- "How is life in the clergy?"
- "Fine. I've gotten quite good at lying to my superiors and peers."
- —Miraj al-Zarar and Azriel al-Zarar
Azriel al-Zarar is a Sarquil inquisitor who ostensibly worked for the Clergy of Artemicia in Vanna but was in fact planning to weaken the clergy from within. He saw visions of a being who appeared to be the legendary warrior Tronin, and he helped the Grand Alliance depose Sultana Adela al-Saif in the Battle of Vanna. Azriel relocated with the other refugees to Alent after the demon invasion and has been appointed as the new Grand Vizier of the Sarquil tribes.
Nephew of Sheikh Miraj al-Zarar in the Sultanate of Karaganda, Azriel was plagued in his youth by a bone affliction that didn't allow him to participate in the war games and training of his peers. This condition would leave his body ravaged even in adulthood. Still a beloved of his uncle, he was taught many things about Sarquil customs and beliefs, and raised to view the Clergy of Artemicia and Sultana Adela al-Saif herself as infidels. With his uncle's blessing, he entered the clergy with intent to familiarize himself with their ways and work to destroy them from within.
Tears of the SunEdit
- "Don't you think you should leave the city with us, nephew? Vanna could become dangerous very soon."
- "You know I have my own stake in this, uncle. We can't suffer this blasphemous goddess any longer."
- —Miraj al-Zarar and Azriel
The arrival of the Grand Alliance did not escape Azriel's notice. He later heard that Emir Khalid al-Saif was travelling with the Alliance and that Adela had somehow trapped him in while sending the heroes of the Alliance to the desert where the Sirithai lived. As soon as the Alliance had left, the Sarquil found many people who had been poisoned. This troubled Azriel greatly, especially when he found out that one of the members of the Alliance, Jonathan Ferron, was the prime suspect.
Azriel met Brutus only a moment after the arrest of Ferron. He quickly took Brutus aside and told him that he didn't believe the claims of the Black Guard and that he thought that someone had framed Ferron. As the two men talked, Brutus remembered seeing a suspicious elf near Ferron's room earlier. Azriel was willing to let Brutus capture the elf as long as no one else would find out. Brutus promised to find and bring the elf to Azriel's office later for questioning.
Brutus and Andros were later found dead in one of the slave huts. This confirmed in Azriel's mind that the mysterious elf had been guilty of framing Ferron, but he wondered how Andros, a loyal supporter of Sarquil nobles, was connected to the case. He did not believe that Andros would be solely to blame for the murder, but any other perpetrators had covered their tracks well. The murder had nevertheless taken place among the elven slaves, so if this news of slave interference became public, it would cause an uproar among the Sarquil nobles in Vanna.
Captain Razoul was willing to stop the investigations and to sentence Ferron to prison. Azriel knew he did not have much of a chance to change Razoul's mind. The cleric left the scene, annoyed, knowing that the heroes of the Grand Alliance would get in trouble once word spread about the incident. He was certain that it was exactly what Adela and Razoul were planning to discredit the Alliance in the eyes of the Sarquil.
Azriel met with his uncle Miraj later and asked him to deliver a message to Ismail who was in the desert with the heroes of the Alliance. He wanted Ismail and the others to be aware of Adela's actions and that she was planning to use Ferron's arrest as a means to wipe out the Alliance. Miraj was concerned of these recent developments and asked Azriel to leave the city with him, but Azriel told him that he would stay behind to rally support for the Alliance's cause. Both men knew that this would be their only chance to get rid of the Clergy of Artemicia once and for all and restore the old Sarquil customs.
The Winds of WrathEdit
- "This plague, sickness, whatever... it was a rot. I've cleansed it, but the rot was merely a symptom of a greater decay caused by those in power. We've turned from our ancestors, we've turned from our most ancient traditions, and for what? To allow a foreign clergy conquer our lands? To service the hedonism and ambition of a woman who not only murdered one beloved Sultana of Vanna, but may well be murdering her son as we speak? I will not allow the blight of Adela's reign plague our proud people any more!"
