Kaius III keeps a closely guarded secret. He is not who or what he appears to be. Only a handful of people in the inner sanctum of Kaius’s court have even the slightest inkling that something isn’t quite right, and even fewer know the truth of the situation. What is the truth? It’s a long, strange tale that boils down to this: Kaius III is Kaius I.
When the Last War was in full swing, Kaius I was approached by priests of the Blood of Vol. These priests promised to aid Karrnath against its enemies, provided Kaius agreed to a few “minor” considerations. With Cyre and Thrane pounding on his borders, and a breakdown in diplomatic relations that left Karrnath temporarily without allies, Kaius agreed to whatever terms the priests had—so long as he was provided with the means to repel the invaders.
First, the priests worked with Kaius’s own court wizards to perfect the process for creating zombie and skeleton troops to bolster Karrnath’s forces. With the addition of armor and weapons, as well as a slight increase in power, these undead were stronger and more formidable than the average mindless walking corpse. Second, the priests provided an elite fighting force dedicated to both Vol and Kaius—the Order of the Emerald Claw. “The Order will help you here and in distant lands, where its agents will foster unrest and revolution in the homes of your enemies,” the priests explained. Both of these gifts gave an immediate boost to Karrnath’s beleaguered forces, and the Order took credit for internal strife in Cyre, Breland, and Aundair.
When Vol, the ancient lich at the heart of the Blood of Vol cult, appeared before Kaius to collect her “considerations” for the aid her priests provided him, he had no choice but to submit. In addition to allowing the cult to establish temples and bases throughout Karrnath, Vol demanded that Kaius partake in the Sacrament of Blood. Instead of the usual ceremony, Vol invoked an ancient incantation that turned Kaius into a vampire. Instead of becoming a compliant thrall, however, Kaius fought to keep his independence. Furious that the vampire refused to be humbled, Vol eventually forced the issue by triggering Kaius’s blood lust (something he had been struggling to control). When the crimson haze cleared, Kaius discovered that he had killed his beloved wife.
Now, after eighty years of hiding and secretly working to break all ties with the Blood of Vol, Kaius (LE vampire [human], aristocrat 2/fi ghter 11) has returned to govern his nation. He has taken the place of his great-grandson, pretending to be Kaius III. With the aid of various magic items and abilities, he hides his vampiric nature. A burning desire to rebuild his shattered kingdom drives Kaius forward, making him one of the most troubled and dedicated rulers in all the land.