"Do not wait for power to come to you. Find it, seize it, rule it."
Hermaeus is an Undead Warlock with a colorful past. He had spent most of his life with magic and learning the ways of the mage. In his later years he eventually turned to the dark path of the Warlock, which had become his mainstay choice in abilities. He had become part of many a cult, learning their ways and adding them to his own. His entire being is dedicated to becoming powerful beyond measure, no matter the cost.
A calm, yet unsettling aura; enough to discomfort even the dead. His demeanor is that of his kind, however he seems unpledged to Sylvanas.
The garb that covers his body does not seem made of materials from any mortal realm. It occasionally oils over with a dark substance, even as fumes from some grim netherworld billow from the shoulders. The hawk-like mask completes the disfigured design, giving only mere hints as to what the Warlock perceived with his mortal eyes. Skulls of smaller creatures line the waist, giving compliments to the dread nature of the undead...
Early Life and the Kirin TorEdit
Long ago before the days of the Second War, a child was born to a noble family of Stratholme, the father a member of the city's council that served Lordaeron’s King. He was named Hermaeus, for it was the name of his grandfather, who he had a shared appearance. Hermaeus as a child was not a typical Lordaeronian boy, but instead possessed a magical talent that his family deemed worthy of note. And like most magical children, he was reported to the Kirin Tor so as to responsibly wield the powers he was granted.
Hermaeus was later brought to Dalaran to learn the ways of the Mage. He was the standard, attentive student teachers saw as role models for the more erratic learners, who could hardly sit through a lesson without casting a pranking spell. No, the boy was smarter than that. Hermaeus absorbed every session like an obsessed scholar, vying desperately for knowledge. He knew that gaining power meant to listen and observe, which he did every day.
War was in the midst of brewing for Lordaeron when Hermaeus was nearing the rank of Adept among the Kirin Tor. He was nearing his early twenties, and quite handily displaying power behind all that he had learned. Hermaeus had become a small symbol of pride for Dalaran, a star student that earned praise from all that had taught him and the ire of many an envious rival. Challenges to sparring matches would be the answer to their emotions, however rarely did Hermaeus lose, all in an attempt to not slay his opponents during duels and maintain the disguise of a tempered learner.
The Second WarEdit
Finally, the Second War had erupted, and the southern regions of Lordaeron were alight with battles against the Horde. The Mages of Dalaran were called to fight alongside soldiers on the front lines, and Hermaeus was one of them. He was dispatched to the Hillsbrad Foothills to defend supply lines from Dalaran to the warring regions. During his first engagement with Orcs and Trolls, he willingly went into battle unlike some of his brethren, taking pleasure from the death wrought from spell and sword alike. Such ferocity was mildly accepted on the battlefield, and Hermaeus never expressed his ruthless tenacity anywhere else. He was described merely as a man of the moment, with none truly knowing his dark, inner self.
Horde infiltration in Northern Lordaeron demanded reinforcements for the soldiers already in place there. It was fate that brought Hermaeus to the lines upon the shores of Darrowmere Lake, where a majority of naval battles took place. Upon land, the Horde suffered great amounts of casualties as Hermaeus’ unit decimated their ranks, pushing them back for a lengthy duration. After several more days of fighting, Darrowmere Lake was free from Horde occupation. However, with the Orcs and Trolls becoming desperate, they struck out the second greatest city in Lordaeron: Stratholme.
Being born in Stratholme, Hermaeus’ instinct was to defend the city. Due to his veteran status, he easily gained a transfer to Eastern Lordaeron, but arrived too late to aid for long upon its shores. The Horde had succeeded in razing Old Stratholme in an attempt to cease supply lines from the High Elves, and hardly left anything standing. The most Hermaeus could accomplish was aiding his new unit in wiping out the remaining Horde and rescue and survivors. True, evil and selfishness were his main traits, yet he still had a place in his void of a heart for family. His main concern during the evacuation of Stratholme was saving his mother and father and what possessions that were easily carried.
