History behind the Black Maelstrom
In life, the 4 statues were a band of undead villains that hunted dragons throughout Arkhosia. True dragons they snuffed out the life entirely, but they bound and feasted upon the life-force of lesser dragons, condemning their spirits to an eternity of torture. A trap was eventually set for them, and a wyvern sacrificed itself so that they would be caught in a powerful spell that would turn them to stone. What happened to them after that was lost to the records of history.
The statues ended up in the pyramid, along with the spirit of the wyvern that had trapped them – only Karavakos took control of its power and used it to enhance his own servants. Now the spell that bound the villains is unstable, and when his servant can no longer control is, black fire blazes forth in a maelstrom of dark power…
The Origin of the Curse
Seeing the Wyvern Spirit and the statues, you recall a tale from the distant past, from the days when Arkhosia, the Dragon Empire, was at its strongest. During those times, a band of undead villains stalked the dragons of the Empire, devouring the souls of true dragons and imprisoning the souls of lesser dragonkin. There were four members of that band – Akemos the Death Knight; Orianna the Vampire Thief; Morthos the Archlich; and Kallista the Mummy Priestess. They plagued the empire until a simple wyvern sacrificed itself to lure them into a trap that turned them all to stone.
Akemos the Death Knight was an angry, wrathful tiefling who would fly into a rage at the slightest provocation. He left a trail of death through Bael Turath, though as a Champion of Bane, none were willing to call him to account for his sins. He became a death knight when, in a bout of anger at some simple servant staff, he accidentally struck down his wife – his one true love who had never angered him.
Orianna the Vampire Thief sought wealth in all its forms – gems, coins, magic items, decorative objects and pieces of art. Once she had acquired something, she had little use for it – but accumulating a greater and greater horde was of utmost importance to her, as well as proving herself in ever more daring thefts. A devoted servant of Tiamat, who commanded her to plunder the temples of Bahamut throughout Arkhosia, she balked when ordered to slay the orphaned children found in one such temple. For her crime of compassion, her goddess cursed her and changed her into a vampire, ensuring she would never again hesitate to take a life.
Morthos the Archlich was a proud citizen of Bael Turath, and sought ways to make his nation even greater. His line had been instrumental in forging the pacts with the infernal powers that had joined with the nobility of Bael Turath, but Morthos sought even greater success yet. A private pact with Asmodeous assured Morthos the secrets to eternal life (of a sorts), and tutoring by powerful devils from the Nine Hells. A generous and thoughtful visionary, he intended to use this power to create wondrous magical advances for his civilization – but though he thought he had gotten the better of Asmodeous in his bargain, he was wrong. When he transitioned into a lich, he discovered that he needed constant magical power to survive, and his dreams and hopes faded away beneath the quest for power alone.
Kallista the Mummy Priestess had no redeeming qualities, and was a petty and spiteful tiefling who bore nothing but hatred for those around her. She sought out the secrets of her kinsmen, seeking every advantage over them, and every piece of blackmail she could use against them. Why she bore such hatred for those around her was only guessed at, but seemed to be the product of constant imagined slights that drove her into the service of Vecna. She met much success in his service, even once she fell in battle and was restored by his dark magic to continue battle against her country’s enemies. Her only contribution to the world was the legacy she left behind – a collection of writings and knowledge that showed immense insight into the nature of people and the way the world worked, brilliant treatises that displayed an understanding of mortal nature that have proven useful even to the modern day.