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Astor of Keld
Keldons are hard people, tempered by fire and steel in their native land. All are powerful warriors in their own right, whether by the blade or by the fire magic that is so prevalent in Keld. They are swift to anger, slow to forgive, and masters of battle. Notable Keldon warlords such as Krieg and Maraxus have played their own parts in history, igniting countless battles and creating seas of blood. But even amongst the violent Keldon society, wise leadership is valued more than gold. One Keldon warlord became the embodiment of Keldon physical and magical might, but also utilized the most powerful weapon any Dominarian has ever wielded, the mind. This warlord was Astor.
Astor was born under the house of Doyenne Tajamin, keeper of the Book of Twilight. The prophetic warlord instructed Astor at an early age on tempering the flame that lay deep within his soul with knowledge and wisdom. Astor learned much of the histories of the Keldon nation, and how it was prophesied that Keld would survive until the time of Twilight. During this time, Keld would be put to its harshest challenge. Invaders from another land would seek to conquer all of Keld, and the fallen warlords of the Necropolis would once again rise to do battle against the foes of their ancestral homeland.
One day, all that Astor believed he knew had changed. The time had come for Astor to leave behind his studies and become a warlord in the host of the Keldon army. Doyen Olvresk came to claim Astor as his new charge, but Tajamin was adamant in keeping the boy under her tutelage. Olvresk wanted Astor to complete a dangerous right of passage, involving the young lad to stay in the wastelands of the frigid Keldon mountains until he had discovered what it truly means to be a Keldon warlord. However, Tajamin managed to convince the brutal Olvresk to allow Astor to remain a few more days until he can learn a spell that would help him start a fire in the arctic wilderness. The only two stipulations that Olvresk demanded was that Astor begin his training now by fasting for the two days in which he would be instructed and that, should he die on the mountain, Tajamin’s life would soon end at Olvrek’s hands.
Astor spent the next two short days learning all he could from both Olvresk and Tajamin about the tinder spell and the pact made between Kradak and Keld. When this time had ended, he journeyed with Doyen Olvresk to the mountain that would either scribe his name in the Book of Twilight of claim his life in the cold. At last they had arrived, and a lone Astor wandered into the deeps of the icy mountain.
Astor spent the next week fighting for survival. Wild colos and wolves seeking his flesh ravaged him, but the strength of his mentors’ words kept him warm and safe. When his body could take no more, Astor had a grand vision of Kradak, first doyen of the Keldon nation. Kradak revealed unto Astor many hidden mysteries, some about his place in Keld and some about the Twilight that would occur within his lifetime. But through all these great revelations, one stood above all else. Keld’s greatest motto had been fulfilled. Astor had proven himself to the mountain, to Olvresk, and to himself. Upon his return to Olvresk’s camp, he bore the scars on his body and on his soul that marked him as a warlord.
Astor spent the next few years battling the enemies of Keld and all who would oppose his power. Battle had hardened him into a warlord of immense might, but he still held the teachings of Tajamin deep within his heart. Never had a warlord become such a combination of fire and hearth as Astor was.
Upon one such engagement, Astor was called upon to destroy a dragon that had been terrorizing a small village. The dragon had remained docile under an ancient Keldon treaty, but had now begun to attack a local village. Upon arriving at the dragon’s lair, Astor discovered that the peaceful dragon had been slain and replaced by another, more powerful dragon named Skouras. After an all-too-brief negotiation, the dragon attacked Astor’s forces, destroying many of his most loyal followers. Astor and his surviving men were forced to take up residence in the besieged village.
Astor, six warriors, and one translator arrived in the village of Letha to find a gathering of weakened civilians with neither the capability nor the will to fight Skouras. Astor vowed that any who did not fight with him against the dragon would die at his hands. He had a few scant days to train a rabble into a warhost worthy of Keld. The warlord shared with the untrained civilians the fury that lay deep within the heart of Keld, a fury that could be utilized by Keld’s defenders. One by one, the cowering natives of Letha began to become Keldons.
When Scouras finally came, it was not a mass of whimpering meat that greeted him. It was the natives of Keld. The host of Letha had been transformed into something greater, wielders of the fire of Keld, servants to its might and masters of its power. With Astor at leading the charge, Scouras was quickly destroyed and the village of Letha was liberated, both from the dragon and from their own fears.
Years passed, and demons began to fall from the sky. Creatures one part monster and one part steel began filling Keld with their pestilence. Thousands of Keldons died from the stench of the beasts alone. Upon meeting with his masters, Olvresk and Tajamin, Astor learned something Kradak had revealed to him on the mountain. Twilight had finally begun. A massive forest appeared in the middle of a Keldon tundra. From this forest, elves stood proudly with the Uniter of Worlds at their head. Eladamri of Skyshroud vowed to fight for all of Dominaria, and to protect the Keldons from the invaders from another world. Astor knew this was only half-true. Eladamri would defend the Keldons. He would fight with them. He would hear the fire of Keld and become a Keldon himself.
Together, Astor, Eladamri, Olvresk, and Tajamin journeyed to the Necropolis in anticipation of the battle that would occur there. On this day, the prophecies would be fulfilled. The long-dead doyen and doyenne would rise from their tombs and fight against the demons for the defense of their own people. However, the battle ahead of them would be long and hard. On the horizon, millions of the demon horde descended like insects to attack the Keldon and Skyshroud forces. The battle was met, with the demons quickly gaining the upper hand and slaughtered tens of thousands of defenders.
Just as the Keldon host began to regroup and counter the attack the demons, the ultimate perversion of Twilight began to take place. The millions of fallen warlords of the Necropolis began to pour from within its halls. With a cheer, the Keldons fought all the harder knowing their ancient warriors would soon join their fight. However, their worst fears were realized at the sight they now beheld. The warlords had joined, the battle, just not on the side of Keld. Together, the demons and their newly-gained allies attacked the quickly-dwindling defenders.
All was lost, and yet in this time of greatest calamity, Tajamin found new meaning in the Keldon motto “Prove it.” The doyenne hurled the Keldon cudgel, a source of Keldon belief, into the heart of the Necropolis. The mountains erupted, destroying demon and defender alike in a massive earthquake. The Keldons and Skyshroud elves were cast to the four winds. Alone, many perished in the frigid sea. One by one, survivors were collected. Among these was Astor, who was greeted by a most wondrous site.
Golden Argosy, the ship of the fallen warlords had been unearthed from the Necropolis during the volcanic eruption. Astor was greeted by the sight of Olvresk and Tajamin, both alive and well. Soon, Lin Sivvi, Eladamri’s greatest warrior was fetched from the frigid waters, followed by Eladamri himself. Tajamin explained to her bewildered audience. It had been written that the true heroes of Keld would descend from the Necropolis to fight in the final battle of Twilight. This did not mean the honored dead, but the true warriors of Keld that now stood on Golden Argosy. And it did not mean Astor, nor Tajamin, nor Olvresk. Their work was here, in rebuilding the ruin of Keld into the glory of the past. The heroes of Keld, the Skyshroud elf that had become the Keldon warlord, the Vec warrior that had become his Keldon right hand. Eladamri, Sivvi, and a host of elves and Keldons would journey to distant Urborg to fight the final battle of Twilight.
And so here history and Astor part ways. The warlord Astor had proven himself among countless followers, but the battle of Twilight continued without him. It is not known whether Astor survived the Apocalypse, but if any Keldon still lived, it would be he. And while history does not mention Astor’s further adventures, it is almost certain that his tale is far from over.