The V'who?

The Sons of Agrik, the Princes of Balgashang, Fiery Servants of the Despoiler, The V'hir

by Aaron Kavli


The V'hir are the most trusted and important servants of Agrik, perhaps save Pameshlu. They are important enough that the shurpaks ('months') of the Shanashra Ahnemakaral, the Agrikan calendar, are named after them. But these powerful figures of Agrikan worship are more than names in a lexicon. They are personalities and demi-gods unto themselves, each with their own roles and affinity with one of the aspects of their lord. While they are certainly nowhere near as powerful as the Lord Agrik, they are lords of Balgashang and are the subject of prayers from the faithful. All glory be to the Warlord but sometimes a prayer to a lesser power is more fitting, and maybe marginally safer. One would be hard pressed to consider the V'hir as patrons, as Agrikans do not coddle. But the Princes of Balgashang may answer a worthy, or at least entertaining, call for aid.

Each V'hir controls a level in the tower of Balgashang. The proximity of this tower to Agrik's chambers is seen as a measure of status and, as can be expected, the Sons of Agrik constantly warred and schemed against each other to have the highest level. In the beginning, these wars “shook the very tower of Balgashang that the screaming from the victims of the Ten Thousand Ways were verily drowned out by the cacophony.” Agrik was happy to let his sons have their wars, but the halls of the Fiery Tower were his alone to shake. Knowing war was in their very nature, Agrik set his sons to share the levels of the tower, each occupying a different level at different times. This arrangement is often related to the order of the shurpaks, and the position of the V'hir within the tower of Balgashang plays an important role in Agrikan numerology and astrology.

Each of the V'hir look similar to Agrik and only those very familiar with Agrikan lore, or perhaps of a divine nature, would be able to tell the difference on sight. Each Son of Agrik can summon fiery simulacra of their lord's weapons, but each also wields their own. Each weapon is a gift from Agrik and an entity unto itself with its own attributes and aspects and is a part of their master.

The Origin of the V'hir

It is generally accepted thusly, that the V'hir were created by queer Ilvir in exchange for our lord's sundered claw, taken by treachery at the very threshold of victory. Indeed, the Warlord's flesh must have been quite a prize being of the very stuff of the strongest god. But was it a trade, or a contrivance perpetrated by the Craven one? Is it not likely that the sons of Agrik were simply to strong in spirit to bound in one of Ilvir's other grotesque and ridiculous creations? It is perhaps easier to believe that the serpent simply couldn't handle the essence of the V'hir and traded them off as one would rid themselves of a horse that could not be trained. To his chagrin, the most powerful Reaper had the strength to do so.

Do we owe queer Ilvir thanks? Perhaps, but only as to a fool who rolls and babbles in your pig's pen and accidentally uncovers a treasure they have not the mind to comprehend.

— Kemelras Natar Pabron

The Eight Sons of Agrik

Naidurlas the Wrathful

It is Naidurlas that most embodies Agrik's uncontrolled wrath. Naidurlas has been set as general for many of Agrik's armies; as with all of the V'hir he has an innate understanding of war. Yet it is least likely that this prince will lead an army, much to Agrik's anger. Naidurlas immediately enters a rage when battle starts, flinging aside any position of authority to rend into the enemy ranks and slay with his own hands. Despite several punishments in Ak-Syt, Agrik has given up trying to stifle his bloodthirsty son in a command role. While others issue the orders, which may or may not be heeded by Naidurlas, the mighty Prince of Rage slays. Outwardly Agrik shows great disappointment in his son, but inwardly admires his base savagery and desire to kill.

Naidurlas can summon fiery weapons as easily as his siblings, but instead fights with a pillar of flame. This pillar is the embodiment and manifestation of Naidurlas' pure rage and lust for killing. The pillar can reach far and its sweeping flames can wash through the tiniest of chinks in armor.

This Son of Agrik is most often called upon by generals and other military leaders to instill pure desire for the death of the enemy into their men. Many Agrikan sects will hold their flesh to open flame to honor Naidurlas, letting the pain turn to rage.

Symbol: A pillar of flame filled with black skeletons.

Ashlagya the Bloodsport, Hunter of Life

Hunting down the fleeing, chasing the weak, and slaying those who think they have escaped danger are the joys of Ashlagya. When Ashlagya partakes in a battle, the term 'survivor' becomes a very temporary one. Amongst his kin, it is he who most enjoys the spoils of war; rapine, booty, and the other depravities that are the right of the victor. The greater and more worthy the prey, the greater the hunt and thus the more enjoyed by Ashlagya. While as great a warrior as any of his brethren, he is most known for his cunning and ability to trap his victims. Ashlagya's hunts and snares are not merely for the ultimate death of his victims; they are also games designed to fill them with terror and amuse himself. He likes to wound his victims and let them escape time and again to prolong the hunt. Ashlagya trapped his brother Rashkahn after turning an ambush around on him. He locked Rashkahn within Ak-Syt, tortured and dismembered him, before Agrik ended the affair. The two have been at war since.

