|Axikasha "Ax" Keiran|
Axikasha Keiran, most commonly known as Ax, is a warrior originally from Libaterra and the current leader of the Blades of Vigilance. She is an old ally of the Grand Alliance, wielder of Dawn and a veteran of the Great War. After her ragtag crew of seafaring mercenaries was all but decimated by an ice elemental, she joined the ranks of the Grand Alliance. As of the battle inside the Ruined Kingdom, Ax is the High Cleric of Hephaestus and has since entered a political marriage with Khalid al-Saif to keep the Sarquil tribes loyal to the Alliance. In the Fourth Age, Ax is active in Valencia as a captain in charge of the training of new recruits. The only way Ax is likely to see battle again, though, is if Valencia is besieged.
Not So Humble BeginningsEdit
Ax was born in Lutherin, the only child of General Arthaniel Keiran and his Sinlarine wife Aisling Keiran, who his father claimed had died shortly after Ax's birth. Arthaniel saw great potential in his daughter as a warrior, and began training her in the ways of the blade when she was just six. Eager to prove her skills, rather than rely on her father's reputation as a war hero, Ax joined the Libaterran army disguised as a male. Though she was quickly discovered and punished, she succeeded in proving herself and rose quickly through the ranks. Ax led a fairly normal life for several years, with her best friend Viirsa Yuriev often keeping her out of trouble.
Libaterran Civil WarEdit
By the age of 18, Ax had risen to the rank of captain, and the civil war between the Locken Loyalists and the Rebels was beginning to intensify. Roughly a year later, Ax helped defend the capital from a Rebel attack. Here, she encountered her father, who was now with the Rebels. He demanded that she join him or be prepared to fight. He attacked, and a shocked Ax was forced to defend herself. Ax managed to best her father, killing him, but ended up with a horrible scar across her face, which she bears to this day.
Confused and fed up with the current state of affairs, Ax left Lutherin and the war behind.
First Encounter with DawnEdit
After wandering the countryside for several months while earning money doing odd jobs, Ax encountered the mysterious Shyla Locken. Reminded of Viirsa, and wanting to protect Shyla, Ax followed the girl to the Rebel base of Trinity Gask. The two officially met in the city's underground passages, when Shyla mistook Ax for an attacker. A truce was formed, and the two escaped the tunnel and the true attacker, Countess Endoran L'Sarius.
They found themselves in the Temple of the Unknown God where Ax learned Shyla's true identity: the queen of Libaterra. While the two were talking, a Cardian cleric named Schuldich Cedheros appeared with the magical blade Dawn, destined for one of the two women. Schuldich waited for the god Cardia to enter his mind, as the mortal didn't know which woman the blade was intended for. Before he could hand the blade off, the goddess Artemicia showed up. Schuldich made a desperate attempt to kill the goddess, but died at her hand. Artemicia then vanished with the blade, intending to give it to her own high cleric. The sword would not be seen again for many years to come.
Battle for Lutherin and the AftermathEdit
Ax and Shyla learned of another attack on Lutherin, and wished to do what they could to help. After stealing a Rebel cart carrying a Loyalist prisoner, the two continued towards the city. Shyla was captured in Lutherin, while Ax managed to escape amidst the chaos of battle. After searching fruitlessly for the girl for nearly a month, Ax fled Libaterra altogether, believing the queen to be dead.
Ax wandered throughout other countries for the following two years, never returning to Libaterra, hiring herself out as a mercenary when she needed extra money. While in Remon, Ax purchased a horse she dubbed Dubya who became her trusty steed. She heard stories of a magic blade named Dusk and saw the vision of Marcus Sarillius as he was made king. Reminded of the sword Dawn which she had seen years ago, and running low on money, Ax decided to seek the man out.
On the way to Sanae, the capital of Remonian elves, Ax encountered Colonel Garron Dalthas, an old friend of her father's now working with the Yamatians. Dalthas claimed to still hope for justice for Libaterra, and asked Ax to go back and help one day. Though she did her best to shrug off his words, the request would haunt for years to come.
Joining the AllianceEdit
- "This scar is mine to bear. A reminder of my crimes, my mistakes. It stays."
- —Ax to Viirsa Yuriev
In Sanae, Ax met with King Marcus Sarillius and joined the Grand Alliance as a mercenary. She learned from Marcus that the sword she had seen long ago, Dawn, was the twin sword of his Dusk, and that the two blades were said to unleash their full potential when used together.
She befriended several members of the Alliance during this time, including Refan d'Zarnagon, Abel Highwind, Jonathan Ferron, Hector Blackwell and Skye. She also had a chance encounter with her old friend Viirsa, who was travelling as a merchant. The two tried to make conversation, but found that time had taken its toll on their friendship.
During the Battle of Folsworth Woods, Ax played a significant part in helping the Alliance gain access to a Yamatian fort on the outskirts of the woods. Dalthas showed up again, and rather than attacking, decided to join the Alliance. This decision proved to be his downfall, however, as he was soon slain by Captain Yasunori Amano for his betrayal. Ax, in turn, killed Amano after an intense duel. She silently promised Dalthas that she would fulfill his wish to see justice return to Libaterra. After the battle, Ax pledged herself to Marcus and the Grand Alliance as a true ally, no longer a mercenary.
During the following battle to liberate Remonton from the Yamatians, Ax encountered the Shadow for the first time after a betrayal by Viirsa's companion, Shyralis. The Shadow slaughtered several of Ax's friends, and left the warrior with a deep scar on her abdomen. Once she regained her strength, Ax rushed to tell Marcus about Shyralis's betrayal, fearing the worst about Viirsa.
Viirsa was placed in chains, and admitted to working with Shyralis. She stated her allegiance didn't lie with Shyralis and the Clergy of Mardük, but with her commander, the Lady Varalia Earthhaven. She revealed that Varalia was in Myridia, the capital of Aison, and had the sword Dawn in her possession. Suspecting a trap, but not wanting to pass up the opportunity, Ax formed a group to retrieve the sword with Viirsa as a guide. The group sailed to Aison and made their way to the heavily-guarded capital, unaware that they were being followed by Yousei Kaizoku and his pirates.
