|Belial de Ardyn|
|Age:||55 (at time of death)|
- "Hello. My name is Belial de Ardyn. You killed my brother. Prepare to die!"
- —Belial de Ardyn introducing himself to Refan d'Zarnagon
Count Belial de Ardyn was a red mage from Maar Sul and the leader of the Order of the Black Rose. He ended up getting involved in the forming of the new Grand Alliance but proved himself to be a valuable asset to the heroes during the turbulent times in the unstable Kingdom of Remon. His mission was to make the Order of the Black Rose grow strong again and to stop the insidious plans of the mysterious Totenkopfs. Although his actions were never altruistic, he wanted to help the Grand Alliance because it would also benefit his Order. Belial was assassinated by his niece Desdemona de Ardyn who turned out to be an agent of the Totenkopfs. He was later revealed to be the father of Khalid al-Saif and Sumrah Brown.
Initiation into the OrderEdit
- "We have no one to rely on in this world but each other, brother."
- —Antigonus de Ardyn to Belial
Belial de Ardyn and his older brother Antigonus were born into the House of Ardyn in the Kingdom of Maar Sul. Their parents, Count Adrian and Countess Claire, died on a plague that swept through the Maar Sulais lands. The noble houses of Avaris and Grath took advantage of this and stole the weakened family's lands. Belial and Antigonus barely managed to escape alive and swore revenge on the power-hungry nobles.
The brothers wandered around the Maar Sulais countryside for days on end, avoiding troops from the rival nobles who would have either killed them on spot or sold them into slavery. The boys almost starved to death when they were rescued by the Order of the Black Rose, a secret society, which offered to help them if they would support the Order in return. The boys realized that this might be their only chance to strike back at their rivals and made a deal with the Order.
Belial and Antigonus grew up, but it was Antigonus who was the leading figure of the duo, and the younger Belial always looked up to him in magic studies and politics. High-ranking members of the Order of the Black Rose helped the boys grow up into intelligent mages, and Belial in particular used every opportunity to hone his skills.
After years of political maneuvers the brothers won the family lands back, restored the House of Ardyn to its former glory and reclaimed their titles as counts. They also succeeded in crippling the Houses of Avaris and Grath both financially and politically. Belial and Antigonus became the new leaders of the Order when the previous leader died under mysterious circumstances, and they established a spy network which observed and influenced the politics of other kingdoms. During this time Belial also befriended Johann Strauss, a plain man who would come to serve him and the Order and who was one of the few servants he could fully tolerate.
Belial knew that Antigonus was after many women, but he was furious that he always learned about his brother's adventures at a later date. He could not understand why his brother would do such reckless acts, but Antigonus refused to answer any of Belial's accusations.
Belial found out at one point that Antigonus had met and married a lesser noble, Eva, from the House of Waldheim near the city of Fragnar, but he could not sway his brother to forget this noblewoman. Eva died during childbirth, and Antigonus decided to give the baby the name of Desdemona to honour the name of Eva's grandmother. Some unfortunate things happened at this time too, including the fact that Eva's bitter brother Dieter von Waldheim blamed Antigonus for murdering Eva.
It was not long after Antigonus had already found another wife, this time an elfess from Folsworth Woods. Belial was getting sick of his brother's actions but could not do anything but watch as they got married a couple of years later. The elfess gave birth to a half-elven boy, Mordecai, and actually managed to live a few months with Antigonus and the child.
Tragedy befell the de Ardyn family, however, when a mysterious disease killed the elfess a few months later. Antigonus grieved this death for long, but Dieter appeared to mock his poor choice of a wife, claiming that Antigonus killed everything he touched. This infuriated Belial, and he cut all his connections with Dieter, and the two became bitter rivals ever since.
Deal with the DevilEdit
- See: Darkness Within
During the events of Darkness Within, Antigonus and Belial found out that there were some demons roaming around the world in different disguises. Despite Belial's protests Antigonus immediately tried to persuade demons to join and thus strengthen the Order. Belial reluctantly did as he was told out of respect for his brother, although he felt uncomfortable working with the cunning demons.
For a while the brothers seemed to be successful and they did make contact with some stray demons, although the power of these demons wasn't great by any means. The demons refused to tell anyone how they could be roaming around the world despite the fact that the seals to the Demon Realm should still be intact, and this troubled Belial greatly. However, the brothers did learn about the existence of the Dragon Diamond, and Antigonus wished to find it and harness its power in order to increase his magic.
About a year later Belial's worst fears came true. Antigonus had learned from his demonic underling Saleos that a particularly powerful demon known as the Wanderer had appeared and that this demon was looking for something. He sent Belial to find out the Wanderer's identity, and eventually Belial learned that the demon's true name was Omaroch d'Zarnagon and that Omaroch was in fact an archdemon who had escaped from the demon city of Norash'namun to explore the world of mortals.
Belial tried to plead with his brother one last time to leave the forces of darkness alone, but Antigonus had become power-hungry and wanted to gain the powers of an archdemon for himself and thus refused to listen to Belial's advice.
Destruction of the OrderEdit
- "If I'm going to die here today, I'll take your Order with me."
- —Omaroch d'Zarnagon to Belial
Antigonus arranged a meeting between himself and Omaroch, but it did not go well. Omaroch refused to become the Order's lapdog and instead decided to act in order to stop Antigonus's dreams of world domination. This resulted in a grand battle which decimated the Order.
