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Kaervek of the Burning Isles
Manipulative. Powerful. Evil. These are just three words that comes to one’s mind when the name Kaervek is mentioned. A wizard that possessed great powers, he almost conquered the entire continent of Jamuraa.
Kaervek was born and lived in the Burning Isles, a chain of islands far off the coast of Jamuraa. Kaervek might have been able to conquer the Burning Isles, but he was merely a titan among countless others in the Burning Isles. Kaervek might have been destined to spend his life wandering the Isles had it not been for an incident in Jamuraa . . . .
On Jamuraa, the planes walker Teferi had been given his own island and people by his homeland of Zhalfir for his uses. There, Teferi experimented with phasing to be able to overcome the great labor of summoning. Phasing was Teferi’s theory that creatures could be dropped into the time stream and then call upon them at will. But phasing only succeeded to a minor degree. After many years of experiments, Teferi concluded the process to be far too unstable. Later, Teferi would learn that his experiments with time had damaged the time stream and threatened to unravel if left unnoticed. Accepting responsibility for his experiments, Teferi cast a spell that would repair the damaged time stream. When the spell was cast, Teferi and his island phased out of existence., leaving only the rocky foundation. Only three nearby mages detected the ripple in the time stream caused by Teferi’s spell. The first mage was known as Mangara of Corondor, a mage well versed in politics and a great ally to the Quirion elves in the White Woods. The second mage was Jolrael, a mage dwelling in many palaces in the heart of the Mwonvuli Jungle who was an ally to the animals of the jungle and the Viashino in the Great Desert. And the third was none other than Kaervek, an ally of the Nightstalkers and the Panther Warriors.
The three mages would gather at the foundation of Teferi’s Isle. Not one of them could explain the sudden appearance and disappearance of such energy. The three mages decided to remain in Jamuraa in order to watch the isle. Mangara immediately set to work to improve relations between Jamuraa’s three bickering nations: Zhalfir, Suq’Ata, and Femeref. When Femeref and Zhalfir could not reach an agreement on a border, Mangara created a buffer zone between the two nations near the Unyaro Jungle. To police this buffer zone, Mangara enlisted the help of the Quirion Elves from the White Woods. Within a single century, “Mangara’s Harmony” had created peace throughout Jamuraa as the nations began to trust each other.
But Kaervek was appalled. He had always dreamed of ruling a nation, but the more powerful beings in the Burning Isles made sure that it would never happen on the isles. Enraged by Mangara’s success and baffled by Mangara’s control of Zhalfir for anything other than military aggression, Kaervek set out to manipulate Jolrael by using her fear of humans as his tool. As Mangara’s rule increased, Kaervek successfully draw the reclusive Jolrael into the politics of Zhalfir. Kaervek and Jolrael wasted little time in forming an army of animals and spirits from across Jamuraa. Kaervek bided his time, occasionally causing border disputes between the three countries. Eventually the disputes led to bloodshed between the three countries, with war being almost assured. The further the conflicts, Kaervek unleashed numerous evil spirits. When Mangara found the situation beyond his control, Kaervek sent an offer of “assistance” in the situation. The two agreed to meet at the Mwonvuli Jungle Delta. Little did Mangara know that he was walking into a trap. Kaervek and Jolrael ambushed Mangara, sealing him in an amber prison that would reside in one of Jolrael’s palaces. Now, Kaervek could watch “Mangara’s Harmony” crumble into war . . . .
Many in Zhalfir believed Mangara had fled Jamuraa while many others thought Mangara had been the victim of foul play in the delta. And thus began an age of darkness for Jamuraa, with reports of people being mauled by vicious cats, while others died in their sleep with only the expressions of fear and horror as the clue, while farmers were disappearing from their fields. Troubled by the events, the three nations sent representatives to a great council, with the greatest of all storytellers, Hakim Loreweaver, read the numerous reports from across Jamuraa. Kaervek would then choose that time to make his appearance at the council, demanding that each nation surrendered. Blinded by his pride, Kaervek had foolishly given the three nations a look at their enemy. Each nation banded together and defied Kaervek, saying that they would not give him such honor.
