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[an error occurred while processing this directive] Burke

Quick Status — Burke
BirthplaceDominaria, continent of Otaria, Cabal City
Born4306 AR (Argivian Reckoning)
Died4306 AR
Lifeform TypeNightmare

Written by member Sengir

The Mirari. An artifact so powerful, whole nations could be destroyed in a single, uncontrolled blast of mana. But what if the endless power of the Mirari was used to create a being—a being in possession of this endless power?

In the dark bowels of the cutthroat Cabal City, Chainer of the Cabal was assigned by the First of the Cabal to create a new familiar for the Mer Ambassador Laquatus to replace his previous familiar. Chainer’s dark powers of dementia were increased exponentially by the Mirari; and, with the spoiled aristocrat Laquatus looking on impatiently in the background, from the depths of his twisted mind the dementia master unleashed a featureless, genderless, bruise-black lump of a humanoid.

“Ambassador Laquatus, meet your new familiar. I call him Burke.” —Chainer

Laquatus's Champion, by Greg Staples Laquatus was clearly unimpressed of his new champion’s appearance. Without claws, fangs, stingers, poison, or any other offensive features, he dismissed Burke as useless. But he was soon proven wrong - Burke overwhelmed all the dementia creatures summoned by Chainer in order to prove Burke’s usefulness. His thick, gel-like flesh stretched and hardened in the blink of an eye, shattering skulls and crushing ribs. The mighty Burke annihilated a tiger, a bat-beast, a monstrous land-going nightmare whale, and a giant serpent in a matter of minutes. His body stretched over his opponent’s mouth and nose, cutting off air and causing asphyxiation. All damage done to him was absorbed, deflected, or simply ignored, the physical damage nullified by his amorphous purple body. Cut his arm off, Burke would grow it back in a heartbeat. Slice off his head and he would just grow a new one. Blast his body to bits, and they’d gather and reform in the blink of an eye. Burke could not be poisoned or smothered, for he had no organs and did not breathe. He couldn’t be blinded or burned, for he had no eyes or pain receptors. Despite this, Burke still could hear, see, and feel. It is truly unknown how conscious he was, for he was created solely to do Laquatus’s bidding.

Laquatus was impressed by Burke’s amazing show of strength. What’s more, the best part of this nightmare was that he could be controlled completely and totally with simple mental command.

Burke also functioned very well underwater. There he received his first task—to guard the imprisoned mermaid Veza. Veza was a member of Empress Llawan’s court, a political faction opposing Laquatus’s breakaway undersea empire. During a border skirmish with Llawan’s forces, Veza attempted escape. Laquatus calmly watched Veza swim away, as if giving her a head start. “Burke,” he calmly purred, “Retrieve the prisoner.”

The bruise-black nightmare was off like a shot. His hands and feet flattened into powerful flippers, and he easily caught up to the now-panicking renegade. He easily caught up with the tired Veza. Laquatus then ordered him to execute her, but she squirmed from his grip. He grabbed her ankle and broke it, and just as he was about to do away with his master’s nemesis, Burke was ordered back to the mer’s command vessel, for many of the rogue merman’s dementia forces had mysteriously vanished. Veza had barely escaped.

In the recent battle, borrowed monsters from the Cabal had vanished, crippling Laquatus’s army; the empress’s mages created a magical barrier sealing Laquatus, Burke, and their empire in a chasm. But shrewd Laquatus discovered a pathway out through underground passages below the continent. Burke accompanied his master out onto the dry plains of Otaria.

Burke’s new assignment was to be Laquatus’s bodyguard and enforcer while the wily mer used his mental magic and political influence to manipulate the Cabal and the Northern Order to his will. His will - to claim the powerful artifact, the Mirari, which was now in the possession of the barbarian Kamahl.

Out on the plains, Burke ensured Laquatus’s comfort by intimidation and even to “cleanse” a nearby farmhouse of its inhabitants to provide Laquatus with cool and shade. He witnessed Laquatus connive with the Cabal First, and soon after with the Cabal’s hated enemy, the aven Eesha of the Northern Order. Following his master through his webs of lies and deceit, Burke found himself in a night battle between the Order and the Cabal. At the time Laquatus decided to aid the Order despite his apparent alliance with both governments. He decided to make sure all Cabal witnesses were dead, so as to not alarm the Cabal of his treachery.

Burke complied with no objection, of course. He once again showed his amazing ability by single-handedly killing three fearsome Cabal dementia casters and their nightmare summons, in one instance tearing a massive crab-clawed beast to bits and using the creature’s severed claw to impale its caster.

To Laquatus’s surprise, he spotted Kamahl, carrying his wounded sister to the Nantuko forest healers and his dwarf mentor Balthor slip past the battle site on horseback, seemingly unnoticed. He knew the barbarian must be carrying the orb, so he immediately ordered Burke to follow as the creature finished off its opponents.

The pair noticed the Mer and his champion approaching, and hurried away. Laquatus had lost his quarry, but he and Burke quickly talked with Commander Eesha to organize a strike against the pair. The Cabal also discovered this, and soon it was a race to reach the mountain mages before they were lost in the tangle of Krosan Forest. Laquatus and Burke used a teleportation spell and appeared before the surprised pair. Burke introduced himself by smashing Kamahl to the ground and ripping his horse in half. Kamahl reluctantly fled with his unconscious sister and the Mirari, with Balthor promising to destroy them and catch up. Balthor was stunned by the powerful punches thrown by Burke’s elastic arms.

“His name is Burke. You can’t kill him.” —Laquatus

All of Balthor’s simple attacks were rendered harmless by Burke’s unyielding mass. Laquatus looked on, amused, as his champion made the legendary Balthor seem like a harmless fly. With Balthor’s axe embedded in his chest, he advanced on the dwarf. Balthor unleashed a lava spell on the advancing nightmare, encasing him in unbreakable rock. Balthor was pleased at his apparent victory as he turned on Laquatus, who was now seemingly agitated over the length of this brawl, but otherwise unconcerned for his trapped familiar.

Laquatus was right—Burke suddenly burst from the hardened lava, peppering the surprised dwarf with razor shrapnel. Burke took advantage of his foe’s sudden vulnerability and forced his arm down Balthor’s throat, intending to suffocate him. Laquatus, on the other hand, looked on in amusement of the sudden turn of events. As Balthor gagged, he summoned all the red mana he possibly could, gathering it for one last spell that would very likely kill him as well as his tormentor. A huge beam of lightning came crashing down on Burke, incinerating his entire mass instantaneously. Laquatus was shocked.

Even though the nightmarish creature known as Burke had been destroyed, a small part of him lived on—part of his limb still inside the dying Balthor. Perhaps, given the right condition, it would stir . . . .

Copyright © 1998 - 2014 and Matthew Manley