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Erasmous Michaeli "Scorpidus" Ryvengard
|Class||Paladin, Monk, Rogue|
|Eyes||One Red, one Blue|
The loremaster looked in slight amaze at his student.
"You want to hear about Scorpidus Ryvengard, huh?", he replied. "It was a long time ago since someone asked that. Very well, then, let me share with you the story of a person whom some call both the greatest visionary and the greatest evil of his time. It all began long ago, before the First War, in the great city of Stormwind..."
Birth and UpbringingEdit
The noble house of Ryvengard has for as long as anyone can remember been a small but influential dynasty in Stormwindian nobility, and it is said that each ruling baron/baroness is a direct descendant of the great King Thoradin. If this is true, then so was also the case for young Erasmous Michaeli Ryvengard, son of family patriarch Baron Gabryel Amadeos Ryvengard (himself the son of Baron Iskandher Vihlhelm Ryvengard and Baroness Alise Vahla Ryvengard-Yeoman), and his wife, the Baroness Julea Seselia Ryvengard-Marsch (daughter of Baron Albrekt Gordine Marsch-Rivendare, whose cousin's grandson is the infamous Baron Rivendare of Stratholme, and Baroness Maryon Layla Marsch). He was born on a (even for Stormwind) particularly stormy night in Ryvengard Manor. While all seemed normal, it should be noted that an old cleric who helped with the birthing died soon after.
The young Erasmous Michaeli had a pretty normal time growing up for a noble scion. He learned swordplay, art, rhetorics, song, and a lot of other typically noble things. He was a quick learner, always eager to gain new knowledge, but also quite stubborn, and he could become quite angry when he got provoked. Still, his upbringing went pretty well, until a certain point.
The teenage Erasmous Ryvengard got quite bored with his life as a noble, and decided to escape from his home. After fooling the servants and outrunning the guards, he wondered what he was going to now that he had successfully escaped. After a short period of time, he decided to become a street criminal, preferably a powerful one. In order to accomplish this, he started asking around amongst the low-life of Stormwind for a gang to join, and he eventually found one: the ruthless and infamous Crimson Masks, a highly organized criminal family based on extortion and assassination. The recourceful Erasmous Ryvengard, nicknamed "Eraser", swifly rose through the ranks, and eventually became the second-in-command to the organization's leader, Dona Salvaan, and even became romantically involved with her. After about a month of being second-in-command, Eraser Ryvengard decided to "erase" Lady Salvaan. Her body was found floating in the canals, with head and limbs severed. Eraser then moved on to become the new leader of the Crimson Masks, along with Hannah Salvaan, sister to the late Dona.
Eraser enjoyed the position of Crimson Masks leader, and alsongside Hannah Salvaan made the Stormwindian criminal syndicate eventually span the entire Kingdom of Azeroth. However, this golden age would not go on forever, for the arrival of the orcish Horde brought drastic changes upon the world. When the Horde moved in and destroyed Stormwind, the organization shattered. Erasmous Ryvengard rejoined his family, as did Hannah Salvaan, and they went on the long journey to Lordaeron. The experienced tinker-assassin Marz Thredd took control over the Masks remnants still left in the former Kingdom. It should be noted that it was never public that either of them was ever a criminal mastermind, and only a few even speculated on this.
Settling Down in LordaeronEdit
On the way to Lordaeron, Hannah Salvaan mysteriously died. It was said that she slipped on a wet rock, but if this is true or not is something that will probably remain unresolved. One strange thing is that Erasmous Ryvengard was near the scene when it happened, but the seemingly unrelated noble scion was "proven" innocent, and he did't seem to be affected in any way by the death.
Some time after settling down in Lordaeron with his family, Erasmous Ryvengard found himself a wife, Victoria Barthalomew, the cousin to the cleric who would become known as Uther Lightbringer, and a devout Light-worshipper herself. They settled down in an upper-class house in Capital City, and lived happily for several years. Amongst other things, he taught her to cook, and she introduced him to what would become his favorite philosophical school: the teachings of the Abraxas brothers, Theodoric and Hieronymous, focusing on the Light as a grand unifying force and the sole divinity in existence. But, like much else in the life of the Ryvengard, this too would come to an end.
