Aži Dahāka (the Crusader) is a tall, elegantly-dressed tiefling male. When in battle he is cloaked in a sheen of opalescent ice. The freezing air around him forms thick armored plates of sheer rime which, many believe, protect him from any weapon.
Lord of Bael Turath
Aži Dahāka (the Crusader) is the armored fist of the Dark Gods of the Archipelago. So long as the elves and dragonborn stay the hell out of his way, the Crusader turns his wrath against the “demons of the Dominium” that would destroy the world his own gods want to rule. Follow the Crusader if you must win at any cost.
“Hope not ever to see Heaven. I have come to lead you to the other shore; into eternal darkness; into fire and into ice.” — Dante Alighieri, Inferno
Alara > Pyrrhus > Vor Kragal
The Crusader leads an elite corps of ruthless warriors, spellcasters, and assassins. From him they learn the lost ways of the Dark Gods, speaking oaths long forbidden to those who walk in the light of day. Critics of the Crusader say that the side effect of this training is to burn all pity and love from the hearts of the crusaders, and indeed s pitiless heart is not a side effect but the very point of the training. Many crusader initiates prove unworthy of the challenge. Those who die in training are perhaps luckier than those who live on, haunted by what they learned.
Adventurers & the Icon
For an adventurer to have undertaken missions sponsored by the Crusader is a cause for bragging rights. Such missions are never cakewalks or uneventful garrison duty. The Crusader has stepped on certain toes, and his personal style is unacceptable to certain hosts, so he occasionally hires adventurers from outside his organization to undertake missions in “hostile” territory.
The dragons Logitönn, Nóttvæng, Yllviðrislá [Flamescale, Nightscale, and Stormscale] (the Three) are useful allies against the elves, old enemies of the tieflings from before the days of the Dominium.
Avacyn of the Protectorate (the Priestess) seeks to impose the will of the gods of the Dominium over all the Archipelago, but is held at bay, in part by Bael Turath. Dominex Timaeus Elliniko (the Emperor) of the Dominium seeks to eradicate the “infernal” tieflings.
The hellish masters of Bael Turath once held control of large portions of Eilífr’s Well and what is now the Aklan Protectorate — both above and below the surface. Their enemies shuddered at rumors of extraplanar holdings that dwarfed even their sprawling empire in the world. Bael Turath rose to power when the raiders of the Reach of Eilífr were at their peak, and it was inevitable that the upstart empire would come into conflict with the dragonborn. The war that erupted when these two fearsome powers careened into each other engulfed the entire world. Dragonborn surged onto the coasts of Alara by the thousands, and the ships of their elven allies darkened the seas. The tieflings responded in kind. The tainted ones turned the hearts of their foes black with corruption, sparking feuds between the dragonborn and the elves.
When it was over, the magic worked on both sides was so dire that it tore reality and dreams. No one remembers what happened after the fall, but the glory of Vor Kragal — one of the empire’s most impressive bastions of power — was undone. A few of its most impressive citadels survived the desolation, but the rest of the obsidian city was laid to ash.
The True Danger
The Crusader seems willing to pay a dark price for power in his quest to expel the Dominium. What might become of the Archipelago if both the Elf Queen and the Crusader are beholden to the same source?