The simplest way of explaining the Mordesh is that they are the dirty little secret of the Exiles as a whole. They're the assassins, the pressure, the people who don't worry about doing something awful when it absolutely needs to be done. For all that the Exiles want to think of themselves as the good guys unfairly set upon by the Dominion, the Mordesh are the subtle reminder that there are no good guys -- there are just people.
But that's not the whole of it. Unlike when I discussed the Granok, the Mordesh aren't just in this to bloody the Dominion's nose as much as possible. No, they've got all of their chips in this part of the game. And to understand why, we're going to need to zoom out a little bit and take a look at what got the Mordesh to their current position first.
So let's start at the very beginning, when Victor Lazarin cured death. Or he thought he did, anyway. Technically it worked; it just also caused the people taking the cure to become undead monsters, which is kind of like lighting yourself on fire to make sure you don't get cold. But that wasn't intentional. So Lazarin worked tirelessly to find some sort of cure after the Dominion cruelly blockaded the planet, and...
Wait. Hold on just a moment. They quarantined the planet and didn't let anyone in or out. That's supposed to be monstrous, I know that's what we're told, but think about it for a second. If a huge region were suddenly struck with a virulent and deadly illness with unknown parameters, would you want the authorities to contain the illness, or would you want them to go in and let people out who may be sick on the basis of "well, he looks healthy enough"?
So let's be fair to the Dominion, here; what was done to the Mordesh may not have been nice, but it was in fact responsible. What the Exiles did, by contrast, amounted to willfully endangering the entire galaxy just to deny the Dominion something. It's lucky for them that it turned out the Contagion didn't infect everyone and was, in fact, under control after all. It could easily have turned out the other way.
As it stands now, when not working on finding a cure, the Mordesh have turned themselves entirely to getting back at the Dominion. After all, it was only the Contagion that prevented them from achieving Dominion membership in the first place, so the race as a whole sees the Dominion's abandonment (which in this case means "not allowing a dangerous disease to spread through the galaxy") as something other than their own fault.
This is important to note. The Mordesh are sad about what happened to them, but there's a distinct lack of evidence that they see it as something they did to themselves. A meteor did not fall on their homeworld bringing this vile disease; it was created by Lazarin when he was trying to create something else. And now he works to find a cure... when he's not busy trying to make the Dominion hurt more, of course.
That's why the Mordesh have so much to lose with Nexus. There's no certainty that there is a cure to the disease, but if there is one, Lazarin isn't going to find one on his own. He needs Nexus, needs the knowledge of the Eldan, needs tools and opportunities to stretch his knowledge to cure that which is incurable, just as when he did this the first time.
And if he can't find the answers there, then the Mordesh have nothing left to lose. There will be no more of their people. Their numbers will dwindle and diminish, with time. All that they retain is the vague hope that that assessment may be incorrect and a burning drive to make the Dominion pay for what it did...
But it didn't do anything except act responsibly.
It's curious to note that while the Mordesh want revenge, there has never been a push to use the Contagion in a weaponized form. It may not be possible, but I think part of the reasoning is that actually using the disease requires some amount of acceptance that this is a fate the Mordesh brought upon themselves. They were so convinced of their own beauty and brilliance that they thought immortality was almost deserved.
When you really think about it, the villain in the history of the Mordesh was Lazarin for reaching too far, too fast. But the blame is shifted onto the Dominion for blockading the planet instead of the scientist who created the Contagion, the populace that swallowed it without reservation, the government that accepted it with no further testing.
On some level, I think the Mordesh as a whole are very aware of this. It may well be that Lazarin wants a cure but has given up on thinking it actually exists. The race knows that the real culprit was their own hubris. So they lash out at the Dominion without any genuine malice because what else can they lose? They are monsters of their own creation.
The Mordesh are the dirty little secret of the Exiles, but not in the way you might think. They're the simple reminder that the Dominion is not evil incarnate. Arrogant, perhaps, occasionally callous, frequently hidebound, but not evil. The Mordesh were a stone's throw from being Dominion members themselves, and they have built a narrative in which the Dominion is the villain even though the facts don't line up with that.
Every time another Exile looks at a Mordesh, she's not just looking at death. She's looking at a reminder that all their justifications for what the race has done are just that. And that's just as unsettling as a walking corpse.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to email@example.com. The week after next will be continuing this little series with everyone's favorite sociopathic gremlins, the Chua.
Here's how it is: The world of Nexus can be a dangerous place for a tourist or a resident. If you're going to venture into WildStar, you want to be prepared. That's why Eliot Lefebvre brings you a shiny new installment of The Nexus Telegraph every week, giving you a good idea of what to expect from both the people and the environment. Keep your eyes peeled, and we'll get you where you need to go.