One night at the local pub (The Drunk Archmage), Erasmous Ryvengard, after having perhaps one too many tankard of beer, bumped into an old "friend" of his: Galen "Madman" Miller, a former thug of the Crimson Masks. Miller, who also had had too much liquor, started accusing Ryvengard of being a large-time criminal, and threatened to make this public unless he got lots of gold. Drunk and annoyed, Ryvengard took him to the back alley outside, and told him exactly where he could stick his threats. The row escalated, Miller started waving a dagger, and suddenly the nobleman snapped. Ryvengard drew a short sword from his belt, and with hardly any time to react, Galen Miller found himself with the blade between his eyes, straight through his head. Coldly, Ryvengard watched the thug fall to the ground, retrieved his weapon, and went home, bloodsoaked blade in hand.
As he entered his home, Victoria angrily questioned him why he came home stinking of booze and why his noble's sword was bloodstained. Without a word, he brutally shoved his wife to the floor, and went to the kitchen to help himself to a bottle of wine. Victoria came to her feet again, now even more angry, and expressed her dislike of her husband's behaviour. This resulted in him breaking the bottle against her head, and then cutting her throat with his sword. After standing over the corpse of his wife for several minutes, he suddenly realized what he had done. Panicking, he took a wall-lamp and broke it against the wooden floor. As the flames began to spread, Ryvengard went up to the top floor, where he set up a snare out of a curtain rope. His life would end there.
But the story didn't end there, for a neighbour saw the fire and called the guard. As the guards broke into the house to seek for survivors, they found the murdered remains of Victoria. They then went upstairs, when a quick-acting patrolman hurled brought down the hanging man. Realizing his suicide had failed, Erasmous Ryvengard went up with a backflip, broke the guard's neck, and escaped through the glass window. Injured by the shards, he was near fainting, when he caught sight of one of the neighbouring buildings: a Silver Hand recruitment post. Hauling himself into the structure, he grabbed hold of the surprised paladin-on-duty, and had the time to say one thing before he passed out: "I wish to join you." The next moment, the guards came in, and brought the unconscious man to jail.
The Silver HandEdit
Waking up in a cell, Ryvengard immediately demanded the attention of his warden, and told him that he was being held unlawfully. The warden, of course, didn't pay much respect to this, at least not before he told him of what exactly he the last thing he had done last night was: to ask to join the Silver Hand paladins. Seeing as the guard was not following, he explained a paragraph of the Silver Hand rules that he had somehow come to hear of: that no person who asks to join the Silver Hand can be convicted of a crime, as long as he or she has had a longtime good standing with the order, and appealed to join before being arrested. Thus, the guards had no choice but to release him to the paladins. It should be noted that this loophole was later firmly closed. Nevertheless, this was the start of Erasmous Michaeli Ryvengard's path to paladinhood. The noble murderer congratulated himself on his ingenuity.
Ryvengard came to be included in a training group of four others: Vars Yarter, male half-elf, half human noble with little liking of criminals like Ryvengard; the dwarven male Arbor Goldnails, a person who enjoyed life very much and was very willing to forgive wrongdoers; Lizettah Karmen, an intelligent and rather loud human female, and Derius Zeliek, a mostly silent but kind-hearted human male; all of them under the command of the paladin Ballador the Bright. Despite the obvious tension within the group (mostly because of Ryvengard), they did quite well, and accomplished their tasks with skill. Yarter was the one most distrusting of the others, but when they saved his life when he was captured by orcs, even he began to trust them. And even more stranger, Erasmous Ryvengard found himself at peace. Even though he had originally joined in order to escape the law, he now wholly embraced the vocation. In time, the five companions graduated, but their friendship didn't end there, quite the contrary, in fact. The five continued to go on missions together, with a focus on gathering information, and soon became known as the Sage Justicars, a title which was also approved by the Silver Hand authority. It is estimated that about 70% of all the Silver Hand's information at the time was gathered by the Sage Justicars.
