|Legion||Battle for Azeroth||Shadowlands|
|"We are more than what the Scourge made us to be, more than hedonists left to drown in decadence. We are masters of our own Dominion, survivors against all judgments of the world. To succeed in this requires order and control."
The Bloodmoon Dominion, also known as the Dominion of Lyth'thalas, is a Scourge remnant led by its namesake, Queen Alytheria Bloodmoon. Predominantly composed of San'layn, it has since surged to a position among the most powerful Scourge remnants following the shattering of the Lich King's helm. It is distinct among Scourge for a unique system of strict order and monarchal control, foregoing the tactics of the Scourge for the strategy of elven warfare.
Established in 37 L.C., the Dominion was founded by Alytheria, Inkorkast, and Sinar during the early days of the Third Burning Legion Invasion of Azeroth, inspired by historical accounts of the Mortraust discovered within the Library of Sitat'izar. As a result, the Dominion is modeled primarily on the Mortraust as a historical precedent, while drawing inspiration from Thalassian culture as well.
It was originally meant to create and unite vampires in a tight-knit community, though the Dominion consists of far more than vampires. The mission of the Dominion has since expanded with the creation of the Thellian Conclave, who spread the Dominion's sphere of influence to conquer or absorb any other pockets of undead they come across.
The Dominion's population and power is primarily concentrated upon the island of Kal'oka. The accepted demonym for a Dominion citizen is contested, mostly between Lythan and Thalassian. To this day, the Dominion has been primarily challenged by the Ashen Knights and the Silver Covenant, and is a subject of investigation by the Ward of Anasterian.
In the wake of the War against the Lich King, three San'layn - Alytheria, Inkorkast, and Sinar - survived by hiding within the fallen kingdom of Azjol-Nerub, protected by what few Nerubian allies remained of its inhabitants. Though they survived the war, they were overwhelmed by the free will brought to them through the death of the Lich King. A lethargy swept over the three as they were lost and devoid of purpose, crippled by loneliness due to the massacre of the San'layn in Icecrown Citadel.
Determined to find a meaning to their continued existence, Alytheria elected to research their curse through the use of the Library of Sitat'izar. Within, Alytheria learned about the existence of vampires that predated the Scourge, as well as vampire societies such as the Mortraust. Seeing a potential salvation to their plight, Alytheria explained her findings, suggesting that they rally their own society in order to survive and find a new meaning to their freed existence.
Conquest of Kal'oka
Years were spent preparing the groundwork for their upcoming society, including the surveillance of the remote island of Kal'oka. Unbeknownst to the Alliance stationed upon Kal'oka, the three took over the mage tower and enthralled its inhabitants. Using them, the three San'layn kept themselves appraised of the ongoing affairs of the world through the use of scrying. Surviving on the life on the island, the three waited for their opportunity to execute their mission.
This opportunity came in the form of the Burning Legion as they attempted a third invasion upon Azeroth. A steep difference in threat would draw eyes away from one's homelands to focus on the greater enemy, permitting the three San'layn to begin their plans. Sinar was tasked with guiding Alytheria's Nerubian allies, the Arak'Shabtir led by Anub'teris to a location where a new underground home could be established. In need of a replacement for Azjol-Nerub, Anub'teris agreed to construct an underground labyrinth that would be home to Nerubians and vampires alike.
As Sinar saw to the construction of an underworld in Duskwood, Alytheria infiltrated the New Horde following the death of Warchief Vol'jin. She was able to secure membership and formed the clandestine intelligence agency Division M that saw its greatest rise in power during the rebellion in Suramar City. Cementing her power base through Division M, Alytheria withdrew her forces to prepare.
Finally, Inkorkast saw to the conversion of the Drakhyld Clan to the San'layn's cause. Already swayed by the diplomacy of Prince Keleseth, the Vrykul were immediately a target of Alytheria's interest, however the Drakhyld were particularly valuable due to their faith in Helya. This faith led to an unwavering loyalty towards vampires, which Inkorkast was able to exploit to the fullest, allowing him to turn the Vrykul into his pawns. His efforts were briefly compromised by the Orcs Goremah and Gezra, however he was able to detain Gezra and order the Drakhyld to relocate to Kal'oka.
Having gathered all her strength to Kal'oka, Alytheria executed a swift and decisive strike upon the Alliance's prison fortress, Whale Beach Penitentiary by compromising its steam pipes, its main method of heating. The prison began to freeze, placing the Alliance in a vulnerable position that Alytheria exploited to trap them within their own jail. Those who escaped fled south into the Titanswood.
With the prison captured, the Bloodmoon Dominion was officially founded through their conquest of Kal'oka. The prison was modified into a fortress that would serve as a home to vampires in the second phase of the plan.
