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Elspereth

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Oh shut your mouth, and do what you're told
I got this fever, I was nine years old
There's a black stream, only comes out at night
If you get too close, it'll sweep you inside
There's a bad wind, kickin' up in the street
Howlin' for a new breed
And every word that you ever said
Swallowed 'em down, ribbons dressed in red
I arose a note for the Widow Maker, and ahh, I slit her throat
O ye Devastator
Oh shut your mouth, and do what you're told
I got this fever, I was nine years old
She hates the truth when she looks in my eyes
Blinded me for my father's lies
And every word that you ever said
Swallowed 'em down, ribbons dressed in red
And I flowed an ocean through a devil's acre
Bent the trees back and broke 'em
O ye Devastator
There's a black stream, only comes out at night
If you get too close, it'll take you alive
There's a sparrow at my window today, singin'
"Love ain't love if it don't hate"
And every word that you ever said
I drank 'em down, ribbons drenched in red
I arose a note for the Widow Maker, and ahh, I slit her throat
O ye Devastator
Oh shut your mouth, and do what you're told
I got this fever, I was nine years old
- Doug Burr -I Got This Fever / O Ye Devastator



At a Glance

A certain expression is mostly prominent upon the man, a thoughtful air set to surround. Soft brown eyes  are set beneath the green tint native to his people, those eyes clinging to an almost vacant quality. He seems to look past most things, staring out at nothing. A hand might move to scratch at a cheek, or an occasional odd nod given more to himself than any other. Oh yes, distracted would be the perfect word if not for the peculiar aura of serenity in which clung to him. It might lead one to the impression that perhaps he was less perplexed, but more immersed in something. 

It was easy to find his height, an average stance for those of the Sin’dorei. The pecan-colored hair is cropped mostly short, whilst the bangs are left long and free; draping lazily about the sides of his features and sitting to rest below the collar. A faint few traces of gold can be found intermingled with the dark brown there. His complexion is mostly clear -only marred here and there by a few dark marks scarred into the cheeks and nose. A rather new one is however visible upon the chin.

Physically, he seems well suited to the heavy armor he wears; a toned frame with shoulders just broad enough to call attention to themselves. His is the body of a fencer who has put on just a bit more muscle than what would be expected. Beyond that, he does not appear to have any remarkable features; his ears un-pierced and tanned flesh free of any visible tattoos.

A Brief Narrative

Stars feel like knives,
They tell us why we're fighting.
Storm, wait outside.
Oh, love, hold us together.
- Erin McCarley - Love Save the Empty

Early Life

There's many reasons that the younger sons of a family are typically destined to hold a lower or less important station in life. One reason is time. For nobles and merchant families the children born first are able to be groomed and educated first. But most importantly: positioned where the parents believe they should be for the sake of the family. Being the forth born means that any opportunity in life is something that has to be created for you.

Elspereth Dawnweaver was born in the year -34, the fifth child of the Dawnweaver merchant family of Silvermoon. His education was free of any grooming to the military or the Magisters. Those privileges and responsibilities had been reserved for his older brothers. His sister and one brother were positioned to oversee the business affairs of the Dawnweaver House[1] when their parents stepped down. This of course left him free to do as he pleased so long as he didn't embarrass his family or cause too much trouble for his tutors.

Of course having an idle son was far from beneficial to his family. When it was eventually discovered that the youngest son had both been spending his free time twisting wire and whittling metal into crude, though, inspired sculptures his apprenticeship was immediately purchased. Although he may not have had a foreseeable future as a warrior or magician: Weapons, armor, and jewelry worthy of nobility were always in demand, and, carried a prestige of their own.

Saeris Rainfeather was well known as both a maker of swords and armor; his clientele exclusive to those who had a demand for weapons or armor that were beyond decrotive. Swords durable enough that they warranted having spells woven into them along with enchanted gems. Though, he certainly sold decorative weapons as well: Jeweled sabers that would never last through a battle for a noble who wanted to appear magnificent. The years in service to Saeris Rainfeather served Elspereth well. The artisan was careful to cultivate his natural patience and ability, eventually letting him take on his own commissions much sooner than was normal.

