Casador

To the outside world the feared warlord Casador is the Emperor of the Maldraks, ruler of Baragau-Gul, face of the great nemesis that is Maldaakore. In reality he is one of five sinister rulers of Maldaakore known as the Torch Lords. Casador is the mighty warlord charged with maintaining the eastern border of Maldaakore against all incursions. He keeps the fortress that oversees the one reliable pass through the Bosots, and keeps that pass open and under Drak control. Looking out on one side over the salt flats of Haedrasia and on the other over the ash-wastes of Maldaakore, Casador understands the cost of power, and he is rightly feared for ruthlessness, might and rage.

Description


None know what Casador looks like any more, and no one alive knows what he looked like before he donned the fearsome armour that may as well be his skin to all the world now. Traditionally he is described as taller than any man, clad in broad cuirass and voluminous mail seemingly all made of scintillating gold, like the very rays of the sun. With a helm artfully fashioned to appear as some great lupine monster, with a glorious crown affixed to its horned brow. He moves without effort, despite the massive burden of the armour, and speaks with a voice that booms and rasps off its metallic confines. Not an inch of the Sun King is revealed beneath mail, leather or helm, with a hood-like camail and brigandine gloves keeping even his neck and wrists well hidden.

Personality


Calling Casador the 'Beast of Baragau-Gul' is not merely a fanciful moniker, he can be animalistic in his savagery, and those who have come up against him know his capacity for unleashing violence, though usually his demeanour is collected, even cool, he can snap in a moment and then turn back to calculating calm as quickly. It is as if a fearsome rage dwells deep within him, and now and then his iron grip on it slips, just for an instant. Casador has no forgiveness, no mercy and no pity, and when he has a goal he is single minded and uninhibited in pursuing it. However he is also keenly intelligent, and for all his physical prowess it is his mastery over the minds of his foes that is truly terrible. This master psychologist crafted his ornate, frightening armour purely for theatrical effect. He dresses his fortress in scorched iron and brass, and covers it with spikes and barbs, and the impaled and rotting bodies of his enemies because that is what his enemies imagine an immortal, unstoppable warlord would do. He even chose the name Baragau-Gul, meaningless gibberish in the Drak tongue, for his dread fortress. Casador wants to project an image of a blasted hellish realm ruled over by unstoppable warriors who march even in death, as much because it keeps people away from Maldaakore as that it terrorizes his enemies. And to his credit, against all common sense, that is exactly what the people of Allornus think.

History


Casador is the most feared and infamous of Maldaakore's Torch Lords. To many, he is the sole king of Maldaakore. A traitor to his people, and the ruination of the Maldrak race, he was once a scion of the most noble and ancient line of Maldraks, descended from Malar himself. Some say that Casador has lived for over a thousand years, while others say that individuals claim his name and armour in secret when the previous Casador dies. Whichever is true the legend of the man begins in the opening years of the Age of Legacy, when Maldaakore was Kel Maldrak, a land where the Maldraks were ruled by an Emperor, and the faith of Daak was not the profane horror it is now, but a temple devoted to an Old Divhi the Maldraks chose over a Divhi that failed them. Haedrasia was a close ally, and between them those two great landsmen cultures dominated the ancient Kelorn world.

Doma-Khan of the Maldraks (882 - 909 YAM)

Casador was born in the year 882 YAM by the reckoning of the Drak calendar of the union of the Maldrak Emperor Kalis Fuge and a Haedrasian emissary named Kalla. Fuge used his power and influence to bed Kalla, and then imprisoned her at his court when he found she was with child. Wanting only to return home, Kalla tried many times to end her pregnancy, but the infant in her belly proved tenacious, and so she had her loyal guardsmen smuggle her out, and en route to a Haedrasian enclave in the neutral Maldrak kingdom of Muetelo she gave birth, and abandoned the child in the wilds to die.

By some quirk of fate, the infant Casador did not die, because he was discovered by a pack of wolves. Semi-tame thanks to local abattoir workers feeding them scraps, they took in the child, and by the time he was sighted by those abattoir workers he had been living with the wolves for months, suckling from the teat of a female with cubs, and eating scraps of raw meat. The Malorn slave-foreman of the slaughterhouse Bieito had lost his son and wife mere months before, and took the orphan child as a gift from his Divhi - for he was a member of a secretive cult devoted to a Divhide known as Monna. He coaxed the child away from the wolves, and named him Luno, wolf in the old Malorn. Bieito taught Luno the skills of death, and he spent his early years soaked in gore, and learning how to sever muscle and open throats. Bieito also inducted his son into the Cult of Monna, a secretive brotherhood that met monthly and spoke out against the Maldrak faith and the so-called 'liberator' Daak. He learned that Monna was kind, and did not believe in the empire that oppressed and even enslaved the Malorn people. And at night Luno would go out amongst the wolves, and hunt.

