Anninarcus The Grim

Of Crin’s Sacred, Anninarcus is the least known. The fewest legends and tales surround him and, when he is mentioned, it’s usually in the company of another Sacred (often Pandrila the Great). Historically, most of what has been assumed regarding Anninarcus’ appearance, nature, and activities have been culled from the pages of the Diary of Drenicus. Recent scholarly attitudes have raised questions regarding taking the Diary of Drenicus as an unbiased, even truthful source. Chief among the skeptical is Xpa the Renown. While Xpa does recognize that the Diary is one of the few sources of information on Anninarcus and the other Sacred, he has made it clear that he is dubious about its veracity and cautions scholars from perceiving it as a historical document. However, Duke Dentun of the Valernus Library, while not actually disagreeing with Xpa, notes that the Diary is the only source other than sparse Burquebainian records and unreliable Elven Bards’ Tales and related legends to use regarding Anninarcus. Whether or not the issue of the Diary of Drenicus and its treatment of Anninarcus and the other Sacred will develop into the latest scholarly conflict is unknown, but this entry will focus on the most likely indicators regarding Anninarcus’ activities, attitudes, and appearance as related in legends and the Diary.

Traditionally, Anninarcus is believed to have been born to a warrior caste tied to an Imperial Battalion or possibly a military order within the church of Thore Mire. The legends have never explicitly stated that he was a native of Fortens’ Keep, but most have assumed such was the case. If tradition holds true, Anninarcus would have been easily noticeable within whatever Imperial Battalion or military order to which he was attached as most legends detailing his appearance have always emphasized his hairiness. Most images of Anninarcus depict him with heavy, woolen dark hair and beard, although not all show him with a moustache. What little hair most Vhendimmothians possessed was tightly curled and shaved heads was standard for most men and plenty of women. There are tales that there were a number of Imperial Battalions in which the men did not shave and it is possible that Anninarcus was within one of these groups. Anninarcus is also often depicted with heavily tanned – not necessarily bronze – skin, suggesting that he was a descendant of light-skinned sapiens that had migrated into the Empire from the north. Anninarcus was a large man as well. Although just slightly taller than some Vhendimmothians, he possessed a broad frame and muscular build. Some have come to the conclusion that Anninarcus’ family could be traced to the Kingdom of Bainland; however, both Duke Dentun and Xpa believe this unlikely. At the time of Anninarcus’ likely birth, Bainland had only recently seen sapien occupation. While Dentun suggests that Anninarcus was simply unusual in his size, Xpa posits that he may have been related to sapiens that could be traced back to the Vast.

Within an Imperial Battalion, Anninarcus would have received excellent training in all forms of combat, armor, and weapons. It is probable that his family was at least moderately wealthy for him to receive this kind of instruction. At what point he caught the attention of the Imperial Sentinels is unclear. Legend has it that he and the other Sacred were quite young when they attended Crin’s Academy, no older than 21 and probably much younger. However, given what legends say about his prowess in armed combat as well as his great skill in speaking The Word, most modern scholars believe that he (and the other Sacred) was older, perhaps in his late 20s.

The legends tend to paint Anninarcus as a quiet follower struggling to keep up with the other Sacred. He is also depicted as the least intelligent of the group, easily manipulated by both Seeroth and Pandrila. While these representations are less than flattering, the Grim One is said to have a great and fearless warrior who believed in the inherent goodness of all people. While some suggest that this was gullibility on his part, the Diary of Drenicus suggests that Anninarcus was a deep thinker who did not enjoy making rash decisions. As a result, he would follow simply because he was rarely given the time to dwell on all concerns. However, when he saw his allies or the innocent in jeopardy, Anninarcus was a fearless, talented warrior capable of using both The Word and weapons to their utmost. The Diary also states that he was a talented weapon and armor smith and had a fondness for horses.

