14 October 2007

The Uruqua (III)

Lord of Giants
(Greater Servant of Bardan)

The Greatest, The Lord of Giants, Old One-Eye

When the minions of the Dark were created in the years during the Wars of the Powers, the second to be brought forth (after Achamkriss, Lord of Wyrms) was Gargarik the Giant. An immense being of unfathomable strength and boundless ferocity, Gargarik delighted Bardan, for he seemed to be the opposite of everything that Achamkriss represented, in his thoughtless rage, unsubtle power, and a lust for battle and destruction. A true abomination, Gargarik resembles the Giant races only superficially, appearing as a colossal titan with the horns of a ram, and the single eye of a Cyclops. According to Giantish legend, Bardan put so much of his power into making Gargarik strong that he did not have enough strength left to craft a second eye. Gargarik’s detractors argue that he has only one eye because he is only smart enough to concentrate on one thing at a time.

What Gargarik lacks in brains, he more than makes up for in brawn. Among the Uruqua, his strength is unequalled, except perhaps by Morga or Bardan himself. Indeed, Morga, ever envious of Gargarik’s rule of the Giants, has in the past elevated a number of his minions to the status of Avatars in specific challenge to Gargarik, including his lesser servant, Chamhain (patron of Fire Giants), and Sylgur, the Avatar of the Frost Giants. Yet to Morga’s disgust, even these, his servants, acknowledge the primacy of Gargarik; and though they have tried to deceive and even slay him, not even the combined might of Chamhain, Sylgur and Mælgorm, the Avatar of Winter, has sufficed to bring Gargarik down.

None of the Kindred worship Gargarik, but his faith is widespread among the evil Giant races, as well as among the Ogres and similar giantish sub-species. Most of his priests are shamans, but among the Cloud Giants may be found true Clerics of Gargarik – fearsome specimens, who wield his powers with savage ferocity. Clerics of Gargarik automatically gain Power Attack at 1st level, Improved Bull Rush at 3rd level, and Improved Overrun at 5th level. They can channel any of their daily Turn Undead attempts into a Smite Good attack as a Paladin of their level. But while potent in battle, they are too erratic to serve as effective commanders, and thus may never take the Leadership feat.

Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Sphere(s): Giants, barbarians, warriors

Sigil: Stone-headed greathammer
Preferred hues: Grey and rust-red
Preferred weapon: Greathammer
Worshippers’ alignment: Any evil / giant
Domains: Chaos, Destruction, Madness, Strength, War
Church: Minor; “The Lord of Giants” (major among evil Giants)

* * * * *

The Emerald Enchantress
(Avatar of Dark Sorcery, Ekhalra)

The Emerald Enchantress, The Queen’s Bright Staff

The tale of Hasorex is not one to delight the ears of the Elves. Like Miros, Hasorex was a daughter of one of the ancient Kings of Elvehelm, long before the Age of Wisdom, when the Children of Bræa were besieged by the monsters and minions of Bardan. Like Miros, Hasorex sought power – but unlike Miros, her power was not the result of long years of study, but rather flowed from within, originating in some dark place within her soul. Hasorex lusted for her own glory and aggrandizement, not for the strength to aid her people. In her quest for arcane might, she came at length to Ekhalra’s camp, and offered her service in exchange for the might to warp the arcane flux to her will. Delighted at the prospect of a servant among the royal families of the Elves, Ekhalra agreed, and granted the wish of Hasorex – who returned to her home, her mind afire with the profane might of her new mistress, and destroyed her family and their fastness.

This deed cemented Hasorex’s place in the pantheon of the Uruqua. She is revered for her implacable, unwavering search for power for its own sake, and for her willingness to wield the forces of the cosmos to her own benefit. She is the patroness of all who practice Dark Sorcery. Usually pictured as a woman of what later came to be called the Third House of Harad, with a fine figure, azure eyes, and unruly sable hair, Hasorex wields the Emerald Staff – a gift from her mistress Ekhalra, that was crafted in mockery of the Azure Rod wielded by Tioreth. The Emerald Staff of Ekhalra grants Hasorex the ability to use any arcane spell once per day.

The worship of Hasorex is subtle and complex. She has few clerics, and all must be multi-classed as sorcerers. She has no temples as such, but her followers have created networks of Machtsteder throughout Anuru – sites where the strands of the arcane flux are gathered together with especial intensity, and where sorcery is especially potent. Sorcerers casting spells at one of the Machtsteder do so at CL+2 (for a Lesser site), or CL+6 (for a Greater site). Only the followers of Hasorex know where all of these mystical sites are located.

Alignment:: Neutral Evil
Sphere(s): Dark sorcery

Sigil: An azure eye, crowned, on an emerald pentacle
Preferred hues: azure and emerald
Preferred weapon: Staff
Worshippers’ alignment: Evil
Domains: Cold, Luck, Fire, Magic
Church: Very minor; “The Order of the Emerald Staff” (no temples, consecrated power sites only)

* * * * *

The First Fang
(Greater Servant of Tvalt)

First Fang, The Master of Dust, Lord of Lichs and Vampires

In a pantheon that contains many horrors, surely Kaaris is one of the worst. Like many of the Anari, he was once mortal; a Son of Esu and a mage of tremendous powers, but with a heart as black as winter’s ice. Architect of a plan to bring about the downfall of the empires of Esud, he was stopped only by one of the Priests of the Allfather, who cast upon him a terrible curse, rendering him an undying spirit, with an unquenchable thirst for blood. While this ended his imperial ambitions, it brought about an unending legacy of horror; for Kaaris satisfied his thirst, and in doing so, spread the curse of blood throughout Anuru. For this reason, he is called the First Fang, and Lord of Vampires.

His affliction did nothing to stem his ambitions, however, and his mastery of the arcane arts continued. At length he discovered the means to warp both the arcane and the divine flux, overcoming his curse long enough to transform himself into a Lich – a lifeless mockery of life, but one with horrific powers. As the only being in Anuru ever to become both Vampire and Lich, and as a mighty mage, Kaaris was sought out by Tvalt, and became second among the Servants of the Master of the Long Halls, after Allarkin, the Traveller.

Kaaris’ appearance reflects reality: a terrifying vision of undeath, wielding the Ebon Staff, a tool vouchsafed him by his master, Tvalt, with which Kaaris is able to both create and command legions of the undead. His clerics – who routinely engage in unholy and profane rights with the undead – can create, control and rebuke twice as many HD of undead per level, and are +4 on all saving throws against the special powers of undead creatures. Sacrifices to Kaaris are made by slaying victims on his altars, and then immediately animating them as zombies to guard those same altars.

Esu himself, who hates the undead with a divine passion, has sworn to destroy Kaaris, and awaits the opportunity to do so. Perhaps this hatred stems from the fact that Esu knows that it was his own divine power, albeit wielded by one of his clerics, that first brought the Plague of the Fang to Anuru.

Alignment:: Neutral Evil
Sphere(s): Corporeal undead, lichs, vampires

Sigil: A fanged skull on a black sun
Preferred hues: Bone and black
Preferred weapon: Staff
Worshippers’ alignment: Any evil
Domains: Death, Domination, Magic, Mysticism, Summoner
Church: Minor; “The Masters of Dust”