All might have been well, except that in 891 Kalis Fuge, who had never ceased searching for his son, arrived at the farm with a hundred men and took Bieito and Luno from their home. Luno was completely accepted into his father's household, treated as his heir in all but name, re-dubbed Casador, and given every advantage of a scion of the Emperor's own blood. He received an education from the finest tutors and weapon-masters, and was given a military command in the east, where he inspired fierce loyalty in his men, and fear in his foes. Though he also continued to practice Monna's secrets in private, refusing to take up the Emperor's faith, and taught his faith to an inner circle of his most loyal men, who became known as 'the pack'. And he quickly became known as Casador Luno, for he was a cunning hunter and a master of terror. But many misunderstood this name, calling him Casador Ludo, 'Casador the Sun'. In a matter of years he had subjugated Muetelo and added it to his father's dominion. Meanwhile Fuge took advantage of Casador's absence to execute Bieito on charges of heresy and kidnapping.

However when Casador returned to the city of Kal Maldrak in 909 he found he was no longer the favourite son. Not only did he find Bieito dead, but also Fuge remarried the darkly beautiful Liva, who was with child. The Sanaks of Daak had named her child, and not Casador heir to the Empire, and because of his bastard's secret faith Fuge acceded to their wishes. Angry with his father and the church, Casador began speaking out against the Sanaks, preaching Monna's word, and quickly proved more than a mere rabble rouser when he claimed a substantial following. In order to ride his court of a dangerous demagogue Fuge waited until Liva birthed the child - a daughter, who he named Talia. Then he sent Casador back to Muetelo to arrange a marriage for Diego with Diego, a Khan in their royal house. Furious, Casador had little choice but to comply, but already he was laying plans for his return, and revenge against Fuge and the Sanaks that pulled his strings.

Return to Kal Maldrak (924 YAM)

Fifteen long years later, when Kalis Fuge, already an old man, fell into a coma in the first months of 909, leaving Liva as regent Casador's time was right. Returning, ostensibly carrying a marriage contract he quickly seduced Liva, but though he gained great influence he could not persuade her to take him as her husband, and make him Emperor, and so Casador turned his charms on Talia, but she seemed utterly immune. After three years both Muetelo and the Sanaks were growing impatient, and Diego was brought to court, whereupon marriage plans were quickly made. To make matters worse, Talia immediately came to love Diego, affronting Casador even more, and he gathered the loyal followers of Monna at the palace together.

And so, on the eve of the marriage, Casador took desperate action. He murdered Liva in their bed while his loyal followers smuggled the pack into the palace. Then he stormed the chapel where Talia waited, while his men hurled Diego from the walls. In the chapel, while warriors loyal to the Emperor battled the pack without, Casador forced a Sanak to wed he and Talia at knife-point, the consummated their marriage on the alter, and proclaimed himself regent of the Maldrak Empire. However Talia revealed to him that she had been warned of his plans, and that morning she had imbibed a lethal poison which, thanks to the mixing of their blood on the alter, would now kill them both. The histories are quite graphic in their description of Casador tearing his new bride apart, and then being bourne to his father's great hall, where Fuge now sat on the throne where, weak and pale, he was named regent, and adorned in the flayed skins of Liva and Talia, and anointed in their blood.

The Death-Man and the Church of Monna (924 to 931 YAM)

Heirless, Casador's demise seemed certain, and he grew weaker and sicker by the day, kept alive only by the finest physicians and magians in the world and his own impossible resilience - and even these seemed destined to fail eventually. But even from his death bed, he began the persecution of the Sanaks, pulling down their order with all the might at his disposal, and though he refused to kill his father, and so ruled as regent only, his influence was still considerable. It was then, with the persecution of Monna's cult at and end, that a magian in the service of Monna, who history only remember as the 'Death-Man' came forward, claiming to have rediscovered the flesh and bone crafting thought lost to the Maldraks when they turned from Malar. And with this lore, the Death-Man was able to swiftly cure Casador, and the two became near brothers from that moment hence.

