Raid Shadow Legends Lore: The Story of Wight Queen Ankora

In ages past the Dragonkin Empire expanded its territories in part by subsuming countless smaller kingdoms and territories. One was the Human kingdom of Emaria. Situated along the jagged coasts of Peltas, west of the Thundermount, Emaria was a small but proud state. It was wholly unprepared to resist the might of the Dragonkin Empire and agreed to its own annexation.

Three generations later, the former royal line of Emaria still existed, though as a noble family permitted to continue to live at the pleasure of the Dragonkin Empire. Their descendant, Ankora, was far from happy that her forebears had been deposed and was also wise enough to know there was no hope in challenging the Dragonkin openly.

Matters changed when the Empire sought to conquer another Human realm, called Vald, which was ruled over by a young king named Narses. Full of pride and vigour, Narses rejected the Dragonkin diplomats and declared war. For three years the Dragonkin tried to invade Vald, to no avail. Narses proved himself a shrewd strategist, and as the war dragged on the Empire sought alternative means of bringing him to heel. They turned to Ankora.

Ankora was to act as a mediator between Vald and the Dragonkin, and convince Narses that being brought into the imperial fold would not be the end of his legacy or his privileges. Ankora was excited to cross the Strait and meet the king who was such a thorn in the Empire’s side.

What occurred in Vald was hardly what she expected, though the outcome was still broadly what the Dragonkin had hoped for. From their first meeting, Ankora and Narses were enamoured with each other; the Emarian heiress’ beauty, intelligence, and poise struck a chord with the ruler of Vald, while Narses’ confidence and humour surprised Ankora, who expected only royal formalities in her meetings with him. For his part, Narses was truly besotted. He could list his counterpart’s virtues and talents for hours on end, marvelling at her healing of his favourite cousin’s worsening mind fever with Emarian magics and the way she unpicked the schemes of his ‘less supportive’ advisors and thwarted those who would surrender the kingdom to the Dragonkin. Ankora deeply admired Narses’ resolve and commitment, and soon came to support him in all things, even if it meant giving him painfully true words. This only furthered the king’s respect for her.

The two were soon plotting a way to seal their union and win something over the Dragonkin. Ankora was calmer and more thoughtful than Narses and, most importantly, knew the Dragonkin Empire and how it functioned. She convinced him that, for all his abilities, Narses could not win a protracted war with it. Instead, she showed him a way to achieve their own goals while convincing the Empire it had won.

The proposal they brought before the Dragonkin was bold but clear. Narses would forever surrender the kingship of Vald and it would be subsumed into the Empire. However, he would be installed as regnal governor of the new territory. Furthermore, Ankora would assume the same duties for Emaria. They would be married, and the pair would rule the two fiefdoms as one — Valdemar — in the Empire’s name.

The Dragonkin agreed. Narses and Ankora were therefore installed as their empire’s first Human suzerains.

The pair ruled for many decades from the capital they established on the island of Zetra, in the middle of what became called the Valdemar Strait. When nearing the end of life, they resolved to pass away together, and made an oath over a magical vial filled with their mixed blood that they would spend eternity as companions.

The claim was more than romantic whimsy — they took poison and perished together. As the years passed, the Suzerainty of Valdemar was swept away with the fall of the Dragonkin Empire and Zetra fell into ruin. Legends of the dead lovers persisted though, enough to draw a discreet expedition to Zetra’s barren shores many centuries later.

The senior Knight Revenant Mother Cybele unearthed the couple’s grand tomb. With invocations known only to the Soul Shepherds, she triggered the spell enchanting the vial still clutched in Ankora’s shriveled, partly mummified hand. Both Ankora and Narses were awakened, the two former rulers rising sluggishly before the Knight Revenant.

Mother Cybele explained the nature of Undead immortality to them. They were awed at the power she wielded, the ability to cheat death itself, and were beyond overjoyed at having arisen together. Wishing to learn more, they agreed to meet Losan K’Leth himself.

The master of the Knights Revenant showed the pair false deference, claiming he intended to help reestablish Valdemar as a great state. All the while he probed them for knowledge on the ancient Dragonkin, for he had dispatched Cybele to seek them out in the hope that they would share arcane knowledge that had been lost since the Empire’s fall.

While K’Leth learns from them, Ankora and her husband will remain his honoured allies. For their own part, the ancient rulers of Valdemar are happy to bide their time with their new host, discovering what they can of modern Teleria. Above all, they hope to master the necromantic arts, and Ankora in particular intends to resurrect her descendants, forging an Undead dynasty that will reign over more than just Valdemar for eternity.