Among daemonologists the name Arrkrash is indeed well known, and is almost a parable. For the great demon prince it seemed that there was nothing that could thwart him overly long beyond the forces of the Celestial Fortress. But in an instant the blue-skinned demon was shattered, slain, carved up for spell components, and then risen as a potent ghost of unimaginable power. The story trails on about the tower of the magi who summoned the prince being the prison of the demon, and that the entire affair was engineered by the bastard demon-god of the ocean, Ma-O. What many daemonologists do not know, indeed few people at all know, is that Arrkrash had a son. Not a son of demonic spawning, no servitor imp, no laughing monster of fangs and horns and insatiable hatred. He had a son of mortal flesh and blood, a demi-god of demonic blood.
Arrkek, son of Arrkrash
Demi-Gods do things in style. Arrkek's mother was crippled and lingered in undying pain after she was savaged by Arrkrash's affections and lust. Her pain and torment reached a crescendo when Arrkek was born. She survived long enough to give him his name and then she collapsed to the ground, dead. Moments after death, her body was consumed by a great orange flame, pulled down to his hellish realm. The infant was taken in by a cloister of ascetic women, who could not bring themselves to harm the tainted child. Instead they gave him to a good man, a blacksmith, whose wife's womb was barren.
Arrkek the young man was handsome in a rugged, muscular fashion. He grew to age at the side of a forge. He was born of flames and though handling red hot iron bare handed caused him discomfort, it did not cause him injury. He became skilled at working metal into shapes. His horse shoes and nails were poor, but when he drew a blade from glowing metal it was a fine thing. His arrow heads were excellent, and the axes that he hammered out were among the finest things to ever come from the blacksmithy. While his pedigree was unknown, it's influence was not unnoticed. Arrkek was tall, strong, well muscled and his smoldering eyes and simmering passion were enough to make even chaste women lusty. There were few eligible women of the village who did not feel his virility, and strangers and traveling women were not above his attention.
Yes, that name is remembered here, but it is not spoken. He was exiled many years ago, he was a thief of virgins, a despoiler and tempter of married women and many suspect he was a highway stalker, murderer and rapist. If he had not been feared so much, his fate might have been death rather than exile. It seemed safer to us at the time to make him someone else's problem.
Arrkek the Exile
Arrkek was accustomed to getting the things he wanted by his early adulthood. Few women did not desire his loins, and few men had the courage to challenge him at the tournaments and festival games. His handiwork at the forge had given him a reputation for skill at making weapons. His axes and swords sold well to the traveling Adventurers-upon-Return, and he wanted for little. Then the little men gathered together and forced him to leave. If it had been a few of them, he might have smote them and slain them for their arrogance. But it was the militia, with their spears and arrows and multitude of swords and axes, many of which he had made himself. He left, but did not swear revenge, or woe upon them or the village. Oddly enough, the village of Liriro on the Koost river would remain a sanctuary, a safe place.
Arrkek traveled for years, from smithy to smithy, village to village. He sold his skill as a blacksmith, his competence as a fighter, and inevitably his prowess at seduction. It would not take long before a village would band together and encourage him to 'move along' on his way. Sometimes this would be a bribe, sometimes it was just a polite request, sometimes it was spears and axes, and then he would be away on the road again. The voyage of the hero requires a time of challenges and trials that hone his skills and teach him valuable lessons about life and other things. A villain is no different, though his lessons are a different sort. Arrkek learned that men are weak, and afraid. He learned that they were jealous and petty, and given to anger, envy, and hatred. He learned that women were also weak and afraid. He learned to loathe them for their inability to resist his temptations. He learned that he was more than human, and that he was stronger than they ever could be.
The Monk Gohalaka challenged Arrkek one day as he traveled upon the road. A holy man and warrior he recognized evil in Arrkek even if he could not name it. They fought for the better part of a day, sword against sword, then staff against staff, and eventually fist against fist. Gohalaka was the more skilled opponent, and many times delivered wounds that would have felled a mortal man, but instead the injury would heal before his eyes. Arrkek was less skilled, and slower, but his flesh was made of sterner stuff. They grappled as mortal enemies, but Arrkek was the greater in strength and he lifted Gohalaka above his head and brought him down across his extended leg. The monk's back was broken and his body ruined by the force of the impact. The monk named Arrkek for what he was, the bastard offspring of a demon. Many would have attempted to end their lives at such a revelation, but this merely made him laugh. It explained many things, why fire did not harm him, why he did not fear the night nor darkness, and why his thoughts were driven by lust and wrath. He knelt by the holy man and thanked him for opening his eyes and when the monk died, he closed the dead man's eyes. Feeling the power of his tainted soul, Arrkek drew forth flame and cremated Gohalaka where he fell. Some version of this telling claim that Gohalaka's pyre soon after spouted greenery that blossomed into the first white Laka flowers.
