Pure hearts in the Scarlet Crusade

I've had a few Alliance characters in WoW, and one of my favorite things to do is poke around and explore the capital cities. Sure, I've spent some time in Stormwind and Ironforge as my Horde guys, but those are always frantic blitzes to reach some silly Elder or to murder their King. Not really the same!

One of the more surprising finds was in some basement in Stormwind's Cathedral Square. I was roaming around and was shocked to discover Brother Crowley, an emissary of the hated Scarlet Crusade! Prior to the Cataclysm, he offered Alliance players a quest to seek out his fellow Crusade member Brother Anton, who had traveled to Desolace to destroy some Scourge.

I never did this (I mean - Desolace? From Stormwind? That's about as far away as you can possibly get. Pass.) but I always wondered why a Scarlet Crusade official was allowed to make his home in Stormwind, unmolested. His rank of emissary would imply that perhaps the Scarlet Crusade sent him to Stormwind to establish an alliance or peace treaty? That seems very different than their usual fanatical zealotry.

It's also interesting to note that Crowley was affiliated with Stormwind, and that his quest dialogue spoke only of destroying the Scourge. Perhaps Crowley was one of the few remaining Scarlets who believed in the group's original noble tenets and objectives, before Balnazzar twisted their organization into a genocidal cult. He didn't seem as paranoid or obsessed as most Scarlet members, which might explain why the Stormwind officials tolerated his presence in their Cathedral.

Brother Anton, who could be found at Nijel's Point in Desolace, was very similar. He was also affiliated with Stormwind, and displayed only a firm hatred of the Scourge, not the xenophobic madness so common within his organization. He gave Alliance players a quest to kill some undead in the Valley of Bones, and actually invited players to join the Scarlet Crusade afterward, giving them a letter of commendation and directing them to seek out a paladin in Southshore named Raleigh the Devout.

When players found Raleigh and gave him Anton's commendation, he seemed surprised and disappointed that Anton still supported the Crusade, saying "Brother Anton still spreads the word of the Scarlet Crusade? Oh my...." He then explained how the once-noble faction had deteriorated into a "deranged regime," and gave quests to head into the Scarlet Monastery and kill their leaders.

I thought Raleigh's reaction upon receiving Anton's commendation interesting. It's hard to tell what emotions are present in his words. Is he in disbelief that Anton still hasn't come to his senses? Kind of like "He STILL believes in their nonsense? What a noob..." Or, does he feel sorry that his former friend is still trapped within the Crusade's clutches, like someone reluctant to leave an abusive relationship?

Regardless, Cataclysm's changes have abolished these story threads. Brother Crowley remains in the Cathedral, but now offers no quests. Raleigh the Devout is missing, and since other Southshore NPCs have been seen alive and well, I think we can assume by his absence that he is dead.

And poor Brother Anton, who only wanted to destroy the Scourge, is no longer at Nijel's Point asking adventurers to help him. It seems he decided to take matters into his own hands, for his corpse now rests at the entrance to the Valley of Bones, trod upon by the undead monsters he sought to destroy. There's no quest to find his body, no loved one trying to learn his whereabouts. He's just there, dead and forgotten. I found him completely by accident, passing by to do some archaeology.

I generally hate the Scarlet Crusade, since they're bigoted, blinded by racism and somehow still harness the power of the Light for malicious, evil deeds. But this was a sad little reminder that their organization wasn't always corrupt, and that maybe there was some members who still believed in their original goals, and just wanted to rid the planet of the Scourge.

So long, Brother Anton. You seemed like a decent and earnest sort, if somewhat misguided. And you tried your best.

9 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar

    I always had the impression that the Scarlet Crusade storyline unfolded in that questline; that up to the point that you talked to Raleigh, you were helping the good guys, and then after him, the SC storyline was the tragic one that we see in the crusade.

    It's sad about Anton ... I haven't been out to Desolace for probably at least a year, choosing to level all my toons in Khaz Modan, because (a) I can and (b) leveling alliance in Kalimdor stinks on ice.

    Passing of an era, that is.

    January 8, 2011 at 10:10 PM

  2. gravatar

    That could very well be, Grimm! I've never really leveled an Alliance character properly, so I'm unaware if that's how they learn of the Scarlet Crusade and what they stand for. I grew to hate them immediately since Forsaken start fighting them within the first 10 levels. Your explanation does make a lot of sense!

    January 8, 2011 at 10:13 PM

  3. gravatar

    @Rades - Do take that with a grain of salt - I forget my pre-WoW Warcraft lore and am too sleepy to focus on WoWPedia tonight.

    Of course, when I was a young WoW-er and it WAS necessary to hit both continents to quest all the way up, all that lore was new and fresh to me, and that line WAS my first taste of the Crusade.

    January 8, 2011 at 10:21 PM

  4. gravatar

    Having come to that questline after having seen the Horde/Forsaken dealings with the Scarlet Crusade, I was a bit surprised at how easy it was for the initial Alliance-side quests to seem so... innocent.

    For a long time I thought that questline was simply tacked on so that the Alliance had an excuse to go into the Scarlet Monastery and risk blowing by The Undercity. (Exactly how many Alliance old timers out there did the SM quests at-level, I have no idea. But running through Tirsfal in your mid-30s on a PvP server is taking your life in your hands.)

    January 8, 2011 at 10:26 PM

  5. gravatar

    It's nice to see that Blizzard has continued the story of so many NPCs in Cataclysm, even if they don't have any quests associated with them anymore. Good on you for picking up on it!

    Brother Anton's fate does indeed make me sad. I still remember doing his quest line for the first time. I think it was memorable to me because it was the first time (not counting the satyr in the nelf starting area) where you do something for a quest giver and then another one turns around and goes "oh no, he's actually a bad guy (of sorts), go kill his allies now". It's kind of startling when you're still a newbie and don't really expect that kind of thing.

    January 9, 2011 at 6:06 AM

  6. gravatar
    No Funeral

    I love how you always take things that I'm pretty sure I'm not interested in, and make them interesting. You totally should have been like 16 or 17 of my teachers growing up.

    January 9, 2011 at 9:39 AM

  7. gravatar

    I recently started reading your blog and I love your lore based posts. I have been playing the warcraft games since the first one (though I really only remember 3 well) and I love all the lore in the wow universe. Keep up the great work!

    P.S. Read one of the comments above about leveling alliance in Kalimdor being bad, but that has all changed now. I have been recently leveling two characters (leveling junky), one in darkshore and one in S. Barrens and Thousand Needles and the revamped zones are awesome. You even get your own boat in Thousand Needles! I can't wait to give Desolace a run too!

    January 12, 2011 at 11:33 AM

  8. gravatar

    Welcome to the blog, thanks for the kind words! :D I'm happy to see another fan of the game dating back to the old games - I was recently a little surprised to learn how many WoW players hadn't played the original RTS series!

    When I was originally exploring the post-Shattering world (before Azeroth flight was available) I swam through that accursed Thousand Needles. I need to go back and find that boat! Haha.

    January 12, 2011 at 12:44 PM

  9. gravatar

    what rights have you to talk about the crusade you unhuman beasts? the holy light is not weak and they dont need your hypocritical pity! you who drag us down, hold us back from reaching our true potential! The glory that is ours! you fear us, for you see we are the crown of creation! and you hate us for you see the Scarlets will never be bound by the chains you try to weave around humanity! Whitemane still lives, praise the Light! Lordaeron will never truly fall as long as we keep the flame of faith burning!

    May 21, 2014 at 7:13 AM