With the aid of Captain Howdy, the group managed to infiltrate the city and the palace, though they battled a fierce sea serpent and encountered several mutated creatures and horrifying failed experiments along the way. By this point, Viirsa was heavy with Hector's child.
Dawn, at LastEdit
With a bit of skill and a lot of luck, the group of heroes finally gained access to the palace itself. They wandered through the oddly-silent corridors until they found Varalia's quarters. With her allies standing guard outside, Ax crept in, expecting to find a sleeping Varalia...and instead walked in on a horrific scene: the Lady Varalia being violently raped by Zarnagon, the dark cleric in charge of Myridia.
Ignoring the elf's cries for help, Ax quickly located Dawn and made her way towards the door. Unfortunately, the bright glow of the blade gave her away, and Zarnagon gave chase. The Palace Guard was alerted as well, slaughtering several of the heroes as they fled. The entire infiltration ended in disaster.
The Fight for MyridiaEdit
As Ax led the last weary survivors out of the palace, they were met by an incredible sight: reinforcements. The bulk of the Grand Alliance had finally come to liberate the capital of Myridia, and just in time. Ax, Hector and a gravely injured Viirsa made their way to the army's white mages, hoping something could be done. With the last of her strength, Viirsa gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She died in Hector's arms.
After recovering from their wounds and fatigue, Ax and a distraught Hector reentered the fierce battle taking place in Myridia. They, along with Refan and others, eventually battled their way to the throne room of Zarnagon. It was here that Ax witnessed the fateful duel between Refan and Zarnagon, both men transforming into horrific demonic forms as they fought on. Suddenly, Refan's father Omaroch d'Zarnagon appeared. He told the two men of their demonic heritage, explaining to Refan the reasons for the dark voices he's heard throughout his life. Refan, unable to accept this truth, fled the battle. Omaroch and Zarnagon left as well, their destination unknown.
Ax did her best to fight on, though she lost contact with Hector along the way. By the end of the battle, Hector was still missing, assumed by the Grand Alliance to be dead or captured.
Picking Up the PiecesEdit
As the Second Battle of Myridia drew to a close, Ax decided she'd seen enough bloodshed. She took Viirsa's orphaned daughter, Kaisa Blackwell, and purchased an old Yamatian ship with the last of her gold. With a crew of troubled souls just as eager to get away from their pasts, Ax and her Wanderers set sail on the Flaming Monkey. The mercenary group would sail the seas aimlessly for the next ten years, only setting foot on land long enough to restock supplies, swearing allegiance to no one but each other.
The Age of EmptinessEdit
Ax's carefree life on the Flaming Monkey was interruped rather abruptly, thanks in large part to her CO-Pirate Timnath's random desire to see Remon. The ship, battered and disabled by a strong storm, was forced to dock in the port town of Ravensworth. After much confusion and a nearly disastrous attack from the Ravensworth Watch, Ax and her crew anchored the ship south of Ravensworth and came ashore. They were joined by the deposed Captain of the Watch, Adram Alek, and his companions, along with the mysterious Count Belial de Ardyn and his crew. Ax and her Wanderers agreed to escort Belial to Remonton... for a fee, of course.
Predictably, the trip to Remonton did not go smoothly. The travelers were ambushed by a group of death cultists known as Totenkopfs, but the battle was quickly ended by the innovative use of some alcohol-infused puke. They succeeded in capturing a Totenkopf prisoner, who turned out to be Izael Korath, a foe from Ax's past. Soon after, they captured more prisoners, two of them quite familiar: Dieter von Waldheim (a man apparently known by Belial), the missing Kaisa, and the elven archer Rhylian Loras. Rhylian and Waldheim joined the party, as they too were headed for Remonton.
On Death's TrailEdit
The group finally reached the gates of Remonton, and Ax led them into the city through a hidden underground tunnel last used during the Great War. Once inside the city, all hell broke loose. King Marcus Sarillius had myseriously reappeared and in the city square, the Proninist Party which was in control of Remonton was preparing to execute several prisoners. The king turned out to be genuine, though he was accompanied by the known traitor Shyralis. Though suspicious, Ax had no time to question Marcus about his advisor. With the king in tow, Ax and her companions headed for the city square, where she found Belial and her old friend Refan were fighting. The two were soon captured and taken to the palace.
As Ax and her companions found themselves surrounded by Proninists, another foe was unleashed by the Totenkopfs. This foe turned out to be an ice elemental, far deadlier than anyone could have dreamed. The elemental rampaged throughout the city unchallenged, killing anyone that got in its way. As it neared the palace, Ax and her companions gathered to make their final stand. A small group was sent to release Belial and his fellow prisoners. As Ax and Marcus stood ready with their blades, the elemental unleashed a single, devastating blizzard attack. Ax's entire crew, Adram's companions, and a large number of townspeople perished instantly in the blizzard.
Reinforced by the released prisoners, and drawing strength from her anger and grief, Ax impaled the elemental with Dawn. Joined by Marcus and his Dusk, the first time the blades were used in tandem, it was enough to weaken the beast. Dawn, however, was shattered into dozens of pieces. With a violent explosion of ice that killed even more people, the elemental returned to its own plane. The devastation caused by this attack would take over a year to repair.
A Game of DeceptionEdit
With her crew gone and her sword shattered, Ax decided to leave Remonton. She wandered for almost a year, recruiting worthy soldiers for her new group called the Blades of Vigilance, and searching fruitlessly for a way to repair Dawn. Always, she was told that the metal was strange and impossible to shape.
When she finally returned to Remonton, her allies were in negotiations to rebuild the Grand Alliance of old. Ax pledged the strength of her Blades to the cause, and although some factions refused to join (such as Dylas Rin Theron and his White Ravens), Marcus succeeded in building an impressive army. The Second Grand Alliance would march at dawn to aid their Maar Sulais neighbors against the Proninist Party and Totenkopfs that were causing havoc in Maar Sul.
That night, Marcus was kidnapped from his tent by a group of mysterious travelers. The Shadow was left behind, disguised as Marcus to lure Ax in as well. The Shadow didn't anticipate Shyralis's distrust, however, and the encounter escalated into a full-blown battle. The Shadow ignored Ax's attacks, threatening to kill all her companions in front of her unless she surrendered.
