Min'rasha Rosestrider (Sister)
Math'ralan Pantheos is a High Elf Warlock of the Silverguard, originally a Blood Elf of the Sunfury and the Illidari until his defection following the fall of the Black Temple. After initial service to the New Horde, the rise of Garrosh Hellscream and the Siege of Orgrimmar led to his later defection to the Grand Alliance.
Years later, he joined the covens under the Council of the Black Harvest to assist with the Burning Legion's invasion. However, fundamental disagreements with the Black Harvest's philosophy led to the warlock ultimately renouncing his commitment to the Council. Now, he seeks to reclaim his damned soul from a powerful demon lord.
For many years of his life, Math'ralan was a Mage-Priest who lived with his sister, Min'rasha, and her son Mul'rasus. A devotee to the Holy Light and his Arcane birthright, Math'ralan took pride in his abilities, especially as a healer. With his sister serving as a Farstrider, he often lent healing to her wounds, and the wounds of others. However, Math'ralan was also a man with a curious intellect, and not fearful of the taboo or unexplored. He perused the ancient history of the Highborne Empire and its history with Demons, fascinated by the deep lore of their race, but also what such bargains had bought them.
His Greatest Failure
Math'ralan's ability and devotion were tested when a war against the Trolls took its toll on Min'rasha. She was afflicted with a most unusual pathogen, a disease that poisoned her very blood and ate away at her from within, threatening to kill her. Its source was dark, darker than anything Math'ralan had ever known. No healing he wielded could save Min'rasha, forcing him to scour his readings for anything that could save her life. He found deliverance in the knowledge of demonic pacts, that if anything could purge an illness beyond his ken, it would be powers that were equally beyond him.
In secret, Math'ralan carried out his first summoning to appeal to the demons of the Twisting Nether to save Min'rasha's life. The price was steep, however, demanding life in cost. Unwavering in his determination, Math'ralan offered his own life essence to the demon, which was eagerly stole from him. With Min'rasha brought before the demonic ritual, her life was granted time, burning away at the Loa-borne plague that ate at her. Though unsettled by Math'ralan's actions, her life was seemingly spared.
However, the Faustian bargain did not put an end to the suffering, for the blood plague would still resurface. Once again, Math'ralan prepared his appeal, but he was weakened from the prior sacrifice. This time, he could not afford to spend his own life, and for the first time the Mage-Priest violated his vows as a healer, bringing forth a sacrifice to the demon lords to hear his appeal. Pleased with this sacrifice, Min'rasha's life was spared once more.
Sacrifice became a cycle, and the more Math'ralan spent, the more his mind was drawn to the curious nature of the Nether. Seeking understanding of his demonic patrons, he began to study demonic magics on his own, even as Min'rasha pleaded for him to end the path he was taking. His decisions were taking their toll on her as well; every ritual brought only burning pain that scarred her body, and her eyes had taken on a deep emerald that she was forced to conceal under a glamour. She was changing, and so was Math'ralan.
The Mage-Priest insisted that his actions would save her life. Still, he saw the pain that Min'rasha was in, and what she endured through every ritual, and he resolved to seek out a permanent solution, an end to the plague. He found his answer in the promise of the "immortal soul", of a ritual that would grant the subject a truly undying state. Believing this the perfect solution, he prepared his ritual in secret, promising to Min'rasha that she would never need to suffer another ritual again after what he had in store.
When Min'rasha's sickness began to reveal itself once more, Math'ralan finally revealed his secret ambition to her. She protested, desperate to avoid a pain that was now far greater than what the plague subjected her to, but he pressured her into survival, for the sake of her son and for the nation she protected, threatening the likelihood of an ignoble death should she refuse. Though still reluctant, Min'rasha finally succumbed to the pressure, and conceded to perform the ritual of immortality.
