Letter 1Edit

Dearest Alicia,

It is doubtful, even in the fullness of time, that you will ever read the words I put to parchment in these missives. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to chronicle my feelings and experiences for posterity just the same, and it makes queer enough sense that I address these letters to you - or, at the very least, to your memory.

I should begin by saying that life in the Undercity could hardly be finer. Well, except for the corrosive green goop in the canals, the constant gloom, and the repugnant stitched-together monstrosities that guard the corridors. A fine life indeed, aside from those meager miscues. Of course, it seems anything but fitting that I criticize, given the state my body is in these days. The good news: I've lost weight! The bad news: I've also lost a great deal of flesh, thus exposing bones that normally would best be left concealed.

No, you wouldn't recognize me now. I know this without a doubt thanks to a visit I paid to the house near Stormwind some time ago. Perhaps you recall. It must have been memorable. Rare to see a Forsaken gawking through the dining room window, to be sure. Poor Keenan. I felt so horrible frightening the lad. It only got worse when I heard you and Riff screaming with him. Then the guards came. I saw no reason to belabor my welcome at that point. Please accept my sincerest apologies for the poor manners exemplified by a hasty departure without even the simple courtesy of a farewell and by-your-leave.

I still work in accountancy, but it has become more of a hobby. My primary focus is on mastering Fel Magic among the warlocks of the Magic Quarter. So far, it has been quite remarkable. I am capable of immolating creatures while draining them of their souls to create shards that provide the means to generate healthstones. I should really get a bag to hold all the souls I have acquired in recent days.

Hmm. It occurs to me that it might be distressing to my wife and children to hear that I am wantonly sapping the souls of hapless creatures throughout the Eastern Kingdoms, like something out of a scary bedtime story. Allow me to assure you: The sapping is anything but wanton. I quite specifically target hostile creatures that try to kill me. I am not stalking innocents in Goldshire.

The training remains at its earliest levels. I am a novice at harnessing Fel powers. But I am joined in my travels by a most curmudgeonly imp that identifies itself as Gaknam. The imp and I talk a lot. Well, I talk a lot to the imp, I should say. It has precious little to say to me, except to curse and complain about the suffering it endures as we roam Silverpine Forest.

Please give my love to the boys.

Yours in eternity,

H.A. Rote

Letter 2Edit

Dearest Alicia,

I do not recall with any certainty whether I spoke at length to you about all aspects of my childhood as I grew up on the Rote family farm in Westfall.

Besides raising pumpkins and three varieties of wheat, my family kept a small herd of cattle and sundry livestock ranging from goats to pigs. For amusement, I once wrestled a pig in the muddy sty. I know your habits, my dear, and you are wondering foremost what name the pig bore. All I can say to that is this pig lacked a moniker, for we did not give names to creatures doomed to die in the slaughterhouse.

I suffered a broken arm and a badly bruised shin in the battle that ensued. I also earned the wrath of my parents and the unending ridicule of my older brother, Thomas.

Today, so many years removed from that cloudy day when H.A. Rote became locked in mortal combat against a pig in a sloppy sty, I found myself once more wrestling with a powerful beast in a pit of sorts. This day, I reached the point in my training as a warlock in service to the Dark Lady that I was challenged to subdue a voidwalker - a great blue beast born of the twisting nether itself. Failure would have cost me far more than a cracked bone, a few bruises, and wounded pride.

You will be proud to learn that yours truly bested the creature, now known to me as Hathdok. I find him to be even surlier and grumpier than Gaknam the imp, but he bends to my will just the same.

I seem a suitable candidate for promotion among the others in training. Hard to believe, I suppose, for a man who once found challenge enough in managing the accounts of Stormwind's merchants.

As always, give my unending affection to Riff and Keenan. Let them wrestle at least one pig in their lives. It can be a valuable learning experience.

Yours in eternity,

H.A. Rote

Letter 3Edit

Dearest Alicia,

I have recently become affiliated with a clan known as Storm Earth and Fire. It was here that I first encountered an orc warlock named Krangloth and his voidwalker minion, Thogkresh.

Can you imagine? A brutish, savage orc, of all things, mastering the powers of the void! Over time, it would seem, his companion voidwalker has grown suitably affable for polite company. Most curious. I find it fascinating that Krangloth has managed to accomplish such a feat. Hathdok won't even favor me with much more than a grunt, and Gaknam ... well, I have not achieved a full comprehension of his demonic language, but the bits and pieces I do pick up are rather obscene.

Krangloth seemed concerned by my almost obsessive focus on mastering fel magic. He warned me that if I delve too deep into the exploration of such powers, I risk becoming a slave to the dark energies that I seek to harness. I appreciate his concern. Truly, I do. But since I have become Forsaken, and lost the life I knew and the family I loved, have I not already lost what amounted to free will? I am left with choices that would make the best of a bad situation. So, I choose to invest myself fully in the study and mastery of fel magic. It keeps my mind distracted from agonizing over what I can no longer be.

I harbor no delusions about my likely fate. If I am a slave to the Dark Lady or a slave to fel magic, it makes little difference to me.

Relay my affection to our sons.