The Dominion's Victory
With Kal'oka conquered, Whale Beach Penitentiary under renovation, and a steady supply of blood from the Duval Estate, the San'layn were prepared to move forward with the next development of their plan. Sinar's efforts with Anub'teris had produced an underground labyrinth beneath Duskwood with links to Elwynn Forest and Westfall. The onset of the Fourth War was a blessing to the Dominion, for it once again drew eyes away from the factions' homelands and left them open to the vampires.
Divison M was tasked with the kidnapping of humans from the local towns, such as Goldshire, and drawing them to the underworld to be turned. Though Alytheria and Inkorkast could not turn people, Sinar permitted himself to be turned into a means of mass producing vampires, bound by magic to produce a mist that killed and raised its victims. As the vampire population suddenly swelled, Thedo'thalas was established.
However, Thedo'thalas was not meant to serve as a utopia society in itself. Instead, it was a recruitment process to determine who would be worthy to be sent to Kal'oka. Alytheria established strict laws upon her fellow vampires, that feeding was permitted only upon the cattle and required to be rationed, with hunting being banned entirely. Those who were disciplined would be considered as candidates for the Dominion. Those who were lethargic or hedonistic would be confined to Thedo'thalas.
Kal'oka became the Dominion's seat of power from the fortress of Banu Batora, and Thedo'thalas was creating vampires faster than the local human populations could manage. Even as the Kingdom of Stormwind noticed a surge in disappearances and moved to combat the invisible threat, Alytheria's order to the kidnappings was deliberately unpredictable and exploited the shortcomings in the kingdom's domestic defenses due to the ongoing war.
By now, Alytheria had everything she wanted, and within a year the Dominion's mission had proven a success.
Darkening the Sun
Though Alytheria had created the people she had desired, she was not yet satisfied. She was more than leader; she was a mother, and a grandmother, and she wanted her children to come home to her once again. While Sinar and Inkorkast did their part, Alytheria joined the ranks of the Forsaken and the Horde. Through this, she sought to return to the House of Solflame. Unfortunately, the house rejected her, though Valythra Solflame was unerring in her support for her grandmother.
While in the Horde, Alytheria created the espionage network of Division M with Valythra as a director in intelligence. They found allies in the Suramar Rebellion through the House of Duval, and were most notably responsible for quelling a Botani threat in the Barrens. Both gave Alytheria crucial weapons - the support of a Nightborne household, and a potentially catastrophic bio-weapon.
The curse of vampirism began to sweep the House of Solflame. Alytheria's son, Salrin Bloodmoon, was already a San'layn like herself. Valythra Bloodmoon was also recently turned, though her actions led to the loss of an otherwise useful and important asset to Alytheria. The elder Bloodmoon saw an opportunity with Raitaus Solflame dead, and began taking steps to revive the House of Solflame by approaching Sylvia Solflame, the youngest of her line and likely the sole remaining heir.
While Thedo'thalas spent the next year creating vampires and capturing cattle, Alytheria decided to embrace the entropy of her bloodline. Sylvia was the only living heir to House Solflame and arguably the only remaining member of the line who had yet to so completely betray Silvermoon as the others had. Therefore, while she would revive the House of Solflame, her elders would be made into San'layn who bore the name of Bloodmoon as Alytheria did.
The first Solflame to fall into Alytheria's clutches was her daughter Astriel, though unwitting to the queen herself. As forces worldwide prepared for a voyage to Nazjatar, Salrin took the initiative to infiltrate the city of Dalaran in the form of the human mage Endcaster. There, Salrin enthralled his sister and lured her to Thedo'thalas, where she was promptly turned into a San'layn. Though this was against Alytheria's wishes and earned a swift rebuke, she acknowledged his reason for his actions, seeking to reunite with his closest sister. As such, Alytheria took Astriel in, offering her shelter and guidance through her forced undeath.
The First Contact
Main Article: Harvest of Terror
Alytheria's presence had indirectly torn the House of Solflame apart, with her granddaughter Valythra rising as a menace to numerous innocents. For a time, motherly love was trumped by self-preservation when Alytheria realized that Valythra not only deserved justice for her crimes against the family, but also served as a distraction from the Dominion. Ultimately, Alytheria elected to let Valythra remain alone for a time until she was ready to seek out her true family.
However, Alytheria wished to pursue her youngest of her progeny, a young woman named Sylvia. Sylvia was the youngest of her eldest descendants, but unlike Valythra she was not disowned by the family. Alytheria realized that Sylvia was possibly the only Solflame who had not abandoned Quel'thalas yet could still ascend to the role of Matriarch. For this reason, the spider sought her out. However, Alytheria was not the only one on a hunt.
