Antigonus de Ardyn
|Antigonus de Ardyn|
|Class: Red Mage|
|Nation: Maar Sul|
|Faction: Order of the Black Rose|
- "Who do you think you're talking to? I'm the Superior! I've fought against a countless number of people both physically and mentally in the past few decades, and I've always emerged victorious. This time will be no different; you lost this battle the moment you challenged me."
- —Antigonus de Ardyn to Omaroch d'Zarnagon
Count Antigonus de Ardyn used to be the leader of the Order of the Black Rose and an influential member of the House of Ardyn in Maar Sul. He is the older brother of Belial and the father of Desdemona and Mordecai. He had grand plans of world domination, but he underestimated a demon named Omaroch d'Zarnagon who defeated his Order a few years prior to the Yamatian Invasion. However, Antigonus returned years after the Cataclysm to have his revenge on Omaroch and anyone who was involved in Belial's death.
Joining the Order
Antigonus de Ardyn and his younger brother Belial were born into the House of Ardyn in the Kingdom of Maar Sul. Their parents, Count Adrian and Countess Claire, died on a plague that swept through the Maar Sulais lands. The noble houses of Avaris and Grath took advantage of this and stole the weakened family's lands. Antigonus and Belial barely managed to escape alive and swore revenge on the power-hungry nobles.
The brothers wandered around the Maar Sulais countryside for days on end, avoiding troops from rival nobles who would have either killed them on the spot or sold them into slavery. The boys almost starved to death when they were rescued by the Order of the Black Rose, a secret society, which offered to help them if they would support the Order in return. The boys realized that this might be their only chance to strike back at their rivals and made a deal with the Order.
Antigonus and Belial grew up, but it was Antigonus who was the leading figure of the duo, and the younger Belial always looked up to him in magic studies and politics. High-ranking members of the Order of the Black Rose helped the boys grow up into intelligent mages, and Antigonus proved to be a prodigy and learned new skills without much effort whereas Belial had to use his every waking moment to hone his skills.
After years of political maneuvers the brothers won the family lands back, restored the House of Ardyn to its former glory and reclaimed their titles as counts. They also succeeded in crippling the Houses of Avaris and Grath both financially and politically. Antigonus and Belial became the new leaders of the Order when the previous leader died under mysterious circumstances, and they established a spy network which observed and influenced the politics of other kingdoms.
Antigonus liked women maybe a bit too much, and he never bothered to tell anyone who he was dating. This infuriated Belial who could not understand why Antigonus would do something so reckless. Antigonus, however, refused to answer any of Belial's accusations because he thought that it would only be a waste of time.
It was around this time that Antigonus met and fallen in love with a lesser noble, Eva von Waldheim, near the city of Fragnar. Belial could not sway Antigonus to forget this noblewoman, not after Antigonus had found an intellectual to match his wit in Eva. Antigonus and Eva eventually married and spent some time together even though Antigonus was busy dealing with the matters of the Order.
To Antigonus's shock, Eva died during childbirth, and he decided to give their baby the name of Desdemona to honour the name of Eva's grandmother. Some unfortunate things happened at this time too, including the fact that Eva's bitter brother Dieter von Waldheim blamed Antigonus for murdering Eva, but Antigonus ignored the man's grief and concentrated on taking care of Desdemona.
It was not long after when Antigonus found another woman of interest, this time an elfess from Folsworth Woods. Belial was getting sick of his brother's actions but could not do anything but watch as the two got married a couple of years later. The elfess gave birth to a half-elven boy, Mordecai, and actually managed to live a few months with Antigonus and the child.
Tragedy befell the de Ardyn family once more as a mysterious disease killed the elfess a few months later. Antigonus grieved this death for long, but Dieter appeared to mock his poor choice of a wife, claiming that Antigonus killed everything he touched. This infuriated Belial who eventually left to travel the world, but Antigonus was once again oblivious to Dieter and instead concentrated on mourning the elfess whom he had loved as much as Eva albeit for different reasons.
Antigonus and Belial eventually found out that there were some demons roaming around the world in different disguises. Despite Belial's protests Antigonus immediately tried to persuade demons to join and thus strengthen the Order. For a while the brothers seemed to be successful and they did make contact with some stray demons, although the power of these demons wasn't great by any means.
