Karnag Zennithar is the son of Kogan and Urta Zennithar, a pair of orcish farmers, and was raised alongside his younger sister, Kora Zennithar. Kogan is the owner of a two-hundred acre farm that has been kept and maintained by the Zennithar family ever since orcs settled in Faerstice four-hundred years ago, and is a simple but proud man. He first met Urta, an orcish scholar, during a trip to the Vadokanuk market. After many visits, Kogan was finally able to convince Urta to return to his village with him and marry him. Both members of this relationship were devout followers of Kraggok, and when they decided to start a family, they did their best to raise their children in accordance with Kraggok’s teachings. Their religious fervor was inherited by Karnag and Kora, and as they grew up, the kids shared a dream of being chosen by Kraggok to receive his blessing and serve him as one of his traveling clerics.
One morning, Kora awoke to find that Kraggok had recognized her desires and blessed her with his power. Kogan and Urta were overjoyed by this development and sent Kora off to formally begin her training as a cleric. Karnag, who was just as devout as his sister, was also pleased. He figured that if Kora had been blessed, then it was only a matter of time before Kraggok recognised Karnag’s faith as well. During the next few nights he could hardly sleep, fully expecting to wake up imbued with divine energy. However, as he waited, days became weeks, and weeks became months. Karnag’s faith was still strong, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that Kraggok had turned his back on him. His father tried to comfort him by suggesting that maybe Kraggok intended for him to remain in the village and inherit the family farm, but the thought of being chained to one spot of the rest of his life was repulsive to Karnag. He became distant and unimaginative, as he felt as if his faith had been robbed of its purpose and no longer had any real direction. Almost a year later, he had nearly resigned himself to his fate, but that changed when he met Ulamog Grey.
Ulamog Grey was a travelling orcish wizard and historian who was passing through Karnag’s village on his way to Fort Vigilance. When bad weather came through, Kogan invited Ulamog to spend the night with them. Seeing as how not many strangers came through this part of the Swordbreaker Peninsula, a curious Karnag asked him many questions, and they ended up talking long into the night. Ulamog had a poor reputation among the orcish community due to his controversial publications that chronicled in detail the savage exploits of orcs before their curse of bloodlust was lifted by Kraggok. While he was known for his thorough research and inventive rhetoric, many important scholars distanced themselves from him as they felt his account of their bloody history would cause them to lose face among other civilizations of Faerstice. Plus, a teaching of Kraggok is that uncontrollable bloodlust is extremely sinful, which makes discussions about the past uncomfortable and awkward for most orcs. Ulamog was not most orcs, however. He believed that in order to fully understand the significance of Kraggok’s sacrifice, one must first learn about and accept the extent of the atrocities orcs had committed beforehand, and by the time morning came around, he had convinced Karnag as much.
Ulamog, pleased to have found someone as eager about his findings and research as Karnag, went out of his way to pass through the village several more times over the next few months. Eventually, the elderly orc decided to ask Kogan and Urta for their permission to take Karnag with him as an apprentice. Kogan was initially against the idea, but Urta, who had been a scholar herself, understood the importance of a higher education and managed to convince Kogan an apprenticeship like this would be the best thing they could do for Karnag. Ecstatic to have finally found a purpose beyond the farm, Karnag packed his things and bid his parents farewell before setting off with Ulamog to Vadokanuk to begin his education.
Over the next few years, Karnag soaked up everything the orcs of Vadokanuk taught him about magic, world history, religion, and the fog as if he were a sponge. Hand-to-hand combat had also become second nature to him, as self-defence is an important statute in the scripture of Kraggok and is taught to all aspiring scholars that seek apprenticeship in the city. As Ulamog saw how much his apprentice excelled, he suggested that perhaps Kraggok didn’t grant Karnag his power because he wanted to see just how far Karnag could come as an orc under only his own power. Karnag took this idea to heart, and his faith once again felt like it was where it ought to be. Eventually, Karnag’s apprenticeship came to an end, and after saying his farewells, Ulamog retired to a remote location on the Swordbreaker Peninsula to transcribe copies of his past writings into books and to meditate on all he had learned. Karnag made the decision to go where he could further improve the relationship between orcs and the rest of Faerstice and uphold the discipline and standards as established by his faith and enlist as a soldier amongst the Vigilant Guard. He grabbed a quill, some ink, and an empty book, tied a white strip of cloth on the guard of his greatsword, and set off for Fort Vigilance.
The Vigilant Guard readily accepted Karnag into their ranks, as knowledge of magic and the fog had become exceedingly rare in Faerstice due to a deep trend of anti-intellectualism amongst the common folk. Karnag’s first few years were rough for this very reason, as the stigma other races of Faerstice had developed against orcs prior to the Humbling never truly dissipated. The adversity only proved to strengthen Karnag’s resolve, and he continued to perform his duties to the best of his ability. Because of his intellectual talents, his duties were mainly clerical in nature (helping to chart the spread of the fog, keeping records of important missions, researching possible ways to fight the fog, etc.), and many of his handwritten accounts have been used by the Guard’s leadership to help other civilizations better understand the progress that has been made with the fog.
Over the years, his contributions earned him many stalwart friends and much attention from the Vigilant Guard high command. Eventually, his growing reputation earned him a missive from Commander Argun Pridewater. The missive explained that a trusted source had come to high command and tipped off the existence of an artifact that was said to have the ability to burn away and force back the fog and its creatures. It went on to say that the exact location of the artifact was unknown, but evidence indicated that it had made its way to Gildoun. Karnag’s mission was to collect the resources he needed and set off to Gildoun in search of the artifact, seeing as how he was one of the only Guardsmen with an optimal skillset for the job. The Vigilant Guard gets sent false leads about the fog all the time by commoners looking to make a quick buck, but if Commander Pridewater himself believed that this particular lead was valid, then there must be some truth to it. Karnag readily accepted his mission, believing that a significant contribution to the progress of the Vigilant Guard by an Orc would not go unnoticed by the kingdoms that chip in to keep it running, and that relationships between the Swordbreaker Peninsula and the rest of Faerstice would improve if he should succeed.
Karnag was provided with a document written and signed by Commander Pridewater which he could then show to an official of any civilized government to formally request assistance with his quest. Once adequately prepared, Karnag departed to the northeast with a passing trade caravan and travelled in their company all the way to Gildoun. He systematically searched all the pawn shops in the area until he found one that supposedly sold an item matching his description to a Dwarven merchant several days prior. Some further investigation revealed that this particular merchant departed for Vludrecht shortly after. Karnag then took a job with the Coin Lords to escort a man by the name of Juan Pablo in the same direction, figuring that travelling down the Iron March in company would be much safer than travelling alone. Driven by his faith in Kraggok, his loyalty to the Commander, and the gravity of his purpose, he fully intends to risk life and limb so as to not return to Fort Vigilance empty-handed.