(Champion Spotlight) New Champions (15.11.2019)
Ixlimor is an ancient demon of considerable power, reigning as the self-proclaimed Tyrant of the Hellfire Wastes that lie in the heart of Siroth’s infernal domain. As the name suggests, it is a region steeped in ethereal flames that scorch and burn every creature that has the audacity to dwell there. No mortal can enter and survive, that is beyond question. Even demons themselves often find the conditions intolerable, their immortal flesh blackening and turning to blister-covered ruin when exposed to the flames... Though perhaps that is why Ixlimor has chosen the Wastes as his domain.
A warrior at heart, he enjoys challenging his rivals to bitter wars for power and influence. His impenetrable fortress serves the Tyrant well and, thus far at least, no foe managed to inflict a grievous enough defeat that he could not recover from. Even when beaten, Ixlimor can retreat to his stronghold and plot revenge that will be exacted upon the offenders in due time.
But such rivalry and powerplays are forgotten - temporarily - when the Dark Lord himself calls upon his minions to go forth and bring war and destructions to the pathetic mortals of Teleria. Ixlimor follows just as others of his kind do. And though far from his burning domain, the Tyrant still brings a portion of those flames with him, gleefully unleashing the soul-scorching hellfire upon all those foolish enough to stand against Siroth and his chosen servants.
Once, a long time ago, Lizardmen ruled much of Teleria’s eastern continent. An ancient and proud race, they called themselves Dragonkin in honour of the Great Dragon whom they venerated as their chief deity. Dazzling temples of brass and limestone pierced the sky, wise priests directed their kin to further the empire’s greatness from these magnificent palaces. It fell to the mightiest Dragonkin warriors to defend the priests and the temples of their god.
That was Krisk’s duty as well. As a sentinel of the Great Dragon Shrine, he oversaw the rituals and divinations that took place there, carried out the will of the priests, and helped them tend to the arcane vortex that was suspended in the very heart of the temple.
When the wars raged and the nomads invaded, Krisk fought with every ounce of skill and might he had within. But even that could not be enough when everything else was lost and his people’s greatness crumbled to dust. Grievously wounded, Krisk was cast down and could only observe as the Shrine shattered beneath the shockwave of a great explosion when the foolish humans untangled the Vortex. Many had died on both sides then, and untold magical storms were unleashed upon the land.
But Krisk survived through that ordeal. Though his temple was gone and his people descended further into primitive savagery by the generation, he had sworn an oath to defend what was left of the shrine. And so Krisk the Ageless determined he would stand vigil unto the end of time, for the magical storm that he weathered had filled him with power and vitality, increasing his naturally long lifespan beyond what many thought was possible.
It was only when the Shadow came that Krisk’s oath was broken. Though many of his kin hailed the dragon unleashed by Mortu-Macaab as their god, Krisk knew that was falsehood and lies. He fought the servants of Siroth that came to claim the Shrine, bringing all of his experience and supernatural might to bear, sundering chitin shields and breaking horned skulls by the score. When the Arbiter’s chosen arrived, he realized that it had to be providence directing them, and thus extended his protection to the brave warriors in Lumaya’s service. They fought side by side, with Krisk the Ageless marching forth in front of his allies, deflecting spell and weapon alike with his enchanted armour.
And when the battle was done, he had sworn his soul and his mace to the Arbiter. For hew knew the desecration of the Shrine was only the beginning. If his people were not saved from the lies of the false dragon god, they would fall into darkness and slavery, a fate far worse than even their current half-savage existence.
Millenia ago, the vast Dragonkin Empire, weakened by a series of costly and disastrous wars, finally crumbled under the onslaught of nomadic human warriors. Rival clans formed, fighting over the scraps of a once-mighty civilization. Sorcerer-kings ruled supreme in those dark days, for their power swelled with the magic vortex that had been unbound by the shattering of the Great Dragon Temple. But Katonn stood above them all.