Lyraeni Sorrowsong had found out Valythra was rampant in the world again and sought to bring justice, but became aware of Alytheria's role in the ultimate fall. With the blessing of the Solflame ancestors, Lyraeni made it her mission to bring both Valythra and Alytheria to justice, and started by pursuing Alytheria to the Cindergrove, where Alytheria currently resided. With the Solar Spire, Lyraeni nearly killed Alytheria in a duel before the latter was saved by swift intervention from Inkorkast.
With Alytheria grievously wounded, the Dominion fractured, albeit only slightly. It was a small crack, but one eagerly exploited. Salrin, the resident lord of Thedo'thalas alongside Duke Drael Mastral, began to urge his fellow vampires to feed in the open, preying on the innocent townsfolk of Westfall and Elwynn Forest. Alongside this, Valythra had grown bold, committing only more atrocities in her undeath.
Valythra's later attempts to redeem herself were unsuccessful, and for it the Silverguard leadership ultimately had her executed in her cell, by Lyraeni's doing. Not long after, the Ashen Knights were ultimately called to Duskwood, their own attention drawn to the vampire activities. In a swift and decisive action, the Knights exterminated the vampires in Thedo'thalas and beheaded Salrin.
Alytheria herself was stricken with grief and rage for her children's deaths and the Knights' role in unraveling her hard work. With two of their royals dead and a home destroyed, the Dominion rallied under Alytheria's furious call for vengeance. Alytheria's preparation for war came with the proclamation that she would now be known as Queen of the Bloodmoon Dominion, and of the San'layn.
However, while justice was demanded from the Knights, justice was also needed from within as well. Mastral had failed to quiet Salrin's dissent and lock down the social unrest of Thedo'thalas that led to its ultimate fall. Though his prudent decision to evacuate Thedo'thalas over battling the Knights was in line with protocol, the ultimate fall was ultimately deemed Mastral's failing, and the Dominion may have been exposed for it.
Mastral was demonized by the Thellian Council, who used his role in vacating in Thedo'thalas to depose him of his power and thus bolster their own. Sinar onos En'kilah, having survived and reunited with Alytheria, was instated as the Queen's Wrath. Sinar's judgment was decisive, and his introduction to the Dominion would begin with making an example of Mastral for his failure, as well as Salrin's mistake. The Wrath had Mastral bathed in fire, melting his armor to his flesh before finally mending the wounds to fuse with the armor further, effectively condemning Mastral to never remove his armor. With this, Sinar cast Mastral aside to the remaining dukes and duchesses of the Conclave, leaving him as a pawn to their devices.
Sinar marked Mastral with the permanence of his disgrace, and let the fallen duke serve as a reminder that no punishment is too steep for failure as great as this. The introduction of the Wrath shook the Dominion to its core, setting a new standard and precedent for what was expected of every citizen and soldier. Progressively, Alytheria's grip on her Dominion tightened, especially on her appointed Conclave, to ensure that there would be no further negligence such as Salrin's. Furthermore, Sinar established his own elite cadre of hand-picked soldiers that would be known as the Hand of Wrath, a force answerable only to Sinar and the Queen herself. Doubling as elite agents and a police within the Dominion itself, the throne's even stricter rule served to match the Dominion's gradual transition into imperialism.
With Lyraeni Sorrowsong branded as a persona non grata of the Dominion and all eyes on the Silverguard, the Dominion began moves towards militarization. The entirety of the Dominion dedicated itself to the culture of warfare, with even its citizens now being trained and disciplined for the possibility of open warfare. The Thellian Conclave was put to task branching out to appeal to new allies and conquer any who stood in their path. All priorities were focused on bolstering the Dominion's strength to defend itself from any further assault - or to initiate an assault of their own.
Sylvia Solflame was soon made the Matriarch of the House of Solflame, absorbing the Phoenix Society into its ranks with the promise to rebuild the dead house. The Cindergrove became a target of interest for the Dominion due to its proximity to the duchy of Quellorian, governed by Seriphene Vanyali. Inkorkast used secrets gleaned from the Priesthood of the Beyond to begin training a new order of assassins who could dispatch the undead, with the goal of assassinating Lyraeni should the opportunity arise. Though the Dominion's eye was fixed upon the Silverguard, no open aggression was taken, believing it best to avoid escalating a conflict unnecessarily too soon.
In the north, the Dominion, under the command of Sinar, began surgically neutralizing pockets of independent Scourge who had broken free of the Lich King to assimilate their forces. To the southeast, near the Broken Isles, Inkorkast began leading the Drakhyld Clan to Stormheim. A band of San'layn rangers had been previously captured in the Hinterlands by the Silverguard, bait that the Quel'dorei were meant to take as Alytheria could ultimately trace their whereabouts when captured. With the rangers tracked to Stormheim, the Drakhyld longboats carried Inkorkast and his assassins towards the Vrykul lands to infiltrate the Ashen Knights' hidden location.
