Bloodright : Rise of the Border Princes
Former Warlord of The Howling
A chiselled Tiefling, with slightly elven features, Baron Vartak wore dark brown robes (the better to hide bloodstains) trimmed in black. He had only a black goatee and a long top-knot of black hair on his head, both liberally streaked with grey. He bore a grim-looking staff in hand, boasting a gilded skull wrapped in rose thorns atop a smooth limb of some black tree.
An extensive traveller, he had the facade of being an intellectual, and possessed a large collection of tomes and scrolls from his travels. He remained, however, disturbingly bland to most who meet him, but this was a carefully cultivated appearance, and it was well to not underestimate him. He always displayed a wry and twisted sense of humour. He was known to specialize in necromancy spells, and favour the use of minions in most conflicts. He was always accompanied by his bodyguard, Ool-Oog, a fierce snow troll.
He died at the blades and spells of the Fierce Creatures in the heart of his own personal lair at Griffon Aeyrie, in early early Stormbring, 1049 TR.
Born to a northern tribe of elves, Baron Vartak was the bastard child of a wandering demon and his elven mother. He was allowed to pursue his magical talents from an early age, and took a Star Pact with an unknown outer planar force or being (originally thought to be a Fey Pact with various elven spirits). He fled his home tribe after sacrificing his own mother in the final stage of the Star Pact, and wandered extensively seeking his destiny.
Eventually, he came to find an isolated hold in the western eaves of The Dark Fence, and settled in to study and employ the extensive library he had amassed. Propelled by his tireless search for power, and fueled by his complete detachment from any sense of morality, he rose quickly in status, eventually enslaving several small orc tribes under his control.
In TR 1042, when the giants invaded The Mark – Land of the Iron Dragon, he offered their leader the use of his troops in securing their flank, and eventually managed to win a concession of “baron” in their new kingdom. He sends regular shipments of tribute to secure his title, and allows his orcish warriors and hobgoblin mercenaries the rights to exact whatever tribute they can, but won’t molest his “subjects” to the extent that the giants have done, thus ensuring his resource base and his position as their ruler. His troops rightly fear him, and follow his commands as required.
This personae, however, was an elaborate lie.
Vartaksithraxis, “the Blessed” was an adult red dragon who had survived among his kind, not due to great strength or arcane knowledge, but through cunning, murder, subterfuge and the blessings of his sometime lover, Tiamat. As he grew older, he decided he need to do something more as a leagacy for himself, and came upon the actual Baron during his wanderings. Intrigued, he took the mage back to his lair, interrogated him, and assumed his personae. He built the army at his command from scattered mountain orc and ogre bands that he easily swayed into his control, and then posed as Vartak beginning his reign in Cygnus – The Swan Kingdom, planning his own personal retribution against the giants of The Kingdom of Tjalf, in the Ages-old war of giant versus dragon.
Building massive earthworks and strongholds, he felt his own reign secure, and had begun preparing for an assault into the giant lands, to end their rule over the lands through his growing undead army. He died in Griffon Aeyrie and now lives in the legacy of The Giant’s Wall and Fort Darksun, and his looted treasures, which now rest in the growing hoards of the Fierce Creatures.