I'm King Khadrius Zhoth -
“The Midnight King”
To the south western wastelands (now known as Zhoth), Apsu gave his bloodstone to Khadrius Zhoth, a wanderer with no clan of his own, but with an affinity to the focus of Dire--the form of Ylem energy associated with destruction--unlike any other Apsu had encountered.
The main territory of Zhoth is covered by vast stretches of ash like ground and rocky crags. To outsiders, the region is a barren, lifeless place--a place no people would willfully inhabit. But to people of the Zhoth kingdom, the wasteland is symbolic of the dire focus that binds them to Pneumu Mundus.
As with all things in life, only when they are reduced to their most basic forms can they be revealed for what they really are, understood and mastered. To the average Zhothan, the wasteland is just as life giving and sustainable as any region in Empyrnea, you just need to know how to see the truth buried beneath the surface.
Like the physical region they live in, the very nature of their dire foci, is misunderstood and ostracized by practitioners of the other foci. For dire is first and foremost associated with darkness, that which all things are born from and that which all things return. This close association, fascination and focus on the destruction, reduction and death of things, leads to bizarre stereotypes, rumor and a general distrust of Zhothans. A cultural image only hampered by the Zhothans ritualistic ceremony performed in unlit, pitch black chambers (to which all Zhothans have unhindered vision) wearing death shrouds and costumes of their afterlife deities. It’s a true misfortune that most outsiders do no investigate dire, or the lands of Zhoth, long enough to see the positive that comes from their focus on the negative aspects of existence.
Zhothan laws are considered fair and just, albeit confusing at times. Their legal system relies heavily on custom, and tradition, stemming from a single bible of law written by Khadrius Zhoth himself shortly after he came to power. Like the rest of their culture, it is tightly woven around the dire focus and difficult for outsiders to grasp.
Khadrius Zhoth has been the single King of Zhoth since its formation over ten centuries ago. He has never had a child and has taken only two queens during his reign. The first was shortly after acquiring the bloodstone, the second was only a few years ago. Together, Khadrius Zhoth and his queen Ninsuna, rule from a great mountain range near the southernmost coast. While many Zhothans still live out among the wastes, the majority of the population resides with their king and queen in a vast underground city, deep below the tallest peak in the southern range.
Due to the natural protection afforded by Zhoth’s underground dwelling, King Khadrius has been the least motivated to unite with the other kingdoms to face the sentinel threat. However, even the king of dire knows that his kingdom is not invulnerable and is willing to do whatever necessary to secure the future of his people.
Khadrius Zhoth is known as the “Midnight King” for the vast time he spends in darkness contemplating his focus, the energy of Ylem and the universe itself. Many among his people believe he can turn his physical self into a shadow and drift up among the stars, searching the heavens for answers beyond mortal comprehension.
Illustration by Dylan Pierpont. Written by Nick Macari. Story concepts by Jason Allen and Nick Macari.
Artwork © 2014 Dylan Pierpont.
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