"I'm not insane, I'm pragmatic."
Name: Zanthius "Zethos" Endelese
Zanthius is a tall, well aged man. His gray hair and sharply creased features are indicative not only of his age, but the hardship he has endured in his life. A rather grim expression usually hangs about his face, though it can occasionally break in the company of like-minded individuals. At most times he can be seen wearing a uniform of the Scarlet Crusade, a militant anti-Scourge organization based out of the region of Lordaeron.
A shield bearing the symbol of his Order and an enchanted burning blade occupy his hands during battle. His distinctive attire often draws unwanted attention and the ire of those who have crossed blades with the Scarlet Crusade in the past.
Zanthius often has a rather callous attitude towards those not of the Scarlet Crusade, mostly due to the fact that they see him and his men as psychotic zealots. Besides a general distaste for civilians, Zanthius harbors a deep dislike of the "sub-human" races of Kalimdor, even as much to include Night Elves along with them. Zanthius also has an innate dislike of Warlocks, considering their meddling with demonic forces a danger to all those around them, not to mention the often less-than-savory ambitions and goals of such practitioners.
However, when it comes to those of the Scarlet Crusade, potential recruits, or sympathizers or other allies, Zanthius's demeanor changes considerably. Among his own, he is a forthright, kind, and merciful leader, at least by Scarlet Crusade standards, that is. While generally suspicious of outsiders of either being spies, idiots, or both, Zanthius freely confides with those he has deemed trustworthy, and will generally do anything in his power to aid those few he may call "friends".
While he occasionally alludes to enjoying a strong drink now and then, few have ever seen Zanthius drink alcohol. This may be a defensive manuever on his part, perhaps indicating a loose tongue or lack of restraint while innebriated.
Zanthius has been a member of the Scarlet Crusade of Lordaeron since its inception many years ago. While a former Paladin of the Silver Hand, he, like the other Paladins of the Scarlet Crusade, have forsaken their old loyalties and pledged themselves in full to the eradication of the Scourge from Lordaeron. Zanthius has spent much of his time in the Scarlet Monastery of Tirisfal Glades, serving beneath Commander Mograine as a Protector, owing to his defensive prowess. Through the years he has travelled to and visited the strongholds of Hearthglen and Tyr's Hand on several occassions, and is thus knowledgeable of Scarlet Crusade operations across all of Lordaeron.
In response to the recent Scourge Invasion, Stormwind had petitioned all available forces, mercenaries, groups, orders and the like, to aid in the defense of humanity's last bastion of power. The leaders of the Scarlet Crusade, sensing an opportunity for great gain, answered that call, sending reinforcements that ultimately helped stem the tide of Scourge to the city walls and within, eventually driving them back to the Lich King's seat of power. With Stormwind owing them a debt of gratitude, a single request was made: That they allow, undisturbed, a chapter of the Scarlet Crusade to be formed within the city walls. Between the prospect of future attacks, and the debt owed to the Crusade, the beaurocrats of Stormwind conceded.
Unfortunately for those who had been sent to Stormwind during the attack, they were not privy to the plot their leaders had concocted. Most of the force sent in to help aid the city had long since left for Lordaeron once more, leaving only a few stragglers to finish affairs. Mere days before their planned departure, a sealed letter arrived addressed to Brother Crowley, informing him and the few remaining Crusaders of the plan.
Winning Hearts and Minds Edit
"You cannot be serious Crowley. We are going to be down here for HOW long?"
Two voices spoke from within a room beneath the Cathedral of Light. One, with a hint of exasperation, the other with a stern, yet troubled tone.
"We were only supposed to be here for the duration of the Scourge activity in the area. The damnable Necropolis fled days ago. This area is secure. Why in the Light’s name does he want us to stay!?”
“According to this message we’re to…establish a permanent post in the city. Even recruit some of the locals.”
“You MUST be joking. This is madness!”
“It’s all right here, have a look.”
After a brief, silent interlude, the sound of crumpled parchment hitting a wall was heard.
The first voice groaned.
"I’m gone for a solid day and this is what I come back to. He expects too much. Our image to these people is either twisted, or nonexistent. Half of them will gnash their teeth; the other will shrug their shoulders. This is doomed to fail!"
One of the men slammed an armored fist into a table; soon after the second voice replied curtly.
"Whether or not you believe this to be a good idea is of no consequence. Our orders are set in stone, they are from Grand Inquisitor Isillien himself!”
The first voice grumbled.
“Bah. Anyway, our first task for this nonsense is to put up the scrolls you’ve made to inform the public. Are you going to help me, or are you going to stay down here and pen nonsense all night?”
The first voice gave a sigh of resignation.
"Alright, I'll go out and set these up tonight, but I'll be damned if I don't get a drink or two while I'm out there. Light knows I'm going to need it dealing with these people."
