Phaia Vai Athetos is a legendary undead Gargoyle Necromancer who opposed the clutch system. She would go on to become one of the greatest threats that the Gargoyles of Fontraile would ever know. Ironically, few monuments dating back to the Great Desert War make mention of this deadly mage.
"Athetos" is her clutch name, and it means "Without Place."
Childhood and AscensionEdit
Phaia was born into the Dakahr Clutch at the eastern edge of the Augustgradian Desert, a clutch that also was home to the priests of the Galar. From the moment she was old enough to be aware of it, Phaia became obsessed with death, often secretly watching the rites of the Galar and the works of Orisis spirit-callers. In this time period, the young Dakahr is believed to have stated her intention to never die.
Eventually, Phaia, the daughter of one of one of the nobles in her home clutch, eventually wound up taking it over in entirety, and devoring her time and research to unlocking the secrets of the spirit-binding necromancy that the Galar and Orisis were fond of. However, these were mired in centuries of tradition and religious observance, making it all but impossible for the inquisitive Gargoyle to learn more, and forcing her to unspeakable things to secure her knowledge. Worse, the undying forms of the Galar funerary wraiths were hardly to her satisfaction; Phaia was reknown for her beauty and sought to preserve this.
The progress she made was slow, but inevitable, and as she sought to build a sanctuary for herself (using slaves), she had the fortune of one group of slaves having a Rakshasa warlock among them. In a months-long interrogation process, Phaia tortured the knowledge of the Rakshasan dark sorcery from its practitioner, learning immense amounts about the nature of spirits, daemonbinding, and so armed, began to create magic that had never before been seen amongst the gargoyles. Her so doing was to spell the doom of her home clutch.
Soon Phaia's sanctuary - a five-sided pyramid north of her home clutch - was complete, and she began to further harness her abilities. The sanctuary itself was a conduit, drawing in and harnessing the magical energies of the region so as to allow Phaia to further expand her powers. However, as she was experimenting so readily with necromancy, the results on the area were dramatic; the lands around the pyramid itself became blighted, and those in the lands around it began to sicken and die.
Inevitably, the Azoraius got involved, and, backed with a force from every other clutch, waged war against the woman who had declared herself the sorceress-queen of the region. In the conflict that followed, Phaia and her associates scorched the desert sands black, and the surrounding region would become irrevocably associated with the black deeds that were conducted there, its remaining cities forevermore forsaken by the gargoyles. Phaia was taken into custody by a young Kalarisis, and as she was brought back for judgment, Phaia declared that she would see the Broodqueens become as dust, and their clutches less than dust, as would all of their people.
Phaia was sentenced to an endless imprisonment, first in the Azoraius clutch's dungeons, then in the Vault of the Forgotten when she proved impossible to keep under control. Phaia's followers were hunted down, one-by-one, beheaded and burned, their statues shattered. The clutches cast down all her works, expunging her name and records of her deeds from history in an attempt to remove all traces of her from existence. Even her sanctuary lay quiescent - other than the rooms of experimenttion, her pyramid was empty. Left to waste away under the desert sands, the threat was forgotten about and left to rot away in the lands below.
In truth, whilst Phaia had been defeated once, her imprisonment was not complete and despite being hobbled and bound, the Necromancer proved far from helpless. Though it took time - ages - Phaia's body, corrupted by the huge amount of dark magic she had used and the obscene rituals used to enhance her own frame began to change, wreaking terrible changes on her not-quite-living, not-quite-dead physique. Her skin grew harder and semitranslucent in spots, where veins of magical energy were visible beneath the surface. Her eyes melted and pools of wraithfire burned in their sockets. Her claws grew diamond-hard and enabled her to claw through the enchanted chains that bound her. Whatever traces of her mortality were finally expunged, her soul permanently bound to what was, in essence, her own animate corpse, driven by her own implacable will. As she had long desired, she had moved beyond the mortal realm, becoming wholly undead - the very first Gargoyle Lich.
