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Monday, September 9, 2013

Kurssix, Knight of Death, Lich, Godslayer

Far from the nation of Greystone in the world of Ryndaria, across the eastern ocean, live a society long descended from ancient dragons.  These draconic humanoids built the sizeable Saurane Empire radiating from their ancestral home, Mount Yrlandist. 

The Saurians worshiped the dragon-god Yrlan, who dwelt within the mountain.  The ancient dragon slept for decades, and even centuries at a time, usually waking long enough to prophecy to his worshipers.  Only chosen Saurians visited the lair of the ancient beast, seeking the chance to hear his wisdom.

Yrlan's children spread amongst the great continent over the centuries.  The Saurians believed themselves descended from Yrlan's offspring.  The great dragons, known by the silvery shine of their scales, lived throughout the land.  To meet one was considered a great honor among the Saurians.

There lived a young Saurian knight by the name of Kurssix.  When his younger brother (a fellow Saurian knight and Kurssix' closest confidant) was killed in battle by the errant arrow of a comrade, Kurssix obsessed over bringing his lost brother back from the dead.

Kurssix' obsession led him to the necromantic arts.  In secret, he searched out the magic of the undead.  He hoped to find a way to bend this dark magic to his will, that he might bring his brother back to life.  He learned to control undead minions and speak to the spirits of the dead, coaxing the secrets of the spirit world from them.

He understood he delved into magic long forbidden to his people.  The Saurians honored the dead, even those of their enemies and the other races of the world, and to defile the dead's rest was itself punishable by death.  Kurssix hid his secrets well.

Over the years, his obsession led to paranoia, corrupting the knight's mind.  Kurssix became drunk on his growing necromantic power.  The death knight believed the power to raise his brother existed, but he feared he would meet his end either in battle or through Saurian justice.  He concentrated his efforts to seek out ways to protect himself from death.

Kurssix convinced himself the answer lay in immortality.  He could continue his search if only he assured his longevity.  He found his answer in the ultimate display of necromantic power:  become a lich.
As a lich, the Saurian death knight understood he would himself become undead, retaining his mind and growing his necromantic powers.  A phylactery, an item created to hold and protect Kurssix' soul, needed to be created.
Creation of a phylactery required the death of a living being.  The older and more powerful the victim, the more difficult it would be to destroy the phylactery.  The magic imprisoned the soul of the murdered creature and forced it to protect the phylactery for eternity.  Only destroying the phylactery destroys the lich and frees the soul of the protector.
In Kurssix' mad mind, only a dragon's soul was worthy and strong enough to protect his phylactery.  He set out to destroy the most powerful dragon in existence, Yrlan the dragon god.
Kurssix spent months in seclusion, formulating his plan.  He found the spirits of two of Yrlan's dragon children, long dead, and forced them to reveal the secrets of their father's lair.  The necromancer raised an army of undead to prepare for battle at his command.
Kurssix timed his attack carefully, sending his undead minions into the countryside near the capital during the Festival of the Ancestors.  During this annual festival, no Saurians visited the lair of the ancient dragon.
Kurssix only needed to deal with the magic that protected Yrlan from intruder.  Kurssix coerced the details of these traps from the ghosts of Yrlan's children.  He hoped Yrlan did not change them in the many decades since those offspring died.
Kurssix found the secret entrance to the base of Yrlan's lair, and crept along the maze of tunnels.  He brought two powerful undead minions with him, a vampire and a slain bear he raised from the forest.  They would protect him from any other creatures that might be in the tunnels, and Kurssix would use them as fodder for any unforeseen traps.
Kurssix' confidence grew as he traversed the path to the dragon.  He dispelled the powerful magical wards and traps, recognizing they remained unchanged.  Within an hour, the Saurian and his minions reached the lair of the ancient god.
Upon entering the dragon's chamber, Kurssix gasped at the size of the creature.  The ancient dragon, his silver scales dulled with age to look more like iron, filled the massive chamber in all directions. 
Kurssix crept along the edge of the chamber, attempting to reach the dragon's head without disturbing its deep sleep.  He commanded his vampire minion to take on bat form and fly above the dragon while his bear guarded the exit.
The dragon's head rested upon the floor of the chamber, nearly 20 feet in length.  Two horns jutted from the top of its head, each twice the size of Kurssix.  The mad necromancer stared in awe at the great beast and thought to retreat, but his ambition and obsession overwhelmed him.
He cast the spell he prepared and practiced over the previous months.  If it worked, he would know power beyond anything imaginable.  If it did not, he would join his brother in death.
Kurssix spell drained the life force of the sleeping dragon.  The spell awoke Yrlan from his slumber, but too late for the ancient god to change his fate.  In a fit of rage, the dragon breathed its last, sending sparks of flaming acid out at his assailant.
The acid and flame engulfed Kurssix, destroying his armor and him with it.  Yet the spell completed, and Kurssix found himself reappearing next to his phylactery, a young dragon's claw, naked but alive.
He was a lich.  Kurssix felt the coldness of undeath and the power that came with it.  He felt the presence of his undead minions around him, and summoned them to his side with a thought.  Drunk on power, and angry at the dead dragon for causing him pain, Kurssix took a piece of the dragon's horn and one of its scales as trophies.
Kurssix strode from the mountain, confidant he could now complete his work.  As he exited the mountain tunnels he heard the distant sound of battle as his undead army continued to distract the Saurians.
Knowing they would come for him and disturb his work, Kurssix fled his homeland for the west, across the great ocean.  He found himself in Greystone, where he created a great magical lair to continue his dark work.
Kurssix the lich was a recent adversary of the Dungeons and Dragons group I occasionally run.  The party never fought the lich, but instead attempted to destroy his phylactery before he could be revived after a centuries long banishment.  They were successful in destroying the phylactery (or were they??).
I enjoyed writing this story as I painted this latest mini.  I used all the techniques I have been practicing, and I think the paint turned out really well.  I especially like the leathery look to the wings covering his shield.  I hope the pictures bring out the details well enough.  I think I need to have my wife take pictures of my minis in the future, as she's the one with the photography training!
I hope you enjoyed it as well.
Thanks for reading!

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