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Phage the Untouchable
Phage began her life as a totally different womanJeska the mountain barbarian, sister of Kamahl. Jeska was slashed across the stomach by the Mirari sword of Kamahl in his bloodlust over the Mirari. As she lay dying of the unhealing wound, Braids, minion of the Cabal, came to her and offered her a new lifea cursed life.
Jeska was brought before the First of the Cabal, known for his killing touch and near-omnipotence. He embraced her, intending to kill, but the Cabal god Kuberr intervenedand Phage was born. The hatred poured into her by the First strengthened her rather than killing her.
Phage quickly became a favorite in the pit fights of the Cabal. Her only weapon was her skinPhage’s touch would rot any and everything that is or was alive. The only cloth she could touch was silk, a material that she adorned herself, sheaths for her ultimate weaponher very own flesh. She was dedicated to the Cabal now, leaving her old identity behind. Cold, merciless, and deadly, she was the ultimate avatar of the dark energies that spawned her. The wound across her belly had been sealed into a jagged scar with dark sorceries. The sole person she could touchthe only living thing that she could embrace without rotting it to nothingwas the First. Their death auras canceled each other out.
Soon after her dark rebirth, Phage again faced her brother, this time in pit combat. Kamahl was convinced that Jeska still lived within this evil husk called Phage. But she defeated him; defiantly refusing his invitations to return to the light. After his retreat back to the Krosan woodlands, Phage was given a new task build a spectacular coliseum to attract more spectators to the pit fights in order to increase the Cabal’s wealth and status. She personally oversaw its construction, and participated in one of the first matches held within. The crowds loved her, and the First began to love her as wellin more ways than one.
Meanwhile, Kamahl marched an army of forest creatures to “save” his sister from the clutches of the Cabal. Braids had planned it, and even sold tickets to the sibling death match of the legendary Kamahl battling the infamous Phage in the coliseum. Kamahl agreed to go along with the Cabal’s plan, on the grounds that Phage returns with him to be healed if he wins and that his druidic army is allowed around the coliseum in the event of treachery.
Phage was delighted at the chance of killing her meddling brother in the coliseum, with the First and the crowds watching. Kamahl wielded the power of the forest through a green-mana channeling staff, while Phage wielded the dark power of the swamps within her touch. They were evenly matched, but soon the scales tipped in Phage’s favor when Kamahl lost his staff, the source of his power. Just as she was about to deliver a killing blow, she was struck to the ground by . . . an angel!
Recognition sparked in Phage. In her first pit fight, she had battled Ixidor and his lover Nivea. During the match, she had slain Nivea, and afterwards Ixidor was banished to the desert. There he discovered the power to make illusions real, and created this angel, Akroma, in the image of Nivea to avenge her death.
Kamahl managed to reclaim his staff and thus heal himself as Akroma and Phage battled it outbut he did not want this newcomer to slay his sister! He joined the fight against Akroma and together he and Phage defeated her, to the crowd’s delight. Akroma, severely wounded, returned to her master.
Kamahl and Phage knew they must destroy Akroma before dealing with each otherso the First and Kamahl formed an alliance between Krosan and the Cabal, green with black, unheard of since the Phyrexians wars of old. They created the great axe Soul Reaper to kill Akroma.
Soon Phage found herself marching towards the lands of Ixidor, with her army of slaves and undead, alongside Kamahl and his forest legion. The battle began well, the combined might of the two armies overwhelmed Ixidor’s crab men, putty monsters, aerial jellyfish, and temporal distortions. But the next defense would prove devastatingthe invader’s nightmares manifested as defenders of Ixidor’s realm.
Phage was a walking nightmare. When she was affected, the massive army stopped dead when thousands of enormous deathwurmsone for each person Phage had killedwere brought into being and began eating everything, causing widespread destruction. The armies were obliterated, and the survivors turned and ran for their lives.
Kamahl rushed to his sister’s side. All the evil that had made her Phage had been borne out with the deathwurms. She was again Jeska, and again dying of the unhealing wound. Suddenly, a deathwurm lunged down to devour them both, but disappeared upon touching Jeska! She revealed that she could absorb them all back into her, saving Otaria but damning her to become Phage once more. With help from Ixidor’s ‘disciples’-sentient points of lightshe gathered them all back into herself becoming Phage once more and returned to the swamps of the Cabal. Kamahl returned to the forest, and the once-united armies were disarrayed across the desert. Ixidor was gone, having been swallowed alive by the deathwurm that represented Nivea’s death. Akroma again swore vengeance and started a religion hallowing her creator called The Vision of Ixidor and an empire bent on destroying the Cabal, especially Phage.
