- "Only in its complexity can I appreciate the world. Only in its explicability can I thrive."
- - Euphyllise, in a letter to Forsaken colleagues.
Euphyllise Coldword is an undead mage of the Kirin Tor and arcane theoretician at Dalaran’s magic academy. She died at age twenty-eight during the Scourge attack on Dalaran, and joined the Forsaken early in its existence. Since the Shattering, she has been on sabbatical to research post-Arthas undead meaning-making.
Euphyllise is currently applying for membership to the Scythe of Sylvanas.
- Age: 28 at death.
- Place of Birth: Brill
- Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
- Pets: Milla (cat, deceased), [to be named] (cat)
- Family: (To be completed.)
- Colleagues: (To be completed.)
Euphyllise’s undeath began in a stable near Brill.
Sprawled out across a mound of corpses, pain throbbing dully against her body, she found herself in a state of profound peace. Rationality had given way to an expanse of unmitigated perception. This was a strange sensation for her. Flames licked fluidly against some building far away; the dusky, thatched ceiling waxed and waned with the passing lights; and that was all.
But Euphyllise, slowly and painfully, broke the veil. She began with vague contemplations. Then wondering. Then active perception. Then thought. And with thought came memories, with memories, confusion. And her mind began tightening into the messy mound of reason she knows today.
Euphyllise had once been a mage in Dalaran, and, later, a teacher. She specialized in arcane theory – atomi extrapolations, ley-line formation – and garnered some renown for her pedagogical essays. She had a cat, named Milla, and a few friends and colleagues – all of whom were undoubtedly dead. They had died, like her, in the Scourge’s attack on Dalaran.
But the ability to think and the knowledge of her own death, in turn, foundered into her subconscious to be reconciled later. While disoriented by her predicament, Euphyllise could grasp two things: first, that her entrails were bulging from two large gashes in her abdomen, and, second, that something was frantically sifting through the mound of corpses she lay upon.
Her decaying muscles were useless in anything more than the slightest gestures, and her mind was reeling from… something – far too much for any defensive magic. She could be in genuine danger; the thing, whatever it was, had been bodily throwing corpses away from the mound. For all she knew, it might have been looking for her. Euphyllise’s thoughts chattered away, seeking escape.
A minute passed, and, to her mild surprise, the figure called out, pleading for help. Its voice was horribly warped, but nonetheless human. Leery in her vulnerable state, she remained silent for a minute or so, though eventually decided that its tone belied fear more than trickery. Her parched throat could barely manage a whisper, so she conjured a flame to signal it towards her.
As the creature began clambering over corpses, Euphyllise found herself unexpectedly fascinated by the flame. Though she had made many in her career as a mage, she, in that moment, realized how -elegantly- its structure adapted to the world – comporting itself in the most complex and simple ways. She spent the next few moments mesmerized by its soft shudders in the night breeze.
The creature arrived beside Euphyllise, and its appearance gave her something of a jolt. It (or he, as she decided in the moment) was almost completely rotted – teeth showing through shredded lips, gaping wounds everywhere. Only knowing that her own body was in a similar state – if only slightly more intact – kept her from panicking outright.
This creature, she quickly learned, was amnesic. He had no idea where he was, how he was, or, more importantly, who he was, and could barely restrain his utter terror at the fact.
Euphyllise tried to soothe him with empathy, claiming to have lost her memory as well. This was a lie, but she -was- feeling very lost, and, on top of that, physically needed help to move.
Her cool rationality calmed the creature somewhat. He pushed her up from the pile and kept her organs from slipping out. They found some thick thread nearby, and Euphyllise used what knowledge she had of tailoring to suture her abdomen together.
Though still weak, she could stumble short distances with help from her newfound companion (who, for the sake of ease, Euphyllise called Threadbare), and, in this way, they began to make their way towards shelter. She had grown up in Tirisfal, and knew this area reasonably well. Brill was nearby, but she didn’t expect its inhabitants to welcome two shambling undead with open arms.
When she mentioned this to Threadbare, he seemed utterly baffled. At first, she attributed this confusion to his amnesia, but she came to understand that he had woken from death in Brill, and that the Scourge had razed the town. The inhabitants would be all too happy to have them. Indeed, he had escaped from them.
Nevertheless, Euphyllise wanted to see this for herself, if only because she had been raised there. At the very least, she might be able to find some direction in vengeance.
As they walked on, she continued to analyze the nature of emotions in the context of undeath, testing happiness, sadness, anger, boredom, each in turn, to gauge whether they elicited any response in her psyche. Few had any effect. The only thing bordering on emotion since waking was her fascination with the conjured flame.
To test this fascination’s consistency, Euphyllise created a spark in the upper branches of a nearby tree and asked her companion to stop. Sure enough, as the flames leapt rapidly from needle to needle, the theoretical complexity of its movement exhilarated her.
She couldn’t stop herself from trying again on other trees. She experimented with different elements – frost and pure arcane energy, mixes of each – and all had the same effect on her. She craved more input. So, in crippled ecstasy, she and Threadbare cut a marvelous swathe of ice and burning trees through the Glades, from that little stable to Brill’s scarred husk.