Over the following months, the attacks became scarce. The occasional town would be burned out of existence by dragonfire occasionally. The trail in the Uuserk Marshes was closed after the deaths of an entire group of scouts. The entire Femeref Council Of Voices were slain in one instant by a mysterious creature known only as the Spirit Of The Night. Reports also told of armies of the undead rising out of the ground. Only one event had been unnoticed by the reports., Teferi’s Island had phased back into existence . . . .
It had been nearly 200 years since the day that his isle vanished, the inhabitants had absolutely no idea that any time had passed. The first clue that something was wrong was when one of Jolrael’s dragons attacked the isle, only to be slain by Teferi. Puzzled by the event, Teferi set out to investigate. To his horror, he found three wizards warring over control of Jamuraa. Teferi began to contemplate on how to rid Jamuraa of the three wizards without causing war.
Meanwhile, Kaervek’s arrogance had once more reunited Jamuraa. Preparing for war, Kaervek seized control over the vast majority of Jolrael’s forces and called his allies to Jamuraa. Kaervek was forming a rapidly growing army of Viashino, orcs, panther warriors, sprits, goblins, and the undead. Teferi could only watch the conflict, for he was fearful that if he left his island, his experiments might go out of control. And so began Kaervek’s war for Jamuraa . . . .
In a very short time, Kaervek’s forces had invaded Femeref, made Suq’Ata close its borders in fear, and were pushing the Zhalfirins across their plains. Kaervek felt assured of victory, but his ally Jolrael had her doubts. She wondered if her choice to join Kaervek had been to protect Jamuraa or destroy it. Jolrael tried to free Mangara from his prison , but Kaervek’s distrust of Jolrael was embodied in the various wards he had set around the prison, preventing her from freeing Mangara. Jolrael knew it would only be a matter of time before Kaervek found out her treachery, she needed help fast.
Searching the lands in her spirit form, she detected the same energy that had led her to Teferi’s Isle had resurfaced. Jolrael teleported to Teferi and begged for his help, but Teferi refused because of the danger of his experiments if left unattended. Instead, he offered to guide Jamuraa’s heroes to free Mangara.
In a few weeks, the leaders of Jamuraa’s nations met near Kipamu, the Zhalfirin capital. The heroes were Asmira, Holy Avenger, Rashida Scalebane, Sidar Jabari, and Hakim Loreweaver. Driven by their dreams, only Asmira knew that their dreams were an omen to free Mangara from his prison. To free Mangara, the group had to distract Kaervek and his troops. Rashida formed an elite guard for the rescue mission with Asmira as the guard's guide, while Jabari and Hakim set about creating a sufficient distraction. The opportunity came when Kaervek's armies attacked the Zhalfirin border city of Ufunguo. The attack crippled the city; only the martyrdom of Sidar Mwigo and her troops allowed the citizens to escape. Led by a dream, Jabari led the survivors to Tefemburu, a city already dangerously overcrowded. Soon, Jabari knew, Kaervek would focus his attentions on Tefemburu, leaving a window of opportunity for Rashida's elite guard. As Jabari had expected, Kaervek's armies of undead, fell spirits, beasts, and dragons pressed at the city gates.
Attackers were cast back and any fliers were cut down by archers, but the sheer numbers of the enemy guaranteed the city would not survive the week. Hakim kept the citizens' spirits up by telling tales of ancient wonders; finally he began a new tale, of how the inhabitants of a city escaped a siege - a tale not even he had heard before, a tale rooted in a dream. The tale wove a spell that caused the creatures besieging the city to vanish completely at dusk. Hakim and Jabari told the gathered people to flee. In a hurried meeting, the guildmages decided to leave Tefemburu magically trapped. As dusk fell the next day, the armies of Kaervek reappeared. Unaware of the evacuation, they charged into the city looking for the people that should be there. The trap sprang - a sphere of crackling energy enclosed Tefemburu and exploded, destroying the city and Kaervek's armies.