Belial was the only survivor of the top brass of the Order, and he swore that he would hunt down Omaroch who had killed Antigonus. He would always remember the image of Omaroch holding a bloodsoaked Emerald Blade on top of the gory remains of Antigonus. Omaroch himself disappeared in the chaotic aftermath and was not seen in public again.
Belial became the guardian of his brother's orphaned children, Desdemona and Mordecai, and did what he could to clean up the mess that Omaroch caused. Antigonus's demise weighed heavily on his mind, and he swore revenge on the demon who had killed his brother.
Rose of the DesertEdit
Falling in LoveEdit
- See: Rose of the Desert
Still haunted by his brother's death, Belial got sick of the political and emotional climate of his surroundings and decided to leave Maar Sul for a while with his servant Johann Strauss to prove his worth to the Order, which led to the events of the Rose of the Desert. After he had made arrangements for his nephew and niece to be taken care of in his absence, Belial traveled to the city of Vanna in Southern Libaterra where the warring Sarquil tribes lived. It was there that Belial got to know and befriended local people such as Awar and Ismail, and he eventually fell in love with a young Sultana named Razia al-Saif after he had adventured with her and had come to blows with the Clergy of Nergal which wished to destabilize the region.
Belial and the Sultana had a fiery romance which could never become public due to Belial being a mage and not being a Sarquil. Razia gave birth to a healthy boy, Sumrah. The boy looked too much like Belial and had brown hair compared to the black hair of pureblood Sarquil, though, so Razia and Belial decided that it was better that Belial took Sumrah with him to Maar Sul before the Sarquil nobles would suspect who the father was.
During this time the count also had some arguments with Razia's twin sister Adela who was madly in love with him, but he never returned these feelings, which made Adela spiteful. Belial would leave Sumrah behind in Maar Sul and travel to Vanna every once in a while although Antigonus would always call him back to Maar Sul. These times were among the most pleasant in his life, but that peace would soon come to an end.
Razia was at later stages of pregnancy around this time, and eventually a boy named Khalid was born. People suspected that Belial was the father, but no one ever verified these claims. Belial rarely visited Razia or his friends Ismail and Awar or even the boy Khalid at this time, because he would be busy consolidating his rule of the Order in Maar Sul.
It was a love that both knew was too good to last, but neither was willing to quit it especially after their sons had been born. Belial, member of the Order of the Black Rose, and Razia, a Sarquil sultana who wore white desert roses as her crown, matched in many ways. Many superstitious Sarquil who suspected their relationship saw them as symbolically linked because Belial's black rose and Razia's white rose protected and complemented each other.
Belial kept a low profile during the Yamatian Invasion and the following Great War. Mordecai began showing symptoms of the same disease that had taken his mother, and Belial used Antigonus's notes to craft an enchanted armor with which to keep Mordecai alive.
He also found out that the disease was called the Blood Fever and that it only seemed to affect those with elven blood. Mordecai was only a half-elf, so Belial soon figured out that the human portion of Mordecai managed to resist the Blood Fever. The count swore to find a way to cure his nephew, but his efforts to learn more information about the disease were fruitless as he had to concentrate on many other things too.
Sumrah was growing restless at this time and eventually got into a violent argument with Belial about Belial's plans for making Sumrah the leader of the Order. In the end the argument escalated up to the point that Belial disowned him. Sumrah remained in Maar Sul and although Belial saw him several times, they never talked to one another.
Sumrah eventually joined the Maar Sulais army to fight in the Great War, and that was the last time Belial saw him. The count decided to concentrate on his other son, Khalid, and keep him out of harm's way. He might have failed with Sumrah's upbringing, but he would make sure that he would not make the same mistake again with Khalid.
When Khalid had turned 10, something unexpected happened. Adela had challenged her sister Razia to a duel and won, slaying her in the process. She decreed that Khalid, Ismail and Awar, the closest supporters of Razia, should be sent to exile. Belial arrived in time to hear this, and he was furious but realized that nothing could be done.
The count took the exiled trio to Maar Sul where he kept them safe. He began training Khalid as a way of honouring Razia's memory and for making up for his failure with Sumrah. He would remember Adela's treachery and swore that one day she would be deposed from a throne that never should have been hers.
Rebuilding the OrderEdit
- "I'll rebuild my Order even if I have to drown the whole world in blood."
As the Great War raged on, Belial recruited the mercenary Glaurung and ordered her and her troops to terrorize the Khitan Khanate so that the Grand Alliance's attention would be drawn there while he destroyed all evidence of the Order's existence in Maar Sul.
He sent his agents to collaborate with both the Maar Sulais usurper Martin Struan and the representatives of the Grand Alliance, and he even used the chaotic aftermath of the Second Battle of Myridia to get rid of his rivals in the Dwarven Triad. The Crimson Warlock did not spare anyone in his quest to rebuild the Order, and the road to power was filled with countless bodies.
He kept spies in all kingdoms and became one of the few individuals to know what was going on in the world after the Cataclysm following the Great War while others lived in isolation. He waited years to establish his elaborate spy networks and tried to find out what the new World of Ruin had to offer and which faction could help restore his precious Order. It was a difficult time because the world no longer was what it used to be, and Belial was forced to adapt to the changing political climate.