The Corhalen Plot
In the east, within the dead Kingdom of Alterac, Sanaeron Sanguire set his eyes upon a valley within the County of Braes in close proximity to Dalaran Crater. Believing the nearby ley lines would prove advantageous in the Dominion's expansion into the east - as well as proximity to Quel'Danil Lodge and a potentially historical site - Sanaeron began making his moves upon the valley to settle within the abandoned castle of Corhalen.
All the while, Alytheria herself was busied with business of strategy and diplomacy alike, though primarily taxed with negotiations with the Choir of Silence in the Cindergrove, as well as the newly discovered town known as the Mass outside of Sanaeron's claimed castle. It was with dismay that she conceded that the likelihood of swift revenge against the Knights would not come within mere days, but accepted that now was a time for the Dominion to bolster its strength and its numbers. Furthermore, with the plight of the Forsaken and the poor image of the Ebon Blade, Alytheria decided it best to present the Dominion as the best possible option for undead to pursue a secure future.
Meanwhile, the spies of Division M carefully monitored the happenings and murmurings of the world, and caught wind of a subject of particular interest. Various people in the world aside from the Dominion itself still mourned the passing of Valythra Bloodmoon, with some even seeking revenge or restoration of the fallen vampire. Sanaeron took particular interest in this, seeing an opportunity for decisive action. However, the only truly opportune opening was in Kora Deathwhisper and her work to establish the Knights of Death's Embrace. There was widespread rejection of the Knights from the Conclave out of distaste for its establishment of Death Knights, with only Verina Senesse in favor of backing Sanaeron's idea.
The Dominion planted a spy in Stormwind to hire a courier to personally deliver a message to the Death Knight. Kora was approached by the young courier, who nervously approached the Death Knight with the letter in question. Curious about the letter, Kora opened it to read its contents, penned by Sanaeron himself, that explained that the mysterious sender knew that Kora would rather not let the unjust execution of Valythra go and would rather do something about it. Feeling that she may have been watched for some time, Kora immediately went to retrieve Valiant from the stables and set out for Strahnbrad as asked to in the letter.
Arriving in Strahnbrad some days later, the Knight was met with the sight of the ruined town, just as a heavy rain began to fail upon her shoulders. Surveying the town with a condescending eye as she was always want to do when it came to lesser Kingdoms, Kora was approached by a male San'layn from behind. Their exchange was short but tense, filled with several insults and jabs from both sides of the conversation, eventually the arrangement was discovered. The San'layn, named Mastral, was to accompany and aid Kora in her crusade against the The Silverguard, and in turn Kora would take Lyraeni Sorrowsong's head.
Knowing full well that she could not hope to siege their keep by herself, Kora reluctantly accepted Mastral's offer. Mastral, asking if he were to return to his superiors with an answer of acceptance from the knight, was instructed by Kora to do so. Teleporting out of sight with some sort of Arcane Magic, Kora was left alone once again to return to Stormwind.
While wandering Stormwind reading her tome in preparation for the next move, Kora was met by Mastral again near the canals in Stormwind. Expressing her happiness that he was present, she ordered him to follow her away from the hustle of the city so that they may discuss quite a few things. Leading Mastral into the Stormwind's cemetery, the Death Knight ensured that no one would overhear them.
Afterwards, Kora went on to inform Mastral of all that had transpired since their last meeting. She explained that she had assembled a group that would aid her in gaining power to seek revenge upon the The Silverguard. Detailing her steps to attain power before carrying out her plan for revenge, Kora told Mastral of her plans to retrieve an ancient sword, using it to create a powerful magical focus for her other plans. She spoke briefly about the use of the magical weapon to raise a dragon, but said nothing more about that aspect of her plans any further. Kora expressed her desire for Mastral to be present when they stormed Oldcastle-upon-Eastweald, to which Mastral agreed.
After which, Drael spoke to Kora about how best to contact him, leading him to gift her a scourgestone used by the Dominion to communicate. He instructed Kora not to lose it, as anyone who gained possession of the item would be able to speak and possibly track the owners of the other stones. Promising to keep it near and dear to her, Kora would accept the stone. Kora, struck by an idea, asked Mastral if it were possible for him to use his connections to seek out some information for her: the movements of the Silverguard, of their whereabouts, and the location of one woman named Miralyne Valetender. Remembering the argument she had with Valythra over Miralyne, the Knight decided to begin there. Mastral agreed and promised he would do what he could for her, and the two parted ways.
True to his word, Mastral was able to appeal to the agents of Division M, who managed to divulge the information that Kora had requested, which was promptly sent to the Death Knight.
