What character would you bring back from the dead?

A while back, Chris Metzen asked people on Twitter the above question. It was a fun little brain exercise - there were quite a few responses of Bolvar, Kael'thas, Illidan (the usuals) as well as the occasional favorite like Zul'jin, Broxigar, Lothar, etc. All good choices!

Personally, my initial responses were people whose returns would make for interesting stories. For instance, how would Garrosh (and Thrall, for that matter) react if Grom were brought back? What would Tirion do if Taelan were returned to life? These reappearances would have great emotional impact and would really stir things up a little.

However, I started to ponder these possible resurrections a bit more. How exactly WOULD they come back? Would it just be a mysterious act of god? Would it be magic, either the natural powers of life via Alexstrasza, or the darker, more sinister forces of necromancy and/or the Scourge? Or Sylvanas and the Val'kyr, of course - can't leave them out.

Metzen never specified the details of these hypothetical returns - maybe they wouldn't be as pleasant a homecoming as we imagine. Maybe that's the point!

I was tossing these ideas around mentally when I remembered someone whose return would not only be dramatic and significant, but also timely, and mysterious.

That someone is the former Archbishop of the Church of Light, Alonsus Faol.

Faol was an important leadership figure during the Second War, representing the clergy and serving as a calming, unifying presence among the bickering heads of state. But even more important than Faol's diplomatic influence was his role in creating one of the most powerful military forces Azeroth had ever seen, a new branch of the church composed of martial warriors who were also trained in the spiritual power of the Light - the paladins.

As we all know, Faol's champions - Uther, Dathrohan, Tirion and Turalyon - went on to accomplish amazing things, starting with Turalyon's triumph over Orgrim Doomhammer, a victory that ended the Second War. And look at what their order has gone on to do in the years since. Faol was kind and highly respected, but he was also wise. He predicted that the world would need a new type of soldier, one armed with a sword but armored by faith, and he was absolutely correct. Eerily prescient, when you consider the events that have taken place since then.

Alonsus Chapel, Stratholme. (Picture from Wowpedia)

Faol also has strong ties to both the Lordaeron AND Stormwind areas, something that few other humans can truly claim. His roots were in Lordaeron and its surrounding regions, and he has had numerous areas named after him, such as a graveyard in Tirisfal, and the Alonsus Chapel in Stratholme, where he named Uther as the church's first paladin. But after the Second War, Faol traveled south to Stormwind and helped coordinate and raise funds for the reconstruction of the city and the neighboring Northshire Abbey, which had both been destroyed by the orcs. Until Cataclysm, a statue in front of Stormwind's Cathedral of Light bore a plaque celebrating Faol's "noble spirit and generosity." (The plaque now bears a dedication to Uther the Lightbringer.)

The rebuilt Northshire Abbey, which Faol was largely responsible for.

Little else is known about Faol's life, other than the fact that he died quietly sometime after the war's end, prior to the outbreak of the Scourge. His body is presumably buried in Faol's Rest, a small graveyard in Tirisfal Glades, near the Scarlet Monastery. Of course, we also know of the man named as his successor, Archbishop Benedictus.

So what would happen if Faol were to suddenly turn up again, mysteriously and inexplicably alive again?

It would make for some AMAZING stories, that's what!

From the human side of things, the timing could not be better. Stormwind and the Church of the Light are reeling from Benedictus' shocking betrayal, and in severe need of strong guidance and leadership. They desperately need someone who can step up and alleviate their fears, someone they can believe in. And suddenly one of, if not THE most highly respected and revered members of their faith shows up in their hour of need? Someone who is, essentially, a saint? It would solve all of the Church's problems in one miraculous swoop.

And it wouldn't just be the church who would benefit from Faol's return. Remember, this man has connections. It might seem like ancient history, but it's easy to forget that the Second War really wasn't that long ago. Faol knew Varian when Varian was but a young boy grieving over the loss of his kingdom and father, and the genuine sympathy and condolences coming from such a famous man is not something young Varian would likely forget. Faol's "concerned grandfather" role wouldn't be limited to just Varian, though - he also knew Daelin Proudmoore, Thoras Trollbane, and Terenas Menethil. It's quite likely that he met the children of these great leaders during his travels, so it would be very interesting to witness his interactions with Jaina or Tandred Proudmoore, or his reaction upon hearing of the shocking fates of Arthas Menethil or Galen Trollbane.