Upon arriving at the district mostly inhabited by nobles, Hermaeus had made for his old home and began rescuing his parents. Minor disappointment befell him when he learned that his father was crushed by a burning beam, but to his partial relief, his mother was safe. During her evacuation, Hermaeus located his grandfather’s library filled with books of all ages, but only one could be saved due to what little time he had left before the home was consumed by devouring flames. Destiny had him choose a musty old tome with a broken lock; a tome that lead him down a darker path of life.
A Demonic RoadEdit
The Horde was finally pushed south after another month of war, and Lordaeron was mostly free from the Orcish threat. Hermaeus did not join the Mages and soldiers that travelled south to retake Stormwind, but instead stayed to rebuild the city of Stratholme. He had left the Kirin Tor and what military obligation he had in favor of replacing his deceased father as a Council member. He was accepted of course, for he had become something of a known figure in his home region, and it was family tradition to hold the famous office.
Rebuilding and reorganizing Stratholme’s government had taken two long years due to limited materials, but it was completed just before the end of the war. Hermaeus’ leadership as a Council member was inspiring to most, for he provided benevolent and generous advice, appealing to the masses. However, when he was alone in his personal study, he would pore over the tome he initially read out of curiosity. Never did he suspect that his grandfather, who he was coincidentally named after, was a clandestine Warlock. The first thoughts that ran through Hermaeus’ mind after reading the Common translations were on power…great, indomitable power.
Months were invested into reading the tome, and Hermaeus’ lust for power only grew. Through connections, he obtained a small library of forbidden codexes and scrolls. He had learned to consort with demons in the darkest times of night, when the moon was black or bloodied. His study had become a summoning chamber for devils of the Underworld that served the purpose of slavery. He could summon many a variety of monster, but preferred the Imp for its ability to be trivially abused and shaky servitude. But despite his supreme knowledge and possible ability to overthrow the council he was part of, Hermaeus contained himself and maintained the farce of councilmen.
The Lich King's CallEdit
One day several years later, however, when he was again reciting black incantations, Hermaeus had heard a sort of…calling. At first it was a mere beckoning in the night, but eventually became louder over the course of days. He was easily able to block it from his mind, having gained enough power to resist temptation due to his egotistic nature. Still, he was curious as to what source harbored the voice, and consulted many a demon who had ascertained its origins. Indeed they knew, and did not withhold the information when he commanded it from them.
The Lich King was the caller, they told him. This interplanar being was brewing a vast, unstoppable army deemed the Scourge who had already conquered Northrend. And the Scourge was coming to Lordaeron, they told him, through a magical plague that would sweep the land via an agent, one Kel’Thuzad. Hermaeus had heard the name before, and was intrigued about this new opposition to the might of Lordaeron. He could have warned the kingdom before the plague’s spreading, but did not, instead allowing events to pass as they came.
Months had passed before he heard whispers in the dark once more. They had grown stronger in tone and nearly irresistible. A week passed before Hermaeus had given into the Lich King’s call. In a fit of madness, he shouted to the air that he pledged himself to the Scourge, and as if the beckoner knew, a messenger of the newly formed Cult of the Damned was on his doorstep. The decrepit man, Hermaeus knew, would be the harbinger to the unimaginable power the Lich King promised under his breath. Without hesitation, the Warlock followed the cultist to a secreted ritual ground when the Cult recruited. After a brief introduction to what the Cult offered, Hermaeus was inducted; a secret agent in a position of power he was to be, his form left mostly unchanged so as those of Stratholme could not suspect him of betraying them.
Events had gone on in the eastern portion of Lordaeron as planned. Hermaeus, receiving orders from the Cult of the Damned weekly, was told to keep the human populace of Stratholme in check. During meetings with fellow council members, he gave hard evidence of no trouble at all in Lordaeron, in the form of forged and authentic letters he had been given by Cult members. They each reported nothing hostile invading the land, and only minor rumors of plague being spread in some farms in Western Lordaeron. His charismatic and almost sarcastic representations of those problems made them appear false, and so were not looked to more seriously.
