|Sultan of Vanna|
|Reign||Since 1017 AE|
|Father||Belial de Ardyn|
Sultan Khalid al-Rashid bin Razia al-Saif (lit. Khalid [Eternal], Righteous Son of Razia [Satisfied] of the Sword Tribe), also known as Khalid de Ardyn, is the half-Sarquil son of Razia al-Saif and Belial de Ardyn and brother of Sumrah Brown. He was driven into exile by his aunt, Sultana Adela al-Saif, but returned to the Sultanate of Karaganda later to challenge Adela for the throne of Vanna with help from the Grand Alliance. He was successful in his coup and became the new Sultan until the Battle of Vanna when the invading Northern Horde forced him and his fellow Sarquil into exile in Alent.
Life in the PalaceEdit
Khalid was born as an Emir, a local prince, into the House of Saif which had ruled over Vanna and the entire Sultanate of Karaganda in Libaterra since the death of the legendary First Sarquil, Tronin. Khalid was the younger son of Sultana Razia al-Saif and was never meant to inherit the throne, because he was a man and in Sarquil tribes only the strongest woman would be allowed to rule over the tribes. He also had an older brother, Sumrah, but only saw him sporadically before Sumrah left the sultanate.
The young Emir showed stubborness and amazing skill with scimitars throughout his childhood and adolescence when his training intensified. He could never fully comprehend why only a woman was allowed to rule over the tribes, but he kept his mouth shut in order to not disturb his mother. Captain Ismail of the Black Guard was always close by watching over young Khalid and somehow always managed to keep an eye on the Emir despite his duties.
The captain made his son Razoul train Khalid in swordplay. Razoul was jealous of the attention his father gave to Ismail, and he often bullied Khalid and beat him up. However, this inadvertently made Khalid learn necessary survival and combat skills as he had to learn to outwit the stronger Razoul. The two became bitter rivals who nevertheless grudgingly respected one another in order to not anger Ismail and Razia.
During these years Khalid also got to know Count Belial de Ardyn who often visited the sultanate, and he befriended the count. Belial helped Khalid develop his skills as a swordsman and saw great potential in the boy. Khalid often wondered why an influential foreigner paid so much attention to him, but Belial always avoided the issue. The matter remained a mystery for years to come, and Khalid stopped paying attention to it, assuming that Belial would tell him the truth someday.
- "My aunt, Sultana Adela, murdered my mother, the rightful ruler of the sultanate, and drove me and my two supporters into exile years ago. She has established the Clergy of Artemicia to our once pure sultanate and made my people suffer. I wish to dethrone her and restore the glory of my people before she forces all of us free Sarquil to become mindless servants of the goddess Artemicia."
- —Khalid about Adela al-Saif
Around the time when Khalid turned 10 and would have gone through his rite of passage, his aunt Adela al-Saif challenged Razia to a duel for the throne of Vanna. On that day Adela emerged victorious, even though there were rumours that she had cheated with the help of a mysterious mage named Iblis al-Djinn who had shown up in the sultanate sometime earlier.
As Adela took over, she ordered that Khalid be sent to exile for being the son of a former weak ruler. The ancient laws of the Sarquil were unchangable, and Khalid had no choice but to accept what had happened, although he began holding a grudge against his aunt who had killed his beloved mother. Belial offered to take Khalid with him, and Ismail (who had been disgraced alongside Khalid) tagged along as did the court mage Awar.
Khalid spent the rest of his adolescence with Belial, first travelling around the world until finally settling into Maar Sul. In the kingdom he got acquainted with Belial's Order of the Black Rose where he got to know Belial's niece and nephew, Desdemona and Mordecai. He was also briefly reunited with Sumrah who was also staying with Belial and witnessed a falling out between the two after which Sumrah disappeared from the Order completely.
These were dangerous times, because the Yamatian Invasion, the Struan Rebellion and the Great War shook Maar Sul to the core and offered little protection to the Order. Belial did his best to keep Khalid safe, and Khalid grew up to become a skilled warrior who acted as Belial's bodyguard during the early years of the Godslayer's rise to power.
Life remained relatively peaceful for the next few years after the tumultous events of the Cataclysm until a group of death cultists known as Totenkopfs tried to assassinate Belial in Maar Sul in 10 AOE. Disturbed by this strange development, Belial found out that the Totenkopfs were planning to strike at Remon next. He gathered his most trusted supporters and immediately set sail to Remon aboard a ship called the Ardent.
The Age of EmptinessEdit
By the time Belial began his voyage to Remon aboard the Ardent, Khalid followed along as a bodyguard. Khalid felt indebted to Belial, because the count had saved Khalid from certain death during the years of exile. The Emir was among the few survivors when the Ravensworth Watch blew up the ship, and he followed his master loyally even though he distrusted the new allies that Belial had gained from Adram Alek and Axikasha Keiran.
Khalid kept quiet through most of the journey, but his swordsmanship really got to shine when a group of Totenkopfs attacked Belial's party on the way to Remonton. He yearned for vengeance for the death of his companions in Ravensworth and eagerly slew any Totenkopf who stood in his way. He wanted to kill a Totenkopf captive, Izael Korath, but relented when Belial found Izael to be useful. He was also troubled by the sudden appearances of Kaisa Blackwell, Rhylian Loras and Dieter von Waldheim who tagged along the group from that moment on.
On Death's TrailEdit
Khalid accompanied Belial, Ax and the others to Remonton. He also did what he could when an ice elemental attacked the party in the city. He began respecting Ax more once he had seen how she had succeeded in defeating the powerful ice elemental. He could understand power, and he realized that Ax might have a warrior's destiny ahead of her.
Although the ice elemental was defeated and the Second Battle of Remonton came to an end, Khalid was angered when he realized that the battle had only been a distraction so that the Totenkopfs could kidnap their true target, Belial's nephew Mordecai, during the chaos which the elemental had unleashed.
