth of the pleasure that lies beneath the pain they bring. Many are the foolish warlocks that lost their life when they were overcome with the temptations of their companion. The succubus is more than happy to turn her iron caress to the cause of her servitude. Pain and pleasure in equal measures, the succubus is the wisdom of the rose, the beauty of form that conceals the thorn underneath. Tread carefully with such by your side and remember that while you may be a man with the temptations of men, you are warlock and can see the truth through the illusion.

The Felhunter is a singularly nasty beast from the perspective of the magically inclined. Being a creature that feeds off the magical energies of the talented, I believe felhunters are the boogymen of the magical world. Ugly brutes, they often serve as shock troops when confronting war mages on the field of battle. The Felhunter has a special nack for finding the hidden around them, to the terror of elves and rogues alike. If you are afraid of thieves stealing your carefully horded magical tomes for the black market, set a felhunter on guard. Just make sure you toss it the occasional magical tidbit or it may find you looking rather tasty.

The true infernal, like the doomguard, are much like the dangerous and illogical contraptions of the goblins, in that they are best pointed at your enemies to cause as much havoc as possible while you move quickly in the opposite direction. The infernal is the very expression of malice, and as such will not long stay under your control once summoned. If you are very fortunate, your foes will destroy the creature before it breaks your control for once it is free of your dominion, it will seek to crush the very life from you in payment for it’s services. I simply cannot stress the care that must be taken while fielding these creatures. A good tactic is make friends with the more pious members of your adventuring party. When the infernal slips your control their usually nauseating altruism may lead them to jump in front of you to keep you from harm. If such occurs, make sure to thank them. After all, without fools our jobs would be that much harder.

The doomguard is the final and most deadly of the Fel we can call upon. Strangely, a facet of our spell work seems to actually draw them without the aid of a summons. This is dangerous to say the least, and the prudent warlock would do well to make sure they have the necessary components to bring such a creature under control if such should occur. Truthfully, it is not my place to instruct you in the nature of such beings. If you are foolish enough to desire their aid then by all means, do the required research yourself. I am not in the habit of instructing fools.

By the hand of Abdul Alhazred
Vizier of the Conclave of Warlocks

Reminiscing About Innocence Lost

Journal Entry

I find myself thinking back to the first time I drew the life from a man to fuel my sorcery...

Most men can understand the taking of life for protection or in warfare, but the idea of leeching the eternal spark of the soul from an intelligent creature to fuel a sorcerous incantation reeks of abomination. Many are the warlocks that have had the swords of their compatriots turned against them when the fear of their sorcery has eaten away at the parties trust. After all, how can one trust someone that has truck with the Infernal, and is ultimately no better than one of the vampiric undead? How would one know that the warlock would remain an ally, or simply use his companions as a handy resource to further whatever shadowy goals his Masters require?

In truth, they have much to fear. How can one describe that first rush of power as the soul of your victim flows through you and crystallizes in your hand as a symbol of your power? I have heard the rambling of those addicted to opiates, and can say that the craving for that rush of energy is so seductive it is easy to see how one would bargain with their very soul for but a taste of it. I imagine only the lost Art of Necromancy could give such a godlike feeling over life and death. I had always thought of myself as a decent human being with no real desire to perform such horror upon another, but after that first instance, I knew that the need to expand my power and experience that dark release would be worth the sacrifice of my waning humanity. Such is the lure of the Infernal and the cost that is never discussed with those bright-eyed youths in search of their dreams of glory.

My first was a Defias bandit. I remember the excitement of realizing I would finally be unleashing the spell I had worked so hard to memorize and perfect. One trap that academics and scholars can fall into is the clinical detachment of their studies. Everything seems so dry and bloodless described in a musty tome of leather. The minds eye hardly grasps the truth of the matter. That first shocked look in the eye of the victim quickly brings home the reality. First is the shock as they feel something is terribly wrong, then comes that split second of insight as they feel their soul being torn oh so slowly from their bodies to be compacted into the innocent little purple crystal you will find on any warlock worth their salt.

Yes, I think the average herd of humanity is right to fear us. At least that is my usual thought in the dark of night, when I can hear the faint cries coming from my link to those faintly glowing extensions of my power. Pain is a part of this business of life, and we warlocks are special purveyors of its sweetness.

We can draw the strength from limbs, rot the flesh from your bones in the time it takes you to empty your lungs of a screaming breath. We can even draw forth the burning flames of Hades itself to bring destruction to our enemies, but it’s that simple innocent crystal that speaks most eloquently to the danger we present. It is the symbol of our power and the brand of our damnation and we heed it’s siren call.

By the hand of Abdul Alhazred
Vizier of the Conclave of Warlocks

On the Path of Darkness

Journal Entry

Four years after that fateful meeting, I found myself at the gates of Stormwind. As a simple country boy, the sights and sounds of activity on such a grand scale nearly overwhelmed my senses. One thing I especially remember as a moment of clarity was, that even being in the capital of humanity, the smell was much the same as that I had known in my simple town. Humanity may have made great strides in the name of progress, but sanitation and cleanliness were not inherent in our natures apparently. To this day, I am still surprised that I survived my first day in that metropolis. I imagine I was a tempting target for every cutpurse and ruffian that crossed my path.