As a reward, and in recognition of his great power to heal and bring prosperity to his people, Casador named the Death-Man Toldak of the Church of Monna, the new faith of the Maldrak Empire, and though the two spent a number of years in the capitol, eventually Casador ordered the Death-Man north, to found a new holy city of Malmonna from whence to spread the bounty of Monna. But during their separation the Death-Man ceased communication with the capitol, and eventually began taking in those Sanaks who had escaped Casador's purges into his council. Meanwhile news came back to Casador of fanatics and flagellates and other mad zealots flocking to Malmonna, and gathering arms. And so he began to prepare for the worst, and onslaught by an army of fanatics, and whatever fell magicks the Death-Man had at his disposal. Casador and a small inner circle arranged for the building of five great pillars, each higher than even the Emperor's Palace, around the city of Kal Maldrak. And at each they conducted prayers that continued day and night, and Casador promised the people of Kal Maldrak that should the Death-Man come to the city, his fell powers would be of no use.

Eventually, in the late spring of 931 the Death-Man's horde marched. Casador reached out to his Haedrasian allies for aid, and sent vast armies against them, but the horde was too great to be halted. And in the countryside terrible omens that hearkened back to legends of the Sundering began to appear. Monstrous virgin birth, stars missing from the sky, winds that howled words in dead tongues, and rivers flowing with blood were all reported. Eventually, some half a year later, the Death-Man's armies arrived at the gates of Kal Maldrak, and while only three accounts of that day exist, they all tell the same story.

Casador, alone, walked from the gates of Kal Maldrak and he and the Death-Man, who kept a small contingent met. The Death-Man implored Casador to listen to him, asked why his missives had been ignored, and revealed that he had dug into the histories of the Cult of Monna, and found that Monna was none other than Daak himself. He claimed that Casador was overthrowing the Sanaks merely to usher in a new age of the worship of Daak. And Casador, with a cold stare, embraced his brother in the faith, and told him that he knew. And that the new order of Daak would be a glorious one, worthy of the Divhi of darkness, might and cruelty. Then the ceremonies that had been ongoing at the five points around Kal Maldrak concluded simultaneously.

There is much speculation about what happened that day amongst the most learned of Maldaakore, and even those beyond the Bosots who have heard the account. But what is certain is that central Maldaakore, for days around the fell city, became The Desolation, and though we must assume that some survived to carry the account of that day out into the world, the only confirmed survivors, between the vast horde of the Death-Man, and the entire city of Kal Maldrak, were Casador, who went east to Muetelo, and Kalid Fuge, who legend says remains asleep on his throne to this very day.

The Divide and the First Light (931 to 952 YAM)

When next Casador was seen he was at the head of a great host of vicious Drak warriors, marching on Muetelo, last remaining sanctuary of the Sanaks. Reaching the capitol Dusaq, he overpowered and massacred the Haedrasian Legion that had been sent to reinforce the realm, and demanded that all of the Sanaks be slain, and their temples razed to the ground, or he would kill every man, woman and child. In the name of survival the folk of Dusaq did terrible things to their priests, and flung ruined body after ruined body from the walls in offering to Daak's new regime. Then, knowing he had forced the Haedrasians into retribution, he marched day and night to the Bosot mountains, and fortified that few passes there, where he could hold against the far superior forces of Haedrasia.

It was not long before the Divhi-Imperator bent his entire will against the Sun King. Though the great Salt Flats slowed their advance, legion upon legion flung themselves against the passes of the Bosot Mountains. If even one pass fell Casador knew that he would be surrounded, trapped in narrow passes, and lost. But he trusted in Da'ak. Trusted that the offering he had made at Kal Maldrak was enough the make him all but invincible, even in the face of the empire of a Divhi. And so he held. For twenty long, bitter years he held the major passes into Muetelo, pulling men from all over Maldaakore. And while he held the borders the new regime emerged. Toldaks of Daak took control of every settlement, subjugated every ruler, burned every temple, enslaved every Malorn, and inexorably tightened their grip upon Maldaakore, while Casador kept them hidden behind the bleak, stony silence of the Bosots.

But with the crippling casualties he had inflicted on his own people, Maldaakore could not hold against the Haedrasians forever. And so, Casador left his best commanders in control of the passes and ventured back to Kal Maldrak to ask Daak for an army. Again, accounts seem fanciful at best, but most say that he found the city bent unnaturally, twisted impossibly, unnaturally silent, and cloaked in the palpable, oozing darkness that still clouds it. And as he passed through the city the darkness was so complete that he had to light a torch, and he carried this flame through inky blackness to the tower, and to the hall of the Emperors. There Casador beheld the last living thing in all of the Desolation; Kalis Fuge, his father, still frozen in eternal sleep, upon the throne dressed with the flayed skins of his family. And through has father's ancient and dessicated lips Daak spoke directly to Casador, naming him his champion. Daak wrapped Casador in the living darkness, encased him in metal, placed a cruel weapon forged from the crystallized soul of the Death-Man in his hands, and promised him that he was invincible, eternal, and blessed to be the only man who could carry light into the Fell City and live - a claim that most who have braved the Desolation readily confirm. What is clear fact is that when he returned to Burgos Pass where his legendary fastness was still under construction, he had a the fearsome weapon and armour with which he is still associated, and an army thousands strong of the howling dead at his back - those who he had offered to Daak years earlier, returned to him.