Dominion operations in the north were significantly quieted in preparation for the Tournament of Ages in order to avoid notice by such a large gathering of Horde and Alliance in Icecrown. However, such a distraction proved advantageous to Sanaeron, who took the opportunity to push the Dominion's influence in Alterac further outward. With Corhalen almost completely under Dominion occupation, a new experiment was soon underway, for magical runestones were being developed with the intention of transforming the very landscape where the Dominion settled.
Much to the surprise of the Conclave, Sanaeron's bets soon paid off when her heist of Valythra's corpse was successful. Where Sanaeron relished in the success of his pickings, and the Conclave was surprised to witness it, Alytheria finally intervened. She had watched with interest since the report of Kora's involvement had reached her, and with success in her granddaughter's return closer than ever, she felt that it was now prudent to ensure the mission would have no room for failure and that Valythra would be restored.
Led by Mastral to the newly christened Banu Alyca, Kora was delivered to Alytheria upon the shore of Corhalen's frozen lake, where she waited with the company of her honor guard. Dismissive of Kora's humor and sarcasm, Alytheria focused solely on her business with the Death Knight, inquiring as to what Kora's intentions were to gather a clear picture of her plan. When Alytheria had every detail she required, she offered a regiment of soldiers and rangers who would assist in the acquisition of Valythra's soul through the ransom of Lyraeni's apprentice, Isira Lure'mil.
The purpose of her aid was not to simply ensure success through numbers, but also to misdirect the Silverguard. With the understanding that Kora meant to take Valythra back under her wing, Alytheria decided that she would need to be framed for the act instead. The plan was to disguise Kora as a Dominion agent, while Alytheria herself would ransom Isira to the Silverguard in exchange for Valythra's soul. Kora agreed to the terms of their arrangement, so long as she would be the one to capture the archer.
With their business concluded, Kora returned to Oldcastle to prepare for Valythra's resurrection, and Alytheria journeyed south to the Hinterlands to set the stage for Isira's capture and ransom. Spiders were spread throughout the forests as her eyes, while Kora trained with a Dominion Deathcharger to better obscure her identity. Eventually they were ready, with Kora disguised as a Hand of Wrath tasked with the capture of Isira on behalf of the Queen.
After a brief torture and false interrogation, Alytheria issued a proclamation to finally revealed the Dominion to the Silverguard, offering a ransom. In exchange for Valythra's soul and Amorath, the Ravenous, Isira would be returned to the Silverguard with no conflict. If they denied her, however, Alytheria promised total war upon the Silverguard and its holdings. What followed was a tense exchange in the Hinterlands where the ransom was successfully held, though not without a brief assassination attempt from Inkorkast foiled by Malithanore Vanyali's quick thinking.
Both parties walked away, with the Dominion having finally revealed its existence for the first time.
Following the successful ransom, the Dominion turned its eyes back to its conquests in Icecrown where the Queen's Wrath, Sinar onos En'kilah continued to oversee the defeat and assimilation of any remnants of the Scourge not bolstered by its central might. They primarily harassed the Scourge along the outskirts of Icecrown, but avoid its center in order to evade the wrath of the Lich King. However, while preparing these conquests, the sky above Icecrown Citadel abruptly shattered, revealing the Maw and Torghast beyond. From the Maw came the Mawsworn in the form of dark beings akin to Val'kyr.
Though the Dominion's center of power, Kal'oka, was far north of Icecrown, they were still within notice of the Mawsworn scouts that briefly assailed Banu Batora. The attack was a small one, but a successful defense from the Dominion only drew further attention from the Maw, prompting more concentrated efforts upon the island just as well as the rest of Icecrown. In response, all non-essential Dominion operations were put on hold as an immediate call to withdraw and defend Banu Batora was issued.
While Alytheria organized the defense of her stronghold and island against the Mawsworn, Sinar oversaw the Dominion's battle in the heart of Icecrown, and witnessed the rampancy of the Undead Scourge without the control of the Lich King. Using shades and gargoyles to survey the battle, Sinar, Inkorkast, and Alytheria spoke extensively about the situation and acknowledged the merits of seizing the Lich King's lost assets to repurpose for the Dominion. While Alytheria saw to defense and Inkorkast oversaw the situation of Icecrown, Sinar was tasked with the seizure of every possibly useful asset that could be obtained. Leading the Hand of Wrath, he brought necromancers forth to take control of wild undead, occupied arms factories, and stole strongholds.
However, a point came where a pivotal discovery was made: Lana'thel had returned. The Mawsworn had taken to resurrecting the fallen of the Scourge to harass the Argent Crusade, and not only did they restore Lana'thel, but they restored Keleseth and Taldaram as well. Key leaders once lost to the San'layn had been brought back, and given the chance could potentially seize control of their kind. Realizing the implications of this, Sinar reached out to Alytheria, and the two discussed at length the course of action the Dominion should take towards the Blood-Queen, recognizing that many would feel it an obligation to return to her side.
