knowing a man

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knowing a man

Post by Mordazan on Fri May 28, 2010 8:26 am

I bowed as low as I could, swinging my right hand wide in a polite greeting. Though I could not see him, I knew he was smiling.
”As always, it is as much as honour as a pleasure to meet with you, honoured professor”
As I arose I took measure of the room. It was relatively small, but there was enough space for him to stand in front of his small working desk, flanked by book rows, containing tittles from ’The Study of Dark Arts’ to ’Knowing the criminal from inside’, and greet me.
”Please, I have been working for you for years by now. The SI:7 have given me the most interesting project I have ever been allowed to work on and, if I must say so myself, I have been most successful. Please, sit with me”
He turned around and as he walked towards his own chair on the other side of the desk, he gestured towards the only other chair in the room. I sat down and let silence fall between us for a few moments. Not making eye contact, keeping my face hidden under the great shade of my hat, I spoke to him in a very serious tone.
”You know why I am here. I need the full report”
He nods his old head gravely, his face full of enthusiasm. He needed no further encouragement. He reached beneath his desk and put a large, leather bound book on the table in front of himself.
”For the last ten years I have been working intensely. You, the SI:7, have placed this task upon my shoulder and, for King and country, I have taken it. I have not recieved much help. The SI:7 does of course need to maintain their secrety, as you have explained to me so many times."
This book contains my lifework. It contains every little secret I have been able to dig up. It contains the very mind of a man so dangerous that he could put the entire kingdom – and, indeed, all of Azeroth – to ruin.”
He finished his dramatic speech as he kept his right hand on the seemingly unimportant book in its light brown leather cover, as if it were a treasure of immense value.
“Begin from the beginning, professor”

“Very well.
It is my theory that it all started as an unlucky string of events that lead him into his first steps towards heresy.
It is a fact that a child was left on the doorsteps of a Dalarian Academy many years ago, before the crusades. Instead of leaving the child with the orphanage, however, the academy took in this child and fostered him. He grew up with magic around him and any other path than a magical one seemed unthinkable.
His parentless childhood might have been the first thing. Of course it isn’t pure evil, but as he had no one to confess to, he learned to keep his emotions at a distance, always appearing in the mood that was expected of those around him, keeping his own thoughts to himself.
I believe that this secrecy was nothing but the first step.
This young man, later named Mordan, did of course start as a Dalaran Mage. But here, a complication in my analysis appears.
Mordan graduates years later with fine recommendations, but it seems that his first years as a mage were not that successful.
From the reports I have studied, and they’re all in this very room, should you wish to read them yourself, it is clear that this man, Mordan, had little talent for magic. Specifically conjuration seemed to be a problem from him, and I have obtained a letter from his teacher in that course expressing his worry for a student, that seemed overly calm all the time, but had gone rage, yelling and cursing, because of his lack of talent.”

His flow of words stopped as he coughed twice. It ripped me out of thought. As he reached out for his glass of water, I knew he was looking at me. He could not read me, he did not know how much I already knew, how interesting this was to me, how much value his information actually contained. I said, in my usual calm and cold tone:
“Continue, professor”

“Ah yes. You might be asking yourself why I am talking so much about this Mordan – how can his story be so significant?
I found out, five years ago. I sought out the academy in Dalaran with nothing but a hunch and after living with the mages for a whole year I was beginning to realize what had occoured. My realization is described in detail in my book and, in accordance with your wishes, none of this has slipped beyond me. Nothing.
I spoke with a mistress at the core of this. She had served the academy in a lifetime – and yet she had done quite the opposite. I confronted her alone as she was lying on her deathbed.
I took a chance. I forced several of the potions you have given me down her throat. She wept, or she wept, the tears ran down her old chin as she talked about her mother, how she died and so on.
But amongst her rambles came what I wanted to know:
She had taken him in. She had personally trained the young Mordan. She had turned him into the excellent spellcaster he was when he graduated. But she had not done so with the blessings of the mage academy.”

The professor held a dramatic pause. He was about to uncover a great deal of corruption and heresy. He knew that the claims he were making were so bold that many would deny them as the ramblings of an old madman – but he felt certain. He knew this was the truth, nothing more, nothing less.

“Mordan was talented as a warlock. As much as his abilities as a mage were a failure, just as much was his success with the dark arts. It is my theory that the mistress taught Mordan all he needed to know to begin his own practice of foul sorcery, and she let him graduate as a fire-specialized mage of Dalaran, his records all showing up perfectly legit. This man, Mordan, is indeed a mage of Dalaran.
However, I believe this is only his first step down the stairs of corruption. He is reported dead several times during the next few years, most significant by a religious soldier sent on a mission into Ashenvale with Mordan as his only companion He claimed that Demons had eaten him from inside.