Arrkek the Student
Having learned of his birthrite, Arrkek sought out sages and wise men who could teach him. Arrkek wished to know who his father was and what designs the demon had for him. Was he to be a lieutenant, or a warlord, a special sacrifice? From books of ancient lore and magic he learned the names of demons, and the rites and rituals of magic. Such things were already part of his blood and he learned quickly. He was a potent conjurer of fire, and darkness was like clay to a sculptor. He summoned lesser demons and imps and bound them to his service. It was early during this time that he encountered the being that would be his tutor.
Arrmath, though he did not know her name at the time, was very much like Arrkek. She was a daughter of Arrkrash, but of an older generation. Time and age did not touch her as it touched mortal men and women. She taught Arrkek of their father, and of his gifts as the Son of Arrkrash. While he learned from her, Arrkek also lusted for his half-sister terribly. She was beautiful in the fashion of demi-gods, sculpted flesh, firm and toned, and intelligent beyond the ken of mortals. But she was also the first woman who could resist his charisma. Knowing this, it became a challenge of sorts between them. Arrmath would torment and tease her half-brother with glimpses of her flawless flesh, but continually reject him, or scorn him as being insufficient as a man. She would take other men into her bed, knowing that Arrkek would slay them in fits or jealous rage. Arrmath would not allow him the release of a woman as she artfully and skillfully made sure that no woman would be able to accept his lust. Bare chested they would be interrupted, sending the woman fleeing. Or she would grant his would be mount a momentary glimpse of Arrkek's demonic nature, which sent most running, screaming. Sometimes she herself would use magic to slay a nubile young woman right before a rigid Arrkek was able to enter her. Few things enrage a demi-god quite like realizing that they have been duped into necrophilia.
The game ended in brute force and rage. To the unknowing witness, they would think they were viewing a terrible fight. Blood was let like rain, and clothing was shredded, buildings were broken and burnt, and in the course of the dual many innocents were maimed or killed. The fight ended with Arrmath surrendering to her half-brother. There are a few axioms that all demons hold to be true, two of them are 'Might equals Right' and 'Incest is the Best'. During his years, Arrkek had encountered no woman who could take the full might of his lust. Likewise, Arrmath had found no man capable of satisfying hers, but sating the lust of a demonic demi-god is easily described as a herculean task. After erupting inside her, Arrkek's full potential grew with a pair of horns that sprouted from his head.
Arrmath is dead, in name at least. According to the lore of demons and devils, Arrmath ascended to full demonic status after her departure from Arrkek. Some lore claims that she bore a child of their union, but many who know of such things hope this is pure fabrication. What sort of being would be born of the unholy lusts of two related demi-gods?
Arrkek the Adversary
The Demi-God awakened, Arrkek had learned of many things. His father, Arrkrash, was dead not long after his birth. Most demi-gods are influenced by their supramortal creators, while his had been constantly silent. The demon-god of the ocean had caused his father's death, and mortal magi had been the demon of the ocean's tools of choice. Revenge and hatred are like wine and cheese for the infernal. Arrkek since swore revenge against magi who bound demons, and daemonologists of any stripe. He also swore to repay Ma-O in kind for the murder of his father, the flooding and destruction of his father's hellish domain.
As his power has grown, Arrkek has attracted a body of followered, and carved out a small realm for his own in the mortal world. He has raised an army to his banner, soldiers are clad in black plate armor. Rather than basic patterns, the metal is shaped to resemble a bare chest with washboard abs. A skilled worker of metal, Arrkek has trained quite a few blacksmiths to form weapons and armor for him. Those that didnt have the skill to learn became vessels for demonic entities that were quite capable of learning. Cleaver style axes are the preferred weapon of Arrkek's soldiers. Spears and bows are also common, for fodder type troops. Arrows tend to be barbed, or otherwise intimidating, and the same holds true for spear heads. Both tend to make use of poisons, toxins and otherwise foul their weapons before battle.
Arrkek is expanding his power, his dominion, and must be stopped...
The Standard Dingus Mission - A dingus has been accounted for. What the item is; book, ring, wand, a certain mortal woman, etc doesnt matter. What does matter is that Arrkek not get the Dingus. If he does get it, the PCs and the forces of good are going to be put at a disadvantage. If the PCs get the dingus and protect/destroy it, Arrkek will be weakened, or his plans set back, etc. This wont defeat him, but it sets the PCs up for the next chapter against the demi-god.
Arrkek and Arrmath did indeed have a child. Enough time has passed that Arra, his daughter, has come to age. Trained by her mother in infernal magics and raised in one of the hells, Arra is a monster in her own right. However, being brought from Hell to the mortal realm can often be as traumatic as going from the mortal world to Hell. Arra has been in the mortal realm for a while, but doesnt remember her power and blood. Soon she is going to remember. Arrkek can awaken her easily, as soon as he finds her. He is looking, Arra is going to be a powerful addition to his army, her magics invaluable, and as the adage among demons goes, Incest is Best. If
Additional Ideas (3)
If the PCs win: Defending the Gates
The PCs have obtained or destroyed the Dingus, and Arrkek has been thwarted. Rather than sitting back to lick his wounds, loss demands retribution. Arrkek's army advances and attacks the city/township where the PCs are bivouacked. The PCs have a choice to make, help organize and defend the city, or retreat.
