Characters of Cimmeria: Aeëtes

Aeëtes as pictured in the 1963 film, Jason and the Argonauts

King Aeëtes was the son of the sun Titan, Helios, and the Oceanid, Perseis. Aeëtes founded his city, Colchis, during the Golden Age of Man before the Titans fell. King Aeëtes lived a long time due to his godly blood and due to the magic spells of his daughter, Medea. When she abandoned him, Aeëtes turned to dark magic himself to extend his life. He became an undead monster, hunted by Hades. Throughout history Aeëtes seemed to be on the wrong side of every war. This eventually resulted in his death during the First Alliance War.

During the Heroic Age, King Aeëtes was gifted the Golden Fleece. He displayed it on a tree in his castle grove, guarded by a fierce dragon. Travelers came from across the world to see and to attempt to steal the Golden Fleece. Eventually Jason and the Argonauts succeeded with the help of Aeëtes’s daughter, Medea. She prevented Aeëtes from pursuing the Argonauts by cutting her brother, Absyrtus, into pieces and discarding them as they failed away. King Aeëtes stopped to gather his son’s corpse, allowing the thieves to escape.

After his son’s murder and the theft of his city’s prized possession Aeëtes panicked and immediately sought out a way to extend his natural life. He found his answer in undeath. Aeëtes forced the city magician to transform him into a Curst. With eternity on his side, Aeëtes studied as many magical tomes as he could get his hands on in order to increase his inhumane might. He later had his eternal power increased by having himself spellstitched.

Aeëtes unnatural extension of his life attracted the attention of Hades. By becoming immortal, Aeëtes denied a citizen to Hades. Under the light of a solar eclipse the god of the Underworld sent an army to reclaim Aeëtes’s soul. The expedition failed due to King Aeëtes’s magical powers. An arms race began between Hades and Aeëtes. The undead king maintained his freedom for centuries. Along the way, Colchis’s defenses improved with an army, explosive glyph traps, stone golems, dragon defenders, faerie defenders, marut constructs, and plant monsters provided through a pact with Demeter. Hades continued to attack Colchis under solar eclipses, but these invasions never reclaimed the soul of Aeëtes.

King Aeëtes always maintained a good relationship with the dragons of Cimmeria. He had his famous sleeping dragon by his side since the Golden Age. During the rule of dragons, Aeëtes worked with the white dragon hegemons to keep the mortals subjugated. This left Aeëtes with few friends after the Dragon War. For a time, Cimmerian trade to Colchis dwindled to a few halfling caravans. Fortunately for King Aeëtes, he lived longer than people’s memories. After a few decades trade returned to pre-Dragon War levels.

King Aeëtes played politics with his neighbors as kings must do. He acted as a balancing influence between the Xorian and Amazon Kingdoms, at times allying with one and then the other. This middle position turned against Aeëtes when King Jevaninada I of Xoria married Queen Anajakaze of Dradelden. Their combined force, along with Jevaninada’s Seven Rages were able to defeat Aeëtes and magically bond him to Jevaninada’s service.

Aeëtes reluctantly served his master for a decade. His chance for freedom came when the First Alliance of Cimmeria was formed. Amalgami the Betrayer broke the enchantment on Aeëtes, allowing the Colchian King to seek revenge against his captors. He reliably fought alongside the forces of Princess Tarigananata. Unfortunately, Grave of the Seven Rages was able to defeat Aeëtes by imprisoning his soul in a ruby dagger.

Grave later surrendered Aeëtes’s soul to Hades. The ancient king’s millenia long escape from death finally ended. Hades ensured Aeëtes received a suitable punishment. Without their king, Colchis suffered under Xorian rule until the conclusion of the Second Alliance War. Unfortunately, Aeëtes’s immortality had left the city unable to properly function without him. Now three different people claim to be king of Colchis.

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