Barbarian in the Playground
Join Date: Apr 2012
Re: Evil Game OOC
Kassander will speak in Dark Red
When I met the Warlord Kassander, he lead the Hundred Army, a horde of that Kassander had assembled, of all kinds of races with the goal of pillaging and burning their way through whatever they could find. It was an impressive achievement, an army of orcs, giants, humans, elves, drow, dwarves and many more races worked together under the fearful reign of Kassander.
Many believed that Kassander cared only for destruction, but his actual strategy was much cleverer than that. He was always careful enough, with a few exceptions, not to destroy any area so badly it could not rebuild, while making sure they were unable to counter attack. This would allow his army to return again to pillage and burn a second time, and kept a ripe selection of targets. Kassander did not fight for the love of destruction. He did it for power, which in many ways was even worse.
I first met him after he had pillaged a city, whose name I cannot remember, for the third time. As was his way, he commanded his lieutenants to hunt through the prisoners for any he could provide useful, to be given an audience to bargain for a position in the Hundred Army. Naturally, I was selected easily, and managed to gain an audience.
He sat upon a hastily erected throne amid his court, set in the middle of the ruins. He was an imposing figure, and it was hard to imagine that he had once been merely a human. His physiology had changed so much that he was more than merely human. In fact, I would dare say mention that he lost humanity long ago. His pursuit of power had turned him into something else. Combined with the black plate he wore and his greatsword, Dusk, that he kept at his side, he was one of the most intimidating men I met.
Despite his malevolence, Kassander did have a code of honour. If he agreed to a deal or challenge, he would keep it. Though of course, one did not reach his position by poor deals. He would always attempt to drive a hard bargain, and would never accept anything that did not give him a clear advantage afterwards. Many of the others who tried to bargain for a place among his army were quickly executed when Kassander didn’t like the deal offered.
I lived in the camp for two months, usually under heavy guard, and using my large range of skills to help where I was needed. During those two months before my escape, I asked many questions about Kassander, wishing to learn more about him. Most would tell me the story of his blade, Dusk. The greatsword had been originally forged from the metal of a dead star, crackling with fae energy. Back then, it was named Hope and wielded by an elven champion whose name had long been forgotten by the horde. Even the exact powers of Hope were a matter of question, and many would debate over and over what exactly it could do. All that they could agree on was that it was powerful. When Kassander defeated the champion and claimed the sword, he had it reforged, using profane rituals to corrupt it and make it even more powerful, to the point where, in addition to its usual powers, the sword stole life from those it touched and fed it to Kassander. Not much else was known about the blade, as Kassander kept its true capabilities very secret. Some theorised the reforging did more than just add the ability to steal life, and other darker powers had been added, but just as many said that was the only new addition, and that the blade was otherwise almost exactly like Hope.
The other tale that was often told was how he transformed into the almost godlike figure he was then. Although trained as a Blackguard, he studied magic religiously, attempting to find anything to make him more powerful. Through his research, he found the answer to mysteries that few know, and was able to change his very body in the pursuit of power. Many bragged about having personally witnessed his transformation, seeing him transform into the figure he was now. I quickly realised this was a lie, as others, who actually had seen the ritual, came forward and said that the changes were slow, with things like the wings (a feature often discussed in the other’s tale of the ritual) being the last to finally appear.
However, after digging deep enough, I found the one story that few knew and even less wanted to tell. Kassander’s origin. Kassander started life poor, in a village filled with sorcerers that was repeatedly hazed by the army that would become the Hundred Army. During those days, it had no name and was led by a blackguard named Varresh. Varresh would repeatedly come to the village and conscript all the sorcerers powerful enough to fight, an often brutal event that the village feared. One time, Varresh even conscripted a young girl called Zandra, as most of the stories called her, though others called her Adoli, Rya or even Dusk, though that last one is likely just some old romantic’s change to the tale. This girl was being courted by Kassander at the time, so her conscription made the young Kassander distraught. Apparently, afterwards, his father taught him the value of power, telling the young Kassander that Varresh can get away with whatever he wants because he is powerful.
Kassander took the lesson to heart, and the next time Varresh came to his village, Kassander sneaked into Varresh’s camp, and killed one of Varresh’s apprentices. He then showed Varresh the decapitated head, and managed to bargain his way into becoming one of the blackguard’s students. Kassander learned quickly, apparently, and surpassed the other apprentices with ease. Personally, I believe he did it through sabotage, but the tales say otherwise. Eventually, when he became strong enough, he publically challenged Varresh to a duel. Varresh was the type to accept any challenge given, probably a large reason why Kassander refuses to unless given a good reason to accept. Kassander managed to win, and took over Varresh’s army, eventually forging it into the Hundred Army.
The only part of the tale that is missing is the exact fate of Zandra. Some say she died before Kassander joined Varresh, others say Kassander killed her in a show of loyalty to Varresh. Some said that Kassander let her leave the army when he took power, while some even said that she was still part of the army, under an assumed name, and was Kassander’s secret lower. The last one is almost certainly a fabrication.
After I escaped the Hundred Army, I never saw Kassander again. Once, I heard he managed to find himself in trouble with a trickster god, stripping him of his army and most of his powers. Apparently, he became almost human again, only half way through his transformation into the half-dragon he would become. Even his wings, that were once such a major part of his body, were gone. Many of his other unnatural abilities were also lost, forcing him to flee and leave his army in control of his lieutenant, an ambitious elf named Athrial. In his escape, he even left his equipment, including Dusk.
I never did find out what happened to Kassander after that. Too busy with my many other adventures to follow just one of the many people I met. Maybe one day, I’ll investigate.
- From the Chronicles of Edwin Hollander
Kassander's army had attacked the city of Hale and in doing so had inadvertantly ruined one of the trickster god's plans. As Kassander's men captured prisoners to pressgang into the Hundred Army, the trickster god let himself get captured and bought to Kassander, where he cursed Kassander. Kassander pretended that the curse had no effect, so that his lieutenant, Athrial, previously too scared of Kassander to act on his traitorous thoughts, was unaware. However, when Athrial discovered what had happened, he tried to kill Kassnader, forcing Kassander to escape his army, without even Dusk, his powerful sword.
Avatar by kpenguin
Games I'm DMing: Tenbis City - M&M 3e
- Blackguard//Evolutionist. Thanks to Strawberries for the image
- Summoner. Thanks to kpenguin for the image
Tactics - Warforged Warlord. Thanks to Cieka for the image