Blendegad

Blendegad was a member of the Gish Trio that defeated the githyanki, the first vampire of Cimmeria, and eventually the Reaper god of the dragovinians. He was an accomplished swordsman and augmented his martial skills with a magical talent focused on quick-cast curses. As a hero his primary motivation was guilt for those he couldn’t save. This guilt eventually drove him to attain greater and greater forms of immortality in order to purge himself of weakness.

Blendegad was born to a witch-healer in a village close to Dalleer. His father was absent. Blendegad’s magical abilities manifested early. His mother secretly told him that their family was descended from the red dragons of the Terror Mountains. The draconic blood had thinned, but it still gave the family arcane power. As Blendegad grew the power within him increased. He channeled his energy to draw stamina from others to empower his own body. His particular use of magic and swords marked him as a hexblade.

As an adult Blendegad became the valiant protector of his village. He drove off goblins and wargs using his sword and his curse magic. Blendegad felt remorse for those outside his village that could not benefit from his stellar protection. When Shalerton called for aid, Blendegad answered. He allied himself with Galandir the eldritch knight and Tereman the paladin. Together they drove back one of the first scouting expeditions the githyanki sent into the Material Plane.

Blendegad, Galandir, and Tereman formed a lasting partnership to combat the githyanki threat. They came to be known as the Gish Trio. They investigated the githyanki to try and discover the outsiders’ plans. Doing so made them the ideal heroes to assist Tracy when she was released from the Blue Dragon Orb. The Gish Trio and Tracy teamed up and prepared Shalerton, Nomingburg, and Crafterton for the githyanki invasion. They successfully resisted and kept those cities free from githyanki influence during the occupation of Cimmeria.

As part of the Gish Trio, Blendegad helped with Tracy’s plan to spoil the alliance between Bavastatner and the Lich-queen. In Shratalanda’s journals, they found the secret to breaking an oath on the River Styx . Tracy leaked the secret to the Blue Dragon Cultists. Bavastatner used this information to bind his soul to the Underworld river and free himself from his oaths. This sparked the Draco-Gith War between the githyanki and the blue dragons.

Tracy devised a plan to banish the Lich-queen back to the Astral Plane with the help of the Gish Trio. While she and Tereman perfected the banishment spell, Blendegad and Galandir used their acquired skills to improve the group’s arms and equipment. Blendegad focused on using the silver sword material captured from the githyanki to create a synergistic panoply of a suit of armor, a shield, and a sword.

The Gish Trio was ready and waiting for the perfect time to strike at the Lich-queen. She fought personally in the Draco-Gith War, using her strength to win battles but also exposing herself to danger. Tracy’s network informed her of the Lich-queen’s weakness after a particularly draining battle. Tracy and the Gish Trio pounced upon the Lich-queen, taking advantage of her fatigued state. Tereman managed to banish the Githyanki Matriarch eternally to the Astral Plane, but the Lich-queen killed Tracy and consumed her soul during the fighting. The heroes succeeded in their mission, but lost one of their own.

Blendegad fell into depression after Tracy’s death. He blamed himself for her loss. The warrior’s guilt drove him to alter the shield of the combined panoply he’d made with Galandir and Tereman. With Shratalanda’s notes and his gathered knowledge of the githyanki, Blendegad changed the nature of the resonant power of the panoply. Now when all three were worn together they would transform the bearer into an immortal being. Blendegad completed his work and donned the gear, changing into a new breed of immortal, a vampire.

Blendegad noticed the drawbacks of his new nature quickly and hid the effects from Galandir and Tereman. Sunlight was lethal and he had to sustain himself with living blood. He drank from the githyanki they killed when his allies’ backs were turned. Drawbacks there were, but Blendegad’s new form came with advantages as well. He was granted phenomenal strength and speed, immunity to conventional weapons, and the ability to transform into a bat or wolf.

Blendegad became intoxicated by his new power and sought to increase it through the consumption of additional blood. He purchased slaves and fed upon them. A new problem arose, literally, as Blendegad’s victims returned to life as vampires. Blendegad had deposited slave bodies across the whole of Cimmeria before he realized, but by then it was too late. The vampires would remain a plague upon Cimmeria for centuries.

