Elspeth von Draken on a Carmine Dragon

For three generations the name of Elspeth von Draken, the Dark Lady of Nuln, Magisterix of the Amethyst Order and arch-wizard of the Lore of Death, has been spoken of in hushed tones in the reeking tavern gutters and vaulted noble halls of Nuln alike. And for three generations her lonely, blackened tower has stood at the edge of the Gardens of Morr on the outskirts of the great city, and stories of the 'Graveyard Rose' have been used to frighten recalcitrant children home before nightfall lest 'the dark lady snatch them up!'. Yet despite these stories few have ever paused to think what exactly the admitted presence of von Draken in the city actually means, and fewer yet could guess at her true power or influence. Furthermore the few foolhardy or overenthusiastic witch hunters, unaware of her relationship to the governing powers of Nuln or too fanatically sure of their own righteousness to care, who have attempted to delve deeper into her business or storm her tower have been swallowed up so completely that they have never been able to share anything they have learned.[1a]

The truth is that Elspeth von Draken is but one in a long bloodline touched by the winds of magic, a bloodline that has produced both monsters and saviours in its time. She is also one of the most powerful Amethyst wizards of the age, but one who will have little to do with the daily machinations or power-politics of the Imperial Colleges of Magic in which she was one student and still in theory holds fealty (for which many within its ranks are profoundly grateful), and with whom she now sits in an uneasy truce. Instead, she is an obsessive experimenter and mystic who goes where she will, and has collected and collated a storehouse of mystical artefacts and lore which she guards jealously and has become so saturated with Shyish, the Amethyst wind of Death, that there are some who whisper she is no longer human at all, a theory perhaps given credence by her almost spectral, pallid aspect, which has remained unchanged for decades.[1a]

Despite her reclusive nature, dividing her time it is said between her tower in Nuln and another like it hidden within the Grey Mountains, or in search of lost love, she is however a true scion of the Empire, and the bane of its foes where they cross her path. She also has long standing pacts and alliances both with the Church of Morr and the ruling council of Nuln to come to its aid in times of war in return for their alliance in turn. Balthasar Gelt, current patriarch of the Imperial Colleges of Magic, is understandably wary of von Draken's independence and power, and has long had his agents keep track of her where they can. Over the last score of years they have reported a dozen conflicts both widely known and hidden where von Draken has proved the victor against terrible enemies such as the Mire Hulk Rawbones who had been devouring whole villages along the lower River Sol and demanding a bloody tribute in young lives, to the Vampire Vashara of Lamia who had sought to corrupt the noble Jaegersbruk family of Pfeildorf and turn the city into a shadowy realm of undeath. While Elspeth von Draken continues to concern herself with her own affairs, and stands as a protector of the Empire, Gelt must do no more than watch, but there are those beneath him in the hierarchy of Wizards who fear that Gelt's suspicion of the powerful von Draken may yet provoke a deadly conflict one day between them.[1b]

During the conflict of the Chaos host of Tamurkhan, Elspeth von Draken appeared in the Council of the Countess Emmanuelle like a spectre of death itself, gowned in robes so black as to appear as living darkness and bearing a keening scythe so sharp it seemed to murder the still air. It was her council that the Countess Emmanuelle took in forming up her armies to defend Nuln itself rather than meet Tamurkhan in the open field of battle, and such was the fear that came with Elspeth von Draken's presence that few gainsaid her despite the cost the strategy entailed in lands, livestock and human life. On the seventh day of the great battle, when Tamurkhan sought to raise up a nightmarish ritual to appease his dark god and brought forth an unholy tide of Daemons to attack the city, Elspeth von Draken took to battle aback a Carmine Dragon. The dragon's wroth unleashed all consuming blasts of amaranthine lightning while her magical power contested with the might of the Servants of Decay. After the battle, those that saw her claimed she had faded to no more than an insubstantial shadow from her trials, and it was years afterwards before she was seen abroad again, her pale and youthful aspect restored once more.[1b]

Magic Items

  • The Pale Scythe: A pale scythe more made of shadow than substance, this weapon said to be of Elspeth's own making is attuned to the power of Shyish, the wind of death, focusing and concentrating it to her will.[1b]
  • Death's Timekeeper: This hourglass is an ancient and storied artefact, it is said to contain as its measuring sand musty remnants of a dead god of old, and von Draken has spent much of her unnaturally long life studying its mysteries. With it she has perfected some limited measure of control over time and death itself.[1b]


  • 1 Tamurkhan: The Throne of Chaos
    • 1a: pg. 152
    • 1b: pg. 153
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