Ashlagya wields a fiery trident called Gangrik, the Everseeker. Its barbed prongs are used to pin a victim to the ground (or other available terrain feature) while Ashlagya gloats over and terrifies them, before letting them try to run again. It is said that if the Bloodsport ever decides the prey is no longer worthy of his effort or time, Ashlagya will hurl Gangrik into the air. The trident will then streak through the multiverse and slay the target no matter where they hide.

Ashlagya is petitioned by Agrikans for any type of hunt, be it for animals, enemies, or treasure. An effigy of that which is sought is often burnt as a sacrifice before the hunt. Soldiers also ask to Ashlagya's aid to find hidden booty and ripe virgins for the taking as spoils of war.

Symbol: A black, immolated trident.

Zakronas the Pain Master, Keeper of Armahnh

None know the Ten Thousand Ways as does Agrik, but Zakronas can be said to be second only to the Warlord in torture craft. It is Zarkronas that is warden of Ak-Syt, and delights in escorting those unfortunates to their brimstone cells. He never tires of the screams of his “audience” and spends all of his time in Ak-Syt when he is not doing other business for his lord. For his devotion to learning the Ten Thousand Ways, it is said that Zakronas alone has earned the privilege of keeping, and occasionally using, Agrik's fiery whip Armahnh.

Tosekahn, the unquenchable fiery brands, are the weapons of Zakronas. It is with this assortment of immolated devices of torture that he fights. It is far more pleasing to the Warden to incapacitate his foes with pain than to kill them outright. The Tosekahn not only ensure that Zakronas' foes fall to their knees begging for mercy, but they also mark his victims so that there is no doubt who the victor was. The shapes of the brands can be altered at Zakronas' whim and can burn far deeper than mere flesh, leaving marks on a victim's very soul.

As can be expected Zakronas is called upon by those who use torture; jailers, torturers, and inquisitors. Those who seek to master the Ten Thousand Ways ask for his guidance; it takes long years of practice to master them. Zakronas is said to smile on those that enjoy their lessons.

Symbol: Bloodied hands in shackles.

Molgoshka the Beastmaster

It is uncertain whether an innate ability, sheer will, or plain cruelty led Agrik to appoint Molgoshka as master of Balgashang's kennels. Regardless, Molgoshka handles and keeps the beasts of Agrik and it is he who sets loose the fiery hounds of war at Agrik's behest. The kennels fill much of whichever level of Balgashang Molgoshka occupies. Pain hounds, life drinkers, enflamed juggernaughts, fire birds, elementals, and salamanders can be found roaming Molgoshka's halls. Molgoshka played a key role in fighting off Ahnu, though his efforts were in vain.

Semkalkish is the preferred weapon of the beastmaster, a fiery whip that he uses to control his lord's beasts and to amplify their savagery through the burning pain it inflicts. It is said that the crack of Semkalkish is enough to scatter the bravest and most fierce of beasts, even mighty steeds of powerful knights. When thunder causes beasts to skitter and flee into the wild, it is said that Semkalkish has cracked so mightily that it has been heard in all the multitudes of worlds.

Molgoshka is asked to lend his domination to beast handlers of all sorts, especially for willful and onerous beasts. Knights and other mounted warriors call to the beastmaster to ensure their mounts fight savagely and keep their discipline in battle. Footmen call upon Semkalkish, believing the mere mention of it will scatter the horses of the enemy.

Symbol: A fire-breathing salamander in a spiked muzzle.

D'kahn the Harbinger

It is this V'hir that is most likely to travel to Kethira and it is believed that most sightings of V'hir are D'kahn. He is the messenger of Agrik, sent to the multitude of lands to express the Warlord's will. D'kahn is also known as the Harbinger as he takes joy in announcing when Agrik has grasped his sickle Sycanus and taken on the aspect of the Reasonless Reaper. There is no escape, and D'kahn enjoys the pitiful scrambling of Agrik's soon to be victims after he has made the announcement. Once Agrik has had his fill of souls, D'kahn is likely to remain and slay the survivors, unless his lord has ordered otherwise.

As herald and harbinger of the Warlord, D'kahn wields Kekahn, the Wreathed Banner. The banner is made of pure flame and mounted on a black, obsidian tipped pike with cruel barbs down its length called Morkata. Depending on his mood, D'kahn will impale his foes with Morkata or simply burn them away with flaming jets from Kekahn.