After an intense fight involving Ax, Shyralis, Refan in his demonic form, Nesa Mikoto, Rhylian and several others, the Shadow was finally defeated. Refan, still in his demonic form, was unable to control himself and kissed Ax, intending to rape her. Ax was saved by Shyralis, but was quite shaken by what her friend just did to her. Ignoring her emotions for the moment, she and Shyralis disguised Nesa's crazy companion Ronove as Marcus and headed for the inn to form a plan.
Once inside, Ax decided that she would take a small group to rescue Marcus, while the disguised Ronove would lead the march in the morning as planned.
Echoes of WarEdit
- "Try to divide us all you want. Kill us, if that makes you happy. But you'll never bend the will of the world to serve you. We're...more than just...pawns!"
- —Ax to Nergal
The heroes finally reached the Ruined Kingdom and entered its temple, the only building still intact, leaving half of their allies behind in case something went wrong. After narrowly avoiding several traps, the party came to a room with a pedestal. On the pedestal sat a bar of soap, of all things. This Soap turned out to be Ax's worst nightmare, a Soap with a will of its own...a Soap with a mission. A mission to clean dirty mouths everywhere.
After an intense, Soapy battle, the heroes succeeded in capturing the Soap and securing it in Nymgrock Sigiln's bag. They continued on, finally coming to a vast hall where Marcus and his kidnappers were waiting. The kidnappers turned out to be none other than Varalia Earthhaven and Zarnagon's son Xerathas d'Zarnagon, who demanded Dawn in exchange for Marcus. Ax gave them a fake Dawn, and the party prepared to leave the temple.
As usual, things didn't go as smoothly as hoped. A large group of Totenkopfs appeared from the shadows and attacked; meanwhile, Xerathas quickly realized he'd been tricked. An enraged Varalia impulsively went after Ax, and the two women carried on a personal duel as the battle raged around them. Having seen the Totenkopfs enter the temple, Ax's second group of allies wasn't far behind, and they quickly entered the fray as well. With some help from Tiyana Natiya's time magic, the battle was quickly evened out. The battle turned into a three-way clash between the Totenkopfs, Ax's group and Xerathas's posse.
The tides turned once more when the Soap managed to escape, attacking heroes and enemies alike. A mistake by Ax resulted in two Soaps being unleashed, but this problem would soon be neutralized. Yet another dark figure emerged from the shadows: Jacob Seneron, the man responsible for the ice elemental's attack in Remonton, possessed by the god Nergal. As his eyes took on an eerie, golden glow, he revealed to those gathered that it had all been an elaborate setup to lure them all together. With his introduction out of the way, the possessed man hurled himself at Ax, intending to take Dawn for himself.
Though Ax struggled desperately to defend herself, she was no match for the god. As the possessed Jacob choked the life from her, she used her last breaths telling him that people were more than just pawns. He then stabbed her in the chest, and her limp form fell to the ground.
As Ax lay drowning in her own blood, she felt a blessed warmth spreading throughout her body. Her eyes flickered open, though they were not controlled by her alone. The wound in her chest closed, and she stood. The shards of the shattered Dawn flew towards Ax's outstreched hand, melding themselves together until the blade was whole once more. With the power of the god Hephaestus flowing through her veins, she launched herself at the possessed Jacob.
Joined by Marcus and Mori'sul Agara, an elf possessed by yet another god, Shakkan, the possessed Ax drove Nergal and his host back. As the four battled fiercely, Nergal continued to taunt Ax. He told her that Shyla Locken was in fact alive, and the true bearer of Dawn. Ignoring his words, Ax dealt the final blow, beheading Jacob and causing Nergal to abandon his host.
The temple began to crumble, and Mori'sul erected a shield to protect the heroes temporarily. Leaving them with a warning about traitors in their midst, he created a portal to the outskirts of the city. The group escaped safely through the portal, but at Ax's order, the injured Totenkopfs were left behind to die.
Once outside, Ax went off alone to think about the implications of what both gods had said. Hephaestus came to her once more, offering to give her his blessing if she would swear fealty to the causes of the Light. After realizing how many people had sacrificed their lives to help her and the rest of the world, Ax agreed. She became the first High Cleric of Hephaestus in over fifteen years. However, she was still pondering if what Nergal had said was true and she was only meant to deliver Dawn to Shyla instead of being the Chosen One herself.
A Crimson DawnEdit
Ax and her companions finally caught up with the rest of the Grand Alliance, and together, they proceeded to Maar Sul City where they placed the captive Xerathas, Varalia and Shadow into custody under the watchful eyes of Maar Sulais authorities.
At a ball following their arrival, Ax learned from her right-hand woman, Lieutenant Vaetris Redfield, that the new ship of the Blades, the Hiltraud had been completed. She also learned during the ball that Khalid al-Saif, one of Belial's servants, was in fact an exiled Sarquil Emir from the Sultanate of Karaganda, a fact which surprised Ax because the last time she'd dealt with the Sarquil had been years ago and they hadn't been banded together into a sultanate then. Ax witnessed the Alliance offering its aid to restore Khalid to his throne in exchange for the Sarquil's support in the war against the Proninist Party.
Ax was then forced to deal with her feelings for Refan, as the man confessed his own feelings in a drunken passion, then fled. Instead of talking to him directly, Ax chose to leave him a note stating that perhaps they could be something more after the battle was over. She was also forced to confront her long-dead feelings for Shyla now that there was a chance that Shyla might still be alive based on what Nergal had implied back in the Ruined Kingdom.
In the morning, a hungover Ax was first met with a fresh face, Tobias William Murray Fenworthy, a young man wishing to join the Alliance. After welcoming him and introducing him to the king, Ax learned of the death of Count Belial which turned out to be a murder. After a brief spat with Shyralis, she went to prepare for the funeral that was to take place that night.
At the funeral, Ax was again confronted by Refan. After some commotion involving Desdemona de Ardyn, Ax decided to leave to check up on Marcus. She and Nymgrock stumbled upon the king just as he was kissing Desdemona's hand, which seemed to stir some jealousy in Ax's heart. They quickly escorted the king back to his own quarters and left a few Blades to keep watch, Ax trying to sort out just how she felt about Refan...and Marcus. She ran into Rhylian, who suggested that Ax be honest with her feelings. After all, if Rhylian could love Nesa, a dying man who posed a threat to her safety, what did Ax have to lose?
