THE DAEDHIRIAN LORD ASDAMON THE HERETIC

APPEARANCE - BIOGRAPHY - IMPORTANCE

Along with Asbavaer, Asdamon was one of the main Daedhirian actors in the events of the Dark Plague, in the southern Nybelmar. His story though, came to be known through Asbavaer's words, reproduced by the Anpagan officer Julian D'Alba. Whether these are true or not, we will never know. Nevertheless, Asdamon seemed to have been one of the original Daedhirian Lords that shaped the practices and beliefs of the Venlaken Enclave's heretics. His research and experimentations on the issue of golem building are envied even by the High Mages of the Ansaran Island - as they admitted, after seeing Julian D'Alba's Dark Plague Campaign journals, that Asdamon would have helped them to perfect the golem building methods a lot sooner, if not for his unfortunate fall into Daedhirian temptation. But Asdamon took his golem building research even further, on the forbidden grounds of Daedhirian magic, ending in some very controversial results that eventually brought his own demise. He was also the builder of what Asbavaer called "Daedhirian Vats", a complex of machineries, hidden deep inside the bowels of the Venlaken fortress, that are supposed to have an important role in the "Transformation" of a good part of the undead lords. A victim of a Daedhirian power struggle, or indeed a wrongdoer forced to pay for his mistakes, Asdamon fell in the battle for Tyr Faerath, at the end of the Dark Plague Campaign. He was not forgotten though, and even to this day he is known as Asdamon the Heretic - a heretic even among the Venlaken heretics.

The great Lord of the Daedhirian Asdamon
View picture in full size Image description. The great Lord of the Daedhirian Asdamon, accompanied by his golem serpent. Illustration drawn by Eratinalinfalah.

Appearance. Contrary to the decaying bodies and skeletal figures that are supposed to be common for the Venlaken mages, Asdamon showed quite a human-like appearance when the Anpagan soldiers met him on the battlefields before Tyr Faerath. His body looked dry and weak though, and had a sickly yellowish complexion. He looked like a small crooked old man, yet it is said that his strength surpassed that of the mightiest Anpagan soldiers. It is this image that persisted in the minds of Anpagans, yet taking account of his deeds and research one cannot truly say that Asdamon always had this kind of appearance. And about the way he was before his Daedhirian Transformation, no one can truly say anything. Return to the top

Biography. The custom of the Daedhirian mages is to always take a new name upon their Transformation. Asdamon made no exception to this, but unlike the case of Asbavaer, we know little about his life before the Transformation. Nevertheless, he was one of the "original" Daedhirians, one of the first mages that succumbed to the Book of All Fears and taking the path of the Daedhirian heresy. His later research also proves that he had close access to Armand DaRan's notes, which means that he might have been even an Inner Circle mage - one of the highest positions in the Anpagan Mage Guild of that time. But with all the chaos that reigned in Anis-Anpagan around the time when Daedhirians emerged, no one can really tell anymore, who was Asdamon as an Anpagan mage.

The first mentions of a
Daedhirian Lord called Asdamon appeared towards the end of the Republican Wars, a few decades before the Year of Darkness, and Julian D'Alba's journals are assuring us that he was one and the same with the Asdamon that had to be defeated in the Dark Plague Campaign, centuries later. The problem is more complicated though, as we will see in the followings.

A Daedhirian Golem Builder. The highest of all Venlaken "crafts" seems to be the crafting of life on death.
Daedhirians believe that there is a unique spiritual essence in every sentient being, essence that can be ultimately preserved alone. That, claimed Asbavaer, should have been their final goal. Yet the deepest fear of every Daedhirian was always that should their body be eventually reduced to dust - because of the inevitable process of decay - they would have no more connections with this plane of existence, which means actually the failure of the Daedhirian project. Therefore, when Asdamon started to experiment on Armand DaRan's golem research, he lived in high esteem among Daedhirians. The magic on which Armand based his golem building attempts was the same in essence with the magic used by Daedhirians. It was about the same "transgression of essences": to animate a golem Armand was using his own spiritual essence and Daedhirians did the same thing to have their bodies come back from the dead.