Yours in eternity,

H.A. Rote

Letter 4Edit

Dearest Alicia,

I died again today ... over and over and over and over again.

It was quite painful but, in retrospect, vaguely amusing.

Gloomy shadows and mist hung over the Silverpine Forest as I followed the orc rogue Sarya, a clanmate in Storm Earth and Fire. She drew no notice from the Dalaran frost mages lurking around Pyrewood, at the base of the rocky hill upon which crouches the nefarious Shadowfang Keep.

My studies brought me to this place so that I might learn more about lycanthropy and other dark magics. I sought to keep my distance behind Sarya as we entered. She made quick work of most threats on our way to release a prisoner who could open the door leading into the courtyard. But it was in the courtyard that my problems first began.

Really, it was Hathdok's fault.

He hissed and rumbled all the while as we followed Sarya toward the courtyard. Once the door was open, exposing stone steps leading down, Sarya bolted into the fray with the worgs and werewolves and ghostly servitors below. I took a tentative step outside and then jumped off the right side of the stairway, landing amidst the corpses of the fallen. Hathdok, on the other hand, resents any sort of physical exertion, and opted to descend the stairs – right into a cluster of werewolves and worgs.

I swear I heard Hathdok giggling as I fell under the flurry of claws and fangs.

Through swirling blue-gray nether, I jogged back to the ominous stronghold ... and right into the clutches of another werewolf and several ghostly servitors.

Through swirling blue-gray nether, I scampered back to the dread keep ... and almost didn't notice the werewolf loping up behind me.

Through swirling blue-gray nether, I ran back to the horrific manse ... and quite failed to escape the ghostly wolf that chewed on my bony haunches.

Through swirling blue-gray nether, I ... well, you get the picture. By the time Sarya finished exterminating all the vermin the Shadowfang Keep, including the foul beast-wizard Arugal, my robes had become shredded. Luckily, I acquired a fresh set of robes, a belt and a ring from the dead magician.

An eventful evening, to be sure. Now, if you will excuse me, the moon is full and I feel an itching compulsion to consume raw steak ... or perhaps a living cow. Of course, it doesn't have to be a cow. It just needs to bleed.

Yours in eternity,

H.A. Rote

Letter 5Edit

Dearest Alicia,

I've another woman in my life. Temper your jealousy, my sweet. Anriana is a succubus, in service to my will, and I am proud to report that my will in her regard does not lean toward the carnal. She deals out pain and confusion to my enemies. That is service enough, in my eyes.

Of late, I find myself often in the company of a mage named Capstone. Strange, boisterous, and rather enthusiastic about his work. Together, we are quite a destructive pair.

As an example, I will relate to you the tale of our visit to the Charred Vale, not far from Sunrock Retreat in Kalimdor - as far from our modest home in Goldshire as I can ever claim to have been. In this ruined vale, we confronted harpies, basilisks, and ancient walking trees that burned and crisped and crackled under our combined powers. It is most addictive, this power I wield. I can understand why Krangloth cautioned against letting it gain mastery of me. The agonized squeak of an innocent rabbit; the dying titter of a squirrel as it flops on the verge of a path, writhing from my touch - these are the sensations I seek with a fervor I once reserved for the sound of your delighted laughter and the smell of one of those exquisite roasts you so enjoyed cooking.

So, yes, I can understand why Krangloth cautioned me: Because he wishes to keep more Fel Magic for himself. He does not wish to share the power.

I will continue to probe the secrets of this magic, despite the orc's self-serving warnings.

Yours in eternity,

H.A. Rote

Letter 6Edit

Dearest Alicia,

In recent weeks, I have redirected my focus to the subtle nuances of the powers of destruction. I find myself particularly captivated by the nature of fire.

Earlier this evening, I sat upon a wooden bench on Thunder Bluff, listening to the mad ramblings of another undead warlock who spoke little at all about fire, while an invisible orc grumbled in cow language at a Tauren, and a troll spat upon me and called me a disgrace "to my race."

How little such people understand. "My race" is no race. It is all races, tainted by the Forsaken plague. Is it possible to explain to a thick-thinking troll that I was a human once? Can he grasp how alien all this is to me now, dwelling among the Horde "devils" that I was raised to fear from childhood?

He spat upon me, Alicia. As I stood beside the prepared bonfire logs, raining fire from the heavens as Hathdok roiled and grumbled, he spat upon me. I heard the gummy liquid sizzle and hiss against the fabric of my fireproof robes.

The buildings on Thunder Bluff are all sturdy structures of wood and leather hides. They could burn. Their conflagration would be astounding, a thing of beauty more than likely visible from as far away as Camp Taurajo in the Barrens. I should like to witness such a blaze, Alicia. The structures in Goldshire and Stormwind are of intractable stone, a stubborn and unyielding force against the transforming energy of flame and searing heat. In this place, the fire could take root, drink deep, and spread its dance from rooftop to rooftop.

One day, it will burn. My greatest work of art. An opus for you, my darling.

Yours in eternity,

H.A. Rote

Letter 7Edit

Dearest Alicia,

My sincerest apologies for failing to write in so many weeks. I have been so wrapped up in my work. You know how it is, yes? It is not so different than those industrious days I spent working in that office in Stormwind, keeping the books for the rich and the powerful.

