Infamous Villains: The Ash King

There isn’t a more well-known evil entity than the Ash King, the self-proclaimed leader of the Diosian Lodge and ruler of the fetid nightmare realm of Vincasikilia. Handily the most powerful of all of the liches that comprise the Sikilian Confederation the Ash King is the standard bearer for everything dark and dismal and torturous. In pursuit of knowledge the Ash King has gained tremendous power and influence not just as a king of a nation, but as a practitioner of horrible and sadistic magicks.

The capital of Vincasikilia is the sprawling fortified city of Starigrad that sits astride the mighty Dolonau River. From here the Ash King holds sway over a savage and brutal land inhabited by people utterly indoctrinated into a cult-like population of zealots dedicated to the service of their undead monarch. Fanatical in the extreme the Vincasikilians (who call themselves simply Sikilians) maintain a number of cities, towns, and villages wherein the standing rule is one of chaos and dreariness. For these people unfortunate to be among the living of the land death is both unavoidable and embraced. The people tend to use actual ashes to color their skin greyish white and eschew anything resembling vivid colors. They even go so far as to lop off the blossoms of wild flowers. Vincasikilians like things drab and dull because this world is nothing more than a starting point from which their beloved leader will guide them to greater heights in the next life.

The Ash King uses this mentality to keep a heavy iron grip on everything he perceives to be his. South-southeast of his capital in the foothills of the Sikilian Alps is the ancient and defiled necropolis of Zar-Grojna. It is this horrible place that was the original home to the Diosian Lodge, an organization of intellectuals and warlords that became eventually the undead rulers of the smaller states that they broke off of the crumbling Third Imperium. They gather still to discuss their mutual business in the Grand Hall of the Damned, a massive and otherwise impressive edifice falling slowly into ruin even as the bones of the liches decay and molder. All of the liches have provided resources to keeping this unholy place secure from those hostile to the Diosian liches. Even the mere mention of Zar-Grojna is enough to awaken the attentions of the lich lords in their far-off and scattered domains.

As impressive as the “living” resources of the Ash King are in how many soldiers he can commit to battle and commerce he can generate for the limited trade that Vincasikilia has with its’ neighbors in the Sikilian Confederation, the real power of any lich is in the undead they command. Nobody in Partum is known to hold more power over the undead than the Ash King. It is believed that he has a nearly total grip on unlimited numbers of undead ranging from lowly skeletons and zombies to more fearsome ghouls, ghasts, wights, and even more terrifying entities. Using the abilities of vassaliches (living spellcasters who are mystically bound to the service of the Ash King) the Ash King is able to project and even larger presence than even his impressive abilities would permit. There is a vassalich in complete control over any settlement of any significant size in Vincasikilia, and they are able to inform their terrifying liege of anything they feel needs his attention. It is this totality of control that has made attacking the Ash King supremely difficult.

It has yet to be seen if anyone or anything can dislodge the Ash King from his throne. But even now there are forces at work to attempt that very goal. What magic or skill can accomplish this monumental task? Or is it mere courage that will win the day? Spoiler alert: it will take a hell of a lot more than mere courage, brudda.