D'kahn is sometimes called before battle in hopes that Agrik will soon follow to reap away the souls of the enemy. Some plead that D'kahn grant them a reprieve from death, foolishly believing that he sways Agrik. Most simply leave the harbinger be, knowing that his presence is likely a sign of their own impending doom.

Symbol: A trumpet blowing flames.

Pavahnis the Measurer, Usher of Balgashang

Those who live in service of Agrik are measured upon their death. The Warlord weighs one's strength and is the final arbiter of the soul's fate. It is Pavahnis that ensures Agrik need only spend his time with worthy spirits by “cutting the chaff from the wheat”. All who enter Balgashang hoping to serve the fiery god must first be measured by Pavahnis. He waits before the entrance to Balgashan, the Gate Aflame, and tests souls who wish to enter. It is no mean accomplishment to defeat a V'hir in its own realm, and victory is not the weight against which souls are measured. Instead it is bravery and fierceness; even those who were not great warriors in life can impress Pavahnis with a strong faith or spirit. Most who enter do so after standing up to a severe thrashing. Those rare warriors who actually defeat Pavahnis will find great honor as they enter Balgashang of their own accord. Those who flee will be hunted down by Ashlagya.

Pavahnis wields a flaming great-mace called K'ahn Ghash. It is said to act as the key to the gate of Balgashang. The spikes of the mace are great teeth, tusks, and horns taken from beasts that the gate keeper has defeated.

The most common invocations to Pavahnis are to those expecting to die. The devout will not ask for mercy or an easy passing; they ask for the strength to defeat Pavahnis or at least to make a good showing. He is also sometimes called by besieged defenders to keep the unworthy from breaching the gates.

Symbol: A balance with flames in each plate.

Aneshar the Pestilent

Aneshar is the keeper of his lord's plagues and pestilence. His body writhes in postules that boil and burst, erupting in flame and oozing magma. These make him the most recognizable of the V'hir. Aneshar is called forth to deliver disease at his master's call to weaken defenders hiding within their walls and after battle to finish off the unworthy survivors who were too weak to defend themselves. It is unclear whether Aneshar enjoys some affinity for the skewing of humours to bring pestilence or simply enjoys the pain and suffering it brings.

The putrid warrior carries Kah'damon, the burning blade. The weapon seems to be made of single, solid piece of red-streaked obsidian. While it is unusual in that it is not wreathed in flame, wounds inflicted by Kah'damon cause inflamed infections to immediately take hold that “burn hotter than forge or brand”.

The few who call upon Aneshar are those wishing for entrenched enemies to sicken and die. The V'hir has no means of reversing the forces he unleashes and it is useless (and weak) to ask it to do so.

Rashkahn the Horde Master (Screamer in the Dark)

If any could be considered the least of the V'hir, it would be Rashkahn. He was once considered the first among equals, and his was a great fall. Rashkahn was once the highest of Agrik's generals, the greatest skilled in warcraft as well as a deadly warrior. During the Kentiquious Uprising of the Unmasked Vamakar, Rashkahn destroyed the last stronghold of the enemy and was making ready to crush their general and last reserves. Leading his force around the final hill, Rashkahn found his brother Ashlagya had already slain the foes.

Rashkahn would not forget his loss of glory and plotted to attack his brother in his own chambers in Balgashang. The greatness Rashkahn had as a tactician, Ashlagya had in pure cunning and easily sniffed out the ambush. Turning the tables on Rashkahn, Ashlagya trapped his brother and flung him into the chambers of Ak-Syt. There Rashkahn was tortured, “his eyes flayed, his fingers hewn, and his flames doused”. It was a long time before Agrik learned of what transpired and stopped the affair. Rashkahn was cast to the lowest of the V'hir levels of Balgashang; not for his loss of glory or his ambush attempt, but for being so easily taken and mutilated. Agrik restored most of the damage done to Rashkahn. Ashlagya dubbed Rashkahn the Screamer and the pejorative title has been taken up by even Agrik.

Since that time Rashkahn and Ashlagya have been at bloody odds, and the barely controlled conflict has polarized the other V'hir to one side or the other at various times. Agrik lets the feud go on when it amuses him, but ensures his sons do no permanent damage to each other, or to Balgashang.

Rashkahn wields a mighty war-flail called Karokis. When it strikes the ground, burning sparks fly all around to burn his foes and thunders across the battlefield. With the booms of Karokis, Rashkahn is able to command even his most distant warriors.

While his brothers may disrespect Rashkahn, it is unwise for followers to do so. Human followers know him as the Horde Master and many a leader asks for Rashkahn's wisdom when planning battles. Only those who feel particularly connected to Ashlagya openly call Rashkahn the Screamer in the Dark. In areas where worship of the V'hir is important, followers of these two often find themselves at war.

Page last updated on November 18, 2003 by Jim Chokey.