(Champion Spotlight) New Champions (26.07.2019)
“Listen, boy. I don’t give a rat’s arse about how much silver you’re offering, I ain’t going back there. Heck, you could toss a bag of gems in my face and I’d still refuse.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Ancient crypts, untold treasures, yadda-yadda. Terrible guardians and secrets best left forgotten - old fishwives’ tales, right? Thought so too. Me and my mates - ten of them - decided to poke about the old bastard Graal’s tomb. Used to be some great wizard-king, died centuries ago, locals say he was a horrible Siroth-worshipper and turned their grandmas into frogs. You know how these stories go.
Anyway, the place’s been quiet save for a few drunken tales of skeletons walking about on the darkest nights. But we figured with dead folk rising all over Teleria this isn’t anything new. So in we go, each man’s a veteran of the craft. We traveled far and wide, picked barrows clean of things you’d never dream of, faced bandits, beasts, competition - you name it! And sure, there’s a ghoul here, a reanimated skeleton there. Usual problems in our business, we cut through them easily. Only when we reached the sarcophagus… Well, HE woke up.
Can you imagine, boy? Arrows, spearheads, swords, all useless! Mine was good Aravian steel, forged by the Elves. No, don’t ask me how I got it. But the moment I struck that thing’s carcass, the blade rusted away and crumbled. Just like that! So we did the only thing we could - run. Don’t remember much of what happened then, just the screams of my mates as they burst into flames or turned to ice. I was the only one to get out in the end, never ran that fast in my life. So no, I ain’t going to stick my neck under the axe again. In fact, I’m getting as far away as I bloody can. And if you’re smart, you’ll do the same.”
- Unknown grave robber
There are countless tales of valour and skill that the Champions of Lumaya have displayed over the millennia. Brave knights, whose skill with the sword is unmatched, wise mages, by whose word alone mountains crumble, daring rogues, and stalwart soldiers. Yet those who follow the dark path should not be underestimated either.
The Hegemon is a commanding presence on any battlefield, his mastery of the blade only matched by his ability to direct his minions’ attacks. He is said to have been a noble Champion of his people once and the bane of evildoers. He had defeated many foes in that past life, brought victory to many a-battle. But such skill comes with pride more often than not, and with pride - the seed of arrogance that brought so many heroes low.
Assured of his superiority and wisdom, the Champion had renounced his liege, casting aside his vows and loyalties. Henceforth, he was known as the Hegemon, the one deserving ruler whose right was won by blood and by sword. Many of the soldiers under his command, swayed by the Hegemon’s charisma, joined in his rebellion and marched upon the lands of his rivals.
It took many months of bloody warfare and the joint efforts of Kaerok and Aravian border Lords, as well as a Mission of the Sacred Order to finally stop the Hegemon’s campaign and defeat his army. Though the rebellious Champion himself fled after single-handedly slaying the men-at-arms sent after him.
His fall now complete, he swore bloody vengeance upon the people of Teleria and consigned his soul to Siroth and his mortal minions. One day, when his rivals among the renegade Knights Revenant are defeated, the Hegemon will gather a new army and march upon Kaerok. Their Champions shall fall to his blade, their people shall bow or face the consequences of denying his ambition.
The dark cults of the Knights Revenant have a very special reverence for death and its symbolism. This is not unexpected as many of these deviants believe the coming of Siroth will bring about the End of Days. They engage in morbid rituals often decorate their armour and weapons with dread imagery. Among them, a former Knight of Kaerok stands out.
Though her name has been stricken out of all records, the Golden Reaper is rumour to have been a notable figure among the King’s Guard. It is unclear how she was turned to the worship of Siroth, likely corrupted nobles at court or spies of the various cults that ever vie for more prominent converts. The process took years but, in the end, she was a fully-fledged member of the cult and participated in a grand plot that almost saw the King assassinated.
Though ultimately failed in her goal, the traitor managed to slay several of the Guard and escape with her life, heading eastwards to the Stormwind Wastelands. Now one of the prominent traitor Knights, the Golden Reaper as she calls herself, has adopted a new image. With a terrifying warscythe and an armour decorated to give her the likeness of the mythical figure of Death, she leads her minions to battle against the Champions of Lumaya.