As even the Ansaran mages admitted, the results of Asdamon's experiments in golem building were sound. He managed to animate and control golems without passing into a state of unconsciousness long before the mages of Anis-Anpagan. But Asdamon's interests were not into animating lifeless objects. Thus he took his research beyond Armand DaRan's intentions, on the grounds of the flesh golems. Not even today this issue is clear enough for the ones studying the twisted ways of the Enclave. With the emergence of
Daedhirians in the Republican Wars, the western Anis-Anpagan was "flooded" by reports of men rising from the dead, ghost and zombii stories. In the Year of Darkness, even a small army of walking dead and other skeletal figures was said to have been defeated while they were trying to cross the Zylos River. At first, every scholar presumed that these undead abominations were all the creation of Daedhirians, being under their direct control, yet the story of Asdamon casts a shadow over this interpretation. If Asdamon was trying to find a way to animate and control flesh golems, what was with all those armies of undead in the Year of Darkness? Were they really under Daedhirian control, or they were just a side effect of their magics - twisting the very fabric of life? What is certain though, is that eventually Asdamon managed to find a way to animate and control flesh golems, as much of his army during the Dark Plague was composed of such things.

Asbavaer also told the Anpagans the story of Asdamon's golem serpent, making Julian D'Alba to observe that many
Daedhirians seem to feel this strange attachment towards such weird creatures. As Asbavaer was strongly attached to his black unicorn (to the point that eventually he transformed it into a bone unicorn after its death), so was Asdamon attached to this golem serpent. A wicked creature, hated by everyone who came into contact with Asdamon, a creature that he created and re-created, over and over again, until his demise at Tyr Faerath.

The Daedhirian Vats. Asdamon's experiments with golems and flesh golems never raised any objections from any of the other
Daedhirian Lords. But this kind of research was not his ultimate goal as well. After feeling that he mastered this craft to a satisfying extent, Asdamon started to think about how to apply this knowledge on himself. As the decades passed his body also started to reach an advanced state of degradation. It is said that Daedhirians are the best healers in the world, and it might be true if we consider the fact that many of them are obsessed with preserving not only their essence but their bodies as well (as a side note, we can also mention that Armand DaRan was a healer mage after all). Yet at some point not even their mastery of healing magics can help them avoid the body's degradation. And on this issue, Asdamon came with a strange theory: the human body is like a machine; it has various parts combined together in a complex mechanism. So, he claimed, it should be possible to replace the degraded parts without affecting one's spiritual essence. But the problem was from where to get the necessary replacements.

After a very long time of research and experiments, he finished the designs of (what he called) the
Daedhirian Vats - a complex of machineries that was meant to regenerate the Daedhirians' decaying bodies. Every Daedhirian applauded the idea and so the Vats were built with their combined efforts, right inside the Venlaken fortress. The downside of this treatment though, was that it required a very long time to be effective. Years and years, depending on each case, sometimes decades, were necessary until the treated Daedhirian could emerge from a Vat and be active again. So because the Vats were regarded only as a last resort, Asdamon started to think of a way to improve this invention.