Born to one of the militant warlords that led the horde of nomads against the Lizardmen, Katton had been nothing but a disappointment for his father. Sickly and frail, he was not fit to be a warrior, and certainly not a worthy heir to his father’s glory. But Katonn was intelligent, and the time that he did not spend on training with the spear or riding on horseback he dedicated to learning everything he could from the clan’s shamans. And it was not long before the boy’s efforts were rewarded with a great understanding of magic that only fueled his natural talent.
Though his father readily used Katonn’s magecraft, he still despised his son, and the seeds of hatred that had been planted so long ago finally came to fruition. When the Lizardmen temples fell and the resulting magical cataclysm fueled warlocks and sorcerers across Teleria, Katton was swift to take advantage. He slew his father and those warriors who stood against him, taking the clan over by force.
He ruled with an iron fist, driving his kinsmen to battle other clans in his name to claim the most territory, the most relics and other remnants of the fallen Empire. Rival warlocks rose to challenge him, but all fell as one, for Katonn’s might went beyond mortal comprehension. Empowered by pure arcane energy that still bled into the world for decades to come and the ancient knowledge he had managed to secure, Katonn learned to manipulate time itself. His spells made his foes age within seconds, turning them to dust and making others flee in terror rather than face such a grim fate. Before long he ruled over a sizable portion of Telerian East and was referred to as nothing less than Suzerain.
Though Katonn’s experiments with keeping himself out of time’s grasp were less successful. He dabbled in necromancy and dark arts, gradually twisting his body just as his soul had been twisted. It is unclear just how far he managed to delve, but the legend tells of brave young warriors of his clan who rose up against Katonn’s tyranny and overthrew him.
Though that same legend says that although he dark Suzerain’s body had been cast down and entombed deep in the mountains, he did not truly die and was merely trapped, languishing in Undeath and waiting for his chance to exact revenge.
The skeins of destiny weave and twist and intertwine in ways no mortal mind can hope to fully comprehend. Sometimes, the most unlikely individuals can be brought to the fore and presented with a choice. And the decision they make can bring either salvation or damnation not just for themselves, but for untold thousands of souls.
Lanakis had been many things in her life: a mage, a rebel, a hero and a villain both. Born to the sprawling capital of Aravia, the realm of the High Elves, she was taught and mentored in the arts of magic by some of the best minds Teleria had to offer. Yet the limitations and strict rules of the Aravian Covens were always far too stiffening for Lanakis whose heart desired to know every mystery the world concealed. She dabbled and delved into forbidden lore, casting away her previous allegiances and striking out on her own.
The quest for knowledge saw Lanakis enter the lands of the Dark Elves, where she was captured and nearly executed. Though her quick wit - or exceptional luck - saw to it that the Matron of the House recognized the young woman’s potential and opted to let her live instead in exchange for service. For years Lanakis took advantage of the entirely new school of arcane teachings that had been open to her and thought little of the terrible deeds that her patrons committed.
Eventually, her service came to a sudden and violent end when the Matron attempted to use Lanakis as a blood sacrifice to an ally of hers - a Necromancer of some infamy. The resulting skirmish saw Lanakis victorious and her former benefactor slain, albeit this was only the beginning of that particular ordeal. For the Necromancer was but a single wizard of a powerful dark lodge, and the plans his peers had woven encompassed much more than might have appeared at a glance.
News of a horde of Undead came pouring in - panicked cries for help and reports of a massive organized assault that overwhelmed many outlying estates and forts. Dark Elven nobles and soldiery alike were turned into mindless ghouls in the wake of that crushing defeat. Lanakis had a choice then, to flee and wander Teleria once more, hoping that someone else would step up to defeat the invaders or to stand and fight. She had chosen the latter.
With no one daring to challenge her power directly, Lanakis took control of the House she once served as a mere apprentice. She mustered what military might it could offer and led it against the raging Undead hordes. One by one the other Houses were liberated and joined Lanakis’ host to fight a common foe. One by one the Necromancers fell before her, unable to match the Elven Sorceress’ power.
