|Sir Terrien Ashmoor|
By Rhosmera (http://princessprovost.tumblr.com)
Sergeant-at-Arms of Lianna
Date of Birth
Farrell (Alterac barony)
Death Knight Master
Sir Terrien is known for his practicality and careful, well-ordered mind as much as his renowned fighting ability. While cold and ruthless at his core, the knight places a high value on efficiency and long-term strategy, often promoting solutions that others (expecting brutality) consider surprising from a death knight.
While a longtime supporter of Queen Madelynne due to her aggressive stance against the Horde, Sir Terrien only swore his loyalty following Asuryan Caernough's tournament at Dreadholme, where his victory allowed him to ask the queen for a favor.
The death knight asked for recognition and land for the dispossessed noble arcanist Tamsyn LaVette, and the Crown created her Baroness of Lianna. After Baroness LaVette was formally recognized and swore her loyalty, Sir Terrien requested to be allowed to serve Lordaeron as he did under King Terenas, under his true name and former knighthood. This request, too, Queen Madelynne granted, seeming pleased to have the powerful death knight's service.
Tall and powerfully built, the death knight has an air of military precision. Typically shrouded in jet-black saronite armor that seems to absorb the light, Terrien casts a looming shadow.
Beneath his armor, Sir Terrien is a worn man in his fifties with a lined face and deep-set, suspicious eyes. His skin is pallid, and his back is a web of scar tissue. The man's thin, stringy hair and precisely trimmed beard have turned a dark blue in undeath, from their natural graying black.
Early Life in KirkdaleEdit
Terrien Ashmoor was born in an overcrowded and destitute sprawl of a town called Kirkdale, in western Alterac. The town was the largest in Farrell, a barony chiefly important for Farrell Pass, which remained one of the few traverseable routes between Alterac and the magocracy of Dalaran through the country's long winter. Farrell Pass was Farrell's lifeblood, Kirkdale its rumbling stomach. At the time of Terrien's birth, Farrell was plagued with bandits in its western hills, and generations-old feuding with its northern neighbor, the barony of Cartia.
His mother, Mariele Goodwin, was a struggling seamstress in Kirkdale, who inherited her father's considerable gambling debts in addition to his shop. Terrien's father, Cedrick Ashmoor, was the baron's tax collector and sergeant-at-arms--it was an exchange of favors with a young Mariele that resulted in Terrien's bastard birth. Terrien was a somber and withdrawn child, with his mother's dark hair and his father's cold, sullen blue eyes. Cedrick Ashmoor acknowledged the boy, but little more, until a fateful day some eleven years later.
That day, Baron Augustus Grimm, lord of Farrell, passed through Kirkdale. He had descended from Castle Grimm high in the mountains for a trip to Alterac City, and the clogged and crowded streets of Terrien's hometown presented an obstacle to the baron's carriage. Despite the baron's guards' attempts to clear the main road, the horses became spooked and skittish, and when the carriage's driver yanked at their reins to avoid killing a foolish child running into the road after her dog, the carriage was nearly upended, bouncing to a violent stop in the street just feet from Mariele Goodwin's shop.
The girl was injured despite the driver's efforts, and townsfolk swarmed the street, shoved back by the baron's guards. Grimm himself was furious at the lost of his gold tooth in the collision. The eleven-year-old Terrien lifted his voice repeatedly over the tumult until he gained the baron's attention, and calmly pointed Grimm's guards to search a man he recalled crouching and slipping something into his pocket just after the crash.
Grimm's gold tooth was saved, and the baron's rage melted away in an instant. He congratulated the boy on his calm and attention to detail despite the confusion, and informed Mariele that he would take the bastard into his own house and help him develop his "gift for making order out of chaos." Grimm also promised the woman a stipend to be paid by Terrien's father, Cedrick. Frightened by the baron's attention, she agreed. Terrien himself agreed as well, after a glance at what he would give up around Kirkdale--its muck and beggars and whores.
