Lord Soth


Lord Soth

in universe
subject = a
described_object = a fictional character
category =

DL character
name = Lord Soth
alias = Knight of the Black Rose


caption = Lord Soth, the Knight of the Black Rose
class = Knight of Solamnia / Death Knight
title = Lord Soth of Dargaard Keep
homeland = Solamnia
race = Civilized Human
gender = Male
creator = Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
debut = Dragons of Winter Night

Lord Soth, the Knight of the Black Rose (full name: Lord Loren Soth of Dargaard Keep), is a fictional character in the fantasy realms of Dragonlance and later Ravenloft. He is a death knight and fallen Knight of Solamnia from the world of Krynn.

According to Tracy Hickman, he needed a powerful character for the Heroes of the Lance to fight at the High Clerist's Tower, and Lord Soth suddenly came into his mind with a complete history and personality. The popularity of Lord Soth as a character has defined what a Death Knight means to the writers of the Dungeons & Dragons game over the years [cite web| last = Semett| first = Matthew| title = The Ecology of the Death Knight| publisher = Wizards of the Coast| date = 2007-10-03| url = http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dreo/20071003a | format = Preview| accessdate = 2008-01-10] . Soth was also named as one of the greatest villains in D&D history by the final issue of "Dragon". [cite journal| last = Bulmahn| first = Jason| coauthors = James Jacobs, Mike McArtor, Erik Mona, F. Wesley Schneider, Todd Stewart, Jeremy Walker| title = 1d20 Villains: D&D's Most Wanted; Preferably Dead| journal = Dragon| volume = 32(4)| issue = 359| pages = 54–69| publisher = Pazio | date = September, 2007 ]

Appearance

In all his undead glory, Soth stands 6'5" or taller. He wears a full suit of Solamnic plate mail that is of ancient design. Damage from many battles mars the delicate ornamentation on his armor, obscuring its intricate carvings of kingfishers and roses, leaving only a charred black rose on the breastplate, which had become Soth's symbol. A long purple cloak hangs heavily on his shoulder, draped behind him almost to his knees. A tassel of long black hair tops his helm, as worn and ancient as the rest of his armor. A sword black with the blood of countless victims hangs sheathed on his hip. Of the death knight himself, only two flaming dots red as blood shine from the eye slits on the helm. His voice seems an echo from the depth of a bottomless cavern. Like all death knights, there is always an aura of freezing unearthly cold around Soth, the demeanor so terrifying that even kender have been known to be frightened [Citation| last =Hickman | first = Tracy| author-link =Tracy Hickman| last2 = Weis| first2 = Margaret| author2-link = Margaret Weis| title = Dragonlance: Legend of the Twins| publisher = Sovereign Press/Margaret Weis Productions| year = 2006| edition = 1st| id = SVP-4003| isbn = 193156731X ] .

When traveling, Soth is usually mounted on a nightmare, a demonic steed with ebony skin and flaming feet.

Combat

Although evil and filled with an intense hatred for all living creatures, most of the time Soth retains a semblance of the pride he held as a Solamnic knight, and fights honorably. He will never ambush an opponent from behind, nor does he strike before his enemy can ready his weapon. Aside from these facts, however, Soth is a terrible enemy. An undead abomination, Soth has inhuman strength, which is further enhanced by his skill with the sword; something that he learned as a former Knight of the Rose. Soth also can cast various type of spells, including huge fireballs, magical words which stun or kill enemies, ice walls, cone of cold, etc. With a single word, Soth can snuff the life out of (thus "Power Word: Kill") a red dragon, or shatter the great city gate of Palanthas, which was formerly known as the "Unconquered City."

