1. Purist Thunderwrath the Omniknight
Purist Thunderwrath was a hard-fighting, road-worn, deeply committed knight, sworn to the order in which he had grown up as squire to elder knights of great reputation. He had spent his entire life in the service of the Omniscience, the All Seeing One. Theirs was a holy struggle, and so embedded was he in his duty that he never questioned it so long as he had the strength to fight and the impetuous valor that comes with youth. But over the long years of the crusade, as his elders passed away and were buried in sorry graves at the side of muddy tracks, as his bond-brothers fell in battle to uncouth creatures that refused to bow to the Omniscience, as his own squires were chewed away by ambush and plague and bad water, he began to question the meaning of his vows the meaning of the whole crusade. After deep meditation, he parted ways with his army and commenced a long trek back to the cave-riddled cliffs of Emauracus, and there he set a challenge to the priests of the Omniscience.
No knight had ever questioned them before, and they tried to throw him into the pit of sacrifice, but Purist would not be moved. For as he faced them down, he began to glow with a holy light, and they saw that the Omniscience had chosen to reveal Itself to him. The Elder Hierophant led him on a journey of weeks down into the deepest chamber, the holy of holies, where waited not some abstract concept of wisdom and insight, not some carved relic requiring an injection of imagination to believe in, but the old one itself. It had not merely dwelt in those rocks for billions of aeons; no, It had created them. The Omniscience had formed the immense mineral shell of the planet around itself, as a defense against the numerous terrors of space. Thus the All Seeing One claimed to have created the world, and given the other truths revealed to Purist on that day, the knight had no reason to refute the story. Perhaps the Omniscience is a liar, deep in its prison of stone, and not the world’s creator at all, but Omniknight never again questioned his faith. His campaign had meaning at last. And there can be no question that the glorious powers that imbue him, and give his companions such strength in battle, are real beyond any doubt.
2. Undying the Almighty Dirge
How long has it been since he lost his name? The torn ruin of his mind no longer knows. Dimly he recalls armor and banners and grim-faced kin riding at his side. He remembers a battle: pain and fear as pale hands ripped him from his saddle. He remembers terror as they threw him into the yawning pit of the Dead God alongside his brothers, to hear the Dirge and be consumed into nothingness. In the darkness below, time left them. Thought left them. Sanity left them. Hunger, however, did not. They turned on each other with split fingernails and shattered teeth. Then it came: distant at first, a fragile note at the edge of perception, joined by another, then another, inescapable and unending.
The chorus grew into a living wall of sound pulsing in his mind until no other thought survived. With the Dirge consuming him, he opened his arms to the Dead God and welcomed his obliteration. Yet destruction was not what he’d been chosen for. The Dead God demanded war. In the belly of the great nothing, he was granted a new purpose: to spread the Dirge across the land, to rally the sleepless dead against the living. He was to become the Undying, the herald of the Dead God, to rise and fall and rise again whenever his body failed him. To trudge on through death unending, that the Dirge might never end.
3. Abaddon the Lord of Avernus
The Font of Avernus is the source of a family’s strength, a crack in primal stones from which vapors of prophetic power have issued for generations. Each newborn of the cavernous House Avernus is bathed in the black mist, and by this baptism they are given an innate connection to the mystic energies of the land. They grow up believing themselves fierce protectors of their lineal traditions, the customs of the realm–but what they really are protecting is the Font itself. And the motives of the mist are unclear.
When the infant Abaddon was bathed in the Font, they say something went awry. In the child’s eyes there flared a light of comprehension that startled all present and set the sacerdotes to whispering. He was raised with every expectation of following the path all scions of Avernus took–to train in war, that in times of need he might lead the family’s army in defense of the ancestral lands. But Abaddon was always one apart. Where others trained with weapons, he bent himself to meditation in the presence of the mist. He drank deep from the vapors that welled from the Font, learning to blend his spirit with the potency that flowed from far beneath the House; he became a creature of the black mist.
There was bitterness within the House Avernus–elders and young alike accusing him of neglecting his responsibilities. But all such accusations stopped when Abaddon rode into battle, and they saw how the powers of the mist had given him mastery over life and death beyond those of any lord the House had ever known.
4. Ulfsaar the Ursa Warrior
Ulfsaar the Warrior is the fiercest member of an ursine tribe, protective of his land and his people. During the long winters, while the mothers sleep and nurse their cubs, the males patrol the lands above as tireless, vigilant defenders of their ancient ways. Hearing dim but growing rumors of a spreading evil, Ulfsaar headed out beyond the boundaries of his wild wooded homeland, intending to track down and destroy the threat at its source, before it could endanger his people. He is a proud creature with a bright strong spirit, utterly trustworthy, a staunch ally and defender.
5. Rotundjere the Necrophos
In a time of great plague, an obscure monk of dark inclinations, one Rotund’jere, found himself promoted to the rank of Cardinal by the swift death of all his superiors. While others of the order went out to succor the ill, the newly ordained cardinal secluded himself within the Cathedral of Rumusque, busily scheming to acquire the property of dying nobles, promising them spiritual rewards if they signed over their terrestrial domains.
As the plague receded to a few stubborn pockets, his behavior came to the attention of the greater order, which found him guilty of heresy and sentenced him to serve in the plague ward, ensorcelled with spells that would ensure him a slow and lingering illness. But they had not counted on his natural immunity. Rotund’jere caught the pox, but instead of dying, found it feeding his power, transforming him into a veritable plague-mage, a Pope of Pestilence. Proclaiming himself Necrophos, he travels the world, spreading plague wherever he goes, and growing in terrible power with every village his pestilential presence obliterates.