Beginning Service to Baron GrimmEdit
When they arrived at Castle Grimm, the baron had his sergeants and scholars put the new page through a battery of tests to ensure his estimation of the boy's potential was not in error. He passed--while untrained at arms, Terrien learned quickly, and though he had no knowledge of the continent's great houses, his mind was sharp and he committed everything he was told to memory. Slightly alarmed by the idea of an educated peasantry, the baron was concerned when he learned that the eleven-year-old could already read, but ultimately dismissed the issue as a quirk unique to the small middle class of non-destitute townsfolk the child was born into.
When he'd impressed all of his impromptu teachers with his ability to learn and adapt, Terrien entered his lordship's house as a page. While demanding and critical, unaccepting of Terrien's rare failures, Baron Grimm treated the common boy much like a son, spending time with the young page, personally teaching him games of strategy, buying him gifts, and bringing him on hunts into the mountains. Within a few years, Terrien had little more to learn at the castle, and the baron hired tutors from across the continent for his favorite squire. He was trained in horsemanship by a championship tourney knight from Capital City, past his prime but effective in teaching the boy to use a saddle and lance. Intensive training in melee combat came from a pair of brothers from a feared mercenary company based out of Stromgarde. The squire even learned etiquette and history from a noted (if also slightly indebted) scholar of Lordaeron's clergy.
Terrien excelled under the baron's guidance, and his father was pleased to benefit. Unsurprisingly, Cedrick Ashmoor allowed his bastard son use his name. At the age of eighteen, Terrien was dubbed a knight by his lord, and taken to Capital City to be presented to Alterac's king. Groomed to be Baron Grimm's elite captain, he began to work intensively with the rest of Grimm's army.
Sir Terrien's first missions were local expeditions into the mountains of Farrell to root out local bandits. From those first forays, the knight gathered a core of Grimm's soldiers around him, promoted for their merit and loyal to Terrien. A brash tracker and scout named Urien Baneridge became his lieutenant, and the serious young man's first real friend. On those early bandit hunts, Sir Terrien rarely made missteps, and dutifully took Baron Grimm's advice on correcting them in the future. Bandits hanged in Kirkdale as a warning to others, and Terrien was rewarded well, with a suit of flawless dark iron arms and armor forged by master smiths of Shadowforge City.
Emboldened by his captain's successes, Baron Grimm sought to use him to spread his influence--and fill his coffers. Grimm began to hire out Terrien's elite core of Farrell soldiers as mercenaries to other local lords, spreading his captain's reputation and profiting for Farrell. Banditry began to decrease in western Alterac, and Terrien took the opportunity to hire capable locals that he encountered on his travels, expanding his band. However, it was while Terrien and his unit were away clearing a group of feral mountain yetis away from a Perenolde mining claim that the young knight's first real test arrived.
The Butcher of Farrell PassEdit
A rider arrived with an urgent message: Farrell was under attack by an army led by Raynard Osgood, a prickly Gilnean lordling with an equally prickly father to whom Baron Grimm had managed to give offense--possibly, Grimm felt, out of some misplaced anger. Baron Grimm wrote to his local allies for succour, and to the kings of Alterac and Gilneas to intervene, pleading his innocence. While they waited Sir Terrien had the duty of delaying Osgood's army, some two thousand strong, with his force of just under two hundred soldiers and mercenaries. He rushed home to do his duty.
Terrien's officers were skeptical of their chances to have any effect, and Terrien grew frustrated with their lack of faith, as they owed Grimm their best. When one sergeant complained that he wasn't being paid enough to die, the young knight shocked his men with a rare outburst of fury, throwing the man to the ground and breaking his cheekbone with one cruel blow from a heavy dark iron gauntlet. Several foreign mercenaries vanished in the night rather than face either the Gilneans or their own furious captain, and the news of the desertions sent Terrien into a darker rage, still. Sullen and seething such that not even Urien would approach him, Terrien set off on a long ride to scout Osgood's army once more, alone. He returned with a plan of action.