Nine years after the Cataclysm, Belial was attacked by some operatives from the Order. He survived the assassination attempt and managed to capture one of the assassins for interrogation. After days of torture the assassin eventually revealed the existence of a group of masked death seekers known as Totenkopfs who had wanted to kill Belial in order to shake the Order's power structure.
Belial also learned that the Totenkopfs were planning to destabilize the government in the Kingdom of Remon. If Remon fell, it would also crumble Belial's dreams of strengthening the Order, so he immediately decided to gather his most loyal servants and travel to Remon in hopes of finding out more about this new threat. He also took Desdemona and Mordecai with him, because he feared that the Totenkopfs might try to assassinate them if he left them behind.
The Age of EmptinessEdit
- "I've gotten myself into quite a mess."
Belial travelled to Remon by sea by using his ship, called the Ardent, as transport. His first stop was the port city of Ravensworth, and he hoped to find more information about the Totenkopfs there and to talk with local authorities. The meeting with Adram Alek, the Captain of the Ravensworth Watch, went well.
However, Belial was surprised to hear that Marcus Sarillius, the King of Remon, had not been seen since the end of the Great War and that Remon had been divided into isolated city-states. He realized that the new political situation in Remon would hinder his plans, but he decided that the best course of action would be to ask a representative from Ravensworth to accompany him to Remonton and to try to form an alliance with whoever was currently controlling Remonton. He was troubled by the fact that his spies' information about Remon and its current void in leadership hadn't reached his ears and wondered if the Totenkopfs had intercepted his spies' messages somehow to keep him in the dark.
As the meeting ended onboard the Ardent, something unexpected happened. A pirate ship approached Ravensworth and as Belial and the others were observing the ship, a Totenkopf mole onboard Belial's ship signalled the Ravensworth Watch to attack. At the same time another Totenkopf was influencing Watchman Eric Stevenson to take control of the Ravensworth Watch, and soon the cannons of Ravensworth shot at the Ardent with stunning accuracy. Belial's ship could not take all that cannonfire, and the powder kegs blew up and sank the ship, taking most of the crew with it.
Belial and a few others (including his closest servants, relatives and Adram's representatives) barely survived but would drown if they were not helped. Belial was furious about this betrayal, especially after having seen several of his servants perish, including Johann who was eaten by an Omari Fish. Before Belial could act to save people from the fish, he hit his head and lost consciousness. Luckily the pirates of the other ship turned out to be friendly and saved Belial's and Adram's groups from certain death. The pirate ship cast an elaborate illusion of their ship and escaped while the Ravensworth Watch kept firing at the illusion.
Once the pirates had reached the safety of a nearby cove, it was time for some hasty introductions. Belial and Adram soon learned that these pirates were known as the Wanderers and that they were not as intimidating as they seemed to be. They also found out that the Totenkopfs had been responsible for making the Ravensworth Watch attack, and Belial explained what a threat the Totenkopfs could be if they were not stopped in time. Belial got along well with the pirate leader, Axikasha "Ax" Keiran, and learned that she had once been a warrior in the ranks of the Grand Alliance during the Great War.
Belial eventually managed to make a deal with Ax and Adram: if they helped him reach Remonton alive, he would pay Ax handsomely and help Adram take back Ravensworth from the Totenkopfs. The terms were acceptable, and after all the necessary supplies had been gathered, Belial and his new companions began the long march to Remonton.
Belial's party was intercepted by a group of Totenkopfs halfway to Remonton. The battle was fierce but with some well-timed puking and setting the puke on fire (don't ask) the party succeeded in defeating the Totenkopfs. They managed to capture one of the Totenkopf mages alive, and the captive turned out to be a half-elf named Izael Korath who was an old acquaintance of Ax.
The count also met two other people who ended up tagging along with the group, and one of these people was none other than Dieter von Waldheim. Both men immediately renewed their old rivalry, calling each other names and refusing to take the other seriously. Meeting Waldheim was also a painful reminder of the days when Antigonus had still been alive, so Belial wanted to ignore the old man as much as possible even though this seemed to amuse the Wanderers.
Belial eventually succeeded in entering Izael's mind, hoping to find any valuable information about the Totenkopfs within. However, he was shocked to discover that Izael had memories of fighting against a man who was holding an Emerald Blade. This made Belial remember how Omaroch had held that very same blade during the day when Antigonus had died, and the memory almost sent him into a catatonic state.
Many of the party members were shocked by Belial's violent reaction, but Belial refused to tell anyone what he had seen. He was certain that if the Emerald Blade existed, the one who he had seen in Izael's mind had been none other than Omaroch. Belial secretly hoped that he could meet Omaroch soon and finally avenge Antigonus's death.
On Death's TrailEdit
- "It's about time that old coot showed up!"
- —Dieter von Waldheim about Belial
The heroes learned that the Proninist Party had recently taken over Remonton and that anyone who opposed the Proninists within the city would be executed, so they decided to enter the city by means of stealth. Ax led the group through a hidden underground tunnel which she had used during the First Battle of Remonton in the Great War. They managed to get inside the city with a disoriented elf who turned out to be one of the city's former Stewards.
As soon as the group got out of the tunnel into a shadowy alley, they heard from citizens that King Marcus had recently returned to reclaim Remonton. While the party was unsure whether this news about the return of the king were true, Belial had already disappeared: he had sensed the aura of the Emerald Blade, and he was certain to find none other than Omaroch holding the blade.
