Ezekiel the Dread, by Theo Palzi
Ezekiel is a powerful halfling sorcerer, who currently presides over the remains of the College of Artificiers.
Born in the Wilderness around 1307, Ezekiel was considered the runt of his family. His mother – whose identity remains controversial – considered him unworthy to pass the Warpstone Trial, and abandoned him on the steppe when he was a mere infant. Ezekiel himself claimed to be from the now-extinct Raksheah clan, but his word is all the evidence available as to his true origins.
Left to fend for himself, alone in the wilderness, the livid and frightened child there resolved to wreak havoc on his family and his tribe. It is around this time that Ezekiel’s power manifested as a Sorcerer.
At a young age, Ezekiel joined a small roaming group of bandits who lived in the Steppe. Accounts of how exactly this happened vary as there are no other surviving members of the original group, but most of them involve one member dying and the child Ezekiel taking their place (though this seems rather implausible). The child thus completed his upbringing as a bandit in the harsh environment of the steppe.
Little is known about the Brujah before Ezekiel joined, as it seems to have been one of many groups of marauders who preyed on travellers, explorers, and weaker tribes. The first significant mentions of it in written records dates from 1324, when they successfully attacked a small patrol of the Eighth Leg and took a member prisoner for ransom. Like most nomad groups, the clan relied on a sorcerer in battle for support – and while no early reports mention him by name, it is overwhelmingly likely that this was Ezekiel’s role.
As a supporting caster – and a halfling – Ezekiel made intelligent use of the fact that he was frequently under-estimated by opponents. Beginning in the mid-1320s, he developed a habit of challenging other sorcerers to arcane duels in exchange for their personal loyalty. This was a circumstance in which the young sorcerer excelled, and over time, he secured a personal retinue of sorcerers, who accompanied him everywhere.
This significant power boon turned the Brujah from a maruading clan of bandits into a serious and terrifying force. As they became bolder, their behaviour became increasingly violent. Ezekiel had earned his place as the clan’s de facto leader by approximately 1330, by which point reports of rape and pillage by his clan had become commonplace in the Steppe. Moreover, the Brujah laid claim to increasingly large stretches of land in the centre of the great Steppe – pushing both the Drukhaz Tribes and the Khan Tribes far behind their agreed lines of the postwar settlement. Each side accused the other of sponsoring the insurgents, and the threat of another all-out war between Trellech and the Khan tribes seemed increasingly likely.
In 1334, Ezekiel resolved the situation himself. By this point, he had gathered a complete retinue of 15 sorcerers whose loyalty was sworn to him personally. He sent envoys both to King Thomas and the sitting Khan, Subudai. To the King, he promised that he would destroy his clan and desist from hostilities in exchange for a lavish estate. To Subudai, he promised that he would destroy his clan in exchange for the heads of every Raksheah who resided in his lands.
Why Ezekiel demanded such a harsh prize from Subudai is not known for certain. His hatred towards his birth parents due to his abandonment is no secret, but it is likely he was unable to provide their names to Subudai and simply asked for the entire clan to be killed to ensure that his parents could not escape. In any instance, the Khan paid his price. When Ezekiel rode into his new estate in Charlotte, he did so with over 300 heads mounted on spikes.
The Brujah were thus wiped out. As none of its original members were literate – and absolutely none of them save for Ezekiel and his retinue have survived – very little is known about the clan itself. In the aftermath of Ezekiel’s deal, the Great Steppe returned to normal – albeit with about a quarter its pre-1325 inhabitants dead.
College of Artificiers.
Ezekiel spend the next decade residing in Charlotte. In 1351, he was approached by Lazarenko to lead the College of Artificiers during its Charter Crisis. He resides in the remains of the College to this day.