I've had a thousand names, and will have a thousand more, but for now I am Flaadhun, Oblivion's Hound and servant of the cold mistress. When I was born - if you can say anything nether spawned is born (malignancies all of us, given shape in much the same way dreams are given shape - of ether, whimsy, and the strange combination of possibility and improbability) - I was bound to the scaly god in his purge of the great city of Azshara. "Feast upon their magic," He said, and I did. "Show them your malice" He said, and I did that as well. But then the sundering happened and my function was lost as our cause was thwarted from the inside. I found myself adrift in the emptiness of the abyss, waiting for a new master.
The old one summoned me first, drew me forward by my true name, one no mortal tongue could say. I was shackled and imprisoned, I was told to kneel and bend. I was forced to a will greater than my own, and I knew rage. When the old master grew weak with sickness some years later, when his mind began to lose the iron that had held me tethered for so long, I ate his fingers and toes, and feasted upon his heart. His skin was my mantle, and I wore it with pride, his blood running rivers down my flanks. I reveled in the flavor of his defeat, I savored his weakness as it dripped from my fangs to the floor beneath me.
He was master no more.
Others came thereafter, much the same as the first - commanding, ordering, punishing. For millenia it was the way. They would break what was not theirs to break, but in the end, I was victorious, for I am near eternal, and they are not. I learned patience and I learned cunning. I learned the gift that was my form, allowing them to assume an ignorance that was not there. I did not speak because I did not choose to, but I knew their languages as I knew the power lust that boiled inside of them. It proved the undoing of all of them, to a man.
Over the years, the ties that held me grew stronger as men learned from the mistakes of their predecessors, but so too did my resilience to such things. Each summon was slightly more difficult than the last, each master had to wrestle that much more to keep me in their stables. Their cruelties increased with their frustrations - I was not an easy thing to maintain. I struggled against capture, I balked at the abuses heaped upon me. It was the latter that foretold their dark ends.
When an age had passed, maybe more, I was beyond the grasp of even great warlocks. I remained inside of the dark realm, waiting, watching, but never bound. I could see things torn from their rightful place all around me, but my name had gone lost some time ago - something of my own doing - and I was safe. Safety, though, comes with a new problem - boredom, and I nearly found myself craving the angry hands and punishing magics that allowed me to roam the outside world.
Boredom was why I chose her, in the end.
She was and is unlike any of the others. Most nethermancers draw their circles and call forth a name, demanding veneration in their 'pets', wanting obsequious parasites to grant power at their command, but she etched upon her circle new runes, ones of invitation instead of demand. And where a name was supposed to be, where the slavery was supposed to begin, the cold one had put another word, one I had never seen before.
It was "Please."
Other daemons were intrigued, lessers who grokked how odd her summoning was but couldn't really appreciate it not having had enough time with the horrid masters to know. On a whim, I decided to follow the invitation, to thrust the novice stalkers away and stake a claim to her circle. She was the first interesting thing to stumble across my path in years.
I was disappointed to find the girl so frail. She lay upon the floor, shadows swathing her body, little hiccups and moans escaping her lips. I reached out to taste her, to know her as only my kind can know someone, and found her mind at the precipice, ready to descend into madness. The craze was delicious in its own way, and my tentacles twitched as I sipped at it, tasting her ecstasy and claiming it for my own. There were slashes upon her arms, dark ragged tracks in her skin from wrist to elbow, and I realized she'd used her own blood to ink the sigils of her circle. It was unfathomable how much she gave to this summoning without a guarantee of success. She'd laid offering to one of us and never once uttered a demand - the very essence of her life was there for the first creature willing to follow her trail of breadcrumbs. It was reckless and somewhat foolish, but there was something sublime about the decadence of it, too.
Seeing me for the first time, she rolled onto her stomach and crawled acros the floor, her smile bright and inviting, her eyes flickering all over me like I was a fine piece of sculpture. She lifted a blood crusted hand to my head and ran it over my skin. There was no fear, only joy at my arrival. I immediately thought her unworthy, found this a softness I did not care for. I would have eaten her eyes for my troubles, but then she placed her other hand on my head and channeled the strength of her shadows into me, crooning a song I have heard her sing so many times since. The rush was ecstatic. That small, breakable body was pregnant with dark magic. She wrapped her arms around me, almost like I was something to be loved, resting her chin upon my shoulder and sharing with me the power that flooded her body. I was so stunned I did not know what to do, to move away or to stay . . .
And so instead I fed until I had gorged myself on her offerings.
Lazy, lulled by her power, I allowed myself to sink down and rest. It wasn't until much later that I stirred again. I peered at her then, when the haze of the ritual was gone. She sat nude, cross legged, with a pile of bandages in her lap, quietly wrapping them around her tattered forearms. She looked tired, but it was understandable. The cinders of her circle had long since gone to ash, but the stench of brimstone and sweat still lingered upon the air.
"You may stay if you wish."
That was all she said of it.
I still did not know what to make of her, and knew even less when she brought me a plate of food at dinner time like I was just some guest at her table. It occurred to me that I should go, that this was not the way warlocks and their minions should behave - there was something unseemly about the friendliness and familiarity of it - but as the first day became the second, and the second became the third, and the fourth day brought another round of magical offerings, I found myself less and less inclined to leave. Two months later, though still somewhat wary of the strange dead woman with the lovely singing voice, I found myself growing complacent. The strange part was, I liked it.
And so it was I that brought the collar to her, one that would be found on any household pet's neck. I did not want to be her puppy, or dumbed down so terribly that she did not recognize the power I wielded, but she would be a good mistress, I was convinced, and if she wasn't, I was strong enough to break her and walk away if need be. And though I could have spoken the words to her, I did not want to. I had learned long ago from other masters the cost of revealing your hand too early. My words, my voice, were a power. The overture of the collar had to communicate my desire, as I refused to in her way.
She knelt before me, turning the gift over in her hand before laying it upon the floor at my feet.
"You're positive about this?"
I nuzzled her cheek to assure her.
And so we were bound.
The other nether creatures say I have grown weak under her ministrations, but they have not experienced the horrors of my last masters, nor do they understand the amount of freedom I am given within the confines of our arrangement. This lackadaisical approach to warlocking is eccentric, but I have grown to enjoy it. I am given the liberty of sitting back, of watching and waiting and sometimes, of protecting. When I am not at her side, I wander where I will, and this has given me a rare view of the workings of a demonic menagerie. When one is enslaved, one is rarely allowed beyond the perimeters of battle, but she has opened her home to me, made me part of her family, and now I see my kind for what they are with their summoners. Her voidwalker foolishly schemes with his pimp. Her felguard watches her for the same overlord and has become the worst kind of voyeur. The whore looks for ways to tear her from the man she loves simply to see if she can accomplish it.
All of them are idiots, for when the time comes and she thrusts them away, it will be me who devours them in her name. They think me complacent? Perhaps they will think it as I render them to oblivion.
Yes, boredom brought me into the Ice Witch's fold, but freedom has bought my loyalty, to her and her kin.
So if you meet me have some courtesy, have some sympathy and some taste. Use all your well-learned politesse or I'll lay your soul to waste.