It is my theory that this young warlock sought to increase his power. He had always been commanded about, he had always been taught discipline, obedience. He had been introduced to the world as a strict ranking system containing those above him and those below him – after he left Dalaran, it is my theory that he had a single purpose: To decrease the amount of the former, and increase the amount of the latter.
A man with insight into Fel Magic and with a burning desire for power and control can only turn to one place: Cultism.
He is already frowned upon and hated for his talents by all humans and all other Light abiding races, so where would he find allies that could teach him how to expand his talents, teach him how to constantly weave his powers into an even more remarkable force?
The Dark Sphere was young at the time. Ruled by known heretics, Shagrath Sinistershot, Fenuviel Darksworn, Rovena Ravenblood and, most significant ofcourse, Ataris, known as the Soulblighter.”

Ataris. The Legendary Evil, the Bane of Humankind, the Blighter of Souls. It was well known that he had once been a man, the first Darkmaster of the Sphere. But as his power grew, the members of the Sphere slowly began to see him as something more, and in the recent years it had exploded. Madmen invoked his name in prayers for power and in battle the battle cries to the Holy Light seemed to be answered equally by those towards the Soulblighter.

“It is my theory that he had several Masters, and indeed Mistresses, in his first years.
A man like this cannot simple accept the rule of someone else, and as he might learn, he will most certainly begin to hate. Such does not encourage promotion or praise.
It is my belief that his power grew immensely in his time in the Sphere. If it is indeed true that he was kept a student for so long, he saw the Forbidden Arts from many different angles, allowing himself to broaden his own perspective and increase his power and understanding. I believe that he was powerful enough to be invited into the Inner Circle of warlock society even before he gained his first promotions – for that does not require praise, only power.”

The professor stopped suddenly. I knew he was realizing how old he was, how much time he had spend on this, how good it felt to say it all out loud. He had spend years uncovering secrets, hunting down impossible leads, many of them nothing but thin air. He had done well. A man with his intellect and dedication was a rare find.

“It is my theory that at that time he was a dangerous shadowcaster, arrogant, self-serving, psychopathic, as most of his kin. He would have no thoughts but those of himself, the strict system of the Sphere serving him perfectly. He would be humble towards his masters and plot their deaths as they turned their backs. He would teach new apprentices what he knew, but nothing more than he deemed he should teach them to fulfill his own plots.

There is yet a radical change to be made…

Stormwind Authorities did not see the Netherdawn Empire for what it was at first. The Black Portal had just opened and monster sprouted aplenty from it, like black blood from an open wound. The reformed Sphere could recruit freely in the streets of Stormwind following a patron known as the Emperor – only another name for the Soulblighter.

I believe that it is around this time he got his first taste of loyality. I have successfully identified him as a preacher – praising the name of this emperor in the streets. This is a clear sign that he has gone up in both ranks and respects amongst the Sphere. Elected as a man of great resources and talent in those parts marks him not only as an enemy of Stormwind, but as an enemy of the Light and all who serves it.

The Netherdawn Empire was short lived, as I have accounted for in my records. There is a great blur in this more recent history, but I believe that from this point onwards, he served in the Council of Shadowlords.

If this is true he was elected to sit at the highest ruling body in the Sphere, making him not only an enemy of the Light, but also a threat against it.

I think this is about when he started to form his own ideas. I believe that he thinks he has come to some sort of realization, some sort of enlightenment. He seems to believe, that being cast so deep down into corruption frees you and lets you think without strains or shackles.
He begins to believe, almost religiously, that he is not trying to bind people to the will of the Sphere and its masters – he is freeing them from the Light, the Light that he believes manipulates everyone into thinking in a certain way, forcing them to serve its will.

Quite ironic, that the corruptor accuse the Light of being the corruptor, however…”

The professor stops in his tracks, as if he had spoken to quickly. His uncertainty lies as an uncomfortable silence in the small room.


“His… Arguments. They are based on logic and reason. He uses those tools to undermine the Holy Church. It is… Compelling, convincing in a way.
No, no. Such thoughts are reserved for heretics. We must always trust in the Light to deliver us.”

He leans forward in thought for a moment, but does not let the silence manifest itself.

“It is my belief that he is extremely convincing, plausible, perhaps even charming. He knows how to bend words. This is how he managed to get people to follow him, people unlike the former Spherites. These were not mere power hungry warlocks and thugs; these were a truly evil breed, people willing to enforce extreme measures to get what they want.