At the height of the conflict, the Arbiter herself joined the fray. With her and her Champions standing beside Lanakis’ armies, there was no doubt of victory. And when the last of the Undead had been purged, the Arbiter called upon Lanakis to bind her soul to Lumaya in eternal service. Though far from a pure and innocent hero, she had been chosen by Fate nonetheless and almost single-handedly thwarted a plot that would have plunged Teleria into the madness of war. And thought her freedom was valued high, Lanakis saw the wisdom of this pact. For while she would have to bind herself to a cause greater than anything she ever imagined fighting for, it did give her the ability to expand her mastery and knowledge without boundaries. So, reluctantly, she accepted and joined the ranks of the Arbiter’s Champions.
Duchess Lilitu is one of the most powerful demons in Siroth’s legions and a lieutenant of Mortu-Macaab. Her sorcerous powers are only matched by her cunning mind and experience. Indeed, Lilitu had the benefit of existing for thousands of years, learning all there is to learn about Dark Magic and the hellish intrigues of the demonic courts.
In fact, she has lived long enough to personally take part in no less than three invasions of Teleria. She battled the Arbiter and survived the experience - barely, not that she would ever admit to the fact - which is an achievement in its own right.
One of Lilitu’s greatest strength is her wise assessment of her own talents and the lack of arrogance that is so very common among her kin. She knows that she is no warrior of legend and would be of little use in the swirling melee. Instead, she focuses her powers on empowering and protecting those who fight for her.
In battle, Lilitu chants incantations and spell in the dark tongue now forgotten by all but the servants of Siroth, calling upon the very fabric of the Void to shiel her allies. She does that not out of the kindness of her heart, of course, but with a cold and calculated purpose of keeping her minions alive for long enough to carry out her will. For that very reason she will expend a great deal of magical energy to seize the souls of the fallen and guide them back into their mortal vessels, healing their wounds and making them fight anew.
Now, as the dark will of Siroth envelops the whole of Teleria once more, Lilitu strikes out from her infernal palace, her armies at her back. It is high time the mortals pay for past insults and bend the knee at long last.
Try as the rulers of Teleria might, it is impossible to enforce the law everywhere and without failure. Just as there will always be those who abandon morality and principles for the sake of gain, so too crime will persist in different forms. Be it thief guilds, bandits and brigands, or even hired assassins, members of all of Teleria’s prominent races can be found on the other side of the law.
Due to their bestial nature, Skinwalkers are shunned and denied entry to many large cities. Yet, some authorities tolerate their presence. In most cases, there is little comfort to be found in such acceptance as superstition and fear drive the common folk to greater displays of suspicion and paranoia. It is not uncommon for these Skinwalkers to find themselves with no means to survive apart from a life of crime. Fortunately, their strength and toughness make them ideal candidates to serve as enforcers for various gangs.
It was not difficult for a destitute and hungry minotaur to take up the role of a thug. He learned to fight from the moment he could walk, he had the strength of three grown men, and, most importantly, he had no scruples about smashing a few faces to get by. Such simpleminded determination and a talent for violence could not go unnoticed, and the Thug - for that was all anyone ever called him - came to the service of one of Nabruk’s guilders. From there on he spent most of his days guarding his master’s possessions, scaring off rivals, or ‘persuading’ other merchants to accept deals that were less than beneficial.
Though indeed a thug by all definitions of the word, this creature does have the potential to rise above his fate and serve something greater. Perhaps the less-than-honest skills he had picked up could put to good use in Teleria’s service.
A creature of eerie beauty and inexhaustible malice, the Umbral Enchantress is a cunning foe to face. She is a Countess of Siroth’s legions and has a well over a hundred lesser demons at her beck and call, but she does not often hide behind the backs of her minions either. Those bold enough to face the Enchantress find themselves under her vile spell, unable to receive the boons and blessings their artifacts or allies might provide. Their wits fail them as well, clouded by the Enchantress’ guile.
It is said that the Umbral Enchantress had a mighty rival among her dark kin, a Baron who believed himself unmatched as a warrior and craved to advance through the demonic hierarchy. His mistake was believing the Enchantress weak and unworthy of her position. When tempers boiled and challenges turned to open battle, that arrogant champion found himself powerless and enthralled, consumed by his rage and hacking away at the Enchantress without finesse or strategy. She had slain the Baron easily and fashioned his skull into a decoration for her shield, there to remind everyone of the folly of challenging her.