Alytheria dismissed any San'layn's concerns of rejoining the Blood-Queen as misguided, and that Lana'thel would only cause a major setback in everything they had built thus far. She ordered no intervention against Lana'thel, instead trusting the Argent Crusade to handle her. However, she ordered that any entertained insubordination against her reign in favor of Lana'thel as Blood-Queen be sentenced to exile. Those who were exiled were collected by Sinar and delivered into the frozen heart of Icecrown to starve or be killed. Those curious about her return were similarly exiled.
While the Argents disposed of Lana'thel and the Blood Princes, Sinar and the Hand of Wrath set their eyes upon a valuable prize. A necropolis, Galathra, had begun an approach towards Icecrown with the intention of joining the conflicts and reaping the rewards of the Lich King's absence. Seeing an opportunity in such a powerful stronghold, Sinar ordered all offensive efforts of the Dominion to be focused squarely on the necropolis in order to seize it for their own ends. Controlled by the Lich known as Zal'narad, the means of controlling the necropolis were seized and the Lich's phylactery was destroyed, placing the stronghold wholly in the custody of the Bloodmoon Dominion.
Using this necropolis, the Dominion soon became a terror against the remnant Scourge, absorbing pockets even faster and crushing opponents that contested them. Shortly before the Ebon Blade finally rallied atop Icecrown Citadel to prepare for a venture into the Shadowlands, the Bloodmoon Dominion had soon ascended to a place among the most powerful remnants of the Scourge to now exist without the Lich King's reign. However, it came at the expense of their secrecy, for the occupation of Galathra and its use drew the ire of both the Argent Crusade and the Ebon Blade as one of many new threats.
With the Dominion at its strongest, measures were finally taken to begin an assault upon Alytheria's nemesis, the Ashen Knights. It was still a personal fight for her, not worthy of the Dominion's greater notice, and so her friend, Inkorkast, took his personal allies of the Drakhyld Clan to test the Ashen's strength. It was his hope that the Ashen threat could be curbed silently and with ease by his Nightstriders, not requiring drawing the full strength of the Dominion upon them.
Using the captive San'layn taken from their hunt for Elasa Solflame as a marker, the Dominion tracked the Ashen to their Ashen Refuge, based upon the Dreadmyst Isle off the coast of Stormheim. The Drakhyld landed upon the shores with Inkorkast and a Pincer Unit aboard. Immediately the Pincer Unit were tasked with preparing telemancy beacons on the island that could be used to call in more Dominion personnel as needed. Meanwhile, the Drakhyld were directed to siege the Ashen stronghold.
The goal of this was twofold; while there was certainly a desire to thin the numbers and kill any in their way, it was also a means for the Dominion to feel the Knights' true strength on their home ground. Furthermore, Inkorkast called upon his Phantasms, with the intention of entering the stronghold during the battle and later assassinate key players. The first effort was considered a success, for the Dominion learned of a hidden strength in the Ashen forces as they called upon a minor, undead army to defend their holdings.
The second received some success as the Phantasms were able to enter the Ashen Refuge, lurking within its darkened corners as they studied the people, the layout, and their hidden strengths.
From the day the Dominion was formed, it held one core value: the establishment of unified vampires due to their lack of acceptance in the world. The founders of the Dominion loathed their lonely state in Northrend and decided that if the world would not accept the San'layn into society, then San'layn would be responsible for creating their own society. The Dominion is significantly modeled upon the ancient Mortraust, who managed to sustain their own society for well over a century before their internal downfall.
However, with the Dominion's establishment came an unprecedented event with Sylvanas Windrunner abandoning the Forsaken, who were now without a home to call their own. Combined with the numerous Scourge remnants still freed from the Lich King, Alytheria decided to expand the Dominion into a competitor for a stable, undead society that would surpass the flaws of the most significant three - the Scourge, the Forsaken, and the Ebon Blade - and attract new members. As a result, the Dominion has been striving to balance its military aspects with a civilian culture, which the Dominion leadership believes most undead societies fundamentally lack.
The Dominion's current mission is to expand into the forefront of undead societies, extending its relative prosperity to others by either diplomatic assimilation or forcible conquest.
As a relatively secret organization that must thrive in the shadows, the Dominion expands its ranks in a similar fashion to how extremist groups recruit. The Dominion will often target those who are vulnerable, alone, or afraid, especially when it pertains to undead who feel abandoned or hated by the world. This is especially true with Dominion operations based in the Horde, where conditions are in a state of upheaval and many find themselves in a difficult place in life.