It was during this time that became acquainted with, and, eventually the personal armorer of Korin Sunshatter. The aged knight was a faithful customer of Rainfeather for many years even before Elspereth came to work in the shop, and, frequently gave the apprentice 'errand work[2]' when the master was otherwise occupied on larger project. Eventually when Korin required new armor and weapons entirely, it was Elspereth who built them for the Knight, pouring a year of his life into the project.

If not for the invasion of Quel'Thalas it's likely that Elspereth would have remained a wealthy, though skilled craftsman. As it was the destruction of the Scourge's siege shattered the life Elspereth had known, and, left him burning for a chance to do more with his life than make weapons. Eventually he was able to convince Korin Sunshatter to take on one last apprentice. And, while his family was busy rebuilding their business Elspereth was learning everything that Korin had to teach him about the Light and the philosophies of both the Church of the Holy Light and the The Silver hand. While not the most gifted pupil, Korin did find a natural and enthusiastic student in Elspereth, and, he absorbed the lessons as if he were born to it.

The retaking of Quel'Thala was a special time for Elspereth. He found himself comfortable and secure in the role of protecting his race, and, in many ways it validated his decision to find and secure his own path in life. Something he had never given much thought too. It also gave the Dawnweaver family a chance to finally become the noble family that they had always strived to be. The reconstruction saw them, as a family, largely untouched, and, high in status than before. Once again however, with his sibling's[3]tending to the duties they had taken up: Elspereth was left largely to his own devices. It was something he was used too, so, he did the only thing that made sense to him now. He defended his people.

The Burning Crusade

During the years 31-32 Elspereth spent much of his time assisting the Sin'dorei in securing their homeland. He was involved in numerous skirmishes with both the Amani trolls and the Scourge forces in Deatholme. The lure of Outland never called to him; there was simply too much to be done for his people in their home. From assisting in building simple tools for the reconstruction to ministering to the sick or wounded to teaching his new Horde allies the paths around Eversong Woods and the best places to stage a skirmish.

The discovery of Kael'thas's betrayal and loyalties to Illidan represented another turn in Elspereth's life. While he wasn't present for the battle at Tempest Keep he turned his full attention to the activities on the Island of Quel'Danas and was more than willing to offer his services to the Shattered Sun Offensive, joining the rest of the Blood Knights in pledging their loyalty along with Lady Liadrin and to A'dal the Sha'tar in creating the Shattered Sun Offensive. The offensive was promising to Elspereth in many ways: It represented a chance for his people to work peacefully again with their former Alliance Allies as well as their new ones in the Horde, and, the patronage of the Naaru showed him that, perhaps, even given their numerous struggles his people still had allies in the least likely places. More than that though; the Blood Knights were finally able to legitimately call on the Light to Protect their people. While Elspereth had been one of the many to call on the power of the imprisoned M'uru, the ability to touch the Light on his own taught seemed another sign that his people were coming back to their own; able to function as a proud and noble people without stealing what wasn't theirs. No matter how justified their intentions.

The apparently willing imprisonment of M'uru for the sole purpose of the Sin'dorei's redemption showed Elspereth a model of compassion he had never known and would never forget. The restoration of the Sunwell also gave him hope for his people's future. Enough so that when the War Against the Lich King began, Elspereth felt firmly comfortable and justified in leaving his home to travel to Northrend and fight the Scourge.

Wrath of The Lich King

So why don’t you come like a thief on the doorstep
Carry me back to the quadrille in Knoxville
Oh, hey old Line Caller, a new silver dollar
I in my high blood and long evening dresses
- Doug Burr - High Blood and Long Evening Dresses

His focus on the Scourge though, would gradually shift as his attentions moved away from Icecrown and began to center on Ulduar. While Arthas and the Scourge were a threat, in fact, the threat that Elspereth had trained so hard to combat, his world view had changed. He began to realize, especially after the battle of the Wrath Gate, that there would always be someone commanding troops to travel and fight for land, 'revenge', or money.

