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Demon Hunter (Warcraft)
A Blood Elf Demon Hunter
|Dark Shadowy Warriors in Warcraft|
Demon Hunters in the World of Warcraft universe are dark, shadowy warriors who are shunned by the greater night elf society. They made a pact, long ago, to fight against the forces of chaos using its own terrible powers against it. These mysterious warriors ritually blind themselves so that they develop 'spectral sight' that enables them to see demons and undead with greater clarity.
They wield demonically charged warblades in battle and even call upon demonic energies to augment their formidable combat skills. Although they are counted as some of the mightiest warriors within the night elves' society, the demon hunters are always maligned and misunderstood for making their selfless pact with darkness. Though many among the night elves and the Alliance fear the demon hunters and their pact with darkness, all know that demon hunters and their demonically-charged warblades have played an important part in combating what remains of the Burning Legion.
Illidan Stormrage is the most famous demon hunter, and was the first of their kind. Even Illidan's own brother did not appreciate his sacrifice, and locked him below ground for thousands of years for trafficking with dark powers. Illidan's case was unique. Sargeras, lord of the Burning Legion, burned away Illidan's eyes with magic fire until only scorched sockets remained. Illidan's resulting sight was a maddening display of violent colors. His altered vision allowed him to easily recognize both demons and mortals with magic powers. In addition, Sargeras covered Illidan's body with black tattoos that increased his arcane power.
Later, a group of night elves, inspired by Illidan's example, made a pact to turn the Burning Legion's powers against it, fighting destruction with destruction. Obviously they could not gain their powers in the same way Illidan did, but they discovered other means. In the millennia since, other night elves, and a few creatures of other races, have made the same pact, binding demonic essence in their bodies and using it to destroy the Legion's minions.
Development and Abilities
Demon hunters have a variety of abilities that assist them in destroying demons, though the power coursing through their bodies also allows them to prevail over lesser foes. Demon hunters eschew heavy armor, valuing mobility and speed. As a demon hunter grows in power, they undergo a gradual evolution, becoming more and more demonic in appearance. The changes are cosmetic and can take many different forms, from burning eyes to black blood. By the time the demon hunter reaches the pinnacle of his development, he is a twisted and dark version of his former self - though the chaotic energy in his body does not affect his personality and allegiance (or so the demon hunters claim), it wreaks great changes on his physical form. The demon hunter’s gradual evolution achieves its pinnacle as they become a demonic entity. Their appearance has changed to something frightening: The exact changes vary, but can include glowing red eyes; horns; nonfunctioning wings; cloven hooves; a spiked tail; dark skin; a deep, rumbling voice; and similar cosmetic changes. The demon hunter becomes an outsider.
The demon hunter can drain a demon’s energy to fuel their own powers. They mainly use arcane and fire energy. Shadow energy is rare. No other energies have been confirmed. The demon hunter can channel the chaos energy within them into a melee weapon to increase its powers. In time the demon hunter becomes more proficient in channeling demonic energy into their weapons, and highly skilled demon hunters are adept at this technique. Demon hunters have shown the ability to cover their bodies in a shell of flame. At the pinnacle of evolution, Demon hunters can unleash the demon in them and turn themselves (temporarily) into something more. This is called Metamorphosis.
Demon hunters hone their speed and maneuverability to overcome their foes.
Night elf society shuns demon hunters. Most night elves don't understand the noble sacrifice that demon hunters make; therefore, they make another sacrifice: to be outcasts from their society. Other cultures share the night elves' distrust of demon hunters, and the shadowy individuals are not welcome in cities throughout the Alliance or Horde-controlled lands. Citizens and soldiers may allow a demon hunter to stay at an inn or take a brief rest at a tavern, but they watch them warily and breathe sighs of relief when they leave. These people do not see the demon hunters for the heroes and martyrs they are; they see them as dangerous individuals who consort with dark powers, almost as bad as warlocks. Such ignorance embitters many demon hunters, and most are solitary souls. Some are fortunate enough to find the company of a few individuals who appreciate them, or at least show them little ill will.
Race and Initiation
The tradition of the demon hunter arises from night elf history, and almost all demon hunters are night elves. A few blood elves make the pledge as well, seeking revenge for the destruction of their home. Other races can become demon hunters, but such individuals are unheard of. Any member of another race who is willing to make the sacrifices necessary to join the fight against the demonic invaders must find a night elf or blood elf demon hunter to assist him in the initiation ceremonies.