Math'ralan carried out the ritual, but there was no appeal to demon lords, no bargain struck. Only Math'ralan, the power he had explored, and the ritual he studied would be what saved Min'rasha. However, what he had expected to be a benevolent salvation was nothing of the sort, for Min'rasha was bathed in hellfire, immersed in Fel energies. The pain she experienced was far greater than Math'ralan had ever inflicted before, and her body was even beginning to metamorphose within the flame. However, the Mage-Priest could not stop, out of fear of condemning her to death if the ritual was not completed.
Finally, the ritual was completed, subjecting Min'rasha to the full experience. It was finished, but Math'ralan held no hope for success, only fear in what he had done. When the fire burned away, and the smoke cleared, Min'rasha knelt, crippled, upon the floor, in a body not her own. As she stood upon cloven hooves, flexed her great wings, and raised a head crowned with curled horns, Math'ralan was destroyed by the realization of what immortality had truly meant. His sister looked to him with fear and confusion, seeking answers from the man who had transformed her into a demon.
Wracked with guilt, Math'ralan was determined to make the best of his mistake, and hid Min'rasha within her own home. He constantly monitored her behavior, and did his utmost to foster what humanity was left, ensuring it would not be lost to her demonic impulses. However, the effort ultimately failed; as Math'ralan endured questions regarding Min'rasha's disappearance, her sanity was eaten away by the chaos of her demonic mind, filled with impulses of death and chaos. She fought them as long as she could, before ultimately she succumbed.
It was not until after she finally acted on these impulses that Math'ralan was present to witness the aftermath. Arriving in what had been her home, Math'ralan found that his sister had decapitated her son, Mul'rasus, cradling his head and contemplating what she had done in her frenzy. Realizing the danger his sister posed, and that there could be no hiding to spare her, he banished her to the Twisting Nether, condemning her to the realm to which she now belonged.
Unable to afford any knowledge of what he had done, Math'ralan destroyed his ritual chamber and set the house ablaze with lit candles, burning down the home and all evidence of the carnage. He was apprehended and judged by the Silvermoon Magistrate later on, and tried for arson and the murder of Min'rasha and Mul'rasus. Found guilty, he was sentenced to serve his time.
In Fire's Wake
Math'ralan spent decades imprisoned and undergoing rehabilitation for his crimes. Though tortured by the knowledge of what he had done, the secret interests that had led him down the path he had taken still remained, and his mind wandered back to his demonic studies quite frequently. He thought less of the Light's mercy upon his criminal soul, and only upon the effect he had upon Min'rasha's, what his spell had done, how it had gone wrong.
When Math'ralan was eventually released and reintroduced to society, he was encouraged to return to his Mage-Priest obligations. For a brief time, he did, but his faith was shaken, his interest even moreso. In secret he continued to study demonology, determined to fix the crisis he created, yet never found his solution. Still, he continued to study and continued to practice, summoning demons in secret, carrying out forbidden rites, and delving into knowledge that was kept hidden from him. Over time, the Mage-Priest's devotion eroded altogether, and gave birth to the Warlock he would become.
In embracing his true nature, Math'ralan identified himself as a warlock and took to communicating with other secret practitioners and covens. He stepped down from his obligations as Mage-Priest to cover up his change in interest, instead joining the ranks of fiery magi, and over time his mind was drawn less and less to look back, and instead to look forward. Ambition drove the man, to fuel a desire for knowledge, and power over others. Behind it all, a desire to find Min'rasha and save her from what was inflicted upon her.
The early days of his warlock career were not without price, however, especially with many mistakes made. Reckless pacts often cost him more than he gained, or would leave him or another scarred for his efforts. The greatest price came during days when he fell in love with the succubus he had bound to his will. Believing their love to be real, he eventually released her from his enslavement and their partnership became genuine and consensual. Unbeknownst to him, however, the succubus simply exploited him to her ends, and without power over her he was vulnerable to an attack.
After Math'ralan was advised by a fellow warlock, and with a moment of clarity, he attempted to seize control of the situation he had created. He succeeded, but not without a confrontation in which the succubus cast a curse upon his face. A mocking effort to spurn any hope of love for the warlock ever again, the curse would represent his face as utterly horrific to behold, or nothing short of repulsive, to anyone who saw it. He had shackled the succubus once again, but upon realizing what she had done, he destroyed her in a rage.