The Justicars continued to follow Uther after Arthas's betrayal. The day Arthas returned to kill the Lightbringer, they were in a neighbouring town, and when they returned, they, to their great shock and horror, found the dying paladin. After trying and failing to heal his wounds, they swore an oath to seek justice in the name of their fallen leader. Along with some other paladins and soldiers, they took care of Uther's body, and saw to it that a magnificent tomb was built. It was Madam Karmen who inscribed the marker text, and Sir Goldnails who inspired to the construction of the statue. Then the search for justice was on.
After a lengthy hunt for the lord of the Scourge, they finally found that he had departed the lands. But fortunately, the second best target yet remained: Kel'Thuzad. They thought they could take him on, and, fueled by lust for retribution, they tried, and failed miserably, mostly because of their traitorous "guide", the priest Inigo Montoy. In the assault, Sir Zeliek was captured by Kel'Thuzad, turned into a death knight, and was forced by the Lich-Lord to slay Sir Goldnails. The remaining three, now with the entire Scourge at their heels, had no choice but to flee.
They were hunted across the Eastern Kingdoms for months before finally ending up in the lush green of Stranglethorn Vale. Ryvengard knew that an abandoned seaside mansion of his mother's family was situated in the jungle, and it was here they fled, readying themselves for the final stand against the undead. And the undead came, led by none other than Kel'Thuzad himself. But against the grim expectations of the Sage Justicars, the undead forces did not attack, instead choosing to surround the mansion. For ten days the soldiers of the Lich-Lord waited outside, and the defenders grew more and more desperate. On the dawn of the eleventh day, a blood-chilling series of screams could be heard from inside, and then all went silent. It is still a mystery what really happened, but when the screams ceased, Kel'Thuzad launched a devastating spell upon the building, and the whole seaside cliff crashed into the sea. The undead then went back to the Plaguelands, not pursuing the matter any further.
The student looked questioningly at his master.
"Is that the end, then?", he asked. The loremaster chuckled.
"Oh no, my student, this is just a new beginning. The adventures of Scorpidus Ryvengard did not end that stormy night at the mansion in Stranglethorn. Just keep listening and you will see what I mean."
The New RyvengardEdit
It had gone almost five years since the last of the Sage Justicars had gone missing, presumed to have been slain by the Scourge. The Kul Tiras patrol vessel Proudmoore's Cutlass was doing what it was supposed to: patrolling the oceanic borders of the island nation, when a marine spotted something floating in the water. They took a closer look, and discovered that it was a young man, dressed in ragged paladin clothing and floating unconscious on a piece of wooden debris in the water. The Kul Tirans fished him up, and when they saw his Silver Hand identity tag, they set a course straight for Boralus. The tag read Erasmous Michaeli Ryvengard.
In Boralus, the man was escorted to Grand Admiral Proudmoore. To him, he explained that his name was Scorpidus Ryvengard, and that he "used to be Erasmous Michaeli Ryvengard, but no longer". When questioned on how he could have survived five years out on the sea, or why he suddenly appeared to be many years younger, he could not answer, and claimed that he did not remember anything since that night at the mansion in Stranglethorn. He couldn't answer why he had begun calling himself Scorpidus, either, just that it "came into his mind". Also, it seemed that he had lost all his paladin powers but the most essential and weakest ones. Proudmoore arranged quarters for him, intending to question him the next day, but when he went to wake him up, the paladin was nowhere to be found. Tandred was not amused, and after consulting his intelligence network, he found that Ryvengard had resurfaced in Northshire outside of Stormwind, and had began a new career as a paladin, but this time as an independent player.
