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Crovax of Urborg
Crovax was born in Urborg, arguably the most evil place on the Dominarian plane. The product of Urza’s Bloodlines experiments, in which Urza planned to create a savior powerful enough to oppose the dark lord of Phyrexia, Yawgmoth, this Urborg noble had a hard, early life. Being a human tribe that claimed supremacy over many of the putrid island’s inhabitants, Crovax’s family was challenged by almost all of his neighboring warlords and necromancers. Worse, Crovax’s parents were not preoccupied with the welfare of their son by any means. For all this and more, Crovax lived a lonely childhood. Crovax’s only friend, perhaps the only friend he would ever have, was his angel, Selenia. Hailing from the vanished Serra’s Realm, Selenia had been taken as a prisoner of war to the plane of Phyrexia, where she had been partially compleated, made to see Yawgmoth’s visions. Selenia was released from her imprisonment in Phyrexia millennia later to lure Crovax into the service of Phyrexia. However, Selenia was unaware of her dark origins and purposes, and lived with Crovax’s family, protecting it from the unfriendly denizens of Urborg.
"My family sheltered in Selenia’s light. The dark was content to wait. Ghouls killed my family to deny me a future. They fed on my ancestors to deny me a past. I would not barter my soul for any of the filth that they called power. So they took it from me and damned me to solitude. I am condemned without end."
Presumably for personal reasons related to his family (consisting of his parents, his brother Jolav, and his sisters) Crovax joined the crew of Weatherlight, where he lived a relatively better life. Aboard the flying ship were at least three products of Urza’s Bloodlines experiment: Gerrard Capshen, a Benalian warrior, Sisay, the Jamuraan native and captain of the ship, and Hanna, the Tolarian native that served as the ship’s navigator. Unbeknownst to Crovax, these friendly faces would eventually become his greatest nemeses, particularly the Benalian Gerrard, who was to become the savior of all of Dominaria. Crovax worked with the crew of Weatherlight for a few years, going on many mysterious adventures to recover several seemingly unrelated artifacts that were collectively known as the Legacy. Eventually, Crovax received dire news from his homeland, which was under attack from monsters not native to the island. Crovax used a magical artifact to teleport Weatherlight to Urborg. The adventurers found that they were already too late, for Crovax’s parents had both been slain by two creatures, claiming to come from a plane known as Rath. These creatures, Gallowbraid and Morinfen, had been wrecking havoc throughout Crovax’s personal estate, leaving the neighboring human noble families unharmed. Weatherlight’s crew engaged the monsters in battle with no success. Gerrard’s dear friend, Rofellos the Llanowar elf, was even slain by the monster Gallowbraid. Crovax had no choice but to call upon Selenia, who made quick work of the two monsters.
“If Gallowbraid’s skin looks like stone, it is only match for its heart. I looked into Morinfen’s eyes, and its soul was so empty I saw no reflection, no light there.”
A saddened Weatherlight crew left the land of Urborg to bury their dead and lick their wounds. Crovax opted to stay in Urborg to repair his estate and stay by the side of his angel. Crovax eventually fell into a maddened state of passion with a creature that didn’t understand affection and was incapable of returning his love. Crovax blamed this on a magical artifact, which had been used to summon Selenia whenever she was needed. Crovax believed that this artifact was responsible for Selenia’s condition, making her a slave to the machine. Crovax destroyed the artifact, sealing his doom without even knowing it. Not long after this, Selenia disappeared. Crovax was devastated, believing his love had abandoned his family. Without the protection of the angel, Crovax’s estate was under constant attack from the neighboring warlords of Urborg. Crovax slipped into the throes of madness, spending more and more time among the corpses of his immediate family. The crew of Weatherlight arrived years later with dire news. Captain Sisay had been kidnapped by a being known only as Volrath, taken to the plane of Rath. Gerrard, the acting captain, approached Crovax with the prospect of joining his crew, knowing that Crovax was a fierce warrior. Crovax, with nowhere else to turn, agreed.
“You must be mad to want one such as I aboard Weatherlight. But I would be mad to remain here with my rotting family. I accept.”
The crew made a quick stop in Bogardan, recruiting a native of Rath, the assassin Starke, to act as their guide while in the plane. Crovax remained onboard the ship, distancing himself from his allies.
