As fiercely beautiful as she is deadly, this Tiefling Warlock carries within her dark magical powers, and an even darker past.
Veterans Armor +1
Rod of Cursed Honor +1
Bracers of Mental Might
Gloves of Eldritch Admixture
Cape of the Mountebank +1
Belt of Vigor
Potion of Healing
Born into a long dynasty of great Tiefling warriors, Kallisto learned at a very young age the art of the blade and the way of the warrior. She quickly and masterfully learned how to harness the intrigue and power of the dark magical forces stirring within her, and she was well-known amongst her peers for finding new and creative ways to use them for destruction and dominance on the battlefield. She trained early and often with the very best of the best, and soon found herself under the direct tutelage of the greatest, most revered and respected warlock general her people had known for many generations – Rolan the Brave. Though he was still widely considered quite young for someone so accomplished, his name was already known throughout the land.
Rolan took great interest in Kallisto from the start, and would go out of his way to set aside one-on-one training time for just the two of them. He saw in her great potential, and immediately knew she was different from anyone he had ever met. He taught her a new way of looking at the battlefield, of sizing up her opponents and developing unexpected but highly effective battle strategies. He showed her how to calm her mind, and thus the world around her, even if it seemed as though the entire earth itself were burning away into nothingness. Rolan’s philosophy was unique and effective, although it was quite different, and at times, considered highly controversial. This certainly earned him his fair share of criticism and skepticism, from not only those within his ranks, but also some of the most powerful and elite members of the Council – their people’s ruling body of government and religion, all rolled into one very secretive, closed and highly privileged conclave of individuals whose thirst for power was only greater than their quest for absolute control.
But none of this mattered much to Rolan, who would always shrug off the many concerns and warnings Kallisto and others of his trusted entourage would offer him daily. He believed instead in fate, destiny, and, though it may have been his one failing – he truly believed in his heart of hearts that the Gods had a plan for him. Before every battle, he would end all of his rousing speeches with the exclamation “By the Hands of the Gods!” – and his men would cheer and shout and embrace the moment, filled with Rolan’s confidence and conviction.
It was in those moments that Rolan shone the brightest in Kallisto’s eyes – watching him, that dangerous sparkle in his eyes and the ever-confident grin on his face, the way he would always, mid-speech, glance back at her and catch her eyes and hold them for but a moment, as if it were all for her and her alone, always making her feel as if they were the only two people in the room – she knew, in those moments, that she was party to greatness. Together, under Rolan’s leadership, they could do anything. Together, they could change the world.
After years of serving by Rolan’s side as his most trusted confidante and second-in-command, Kallisto began hearing whispers and rumors in the streets concerning Rolan and the great dissent he was causing amongst the Council. It seemed, from what she could gather, that certain members were starting to openly support his ideas and philosophies, while others remained vehemently against him. There was even, reportedly, talk of drastic measures being taken. Some went so far as to claim they had heard (always from unnamed sources, of course) that a sect within the Council was already planning to stage a coup against Rolan and his army, to put an end to his “dangerous cult of personality” once and for all. Talk like this concerned Kallisto greatly, and while there had been numerous threats made against Rolan’s life over the years, none of them disturbed her deep down, in the very pit of her stomach, quite the same way as these new rumblings somehow did. Her innate instincts, perhaps even that very darkness that lingered within her, told her that something was wrong – very wrong.*
Late one night, as Rolan’s army was camped out deep in the woods on long-range patrol, Kallisto found herself unable to sleep. She couldn’t stop thinking about the recent increase in rumors she had heard surrounding Rolan and the Council, and it bothered her that Rolan was treating them so casually. So, quietly, she made her way over to Rolan’s tent. She wasn’t certain he would even be awake, and she knew it was completely inappropriate and out of line to even think of doing such a thing, let alone actually following through with it, but she also knew it was something she just had to do. When she reached the entry, she easily slipped inside, her movement masked by darkness, but her low-light vision giving her ease in the shadows.