The Battle of Baragau-Gul and The Profane (952 - 959 YAM)

Like an apocalypse of shadow and death Casador drove through the passes and along the coast of the Black Ice Bay, and quickly drove the Haedrasians back east, adding the howling spirits of their fallen to his armies with every battle, and driving them into the marshes. Then he returned to the pass, where the very rock of the mountains awoke to welcome him, rising up to bar the way behind. Haederas himself demanded that the affront be met by his finest warriors, and the Imperator's Paladins rode from the Unchallenged City to meet Casador at Burgos Pass.

The events of the final battle in that fateful place are well documented, but suffice to say that Casador's forces bested even the Imperator's finest when they led the charge down the narrow pass. And with their paragons slain, starving from their trek across the slat desert, and maddened from fighting the crazed spirits of their fallen comrades, the remaining Haedrasian forces retreated. Both great empires have warred over these mountains since, but none have penetrated Maldaakore beyond Baragau-Gul in the millennium since that horrific day.

The Great Uprising (1491 - 1506 YAM)

Even after the Toldaks took over the land of Maldaakore, and the veil was closed by Casador's armies, Malorns still outnumbered Draks in the old empire, especially in the east. They were enslaved, mistreated, subjugated, sacrificed on alters, and forced to work harsh, poisoned lands for little more than enough to keep them alive, but broken and downtrodden as they were, it was inevitable in hindsight that these slave peoples would join together and rebel. After all, what had they to lose? Casador's atrocities against the people of Muetelo were his worst yet as he forced them to supply his vast armies at Baragau-Gul, and their new overlords demanded their blood, and that of their families, for Daak's altars.

The uprising began in the far south, near the Crooked Plains, where the forces from Baragau-Gul had demanded the highest toll. Slaves simply began to vanish, moving to the wild places, to plot against their overlords. For nearly an entire generation, in their ones and twos, Malorns began drifting away from their enslavement. Thousands were caught and punished; tortured, mutilated and crucified as a warning to their fellows. But tens of thousands made their escape. Then, in the winter of 560 AD, they began to strike. Entire enclaves massacred in a night, supply trains vanishing en route to the fortified passes, and junior Toldaks murdered in their sleep, and displayed for all to see.

Turning to the west, Casador sent men to quell the rebellion, but these slaves knew the land better than their masters ever would. Knew how to eke a living in the hard wilderness, practically indefinitely, and knew how to live from next to nothing. And when a patrol did stumble upon them, so great were their numbers that none survived to report finding them. Little by little their numbers dwindled, as raiders were caught, and a great many were taken by the hardships of the land, but still countless remained hidden.

The Death of Casador? (1506 YAM)

Losing his patience for such petty foes, Casador made ready to visit Kal Maldrak, to ask Daak to help him to away with the upstarts forever. Spies in his own fortress conveyed the encroaching danger to the rebels, and they hatched a desperate plan. Waiting for Casador and his retinue to leave Baragau-Gul, a tiny party stole after him, through the mountains, waiting for their chance. They were the most noble, the most skilful, and the most respected of all of the Malorns, and though they numbered but seven, it was reasoned that a small party had the best chance against Casador. These seven had trained all of their lives for one task and one task alone - to give their lives to slay Casador. They had studied him, everything about him, his history, his tactics, they had captured his guardsmen, interrogated Toldaks, even watched him enter the Fell City from afar, and they were the best hope the world had to end the Betrayer.

The seven followed him to the very edge of the Desolation, and there they hid amongst the crucified bodies of their fellows, so thick along the roadside that it was like riding through a forest, and there they waited for Casador's elite guard to make camp. And then, in the dead of night they struck. Able to subdue the watch, they stole into the camp, and reached Casador's tent by guile, wit, and force of arms, but even so three of their number fell. Once there one of their number took Casador's legendary sword Calthan Anethme from beside him while he slept, but as he went to strike the killing blow the Sun King awoke, and lashed out, tearing the man asunder with his bare hands, and knocking the weapon from his hands.