After regaining some of his previous power, Scorpidus Ryvengard went to the new Stormwind to meet up with those of his house living there, especially his niece, the fiery warrior Alyssa "Lyss" Ryvengard, and Leomund Gavaine, an old friend to the family and an experienced "tinker-priest-strategist". He tasked Gavaine with crafting mechanical devices for him whenever he would require them, and being a decent engineer with little to do, he accepted. To Alyssa he gave a sealed scroll, to be opened only in the event of his death. He then said goodbye to the rest of the family, and went on with his quest to again become experienced in the ways of the paladin. Over time, he would come to regain more and more of his skills and abilities, and he once again became quite a respectable individual. Then the Scourge struck Azeroth a new Plague.
A Second PlagueEdit
As the Alliance and Horde prepared for their attack on Northrend, the vile agents of the Scourge once again sent crates of plagues grain to the unsuspecting world. Before long, many citizens had contracted this zombie infestation. Ryvengard decided to investigate this, and with blade in hand, he went to Goldshire, where reports had told him that zombies were roaming. And the situation was indeed dire: the undead had completely overrun the town, the remaining citizens locked in their houses, trembling with fear. Although Ryvengard was a skilled fighter, the was unprepared for the sheer size of the hostile forRce, and was himself overwhelmed. The next he knew, he looked upon himself with the eyes of a zombie.
Along with his plagued kin, he went on with the massacre of the town, until a band of adventurers and Alliance soldiers came and mowed down the threat. Fortunately for Ryvengard, another paladin recognized him, and brought him up to shape. Ryvengard had no time to thank him, however, for he quickly disappeared. A bit shaken from this event, Ryvengard went back to Stormwind, only to find the city under attack by the undead. At the time, he had begun to feel a sharp headache. Not considering this particularly significant, he rushed into the besieged city, sword in hand. He waded through hordes of ghouls, and was doing pretty fine, until the headache suddenly intensified a hundredfold, and he fell unconscious on the street. Nevertheless, he woke up only a few minutes later, feeling no ill more ill effects, considering himself fit for fight. He could hardly have been more wrong, for the headache and the resulting passing out had resulted from his brush with undeath not long before. The onset of the zombie-induced pestilence had brought his mind into a state of delusional madness.
Ryvengard now believed that the world was coming to an end, and that the Light was leaving Azeroth. There was clearly only one way for the world to be saved: to absorb the fleeing Light into his own body, becoming the living fost of the unifying force. In order to accomplish this, Scorpidus Ryvengard hastily went to the Cathedral of the Light in Stormwind, shoving people out of the way so he could reach the altar. He placed himself on top of the altar, and began to chant in a strange language. Streams of energy began flowing into his body, and without warning, he exploded, taking that whole part of the cathedral with him. When the smoke had settled, out of the ground zero strode a horrible, charred corpse of a man, a state which dissapated as the paladin began to regenerate, until he was even more healthy than he had been before. Determined, he went out to the steps of the cathedral, and spoke to the crowd:
"People of Stormwind! You need not fear anymore, for I have brought the Light back to you! I bonded with the Light, and the Light bonded with me, for we are now one! The Light blesses you all!"
Most people found Ryvengard quite insane, but he didn't care, and instead went towards the harbor, where he, exhausted, once again fell unconscious. When he woke up again in the morning, the undead had been defeated, and peace once again resided. Realizing his actions from the night before, he decided to seek professional assistance. He had earlier in his career heard stories about a secluded monastery, Light's Peace, and it's famed monks, notable for their peaceful lifestyle. He made up his mind: it was there he should venture. And so began the long trek, all the way to the faraway mountain island where the grand monastery sat on a tall peak. He traversed the sea, he climbed the mountain, and he knocked humbly on the gate. When the monks answered his call for help, he explained his situation, and the monks were understanding. They accepted him into their order.
