Curse of the Crimson Throne Book 4: A History of Ashes Campaign
Several hundred years ago, a brutal warlord of Zon-Kuthon named Kazavon conquered much of the Hold of Belkzen. His violent expansion and assaults against the neighboring countries of Ustalav and Lastwall quickly became far deadlier and horrific than the petty skirmishes against orcs those nations’ defenders expected. From his castle, Scarwall, Kazavon threatened to engulf all who dared rise against him. His tactical brilliance, combined with his savage armies of orcs and barbarians, continuously broke every army Lastwall and Ustalav could throw against him. With none able to withstand his power, it seemed as if his bloody and cruel reign would last forever.
Kazavon’s defeat occurred not on the field of battle, but in his own fortress. There, a secret cabal of heroes and mercenaries from the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye managed to do what armies could not. Led by a hero of Lastwall named Mandraivus, these heroes infiltrated Scarwall. The atrocities they found there tested them to their limits, and when they reached Kazavon, a terrific battle took place. During this battle, they stripped away Kazavon’s human disguise, revealing the champion of Zon-Kuthon to be a blue dragon. In the end, Mandraivus laid Kazavon low with his legendary weapon, a magical bastard sword named Serithtial (see page 435). Yet even in death, Kazavon’s body shuddered and gasped. Fire and acid destroyed much of the dragon’s corpse, yet seven fragments proved impossible to destroy. These grisly relics were so suffused with evil and malignancy they refused to burn or melt—even as the heroes watched, the bones twitched and writhed as they tried to return to life.
Mandraivus ordered his surviving comrades to each take one of these seven relics out into the world and go into hiding. None would know where the other members went, least of all their leader, who would remain in Scarwall with Serithtial to guard against it ever being used by Kazavon or his minions again.
One of the heroes Mandraivus called to join his cabal was a powerful Shoanti shaman. When the surviving members of the band each took a piece of the dragon, this shaman chose the Kazavon’s fangs as his responsibility. He returned to his homeland in Varisia, opting to hide the relic in an ancient Thassilonian monument on the shore of his people’s ancestral lands. He spent the rest of his life guarding the monument, seeking to ensure that nothing dared enter the hidden chambers within, and before he died, he passed the task down to his son. And so, for hundreds of years, the descendants of this now-forgotten Shoanti shaman guarded and protected the fangs of Kazavon from discovery. Eventually, they forgot what exactly it was they guarded, knowing only that they were bound by tradition and honor to continue the task.
When Cheliax founded Korvosa and warred with the Shoanti, driving them north into the Cinderlands, many of the guardians of Kazavon’s fangs perished. A few Shoanti shamans survived the decades of war, and watched with fear from afar as the invaders built a castle atop the hidden chambers. Yet as the years wore on, the world didn’t end, and the Shoanti began to hope that the evil threat inside the pyramid was dormant. Recently, Shoanti ambassadors have attempted to entreat Korvosa for peace, but these reconciliations are little more than an excuse to get the line of guardian shamans nearer to the seat of their traditional charge, so they can watch and be on hand should the unthinkable occur.
But the unthinkable has already happened, and the initial change went all but unnoticed, overshadowed as it was by riots and disease. When Queen Ileosa discovered Kazavon’s fangs, the ancient warlord’s spirit infused her with incredible power. The scenario the ancient shamans feared has come to pass, with no guardians in place to notice or prevent it. Now, sensing weakness in the city as it reels from riots and plague and staggers under the despotic rule of a new tyrant, the Shoanti are preparing for war. By driving out the invaders, they hope to return to their traditional role of guardians over the ancient evil—not yet knowing that the time for guarding is long gone. If they are allowed to march on Korvosa, the resulting slaughter on both sides of the conflict will surely be a crowning glory for Queen Ileosa and her newfound patron Kazavon.