Only when the plague had spread to distant Andorhal and the Scourge was readying its hand did the people of Stratholme suspect something awry. Hermaeus did not acquire any orders to cull the citizens into believing lies, but instead to merely oversee a special shipment of grain that was ridden with the “Gift of the Lich King”, and was expected to arrive in Stratholme soon. Much to his delight, Hermaeus requisitioned guards to protect the plagued carts from any misbegotten raiders that could thwart the plans of the Cult.
A week later, while Hermaeus was overseeing another meeting the anxious Council of Stratholme hosted, a Cult member had stolen into the chambers to tell him that the shipment of grain had arrived. The morbid news the council presented already made him feel somewhat excited, but knowing that the Scourge was on Stratholme’s very doorstep caused him to experience a sort of grim giddiness. A sort of finality then filled the room, at least for him. On the morrow, the very people before him would be ravenous ghouls and slavering corpses. In the middle of the meeting, Hermaeus stood, then with a zealous voice, called out, “Meeting adjourned! See you all in Hell!” and with that, left in a swift fashion. Legend has it that it was this very saying that doomed Stratholme to fire, but all know the true culprit.
The Culling and New "Life"Edit
Almost immediately after the plague had spread throughout his city, an unforeseen event had occurred, at least one to Hermaeus and several Cult mortals: the Culling of Stratholme, orchestrated by the Prince of Lordaeron, Arthas. Whatever plans there were for the complete domination of an intact Stratholme fell apart then, leaving Hermaeus confused and without contacts within the city, for they were slain in the streets like all citizens. And so, in a desperate attempt to save himself, Hermaeus fled, never once looking back on the eternally-burning city that was his home in bygone days.
Though things had not gone entirely as planned in Stratholme, the Scourge had claimed Lordaeron as its own, finally making a firm foothold on the Eastern Kingdoms mainland. Hermaeus soon regrouped with the Cult of the Damned near the Scholomance, greeting them as he would friends, but kept himself aware in their presence. He knew their obsessions over death, and secretly wanted no part in ending his destiny. Yet, the Cult members had dictated that the Lich King desired Hermaeus to join the other, immortal Scourge ranks in undeath for his great service. Fear overtook him then, and again he tried to cheat death with flight.
Not even his powers could save him from the endless corpses the Scourge threw his way. Hermaeus was soon overwhelmed in a house near Blackwood Lake, which was quickly torn apart by Abominations and Ghouls. With one last cry, he forsook the Lich King and the Cult of the Damned, seeking repentance for his actions, but receiving none. His words sowed his doom, as he was made a mere shambling corpse that roamed aimlessly as Scourge minions are wont to do. Darkness entered his fevered mind, and all he knew was oblivion.
Later, Hermaeus would regain his sentience as the Lich King’s will weakened and allowed some undead to be free. His dominion over the Warlock arts severely atrophied by that time, and no longer could he command the powerful demons he had years before. Alone with nothing and no one to stop him, Hermaeus snatched the opportunity of freedom and left Eastern Lordaeron for its prime province where the capital stood…
What he expected to find in Lordaeron’s main city was ato find in Lordaeron' Scourge base fraught with undead like himself. Instead, however, what he found were undead that had freedom of will, and flying banners of a faction he had no prior knowledge of. Though quite wary of these new people, Hermaeus did not hesitate to question one who passed by nonchalantly. The corpse had emotionlessly explained that the kingdom now belonged to the Forsaken, those who banded together after becoming free of the Lich King. Both then went on their way, with Hermaeus approaching the ruins with great intrigue. These “Forsaken”, he knew, could aid him in his vengeance against the king of the Scourge.
Recruitment into the ranks of the Forsaken was seemingly easy, as they allowed anyone who had the tenacity to cut an unliving into the world under the Banshee Queen Sylvanas Windrunner, and was no long living. Through his logical reasoning, Hermaeus saw no reason not to join the Forsaken in their defiant crusade, at least for now. They desired the death of the Lich King as much as he, which he saw as beneficial, but only saw the Queen as an obstacle if he attempted to gain dominion over his undead brethren. So long as he worked toward the Forsaken’s goal, he believed, they would not suspect any hidden endeavors he kept in his skeleton-full closet.