Ax and Refan got another chance to talk things through, though Ax again seemed to hold back. She told Refan that she cared for him, but needed some time to think about various things. She was also troubled by Belial's death and recalled Nergal's words that there were traitors among the Alliance. Finding out the culprits for the murder would be a difficult task, however.
When the Alliance prepared to send a task force with Khalid to reclaim his throne in Vanna, Ax hesitated. She was torn by the fact that Marcus would be returning to Remon with Desdemona out of all people, and she didn't trust the woman at all mostly because she was jealous of the attention Marcus was giving to the woman. She was also uncertain whether travelling to her homeland Libaterra would be a good thing to do because it would mean coming face to face with her past.
When Khalid came to ask if she would accompany him as well, Ax initially said no, explaining she wasn't ready to face Libaterra yet. Her answer infuriated Khalid who openly accused her of cowardice and for abandoning her Libaterran countrymen when they needed her the most. Khalid and his escorts stormed off, leaving Ax with her thoughts although Rhylian and Vaetris seemed to agree with Khalid and asked her to reconsider joining their expedition because they could use her knowledge about the land and her skills in the upcoming missions.
Ax joined the Alliance expedition in the following morning and rode to greet Khalid, telling him that she had changed her mind and would accompany the group because it was the right thing to do. Her heroic determination impressed Khalid and planted the seeds of their growing friendship from that moment on.
Realizing that the best way to reach Libaterra quickly would be by boat, the group decided to use the Hiltraud. However, in order to find a suitable dock from which to load all their men and supplies, they'd have to liberate one of the Maar Sulais port cities from the Proninists who had taken over the cities during the war in Maar Sul. After receiving intel from a mysterious contact known as "J", Ax and her fellow commanders decided that liberating Jardine would be the best course of action.
Thanks to a suggestion by their new Scunnish companion Titaniel Focker, the group decided to infiltrate the city with guile, especially once they learned that the garrison which the Proninists had left behind in Jardine consisted of Scuns.
Jardine was eventually liberated without shedding any blood whatsoever thanks to a plan which included the black warrior Ismail parading in front of white supremacist Scuns, Refan and Ronove tongue-kissing in front of heterosexual Scuns, and Titaniel causing all sorts of havoc elsewhere, which distracted the Proninist Scuns long enough for Ax's men to take the city by surprise.
The group also learned that the mysterious "J" who had provided them with crucial intel was none other than Amarawyn Jardine, the sole heir of the House of Jardine after her parents had been murdered in the Proninist coup.
After the Jardine takeover, Ax's group could finally load the Hiltraud and set sail towards Libaterra and Vanna, the capital city of the Sarquil where they'd have to face Khalid's aunt, Adela al-Saif, who had usurped the throne for herself with help from the Clergy of Artemicia.
Tears of the SunEdit
Ax's ship, the Hiltraud, was en route to the Tronin Desert when her old ally Leon Alcibiates, the Scundian king Khasra III, and the rest of the Fellowship of Maar Sul teleported onto the ship bearing news. The fellowship had found out that there was a possibility for a cure to the Blood Fever, and the Rebels, Proninists, and Totenkopfs and various others had recently united into the Crimson Coalition, whose base of operations was in Trinity Gask, to oppose the Alliance.
Ax also witnessed other sudden stowaways on the ship, including none other than Xerathas and Varalia who were accompanied by a mysterious mercenary who called himself Noche and what appeared to be the mercenary's pet wolf Lobo. Although Ax was suspicious of this group, especially because for some reason she felt odd around Noche, she nevertheless allowed Xerathas's group to stay on the ship because they were already halfway through to Libaterra and it would be pointless to turn back anymore to find out if Xerathas had been pardoned or if he was up to some tricks.
Partway into the discussion about the Blood Fever and the rise of the Coalition, however, the lookout spotted two Coalition ships. The group disembarked from the ship once they reached Libaterran shoreline, met with some Simoe, and through them gained necessary supplies for the trip. While they were travelling into the desert, they came across a fatigued man who turned out to be Jono Renfield, yet another Alliance member from the war years. Ax couldn't help but wonder why she kept running into all of her past comrades but took Jono in nevertheless.
One boring journey later, they reached Vanna, the capital of the Sultanate of Karaganda which acted as Sultana Adela's seat of power.
More info later.
The Winds of WrathEdit
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The Point of No ReturnEdit
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A Cry in the DarkEdit
- "You know...you actually had me going there. Confessing your 'feelings' for me, releasing me from the marriage, offering to give up your pitiful throne to be with me...and like an idiot, I let my guard down. Which was just what you wanted, wasn't it? Well, congratulations, Sultan--your lies are very fucking convincing. When the Sarquil throw you out on the street like the trash that you are, I'm sure you'll be the most successful beggar Alent's ever seen."
- "I...deserve that. I deserve the worst you can throw at me, Axikasha. But please, let me try to explain--"
- "You could never, ever explain what you just did, Khalid. I was stupid enough to believe your lies once. I'll never let that happen again."
- —Ax and Khalid al-Saif
Ax helped deal with the returned Refan, who managed to destroy her inn room. Khalid invited her to his room for a bath and massage. In that intimate setting, Khalid confessed that he'd grown actual feelings for his 'wife,' and unexpectedly released her from the political marriage that stood between them.
However, eyes are always watching, and ears always hear. A traitor to the Sultanate was monitoring the situation, and manipulated Khalid into giving in to his lust for Axikasha. As a result, he almost raped the woman in the tub, but Ax finally managed to get him off her. Quickly dressing, she fled the room, the Sarquil, and ran through the city, her sword drawn.
The voice which had stolen Dawn in Vanna returned as she was coming down from her panic, stabbing her in the back with envenomed blades. Her latent Sinlarine abilities shifted her into the Ghost Paths while in Alent, someone took her place as Sultana without anyone being the wiser.
- "I'm glad to see you've finally sought out your mother's heritage, even if your reasons are questionable and your methods are...unorthodox. I'm sure your fellow Sinlarine will set you straight in time, if you let them."
- "Not like I have anywhere else to go right now."
- "That's where you're wrong. I know you do not wish to go back to Lutherin--Alent--after recent events, but you must return eventually. Former comrades...dark motives. I can say no more right now. Go to Trinity Gask, seek the one left behind. All will be clear. I do not mean to be cryptic, but I...I do not know more than that."