Phage knew Akroma gathered armies and priests for the coming battle. Neither woman would stop until the other was dead. She was now highly respected among the Cabal. The First was beginning to love her, and began treating her as an equal rather as just another Cabal minion. She knew the Cabal must ready itself for an attack by Akroma, but the First seemed unworried. Phage decided to reclaim the Cabal army, which had gathered along with remnants of the Krosan army in an old abandoned desert city christened Sanctum. They had no intention of returning to their masters. When Phage arrived, she claimed she had no allegiance with the Cabal any more, but secretly was plotting to turn Sanctum into a Cabal colony through games. Over the course of a few months, she slowly turned this peaceful colony into a gambling paradisethe first step towards death matches which ultimately would make Sanctum a Cabal city.
Akroma had plans to conquer Sanctum, too, since it was strategic in the coming war. She had brainwashed Braids into the religion of Ixidor after the battle, and learned all about the First and Phage through the mind-reading disciple creatures. Akroma flew out to the city to demand that they surrender. She claimed Sanctum as a colony of Ixidor’s lands. Phage countered by saying the Cabal was allied with Sanctum (not wanting to reveal her plot to the citizens gathered). But Akroma used a disciple that had ravaged the mind of Braids. It burrowed into Phage’s mind and showed the thoughts and memories of Braidsshe knew that the Cabal god Kuberr had spared Phage to allow the First and Phage to come together to have a child. That child would be a mortal vessel for Kuberr himself. The First wanted this, but was unaware that they were destined to successfully conceive a body for Kuberr. A chilling memory of something the First had said sent Phage reelinghe planned to kill her after he got what he wanted, he was frightened Kuberr would demand her to sacrifice him as the dark god had demanded he sacrifice his family centuries before.
Akroma flew off with a promise that Ixidor’s armies would sweep through the city. Phage left immediately for the coliseum. She was willing to conceive a body for her god, but could not let the First kill her, not with her new destiny.
When she returned, she was greeted with decorations and flowers, tokens of love to her from the First. He thought he was seducing her; she knew he was drawing her in for the kill. She was led into a seemingly empty room containing a naked man, lying on the floor in submissionthe First. Both man and woman forgot all their woes and worries, embraced, and sank to the floor.
After the passionate union, Phage rested on the floor next to her lover and thought of her new rolemother of a god. But she still was in danger, and suddenly realized why the black widow ate its mate. She knew what she must do to ensure her baby’s safety.
A couple months later, the First knewit was time. He gathered his closest attendants and his famed dagger, and stalked off to Phage’s quarters to slay her, to eliminate his ultimate weaknesslove. Phage was in the bath. He stalked in, but his mind clouded. Phage revealed to him that she was pregnant, but did not tell him the child was destined to be Kuberr. He was hopelessly lost, sputtering and unfocused, and even ended up surrendering his dagger to her as a ‘gift’! But she did not kill him then, he was surrounded by his attendants. Phage instead wanted to test out her new toy in the pits, and the First agreedif he could not bring himself to kill her, he could arrange for her to tragically die in a pit match.
The First’s plan failedPhage emerged from the fight victorious. Her opponentsdementia horrors and huge ogreshad all been slain. By now Phage knew she could not be killed, Kuberr would not allow it until his birth. The First did sent Phage to do the one thing that would ensure her deathhe sent her to Akroma on an assassination mission. With her he sent three bumbling agents of his to ensure the deaths of them both, but on the way the group discovered Braids, brainwashed and broken, so Phage sent the trio back to the coliseum with her. She continued on to Akroma alone.
When she arrived in the castle of Akroma, lithe and deadly, Akroma was nowhere to be found. Suddenly, Phage’s longtime nemesis emerged from a boot boxshe had been searching for Ixidorand Phage, seeing her chance, pounced on the wounded angel. Enraged, Akroma bucked and tried to throw her demonic assailer off. Just then, Stonebrow the Centaur, Kamahl’s ex-general, walked in and saw the two enemies fighting. He pulled out his great axe and swung. It cleaved through Phage’s side but rebounded when it hit a rock-hard mass in her midsection. Surprised, Stonebrow was perplexed at her survival of the blow.
“You can’t kill me, Stonebrow, for I bear a god inside me. I am pregnant.”
Stonebrow was baffledfor the babe did not show.