Belial found the city square where a dark-haired man who looked like Omaroch was fighting against Proninist guards. The man was trying to save a half-elven cleric from execution, but Belial did not care about such things. Instead, he approached the man and challenged him to a duel. This confused his opponent, but soon they were fighting a fierce duel, and the Proninist guards decided to wait and see what would happen next.
Belial succeeded in defeating his opponent, but as he was about to finish him off, he heard that the man was actually a thief named Refan, son of Omaroch, who had somehow got his hands on Omaroch's Emerald Blade. Belial was furious as he realized that he would not be able to avenge Antigonus's death after all, but soon he realized that finding Omaroch's son would serve him equally well. He manipulated Refan into becoming his servant by referring to the old Code of Thieves, and he planned to use Refan to eventually lure Omaroch out.
More Proninist guards approached the city square and arrested Belial, Refan and the half-elven cleric Unithien. Belial did not oppose this, because he thought it would help him meet the current leader of the city and hopefully he could form an alliance with whoever the leader was. However, this turned out to be a bad idea, because the meeting between Belial and the Proninist Commissar did not end well, and Belial was thrown in jail.
The count's anguish did not last long, though, because he sent his raven familiar Valefor to inform Ax and the others of what had happened to him. Ax's friends succeeded in freeing Belial and the other captives without much Proninist interference.
Belial soon realized that the reason why the jail was not guarded well was because an ice elemental had recently been destroying people and buildings in the city in an event which would be known as the Second Battle of Remonton. Belial learned that the Totenkopfs had released the ice elemental while he had been in prison, and he immediately began helping Ax's group which did its best to save the city and its people from total destruction.
The battle against the ice elemental looked hopeless at first because of the creature's immense power, but eventually Ax and a man who turned out to be the long-lost King Marcus Sarillius succeeded in weakening the elemental enough so that it fled back to the High Plane.
As the battle ended, most of Remonton had been destroyed along with a majority of its citizens and many of the Wanderers. The only solace to this grief was that the remaining Proninists had surrendered and a group of friendly Maar Sulais knights had suddenly entered the city. Belial was about to greet his countrymen when he noticed his injured niece, Desdemona, limping towards him. He soon found out that the battle against the ice elemental had been nothing more than a grand diversion so that the Totenkopfs could capture Belial's nephew Mordecai who carried the Blood Fever.
Belial realized that the Totenkopfs had in fact been after Mordecai all this time but had not been able to capture him until now. The assassination attempt on Belial had been only a means to lure Belial and Mordecai out in the open where they would not be able to defend themselves as easily as if they had stayed inside the headquarters of the Order of the Black Rose.
Although Belial had succeeded in thwarting the Totenkopfs' plans now that Marcus had returned and the ice elemental had been destroyed, the Totenkopfs had nevertheless succeeded in their primary goal of capturing Mordecai. The count worried what the Totenkopfs might do with Mordecai's Blood Fever, and he decided to do what he could to strengthen Remonton and look for clues about where the Totenkopfs might have taken Mordecai.
A Game of DeceptionEdit
- "It serves everyone's interests if the Grand Alliance of old can be formed again."
- —Belial addressing the representatives of Maar Sul and Remon
In the following year, Belial spent his time overseeing the rebuilding of Remonton. He also talked with the Maar Sulais delegates and learned about the activities of the Proninist Party in Maar Sul and Scundia. Belial even tried to arrange a marriage between his niece Desdemona and Marcus, but Marcus was too busy to even think about a political marriage, and Marcus's advisor Shyralis was always lurking around to hinder Belial's efforts.
The count had the honour of opening the meeting between various delegates from Remon and Maar Sul which was held in the city square of the newly built Remonton. This Remonton Summit almost ended up being disastrous because the delegates kept bickering among one another, but eventually Marcus and Belial succeeded in getting the majority of delegates on their side. Although there were a few delegates such as Dylas Rin Theron who did not openly support Marcus's idea of marching to Maar Sul's aid, many did, and these loyalists formed the Second Grand Alliance.
Belial went to sleep after the negotiations were over, and he was glad that he could influence Marcus at least in some way. He woke up later in the following night, sensing enormous magical power within the city. He soon learned from some terrified citizens that a strange shadow creature had tried to assassinate Marcus and that some of the king's defenders had been taken to the hospital to be healed. Sensing Refan's presence, Belial immediately hurried to the hospital were he found Refan awake.
He entered the thief's mind without asking for permission, and he soon figured out what the thief had seen and heard. Marcus had been kidnapped by the shadow creature's accomplices and that Ax would gather a rescuing party and find Marcus before anyone figured out that the king was missing. Belial forced Refan to come with him, and the cleric Unithien tagged along, not wanting to let the injured Refan go outside without aid.
Belial soon found Ax and various others in a nearby inn, and he volunteered to save the kidnapped King Marcus and decided to take all his servants with him. This made Ax suspicious, but she let Belial tag along, because the man's skills might be useful once they would face the king's mysterious kidnappers in an area known as the Ruined Kingdom. Belial wanted to go along for more than just altruistic reasons; if Marcus were to die, the plans of the Order of the Black Rose would crumble, and that would be too big a setback for Belial to take.
Echoes of WarEdit
- "Yes, I've been using you for my own gain, but it's been out of necessity. Things are hardly ever black and white in this Age of Emptiness. We all must do what we can to survive even if it means we need to act in... less pleasant ways."