Still entrapped under the earth, Phaia continued to make strides in her necromantic arts, and she soon discovered spells that generations of later necromancers would later use, albeit in lesser forms. She would burrow from the Vault of the Forgotten to the burial grounds of the primitive races that lived around the area and practiced her nascent craft. Those that saw her fled in terror and the few that dared resist her were destroyed in short order. One by one she opened these grave sites and animated the corpses within. At first, she could barely control them beyond ambling about, but as her control and power grew, so too did her abilities, and soon she could animate them indefinitely with scarcely more than a gesture. Over time, enabled by an undead workforce, what had been intended as Phaia's tomb inevitably became her knew lair. Even within this new lair, however, ignored by most, Phaia was not without her enemies.
Inevitably, Phaia came under attack by the Naga. Used to the predations of the Rakshasa and the primitive necromancy of the Khans, the Dark Naga saw an opportunity and began to raid Phaia's crypt for magical artifacts. The Naga broke through both the unwitting defenders of the Vault as well as Phaia's own undead soldiers, and the two sides quickly wound up in a protracted stalemate - the Naga and their powerful sorceries and weapons of war unable to gain ground against untiring legions of corpses and skeletons and beastman fanatics who feared the great Lich more than their own deaths. Tiring with the conflict, Phaia negotiated with the Naga, arranging for them to bring her slaves in return for the magical artifacts in the Vault. It was not what either party wanted but it was better than a fruitless war for uncertain reward.
Phaia hated the clutch system, but two above all others: The Rokhei and the Azoraius. These two had led to her initial defeat and imprisonment, and she began to exact a hideous revenge against the former. Her forces burrowed outwards, like a spiderweb, establishing countless small shrines throughout the domains to act as focal points, as the corruption that had been seen outside Phaia's pyramidal sanctuary began to spread outwards. Virtually every living thing in the domain of the Rokhei Broodqueen began to sicken and become ill. Cattle and crops became blighted; water became bitter and undrinkable. Gradually, all around her, the Rokhei Broodqueen faced an enemy she could not defeat as her lands began to wither and die, and those around her were claimed one by one. Only the Broodqueen herself was spared, as if Phaia's own spiteful power had allowed it. Inevitably, the Broodqueen ordered the Rokhei to flee whilst she stayed behind, in order to face what she saw as a judgment for her failure to stop the spread of this horror.
Phaia's followers bound the Rokhei Queen with chains and dragged her before the Gargoyle Lich, whereupon Phaia revealed her ultimate plan: Phaia intended to turn Augustgrad into a gargantuan graveyard, and animate every corpse within its borders, and use it to slaughter all life in the region. Phaia then threw the Broodqueen in the same vault she had been initially trapped in, the Rokhei queen left to be dispatched at Phaia's pleasure.
Inevitably, the Naga discovered that Phaia was behind the blight, and gleaned what she had intended to accomplish from their seers. Hastily putting together a plan, the Naga attempted to find a solution. They doubted the ability of their weapons or magic to kill Phaia, and though the Necromancer had gone quiet from the drain of the magic she had unleashed, this would not last forever and none amongst the Naga wished to court her wrath. Ultimately, the Naga hit upon a risky plan - creating a fire-enchanted halberd of exceptional magical power, so formidable that it would be as lethal to its wielder as it would the target. This did not matter to the Naga, for they did not intend for any of them to wield such a weapon.
Dispatching a small group, the Naga quietly slithered through Phaia's fortress and found it guarded only by her living forces; with Phaia weakened, the undead she controlled could not function. They crept into the heart of the Vault of the Forgotten and freed the Rokhei Broodqueen, and without a word, presented her with the rune-encrusted halberd before retreating. Thus armed with the weapon, the Rokhei Queen stalked her way to Phaia's chambers; none of her guards could stand in the enraged Queen's path, and inevitably, she found the dormant lich before launching to the attack; though Phaia struggled, she was no match for the Broodqueen and the weapon she wielded, and the Rokhei Queen hacked Phaia to pieces. The Rokhei Queen stalked away from the Vault, the weapon in her scorched hands taking its toll, as the Naga proceeded to hunt down what remained of Phaia's body and burned it.
The Rokhei Broodqueen would never return home, having perished after disposing of the accursed halberd. One of her daughters ascended the throne after proving herself the best of her children that remained, and gradually, the Rokhei began to rebuild.
The Djinn FogEdit
Phaia returned once more, and the new Rokhei queen had to prove her mettle.
Covers the recruitment of Omorose and Makisa.
Her last attempt.