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ShadrackLetter

Letter written by Shadrack to Alhazred

Shadrack (aka Shade) is a member of the Society of the Black Cloak.[1] Very little is known about Shadrack other than that he is a wizard[2], and was part of a conspiracy between Abdul Alhazred[3], and possibly Mordack to take over and destroy the Land of the Green Isles. He is the author of a note found in KQVI, but does not appear in any of the games himself. Another letter is written to Shadrack by Abdul Alhazred.


Background

Besides playing chess with Mordack, he plotted with the wizard's minion Abdul Alhazred for the destruction of the Land of the Green Isles.[4] To set up their plan, they first needed someone to infiltrate the kingdom and set the plans into motion. Abdul Alhazred, was chosen for the part, and soon worked his way into the royal household of the Crown of Green Isles, where he became the new Vizier[5]. Shade and Alhazred continued to be in league with each other in plotting to take over the kingdom.[6] It was Shadrack that suggested that Alhazred get rid of Cassima somehow. This lead to Alhazred coming up with the idea to have Mordack kidnap the girl and take her to his palace.

Later Shadrack gave instructions to Alhazred that he would get the crown if he married Cassima, and then got rid of her either by sending her away or killing her. He also wanted Cassima sent to him dead or alive to fulfill his peculiar interests. However Alhazred refused to send Cassima to Shadrack since last time he tried to send Cassima away; Mordack ended up dead, and she ended up returning within a year of being sent away[7]. Alhazred worried the same thing would happen to Shadrack.[8]

Correspondence

In the Companion's novelization of KQ6, and within the game, there are two notes; one written to Shadrack by Alhazred, and one written by Shadrack. The companion included extended versions of both letters which shine more light on society's plans for the islands. According to those notes Shadrack's nickname is Shade, and that it is his hidden name for himself. It it is stated that he is also a member of the Society of the Black Cloak, and that Shadrack wanted to see the destruction of the islands (the original versions of all four letters can be read in full in the references at the bottom of the page).

Below is a reconstruction and paraphrase of the information presented in both versions of Shadrack's letter and Abdul Alhazred's reply.

Shadrack's letter

To Abdul Alhazred, brother of the Black Cloak
From the Wizard Shadrack, also of that company,
Greetings to a brother of the Black Cloak,
I was sorry to hear of great Mordack's death, though he was a bit of a ninny at chess
But it seems the plans for that little kingdom of yours are coming along, you seem to have the destruction of the kingdom well in hand.
I must congratulate you on your handling of the king and queen.
Isolating the Islands so that no protest could develop was another brilliant stroke.
Turning the Islands against one another, and eliminating the King and Queen is a stratagem worthy even of me.
It looks like there's not much left to stand in your way. Do as I advise and recommended with that girl, the meddling brat Cassima, and you shall surely have your crown.
Shade[9][10].

Abdul Alhazred's reply

My Dear Shadrack:
Salutations from a fellow member of the Society of the Black Cloak, etc. etc. Our plans and my long preparations are about to come to fruition.
In a matter of minutes, by the time you read this, I will, and shall have wed the lovely <hah-hah> Princess Cassima, and become a grieving widower as well.
The princess has proven infuriatingly stubborn, as you know. She's becoming quite a dangerous little thorn in my side. Once I establish my power and my crown, I can stage another 'accident'.
In a way, it is a shame that Cassima must die and I have to kill her--she is lovely and would be amusing to keep around, but the people are loyal to her and I have been unable to gain her trust. I can't risk her talking treason to one of the guards. So far, I've managed to keep her locked away, but I can't continue that forever.
Well, on to it now. Knowing your peculiar interests, I wish I could make you a present of her dead or alive. I'd send her to you, but as you know, I had no luck in doing so with Mordack. When I presented her to Mordack, he was slain and she was back here within the year. I will not allow that to happen again.
I close in triumph--KING Abdul Alhazred.[11][12]

The letter sent by Shadrack was sent one month before Alexander reached the islands from wherever the evil wizard was located. It was in response to a letter Alhazred must have sent six months to a year before, just after Mordack was killed and Cassima returned to the Green Isles. It must have taken a very long time to reach Shadrack, and it took a month for Shadrack's reply to reach Alhazred. Alhazred must have just received this letter and read it, and was writing a response to send back to Shadrack which Alexander overheard. Had he had the chance to send his letter it probably would have taken month or more to get back to Shadrack as well. It is not certain how they are sending their correspondence back and forth to each other but it appears to be very slow.