Ax's party reached the entrance of the Ruined Kingdom a few days later and split up. Belial followed the first group into the valley of the Ruined Kingdom while the second group stayed behind to keep an eye out on any intruders.
The party found a temple and figured out that the king had be inside. The party soon entered a great room which had a bar of soap on a pedestal. As a few of the party members were surprised to see such an ordinary object inside the temple, they began cursing, and suddenly the Soap attacked, violently brushing their mouths clean. It took the coordinated effort for the party to capture the living Soap, and they decided to keep the Soap inside a bag in case it would come in handy later on.
Belial and his companions faced a few more traps afterwards, but they managed to survive and eventually reached a grand underground hall where the captive Marcus and the kidnappers, Varalia Earthhaven and Xerathas d'Zarnagon, were waiting.
The party succeeded in fooling the kidnappers by trading Marcus for a fake Dawn, but as they tried to escape, they met an angry group of Totenkopfs. The party was forced to retreat and soon ended up in a three-way fight, facing not only the Totenkopfs but also the kidnappers.
Although releasing the Soap helped to even things out a bit, things soon turned worse when a Totenkopf named Jacob Seneron appeared. He had been the very same one who had released the ice elemental into Remonton a year ago, and it turned out that he was now possessed by Nergal, the God of War.
Nergal revealed how he had been manipulating everyone, including Belial, for his own ends, and he even told the party that Belial was not as innocent as many had thought. Belial managed to keep his cool until Nergal called Razia a whore, which triggered a violent reaction from Belial who immediately charged at Nergal's host. This did not end well as Nergal proved to be more powerful, sending Belial flying against a wall. Belial lost his consciousness in the impact and was out during the rest of the battle.
Belial woke up some time later somewhere outside the Ruined Kingdom. He was quickly informed of Nergal's retreat when the heroes had gained the aid of the gods Hephaestus and Shakkan. There was also some prophecy about some of the heroes dying soon, but Belial brushed that off his mind, because he had more important things to think of.
He got annoyed by the emotional outburst of Varalia and Unithien who turned out to be mother and daughter, and he coldly ordered Varalia to be separated from Unithien because he considered her a possible threat to the group.
It was then that Refan finally confronted Belial, explaining how he had seen a vision with a mention of "Red One". The thief kept annoying Belial with his remarks and was close to losing his life when he was about to repeat Nergal's mocking of Razia, but things soon turned calmer albeit more awkward when Belial was forced to admit that he had not been as altruistic as he had seemed.
Belial revealed that he had only been using Marcus and the heroes solely for his own ends which were to strengthen the Order of the Black Rose. This shocked some of the heroes who had thought that Belial was a valiant hero.
When the conversation was about to heat up again now that the heroes had learned of Belial's true intentions, Xerathas butted in and asked them to postpone any possible judgement until they would get out of the Ruined Kingdom. He claimed that something terrible would emerge from the ruins and that it was not safe to stay around the city much longer. The heroes reluctantly agreed to follow Xerathas, and Belial was saved from awkward conversations for the time being.
A Crimson DawnEdit
- "This shall be the beginning of a new era!"
- —Belial addressing the members of the Order
Belial and his companions rejoined the army of the Grand Alliance in the following morning. The count kept his distance from his companions, unsure how they felt now that they had seen through his masquerade, and sent his raven familiar Valefor to inform his operatives in Maar Sul of his imminent arrival. The journey to Maar Sul City went by quickly, and the army faced no resistance along the way as most Proninist forces in the west had either retreated to the city of Victoire, to Scundia or to the lands east of Maar Sul.
Belial and the others were escorted to a ball in the Maar Sulais Citadel, and Belial met one of his most trusted operatives in the Order, Duke Koschei Dravaris. The duke managed to get Belial to talk to King Gerard Aurelac of Maar Sul, and soon Belial led his servant Khalid to talk to Gerard and Marcus. Belial smiled on as he watched his protégé take the stage.
Khalid revealed his true identity as an emir of Vanna, explaining his reasons for seeking out Gerard. Belial further explained his reasonings for making Khalid and Gerard meet and asked the king for a crew and a ship. Belial would use the ship to take Khalid and his other companions to Vanna where they would stage a coup and drive Adela and the Clergy of Artemicia out. Once Vanna was secure, Khalid and Belial would form an alliance with the Grand Alliance and the Sarquil tribes, thus being able to combat the growing Proninist menace more effectively.
It was then that Refan butted in, warning the two kings that Belial should not be trusted. However, Belial's influence as a noble gave him an aura of credibility, and after some hasty explanations he managed to ease Gerard's and Marcus's minds for the time being.
Gerard was nevertheless uncertain of what to do and asked Belial to wait before giving him a definite answer. He informed Belial that he would have to think about the proposal, whereas Marcus seemed more eager to help the Order. Belial was content with this and let the two kings talk in peace as he went to get something to eat at the ball.
Belial soon received a signal from one of his operatives and realized that he had to go. He said a few encouraging words to a few people, including Khalid, and then hurried to a shady house where he had a short but encouraging talk with other high-ranking members of the Order. Their plan would soon reach its next stage, and the Order of the Black Rose would grow strong again. The meeting was interrupted when an operative appeared and said that Dravaris had acquired information about Mordecai's whereabouts and the Totenkopfs' recent movements.
- "You... too?"
- "Farewell, uncle."
