November 3, 2010

Back in Business


To the most honorable, esteemed, magnificent Nexus-King Salhadaar,
this unworthy servant brings you urgent tidings from the human planet of Azeroth.

Do not be alarmed by what you see in this image sphere, my liege. Though it may appear that I am a prisoner, nothing could be further from the truth. I have managed to secure the perfect reconnaissance location, directly in the heart of this land's capital city. After months of surveillance, I determined that it would best serve the Ethereum to affix myself to this city in a permanent fashion, as it appears that all major political and military decisions are made within these walls.

As you are aware, I would normally simply replace a high-ranking official or dignitary and use our cloaking capabilities to walk among them unnoticed, but after some thought I decided that a different, simpler scenario was available to me. For some bizarre reason, my King, these people keep their most dangerous criminals right here in the city! Mere yards away from the common populace! What lunacy. But their foolishness is our gain.

It was simplicity itself to purchase a fearsome reputation as a crazed, destructive arcanist on the loose - a few rooftops lit on fire, a few civilians levitated over the city walls, etc. Little more than parlor tricks among our kind, but these primitives reacted like I opened a portal to the Void in their sitting rooms! I led their wizards on a bit of a chase, slaying a few of their number to establish undeniable credibility, before allowing myself to be captured and subdued. In all sincerity, indulging in such irresponsible recklessness was actually quite exhilarating, for a short time.

As calculated, this city's officials were too weak to execute me and too afraid to exile me, worried about what I might do once out of their grasp. Instead, they opted to imprison me within their precious Violet Hold, trusting in their arcane cells to nullify my abilities. Just as planned.

The fools have infused absurd amounts of magic and energy into this prison in a desperate attempt to secure those within. While this sum is nothing compared to the resources available on our homeworld, it is still a respectable quantity, for barbarians. Fortunately for us, they fail to realize that raw energy has no master. It simply obeys the one who can best control its incalculable potential, manipulate and mold its limitless capabilities to best effect. Which means in this city, in this entire land, it obeys us.

Everything about this city has been imbued with magic, an extremely wasteful use of resources, but one which does aid me in my mission. I have converted the latent power within the Violet Hold into a crude communicative system, and am able to listen out of any flagstone, look out from any window, and sense the presence of all beings within Dalaran's walls. Even the vermin scuttling through the city's gutters serve as mobile foci for my scrying. Nothing is off limits to us; no secret hidden, no treasure unrevealed.

Furthermore, I have also discovered that I can reprocess their energy to empower my own innate abilities, allowing me to, among other things, keep in contact with our other agent in Northrend, Wind Trader Mu'fah. As you are aware, the honorable Wind Trader has been diligently working to strike an accord with agents of Malygos' Blue Dragonflight, an allegiance that should prove quite profitable for the Ethereum. Unfortunately, my spies have informed me that Mu'fah has ran into an obstacle beyond even his diplomatic skills: bureaucracy.

Mu'fah's discussions had been proceeding smoothly and on schedule, but he has reported that as of late, Malygos' agents have grown increasingly obstinate and unaccommodating to his offers. The Blue Dragonflight ambassador, Goramosh, seems suspiciously preoccupied with the status of one of their Surge Needles, despite the fact that Mu'fah, an exceptionally talented arcanist, has personally inspected the device and deemed it in pristine operational condition. Thus, we have reached the conclusion that the Blue Dragonflight is stalling.

Such...inexplicable behavior thoroughly confuses me, my King. Perhaps in your infinite wisdom you may have some insight as to why Malygos' brood would suddenly have doubts about our impending partnership, this late in negotiations? After all, a treaty between our organizations would seem the ideal synergy; perhaps I am missing something that you or your prodigious advisors will be able recognize. Allow me the pleasure of summarizing our strategy - please feel free to interject at any time.

So far as I am aware, after the Blue Dragonflight redirects Azeroth's arcane energies to the Nexus, our agents would be on hand, equipped with specialized Ethereum technology to contain and regulate the massive influx of arcane power, as we did in the past when Dimensius the All-Devouring attacked our homeworld. In exchange for borrowing our valuable expertise, equipment and experience with such scenarios, Malygos would cede a stipend of his newfound magical reserves to our organization, allowing us to perhaps finally undo the damage wrought by Dimensius.

It is important to note that Malygos' primary motivation behind the Nexus War is to control and monitor all magic usage on Azeroth. Since the Ethereum's goals lie not with his planet but our own distant homeland of K'aresh, the Lord of Magic should have no qualms about letting our arcanists tap into the Nexus' power. Ah, loopholes.