A Game of DeceptionEdit
Khalid helped in the rebuilding of Remonton for the following year and remained as an observer during King Marcus Sarillius's meeting with the Remonian and Maar Sulais delegates in 11 AOE. He witnessed the forming of the new Grand Alliance but thought nothing of it. His loyalty lay solely on Belial and the Order... at least until he and Belial were ready to move to Vanna to challenge Adela like Belial had promised years ago.
The Emir was called to action late at night by Belial who informed him and the others that King Marcus had been kidnapped by a mysterious group which had headed north. Khalid immediately fetched his scimitars, hoping that he could kill some more Totenkopfs in painful ways. He assumed that no one else than the Totenkopfs could be behind such a sinister scheme, but he was unaware that there would be more surprises in store for him and his friends during the quest to free the king from the mysterious kidnappers.
Echoes of WarEdit
- "Those freaks were responsible for making the Ravensworth Watch blow up our ship and companions at the docks of Ravensworth. I have a score to settle with them!"
- —Khalid about the Totenkopfs
Khalid followed the heroes to the Ruined Kingdom. He stayed behind with Waldheim's group while Ax's group proceeded into the temple located in the middle of the ruined city. He was the one who spotted a mysterious elfess sneaking around, and the newcomer turned out to be Tiyana Natiya. After the misunderstanding had been cleared up, Khalid and the others witnessed Totenkopfs entering the temple in pursuit of Ax. Rage filled Khalid's heart as he still yearned for vengeance, and he and the rest of the group followed the Totenkopfs into the temple.
The group members soon found themselves in the middle of a battle between Ax's group, the Totenkopfs and also Marcus's mysterious kidnappers who turned out to be Varalia Earthhaven and Xerathas d'Zarnagon. Khalid decided to concentrate on killing the Totenkopfs, but his fun ended soon when Jacob Seneron, the Totenkopf who had released the ice elemental to Remonton, appeared and explained how everything had been going according to some sinister plan.
Jacob was possessed by the god Nergal, the God of War, and Khalid was awed by the awesome power of a god radiating through the host. He was surprised to hear Nergal mention the name of Razia, but he thought it was even stranger that Belial reacted so violently to Nergal's mocking. Khalid brushed this out of his mind as he swept his fear away and joined the heroes in fighting against the possessed Jacob.
The possessed Jacob used Nergal's powers to a great effect and seemingly slew Ax. However, Ax was revived by Hephaestus, the God of Smithing, who took over her body and helped the heroes in the battle against Jacob. Ax's companion Refan d'Zarnagon did his part as well by freeing a dark elf named Mori'sul Agara who was in turn possessed by Shakkan, the God of Beasts. The heroes finally managed to defeat the possessed Jacob with Hephaestus's and Shakkan's help, and the temple began crumbling. Khalid's admiration of Ax and Marcus grew when he saw how skillfully the two had defeated Jacob.
Mori'sul used the last bits of his strength to create a portal which the heroes used to escape the temple. However, the possessed Mori'sul words still rang in their heads: they had traitors in their midst. This made Khalid uneasy because he was not sure who the traitors were and whether Shakkan who spoke through Mori'sul was just bluffing or not. He was also not happy that the heroes chose to spare Xerathas and Varalia to interrogate them later, but there was nothing he could do about it.
Khalid followed the group out of the temple after the battle and subdued one of the captive kidnappers, Varalia, under Belial's orders. He immediately had to face the wrath of Refan who was enraged by the incident and Nergal's prophetic words and who claimed that Belial had been lying to the group all along. When Belial admitted the truth and Refan tried to attack, Khalid protected his master.
Although the incident ended without bloodshed, Khalid became more wary of Refan, although he was also unsure of what to think of Belial's revealed motives. He decided to wait and see, but he still trusted Belial and hoped that all of this was just a big misunderstanding and that Ax and the others would just forget the incident.
When the Shadow appeared and joined Xerathas, Khalid was concerned of Belial's safety. He became even more worried when he heard that the Shadow had been responsible for kidnapping Marcus and opposing the heroes in Remonton. Having such a powerful creature, which could apparently reincarnate itself, travelling along the party was not what Khalid had hoped for but the creature seemed peaceful enough for the time being. The Emir hoped to reach Maar Sul City as soon as possible although he was somewhat saddened when he realized that he might never see his new companions after this journey was over.
A Crimson DawnEdit
- "You're a Libaterran and yet you refuse the call of your homeland when she needs you the most? I thought you were a brave warrior, Axikasha Keiran, and I hoped that your example might inspire my people to fight for their country. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps you're nothing more than a pathetic coward who just wants to run away!"
- —Khalid to Axikasha Keiran
The party reached the army of the Grand Alliance and continued the journey to Maar Sul City. It was at the ball in the city where Khalid finally revealed his true identity as an Emir in exile to everyone present just as Belial had planned.
He asked Kings Gerard Aurelac and Marcus Sarillius to consider giving him a ship with which he could reach the Libaterran desert safely. In exchange he would do what he could to liberate his sultanate from his aunt's rule and become an ally of the Grand Alliance in the Alliance's fight against the Proninist Party which threatened Maar Sul. Both Marcus and Gerard promised to think about it. Khalid also tried to ask why Belial had been so passionate after hearing Razia being mocked, but Belial was busy with other things and promised to tell Khalid everything in the morning.
However, Belial was murdered the same night, and Khalid only heard about it the next morning. He was shocked that something so brutal had happened, and it was even more disturbing when it turned that the Totenkopfs had seemingly infiltrated the Ravensworth Watch to get close to Belial.
It was unclear if more murderers were still on the loose, so Ismail did his best to keep Khalid safe from any potential assassins. Khalid heard that Refan had been one of the suspects of Belial's murder, and he wondered if the thief would strike at him next. He decided that if Refan was found to be innocent, he would keep Refan close by as a servant until further notice.
Khalid was present at Belial's funeral. Before the pyre was lit, Awar appeared and read Belial's will. To everyone but Ismail's shock it turned out that Khalid was in fact Belial's son and thus his heir, a member of the House of Ardyn. This made Desdemona furious, but she retreated to her quarters with Marcus before anyone could question her sudden and uncharacteristic outburst.
