|Antigonus de Ardyn|
- "Who do you think you're talking to? I'm the Superior! I've fought against a countless number of people both physically and mentally in the past few decades, and I've always emerged victorious. This time will be no different; you lost this battle the moment you challenged me."
- —Antigonus de Ardyn to Omaroch d'Zarnagon
Count Antigonus de Ardyn used to be the leader of the Order of the Black Rose and an influential member of the House of Ardyn in Maar Sul. He is the older brother of Belial and the father of Desdemona and Mordecai. He had grand plans of world domination, but he underestimated a demon named Omaroch d'Zarnagon who defeated his Order a few years prior to the Yamatian Invasion. However, Antigonus returned years after the Cataclysm to have his revenge on Omaroch and anyone who was involved in Belial's death.
Joining the OrderEdit
Antigonus de Ardyn and his younger brother Belial were born into the House of Ardyn in the Kingdom of Maar Sul. Their parents, Count Adrian and Countess Claire, died on a plague that swept through the Maar Sulais lands. The noble houses of Avaris and Grath took advantage of this and stole the weakened family's lands. Antigonus and Belial barely managed to escape alive and swore revenge on the power-hungry nobles.
The brothers wandered around the Maar Sulais countryside for days on end, avoiding troops from rival nobles who would have either killed them on the spot or sold them into slavery. The boys almost starved to death when they were rescued by the Order of the Black Rose, a secret society, which offered to help them if they would support the Order in return. The boys realized that this might be their only chance to strike back at their rivals and made a deal with the Order.
Antigonus and Belial grew up, but it was Antigonus who was the leading figure of the duo, and the younger Belial always looked up to him in magic studies and politics. High-ranking members of the Order of the Black Rose helped the boys grow up into intelligent mages, and Antigonus proved to be a prodigy and learned new skills without much effort whereas Belial had to use his every waking moment to hone his skills.
After years of political maneuvers the brothers won the family lands back, restored the House of Ardyn to its former glory and reclaimed their titles as counts. They also succeeded in crippling the Houses of Avaris and Grath both financially and politically. Antigonus and Belial became the new leaders of the Order when the previous leader died under mysterious circumstances, and they established a spy network which observed and influenced the politics of other kingdoms.
Antigonus liked women maybe a bit too much, and he never bothered to tell anyone who he was dating. This infuriated Belial who could not understand why Antigonus would do something so reckless. Antigonus, however, refused to answer any of Belial's accusations because he thought that it would only be a waste of time.
It was around this time that Antigonus met and fallen in love with a lesser noble, Baroness Eva von Waldheim, near the city of Fragnar. Belial could not sway Antigonus to forget this noblewoman, not after Antigonus had found an intellectual to match his wit in Eva. Antigonus and Eva eventually married and spent some time together even though Antigonus was busy dealing with the matters of the Order.
To Antigonus's shock, Eva died during childbirth, and he decided to give their baby the name of Desdemona to honour the name of Eva's grandmother. Some unfortunate things happened at this time too, including the fact that Eva's bitter brother Dieter von Waldheim blamed Antigonus for murdering Eva, but Antigonus ignored the man's grief and concentrated on taking care of Desdemona.
It was not long after when Antigonus found another woman of interest, this time an elfess from Folsworth Woods. Belial was getting sick of his brother's actions but could not do anything but watch as the two got married a couple of years later. The elfess gave birth to a half-elven boy, Mordecai, and actually managed to live a few months with Antigonus and the child.
Tragedy befell the de Ardyn family once more as a mysterious disease killed the elfess a few months later. Antigonus grieved this death for long, but Dieter appeared to mock his poor choice of a wife, claiming that Antigonus killed everything he touched. This infuriated Belial who eventually left to travel the world, but Antigonus was once again oblivious to Dieter and instead concentrated on mourning the elfess whom he had loved as much as Eva albeit for different reasons.
Antigonus and Belial eventually found out that there were some demons roaming around the world in different disguises. Despite Belial's protests Antigonus immediately tried to persuade demons to join and thus strengthen the Order. For a while the brothers seemed to be successful and they did make contact with some stray demons, although the power of these demons wasn't great by any means.
