OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
- Intent: Expand on Sio's Drow followers, sub the martial arm of the Daughters of the Destroyer. Sub the unit Xalda belongs to and may eventually lead.
- Image Credit: Here. Fourth image on the page. The Heralds would not dual-wield two big swords, but the image is cool.
- Role: Shock infantry, religious zealots.
- Links: Xioquo, Firemane, Twilight of the Goddess.
- Unit Name: Heralds of the Destroyer. Called the Karish'zar Taq'mar'i'z in Xio.
- Affiliation: Daughters of the Destroyer, Order of Fire, House Kerrigan-Alcori, Siobhan Kerrigan, Firemane, Xioquo.
- Classification: Force infantry.
- ACS-207 Aerosolblaster (purchase request here, approved here). ACS-207 Cryoban Gun (storefront request here, permission here)
- ARGH flamer (Wrist variant), Wrist Bolter, ACS-208 Wrist Ion Beamer (storefront request here, permission here), ACS-208 Wrist Tensor (storefent request here, permission here). ACS-208 Wrist Charric (request here, permission here). Two wrist weapons per soldier max.
- ACS-004 Olympian Battle Armor (Permission requested here, obtained here). Commlink uses CD-X cryptologic key (available for Firemane per this thread).
- Cylix bolt pistol, Magnetic Revolver, Dissuader KD-30 or Sonic Wave Pistol.
- Reaper Plasma Shotgun.
- Grenades, thermal detonators.
- Rodian death blade
- Molecular stiletto, holdout blaster, garrotte, dart gun (variable chemical payload)
- Misc. equipment like lifeform scanners, cyanide pills, grappling hooks, Force focusing visor, Paragon-class Personal Energy Shield (request here, permission here), no-shows.
- Availability: Unique.
- Deployment: Minor.
However, they are a rather small unit. Moreover, their conventional equipment is geared towards close range combat and they lack long range weapons. This leaves them vulnerable to snipers and other soldiers with long range rifles. Their shotguns are devastating close quarter weapons, but have a low range, slow reload speed and slow rate of fire. This makes bombarding them with salvoes at long range a good tactic. They do not carry lightsabres and use Sarixi instead. While the Sarix is able to deflect blaster bolts and cut through many materials, it is a physical blade with actual weight behind it and thus less effective at reflecting blaster fire than a lightsabre would be. A Sarix also cannot cut through a blast door such as Qui-Gonn did, nor can it be used to melt through a solid wall or vehicle plating.
They are meant to strike quickly and hit the enemy hard. They lack heavy weapons such as rotary cannons, heavy repeating blasters, grenade launchers and anti-tank missile launchers. They would be vulnerable to long ranged bombardment, tank formations and so on. Thus they will require support from others in pitched combat, such as pilots, heavy infantry, snipers, artillerists and so on. They do not pilot fighters, operate tanks and heavy artillery or snipe enemies from a distance or bust tank formations. They are a strike force of warriors augmented by the Force. No more, no less.
Their fanatical zealotry can be used against them as they are loathe to quit a fight. Ysalamiri, Voidstone and the like will deprive them of preternatural advantages in combat. Their strength comes from the Dark, so powerful Light Side powers can weaken them, making them less effective than they are. Their armour is good, but only offers minor lightsabre protection. More protective than Stormtrooper armour, but inferior to truly lightsabre-resistant suits such as those made out of Phrik or Beskar.
Xioquo society has always been steeped in the Dark Side. For centuries, the drows were governed by a ruthless mageocracy where only those who pursued the path of Darkness ended up on the top. Thousands laboured as slaves to serve the whims of the mistresses who sat on the top of the pyramid. The disobedient were brutally punished and often sacrificed in ghastly rituals. Believing that Tygara was theirs by right and that one day their 'demigoddess' Mystra would awaken to lead them to conquer it, the Xioquo warred against their neighbours and rivals, the Qadiri and Vashyada. While the technologically most advanced of Tygara's natives, their low population, incessant power struggles and the constant need to be on their guard against slave revolts kept them from fulfilling their potential.