- —The spirit of Arthaniel Keiran and Ax
Ax woke up being kissed by someone, whose lips she promptly bit. She was groggy and in pain, but she was alive. Apparently, the kisser, Corwin, had rescued her when she had become lost in the Ghost Paths.
Ax learned of some of her Sinlarine heritage through Corwin that day, and that evening, decided to try talking to two spirits who had been following her around. They turned out to be two people from out of her past: her father, and Colonel Garron Dalthas. Garron gave good greetings, reminiscing about old times, before leaving Ax alone with her father's shade.
She was surprisingly bitter to her father, though he seemed remorseful. He revealed to her that, for one, he had been manipulated into joining the Rebels against his will as opposed to wholeheartedly approving their actions, and for two, her mother was alive. He also told her that Dawn was in Trinity Gask, and that eventually, she would have to return to Alent. After the conversation, she threw up and asked for more of a new beverage she had just tried: Paladin's Breath.
Heart of DarknessEdit
- "I don't wish to torment you with riddles...but only you can find your truth. I can only help steer you towards it, and put my faith in you. I can say this much, though: your sword lies in Trinity Gask also, along with the blacksmith who shall reforge and purify it. The reforging shall be meaningless, however, if you cannot come to terms with who you are."
- "Come to terms with who I am? I've been a selfish drunk, a murderer, a sellsword with a bad temper. I've made so many mistakes, caused so much suffering. I've failed my friends...failed my country. How am I--how could I ever be worthy of wielding Dawn? You know it as well as I do, Shyla should have been the bearer! She was just, kind, pure...beautiful. All the best things the Light had to offer. Everything I'm not. I can't..."
- "Axikasha Keiran. Mistakes make your kind human. It's rising up again that makes you heroes."
- —Hephaestus and Ax
Ax, after having spent the night in Reign, was up early drinking as much Paladin's Breath as she could get her hands on. Corwin had a talk with her, regarding her peace of mind and her need to face her past and her problems head-on. The shaman began playing his flute, and while Ax listened, she made up her mind to face one person she never expected out of her past: her mother, Aisling Keiran.
After a brief, baffling, disappointing, and overall awkward conversation with the woman, Ax was gifted with two things: first, a coupon to her mother's shop, and second, and more importantly, her mother's Sinlarine dagger. She took them, and went right back to drinking.
Corwin was having a talk with some others, and Ax, curious, kept darting her gaze over to them. Once he was done, he talked to her again, explaining some things, before departing. With him gone, the warrior sat at a table, spinning her new dagger on the table as she tried to decide what to do. Eventually, she resolved to go to Trinity Gask.
Hours later, wishing she'd got a horse, Ax tried accessing the Ghost Paths, failed, and grew pensive, questioning herself and her destiny. Hephaestus manifested then, and the two spoke together. Hephaestus offered wisdom and encouragement, before confirming that the stolen Dawn was indeed within Trinity Gask, waiting for her.
Soon after, Ax managed to open a gateway to the Ghost Paths, where Deidra Finian brought her to the unconscious Corwin, as well as Bella Sirius. Ax took them out of the Paths, dressed the wounds they carried, bartered with a nearby farmer for a cart and donkey, loaded her two unconscious passengers, and traveled down the road for a while. She stopped for a bit, and was met by a stranded Arcturius.
After a short conversation, the bard decided to help her out and mix the antidote that Corwin needed. While he was doing this, a traveling paladin, Osmond Cordae Locke, appeared on the path. He stopped, started some conversation, and kissed the warrior's hand, making her flustered. She'd thought chivalry was dead.
Osmond offered to refill the waterskins, which were empty, which Ax appreciated. When he returned, the skins full, she asked where he'd found the water and took her donkey, Phyllis. Arc joined her soon after.
Due to some strange incidents, including the arrival of three nymphs, the group ended up fleeing to Lawfin quickly to escape from murderous mountain goats. Ax acted annoying at the gate in order for them to get in unmolested, surprising Corwin. They retired to an inn, where Ax drank yet more Paladin's Breath.
She had a talk with Arc, and Bella became active, if not conscious, for a moment.
Afterwards, pondering the woman's outburst, Ax slept.
After waking up, Ax went downstairs to have breakfast, preparing herself for the remainder of her journey to Trinity Gask. Her mind was still troubled by what secrets Corwin might have been hiding. She was joined by Osmond who chatted with her for a while before they were joined by the shaman.
After breakfast, the group left the inn, and Lawfin, behind them. And while in transit, Corwin shooed off the pesky nymphs... for some reason. Once in town, she stopped the wagon at the Witch Elves inn, where the party split up. She stabled Phyllis and the wagon before disappearing into the city.
Garden of FearEdit
- "That's definitely not normal!"
- —Ax upon seeing something unusual
Ax tried to contact her clan, but was, rather brutally, rejected by the head clansman. She was wandering, feeling somewhat worthless, when she came upon a place she hadn't seen in eleven years: The Temple of the Unknown God. She decided to venture in, and tried to contact Hephaestus. He was barely able to speak, mentioning a betrayer that had been betrayed, an infirmary that was guarded, and that strange magics surrounded the city. He could only break through in his places of Power and in the Temple.
Ax tried to ask more, but he was already gone, having been unable to sustain the link.
It was then that she stumbled across Earnan Finian, who was trying to cure Beira, being visited by the Grim Reaper, Surma, and the shade of Belial de Ardyn. After a bit of a strange discussion, Grim, Surma, and Belial left. Earnan, seeing Ax as his charge's savior, asked her to accompany him to the Artemician Infirmary. the last place he could help Beira.
Ax somewhat hesitantly complied, but her decision paid off when she saw a guard leading an injured Signan away.
Seeing the opportune moment, she used her Sinlarine dagger and cut into the Void and into reality twice, in quick succession. Signan and the guard had been taken into the Void, where they had an amusing, if slightly out of place, encounter with a couple of Sinlarine teenagers, Tearlach and Liosa, whose parents did not want them to be together.