In that sense the threat of the Lich King seemed banally temporal next to Yogg-Saron. After all, while the Lich King could kill, reanimate, and enslave the people of the Horde and Alliance; the Old God had proven capable of pushing it's malevolance into the minds of those that the Titan's had set in place to guard it. And, if the rumors were to be believed; Even the Scourge whispered the Old God's name with contempt. And, of course, there were the claims that perhaps it was the Old God that led Arthas down the path to his own corruption. So, while others set their sights on the Lich King's Citadel; Elspereth kept his focus on the Storm Peaks. The Lich King would be defeated, eventually. But, without freedom from Yogg-Saron, even that victory would prove to be nothing but pyrrhic. Eventually the Old God did see defeat, and, Elspereth committed himself fully to the Ashen Verdict and the defeat of Arthas.

While there had certainly been high hopes in his heart, nurtured by the Argent Crusade and the Ashen Verdict, Elspereth began to see the stirrings of old ways in both the Horde and the Alliance after the defeat of the Lich King. He spent his time in Silvermoon and Dalaran, adventuring when he wished, but, mostly pouring his efforts into training and ‘small’ things. Helping a random citizen here, tending a neglected garden there. His interactions with other people and nights spent in the city would place him in the middle of two interesting situations with two different red haired paladins.

Zetria Archanus met Elspereth when both were members of the Phoenix Battalion. While they met under odd circumstances [4] they eventually became friends. Elspereth becoming something of a guide and mentor figure for Zetria; as well as a shoulder to cry on and and ear when needed. This eventually culminated in Elspereth doing what he could do protect Zetria and her child from the woman’s father[5] though eventually he lost contact with her when she vanished with her child into hiding a few months before The Shattering.

The second was Jiliann Solfyre, the Commendant of Animus. Thier own dynamic would prove to decidedly more romantic the more time they spent around each other.[6] So decidedly romantic, in fact, that in between the busy schedules of both words like marriage were eventually thrown around and the two were engaged. The actual marriage would never occur however. Due in part to conflicts Animus was involved in at the time, and, ultimately the arrival of Deathwing. The couple, along with a few friends spent the time immediately following The Shattering in Shattrath though they returned to aid in the rebuilding and healing processes that began.

With most of his attention turned towards assisting the numerous children orphaned by Deathwing Elspereth was not able to accompany his fiancé on a vessel that was sunk with all hands[7] lost. Under the impression that she had, in fact, died; he continued on with his work, but, more importantly returned to doing what he seemed ultimately called to do. He fought and protected.

Cataclysm i

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say; 'Never once did we ever walk alone.'
Carried by your constant grace. Held within your perfect peace
Never once. No, we never walk alone.
- Matt Redman - Never Once

After serving with Naleticus Lightfall in The Phoenix Battalion it seemed natural for Elspereth to work again with the Deathknight for many assignments and expeditions into dangerous areas of the ‘new’ Azeroth. It was perhaps a good thing for both of the men to stay busy in this regard considering that they were both dealing with the same losses[8]. A few brief acquaintances from the days in Icecrown would lead him to working with Astalder[9] It was his demeanor during this time that he his increasing lack of care and recklessness led to Tayri departing from his company, reasoning that it was too painful to watch him go down the path he was[10]

During this time he spent a lot of time with Delvina Starsunder. The warrior's demeanor, while very 'subtle'[11]offered a good counterbalance to his own. And, though they eventually parted ways[12] she was instrumental in encouraging and inspiring his interest in kites. A hobby that he'd take with him from that point on and always tie to his fondness of her. Expeditions into the Firelands replaced the armor that he had acquired earlier with a new set of armored robes. While gradual, it eventually become apparent to many that the Paladin had been slipping into more and more erratic and angry behavior. Coming close to attacking one of his students at one point. While initially it was assumed that this was just his stability and mood declining it was eventually realized that the Immolation armor itself was cursed in a way. The armor from the Firelands seemed to amplify and feed off rage and anger. The longer he wore it the more it moved him towards those feelings. Luckily, being aware of the armor's properties made it possible to defend against them. He took to falling into himself and the Light when wearing it, growing quiet, but, shielding himself from the armor's curse.

Eventually the heroes of Azeroth had managed to collect themselves enough that an assault on Deathwing was finally as realistic as it was needed. With most of the forces of the Horde and Alliance gathered in the Caverns of Time the hours before the entry into the portals provided a time of reflection and preparation.