With newfound aid, Hermaeus had forged a new reputation within the Undercity, where he trained in the Temple of the Damned to regain his power over fel magic. Though being trained by more customary warlocks, he himself was a veteran among them, only needing to “remind” his atrophied power of its full strength. Decayed veins now flowed with a renewed river of black magic, which was possibly more potent than when he was alive. Spells he had learned long ago were once again utilized, albeit conjured through more up to date techniques shown to him by the other warlocks. His prominent ability to control fire was mostly noted due to his past mage life, being more than fluent in understanding its use as a power.
The Burning LegionEdit
Hermaeus' skill did not go unnoticed by outside forces, who vied to induct the warlock for their own devices. The first was the Burning Legion, for each space he spent delving into fel magics brought him closer to their corruption. His final years of life had also been unknowingly spent serving them under the Cult of the Damned, making him a worthy addition. Demonic wiles of power were enough to cull him into their forbidden enclave, serving as an informant and watcher of mortal affairs. Much like with the Cult, he would stay embedded in his new society until called upon. And though he voiced his goal against the Lich King, he was assured that his vengeance would be taken; more than enough to sustain his loyalty.
Long months in the Undercity passed by quickly as Hermaeus consulted with demons, learning all that they would bestow upon him from what they had learned. He was told of the Burning Crusade that had been unleashed in recent times and the Legion's fight to hold broken Draenor. The days and nights when he was not at work among the other undead warlocks he spent being updated by a succubus or imp. Hermaeus contemplated the Black Temple that was to be assaulted by adventurers sent from Shattrath, and the fall of Illidan the Betrayer days later.
Suddenly, however, there was a blackout of information. None of his minions were ones that circulated reports, causing Hermaeus to worry slightly. Yet, instead of risking secretive meetings nightly for little, he took up Alchemy to sate his desire for learning. Coupled with his dark abilities and otherworldly means of acquiring ingredients, creations bordering the lines between genius and insanity would be walked with a less than careful step.
The Royal Apothecary SocietyEdit
Of course, to achieve mastery over the alchemical persuasion, Hermaeus required aid from those veteran Apothecaries that haunted the Undercity. Being a noteworthy user of the dark arts aided him in gaining membership within the Royal Apothecary Society, alongside his dabbling into the sciences. Lady Sylvanas herself led the induction, and soon Hermaeus was among the Royal Apothecaries, after swearing a hollow oath to uphold the Dark Lady's interests.
His work under the Apothecaries began almost immediately, being tasked with researching the plague and attempting to find a “cure”. Hermaeus was instructed in mixing vials carefully, boiling ingredients for their essence, and so on by Master Apothecary Faranell. He was not one to have to acquire ingredients, for they were provided by Apothecary Keever. Having a consistent supply at hand allowed Hermaeus to manufacture a variety of potions and elixirs, a few of which he utilizes to this day.
Over the years, Hermaeus had nearly forgotten his connection to the Burning Legion. He had not held meetings with his demons for a long while, instead applying his intellect and abilities toward the art of alchemy and science. He was grimly reminded during a time alone, when a Succubus in the guise of an undead woman visited him. With her tempting wiles she lectured him on his loyalty to the Legion, and demanded a report of events, to which Hermaeus responded accordingly. Satisfied, the demon briefed him upon upcoming events, including the Lich King's sudden involvement in worldly affairs once more.
Yet, even as the new species of plague erupted across Azeroth and Putress' views toward a cure, Hermaeus remained within the Undercity. He envied those Forsaken that made the long journey to Northrend in the coming weeks to make their mark upon the very doorstep of the Scourge. Several times he vied for a transfer to the icy shores, but was continually denied, and merely informed that his time would come. He grumbled over the words daily, yet did not allow his dissatisfaction to show in his work. Instead, he worked harder on whatever his fellow Apothecaries desired him to, applying himself to the fullest.