Ax shooed off the horny teens before killing the guard, and Signan took his stuff. They wandered away from the bleeding corpse, and Deidra Finian showed up to speak with Ax once again. Ax was given Deidra's dagger, with which she had infused her knowledge. She told the warrior to take the dagger and combine it with a tome in the possession of the teacher of necromancers in Alent, before ushering Ax and Signan out of the Void. They ended up outside of Trinity Gask, halfway between the city and Survivor's Woods.
With Signan leading the way, they ventured into the forest, where they found their way to Elysium. Ax and Sig were surprised by nymphs discovering them lurking at the edge of the grove. Sig was enticed to tangle with the nymphs, while Ax was greeted by a bewildered Osmond. Both of them realized that there was more to their stories of how they got there.
Ax went to talk to Corwin, but things quickly went to hell in a handbasket, with Corwin managing to get stabbed by Arcturius. Many things happened at once that Ax couldn't make sense of.
To understand what was going on, Ax decided to approach the nymph queen Huldra and get some answers from her, perhaps even convince her nymphs to stop harassing people. Huldra, misinterpreting Ax's actions as wanting to mate with her, became curious and wanted to know why she was so bold. Much to her surprise, Ax ended up kissing Huldra in exchange for information, and that kiss stirred emotions in both women, leaving them somewhat disoriented, but Huldra kept her word and told Ax what she knew about Aibell, her seemingly elven court musician whose actions had led to this chaos in the grove.
Eventually, Osmond, carrying a maddened Arc, organized a resistance to the chaos. Ax went along with it, reluctantly. Her enthusiasm went up, or at least she began paying more attention to her surroundings, when the combat came up. She managed to use Virgil and a whip she had with her to herd a group of large spiders and thwart the schemes of Aibell, who turned out to be Faerfolc, and the fae's strange ally Fear Dearg. The appearance of another fae, Befana, gave the group some time to plan their next move.
Once everything was done with and Befana stayed behind to stall Fear, Ax fled the grove with everyone else, convincing Huldra to take the nymphs with them. She was called upon to open the other side of the escape that the group had used, and they ended up outside of Trinity Gask. Osmond, who was awake now, asked if they'd won, and Ax replied that she didn't know, but everyone had gotten out safely. She agreed to explain her end of the story when the paladin suggested offering an explanation about Inari Okami's presence.
Huldra made the nymphs disperse and renounced her title as queen. She had become infatuated with Ax after the warrior's kiss had stirred passion in her heart, and she asked to accompany Ax as her squire so she'd learn more about the outside world. Initially surprised by Huldra's bold act, Ax eventually relented and let her accompany her although she warned the nymph that she might get in trouble because trouble tended to follow Ax wherever she went.
After almost everyone was sitting in a large circle and Ghaddar had begun serving a dawn breakfast, the paladin explained his misadventures: He'd found a cult of necromancers trying to raise Gaea and Heath from out of the Land of the Dead, had been saddled with the result, and while he'd consented to the quest, the 'Gaea' in question had been a fake.
Ax summed up what was known about her: she was a leader within the Grand Alliance, current High Cleric of Hephaestus, had helped free the city of Vanna from it's last Sultana, Adela al-Saif, and got stuck in a political marriage with her nephew, Khalid, but that particular involvement was over now, and she currently had business in Trinity Gask.
After that, people pretty much just finished what they were eating.
A Gathering StormEdit
First thing's first, Ax wrapped bandages around her head so that her scar wouldn't be recognizable, and after that, she, Signan, and Huldra went to a tailor's shop to buy Huldra's clothes, and thence to a tavern.
Fairly soon after that, Osmond wandered into the bar, and produced a warning that she had been found out and was currently followed by people reporting to a Countess. To keep them off his tail, they pretended to be ex-lovers, and she punched him over his chair.
After Signan explained about Jumahn DeColann, Ax and her companions went there. She found Dawn, but before laying claim to it, was captured. She was welcomed as a prisoner by Endoran L'Sarius and her confidence was betrayed by Signan, who at last revealed his non-mute-ness. Before being interrogated at length, the ruckus caused by Arcturius reached her, so for two weeks Ax languished in the dungeons of Losstarot Manor, oblivious to the outside world and the friends she held dear.
Ax was forced to pledge herself to Endoran in order to get Dawn back, and was then ordered to go retrieve Glaurung Losstarot from Alent. She took Corwin, Jumahn, and Signan with her, leaving Huldra behind.
In Alent, Hephaestus revealed that Jumahn was Ax's successor to High Cleric-dom, though at the moment, such an act could not be performed. Too much was happening at once, though the god left behind a token of his good faith.
The next day, Ax and co took to shoveling the snow off the streets to get closer to the Sarquil Downs. They were run across by Hector Blackwell, Syrese Frostvale, Alton Andresser, Alaine, Irinthiel Maurath, Varjo and Kaisa Blackwell. After exchanging information and proper farewells, Ax and company departed with Alaine and Alton.
With help from a distraction, the group got into the Downs. Searching for the hidey-hole of the Sarquil, Ax balked at once again finding Refan, though she made sure he didn't see her. Jono found her, and while he sneaked around, Ax went to find allies to face down her comrade-turned-traitor-doppelganger, Vaetris.
Shortly after arriving, Ax broke exposed the Marcus in the room as a fraud by effortlessly breaking his fake Dusk. She called all the remaining Blades of Vigilance to her, and whoever else wanted to go with her. Among that number were Khasra III Mallorein, Gwydion, and Shyralis.
When the group went to confront her, they came across Refan again, with Izael and Javan for company. Those three were soon joined by some succubi led by Qarinah, and Ax chose to make her move then. She confronted them, and after a short standoff, agreed to go to Vaetris for a talk, hoping to find the missing Glaurung Losstarot in the archdemon's presence.
After the Catastrophe that destroyed Alent and ended the Second Great War, Ax and Jumahn wandered, travelling away from the site where Alent had once stood. They found some companions who were willing to be clerics of Hephaestus, and they eventually founded the budding nation of Valencia where they settled. Thanks to Ax's friendship with Osmond, she was given a position in the military, which put her experience to good use.
Aliases and NicknamesEdit
- Axikasha almost never goes by her full name, preferring the simplicity of just "Ax" and feeling that "Axikasha" is far too formal.
- Captain Keiran
- She is still known by some as "Captain Keiran," despite the fact that she is no longer in the military or in command of a ship. In the Fourth Age, she has taken up this moniker again as a captain in the Valencian military.