- —Azriel, addressing the people of Vanna
Azriel was busy the next few days, spending them running around the city doing the clergy's work plus his own personal errands. He was so tired that he fell asleep in his office. However, the dream he had turned out to be quite unusual: he was contacted by a being that claimed to be Tronin, the famous warlord of the Sarquil, the first Sultan of Vanna. Azriel could not believe it but he listened to the figure who told him that Vanna would need their help. The being promised to lend Azriel his powers to save Vanna from destruction.
The cleric woke up and could hardly believe what had happened to his once frail body. Not only was he healed from his ailments, but he felt like he could leap over the palace walls and slay all of the Sultana's people with his own hands. The conversation with Tronin had been real, and he had been chosen as the legendary hero's avatar. He immediately sent his aides to find his supporters in the city. The time to act had finally come, and now he had to strength to carry out his plan at long last.
Things turned out even better when Ismail and Axikasha Keiran, the leader of the Alliance heroes, barged into Azriel's office and asked for his help in liberating Vanna from the grip of the Clergy of Artemicia. The trio quickly laid out battle plans, knowing that the upcoming battle would be anything but easy. Not only would they have to save Khalid from the magic hourglass and keep alive but also capture the three most powerful people in Vanna: Sultana Adela, Grand Vizier Iblis al-Djinn and Captain Razoul of the Black Guard.
When Azriel heard from Ax about Obama's attack in the Sirithai lands, he immediately deduced that Adela and Razoul couldn't have been behind it because otherwise Ax's group would have been arrested as soon as they entered Vanna. He told the heroes that not only did Adela have plans to frame the Alliance for the recent poisonings but he also suspected that Iblis had in fact been behind Obama's attack and was thus playing his own game unbeknownst to Adela and Razoul. This troubled Ismail greatly who couldn't believe that the Grand Vizier would be the true power behind the throne.
As if that wasn't enough, Azriel also explained that he had heard rumours of Adela siding with the Crimson Coalition, the sworn enemies of the Alliance. It was obvious that the conflict would escalate into an all-out war: it was now only a matter of which side would begin the attack first. The heroes agreed that they had to face Adela and try to save Khalid even if it would mean walking into a trap. While the heroes would do that, Azriel would rally support and cause ruckus to divert the attention of the Black Guard from the heroes.
While the heroes went to face Adela in Qalat al-Jabal, the palace of Vanna, Azriel prepared himself for the battle to come. His first act was to use his new powers to cleanse the well of the poison and to heal the infected. This miraculous act had the desired effect as he managed to use it and his oratory skills to rally the crowd behind him with ease. He and his new army marched to the palace of Vanna, ready to aid the Grand Alliance.
Once the mob reached the palace, Azriel put on his armor to show that he was now a warrior, the avatar of Tronin. He then delivered an ultimatum to crush anyone who stood in his way and walked through the gates, followed closely by converted citizens, guards, and slaves armed in various degrees of readiness. The Black Guard and the clerics of Artemicia attacked him, and the Battle of Vanna began.
Azriel took a smaller party with him and entered the palace while the rest of his followers stayed behind to prevent enemy reinforcements from going after him. By the time he reached the grand hall, he saw a battle going on between various factions. He went to Khalid, who had been freed from the magic hourglass, and introduced himself. Their conversation was cut short when Adela appeared and challenged Khalid to a duel for the throne. Azriel stepped aside, knowing that this would be Khalid's final test to prove his strength.
Khalid eventually beat Adela and was about to strike her down when Azriel and others reminded him that this battle wasn't about revenge but justice. The young Emir reluctantly spared his treacherous aunt and instead let her be taken away as a prisoner.
The battle had been won and Adela and Razoul had been captured alive, but Azriel and Khalid soon learned from the other heroes of the Alliance that the victory had come with a high cost: the Black Stone of Vanna had been destroyed and everything that had transpired had been Iblis's master plan. Iblis had escaped, mocking the heroes' efforts and telling them that he would soon return to Vanna with his true masters, the Southern Horde, and conquer the city.
