Jericho Kaius III, High King of Karrnath, stalked the halls of the underground prison that snaked beneath his capitol city of Korth. Flanked on both sides by two animated skeletons clad in thick plate mail, he casually glided past cell after cell of fem fatales, simple farmers, and prisoners of war. Oh yes, he had a fair share of clerics from Aundair, horse masters from Valenar, he especially had quite a few artificers from Cyre. All of them rotting down here, where they will stay until they eventually expire due to one reason or another, and then they will join Kaius' cause. They'll be forever loyal to him, ever the patriots! and ruthlessly support the war effort. Frankly, it's all they can do. Members of the dead rarely contradict their masters.
The prison itself was a masterwork. It had taken Kaius nearly two lifetimes to complete. Hallowing out tunnels and walling them with stone from his nations quarries had taken so long, but now he could traverse the darkness in respite of the troubles that loomed overhead. Today he mourned though. His consort was with child, and whilst other men would be joyful and boastful, he dreaded it every hour, knowing what he had to do when the time came. He found the chore quite distasteful; living a century, faking his own death, the murder and possession of whatever son he had born in that lifetime, and then ascending to king. All. Over. Again. It would make the old king sigh in frustration sometimes. He was not an evil man, quite the opposite actually. If he were any other monarch, with low ambitions, and a love for family above all else, then he would gladly have died centuries ago and let his empire flourish, watching from the heavens. But no, he was no one else, and could blame no one else. He had an objective, a grand scheme and he would kill thousands before he'd trust his sons and daughters to fulfil it. He was not made an immortal to pass on his duty to those below his station. Kaius had been a vampire for nearing on 450 years, and he has succeeded himself more times than he could count.
The old king pulled himself out of his thoughts and shook them from his mind. He realized that he had reached his destination.
"Arucane abr argetlam. Blödh abr andlát. Atra mor'amr." Living flame of the silver hand. Blood of Vol and death. May you open and grant me passage.
Crevasses, lines and depressions in the solid stone that made the wall look as if it was an ancient double doored entrance that had been carved out but never completed, began to open. Sliding into the stone at their sides, providing an ever increasing space that opened up in a large square, dimly lit room. This particular room is where Kaius housed the most promising candidates for his military. Powerful men and women who, when reanimated, held the potential to be conduits. Leaders in which Kaius could act out his will through. The people in this room have been locked up for months with little food or water, weakening their resolve so that Kaius can more acutely turn them.
"Good day, ladies and gents," Kaius began, "Do any of you know who I am?"
Kaius looked into the dim room of poorly fed mortals and envisioned the roster that he glazed over mere hours ago. Most of the wretches flung down here had their named forced out of them. Three came to mind immediately. Galdir... The man with Mark Of Hospitality. Kaius recalled the reports of his capture. How he sicced his house bred animals on his men. Outside of that, though, he proved unremarkable. The mark goes dormant without a living host, perhaps the man would better serve the realm alive.
Another name swept across the his mind. The one with the scar, Malos. The dark one. This prodded Kaius in the wrong way. She possessed such fine natural ability, with an affinity for the darker arts, and yet she kept it hidden, and uncelebrated. A pity. Kaius would have loved to induct her into the fold. But there no point in this one. She who denies her gift is but a weakling. She would die, just as the others.
And then there was Galthor. Caught, yet again. Supposed traitor. Factual murderer. He has done his house, and his father the injustice of being a deserter. Kaius would claim this one provide him as a gift to his father, if he yet lives, of course. Kaius licked his lips, savouring the shock that would weather the old captain's face. Oh, Kaius would enjoy that one, and savour the memory for a good long time.
One more in the room. A spy. Rhoswen was her name. Beautiful as she was dangerous. A viper in a pit rodents, that one. Her skills would better suit him were she kept alive; however, that was was necessary. What was, was her allegiance. Kaius would insure they all would bend their knee in unison by the he time was done with these four.
Why, he had all the time in the world to do so.