I was confused by Kel’Thuzad working for the Jailer. It didn’t really feel like he fit in with the rest of the Jailer’s minions running on the concept that existence is so terrible that everything needs to be unmade so there would be no possibility of being brought back into it again.
But then I remembered Kel’Thuzad’s short story, Road to Damnation, when Kel’Thuzad still only knew the Lich King as “the necromancer” when Kel’Thuzad first came to Northrend:
Sickened and horrified, he teleported out of Naxxramas altogether, staggered a little distance away, and threw up. Finding a patch of unsullied snow, he scooped up handfuls and scrubbed viciously at his mouth and face. It felt as if he would never be clean again. What had he gotten himself involved in?
One by one, his scattered thoughts fell into place. The necromancer was no simple academic, interested in studying a widely condemned field of magic. Nor did he plan to stop at fortifying his home against attack. He was mass-producing a fluid that converted people into zombies. Naxxramas also had an enormous stockpile of supplies, weapons, armor, training grounds….
These weren’t defensive measures. They were preparations for war.
A sudden wind buffeted him with an unearthly shriek, and a group of cold wraiths coalesced in front of his eyes. He had read of them years ago in the Violet Citadel. The vague description of their cloudy, translucent forms had mentioned nothing of the frigid malice in their glowing eyes.
One of the wraiths drifted closer and asked, “Second thoughts? As you see, your little trick will not avail you. You cannot escape the master. At any rate, what could you hope to accomplish? Where would you go? More to the point, who would believe you?”
Fight or flight: those would have been the heroic choices. Heroic, but pointless. His death would serve nothing. By agreeing to become the necromancer’s apprentice, Kel’Thuzad bought himself time in which to bolster his own skills. With enough training, he could surpass the necromancer or catch the man off guard.
The necromancer spoke directly to Kel’Thuzad then in a voice that was no longer even remotely kind. Let this be your first lesson. I have no love for you or your people. On the contrary, I intend to scour humanity from this planet, and make no mistake: I have the power to do it.
Relentless, the wraiths did not permit him to stop. Beyond humiliation, he abandoned his staff and began to crawl. The necromancer’s malevolence beat down upon him and pressed him deeper into the snow. Kel’Thuzad was shaking and whimpering, and o gods, he’d been wrong–stupidly, colossally wrong. This wasn’t fatigue. It was stark terror.
You will never catch me unaware, for I do not sleep, and as you should have already guessed, I can read your thoughts as easily as you might read a book. Nor can you hope to defeat me. Your puny mind is incapable of handling the energies I manipulate on a whim.
Kel’Thuzad had long since torn his robes, and his leggings were useless against the icy rock of the rough-hewn stairs. His hands and knees left bloody tracks behind him as he struggled up the last spiral. The throne radiated bone-chilling cold, and mist surrounded it. A throne not of crystal, but of ice.
Immortality can be a great boon. It can also be agony the likes of which you have not yet begun to fathom. Defy me, and I will teach you what I have learned of pain. You will beg for death.
Serving this spectral being–this Lich King, as Kel’Thuzad was beginning to think of him–would assuredly bring Kel’Thuzad great power… and damn him for all eternity. But that knowledge came far too late. Besides, damnation had little meaning without the prospect of true death.