Khalid was too stunned to say anything as the funeral pyre finally began burning. He was shocked not only because of the revelation but because Ismail had apparently known this information all along but had not told him anything in advance. Khalid realized that if Belial and Razia were his parents, it made him effectively only half Sarquil. He was used to the racial purity of his people so these thoughs weighed on his mind although it'd take some time before he'd realize the repercussions of his hybrid lineage.
The young Emir had a meeting with representatives of the Order of the Black Rose the next morning. After he had pondered what to do, he decided to give the title of the Superior to Duke Koschei Dravaris who had been Belial's good friend. Khalid explained that he had to take care of things in his home, the sultanate, first before he could decide whether he wanted to become the leader of the Order.
Although Gerard had not yet given any definite answer to Khalid's inquiries, Khalid decided to seek out Ax and ask when her ship, the Hiltraud, would arrive. Khalid wanted to get to Vanna as quickly as possible because he feared that his aunt Adela would find out about him through her spies. He was surprised to see Ax say that she might not accompany the group to Libaterra, and he got furious. He accused Ax of being a coward and that she was not like the woman she had been when she had fought against the ice elemental and Nergal.
People began theorizing about such behaviour; some said Khalid was simply troubled by Belial's death, others whispered that he had a crush on Ax and some other people claimed that he just wanted to have a powerful weapon like Ax's blade Dawn at his side. Whatever the real reason was, Ax seemed to get a hold of herself and later appeared on Khalid's side as the forces of the Alliance marched to reclaim Jardine from the Proninist Party. Ax said she would help inspire the Sarquil no matter what happened. This pleased Khalid, but he did not let it show on his face.
Khalid followed Ax's group as they infiltrated Jardine. With a bit of help from Titaniel Focker and the forces of Amarawyn Jardine, the Alliance managed to retake the city. The Hiltraud was approaching Jardine by that time, and Khalid could not wait to board it and begin the voyage to his homeland which he had not seen in years.
Tears of the SunEdit
- "Look, I'm tired of this clicking of claws, so let's sting each other with all we've got. I've come here to challenge you!"
- —Khalid to Adela al-Saif
Khalid was happy to finally set sail to Libaterra although he became seasick as soon as the ship left the port of Jardine. He was surprised when he saw the Fellowship of Maar Sul appear onboard the Hiltraud out of a strange portal in the sky. He was even more shocked when Ismail told him that one of the fellowship members, Despard Silverbranch, was in fact Khalid's long-lost older brother, Sumrah.
Khalid was unhappy that Ismail had not told him of this brother sooner, and he promised to slay Despard personally if he tried to take the throne for himself. Khalid also did not like to see Briss Phoenixheart who looked like Razoul, a rival of Khalid from the past. Unithien talked to Khalid and criticized his violent approach and explained that her Church of the Memory of Cardia had always been a good friend of Adela's Clergy of Artemicia. This made Khalid snap and he ordered her to keep her mouth shut since she was not a Sarquil and had no right to tell him how to act in his homeland.
Matters turned even more complicated when Refan approached Khalid and asked him if he could be set free once Khalid had become the Sultan of Vanna. Khalid accepted the deal although he inquired what Refan would do once his contract was over. Refan explained his reasons, and Khalid thought it better to not pursue the matter further; he would have no more use of the thief once Vanna had been secured, and he did not care how Refan would waste his life.
The ship was pursued by warships of the Crimson Coalition. The fellowship members Khasra III and Leon Alcibiates explained that the Coalition was a dangerous enemy that planned to destroy the Grand Alliance. Khalid ordered the main ship to stay as a decoy while he and a select few heroes would be left behind near the mountains in Southern Libaterra where the Simoe tribes lived. The plan was successful, and Khalid and his friends reached the Simoe while the Coalition warships pursued the Hiltraud.
Thanks to Khalid's connections to the Simoe who had once helped him and Belial get out of Libaterra, the party was able to get supplies and camels, and they began the long trek to Vanna. Khalid and his companions disguised as merchants so that they could reach the city without much fuss. They saw a grisly sight along the way: a pile of human bones and skulls. When Unithien wondered who might have done something like that, Khalid, Ismail and Awar remained silent. They knew well that the Sirithai had been responsible for such a grim monument, but this was not the right time to discuss the matter.
The party also met a lone wanderer who turned out to be Jono Renfield, and one of the camels transformed into the puzzled Fabian Mullet. Khalid was not happy about taking more suspicious freeloaders with him, but they were already so close to Vanna that it was pointless to leave the two behind. When they reached Vanna, Khalid told everyone to get some sleep. He assured everyone that no harm would come to any of them because Adela could not risk killing them without losing her credibility in the eyes of the Sarquil elders and nobles.
When Ax came to talk to Khalid about his plans for the next day, Khalid proposed a massage. After a bit of hesitation Ax agreed, and Khalid massaged her while they were both naked in a bathtub. Because Khalid had had a Sarquil upbringing, he saw nothing sexual in this act: it was merely an act to strengthen the bond between two comrades. However, unbeknownst to Ax, Khalid also used the massage as a means to gain an upper hand on Adela once he would confront her.
Before the massage got far, Refan entered the room and freaked out when he saw them naked in the bathtub. He assumed that they were having a relationship, and he immediately punched Khalid in the face but was punched by Ax in return. Khalid did not care about the fuss although he realized that he might be able to use Refan's feelings for Ax to his advantage if Refan became a problem. All that he could think of right now was the confrontation with Adela, something he had been waiting for for years.
Khalid was led into the court of Qalat al-Jabal, the Citadel of the Mountain, where he finally confronted Adela, Razoul and the mysterious Grand Vizier Iblis al-Djinn. Khalid and Adela had a war of words as they tried to discredit one another, and Khalid had a trump card by claiming that the massage he had done to Ax the previous night had made them a marrier couple as per Sarquil customs. However, the plan backfired when Adela presented to him a boy who he claimed was her son. Khalid could thus not use his wife clause because Adela's supposed son nullified it.
