|"The cardinal rule of the Dominion: ambition tempered by restraint."|
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.
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'okaEdit
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 VictoryEdit
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 SunEdit
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. As forces worldwide prepared for a voyage to Nazjatar, Salrin was deployed to infiltrate the city of Dalaran in the form of the human mage Endcaster. There, Salrin enthralled Astriel and lured her to Thedo'thalas, where she was promptly turned into a San'layn.
The First ContactEdit
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.
Though Mastral had evacuated as many as he could, the losses in Thedo'thalas were an undeniable catastrophe for the secret nation. It was the first true revelation that the Dominion was no longer secret, and a war of extermination would come for them. 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.
Alytheria herself was stricken with grief and rage for her children's deaths and the Knights' role in unraveling her hard work. Though Sinar survived and reunited with Alytheria, the pain of loss was too great, and revenge burned within her. 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. Alytheria not only stripped Mastral of his authority as a Duke, but also established a new fixture in the Dominion, introducing Sinar 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.
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 PlotEdit
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.
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 Dominion's military consists primarily of undead. More often than not, lesser undead such as ghouls, skeletons, and even feral vampires will be employed. Less useful vampires who are deemed reckless or hesitant will still be conscripted into military service. The standard infantry of the Dominion consists primarily of sentient undead under the command of leaders of the Thellian Council. The Dominion will also employ magi, warlocks, and other various spellcasters.
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 thunderstorms and blizzards. They also make use of proto-drakes and longships to operate overseas and maintain aerial supremacy.
Some of the Dominion's tactics are reminiscent to those used by the Undead Scourge. Generating and exploiting fear has been core to the Dominion's formation and their revival of the San'layn, and the overwhelming use of vampires in battle is intended to maximize the infectivity of their curse. Soldiers are encouraged to bite their foes to spread their curse as much as possible and create new vampires to sew discord among their enemies, not unlike the Scourge's use of the plague to turn enemies into mindless allies.
Division M has been repurposed into the Dominion's intelligence network, carrying out acts of espionage and sabotage across the world where the Dominion requires it.
Weavers are individuals who have been granted similar powers to their leader, able to plant marks to see through their units and assume the characteristics of spiders.
Vampire assassins are also trained by Inkorkast to be able to travel with ease in the form of mist and attack enemies while they are unaware.
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.
Montgomery Halstad is the head apothecary and has been appointed to a project to create a method of spreading vampirism through a similar agent to the Forsaken Blight. Botani samples are also being researched for military application, collected from operations in the Barrens.
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 ThalassianEdit
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 ConquestEdit
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 collective 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.