Never enough time for you. Never enough time for our family.

And, oh, how the family has grown!

Besides Gaknam the imp and Hathdok the voidwalker, I've been joined by a felhunter named Czaagrom and a succubus called Anriana. Don't be jealous, love! Don't be jealous. The succubus has her appeal, to be sure, but I let her save those charms for her victims.

Also, for my progress as a warlock in good standing with the practitioners of Ratchet and the Undercity, I have been granted a felsteed! He calls himself Vindication and speaks to me, mind to mind.

Hmm. It occurs to me that such talk must sound like madness to you. But please accept that I am well, doing much better since I have found the inspiration of demonic energies.

Yours in eternity,

H.A. Rote

Letter 8Edit

Dearest Alicia,

When last I wrote, I failed to mention another rather important development: The clan that took me in, Storm Earth and Fire, is effectively no more.

I know that weepy Tauren Stamp took the collapse rather hard, but Kadingo and Corah decided the time had come, after too many trials, too many deceptions, too many defections.

No more Krangloth to warn me about the perils of demonic magic. No more Crul'jin to give the rallying cry to combat. No more shouts of "Storm Earth and Fire, heed my call!"

So much more peaceful now.

Oh, I do keep in touch with Capstone. Clever fellow. Together, we have melted many a troll in Stranglethorn Vale.

It was Capstone, in point of fact, who directed me to the notes and scribblings left behind by Limduul in a small laboratory in the Apothecarium sector of the Undercity. I found the papers to be ... undeniably fascinating. They speak of a dead Overlord's skull, forged into a helmet and given as a gift to Stamp Bloodhoof. The skull is still imbued with the essence of the Overlord.

Limduul never got the chance to complete his experiment, it seems. But I believe I have determined within a comfortable range of certainty how it might be done.

Yours in eternity,

H.A. Rote

Letter 9Edit

Dearest Alicia,

I sit this afternoon in the meager shade of a tree in Valormok, near the ruins of Azshara. Hathdok munches on shadows while my faithful felsteed, Normal, lingers nearby.

It has been a few days since I met with Gizmik Fazzle in Orgrimmar and received the charge of hunting down our missing mutal compadre: Stamp. I have consulted with a wizard of some renown in these parts and his resources allowed him to scry and augur the possible location of the wayward Tauren.

If the wizard's calculations and surmises are correct, then it is most likely that I will find Stamp in Everlook, in the icy highlands of Winterspring in far northern Kalimdor.

It may be some time before I am able to write again. Have a care for yourself and our children until then.

Yours in eternity,

H.A. Rote

Letter 10Edit

Dearest Alicia,

I remember that I was on my way to Winterspring for something. That much I know. But I have lost the thread of what that something was, you see.

I had passed from Ashenvale into the Nightsong Woods. This much I recall. I was taking the northern road, past that wretched elf tower. I was on a mission of some import, of that I am certain.

But then I entered Felwood and I lost all sense of time. All sense of obligation.

Whatever I had in mind before I reached this place, it is just as well forgotten. Here, for now, is where I belong.

It is such a wondrous place, with its scabrous wildlife and oozing green sludgefalls. Delightfully corrupt! You would no doubt find it unappealing, not at all the sort of place to bring the children on a family picnic, but I have found new zest for my studies here.

I learn new things with each day. It is my hope that a continued dedication to learning all I can about the dark magic of this place will bring me closer to... what, exactly? I know that I can never be as I was. But...perhaps, with enough effort applied to my art, I could find a way for you and the boys to join me among the Forsaken. Oh, I have no doubt that you might resist such an idea at first. Perhaps you would take your own life and the lives of our children to prevent it.

I am torn. I cannot be as I was and, although I might wish otherwise, it is doubtful that we can ever be together as a family again.

Hmm. That leaves only my work as the most reliable companion in my life.

So, it is to that industry that I must devote myself for now.

I will write you no more, my love.

Yours in eternity,

H.A. Rote

Letter 11Edit

Dearest Alicia,

I know that I left little room for doubt that I would cease correspondence with you, but circumstances dictate necessity.

You see, I remembered why I was bound for Winterspring. I had been hired by a goblin named Gizmik Fazzle to track down that no-account Tauren, Stamp Bloodhoof.

My memory was jogged, providence would have it, by the arrival in Bloodvenom Post of none other than Gizmik Fazzle himself. He was quite cross with me because I had accepted payment but had yet to complete a mission that had proven far more important to him than it ever could to me.

"*I* found Stamp before you did, and I didn't even have to leave Orgrimmar to do it!" the goblin snapped.

Without doubt, I conceded, Fazzle truly was a master hunter.

"You think this is funny? Listen, Mister Rote, I don't take kindly to being ripped off. It's bad for business."

I shrugged, turned, and paced away from him, following the shore of the Bloodvenom River.

He stomped along behind me, shouting: "Don't walk away from me!"

As you may recall, I am ever so proud. Ever so willful. So, what I did next, I did out of instinct.

And I have no regrets. No regrets at all.

Yours in eternity,

H.A. Rote

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