Rise of the Ja'zhir
Larion opens the door to the inn and walks across the room looking for an open spot at the bar. He sits towards one end so he can take see everything going on. He looks around for his contact. He was here tonight to meet up with someone who had deployment info for the empire’s troops. Spotting a man on the far side that matches the description of his contact, he stands up to walk over to him when he catches 2 glowing red orbs out of the corner of his eyes. Through the window Larion can barely see the outline of a figure with 2 glowing red eyes moving in the darkness. The figures arm began illuminating the rest of him in an infernal reddish hue. There stood a Tiefling, red eye’ed and blue hair flowing up defying all that is natural in the world. As his arm glowed brighter he could make out what appeared to be a dagger in his hand and veins, no wait, what appeared to be the outline of flames running down the length of his exposed arm. All of this happened in an instant, but the entirety of that instant was burned into Larions mind in what seemed like an eternity. The window shattered as a torrent of fire and brimstone rained in. Larion didn’t need to look at who the target was for he already knew. Before the blast hit he was already out of his seat and halfway to the door, he had been unconsciously backing towards it the whole time now he turned full and ran hard. As he ran the reality of what was happening began sinking in. He had just seen the Flame of Turath. Larion, alone in the dark running, wondered if we would live to see the dawn.
“The Flame of Turath” is the name of the enemy of the resistance that is shrouded in mystery. His name is mostly just whispers and legends. During the invasion of Harios it was wispered that the Flame was responsible for killing many high ranking leaders, commanders, and for greatly influencing the tide of several major battles. Among the resistance he was reguarded as a cold blooded killer with no remorse, within the Ja’Zhir empire though he was known as Xekalis.
Even within the empire though the name “Flame of Turath” is well known, the name Xekalis is not. Within the empire is a program that harvests Tieflings with possible latent powers. They bring them to the capitol and try to refine this power as well as to produce offspring with stronger latent powers. The ultimate goal is to create a spell caster capable of channeling massively destructive spells. Xekalis never met his real parent’s. He was born in the empire and raised by it. At an early age he was enrolled in advanced magic classes in which he excelled in raw power even above some of the more learned and practiced students. It seemed that his spells where bolstered by a strong infernal power, especially when angry his spells would take on a more infernal nature. As he grew up he was enlisted in the military. On top of his spell casting he was taught hold his own in a physical fight and he would rarely back down from anything.
Within the city he was allowed to move around freely and do as he wished. Even so he spent most of his time either with the handful of other tieflings or at the magic academy. He had several friends that where in school and the military with him. Three of his closest tiefling friends where Tarai, and Kethiel, and Deela. He was good friends with Kethiel and Deela, but Tarai was always jealous of how he could never surpass Xekalis in terms of raw power.
When the invasion of Helios began it didn’t affect Xekalis much at all. But after a short while people he knew from the military where getting called in as well as people from the mage school getting recruited to fight. Not long after that him and his 3 friends where recruited as well. The invasion wasn’t going horribly, the Ja’Zhir just where taking some unacceptable losses in one region due to some monks and clerics with the help of a surprisingly strong and well informed resistance movement in the surrounding woods. His friends where send off to various places on the front while he was moved around to some of the larger battles and greatly helped in overcoming the oppositions spell casters. After one he received word that one of his close friends Kethiel was killed in a surprise attack from a segment of the resistance. Enraged Xekalis went to some of the handlers that where responsible for giving him his orders and asked them to give him any information that they could as to the location and whereabouts of any resistance leaders. The higher ups liked this plan and provided Xekalis with any information they could. At first they would give him a name here and a name there and he would take them out. As time went on though and as they saw how powerful he was while angry they began giving him buildings where meetings where taking place which he would readily burn down no questions asked. At this point he didn’t care, he just wanted this invasion over with fast, so what ever it took he was willing to do for the greater good. During this time all people would see was a cloaked figure with a arm that began to glow with red lighting bolts just prior to igniting a house into a blazing inferno. The figure would then slip off into the darkness with even the fastest runners unable to catch up with him.
Things continued like this for a while, till one job where he was eliminating one leader and a few members of the resistance that where holed up in what they thought was a safe house. He torched the building and any that tried to flea. By chance he was checking for more surviving resistance members he came across an access door to the basement. When he opened it he found a women holding a wet blanked over her children. She was dead but the children appeared to still be alive. Xekalis pulled them from the basement of the building and stumbled off into the woods. Over the next day he stumbled through the woods dazed with dark visions and voices pushing their way into his mind. He had been trying to end the invasion quickly he had never stopped to think about the casualties of war. After hours of tribulation he looked up to find himself back at the charred house from the night before. When he went to leave the children followed him at first he just ignored them but when night came he decided to watch over them. As they traveled towards the next town Xekalis decided he would not fight for anyone but himself anymore.
Some time later, Larion curses as he ducked into an alley way to evade some guards. Ever since the day he had his run in with the Flame of Turath nothing but bad luck had befallen him. To Larion, it seemed as if the rebellion was crumbling everywhere he turned. They hadn’t won a single fight in months and their leadership was in disarray, what was left of it that is. Hearing more shouting and what sounded like an explosion from the street he ran further down the alley and onto another street. Where he saw a fellow resistance member Reil having what appeared to be an argument with 3 children. He had 2 by the arms and was yelling at a third to follow him nice like or else. What are you doing, we need to get out of here. Reil looked at Larion with scorn and annoyance and told him to get lost. “I think you should listen to your friend.”, said a voice from behind Larion. Larion turns around to see a cloaked figure with red eyes, a terrible feeling welled up from within him. Riel shouted at the cloaked figure, “Why have you stopped carrying out your orders! Why are you dragging these children around! You have more important matters to attend to. Like the destruction of the resistance!” When the cloaked man pulled a dagger out from his cloak and pushed his hood back with it, the growing feeling of uneasiness and confusion within Larion just turned to abject horror. As he turned and began running away from the man he could hear hear the sounds crackling sounds of gathering fire behind him. He feel the heat of the flames as the fireball approached. He could smell the smoky flames as the fire surrounded him. And he watched as the flames passed him by and threw Reils body body back in a smoldering heap. Collapsed on the ground he saw Xekalis walk over to the children and exchange a few words before beginning to walk off. He then turned to back towards Larion and said “I’d choose your friends better. Oh and if I where you I wouldn’t stick around, this place isn’t going to last much longer. West looks like a good direction to go, far west that is.”, And with that he turned and began walking off with the children in tow. “West, he says.”, Larion mutters to himself as he spits on the dead body of Riel, “Looks like luck had nothing to do with it. I suppose west is as good a direction to head as any.”