History

Life as a Knight

Soth was a Knight of the Rose, the most esteemed rank of knight in the Knights of Solamnia, and married. He and his wife, Lady Korrine of Gladria, tried over and over to have a son to be Soth's heir but had few positive results. Soth's wife then visited a witch to help her with this problem who then agreed but warned that the child would be a representation of Soth's soul. Thinking Sir Loren Soth pure of heart, the wife had no fear of this warning. Soon after, while on a trip with his loyal retainers they encountered a band of ogres attacking elven priestesses. They slew the ogres but Soth fell in love with the fairest priestess, the Silvanesti Elf Isolde Denissa, and eventually managed to seduce her, bringing her back to Dargaard Keep as a friend in the eyes of the public and his wife. On the day Soth's wife gave birth the labor was very painful. After hours of childbirth the "child" came to be. It had the face similar to that of dragon-kin with two arms on one side and a leg on the other. The last leg was placed at the bottom of the buttocks as if a tail. Soth raged thinking his wife had been disloyal to him with some kind of demon and then slaughtered her and the abomination. Soth then asked Caradoc, his lieutenant to get rid of the evidence and reveal the news of the deaths as difficult childbirth. Soth's indiscretion was discovered when the elf-maid's mistress, Mirrel Martlin, revealed to his superiors that Isolde was pregnant with Soth's bastard son. Soth was brought to Palanthas, where he was brought before the Court of High Justice. The court then cast a spell over Istvan the Healer, the man who birthed his first "son." The spell forced Istvan to speak only the truth. He revealed that both the "son" and mother were alive and well after the birth, but were murdered by Soth. Soth was stripped of his rank and was banished from the Knighthood. He would have been executed had not his retainers spirited him away from his execution to his home, Dargaard KeepOr|date=February 2008.

Undead curse

Besieged by the other knights, Soth's mood turned black, even striking his new wife, Isolde on one occasion. When he realized the monster he had become, he prayed to the deity Paladine for help. His wife prayed to the deity Mishakal. Mishakal showed her the future and the destruction that the arrogant Kingpriest of Istar was about to call upon Krynn. She was told that Soth could stop the Cataclysm by finding the Rod of Omniscient Wisdom and forcing it into the Kingpriests' hands (it would take many tries, each time he was killed he'd rise with greater power). As a reward, he would be redeemed. However, because of the great power of the Kingpriest, he would die in the attempt. Isolde told Soth about her vision. He then set out on this quest. Soth and 13 knights found the rod in an adamantite coffer in volcanic caverns in the Dargaard Mountains. The coffer was cursed and by taking the rod Soth left his soul. He was now a type of lich. While his original body was still alive his soul's new body was the coffer (his phylactery) He was astrally projected back into his original living body (but the astral cord still attaches to the phylactery). Soth was unaware of his new state. On the way to Istar he encountered a group of three elf-maids. They poisoned Soth's mind with lies about his wife's infidelity. They told him that he was sent out on the quest because his wife knew he would die, which was her purpose all along. Enraged, Soth turned from his quest and confronted his wife just as the Cataclysm began. A chandelier fell upon his wife and new-born son, setting her aflame. His wife begged for him to save their child, but Soth stopped himself from doing so, as to prevent his own son growing up as Loren had. As her life ended she cursed him, "you shall live the lifetime of every soul that you have caused death today", and upon pronunciation of the curse the fire engulfed the entire keep, seemingly slaying Soth, his retainers, and the rest of the inhabitants of the Keep. But Soth did not die. He became a Death Knight, and his followers became skeleton warriors. The three elf-maids became banshees, cursed to remind him of his folly every night.

War of the Lance

In the event when Takhisis was trying to enter Krynn in her physical form, Soth was in command of her undead legion [Citation| last =Hickman | first = Tracy| author-link =Tracy Hickman| last2 = Weis| first2 = Margaret| author2-link = Margaret Weis| title = The Annotated Dragonlance Chronicles| publisher = Wizards of the Coast| year = 2002| edition = 1st| id = | isbn = 0786918705 ] . Under his command, a great number of undead creatures (including several of his fellow death knights and banshees with wyvern-carried chariots) breached Palanthas the Unconquered City. However, Soth had his own motivations. His goal was not to serve Takhisis, but to acquire the soul of one of her generals, a Dragon Highlord, the human female, Kitiara Uth Matar, (whose self-serving nature and survival-instinct had somehow rekindled his undead heart), and to make her become his eternal consort. However, due to the treachery of one of his servants, Caradoc, his plan failed. The computer role-playing game "Death Knights of Krynn" which Soth was featured in also happened during this era. [Citation| title = Dragonlance: War of the Lance (computer game)| publisher = Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI)| year = 1989| location = | volume = | edition = 1st| isbn = ] .