Determined that the only way to harm Casador was with his own sword, the three survivors came at him again and again, while his war-cries awoke the whole camp. But even Casador could not keep three such skilled and seasoned warriors, fuelled by desperation, from his back at once. They fought on and on, enduring horrible wounds, knowing any moment Casador's honour guard would burst into his pavilion and it would be over. But finally, Casador seized two of his attackers, and brought their heads together with such force that their skulls shattered, but this gave the survivor one chance, with the last of his strength, to drive Calthan Anethme into Casador's side, under his ribs, and into his black heart. Casador's death throes were mighty, but the slave turned assassin hung grimly on, until the blade broke off in the wound, and both Casador and his slayer slumped to the bloody floor of the pavilion, dead.

Command of Baragau-Gul was passed to the commander of his honour guard, the Profane fell into a deep sleep in the bowels of the fortress, and another Torch Lord was chosen to replace Casador, and anointed at Kal Maldrak. It truly seemed that the Beast of Baragau-Gul, betrayer of the Maldraks, Sun King of Maldaakore, and last of the Imperial line, was finally defeated. For a time.

The War Dog (1723 - 1730 YAM)

Almost a century and a half passed, and the rabid warrior Zurizigar, known better as the War Dog, rose in prominence enough that he replaced Casador as a Torch Lord, and master of Baragau-Gul both. The brutal barbarian of a man knew only violence, he was a blunt instrument bent on gleeful destruction, and when his temper was upon him it was said that he was like a storm - tremendously destructive, but indiscriminate in his aggression. His horde, for they could not be called an army, set their sights upon the pass to Haedrasia. For long months his horde feasted in the halls of Baragau-Gul, and claimed its armouries as their own, and flew their crude flags.

Five years passed this way, and the War Dog held the pass against probing raids from legions who had heard that Casador must truly be gone, for a new power commanded Baragau-Gul. But strange things began happening in the fortress of iron and blood. Zurizigar's banners were oft torn down when dawn came, and packs of wolves began harrying his supply trains, while ghostly figures were seen in the lower galleries of the mountain fortress. Eventually, while he and his men feasted in the great hall, Zurizigar was visited by a lone figure in heavy armour of ancient design, with a certain sword thought long lost at his hip.

He did not speak. Merely pointed at Zurizigar, and waited. The War Dog, affronted by such an intrusion, commanded his men to slay the intruder, but the stranger slew even his mightiest champions without even drawing his blade. And then the War Dog himself rose and joined in combat with the stranger. Again and again he smote the armoured figure, and again and again his weapons were turned aside, and finally the stranger tore his weapons from his hands, and cast them into the firepit, and the War Dog knew that he was witnessing the return of Casador, and he hailed the Sun King, and restored to him his throne and his fortress.

The War Dog would again be called to serve as Torch Lord, and does to this day, but never again would he challenge Casador, and always since has he come eagerly to the summons of Baragau-Gul.

Recent Years (1730 YAM - present)

Back in place at Baragau-Gul for nearly two centuries now, Casador has proven more restive since his return from the grave. He holds the Burgos Pass with everything at his disposal, but makes few forays out of Maldaakore, except to decoy Haedrasian warriors out of their holds, and let the salt flats take them. Many use this as evidence that a new Casador rules Baragau-Gul, or even that many new Casadors have ruled over Baragau-ul. And indeed, few have sighted the man - save in full golden panoply and helm at a great distance - on either side of the mountains. None alive can tell whether this is a new Casador, a weaker one, a more cautious Sun King, or merely a man who has realized that he has eternity to plot his next step, and to delve all of Allornus into the web of depravity and cruelty that has ensnared Maldaakore. Perhaps only time will tell.

Associations


Casador is certainly senior amongst the Torch Lords, the most senior if stories of his great longevity hold true. The group certainly has no leader, but Casador tries to elevate himself above their bickering, and keeps himself mostly detached from the internal politics of Maldaakore, and so he is often called upon by other torch lords in the name of settling disputes. The Profane are still the greatest allies of Casador, and his most trusted lieutenants. He does keep a sizeable garrison of living followers, but because of the difficulty of supplying Baragau-Gul and the tough conditions there he seldom keeps a single contingent garrisoned longer than five years, and his followers hold him in the same horrified awe as the outside world, especially after they have seen him fight.

Statistics


Race Male Drak Skills
Age Middle Aged (1213 years?) Skill Points: spent/total
Profession Warlord (3) skill value rationale
Faith Toldak Church (8)
Class Torch Lord of Maldaakore (9/10)
Talents Inventory
Fast +0 weapon cap threshold reach
Graceful +2
Hale +4
Strong +6
Tough +11 armour hard tiers enc/limit
Clever +6 tool cap test
Insightful +0
Knowledgeable +11 attire environment
Perceptive +0
Wilful +7
Brave +8
Persuasive -3
Forceful +10
Lucky +1

Character Traits


name (n)

description