Nemesis came to their subterranean kingdom, the Underealm, when a coalition of Firemane, Eldorai and Qadiri forces invaded their territory, defeated their armies and war beasts. Mystra was awakened, but defeated by Siobhan with the help of her allies. By that time many Xioquo had become disillusioned with their creator since she fed on them just as enthusiastically as on their enemies. Slaves rebelled, seeing a chance to cast down their chains, and the remaining mistresses finally capitulated. Trials were held for a number of war criminals, slavery was abolished and a new government was set up. The present Queen of the Xioquo, Liavondra, is an adept of the Light Side, who seeks to lead her people on a better path. However, weaning them off despotism, and reclaiming their independence would take time.
During her campaign, the Xioquo had conferred the title of Karishzar upon Siobhan Kerrigan. It means Destroyer in their language. At first it was supposed to condemn her as an abomination that threatened everything the Matriarchy stood for her. To many freed slaves, it became the title of a liberator, for it showed the hated mistresses feared her. A select number of Xioquo went a step further and came to see the Karishzar as a Goddess. By slaying Mystra, she had taken her place and set the dark elves free. This belief was naturally far from universal, but spawned a number of cults.
The most successful were the Daughters of the Destroyer. Fittingly, their was a former priestess. Her name was Qas'Ziru. Once she had been a cleric before being betrayed and enslaved in one of the perennial power plays, for the totalitarian régime had branded her a traitor. When Mystra arose from her slumber, the dark one required sacrificial lambs to feed on to fuel her power. Ziru was one of those who should have been fed to her. Being tormented by Xioquo inquisitors had left Ziru deeply scarred and more than a little unhinged. However, she was saved from getting her own heart torn out when Siobhan Kerrigan slew Mystra. Ziru witnessed the dark one's destruction. This moment changed her life forever. To her it was no simple liberation. It was a divine revelation.
She took her gratitude to extreme lengths. She was probably not in the stablest frame of mind. Either way, she began preaching what she considered to be the word of the Destroyer. Her first followers were found among freed slaves. At first the authorities tried to suppress the cult, viewing it as a nuisance and potential source of disorder, as some of its members tried to take justice into their own hands. This changed after Ziru received an audience with Siobhan Kerrigan. What happened during their talk remains obscure, but the cult received official sanction in return for its loyalty and obedience.
To ensure that the Daughters of the Destroyer would be ready to do their duty when the Karishzar calls them to do battle in her name, they founded a martial organisation called the Heralds of the Destroyer, where its most martially inclined Force-Sensitives would be organised. The Heralds would attain glory and honour by slaying the enemies of the Karishzar, thereby gaining the favour of the Dark Queen. Those among them who fell on the battlefield would be martyrs and be rewarded for their meritorious sacrifice. At the same time they would protect the future of the Xioquo people. Each Herald swears a blood oath to Siobhan Kerrigan and her family. It should be noted that both Siobhan's wife Tegaea Alcori and her adoptive daughter Elpsis are deeply uncomfortable about these zealous Drows. Ironically, they regard Elpsis as the Daughter of the Destroyer, for her fire is clearly a manifestation of the Destroyer's will. Tegaea is disturbed by them occasionally bowing before her as 'Consort of the Blessed Destroyer'. Elpsis is also perturbed by their belief that the 'Offspring of the Destroyer' is destined to become the next Karishzar when the present one ascends to a higher plane.
One of the first Heralds was a young Xioquo woman called Karrigan'Xalda. The young woman had once been the slave-soldier of a cruel mistress. She became acquainted with Siobhan when her mistress sent her to the Firemane CEO as a 'gift' prior to the fall of the Underealm. In reality, Xalda had been given the task to poison Siobhan. But the Firemane leader had figured out her true purpose and managed to sway the young Xioquo to her cause.
Like the Daughters, the Heralds are an all-female sect. The Xioquo are probably the most misandrist of all the Eldorai races - and that's saying something. Attempts to sway them to a more inclusive mind set have been unsuccessful so far. Their religious devotion makes them extremely zealous in combat, though this can also be used against them. Training can only be described as extremely gruelling.