And there he was, just as she had envisioned so often in her daydreams and at night as she lie awake in her tent, her mind racing and unable to sleep. Quietly dozing and splayed out across his cot as though he had gracefully fallen into it, his sheets down around his waist and his perfectly-muscled chest bare in the moonlight that filtered in through the canvas. There was a peaceful quality to his even breathing, and the way his long dark eyelashes brushed the tops of his cheeks just ever-so-slightly. Kallisto wished she could stop time and simply stay there forever, watching him sleep.
It was almost funny, how unlike his usual self he seemed while deep in slumber. Awake, he was always so on-alert, moving a thousand miles a second – it was near impossible to catch him, and Kallisto was often the only one who could ever keep up. Here, in the darkness and quiet of his tent, he was just like any other man. Watching him, Kallisto felt something stir deep within her that she always tried to keep tucked and hidden away – a secret she could never share, not with anyone, for fear Rolan would hear of it and everything that had been built between them over the years would quickly disappear in an instant. She could not allow that to happen. Having him by her side, sharing a part of his life, even if it meant being nothing more to him than another one of his soldiers, meant far too much to her to lose him over something so silly and inconsequential.
At that moment, just as she began to let her guard down while her mind wandered away, his eyes fluttered open and he immediately spotted her – Kallisto started with surprise, but his gentle smile reassured her that he wasn’t angry at her intrusion. He waved his hand at her, beckoning her closer.
“Kai,” he whispered as she approached his side carefully. Had it not been so dark, Kallisto knew he would have been able to see her cheeks reddening – ‘Kai’ was his special nickname for her, and that he was using it in such an intimate setting certainly made her heart skip a beat.
“Rolan, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you-”
He put up a hand to stop her, and gave her a playful wink. “Nah, it’s alright… not much for sleeping anyway.”
He sat up, yawning, and made room for her on his cot beside him. Kallisto paused for a moment, uncertain as to whether it was really appropriate for her to join him on his bed, but he pat the space encouragingly and she could feel her resolve crumbling away. She sat, carefully, and though she could sense his eyes on her – she could always feel it when he glanced her way, as she was often acutely aware of the interactions they shared, no matter how casual – she couldn’t bring herself to look up from her lap, where her hands fidgeted nervously with the cloth of her robes.
Kallisto shook her head, still averting her eyes. She could feel the beads of sweat as they began to form on her chest, her forehead – she knew he was probably completely unaware of it, but he always did this to her whenever he focused all of his attention at her. She just couldn’t help the way her body responded to him.
But she could also sense that something was different between them this night – perhaps it was simply that they’d never really been alone together in this intimate of a setting before, or that lately, she had begun to notice the piercing stares he always gave the young recruits as she flirted casually with them. She’d always been popular amongst members of the opposite sex, due in part to her attractiveness and charismatic nature, but also equally in part to her impressive skills as a warrior. She demanded their respect as well as their romantic attentions. In any case, Kallisto had felt a shift between the two of them as of late, and it both excited and frightened her.
“You’re worried about the Council, aren’t you?” He paused briefly, awaiting her response – a courtesy, really. He could see right through her. He let out an exasperated sigh before she could even defend herself. “You shouldn’t let them get to you. None of you should. It’s not your battle.”
At this, Kallisto completely lost the cool, reserved composure she had been struggling to keep ever since she stepped foot into his tent. She gawked at him, her eyes wide with shock. “How can you say something like that??”
He met her eyes slowly, his brow furrowed and exhaustion wearing deep on his face “What?”
“Rolan! Are you honestly being serious right now?? How can you not see it?” She shook her head at him, amazed at his naivete. “Do you not see how they fight for you?” She motioned to the outside, to all of the sleeping soldiers in their tents, scattered around the camp. “How they would die for you?”
A shadow passed over his face, and for a moment, Rolan looked more tired and worn down than she had ever seen him in all her years of knowing him. She lowered her voice to just above a hush, and carefully moved closer to him. “How I would-”
“Kallisto, no.” He abruptly put up a hand to silence her, and looked her straight in the eyes, his expression hard and serious. “Don’t.”
