The Tattered King
The Tattered King (The Last King; The King of Ythol; The King)
♂ (Sexless) Skeleton
The Tattered King is a human skeleton. He is bent over, warped, and twisted as though he were made of wax, which was then heated. His skull is particularly bad off and presents an awfully inhuman visage with massively stretched jaw and nose hole and somewhat stretched and deformed eye sockets. The Tattered King usually wears thick if ratty robes of faded rich purple. He wears a heavy crown of gold set with pale gems, which is tarnished. He bears a twisted, gnarled staff. Behind his head, floating like a Byzantine halo, is the Ythol Annulus.
If ever the Tattered King was a good man, his undeath has stolen that from him. He is callous in the extreme, cruel beyond measure if it will avail him the least, and more deceitful than can be imagined. This last part is important to note, especially given the fact that the Tattered King will never lie and literally cannot willingly break any oath he makes. He is very intelligent and generally given only to greed as vices go. The Tattered King is entitled and avaricious, and dreams very, very big. He takes the long view of things when he can, but at the same time does not fail to understand that there is a time for action.
On his own, the Tattered King is simply a ragged old skeleton of little physical strength, though somewhat great magical knowledge if he has some access to mana and the unnatural durability of the fleshless undead. The Tattered King, however, possesses several potent magical artifacts and is always looking to gain more.
The Crown of the King is an artifact made for the Kings and Queens of Ythol in ages long before the reign of the Tattered King. It contains the soul of the Tattered King and probably the souls of all the Kings and Queens who wore it before him, and thus what innate power he has is bound up in the crown. Additionally, the Crown enforces oaths made to or by its bearer. What the King vows he cannot willingly forswear, and similarly anyone who makes an oath to the Tattered King is obliged to uphold it with all their ability. The compulsion of the crown is very subtle, forcing those who have their oaths bound by it to discard other courses of action where obedience is possible, though it does not entirely choke away their free will of how to keep their word.
The King’s staff is also magical. It is older than the crown, possibly older even than the Kingship of Ythol. The Staff gives mastery over the land, capable of manipulating mana-lines to a small degree and slowly drawing terrain into compliance with the demands of its wielder. The staff’s power is very slow and even subtle, but its range is massive, capable of reordering an entire kingdom to suit the whims of its king over a course of years. Because of the staff, the historical geography of Ythol looked little like the Ythol of the Last King.
The King possesses the heart of an angel, namely the Guardian of the Netherworld, which he ripped from her chest. This allows him, with sufficient mana, to summon her (or some shadow of her true self that died, at least) and bind the manifestation helplessly to his will. The Guardian is a very mighty angel with utter power over death and the dead, except for the King, but her summoned form is not permanent.
Lastly, the crown jewel of his collection, the Ythol Annulus The Annulus contains all the mana of the plane of Ythol – the power of Karona (or something very like it) in an unthinking device. While the power of the Annulus is theoretically without limit, or close enough, the Tattered King can draw only so much from it, particularly at once, without risking damaging himself irreparably. He knows well his limit, but even staying well inside it he has terrifying amounts of mana of every color at his beck and call, even in conditions where others have none. He can perform some feats that are far beyond those of mortals, including opening portals between planes without the aid of any other artifact. While he is not a Planeswalker, the Annulus lets him travel Dominia via brute force transit.
Ythol had a long, long sequence of prophesied Kings and Queens. The foretelling, while vague (naming only king or queen, a title relating to his or her attitude or deed, and some broad strokes information of the reign to come) was supposedly never wrong. Certainly, this superstition held when he ascended – the one the prophecy named as the Last King, or the Tattered King. The end of his reign, so it said, would be followed by a time when only darkness rules over Ythol, which most took to mean that the end of the Last King’s reign would be the end of the world.
The greatest wizards of Ythol worked feverishly for almost an entire human lifespan, to try to forestall the Armageddon the only way they knew to do so that would still be in accordance with prophecy and not tempt their doom: the Tattered King had to reign forever.
And, somehow, it seemed to work. The King, who was an old man then, was renewed to health and vigor, and with constant application of a series of rites that no one soul knew the whole of, he was renewed again and again, to live longer and longer into Ythol’s borrowed time.
Dantalion’s coming among the Tattered King’s court, and the creation of the Ythol Annulus would change that. Dantalion promised a way to place the soul of Ythol itself in the king’s hand, and the king had his sages conspire with the “traveler” (for Dantalion hid himself as a human then) to forge the Annulus.
But the King caught on to both the ruin the Annulus would cause, and Dantalion’s treacherous intent to keep the power for itself. The King confronted Dantalion, and Dantalion used a powerful spell it derived to banish the King to the Netherworld. Dantalion managed to play the other sages long enough to finish the Annulus, and begin draining Ythol’s mana away, color by color.
Meanwhile, the King’s life expired in the Netherworld as he roamed those halls. He did not truly die, for his body was already in that dark space and his soul was tied to the crown he wore, but rather became one undead, until when he found the exit and confronted its guardian, nothing but bones remained.
The Tattered King challenged the angel, last of all angels in Ythol, and tried to escape the netherworld, but he had not the power to overcome her face to face nor did she respect his commands as should a “subject”. The encounter is what reduced the Tattered King to his current, sorry physical state, for he clung to continued existence only through his potent magic.
For untold years after, the Tattered King wandered the halls and chambers of the Netherworld, learning them perfectly and always scheming his escape, his vengeance, the future of his reign. Finally, a way out came in the form of Narissa Enshar. Not only was she, as one of the living, permitted to leave the underworld, but the Tattered King guessed that she might give a good account of herself if it came to a fight, and that would give him an opening.
The latter was what happened. Together, they slew the guardian and the Tattered King took her heart, but left Narissa to die or live by her own power alone. Later, he provided the planeswalkers who would challenge Dantalion a way into his old castle, but extracted a promise for a favor to name later. When Dantalion was defeated, the King named his price: the Ythol Annulus. Reluctantly (for even with the crown the King asked perhaps too much), Mattias handed the artifact over, extracting an oath that the King would never consume the mana of any other plane.
Phantoms of the Past (First Appearance)