Article written by Uziel
Ariakan Ariakas (334 AC - 383 AC) was a peerless swordsman who was the son of Duulket Ariakas and the goddess Zeboim. In the Age of Despair he founded the Knights of Takhisis and conquered far more of Ansalon with his dark knighthood, than his father had with the mighty Dragonarmies during the War of the Lance. A brilliant commander and strategist, Ariakan was described as being particularly handsome in his youth, and during the Summer of Chaos, he was described as being tall of stature and having tanned skin, as well as being muscular and hearty. With the physique of a warrior and an imposing presence, Ariakas wore his long black hair in a single braid, and had penetrating dark eyes and a beaked nose. His voice was loud and compelling. The general was likened in appearance to a sea hawk and was every bit as intelligent as he was powerful. His sword was the Great Sword of Drakmattha, which was passed down to him from his father.
As a young man, Ariakan was trained in the warrior arts by his father and served directly under his father's command in the Red Dragonarmy during the War of the Lance. The young fighter earned a reputation as being a bold and courageous warrior on the field of battle and was respected by both his allies and his enemies. In the closing stages of the War of the Lance, Ariakas was finally overwhelmed by the Knights of Solamnia and captured in the Temple of Neraka in 352 AC, and was then taken back to the High Clerist's Tower where he was kept as a prisoner of war.
During his tenure under the watch of the Solamnic Knights, Ariakan studied his captors and their honorable ways, musing how different they were from the Dragonarmies, and also well aware that the ultimate flaw with the Dragonarmies was the notion that evil always turns on itself. Ariakan learnt much from the Solamnic knighthood during this time, becoming such an eager student that the knights were only too pleased to teach him about the Oath and the Measure as well as the structure of the knighthood. In two short years after his capture, Ariakan was believed to be fully rehabilitated and was offered his release, however he chose to stay on with the knights to continue studying them. It is believed that during this time he was also offered a chance at knighthood, which he obviously kindly refused. In 357 AC, with his studies on the knighthood complete, Ariakan left the High Clerist's Tower under good terms, many of the resident knights calling him friend and considering him an able scholar and skilled fighter.
Rise of a Dark Knighthood
As Ariakan left the High Clerist's Tower and rode out onto the Solamnic Plains, he lost his Solamnic escort and made his way to Neraka. On the journey he nearly perished and was offered aid by his mother Zeboim, and eventually made his way to a cave that would later be named Ariakan's Rest. The Dark Queen then appeared to Ariakan and asked what he had learnt of the knights during his capture. Ariakan related his experiences and told of his dream to found a new dark knighthood formed loosely around the Solamnic ideal and ensuring that his knighthood steadfastly clung to the notion of honor. Ariakan explained to Takhisis that his knighthood would be based around three things: The Vision, The Blood Oath, and the Code. The Dark Queen was pleased with Ariakan and gave him her blessing, requesting that he create his knighthood and conquered the land for her.
Ariakan first gathered the surviving remnants of his father's closest followers and then started recruiting boys across the land for his new cause, which included the lad Steel Brightblade. At this time he also took Steel's adopted mother Sara Dunstan as his lover, who also served as the cook for the newly recruited boys. As Ariakan's followers grew, he set forth from the mainland and located a distant isle in the Northern Sirrion Sea. This island became the secret headquarters of the dark knighthood and a fortress began to be constructed here, known as Storm's Keep.
By 370 AC, there were large numbers of warriors and lads who followed Ariakan. Storm's Keep was nearing completion and he had all but formed his knighthood as he promised Takhisis thirteen years earlier. Ariakan officially named his knighthood, the Knights of Takhisis, in honor of the Dark Queen. Another sojourn from the mainland brought further rewards to Ariakan, when he sailed to the continent of Ithin'carthia and encountered the Tarmak. Learning something of their history, Ariakan claimed to the warlike Tarmak that he was Amarrel, their prophesized Warrior Cleric. The warrior was asked to prove himself in the arena, and in a battle that almost resulted in his death, he proved triumphant and the Tarmak begun to almost worship him. The Tarmak sailed back with Ariakan to Storm's Keep where the blue painted brutes prepared for the war that Ariakan was soon to wage across Ansalon.
The Summer of Chaos
In 383 AC, which would later become known as the Summer of Chaos, Ariakan launched a massive fleet which set across to conquer Ansalon. A small part of the fleet stopped on the Isle of the Irda, but finding nothing it moved on, whilst other portions went to Enstar and Nostar on their way to Sancrist. Within a very short amount of time, Nordmaar, Solamnia, Sancrist, and most other parts of Ansalon have been conquered. In a few short months, the Knights of Takhisis, led by Ariakan, have conquered far more of the continent than his father Ariakas did with the vast Dragonarmies. Further fighting leads to Qualinesti falling under the rule of the Dark Knights. The majority of fighting ends with the fall of the High Clerist's Tower and of the city of Palanthas, at which point the Knights of Takhisis were poised to claim total dominion over Ansalon.
The arrival of the forces of Chaos ruined all of Ariakan's plans however. As the legions of Chaos sprung up in every corner of Ansalon, the conquerors found themselves besieged and driven back, and were then forced to unite with their former enemies, even the Solamnic Knights, to try to turn back the tide. Ariakan led the defense of the High Clerist's Tower atop his mighty Red Dragon, Pyraxxus. However an ambitious underling known as Ausric Krell was responsible for poisoning Ariakan's mount, which crashed and led to the warlord's death. The legions of Chaos swarmed over the tower, and were eventually defeated by Ariakan's knight Steel Brightblade, however the ruler of the knighthood was slain and his mourning mother Zeboim claimed his body.
The Age of Mortals
Following the War of Souls as the gods returned to the world, the god Chemosh revealed to his servant Ausric Krell that he had the soul of Ariakan in his possession. Chemosh had imprisoned the soul in a khas piece that he entrusted to his servant at Storm's Keep in 422 AC. Krell informed the goddess Zeboim of the location of her son's soul, and used it as leverage for her aid in the upcoming plots of Chemosh. Zeboim swore to free Ariakan from his prison, but was forced to play Chemosh's game for the time being. At the behest of Zeboim, the kender Nightshade Pricklypear and the former monk Rhys Mason journeyed to Storm's Keep, where they tricked Ausric Krell and recovered the Ariakan khas piece. The adventurers returned the khas piece to Zeboim, who orchestrated the restoration of her son to his former form, by bargaining with Chemosh. It is unknown what Ariakan will do now that he has been restored to life in the Age of Mortals, however his desire for vengeance against Krell still rages.
One source states that he had a blue dragon mount, but it was actually red.
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