The sound of metal on stone rang gently through the halls as the man set out to do his task.
The Blue Recluse tavern sees its fair share of unusual patrons, but few would guess that a Scarlet Crusader would be among them. A fair night not too long ago, an aged Paladin, hair thick and gray with age, and brandishing the mark of the Scarlet Crusade like a badge of honor, wearily walked into the establishment. A few of the more adventurous patrons who had traveled to Lordaeron nearly spit out their drinks in surprise, but most were ignorant of the rather hostile view the order has shown to outsiders within *their* lands.
The Paladin approached the bar, leaning across it in a most haphazard way. A blend of disinterest and exhaustion shone clearly in his expression.
"Barkeep," he half-heartedly grumbled as the man came near, "a mug of Dwarven Ale, if you would."
The barkeep, more wary of trouble from the other patrons than from the Paladin himself, prepared the mug and filled it as he kept an eye on the crowd. Several were glaring into the Paladin's back in an unpleasant way, while one particular young man, perhaps in his early twenties, had a shaky grip on his sheathed short sword and a look of utter rage and grief.
The barkeep placed the mug down in front of the Paladin and approached a friend and co-worker of his. The barkeep absentmindedly wiped clean an already immaculate mug as he spoke in hushed tones.
"There's going to be trouble Steven, I bet five silver on it."
"Any idiot can see that," Steven replied, "you can shove your bet where the Light doesn't shine."
The Paladin retired to a nearby seat with his ale and began to drink, hardly having downed half of it before the soft thud of leather boots and the creak of the wooden floorboards clearly indicated to him that someone was approaching him from behind. Whoever it was, the Paladin didn't consider them a threat and continued drinking. A few steps later, a wrathful, almost sobbing voice broke the relative silence in the tavern.
"You...you bastards killed her!"
The young man the barkeep had observed earlier drew his sword, his grip shaking with anger, and possibly fear. The Paladin finished his mug and rose from his seat, ignoring the man and instead returning to the barkeep.
"Another mug, and if you have anything stronger than what I just had, I'll take that instead."
The young man looked ready to burst, his eyes wild.
"Did you hear me!? You bastards killed my wife!"
The Paladin looked back at the young man, briefly paused, and then spoke a single word.
The question struck the young man. He had a hard time saying the words.
"T..Tir..Tirisfal Glades! What does that matter!? You're all murderers!"
The paladin cocked his head towards the young man a bit more.
"And what, pray tell, was she doing there? It's no secret that the plague runs rampant in the area and that it is partially under control by the undead, so I doubt she was there to visit her granny or pick daisies." The Paladin turned around to find a fresh mug in front of him, from which he drank heavily.
"Y'know," Steven said quietly, "He does have a point".
"Hush, you." the bartender muttered.
The young man was speechless. Words begin to form and then failed on his tongue. The paladin turned around to address him once more.
"I'll tell you what I think happened." The Paladin now faced the young man fully, standing a few scant feet in front of him. "I think your dear, thrill-seeking wife caught wind of what that betrayer Raleigh has been spouting off to every passerby in Southshore."
The Paladin paused briefly, and then continued speaking.
"I've seen them before, the greedy eyes of you damnable explorers, travelers, and adventurers as you prey upon our outposts. Some claim us evil, some claim us mad, others simply claim us easy targets."
The Paladin drank from his mug and spoke again, even more harshly than before.
"How many times have I been on patrol and come across a slaughtered element of my comrades? Do you know how much it pains me to have to wonder if those responsible were of the living?"
The young man simple stared in disbelief, his mouth agape as he listened.
"I myself have put down my fair share of your ilk, you damnable fortune seekers looking to pry the weapons and armor off our dead before they are even cold. As far as I'm concerned, your wife was likely plagued anyway and our actions just. Anyone stupid enough to strike at our Holy Order must have ghoul rot for brains. I'm sure your wretched wife is enjoying the Twisting Nether."
The paladin let out a guffaw, and looking rather pleased, drank once more from his mug.
"Oh, damn, I was worried this might end without a fight for a second there!" Said Steven, who was then jabbed in the ribs by the bartender.
Whatever disarming effect the words of the Paladin had had were torn away by the venomous nature of his last statements. The young man, enraged beyond all sense, raised his blade and attacked.
A mail-covered fist broke his jaw before he could finish. The young man fell back flat, completely unconscious from the unexpected blow.
The Paladin merely sighed, turned back to his drink and finished it off. He put down a smattering of coins, worth well more than the drinks he had consumed, and asked the bartender a simple question.
"Do you mind if I put a scroll up on your wall space here? I'd like it to be somewhere visible and this seems a fine place as any.”
