Character Profile: Caerzaal
By Adrian Cole
Once a paladin in Thrane and a respected servant of the Silver Flame, Caerzaal has become corrupted by his deep desire for power. Since the War, with so much of the world fallen into decay, opportunities abound for those who would quickly rise to eminence. For those prepared to be ruthless and unscrupulous, the path to power can be swift, if dark, for while Thrane seeks to bring order to its peoples and elevate humans once more from the ashes of War, darker forces flex themselves, capitalizing on the chaos and confusion that abounds.
Caerzaal has drunk the Blood of Vol and steeped himself in its religion and philosophy, worshiping an ancient line of the undead. Thus he has fallen under the malefic influence of the Emerald Claw, and though he would insist that he labors for his own ends — his own elevation — he remains a pawn of the Claw. Ruthless and cruel, he has sloughed whatever humane virtues he may once have had as a paladin and commits himself now to the cause of his new, terrible faith in his search for immortality.
As a vampire, he has taken on the particular strength and energy of these creatures, and he has become dangerous and dreadful in conflict — an opponent who draws on dire sorcery and blasphemous energies. Though hampered as vampires are by daylight and certain spells, he finds that the darkness of night is his element and blood his strength. The Crimson Talisman is, for him, the ultimate expression of power, forged into a weapon that could increase his own power and that of his nightmare servants. His arrogance and pride drive him to seek it and to force its Keeper to his will. In his quest, he will unscrupulously ally himself to all manner of horrors, whether they are demonic and subhuman or monstrous and treacherous. For him, the dark power has become the worst kind of addiction, and like all addicts, he believes he is in control of his desires.
Physically he is tall, his skin is leeched white, his eyes burn with an intense crimson light, and his teeth are as feral as a rat’s. He has long, white hair that he keeps swept back from his brow, over his skull and down his back. His clothes are black, though a glitter of accoutrements breaks their shadow when light strikes them. The weapons he carries are steeped in the elder magics of his debased powers, so few can stand up to him in conflict. Additionally, he can call upon numerous undead servants, which he hurls into the fray, heedless of their fate.
His own shadow falls far across the world, for his network has established contacts that enable him to move among his allies like an evil miasma. Those he seeks are never far from his clutches, or those of his minions. And for those who thwart him, he harbors a terrible hatred — a fierce desire for vengeance that cannot be eradicated. The protagonists in The Crimson Talisman feel his anger and hatred like a palpable, living entity.