Here on the shores of the Dreaming Sea, the Fair Folk invasion rewrote the fabric of the world like a tide. In its advancing and receding, the Wyld left pools behind. It was then, after the victory of the Scarlet Empress, as these last touches of chaos left the land and drifted back toward the Dreaming Sea, that Serranos rose to power among the Fair Folk of the Shores.
Power-hungry, charismatic, and desperate, Serranos led his people to a crafty assault on the Shores. Dozens of Fair Folk infiltrated the local population, taking on the form of refugees from distant lands. Within days they struck, murdering thousands and leaving hundreds more as dreamless drones before they were finally routed by local forces.
Serranos himself escaped… but he escaped alone. He lived, if one could call it that, huddled in a tiny pocket of Wyld beneath a broken manse in the northern Shores, too weak to survive on his own, too terrified of his ancient kinfolk to brave the Dreaming Sea. He created pale, weak shapes that were the shadows of those he had known before, and treated them as compatriots, the way a child might speak to a puppet.
Five years ago, Serranos made another bid to conquer the Shores, driving his puppets before him as if they were a great war-host. They were not. The effort was doomed to failure from the first; he may even have known that. Amilar Valna and her consort Ilsadoth scattered his pathetic forces and put an end to him in a shadowlands, and that was that.
Or it should have been.
Serranos’ shade rose five days later in the underworld. He struggled – oh, how his existence has been defined by strife and struggle – but his struggle has borne fruit. Ixar leads a cult that funnels him essence and the goods of the grave. He has followers and supplicants, such as Shimmering Hope, who allow his dark essence upon their souls all unknowing. Victory is all but assured. Now he need only watch from his lair beneath a crumbled manse and wait for the Shores to come tumbling down.
Serranos wears a silver mask with elaborate engravings that draw the eye. Some of his clothing is black; the rest displays all the range of a colorful bruise. His hair, constantly in motion, flies out wildly from behind the mask.
Serranos is, at heart, a walking stereotype. He is the cackling villain: plotting, pacing, ranting, lashing out. Those who would secretly observe him in his home would see a monster in human form. He cares for nothing but power over others, and it shows in how he treats those who serve him.
However, before Ixar, his other cultists, and any whom he feels might be a threat, he is a portrait of magnanimous reason. Soft yet firm, daring yet reasonable. He reveals his madness only when he grants power to his followers, a strange anima flaring around him and echoing his mad laughter. For this reason, he does this only in private, or when surrounded by loyal servants.
Serranos cannot abide mention of Ilsadoth by name. In his particular religion, that despised ruler is The Repulsive One, and his consort in the land of the living is The Murderess.
Intimatices: “I will rule Creation from a throne of pain” (Defining), “Ilsadoth and Amilar Valna shall be my slaves” (Negative), “None must know my of coming before I am ready” (Major), “Reward fools; they are easier to control” (Positive)
Serranos is a master manipulator. His soft words and canny observations worm their way into his targets’ minds without the need for essence. He is physically weak and has little to no skill in combat, relying on his followers extensively for travel and protection. He believes that he understands much about the underworld, but in truth he has only power, not knowledge.
That power is enough, though. Serranos can “gift” individuals – both living and dead – with powerful mutations to their bodies and minds. Gifting power leaves Serranos weakened for an hour or so. Those whom he makes grow strong and swift often have visible manifestations of this power, such as bulging muscles and shimmering dark outlines behind them as they move. Those who are granted more esoteric capabilities, such as control over the elements of death (blood, bone, ash, pyre-flame, and void), show only the slightest physical indications of their new-found glory. Instead, the power twists their minds, letting Serranos nudge them in subtle ways, and eventually take over their minds in total. Even with Ixar he is far from this level of command, but only because she does not yet feel worthy to join with her god.
Serranos is not truly a ghost. Necromancy, at least at its lowest rank, has no hold on him. He is still more of the Wyld than of the underworld, though that may change in time if his existence continues.
- Jun and Sav, the interchangeable footmen who carry him about on his litter. Silent, stoic, suicidally brave.
- Kra, an undead raiton with a glimmer of human intelligence, who advises Serranos from atop his throne. Loud, sarcastic, cowardly.
- Fu Efa, ash-breathing bodyguard. Suspicious, needy, brutal.
- Zeni, swift ghostly messenger who brings Serranos’ word across the Shores. Confident, clever, laughing.
- Where does the power than Serranos grants come from? Is he as powerful as he believes, or is he someone else’s puppet?
- Is Ixar the only priestess of Serranos, or does he command others?
- What treasures and artifacts has Serranos obtained from his cults?