A small ray of hope shone on Vanna, though, when Khalid and Ax got married after the battle and became the Sultan and Sultana of Vanna, respectively. Azriel thought that Ax would probably supply Vanna with a powerful daughter, but he had his doubts about whether Ax would only be a tool for Khalid to take the throne for himself. Azriel also worried that Khalid had taken the opportunity to sit upon the throne of Vanna, knowing the wishes of Miraj and the ancient prophecy that stated that no man should ever sit on the throne or great calamity would hit the Sarquillands. The cleric wondered if he had in fact traded one dictator to another.
Azriel went to talk to Khalid and delivered a masked threat to make sure that Khalid understood that he would not tolerate another tyrant now that Adela had been deposed. He promised to keep a close eye on Khalid and to make sure that Khalid would not jeopardize his plans for the future of the Sarquil tribes.
- "You won't be pawning me off to these foreigners as their token Sarquil to get me out of the way, my lord. My work here is not finished so long as our people teeter on the edge of oblivion. You and I can only hope to prepare them for the coming battles if we work together."
- —Azriel to Khalid al-Saif
When Khalid returned to his room after he and Ax had addressed the citizens of Vanna, Azriel was there waiting for him. He punched the Sultan and exchanged a few words with him about co-operation.
According to Azriel, Khalid was playing a dangerous game where too much was at stake and that Khalid wouldn't get rid of Azriel that easily. Azriel would keep an eye on Khalid and make sure the Sultan would do only what was necessary for the Sarquil. He then healed Khalid from the effects of the Vulfsatz's poison and left him behind, happy that his new strength had silenced the Sultan for once.
Some time later guards entered Azriel's office to inform him of a sudden turn of events. The cleric was surprised to hear that the Northern Horde had appeared with a massive army outside Vanna and was now threatening to execute hundreds of Sarquil prisoners in front of the gate. As Azriel hurried outside to see it for himself, he learned that a few guards had taken a fatally injured Miraj inside. It turned out that Miraj had been captured by the horde which had tortured him to dishearten the Sarquil.
Azriel used his new powers to heal his uncle from certain death. He was successful, and the other Sarquil were in awe of his magic. Miraj inquired how Azriel had suddenly become so powerful, but Azriel brushed his questions aside and instead took Miraj with him to the walls to see the army of the Northern Horde and to figure out a battle strategy. As much as it frustrated Azriel, he knew he had to work with Khalid to save Vanna from total destruction.
More info later.
- "I will try, though, not just for the sake of my own people, but yours as well. It is time all the peoples and sands of the Tronin Desert rise up together."
- —Azriel to Qadohi
Azriel followed the rest of the Sarquil refugees and the Alliance heroes to Alent after the Northern Horde had taken over Vanna.
More info later.
Aliases and NicknamesEdit
- What Miraj sometimes calls Azriel.
- Grand Vizier
- Azriel's title after the exodus from Vanna. He now acts as the spiritual leader of his people while making sure the Sarquil will keep following the Old Ways.
Black, lean, medium height, dreadlocks, small beard. Wears white robes.
Personality and TraitsEdit
A follower of ancient Sarquil ways, Azriel entered the Clergy of Artemicia in order to destroy it from within and restore the old customs and worship of spirits. Living this secret life, he's gained a cunning and tactical mind.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Azriel was relatively weak compared to normal Sarquil, but he has recently gained a blessing supposedly from Tronin himself which has granted him more power. He prefers to use maces in combat.
Azriel saw Ax as an intriguing person but soon recognized her as a warrior worthy enough to be his ally. He used Ax's group as a means to rid Vanna of the influence of the Clergy of Artemicia, and Ax too was happy to have Azriel as her ally in the wars to come.
Azriel is not happy to see Khalid on the throne of Vanna as he thinks Khalid is unfit to rule. Khalid does not like having Azriel around, especially because Azriel has repeatedly offended Khalid who knows he can't retaliate unless he wants to lose support from the elders.
Azriel respects his uncle Miraj who helped him secure a position in the clergy. Miraj is surprised by the recent change in Azriel's physique but sees this change as a blessing from Tronin himself.
| Azriel al-Zarar|
Born: 992 AE
| Preceded by|
| Grand Vizier of Vanna|
| Succeeded by|