|Plagueheart the Prophet|
An older Plagueheart. Art by Hommicue.
Supreme Overseer of the Cult of the Damned
Prophet of the Lich King
The Lord of Heraxnar
Architect of the Dark Reformation
Plagueheart—a master orator, theologian, and necromancer of the Cult of the Damned—is chiefly known for his influential leadership of the sect of the Cult situated outside of Stormwind. For brief periods, he was the most wanted criminal in the Alliance.
He inspired many of his contemporaries to follow down his path of worship. And after his disappearance and his sect's fall, many splinter groups formed — each with varying amounts of influence from the doctrines of the Cult.
However, after his sudden disappearance, Plagueheart has made a resurgence in recent years, having reclaimed an old necropolis, Heraxnar, from Northrend and relocated it to the skies of the Plaguelands. Many Scourge have flocked to his side, including such Scourge as Balasad and Kas'miria, enticed by the prophetic visions he claims to see, bolstering the sizable forces he now commands. His prophetic visions, among other alterations, are part of a reformation movement within the Cult of the Damned, to adapt the Cult to an age without a god who walks among them.
With graying hair tied together into a ponytail, a few loose strands hanging here and there, the accompanying face had a gauntness to it that manifest itself as sunken eyes and bony cheeks. A pervasive pallor clung to his skin, making his deep blue eyes all the more shocking. All around his eyes bore the makings of a failing man—but the eyes themselves were alive as ever, free from any glaze or age. His facial hair grew thick and gray, covering most of the lower portions of his face.
His stature was straight and unbowed, despite the apparent age that one might guess he had attained by the level of paleness and gauntness observed facially. Pressed, clean, bottomed all the way, his clothing might have been worn by a military man, as strict as it was, but he bore no weapon at his side nor insignia telling his rank.
Plagueheart possesses several items of significance – the most prominent of which is his flesh-bound tome, an item containing powerful spells, all the rites and rituals of the Cult of the Damned, and his own journal account.
Plagueheart also has in his possession the ceremonial garb of the High Cultist who presided over the Cathedral of Darkness in Icecrown—how this happened remains unclear. The High Cultist was most likely already dead by time Plagueheart arrived during his pilgrimage through Northrend.
Early Life Edit
Born on a farm to two parents in North Harbor, Plagueheart knew grief early on – his father, a Second War veteran, died shortly thereafter from an unknown illness. His mother was devastated, but endured. She had to hire help, though, to continue the farm. When he grew up, he began to help out at the farm, and so knew the meaning of hard work: every morning, he would rise with the servants to tend the animals and grow the crops, from sunrise to sunset.
But when he neared his coming of age – and, with his father gone, would eventually have to choose someone else to apprentice underneath – hard times struck their little farm.
Prices on crops increased and, then, his mother needed him at home to help, or else they would lose everything, but his continued presence on the farm did little to stop the inevitable. They lost the farm, taken from them by royal tax collectors.
Moving into another’s home in town, they tried to not give up hope. Despite those efforts, his mother grew tired of the Crown’s indifference to its citizens, and became ever angrier.
When those feelings of anger were at their high point, an oddly dressed preacher came from across the sea and visited their town one day with an astounding proclamation of a new religion – one that offered an ideal society, away from the travail, where all were equal. His mother was taken in by the preacher’s charisma and his astonishing promises, willingly joining this new congregation.
It wasn’t until his mother was entrenched in this preacher’s new religion that she realized that it wasn’t at all as it first appeared: they were planning terrible, terrible things. Treacherous things, even. They intended to hurt people to bring their vision to its realization.
His mother wanted out – she tried to escape, and so fled to the town hall, where she attempted to expose the preacher’s insidious plans to the mayor and the town council. To her horror, even they were under the sway of the preacher, Kel'thuzad.
Her son went missing, even, and she feared the worst. Diodor must know something. Diodor and her son were always close.
In the dead of night, his mother resolved herself to confront Diodor about her son and the congregation. She told her daughters to hide, and she approached Diodor who stood consulting with the preacher in the town center. She was murdered, and hung from the rafters of the church which had been renovated with skulls and blood and black for the preacher's new religion.
Diodor lamented of his mother’s assassination to the woman's son, explaining further that it was by the Crown’s hand that it had been done. Infuriated greatly by this, and being goaded still further by Diodor, the son then willingly accepted the family friend’s offer and joined the Cult of the Damned. From then on, the son who would eventually become known as Plagueheart followed the congregation of Kel'thuzad, unknowing that his mother had attempted to escape and that his mother was killed by the same people he now worshipped with.
His Years in Scholomance Edit
Plagueheart spent the remaining years preceding the onset of the Third War within the bowels of Caer Darrow, in Scholomance, where he was taught concerning the doctrines of the Cult of the Damned, brought into its full sway, and learned the subtleties of the sacred art of necromancy. Too focused on pleasing and complying with his instructors and masters, Plagueheart quickly forgot about the home and siblings left behind in North Harbor.
