by T.A. Saunders ©2010 v1.1
Duke Skaryn Nalaar Vujaii III, the creator of the sorcerous plague that wiped out what would later be known as Am-Tasaar had far more evils to his name than the massacre that would change the Moon Elvish people forever, though none perhaps more well known. A renown necromancer and Theocrat within the Empire, Skaryn had been known to use prisoners to test his experimental magics upon. In a time where Shar`Vaire citizens could be imprisoned for mentioning the name of the Old Gods, there was little to fear in matters of obtaining fresh subjects to warp to his diabolical will. Skaryn enjoyed his work immensely, often visiting the imperial prison three or four times a day, for fresh subjects to butcher.
While the practice of using prisoners as experimental fodder was nothing new to the Shar`Vaire, taking these subjects and splicing them together in horrific ways was a sort of line even they would not normally cross. Skaryn took great joy in sawing off the limbs of prisoners and replacing them with monstrous replacements, or using necromantic flesh-craft to merge two bodies together, while both subjects were still alive, merely to study the effects of the two souls fighting over control of the new fused together abomination. Skaryn also discovered a way to make tapestries of living flesh and bone out of the body of a person, without actually killing them; the result being a brutally painful existence that could only be released in death.
While the breaking, warping and reshaping of living flesh was certainly interesting to Arch-Defiler Skaryn, there was an ulterior motive to his experiments. Skaryn was obsessed with cheating death, perhaps more so than most Shar`Vaire. By the time the War of the Eternals was in full swing, he was all ready an advanced age of seven hundred and twenty years old; his time on Imarel was growing shorter by the day and some means of rejuvenating his ailing body through necromantic art was a goal he fervently desired to see to fruition, before nature or a knife in his back assured otherwise. Being a lich was not enough for him; it would allow him to cheat death at the cost of watching his body slowly rot, till there was nothing left but his will powering an animate skeleton. Skaryn wanted more for this and his greed for eternal life fueled his experiments with such grotesque zeal that it began troubling his fellow Theocrats.
Even this was not enough to turn his fellow Theocrats against him openly. While there had been whispers amongst the other noble houses that Skaryn’s obsession was getting out of control, none of them felt that it was critical to dissuade his behavior. Especially with war being plotted against the Elves of Shalzaar, Skaryn’s brand of dark knowledge would be vital in securing a victory. So long as Skaryn did not turn against his fellow Theocrats, they would leave him to his eccentric, brutal obsessions without much more than the whispers that had been going on for sometime anyway. This status quo was maintained successfully, until one fateful day on the battlefield.
Skaryn had been leading his personal army against Am-Raynia; at the head of thirty airships and legions of his own troops, he was finding that he was still fighting a tooth and nail battle for the city. While they had vastly superior strength in arms, the Shar`Vaire were still outnumbered eight to one by Elvish defenders that were hidden by illusions that made it nearly impossible to direct the fearsome power of their airships’ Radiance Main Guns or their Witchfire Cannons. Because the Shar`Vaire wanted to take the city, rather than leveling it, Skaryn was forced to land his airships and force a land engagement; the very thing the Moon Elf defenders were hoping for. Covered by illusion and now having the advantage of the trees and familiar terrain, the Shar`Vaire attackers were picked apart by bow-fire and carefully placed sorcerous attacks that did not give them a chance to direct their normally swift and merciless arcane onslaught.
News of this defeat traveled swiftly to Skaryn, who was so enraged by this that he defied one of the few rules of war ethics that Shar`Vaire held to and raised his own slain troops as a revitalized undead army. The Shar`Vaire ghasts he had created were both swift and relentless as they threw themselves at the Elvish defenses and began killing at will. Elves that fell joined the legions of Shar`Vaire ghasts in attacking their kin till the city was overrun with undead. While this sealed the victory for the Shar`Vaire, Am-Raynia had to be destroyed, since the ghasts themselves did not recognize friend from foe, only fresh meat for them to consume in their unending hunger. Skaryn, in his anger it seems made no effort to establish control over the undead he created; he merely set them loose upon his adversaries out of spite.
Because of this turn of events, Skaryn was brought before the Theocratic Senate and stripped of his title, his landholdings and exiled from the Empire. All the research, lore and knowledge he had attained through his experiments was burned and all his monetary assets were taken as reparation to the families who lost soldiers under Skaryn’s command that fateful day. Without a single coin to his name and only the robes on his back, Skaryn was cast out of the Shar`Vaire Empire where his name and atrocities became a thing of urban legend and obscure myth.
It was during this time of wandering that it is said that Skaryn wandered to the North, where he spent time in Zoda. Largely occupied only by Masoq in this period in history, Skaryn quickly brought a wandering tribe of them under his heel. These Masoq, fearful of his magic followed him willingly as he began to gather power to himself once more. As the War of the Eternals winded to a close, Skaryn was all ready killing off wandering Voraath and Human settlers and using them to fuel his experiments once more. Before long, Skaryn had an army of Masoq and ghasts that few in wild Zoda would ever hope to defeat easily. The exiled duke could have easily lived out his days as a Zodasian warlord and lived off the spoils of this existence quite comfortably, were it not for his continued obsession to cheat death.
Research, rumors and old folklore led Skaryn and his armies further north still, to the shattered Land of Miroa. Here, amongst the ancient battlefields, scarred steppe and snow-swept mountains the Shar`Vaire necromancer located an ancient fortress called S`Kyrai, said to house a multitude of secrets of the original Asyndi who served the Old Gods. Confident that he might find what he sought within its halls, Skaryn marched his army to quite literally the top of the world where this massive super-fortress stood. The voyage was a grueling one, where the undead of the land were pitted against Skaryn’s own army of ghasts and living Masoq, nearly every step of the way. It is here that Skaryn discovered that anything that died in Miroa rose once more as an unliving fiend and any undead slain would rise again, unless destroyed utterly. Emboldened by this knowledge, he pressed his army to S`Kyrai and claimed the fortress as his own.
Yet, before any meaningful research could take place, or the secrets of S`Kyrai plumbed for ancient wisdom, Skaryn would finally succumb to death. The fearsome Arch-Defiler who once commanded airships of the Imperial Fleet and held great influence and power in the Theocratic Senate died not from assassination or war, but simple pneumonia. With no priest or knowledge of arcane healing and only Masoq shaman to tend to his ailment, Skaryn died a fitful death, knowing all too well that he would rise again as a lich, fueled by the strange dark power of Miroa.
It was not long before Skaryn befell the very fate he sought to avoid and rose as a fledgling lich, bound eternally to the dark power of Miroa. Over the ages, Skaryn’s Masoq army abandoned him, leaving him with the ghasts he had originally created and those Masoq unfortunate to perish under his command. Little is known about Skaryn and the power he has gathered here, though those who have braved S`Kyrai Fortress tell of the lich lurking always in his library, driven mad with the obsession of finding an answer to the riddle of escaping undeath. Over the thousand years he has lurked there with Miroa has strengthened his undead state, even beyond the scope of his own formidable powers to the point that he acts as something of a foci for the dark energy that pervades in the broken land. Skaryn has command over almost all the dead in Miroa for this reason, not because he bends his will to it. He and the land are linked, much to his own dismay; further complicating the riddle to which he eternally seeks the answer.