Interlude

I see losing love is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you're blown apart
Everybody feels the wind blow
- Paul Simon - Graceland

At some point after his arrival to the Caverns and some point before his departure through the portal that would lead to the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple something[13] occurred. When Elspereth finally arrived to link up with Astalder for their entrance he seemed a bit less heavy with his burdens. A bit more willing to smile for no reason, and, a bit more quietly centered[14].

Cataclysm ii (Epilogue)

And may you have the joy of passing something on
Like the laugh of your father or the courage of your mom
But if that never happens and you end up alone?
May your heart be so pure it's one that God wants to know
- Scott Miller - For Jack Tymon

In time Deathwing was overcome and the heroes of Azeroth went on their separate ways. Particularly so with Astalder since the nature of the battalion lent it towards only existing when it had a need too. For Elspereth this meant a return to Quel'thalas for lack of any other place to 'return' too. This did allow him to take stock of the various things that had changed since Jilian's death. Tayri was married and expecting a child. Various people he had known had moved on. He himself had grown tremendously as a person. Granted what that meant for him as a person was still in question.

The Light

And what was said to the rose to make it unfold
Was said to me, here in my chest
So be quiet now, and rest.
- David Crowder Band -Here Is Our King

As a Paladin Elspereth has many of the abilities common to warriors who call on the Light. As a rule though, he largely prefers to use his abilities defensively; wrapping the Light around himself into a shield and gradually wearing down as many opponents as can be thrown at him. This isn't to say that he is incapable of wielding a two handed sword and using the Light as weapon however. It just doesn't come as naturally to him as more defensive applications.

Even beyond his abilities as a Paladin his training as a Blood Knight gives him a firm grasp of classical Sin'dorei warfare techniques to pair with what he's learned after many years of training 'in the field'. As a combatant he's educated, patient, and capable and prefers being on the front line of any battle; both to guard his comrades as well as get a firm grasp of the flow of the fight. Something impossible to do from a command tent.

It's perhaps due to his focus and mentality that Elspereth has developed a rarely used 'attack' with the Light. Translated into Orcish, he calls it 'Reflective Shield of Light'[15]. The actual effects and method of the attack are not known to many. Fewer still even know it exists[16].

Affliations

People

Tayri

Too much to say. Sometimes it's better to leave the people who would always support you. Right?

Aeirana

He assisted the mage once when she was attacked in Silvermoon with trying to find the person. Friends ever since, as the saying goes.

Aryssia

Great baker. Great person to lay in the grass with and stare up at the clouds while talking about life with.

Naleticus Lightfall

For a lot of reasons, Nale's a brother. Despite being a Deathknight. He's one of the few that Elspereth would truly feel safe with it at his back.

Ryusake Dawnbreaker

The rogue always had a way of bringing out Elspereth's playful side. And encouraging him to say completely inappropriate things. Usually with the express purpose of embarssing Aeirana Dawnblade.

Jillian

There's probably too much to be said. He cared about the blind paladin deeply and will never forget her.

Lillandyr

He doesn't trust her. It'd be silly too. But it's also impossible for him to ignore the fact that they seem to have a way of running into each other at the worst time.

Quotes

"He'll never be the strongest, or, the most powerful Knight. But, well. He's tenacious. That's something?" - Korin Sunshatter

"Fag." - Ryusake Dawnbreaker

"Of everyone, I know Els best[17]," She says with an impish grin, "and I'm not about to tell you his secrets. We grew up together. Climbed trees and picked apples together. If you ever wonder at his motives or reasons for anything, believe that he acts out of kindness and follows the Light." - Tayri Skyflare

"He's a ladies' man. It would seem." - Gvene Sunspell

"Resourceful. Polite. Humble. Fascinating. The man is confident about his "profession", while he downplays his other talents. I am not good at reading people, but I feel like he intentionally projects an enigma, to keep people guessing."- Laureleth Speravi

" I wouldn't say Els hides his heart... He shows it so very subtely to everyone. I trust him whole-heartedly, he's there when I hide my pain from everyone else around me. His presence is comforting to me and he soothes my worries without speaking. I wish I could do that for him.. he deserves so much more than what I can give him that it hurts." - Zetria