First, he tried to replicate the various parts of a human body into similar mechanical devices, trying to attach them to the bodies of those
Daedhirians who accepted the Vat treatment. And if we are to believe Asbavaer's stories, this method is still used by some Daedhirians. Yet Asdamon failed in his attempt to replicate all the human body parts, so eventually he reached to the inevitable conclusion that real body parts would make the Vat treatment indeed effective. A plan that Asdamon never hesitated to apply. Thus many Servants of the Enclave have found their bitter end in the horror of the Daedhirian Vats. Many Daedhirian Lords immediately embraced this new treatment, yet there were also voices among them that spoke against it. Asbavaer himself, in his talks with Julian D'Alba, was regarding the Vats in great contempt, describing in vivid pictures their terrifying sight, the constant buzz of machineries and the sickening screams of the tormented victims. This is the moment when the Enclave was divided into those that supported Asdamon and those that named his methods a "heresy". Strangely enough, if the Enclave's Lords were never united in a power structure before this moment, they found themselves united into two distinct sides by this discord. And Asdamon's most virulent opposer proved to be Asbavaer, the grandson of Armand DaRan himself, and the one that first accused Asdamon of "heresy", of not staying true to their original book, "Daedhir".

A Daedhirian Heretic. Out of the fear of not losing his connections with this plane of existence by losing his body, Asdamon created the Vats using the bodies of his Servants to reconstruct his own. But it was the very same fear that drove all of his opponents as well.

Julian D'Alba: "I still find this strange. These Vats that you talk about seem like a perfect arrangement for you..."
Asbavaer: "For whom? For us, Daedhirians? So it seems, indeed. But think again."
Julian D'Alba: "What do you mean?"
Asbavaer: "If I would take your legs and replace mine, and then if I would take your hands and replace mine, and then if I would take your chest and replace mine... And finally, if I would take your head and replace mine, and provided that you can still somehow look upon me, what will you see?"
Julian D'Alba: "...Myself?"
Asbavaer: "So you begin to understand."

--
Julian D'Alba - "Dialogues with Asbavaer - based on the Dark Plague Campaign journals"

The main question addressed to Asdamon was a question of identity. When he was using lifeless objects for his transgression magics, everything was fine. Everything was also fine when he started to use the flesh of the non-sentient beasts. But when he started to use the flesh of humans everything was not fine anymore. All his opponents were accusing him of melting the spiritual essence of his victims into his own, which meant that eventually Asdamon became a different person with each of his "renewals".

Asdamon's answer to this accusation was that he still was the very same person, that he still retained all of his memories and that all that he did was only to revive his degrading body with the "help" of his Servants. But at his turn Asbavaer questioned him if indeed one's spiritual essence is composed or signaled only by his memories. It was understandable that Asdamon would have never risked losing his identity given by his memories - and that also proved that his mastery of transgression magic was beyond any doubt. But was he still the same Asdamon, or was he a complex of identities dominated by Asdamon's memories?

Julian D'Alba: "But what proof can one bring to demonstrate that he is still more than just his memories?"
Asbavaer: "That is the point, exactly. Asdamon should have never done what he had done. He is not a Daedhirian anymore. Don't you see? We are not trying to avoid death, we embrace it, and we dwell upon it. Our existence is renunciation. Unlife. What Asdamon did was to cling onto life with all his strength. He turned away and runs from his awaiting death."
Julian D'Alba: "So it was a false problem?"
Asbavaer: "Not entirely. When he refused his death he refused himself actually. Because death is what defines a Daedhirian."

-- Julian D'Alba - "Dialogues with Asbavaer - based on the Dark Plague Campaign journals"

In time this discord became an argument of principles between two different views of interpreting "Daedhir" and Asbavaer recounted how the Venlaken Lords started to train their Servants for warfare. Many skirmishes were fought in the Enclave even if the Anpagans were totally oblivious to them. Actually Asbavaer claimed that without these skirmishes Asdamon and his allies would have crossed the Zylos River long before the Dark Plague, in search of new Servants to supply their Vats. The issue of Asdamon's identity is unsolved to this day, even if Julian D'Alba and ultimately the Ansaran mages themselves credited Asbavaer's version of the story.

