Warlocks are practitioners of fel, void magic, and/or demonology. Many are former mages turned to the demonic arts out of a lust for power or greater knowledge. As practitioners of much darker magic, warlocks are typically shunned by the majority of society. The Church of the Holy Light in particular are staunch opponents of the practice, seeing them as heretics.
While many warlocks willingly follow the Burning Legion, there are those who work against it, using their magic to fight against evil. Warlocks have proven themselves to be powerful allies - as well as powerful foes. They have been known to work with mortal groups such as the Black Harvest as well as—rarely—the Grand Alliance and New Horde.
The first known warlocks were created by Kil'jaeden, who instructed the orc shamans of Draenor in the use of fel and demonic magics. While the elder shaman Ner'zhul ultimately resisted the eredar lord's promises of untold power, Kil'jaeden soon found another to take his place: Ner'zhul's ambitious apprentice Gul'dan. The young orc became an avid student of demonic magic and developed into the most powerful mortal warlock in history. He taught other young orcs the arcane arts and strove to eradicate the orcs' shamanistic traditions. Gul'dan showed this new brand of magic to his brethren, a terrible new power that reeked of doom. Kil'jaeden, seeking to tighten his hold over the orcs, helped Gul'dan found the Shadow Council, a secretive sect that manipulated the clans and spread the use of warlock magics throughout Draenor. As more and more orcs began to wield warlock magics, the gentle fields and streams of Draenor began to blacken and fade. Over time, the vast prairies the orcs had called home for generations withered away, leaving only red barren soil. The demon energies were slowly killing the world.
During the First War, the warlocks were the most powerful of the orcish sects. These dark brethren went where no others dared in search of ultimate power. Their towers held the keys to unleashing the very essence of evil upon those they saw as a threat to their devious plans. Spells that channeled fire, brimstone, and shadow through their bodies, or could summon forth great creatures - even daemons - were theirs to use.
The warlocks of the Horde were slaughtered by Orgrim Doomhammer. Gul'dan later transferred some of their spirits into the first death knights, while the magical energies of other long dead warlocks were infused into the bodies of the ogre magi.
Sometime after the Third War, the Grand Alliance and the New Horde began pressing warlocks into their service. Although many societies consider such dark arts disreputable, their efficacy in combat is undeniable. Most warlocks practice their arts in secret within hidden enclaves so that they can escape the prejudice of the public.
In Stormwind City, when Lord Wishock was made aware of the warlock coven under the Slaughtered Lamb, he lobbied for a full investigation and closure of the tavern. Zardeth of the Black Claw, however, implied that the noble was actually trying to shut the establishment down in order to avoid paying his tab there. In the end, the warlocks had Lord Wishock assassinated.
In Orgrimmar, warlocks operated discreetly in the Cleft of Shadow. Neeru Fireblade was a warlock who claimed not to wish to destroy the Horde from within or gain control over it, but he was secretly an agent of the Shadow Council. Thrall knew about this and tolerated his presence in order to fool him and better watch over him.
In Silvermoon City, demons were more accepted than elsewhere, as the succubus Nimrida was walking with her master Keyanomir in the Murder Row of the city. During the war against the Lich King, warlocks were still considered as pariahs, operating in the shadows of polite society but were now starting to be respected on the battlefronts.
After the war against Deathwing, six of the greatest warlocks gathered together to make a pact stipulating they share the knowledge they gathered and innovated from the defeat of their powerful enemies. Thus the Council of the Black Harvest was created to teach all warlocks advanced forms of magic stolen from the adventurers' defeated foes.
Warlocks were originally forbidden in the ranks of the Iron Horde, but Gul'dan trained a whole generation of warlocks to marshal against the forces of Azeroth, first as members of the Shadow Council and then as Iron servants of the Legion.
Practice and Legality
Warlock practices are kept in secrecy either due to to societal taboo or for personal reasons. As a result, they commonly practice in secret areas such as catacombs under the Cathedral or beneath the Slaughtered Lamb, though it is considered extremely disrespectful against the Holy Light to practice under the former. Becoming a warlock requires the strictest discipline, whether it is using fel magic or consorting with demons. Otherwise, the magic they seek to control will control them. Only the most illustrious among them become grand warlocks.
A grand warlock is one who has shown incredible skill above all others in the arts of Fel Magic, though generally also show extreme skill in Demonology. The title is achieved by few, notably this title has been achieved by Gul'dan, but has also been achieved by a few others, such as Rossko Cauldella, and Turlias Moonweave, and Gazoreth Demes.
The legal stance on the practices of fel magic is a somewhat grey area and largely unknown. In the case of the Alliance, former King Varian Wrynn had recognized their practicality and although uneasy about the practice he did not deny their use to the Alliance. However, he never reached a verdict on whether or not the practice was legal. On the other end of this spectrum, Lord Baurles K. Wishock upon finding the hidden warlock operation attempted to remove them via petition, but was poisoned beforehand. In the case of the Horde, it appears it is legal given how the warlocks have their own location specifically for dark magic, but it is assumable such magic is frowned upon.
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