Undead Cyclops Lich
Vordakai was once a notorious tyrant and necromancer in Casmaron’s ancient cyclops empires. Vordakai himself did not survive the uprising and turmoil that followed Earthfall during the Age of Darkness, yet ironically his name did. The least of his apprentices appropriated Vordakai’s name in the hope of using its power to rebuild an empire; yet in the end, this task would require more than notoriety. This new Vordakai became the last Vordakai when those he was attempting to command rose up against him and, in an ironic turn of events, trapped him in a crypt of his own design, hidden away at the westernmost edge of Casmaron, in a minor mountain range oft overlooked by explorers and colonists.
As the ages wore on and Vordakai’s torpor changed into an ageless slumber, his name persisted in the legends of the region’s centaur tribes. Tribal shamans, inspired by visions, often brought the centaurs to a steppeland called the Dunsward in the region near Vordakai’s tomb, where they tasked their tribes with the sacred duty of guardianship over the Valley of the Dead—the legendaryentrance to Vordakai’s tomb. These shamans saw that the ancient cyclops tyrant did not rest easy in his grave, and they foresaw a time when his wickedness and the pent-up evil of the extinct cyclops empire might one day be released by the unwary to plague the lands again.
This status quo has remained over the intervening years—until now, that is. When the swordlords of Restov sent agents south into the Stolen Lands, a new colony, Varnhold, was established at the edge of the old centaur rangelands, and along with these settlers came an ambitious treasure hunter named Willas Gundarson. Using Varnhold as a base of operations and following an ancient map copied from an even more ancient tablet recovered from deep Casmaron, Willas hoped to find a previously undiscovered hoard of ancient treasure. Unfortunately for Willas, he mistranslated the ancient tablet—and what he had assumed was an indication of vast magical wealth was actually a warning of vast magical danger.
Armed with his mistranslated lore, Willas ranged far and wide while Varnhold was being established, operating under the guise of scouting to determine the lay of the land and identify any potential threats facing the fledgling colony. It was on one of these journeys that he discovered the site of Vordakai’s Tomb and crossed the deep waters of the Little Sellen on a folding boat. On the island, he located wards designed to prevent intrusion and grasped something of their dire nature. He was about to turn back when he glimpsed a cache of treasure just a short way down the corridor leading into the tomb. Greed forced aside common sense, and he crept inside to investigate—but as he did, he felt the ancient warding alarms go off. Pausing only to snatch a single jade bracelet, he fled the tomb and retreated back across the river.
Though all remained quiet as he watched from the far shore, he knew he had triggered the guardian wards and had a bad feeling about what he had done. He hurried back to Varnhold with the bracelet and adjusted his tale to say he had found it on the river bank, hoping to hide his momentary lack of judgment. Unfortunately, Willas’s fears were well founded, for the triggering of the wards awoke Vordakai from his age of slumber. Faced with a new world of wonder, the undead cyclops began to send his minions (loyal cyclopes who had been sealed in his crypt and now serve as undead thralls) out into the world to explore and bring back word of how the world had changed. Vordakai became particularly obsessed with the audacious human who had freed him, and upon noticing the theft of the jade bracelet, set about tracking the thief back to the settlement of Varnhold. Unleashing ancient cyclops magic, Vordakai emptied the settlement of its inhabitants in a single night of horror. Now, Vordakai studies the lore he has learned from Varnhold’s vanishing and draws his plans to establish a new empire. With his kin gone from the region, the undead cyclops is confident that this time, his will be a lasting rule.