Khalid became openly hostile when he realized he had to improvise from now on. He thus failed to see that he was in fact falling for a delicate prestige trap: once he would insult Adela enough, she could order his execution by claiming that he had dishonoured her in the eyes of her court. Khalid was saved just in time by Ismail who appeared in the court to put an end to the schemes of Adela, Razoul and Iblis.
Things turned more complicated when the goddess Artemicia appeared and openly challenged Khalid who was too blinded to realize what he was getting into. Artemicia suggested that Khalid and Adela could settle the dispute with a game, and Khalid agreed. As soon as he finished speaking, he found himself trapped in a giant magical hourglass with Xerathas.
Artemicia gave Khalid's companions an ultimatum: they had a week to find the lair of the Sirithai and bring back the head of their leader to Vanna. If they did not get back by then, Khalid and Xerathas would drown in sand. If they got back in time, Khalid and Xerathas would be set free, and Khalid could legally challenge Adela without worrying about the nobles.
The group had no other alternative than to accept the rules of Artemicia's game. Khalid put his faith on his friends although he wondered if they could defeat the Sirithai without his help. He could do nothing but wait for his friends' return.
The Winds of WrathEdit
- "We've already deposed one tyrant who didn't hold the people's interests at heart today. The sheikhs of the desert tribes will not suffer another for long."
- —Azriel al-Zarar to Khalid
The heroes eventually returned to Vanna with Qadohi, the Sirithai leader, and demanded that Khalid and Xerathas be set free. When Adela tried to protest, Ismail and Ax reminded her that the terms hadn't specified that they couldn't bring Qadohi alive to Vanna.
Just when things were to turn alright, Artemicia appeared to taunt the heroes. She revealed that the Sirithai mission had been nothing more than amusement and that she had never intended to let Khalid go. Just when Khalid and Xerathas were about to drown in sand in the magic hourglass, Hephaestus appeared and set them free while giving a lecture to Artemicia in the process. The infuriated Artemicia and Hephaestus returned to the High Plane to finish their duel, leaving the heroes to deal with Adela's cohorts by themselves.
Khalid wasted no time in accusing Adela once again for murdering his mother. He also had deduced that Iblis was as much involved in it than Adela. Both Iblis and Adela tried to first slither away from such accusations but soon turned their focus on justifying their brutal actions. Khalid couldn't take it anymore and prepared to attack Adela who quickly shielded herself with the boy she claimed was her son. Ismail and Refan realized that Iblis and Adela were intentionally goading Khalid to attack her so that they could use the excuse to execute all the heroes legally. They tried to warn Khalid but Khalid didn't listen to their advice.
Things escalated in the throne room when the Vulfsatz made a dramatic entrance and snatched the boy away from Adela while attacking both the heroes of the Alliance and Adela's supporters. It turned out that the boy wasn't related to Adela at all; instead he was Hannibal Losstarot, the son of Glaurung Losstarot of the Crimson Coalition.
Iblis used the Vulfsatz's appearance as an excuse to order the execution the heroes, and the combined forces of the Black Guard, the Clergy of Artemicia and even their new Totenkopf allies attacked the heroes. Khalid quickly realized that the heroes had been prepared for this as countless Sirithai entered from cracks on the floor and came to the Grand Alliance's aid. Iblis used the opportunity to flee up the northern tower with Adela, Awar and Qadohi, and a few heroes pursued them. The Battle of Vanna had begun.
Khalid was shocked to see his once trusted advisor working for the enemy, but he didn't have much time to think about it because he was wounded by Donovan, one of the Vulfsatz, during the battle. The battle looked quite desperate because the Totenkopfs' deadly magic killed many of Khalid's supporters. Only the timely arrival of reinforcements led by Azriel al-Zarar saved the day, and Khalid was glad that the fight could continue on more equal terms. Azriel also reminded him that the battles had to be just and shouldn't be driven by vengeance.
It was then that Adela returned, seemingly stronger than ever. While his companions kept Donovan and the rest of the Vulfsatz busy, Khalid faced his aunt in a duel at long last. They fought brutally, but suddenly Adela gained an advantage by using her magic. She almost struck Khalid down but Khalid managed to surprise her by demonstrating his magic. This gave him enough time to disarm Adela and pin her to the ground.
Just when Khalid was about to avenge his mother at long last, he was interrupted by Briss and Ismail who reminded him that this battle was about justice, not vengeance. This echoed what Azriel had said to him earlier, and he eventually chose to spare Adela and let her wait for a proper trial for her crimes. It was a moral victory, but Khalid knew deep inside that if no one had been around to witness the duel, he would've slain Adela on the spot.
Khalid still had one thing to do, though. He sat on the throne of Vanna, making the people around him gasp because no man except Tronin could rule over Vanna. Yet Khalid remained adamant and demanded loyalty from his subjects. He was relieved to see that Ismail and various Sarquil nobles and clerics accepted his challenge and verified his claim to the throne by chanting his name. He was now one step closer to legally claiming the Sultanate of Karaganda to himself. He immediately ordered that Adela, Razoul, the Vulfsatz and Hannibal be taken to the dungeons until the battle was won.
The Totenkopfs fled the battle, and the surviving clerics of Artemicia and Black Guard as well as Sarquil warriors submitted under Khalid's rule. However, not all was well: the heroes who returned from the tower revealed that Iblis and Awar had not in fact been working for Adela but for the demonic Southern Horde and had used both Adela and the heroes for their own ends.
The dangerous magical weapon Krystallopyr had been destroyed, but the Black Stone had shattered in the process as well, and now the ancient magical ward that had protected Vanna from demons was no longer working. Everything had gone as Iblis had predicted, and now he and Awar were on their way to let their demonic masters know of the shattering of the Black Stone. As if that wasn't enough, Xerathas and the Shadow had also betrayed the Alliance but had escaped before the heroes could catch them.