Alive, but still wounded grievously, Phage escaped back out into the desert. She barely made it across the desert to Sanctum, in her ninth month of pregnancy. It was agony. She survived by stealing a dagger and using it to spear packrats in their underground nests as she slowly made her way to Sanctum.
She finally made it, in a stupor and near-dead. Zagorka, Phage’s longtime friend and “Governor Mother” of Sanctum, sympathized with her in her condition and prepared to help heal her and deliver the due baby. Phage slept and healed as the city slowly became aliveit turns out the world was to receive three ancient powers called the Numena. The city of Sanctum was home to Averru, the numen of mountains and war. Akroma’s lands were home to Lowallyn, the numen of art and hidden waters. And Phage was to give birth to Kuberr, the numen of swamps and greed.
Phage was awakened as the city shook. She was now in her tenth month of pregnancy. The servants of Averru, called ‘Glyphs’, escorted her out of the city, saying she must deliver her child in his own lands for the three numena, once ready, would prepare for war.
The walk to the coliseum was unbearable. Despite no apparent swelling, the baby was getting extremely heavy and would often kick and shift. Phage nearly passed out several times along the way but knew she must reach the coliseum for her child, her god.
After another torturous march, she reached the Cabal swamps and then the coliseum. She became worriedhow could she confront the First in her weakened state? He would surely take advantage and kill her. But when she reached the coliseum, she passed out, and she was escorted in immediately to the coliseum. She awoke halfway there with the First looming over her. He expressed false concern for her, a show for the people around. He did not wish for people to label him a murderer of family.
The First’s plan was simple. He would give her poisoned wine just before the operation. But, when the chirugeon began make the incision across her belly, she still drew breath. So, he formed a backup plan. Since Phage was eleven months pregnant, the baby was bound to be beastly and deformed, so when the chirugeon surgically removed the child, he would label it an abomination and destroy it; and execute Phage for sleeping with beasts. But, when the chirugeon brought out a healthy, normally formed baby boy, the First became livid.
He became angrier when Phage revealed the child’s nameKuberr. The First was shocked to have discovered that his lover and his god had conspired against him. He would have killed both mother and child right then but could not, for a large group had assembled to see the child of the most powerful couple in Otaria. He had been utterly betrayed.
A few days later, Phage rested in her room, thankful the baby had finally been delivered. But her troubles were not over. The infuriated First burst into her room unannounced and advanced on her, sword drawn. She escaped the room with a minor cut on the shoulder. She ran through the winding halls, lost and cornered. After escaping him again with a cut to the side, she crouched cornered under a stairwell. As the First advanced, Braids, back to her old self, came up behind. As the First raised his sword that would slay his lover, Braids summoned an ogre, and the beast bit The First of the Cabal in half. The centuries-old ruler of one of the most powerful nations on Otaria was dead. Phage and Braids, glad it was all over, laughed.
Despite the personal victory, Phage still had Akroma to contend with. She was marching her army to Sanctum, now called Averru City. Receiving psychic instruction from her precocious infant son, who was still just a baby but bore the advanced intellect of the long-dead numen. For every death in the coming battle, Kuberr would gain a day of age, accelerating his path to manhood and ultimately ruler of Otaria. Phage left the coliseum with her army of skeletons, revenants, ghouls, specters, zombies, and other foul creatures of black-mana. Her destinationAverru City, where she would destroy her nemesis once and for all.
When she arrived, the mysterious Glyphs welcomed her, and transformed certain ancient zombies into what they once wereKuberr’s elite Assassin Guard of old. The army of swamps rushed into the city, with a cry of “For Kuberr!”
The two armies convergedthe followers of Phage and the followers of Akroma. The two leaders clashed at the peak of a great dome. Akroma had an advantage of strength, but Phage was quick and lithe, avoiding blows and inducing blots of corruption on the angel’s body.
“First the tail, then the wings, then the eyes, then the Vision.”
Phage and Akroma struggled on, evenly matched. Neither could kill each other outright, as each small injury was healed by their magic.
“There is no good and evil. There is only survival. In the end, you are as much a murderer as I.”
Phage was so intent on killing Akroma that she did not see Kamahl stalk up. So focused on defeating her nemesis, she did not see him brandish the legendary Soul Reaper and bring it back in a mighty swing. Kamahl shouted, “Forgive me, Sister,” and swung. The blade chopped through Phage, and then through Akroma. The evil of Phage was finally and truly dead, but Jeska’s spirit lived on to be part of Magic herself.