Perhaps Malygos thinks us unnecessary...that the natural abilities of his flight will be enough to contain the incredible energy he intends to gather. If this is the case, we will need to increase our efforts significantly, to make him fully aware of the catastrophe that would befall this planet without appropriate precautions.

When Dimensius invaded K'aresh and tore rifts into the Nether, showering our world in virulent, unstable energies, it took the finest science and technology available to our race just to prevent the planet from ripping itself in twain. And though we managed to avert the literal destruction of our world, the magical backlash reduced us to our current phantasmal state.

My King, I have watched this planet's inhabitants for many years, carefully measured their power, calculated hundreds of varying scenarios and outcomes to this War. Their "technology" is centuries behind ours, and their arcanists are depressingly undisciplined and primitive. This prison represents their most powerful, coordinated magical efforts, yet if I wanted to, I could stroll out the front door with but a wave of my hand. I guarantee you this: if Malygos gathers Azeroth's magical energies in a single focused location without suitable equipment, the resulting devastation would completely obliterate the entire planet.

Should Malygos refuse to reopen negotiations, it is my recommendation that the Ethereum immediately and completely withdraw our forces not only from Azeroth, but also from The Outlands, and any other parallel world which has connections to this planet. Though we would be forced to surrender valuable trade routes and outposts, I believe exposing ourselves to whatever emerges from Azeroth's remnants would be an extremely hazardous risk.

Fortunately, we may yet avoid this undesirable conclusion. My attunement to the Violet Hold has alerted me that I will soon be receiving a special visitor - one of Malygos' lieutenants, a blue dragon named Cyanigosa. Judging from the number of dragonspawn she has gathered, I estimate she plans to siege Dalaran from within. I will contact her and explain how our goals overlap. Additionally, I will send Mu'fah a spell messenger immediately urging him to step up his efforts to renew communication with Goramosh.

My next correspondence will be delivered within one week's time.
Profit to the Ethereum!

Sincerely, your humble servitor and Spy-Magus



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Pertinent Lore:

The Ethereum - ethereals dedicated to vengeance against Dimensius
Dimensius the All-Devouring
Wind Trader Mu-fah

This was a perfect example of taking a character with honestly, zero plot story or involvement, and seeing what kind of interesting hook I could develop.

There's no quest for Xevozz, and there's zero backstory. He's just...there, in the Violet Hold. All we know about him is that he's a) an ethereal, and b) capable of creating magical orbs/weapons out of thin air, while within the prison.

I started looking into ethereals, my memory of their questlines in Netherstorm pretty fuzzy. I came across the Ethereum, a group of rogue ethereals obsessed with getting revenge on the being that had destroyed their planet, Dimensius. Interesting.

I then remembered that there was another ethereal in Northrend - Wind Trader Mu'fah! I'd done his short quest many times without ever really thinking about what it meant. He's there negotiating with agents of the Blue Dragonflight, for some kind of mysterious alliance. Consider his lines:

I was personally assured by Malygos that your commander would make the deals of this accord his top priority. Now let me pass!

This is insufferable! I represent a nexus-prince, I am not to be made to wait! Goramosh should be waiting on me!

If I have to wait much longer, I will be forced to reconsider the proposed accord between the Ethereum and the Blue Dragonflight!

You are nothing but an underling! I will not wait a moment longer! Escort me to Goramosh immediately!

You will tell your commander that I will not wait a moment longer! Does he want this alliance or not?!


What is this alliance? We never really find out, which made it perfect for my purposes. I considered the goals of both groups, and wondered how they might coincide. It occurred to me that the Ethereum are powerful arcanists, and have dealt with overloaded energy vortexes before, AND have zero interest in Azeroth itself. They were PERFECT partners for the Blue Dragonflight.

I had the plot, now I just needed to work Xevozz into it. Why was he in jail? Well, the ethereals are always portrayed as really smart and calculating...maybe he WANTED to be in jail. In Dalaran. The city of magic. As a powerful mage...ahh, there we go. There's the hook that ties it all together.

Once I had that idea, the rest was easy. It was a lot of fun writing in persona as an ethereal - economically-themed language, overly flattering compliments to his lord, and a very educated, cultured manner of speaking. And above all else (as you can tell from the above quotes), ethereals all possess a great deal of arrogance. Xevozz rules.

I really got a kick out of the "Ah, loopholes," line. Ethereal humor at its finest! But besides that, I really did enjoy how cohesive and believable this storyline turned out. It makes a lot of sense, to me, anyway!

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