The demons refused to tell anyone how they could be roaming around the world despite the fact that the seals to the demon realm should still be intact. Although this troubled Belial greatly, Antigonus did not mind it because he had to deal with his rivals in the Dwarven Triad. However, the brothers did learn about the existence of the Dragon Diamond, and Antigonus wished to find it and harness its power in order to increase his magic.
Spying on OmarochEdit
A year later, Antigonus learned from his underlings that a particularly powerful demon named the Wanderer had appeared and that this demon was looking for something. He sent Belial to find out the Wanderer's identity, and eventually Belial found out that the demon's true name was Omaroch d'Zarnagon and that Omaroch was in fact an archdemon who had escaped from the demon city of Norash'namun to explore the world of mortals.
Belial tried to plead with his brother one last time to leave the forces of darkness alone, but Antigonus had become power-hungry and wanted to gain the powers of an archdemon for himself and thus refused to listen to Belial's advice.
Antigonus sent various operatives of the Order such as Faceless, Koschei Dravaris and Saleos after Omaroch, hoping to learn more about Omaroch in the process. He found out about the rivalry between Omaroch and a group of rogue knights known as the Fire Lizards, and he decided to play these two opposing forces against one another to see whether Omaroch would indeed be powerful enough. It turned out to be correct, as Omaroch succeeded in defeating many of his opponents even if the Fire Lizards remained a feared group.
Destruction of the OrderEdit
After Antigonus had grown bored working in the shadows, he decided to act. He arranged a meeting between himself and Omaroch, but it did not go well. Omaroch refused to become the Order's lapdog and instead decided to act in order to stop Antigonus's dreams of world domination. This infuriated Antigonus who had hoped to use Omaroch and the Dragon Diamond for his own ends, and he was certain that his powers were good enough to beat down an archdemon. This resulted in a grand battle which eventually decimated the Order.
Antigonus fought against Omaroch for a long time and held his ground. Eventually Omaroch found a hole in Antigonus's defense, though, and defeated him brutally. Belial saw Omaroch strike Antigonus down, but Antigonus had an ace in his sleeve and cast a spell on Omaroch while trying to teleport away. It was thanks to the spell that Omaroch's latent magic powers increased, and he ended up teleporting away at the same time with Antigonus, leaving the injured but alive Belial behind.
The dark powers of Omaroch and Antigonus reacted to each other, hurling each man to a different area. Omaroch ended up near the caverns which led to the Demon Realm, thus alerting the demons to his presence. Antigonus, meanwhile, was trapped between different planes of reality, unable to leave and seemingly doomed to stay in this fate worse than death forever.
Antigonus's defeat and presumed death shook the Order of the Black Rose to the core. Belial was the only person from the top brass of the Order to survive the massacre, and he swore to hunt down Omaroch for what he had done. It would take years to rebuild the Order, but Belial had done his homework and learned all the essential skills from Antigonus prior to the man's death.
Antigonus also left behind Desdemona and Mordecai who grew distant after losing their father figure. As the Order grew once more in the years of the Great War, it was thanks to Antigonus's teachings that it could prosper in the first place.
Meanwhile, Antigonus spent decades trapped in the plane between worlds. The only thing that kept him sane in his solitary prison was his hatred for Omaroch and his vow to avenge the defeat of the Order of the Black Rose. Thus he spent the following years plotting how to have his revenge. He also tried to find a way to break free from the celestial prison but to no avail.
A Second ChanceEdit
However, everything changed on a seemingly ordinary, eventless day. The barriers between the worlds broke for a moment, giving Antigonus enough time to plunge into the gap that emerged. At that point he didn't care whether it would lead him to his doom as long as it took him away from the maddening plane of reality where he had spent so many years.
Antigonus ended up in Maar Sul out of all places. Disoriented by his return, he accidentally unleashed his magic and slaughtered a nearby citizen who had startled him. The bystander's death made him focus and realize that he was back in his own world. He quickly hid in a nearby tavern to ponder his next move and to figure out how long he had been away.
After careful questions, he found out about the Great War and the Cataclysm as well as the ensuing years. He couldn't directly ask about the Order and it took him some time to find out that Belial had survived the encounter with Omaroch and the Order had become a prominent force in Maar Sulais politics once more.