The bartender, not one to turn down such ample coinage and rather wanting to avoid a fist to the face, nodded his head and took the coins. The Paladin approached the nearby wall and procured a scroll, unrolled it, and affixed it to the wall, out of all available methods, by punching a nail through it. Slightly intoxicated and feeling much better than when he walked in, the Paladin mumbled something about having a dozen or so more of these to put up, then left the establishment and walked off into the night.
"And you thought tonight would be boring." Steven grunted as he lifted the unconscious young man and dragged him to the drunk room, where they took the bar goers too inebriated to stand. The bartender walked over to the scroll that had been placed on the wall, and along with a dozen other patrons, began reading it.
“To all goodly and righteous people of Stormwind, rejoice, for aid has arrived. Our revered Grand Inquisitor Isillien has come to understand that in these dark times, where the Scourge may strike wherever they may choose, that the defense and containment of Lordaeron is no longer enough to stem the threat our hated enemies pose to all humanity. In order to prevent the Scourge from gaining a foothold within Alliance-held areas of the Eastern Kingdoms, it has been decided that the Scarlet Crusade shall create and maintain Strongholds within the cities of the Alliance for their protection.
You, the citizens of Stormwind, shall be the first to host our righteous cause. Those among you deemed worthy, perhaps, may even enter our hallowed ranks. Any who believe themselves fit for the task may come to the Cathedral of Light and see our Emissary to Stormwind, Zanthius Endelese. May the Light guide you all, and keep you from harm.
-Brother Crowley, Scarlet Inquisitor."
"Well I'll be....." The bartender trailed off, then spoke again. "Steven, you won't believe this…"
Hazy Days Edit
In just over five months, Zanthius and his troops had been involved in the uncovering and destruction of various cults, criminal organizations, and had meddled with a fair share of the local conspiracies. Though hardly what the Grand Inquisitor had in mind for this outpost, the curious lack of a second attempt at a widespread invasion by the Scourge hads left Zanthius and his men little to do in the meanwhile. The city appeared to have widely adjusted to the continued ( Though perhaps subdued ) patrols and presence of the Scarlet Crusade, and few locals would bat a suspicious eye in their direction as the months drew on. Soon after the conclusion of Winter Veil and the associated festivities ( Through which Zanthius, against all instinct, managed to stay sober ) a series of events occured that would bring forth both new enemies and allies.
Of Light and Darkness Edit
Much to the surprise of the Alliance at large, a strange, unknown race of beings had appeared and requested to join forces with humanity and its allies. These bizzarre creatures, known as the Draenei, had supposedly come from the same world as the Orcs, Draenor, and had made an ill-fated attempt to flee here in a grand device that resulted in catastrophic losses to their people. The Alliance, ever eager to expand its military might and being rather impressed with the honor and prowess in battle the Draenei had demonstrated, soon accepted. Shortly after, and with little warning, the Draenei began to appear throughout the land, most noticeably in Stormwind.
Initially caring little for what he assumed would be another race heathens to be shoo'd out of his office, Zanthius soon learned the Draenei, despite coming from an entirely different world, had an innate mastery and understanding of Light and faith-based arcana, and lived by similar principles to the Light believers of Azeroth. With his interest piqued, Zanthius studied the beings from afar for some time, gleaning what he could and observing individuals of their race. Many others saw an unwelcome visitor and untrustworthy ally in the Draenei, a sentiment that Zanthius and his own men could relate to. However, Zanthius saw something more: an unbiased, righteous, and most importantly, powerful new ally for the Scarlet Crusade. Having sent a dispatch northward to Lordaeron with his findings and recommendations, Zanthius made plans to travel to Exodar, the name given to the remnants of the device used by the Draenei to travel to Azeroth, and act as a proper Emissary should. It was not to be, however, and fate quickly intervened.
The Dark Portal, the arcane gate to the realm of Draenor, had been breached by the Burning Legion in an attempt to once more gain a foothold in Azeroth. Though initially responded to with a call to arms and reckless abandon by less experienced members of his== men, Zanthius concluded that involvement by their small detachment would cause more harm than good, and hardly have an effect on the outcome. Nethergarde Keep and the combined might of the Stormwind Army would surely be able to fend off a matter a miniscule as this, so he believed. Dissent grew among the ranks, and several of his troops either fought at the Dark Portal against his wishes, or left the Order entirely.
Kohl Ritch, a mid-rank soldier personally recruited by Zanthius, was killed during this unsanctioned assault and became the Stormwind Outpost's first member killed in action. Upon learning this, Zanthius and his most trusted men traveled to, and fought at the Dark Portal in order to confirm her death personally. This attack concluded as the Dark Portal was taken by Alliance forces and secured, leaving his assault team with a bittersweet sense of victory. Zanthius keeps her standard-issue shield as a memento, though will ardently deny such an accusation as "sentimental hogwash".
Poke the Naaru Edit
(Just kidding, under construction)