The demons refused to tell anyone how they could be roaming around the world despite the fact that the seals to the demon realm should still be intact. Although this troubled Belial greatly, Antigonus did not mind it because he had to deal with his rivals in the Dwarven Triad. However, the brothers did learn about the existence of the Dragon Diamond, and Antigonus wished to find it and harness its power in order to increase his magic.
Spying on Omaroch
A year later, Antigonus learned from his underlings that a particularly powerful demon named the Wanderer had appeared and that this demon was looking for something. He sent Belial to find out the Wanderer's identity, and eventually Belial found out that the demon's true name was Omaroch d'Zarnagon and that Omaroch was in fact an archdemon who had escaped from the demon city of Norash'namun to explore the world of mortals.
Belial tried to plead with his brother one last time to leave the forces of darkness alone, but Antigonus had become power-hungry and wanted to gain the powers of an archdemon for himself and thus refused to listen to Belial's advice.
Antigonus sent various operatives of the Order such as Faceless, Koschei Dravaris and Saleos after Omaroch, hoping to learn more about Omaroch in the process. He found out about the rivalry between Omaroch and a group of rogue knights known as the Fire Lizards, and he decided to play these two opposing forces against one another to see whether Omaroch would indeed be powerful enough. It turned out to be correct, as Omaroch succeeded in defeating many of his opponents even if the Fire Lizards remained a feared group.
Destruction of the Order
After Antigonus had grown bored working in the shadows, he decided to act. He arranged a meeting between himself and Omaroch, but it did not go well. Omaroch refused to become the Order's lapdog and instead decided to act in order to stop Antigonus's dreams of world domination. This infuriated Antigonus who had hoped to use Omaroch and the Dragon Diamond for his own ends, and he was certain that his powers were good enough to beat down an archdemon. This resulted in a grand battle which eventually decimated the Order.
Antigonus fought against Omaroch for a long time and held his ground. Eventually Omaroch found a hole in Antigonus's defense, though, and defeated him brutally. Belial saw Omaroch strike Antigonus down, but Antigonus had an ace in his sleeve and cast a spell on Omaroch while trying to teleport away. It was thanks to the spell that Omaroch's latent magic powers increased, and he ended up teleporting away at the same time with Antigonus, leaving the injured but alive Belial behind.
The dark powers of Omaroch and Antigonus reacted to each other, hurling each man to a different area. Omaroch ended up near the caverns which led to the Demon Realm, thus alerting the demons to his presence. Antigonus, meanwhile, was trapped between different planes of reality, unable to leave and seemingly doomed to stay in this fate worse than death forever.
Antigonus's defeat and presumed death shook the Order of the Black Rose to the core. Belial was the only person from the top brass of the Order to survive the massacre, and he swore to hunt down Omaroch for what he had done. It would take years to rebuild the Order, but Belial had done his homework and learned all the essential skills from Antigonus prior to the man's death.
Antigonus also left behind Desdemona and Mordecai who grew distant after losing their father figure. As the Order grew once more in the years of the Great War, it was thanks to Antigonus's teachings that it could prosper in the first place.
Meanwhile, Antigonus spent decades trapped in the plane between worlds. The only thing that kept him sane in his solitary prison was his hatred for Omaroch and his vow to avenge the defeat of the Order of the Black Rose. Thus he spent the following years plotting how to have his revenge. He also tried to find a way to break free from the celestial prison but to no avail.
Return to Life
However, everything changed on a seemingly ordinary, eventless day. The barriers between the worlds broke for a moment, giving Antigonus enough time to plunge into the gap that emerged. At that point he didn't care whether it would lead him to his doom as long as it took him away from the maddening plane of reality where he had spent so many years.
Antigonus ended up in Maar Sul out of all places. Disoriented by his return, he accidentally unleashed his magic and slaughtered a nearby citizen who had startled him. The bystander's death made him focus and realize that he was back in his own world. He quickly hid in a nearby tavern to ponder his next move and to figure out how long he had been away.
After careful questions, he found out about the Great War and the Cataclysm as well as the ensuing years. He couldn't directly ask about the Order and it took him some time to find out that Belial had survived the encounter with Omaroch and the Order had become a prominent force in Maar Sulais politics once more.