Much of the ancient Lizardmen civilization lies in ruins, splintered into primitive tribes that, over the centuries, have turned bestial. But vestiges of their culture still remain in memory and traditions that can outlive countless generations.
The Haruspices are an excellent example of that. They are hereditary priests who carry the knowledge of the Ancestors and serve the Great Dragon - the chief deity of the Lizardmen. Specifically, these priests are trained in the ways of divination, reading fate, and tugging at its strands to achieve the most desirable outcome for their kin or allies.
Like all Lizardmen, however, they carry warriors’ blood in their veins. Though arguably not as strong a fighter as some others, they are certainly not an opponent to disregard. A Haruspex will often carry poisonous weapons or mixtures that can be used to weaken an enemy, and the knowledge of minor incantation can empower those Champions fighting at his side.
The armies of Kaerok are rightfully counted among the most impressively organized military forces in the whole of Teleria. Indeed, though still feudal for the most part, there is a standing core of professional soldiers that grows in prominence with every passing year. Though they cannot always afford the best armour and arms to match the Banner Lords themselves, there are other ways for these warriors to be a force to be reckoned with.
Crossbowmen are a particularly terrifying opponent for anyone to face as they combine their powerful ranged weapons with steadfast discipline. Yet even among them, the elite exists. These are Bombardiers, the select units in service of the King’s own army and that of the most powerful Dukes.
Bombardiers often deploy in small units, harassing enemy lines and withdrawing before they can be caught by a counterattack. They are provided with specialized ammunition, both poisoned and enchanted, to better handle any kind of foe they might encounter.
Twinclaw Cult is a dangerous, extremely violent twist on ancient Orcish beliefs. It glorifies personal strength and savagery in combat, urging its followers to abandon reason and moderation in favour of battle frenzy.
The disciples of the cult are often armed with wicked metal claws, sharpened and fashioned to be held in the wielder’s hands. It is not an elegant weapon, but it does suit the cult’s philosophy perfectly. Armed thus, the Orcs of the Twinclaw fight like beasts possessed, hacking and slashing at anything that has the misfortune of being in their way. The wounds they leave are incredibly messy and difficult to heal, and with claws like that, they can deliver debilitating strikes to the foe with surprising efficiency.
Knights and feudal militia make up the bulk of the armies of Kaerok, though professional soldiers do exist. These are usually particularly talented or lucky commoners who had proven themselves in the eyes of their liege, justifying additional expenses sustained to outfit and arm them. They will never quite match the quality of armour or weapons that the Knights wield, but they are equipped well enough to hold the front against many foes and are often utilized as the first line of defense by the Banner Lords.
Countless battles have been fought across Teleria, many of them long forgotten. The bones of mighty warriors rest deep beneath the earth, there to sleep eternally forevermore… unless a necromancer manages to locate one such battlefield. Then, animated by dark magic and malefic will, the shambling skeletons arise from their graves, ready to enforce their new master’s will. Though their souls have long passed into Lumaya’s light, the bodies still retain some of the memories and can present a significant threat on the battlefield.
It is important in both warfare and statecraft to deliver orders, decrees, and missives expediently. Naturally, rivals or direct enemies will do their absolute best to ensure news does not reach the intended destination, so the job of a messenger is a dangerous one. Thus the King and wealthy nobles equip their heralds to the best standard and provide them with martial training. These Word Bearers are granted great respect across Kaerok, for they are the mouthpiece of the nation’s great Lords and Ladies.
Life is harsh in the deserts of the Badlands, and not all Barbarian tribes value honour as much as they do survival. Many turn to simple brigandry and raiding, attacking travellers and other tribes without warning. These raiders often paint their armour and bodies with dyes resembling blood and gore in order to intimidate their foes. And though many are hardly expert fighters, their savagery makes them dangerous.