Other Names: The Black Psychopomp; the Promulgator of the Cromlech Cinerary
the man who became Walker in Darkness survived the Usurpation by fleeing to the Invisible Fortress, only to die even more ignobly centuries later when Larquen Quen, later known as Mask of Winters, murdered him using a powerful artifact that slew the memories of its victims as well as their bodies.
The Walker emerged in the Underworld a virtual amnesiac. Nephwracks found him and led him to the Labyrinth, where the Neverborn easily seduced him to their cause. Perhaps out of malicious humor, the Neverborn later sent the Walker to recruit Larquen Quen after the latter’s demise. Thus did the Walker unwittingly transform his own murderer into one of his peers.
the soon developed a palpable dislike of the Mask of Winters, which the conquest of Thorns only enhanced. The Walker tells anyone who will listen that subjugating a Realm satrapy did little to advance the Neverborns goal and much to thwart them. Before Thorns, the great powers of Creation paid little attention to the Deathlords. Now, they are watched constantly, every move scrutinized for preludes to the next Thorns.
The Walker in Darkness sees himself as a true Neverborn loyalist. He has several well-conceived and energetic plans for the annihilation of life—not on the same scale as the Great Contagion, but he’s trying. Thus far, he pursues them with admirable skill. If he has a fault, it’s a tendency to spread his efforts too widely and abandon one plot at the first setback in favor of his latest dire inspiration.
The Walker suspects he was a Zenith in life. While he cannot match the Bishop of the Chalcedony Thurible as a theologian, he approaches his existence as a warrior-priest of his Neverborn masters. In fact, he and the Bishop have corresponded for centuries.
The Walker also stands out for joining his servants in the field. He has personally destroyed several kingdoms in the East by posing as a prophet, a sorcerer-savant or a monarch’s vizier.
The Walker’s most recognizable visage is that of a tall, muscular male with bluish skin and shoulder-length, grayish-white hair. His glowing orange eyes seem to peer into the very souls of those caught in his gaze, as if he knew his subjects’ most secret sins. In combat, the Walker wears a soulsteel breastplate over scarlet robes.
More commonly, he wears ceremonial robes of crimson and black. Many of the peasants who reside near the Walker’s shadowland realm worship the Deathlord as a death-god called the Black Psychopomp. In that guise, he usually wears flowing black robes and shows the face of a flayed skull.
THE WALKER’S DOMAIN Edit
The Walkers principal shadowland, Walker’s Realm, is close to Great Forks. His citadel, the Ebon Spires of Pyrron, is one of the larger Deathlord citadels (though the Thousand dwarfs it). The citadel takes its name from the First Age city of Pyrron, whose total destruction during the Usurpation created the shadowland.
The Ebon Spires consist of nine minarets of basalt and obsidian topped with black jade cupolas. Each minaret stands over 300 feet tall. The nine towers form a crude circle of profoundly inauspicious geomancy, linked by a thick defensive wall of gigantic planks of ebony and teak. The Walker’s magic gives the wood the resilience of granite. The area inside the walls can hold a small village. Several thousand ghosts reside in Pyrron where they serve the Deathlord as soldiers and other sorts of minions.
built his citadel on the ruins of the House of Bitter Reflections, the former home of Princess Magnificent with Lips of Coral and Robes of Black Feathers.Unfortunately for the Walker in Darkness, his domain bears a curse. When the Princess Magnificent fled this territory, she resolved that if she couldn’t own this shadowland, no other Deathlord would either.
Her curse instantly slays any mortals who enter the shadowland, casting their souls immediately to the Void. Only the Exalted enjoy some immunity (They die more slowly.) Even Abyssal Exalted are affected by this curse, which means that the Walker’s servants cannot remain in his manse for any significant length of time. As a result, the Walker is the Deathlord most likely to have Abyssals roaming about Creation relatively unsupervised
EXPANSIVE AMBITIONS Edit
The nearest major city to the Walker’s Realm is Great Forks but The Walker knows what happened to the Black Heron and has no wish to test his mettle against the city’s gods. At the moment, he finds greater interest in Denandsor, an intact First Age city brimming with powerful artifacts. While he lost his personal memories of the First Age, the Deathlord remembers the fabled city and its vast treasure trove of automata and other artifacts. In fact, the Walker knows so much about Denandsor he thinks he might have ruled the city during the First Age. It might hold clues to his identity and past. Unfortunately, while the Walker knows exactly how to deactivate the city’s supernatural defenses (including the fear-inducing effect that keeps out most interlopers), they can be deactivated only from within the city itself.
Reaching further afield, the Walker makes diplomatic overtures to Sijan. He is one of the few Deathlords to maintain an embassy there, although its existence remains a secret known only to a few within the Sijanese government who think he is a more tolerable ally than the Realm or Lookshy. Some of the Walker’s servants even wonder if he goes too far in wooing the great necropolis. Rumors fly among the Deathlord’s servants that he gave Sijan its own Monstrance of Celestial Portion—perhaps even more than one. Those who repeat these rumors wonder if he exceeded his authority from the Neverborn by placing Abyssals at the discretion of someone other than a Deathlord, and if so, what penalty such an action might bring.