See Also: Light's Peace Monastery
As would be expected of a monastery, it was no easy life, Ryvengard didn't mind this, and went on to become a skillful monk. As he gathered his herbs and crystals, illuminated his scriptures, trained in the martial arts, and learned to become one with his surroundings, his evil, aberrant personality began to slip away. But what he did not know was that there was a powerful and scheming nathrezim warlock, Yarvazeethon of the Xoroth Crags, operating in the peaceful village at the foot of the mountain. The dreadlord was in possession of a mind-altering device, which he planned to use to control the villagers into rising up and slaying the monks. Before he had a chance to use it on the villagers, however, he encountered the monk Scorpidus Ryvengard on his morning stroll down the mountain. Hatching a vile plan in his demented mind, Yarvazeethon took the monk by surprise, unleashing the forces of the mind-machine upon him. What he had not expected was the mental strength and potent divine wards of the monk. The machine's force reflected back upon the warlock, striking him down in a flash of light, leaving only the operating crystal of the machine behind. Intrigued, Ryvengard picked up the crystal, and went back to tell his fellow brothers and sisters of the event. He revealed to them that after the attack, he felt much more relieved, like all his troubles were finally gone. He then put the crystal in a small box in his quarters.
But Ryvengard had not anticipated that expert con man and thief Flime, disguised as a monk, had infiltrated the monastery, intending to snatch some relics he could sell at the black market. When Flime heard about this supposed Xorothian mindcrystal, he made up his mind immediately: he was going to steal it. And when Brother Ryvengard was fast asleep, the scoundrel struck, silently removing the crystal from it's box. Back in his own quarters, he started inspecting the crystal. But when he took a close look, concealed energies from within the precious loot reached out and burrowed into Flime's very soul. These energies consisted of the crystal's original enchantments, the residual force of the dreadlord, and a most potent driving force: Scorpidus Ryvengard's dark side. Very weak, but still wickedly sentient, held conscious by the fel magic, the now-separate aberrant personality attatched itself to Flime's spirit like a parasite.
Flime himself didn't know what had happened, but he started to feel very ill, and in fear of discovery refused to go to the healers, instead choosing to remain in his room in complete isolation. After two weeks, the soul-parasite finally completed the takeover. The dark personality now had a body, and a new, dark-hearted being was born: Ryvengaard, as he chose to call himself in mockery of his "creator". Just assuming the name was not enough, so he also changed his bodily appearance to look like Ryvengard, but with a visible "taint". Not wishing to reveal himself just yet, the dark mockery came up with a master plan. Sneaking out of the supposedly isolated room at nights, Ryvengaard carried out the murders of several prominent monks, taking their heads, and always leaving some little clue behind to incriminate Scorpidus. He believed this would be enough to put the paladin-monk in the dungeon, but the wise monks saw through this, and with Ryvengard in the lead, broke the door to Flime's room. What they discovered in there was a scene of horror: the decapitated heads being processed in a stone cauldron into a sort of potent drug. Ryvengaard was long gone, but had left behind a message explaining his intentions, directed specifically at his progenitor:
"Ah, Scorpidus Ryvengard, so you finally uncovered my plan, did you? I have to congratulate you. Who I am? Well, not that worthless scoundrel Flime, his only purpose was to give my a host body. No, Ryvengard, don't you see? I am your mightiest foe, your oldest antagonist: I am your dark side, Scorpidus. I am all your worries, all your troubles, the murdering darkness within you. Do not mistake yourself, just because I left your mind does not mean you are rid of me. We will meet again, and see who is the strongest: the father, or the spawn. Oh, and by the way, I have left a quest for you that I hope that you, with all your good, will carry out: As you read this carefully crafted message of mine, the extremely potent drug known as Michaeli is being distributed by my agents to the unwitting populations of many major cities, dearest Stormwind included. This drug, like most others, gives a noticeable boost to joy and pleasure, but it's it's side effect that will be your major concern: it makes the user think of him or herself as a righteous crusader, and all others as vicious ghouls in need of some smiting. Ingenious, isn't it? Well, more of me when we meet. May the Light be with you, old friend."