- "That was the first time you ever called me... uncle. I'm so--"
- —Belial and Desdemona de Ardyn, just before Belial's death
It did not take long for Belial to climb to the upper levels of Dravaris's tower. The duke seemed oddly distant, though, and before Belial could figure out what was going on, someone stabbed him.
The count managed to avoid a fatal wound just in time with his quick reflexes and found out that the assassin had been Lieutenant Gloriana from the Ravensworth Watch. Belial quickly deduced that both she and Dravaris were working for the Totenkopfs, and he finally realized that Koschei had been the double agent all along and responsible for the assassination attempt which had made Belial travel to Remon over a year ago.
When Belial tried to attack the traitors, he realized that magic did not work. Another figure emerged from the shadows, and Belial was shocked when he recognized that figure who told him that casting spells would not work in this room which was drained from all magic. Belial was even more shocked when the figure was revealed to be the Master of the Totenkopfs and that the Master had been right under the heroes' noses all this time.
The Master revealed how everything that Belial had done had only benefited the Totenkopfs. Gloriana was killed, and she would be used as a scapegoat for Belial's murder while Dravaris would have the perfect alibi of witnessing Belial's death and killing the assassin, Gloriana.
However, Belial quickly regained his senses. He warned Dravaris of the Totenkopfs' lies and then said that he could still have enough power to beat both Dravaris and the Master as he knew how to handle a sword well. The Master then revealed that not all cards had been played yet and that there was yet another assassin in the room.
Belial was too slow to repel the surprise attack, and he could hardly believe his eyes when the new assassin turned out to be none other than his niece Desdemona. He realized that Desdemona had been in league with the Totenkopfs for a long time and that everything she had ever done had only been an elaborate act.
As Desdemona pierced Belial's guts with her dagger and pushed him through the window and to the dark abyss below, Belial's shock turned into a blissful smile when he heard her saying the word 'uncle'. It had been a word he had always wanted to hear her say, and now his wish had been granted. He was happy that Desdemona had finally acknowledged their relationship, and he was surprisingly calm as he fell down. He could see the smiling face of Razia ahead of him after all these years and feel her warm embrace only a moment before his body crashed into the street below the tower.
- "The black rose has bloomed before, but there can be only one Superior..."
- —The shade of Belial to Persephone Barca
The crimson life of Belial de Ardyn had come to a grisly end, but his death would have grave repercussions for the world in general. The future of the Order of the Black Rose remained uncertain now that its powerful leader was gone, and the Totenkopfs had succeeded in getting rid of a dangerous enemy who had gotten too close to figuring out their true goals. Belial had been the first victim to fall as Shakkan had foreseen in his prophecy, and the count's demise would serve as a reminder to the remaining heroes that there were traitors deep within the ranks of the Grand Alliance.
However, during Belial's funeral people found out that Khalid was in fact Belial's son who inherited all of Belial's fortune. Although Belial himself was gone, he would live on in Khalid who would have to carry this heavy burden on his shoulders from now on.
Belial's death also aided a mysterious man who assumed Belial's identity and appeared a few weeks after the funeral. He claimed to be Belial who had barely survived the fall and framed his death in order to figure out who the Totenkopfs' mysterious allies were. However, this man turned out to be none other than Belial's older brother Antigonus de Ardyn who had somehow come back to life and used his late brother's identity in order to move freely from city to city and plot his revenge. For a moment people thought that Belial had survived but after Antigonus's deception was brought to light, it became clear that Count Belial de Ardyn, the Crimson Warlock, was truly gone.
However, Belial's death didn't stop necromancers from contacting his spirit and asking for his counsel on certain matters. Persephone Barca summoned Belial's spirit briefly to ask about Malperdy and what Belial might know about demonic influence in Trinity Gask before she let the ghost return to the Land of the Dead.
Belial would not rest in peace, however, because he soon attended a meeting in Gaea's court in the Land of the Dead where he welcomed the shade of Thanatos Barca to the city of Dis. He and Grim Reaper were then ordered by Gaea to find the shade of Deidra Finian and bring her to the city as well.
Aliases and NicknamesEdit
- "Don't worry. Uncle Bel has it all figured out."
- —Belial to Desdemona de Ardyn
- Belial Sardonios
- One of the many aliases Belial used during his trip to Libaterra as depicted in the Rose of the Desert. He ended up switching these aliases every now and then because he couldn't keep track of which alias he was using at which point.
- Crimson Warlock
- Given to Belial by his political rivals. The term 'crimson' referred to both the blood of Belial's enemies and the colour of the robe that Belial wore.
- Old Coot
- A derogatory name given to Belial by Dieter von Waldheim. The two were constantly bickering among one another, which stemmed from the animosity between Antigonus de Ardyn and Waldheim.
- Belial's codename and title which was used by the members of the Order of the Black Rose when he became the leader of the Order.
- Uncle Bel
- A nickname which Belial himself used when he was talking with Desdemona and Mordecai de Ardyn.
Belial wore a plain red cloak and red and black clothes underneath it. He also had a mysterious sapphire decorating his turban which he had received from Razia al-Saif during his stay in Vanna. The count had a greying beard and mustache and a rather narrow, almost skeletal face that made him look somewhat sinister. He also wore a short sword and an ordinary wooden staff with which he often cast his spells.
Personality and TraitsEdit
- "Go on and finish that sentence, and I'll definitely cut your insolent tongue out!"
