Hendrak – Ascended God-Lich Flayer

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Known as Henrique or Henry in his mortal life. Hendrak was one of the founders of the Pisthars, and the lover of Violet across dozens of his lives before he walked a darker path. Aiming to find ways to halt the ceaseless cycle of death and rebirth, and return to Terra and his home of Avignon, he has thus delved into the final and most desperate path he saw before him. Though he knows he inflicts a great evil and malice in the eyes of the world, he believes the end will justify the means as he returns all Men on Minera back to whence they rightfully belong.

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Description

The full story

Hendrak – Ascended God-Lich Flayer

In the farmlands of Avignon in Terra lived a young Henrique. His days were filled with toil and the typical labours of a peasant of his time, though the end of a day of toil was met with laughter and joy, as often he and his brother Soren would find themselves in the town square a few miles away. There travelling orators, poets and musicians would often pass through, singing of valiant deeds, epic sagas and mythical tales. Often the two would imagine themselves as the heroes foretold in their stories: as Arthur, Merlin and Lancelot, as Charlemagne and Roland and all other manner of heroes of old passed onto their ears. It would eventually inspire them to eagerly join the King’s Army as he waged war on the homeland of many of their tales across the narrow sea channel. As the war raged they became heroes, fighting in decisive battles across their homeland and their invader’s lands, though when they had finally earned their leave to return back home, a deadly plague greeted them there soon after. The two brothers, both having lived through the bloody carnage of sieges and open field battles perished unceremoniously, side by side in the dead of night as the plague snuffed the life from them.

Henrique awoke in a verdant field of lush grass coursing in the wind like gentle swells upon the sea. Around him stood thousands more like him, equally confused: all garbed in white. Though he thought it might be Heaven in which he now stood, none around him seemed to know what he was talking about, nor understood his tongue – responding to him in various strange words. Worst yet, Soren was absent from those around him. Though for a while he grew afraid and scared in this new world, it seemed that quickly those around him began to build their new civilization, and towns and villages quickly emerged. It was at this time he finally found another like him, a beautiful young maiden with raven-black hair named Violette. She hailed from a province near his, speaking his same tongue. No longer did he feel lost, and finally he found a place of belonging. What’s more, Violette also recalled the world before this: Terra. Though they only could slowly piece together what had happened, they found two more like them: Orthis and Elias, both also recalling their lives before they perished to a great plague sweeping across the world.

They called themselves Mementos, and though they promised they would find a way to return to Terra, it seemed this promise would be cut short, for there were other beings who lived in this new world besides Men. Enormous beings that Men dubbed Colossals waged a genocidal war against them, and Henry was among thousands of the first Men called to fight. With his memories still intact of his time in the King’s Army, he found himself a natural instructor for teaching the fresh recruits the ways of combat, and on the front lines he proved himself an adept soldier as well. Though in the warring he was enamoured by the powers of the Colossals, open magic like that which Merlin might wield being used against him and his kin. It was here that he suffered his first death on Tharador: turned to cinders by an enormous wall of fire painted across the battlefield.

Two decades later he would recall this previous life, and Terra again. Though only fourteen summers, he held the wisdom of two lifetimes, and instead of letting himself be thrown at the front lines again, he disappeared to the east, to learn from the secluded Elven tribes what this magic was, and how he might wield it. Breath, they called it, and they tutored him on wielding its most basic forms, though he wanted more, if he was to save his people. His measures turned more drastic as he begged, then forced the Elven sages to continue to tutor him. He returned to his homeland a decade later, and found that another power dawned in him as well, as in his mind he was drawn to a young maiden, one reminiscent of the girl Violette in his previous life. Much to his surprise, this girl was indeed the same maiden, also reborn in a new body like him, and retaining their memories once again. They then founded the Psithars from here, alongside their old companions Orthis and Elias when they had fallen into the fold once again. Thus the four became driving forces in human superiority in the Colossal War of the First Era, as each began unlocking latent psionic powers held within them, and Henrique began infusing his with the magical powers of Minera’s Breath. Quickly he became a prodigy in the military: a skilled swordsman and a master mage – entire squads of Colossals were left as crimson puddles and scorch marks upon the ground if they encountered the man.

Though he was only one man, and the Colossals were powerful, advanced and numerous. The war waged for a whole millennia before Men gained the upper hand, and Henry had perished dozens of times as this dragged on. Finally it saw its end when the Colossals planned to cast an icy spell on all the lands the humans had taken, though forseeing this, Henry clandestinely sabotaged their weapon which would bring about this cataclysm, manipulating the Breath of the weapon and swapping the parameters for the areas that would be spared and covered in ice. Thus on activation, the Vavanasai, the Icebringer, only blanketed the remaining lands of Oldavor, and the Empire crumbled overnight as its people froze and starved to death, while the artefact shattered irreversibly. With humanity’s future secure, Henrique could finally focus his goals once again on bringing his kin home to Terra, where he might reunite with his long lost brother. Though he felt himself growing weary of the constant turning of death and rebirth like a water wheel in a stream. Each death dealt to him was a setback and a delay of progress, for he could never remember his old lives until he came of age, and it was a matter of luck for how many years passed between lives, and where he might find himself when his lucidity returned. It seemed also to him that his memories of older lives grew more distant and dim, like stars retreating in the night sky. He worried that more death would result in him forgetting Terra completely, and thus his goal. It frustrated him more that it seemed this wasn’t the case for Violette nor Orthis, who retained complete knowledge of each life they lived with perfect recollection.