Faol was also on good terms with Genn Greymane and Khadgar, two war veterans who are still in positions of leadership. There are not many humans (or Gilneans) left who Greymane could honestly look to as an equal in terms of age and experience, so Faol's placid nature could serve as an excellent character foil for the still-sort-of-hotheaded Gilnean leader. And even Khadgar would probably find his presence comforting, as another member of the "old guard" that stood together against the original Horde. (That is, if he ever finds his way back from Shattrath.)

Of course, we can't leave out Faol's ties to the Church. He clearly knew and trusted Tirion, as well as the other original paladins. I'm sure Faol would be horrified to learn what happened to Dathrohan (if Balnazzar's corruption is even public knowledge...it might not be, I suppose), and Uther. And hey, maybe Faol's concern over the missing Turalyon might FINALLY be the catalyst that brings Turalyon (and Alleria) back into continuity!

It's also very likely that Faol had close ties to the dwarves and high elves, since both races were widely represented in the Church of the Light back in his day. I'm sure Faol met with dignitaries of both races, such as High Priest Rohan for the dwarves or Arellas Fireleaf for the elves. It might be interesting to see Faol serving as intermediary between the Blood/High Elves, since - in his eyes - they are the same people, and the reasons for their enmity would probably seem bizarre and nonsensical to him, since he did not witness their divide.

Finally, there's the touchy matter of the Scarlet Crusade. Faol likely inducted many of their number into the Order of the Silver Hand before they branched off, so he would be horrified at discovering how twisted and malicious their ideals had become. In addition to Tirion and Dathrohan, Faol would have definitely known Scarlets such as Barean Westwind, Grand Inquisitor Isillien, and the Mograine and Abbendis families. You thought the quasi-father-son dynamic between Tirion and Darion was interesting? Try introducing a grandfather figure who (since he's such a kindhearted person) would probably feel guilty and personally responsible for their various tragedies.

The Crusade is really the definitive example of one of the biggest potential stories involved in Faol's return - just how much the world has changed since he died. I mean, think of it - when Faol passed, the Horde was defeated, and the world was at peace. There was no Lich King, no Deathwing. Dalaran was still in the ground, and there were no "Plaguelands" yet. There was no crazy ongoing war between the Horde and Alliance. And there was no fanatical, murderous offshoot of his beloved Church of the Light, killing people "for the Light." The poor guy would have some serious culture shock, no matter where he went.

Speaking of drastic changes...let's talk about Lordaeron.

Remember, Faol doesn't know about the Forsaken. Unlike basically every other living human today, Faol did not witness or hear about those horrific days where the mindless Scourge ravaged Lordaeron, nothing more than the Lich King's pawns. Most people simply see the Scourge when they look at the Forsaken, due to these traumatic memories. But Faol has no such memories, so how would he react? Not only were the Forsaken originally victims - something the kindhearted Faol would immediately notice - but they are his people, probably even former friends and colleagues! These citizens of Lordaeron have been dead for years, but to Faol it would seem like he just saw them yesterday (except they were still breathing, then).

Faol would be in the unique position of being one of the only people in history who could potentially convince the humans and Forsaken to settle their differences, or at the very least, come to some sort of truce or ceasefire. We already know how highly regarded Faol is among the humans, but could he actually get the Forsaken to lay down their arms? Well, maybe! The Forsaken are an angry, vengeful people, but they place incredible value on their past. Long-forgotten memories of happier times would come rushing back if Faol were to reappear in their lives. And any Lordaeron-born Forsaken would undoubtedly remember Faol and his saintly personality from their past lives.

Another advantage Faol would have over other would-be peacemakers is that the Forsaken have nothing to hate him about, as weird as that sounds. The Forsaken have no shortage of reasons to hate the living - they hate the living for persecuting them, they hate the living for fearing them, and they hate the living simply because they lived.

This last reason isn't entirely fair, but then again, neither was the fate that befell those who fell to the Scourge. "Why did YOU get to live, while I had to die?" It's like a person who gets a speeding ticket and complains that everyone ELSE is speeding, so why pick on him? Except, you know, being killed, raised as a ghoul, and cursed to a "life" as an undead monster is significantly more distressing than a speeding fine.