Kallisto looked back at him, her pride hurt as though she had just been scolded by an angry parent. She fought back tears of embarrassment. It would be intolerable for him to see her cry over something so trivial, here with the two of them sitting so close, side by side, in this intimate darkness. She had been with dozens and dozens of men in the past in similar settings, and had always felt so confident and in control in every one of those situations – so what was going on? Where was her confidence now? Quickly, ashamed, she looked away from him. She could no longer face the intensity of his gaze.
With her voice barely above a whisper, she moved to stand and leave. “I’m sorry. I- I should go.” But as she turned away from him, she felt his hand – rough and callused from years of battle and hardship, but still somehow soft and reserved where his skin brushed hers – as he gently grabbed hold of her wrist to pull her back.
Before she even knew what was going on or how it had happened, she was wrapped up in his arms. She had fallen into him – or had he been the one to pull her in? – and either way, his lips were on hers, and he was tenderly, almost uncertainly, sweetly kissing her. For a moment, she could barely believe it – though she had dreamed of this moment so very many times before, she had never thought it would actually happen – and yet, there she was, savoring the softness of his lips and the warm feel of his hands on her back, on her neck, in her hair. She kissed him back, urgently and passionately, and let herself sink into him so there wasn’t an inch of their bodies left untouching.
Suddenly, a shout rang out from somewhere at the edges of camp, and in an instant, sounds of chaos and confusion overtook the night. The pounding of hooves shook the ground outside, and the clash of steel against steel almost drowned out the cries and shouts of soldiers scrambling out of their tents, crying to one another for help.
In one swift movement, Rolan leapt from his cot and grabbed his sword from the other side of the tent. Kallisto sprang to his side and grabbed his armor off the floor, her hands moving deftly over his body as she quickly strapped him into it. The sounds of the attack drew nearer, and for a moment, their eyes met.
The expression on Rolan’s face was hardened, battle-ready, but there was a softness in his eyes as he looked at her, almost as though he were taking in every last feature of her face, and committing it to memory. Quickly, he pulled her into him and kissed her again – but the uncertainty Kallisto had sensed from him before was long gone. His lips pressed hard against hers, and he kissed her passionately, urgently, almost desperately.
And then he was gone – disappeared out into the night, and into the thick of the battle raging just outside. Kallisto could hear him shouting orders to the other men, and at the sound of his voice she instantly snapped into action. She had left her sword back at her tent, but luckily, she didn’t always require a weapon to do battle. She took a long, focused breath, and pulled from somewhere deep down within her the dark powers that she so often kept at bay. This was their time. This was their place. These were the moments for which she’d been born.
Fearlessly she exited the quiet of the tent and found herself standing in the midst of complete chaos. Unmoving bodies covered in blood and dirt blanketed the camp, mostly dressed in nightclothes – they had been completely defenseless. She recognized all of their faces, now twisted and disfigured in death. The ground burned around her as flames licked at her feet, and thick black smoke obscured shadowy figures amongst the tree line as they struggled with one another, locked in mortal combat.
Kallisto anxiously scanned the battle field for any sign of Rolan. These warriors, disguised though they were in dark cloaks and ghastly masks meant to hide their identities, had no doubt been sent by the Council, and that meant one thing. They were here for Rolan, and Rolan alone – anyone else who got in the way would just be collateral damage.
Finally she spotted him, about a hundred meters ahead, completely surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered. He was in trouble, and lots of it. Without even a moment’s pause, Kallisto hurtled curse after curse at the men surrounding him as she sprinted to his side, viciously holding nothing back. This gave him the break he needed to dodge and weave around the confused enemy, expertly thrusting his sword into the chest of one warrior after another. Together, fighting side by side as they always had all these many years, they took down the remaining Council warriors until none were left standing.
A terrible silence fell at last over the battlefield – what had once been their quiet camp, set up for a simple reconnaissance mission, was now a wasteland of broken bodies and charred remains. Kallisto felt the adrenaline slowly leaving her body, and in it’s place, a cold emptiness grew. Everyone – save Rolan and herself – was dead. Gone. All of her fellow soldiers, many of whom she had known since childhood, slaughtered senselessly in the middle of the night. Just as the inevitable survivor’s guilt began to creep it’s way up her throat, threatening to overtake her, Kallisto felt Rolan’s warm, reassuring hand on her shoulder. She turned and fell into his arms. He held her tight, pulling her close.
