Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Forsaken Paladins

I was delaying this one long enough. First I thought I would introduce couple of more "easy" races as the possible Paladin candidates, such as Night elves, and Worgen, then I decided I had to elaborate on my view of the Light, and when all that was said and done I felt burned out, drained. So I gave it time, but recently the urge came back, and it is only right to give the Forsaken their chance under the Light. To continue with theorising about possible future race/class combinations, and present the possibility to have Forsaken as playable paladins.

I feel like I am doing this in every post I decide to write about Paladins. I always find myself in need of defining what Paladin is in order to proceed. Simplest of definitions would be a holy warrior. An individual skilled in combat, to whom Light grants its powers. Light itself is not involved with the world, and all it takes to wield the Light is unbreakable conviction, a steely resolve if you will. As long as the paladin is convinced what he is doing, and how he is using the powers granted to him by Light for the right cause, he will not lose his powers, once doubts start to interfere with his peace of mind, his powers will slowly fade away. Not because Light does not trust him any more, but because he does not trust the Light.

As we have established there are priests among the Forsaken, most of them shadow, but rare few of them holy. What this means, is that the Light is still available to the Forsaken, even if the grand majority might despise it. The myth that Forsaken are susceptible to the Light is just that, a myth. When it comes to Paladins, anyone Paladin brands as an enemy in his mind is susceptible to the Light, be it Forsaken, human, demon, undead, orc, beast or blood elf. In the eyes of the paladin all are the same. He decides who is evil and who is not. That is even enforced of late through a paladin talent called Evil is a Point of View.
Turn Evil: The power of the Light compels an Undead, Aberration, or Demon target to flee for up to 40 sec. Only one target can be turned at a time.
Evil is a Point of View: Your Turn Evil now also affects Humanoids and Beasts.

If, and this is a big IF, as it can change anytime, if it ever was even true in the first place, if Forsaken suffer when dealing with the Light, it is not because of the Light, but because they see themselves as wrong, abomination, unnatural, evil. "Suffer Well" is a greeting among the Forsaken. A greeting I am willing to say they take very literally. They do not value their lives, they do not appreciate their own existence, suffering is the only way they know of, how to feel alive when it is obvious they are not. Suffer well, is the ultimate show of how very desperate for what they used to have Forsaken really are. The only connection they feel with their former life, is through pain, suffering, even hardship.

Nobody can ever say that the Forsaken who deals with the Light is insane, a wretched creature seeking its end. Forsaken are not suicidal, not even now. Pain is how they stay grounded, even if the memories of their past lives that hold them together could tear a lesser person apart. And while many among the Forsaken might choose to forget, repress, or simply ignore what they used to be, one thing that will never go away is the feeling of what life used to be, and the feeling of security the Light offered them.

Once the Forsaken steps through that dark, murky corridor of self loathing, there is nothing to stop him from embracing the Light. Because pain is how they feel life. Unlike for others, feeling something to Forsaken, is far superior than feeling nothing. Even if that something is extreme soul-wrenching pain, that will only cause more suffering, it is better than nothing. It is everything a Forsaken could ever want for. Their ultimate personal quest, to feel, to realise how feeling anything is the ultimate blessing that could be cast upon the mortals.

We must realise that when Forsaken wishes someone to suffer well, this is the deepest form of respect, well-being, and gratitude Forsaken is capable of. This is not meant as a curse: It is a Forsaken's warning that nothing lasts forever, not even suffering, so you need to take the most out of it while you still can. It might be morbid, but it reflects the state of Forsaken. Had they any other way but pain to connect with what is left of their past selves, they would, but in the end, only thing that remains is the pain. But I am derailing here. We will discuss the Forsaken some other time.

As citizens of Lordaeron for the time of their lives, among the Forsaken should be a fair amount of dead paladins. Even if the case was that this could not happen, Forsaken spent almost a decade fighting against the Scarlet Crusade, and if those zealots have one good quality, it is their willpower and unwavering belief they are on the side of good. Whichever the case, we have a strong base upon which the Forsaken paladins could be formed. Headless Horseman as the possible candidate for their leader, he was a Paladin in his former life.

As for the actual examples from the game, even those exist. Probably best known is Sir Zeliek, the white horseman of Naxxramas. Sir Zeliek, even in the undeath retained his faith in the Light, and refused to commit what he saw as evil acts. That he did commit them bears no weight here, because he was just a tool in the hands of Arthas. He never willingly committed any of it. You do not blame the sword for killing, you blame the one who wields it. Now, just think on this for a second. Sir Zeliek is everything we ever said a Forsaken Paladin would be, he is undead, yet he still wields the Light, without feeling any pain or suffering. That is a precedence right there.

The next in line we have Leonid Bartholomew, known to his brothers and sisters in arms as The Revered. He is probably the only Forsaken, or one among few, loyal only to the Argent Crusade. He considers his state of undeath a malady, something to be fixed one day, and not to be troubled with until then. Among the Forsaken, he might be the only unliving optimist when it comes to that question, well beside Apothecary Renzithen located in Tranquillien who is set on finding the cure for undeath. While we are on the matter of Forsaken and their senses, Apothecary Renzithen gives us proof that if anything, they do have a sense of smell (The argument that often comes up when dealing with Forsaken and the Light, is that they could not stand the force of their sense coming back with the Light):
"The drafts of fresh air that blow from Eversong from time to time really upset my stomach, if you know what I mean."

Bartholomew seems to posses that steely resolve we look for. He even comments on the strong convictions of Scarlet Crusaders, and how the only reason we had to kill them all is because they went too far. The last individual I want to point out is Lilian Voss. She might not be a typical paladin, but in her escapades in the Scarlet Monastery she wore a modified Sanctified Lightsworn Battlegear (T10) with Mask of Penanece. At that time, she is known to us as the Hooded Crusader. While she might be dead, and at the end of her path really far from your usual definition of a paladin, she still fought with all her might and ardour against the Scourge. She, it might be said is the embodiment of self-sacrifice and cruel justice among the Forsaken.

Last, and also the least, we have myriad of undead paladins Arthas raised into undeath in Icecrown. While under his control, they were able to use a blasphemous versions of classic paladin attacks, such as Unholy Blight, and Hammer of Injustice. Their attacks might just be Arthas's mockery of Light and the rest of paladins, who he felt abandoned him in his hour of need. That said, it is obvious there are quite a few options of how Forsaken paladins should be able to exist. If not anything else, then every dead paladin is a potential Forsaken Paladin. And if anyone, then Forsaken deserve a second chance in trying to rid the world of the wickedness, evil, and corruption.
“Few beings are truly evil, and even they are not necessarily beyond redemption. Change is inherent in life. As long as something lives*, it can grow. It can seek the light, or the darkness. It is only when it chooses the darkness so completely that life itself is endangered that I would say there is no hope.”
-Alexstrasza, War Crimes
 *lives - In this context meaning still able to function (more or less) properly. Forsaken are not dead, and that classifies them as alive. They are alive because they are undead. It might seem as semantics to some, but it is an important distinction.

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