- "Anyone who opposes me will find themselves in a shallow grave the next morning."
- —Hansen Manning
Before his death, Hansen one of the most prominent figures in Stratholme's organized crime. After his death during the Scourging of Lordaeron, Hansen became vengeful towards the people who he believed was responsible for his death, including his younger brother, Terimas.
Hansen Manning was the second-born son of Robert and Alana Manning (née Carlisle). He was born two years before the first orcish invasion of Azeroth, in Stratholme, Lordaeron. His mother died giving birth to his younger brother Terimas when Hansen was four years old.
Hansen and his two brothers — Devon and Terimas Manning, grew up in near-poverty as their father became a severe alcoholic, causing his business to plummet. As time passed, Robert became increasingly abusive to Hansen and his brothers. Devon would often comfort Terimas by telling stories about the holy light, which Hansen would often dismiss it as mere fiction. To Hansen's expectation, their domestic life took a turn for the worst as Devon ran away from home and shortly after Robert drank himself to death. Soon after, Hansen was placed in the King's Square orphanage with Terimas.
As Hansen grew to adolescence, he became a common thief, stealing goods off the streets alongside his younger brother. During one of their usual escapades, Hansen and Terimas ran into Dugald Lanstroud, a criminal overlord of the Stratholme Syndicate. Seeing potential in their abilities, Dugald hires the two brothers in his distribution ring. While his younger brother spent the next few years working loyally for Dugald, Hansen openly rebelled against his employer. When Dugald received word of Hansen's defiance, he arranged for the elder brother's execution. However, what was initially thought to be an easy execution turned into a successful assassination as Hansen plunged the knife meant for him into Dugald's throat - effectively taking over the Stratholme Syndicate. Terimas was initially shocked by the recent turn of events, but quickly welcomed it as he and his brother became one of the most powerful people in the criminal underworld of Lordaeron.
Under Hansen's command, the Stratholme Syndicate expanded as far north as the Thalassian Pass and as far south as the Silverpine Forest. Terimas would become head of distribution while Hansen would appoint his longtime friend, Raul Siegfried, as his second-in-command. Unbeknownst to Terimas and Hansen, the Cult of the Damned began infiltrating the Stratholme Syndicate under Siegfried's supervision. After many of the Syndicate's members went missing, Terimas informed Hansen about the strange disappearances as well as the significant drop in profits. Hansen lashed out at Terimas, blaming him for the deficiency in their revenue. After Siegfried became aware of the brother's suspicions in his activity, he made a deal with Baron Rivendare to give out Hansen's identity as the "Red Merchant" and arrest the two brothers in order to increase their traffic in weapons, drugs and the plagued grain produced by the Cult of the Damned. Hansen and Terimas were soon ambushed and arrested by Stratholme guards who planned to have them executed within the following weeks.
Plague of Lordaeron
During their imprisonment, the plague began to rapidly spread throughout the city. Before long, the Prince of Lordaeron himself arrived in Stratholme only to realize the people were already infected by the plague and were beyond saving. When the Prince and his royal footmen began the culling of the city, Hansen and Terimas used the chaos to their advantage to escape captivity. However, before the two brothers made it out of the city, Hansen was ambushed by a group of undead. Despite Hansen's desperation, Terimas ignored his brother's plea for help and left him behind, allowing him to be killed by the undead scourge.
Soon after, Hansen was resurrected as a mindless Scourge. However, when Sylvanas Windrunner liberated the undead from the Lich King's control, Hansen rallied with the Banshee Queen and aided her in retaking Lordaeron for the newly founded Forsaken empire. Hansen had lost most of his memories of his former life, but as time past, he regained bits and pieces of his memory.
Hansen joined the Deathstalkers and became one of their most valued members due to his mobility in the shadows and his requisite skill with a blade. This earned him the nickname "Shadowblade".