Location: Fantasy Worlds » Fantasy Fiction
pure evil. The one name that signifies corruption and evil is Lord Soth
of Dargaard Keep, the Knight of the Black Rose.
was not always the case. Once, in years before the gods punished mortals
with the cataclysm that shook these lands to the core, Lord Soth was a
great and noble soldier for Good, a member of the renowned Knights of
Solemnia. In that most famed of famed brotherhoods, Soth attained their
highest honor, the Order of the Rose. For a time, he fought for justice
and freedom. His heart remained pure then, his soul unspotted. When it
came to resemble the symbol of his order - the flawless red rose.
it was not long after Soth married and brought his wife to Dargaard Keep
that darkness settled upon his life, a darkness so profound he has never
escaped it, a corruption so complete it made the once-proud knight a willing
agent of Takhisis, The Queen of Darkness.
claim that pride undermined Soth's will to do good, others say lust, and
still others greed. Of those who still walk beneath the triple moons of
Krynn, only Soth himself knows for certain the cause of his own doom.
The world is left to construe what it will from the skeletal bits of history.
Soth's wife befitted a man of his station and potential. A noble's daughter
and only child, she offered the young knight much in the way of worldly
goods. That love had little traffic in Dargaard in those days was apparent
to all that visited the keep, if they found Soth there at all. The lord
of the castle spent much of his time traversing the Solamnic countryside
in search of suitable wrongs to right, accompanied by thirteen knights
loyal to him above all others.
summons to Palanthas, most beautiful of all cities, came to Soth early
in the spring. He and his retainers set off for the Knights' Council to
be held in that unconquered city, but before they reached its perfectly
planned streets, temptation bested the Knight of the Rose. He and his
men came across a mob of ogres attacking a small band of elven women.
The knights easily defeated the brutes, save one who had snatched up an
elfmaid and dashed off into the woods. Lord Soth himself battled and conquered
this, the strongest of ogres. The women he saved, a young elfmaid on her
way to take her vows as a Revered Daughter of Paladine, dazzled him with
her innocent beauty.
after, they became secret lovers, though in doing so Soth broke both his
sacred marriage vows and the Code of the Knights of Solamnia. It seemed
as if the lord of Dargaard Keep believed this blot on his soul would remain
hidden forever, for he went to the Knights' Council as if nothing had
transpired between him and the elfmaid. Yet two things conspired to bring
Rose Knight's shame to the pure light of Kyrnn's sun. The first was the
news that Soth's wife had disappeared from Dargaard Keep. The blood found
in her chambers cried foul play, and the nobleman's almost casual reaction
to this shocking news made many in his order wonder for the first time
if they had judged Soth too highly. The second incident that shouted Soth's
guilt to those gathered at the Knight's Council was the elfmaid's sudden
it was discovered she was with child, many suspected Soth, for he had
kept company with her even before his wife's disappearance. The other
elven women who had been rescued by the Rose Knight and his followers
that faithful day confirmed those suspicions and revealed Soth's faithlessness.
The minutes at Soth's trial are recorded elsewhere in history. Here I
will note only that he was found guilty of many crimes, sentenced to death,
and dragged through the streets of Palanthas in shame. Death would have
been a kinder fate than the one eventually claimed by the fallen knight.
nobleman's thirteen loyal followers rescued him from his prison on the
night before his planned execution. Accompanied by the elfmaid, the disgraced
band slunk from the walls of the city and made their way to Dargaard Keep.
The true Knights of Solamnia pursued the renegades, but Soth reached the
safety of his castle before they could capture him. In the months that
followed, the lord of Dargaard attempted to build a new life within the
walls of his besieged castle. He married the elfmaid and went through
the motions of honoring his order's rituals.
none who stayed within Dargaard's walls for long lived to tell the tale,
legend has it Soth grew moody and violent. Not even his wife, heavy with
child, was spared the disgraced knight's mailed fist. The gods granted
Soth enough self-knowledge to see how he'd fallen, and the realization
fanned the few sparks of honor left in the weave of his besotted soul.
In Dargaard's long-unused chapel, Soth prayed to Paladine, Father of All
Good, and his elfmaid bride offered her hopes to Mishakal, the Light Bringer.
Again the gods favored Soth with the ability to see; thought this time
it was a vision of the king priest of Istar, who some named prophet and
others labelled madman. Paladine himself charged Soth with a sacred task:
prevent the king priest from demanding power from the deities who oversaw
Soth succeeded in this quest, Ansalon - nay, all of Krynn - would be a
very much different place today. Yet the fallen knight never reached the
city of Istar. The elven women he had once rescued now poisoned his mind
with intimations of his wife's infidelity, and Lord Soth returned to his
castle before his quest was done. Raging like a lunatic, he confronted
his elfmaid bride, mother of his newborn child, with the imagined transgressions
of their vows; at that very same moment, the king priest raised his voice
to the heavens, demanding the power to eradicate all evil on Krynn, ordering
the gods to bow down and serve those mortals who offered them worship.
their fury at this affront, the gods hurled a mountain at the prideful
city of Istar. The destruction wrought by that most terrible of heavenly
messengers is known as the Cataclysm. Yet few who know how that catastrophe
twisted the land realize the manner in which it altered Lord Soth's destiny,
as well. As a flaming mountain struck Istar, a fire engulfed Dargaard
Keep. Soth's elfmaid bride, trapped in the blaze and dying, held out her
infant for the fallen knight to rescue. Still possessed by jealous rage,
he turned away. For failing in his quest, for letting his own child burn
to death before his eyes, Soth's elfmaid bride called a curse down upon
the once-noble knight. "You will die this night in fire," she wailed,
"even as your son and I die. But you will live for every life your folly
has brought to an end!"
say the elfmaid's curse still echoes throughout the mountains around the
castle. Others claim Lord Soth repeats the words to fill the silence of
his long and sleepless nights. The flames took Soth's life that night,
but he did not die. Blackened and burned, he was reborn as an unliving,
undead creature of evil. He still wears the charred armor of a Knight
of Solamnia, but the rose emblem that once told of his honor was scorched
and twisted by the fire. It is by this corrupted symbol - the black rose
- that many know Soth; and for more than three hundred years he has walked
the earth, doing the bidding of the most evil of evil deities, Takhisis,
Queen of Darkness.