Taking to wearing a mask at all times, Math'ralan's opinion regarding the demons he summoned became far more jaded and aware. Learning to regard demons as fuel and weapons, and never as companions, the warlock began to make progress in his studies. However, this progress was slow and restrained until the Second War that had arrived upon Quel'thalas. As he aided in the fight against the Orcish Horde, he witnessed their Death Knights, the runestones converted into the Altar of Storms, and the demonic magics wielded under the nose of Orgrim Doomhammer. Intrigued, Math'ralan took to studying whatever he could glean from the warlocks' limited knowledge.
Math'ralan's progress surged, however, with the Third War. The Fall brought with it a certain desperation to the newly christened Blood Elves, a name which Math'ralan himself learned to wear. Though weakened by the destruction of the Sunwell, demonic magic still lended power to Math'ralan, an anomaly among otherwise depleted elves. For this, he was noted as worthy to join the Sunfury under Prince Kael'thas to attempt to reclaim what was left of the Alliance of Lordaeron. His interests were less than patriotic; he saw no desire in rebuilding the Alliance, nor did he feel beholden to serve his fellow elves. Survival pushed the warlock, as it pushed all the Blood Elves on to Outland.
Outland was a worthy home to Math'ralan, captivating his interest instantly. What others saw as a blasted ruin, he came to see as a treasure trove of demonic knowledge. Following the Betrayer, Illidan Stormrage, and his Prince, Math'ralan profited from all that the newfound Illidari did to seize Outland as their own. With Illidan's claim upon the Black Temple, Math'ralan had more knowledge than he could ever hope to attain, and even found respect for comrades that would not compel him to lie or mask his true ambitions.
With the newfound knowledge came an expanded knowledge of demons, including the elusive Observer that had never once been witnessed upon Azeroth. Not only this, but Math'ralan learned of knowledge of a sacrificial pact with Observers that could be done to obtain their sight, legendary for their ability to read any language. However, the price of this bargain would be all knowledge of skills he held prior, in payment to the Observer. Preemptively, he prepared for his coming amnesia before reaching out to the Observer he desired, and eventually striking the deal.
All knowledge of his past skills, and what he had done with them, was erased. Any shred of the Mage-Priest he once was had been obliterated, but along with all his accumulated knowledge as a warlock. As promised, however, he had attained the ability to read any language through the eyes of an Observer. Returning to the Black Temple, he took advantage of his preparations to pour over the knowledge he accumulated and work to restore what had been lost.
He never fully succeeded, and it took him years to recover what was sacrificed to the Observer. However, he continued his work at the Black Temple, often joining fellow Sunfury in the summoning and binding of demons for initiate Demon Hunters to train against. When Prince Kael'thas ultimately fell in Tempest Keep, and announced his defection to the Burning Legion, Math'ralan spurned his former prince in favor of a full commitment to Illidan and his own. However, Math'ralan could see the direction that the offensive on Outland was beginning to take against the Illidari, and knew that an assault upon the Black Temple was all but inevitable.
Math'ralan used the invasion of the Black Temple as his chance to slip out of notice. Following Illidan's death, Math'ralan immediately snuck into the ranks of the defecting Sunfury on their way home to Quel'thalas. Seamlessly, he managed to rejoin his kin, and in so doing join the Horde. His service was largely minor, involving work in Northrend and the study of the Firelands during the Cataclysm. It was a mundane service, but he found a comfort in being able to explore his dark arts within reach of the law, a preferable state of existence compared to life on the run with the Illidari.
However, with the ascension of Garrosh Hellscream as Warchief of the Horde, Math'ralan felt a growing unease under the Horde's thumb as he was quick to realize the Orc's aversion to demonic magics. The warlock prepared himself to depart from the Horde at any given moment, secretly setting the stage for a defection to the Alliance if Garrosh's intolerance grew to become a true threat. He grew close to the Sunreavers of Dalaran, fostering connections in the neutral city before electing to live there entirely, away from Garrosh.