However, by this time he also found out that Belial had been assassinated by people connected to a death cult called the Totenkopfs. Furious and saddened by his inability to be by his brother's side, Antigonus modified his plan and took on the identity of his late brother, claiming to be a reborn Belial. He used his alter ego to his advantage and infiltrated the Matheson Crime Family.
Although suspicious of him at first, the Mathesons spared him when he provided them with valuable knowledge on how to take over Jardine. He became close to Galeras Matheson and acted as one of his cohorts in the invasion of Jardine. He took great care to keep his alter ego self hidden from public, though, instead preferring to plot from behind the Matheson throne.
This was all just an elaborate act to gain the Mathesons' trust (or at least make them see him as a valuable tool) and thus gain information on the Crimson Coalition and Totenkopfs in particular. It was by that time that Antigonus met the ambitious and bitter Totenkopf called Thrax and quickly appealed to Thrax's ambitious nature by promising him untold wealth and power if he helped him take down the enigmatic Master of the cult. He also used Thrax's and the Coalition's knowledge to find out if Omaroch was still alive. He quickly learned that the demon he sought was now working for the Magicracy of Alent in Libaterra.
Content for the time being now that he had learned what he needed to know, Antigonus spent the following weeks as one of Galeras's advisors while slowly building a spy network which would remain loyal only to him. Although he couldn't be quite sure if Thrax or Galeras would betray him, particularly because he came to realize Thrax may in fact have been playing a far grander scheme with ties to another faction, he could at least trust in their greed and ambition and that they wouldn't threaten him yet. Antigonus also began planning the takeover of the Order of the Black Rose, not knowing if any of his old allies, Koschei Dravaris included, could be trusted at the moment.
- "The fate that befell me was in many ways like death...only worse. But I swore that I'd return to have my revenge on the demon who defied me, and that day has finally dawned."
- —Antigonus to Khalid al-Saif
Antigonus had to change his plans when he found out that a group of heroes of the Grand Alliance had infiltrated the Jardine manor to free the captive Lady Amarawyn Jardine from Galeras's clutches. Seeing his chance to finally doublecross the Mathesons who had collaborated with Belial's enemies, Antigonus betrayed the Matheson goons and helped the heroes escape with Amarawyn. It was risky but it paid off even though he had to show his face to the heroes and pretend to be Belial while explaining how he had "survived" the fall from the tower in Maar Sul City. What he told his new companions was true from a certain point of view but he twisted the truth enough to make it believable that he was in fact Belial.
Although the heroes were still understandably suspicious of him, Antigonus kept acting like Belial and slowly seemed to convince most of them that he was the real deal. The ensuing chaos, which took place when Amarawyn faced Galeras's forces, gave Antigonus a chance to briefly chat with Thrax and instruct Thrax's new allies, the Nightstalkers, to assassinate Galeras who knew too much about his plans.
However, Galeras escaped the assassins and faced Antigonus, intending to kill him for his betrayal. Antigonus tried to finish off the Matheson crime lord then and there once and for all, but Nymgrock Sigiln and Shyralis knocked Galeras down and dragged Antigonus with them as they fled from the pursuers.
Antigonus was less than pleased that he couldn't have finished Galeras off but he hoped that either the assassins or the mob would do it for him. However, he knew there was a risk that the vengeful Galeras would reveal all his secrets to Amarawyn and the Alliance out of spite, including Antigonus's identity, so Antigonus had to act faster than he had originally planned. Luckily he had Thrax nearby posing as a member of the Blades of Vigilance so he knew he could use the disguised Totenkopf's help if things turned ugly.
After suffering a long journey with the constantly babbling group, Antigonus and his comrades finally reached their destination: the city of Vanna where Nymgrock and Shyralis hoped to find the missing King Marcus Sarillius. Antigonus was surprised to hear what a terrible fate had befallen the nation of Remon but he also saw Marcus as a means to gain control of the kingdom later on if he so desired.