Behind the scenes

The fact that Shadrack is a member of the Society of the Black Cloak originates from the King's Quest Companion. In fact a single reference within KQ6, only confirms that Abdul Alhazred is a member, "Salutations from the Society of the Black Cloak, etc. etc. My long preparations are about to come to fruition." Without the King's Quest Companion to put things into perspective, the above quote could even imply that Shadrack is outside of the Society of the Black Cloak (i.e. not a member), and that the conspiracy in the Green Isles to become king, were Abdul Alhazred's plans alone (which is also supported by the KQ6 Hintbook by Lorelei Shannon). Shadrack's line in KQ6 "greetings to a member of the Black Cloak", only loosely implies his own connection to the society.

In KQ6 it is implied that the plans to conquer the Green Isles were Abdul Alhazred's plan and his plan alone, and was his attempt become king. Shadrack role was of less importance, and acted if he was simply offering advice to a friend. The companion takes it further, suggesting that that it was both of their plans, and that they intended to destroy the land, not simply rule over it.

Shadrack was a character created by Jane Jensen. However Roberta Williams had little part in his creation, or the creation of the Black Cloak Society, nor does she remember much about those details. Its highly possible that he would have never appeared in any official King's Quest games after KQ6, unless Jane Jensen was on board.

The "Black Cloak Society" was never an actual term that I instigated or thought up. I'm not actually sure where that came from. The closest thought that I have on that subject is that: when I was working with Jane Jensen on King's Quest 6, and we thought up the evil vizier, we talked loosely about the possibility of putting Manannan, Mordack, and the vizier together as group -- possibly -- in a future King's Quest. There was loose reference to the possibility in King's Quest 6, although nothing was set in stone at that time. I think that it's possible that Jane Jensen might have mentioned the possibility (perhaps) in subsequent interviews on the subject, although, I'm not sure about that. Later on, I heard about the Black Cloak Society and kind of wondered where that phrase came from, but, I never refuted it as I thought it was kind of cool and, probably, would have gone on with the idea in future King's Quests had I had the chance. And, one final thing: Hagatha was never part in any discussion of a Black Cloak Society.

- Roberta Williams at SierraGamers (6-9-2003)

The implication in the companion is not entirely clear, it maybe possible that Shadrack was in league more with Alhazred than with Mordack. That those two magicians were the main ones behind the plot to conquer the Green Isles. Alhazred may have been manipulating his own master Mordack into kidnapping Cassima while he took over the kingdom. Thus Mordack may have little to do with the actual black cloak plot.

In KQ5 Cassima initially mistakes Graham for being a member of 'THEM', evil men who visit Mordack at his castle, this would include Shadrack, Abdul Alhazred, Shamir Shamazel and possibly other members of the black cloaks.

ShadrackKQC

The covers for the KQC3rd and 4th Editions have elements intended to represent various aspects of King's Quest universe. One such element is an evil wizard in a black cloak with a staff casting lightning at what looks to represent the Castle of the Crown. This would likely have to either represent Shadrack or Abdul Alhazred. It is less likely to be Abdul Alhazred who we haven't seen wear a black cloak, though he certainly has plenty of them suggesting that he wears them at times (nor have we seen use a staff of magic). It could represent Mordack (or even Manannan), but neither have ever been known to use a staff (but rather a wand). The green dragon like creature looks to be either Mordack (in dragon form) or the dragon from KQ1, or a cross between a dragon and the blue beast.

The only magic users who have been shown to use staffs in the KQ games are The Sorcerer (in the PCjr manual's artwork), the Bandit Leader, or Crispin in KQ5.

Could it be that Shadrack is based on another minor character already seen during the King's Quest series perhaps the nameless Sorcerer/Enchanter in KQ1 and its remake, and in KQ2? Which tried to steal the magic mirror from Daventry.

Shadrack on 2006 KQ Collection?

Kings Quest Collection

An unnamed wizard in a similar pose to Manannan on the boxart of KQ3, and The King's Quest Companion, 2nd Edition has Graham as an armored 'knight' fighting a red dragon, while a girl is in the background tied up (it doesn't seem to represent any specific period in Graham'slife, although the scene is reminiscent of the events of KQ3 with the young Alexander). In the new King's Quest this image is redrawn with an much older bearded Graham (in his 50s) shown in its place. Which suggests this is intended to show an event from later in Graham's life, and history. Similarly the image in The King's Quest Companion, 2nd Edition appears to show a green hat version of Graham fighting a red firedrake as well (while Manannan watches). But in general the covers to the King's Quest Companions generally don't represent any specific events (only characters). Ignoring the companions version which might have inspired the artwork on the 2006 collection, its possible that the wizard watching over a crystal ball or ball of magic is a villain of the series. Perhaps a cured Manannan, or Shadrack.