Clad in brass armour and bearing the grinning visage of Death, the Pitiless One does well to remain true to his title. His mind is as sharp as the razor-like arrowheads of his bolts, and many would-be heroes found their doom right after realizing they have been outmaneuvered. This fiend of a sharpshooter takes cold satisfaction in ensuring his every shot is a lethal one - whenever such precision is possible.
But it is not just arrogance or perfectionism that drives the Pitiless One. Whatever dark magic binds him to his cruel weapon ensures that a perfect shot allows this Champion of evil to feed on the lifeblood of his victims. Invigorated and healed in such a manner, the Pitiless One can continue fighting even against overwhelming odds, and even strength in numbers may not be enough to bring him down.
The Lizardmen, understandably, are prone to worship the great monsters with whom the share their blood. Dragons, wyverns, giant serpents of all sorts. There those among them who seek to emulate these mighty beasts. Such is the Basilisk, a strong and ambitious warrior of the Lizardfolk. It may be a subject of bragging and wild rumour, but he is said to have battled an actual basilisk for the honour of bearing the name.
The battle has been hard and bloody. Even as the serpent finally breathed its last, it managed to wound the proud warrior, filling his blood with terrible poison. A lesser mortal would have fallen, but either through sheer grit or the blessings of Lumaya, the lizardman survived both his grievous injuries and the liquid death coursing through his veins. By doing so, he gained the favour of something far greater than himself - favour that allows the Basilisk, whose name was now written in blood, to rise and fight through wounds that would have been mortal.
Most regard Ogryns and their kin as brutes, little better than beasts. That usually serves the giants just fine as it helps them maintain a fearsome reputation. Still, exceptions can be found far more frequently than some would like to admit. From ingenious blacksmiths to tacticians and even scholars. Yes, surprising as it sounds, there are Ogryns who are not only capable of reading - a shocking notion within itself! - but actually enjoy learning.
Of course, not all of them extend the effort for the sheer joy of learning. Some pursue entirely selfish, sometimes even dark goals. Such is the mysterious Ogryn cultist, whose brutish strength and tenacity are only exceeded by the terrible powers he wields.
Covered in occult runes, he turns hexes and curses set upon him by the enemy magic-wielders upon them and their allies instead, using their essence to strengthen his attacks. But such corruption seldom comes without a price - it poisons the cultist’s own flesh, driving him onwards to bring the curse to his foes.
Blood is stronger than steel. So say the Barbarian tribes that roam the scorched wastes of the Krokhan Desert. For while the steel of invading armies may have triumphed and forced them off their lands, it was never able to scatter the tight-knit tribes or make them forsake who they are. And one would struggle to find a finer representation of that maxim than the two sisters - Alika and Sikara.
Born to a fairly privileged life of their Clan’s nobility, these two were still required and very eager to walk the path of the warrior. Trained from a young age to wield a bow and stalk the dunes unseen, they were well on their way to join the ranks of the most feared archers in Teleria. And it was their first real skirmish that would define their shared fate.
What was meant to be a simple scouting foray into the desert turned into a desperate last stand when the small Barbarian force ran into a full detachment of the dreaded Knights Revenant, led by a necromancer. The sisters, who were barely regarded above children, have shown their mettle from the first moments of the battle. Though outnumbered and forced to retreat into a ruined fort, they struck down foe after foe with their arrows, each shot coordinated with precision that belied their years and put their peers to shame.
But the dark magic of their foe was not easy to overcome. Slain enemies rose again and again, their bodies serving the necromancer’s will despite every attack being broken against the brave handful. With a runner sent back to the Clan to warn them of the impending attack, there was little left for the nomadic warriors but stand and fight. And so they did, holding through the night and into the first lights of dawn.
Their fate was sealed from the start and the reinforcements that hurried to the site of battle hoped for nothing more than bloody vengeance. And yet, to their bafflement, they have found their kin victorious. Most have fallen heroically, but Alika and Sikara still drew breath despite grievous injuries. Undead littered the sands all around them, the body piles growing around the wounded sisters. And the necromancer that led the bold invasion was there among his minions - with two arrows piercing his black heart.