Arra is slain, her blood cooling on the cold stone. Arrkek is beside himself with grief and rage. He has lost his daughter, sorcereress, and lover all in one fell stroke. Consumed by impassioned age, he commits his army to a not too well planned attack. Everything is based on overwhelming fury and superior numbers. It doesn't hurt that his army is pretty well armed and armored even if the training and discipline are somewhat lacking. The heroes who slew Arra split their numbers. Those fleet of foot fled to spread word of Arrkek's menace, while the warriors stood and faced battle.
If Arrkek wins: Blessed are the Dead
Arrkek is boundless with glee. His power is greatened by his newfound sorceress. She can turn mundane axes and spears into infernal weapons with her magics. When battle comes, she can invoke the dead to rise as endless replacements, and she can easily summon bestial mindless demonic entities to do battle in the mortal realm. The expansion of Arrkek's domain is only limited by how fast his army can move.
The heroes are forced to flee as the city falls in a matter of an hour. The dead, soldier and defender alike are rising and attacking the city, and the gate has been shattered by a thing that resembles a troll, except that it is much too big, drools fire, and seems the be disturbingly aroused by the carnage around it. The wise, cowardly, and swift of foot survive as the army turns the city into an orgy of rioting, and violence.
If the PCs win Defending the Gates: Broken Shields
Arrkek's Army is in poor condition, many are dead or captured, and the city is still standing. It might be badly damaged, but the storm has been weathered. Arrkek in the last moments of the battle is wounded and retreats magically to his stronghold, Bidar Nikal. The heroes have a large task ahead of them. Though beaten and in dissarray, Arrkek's army is still rather large and dangerous. They press their advantage with newly arrived reinforcements, sweep up the enemy soldiers. Some resist, and there are a few pockets that put up strong fights. Arrkek doesn't help them.
Arrkek's lack of a plan was his undoing. His soldiers lack siege weapons, and the defenders were well organized and the heroes stood at the fore. His troops are broken and scatter as reinforcements from Castle Banon arrive. Not the sort to sit on their laurels, the heroes and Banonese knights persue Arrkek's soldiers. They make stands at the Rihat Bridge, and at Vendase village, where the farmers are strapped to shields and used as a wall, and at Unxenth, where desperate soldiers use a catapult to throw dead bodies, children, and offal at the attacking knights and heroes. Steel, discpline, and faith in the gods leads to victory after victory, as their dark master hides in his lair.
If the PCs lose Defending the Gates: The Reaper's Blade
The City is lost and many die, it seems that Arrkek didn't really need Arra. Examples are made, with guards and soldiers being impaled on spikes, crucified and otherwise slowly and visibly left to die. The PCs must escape the collapsing state while being pursued by Arrkek's cavalry all the while surrounded by defeated soldiers, refugees, and facing scorn for their failure.
The Heroes retreated, fighting a rear guard action while survivors, wounded, and refugees flee for the mountain pass and hopeful safety on the other side. The flight is a series of desperate stands by brave men, and bottlenecks being held, bridges being burned, and panic. Arrkek's outriders range largely unoppossed, and many are killed unarmed and fleeing. The heroes have a chance to redeem their failure at the city gates, but it won't be easy.
If the PCs win Blessed are the Dead: Dawn's Early Light
The city may be fallen, the state is lost, but hope survives. The messengers who left before the battle have delivered their messages and a new host has gathered to face Arrkek's legions.
The sun rose, scattering light across lances and spears, hundreds of white fletched arrows rained down like a rain of angel feathers. Hope is not lost, and light and dark clash, hundreds of lancers ride down like an avalanche down the mountain. This is a time of heroes, a time of victory hanging in the balance, it is also a time of dramatic conflict and Shakespearian deaths.
If the PCs lose Blessed are the Dead: The Darkest Hour
The Heroes have either been captured or killed by this point. The survivors are taken to Bidar Nikal where they will be tortured, interrogated, tortured some more, and then left to languish in the dungeons.
Dungeons are always dank, Bidar Nikal moreso than most. The cell has two inches of cold sludge. Sleep is near impossible, rolling over could leave a man dead from drowning. That is if he doesnt die of pneumonia, chills, rat bit fever, or the tender ministrations of the interrogators, or the dirty food. There is no bucket for piss, and after two days of the food, diarrhea is all but a given. It is just a matter of time, until the Heroes are unexpectedly rescued. Agents inside Bidar Nikal have an ace up their sleeve, and the PCs are armed to attempt an assassination on Arrkek.