Rule in Ravenloft

The Mists of Ravenloft plucked Soth and Caradoc from Krynn while the two battled. His soul was brought to the domain of Barovia; wanting to return to Krynn, Soth sought out Strahd von Zarovich, the ruler of the domain, in the hope Strahd would help him. Strahd tried to use Soth to his advantage but this only cost him a red dragon which was one of his castle guardians. After a series of adventures with the Vistani girl, Magda, and the were-badger Azrael Dak, Soth had found out that Strahd was hiding Caradoc from him. Soth attacked Strahd unceasingly and the vampire had no choice but to release Caradoc in order to keep his domain in one piece. Soth then pursued Caradoc until he finally caught him at the edge of the mists.

Soth was then given the domain Sithicus ("land of spectres" in the elven tongue) in Ravenloft by the Mists who stole his vengeance on Caradoc. His new castle, Nedragaard Keep (Solamnic, meaning: "that is not Dargaard"), was made as mockery of Dargaard in Krynn with a continually changing form so Soth could not maintain the military order he was accustomed to. During the Grand Conjunction he briefly returned to his Krynn body.

Soth's experiences in Sithicus had changed him only slightly. Throughout his time in the Dread Realm, Soth found himself entering mirror worlds, each which contained a portion of his past. Through these he lived in worlds of fantasy, ignoring the world beyond his keep. It is believed that his refusal to both face his sins and past and willingly suffer his curse led to his release from the Mists; that Soth simply withdrew and ignored Sithicus until he was released.

The story of his ascension is told in "Knight of the Black Rose" [Citation| last =Lowder | first = James| author-link = James Lowder| title = Ravenloft: Knight of the Black Rose| publisher = TSR | year = 1991| edition = 1st| id = | isbn = 1560761563 ] , the story of his temporary release is told in "World of Krynn", and the story of his final release is told in "Spectre of the Black Rose" [Citation| last =Lowder | first = James| author-link = James Lowder| title = Ravenloft: Spectre of the Black Rose| publisher = Wizards of the Coast | year = 1999| edition = 1st| id = | isbn = 078613339 ] .

War of Souls

In the 2002 book "Dragon of a Vanished Moon"cite book | author = Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman | year = 2003 | title = Dragons of a Vanished Moon: The War of Souls vol. III. | publisher = Wizards of the Coast | id = ISBN 0-7869-2950-2] , upon his return to Krynn, Mina, Chosen of Takhisis, attempted to recruit Soth to lead the Dark Queen's armies. Soth had spent too long alone, however, time enough to come to peace with himself and to think about the wife and child he wronged. He refused the goddess' invitation and, in retaliation to this insult, Takhisis restored Soth's mortality. In doing so, Takhisis, in her ignorance, granted Lord Soth one final blessing. The Dark Goddess then destroyed his keep, crushing him to death under the rubble. The fallen knight perished with his honor restored, vowing that he would forever search for the elf maid and his son in the afterlife, and in that search, he would be redeemed.

Debate

Soth’s tenure in Ravenloft is a topic of debate. The creators of Soth argue that they did not give their permission for Soth to be used in the Ravenloft Campaign setting. However, they had no legal ownership of the character and, at the time Soth was moved, were not associated with TSR or Wizards of the Coast.

Wizards of the Coast has been vague on the subject but the last official word on the subject was that Soth did indeed enter Ravenloft but that the Mists returned him to Krynn at the very instant he was removed [cite web| last = Faternity of Shadows| title = Ravenloft FAQ: Lord Soth| publisher = Faternity of Shadows| url = http://www.fraternityofshadows.com/FAQ/FAQ_Answers.html#somepeoplesaysoth| format = Interview with James Lowder| accessdate = 2008-02-05] .

References

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