It is no wonder that the third return of the Soulblighter and his department later resulted in the ultimate promotion. He was elected Darkmaster of the Sphere. A position where being a genius were nothing but a basic requirement. Only the most vile, intelligent and powerful of all enemies of the Light have ever attained this position, and it turned out that his rule were not to be the most peaceful, nor the least bloody.”

The professor stopped. He was nearing the end of his tale. Soon, it would all be done. His eyes were wide open as he started intensely, the measure of his deductions almost too much to carry. This person that he had come to know better than his own parents, this person that he knew, truly knew, better than even himself. His lifework, his life, being contained within this very small room was enough to make him tremble.

“It is my belief that he is a well trained and extremely calculating sociopath, having no form for empathy or thought for the means he seeks to employ.
He craves control, full control. He cannot work without knowing all the details, without having all measures well calculated. Miscalculations are unacceptable for him and will lead to anger – he will punish those that fail to put him in absolute control of any given situation.

I have likewise deducted that he is suffering from mild paranoia, not unreasonable given his position, but nonetheless. He constantly covers his tracks, has his stories straight and he has a unique ability to disappear before trouble gets to him. That is why no authority have ever been able to capture him, let alone prosecute him.

It is also my theory that he suffers somewhat from schizophrenia. He has been hiding from the authorities for so long, worked through so many cover stories, so many lies, that it would be almost impossible to imagine him as a man without trouble recognizing his true self.
He has an inability to experience pleasure and lacks, in all aspects, a wish to form relations with any kind.

All that matters to him is the Cause of the Sphere, the Will of the Soulblighter. Terms that he might even have created himself, without knowing, through his schizophrenic features.
He has no wish for power, he has no wish for love or affection, he even lacks a wish to exist. All that matters, the very core of his being, is the path he has chosen, or, as I have made it clear, the path that was chosen for him by all the circumstances around him.

He is a madman and a heretic. And amongst the most well informed, cunning and evil men alive.
His very existence is a threat not only to Stormwind and the Church here, but to all that do not wish to live under the rule of the Sphere.”

He was done. This was his deduction. This was the Darkmaster, whom he had come to respect as much as he feared him. This was the core of it. This was the man.

“You are quite accurate, professor”

“Thank yo…”

I snapped him off, speaking rapidly to offset him.

“How easily do you expect that he could infiltrate an organization?”

He clearly thought he was done. He was relieved. This kind of attack took him by clear surprise.

“Well… That would depend on the size of it, how well established…”

Again, he was cut off, my tongue as cold and merciless as steel.

“An organization like the SI:7”

The professor looked up as grim realization struck him like lightning. He paled. How could he not have seen? How could he have been so blind? What could he possibly do?
His reaction was as expected. He tried to run towards the door. I let him run past me before I turned and held him back with dark magic without even uttering a word.
Without speaking to him, without even letting him utter a final word, I crushed him. It was as easy as breaking a twig. He was old and weak and, in his current state of mind, he accepted death willingly, leaving me a part of his soul in return.

I stood in the door for a short while. It was not required, I do not know why. I looked at his broken body, lying on the desk, bleeding heavily.
Quite accurate, quite a mind. I padded the great brown book in my arm absent mindedly before evoking black magic from the tip of my fingers, setting all the books, all the reports, all the papers aflame.
It would all burn, taking all the knowledge it contained with it into a fiery doom.

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Re: knowing a man

Post by Jayse on Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:03 am

Really enjoyed the read, only just got around to it.

*looks thoughtful* ...Oh dear.. *grins*

Arm yourself because no one else here will save you.. The odds will betray you.. and I will replace you..

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Re: knowing a man

Post by John Helsythe Amaltheria on Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:39 pm


When I started to roleplay I always found ( still, actually )your character being an interresting one, as you were the dark master. I asked
you about your history back then and you gave it to me in a nutshell, so to speak.

Here you present your whole story to me and really, ace, epic. It's not only
very well written but also nice to learn more about a character like
Mordazan, for me atleast as it indeed is an interresting character. I guess I'm glad that you published this!

As for the ending: I did not see that coming at all, brilliant.

Yours unfaithfully...
John Helsythe Amaltheria

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Re: knowing a man

Post by Mordazan on Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:22 pm

I'm glad someone actually got around to read it. This certainly encurages me to write more.

Mordazan tend to think a lot. I think what I have in store next will be something of an inner monologue (always a good idea to develop a character through stuff like that, anyhow)

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Re: knowing a man

Post by John Helsythe Amaltheria on Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:44 pm

Yes please. Smile
John Helsythe Amaltheria

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Re: knowing a man

Post by Ehrfürchtige Bennedict on Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:19 pm

Awesome story Very Happy

Very nice read!
Ehrfürchtige Bennedict

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Re: knowing a man

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