Khalid wasn't going to let such bad news make him gloomy. He let Waldheim access the library and told everyone present that the Festival of the Dead, during which the dead would be burned in a pyre, would be held at night. Ax wasn't as content, though, and came to meet Khalid to argue with him about whether she should still act as his wife or not. Khalid managed to persuade Ax to keep up the act of being his wife a little bit longer by promising her another massage. Once that was settled, they went to the plaza to attend to the Festival of the Dead.
Khalid opened the festival by setting the funeral pyre on fire. He also spoke a few words of encouragement to his weary troops, and then the festivities began. He also had to explain to the enraged Refan that celebrating death was a Sarquil custom and that Refan shouldn't judge things from Remonian standards.
Azriel approached Khalid and questioned him about his beliefs and what future he planned for the sultanate. When Khalid was offended by these subtle accusations, Azriel gave a veiled threat which implied that Khalid wouldn't live for long if he began acting like Adela. The young Sultan wasn't happy about Azriel's demands but knew he had to keep him content... at least until the elders and clerics would support him instead of siding with Azriel.
A severe explosion shook the city that night, and Khalid heard that parts of the great library had burned down and that Briss Phoenixheart had broken Adela out of prison. Although he was disappointed by Adela's disappearance, he thought he could use it to his advantage in the long run. Khalid soon realized that something was not right: the wound he had received from Donovan was aching, and it didn't take him long to figure out that he'd been poisoned. He chose to keep it to himself for the time being in order to not appear weak in front of the Sarquil nobles.
The day after the Festival of the Dead began with a grand ceremony as Khalid and Ax became the Sultan and Sultana of Vanna. They announced that the Sirithai would no longer be persecuted and that the Sarquil and the Sirithai would learn to live in coexistence from now on.
He turned his focus on Ax and scolded her for speaking to the crowd without his permission: an act which he saw as questioning his status. Khalid's dream had finally come true, but he knew he had to further cement his position by having a daughter at some point. He had begun to formulate a plan to persuade her to carry his child.
Waldheim approached Khalid soon after and asked him to accompany a group of heroes to Alent. Khalid declined the offer but suggested that Waldheim could take Azriel along as a Sarquil representative instead. The young Sultan hoped that he could get rid of Azriel this way. Khalid felt sick and retreated to his chambers where Ismail noticed that he had been poisoned. Although Khalid wanted to keep the poisoning under wraps, Ismail decided to hurry to the dungeons to consult with the Vulfsatz to find a cure for the illness.
Khalid was not alone in his room, however, because Azriel approached all of a sudden and struck him down. Azriel calmly explained that he wouldn't be used as a pawn in Khalid's political games and that he would ensure that Khalid followed the ancient traditions one way or another and keep the Sarquil united. After giving this harsh lecture, Azriel used his power to heal Khalid from the poison. This caught Khalid off guard, and he realized that Azriel had grown more powerful than he had anticipated. He now had a dangerous rival who had to be treated carefully unless he wanted to have another civil war in his hands.
Ismail returned soon after, and Khalid had a heated argument with him about Azriel and the Vulfsatz. However, when Khalid apologized his rash behaviour to Ismail, the black captain punched him in the face and delivered a lecture about never apologizing. Once the two men had stopped the arguing, Ismail explained that Hannibal wanted to have a meeting. Curious to hear what the boy had in mind, Khalid agreed to follow Hannibal's wishes, and the meeting was held soon after.
Hannibal proved to be an eloquent speaker during the meeting. He argued about how neither the Sarquil nor the Alliance could risk a war on two fronts against the Crimson Coalition and the demons of Yamato and that it would be in their best interests to return him and the Vulfsatz to Trinity Gask as soon as possible.
Arguments broke out, and one group of heroes agreed with Hannibal whereas others opposed him adamantly. Khalid solved the dispute by suggesting that the heroes follow Waldheim's compromise: take Hannibal and the Vulfsatz as prisoners to Alent. That way the Coalition would leave Vanna in peace and Alent would be pleased to have such important hostages. Although some individuals like Jono still tried to argue against this decision, Khalid managed to sway most people behind Waldheim.
A few hours after the meeting was over, Khalid found out that Jono and Vaetris Redfield had broken Hannibal out of prison and had fled towards Trinity Gask. This angered Khalid but he remembered that Waldheim's group could still use the three Vulfsatz members as a gift to Jemuel in Alent. He went to see the departure of Waldheim's group to Alent, and he wondered what the future would have in store for the Sarquil and the Alliance. So many people had already betrayed the Alliance, and he couldn't help but think when the next traitor would be revealed.
Khalid was also surprised to see Refan staying in Vanna even though Refan was no longer his servant thanks to his services during the Battle of Vanna. Refan explained that he couldn't rest until he captured Xerathas and the Shadow who were still on the loose somewhere in the city. Khalid could sense that Refan hadn't told him the real truth but he let it slide. The thief was of no concern to him anymore and thus wasn't his problem.
Khalid returned to his throne room and had a brief discussion with Ismail which was interrupted when a guard appeared in a state of panic. Wondering what might've spooked the guard so much, Khalid and Ismail followed him to the walls. They could hardly believe their eyes when they saw a huge army right outside the gates of Vanna.
Although many thought that Awar and Iblis had returned with the Southern Horde, things were a bit more complicated than that. Instead, this army belonged to the Northern Horde, rivals of the Southern Horde. Dreadlord Leraje Thanadar, leader of the army, demanded immediate surrender or he would execute Miraj al-Zarar, Khalid's old friend, as well as thousands of prisoners. Khalid, for once, seemed at a loss.
While the Sultan was clueless, Ismail acted and ordered Razoul to be brought to him from the dungeon. Although Khalid protested, Ismail quickly convinced him that they needed everyone's help, including their old enemies such as Razoul, if they wished to survive the demons' attack and save the captives. When Leraje grew impatient and cut Miraj down, Ismail acted by challenging Leraje to a duel. Ismail's challenge provoked the Dreadlord enough that he accepted it. While the Dreadlord returned to the army to get his gear, the heavily wounded Miraj was taken to the infirmary.