The Alteracis found soft targets--targets rarely chosen by chivalrous commanders. In a series of swift raids, Terrien's army lost five men--no inconsequential loss--holding off the Gilnean column while slaughtering two dozen of Osgood's civilian support. Most of the dead were medics, military doctors, and novices in support of a priestess of the Light from Gilneas City, whom Terrien slew personally. Along with those senseless deaths, two wagons of books, tinctures, bandages, and other medical supplies had been put the torch before Terrien called the retreat. During the raid, Terrien had one of his trusted lieutenants gather a few materials from the river, as well.
The Gilneans were prepared for the next attack on their lines two days later, and the Alterac soldiers were beaten back badly. It was only the next day that they could finally meet up with Urien Baneridge, whose covert unit had used the cover of the battle to slip into Gilnean supply wagons from the other side of the pass and poison the Gilneans' water and beer with the pale, tasteless broth extracted from a sack of spotted river mushrooms. Though his own guerrilla army was drained, battered, and broken, Terrien forced those who could still ride onto their horses for another night raid.
The Gilnean camp festered with sickness. They were trampled and battered as they squatted about the camp, barely able to lift weapons. Sir Terrien gave orders to cause as few deaths as possible--he hacked off hands and slashed out a man's eyes, but few of the Gilneans were killed by Alterac steel. Torches and flasks of lantern oil were hurled about the camps, however, and more than a few Gilnean soldiers burned to death in their tents, feverish and insensate from harsher reactions to the poison.
With scouts carefully watching the invaders' movements, Terrien stayed ahead of Osgood's crippled army. When the GIlneans attempted to forage in Farrell proper, Terrien rode ahead of them, burning fields and driving off Farrell's own farmers. Finally, Baron Grimm took his house guard of five hundred down from Castle Grimm and hurried to unite with Terrien's forces. Together, they moved upon Osgood's ragtag encampment, which still held some thousand souls despite the deaths and desertion--but souls hungry, demoralized, and desperate for home.
Baron Grimm profited enormously from ransoming eager young officers back to their families in Gilneas, the largest sum paid for the vengeful Raynard himself. Immensely pleased with his young captain, Grimm began to encourage the stories about the 'Butcher of Farrell Pass' that were circulating amongst the army. Grimm preferred 'Demon of Farrell Pass' and often used it as well, but 'Butcher' seemed to catch on better in Farrell--quite possibly because very few knew what a demon was.
The stories told in Alterac taverns never failed to emphasize the cruel and callous nature of Sir Terrien's tactics, and Grimm delighted that his student's name was feared. Sir Terrien accepted the dark accolades with characteristic silence, the violent fury he'd shown at the Pass simmering once more behind a cool and practical, if occasionally sardonic demeanor. The word of Farrell Pass even reached across the continent among those attuned to military circles, and the young Alterac knight was called both a visionary tactician and a vile blight on warfare and knighthood--though far more often the latter.
Baron Grimm's Right HandEdit
Sir Terrien enjoyed a long career under Baron Grimm, and was favored for his successes. The young knight traveled across the continent at his lord's behest, filling Grimm's coffers with a variety of mercenary work. He trained house guards, led exercises, and fought border skirmishes for foreign leaders.
Occasionally, he and his mercenaries performed darker deeds. At his lord's command, Terrien engineered a casus belli to invade the neighboring county of Cartia by framing the rival fiefdom for the brutal killing of twenty common cadets, aged ten to seventeen, from Farrell's Snow Leopards Youth Brigade--a slaughter he perpetrated himself, alongside a few of his most loyal soldiers. Though he carried out the act, the senselessness of the violence did not sit well with the Alterac knight.
After a decade of service, Grimm secured his general a marriage to Julia Millay, the third child of a minor noble family from western Lordaeron. It was a loveless and often tense marriage. Terrien was rarely home at their estate in Tirisfal, and though he never raised his hand to his wife, she was all too aware of the rage simmering beneath his cool exterior. Exacerbating matters, he also began a long affair with a brilliant and vivacious knight-captain of Lordaeron, Adelicia Carnivex, whom Terrien met on a united campaign against the Amani trolls two years before the Dark Portal opened. Still, Terrien's marriage to Julia Ashmoor produced two children, Marius and Duncan.