However, by this time he also found out that Belial had been assassinated by people connected to a death cult called the Totenkopfs. Furious and saddened by his inability to be by his brother's side, Antigonus modified his plan and took on the identity of his late brother, claiming to be a reborn Belial. He used his alter ego to his advantage and infiltrated the Matheson Crime Family.
Although suspicious of him at first, the Mathesons spared him when he provided them with valuable knowledge on how to take over Jardine. He became close to Galeras Matheson and acted as one of his cohorts in the invasion of Jardine. He took great care to keep his alter ego self hidden from public, though, instead preferring to plot from behind the Matheson throne.
This was all just an elaborate act to gain the Mathesons' trust (or at least make them see him as a valuable tool) and thus gain information on the Crimson Coalition and Totenkopfs in particular. It was by that time that Antigonus met the ambitious and bitter Totenkopf called Thrax and quickly appealed to Thrax's ambitious nature by promising him untold wealth and power if he helped him take down the enigmatic Master of the cult. He also used Thrax's and the Coalition's knowledge to find out if Omaroch was still alive. He quickly learned that the demon he sought was now working for the Magicracy of Alent.
Content for the time being, Antigonus spent the following weeks as one of Galeras's advisors while slowly building a spy network which would remain loyal only to him. Although he couldn't be quite sure if Thrax or Galeras would betray him, he could at least trust in their greed and ambition and that they wouldn't threaten him yet. He also began planning the takeover of the Order of the Black Rose from Koschei Dravaris who had turned out to be working for the Totenkopfs but he knew he had to be subtle and keep his presence hidden for the time being.
- "The fate that befell me was in many ways like death... only worse. But I swore that I'd return to have my revenge on the demon who defied me, and that day has finally dawned."
- —Antigonus to Khalid al-Saif
Antigonus had to change his plans when he found out that a group of heroes of the Grand Alliance had infiltrated the Jardine manor to free the captive Lady Amarawyn Jardine. Seeing his chance to finally doublecross the Mathesons who had collaborated with Belial's enemies, Antigonus betrayed the Matheson goons and helped the heroes escape with Amarawyn. It was risky but it paid off even though he had to show his face to the heroes and pretend to be Belial while explaining how he had "survived" the fall from the tower in Maar Sul City. What he told his new companions was true from a certain point of view but he twisted the truth enough to make it believable that he was Belial.
Although the heroes were still understandably suspicious of him, Antigonus kept acting like Belial and slowly seemed to convince most of the heroes that he was the real deal. The ensuing chaos, which took place when Amarawyn faced Galeras's forces, gave Antigonus a chance to briefly chat with Thrax and instruct the Nightstalkers to assassinate Galeras who knew too much about his plans.
However, Galeras escaped the assassins and faced Antigonus, intending to kill him for his betrayal. Antigonus tried to finish off the Matheson crime lord then and there once and for all, but Nymgrock Sigiln and Shyralis knocked Galeras down and tragged Antigonus with them as they fled from the pursuers.
Antigonus was less than pleased that he couldn't have finished Galeras off but he hoped that either the assassins or the mob would do it for him. However, he knew there was a risk that Galeras would reveal all his secrets to Amarawyn and the Alliance, so he had to act faster than he had originally planned. Luckily he had Thrax nearby posing as a member of the Blades of Vigilance so he knew he could use the disguised Totenkopf's help if things turned ugly.
After suffering a long journey with the constantly babbling group, Antigonus and his comrades finally reached their destination: the city of Vanna where Nymgrock and Shyralis hoped to find the missing King Marcus Sarillius. Antigonus was surprised to hear what a terrible fate had befallen the nation of Remon but he also saw Marcus as a means to gain control of the kingdom later on if he so desired.
There was just a small problem: the city was besieged by an army of demons. The group cloaked itself and sneaked into the city only to discover that the demons were mysteriously retreating. Confused at first, the group continued onward and eventually found Marcus and the other heroes of the Grand Alliance who explained that the demons who belonged to the Northern Horde would return soon and the Alliance only had a few days to leave Vanna and never return.
