Been doodling ex-Dark Lord Rakt'Plyre as a insanity break from Doing Things That Matter.
If you've not met him, Vra'kriss is a storybook villain given flesh and blood by an enchantment on his book of origin. He's a reformed high fantasy bad guy, or at least he tries. He's usually in good humor and the other Librarians mostly get along with him, they just take care to remember that Kriss has the temper of a four year old and the body of a seven foot bodybuilding pyromancer. He is Head of Security in the Library and relishes his work sinking his battleaxe deep into the hides of the wicked things which occasionally leak, crawl, burst, and ooze from the pages of the Library's collection. Kriss himself should've been dealt the very same on arrival, save that Benjamin had a moment of insanity and wanted to give the evil old monster a chance in this world.
The guest is my roommate, who said she'd love to straighten Kriss' hair. It's taken five hours to get all the knots and braids out of it and the poor guy still doesn't know how he feels about being brushed.
Below, a superfluous aside on Kriss from the vault.
And now, stuff about Kriss' past.
Vra'kriss was widely known to have killed his father, as is right and proper of boys of a certain age, to replace him as warlord of their modest but enterprising empire. Few knew that Dark Lord Vra'kriss Rakt'Plyre's father was actually a potato farmer, and that Vra'kriss actually killed him for readier access to his bones, which were called for by the recipe that transformed Kriss into the pointy-eared, flame-throwing gorilla he is today.
Vra'kriss ditched the grubby life of a pitiful farmer, prying potatoes out of permafrost for a living, when he was twelve years old. He joined a raiding party and mostly robbed pitiful potato farmers for a living. Their little gang was later swept up as individual bandit groups were forcibly united under a distant warlord.
The detachment young Vra'kriss showed other human beings put a chill even in the frosty bones of the steppe bandits. Mercy was a bit beyond his grasp. If there was a face between the kid and his quarry, it would soon have an axe in it. He killed in the way one kills a spider- in mad carnal terror of another living thing. (Like most dark lords, Vra'kriss has a wildly overactive self-preservation instinct. Everything that isn't you is firstly in bad taste, and secondly has the potential to harm you. There should be much less of everything that isn't you around.)
Raised in a tiny world ringed in snow, Kriss' murderous role model was none other than winter itself. The soulless cold. Death by snowflakes. Death by temperature. By disease. By the long void. A silent family on a silent, white horizon, huddled, hiding, from winter, as they would again huddle, hiding, from bad men.
The boy wished he could be like winter. Then he could kill the men. Everyone would fear him. No-one could touch him.
'Course, he changed his mind once he flirted with fire. Fire beats ice. Fire is flashy. Most importantly, fire is fun. People on fire are waaay more entertaining than frozen people.
Certainly Kriss' upbringing in a chilly land is responsible for his infatuation with all things fire and brimstone. Once he got on top of the pile, the quiet, desperate young bandit thawed, revealing a Vra'kriss who fed on suffering like a bushfire, who laughed and roared and dropped opponents with the inferno in his eyes. (And shortly thereafter, their eyes.) There was always a bit of the permafrost encasing his conscience, however, keeping him cool as a cucumber in the midst of his Flames of Destruction. His heart didn't defrost until a certain hero jammed a certain blade through it, enter the more somber, rueful Kriss we know in the Library.
Vra'kriss had two sisters, an older and a younger, homely potato farmers who swore bloody, bloody vengeance on their brother after he murdered their dad. Vra'kriss' story follows the adventures of the hero and token princess because they are sexy and the book mediocre. Were I writing the book, I'd probably follow Kriss' sisters around. As it is, they only make the occasional unnamed cameo in the story.
They become vicious warriors but fail to even get close to their brother, in fact only the elder sister lives to hear that he's finally been popped off by a rather left-field Hero of Destiny. But I like to imagine there's another side to the existing story, where most every happy circumstance the hero encounters is inadvertently related to the sisters' misadventures. For example, sister is attacked by wolves, loses horse. Hero finds random horse. Sisters miss last ferry of the season. Two seats available for hero and princess on last ferry of the season. So on. They have a miserable time of it but they'd be more interesting than watching the hero rock at everything he does. Which he does at their expense. They're ultimately responsible for bringing about Kriss' death but only you and I know this.
I should mention Vra'kriss' mother died some winter after he ran away, but before he came back for his little act of patricide.
I should mention why he did that.
Back to young Vra'kriss, the teen was a force of nature in the making and was commended to the warlord's own guard. The leader himself took an interest in tempering him, even preparing him as a successor, eventually declaring Vra'kriss his own son to cease bickering about succession. (Kriss himself sometimes forgets the warlord wasn't really his father, because this is much cooler than the truth.) The warlord loved Kriss as one loves an especially powerful weapon. He would have respected Kriss for offing him once he'd eclipsed his own power, but he was dead.
Anyhoo. Vra'kriss was twenty-two when he took over as the biggest threat to peace and happiness in the land. The former warlord was a big, dark, ugly man with edgy scars and loud teeth. Vra'kriss was small, lithe and pale, like a dagger is small, lithe and pale, but still. His appearance did not demand the respect Kriss desired. So he did what any self-respecting malicious world dictator-hopeful would have done, and struck a deal with eldritch demons to redo his body. Much blood went into it. A key part of the thing was the murder of a parent, as an utter rejection of one's naturally inherited form. Vra'kriss came out of it two feet taller, three hundred pounds heavier, with god-like strength, fire-proof skin, death-black hair and crimson eyes. His world never knew what hit it.
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