Regardless, the mage quarter was easy enough to find with the help of a rather bored gate guard. At a faintly sinister tavern, I made inquires if anyone knew of a warlock named Graza. By a stretch of luck I am still dubious about, I learned that he was indeed in the city, having just come back from the lands of Kalimdor and was expected to stop by shortly.

I was into my third tankard of ale, of a quality that would have had my father trying to bury his axe in the head of the supplier, when Graza made his entrance. He had not changed over much aside from a bit more gray around his temples. He went to the bar and after a brief word to the bar man, turned in my direction. After he had made his way to my table and taken a seat, I asked if he remember me. I was surprised that he indeed remembered the simple innkeepers son he had spoken with. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, I asked if his offer was still available. At this point he leaned back, staring at me with that unsettling gaze he had.

After what seemed a small eternity, he nodded and instructed me to follow him. We made our way to his home, and in his workshop signed my apprenticeship in blood. Blood being an essence of power and binding in magical contracts.

What followed for the next 5 years was typical for any student bent upon an education in the mystical arts. Fetching supplies from the local apothecary and taking copious notes filled my days, and my nights were given over to lessons in the names and essences of both the infernal and divine. I learned of the branches of magic that practioners could follow, as well as the necessity of perfect preparation when employing the warlock’s art.

Graza proved to be a knowledgeable teacher with a gift for instruction. Even with my own surprising aptitude for sorcery, I believe without his aid I would have taken much longer to finally end my apprenticeship. My learning and dedication were tested the night I summoned my first imp under his strict guidance. Imps are foul creatures with a sharp and sarcastic wit. Smelling of brimstone and always with an eye toward destruction, imps are the least of the familiars that warlocks can summon to their side, and mine was a superb specimen of it’s rather noxious breed. After the little beast had been returned to it’s nether home, Graza explained that a warlock would find a particular familiar as their preferred servant and possibly develop a kinship with it. He stressed that it was important at all times to remember that these familiar were infernal spirits, and that while they could afford a warlock certain powers and knowledge, that in the end they were but tools and would gladly turn on the careless or abandon them in a moment of weakness.

At this point Graza explained that before I could be allowed to research the name of a permanent familiar of my own, I would have to travel to a small monastery outside the gates of Stormwind and prove the basics of my knowledge for a colleague of his. If I was able to satisfy her as to the depth of my skill and knowledge she would provide me access to a tome which I could use to bind an imp to my side. With foolish thoughts of adventure and glory running through my head, I packed what meager belonging I had acquired into a rucksack and ventured forth to seize my destiny.

By the hand of Abdul Alhazred
Vizir of the Conclave of Warlock

A Journey's Start

Journal Entry

It seems hard to believe it has been over a year since my apprenticeship ended and I entered the ranks of the Conclave of Warlocks. Sometimes, I think that if I knew then how much of my soul I would have to give up to the Powers that fuel my Art, I may have chosen another path. Of course, the adventures I have been a part of and the secrets I have learned would have been but the idle dreams of the innkeeper’s son I was born.

The path my life has taken was set the first time I laid eye on the warlock Garza. Clothed in black, and carrying an aura of danger and power around him, he had stopped at my father’s inn during an excursion to some ruins in search of lost lore.

Throughout the night I noticed Garza’s gaze tracking me from his seat in the common room as I brought out food and cleared tables. Eventually I gathered enough courage to stare back and to my surprise he motioned me over to his table. As I stood before, him he asked me if I had ever heard of warlocks. I admitted that I had heard the whispers concerning these practitioners of dark arts. It was said that warlocks sold their souls in exchange for worldly powers and entered into pacts with demoniac familiars for lost secrets of ages past.

Graza laughed at this and shook his head. The ignorant always feared that which they could not understand he said. Power was only as corrupt as the uses it was put to. By his reasoning, only a coward would refuse to use all the tools available to him to obtain his destiny. He also mentioned how blood set the warlock on his path. According to him, only those who already had a touch of the infernal in their line could learn to harness the energies necessary for his craft.

I was about to ask him what concern all this was of mine, when he pulled a small purplish crystal from a pouch on his belt. He bid me hold it and as I took it up, I noticed a strange sheen that played about its facets. Graza asked me to shut my eyes and concentrate on the crystal. I must admit that I was terrified of this stranger by this point, and wanted nothing more than to bolt into the relative safety of the kitchens. But something about the crystal fascinated me. With a fierce grip on my shoulder, Graza leaned close and asked what I felt. As I focused on the crystal, I thought I could feel it slowly pulsing, as if it followed the heartbeat of someone asleep. My eyes snapped open and I nearly dropped the crystal in my fright and need to be away from this man, but Graza shook my shoulder sharply to draw my attention away from what I held in my hand. I told him that the crystal felt alive as he leaned back with a strange smile.

Graza took the crystal and placed it back in his pouch. He then told me it seemed he was right, that I had the potential of the gift and that when this inn became too small to hold my dreams, that I should seek him in Stormwind. He would show me a road to power that few had courage to tread, and even fewer could master.

At this point, I turned and fled back to the kitchens and my duties trying to put the whole unsettling experience behind me. It was only later that night, as I lay in my bed, that I wondered why I had not mentioned I thought I could hear a faint voice crying out from within the crystal; a voice in pain. Mostly though, I wondered why that voiced had excited me.

By the hand of Abdul Alhazred
Vizier in the Conclave of Warlocks