This plan backfired, however, when Garrosh made use of the Sunreavers to smuggle the Divine Bell to the Horde through Dalaran. What followed was an unprecedented retaliation in the form of the Purge of Dalaran. The Sunreavers became ruthlessly targeted by Jaina Proudmoore and the Silver Covenant, forcing Math'ralan to escape from the city lest he be killed or captured within the Violet Hold. He was successful, returning to Silvermoon, but was furious that his chances of escaping the Horde for the Alliance had been so suddenly stymied.
At this point, Math'ralan was running out of time to stage his defection as Garrosh began to tighten his hold upon the Horde, and segregating it from his True Horde. Increasing scrutiny stalled Math'ralan even further, preventing him from escaping. Eventually, he was cornered by the Kor'kron Guard in their inquisition against the warlocks of the Horde, to be captured and imprisoned indefinitely, presumably until he was to be executed. Locked in a prison within the Barrens, Math'ralan was deprived of all tools, save one: sacrifice.
Murdering his cell mate under the guise of idle hostility, Math'ralan secretly used his cell mate's blood to paint a ritual circle and incant a greater summoning to appeal to a demon, any demon, to save him. The Rune of Infernos he had painted, and his incantation, ultimately reached a powerful Annihilan known as the Shatterer. A pact was struck between the two - in exchange for a thousand sacrificial souls, Math'ralan would be granted the power to burn his way out of his cell, and scorch any who stood in his path.
Though it tormented him to wield such power, burning him from the inside out, he was successful in his escape. Splitting the earth with roaring flame and calling down infernals from the skies was a taste of the Pit Lord's power he had been granted, and such power leveled the Kor'kron based entirely. Killing every living soul that stood between him and freedom, Math'ralan was free to escape into the world and remain hidden from notice until the next opening of the Dark Portal.
Math'ralan's return to the world was a quiet one, slipping back into public notice as something of a mercenary specializing in demonic knowledge. There was little use for him until Gul'dan began a new rise to power, bringing with him a resurgence in demonic powers. Math'ralan joined many warlocks in bringing knowledgeable counters to these threats. In the process, Math'ralan was hard at work trying to supply the Shatterer with the souls he had requested, killing well over a hundred and feeding their souls to the demon lord. However, Gul'dan was only a prelude to a greater act of malevolence, and his defeat was hardly a conclusion to the coming war.
In a way, Math'ralan soon received a premonition of the Legion's next invasion when he visited Stormwind, only to be visited by a harrowing vision of the Shatterer, seemingly bursting from a clock tower to confront the warlock. The Pit Lord came now to invoke Math'ralan's end of their bargain, and that he now had to deliver a thousand souls within in an allotted time, or his soul would forever belong to the Shatterer. It was a stressful revelation to have the deal so suddenly and drastically changed, for Math'ralan knew that there was no way he could realistically meet the demon's demands within the time given.
There was some solace with the Legion's return as the Black Harvest began to take warlocks under its wing, fostering power to combat the Burning Legion. Though unconcerned with the grander union and goal, Math'ralan followed into the Black Harvest's ranks to find both protection and possible answers, aiding on the Broken Shore and Argus.
Following the Legion's defeat, Math'ralan did not immediately depart the Black Harvest, nor was he keen to leave Argus behind. However, with the demonic threat curbed, the Black Harvest began to profit greatly. Stores of knowledge otherwise closed off had now become available, and Math'ralan was more than eager to study them. While the Fourth War began to rage, he and his fellow warlocks took to pillaging the Legion's surrendered knowledge.
It was at this point, however, that Math'ralan's discontent with the Black Harvest reached its boiling point. He despised that his own individual research and discoveries were forced to be shared with others who he believed had done nothing in comparison to himself. Coveting his own work, he began to deny sharing any knowledge to the Black Harvest, citing unconditional sharing as a dilution of their craft. After a vocal disagreement, Math'ralan decided to part ways with the Black Harvest entirely, and return to pursuing his own ambitions in the comfort of Alliance law.