The Second WarEdit
When the orcs crossed the sea and assaulted the continent of Lordaeron, Terrien expected his troop, at least, would join the Alliance. They only participated in the first battle in Hillsbrad, however, before they were pulled back to Alterac at the command of Baron Grimm to serve as part of King Aiden Perenolde's house guard. Terrien spent the majority of the Second War pacing restlessly in Alterac City, trying to glean news of the Alliance war effort.
When the fateful hour of Alterac's betrayal arrived, Terrien was quietly infuriated. He slipped silently from the council and gathered his soldiers. With his friend Urien's help, he convinced more than half to defect and ambush the orcs in Alterac's eastern passes.
The small unit met up with King Thoras Trollbane of Stromgarde, who was busy at the same work with a much larger army. King Thoras believed Sir Terrien's story, and allowed the Alterac turncoats to assist, but had veteran soldiers keep an eye on them for the rest of the war nonetheless. Terrien worked with Stromgarde's army at the Battle of Blackrock Spire and the liberation of Stormwind.
After the war, with martial law upon Alterac, Terrien returned to his Lordaeron estate. His connection with Lady Adelicia Carnivex gained him an audience with Lordaeron's King Terenas, and for his service in the Second War, Sir Terrien was allowed to renounce his vows to the isolated King Perenolde and become a knight of Lordaeron.
Ashmoor the MurdererEdit
Two years later, the Dark Portal re-opened, and Aiden Perenolde conspired with the Horde and the Black Dragonflight to hand Medivh's spellbook over to Teron Gorefiend in exchange for aid against the Alliance military occupation of Alterac. This continued treason forced the hand of the Alliance leaders, resulting in the destruction and disbandment of the kingdom of Alterac.
Terrien volunteered for service in Alterac's punishment, and put together a unit of his former regulars, joined by other knights of Lordaeron. During the battle for Alterac City, the knight sought out his former master and defeated Baron Grimm's unit of Perenolde's house guard. Wounded in single combat with Sir Terrien, Augustus Grimm surrendered, but something in his comportment outraged his former protege. Before the eyes of the horrified knights of Lordaeron, Terrien Ashmoor went into a rage, hacking off the head of his unarmed former master and mutilating his body. He descended into laughter as King Terenas's knights disarmed him and dragged him from the battlefield.
As the baron had surrendered before dozens of witnesses, Terrien Ashmoor was duly convicted of murder and insubordination. Disgraced by the violent outburst, he spent over two years in prison in the Undercity of Capital City. While he was imprisoned, Adelicia Carnivex, in charge of the occupation of western Alterac, sacked Farrell and destroyed Castle Grimm. She slew Baron Grimm's trueborn children as well, at Terrien's explicit request, and secured much of Baron Grimm's correspondence, including many papers that dated back years.
Realizing what she had stumbled upon, the general set about a plot to free her lover from the Undercity. She had his case reviewed by a select group of nobles and government officials, bringing Terrien himself to the proceedings to beg parole--a task he performed poorly. However, Adelicia leaned upon each of the judges, publically or privately, with proof of their own illicit dealings with Baron Grimm of Alterac. Their underhanded deals ranged from information gathered for blackmail, to assassinations, to one curious case of an arranged disappearance of two female orcs from an internment camp.
As a result of Lady Carnivex's interference, Sir Terrien was given clemency, his sentence reduced to the two and a half years already served, though he was never pardoned or exonerated. Despite his newfound freedom, Terrien's reputation was blackened, his name associated with the murder of his former liege lord.
