Orsus Zoktavir

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Khador.png Orsus Zoktavir Khador.png

Kommander

Butcher1.jpg

Race Human
Gender Male
Weapons Blunderbuss
Lola
Birth Unknown. Greylords Covenant estimates time of birth to be approx 553 AR
Orsus Zoktavir is an infamous Khadoran kommander and warcaster better known under the moniker The Butcher of Khardov. The varied cultures of Khador’s vast lands are proud of their fighting spirit, and Orsus Zoktavir embodies elements of each of these proud lines. A brutal warrior capable of unbridled savagery, he is feared by his soldiers as much as by his foes. Younger warcasters view him with disdain and do not comprehend the leniency he has been afforded by the High Kommand. More traditional warcasters like Vladimir Tzepesci see him as nothing more than a weapon.

History

Orsus Zoktavir was born to Pyotr and Agnieska Zoktavir in a village in Tamanskaia Volozk, in northern Khador. When he was ten, his village fell victim to a Tharn raid. A Tharn ravager killed his parents and younger sister Irina, but in turn was slain by Orsus. After the death of his parents, Orsus started to work as a lumberjack at the logging company of the local kayaz, Aleksei Badian. Working as the muscle for a bratya, Orsus saw his fair share of death and fighting. Aleksei paid off the officials to keep Orsus' name off the conscription census, so he wouldn't have to serve in the Winter Guard.[1]

At the age of fourteen, Orsus participated in a raid against one of Aleksei's rival kayazy. The enemy unleashed a steamjack in an attempt to stop Aleksei's team. The 'jack initially overwhelmed them, but as it prepares to kill Aleksei, Orsus unwittingly managed to wrestle control of the 'jack from the enemy 'jack marshal, whom he later captured and forced to teach him how to control steamjacks. He named the 'jack Laika after a nameplate etched onto its leg.[1]

A year later, Orsus met a girl named Lola, his one true love who abhorred killing and told him he didn’t have to kill to be happy. Since Lola declared herself unable to be with a killer, he decided to quit his job at the bratya to open a wood shop. To let the company keep going without him and not lose their place, Orsus started to teach Laika how to fell trees.[1]

Orsus' last task at Aleksei's company before his wedding was to accompany Aleksei and three others to infiltrate a rival lumber yard and sabotage their equipment, while Laika and others stayed behind to prevent the enemy from doing the same to them. But when they reached the rival lumber yard they found it empty, the gates hanging open, the crew gone - except for one, Gendyarev, a former employee of Aleksei who was crippled by Laika two years ago. After Gendyarev revealed he gave the enemy Laika's code words and killed Lola, Orsus gripped his axe and killed him.[1]

Orsus Zoktavir came to Korsk in 583 AR with Laika and an Arktus under his control, and demanded to be enlisted into the army. His warcaster talents were immediately recognised, and he was put under training by the Greylords Covenant. He was sent to the industrial city of Khardov, which would become his only home. Before long he was given his first command and dispatched to patrol the southern border alongside the 5th Border Legion.[1][2]

Zoktavir earned his infamous moniker in 587 AR, when a village just north of Boarsgate Keep announced its withdrawal from Khador to join with Ord. He took it upon himself to crush the traitors. When a waiting contingent of militiamen tried to parley, Orsus howled and charged. Halfway through the slaughter the militiamen surrendered, but Orsus kept cutting them down. Korporal Luka Kratikoff and the Winter Guard under his command tried to restrain him, but in a wild rage he turned on his own men and with his massive axe rent every man to pieces. Moments later, eighty-eight soldiers became dismembered parts strewn about the village square. The event came to be known as the Boarsgate Massacre, and Zoktavir was immediately apprehended and sent to Korsk for trial. Queen Ayn Vanar XI absolved Zoktavir of blame, openly condoning his behaviour as the reaction of any true patriot.[2]

In 604 AR, during the invasion of Llael, Zoktavir hurled himself against Redwall Fortress like a force of nature. It had been the strongest point of resistance, the greatest garrison of the Llaelese Army supported by a massive contingent of Cygnaran soldiers. The stones of Redwall fell to the Demolition Corps, and Orsus Zoktavir swept through enemies as his warjacks emulated his berserk frenzy, tearing through any obstacle in their path.[2]

