Trumps of Winter
The Battle of Belask
Belask was a prosperous town in the foothills of the western range. It had the advantage of excellent mineral deposits, particularly gold, and a long and friendly relationship with the Tyurinov dynasty. The boyar of Belask was a tsar in everything but name — rich and influential, unchallenged in his home. If Belask had a flaw, it was avarice.
No doubt that was what attracted the Flames.
When the Mad Tsar made the Disastrous Draw, Belask was suddenly bereft of its great protector. Tsar Barakir Torevich Tyurinov had inherited the Tyurinov name, but he had his own struggles to win before he could spare troops for Belask. And Belask was too near the mountain hermitage of the infernal monk Rukvaas the Damned. When Rukvaas took control of the Flames, and began to extend his brimstone reach, Belask was an inevitable target.
Of course, Tsar Gorinstal wanted Belask and its wealth for his own. He quickly sent his own son to lead a command in the name of “new friendship.” But there was no time to fortify the town to account for the infernal troops the Flames had summoned. The Iron Tsar’s men joined up with a command from Valgrad, led by the loyalist officer Anrikka Bespodar. The two forces met the hell-born raiders in the surrounding valley. Perhaps it was this fervent stand against a terrible evil that drew the Knight card.
Gennadiy watched the young Doryevich brandish the Trump. The nobleman seemed unable to shed his fear, but he swore he would not abandon the field — and the card did not let him. His broken unit fled while Doryevich Gorinstal screamed in terror, his feet holding him in place. The horned troops impaled him on the tines of devilish pikes — but they did not tarry around the body. They could not approach the card.
Gennadiy remembers what it was like to hold the card. The image of an armored figure, faceless behind an unyielding visor. The smell of steel. The constant words: “Swear the oath. Swear the oath. Swear the oath.” The strength pouring out of it — strength that demanded a price. It was a burden just to hold.
When Commander Anrikka accepted that burden, she became something else. She stopped the retreat, and reentered Belask, striking down everything in her path. She held the town long enough for its last citizens to withdraw, taking whatever they could carry, but she would not remain there. Her oath was to the Lokvan people.
Belask is a gutted shell of itself now, a mass of scorched buildings claimed both by the Flames and the Donjon, and target of greedy adventurers who hope to steal away some of its abandoned gold — but its people escaped. They began to call their savior Anrikka Valyevna, the daughter of the goddess Valysa. She is, unquestionably, the Knight.