Anyway, since Faol died before the undead plague, these reasons/excuses fly out the window. The Forsaken can't be angry at Faol for not helping them after their fall, because he was DEAD. Nor can they suspect him of being one of those who feared and condemned them because of their new nature. (Not that he would have, but this entirely eliminates any possible paranoia or suspicion.) And they can't even be bitter about him surviving the plague while they died, because, well, he didn't - he was already dead!

Then again, perhaps the most important factor is that Faol would represent a common bond, a unifying link between the surviving humans and the Forsaken. Similar to how Faol would be confused about the so-called differences between Blood and High Elf, both humans and Forsaken would look at the Archbishop in exactly the same emotional light - as an honored, kindhearted, peaceful soul who loved them and protected them. Neither side would harbor any ill will or negativity towards the man, since he died before any of the plague nastiness, and in life, never did anything but try to help them. In this one aspect, even the most vile Forsaken and the most bumbling human would pause in their differences and go "Yeah, that Alonsus Faol, he's a pretty rad dude."

That's one approach and possible outcome. However, what if we flip this whole theory on its head, and instead of Faol being a plot mechanism for peace, he became one for further escalation of hostilities?

Who are we talking about here? The Forsaken. Now, Sylvanas has been getting pretty crazy with the whole Val'kyr reanimation thing. What if SHE was the one responsible for bringing Faol back? Maybe he's not Faol returned back to life, but Faol...risen as a Forsaken? After all, she (as well as other Forsaken from Lordaeron) would definitely know of Faol and remember him. More importantly, they would know where he was buried, as in, literally in their own backyard.

If this were the case, there would be a fascinating claim of citizenship. Who does Faol "belong" to? The Forsaken? The humans? Lordaeron? (Which could be either side, depending who you think has rightful claim to Lordaeron) And who would Faol himself feel loyal to? The Forsaken, not because they brought him back, but because they are the members of his flock most in need of guidance and spiritual comfort? Or the humans, since he wouldn't really share many of the traits and emotions prevalent in Forsaken culture, and might find it hard - if not impossible - to relate/identify with them?

No matter which side he ended up on, the rejected people would be pretty upset. If he stuck with the Forsaken, the humans would undoubtedly believe that Faol had been "corrupted" by Sylvanas, that his choice to remain in the Undercity was not really a choice at all, but a result of evil magic and corruption. (To be fair, given what we know of Sylvanas' secret basement "correction" chambers, they might not be wrong.) The Church of the Light would be in a pretty horrible position, having lost one Archbishop to evil, and the other to Sylvanas. People might start growing disheartened and disillusioned about the Church and their faith, and really, could you blame them?

That being said, if Faol went back to the humans, it would be the Forsaken who would be devastated by his departure. The one person who might would not be prejudiced against them, who is wise and kind enough to look upon them with an open mind, and instead he chose to leave them behind? The Forsaken would see it as yet another personal betrayal by someone they trusted, accompanied by an air of resigned finality - after all, if ALONSUS FREAKING FAOL wouldn't give them a chance...

Finally, as interesting as these different stories might be, there is another that would be intriguing, a little chilling, but also awesome. Where is Faol buried? In Tirisfal Glades, near the Scarlet Monastery. Now sure, Tirisfal is home to Sylvanas and the Forsaken. But who ELSE is it home to? Someone who's got certain ties to both the Forsaken and the Scarlet Crusade/the Church. Someone capable of strangely powerful magic. Someone who is in desperate need of a mentor, and is quite literally wandering around Tirisfal at the moment, directionless.

Lilian Voss.

"But Lilian Voss can't raise the DEAD!" you might be saying. Well, do we actually know that? There's no rhyme or reason to her unusual, powerful abilities, and we've seen her do some pretty insane stuff, such as phase through solid metal, incinerate people to ash in a heartbeat, cloak herself in invisibility, and scale walls while lifting people with sickly purple energy. Let's be honest here - we have absolutely no idea what she can do.