When Khador turns its attention to Cygnar after the surrender of Merywyn, Orsus Zoktavir is ordered to stand down. When a caravan of recently converted Khadoran Menites leave the Motherland for the Protectorate of Menoth, he is charged by Queen Ayn Vanar with reminding the Menites of the consequences of treason. He kills all the pilgrims, then stacks their skulls on a barge down to the Protectorate as a message.[3]

To sate his bloodlust, the High Kommand sends Zoktavir southwest, thrown into battle, and allowed to engage his appetites where they could bring little harm to the Motherland. He goes on deadly rampage, single-handedly destroying several lesser Cygnaran fortifications near the fortified Cygnaran fortress-city of Fellig. When given more specific orders, his objectives are often extremely hazardous, and he rarely returns unwounded.[2]

In the final stages of the Khadoran conquest of the Thornwood, Orsus’ bloodlust reaches new heights, and he leads an unauthorised suicidal attack on Fellig. Despite being greatly outnumbered, the offensive nearly succeeds but ultimately costs the lives of most of his men. Having earlier been dispatched by Kommandant Gurvaldt Irusk to lend support to the siege, Forward Kommander Sorscha Kratikoff arrives to find a wounded Zoktavir surrounded by sword knights outside the city, and she abandons him to his fate. Bleeding from numerous wounds, he kills the last of his enemies and wanders off in a delirious haze, eventually collapsing in eastern Ord.[2][4]

Zoktavir is eventually found by a girl who sneaks out to help him. Day after day he looks better until he starts to stir. When the girl runs back to her house, she is caught stealing food and is severely beaten up by her masters. Zoktavir slaughters the entire household, demolishing their estate and leaving only the girl unscathed. He gives her a bag of money and leaves her on the road. Not knowing what else to do for her, Orsus plunges back alone into the Thornwood to return to the Khadoran Army. While her kindness had saved his life, Orsus realises he had left his saviour worse off than he found her.[4][5]

When he at last finds a Khadoran encampment, he discovers its soldiers welcoming Cygnaran troops, including the warcaster Markus Brisbane, into their midst. Zoktavir immediately turns on the traitors, captures Brisbane and brings him to Supreme Kommandant Irusk, only to learn that during his long absence Khador had entered into an alliance with Cygnar to deal with Cryx. Irusk accuses Zoktavir of criminal misconduct, and these allegations bite deep into his troubled mind.[5]

Immediately after Zoktavir leaves Irusk's tent, Sorscha Kratikoff confronts him on how he murdered her father twenty-one years ago at Boarsgate. When he says he doesn't even remember who Luka Kratikoff was, she condemns him as a murderous monster: he may have excused his acts by calling those he killed traitors, but many were just soldiers.[5]

While walking the army camp to quiet his thoughts, the Butcher discovers an overwhelmed dog trainer about to put down a pair of argus and saves them from destruction. Man and beasts quickly develop a rapport extending beyond verbal commands, based on something deeper and more primal.[5]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The Warcaster Chronicles: The Butcher of Khardov
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Forces of Warmachine: Khador
  3. Warmachine: Escalation
  4. 4.0 4.1 No Quarter 28
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Warmachine: Vengeance
Warcasters
Cygnar Allister CaineColeman StrykerConstance BlaizeDalin SturgisEdward Dominic DariusJeremiah KrayeKara SloanMarkus BrisbaneSebastian NemoVictoria Haley
Protectorate of Menoth Anson DurstFeoraMikael KreossSeveriusAmon Ad-RazaServath ReznikThe High ReclaimerHarbinger of MenothThyraVindictus
Khador Alexander KarchevAleksandra ZerkovaGurvaldt IruskOld Witch of KhadorOleg StrakhovOrsus ZoktavirSorscha KratikoffVladimir Tzepesci
Cryx AsphyxiousDalin SturgisDeneghraGoreshadeMortenebraScaverousSkarre RavenmaneTerminusVenethraxWitch Coven of Garlghast
Retribution of Scyrah Vyros NyarrIssyria NyarrRahn ShyeelThyron EllowuyrOssyan VyreKaelyssaRavynGarryth
Convergence of Cyriss AuroraAxisDirectrixGhil LucantSyntherion