Prince Galor would never be king, and it rankled him.
He was regent, but this power alone wasn’t enough. Knowing that his distant ancestor could gainsay him on any matter was an affront to his pride. Galor wanted to be king, in name and in truth, and nothing would stand in his way.
He was reasonable at first, at least outwardly. He sought all manner of legal recourse – the courts denied him. He appealed to his family – they clung to tradition. He wasted money on alchemists who swore he would outlive Thenor – grey hairs filled his beard still. Eventually the matter consumed his every waking thought.
Galor gathered a few individuals, young, angry, and poor. He promised them silver and titles if they did as he said. Fortunately for ancient Thenor, one of them sold Galor out to his cousins. The regent and his conspirators were marched forcibly to the Glacier of Exile, where they died of exposure – and shame, as the story goes. The story of the “Never-King” was spread to remind people of the importance of tradition and humility.
The story is correct, but incomplete. Galor’s ghost returned fifty years later. This is no mere story with which to frighten children. The angry souls of Galor and his conspirators haunt the lands between the towns of Slumber’s Grasp. Since few people travel at night, they claimed few victims in the first years, and the story was slow to spread. Now the truth is coming out. The dead Never-King seeks to claim in death the throne he could never have in life.
Galor’s pale skin, once ruddy, is now darkened by death. His beard has just a touch of grey upon it. His black, ragged hair is tucked up into a war-helmet. He wears thick furs.
As one might imagine, Galor has a monomaniacal focus on his goal. Most conversations with him eventually come around to the kingdom, and then the throne, and then anger.
He’s not stupid, however. Galor has no intent of storming the castle directly. He’s not scared of the castle’s defenders (not even the automata), but he knows that the kingdom’s allies would never stand for a ghost on the throne. First he’ll need to either ruin those alliances, or find a suitable pawn.
Intimacies: “I was robbed of my chance to rule” (Defining), “I will have revenge” (Defining), “My daughter Athela” (Major, Positive)
Galor was a man of powerful personality when he was alive. Death has taken this from him. He may be frightening and compelling, but few would choose to listen to him. He remembers everything about the kingdom that he knew in life – which is a great deal – and has learned even more about the wilderness between the towns.
Galor has not been idle in the time between his exile and his return. He has gathered power from fell bargains and deathly manses. He can project a magical aura of terror and pull darkness from the ground to confuse and divide his enemies. He can read the flow of essence and see the boundaries of Creation.
His collaborators wield jagged weapons of unmelting ice. They are clothed in shadows and starlight, and weapons pass through them even as they kill. He himself has shaped a massive sword, Truth-Teller, from the night sky of the underworld. Its strange and shifting constellations slowly devour those it touches and cast them into the void.
Perhaps most frightening, Galor is capable of possessing the living, even those of strong will. He can hide himself within their bodies with little to no indication, save that his victim’s eyes reflect the moon strangely. All of his deathly powers remain accessible to him in this form.
- Kitra, collaborator and ghostly advisor. Stern, tenacious, cowardly.
- Pokka, collaborator and ghostly warrior. Taciturn, picky, disillusioned.
- Varn, collaborator and ghostly scout. Opinionated, focused, weary.
- Iqqo, witness to Galor’s recent movements. Elderly, conversational, addle-minded.
- Where did Galor get all this power? With whom did he bargain?
- Will Iko and Fia allow Galor back into the castle? Can they detect him if he’s possessing someone?
- Where is Galor’s stronghold? Is he in the kingdom’s one shadowlands, or has he merely set traps there?
(The stars on Galor’s sword are from Globular Cluster M10. Cluster photo courtesy of NASA.)