- "Today is a good day to be dead!"
- —Zacharias the Everliving[1b]
Zacharias the Everling was an immensely powerful Vampire and former apprentice of the infamous Doom Lord of the Undead, Dieter Helsnicht, a Necromancer expelled from Middenheim who now launched attacks on that city from a fortress in the Forest of Shadows. Whilst Helsnicht busied himself with tactics and raising armies, Zacharias took note of his surroundings. He saw they were not the first to work powerful necromancy in the forest. He saw strange flows in the Winds of Magic, which led him all the way to the tower of Melkhior the Necrarch.[1a]
For weeks, Zacharias observed the tower and its guards, plotting to break in through the crypt at the tower’s base to steal the Vampire’s grimoires. He magically blinded the Undead guardians to his presence but was captured by Melkhior’s living servants before he had even made it inside. Zacharias was brought before the Vampire, who saw the great potential inside him and granted him the Blood Kiss.[1a]
The newly created Necrarch was horrified by the changes his body underwent and swore to take revenge on his father-in-darkness. Knowing he was too weak to confront the ancient Vampire, he bided his time and studied like a good pupil. Every night, Melkhior would warn Zacharias he tired of his new apprentice and would likely kill him by dawn, but every night the pupil surprised the master with his dedication and growing power. Melkhior was mad, even by the standards of Necrarchs, and would periodically fall into rages and slaughter his living servants, bathing in their blood. Zacharias avoided his master during these tantrums, finally seeing his chance to steal away the books he had never been allowed to see—the books of Nagash—whilst Melkhior stalked his slaves through the tower. Unfortunately for him, Melkhior was not as unaware as he seemed. The two fought a magical duel that almost destroyed them both and ended in victory for the elder Vampire, his disciple fleeing into the wilds, nursing his wounds.[1a]
For a year, Melkhior’s minions pursued Zacharias through the Middle Mountains, from cave to cave and night to night. Zacharias fed on wild animals wherever he could, but the constant running exhausted him. Finding a well-hidden niche inside a large, dark cavern, he hid inside it and rested for over ten years. The cave was the home of an ancient Dragon who returned from a period spent hunting in the lands to the east whilst Zacharias slept. When the Vampire awoke, his thirst was tremendous, and he fell on the Dragon like a newborn on his mother’s teat. Over the course of a month he drained the Dragon dry of every drop of blood. In doing so, he discovered the secret previously known only to Abhorash and his Blood Dragon kin. Zacharias became free of the thirst for blood and was filled with unholy power. Raising the Dragon to serve as his mount, he flew back to the hidden tower and nearly demolished it, finally achieving his revenge on Melkhior. Zacharias now rules the Forest of Shadows from a rebuilt keep, studying the books so long denied to him and planning an eternity as Zacharias the Everliving.[1a]