Between the wars, Sir Terrien worked relentlessly at every job he could find, but opportunities were lacking. He regained his title as a knight of Lordaeron, but he was kept at arm's length, called upon but rarely, though Adelicia did manage to employ him against the Warsong. Still, Ashmoor's finances suffered, though this was briefly remedied by the sale of a book he penned on asymmetric warfare. His marriage was strained, and he became estranged from his older son when the teenage Marius Ashmoor traveled east to study in Stratholme.
The Third WarEdit
When the Third War broke out with the escape of the orcs and the rise of the Scourge in the east, Terrien was recalled to active duty out of Lordaeron's dire need. Along with Adelicia Carnivex, he met with Prince Arthas on the prince's sweep toward the harbor, heading toward Northrend. Marshal Carnivex traveled with Arthas to Northrend, while Terrien, at her behest, remained behind to safeguard Lordaeron. He spent several months investigating and putting down cultists, but the Silver Hand handled most of the work of fighting the undead until the prince's return.
Capital City fell with King Terenas's brutal murder, and Sir Terrien, stationed in Tirisfal, worked to gather survivors. The route through Silverpine was soon closed off, and Andorhal to the east was a Scourge stronghold. Terrien attempted a naval evacuation using Lordaeron's northern shore, but the Scourge arrived at low tide, making a swift evacuation impossible. The aging knight selected several dozen volunteers and remained behind with them, forming a defensive line to keep the undead from gaining the beach and destroying the ships--mostly fishing vessels from Southshore and Kul Tiras--with their meat wagons.
The plan was a success. Terrien sacrificed his life to buy time for perhaps a thousand civilians to escape south to Stormwind. He and a few others were ultimately driven from the field, and fought a harrowing last stand in the tunnels beneath the Ashmoor estate. Already exhausted, they were easily defeated with the arrival of the Scourge general, Lady Carnivex.
Still alive, Terrien Ashmoor endured several months of torture in one of the Scourge's Black Citadels, where he was broken down mentally and physically. The Cult of the Damned lied to him, planting the thought that the operation in Tirisfal had ended in failure and resulted in his family's death. While he resisted for some time, he ultimately revealed the little he knew about the military plans of Lordaeron and the Silver Hand, but the information was too old to be useful. Still, he lingered.
Lady Carnivex visited her former lover often, offering him an end to the torment and a place at her side. On one such visit, Terrien, broken down and nihilistic, agreed to help her scourge the world of life. Carnivex was delighted, and gathered the necromancers. She plunged the dagger through his heart herself, and welcomed him to the Scourge.
Service to the ScourgeEdit
Terrien Ashmoor proved a swift and able study. In training at Naxxramas, he took the name Caliginous--Lord Caliginous, at Carnivex's urging. Unlife returned vigor to the aging knight's body, and he felt more powerful than ever. Caliginous mastered each form of magic, and when he proved particularly capable with necromancy, Carnivex took him to Northrend to learn from an ancient Nerubian sorcerer called Anub'enar. The rotting crypt lord had betrayed his kingdom for immortality, and wielded incredible necromantic power.
On his return to Lordaeron, Caliginous proved his worth beside his fellow death knights Lady Carnivex and Urien Baneridge. His keen strategic mind was as useful as ever, and he won substantial victories against the Silver Hand and the Scarlet Crusade, even when the Lich King's strength waned, and Ner'zhul had to call his champion, Arthas, back to Northrend. In a particularly effective campaign that saw the Scarlet Crusade in the Plaguewood pushed back into their corner of Stratholme, Caliginous learned the truth of the Scourge's lies. He outmaneuvered his elder son, Marius, a captain of the Scarlet Crusade, and watched one of his abominations devour his younger son Duncan in battle. The death knight found he cared but little.
Years later, the death knight master Lord Caliginous was trusted enough by the lords of the Scourge that he was selected to train and advise new creations in Acherus, and help spearhead the assaults on New Avalon and Light's Hope Chapel.
When the death knights were defeated at Light's Hope, Caliginous swore to end the Scourge with all the rest, but he was quietly furious at Darion Mograine for betraying Arthas, king of Lordaeron, and handing the Ashbringer over to a traitor.