Living in the darkness so long has made the sun and other bright lights painful for Xioquo. In daylight the members of this race wear robes and hoods to shield themselves, and often wear steampunk-like sunglasses on long operations. Their skins can blister in the sun if left exposed. One of the more cruel, yet effective means of torture devised by their Qadiri enemies was to simply secure a Xioquo in the midday sun and let the brightness and burns torment their captive. Consequently, Herald training involves exposing the prospective recruit to the sunlight and the pain it brings. For this reason, they also train in extremely hot environments such as deserts. Moreover, there is a lot of physical exertion to build endurance and toughen them up. Mentalists from the Coven of Tlaxqui, a Xioquo witch cult, are brought in to force the recruits to face their fears, summoning illusions to torment them. As a test of devotion, acolytes are sometimes hung up on a wheel or pillar with a rope for a couple days.
A Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape course is also part of the curriculum. The survival portion is being dumped in generally inhospitable terrain with maybe a knife. The recruits have a set amount of time - of which they are unaware of - to endure the elements. In addition to having to deal with wild beasts, they are tracked by their instructors and have the objective of avoiding capture. Naturally, they will be captured. This is necessary for the next stage, where they have to resist the torture inflicted on them by their captors. Instructors are not allowed to kill their 'captives', but are supposed to make trainees believe that everything else is fair game. This is obviously an exaggeration, as there is no point in inflicting injury that would permamently ruin a promising recruit, but it is still extremely nasty. Recruits are expected to escape when the opportunity presents itself. Those who pass these and other trials are inducted into the ranks of the Heralds.
Training, ceremonies and ritual are important components of the daily life of the Karish'zar Taq'mar'i'z. Many Firemane members consider them deeply disturbing. However, they make for a tenacious, brave fighting force. Often before battle the members of the sect will mark themselves with runes. All Taq'mar'i'z are expected to keep their armour and swords in top condition and always be ready to answer the call to take up arms in the name of the Karishzar, her family and the Xioquo people. Being a unit of Force-Sensitive warriors, they come under the purview of the Order of Fire, Firemane's Force-using branch. The Order is under the direct control of Siobhan, though most of its day-to-day affairs are supervised by its senior officers. The Heralds are deployed in small groups. They are ideal for ambushes, commando actions and rapid strikes.
Bloodletting and extreme religious devotion aside, the Heralds also educate their members in other ways. Literacy rates are very low among Xioquo since the aristocrats that dominated the ancien régime saw no reason to grant their slaves or low caste members access to education, rightly fearing that it could motivate them to organise and rebel. The Heralds recruit their members from the classes that used to be oppressed, so they strive to educate them. To this end, the warrior priestesses cooperate with their parent cult, the Daughters of the Destroyer, and Firedawn, a Firemane organisation that provides education to freed slaves. The Xioquo are very proud of the fact that they were the most advanced Tygaran race, so now they strive to catch up with the rest of the Galaxy. The Daughters and the Heralds share this ambition. Saoban and Karrigan are popular names for freed Xioquo slaves and those who were wronged by the old order. Thus one finds many Heralds who have named themselves after their idol. It is considered a matter of principle among the Heralds to ensure that the family members of a dead battle sister are looked after.
The relationship between the Heralds and the Xioquo government is a bit complicated. While an aristocrat, Liavondra was secretly a dissident and was eventually locked up and tormented by her family. She also did not abuse her slaves. Moreover, Siobhan put her on the throne and she seeks to lead the Xioquo out of the dark age. In that regard she is a figure the Heralds must respect. However, she is also a Lightsider and clearly does not share their beliefs. Indeed, she regards them as deeply disturbing - understandably. The Heralds are aware of this. However, they despise the reactionary forces that seek to restore the totalitarian old order and bring back slavery. In that regard there is enough common ground.
Edited by Karrigan'Xalda, 09 October 2018 - 10:10 AM.