Soon passed into the care of the Clan’s best shamans and healers, both Alika and Sikara survived, their bond stronger than ever before. From now on, the two have become inseparable on the battlefield. Indeed, few foes can survive their joint arrow volleys, fewer still can hope to bring the sisters low when they are fighting for one another.
The Elven Kingdom of Aravia is among the most advanced civilizations that Teleria has ever seen, but maintaining this gleaming jewel of order and prosperity is no easy task. Apart from the common thieves, brigands, and all other kinds of scum, disputes between merchants and guilds are commonplace. Some do not shy away from using hired muscle or even assassins to gain an advantage over their competition.
To ensure crime does not run rampant, the institution of Adjudicators has been granted significant authority and freedom. Warriors all, they will turn their sights to anyone who breaks Aravian law. Capture is often their preference, and to that end they have developed a variety of techniques to cripple and wrong-foot their foe. But Adjudicators do not shy away from fulfilling the role of the executioner or taking up arms in earnest should the need arise.
It is well known that the Dark Elves hail from the exiles that fled the nascent Kingdom of Aravia after a bloody civil war. Though it was no political intrigue that led to the conflict, but rather the fascination of a significant part of Elven aristocracy with the forbidden arts of Dark Magic. Fearful of what could be wrought by such malignant power, the rulers of Elvenkind sought to end the practice decisively. And though disgraced and defeated, the Dark Elves yet practice their arts away from the gleaming spires of their homeland, sworn to one day return and reclaim what is theirs by right.
But the High Elven royalty were right to fear Dark Magic. Its practice draws the attention of Siroth’s minions, its effects are often anathema to all that is holy in Lumaya’s creation. And it takes a horrible toll on the practitioner. The pallid or ghastly blue complexion, the blazing orange eyes are typical traits that the Dark Elves display, and they were not adopted naturally. Still, the power that Dark Arts grant is exceptional, and many seek to claim it no matter the price.
The Harvester, though a warrior at heart, has done well in learning the subtle manipulation of energy through sacrifice. A word from her lips can weaken her foes, making them easy prey for her and her allies, her scythe cuts with a blood-chilling howl that seems to prevent any benign magic from manifesting. Even time itself can change its flow at her command - or at least she can create an illusion of such, confusing her foes and taking advantage of their blunder.
When the armies of Kaerok march to war, it falls up to every individual Lord or Lady to form their forces as they see fit. It is, however, both customary and logical to form the vanguard with a body of experienced and hardened warriors. To serve there is an honour many men-at-arms aspire to. To serve their suzerain in such a manner is both a privilege and a sure way to gaining a greater portion of loot once the battle is done.
Their equipment and armour is always of quality make, allowing the warriors to withstand difficult battles. And their training ensures they are capable of trying the enemy down, keeping his attention focused on them, and allowing the rest of their allies to strike with impunity.
Stained red with blood, the Crimson Slayer roams the battlefield. Once a proud warrior, she has succumbed to the darkness within and without. Now bereft of her old self and driven forth by the will of her dark Master, she fights with the desperate abandon of a berserker.
The dark magic that courses through the veins allows the Crimson Slayer to sap away her foe’s will to fight with every strike - sometimes to the point of sending hapless Champions into deep and apathetic slumber - while invigorating herself to greater acts of carnage. Even her sword has been enhanced with terrible hexes that allow the blade to cause torn wounds that even the best of healers will struggle to heal.
Thrashers are relatively primitive creatures. Specifically, they are an offshoot of the Ogryn race that never had an opportunity to progress to the point of some of their kin. As such, their society is functionally non-existent. Thrashers live in the cold caves of the Mountains of Despair, either alone or in small family groups and will ruthlessly attack anything and anyone they come across.
Though possessing primitive sentience, few are intelligent enough to truly comprehend the world beyond their hunting grounds. Fewer still will be able to communicate with other beings and not try to smash them with the nearest rock.