There was just a small problem: Vanna was besieged by an army of demons. The group cloaked itself and sneaked into the city only to discover that the demons were mysteriously retreating. Confused at first, the group continued onward and eventually found Marcus and the other heroes of the Grand Alliance who explained that the demons who belonged to the Northern Horde would return soon and the Alliance only had a few days to leave Vanna and never return. In other words, Vanna had already been lost, and the Alliance were allowed to flee for some strange reason. It didn't make sense to Antigonus, but he assumed there was something else behind the demons' sudden act of mercy and that there was a reason why they had spared the Alliance and the survivors of Vanna, probably to use them as pawns at a later date in some complicated scheme.
Things got more complicated when Antigonus met the Sultan of the city who, mistaking him for Belial, called him "father." He realized that the Sultan, Khalid al-Saif, was in fact Belial's son who had been born after Antigonus's imprisonment to the astral plane. Khalid posed a serious threat to Antigonus because he might expose his plans; sooner or later the Sultan would figure out that he wasn't dealing with the real Belial. Although Thrax suggested eliminating Khalid, Antigonus didn't want to kill Belial's son who reminded him of Belial; instead he wanted to offer the Sultan a chance to join his plot.
Unfortunately Khalid was more intelligent than he had seemed: he quickly deduced that "Belial" wasn't the real deal, and Antigonus had to reveal his true identity to the Sultan, explaining that he was in fact Khalid's uncle. When Antigonus tried to convince Khalid to aid him, Khalid instead questioned him and suggested to take him to the other Alliance leaders and expose him. Feeling threatened, Antigonus acted and assaulted Khalid, hoping to wipe his memory clean of the incident and thus buy himself more time. Before Antigonus could use his spells in earnest, he was knocked unconscious by Grand Vizier Azriel al-Zarar who had been nearby and had been eavesdropping the two.
The Point of No ReturnEdit
Antigonus, now imprisoned, accompanied the fleeing Sarquil refugees and the Grand Alliance to Alent. Although he was disappointed by Khalid rejecting him, he still had an ace in his sleeve: Thrax was still pretending to be a member of the Blades of Vigilance so he would be able to help Antigonus escape if there was a need to do so. Antigonus, however, chose to bide his time and wait how events would unfold in order to observe the Alliance's members--and his nephew--a while longer.
By the time the refugees had reached the outskirts of Alent and camped there while waitin for permission to enter the city, Antigonus noticed Titaniel Focker walking with a new face, Rain, in the camp. Antigonus called out to them, angering Titaniel who feared the mysterious mage. He managed to talk briefly to Rain before Titaniel took her away, but he planted a seed of curiosity in the girl who had turned out to be a Maar Sulais like himself. He realized the girl could in fact be useful to his plans if he played his cards right.
Antigonus noticed that Rain was attracted to Razoul, Captain of the Black Guard, and saw his chance to act. He manipulated events that night and subtly guided the two warriors' emotions to make them fall in love and spend a night together in the captain's tent. He would use this information--and his role in their romance--to his advantage later, hoping to force them to help him because he had partly been responsible for them getting together.
When the Alliance camp was assaulted by Totenkopfs posing as Alentian guards, Antigonus sent his rat familiar Bifrons to keep an eye on things. It was thanks to Bifrons's loud cry that nearby Alliance members discovered that the Totenkopf attack was a mere diversion while Cain Highwind and, much to Antigonus's surprise, Antigonus's son Mordecai de Ardyn went after the true target, the bard Leon Alcibiates, during the chaotic battle. Khalid, Rain, Razoul and Axikasha Keiran came to Leon's aid and eventually subdued the two assassins with Bifrons's help although Leon still got poisoned by a mysterious venom in the process.
Razoul and Rain later confronted Antigonus who talked in a rather mysterious and irritating way to them, making Razoul furious. Rain, however, was wavering. She wasn't sure what to make of Antigonus's explanation that he had helped speed their romance along; on the one hand she thought the mage was merely taunting them, but on the other hand she couldn't help but think if the mage had in fact influenced them for some sinister purpose.