- Her title as the leader of the Blades of Vigilance.
- A derogatory nickname used by Shyralis.
- A derogatory nickname given to Ax by her enemies.
- A title given to Ax after her marriage to Khalid al-Saif. Ax wasn't fond of the title because the formality around it made her feel awkward.
- "It's, uh, not turning red, if that's what you mean--always been like that, I'm afraid. My dad was a redhead, but my...mother...had dark hair, and I ended up with both."
- —Ax to Arcturius about her hair
Ax has long black hair with strands of red here and there, and dark reddish brown eyes. She is around 5'10", powerful but lithe. Her arms, thighs and back are all covered in black tattoos that don't seem to have any real meaning although she has later discovered that they are in fact ritualistic tattoos of her Sinlarine mother's Bronach clan. Ax still bears the large scar across her face that she received from her father. Usually wears a combination of dark red leather and black steel armor, though she sometimes wears the silver and black armor of the Blades of Vigilance.
Personality and TraitsEdit
Feisty, loudmouthed, sarcastic and quite often drunk, but still a rather pleasant and caring person to be around. Several things from Ax's past haunt her, though she tries to remain lighthearted most of the time, feeling that her negative emotions aren't worth wasting time on. She tends to clam up when people ask her personal questions. Despite her cocky nature, she is quite aware of her own limitations. Her bravado masks a ruthless edge: she'll do whatever it takes to ensure a victory.
Recently Ax has become more serious, and more accepting of her leadership duties. She once had trouble giving orders to people, and disliked the responsibilities of being a leader, but lately she's realized that someone has to do it.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Ax is an expert swordswoman, and has trained with various styles of blade since she was just six, though she prefers the longsword. It's unclear at this time just what kind of abilities Dawn grants her, but the sword seems to give her an edge over creatures of darkness. She has minimal skill with a bow, and almost no magical ability.
After rediscovering her Sinlarine roots, she has learned to access the Void with her mother's ritual dagger and can once more hear the whispers of the dead and occasionally even see them when she is concentrating (or is drugged) enough.
After so much exposure to magic and its apparent superiority to the hard work that warriors must put in to become strong, and undergoing training with her Sinlarine abilities, she has discovered an effective method of neutralizing magic if attacked with it.
Innate Ability: Ax could hear whispers of the dead more keenly than most Sinlarine, capable of having rapport with them even when she wasn't concentrating on it, and this often irked her. She, like everyone else, lost her ability after the Cataclysm although her native Sinlarine powers remained dormant in her, just not to the extent they used to be.
Aisling didn't recognize Ax when they were reunited years after Ax's birth in Reign. After she made the connection thanks to Ax's reveal, she was honest with her and explained the circumstances of why she hadn't been a mother in Ax's life. After a brief exchange of words, the women parted, although Aisling mentioned she wouldn't mind catching up with her at some point if Ax felt like coming back. Ax, however, was confused by her mother's quirky behavior and was unsure what to think of her. Ax received her Sinlarine dagger from Aisling and learned where the rest of Clan Bronach were so she could seek more information about shamanism from them.
Arcturius and Ax ended up meeting by chance when they saw each other in the forest. After a bit of hesitation, Arc eventually opened up to her and helped her treat the injured Corwin Finian. The two had lengthy discussions during which Arc began bonding with Ax. He eventually asked to accompany her because she seemed trustworthy and he had nowhere else to go. Ax felt sympathy for Arc and decided to keep him around for the time being although she did warn him of the dangers he might end up facing if he wanted to follow her. After the adventure in Survivor's Woods, Ax has distanced herself from Arcturius in hopes of keeping him safe from the people who are after her, leaving him to seek the company of other people.
Arthaniel raised Ax from birth by himself, and did his best to give her a good life. He was often a strict father, forcing Ax to hone her skills late into the night if he felt she needed more practice. Though he had a hard time showing his emotions, he always made it clear to Ax that she was important to him and he felt she could be extraordinary. He often felt guilty for Ax not having a mother figure, but his work as one of Lutherin's highest-ranking generals didn't allow him much time for dating. This was perfectly fine with Ax, anyway; she felt there was no use for "girly" skills, and much preferred the company of her father and his friends.
The last two years or so before his death, Ax noticed her father becoming more and more distant. She thought it was just the strains of war, but in truth, Arthaniel was being blackmailed by a group of Rebels using him to weaken Lutherin from within. Their price was the safety of his daughter. With Lutherin ready to fall, he willingly gave his life in their duel, hoping his death would keep her safe.
Ax, however, knew nothing of this until she finally learned the truth from her father's ghost in Reign after she accessed her dormant Sinlarine powers. After that, her opinion on her father changed, and she was shaken by his revelations, not only the fact that he had betrayed his country for her sake but that her mother was still alive.
Ax and Huldra ended up meeting in the grove when Ax interrupted the queen's walk to ask her a few questions. Huldra, misinterpreting Ax's actions as wanting to mate with her, became curious and wanted to know why she was so bold. Ax ended up kissing Huldra in exchange for information, and that kiss stirred emotions in both women, leaving them somewhat disoriented. In Huldra's case it made her feel passion again, and she grew fond of Ax, offering her a chance to spend more intimate time with her if Ax ever desired such. Since then, the two seem to show respect towards one another whenever they speak, and Huldra has offered Ax some advice regarding whether it's ever wise to suppress emotions in one's heart. After they successfully fled from the forest, Huldra asked to accompany Ax as she desired her company. Ax let her do so until they were captured by the Coalition. Afterwards she chose to leave Huldra behind as the Coalition's prisoner while going on a mission, hoping that Huldra would forgive her decision.
Though Kaisa was raised from an infant by Ax, she looks at Ax as more of a big sister than a mother. Ax often teases the young girl, and has been known to punish her severely for getting out of line...but deep down, she loves the girl dearly. She can be a bit absentminded when it comes to caring for her, like when the girl escaped the ship in Ravensworth. It's unclear why Ax didn't try harder to get her back, but she seems to believe Kaisa is capable of taking care of herself.