Kaervek was awoken from a week of scrying distant lands for later conquest by the psychic scream of the death of his armies. Panicked, he summoned reinforcements with his remaining powers. He knew that the citizens of Tefemburu had escaped the explosion, but he could not divine how, so he magically searched Jamuraa. He found that the isle which had drawn him to Jamuraa two centuries before was newly inhabited, and he knew that those newcomers must be responsible for his defeat. Enraged, he gathered Jolrael and his remaining forces and sailed to Teferi's isle, leaving Purraj, his second-in-command, and various minions to guard Mangara.
Kaervek's confrontation with Teferi was short-lived. The planeswalker made short work of Kaervek's armada, sending most of the evil mage's forces to the ocean floor. During the battle, Jolrael turned upon Kaervek, severely injuring the mage in a heated arcane battle. Kaervek's ship was capsized by a colossal wave, but one of Teferi's drakes was able to grab the unconscious Jolrael from the wreckage. Kaervek managed to crawl ashore and limped to the nearby Uuserk marshes to draw upon its rich mana, but he encountered there a vast floating city controlled by the Shaper and Shadow Guild. The guild had created this city, called Aku, as a portable tomb for Zhalfir's nobility. Sensing Kaervek's presence, the city's keepers assumed he had come to seize the city, and they prepared for a fight. Meanwhile Asmira, Rashida, and the "Scalebane's Elite" group had ridden hard for the Mwonvuli jungle, but frequent encounters with the enemy had slowed their progress. Asmira feared they would not reach Mangara before Kaervek's return. But hope came from above - Sisay and her flying galleon, the Weatherlight, landed before them. Grounded for repairs after a dragon attack, Sisay had felt the strangest compunction to head in this direction. The others understood, much to Sisay's surprise.
The Weatherlight reached Jolrael's palace in under a day. The amber prison was guarded by Purraj and a variety of foul creatures, and the Elite closed with them. Asmira could not break the prison, for it had been protected with a relic ward. Rashida saw that she and her troops were losing, so she donned a dragon mask to imbue her with superhuman strength and speed. She was able to strike down Kaervek's forces in a dizzying attack before falling to the ground stunned, horrified at what she had to become to succeed. The only survivor was Purraj, who leapt for Asmira. Asmira ignored the lethal blows and managed to complete the ritual with her final words. Her sacrifice was accompanied by a blinding shaft of light that shattered the prison, freeing Mangara.
While imprisoned, Mangara had continued to scrye upon Jamuraa, so he magically transported himself to the Uuserk Marshes to face Kaervek. Kaervek was taken by surprise to see his foe he had imprisoned before suddenly appear before his eyes. The wizards lashed at one another with spells, but the surrounding abundance of black mana gave Kaervek the upper hand. The mages of Aku released several djinns to attack Kaervek, but he stole control from them and turned the djinn upon Mangaraexactly as they had hoped, for the djinns would allow Mangara to gain strength from their attacks. Mangara summoned a unit of Quirion archers, which cut down Kaervek's forces. Kaervek was downed by the first of their arrows; before he recovered, Mangara pinned the mage and sealed him in the Amber Prison.
Across Jamuraa, the combined armies of Jabari and Rashida drove the few remaining allies of Kaervek towards the mountains. Sensing defeat, the Viashino and their dragons returned to the Great Desert. With Kaervek gone, his few remaining forces went into hiding. Mangara rebuilt Zhalfir and Femeref, aided by the new trust between the two countries. Suq'Ata appeared to be unchanged except for the presence of the Breathstealers. The martyred Asmira is now honored with the title "Holy Avenger." Purraj is believed to have died in the explosion that released Mangara, but no corpse was ever found. Jolrael has returned to the Mwonvuli, her only company her animals and the occasional visit from Teferi. Jamuraa lives on, but the corrupting influence of the Burning Isles remains. Kaervek had been defeated, but not before causing severe damage and unimaginable horrors to Jamuraa, a legacy of fear that will be remembered for generations . . . .