Joining the Forsaken
By the time the pair made it to town, Euphyllise had almost forgotten about her condition. The sight of the Scourge, however, refocused her priorities. They were true abominations; grossly cobbled together, inefficient and short-lived, their presence grated horribly against her mind. She hid, watching them burn shacks and houses, bewildered by the contrast of monstrosity and elegance as they used the same element that had captivated her earlier.
All at once, as if by a sudden gust of wind, half of the Scourge in sight fell to the ground. A legion of undead phased from the shadows, cutting down the mindless, taking Brill in a matter of minutes. They were orderly, clinical and determined – completely unfettered by the Scourge’s horde tactics. They also seemed deeply rational, and, in some secret way (like herself or Threadbare), human. Euphyllise watched their procedures from the bushes for over an hour.
Threadbare was patient, but he urged Euphyllise to join the group. After some indecision, she eventually complied with his suggestion; they seemed like a safe confidence.
Sure enough, the war band welcomed the pair. This group, the ramshackle military of a Willing Undead rebellion, the Forsaken, was pushing outwards from the Ghostlands with the aim to recapture Lordaeron City. The Forsaken had only been in existence for a matter of months, but the Dark Lady Sylvanas and her executors had already accomplished much against Prince Arthas and the Scourge.
Threadbare and Euphyllise readily joined the Forsaken, and learned much about their plight over the following months. The two eventually drifted apart as they began to find their niches in Forsaken society. Euphyllise immersed herself in a coalition of former Kirin Tor mages, where she continued her studies, fueled now – perhaps even more than in life – by her fascination with the complex nature of the arcane.
Unlife In Dalaran
Euphyllise remained member to this coalition until the Northrend Expedition, when Dalaran’s mages revealed their rebuilt city to the Horde. She and her colleagues rushed back to the city, eager to learn about new developments in arcane theory. But, as had been the case in the Undercity, their work rarely pertained to the purely theoretical. Instead, the mages became yet another asset to the Kirin Tor’s influence throughout Northrend. Euphyllise herself was deeply involved in the Blue Dragonflight debacle, among other magical controversies.
By the time Malygos had begun fading from the minds of the Dalaran mages, Euphyllise resumed her much prior role as a teacher, and served in the city’s mage academy for as long as they would have her. She wrote furiously about theoretical magic, and practiced only on the margins of her studies and research.
Following the death of the Lich King, most undead mages returned to the Undercity, leaving Euphyllise as one of the last remaining in Dalaran. By the Cataclysm, her tolerance for mortals’ irrationality had evaporated, and she craved the cold sureness of the Forsaken.
She began making plans for a sabbatical from her post in the Academy. Her reasons for departing were hardly magical in nature, so Euphyllise devised a different excuse.
For the past five years, Forsaken society had thrived off of vengeance. It had secured the Eastern Kingdoms, joined the Horde, fought the Alliance, and journeyed to Icecrown – all on the promise that Arthas would pay for his deeds. Having killed the Lich King, however, individual Forsaken would doubtless suffer some permutation of anxiety in the absence of a concrete role.
On this premise, Euphyllise filed a request to conduct an out-of-field study on the development of undead meaning-making without a necromancer, or other agency (willfully or not), guiding the crowd. She would collect data using arcane instruments of her own creation (carefully detailed in countless charts and descriptions), and submit her final analyses to the Kirin Tor.
From her superior’s perspective, Euphyllise’s proposal was a trifle far-fetched, but they accepted it nonetheless, trusting her highly empirical methodology. And, insofar as she could work away from the living, she planned to perform to the best of her ability.
Having been granted a leave of absence, Euphyllise began looking for a proper subject on which she could conduct her research. The Scythe of Sylvanas seemed most promising to her, given its activity against the Lich King in years prior and new course of direction over the past several months. She applied to the Scythe as “a theoretical mage with some wealth of knowledge on arcane theory and its practical employments,” often hinting at her potential usefulness in Silverpine and other frontiers. She now waits in anticipation for a call to interview.
Prior to death, Euphyllise had been a kind, trusting, sympathetic person. In undeath, all but the palimpsest of her personality vanished, and single-minded rationality dominates her consciousness. Like other Forsaken, she doesn't exhibit social niceties by default, but, since arriving in Dalaran, her responsibilities as a teacher and obligations as a citizen have cultured her habits to adapt to circumstances.
Her deep interest in pure theory, coupled with her lack of emotion, results in some starkly asocial tendencies: retreating to her study for days on end; suddenly falling silent in the middle of a conversation; disappearing without notice and returning weeks later, often with little or no explanation after the fact.
A quick-eyed, curious-seeming mage, with rat-like posture and frail limbs. Pinpoint pupils glow softly in her sockets, humbly accusing. Her hair is lank and thin. She seems to have chewed through her cheeks at some time or another, and two ragged holes now show her teeth and gray little tongue. Long scars run across her abdomen: crude stitches from early in her undeath.
Her fingertips are black with frostbite, and her hands shake ceaselessly. Her nose has long disappeared. In Dalaran, she can sometimes be seen with a cat.
Euphyllise wears the insignia of the Kirin Tor on her person.
- Meaning and emotion are not mutually dependent. But each maintains the other.
- The living, unfortunately, are inherently irrational. The Forsaken, unfortunately, can’t stand the fact.
- The Lich King is just as inherent to the Forsaken condition as Faith is to the human condition. Stripped of our guides, we squabble and squeal.