In other cases, facilities such as Thedo'thalas will actively kidnap individuals - especially vulnerable people such as the homeless, refugees - to convert them into vampires and indoctrinate them into the Dominion lifestyle from there. Alternatively, however, the Dominion also recruits through its lifestyle itself, attracting wayward undead with the promises of a functional society. Various undead settlements may be used to encourage Dominion membership.
One of the greatest boons to the Dominion's recruitment is the treatment of undead and the historical successes and failures of other undead societies. The deaths of Valythra and Salrin Bloodmoon are used to paint them as martyrs of the San'layn and how they are treated by the world, especially the Knights of the Ebon Blade. Though his efforts were obscure, Prince Dreven's failures also reinforce the Dominion's case in advocating for a undead society not beholden to the Horde or the Alliance. With the absence of Sylvanas Windrunner, the Dominion has done even more to present itself as the best option for a stable undead society.
The largest and broadest organization of the Dominion, the Fanged Legion encompasses all of the Dominion's standing forces, which are almost entirely composed of undead and overseen by the Queen's Wrath himself, Sinar onos En'kilah. Most frequently, these soldiers are vampires of some persuasion, but with the recent abdication of Sylvanas Windrunner, formerly Forsaken undead have also joined their ranks. By law, every citizen of the Dominion is conscripted to train for military combat and discipline and serve as a member of the Fanged Legion for an allotted time. This ensures that at all times, the Dominion may rally a standing army from its population.
Who or what enters the Fanged Legion is not restricted to profession or skillset. Spear-wielding hoplites and fire-conjuring magi can equally be part of the Legion. Most of the members of the Legion are sentient undead, though feral undead are sometimes employed as a strategy of overwhelming odds, sometimes meant to wear down opponents or cull numbers. Plaguebats are among the more favored mounts of the Legion, able to maintain both ground and air superiority in combat.
The Drakhyld Clan is also a significant portion of the Dominion's military and provides the bulk of its might on land, sea, and in the air. The Vrykul provide overwhelmingly powerful warriors as well as capable shamans and runecasters. The Drakhyld have also been capable of creating environmental threats, conjuring torrential thunderstorms. They also make use of proto-drakes and longships to operate overseas and maintain aerial supremacy.
Furthermore, the Legion itself is divided in a fashion most militaries practice, with commanders overseeing different divisions and battalions.
Much as Quel'thalas was famed for its Farstriders, the Nightstriders serve a very similar purpose of intelligence, sabotage, infiltration, guerilla warfare, and more. Thus, the Nightstriders are considered to be the Queen's "delicate touch" for matters that do not warrant open warfare otherwise waged by the Fanged Legion. All Nightstrider operations are overseen by Inkorkast. Due to Alytheria's careful and meticulous nature, the Nightstriders often encompass the majority of the Dominion's military efforts, with the Fanged Legion reserved for open conflict.
Originally the foundation of the Dominion, Division M has been repurposed into the Dominion's primary intelligence network, carrying out acts of espionage and sabotage across the world where the Dominion requires it. This often involves planting spies in major population centers across the globe to keep up-to-date information on the current circumstances of the world. Sometimes, they may also resort to dispatching spies to infiltrate enemy organizations.
The Weaver Program is run by the Nightstriders, which assesses individuals who demonstrate significant cognitive and strategic ability. Those who qualify for the Weaver Program achieve similar abilities to the Queen herself, able to plant marks to see through and command their units and assume the characteristics of spiders. They are taught in skills of leadership and tactics, to create formidable guides in the Dominion's battles.
Additionally, the Sire Program serves as the Dominion's chief method of recruitment, assessing compatible populations all across the globe for prospective recruits to convert into vampires. Assessing skills, personality types, and more, the Sire Program abducts and converts individuals of satisfactory interest, and subject them to the process of indoctrination to the Dominion.
The most recent advent of the Nightstriders has been in the form of Phantasms, vampire assassins trained to transform into mist forms and assault the bond between body and soul, using necromantic prowess gleaned from the Priesthood of the Beyond. These assassins were developed in response to aggression from the Ashen Knights, essentially to serve as hunters of undead.
Another force belonging to the Nightstriders' creation are Pincer Units, elite four-man squads structured to insert behind enemy lines and plant telemancy beacons, allowing the Dominion to deploy reinforcements from behind in a pincer strike. These squads tend to include an armored warrior, a ranger, someone capable of support, and a telemancer and rarely engage in combat save for escorting the telemancer.
The Apocryphum is a broad society within the Dominion that fosters magical education and training, as well as the preservation of archaic knowledge desired by the Dominion. Members of the Apocryphum generally include mages, warlocks, and necromancers, as well as influential lords such as Sanaeron Sanguire and Seden Stellare, who may oversee expeditions for the Apocryphum.
