Fierce warriors of the deserts to the northwest of Cambria, the Warlock Knights combine martial prowess with devastating arcane attacks. It is said that the knights first gained their powers of hellfire and brimstone after imprisoning a demon lord, but others simply claim that the knights traded with the demon, exchanging their eternal souls for the power they gain in life. The Warlock Knights are regarded with a combination of respect and fear by the local populace, but if the Knights have ever cared about their reputation, it has yet to show. Stories of the common folk have had the Warlock Knights as both heroes and villains, depending on the telling of the tale, and the storyteller. Those that gain the respect of the knights might gain access to their vast arcane library, or learn the basics of mixing spell with sword.
The Warlock Knights begin their history as a secular order in -125 AU. Then known as the Wachhund Order, it was formed by a group of scholarly knights who recognized the dangers of forgotten knowledge and powerful artifacts. The Order’s mandate was to seek out and secure these items so that they would never pose a threat to the peoples of Geldar. For 47 years, the Order would hunt and secure many items of terrible danger, along with the knowledge of their creation. The Order was a consummate success, until one dark day in northern Gaston
While investigating rumors of a devil cult, knights of the Order discovered something far more malicious. A device, engraved with ancient symbols of binding and containment, and radiating pure evil. For inside the cube was trapped the essence of Gorgannon, a powerful archdevil. The ancient device was a prison of sorts, but in the millennia since its creation, the device had begun to weaken, allowing wisps of Gorgannon’s power to seep out and corrupt unwitting souls.
The Order immediately purged all remaining cultists, and took the cube to their fortress-monastery in the mountains of northern Cambria. There the scribes and sages of the Order worked to repair the prison, and seal the devil away completely. However, after years and countless attempt, the prison could not be repaired. So a second, more radical plan was proposed and enacted. Instead of sealing away he devil’s power, the knights would instead redirect and contain portions of the dark energies within themselves, each knight becoming a holding vessel for a portion of the devil’s power.
When the knights rode next to battle, they did so ferociously, the power of Gorgannon supplementing their martial prowess. They forged this dark power into a force for good, and a deadly tool. The power was not, however, without cost.
Just as rot will eventually fell a strong tree, so too will corruption break the souls of men. The devil’s power became too much for some knights, and they turned on their brothers, using their power for their own ends. At one point, a schism broke out in the order with almost half the knights breaking away to fight for the banners or tyrants, or falling into devil worship themselves. In -15 AU, with the aid of several other knightly orders, the loyalist Warlock Knights hunted down and systematically purged their fallen kin.
When the Unity Wars broke out in -5 AU, the Warlock Knights answered the call of war. Their fortress-monastery lay in the mountains in the northern regions of Cambria, near the Drascan border. When Drasc fell to the Kalced Empire early in the Wars, the knights quickly found the front lines of war to be at their gates. For over a year, their fortress, the lone defense on the border, stood strong against Imperial attacks. Finally though, the Knights were forced to retreat and abandon their home in the face of 2 entire Kalced legions. The Knights gathered what treasures they could (including the prison-cube) of Gorgannon), and sealed the rest within caverns beneath their fortress. For the remainder of the Unity Wars, the Warlock Knights would fight in the siege of Yliad, using their hellfire and blades to defend the cities walls. The widespread exposure of the knights and their abilities would have swift and dire consequences.
As early as -12 AU, there had been whispers of the knights and their fiendish powers, but these were mostly thought to be fanciful tales or exaggerations. However, with the performance of the knights at the siege of Yliad, there remained no doubt in the minds of some in power that the knights had been corrupted by evil. It was not long before formal charges and challenges were issued. Only a few short years after the end of the war in which they had served honorably, the knight found themselves expelled from the Cambrian peerage, and banished from all Unity kingdoms on pain of death.
The knights traveled north, skirting the Nell desert, as they searched for somewhere safe to settle and continue their mission. Salvation came in a most unlikely form, on a hot desert day.
The Nell desert is home to nomads, merchants of the Craftguild Alliance (commonly known as the Nellac Combine), and most recently, to the trollkin. A new race of humanoids, trollkin were the result of arcane experimentation on trolls, attempting to tame the beasts. Trollkin possess the strength and some of the healing of their ancestors, but lack the aggression and evil temperament. In fact, most trollkin are relatively peaceful.
The trollkin briefly existed independently in the Nell desert, in isolated communities and wandering bands. once they came to the attention of slavers, however, their way of life ended. Strong, durable, and not prone to violence, trollkin made perfect stock for heavy labor, and soon, the majority of the fledgling species existed as slaves for the caravan masters.
On a hot desert day, a scouting party of knights came across the sight of a caravan leader viciously beating a trollkin slave for refusing some minor command. Detesting slavery in all its forms, no matter the law of the land, the knights intervened and slew the caravan master and his guards, and freed the trollkin, offering them aid and safety. The trollkin readily agreed, and the group made their way back to the main encampment of knights. This event spelled out the pattern of the next 5 years. The knights provided safety and the trollkin provided knowledge of the area, and desert survival. The knights taught the trollkin how to defend themselves, and the trollkin instructed the knights on how to survive in one of Geldar’s harshest areas.
Eventually, the knights made their new home in Sabburah Valley, on the edge of the desert. Mountain springs keep the area suitable for farming, and the secluded location leaves all inhabitants relatively unmolested. In 17 AU, the new fortress-monastery, Nystela Sorvath, was completed.
The Knights Today
- Grandmaster Katerina Nataliova
- Seneschal Titus Cato
- Champion Claudius Sulla
- Spellmistress Erisiah Stone
- Armsmaster Curzan Dresh
- Loremaster Lemuel Benoit
- Knights (approximately 100-150 at any given time)
- Knight Novitiate (approximately 30 at any given time)
- Scribes (approximately 65-70 at any given time)
- Scribe Novitiates (approximately 30 at any given time)
300 fortress servants
2500 commoners and villagers in surrounding area
600 trollkin in several settlements in valley