Ismail and Qadohi quickly explained their plans. Ismail would stall the duel with Leraje as long as possible while a group of heroes led by Qadohi would try to use the underground Sirithai tunnels to sneak behind the demon army and free as many captives as possible while destroying the enemy's supplies. It was a risky, even foolhardy plan but no one could think of anything better to save the captives, so the plan was put into action. Azriel and Miraj, whom Azriel had revived with his magic, also appeared on the scene and promised to help Ismail with carrying out the plan.
Khalid and various heroes observed the duel between Leraje and Ismail. After a brutal battle Ismail struck Leraje down, and it seemed the battle was over. However, the Dreadlord performed a sudden attack which caught Ismail off guard, and he quickly decapitated him to everyone's horror.
Khalid could hardly believe his eyes and he almost jumped after the retreating Dreadlord to avenge his guardian's death. However, he was held back by Razoul who had now become the new captain of Vanna. Although the two men despised each other, Razoul managed to calm Khalid down and explained that they would have to put their animosities aside for now and work together if they wanted to survive. Ismail had given Qadohi's task force precious time to free the captives, and Khalid had to reluctantly agree that Ismail had given the greatest sacrifice a man could give: dying for one's country.
The siege of Vanna began in earnest, and Khalid and the heroes of Vanna prepared for things to come as they faced the full might of the armies of the Northern Horde.
More info later.
The Point of No ReturnEdit
More info later.
More info later.
More info later.
A Cry in the DarkEdit
- "Just...stop. I don't want to hear any more of your lies, Khalid. You know...you actually had me going there. Confessing your 'feelings' for me, releasing me from the marriage, offering to give up your pitiful throne to be with me...and like an idiot, I let my guard down. Which was just what you wanted, wasn't it? Well, congratulations, Sultan--your lies are very fucking convincing. When the Sarquil throw you out on the street like the trash that you are, I'm sure you'll be the most successful beggar Alent's ever seen."
- "I...deserve that. I deserve the worst you can throw at me, Axikasha. But please, let me try to explain--"
- "You could never, ever explain what you just did, Khalid. I was stupid enough to believe your lies once. I'll never let that happen again."
- —Axikasha Keiran and Khalid
A unit of surviving Sarquil led by the fierce warrior Lamashtu al-Khadra entered Alent with several desert elves whom they'd rescued from the Northern Horde's clutches. Khalid met with Lamashtu and took a liking to her, admiring her beauty and determination even though he hadn't seen him before because she hadn't been in Vanna when he had dethroned Adela. Lamashtu offered Khalid and the council of elders crucial information about the movements of the horde.
Later that day, Khalid and his Sarquil associates saw an injured man, Troy, enter the inn and tell them that strange people living in Alent's Threshold district had kidnapped several Sarquil and dragged them to their huts. This piece of news troubled Khalid, especially because many of the Sarquil were already worried about the strange, eldritch fires which had been lit up in the city recently.
He sent a unit of Black Guards led by Razoul to investigate the disappearances and save the kidnapped people. There were rumours that the kidnappers were in fact demons, and Khalid wanted to make sure whether the rumours were true or not. If they were, he'd make sure to put an end to the demons threatening Alent and his people.
The Sultan had a brief talk with Antigonus who gave him a letter from Danielle Deveraux, the Order of the Black Rose's representative in Alent who had been slain by assassins. The letter's contents were troubling to say the least, and Antigonus pleaded Khalid to reconsider what he really wanted from life: aid the Order and thus honour Belial's memory, or stay loyal to the Sarquil. Khalid was also approached by the two thieves who accompanied Antigonus and who revealed themselves to be members of the Union Workers. The thieves offered Khalid and his people the Union's services should he ever require it.
Khalid arrived in Ax's room later and noticed her and a few other Alliance members fighting against Refan who had shown up in the city to steal his family and Ax. He joined the fray but didn't get to fight much before the half-demon fled. He tried to console the distraught Ax and offered to share his room with her now that her own room had been demolished by Refan, but he only succeeded in his bargain when he offered to give Ax another massage, to which Ax agreed.
Later that night Khalid sent Amra away and pondered his options. He knew that if he played his cards right, he could be able to sleep with Ax or force her, which would result in her getting pregnant and him securing his throne. And yet, at this crucial moment, he found himself hesitating, and he drank wine to calm himself down while he prepared the room for her coming.
Eventually Ax showed up, and they shared a bath during which Khalid's emotions rose to the surface. To his surprise he realized he had fallen in love with Ax. He revealed his pent up feelings to her and after an agonized confession, he decided to act nobly and let her go, explaining that Ax no longer had any obligations to act as his fake wife. He knew that he would be dethroned after Ax had left, but he couldn't bear keep her contained and chose her well-being over his much to his and her surprise.
Ax reacted with surprise to Khalid's confession and although she admired his actions, she told him she could never chain herself to anyone man, not even Khalid. She tried to comfort the heartbroken Khalid but accidentally ended up kissing him, which triggered yet more emotions from the Sultan who then began desperately pleading Ax to stay by his side. Ax refused his offer, however, and Khalid was about to let her leave when a magical voice in his head goaded him to unleash his emotions and take Ax by force.
Although Khalid tried to resist the impulses at first, he eventually succumbed to the voice's goading and forced himself on Ax, intending to make love to her to show her how much he cared about her. His act, however, turned into a rape attempt because of his confused state of mind. Ax struggled against the Sultan and eventually managed to scratch him, and the resulting pain returned Khalid to his senses.
Realizing that he had let his impulses take over and that he had nearly done the unspeakable to Ax, Khalid began apologizing but was met with resistance from Ax who quickly backed away from him and dressed up. She didn't want to hear any of his excuses and replied to him harshly, threatening to gut down anyone who was sent after her.