All matters of the Apocryphum ultimately come to the Queen herself in determining the Dominion's vested interest, educational material, magical studies, and more. To be part of the Apocryphum is not exclusive to any other branch of the Dominion.
The Masters' Guild is essentially an association of creators and innovators encouraged to support one another in creative ambitions with the intent of supporting to the Dominion. It is currently overseen by Montgomery Halstad, formerly of the Royal Apothecary Society.
Blood Elf and Nightborne scholars and researchers of magic are employed to advance the Dominion's magical assets, as well as incorporate them into their technological developments. Forsaken apothecaries - often recruited from the remainders of Sylvanas Windrunner's loyalists - are used to manufacture chemical and biological weapons, as well as recreate siege weapon designs such as blight throwers and meat wagons. Some may become War-Apothecaries, who bring scientific tools and weaponry to aid their allies in the heat of battle.
One can also find a place in the Masters' Guild without wartime creations, as some such as architects and craftsmen may have a place in its ranks.
The Dominion is, for the most part, governed by Alytheria's belief that the key to survival for any vampire is patience and the self-control to deny one's baser urges and impulses. As such, facilities such as Thedo'thalas serve to weed out the both the reckless and the hesitant, sifting through the refuse to salvage only the most strong-willed of vampires. Still, ambition is also prized among the Dominion, as demonstrated with the founding of the Thellian Conclave as a reward for tempered ambition, with many undead permitted to form power bases of their own within the Dominion's jurisdiction.
Those who have earned the trust of Alytheria are permitted to build their own minor power bases under the full authority of the Dominion, essentially delegating for Alytheria herself. Much of the Dominion's influence in the world is overseen by the dukes and duchesses who have earned their power. Alytheria herself is revered as the Dominion's queen and its central power, as even the Conclave serve the interests of their monarch. The Dominion dearly prizes their royalty, including the late Lana'thel.
With an emphasis on an orderly society over the chaos that following the Lich King's defeat, all citizens are bound by strict laws, including a law that forbids unsanctioned hunting and feeding off of any local populace. People of the Dominion are also expected to train and be trained for combat in forms other than the savage brutality one can expect from zombies and ghouls. They are trained in tactics and combat not unlike what one can expect to find in elven military, allowing the Dominion to have a more professional, if small, army rather than one of sheer numbers.
Lythan versus Thalassian
As many nations have demonyms such as Alteraci or Thalassian, people of the Dominion have also wondered what they would be referred to. As they hail from their home island named Lyth'thalas, a commonly accepted demonym is Lythan. Some, however, prefer to answer to "thalas" and retain the name of Thalassian. This is largely a matter of perspective; some wish to appear unique and distinct, while others wish to reclaim their elven identity and heritage.
Lythan is the most common choice of demonym among human vampires and those who do not hail from Quel'thalas, while the majority of San'layn in the Dominion prefer to identify as Thalassian.
Certain types of undead receive greater advantage than others. San'layn stand at the pinnacle of Dominion society, with other types of vampires, such as humans, regarded as lesser stock. Human vampires are often kept bound by a curse that makes the daylight lethal to endure, as a means of subjugation. Death Knights and Forsaken are largely reviled by the Bloodmoon Dominion, seeing them as a privileged breed of undead due to the world's broader acceptance of their presence through the Horde and the Ebon Blade.
Forsaken can become part of the Dominion, though they are believed to benefit less from its membership. Death Knights are almost universally considered enemies, due in large part to recent aggression by the Ashen Knights. Other undead who are more outcast by the world are more welcomed, but may still be treated as lesser to the dominant San'layn.
Rite of Conquest
In keeping with the Dominion's values of tempered, restrained ambition, seizing power is not a mere game of greedily snatching up as many assets as possible. Instead, when forces inevitably conflict, the Rite of Conquest takes place, in which one may challenge another to a duel not only between each other, but between the strength of their power bases. Essentially, if one wishes to claim power, they must be prepared to defend themselves through war. It is a game in which the winner takes all, as the victor ultimately assimilates their defeated opponent's strength.
Arguably the most noteworthy instance of this Rite in action was the widespread challenge by Alytheria's proclamation that she would become queen of the Dominion and of the San'layn. It was a direct invitation for other forces to challenge her authority and claim her power for themselves, under the condition that she would assimilate their own strength should they fail.
To engage in a Rite of Conquest, one was must have up to three supplicants willing to defend holdings that mark their power base. Both sides essentially must balance the protection of their holdings with assault upon their targets, with a focus on their ability to lead rather than simply fight. These holdings may be claimed by any means so long as it relies on what is made available to both parties - no external involvement is permitted. Either participant may engage in battle as they wish, though at the risk of a premature loss.