It was here under the watchful tutelages of the masters of the Cult of the Damned that Plagueheart realized his aptitude of the arcane — he excelled in all of the fields of magic: illusionary, conjuration, necromancy, and so on. And while he had the ability to practice any class of magic — he could have very well been an accomplished mage of the Kirin Tor — he learned his ability to wield it through the Cult of the Damned and within the context of satisfying the goals of the Scourge.
As he grew in experience and expertise concerning his ability to wield his new found skills, his loyalty to the Scourge was increasingly solidified. This was the first time Plagueheart could do something better than anyone else, and he was phenomenal. His ability to manipulate the dead astounded many and he soon found himself at the top.
The Scourging of Lordaeron Edit
Plagueheart took part of the initial spreading of the plague and the raising of the dead. To use his newfound skills of blightweaving and necromancy in the real world proved exhilarating to him. He felt so alive. Caught in the throes of passion for his work, he proved instrumental in the destruction of Corin's Crossing, Darrowshire, and many other smaller settlements in eastern Lordaeron.
When Arthas left to chase after the dreadlord Mal'ganis, Plagueheart stayed in Lordaeron, as the bulk of the Cult of the Damned did, spreading the Plague of Undeath further and further, and adding more to the growing Scourge.
Sacking of the Capital Edit
When Arthas returned from Northrend, the Cult knew to expect him; Plagueheart—among many other cultists—travel westward, toward the capital; when they met resistance their Scourge couldn't defeat, they donned commoner's clothing and snuck into the still-standing capital. On the order of the Cult's new leaders, Kel'thuzad having died, Plagueheart and other cultists took advantage of the chaos of the death of the king and began slaughtering the citizens of the capital.
Siege of Fenris Keep Edit
After Arthas left, marching the majority of the Scourge to Quel'thalas, Plagueheart was tasked with taking Fenris Keep—a vital position if the Scourge were to advance south into the forests of Silverpine. Plagueheart knew that this was his test, to prove himself an important part of the Scourge and the Cult; if he was successful in this, the leadership might consider him for higher rank.
At first he attempted to siege the keep, relying on accounts of old sieges in ancient times to guide him—he met stiff resistance though, and he neared admitting defeat. He remembered though that this wasn't just an army and he wasn't just a soldier. He instructed his army to retreat and lay hidden, to lull the keep into a false sense of security. He and his cultists then donned disguises as refugees and pleaded entry before the Scourge returned. The commander, listening to his advisor, Thule Ravenclaw, allowed them entry. From there, Plagueheart and his cultists poisoned the keep's lagers and killed everyone within the castle's confines. The keep fell within days.
From then on, Plagueheart commanded Scourge forces in bulk—especially members of the Cult of the Damned—and employed similar tactics throughout Lordaeron to root out pockets of resistance. His group became known as the Troupe, infamous as they were for their acting.
After a few years of spreading the blight to the west, destroying several keeps, and culling thousands in the Silverpine forest, he received orders from the recently raised Kel'thuzad to reinforce Quel'thalas and to make sure that the Scourge "never lost ground in that part of the continent."
On his way to Quel'thalas, via boat, Plagueheart garrisoned his troops at North Harbor, his hometown. It was there that Plagueheart, walking around his old village, discovered his mother's journal. It was in those pages, which detailed his mother's intentions to confront Diodor, that Plagueheart discovered that his mother was not killed by servants of the Crown, as Diodor had claimed all those years ago, but by Diodor himself.
His loyalty to the Scourge, strong though it was, was sorely tested by the persisting knowledge that Diodor had killed his mother and that his mother had doubts about the Cult of the Damned. As he fought in the Ghostlands of Quel'thalas, another war waged in his mind as he attempted to reconcile his devotion to the Lich King and his growing hatred for Diodor.
Plagueheart played a role in the construction of Deatholme, which served as the Scourge's main base of operations in Quel'thalas from then onward and which he helped govern and defend against any resurgent armies of the elves. It was there that Plagueheart learned how to govern.
Summertide Assault Edit
Eventually Plagueheart received orders to reinforce a Scourge assault taking place on a monastery in Tirisfal. He marched his troops down; once there, he realized Diodor led the attack against the monastery.
He did battle alongside his former mentor, destroying wave after wave of Scarlet Crusaders, his mind as conflicted as the battle. However, just as the battle intensified, in the chaos of it all, he drove a dagger into the back of Diodor, mortally wounding him. The fall of Diodor buckled the Scourge lines, as the lead necromancer had under his influence scores of undead.
As the Scourge were slaughtered all around him, Plagueheart dragged the corpse of his mother's killer off the battlefield and harvested the man's soul. He intended to torture him until insanity took over Diodor's mind. He raised the soulless corpse of Diodor and walked back to the Scourge who were in disarray. Plagueheart, in ecstasy after killing Diodor, took control of the Scourge with a single spell and managed to stop the Scarlet's advance enough for the undead to initiate an orderly retreat.
Civil War in the Plaguelands Edit
Plagueheart could feel the waning influence of the Lich King on his mind, but his devotion to him ran deeper than the potion he drank at his initiation. He stayed loyal. Receiving a missive from a high ranking member of the Cult, Szihira Lightsbane, Plagueheart began a campaign of winning (and, sometimes, forcibly taking) the hearts and minds of whatever Scourge could still be brought to heel.