Forsaken Rebels and The Battle at Angrathar WrathgateEdit
Nearly a year later did Hermaeus' wishes become true, however vaguely. For, even as he researched some lost project, the Grand Apothecary Putress gathered only the most trusted and talented of the members, including Hermaeus. They were updated on the situation in Northrend as they made for the surface, describing a new form of plague that had been created there and was ready to use. As they loaded supplies and the like upon a far-ranging zeppelin, all had been revealed. Their mission was to be present at a forthcoming siege on the Icecrown Citadel itself, whereupon they would field test the plague.
Hermaeus already had the notion that the planning was not of the Dark Lady's design. He did not bother himself with the details, though knew Putress was in league with another, and later told of a coupe that would take place after their attack. He could only guess that behind it all was the Burning Legion, for why did they choose him to serve alongside a fellow Forsaken who plotted under Varimathras?
A week later saw them over the shores of Northrend, yet the airborne chill did not bother Hermaeus. This was his opportunity to strike at the Lich King; something he had wished long ago. The Apothecaries saw themselves to Dragonblight, whereupon they formed up in Venomspite alongside other members. Bestowed upon Hermaeus was the trademark garb of the undead who would unleash the plague at Wrathgate: the Deathbringer. Clad in the visage of the reaper seemed fitting to him, and he would always wear it.
The plague catapults loaded with several canisters of the plague and the handlers given fumigator masks, the traitorous troop headed out. Across the frozen wasteland they traveled, coming across none that would oppose them. For a week they trekked in secrecy, with Hermaeus staying mostly to himself, thinking solely on revenge that would be his in the coming days. And before he knew it, they had arrived on a back trail that led to a slope overlooking the mighty Angrathar the Wrathgate.
Hermaeus had paid attention to Putress as he briefed them on their mission once more, but most of his focus was cast on the battle to commence below. He silently observed as the Alliance forces clashed with the Scourge, decimating the forefront. Then, the so-called Vargul were unleashed upon them, to which another mortal force responded to: the Horde, charging in on their canine mounts. After the battle had proved victorious for those against the Scourge, Hermaeus returned his full attention to the plague catapults being readied, aiding in the process.
Then, the moment Hermaeus had waited for in the entirety of undead life had arrived. As the Alliance and Horde forces formed up before Angrathar, it has opened its terrible jaws to reveal the loathsome Lich King. Hermaeus was tempted to launch the plague early, though it was not his order to give. Putress, however, did strike at a most opportune moment, immediately after the Horde leader had fallen. Hermaeus observed with glee as the Lich King felt the pain and anguish he had willingly lent years ago backlash in gaseous affliction.
Though he could sit and watch the Lich King writhe under the effects of the new plague, it would not be so. He had enough strength to make his escape, much to Hermaeus' displeasure, but he had no time to relent, for their forces had to withdraw quickly or suffer the wrath of the dragons. Putress had gathered the group, and within minutes, they once more moved out into the Dragonblight wastes. Having been relieved of most of the plague canisters, they would not be significantly weighed down, being able to travel back to Venomspite in a quicker fashion.
The Battle for the UndercityEdit
Their task in Northrend complete, the Forsaken Rebels made haste back to the Undercity to rendezvous with Varimathras. Luckily the Nathrezim had successfully routed the Loyalists with his inside forces, allowing them to return to the Undercity with little difficulty. Though they would see victory for now, Hermaeus had the ever-present notion that retaliation would come, and possibly cause their inevitable defeat.
Sure enough, Sylvanas and her Loyalists struck back with the aid of others. Hermaeus had done his best to defend against the Dark Lady's forces, however his support was truly lacking. Again and again he was forcibly pushed back to points, and though his abilities with shadow, flame, and alchemy proved useful, he nearly met his fate near the throne room where Varimathras cringed. He was quick to hide away in a darkened corner, and guzzling a Potion of Illusion, managed to disguise himself as one of the Dark Lady's Deathguards.
Taking advantage of his new and temporary form, Hermaeus had made for the sewers in a stealthy fashion. He cared little that his upstart faction was decimated, seeking only refuge from the wrath of Sylvanas. Using what supply of illusory liquids he had, Hermaeus made his way south to Tarren Mill, where he would remain a dormant agent until the Legion contacted him again.
(Work in Progress...)