Once Ax had disappeared into the Alentian night, Khalid was distraught and pained by his actions and for betraying her trust. In the end he just couldn't take all these emotions and he fell on his knees and wept for having caused all this misery to himself and Ax. With Ax gone, Khalid realized he had lost both the Sarquil throne and the love of his life.
- "I couldn't say it last night, I was so afraid of it, so afraid of what it meant...but I'm not afraid anymore. Khalid al-Saif, I...love you."
- "Only in my wildest dreams did I think I'd ever hear you say that. But I can't--I won't--I am not worthy of your love, Axikasha. I've already released you, and I will not go back on my word. You deserve someone who will cherish you and treat you like the queen that you are, someone who can truly make you happy. I deserve nothing. I...am a monster."
- "You're not a monster, Khalid. You can make me happy...and I could do the same for you, should you let me."
- —"Ax" and Khalid
When morning came, Khalid decided to take another bath to clear his thoughts. He was devastated by his actions last night and wanted to atone to Ax if she ever returned to him. He was adamant that he'd let her go even if it meant he'd lose his precious throne as well. It came as quite a surprise when he heard a knock on the door and found none other than Ax on the other side; he hadn't expected her to return so soon even if he had been somewhat hopeful. Ax meekly asked to come in, and Khalid let her do so. They sat on a nearby sofa and began discussing the events of the night.
The Sultan was surprised yet again when he heard Ax confess that she did in fact have feelings for her and that she had overreacted. Puzzled by Ax's sudden change of tone, Khalid still insisted that he had treated her wrongly and thus she had every reason to leave him because he was not fit to be her husband. Ax protested, however, and tearfully told him that she wanted to be with him and that they'd start a new life...this time as a true couple with no more lies.
Khalid didn't know what to think and before he knew it, Ax had already embraced him and kissed him passionately. Things had turned out far better than Khalid had hoped but what he didn't know was that the Ax who had returned to him was in fact not the real Ax but Vaetris L'andariel disguised as her.
Heart of DarknessEdit
More info later.
Aliases and NicknamesEdit
- This was Khalid's title when he was in exile. It denoted his status as the son of the previous Sultana.
- Saif al-Adel
- The name's literal meaning is "Sword of Justice". Khalid uses it when he refers to his mission to avenge the death of his mother, Razia. Although the word "adel" refers to "justice", it is also a jab at the name of Adela ("Just"), Razia's killer. Thus another translation of the name could be "Sword of Adela", or more freely translated as the "Executor of Adela".
- Sultan of Vanna
- Khalid's title after he deposed Adela in Vanna and took the Sarquil throne for himself. He still retains his title even after he and his people have been driven to exile from their homeland.
- Khalid's title when he was temporarily leading the Order of the Black Rose until he renounced his position in favour of returning to Vanna.
Khalid prefers to wear an elaborate suit of blue and white colour to signify his noble lineage, although it makes many people think that he is just some dandy. He has short, dark hair and a tanned skin just like pretty much every Sarquil has. He is muscular after doing years of intense training, and he is surprisingly agile for his size.
Personality and TraitsEdit
Khalid has a fiery temper, and he holds grudges for a long time against those who have wronged him or his loved ones. He is also loyal to those he befriends, although he looks down on the weak, which stems from his Sarquil way of life. He has always liked dogs because of their loyalty and fierceness, and he even has a pet saluki dog, Amra, who he reunited with in Vanna. Despite his fierce actions, he has a surprisingly soft, hidden side which hardly ever shows itself unless he's emotionally distraught. Only a few people have seen this side of him, which shows him as a confused young man trying to walk his path in the world while he's also insecure about how other people see him as.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Khalid is an excellent swordsman. He has used almost his entire life to master his twin scimitars and fears magic although he has learned a few spells while studying in Maar Sul which he won't use due to his Sarquil beliefs unless he thinks it's abolutely necessary. He also owns a white stallion named Buraq who he is very fond of, and he is quite good at taking care of horses and thus an excellent addition to any cavalry.
Adela never really liked Khalid, and the feeling was mutual. Maybe it was because both had a stubborn nature, although some claimed that this animosity stemmed from Adela's inability to have children, which would have made her jealous of Razia who had had Khalid. Whatever the reason ended up being, Adela nevertheless challenged Razia and won, killing her in front of Khalid. Although Khalid knew the Sarquil laws, he kept insisting that Adela had cheated and that the fight had been unfair. Adela got furious at such insults and ordered Khalid driven into exile. From that day on Khalid has been honing his skills, hoping to meet his aunt again and avenge Razia's death.
Antigonus de ArdynEdit
Antigonus has a strained relationship with his nephew Khalid and is still trying to get adjusted to the fact that he's Belial's son. The two started off on the wrong foot when Khalid found out Antigonus's scheme and Antigonus ended up roughing him up to keep him quiet until it backfired on him. Although Khalid remains suspicious of Antigonus, he feels the need to use his services not only because Antigonus is family but because he has valuable information which Khalid wants to put to good use.
Awar worked as a court mage in Vanna, and he always did his best to amuse the young Khalid who was one of the few people who was not put off by his crude, hunched back. When Khalid reached his teens, however, he began hanging out with Ismail more because Awar could not really teach him any swordfighting. The two grew distant in the following years but were by no means hostile. Maybe it was the age difference or Khalid's fear of mages, since Awar was rather old and a mage. Awar's betrayal during the liberation of Vanna came as a shock to Khalid who couldn't believe his old friend's treachery.
When Khalid and Ax first met, Khalid did not think much of her as he only saw her as a wandering drunk. However, when he witnessed how skillfully Ax used both her wits and strength to dispose of dangerous opponents, he began to respect her more. She reminded him of the girls back home, and she admired her fencing skills. Ax seemed to act quite distant at first too because she did not know what to think of Khalid, but once she heard that he was actually royalty, she seemed to show him more respect. She was surprised by his unorthodox ways of treating people (such as how he grabbed her in mid-sentence), but after their argument in Maar Sul City she seemed to become a bit more relaxed when she was around him.