In any case, the Walker dares not extend his forces to Great Forks or Denandsor—let alone Sijan—until he resolves the problems of his own court. In addition to the curse on his shadowland, the Walker knows the Mask of Winters sends spies into his forces. He has already executed some of them and feigns ignorance of the others to feed his rival disinformation. The Walker in Darkness intends to trick the Mask into a trap that will bring him under the Walker’s sway—perhaps exposing the Mask’s folly in some way the Neverborn cannot ignore.
THE WALKER’S PANOPLY Edit
The Deathlord’s principal weapon is a soulsteel grand grimcleaver called Arm of Shades Below. No non-magical creature can lift this weapon. Anyone who tries is rendered helpless. Anyone mortal hit by Arm of Shades Below also suffers a rotting pox that instantly reduces her Strength and lose Stamina and Willpower every day. If not magic cured within one month, she dies and becomes a zombie under the Walker’s control. Exalted and magical beings can resist this.
THE WALKER’S COMBAT TACTICS Edit
The Walker in Darkness is an extremely capable fighter who can match any Deathlord at melee combat especially when wielding Arm of Shades Below except the First and forsaken Lion, . A permanent high-Essence Charm allows him to treat Arm of Shades Below as an in-style weapon for any martial arts style. He has mastered Mantis Style, Solar Hero Style, and Citrine Poxes of Contagion Style up to the Form.
The Walker also owns a soulsteel long powerbow,Known as Raiton to the Heart though rarely uses it. It is the weapon he is most likely to loan out to favored deathknights. Anyone who fires this bow (including non-Abyssals and even Essence-wielding mortals) can use the Charm Twisting Spiteful Shaft with it even if the character doesn’t know that Charm. Doing so does not count as a Charm use.
The Walker gives no preference to any one caste, but does believe (perhaps too strongly) that caste is highly important. that because a deathknight belongs to a particular caste, she ought to perform the role associated with that caste and none other. It simply does not occur to him that a Midnight might develop a better aptitude for magic than a Daybreak. As far as the Walker is concerned, Dusks command armies, Midnights rouse worshipers, Daybreaks research, Days infiltrate, Moonshadows negotiate. This policy places a deranged Dusk Caste in charge of his armies and an incompetent ambassador in charge of his most delicate diplomatic venture does not deter him.
- The ranking Abyssal in the Walker’s military is Shards of Basalt (sometimes called Shards of Basalt to Her Army because of a mistranslation by a Lookshy intelligence officer). This individual (troubled even by Abyssal standards) suffered multiple personalities before Exaltation, a result of a lifetime of abuse. Although born female, Shards of Basalt often responded to stress or danger by adopting the persona of an adult male. When s/he accepted the Black Exaltation, both personalities surrendered their names and both assumed the identity of Shards of Basalt. Depending on the circumstances, the deathknight acts as a pious and bloodthirsty warriornun or an arrogant but cunning military strategist. As a further complication, the male personality considers the female personality “his” wife, while the female personality does not know of the other self’s existence. Those who follow Shards of Basalt cannot actually determine his/her gender, for regardless of which personality is in control, the deathknight’s body appears to be an emaciated and mummified corpse stuffed into a jet-black suit of soulsteel armor.
- White Bone Sinner was a gladiator in Nexus, who died before he could become famous. After his death in a private bout, he was Exalted as a Moonshadow and trained to act as the Walker’s envoy to Sijan. Due to the interference of a Solar Exalt, though, the deathknight earned his master’s ire for losing a beautiful ghost the Deathlord had purchased from Sijan as a concubine. (In fact, the Solar Exalted in the midst of a foolhardy attempt to “rescue” the ghost.) The Deathlord punished White Bone Sinner with a six-month imprisonment in a nightmarish chamber of distorted reflections that rip at the minds of any who gaze upon them. Now calling himself the Visitor in the Hall of Obsidian Mirrors, this deathknight is desperate to return the lovely ghost to the Ebon Spires or else to gain revenge on the Solar who set her free. In his free time, he fantasized about taking revenge on the Nexus gladiator who ended his life.
The Walker in Darkness also commands a great many nemissaries, nephwracks and other powerful and talented ghosts. Many remain important figures in his organization—not least because they can stay near him in the Ebon Spires, where even his mightiest deathknights can make only brief visits. Even if she finds favor with the Deathlord, a deathknight very probably receives orders and reports back to a ghost, rather than the Walker himself.
The Walker’s most cherished servant, however, is neither a ghost nor an Abyssal, but rather the corrupted Sidereal known as the Green Lady. The Mask of Winters sent the Green Lady to seduce the Walker in Darkness, but she found her honeyed words no match for the Walker’s perspicacity. He discovered her deception and used his natural charisma and powerful mind-altering Charms to seduce the seductress and turn her against the Mask. Now utterly loyal to the Walker, the Green Lady feeds disinformation to the Mask of Winters, as well as the other three Deathlords whose courts she infiltrated at the Walker’s command.
Walker views his Sidereal triple-agent as a pet. He even went to the trouble of “marrying” her in a macabre ceremony officiated by a gibbering nephwrack priest and consummated at the very Mouth of the Void. When the Green Lady stopped crying three days later, she complimented her “husband” for how thoughtful and romantic the service was.