Shortly after that, Weatherlight planeshifted to Rath. Although he didn’t know it at the time, this would become Crovax’s kingdom for the remainder of his life. Weatherlight was in Rath scant minutes before Predator, Volrath’s personal flagship of his rule, attacked her. The ship, over twice as big as Weatherlight, was a grisly sight by all accounts. But it was the sight of his angel and lover, Selenia, leading Predator to destroy Weatherlight that horrified Crovax the most. From that point, Crovax was driven over the brink of sanity. Retreating the fight that ensued, Crovax hid in the confines of his quarters, where his shrieking in a maddening rage attracted to ship’s healer, Orim. Orim quieted the childish Crovax with kind words, assuring him that the ship’s crew was in dire need of his battle prowess. Crovax mindlessly stumbled to the deck, where a bloodbath was taking place. The crew of Weatherlight was having a deadly encounter with the slave race of sub-goblin moggs, led by a towering presence: Greven il-Vec, Predator’s commander. The fight did not end well at all, with Gerrard ending up thrown overboard to fall to his assumed death in the Skyshroud forest below, Volrath’s forces taking possession of almost all of the gathered Legacy artifacts (including Karn, a silver golem), and Tahngarth (Sisay’s first mate) imprisoned aboard Predator.
“Carrion! Keep your distance! My blade will come to you!”
The crew of Weatherlight, under Hanna’s instruction, half-landed, half-crashed their ship through the veil of the Skyshroud forest. Hanna and Mirri (the cat warrior) left the ship to look for Hanna’s lover’s remains. Hours after they had departed, a small army of elves surrounded Crovax and the remaining ship members. Preparing themselves for battle, the crew was saved from almost certain defeat by the elven leader, Eladamri, and the still-living Gerrard. Puzzled over Gerrard’s unexpected welfare, Crovax soon found out that Selenia inadvertently saved Gerrard from certain death. Crovax then grew determined to end the life of his love. Gerrard, Eladamri, and Starke adopted a plan to fly into Volrath’s Stronghold under the surprise attack of the Skyshroud elves and the united human tribes of Rath.
Before the attack could commence, however, Gerrard and company had to find a reasonable means of escape from the plane, seeing as how the Thran Crystal, which allowed Weatherlight to planeshift, was severely damaged during Predator’s attack. The ship flew to an ancient portal, where the ship’s wizard adept, the young Ertai, remained in order to activate the portal, allowing the ship to escape Rath once Sisay, Karn, Tahngarth, and the Legacy were rescued.
“The bonds of loyalty can tie one to the grave.”
From there, Weatherlight could do nothing else but attempt to accomplish their ultimate goal: the rescue of their friends. Weatherlight entered the Stronghold through the cinder marshes, traveling through the nests of the creatures known as the slivers, passing through the dangers of the furnace, and braving the atrocities of the undead death pits. At last Weatherlight arrived at its destination. Gerrard, Crovax, Starke, and Mirri entered the Stronghold.
Almost immediately after the four heroes had entered the awful fortress, they encountered the angel Selenia. Crovax, in a maddening rage, ran away from the other three members of the party and pursued his angel. By the time Gerrard and company caught up with Crovax, he had ripped the creature’s flesh into shreds. The crew discovered it was not Selenia, but a shapeshifter designed to look like her. The party trusted Crovax less and less from this point on. The four realized they were standing in a huge dome-shaped building, the evincar’s map room. A blue, shimmering globe resided in the center of the room: Dominaria. It appeared that Volrath had the intention of invading Dominaria himself.
After crossing an ensnaring bridge, rescuing Karn and Tahngarth, and encountering a shapeshifter in Sisay’s form, Crovax at last met with the real Selenia. Crovax, attempting to reason with his love, was almost ripped to shreds by the attacking angel. Mirri, however, placed herself in harm’s way to save the life of Crovax, and was almost killed. Crovax attacked his onetime love, stabbing her in the chest. It was with this stroke that Crovax’s soul was forever cursed. Immediately after dying, Selenia burst into a thousand shards, each one burying into the core of Crovax’s body. Crovax collapsed in a bloody heap. Karn and Tahngarth opted to carry Crovax and Mirri back to Weatherlight and rendezvous with Gerrard and Starke after they had completed their mission.
“When I cut down my angel, I only started my fall. I am confined by sleep and defined by nightmare.”
The next thing Crovax knew, he had awoken in Weatherlight’s sick back, feeling more powerful than ever, not the least bit weary from his wounds. This power was anything but natural, as Crovax had come full circle and had transformed into an accursed vampire. Mirri lie on a cot next to him, and Crovax had the intention of claiming Mirri’s soul to his service. The awakened Mirri immediately recognized Crovax as an enemy and attacked him, but was no match for the vampire that he had become. Crovax left Mirri to wander seemingly aimless to the deck of Weatherlight, only to discover that the ship was in a heated battle over Volrath’s gardens with the deadly ship Predator. The cat warrior Mirri tackled Crovax from behind, causing both to fall overboard with Crovax taking the worst of the fall. Crovax was vaguely aware that Gerrard, Starke, Sisay, and a woman he did not know were fleeing to Weatherlight. However, the horror of Greven il-Vec descended upon the group, causing Gerrard to leave behind Mirri for the safety of his other friends. Crovax slew Mirri and fled to the wastelands of Rath.