It wasn’t long before the other two members of the Gish Trio noticed Blendegad’s changes. They discovered the dark path he had gone down and were horrified. Tereman wished to slay the vampire, but Galandir could not bring himself to kill his old friend. The pair compromised and resolved to bind Blendegad using magic similar to the spell that had banished the Lich-queen. They led Blendegad to a prepared location and then ambushed him. The duo overpowered their companion and captured him. Galandir and Tereman magically bound Blendegad beneath an unmarked hill. With their friend secretly contained the public reputation of the Gish Trio remained untarnished.

Only one problem remained, the sword, armor, and shield that Blendegad had corrupted. The panoply was too powerful to destroy by any simple means. Exhausted, Galandir and Tereman resolved to hide and guard the pieces of the panoply. They built three elaborate vaults to hold each of the items. These dungeons were filled with elemental guardians and traps to protect the evil magic contained within. Now old men, Galandir and Tereman could not continue adventuring to defeat the blue dragons as they had originally hoped. Instead, they trained the next generation of gish knights to protect Cimmeria. The panoply and Blendegad were left lying undisturbed for centuries.

After nearly four hundred years Blendegad was accidentally freed by Terroc’s adventuring party. Terroc took a contract from an elderly innkeep named Martin. Martin had heard rumors of immortality granted by the panoply of the Gish Trio. Terroc and his allies obtained the three pieces of the panoply, but in doing so they also broke the binding spell on Blendegad that kept him trapped beneath the hill. Terroc’s party delivered the panoply to Martin, took the gold promised to them, and left town seeking new adventures.

Martin’s life took an abrupt turn for the worse after Terroc left. The innkeep put on the panoply and achieved the immortality he’d desired, but as a vampire. Martin drank the blood of a few of his guests to sustain himself, but it wasn’t long before his immortal life came to an end. Blendegad desired his panoply. He hunted Martin down and killed the feeble vampire to reclaim his equipment for himself.

With his freedom and the panoply restored Blendegad could do anything he wanted. His imprisonment left him with a desire for revenge against Galandir and Tereman, but both were long dead. The githyanki had all returned to the Astral Plane, so Blendegad’s previous crusade against them was unnecessary. That left Bavastatner, but the ancient dragon was beyond Blendegad’s ability to combat alone and after the betrayal of his two friends Blendegad was resolved to never work with others again. Perhaps a cause would present itself in the future, but until then Blendegad resolved to gain more power for himself.

Blendegad headed to the Dark Reaches northwest of Cimmeria. A menagerie of monsters lived in the Dark Reaches making it uninhabitable for most. Blendegad became one of the creatures lurking there, killing other powerful monsters he came across and drinking their blood. For two years all Blendegad consumed was monster blood. The nourishment amplified his dragon ancestry, transforming Blendegad into a half-dragon. He retained his vampiric nature as well, making him one of the most fearsome threats in all of Cimmeria.

Seeing the power of his draconic form, Blendegad sought to enhance it. He disguised himself and traveled to Greshendale to research ways to increase the presentation of his dragon blood even further. He found his answer in powerful polymorph magic. A single spell if cast carefully, could permanently give Blendegad the form of a true dragon. Blendegad purchased the necessary components and left Greshendale to cast the spell away from civilization. In a cave on the edge of Greshen Valley Blendegad discarded his humanity forever and turned into a vampiric red dragon.

Blendegad wanted to test his new power and an opportunity presented itself in the First Alliance War. Blendegad wondered if he could destroy an entire army by himself. During the Battle of Dradelden Blendegad entered the fray to attack Colchians and Amazons alike. His entrance was countered by the Olympians joining the battle as well. Blendegad got into a personal melee with Ares. The war god stabbed Blendegad through both wings with his spear and the vampire dragon struck Ares on the calf with his claw, causing golden ichor to leak out of the god. Ares fled the field. King Aeetes moved to attack Blendegad next. Wounded and fearing for his life, Blendegad fled as well.