- —Belial to Refan d'Zarnagon who was about to mock Razia al-Saif
Belial was a calculating fellow, and his sarcastic wit had become famous within the Order and among his political rivals. He often seemed rather casual but did get serious and even angry depending on the severity of the situation he was in. He was also brutally effective in battle, although he often tended to make too quick decisions based on his emotions, which was a total opposite to the cold nature of his brother Antigonus.
The count used to be a rather flirty person, but since the death of Razia he did not make any advances on any woman, because he felt a part of him died with Razia. He was also very sensitive about his age, which was shown when Axikasha Keiran kept calling him names like 'old geezer' and the like, but he kept his thoughts about that to himself. He also liked to smoke a pipe often in order to clear his mind, and he never got rid of that habit.
Belial cared about his raven familiar Valefor, and he truly loved his niece Desdemona and nephew Mordecai. He was also very close with Khalid al-Saif, and he respected Awar and Ismail for the most part, because they were some of his oldest friends. Although Belial was a manipulating person, he was shown to be maybe a bit too kind than is healthy for someone like him. Some assumed that this kindness and trust in his loved ones would eventually be the cause of his downfall, and it turned out to be true as he was assassinated by his treacherous niece Desdemona.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- "You're gravely mistaken. I still hold enough power to defeat both you and Kos."
- —Belial to the Master
Belial was a regular red mage who had years of training in the ranks of the Order of the Black Rose. He knew basic white and black magic spells and could also fight with melee weapons moderately, but he was not great in either field. He was rather agile for his age because he had been exercising all his life. However, in these few years he had been relying on teleporting more and more, so he tended to get tired if he had to run long distances or move very quickly.
He also had a raven familiar named Valefor as a companion. The raven was almost an extension of Belial's will, but it did have its own personality and a rather sarcastic humour even in dangerous situations. Belial had used Valefor to send messages to others when he had been imprisoned, and he had also used the familiar as a spy. The link between the two was deep as is often the case with mages and familiars, and when Belial was murdered, Valefor died along with him because of the psychic shock that Belial's death caused to Valefor.
During his time in Vanna, Belial found himself next to the Sultana Razia's twin sister, Adela al-Saif. She had fallen in love with him, but he did not return her feelings. This caused jealousy in Adela who could not see what Belial saw in Razia that Adela did not have. Their friendship turned cold and eventually escalated up to the point that Adela killed Razia in a duel and sent Razia's (and Belial's) son Khalid into exile. Belial took Khalid with him and did not return to Vanna in the years since.
Antigonus de ArdynEdit
Belial always admired his older brother Antigonus who was better at everything than he was. Antigonus acted as a father figure and always kept Belial safe during their childhood, and he always took great pains in teaching Belial aspects of magic. It was somewhat frustrating for Belial that Antigonus learned everything so easily while Belial had to struggle to remember the same things, but his love for his brother never diminished. Even when Antigonus grew power-hungry and began contacting demons, Belial stood adamantly at his side. His love for his brother was so deep that he swore to hunt down his brother's killer, Omaroch, down, and he took Desdemona and Mordecai under his wing.
When Antigonus mysterious returned to the Land of the Living, he learned of Belial's death and assumed his identity for a while in order to keep his true identity hidden. He used Belial's connections to move about and learn more about the conspiracy within the Order of the Black Rose. Antigonus cared for his brother and planned to avenge his death while also having other plots in mind for Omaroch and others who had wronged him.
Belial's relationship with Awar was distant but respectful. The two usually did not talk much unless Ismail was nearby, but Belial was eager to learn black magic from Awar who was eager to teach him in exchange for information. Awar often acted as a diplomat during his missions with Belial, and he was always the more level-headed of the two. When he heard of Belial's death, he felt indifferent; although Belial had been a good friend, his death was a natural cycle of life in his view, and he would continue with Belial's original plan the best way he could.
Despite their different backgrounds, Belial found himself getting along with Ax surprisingly well. Her feisty spirit and skills in battle reminded him of Razia, but it also disturbed him occasionally so he sometimes felt uncomfortable talking to her when he could see Razia standing in her place. Ax considered Belial to be a quirky noble who spoke long-windedly, and she playfully treated him like an old geezer, which did not amuse Belial. When Belial's schemes were revealed, Ax did not approach Belial as readily anymore although she did not seem to condemn him either.
Desdemona de ArdynEdit
Belial loved Desdemona as a daughter he had never had. The girl was beautiful and intelligent, and Belial was pleased that she learned magic more easily than he had. Despite Belial's best efforts Desdemona never quite returned these feelings, and it troubled Belial slightly but he never dared to ask her a reason for such cold demeanor. He tried to joke around her maybe a bit too much, but he never succeeded in breaking her icy exterior.
When Desdemona revealed herself as an agent of the Totenkopfs only a moment before Belial's murder, Belial was shocked at first. However, when he heard Desdemona use the word 'uncle' for the first and final time, he felt that he had sicceeded in establishing a connection between himself and his niece. When he fell down the tower, he did not feel anger; his mind was totally calm in the last seconds of his life. Desdemona did not feel the same way, though, as she had always considered her uncle a weak fool. She felt that Belial's death was a necessary step in order to make the Order of the Black Rose grow stronger in the guidance of the Totenkopfs.