When Khalid learned that Bifrons, who had alerted them to the Totenkopfs, had in fact been Antigonus's familiar, he ordered the warlock to be freed and brought to him. He questioned Antigonus, demanding him to explain why he had aided the Alliance when he had acted antagonistically towards Khalid weeks earlier in Vanna. Antigonus explained that since they were family, they should stick together, and he believed the Alliance could help him expose the Totenkopfs, a common enemy. Although Razoul objected having the warlock walk free, Khalid let Antigonus wander around although it would be under the Alliance's terms. Antigonus was more than happy to oblige; now that he was relatively free to wander around while the Alliance was more or less grateful for his help in the earlier skirmish, he could carry out his plans.
The negotiations with the Council of Mages concluded eventually, and the Alliance's representatives and the Sarquil refugees were allowed into Alent where they were directed to the Sarquil Downs, a slum district where the refugees would settle in. However, there was a catch: in exchange for a sanctuary, the Sarquil would have to work as Alent's workforce, thus essentially becoming slaves in anything but name. Antigonus sensed unrest among the refugees who still had their pride and realized that sooner or later these tensions would escalate because the Sarquil were hot-blooded.
A Cry in the DarkEdit
More info later.
Antigonus approached the imprisoned Refan and Mordecai and openly threatened Refan: he would make the thief pay for murdering Belial, but first he would torment Refan psychologically before finishing him off. After he had said what he had wanted to say, Antigonus left the scene and the puzzled Refan behind.
Heart of DarknessEdit
Sensing dark magic in the air during the King and Queen's Ball, Antigonus noticed that Rain, the girl he'd been paying attention to lately, was running around asking for people's help to investigate the source of the magic. Antigonus volunteered to help the girl and joined the group, which also included Mathias, Stylianos Kinley and members of Shadowstrike, although he noticed Rain was somewhat suspicious of him, understandably so.
They reached an inn in the Sarquil Downs and entered one of its room, seeing Rain's beloved Razoul having sex with the beautiful lieutenant Lamashtu al-Khadra. They were about to leave when Rain, angered by the sight, ended up accidentally shooting Lamashtu in a leg with a crossbow bolt...and the lieutenant seemed to shrug the wound off and pulled the bolt out like it was nothing. Although Antigonus's senses were clouded by the heavy atmosphere in the room, his keen mind managed to wrestle itself out of this strange influence and realize Lamashtu was no ordinary woman.
He ended up protecting the group from what he believed to be a persuasion spell by casting a magical shield around the group. This, combined with Styl's accusations of Lamashtu having been able to pull out a bolt which should've shattered her bones, eventually made Lamashtu reveal her true colours as she transformed into a voluptuous succubus and called herself Lust. It appeared that Lamashtu had been posing as a human warrior to infiltrate Alent and planned to do something with Razoul whom she'd put under her spell.
Lust decided to leave the room which was getting cramped and left the group with a demonic lion which she released from a hidden cage. Antigonus helped the group fight off the lion, and they then followed the fleeing Lust and Razoul outside, intending to separate the bewitched captain from the demoness. They didn't face just Lust outside, though; the street was now filled with several succubi minions as well as strange, shadowy creatures which Lust called her beloved nightmares, who attacked anything non-demonic in sight, including the Sarquil reinforcements led by Vitani.
Antigonus aided the group in the battle against Lust and the other demons, providing cover for Janus Todd who cast a necromantic spell to raise the slain Sarquil and demons as an undead army to help even the odds against the powerful demons. Several people joined the group during this battle, including Khalid, his wife Axikasha Keiran as well as the clerics Shyralis and Izael Korath. The group devised a strategy to attack Lust as one unit while saving Razoula and Rain, who had run to the captain, from the gleeful Lust.
Lust and her minions were eventually defeated although Antigonus's unnatual calmness as well as his willingness to eliminate people to end the threat of demons left some people cold, notably Stylianos who called him "Stoneheart" as a result. Antigonus paid their objections no mind; as far as he was concerned, ending the demon threat had been the biggest priority no matter the cost. He knew from first-hand experience how dangerous demons would be if left unchecked.
After the battle, Antigonus returned to this quarters to comtemplate on what he had witnessed while several injured people were taken to the nearest infirmary. Lust and the succubi that had been caught were taken to Alent's central ziggurat for interrogation.