A Daedhirian's Demise. The conflict within the Enclave was kept somehow in a state of delicate balance until Asdamon "acquired" a new sort of allies. While he was scouring the wastelands from north of Venlaken, trying to find and capture one of the void sails spotted there, he encountered a group of strange warriors who got lost in their attempt to prey on a caravan heading to Tyr Faerath. Their appearance resembled that of the demons of the ancient tales, the demons that the Korweynites fear so much. They were Chyrakisth warriors. How was the meeting between the twisted creations of Menemronn and the twisted Lord of the Enclave, is something that not even
Asbavaer knew. But with certainty, these Chyrakisth became Asdamon's advisors after that meeting. With these new warriors on his side Asdamon soon managed to turn the Enclave's internal conflict into his favour. So, having no more significant opposition, he started to gather an army for a new plan.

Most probable the Chyrakisth advisors told Asdamon about the magnificent magical gemstone fiercely guarded by the dwarves of Tyr Faerath. There is also a possibility that he knew about it before his meeting with the Chyrakisth, yet the coincidence is too striking to be cast aside. Asdamon believed that this gemstone was one of the mythical stones of the Throne of Menemronn, or at least something similar. The magical properties of such an artifact were more than appealing for him, as he believed that he could use it to put an end to the Daedhirian discord for good. If the original treatment for which the Vats were built, was made indeed efficient (and that magical stone seemed to guarantee this beyond any doubt), then he would have been able to give up to his later methods and thus to avoid any other uncomfortable discussions on the principles of "Daedhir".

His plan was, obviously, to besiege Tyr Faerath, and take the stone from its dwarven keepers. But unfortunately for him, the plan proved to be flawed. He never considered seriously the signs of what would later prove to be "the Dark Plague". Already when he set his armies on the march to Tyr Faerath, these signs were seen everywhere in the Enclave. The "Lost Ones" (this is how Daedhirians refer to the Enclave's ever-present apparitions) became increasingly active, and especially the wraiths were more and more seen gathering in large groups tormenting the Servants with their horrible howling. And it was not long until they crossed the border into Anis-Anpagan. Asdamon's armies were long gone from the Venlaken fortress, when the Anpagan soldiers crossed the Zylos River. This was the chance of Asbavaer and his allied discontent Daedhirians, to turn the tide in their favour. The fact that Asdamon was now struggling to find a middle way for their discord, despite the fact that he had won the armed confrontations, didn't mean anything for his opposers. As Asbavaer recounted, once Asdamon and all his allied Lords did what they did, they were not to be considered Daedhirians anymore. In the eyes of his opposers, Asdamon remained a betrayer.

With the Anpagan soldiers on their side, Asdamon's opposers reached his armies at the Trum Chaor fort. The final battle was fought before the mighty walls of Tyr Faerath, and Asdamon found his end there. His body was burned and his ash was later spread over the wastelands from north of Venlaken. If something was still left of his spirit, it was condemned to wander the desert at the mercy of the winds. The story of his life was told by his most fierce opposer, Asbavaer, and his name was to be always remembered as that of a heretic among the heretics. His most important invention, the Daedhirian Vats, is supposed to be still in use up to this day, though only to regenerate the undead Lords' bodies and never to "reconstruct" them.
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Importance. Even if his story was told by his enemy, Asdamon is still considered among the Ansaran mages as one of the most important Lords of the Enclave. They would go to any lengths to acquire his research notes on golem building, that is, of course, if there were still any. And after all, because of his clash with Asbavaer, the Enclave was shaped as it is today. But there is one more thing in his story, that neither him nor Asbavaer were aware of. The more recent theories of the Ansaran mages, based upon Julian D'Alba's journals, claim that the Dark Plague was indirectly caused by Asdamon's heretical methods. Actually all of his experimentations prove that a certain natural anomaly seems to occur in the Enclave. In older times it would have been called a "gate to the Netherworlds", yet the mages prefer to call it a "Void occurrence". It is this phenomenon, they say, that makes the Daedhirian's transgression magics so successful. And it was this same phenomenon that turned against them when Asdamon started to mingle chaotically with the spiritual essences of his Servants.
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