"You shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. Outwardly, he seems popular and vain, maybe arrogant. A person can be those things while being kind as well. Maybe even sympathetic. Honestly, there's too much I don't know. Try asking me next week." - Syressine Gavindir

"...A great tailor." - Naleticus Lightfall, just trying to be left alone.[18]

"He's an ass and he's not fooling anyone with that 'clueless' act he's got going on." -long pause- "I never liked him anyway..." Delvina Starsunder

"Elspereth is, plainly put, the best man that I have ever known or ever will kn-."The woman stops abruptly, blinking in shocked surprise as a bright pink flush creeps to her cheeks. "Did I really just say that...?" - Aeirana Dawnblade

"Nice fella, great smile. He helped me dress sharply fer a job interview, so definitely he's the helpful sort, which is kinda rare in Silvermoon's competetive culture. He seems upfront an' honest, although plentiful with compliments, so sumtimes I gotta wonder if he's a flatterer. Havin' talked to the guy only once, can't say much more 'bout him than that, though I will say that he manages to make me blush, an' that requires a lotta skill an' a talented tongue. Whar's he at now? Y'know I ain't seen him in a while?" - Sephora Sirenas

Inside

A Few Thoughts on the Subject

It's always a difficult thing to play characters in a fantasy setting who have some sort of 'holy' or 'religious' connection. There's always a tendency to concentrate on them more as healers than people who have a legitimate faith in something and draw power from it. Now. I realize that The Light isn't a deity in the traditional sense. That makes it even harder represent in a character in some ways because rather than having a 'God' that exists in some extra-dimensional paradise granting miracles; we're left with a system of belief that connects the student to the universe and grants spiritual enlightenment in the form of powers.

That all being said. I remember reading over some lore for WoW while I was bored and came across this:

The Blood Knights are commonly mistaken as the enemy of the Knights of the Silver Hand by outsiders unfamiliar with the ways of the Light, but this is false presumption. Paladins are the embodiment of good and selfless dedication to the protection of their peoples. They help the innocent and punish the wicked. As such, all paladins are of good alignment.[19]

I remember reading that and thinking about how that would mesh with the fact that the Blood Elves are using the Light legitimately now. A few mental twists and turns later and I had an image in my head of a Paladin who not only fit the above quote, but, saw it more as a calling than an occupation or burden. We hate jobs. No one likes working. Usually when we do things we enjoy we don't call them work or think of them as burdens. We're happy and excited to do them, and, we can't wait to do them again.

That's the Paladin I wanted. He saw his role as being a defender of his race as a calling, and, it lifted him up. The Church of the Holy Light teaches that the emotions a person feels connects them to the universe. I wanted more of that in my Paladin. I wanted someone who didn't have the weighty feel of his duty hanging on him like a burden. Why do it at that point? I wanted to play someone who felt those things and got excited about them. Who saw them as a chance to help people and couldn't wait to do it.

So I decided to pull the trigger on it.

I think Elspereth's story has two themes at it's heart; Love and Perseverance. I come back to this particular quote a lot in my writing, but, I think it fits here beautifully.

Special Agent Dale Cooper: "Ive been doing a lot of thinking lately. And Ive started to focus beyond the edge of the board. On a bigger game. The sound the wind makes through the vines. The sentience of animals. What we fear in the dark and what lies beyond the darkness."
FBI Agent Roger Hardy: "What the hell are you talking about?"
Special Agent Dale Cooper: "Im talking about seeing beyond fear, Roger. About looking at the world with love."
FBI Agent Roger Hardy: "Theyre liable to extradite you for murder and drug trafficking."
Special Agent Dale Cooper: "These are things I cannot control."[20]

Of course what you're missing in the text is the smile that Kyle MacLachlan has on his face when he's saying all that. It's a great moment of conviction and clarity. Perseverance has two meanings that are great and I think really fit into the mythos of a paladin. They are: "Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.", and, "Continuance in a state of grace to the end."[21]. So there you have it. I have to admit I have no idea where all this is going. I never do with my characters. But, this is path I'm taking him, so, we'll see where it goes.

And so, on with the notes.