Khalid gave Ax a massage in a bath tub during their stay in Maar Sul City. Although she joked about his feelings, he saw her as nothing more than a worthy companion at the time. However, the massage was also part of Khalid's plot to use Ax as a means to challenge Adela, because he was well aware that he could never challenge Adela as a man without using a woman as an intermediate. When Khalid and Ax went to see Adela, he announced that Ax was his wife. This understandably made Ax angry because she had not been informed of it beforehand, but she played along. Khalid placed his trust and life on Ax when he accepted Artemicia's challenge to imprison him until Ax returned, and Ax succeeded in freeing him, which earned the new Sultan's gratitude even if he didn't quite show it openly at first.
After their fake marriage to keep Khalid on the throne, Khalid became increasingly annoyed, and he had a few arguments with Ax. When he realized he'd actually need her to give birth to his child so that he could stay in power, he began plotting a way to force her to sleep with him, although he was conflicted about going so far to further his ambitious goals. He didn't quite realize it at the time, but he was slowly falling in love with her.
It took until Alent and another bath (plus a glass of wine) for Khalid to finally realize what he was feeling, and he confessed everything to Ax who was surprised by his sudden soft side. Khalid was conflicted over his feelings and yet couldn't deny that he saw Ax as more than a comrade or a trophy. In his drunken state he even considered leaving his people behind for her sake, but when he realized she didn't share his affections, he decided to let her go out of his love for her because he didn't want to hold her down. Unfortunately his emotions took control of him soon after, and he ended up trying to rape Ax which was the turning point in their relationship.
Azriel is not happy to see Khalid on the throne of Vanna as he thinks Khalid is unfit to rule. Khalid does not like having Azriel around, especially because Azriel has repeatedly offended Khalid who knows he can't retaliate unless he wants to lose support from the elders. However, the two try to get along as both of them do care for the Sarquil, and thus their collaboration continues albeit tense.
Although Bashar has tolerated Khalid, he has also voiced criticisms against him, using arguments which point out how having a male Sultan has ended up being a detriment to the Sarquil who are now forced to live in exile. He sees Khalid's status as a half-Sarquil as being detrimental to ruling over the desert tribes, which is why he is trying to belittle Khalid so that the rest of the Sarquil will turn against him and elect a more fitting leader for the tribes. Lately he has tried to take a more direct approach to depose Khalid from the Sarquil throne.
Belial de ArdynEdit
Khalid's relationship with Belial always seemed to be more than just between mere acquaintances, although Khalid did not know why he felt that way. He simply connected with the count and eagerly listened to his stories about what was going on abroad. Khalid felt as if all his fears were swept away whenever he spent time with Belial, and this feeling intensified when Belial saved him from certain death by taking him under his wing during the exile years. Khalid respects Belial like a father and master even if Belial does not give him any special privileges. He will do anything he can to keep Belial safe from harm. It later turned out that Belial was in fact Khalid's father. Khalid could not understand why Belial had not revealed this before his death.
Khalid's relationship with Despard did not start well when he found out that Despard was in fact his older brother, Sumrah. He is still unaware that only the body belongs to Sumrah and the spirit is in fact Despard's. Nevertheless Khalid sees Despard as a threat to his claims for the throne, and he is willing to eliminate him if things do not go his way.
Ismail always watched over Khalid despite being the captain of the guard in the palace of Vanna. He also taught him some skills that one could not find in any theory books, such as how to fight dirty. He was also the one who suggested that Khalid should learn to wield two blades instead of just one blade and a shield, because in his opinion defense is for the weak whereas offense is used by those who are strong. Ismail and Khalid became to respect one another: Ismail saw his younger self in Khalid, and Khalid saw great swordsmanship in Ismail. It was somewhat amusing that Khalid's most bitter rival turned out to be Ismail's only son, Razoul.
If there was one person whom Khalid loved more than anything, it was his mother, Razia. He admired her courage and wisdom, although he never quite understood why only a woman could rule over the Sarquil tribes. Nevertheless the days Khalid spent with Razia were pleasant, and although Razia's training was hard at times, Khalid eagerly accepted all punishments in order to grow stronger. Razia was proud of her son, although she was sad that Khalid had not been born a girl. Khalid was utterly devastated when Adela killed Razia in a duel, and from that day on he swore to avenge his mother's death, ignoring the Sarquil laws.
Khalid hated Razoul with burning passion, and the feeling was mutual. Razoul always bested Khalid in fighting and was older and stronger, and this infuriated Khalid who was used to being the best of the best everywhere he went. As the two grew up a bit more, they grudgingly came to respect one another, although Razoul continued treating Khalid as a brat. Nevertheless, Razoul's beatings helped Khalid develop his skills as a warrior, so in some way he is indebted to his rival.
Khalid and Refan do not get along, especially when Refan learned of Khalid's involvement with Belial and the Order of the Black Rose and when Khalid heard that Refan was one of the people who were suspected of murdering Belial. Because Belial had forced Refan to become his slave, Khalid continued treating Refan as a servant although he was suspicious of him. He said he would grant Refan freedom once Vanna had been liberated from Adela's rule but he began wondering if he should eliminate Refan once he would no longer be honour-bound to him as a master.
The relationship between Khalid and Refan turned more complicated when Refan became jealous of Khalid's and Ax's "romance". He saw Khalid as a suitor who threatened his love for Ax, and Khalid saw Refan was a mindless buffoon whose antics would endager his plans to challenge Adela. Ironically Refan became one of the few people Khalid could count on when Artemicia trapped Khalid.
- Axikasha Keiran
- Azriel al-Zarar
- Bashar al-Asad
- House of Ardyn
- House of Saif
- Order of the Black Rose
- Refan d'Zarnagon
| Khalid al-Saif|
House of Saif
Born: 995 AE
| Preceded by|
| Sultan of Vanna|
| Succeeded by|
| Preceded by|
| Emir of Vanna|
| Succeeded by|