Aliases and NicknamesEdit
- What Stylianos Kinley called him because of his cold, logical behaviour during the battle in Sarquil Downs against demons.
- Everyone in the Order used this honorific title when they were referring to Antigonus as it's the traditional title bestowed upon the leader of the Order.
Antigonus wears grey clothes and a blue scarf which acts as a hood when needed. He has a greying hair and goatee and he wears an eyepatch over his right eye which he lost in an accident. Antigonus is slightly taller than Belial but much slimmer, and he concentrated more on learning magic than swordplay.
Personality and TraitsEdit
Antigonus is a true magnificent bastard, pulling many strings in the background. He played Omaroch and the Fire Lizards against one another and even succeeded in his scheme of escalating the Libaterran Civil War just to make his Order grow stronger. He is very arrogant and always underestimates others, and this eventually caused his downfall in the hands of Omaroch.
After his return, he still retains a smug, superior attitude but now uses guile more often to get what he wants as he understands he won't have the support of his Order for the time being. He's willing to use anyone to get what he wants, and he's particularly interested in events surrounding Belial's death.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Antigonus is surprisingly skilled in both fighting and magic. Some said that he had made a pact with demons to gain power that is usually beyond ordinary red mages, and he has let these rumours spread to make him seem more frightening to his opponents as he realizes fear is a powerful weapon in the right hands.
Belial de ArdynEdit
Belial always admired his older brother Antigonus who was better at everything than he was. Antigonus acted as a father figure and always kept Belial safe during their childhood, and he always took great pains in teaching Belial aspects of magic. It was somewhat frustrating for Belial that Antigonus learned everything so easily while Belial had to struggle to remember the same things, but his love for his brother never diminished. Even when Antigonus grew power-hungry and began contacting demons, Belial stood adamantly at his side. His love for his brother was so deep that he swore to hunt down his brother's killer, Omaroch, down, and he took Desdemona and Mordecai under his wing.
Desdemona de ArdynEdit
Despite loving Desdemona, Antigonus was very busy with his work and rarely spent time with her as he had preferred a male heir. This in turn made Desdemona feel an unwanted child, a feeling which grew after Antigonus began showing more affection towards Mordecai. Antigonus's death didn't thus shock Desdemona much, and she continued living her life as before.
A few years after his first wife's death, Antigonus married the elfess Eyrudice who would give birth to their son Mordecai. However, she succumbed to the Blood Fever some time later although at the time Antigonus wasn't yet aware of the disease's existence.
Eva von WaldheimEdit
Antigonus's love for Eva nearly made him and Belial hate each other. Eva gave birth to their daughter Desdemona but died soon after. Despite his brother's protests Antigonus stayed by Eva's side and the few years they spent together were among the best in Antigonus's life. Her death led to bad blood between de Ardyns and Dieter von Waldheim.
Antigonus has a strained relationship with his nephew Khalid and is still trying to get adjusted to the fact that he's Belial's son. The two started off on the wrong foot when Khalid found out Antigonus's scheme and Antigonus ended up roughing him up to keep him quiet until it backfired on him. Although Khalid remains suspicious of Antigonus, he feels the need to use his services not only because Antigonus is family but because he has valuable information which Khalid wants to put to good use.
Mordecai de ArdynEdit
Mordecai did not spend much time with his father Antigonus, because Antigonus was busy with his schemes. The two loved each other like a father and a son, and Antigonus used every opportunity he could to be with his son. This growing relationship was tragically cut short when Antigonus was killed in battle. Mordecai did not cry in his funeral and shrugged the pain off like he always did and continued honing his skills in order to honour his father's memory.
Antigonus wanted to use Omaroch as a pawn in his grand game of deception. However, he did not anticipate that Omaroch would act openly against him, and it cost him his life. Antigonus was one of Omaroch's greatest opponents but in the end even he was not a match for the matured Omaroch's power.
Rain has caught Antigonus's attention, and he's often teasing her about having made her and Razoul fall in love. Rain is both curious about him and also frightened of him, not knowing what to think of him. Antigonus seems to have a plan in mind for the girl but has so far kept her in the dark although he's offered to aid her on several occasions.