It was at this time that Crovax started hearing a different sort of voice in his head: the voice of Yawgmoth. Crovax surrendered himself to the dark god, hearing his promises of power beyond comprehension. Crovax was planeshifted to Phyrexia, where he his already altered body was transformed anew. Crovax was given the ability to absorb the souls of his victims directly into his new body, increasing his power more and more. Crovax was told that Volrath had left his position as evincar to pursue a personal vendetta. Crovax was to become the new evincar, provided he was found worthy.
Crovax was teleported to the Stronghold’s Dream Halls, Volrath’s personal house of horrors. There he encountered Greven il-Vec and Ertai, who had been left in Rath after Weatherlight made its escape. An emissary of Phyrexia, Belbe, arrived to hold a contest to decide who would become the next evincar. After several minor attempts to manipulate the flowstone of Rath, Crovax considered himself to be the only real candidate for the post. Crovax left the Stronghold with the intention of proving himself to his overlords by destroying the rebel band of Skyshroud elves and human tribes of Rath. Crovax entered the Skyshroud, but met with ultimate failure in his attempts. Crovax teleported back to Stronghold.
It was here that Crovax discovered that the wizard Ertai had devised a plan to keep the human inhabitants of the Stronghold completely loyal to Phyrexia by taking half of its inhabitants hostage. The evil Crovax used his newfound powers to absorb the souls of all the gathered hostages, increasing his madness a hundredfold. After putting it off for as long as she could, Belbe decided to elect Crovax as evincar. At the crowning ceremony, however, Volrath miraculously reappeared, declaring the throne still his. Belbe pit Crovax against Volrath, declaring the winner the new evincar of Rath. After battling for some time, it became apparent that Volrath was gaining the upper hand. However, Ertai, knowing he would be slain immediately if Volrath regained his chair, aided Crovax by magically tripping Volrath. Crovax delivered the final blow, took Volrath as prisoner, and was declared the new evincar. After thwarting an invasion attempt into the Stronghold, Crovax sent Ertai to Phyrexia to be changed into a much darker form. Crovax, Ertai, and Greven then executed Volrath.
“Let all witness the fate of those who defy me. Things are going to change around here. Blood is foul, the flesh dross. My ascendance thirst for life itself. Kill all the rebels and feed them to the new recruits.”
Crovax continued his rise to power, quickly becoming one of the most powerful beings alive. At last the Phyrexian invasion of Dominaria had come into being, and Crovax was in a position second only to Yawgmoth. After the initial invasion, in which over half of the denizens of Dominaria were put to death by plague and Phyrexian troops, Crovax arrived on Dominaria when Rath merged itself with the plane. Crovax’s Stronghold took up residence in the center of his homeland of Urborg. Crovax’s first duty on Dominaria was to put to death his second-in-command, Tsabo Tavoc, who had lost a decisive battle for Phyrexia at the Battle of Koilos. After accomplishing this task, Crovax directed his forces from the Stronghold, biding his time until Weatherlight, Dominaria’s chief defender, would arrive. During this time, Crovax prayed often to his dark god Yawgmoth, who resurrected the angel Selenia as a token of appreciation. Upon arriving, Crovax sent Predator and its commander to battle with Weatherlight, slowing the ship down and distracting its crew long enough for Ertai to board the ship and take Gerrard Capashen and the cabin boy goblin Squee captive. After battling with Gerrard for some time, Crovax promised the Benalish commander the resurrection of his love Hanna, who had succumbed to a Phyrexian designed plague. Gerrard agreed, and was sent to the ninth sphere of Phyrexia to worship Yawgmoth alongside the planeswalker Urza, Gerrard’s progenitor.
Crovax experienced total benefits from the current state of the war, with Phyrexia’s victory only days away. However, the maro-sorcerer Multani summoned his native homeland of Yavimaya to the shores of Urborg, converting the island’s swamp ecosystem greatly. Crovax battled with the hosts of Yavimaya, experiencing limited resistance. It was upon returning from one of these excursions that Crovax found Ertai battling with the escaped goblin Squee and Gerrard Capashen, converted back to the side of Dominaria. Gerrard and Crovax fought for a long time, with Crovax defeating Gerrard, who had become empowered by Yawgmoth with the intention of becoming Yawgmoth’s chief servant. Gerrard recovered, however, and slew Crovax. The slayer of millions had paid with his own life.
The resurrected Selenia then took Crovax’s weary soul to a place beyond the mortal coil.