When the Gaellan Warclave prepared to launch their invasion of Kaerok, and the Telerian League armed itself to defend its heartland, only one man smiled with glee at the thought of the chaos to come: Santino the Brilliant.
Santino was the Magi Counselor in the great Arena City of Velyzar, one of five Guild representatives that ruled that incomparable hub of trade and battle. But more than a ruler, Santino was a mage and a merchant – and his greatest product? A powerful oil that, when spread over an artifact, would increase its power to unheard of proportions. It was this oil which fueled the war machines of both the Gaellan Pact and the Telerian League, and the war to come promised to fill Santino’s purse until it overflowed.
And then, Santino the Brilliant discovered a truth near universal: all men die.
His heart burst as he toured his own manufactory. In his final moments, between his last heartbeats, a voice came to him and asked him if he wished to live – even if it would cost others their lives. It asked him if he was willing to take from the world to see himself survive, and to keep taking forever.
He said yes.
Santino died a man, but he rose from the manufactory floor as a monster. He felt and acted like he always had, but lurking within was a thirst for blood that would drive him to madness if ignored. He killed and killed again to feed on the flesh of the living… until he finally went too far. The Gaellan War ran on for fifteen years, and at its end it claimed the life of Santino’s son. In his grief, Santino killed openly, and it was only a matter of time before the Sacred Order came for him.
Santino finally admitted it was time to stop. He buried himself in a cage beneath the temple he had built outside the city – a temple he had built to help store his victims. Locked behind his own bars, a spell was wrought on his prison that would compel him to sleep forever. Then his manufactory and warehouses were destroyed, his artifact oil seeping into the sands.
But while his mind and spirit slept, his body did not. Consumed by blood thirst, Santino’s body twisted into an emaciated monster, and even rose up to escape its prison – his power grew so desperate that it drew his precious artifact oil to him through the earth, and used its magic to break his cage.
The Nomads that visit the hills outside Velyzar have begun to speak of a horror that stalks them in the night. A monstrous creature of terrible power – but whose eyes are eternally sleeping. They call this beast Al Naemeh, The Sleeper, and they say if you can wake it before it strikes, its eyes will open and it will shrink away in fear, retreating across the desert sands.
This advice can prove deadly. Santino cannot be wakened. But his body, however restless, can be put down to further slumber with the right powders and spells, and Al Naemeh will be a lesser danger for a time. Time enough to flee… or even take the chance to strike, if one wishes for a few drops of artifact oil for themselves!