Guardians of Grandfather Tree
The Black Duke
Vampire Lord of Castle Perilous
The Black Duke was originally a loyal friend of Gareth Dragonsbane before his ascension to the King of Damara. He fought in many battles against the Witch-King Zhengyi’s armies in 1359 DR. His greatest weakness was his great desire for justice. He was utterly devoted to the balance of the scales, following the ideologies of his patron deity, Tyr. So powerful was his desire for justice, that it slowly grew closer to vengeance than justice. He gradually lost the ability to feel remorse or empathy for those he slew, perceiving his slaughter of them as nothing more than a balancing of the scales, justified entirely. This slow degradation of the value of life drove him down a dark path. Eventually, the Witch-King saw this as a grand opportunity. Zhengyi began sending corrupting whispers to the knight, convincing him that no mortal was free of guilt. The duke’s lust for justice and vengeance grew to a bitter pessimism and eventual hatred of all life. Ultimately, he completely abandoned his former friends and devoted himself to the Witch-King Zhengyi. He was transformed into a vampire lord and given a place in Zhengyi’s court. He was henceforth known as The Black Duke.
When the Witch-King was finally defeated by Dragonsbane and his band, The Black Duke assumed leadership of all the evils that remained within Castle Perilous.