“Rolan… the Council, they-”
“I know.” His voice was hard, heavy with the same guilt Kallisto felt weighing on her chest. “I should have listened to you, to everyone.” He shook his head in disgust. “And now this…” Kallisto followed his gaze as he glanced around at the destruction that surrounded them, at the bodies on top of bodies that belonged to both friend and foe alike.
Kallisto reached out and gently pulled his face towards hers. She caught his eyes – red and puffy, almost as though he’d been crying – and her heart ached at the sight of him. He was beating himself up inside, and she couldn’t bear the thought of him blaming himself for everything that had just happened. “Rolan, you couldn’t have-”
Suddenly, without warning, Rolan’s eyes went wide and he cried out in excruciating pain. His body slumped against hers as his muscles gave out and his knees fell weak.
“Rolan!” Kallisto screamed. She felt her heart pounding against her chest as she struggled to hold him upright. “Rolan! What’s wrong?!”
He weakly reached around behind his back and Kallisto’s breath caught in her throat. “No… no no no no no…”
A single arrow, undoubtedly poison-tipped as was the Council’s trademark, stuck out from behind his shoulder blade. Thick blood oozed from the wound and spread dangerously across his back. Kallisto’s eyes frantically searched the trees and the shadows for where it had come from as Rolan’s breath grew ragged with every passing second. Keeping her eyes focused on the shadows around them, she cautiously knelt to the ground, carefully lying Rolan on his side and adopting a protective stance over top of him. Every one of her senses was on high-alert, and ancient Eldritch magic crackled at her fingertips.
And finally, as if her innate deadly instincts had somehow zeroed in on their target, she spotted the enemy. There, hiding in the shadows at the top of a distant treetop, an assassin crouched with his bow at the ready. Another arrow already slung and prepped to fire.
A rage unlike any she had ever felt before burned within Kallisto’s chest. She could no longer contain the darkness within her, and this time, for the first time, she didn’t want to. She welcomed it. She embraced it. Like the original demon ancestors responsible for creating her race, she set aside every ounce of humanity she had within her, and completely gave herself over to the magic that coursed through her veins. Just as the assassin was about to loose another arrow at Rolan, Kallisto flung a bolt of bright blue lightning at the adversary, exploding the tree he had once occupied and the earth below it so that nothing remained but a blackened, charred and gaping hole.
Somewhere, in the far reaches of her mind, Rolan’s soft, ragged voice called her back from the depths of the darkness.
“Kai…” He coughed, “Kai, please…”
Immediately she was at his side, returned to her normal self, the ancient magic that had just taken control once again contained safely within her. The only thing that mattered in the world to her was this moment – this person – lying right before her, calling her name. He reached out to her and she gripped his hands tightly, covered in blood and dirt as they were. Tears streamed down her face as she leaned close to him, examining the wound on his back where the arrow still stuck.
Her voice trembled as she spoke. “Hey, shhh… it’s going to be alright…” Upon closer inspection, she found that the wound had already begun to turn necrotic – a sure sign the arrow’s poison was already working it’s way into his system. She swallowed deep and a sob escaped her throat. “It’s okay… we just have to-”
Rolan reached up to touch her face. His rough, callused hand stroked her cheek, pulling her attention back away from the wound. She could barely look at him but at the same time, she couldn’t take her eyes away from him. His eyes held hers so powerfully, as if she were the only thing he could see. “It’s too late, Kai. It’s too late…”
At last, all of the emotion she had been struggling to keep inside – her tough, strong exterior – came crumbling down. Tears streamed freely down her face, and Kallisto lifted Rolan into her arms, cradling him in her lap. She knew his words were true. The warrior within her knew. But her heart – her heart could not, would not, accept them to be true. She couldn’t lose him. Not now. Not ever.
