The son of a former soldier and a tavern wench, Artilli Levrellian inherited his father’s sword but his mother’s slight build and ability to talk her way out of trouble. Born to a life as a mercenary, he was just another sellsword in search of a war.[1a]
More through luck than skill, Levrellian fell in with a tough band and spent the next few years fighting, killing, and spending. Ever ambitious, he wanted something more than to fight in other men’s wars and spend their gold. He yearned to control his own life, to be the one hiring mercenaries.[1a]
His fortunes changed when he convinced several of his fellows to help him seize a small town. Unimportant in and of itself, the mission was a test to see if he and his men could take the town and hold it. For three months they stayed, letting the townspeople grow used to their presence and learning the ways of command and politics.[1a]
With his confidence burgeoning, he gathered more men and invaded the town of Zenres, situated between the distant Skull River and the Worlds Edge Mountains. Levrellian and his men marched in, letting everyone see their numbers and strength, and then sought out the town elders to discuss a partnership that would effectively put him in control. The elders had little choice but to agree, and Levrellian used his previous experience to make an easy transition from bully and conqueror to legitimate ruler. Once he had consolidated his control over Zenres, he sent his men out in ever-widening circles, conquering every other town and village in reach. Soon he held land all the way to the Worlds Edge Mountains. Shortly after, Levrellian dubbed himself prince of the area, designated Zenres as his capital, and settled in to rule.[1a]
Levrellian is driven by the need to control. He already holds a great deal of land leading up to the mountains and along the Howling River, but that is not enough. He wants dreams of capturing all the land down to the Blood River and possibly beyond, though he realises taking the Badlands would require more warfare than he is willing to face. So, he seems content to find some way to annex the lands of his two neighbours and stabilize his growing kingdom.
Levrellian is a clever man who rules more through strategy than sheer brawn. He is crafty and unscrupulous, having learned the value and power of treaties—and how to bend them to his own advantage. Though not a bad man, or even a bad ruler, Levrellian’s first interest has always been himself. He often makes a show of being cruel and bloodthirsty, but violence is actually just a means to an end—he would rather attain his goals through threats than through actual bloodshed. Recently though, Levrellian’s interests have shifted. Those under his command suspect this change may be the result of his newest advisor, a strange, cloaked man named Strykssen. It makes no sense, really. Levrellian has become violent, more desperate and careless, and to little effect. He has not increased his holdings, and his people are beginning to fear him.[1a][1b]
A vile Cultist, Strykssen inflates Levrellian’s ego, playing upon his self-image and encouraging him to take the other two lands now. With Strykssen whispering beside him, Levrellian is losing his caution and his concerns. He is growing obsessed with claiming the entire region as his own. He could be more than a mere prince, Strykssen points out slyly. He could be a king! And Levrellian believes him.[1b]
Levrellian is slender and of average height, with oily hair and dusky skin. His features are plain and a touch sly, and he dresses to impress in showy robes and capes, heavy jewellery, and an imposing crown.[1b]