| Alexia Ciannor
Mistress of the Witchfire
Alexia Ciannor was born in 586 AR to Lexaria Ciannor in the city of Corvis. Her mother was the leader of a witch coven who used their sorcerous powers in secret for the betterment of the community. In those days, during the rule of Vinter Raelthorne IV, the line between witch and sorcerer had become blurred, and any born with this power could be accused of communing with the forces of darkness. When Alexia was seven years old, her mother and her coven were arrested and sentenced to death by Magistrate Ulfass Borloch, an ambitious man of low character. Pandor Dumas, Lexaria's brother-in-law and a Morrowan prelate, tried to shield Alexia from the harsh realities of the trial and execution, but Alexia was an intelligent, willful child. She managed to sneak away into the woods where she witnessed the executions personally. In a daze, she stumbled home.
Lexaria was buried in a special repository on church grounds in the graveyard of the very cathedral watched by Father Dumas. Her granite tomb serves as a warning to all that Corvis will not tolerate the black arts. Inside the tomb is the magical blade Witchfire used in the executions.
After her mother's death, Alexia was sent to be fostered by her closest living relative, Prelate Dumas. The Church of Morrow likely believed that Dumas would have a positive influence on Alexia and subvert any possible sorcerous taint passed to her by her mother. Alexia was profoundly affected by her mother’s death: she became withdrawn, despondent, and refused to have anything to do with other children. Nearly every night she woke screaming from terrible nightmares, often calling out the names of her mother and of Magistrate Borloch, among others. There is little question that she harboured both a growing obsession with her dead mother and a growing ability in the sorcerous arts, which she appears to have concealed from her uncle. Years later, Alexia began to formulate her revenge. Alexia vowed her mother and the others who were set up and executed would live again to have vengeance - revenge on Borloch who orchestrated the trial and revenge on Corvis which she considers a wicked city.
In 602 AR, Alexia conducted a series of grave robberies around Corvis. Among the graves plundered was the site containing four members of the Corvis Coven. Her first misguided attempts to bring back her mother resulted in animating the coven as walking corpses, eager to bring death to the living. That experiment was put down and the souls returned to the blade.
Amid the the Longest Night festival, a time of excess and celebration when the streets are packed with revelers, a horde of walking dead rose up from the undercity to assault Corvis and wreak all manner of havoc. In the chaos, Alexia visited the church to steal her mother's corpse and the Witchfire, accompanied by some of her strongest creations as well as the four zombified coveners she already rescued. Her plan is to steal the Witchfire, escape, and use it to restore the entire coven fully to their former selves. The wizard Vahn Oberen tracked Alexia down to the church and attempted claim the Witchfire for himself after Alexia entered her mother's tomb, but failed to get through her thralls. After Alexia escaped, her army of undead collapsed into inert bones.
Alexia decided not to reanimate her mother's corpse in the same crude way as the others. Instead, she saved Lexaria for a special treatment in the Cyrissist Temple of the Incomplete Axiom, the location of a great machine that can take the witches' souls imprisoned inside the Witchfire and reinsert them into their old bodies. Once she has used the machine resurrect her mother and the other members of the coven, she plans to turn her attention to the evil magistrate Borloch and Oberen, whom she had previously learned to be Borloch's collaborator in the trials a decade ago.
Alexia led an army of thralls to attack the Cyrissist temple, completely overcoming the resident priests who relied too heavily on secrecy and unbreakable doors for protection, and were not equipped to defend the temple against so many determined interlopers. The souls of the Corvis Coven were extracted by the Temple's great machine when Alexia placed the Witchfire in the receptacle. Unfortunately, before the resurrection could be complete, Alexia was defeated by her uncle's agents and fell off the platform.
As Alexia passed through the swirling energies, the loose souls seized her as a vessel. Her memory of the events at the temple was later erased; she didn't know how she survived the fall, half-mad and possessed by the ghosts of her mother and the others. This has further enhanced her magical abilities, particularly where the Witchfire is concerned.
At the same time, agents of the outlawed Inquisition, led by Vahn Oberen, infiltrated Corvis. They seized control of the city with the help of Magistrate Borloch and prepared for the arrival of a skorne army led by Vinter Raelthorne. United with the Witchfire, Alexia Ciannor raised the Legion of Lost Souls to aid the city during the Battle of Corvis. Thanks to the Witchfire, anything killed in the city rose up under Alexia's control, allowing the 1200 undead to take on an army almost 10 times their size. Vinter's plans were thwarted, and by the end of the battle Alexia killed Vahn Oberen - now revealed to be an alias of former head Inquisitor Dexer Sirac - and his soul was absorbed into the Witchfire. To many of the common folk in Corvis, Alexia is nothing less than a hero who drove back the forces of a great alien army and protected the hearths and homes of the citizenry.
After the liberation of Corvis, Alexia escaped the blade’s domination for a short time, relinquished the Witchfire and the Church of Morrow took custody of the blade. Despite relinquishing the Witchfire to the Church of Morrow after the Battle of Corvis, Alexia was unable to resist the lure of the sword’s power for long. On the advice of Exarch Sebastian Dargule, Prelate Dumas, promoted to high prelate in the aftermath of the battle, sent the Witchfire under heavy guard south to the Sancteum in Caspia. This would have been a secure location for the blade had the caravan carrying the sword reached its destination. A horde of undead attacked the caravan between Corvis and Caspia, its crew were massacred, and the Witchfire was stolen. The sole survivor of the incident clearly identifies Alexia as leading the undead marauders. Alexia’s actions have earned her the enmity of the Order of Illumination, and she is actively hunted by some of the highest-ranking Illuminated Ones with orders to recover the blade at all costs and to kill her if necessary.
While on the run from the Order of Illumination, Alexia survives by selling her services as a mercenary. Clients appear to be those desperate enough to make use of her necromantic power to destroy their enemies. Her mercenary activities seem to be confined to Cygnar and Khador, she is careful to avoid Morrowan battle-chaplains but intends them no violence, for they remind her of her beloved uncle.
Alexia is is motivated by a twisted desire to avenge her mother and unhinged from having witnessed the decapitation at such a young age. Fascinated by Menite rites, Alexia believes the Testament of Menoth might know secrets she requires. She has no plans to ask politely, however, hoping instead to force him to break his vow of silence at the tip of the Witchfire.
Since the Longest Night, Alexia’s infamy has only grown. Those few who knew her in those days say she has grown madder still, haunted by the ghost of her mother and those who burned alongside her in that ghastly trial. Some suggest that since then, the chorus of spectres in her head has been joined by the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of souls that have perished at the end of the Witchfire. Her motives have grown even less discernible as she has made her way across the battlefields of the Iron Kingdoms.
Alexia seems as happy to fight for one side as the other, taking her pay in coin and the corpses of the enemy. To what ultimate end Alexia uses the thralls she raises is a question shrouded in darkness. What is certain is that as the wars across western Immoren grow in scope and intensity, so has her mastery over the Witchfire - or perhaps, its mastery over her. Perhaps her desire to resurrect the spirit of her mother is only a diversion, a feint by powers to whom Alexia is herself only a pawn.