Thus in secret he read from Oldavori tombs on necromancy, genetic alteration and soul transfusion. Quickly this twisted secret contorted into an obsession, and Henrique isolated himself as his obsession with immortality consumed him. It was in this divulsion into ancient Colossal tomes that the idea dawned on him: to use soul transfusions to empower himself by capturing an enormous swathe of souls, ascending to godhood and tearing apart the fabric of space and time to return himself and all of humanity to Terra. Violette was mortified when she learned of his intent, seeing it as an ill path to have them return home. She forsook him soon after, leaving him to his devices on an abandoned island in the Katarn Sea. Though Henrique now cared little for this, for a path was set before him, yet he could not risk it wavering with another death from old age.

Rather than let himself perish, or take his own life, he split his soul as the gods before him did, placing his body in a stasis as the fragments of his souls filled the hearts of husks he had created for himself: younger clones of himself that he would send into the world. Without the fragments of his soul they were naught but empty vessels, but he would guide them from his stasis with an invisible hand, furthering his research before recalling them as their bodies grew old, killing them and reabsorbing the fragment of his soul before repeating the process again. Though the process seemed slow, and the clones lacked the yolk of humanity, often being cold, sterile creatures. Henrique thus devised that perhaps the best course of action was to imbibe an unborn child with his soul, which is what he did nigh two decades ago when he imprinted a fragment of his soul into the womb of a woman who had just conceived a child with a powerful psionic agent of the Psithars. The babe was born as yet another clone of Henrique, but now reared from birth he hoped its experiences would differ greatly to that of its predecessors. In a strange twist of fate, the mother dubbed her child Henry, raising him in the dreary inner city of Edimir. Though Henrique hoped kindness would be born from the child, he instead watched as it was subjected to a torturous childhood born of a mother who saw her son as a burden, and a father who left long before the babe was born.

Still, with Henrique’s soul imbued, the child was destined for greatness. His mind was keen and with an innate sense for the Breath, he was able to turn himself into a powerful artificer, fighting within the Golden Griffins until his Psionic powers became unlocked, soon after meeting another young psionic boy: Serran. Fate would take another twist, for Henrique watched in awe, and felt in the soul of Serran that of his brother from Terra, and it seemed both were born of the same father as well, with Serran sired soon after Henry, from the same Psionic agent. Henrique often wandered if in his fevered stasis state he had pulled the strings for this himself, or if it was Tharador or the Tharameni perhaps mocking his efforts from afar. Nevertheless, Henry and Serran proved powerful allies to each other, though as Henry grew more powerful, he held more questions, questions that would draw him northwards to Oldavor, and eventually to Henrique’s lair, where he would now instead transfer his entire soul into the vessel of his young, hardy clone, reuniting in a form that he now felt was powerful and wise enough to fulfil his final goals. Back to Oldavor he returned, and in the icy halls of Khandara and the cold depths of Duoarastat he uncovered the final secrets of the Oldavori: the metamorphosis into a Flayer, a final missing piece that might bring him to Lichdom, and allow him to enact his plan. Though to power their portal back to Terra would require a godly amount of power, and the only way Henrique knew he could do that was with a godly artefact that held a nigh endless font of power: Namneri’s Chalice of Souls.

So, Henry induced himself into a temporary state of death where his body would pass into Namneri’s Chalice temporarily, without the risk of reincarnation. While there he was forced to bargain with the Tharameni to fight in a Crucible or be expelled from Henry’s body, though with a time ticking until he was resurrected again, it mattered naught. When he awoke his mind still remembered the Chalice, and he knew he could cast a spell to recall himself there later, though he would need more power to challenge the Tharameni. Thus he used the other fonts of knowledge he gained from the Oldavori, and induced Flayer Metamorphosis on himself, before concocting Dragonblight, mixing the ailment of Khandara’s Mindrot with the physical rot and breakdown induced by Flayer Metamorphosis, it would allow him to easily mind control and manipulate thousands and millions of subjects. This way they would perish, though death would not take them as their forms congealed into hideous masses, until Henry could forge his own grotesque fountain of souls in the form of the eldritch biomasses sprawling across the cities of Draksborne where he would first unleash the disease, for here Men were most populace, and densely packed.

So Dragonblight was unleashed and Henrique’s final plan was enacted. After it had consumed nigh a million bodies, Henrique felt a power surging in him: one powerful enough to protect him from the Tharameni. So into Syelden and at Namneri’s Chalice he recalled himself, battling with Namneri and his kin as they tried to halt him, though their efforts were in vain. He snatched the chalice from them, and quickly returned again to Sundestra. Now with the Chalice in hand, Henrique has begun syphoning every soul to pass into the goblet since the Age of Creation, though even in the form of a Flayer his body could not withstand it, and began to break down as he teetered on lichdom. Millions and millions of souls flooded into him, in numbers so great his own soul would be bolstered to rival the strength of Tharador, and he at last could tear apart space and time as Tharador did before him. He would open the portal to Terra where he would send himself, and all of Minera’s Men back to their home, away from the perils of this accursed alien realm where his people were used as pawns by the gods in their own selfish wars waged on one another. Though there was still time to interrupt him, though whoever would choose to do so would find themselves in battle against a god, a thought amusing to him for only the most intoxicated or innocent warriors might choose to walk down that path.

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