After the Battle of Dradelden Blendegad realized that only one barrier remained between him and ultimate power. His power rivaled that of a god, but he was not himself a god yet. Returning to Greshendale in a disguised human form Blendegad researched how to obtain a true spark of divinity. After years of work he devised a path. A certain ritual, if performed by a dragon, could reconnect them to the divine spark of Typhon and Nyx. This spark could then be inflamed by the consumption of thousands and thousands of lives. Blendegad enacted the ritual and obtained a diminutive piece of godhood. He became Blendegad the Reaper.

To become a true god Blendegad would have to eat thousands or even millions of people. Blendegad thought the easiest method would be to rule a kingdom where he would devour all criminals. What better kingdom than the largest one, Xoria? The Reaper struck at the capital of Nox during a fight between King Jevaninada II and Queen Regent Anajakaze. Blendegad slew the Queen and the two Rages serving Jevaninada. The vampire dragon then bit into Jevaninada and turned the young king into the first of a new breed of vampires, a dragovinian.

Blendegad and Jevaninada formed an alliance to build a new world order. Blendegad would be the god of this new religion and Jevaninada would be his avatar among the mortals. Normally the Olympians would resist such a usurpation. Unfortunately Zeus was incapacitated due to the Dahak’s attack. The Olympians were rudderless without their leader. Blendegad and Jevaninada II took bold action to secure their new kingdom. They went to Jeutontic and easily eliminated the proto-vampire presence. The city was restored to its state before the First Alliance War. The new leaders and new religion of the Xorian Empire were hailed for freeing the city from almost two decades of slavery.

Jevaninada turned his closest allies into dragovinians and they set out the tenets for their new religion. Exceptional valor and skill were rewarded with true immortality. The common people of Xoria provided blood for the dragovinians once a week at temples as a religious ritual. Any who dissented or committed crimes were captured, shipped to Nox, and devoured by Blendegad as punishment. The dragon’s power grew every month as he snuffed out more and more lives.

Blendegad became impatient and looked for ways to speed up his deification. In his thirst for power Blendegad had already confronted the Olympians and rebels within Xoria. After twenty years of rule Blendegad felt secure and ordered Jevaninada to expand the Xorian Empire. With a larger pool of subjects, Blendegad would be able to reach true godhood that much faster. Xorian troops crossed the Great Divide and setting off the Second Alliance War.

The Second Alliance War devastated Cimmeria. Phoenix was sacked by the Xorians and then flooded by Poseidon. Bradel Fields was turned into a city of the undead by a necromantic nuclear bomb. Greshendale crashed into the ground. Duke Jingo was murdered and Nomingburg descended into factional chaos. Nox was ripped apart by Hundred-eyed Argus and the Hecatonchires. Blendegad terrorized the Alliance through it all.

The Second Alliance gained the upper hand in the war not through military might, but through selective assassination of key dragovinian leaders. A strike team led by Hektor Rackgard and Amalius Halkias killed many of King Jevaninada’s most trusted advisors. Feeling backed into a corner, Jevaninada challenged the Second Alliance to a team duel in Nox Castle. The Second Alliance accepted.

The day of the duel arrived. Blendegad took part in the duel, but due to the influence of a revived Zeus he was unable to use his divine powers. Gorwinua used her harmonious magic to strip Blendegad of the polymorph spell that granted him his true dragon form. Hektor trapped Blendegad in a cage of pure force magic while the other Second Alliance heroes killed King Jevaninada and his dragovinian compatriots. Once they were done they converged on the Reaper and forced him into his incorporeal vampiric form. The Divine version of Amalius attempted to absorb the Reaper’s soul, but Gorwinua and Tagenadi prevented him.

With Blendegad in the Second Alliance’s power Eathirilu used the holy magic of Pan to purify the Reaper god. This purification killed Blendegad, but also returned every vampire and dragovinian descended from Blendegad to their original mortal forms. The dragovinian elite of Xoria became suddenly vulnerable. Additionally, as Blendegad had been the first vampire, nearly every vampire in Cimmeria traced their vampiric ancestry to him. Thousands were freed from the evil thirst for blood. Only a few remained such as those descended from Martin the innkeep.

Blendegad’s dream of true divinity and immortality was broken forever. His legacy of pain and death would haunt Cimmeria for decades afterwards. The wounds his vampire religion inflicted on society would take generations to heal.