The Dread Tempests and the Spread of Kato’s Flames
A warrior does not truly come to life until they walk the path of fire and blood.
This is a popular and common belief among the Dread Tempests, the original free company of Kato. The band of savage warriors cut through the forces of the Shattered Hand with unbridled savagery and strange abilities of fire and rage. While not allied or organized with any of the other people of Vathis during the conflict, the Dread Tempests were comparable to that of a force of nature that helped sway the tide of battle. Following no rules or commands, they served as a constant thorn in the Shattered Hand’s side and earned the reputation of “The Fire the Nightmares Fear” among many soldiers fighting for Vathis’ survival. As the war ended and the world began picking up the pieces, many of the Dread Tempests lost the mysterious flaming fervor they possessed during the war. They returned home, some not able to remember any of their time with company. Those who retained the abilities granted to them by their god moved on.
The majority of the remaining Dread Tempests reside near the borders of Rancagesh, Osept, and Vavaire.
The nomadic group has stuck to the area surrounding the Shroud Mountains, making treks and excursions out into the three surrounding nations and occasionally sending smaller contingents farther. Their current leader, a savage half-orc named Halvar Windhand, views the blessings of Kato that he and the rest of the company possess as a sign that they are truly worthy of Kato’s grace. In order to expand his ranks, Halvar is dispatching raiding companies to bring back potentially worthy warriors. After capturing them the Dread Tempests will subject their potential wards to a literal trial by fire. Burning them at the stake, feeding them hot coals, or simply dumping molten rock or metal on them. As one would expect the survival rate of such rituals is low, but surprisingly there are a select few who embrace Kato’s might and survive.
The Blessing of the Dread Tempests is a strange divine aura that is defining for members of the Dread Tempests.
It grants them immunity to any harm that would befall them from heat or fire, allowing those who possess it to be able to walk through flames or even wade through lava. It also makes them naturally resilient and harder to harm by any physical means. Those who have encountered the group recount their skin as being like plate armor in terms of hardness. Many who receive this blessing undergo a drastic shift in personality or forget themselves all together, existing only to serve Kato and spread the flames of the Dread Tempests further. The blessing is possessed by every member of the Free Company and is considered the rite of passage into their ranks. While the blessing can be forced upon worthy individuals through practices like the trials Halvar subjects people to, it will occasionally manifest itself in those who simply show extreme reverence to Kato.
As the flames of the Dread Tempests spread, many wonder what their motives may be.
The growing force Halvar Windhand has at his disposal is concerning to many of the settlements of the bordering nations of the Shroud Mountains. The size of the force and the terrifying strength granted to them by the Blessing of the Dread Tempests has the potential to strike a crippling blow to any city, particularly in this time of rebuilding after the Darkest War. Lucky for the surrounding settlements, Halvar seems to be focused on growing his numbers at the moment, and sending smaller scouting parties out into the world in search of various things, in particular magical swords and weaponry to presumably arm his forces. What’s clear is the embers of what was a raging inferno during the Darkest War are being stoked again for some purpose. What that purpose is, only time will tell.