Without second thoughts, Scorpidus Ryvengard left the monastery. There existed a new threat that needed to be dealt with, a very personal one.
Scorpidus Ryvengard returned to Stormwind, and with the assistance of the local authorities, managed to arrest all of Ryvengaard's drug-dealing operatives and seize the drug supply. In a coordinated effort with the other drug-infested cities and towns of the Alliance (namely Ironforge, Goldshire, Kharanos, Darkshire, Thelsamar, Menethil Harbor, and Lakeshire), the drug-dealers and their crooked products were systematically wiped out from the streets during a period of only three months, and clerics were dispatched to help with the recovery of the afflicted. On the same night as Ryvengard, temporarily living in the SI:7 headquarters in Stormwind, recieved the news that the drug infestation was under control, just about an hour later, Ryvengaard suddenly entered Ryvengard's quarters. He mockingly congratulated the paladin on his "valiant efforts", told him that "this was only the beginning", and then leaped out of a window. Needless to say, the SI:7 agents were not amused when they heard of how such a dangerous man got into their headquarters unnoticed.
After this event, Ryvengard went on with his adventuring life, working to stop the Blackrock orcs in Redridge and the undead menace of Duskwood. He succeeded in his tasks and grew in power, but his worries for whatever his dark twin might do next also grew. Not long before the vessels of the Alliance were bound to go to Northrend, the Scourge sent a legion of its frost wyrms and abominations to lay siege to Stormwind Harbor. Ryvengard went there to fight, and fight he did. It took long, and many good a man and woman perished, but the undead were banished from the city. All but a small band of death knight infiltrators, secretly brought into the fray by a wyrm and led by experienced knight and Scourge fanatic Warlord Belikous. Belikous, under orders from the Director of Oversea Scourge Terror Operations (DOSTO, part of the Cult of the Damned), none other than the death knight Ryvengaard, found the weary Scorpidus Ryvengard half-asleep in an alley, and unleashed a wave of telepathic terror. The draenei blackguard taunted and threatened Ryvengard, making it clear whom his master was, and then stabbing him through the back with his runeblade, before disappearing, probably straight back to Icecrown, but leaving his guard behind.
Fortunately for the dying Ryvengard, a wandering paladin found him in the streets and healed him up to shape, and then disappeared before Scorpidus had time to fully regain consciousness. Ryvengard had fully understood the implication behind Belikous's threats and taunts: the final challenge awaited in Northrend. And the morning after, Scorpidus Ryvengard was amongst the many boarding the Kraken. But not without three pairs of watchful eyes coming along for the journey.
Standing at the side of the steamship and looking out over the approaching arctic waters, Ryvengard suddenly felt someone trying to shove him into the water. Dodging the push and performing a quick turn to apprehend the assailant, Ryvengard found himself face to face to face with a wicked-looking female draenei, wielding a runeblade axe in each hand. They duelled on the deck, the draenei giving Ryvengard a crippling blow to the shoulder, but with the paladin finally outmaneuvering her and hurling her overboard. With this attack overcome, Ryvengard's worries increased even more, and rightly so, for it was not many hours later that another draenei, a muscular male wielding a huge sword, attacked, striking with great skill. Still injured by the previous attempt to take his life, Ryvengard eventually fumbled, and was knocked out. When he awakened after some hours, he found himself beneath the deck, surrounded by two draenei, the one that had knocked him out, and another female, wearing long robes and a domino mask and wielding a two-handed axe, and four armored ghouls. On the ground they had drawn an intricate pentagram, and the female draenei was incanting some sort of spell while hurling handfuls of eldritch dust at it. Ryvengard could not act, because most of his body was bound by chains of saronite. When the female draenei was finished, the group phased out from the ship's hold, and phased in again inside a black, metallic room. There to meet them, flanked by two elite death knights and dressed in vicious black armor, was Ryvengaard.