Dieter von WaldheimEdit
Belial and Dieter von Waldheim felt animosity towards one another. It stemmed mainly from the animosity between Antigonus and Waldheim about the death of Waldheim's sister, Eva von Waldheim, but Belial had other reasons to despise the old man. He never liked Waldheim's smartass attitude, and although he respected the man's wisdom, there was just something about him that troubled Belial. The two kept calling each other names, and although Belial considered it amusing at times, for the most part he couldn't stand being around Waldheim. The two eventually learned to tolerate each other as they had been forced to cooperate, but it certainly was not easy.
Ismail had always had a close bond with Belial. Maybe it was because they were near the same age and got to know each other during Belial's visits to Vanna, but it could also be because Ismail helped Belial develop his swordsmanship skills. Ismail respected Belial's wisdom, and Belial respected Ismail's strength. The two formed an almost symbiotic relationship, constantly learning stuff from one another. Ismail was grateful to Belial for keeping Khalid safe during these troubled times, and he acted as Belial's most trusted bodyguard. Ismail could not believe it when he heard that Belial had died, but he swore to do what he could to carry out Belial's original plan to the end.
Belial always had a special interest in Razia's son and helped him hone his skills with scimitars. He also taught Khalid politics, hoping that the boy could use his knowledge to help Razia keep the Sultanate of Karaganda in order. When Adela took over in a shocking fashion, Belial took the exiled Khalid with him and continued teaching him. As the years passed, the two developed a deep master-servant bond that could be considered more than that. Khalid felt indebted to Belial and acted as his bodyguard, willing to risk his life for him. The two shared a hot temper although Khalid's was much more fierce. Khalid, like Ismail, was shocked to hear of Belial's death, and he has still to recover from such shocking news. It was later revealed that Khalid was in fact Belial's son, and Khalid wondered why Belial had never told him about it.
Duke Koschei Dravaris had served as Belial's most trusted advisor within the Order, and he had been one of the few people who had survived from the massacre of the Order. Belial trusted Koschei, but he was away for many years and was not aware that Koschei had began working with the Totenkopfs in order to gain more power within the Order. Koschei's treachery was eventually revealed when Belial was attacked by a group led by none other than the Master of the Totenkopfs. Belial warned Koschei about the Totenkopfs' treachery, but Koschei did not listen to him. Belial was killed soon after, and Koschei was glad to see him gone although he had to put up an act in order to fool the investigators about who had been the real mastermind behind Belial's death.
The friendship between Belial and Marcus Sarillius was nothing but formal. Marcus had not known Belial for long, but he appreciated Belial's help in organizing the negotiations in Remonton in 11 AOE. Belial was amused by Marcus's naïve way of looking at things, but he nevertheless considered him to be a valuable ally who he could hopefully manipulate in order to make the Order of the Black Rose grow stronger. Marcus became more reserved when Belial was revealed to be a schemer, but he understood that Belial's help would be needed, so he tolerated him. He even went so far as to approve of Belial's idea of helping Khalid, although he never quite regained the trust in Belial that he had once had.
Mordecai de ArdynEdit
Belial and Mordecai got along for the most part, but Mordecai nearly always remained quiet around his uncle, speaking only when necessary. He was grateful for Belial giving him an enchanted armor that could keep him alive, but apart from that he seemed to take his distance when Belial was nearby. Mordecai nevertheless acted as Belial's bodyguard prior to the kidnapping, and Belial felt guilty of being responsible for endangering Mordecai in the first place.
One word described the way Belial felt when he thought of Omaroch d'Zarnagon: hatred. Omaroch was the one who had slain Antigonus, and Belial never forgave him and swore to hunt him down. He did not spend much time with Omaroch prior to the massacre of the Order, but he never felt comfortable around him, and Omaroch felt the same. Omaroch considered Belial just a pawn in Antigonus's game and did not care what happened to him, but Belial never forgot the fated day when everything crumbled. If Belial had ever met Omaroch, he would have slain him outright, but it never came to pass because Belial was killed before he could find Omaroch. Belial's hatred had even affected his relationship with Omaroch's son Refan, which turned out sour.
To put it mildly, Belial and Sultana Razia had a fiery relationship that was kept secret from the majority of the Sarquil tribes. They loved each other deeply, but marriage was never an option because Belial was an outsider and an infidel as far as the Sarquil saw him. This did not stop the two's relationship, and in a way Razia gave a different meaning to Belial's life which had been until then full of suffering and death. Razia opened Belial to new points of view and helped him become a better person, but sadly this dream came to an end when Razia was brutally decapitated by her twin sister Adela during the duel for the throne of Vanna. Belial grieved Razia years after her death and never forgot her. This went so far that Belial was willing to slay anyone who dared mock Razia's memory.
Belial had met Refan only recently, but an animosity immediately grew between them. It began with a fierce duel and has never really calmed down since then. Belial was angry at Refan who resembled young Omaroch, and he planned to use him for his own ends. Refan was not happy about being manipulated and had grown increasingly hostile towards Belial, but the two men never got to settle their animosity because Belial died under mysterious circumstances during their stay in Maar Sul.
Belial and Sumrah Brown got along at first as father and son, but at some point Sumrah's Sarquil blood could not take Belial's orders, and they drifted apart when Belial disowned him. They never managed to talk things through because their lives became vastly different, and Belial died before discovering that Sumrah was still alive.
Valefor was Belial's trusted raven familiar who often acted as Belial's messenger and spy. It died along with Belial due to the mental link which they shared.