Things got more complicated when Antigonus met the Sultan of the city who called him "father." He realized that the Sultan, Khalid al-Saif, was in fact Belial's son who had been born after Antigonus's imprisonment to the astral plane. Khalid posed a serious threat to Antigonus because he might expose his plans. Although Thrax suggested eliminating Khalid, Antigonus didn't want to kill Belial's son who reminded him of Belial; instead he wanted to offer him a chance to join his plot.
Unfortunately Khalid was more intelligent than he had seemed: he quickly deduced that "Belial" wasn't the real deal, and Antigonus had to reveal his true self to the Sultan. When he tried to convince Khalid to aid him, Khalid instead questioned him and suggested to take him to the other Alliance leaders and expose him. Feeling threatened, Antigonus acted and assaulted Khalid, hoping to wipe his memory clean of the incident. Before Antigonus could use his spells, he was knocked unconscious by Azriel al-Zarar who had been nearby and eavesdropped the two.
The Point of No Return
Antigonus, now imprisoned, accompanied the fleeing Sarquil and the Grand Alliance to Alent. Although he was disappointed by Khalid rejecting him, he still had an ace in his sleeve: Thrax was still pretending to be a member of the Blades of Vigilance so he would be able to help Antigonus escape if there was a need to do so. Antigonus, however, chose to bide his time and wait how events would unfold.
When he noticed Titaniel Focker walking with a new face, Rain, Antigonus called out to them, angering Titaniel who feared the mysterious mage. Antigonus managed to talk briefly to Rain before Titaniel took her away, but he planted the seed of curiosity in the girl who had turned out to be a Maar Sulais like himself.
Aliases and Nicknames
- Everyone in the Order used this honorific title when they were referring to Antigonus.
Antigonus wears grey clothes and a blue scarf which acts as a hood when needed. He has a greying hair and goatee and he wears an eyepatch over his right eye which he lost in an accident. Antigonus is slightly taller than Belial but much slimmer, and he concentrated more on learning magic than swordplay.
Personality and Traits
Antigonus is a true magnificent bastard, pulling many strings in the background. He played Omaroch and the Fire Lizards against one another and even succeeded in his scheme of escalating the Libaterran Civil War just to make his Order grow stronger. He is very arrogant and always underestimates others, and this eventually caused his downfall in the hands of Omaroch.
Powers and Abilities
Antigonus is surprisingly skilled in both fighting and magic. Some said that he had made a pact with demons to gain power that is usually beyond ordinary red mages.
Belial de Ardyn
Belial always admired his older brother Antigonus who was better at everything than he was. Antigonus acted as a father figure and always kept Belial safe during their childhood, and he always took great pains in teaching Belial aspects of magic. It was somewhat frustrating for Belial that Antigonus learned everything so easily while Belial had to struggle to remember the same things, but his love for his brother never diminished. Even when Antigonus grew power-hungry and began contacting demons, Belial stood adamantly at his side. His love for his brother was so deep that he swore to hunt down his brother's killer, Omaroch, down, and he took Desdemona and Mordecai under his wing.
Desdemona de Ardyn
Despite loving Desdemona, Antigonus was very busy with his work and rarely spent time with her as he had preferred a male heir. This in turn made Desdemona feel an unwanted child, a feeling which grew after Antigonus began showing more affection towards Mordecai. Antigonus's death didn't thus shock Desdemona much, and she continued living her life as before.
Eva von Waldheim
Antigonus's love for Eva nearly made him and Belial hate each other. Despite his brother's protests Antigonus stayed by Eva's side and the few years they spent together were among the best in Antigonus's long life.
Mordecai de Ardyn
Mordecai did not spend much time with his father Antigonus, because Antigonus was busy with his schemes. The two loved each other like a father and a son, and Antigonus used every opportunity he could to be with his son. This growing relationship was tragically cut short when Antigonus was killed in battle. Mordecai did not cry in his funeral and shrugged the pain off like he always did and continued honing his skills in order to honour his father's memory.
Antigonus wanted to use Omaroch as a pawn in his grand game of deception. However, he did not anticipate that Omaroch would act openly against him, and it cost him his life. Antigonus was one of Omaroch's greatest opponents but in the end even he was not a match for the matured Omaroch's power.