Could Shadrack have been inspired by other characters who appeared in earlier King's Quests. Perhaps the Sorcerer who stole the Mirror of Merlin, and had his dragon guard over it.

SorcererKQ1art

Is this Shadrack?

Or perhaps even the unknown wizard who blackened the magic mirror before events of KQ3/KQ4:

No one knows who the bearer of dark magic who darkened Merlin's Mirror (though it was possibly Manannan), nor does anyone know who sent the three-headed dragon to destroy Daventry, but its figured that neither Manannan, nor Mordack were behind it. And nothing is said of their sister Hagatha.

Leaving the possibility someone like the Sorcerer would have the motive and potential skill to blacken the magic mirror, and send out an enchanted beast. As he has been in control of Dragons in the past (for he is an experienced enchanter of beasts who is said to have several guardian pets), and has experience with the mirror. perhaps enough to know it needed to be blinded. If he is the same organization as Manannan, it might explain why Manannan had much interest in following the path of the Dragon, though he himself did not send the dragon in the first place, as he might have been aware of the Sorcerer's plans.

Finally its unclear who filled in the ancient well, was it the people of Daventry trying to prevent the dragon from using the Dragon's Lair, or did the dragon do it to prevent people from being able to get water easily, or perhaps the dragon first emerged in the land through the tunnel.

Adventure of Graham

One rumor is that Shadrack signed a get well card seen in Chapter 2 (though the cursive is hard to make out).

Shadrack (unofficial)

Shadrack has appeared in a number of fan fiction and fan games, see Shadrack (unofficial) for more information.

References

  1. King's Quest Companion, 3rd Edition, 306-307
  2. KQ6
  3. King's Quest Companion, 306-307
  4. KQC, 306-307
  5. KQC
  6. KQC3E, 308
  7. KQC, 3rd Edition, 306-307
  8. Alhazred (KQ6): "I'd send her to you, but as you know, I had no luck in doing so with Mordack."
  9. Narrator (KQ6): The letter is addressed to Abdul Alhazred from the Wizard Shadrack. It reads: Greetings to a brother of the Black Cloak. I was sorry to hear of great Mordack's death, though he was a bit of a ninny at chess. It seems the plans for that little kingdom of yours are coming along. I must congratulate you on your handling of the king and queen. Isolating the islands so that no protest could develop was another brilliant stroke. It looks like there's not much left to stand in your way. Do as I recommended with the girl, and you shall have your crown."
  10. "To Alhazred, a brother of the Black Cloak, from Shadrack, also of that company, Greetings: I am sorry to hear of Mordack's death, but you seem to have the destruction of the kingdom well in hand. Turning the islands against one another, and eliminating the king and queen is a stratagem worthy even of me. Do as I advise with that meddling brat Cassima and the crown shall surely be yours. "Shade", KQC, 307
  11. Abdul Alhazred (KQ6): "Dear Shadrack. Salutations from the Society of the Black Cloak, etc. etc. My long preparations are about to come to fruition. In a matter of minutes, I will wed the lovely <hah-hah> Cassima. The princess has proven infuriatingly stubborn, as you know. She's becoming quite a dangerous little thorn in my side. Once I establish my power and my crown, I can stage another 'accident'. In a way, it's a shame I have to kill her--she is lovely and would be amusing to keep around, but I can't risk her talking treason to one of the guards. So far, I've managed to keep her locked away, but I can't continue that forever. Well, on to it now. I'd send her to you, but as you know, I had no luck in doing so with Mordack. I close in triumph--KING Abdul Alhazred.
  12. "My Dear Shadrack: Salutations from a fellow member of the Society of the Black Cloak. Our plans are about to come to fruition. By the time you read this, I shall have wed the Princess Cassima, and become a grieving widower as well. It is a shame that Cassima must die, but the people are loyal to her, and I have been unable to gain her trust. Knowing your peculiar interests, I wish I could make you a present of her either dead or alive. But as you know, when I presented her to Mordack, he was slain and she was back here within the year. I will not allow that to happen again.", King's Quest Companion, Third Edition, 307.

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