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Karam Gruul, the notorious Inquisitor General of Brice, was perhaps the most feared man of his time, nicknamed "The Hand of Death" by friend and foe alike.
Life in BriceEdit
The exact details of Gruul's early life and career are unknown, but during the War of the Four Kingdoms, his name became known across the Old World. He secured the Brician borders with magical fire-traps which claimed countless lives, had thousands tortured in his Tower of Inquisition, and even killed many Bricians in "traitor hunts" - and assassinated any general who spoke out against him - to keep the populace afraid and willing to fight.
At the conclusion of the war, a condition of the armistice was that Gruul be put on trial for crimes against humanity, though the king of Brice claimed that he had perished in the last battle and his body lost among the thousands of others ploughed under the earth. However, a number of people believed that this story was merely a fabrication and continued their search for Gruul.
Karam Gruul was more than a highly skilled tactician and warlock - he discovered a means of generating magical energy using a combination of alchemy, physiology and standard sorcery; enabling him to prolong his life for over three hundred years according to Professor Van Heldenghast. This new form of black magic, known as Notura, had a multitude of uses to which it could be turned, including but not limited to: the prolonging of life, Marrangha-like creation of new life, magical barriers that were dangerous to touch, curses and mind-affecting spells.
He also discovered that Notura could be generated by the death of a rare creature from the Ethereal Plane - the Ectoplasmic Lurker - provided that this being was brought fully into the Earthly Plane for its demise. Consequently, Gruul always kept at least one imprisoned nearby in case of emergencies. However, like everything, Notura could be countered by a number of potent magical items with related mystical properties. Six of these Wards of Notura were uncovered by Van Heldenghast in Blackhaven, where Gruul was starting to rebuild his strength.
Activities in BlackhavenEdit
Ever swift to recover his losses, Gruul acquired the services of a number of individuals and began to use the Cabal of the Werewolf - itself being fronted by the Eternal Fraternity of the Rosy Chalice - as a cover to regain power. Among these were the Corpse Master of the Rohmer Theatre, the Xen-Viper assassin Lishek, the traitor guardsman Conrad Zaar and the son of Doktor Kauderwelsch at the Craven Asylum. However, their loyalty to him was tenuous at best - the undead Corpse Master had little doubt that a "living being" would betray it given half the chance; whilst Lishek probably and the son of Kauderwelsch undoubtedly were pursuing agendas other than Gruul's alone.
Each of these new allies played a crucial role in securing his power base and undermining those of his enemies, with the Corpse Master placed directly under him as his lieutenant. Blackhaven also suffered the predations of the Shocker, a Notura creation of Gruul's that had escaped him and dwelt in the sewers under the town, and an Obisian Predator which Gruul dispatched to Sanger's Beacon to eliminate any who might seek the Mask of Belthegor, one of the Wards of Notura.
When his involvement with the Rosichalcians (the Cabal of the Werewolf) was uncovered, a bounty hunter who had once been a victim of his Notura magic pursued him to Penkhull, a nearby village overrun by the plague-bearing Fogwalkers and Gruul's hiding place. When located by the bounty hunter, Gruul was revealed to have been in double hiding, masking his presence as the non-existent "Magus Radu", and using a Mandrake to masquerade as himself!
His narrow escape at Penkhull was marred by the fact that the bounty hunter had learned that the Tower of Inquisition was being rebuilt at Hope's End, and pursued him there, penetrating his surprisingly meagre defences and confronting him directly. Whilst Karam Gruul attempted to use his Notura against the bounty hunter, he was thwarted by both the Wards of Notura that had been recovered, and by the Corpse Master, who had been turned against him and managed to drain the remainder of his energy before being destroyed itself.
The bounty hunter proceeded to destroy the majority of the assembled Cabal using a device called the Ethereal Projector, built by Gruul himself and designed to release pure Notura that would annihilate any living thing in its path, causing intense panic and then the heart to explode within the body! Gruul was taken to Royal Lendle, where he was sentenced to life imprisonment, whilst the Gallantarian army returned to Hope's End and wiped out the remnants of both the Cabal and the Ethereal Projector.