Wrath of the Righteous
A black-bearded dwarf clad in green dwarven plate. His very presence makes lesser men cower.
This dwarven man was recently revealed to be an antipaladin and traitor to the Mendevian crusades. His treachery was revealed by the paladin, Irabeth, who defeated him in combat but he managed to escape and is now places unknown.
Staunton Vhane joined the Mendevian crusade at the fresh young age of 46, eager to aid in the fight against the Worldwound. While the opportunity to clash with demons was certainly a draw for the headstrong young paladin, the actual reason for joining the crusaders at Drezen was a bit more personal—he’d heard rumors that the lost Sky Citadel of Jormurdun was located somewhere behind enemy lines. Dazzled by dreams of fame and power for finding lost Jormurdun, Staunton hoped for a swift end to the demonic threat so he could explore Sarkoris in relative safety.
But over the next 2 years, the fighting quickly wore on Staunton. With each report of another lost battle or influx of a seemingly endless number of demons, his hopes for a swift resolution to the conflict and the opportunity to find Jormurdun faded, and when the marilith Aponavicius laid siege to the city of Drezen early in 4638 ar, the dwarf knew these fears had become fact. The presence of the Sword of Valor kept the bulk of the demonic armies from harming Drezen, but the city would soon be broken by the smaller groups of skirmishers that continually harried its walls.
Then one day while on a patrol beyond the walls, the crusading company to which Staunton belonged was ambushed by demons, and all but Staunton were slain before the demons suddenly fled, howling in fear as a beautiful elven soldier leading a troop of powerful-looking archers arrived on the scene. The elf pulled Staunton from the grime and introduced herself as Jerribeth, and what she said next resonated with Staunton to the core: “Drezen is protected enough, but the city’s rulers are too cowardly to defeat the demons. While they know they could break the host if they rode out to meet the enemy with the Sword of Valor carried proudly at the vanguard, they fear taking risks. Drezen is strong; it doesn’t need a magic banner to stand fast. But if you bring this banner to me, I will use its power to lead my army against the demons and save us all!”
Staunton already harbored similar beliefs in his soul, and immediately vowed to bring the elven general the Sword of Valor, knowing that by the time anyone noticed it was missing, the demons would have been driven back to the Abyss. Unfortunately, in Staunton’s eagerness to believe, he fell right into the “elf ’s” trap—Jerribeth was in fact a glabrezu, and when Staunton delivered the Sword of Valor, she revealed her true nature and made him watch as the demons invaded Drezen. As he watched, something woke within Staunton’s heart. He realized he was glad to see the cowards go, and in awe of the power of the demonic host. His fall from grace was completed when he was brought by Jerribeth into the captured city and pledged his loyalty to the conquering marilith Aponavicius.
And so for the next 75 years, Staunton Vhane served the Worldwound. At first, he played the role of advisor for the marilith, informing her about crusader tactics and advising her on the best ways to battle paladins. In time, he was recruited by the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth and trained to be a double agent. With their aid, he forged himself a powerful weapon, Soulshear, to aid his quest, and in 4658 he returned to Mendev and joined the crusade again as a captain of an all-dwarven mercenary company called the Hammers of Heaven. But this time, Staunton and his mercenaries were in fact hidden disciples of Baphomet.
Over the following decades, Staunton and the Hammers of Heaven served both sides of the war. He lured his cousin Thurl to Mendev, and used his connections to the Pathfinder Society to fund his own expeditions deep into the Worldwound to seek Jormurdun when he could, but most of his time was spent fighting in small skirmishes against demons whose defeat wouldn’t matter to the Worldwound while simultaneously sabotaging countless war efforts all along the border. His last act of treachery was to compromise many of the defenses of the Kite in Kenabres, an act that ultimately allowed the Storm King to attack the city once again, but it was in this final act that he was ultimately discovered by the paladin Irabeth. In the ensuing fight, Staunton was defeated, and fled north to Drezen on his fiendish giant wasp mount Vrexed. Since his return to Drezen, he’s burned for a chance to face Irabeth, or any paladin, again in battle, but for now he obeys his marilith commander’s orders to hold the city of Drezen for her while she’s away on the front lines.