Here the accounts of those who have fallen will be given mention. Bereft of the King's grace, they constantly seek to inflict harm on those who serve the legions of Arcātheos.
ZOTHANIEL (Reth Caedus)
Origins: Duxarium (now a Valgray)
Born: 1st Age, 266th year Skill Mastery: Swordsmanship
Alas, he was not always a dark and twisted creature. He once was one of the fabled Duxarium, destined to live forever serving the King and his own. He loved and was loved. He gave and never counted the cost. He toiled and never sought reward. But, our tale does not begin here. It begins many years after the creation of Lumenorus and the commissioning of the seven Arch-Lords. At the dawn of the First Age, Arch-Lord Valerian, while exploring the wild mountain ranges of Zotheus, came across a small child living in the wilderness. The boy was more animal than human, nearly naked and dirty. Where were the child’s parents? Perhaps they were slain by wild beasts or fell prey to a greater evil, we may never know.
Lord Valerian was able to coax the boy to come out of his hole and return with him to his halls. It was shortly thereafter that the boy was deemed to be a Duxarium, although his lineage is all but forgotten. Having no relatives, Lord Valerian allowed the child to remain in the temple, naming him Zothaniel. As seasons passed,the boy grew in both mind and body. He became not only a skilled warrior but excelled in the art of music and speech. The young Zothaniel showed great awe at the wonder and majesty of the King. He longed to be close to the King and serve him, with the hopeto one day stand in his presence. It was during these years that he befriended Aurelius, a young Duxarium also serving in the Royal Court. Their friendship grew as they trained and learned together.
Towards the end of the First Age, both boys had matured into young men destined for greatness in service of the King. However, something was amiss. Zothaniel no longer possessed the same zeal he had for the King from when he was a boy. Something in his mind snapped. A small trickle of doubt began to seep into his once pure and noble mind. His whole being was about to be tested at the outbreak of the Great War. Unlike his brother, Aurelius, who was sent to the defense of Praedor, Zothaniel remained at the side of Lord Valerian in Arcātheos. Despite the fall of Praedor, Aurelius returned as a decorated hero. Once again, Zothaniel felt that small twinge of doubt. Why had he not been sent to the defense of Praedor? Did Valerian see him weaker than Aurelius? Suddenly, like never before, a huge wave of self-doubt flooded into the soul of the young Duxarium.
His mettle was soon to be tested as the Dröch armies marched upon Arcātheos itself. The first assault was easily beat back with few casualties. Inevitably, as the days wore on, fatigue set in. Minds and bodies that were once sharp succumbed to exhaustion, and mistakes were made. Soon the dead and wounded outnumbered those who still fought. For every Dröch slain, ten more would take its place; they were enumerable. Alas, as every man and Duxarium fell, the ranks grew thinner and thinner. Where there was once a field of green grass before the main gate, it was now filled with the piled dead of the enemy. Like the incoming tide, the Dröch hordes smashed the remaining defences of Arcātheos. Once again, both brothers were united in the last defence on the Hill of The King. They had both trained their whole lives for this moment. It would be an honor to die at the side of Lord Valerian.
Zothaniel was determined to prove that he was not insufficient. The Dröch charge smashed into the whittled ranks of the battered defenders. Zothaniel closed his eyes and let the heat of battle engulf him. If one was to watch Zothaniel, Aurelius, and the remaining Duxarum fight, it could be described as a dance. Every movement, every step, each measured and precise. Alas, even the most rehearsed move is compromised as fatigue sets in. Across the field, Zothaniel could see men fall in droves. Their broken bodies trampled upon by the swarming mass of Dröch. Even the immortal Duxarium, in all their power and strength, fell by the sword. Then there were three; Aurelius, Fedilis, and Zothaniel surrounded by a score of battle weary soldiers. Deep down inside, Zothaniel knew it was the end. He had proved insufficient. He was weak. Blinded by his tears and the blood of his enemy he swung his sword one last time with all that was left of his strength. He heard a dull clang as the notched blade bit through plate armor, tearing through soft flesh. The bloody hilt was jarred from his hands when the blade stopped as it hit bone. Then, a sharp pain in his side brought him to his knees. Then another. This is the end he thought. He had failed. Right before he passed into unconsciousness, he heard the sharp sound of a horn followed by a faint cheer.
Of the Heroes to emerge from the Great War, Aurelius was the greatest. For his deeds he would eventually become the head of the Royal Guard, answering only to Lord Valerian himself. All the deeds of Zothaniel, Fedilis, and the others were soon forgotten and passed into history. Although healed from his wounds, Zothaniel still bore the scars of his doubt. His doubt soon turned to anger. Anger at himself that he was insufficient; that he was not like Aurelius. The anger brooded jealousy, jealousy of Aurelius and his stature. His jealousy inevitably turned to hate. Hatred towards Aurelius and his glory, hatred towards Valerian for not seeing his potential, hatred even for the King who caused him to suffer so.
In the months and years that followed, Zothaniel returned to service in the Legion of Arcātheos, but he had changed. Where there had once been joy and a smiling face, there was now a silent and bitter countenance, and where his eyes had once been alight with fiery passion, they were now as cold and impenetrable as ice. With a despairing heart, he continued to serve, but no longer out of any joy or love. And where he had once found happiness in seeing his comrades, hate had taken over in his heart. Little indeed now remained of the once pure and noble warrior. In times of great weakness temptation can appear at its strongest. However, it is also when the King is the closest.
Like a whisper, the spirit of Reth Maloch spoke to him offering power, glory, and acceptance. He could at last exact revenge on all those who made him suffer. When ones heart is full of arrogance there is no room for the words of the King. Zothaniel readily accepted the offer of the Dark Lord and began the trials of his apprenticeship. Unbeknownst to anyone in Arcātheos, and hidden even from the eyes of Lord Valerian, he swore allegiance to Reth Maloch, giving his oath of service in return for training in the ancient ways of the Arch Lords. And thus did he become the enemy now feared throughout all of Lumenorus. Thus did he become the Dark Apprentice who trough betrayal took into his possession the Key of Silentious. A powerful and mysterious artifact obtained by Lord Valerian before the first age.
And with his newfound power, he has sworn vengeance against the King and against the men whom he once counted as brothers: those whom he now perceives as having so grievously wronged him. And yet, there are whispers of hope in the hearts of some, silent prayers that Zothaniel’s heart might someday be reawakened to the love, grace, and mercy of the King, and that he might one day return to his true calling as one of the King’s sons...