After a series of events, Ax ended up marrying Sultan Khalid for the sake of stabilizing the Sultanate of Karaganda which was suffering from the aftermath of a power struggle. Although Ax sees Khalid as a handsome fellow, she's torn by her feelings for Marcus and Refan and can't commit herself to the relationship fully. This in turn infuriates Khalid who tried to urge Ax to have a child with him so that he could stay legitimately on the throne of the sultanate.
It took until Alent and another bath (plus a glass of wine) for Khalid to finally realize what he was feeling for Ax, and he confessed everything to Ax who was surprised by his sudden soft side. Khalid was conflicted over his feelings and yet couldn't deny that he saw Ax as more than a comrade or a trophy with which to keep his throne. In his drunken state he even considered leaving his people behind for her sake, but when he realized she didn't share his affections, he decided to let her go out of his love for her because he didn't want to hold her down. Unfortunately his emotions took control of him soon after, and he ended up trying to rape Ax which was the turning point in their relationship.
Since that night Ax can't stand Khalid and is deeply hurt by his betrayal and disgusted by his actions. She wants nothing to do with him, and at the moment the very thought of facing Khalid again is keeping her from returning to Alent.
Like Refan, Marcus was first introduced to Ax in Sanae prior to the formation of the Grand Alliance. The two came to trust each other very quickly, and a solid friendship was formed that would last for years to come. And like Refan, Ax became closer to Marcus as they fought together and grieved together. Marcus seemed able to be more himself around Ax, losing much of his formality and stiffness. The two have never expressed their feelings for one another, but there does seem to be a potential connection there (for example, during the Battle of Folsworth, Marcus recklessly rushed to save an injured Ax; Ax has also come to Marcus's rescue on many occasions).
Nowadays, after spending ten years apart and with Marcus's advisor Shyralis always hovering about...the two seem to be quite distant. Ax still seems to bristle with jealousy when Shyralis or Desdemona get too close to the king, however.
Osmond Cordae LockeEdit
Osmond made her somewhat flustered with his show of chivalry at their introduction, and since then, when they've encountered each other, they have been able to work well together, as well as hold a decent conversation. There is an easy trust between them, or so it seems. This has held steady even into the Fourth Age.
Ax and Refan first met in Sanae, with Ax lightheartedly challenging Refan to a practice duel. The two became friends quite quickly, each seeming to recognize the similarities in the other. Both had troubled pasts, both had problems with their fathers, both had lost their best friend to the Clergy of Mardük (though neither would find this out for some time). Their friendship was only strengthened by the battles they fought in together and the horrible things they've witnessed.
The two rarely show anything more than friendship, though something more has seemed to surface on some occasions (such as the time Refan stayed by Ax's bed all night long after she was injured, or Ax asking Refan to come with her as she left the devastated city of Remonton).
Refan's forced kiss seems to have stirred some forgotten emotions in Ax's heart, and it remained unclear for a time just what sort of feelings they are. However, after Refan sided with demons and tried to snatch both Ax and Skye so they could all live together, Ax rejected Refan and tried to talk some sense into him. However, she soon realized Refan wasn't going to listen and believed that he was too far gone and had let the demon within him take over, so she openly sided against him much to his shock and anger.
Though their time together was short, Ax came to care about Shyla...and those feelings may have gone past just simple friendship. She was originally drawn to Shyla when the girl was alone and seemingly defenseless, with Ax wanting to protect her. The girl's quiet and polite manner, along with her ability in combat despite her fragile appearance, reminded Ax of Viirsa. Though she tried several times to leave Shyla behind, she always found herself drawn back by an instinct to protect the girl. Shyla's capture and subsequent disappearance further eroded Ax's faith in people...and faith in herself.
Ax and Shyralis seem to have an odd love/hate relationship, and often bicker or insult each other, which occasionally escalates into a slapping contest. Shyralis doesn't seem to mind all that much, though, and seems to have a certain grudging respect for the female warrior. They share a past going all the way back to the Great War, and Ax still can't forgive Shyralis' treacherous actions during the war which cost the lives of many of Ax's comrades. Yet the two have ended up working together since then many times against greater opponents.
Signan initially served as a co-lieutenant with Vaetris in Ax's Blades, and Ax respected his skills but couldn't help but tease him about his affections for Vaetris at times. When Ax learned that Signan had been caught by the Coalition, she helped rescue him. What she didn't foresee was that Signan was far more slimy than he had appeared to be until he revealed his true colours when the both of them were captured and he reported to Endoran. Despite her anger at having been played, Ax chose to take Signan along for a mission to Alent because she believed it would be better to keep an eye on him and because his skills were still of use.
Vaetris, using a human form and the alias of Vaetris Redfield, served as Ax's right-hand woman in the Blades for a while until she stole Dawn from her in Vanna. Ax is still unaware that the assailant was in fact Vaetris and holds Vaetris in high regard. However, Ax was only a means to an end for Vaetris who later sent her into the Void with her magic and venom while taking Ax's shape to manipulate people within the Alliance without Ax getting in the way.
Viirsa and Ax met as children, and though Viirsa was Ax's senior by a year, she looked up to the younger girl and admired her attitude. The two grew up together quite happily, Ax's fierce and impulsive nature balanced by Viirsa's calm, quiet personality. Viirsa often had to remind Ax to control her temper, but at the same time, Ax reminded Viirsa to stand up for herself and what she believed in.
The two remained close as teenagers, and at the time of Ax's disappearance, Viirsa was serving directly under her. With Ax gone, Viirsa was lost. She left her home and everything she'd ever known just to find Ax, so obviously their friendship was very important to her. Unfortunately, the years took their toll, and the two friends felt awkward together when they next met. Viirsa no doubt still felt some animosity towards Ax for leaving her behind with no explanation. Still, the two women cared for each other deeply. Ax was very distraught at the death of her best friend, and their friendship is the main thing that drives Ax to see Kaisa kept safe.
- Aisling Keiran
- Arthaniel Keiran
- Kaisa Blackwell
- Khalid al-Saif
- Marcus Sarillius
- Refan d'Zarnagon
- Shyla Locken
- Vaetris L'andariel
- Viirsa Yuriev
| Axikasha Keiran|
Born: 985 AE
| Preceded by|
| Sultana consort of Vanna|
| Succeeded by|
| Preceded by|
Title last held by
| High Cleric of Hephaestus|
| Succeeded by|