The Lance of Marduk
Not much is definitively known about the wizard known as Mikhail. Though he did travel with three of the five founding members of the Lance of Marduk, he split away long before they were known as such. Although never formally a member of the Lance, Mikhail was a critical factor in the group’s formation; perhaps the most critical of all.
Mikhail became acquainted with the members of the Lance in Fallcrest, near the time at which Aryawwn Thetryn was preparing to leave for the town of Winterhaven. An ill-conceived mixture of hempen rope and pyromancy led to an unquiet night for the town, and this escapade (unbeknownst to Mikhail) happened to coincide with some equally ill-conceived ‘frivolity’ by Vairis of Valenwold. Both were quickly apprehended by the authorities near the Great Temple of Pelor. They were released the next day under orders that they accompany Aryawwn, who vouched for them, on her mission.
Mikhail’s most memorable (and perhaps most important) act came as the group neared Winterhaven. They were ambushed by kobolds, which Mikhail had seen and neglected to warn his companions about (due to the fact that they had kept him bound to better deal with his… volatile… mental state), and Vairis was quickly surrounded. In an attempt to flee, Vairis was badly injured and lost consciousness. Aryawwn moved to help him, but Mikhail unleashed an explosion that killed the fallen halfling and two of the raiders instantly.
Upon their arrival in Winterhaven, the group went to the home of Bjorn Torgnür, Vairis’ lover. When they told him what had happened, the dwarf exacted revenge upon the wizard, or, more specifically, his groin. Mikhail was then incarcerated in the town jail, where he was to be held for the duration of the group’s stay. He attempted to escape, killing one of the guards in the process. He was tried for two counts of murder and sentenced to execution, a sentence which Bjorn delivered.
Interestingly enough, his head was destroyed for a third time by the same dwarf who did it the first two times; when the cultist spy Ninarin raised a small force of undead from around the town in an attempt to kill off the remaining adventurers. She was ultimately defeated and her forces crushed.
Despite his short tenure with the soon-to-be Lance of Marduk, Mikhail is one of the most often discussed topics among texts referring to the group’s founding. There is little question that he was psychotic and unstable, but the result of his actions is less clearly defined.
Some historians, most notably Atreus the Chronicler, argue that without Mikhail’s interference, the Lance would never have been formed.
Though utterly despicable by moral standards, the actions of the pyromancer Mikhail were not without some merit. The immediate impact of his murder of Vairis of Valenwold was to bring together the company of Aryawwn Casalee and the dwarf Bjorn Torgnür, providing the means and the motivation for the cooperation that led to the creation of the Lance of Marduk. A less obvious – but perhaps more significant – impact of Mikhail’s actions was that it prevented Vairis from interfering with the events at Shadowfell Keep, which could have proved disastrous for the group; instead forcing him to resort to his designs at Cadrin, which were also stopped by the Lance.
Others speculate that the group would have been formed nonetheless, but that their bonds would not have been nearly as strong as they actually became. Whatever the case, most agree that his actions, while deplorable, were integral to the founding of the Lance as we now know it.