Notes

  • Elspereth may not have visible tattoos, but, that's only because he's usually in armor or wearing sleeves. He does actually have a stylized 'tribal' style Phoenix on his left arm, and, Dragonhawk on his right arm. Both at on the forearms and the wings wrap entirely around.
  • Elspereth is still an accomplished blacksmith and jewel crafter. While he doesn't pursue either as a trade, he usually has some loose wire on his person that he twists into sculptures when he's bored. Zetria's Dragonhawk hairpin was is proof of this.
  • The gift he received in return for said dragonhawk is a cloak chain he wears around his wrist as a bracelet. It's made of adamantine and truesilver.
  • Elspereth's a decent harp player. He still plays at least a few hours a day when he's in Silvermoon at his family's estate.
  • Despite having dated a bit. He's not that much of a ladies' man. Despite what a certain Miss Sunspell would have anyone believe. Actually, he's a bit of a dork when it comes to women. Actually, he's a bit of a dork period.
  • His favorite color is blue.
  • He's raising a phoenix hatching named Raerin. He found her egg in the Magister's Terrace and her current roost is a stone bowl. She has a fondness for burning twigs and playing ball.
  • He's taken to making music boxes. He doesn't get how all the gears work, but, that's what goblins are for.
  • He's amazing with a bean sack
  • ^And he will kick your ass^*

Media

Soundtrack

Original Music[22]
  • Tight Wound Gears/Cameras and Clocks[3] - Fishing for Comets
  • This Sad Arpeggio[4] - A Pretty Penny
Other music
  • I Got This Fever/O Ye Devastator[5] - Doug Burr
  • Poles Apart[6] - Pink Floyd
  • High Blood and Long Evening Dresses[7] - Doug Burr

Links

  • Elspereth's Armory[8]


References

  1. Interestingly, as the name would imply, the Dawnweaver House originally had an deep interest in studying and using the Light
  2. Cleaning daggers, hammering out dents in armor, that sort of thing
  3. His parents had died during the initial siege. His sister is considered the head of the family now.
  4. Elspereth had gotten himself stuck on boxes, and, Zetria was gracious enough to catch him when he eventually jumped off.
  5. Although he admittedly didn’t really do more than have a few awkward near battles with the man.
  6. This was after a date in Karazhan. Elspereth used the telescope to allow Jiliann to look at Eversong for a bit.
  7. Not even close. Are you watching closely?
  8. Naleticus had also lost his fiancé in The Shattering.
  9. A battalion commanded by Alisyn Delacroix. They had, apparently lost one of their point men during an expedition into Blackwing Decent. She needed a replacement, and, extended the offer to Elspereth.
  10. Specifically, attacking more powerful foes without heed to his own safety. As well as becoming increasingly more and more withdrawn.
  11. That's a nice way of saying she was unreachable at times.
  12. But not before she gave him that scar on his chin.
  13. Spoiler. Seriously.
  14. And a bit older?
  15. Reflective Shield of Light is not an 'attack' in the traditional sense. Though, it's devastating in it's own right. It requires Elspereth to enter a deep meditative state, surrounding himself with a Shield of Light similar to the kind that forms using the technique called Divine Protection. While in this state. Any attacks against his shield begin to fill the mind of the attacker with knowledge of their connection to others. They might see their lover, who they cheated on; feeling her misery at the betrayal and then see, in the same moment, how that event might have happened if they had been more honest. What would have been accomplished working together. In the case of those who have killed many: They feel the pain of the deaths and the loss the loved ones felt along with the potential for their own reconciliation and repentance.
  16. Led By The Light-The same 'focus' that led him to develop this attack has also had another more subtle side effect and the cause of his near perpetual distraction. Elspereth doesn't just use the Light for attack or defense. He makes an effort to dwell on it and feel it every minute he can. While this wasn't always the case, lately, it's something he's begun to use a shelter from things that would probably hurt him very deeply if he was even aware of them anymore.
  17. This is absolutely true.
  18. No, he's not a tailor at all.
  19. World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 54, 77.
  20. Twin Peaks, Episode #2.11
  21. This second definition has been abbreviated. In theology Perseverance leads to eternal salvation. Obviously that has no bearing on a Paladin in World of Warcraft
  22. Yes, I'm using music I wrote for him. It's not self promotion, I promise.

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