“Rolan, no… please, no…” She cried as she ran her fingers through his hair, lovingly caressed his lips, his cheek, his forehead. Even now, covered in sweat and dirt and blood, in this terrible place, surrounded by so much death, he was beautiful to her. Trembling, he gripped her forearm. His eyes bore into hers, and she felt as though they were the only two people left alive on the face of the earth. She could see him once again cataloging her features, but more slowly, more carefully this time.
“Kai, I want you to know… I want you to-” His body shook with tremors and he coughed violently. Kallisto held him tightly, trying to stabilize him, but she felt absolutely helpless.
“No no no no no… please, stay with me… please, Rolan, stay with me…”
Rolan’s eyes met hers, and it felt like an eternity had passed as she gazed into them – they weren’t frightened, or sad, or angry, or unsure. They were the same as they had ever been – filled with that confident sparkle that was so uniquely his, that unwavering certainty and conviction that belonged to him and him alone, but somehow managed to inspire everyone around him. He smiled softly as he looked at her, and a peacefulness settled across his face. She could feel him slipping away.
And then he was gone. His eyes remained open, still staring up at her, but also somehow staring past her – at what, she would never know. Kallisto swallowed deeply, a sickness threatening to engulf her. Her head was spinning, her thoughts unfocused and uncontrolled. She forced herself to take a long, slow breath – the way he had always taught her – and felt it as her mind began to clear. She leaned over and carefully closed his eyelids. She softly kissed each one, and then his forehead, and finally, his lips. His warmth had already left them.
Gently, reverently, Kallisto lowered Rolan’s cold, unmoving body onto the ground. She hesitated a moment as she stared at the poison arrow still sticking out of his back. Her eyes narrowed at it, and she felt a fire burn within her. Cautiously, determinately, she wrapped her fingers around it and with as much care as she could manage, pulled it out. It made a sick noise as it exited his flesh, and it took every last bit of self-composure she had left to maintain her focus.
She examined it for a moment. The craftsmanship was impressive – though the point of the arrow was quite small and razor-sharp, it had been carved in intricate detail. If she looked closely enough, she could almost make out some kind of… text? She carefully wiped the blood – Rolan’s blood – from it off onto her robes. It was indeed text, but she couldn’t immediately recognize it. It seemed almost some kind of code, but for what, she hadn’t a clue.
Off in the distance, far beyond the tree line, she heard the sound of horses – perhaps two dozen of them – heading in her direction. Horses meant riders. And riders meant trouble. The first wave of Council warriors had not returned as expected, Kallisto knew, because she and Rolan had made sure to leave none alive. And as she had personally taken care of destroying the lone assassin responsible for Rolan’s murder – she felt her heart flinch at the thought – the Council would be certain to waste no time sending in reinforcements.
Anger and rage boiled within her, and she wanted nothing more than to stay and fight and destroy every last one of them that came her way. Let them come. Let them face her wrath. Let them burn. But it’s not what Rolan would have commanded her to do, not what he would have wanted – she was the last, and his sole protege. If she didn’t escape now, make a run for it, the Council would simply keep sending in troops until she became a martyr herself. And what good is a martyr to a revolution when everyone behind the revolution is already dead?
With one final, fleeting glance back at Rolan as he lie still upon the earth, his eyes closed in peaceful eternal slumber, Kallisto clutched the arrow to her heart and took off at a sprint. Away from the still-smoldering camp, away from the man that she loved with every fiber of her being, away from the pursuing forces of the Council and the revenge she so desperately wanted. She ran and ran until her legs gave out and then ran even further. She ran as tears of rage and disbelief and sadness streamed down her face. She ran because Rolan couldn’t. Because her fellow soldiers couldn’t. Because all that remained of Rolan and his life and everything he ever was and everything he had ever built now lived within her and her alone.
And one day – she didn’t know when, but she knew the day would come, and in fact, fate and the Gods be damned, she would make it come – one day, she would finally exact her revenge upon all those responsible for tearing away from her the one person, the only thing, all that had ever mattered to her in this life. She would unleash the darkness within her, and she would use it to destroy them. But first, they would know pain. And they would know loss. And they would know suffering. And then, at long last, they would know death.*