Plagueheart won several battles for the Scourge during the civil war and proved a capable orator when he needed to be, helping to rally the necromancers of the Cult around the Scourge, despite their weaker connection to the Lich King. His speeches inspired fear and fervor in the hearts of the living that followed the Scourge.
Such efforts bought the loyalty of whatever cultists and Scourge he found; after some time, he had a sizable force that made him a real player in the war if he wanted to be. The forces he had managed to collected turned out to be more loyal to him than to the central leadership. If he chose, he could carve out a sizable kingdom for himself. Many realized this. A dreadlord by the name of Hal'desh, who claimed to represent the Nathrezim as whole, offered Plagueheart immortality and "more power than the Scourge can hope to provide. Power from the very source, power that you are worthy of bending to your rather impressive will."
With the betrayal of Diodor still fresh in his mind, with the waning of the Lich King's influence, the offer made by Hal'desh and the Nathrezim proved far more tempting than Plagueheart could have imagined. He grappled with it for some time as he sat encamped with his rather large force of necromancers and their accompanying undead.
Sensing that she might lose the gifted orator to the other side, Lady Szihira approached Plagueheart as well. She entered the sizable encampment which bore the flags of the Scourge and the emblems of the Cult. When she arrived finally to his tent, Plagueheart knelt before Lady Szihira and gave the army he had amassed over to the Scourge loyalists.
His loyalty to the Scourge proved far more important than the lure of power offered by the Nathrezim. Lady Szihira and the central leadership of the Scourge in the Plaguelands knew from then on he could be trusted explicitly.
After the Events of the Third War Edit
Though battles continued between the Forsaken and the Scourge, the all out war of the very beginning ended eventually, leaving the two sides in their respective spheres of influence.
Having given up his army of necromancers and undead, but having gained the trust of the upper echelons of the Scourge, Plagueheart found himself in a unique position within the Scourge. Szihira commanded Plagueheart to make a pilgrimage to the icy continent of Northrend.
It was in that frozen land that Plagueheart disappeared for a time. It is unknown what occurred during his time there; the next time records become available concerning his whereabouts is when he begins to lead the Cult of the Damned in the Kingdom of Stormwind.
Some have speculated that it was during this first pilgrimage to Northrend that Plagueheart was endowed with undeath—as reward for his loyalty and for his usefulness in rallying large portions of the Cult of the Damned that has strayed without the influence of the Lich King. However, this is pure speculation on the part of historians that have examined Plagueheart's history.
During the Wrath of the Lich King Edit
They began a harsh campaign in Stormwind; with the threat of the joint assault of the Alliance and Horde on Northrend, where their Master lay, they took far more drastic and brutal tactics at first. They sought to weakened the campaign against their lord from within. They kidnapped high ranking officials, murdered random civilians to inspire terror and fear, and concocted countless plagues to poison the whole of Stormwind and its surrounding areas.
With the help of Count Vrenna, Plagueheart launched an attack on Sentinel Hill in Westfall. Count Vrenna's forces stormed the feeble guards, slaughtering them and providing bodies for Plagueheart's necromancers to raise. To further the carnage, Plagueheart's necromancers catapulted the men and women manning Sentinel Hill with cannisters of plague, befouling not only the defender's lungs but the grass and air.
Their defeat in Darkshire and Lakeshire marked the decline of this sect. Its adherents melted back into the populace of Stormwind and attempted to blend in as well as they could, but the presence of Argent Crusade-affilianted organizations and the Scarlet Crusade's presence within the city complicated matters for the cultists. The Argent Crusade- and Scarlet Crusade-affiliated organizations launched brutal campaigns to discover, torture, and kill members of the sect.
This forced the sect to eventually relocate its operations: Apollyon fled with what cultists survived the onslaught and eventually made it to the Western Plaguelands.
After the Events of Northrend Edit
Devastated by the killing of his God, Plagueheart experienced a crisis of faith while leading his sect in the Plaguelands. Defections and his sect's brief loss of control over the undead added to the already monumental crisis caused by the Lich King's demise, all leading Plagueheart to seek the answers concerning what to do next in Northrend.
In Northrend, Plagueheart wandered the desolate landscape, brought low by the decimated empire of the Lich King, the docile nature of the remaining Scourge, and the impressive war machine of the Alliance, Horde, and the Argent Crusade.
Brought to the near brink of death, rigid from the cold and delirious from elements battering him from all sides, he traveled to Icecrown where I believe the Lich King might still reside; eventually he ascended the staircase that led to the Frozen Throne. Comforted only by the knowledge that his teacher and leader, Kel'thuzad, made the same journey. There, atop the world, at its pinnacle, he saw the pretender, Bolvar, sitting atop his God's throne
Despite standing at the top of the world, Plagueheart could scarcely think of a time when he felt lower. He stumbled from the profaned throne and began to wander once more, more desperate, more confused.
It was in the snow, almost dead, that Plagueheart received a vision from an entity he claimed to be the Lich King. His God had spoken to him and to him alone. Banishing any misgiving that what he experienced might be hallucinations, Plagueheart grew to consider himself a prophet.