To become a demon hunter, a hero must find a demon hunter who is willing to lead them through a series of complex rituals. These rituals involve capturing a demon and sacrificing it in order to bind a portion of its spirit inside the hero. As part of the ceremony to become a demon hunter, the initiate burns out her eyes with a magic blade to entrap a demonic essence within her body. Most demon hunters then bind their mutilated eyes with strips of cloth. In return for this sacrifice, the demon hunter gains the ability to see the world without vision — creatures are visible as dimly glowing forms against a gray and murky background. Demonic energy blazes like burning pitch in the night; the demon hunter sees and recognizes it easily.
Equipment and Weaponry
Though equipment obviously varies from demon hunter to demon hunter, one universal element of the order seems to be the blindfold. Used to conceal the remains of the demon hunters' mutilated eye sockets, the demon hunter blindfold is usually some dark but mundane-looking fabric. (Male night elves in World of Warcraft have the option of wearing a demon hunter-styled blindfold, a choice made at character creation.) A second common occurrence among demon hunters is the tendency for the males among their numbers to be stripped to the waist, which is just one display of the demon hunters' emphasis on the importance of agility and general rejection of heavier armor. Those female demon hunters that have surfaced have been similarly garbed, wearing only the bare minimum of clothing on their upper bodies. Demon hunters further tend to wear what appears to be cloth or leather, rarely (if ever) donning plate and mail.
To contrast their stark lack of armor and clothing in general, demon hunters seem to tend to carry large, curved warblades, in the style of Illidan Stormrage's own Twin Blades of Azzinoth. Though the exact reason for this tendency isn't well explained, there are several possible reasons. One is that this kind of weapon has simply become a tradition over the years, later demon hunters mimicking the first of their kind. Another is that this style of curved warblades is common among the kind of demons that demon hunters have to kill as part of their basic initiation process. A third explanation is that the dual-bladed nature of their large, curved weapons allows them to deal the most damage with the least amount of effort, allowing them to focus on their agility and speed. A final explanation is that this kind of weapon is somehow easier to magically charge or channel through.
Demon hunters also possess a plethora of magical abilities, most notably the ability to metamorphosize. Many abilities also tend to vary from demon hunter to demon hunter, possibly derived from the type of demon that they originally partially absorbed.
Demon Hunter War Blades
These blades appear as a strange cross between a small buckler and a sharp-looking, curved, two-bladed short sword. The demon hunters of the night elves wear these blades while they hunt the minions of the Scourge, the Burning Legion or other dark adversaries worthy of such weaponry. While many of the demon hunters rely on non-magic weapons, eventually most have either one of these double blades or a matching pair.
The use of such weapons tells a lot about the individual wielding them. The inwardly-curving nature of the blades means that the demon hunter must get extremely close to their opponent, literally within what would normally be punching range, in order to get maximum use of the blades. The warblades would be swung in wide arcs at extreme speed, viciously lacerating the foe. More often than not, the warblades will have intricate serrations on the outer edge of the blade near the central buckle, adding yet another facet to the brutal nature of the weapons.
Demon Hunter Races
Any race can become a demon hunter, though almost all demon hunters today are night elves, with a minority of blood elves. The tradition of demon hunters arises from night elf history, and almost all demon hunters are night elves. A few blood elves have made the pledge as well, seeking revenge for the destruction of their home.
Humans can be demon hunters, some of these demon hunters can be found guarding Mount Hyjal with the help of fellow night elf demon hunters.
Demon hunters in other races are rare, but some exist.
Named Demon Hunters
Illidan, Shadowsong, Shadowfury, Shadowstalker, Flameseeker, Darkweaver, Darkterror, Darksorrow, Sindweller, Painkiller, Hellbourne, Wrathbringer, Ragerunner, Firebrand, Bloodwrath, Terrorblade, and Varedis.
Demon Hunters in World of Warcraft
Naturally, Illidan is the most prominent Demon Hunter currently residing inside World of Warcraft, but there are several others of note.
Loramus Thalipedes resides in Azshara. He directs the player to the true name of Razelikh the Defiler, and crafts a piece of enchanted azsharite weaponry that can slay him and his minions.
The Burning Crusade
Theras, Netharel, and Alandien are night elf demon hunters brought to Outland by Illidan, and are training the apprentices at the Ruins of Karabor.
Altruis the Sufferer is a night elf demon hunter who also accompanied Illidan to Outland, but later defected. He can be found battling the Burning Legion in Nagrand.
Inside and around the Black Temple, there are quite a number of apprentice blood elven demon hunters.
Varedis is also found at the Ruins of Karabor. Of the first five blood elves to be trained by Illidan, he was the only one to survive. He is now in charge of training future blood elf demon hunters.
Leotheras the Blind, who dwells in Coilfang Reservoir, is another blood elf demon hunter. It is rumored that he was the second blood elf demon hunter to be trained by Illidan to survive, but shortly thereafter he went insane.