One area in which all the legends agree is Anninarcus’ relationship with Pandrila. All legends paint this romance as having started during the Quest for Dracovomica, after Zyxzrxzy the Ebon Rage betrayed the Questers to Morganshium Maximuth. According to the Diary of Drenicus, this relationship was tumultuous due to the apparent incompatibility of the two. While Anninarcus was quiet, steady, and believed in the inherent goodness of all creatures, Pandrila was vocal, mercurial, and believed that all beings needed a firm, steady hand to guide them. The one thing both shared was an intense jealousy regarding the other that often led to fights and weeks, even months, of no communication. In any event, the two are said to have had at least one child. To date, none know the truth of this, although popular legends insist that this child was a King of Bainland. It is known that by The Darkhold, Anninarcus and Pandrila parted ways, although the Diary of Drenicus plainly states that the two never stopped loving each other.

Between the Dragonhold and The Darkhold, very little is known of Anninarcus’ activities. Anninarcus is known to have spent time in Quasii in the Age of Despair where he served as an advisor for some time to the Pillars. Anninarcus apparently considered Quasii as his second home, perhaps bolstered by the fact that one of the Dothans, Wandabath, commissioned the building of the Grim Towers outside of Quasii City. Although he was occasionally seen in Quasii, Anninarcus only rarely involved himself with the activities of the people, believing that his interference would not allow them to grow in goodness willingly.

Aside from his time in Quasii, there are no tales of his adventures or his interactions with others. However, some believe that Anninarcus did travel the continent-realm and possibly spent a great deal of time in the Great Kharsis Desert and lands even further west, possibly as far as the legendary Forest of Ages. Legends have always associated Anninarcus with having an interest in traveling and the Diary of Drenicus supports this notion, pointing out that Anninarcus would often deliver strange gifts to his friends that could not be found anywhere within the Lands Under the Crown. Furthermore, it is said that Silverwood Vine – one of the Heroes of Noon – met Anninarcus decades before they would join forces with Seeroth and ten others, implying that the two met in the Great Kharsis Desert.

Anninarcus’ role during The Darkhold has been consistently portrayed as a powerful general of the Noon Alliance who would eventually abandon his post to travel with Seeroth the Dark. According the final passages in the Diary of Drenicus, a rift developed between Anninarcus and Seeroth. Although the nature of this rift was not elaborated upon, most scholars suspect that Anninarcus, after years of being manipulated by his friend, had grown wary of the Last Emperor. Although their friendship was strained, Anninarcus still deferred to Seeroth in matters related to the pursuit of the Seven Spheres. Alongside the other Sacred, he faced the Demon Prince Cabernasus in Quasii in 1970 AG. He was said to have single-handedly defeated The Blackiron, the death knight servant of Malvolans, and that he also faced an avatar of Ostensis. He would have perished in the fight against Hallucimain the Deceiver in Agra Gura had not Pandrila sacrificed her life for him. However, he is best known for his role in Halls of Screaming Blood. Tradition holds that Seeroth and Anninarcus battled against endless hordes of drelves and demons that were swarming from an open portal to the Lands Below and The Abyss. In an act of sacrifice, Anninarcus sealed himself within the portal and fought the seemingly endless horde. This act severely limited reinforcements the Foreboding Orders needed and would allow the Noon Alliance to surround Asnan and Mount Oblivon in the final days of The Darkhold, although Anninarcus would not be present for the final confrontation against T’Oth Maldran.

It is believed by some that Anninarcus somehow returned Drm after The Darkhold. The Grim Towers in Quasii have been occupied by men who have called themselves Anninarcus the Grim for over 700 years. These man, all apparent bachelors, have engaged in a variety of occupations including horse raising to shipping to selling furniture and jewels. Most seem keen on training apprentices in a variety of fields and all have had a healthy appetite for attractive women. Most suspect that the “Anninarcuses” living in the Grim Towers are simply the offspring of former “Anninarcuses,” and probably not related to the real Anninarcus in spite of their preference for heavy beards. Neither the Pillars nor the Ministry have bothered to investigate the nature of these “Anninarcuses” as all have been uninterested in causing trouble, pay their taxes, and pay their tithes. In writing this entry, we attempted to contact the current “Anninarcus.” Apparently a collector and seller of antique items from duruban ruins and the time of The Darkhold, the current lord of the Grim Towers never responded to our requests for a meeting.

If Anninarcus were still alive, he would be approximately 5000 years old. He was a brave yet gentle man who valued friendship, animal companions, and travel. He was patient and understanding, although he was often slow to act while he thought things through. Many believe that he was drawn to Pandrila the Great because she was so completely his opposite.

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