What we DO know is that Lilian has grown up in Tirisfal, at the Monastery. She'd be well aware of Faol's accomplishments, personality and legacy, as he is exactly the type of person the Scarlet Crusaders teach their children about. And with his resting place so close to the Monastery, how many times has Voss passed by his grave on a patrol mission (in life), or during her current wanderings? Faol's Rest isn't currently very well maintained or in the best shape, but there are Scarlet Crusade banners planted around it, indicating how important the site was to them. I wouldn't be surprised if Crusaders used to come out to visit the graveyard and pay their respects, given their heavy focus on history and past heroes.

Faol's Rest, Tirisfal Glades.

As for raising Faol from the dead...would Lilian actually DO it? God only knows what she's feeling. Remember, her close friend and her OWN FATHER condemned her to death, despite her unflinching loyalty to the Scarlet cause, and despite the fact that she selflessly devoted her entire life to fulfilling her father's wishes. To say she's an emotional wreck would be putting it lightly. Alone, angry, scared, Lilian is a soul in desperate need of guidance and love, not to mention a father figure she can believe in.

And oh hey look, there's wonderful, compassionate Alonsus Faol's resting place, just over that hill. Where it's been her entire life. You know, the guy who's legendary for being a tireless provider of everything Lilian is in dire need of.

Faol's Rest is literally a stone's throw away from a Scarlet camp Lilian decimated and left smoldering in her trademark purple flames. She's definitely nearby, and I doubt she's forgotten about that special, isolated graveyard, and who lies within. With her Scarlet upbringing, where the heroes and champions of the past are so celebrated and revered, Lilian might reflect on how good a man Faol was reputed to be, especially when contrasted with her own wretch of a father, himself a High Priest just like Faol was.

In her shoes, could there be anymore more trustworthy or more reliable to turn to for guidance? For that matter, who ELSE is she going to ask for advice? The Scarlets? The Forsaken? Tirion's township of paladins? No, Lilian's options are rather limited. Faol might be a desperate, lonely choice for the poor undead ex-Scarlet, but it might also be her only choice.

Can we say hooks for Heroic Scarlet Monastery, anyone?

Anyway. Alonsus Faol, back from the dead? Yes please!

5 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar

    I'm sold. Alonsus Faol 2012: Yes We Can (Raise A Zombie)!

    March 15, 2012 at 3:48 PM

  2. gravatar

    Wow another Rades lore super-post! keep'em up!

    Well Faol... I think if he is the one we are going to see blizz is most likely to use it as an aggressor factor between alliance and horde...

    I'm going with the Sylvanas-part here because well... If Varian heard Sylvanas has raised Faol and Faol sticks with her, he'd finally just explode in anger and he wouldn't even be alone.. As you said, many people in the Alliance leadership have ties with Faol and they definately would want to "free him of her bonds" or something like that, so let's start the war machinery..

    So the Alliance would march against the Forsaken, the Horde would back them up after all and we had ourselves some nice little war...

    "in MoP we want to focus more on the conflict between Horde and Alliance"

    There you have it...

    and as a plus, Varian and the Alliance would for once be the warmongers and not the "evil orcs"... I like that :)

    March 16, 2012 at 4:06 AM

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    An interesting post! I have to say, though, that I don't find Lilian Voss at all interesting - she's an angry, self-pitying teenager with the angry, self-pitying Forsaken schtick to go with it. A lot of people seem to be promoting her as some power within the Forsaken - which to me is not a reflection on Voss herself but on how very destitute the field of potential rivals to Sylvanas is! I suppose Sylvanas has put much effort into emptying that field ...

    Personally, I have the horrible feeling that Metzen plans to bring back Illidan. Do not want! Illidan's story had a fitting end atop the Black Temple. I prefer him dead.

    So the WC3 character I'd really like to see return to WoW is the Biggest Panda Ever. You can't deny that Pandaria is the right time and place for it!

    March 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

  4. gravatar

    Fantastic post - love it!

    My gut reaction? Wu Ping and Gwennyth Bly'Leggonde. Those lesser-known NPCs should arise and begin their own epic tales...

    Still feel real sadness over both. I know, dork, right?

    March 17, 2012 at 10:02 AM

  5. gravatar

    I come from the future, Faol will be back on Legion

    February 12, 2016 at 10:39 PM