The Silver Kings Awash in Crimson
The Legend of Kahar A'Din
The lights dim, and change to an eerie, alien color that seems to defy mundane description. Swift Wandering Comet himself glows with some of this light, his caste mark shining faintly under his raised hood, giving him a very arch and mystic appearance to pair with a mysterious smile. With a sweeping gesture, he clears the table before him of debris. Then, with the other hand, in one fluid motion, he retrieves a sack from the confines of his robe and spreads a mixture of fine sand and tiny, broken gemstones across its surface, leaving twinkling stars in the dim dreamlight. A hazy fog of incense and mild burning herbs from the corners of the room brings a relaxed, yet anticipatory atmosphere to the scene. When the tension is right, with shimmering images beginning to reflect off the gemstones into the air over the table, the Dreamweaver launches into his story…
“Countless centuries ago, the world was a much different place. Not necessarily less dangerous, but larger and full of heroes that shook its riches out for the world to see. They kept some for themselves, of course, but even the most selfish wrung such treasures from calamity’s maw that the crumbs they left behind were so grand as to sustain whole kingdoms for generations.
One of those heroes was the great Dune Captain… Kahar A’Din. A man with a long beard, fiery red hair and a spark in his eyes, and bronze muscles that could cut a mountain in half. A man of adventure and a lust for danger. He was skilled with swordplay, with a scimitar that shone with the light of the sun itself, though he was equally deadly- some say moreso- fighting with his bare hands.
Kahar was the captain of a legendary vessel called the Seven Veils Apocalypse. It was a ship like no other. The Veils referred to the seven massive, enchanted sails that could pull the vessel in any condition, and mend themselves in the moonlight. The hull was clad in a shining mixture of black and white jade, separated by lines of gold. In the right light, they say, you could see ghostly images of past battles, in which its crew ruthlessly slaughtered its enemies with swords of fire and nothing to protect their bare flesh but the strength of their muscles and the raw fierceness of their souls.
It had a ferocious diamond screaming eagle for a figurehead, from which a wall-shattering scream could be projected at the captain’s enemies. The main, central mast that connected all the sails was solid green jade, and faintly resembled a tree in full bloom. Mounted crossbows lined its bow, rimmed in thin red jade, enchanting their bolts with fire when used.And it was massive- three hundred feet long, over a hundred feet wide, and seven decks to house its crew and whatever treasure it acquired. The ship’s stern had a great disc mounted into it that emitted a violet trail when it was at full speed, burning would-be pursuers that got too close.
Most impressively of all- it could sail on land. Rather than be restricted to the great oceans of the west, it was just at home in the massive deserts of the south, where it would ultimately make itself most famous.
And this massive, epic ship… was stolen.
Soon after its construction was completed, a great incursion of fae assaulted the city in which it was built. The battle was immense. Champions of all sorts came to the city’s aid, but hoards of vile goblins and beasts continued to flood the city and its surrounding lands. Several powerful Rhaksha had joined forces, and the invasion waged on for ages. Eventually, the heroes of Creation were victorious. But it came at a great cost- not only did many brave soldiers die, but their magnificent work of art, the Apocalypse, had been stolen in the chaos.
So thinking themselves clever, the surviving fairy princes fled off into their native wyldlands with their prize. Little did they know, one of the mightiest heroes had stowed away deep inside their prize. In the madness of battle, Kahar had thrashed one of the weaker princes and taken their clothing, then posed as him as he ducked into the ship and waited.
And so when the commotion settled down and the fairy kings and queens crowed over the theft of one of Creation’s greatest gems to their brethren, Kahar A’Din slipped from his hiding place and found one of them in the captain’s quarters. Taking the foul creature by surprise, he grabbed the prince, carried it outside, and snapped its spine over the edge of the bow. When the others saw him, it was too late- he set his foot atop the figurehead and waved to the doomed fairies. A powerful scream blasted them back to the depths of madness from which they came. A grand fight broke out between him and their remaining minions, but in the end he stood triumphant, having crushed the glamour-skulls of half their number with his bare hands. Radiating pure, exalted power, he whipped the remaining lot into a temporary crew and sailed the vessel back into Creation.
From that day forward, he became the mythic Dune Captain, sailor of the glitterflame desert. He swore to exact revenge for each death the fae caused in their invasion- and he made good on that oath, with interest. Countless times he plunged his vessel into their domains, ravaged untold masses of fairy monsters, and dragged back dreamwoven treasures to share with the families of the fallen. Over time, so much wealth was plundered from the depths of the Wyld, that dozens of new cities sprouted from the wealth he brought back. Legend says he even went to the Pole of Fire, tore it from the ground, and sailed it deeper into the Wyld to expand Creation’s influence even further, to make room for the people to grow into. Great spires sprouted up throughout the dunes, surrounded by walls of silver and pearl, housing mansions and circuses and great halls the envy of any Realm-born ruler. Songs were sung of the hero’s adventures and accomplishments.
Of course, as we all know, the age of dreams did not last forever. Kahar somehow seemed to know things were soon to change. His last voyage into the flaming sands occurred shortly before the world went… wrong. Something about his final farewell before departing on that fateful journey seemed more final than any other. Kahar A’Din, and the mighty Seven Veils Apocalypse, sailed into the fiery mists one last time, and were never seen or heard from again. Some say it is still out there, deep in the Wyld, with the ghosts of its captain and crew still sewing terror through the hearts of the fae. Others say the fae themselves finally bested their legendary adversary, and once again hold that monstrous vessel as their prize. Perhaps we will never know.
But they do. The legend of Kahar A’Din may have been buried in the sands of time here in Creation, but to the fae, stories are everything. And the story of the Seven Veils Apocalypse has scarred them for all time, no matter what form they take. To this day, if you enter the bordermarches along the Glitterflame, you may find some imps constantly covering their large ears out of fear of the eagle’s scream, or black handprints on their heads, where once their predecessors were crushed by mighty hands.