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Dherzil Kane (Prime / male human / paladin 9 / Dustmen / LG)
Dherzil was mildly surprised at the diverse and perverse nature of the Cage, when he first arrived not three years past. He is now a namer in the Dustmen, a fact that many find hard to believe, what with his noble air and the martial way in which he carries himself. Behind his outward appearance, lies a heart of pain and tragedy, driving Dherzil to the actions that once made him a hero. Here in the City of Doors, few notice or care, especially those emotionless husks in his own faction.
On his prime world home of Huz, he began his life as the pampered son of a minor lord. Naturally, his interests were directed to a military life, as his homeland, Vegis, was ever besieged by Raxen, a nation of evil dwarves residing in the mountains to the north. Through black arts and dire gods, they produced a race of half-dwarf half human super warriors called the Mulacks.
War and battle were a way of life for Dherzil and his family. In fact, his two older brothers were killed in a momentous battle with Raxen that, though devastating to Vegis, broke the will of the dwarven emperor, giving peace to the surrounding lands for a decade. In this interim, Dherzil grew into a strong young man, well versed in courtly manners, martial prowess, and undying piety to his homeland god, Pejara.
At the age of seventeen, he was chosen to serve Pejara as a holy warrior, and protector of the faith. With relish he accepted the appointment, and immediately set out on expeditions to recover lost artifacts and other church property from the hands of the Raxen dwarves and their Mulacks. His party of knights won renown, and after their commander was killed, Dherzil was appointed his successor.
"What do you call a schizophrenic Dustman?
"Lost and found! Geddit?"
- An anonymous bariaur, attempting to be funny
It was then that a great change came to his life. Coming home from his adventures, he found his father's border keep in ruins and the inhabitants gruesomely slain. For miles around the lands reeked a heavy evil air, choked with the cries of ravens, and other less wholesome things. His company searched for weeks for a sign of Dherzil's family, alive or dead, and what they finally found was something horribly in between. Raxen's secret weapon had been unleashed: a slavering army of undead warriors. They had cut through his father's defences, and seized the family, taking them hostage in the keep's twisting catacombs.
When Dherzil saw the results of this unholy army's black rites, he was struck with fear something he had never known before. His father, mother, and two young sisters were transformed to mindless zombies, wandering about the crypts with the other undead, gnashing their teeth for human blood. It was with great loathing that he slew these hateful reflections of his loving family. With ire unbeknownst to his company, he led the charge deeper into the crypts, slaying undead like a demon, the fire of zeal in his eyes. The final confrontation with the lich captain went badly for the company, and only Kane escaped with his life, shoved by a dying comrade through a hazy doorway which had suddenly appeared in the midst of the fight.
He, of course, emerged in Sigil, badly wounded, but hatefully alive. He nursed a sick guilt, both of abandoning his fellow armsmen to the power of the lich, and to the grisly scene of lopping off his own mother's zombie head. Drained of all will to live, he as a shoe in for the Dustmen. Taking on their shades and attitudes, Dherzil quickly became a namer of the Dead, vowing to pass the last of this stage of Death as a guide and protector of those seeking the same.
Dherzil nursed a secret rage at the pact his faction maintained with the undead, and the rumours in that direction of both his own factol, and the undead army he was building. That revelation was the driving force that began his founding and leadership of the Vindicate, a splinter group bent on the easing of the Unliving into their True Death.
In stark contrast to the emotion of their name, the Vindicate approach their mission as all Dustmen, in quiet unemotional drive, unfettered by the fears of normal mortals. Their methods of tracking down and releasing undead to True Death are humanitarian and gentle in appearance. Dherzil alone still clings to the hatred of his past, unable to quench his emotions and become a true Dustman. However, he maintains the facade, this alone securing his leadership of the Vindicate.
The Vindicate opposes the views of the common Dustmen, in that they believe undead to be an abomination to the philosophy of their faction. How can the Dustmen teach the power of the path to True Death, when these wayside creatures hover between Life and Death giving concrete proof to the power of Unlife? They command the respect of mortals, who see Death so easily as the end of everything, and the fear of immortals who want to believe that Death is the beginning. Stuck in this eternal intermediate state, the undead are a strong adversary to the beliefs of the Dead. So think the Vindicate, anyway.
The ultimate goal of the Vindicate is to free the Dustmen of this unnatural truce with their adversaries, and thus free the faction of its philosophical block to True Death. The ultimate goal leads directly to their lich factol. Releasing him to True Death is the force that drives the Vindicate to action. Most Vindicates are of a martial slant, like their founder, and active hunters of the Unliving. Though they all still see their own deaths as an event on the road to True Death, their mission is of such importance that none want this Death to end too soon. They see their work as a burden, yes, but a necessary one to freeing the Dustmen of their unnatural obligation to the Unliving.
The chant among those with some dark of the group is that Factol Skall has caught wind of the movement and seeks to end it, soon, before it conflicts with his own plans. Kane has already thwarted two well conceived ambushes, intent on taking the Vindicate's leader on to True Death. One involved a group of Xaositects, who were believed by the Vindicate to be in the direct employ of Skall. The second attempt caught a Hardhead in the crossfire, placing Kane's head on a wanted poster. The Vindicate have recently taken an underground role in their mission to ease the Unliving into True Death, and the chant there is that they plan to reveal some juicy bit of dark about the overall plans of the Dead's Factol and high-up men. Where they came across this information, or exactly how they plan to use it is still unknown.
Copyright 1997 by Ragboy (aka Paul Wolfe)