In a quiet little inn in Quel'thalas's back streets, a weary-looking magister slides onto a bar stool next to you and rests his head in his hands for a moment before forcing himself to straighten up. His long blond hair looks limp, and he takes his monocle out and pockets it with a sigh. He turns to you and attempts a smile. "It's been a long day."
Rythien Dawnhallow doesn’t generally stop for a drink on his way home from the auction house. Well…he doesn’t stop for many drinks. One or two is his limit, since staggering home drunk tends to make his husband fret. So normally, he passes the inns right by—but between the heat of the day, his heavy robes, and the fact that he’s been on his feet for much longer than he should be, he could really use a drink. He’s sipping a glass of whiskey, briefcase leaning against his leg, when the magister sits down next to him.
For a few moments, Ryth just looks at him warily. He doesn’t mingle with the upper crust, but he knows magisterial robes when he sees them. And not a damn one of ‘em has ever stopped looking down their noses at us. But the guy looks tired, and something about his expression kicks Ryth’s conscience in the seat of the pants until it trundles to the forefront of his mind.
And so he smiles, though it doesn’t reach his eyes. “You too, huh? I’ve been trying to sell enchantment scrolls all day; I’d be even happier for the war being over if it didn’t fucking murder my market.”
Ryth’s mood can change like the wind, and Tae’thelan’s question brings a wry little smile to his lips. “Well. I was trained as a healer, originally, but…well, I wasn’t very skilled. My teachers always said I lacked focus.After the Second War…” He shrugs. “I decided to try using the shadow, since the Light clearly wasn’t doing the job for me as far as protecting my friends and family. And then it turned out I was really good
at it. I’ve always been telekinetic, which I guess helped.” To illustrate this, he twiddles his fingers and his glass rises an inch or two, albeit slightly wobbly.
He pauses. “Besides, it…has uses. You can heal mental disorders, cure migraines, give people a good night’s sleep, put them under for surgery…yeah, okay, and make brains leak through ears. If you have to.”
Tae’thelan steeples his fingers and asks, very seriously, “Mental disorders? Can you cure being an incorrigible arse? The Magisterium could really do with some professional help.” He giggles at his own joke and pushes his glass towards Ryth. “Here, you should finish this. I don’t think I should have any more.” He turns to the bar. “Barkeep! A bowl of whatever passes as snack food in this fine establishment, if you will.” And then back to Ryth.
"That all sounds exceedingly useful. Why do we not have more of you? Because of the PR issues?"
Ryth clearly doesn’t find that joke as funny as Tae’thelan does, and leaves his glass untouched. “I’d better not; my,”—lover? boyfriend? Shit, right—“My husband will worry if I come home all wobbly.” He pauses. “And I think your question falls squarely in the ‘unethical’ category, no matter how much I’d like to go through some of those narrow minds with a sledgehammer.”
The bartender wastes no time before plonking a bowl of hard pretzel sticks on the bar between them. Ryth takes one and gestures with it as he talks. “Yeah, that and the whole…well, okay. You’ve got to understand that ethics are really important? Power corrupts, and nothing gives you more of that I-am-a-god feeling than rummaging through someone’s brain. And since Shadow is easiest to call upon by those dealing with negative emotions, a lot of shadow-wielders either are insane or evil to start with, or they turn out that way after a few decades. To be a successful shadow priest requires…”
He pauses to bite the pretzel stick in half, chewing it as he thinks and swallowing before he talks. “Ironclad mental and emotional fortitude. More than arcane magic, more than fel, even more than using the Light itself. Shadow has teeth, and it bites.”