This did not come as a relief for the warlock, however, for he was soon placed in the line of duty, most of his work involving combat against the Horde. Minor jobs and deployments were spread between his sanctioned research, yet more and more a discontent began to fester once again. This was compounded by a growing unease, knowing that his soul remained damned, and he was still fully aware of the Shatterer's hold upon him. Frustrated, Math'ralan quietly began a search for an order who could finally free his soul from the demon's claim.
He traded many orders, guilds, banners, and creeds, searching for people he could deem worthy of helping him. Few succeeded until he finally took notice of the Silverguard, an order of High Elves currently engaged in battle with a remnant of the Burning Legion. Research discovered that these elves had endured successful campaigns against these demons before. Intrigued, Math'ralan submitted an application to enlist in the Silverguard's ranks, citing his desire to be among people, while secretly watching - waiting to see if these elves were the competent allies he needed.
All accounts of Math'ralan prior to the necessity of his mask describe him as a handsome man, with dark black hair and a goatee that lent a certain sardonic confidence to the warlock. His eyes were emerald from his immersion in Fel Magic, often described as attentive and alert but rarely intense unless angered. Surrounding his left eye is a circle of demonic runes, planted by an Observer in a bargain that allows him to read any language.
However, Math'ralan has since taken to concealing his face at all times due to a curse placed by a Succubus that had outsmarted him in their pact, a magical glamour that now presents his face as utterly horrific or revolting to look upon to any save for the most magically astute who might be able to pierce the veil of the curse. As a result of this, the warlock has taken instead to wearing a mask of bone and a hooded robe at all times, which both announce his profession and conceal his shocking image.
Chained to his hip is often a grimoire of advanced demonology, detailing complex rituals and incantations that he may consult rather than try to recall from memory. A spell most commonly in use for the warlock is Demon Skin, which results in cracks of Fel leading from his hands up along his wrists, and darkened nails. These are often concealed by gloves, or wrappings around his hands.
Like many warlocks, Math'ralan is an ambitious individual who suffers little to impede his path to progress or search for knowledge. However, he also sees the importance of adherence to the law and working within its confines, as well as exploiting its opportunities to pave his way, and regarding renegade behavior to be a fast path to self-destruction. He is curious in mind, and often busies himself with studies and admiration of cosmic phenomena that capture his interest.
On the whole, Math'ralan's demeanor is best described as vain and domineering, yet tempered by a modicum of civility. He is merciless in battle, reveling in destruction caused by Felfire, and has no love for the foes he battles, let alone moral quandaries in deciding their fates. He is apathetic to the wellbeing of others outside himself, those useful to him, or his circle, and will sacrifice anything without importance to get his way. Conversely, Math'ralan is keen to preserve alliances unless they run contrary to his values or draw his ire, and can grow to appreciate those who earn his trust. When matters demand his full attention, he will put aside his vanity and cooperate to the fullest extent to ensure a task is complete.
Partially influenced by his immersion in the studies of demonology, bargaining has played an integral role in Math'ralan's mindset, often weighing costs against benefits but also aware of the importance of equal exchange. As such, he frequently relies on bargaining as a rule in cooperating with others, that to warrant his service or something he provides, he must receive something of fair value in turn. This is often turned against the unwitting who help him, not realizing he has prepared a greater deal in advance.
Rather integral to Math'ralan's philosophy as a warlock is also his adamant belief against the mandatory sharing of knowledge, as he believes that all resources being spread equally simply dilutes the passion for the dark arts that drives most warlocks. This is the underlying reason for his departure from the Black Harvest, which mandates that all gathered knowledge be shared for collective benefit. As such, he encourages his peers and students to withhold the discoveries they deem most valuable, and to make such treasures their own in order to satisfy their deeper ambitions, and fuel that of those around them.