Conquerors, evil fighters and monks, tyrants, wizards
LN, LE, NE
Destruction, Evil, Hatred, Law, Tyranny
“The Red Hand of Iraxar” [a red gauntlet] (morningstar)
The Red Lord, the Red Hand, the Lord of Darkness
Iraxar the Lord of Darkness, has conquered death itself, returning to the world to give dark inspiration to a thousand intrigues, to foment fear and hatred in civilized lands, and to reassure the common mortal that tyranny, through it may suffer occasional defeat, will never die. Though Bane transcended mortality centuries ago, his primary goal remains notably human. He seeks nothing short of the total domination of Larsil.
When his servants sit upon the throne of every land, when commoners serve their masters in fear for their very lives, and when altruism and hope have been erased from the world, only then will Iraxar rest. Until that dark day, however, the Red Hand has eternity to hatch demented plots and vile intrigues. Eventually, he will rule all Larsil, but there’s no hurry. Getting there will be half the fun.
Iraxar prefers to keep to the shadows, allowing his servants to carry out his intricate plans. On the rare occasion in which he appears, he takes the form of a shadowy humanoid figure — often bare-chested, sometimes wearing red armour and a stylish black cloak streaked with red. His right hand, invariably protected by a jewelled metal gauntlet, is all the weapon he needs to dispatch the few foes brave (or foolhardy) enough to attack him. He has no tolerance for failure and seldom thinks twice about submitting even a loyal servant to rigorous tortures to ensure complete obedience to his demanding, regimented doctrine. Though possessed of an unforgiving wrath when aroused, Iraxar is slow to anger, existing in a perpetual state of controlled burn.
Iraxar’s tyranny is known throughout the continent, and his is the image most seen as the face of evil. When news of Iraxar’s destruction made its way throughout Larsil, no fewer then twenty-seven nations declared national festivals of celebration and thanksgiving. The commoner sees Iraxar’s clerics as petty would-be dictators unafraid to use immoral tactics and unthinkable violence to spread their influence and agenda. The adventurer sees the clergy as constant interlopers and enemies, agents of rigid, evil philosophy who side with monsters, devils, and savage humanoids to further their wicked ends. Canny nobles glimpse the truest threat, that some of their peers pay homage to the Red Lord to gain through guile and subterfuge what soldiers cannot conquer by force.
Even as a human, Iraxar wanted nothing more than to become the most feared, respected tyrant the world had ever known. However, doing so would require an infusion of arcane power greater than that usually accorded to mortals. Hence, the calculating despot joined forces with the similarly driven humans in a pact of mutual assistance that would end in the apotheosis of the entire trio. The three villains adventured across the breadth of Larsil, defeated countless foes, slew one of the Seven Lost Gods, and travelled throughout the Lower Planes before achieving that goal.
Iraxar’s power and influence grew over the centuries, but this was still not enough for him. With the awakening of Golgynax, Iraxar saw his chance to gain yet more power. The details of the pact between god and dragon are unknown, but many put this alliance down to swiftness with which Golgynax created such devastation. Whatever the agreement, the defeat of Golgynax also seemed to spell the end of Iraxar with his death being witnessed on the battlefield that day. Many of Iraxar’s followers fled or joined the ranks of other orders.
The celebrations of his death were premature, however, and recent years have seen the return of Iraxar. With his return came swift punishment to those that had abandoned his cause, and great reward to those who had remained loyal.
Serve no one but Iraxar. Fear him always and make others fear him even more than you do. The Red Hand always strikes down those who stand against it in the end. Defy Iraxar and die — or in death find loyalty to him, for he shall compel it. Submit to the word of Iraxar as uttered by his ranking clergy, since true power can only be gained through service to him. Spread the dark fear of Iraxar. It is the doom of those who do not follow him to let power slip through their hands. Those who cross the Red Hand meet their dooms earlier and more harshly than those who worship other deities.
Clergy and Temples
Clerics of Iraxar pray for spells at midnight. Their religion recognizes no official holidays, though servants give thanks to the Red Hand before and after major battles or before a particularly important act of subterfuge. Senior clerics often declare holy days at a moment’s notice, usually claiming to act upon divine inspiration granted to them in dreams. Rites include drumming, chanting, and the sacrifice of intelligent beings, usually upon an altar of red basalt or obsidian. The preferred sacrifices such as paladins, unicorns, children, and celestials remain popular with traditionalists.
Iraxar orders his clerics and followers to achieve positions of power within their society, either through force or trickery, and to use that power to further the cause of hate, fear, destruction, and strife. The Red Hand much prefers that his clerics subvert governments and carry out their agendas under the cover of the rule of law, but he tolerates a limited amount of discord and debauchery. Torture, beatings, and calculated assassinations frequently come into play in such operations, and rare indeed is the initiate of the Lord of Darkness who does not possess at least rudimentary skill in such enterprises. The church operates under a strict hierarchy—questioning or disobeying the orders of a superior is an insult to Iraxar’s supremacy, and is punishable by torture, disfigurement, or death.
Iraxar’s temples tend to reflect the clergy’s regimented doctrines. Tall, sharpened cornered stone structures featuring towers adorned with large spikes and thin windows, most Iraxar churches suggest the architecture of fortified keeps or small castles. Thin interior passageways lead from an austere foyer to barracks like common chambers for the lay clergy, each sparsely decorated with tapestries depicting the symbol of Iraxar or inscribed with embroidered passages from important religious texts. Temples frequently include an exposed central courtyard used for military drills and open air ceremonies, as well as a more traditional mass hall for the congregation at large. Most churches feature extensive subterranean dungeons replete with torture chambers, starvation wells, and monster pens.