The Revered and Reviled
Lord Commander Matthias Bellatoras Barcas
Lord Commander Matthias Bellatoras Barcas, Governor-General of the Ostcape, Magister Praetorium, Manus Primus Rex
Human Cavalier (Emissary) 18
1 Power Attack
1C Mounted Combat
5 Combat Reflexes
6 Ride-by Attack
9 Critical Focus
9C Trick Riding
12 Improved Overrun
13 Staggering Critical
14C Mounted Skirmisher
15 Charge Through
17 Stunning Critical
Horse (companion) 18
1 Armor Prof (Medium)
5 Iron Will
6 Great Fortitude
South of the Elfmarch, in the north of the Desert of the Dragon and before the great port city of Phaenes, human nomads are the dominant humanoid population. These nomads lead a harsh existence fraught with peril and turn to the pagan gods of old for assistance in times of need. Collectively they are known as the Saburrati, the people of the sand. Among the most successful of these tribes are those for whom horsemanship is a way of life. It is from the youths of these Saburrati Ecuei, as they are known in Xyphon, that the sultan recruits his Royal Guard.
Ecueius to Praetor
Barcas was born Gaddar adz Zam, of the Zam tribe (the Zamri), one of the Saburrati Ecuei, forty-two summers ago. He was the second son in a family of nine, with bronze skin, a strong build, bright blue eyes, and wavy, jet-black hair. Gaddar quickly surpassed his five brothers in the way of the horse. By age eleven he had received devotional tattoos honoring the tribe's patron god, Shohr'umac the Water-Cleanser, on his forearms and wrists. At age twelve he was selected for induction into the Royal Guard and brought to the place in Xyphon to begin his training.
His identity as Gaddar was purged and upon induction to the Brothers of Magdanae, a mystery cult of the Saecuorum Logathum, he was given a new name: Matthias Barcas. Matthias is the name given to every Praetor in honor of the brother of the Prophet; Barcas is the name for the lightning-bringing aspect of Xium. He was then paired to a new horse, the young black stallion Ananax, that would serve him until the present.
Praetor to Praefectus Praetori
Along with the rest of the forward Royal Guard, Barcas rode alongside Sultan Xaicavos I in the Fourth Expansion campaign of Xyphon, in which the Xyphonaean army and its superior naval support toppled most of what remained of the Phaenesian Empire in the far south. Though the Royal Guard fought against many who looked more like them than their own compatriots, their stalwart resolve and faith in Xium drove them to acts of fervor that overshadowed that of any normal Xyphonaean cavalryman.
Barcas first distinguished himself among the already elite Praetors at the Battle of Ba'Hashang, during which he lead a lance from his Praetor cohort in a forward scouting mission. In this battle on the western fringe of the Phaenesian territories, Barcas' commanding officer and mentor, Malicas Nephrax, sent Barcas and nineteen other Praetors to assess enemy movements before dawn. They did not expect what they found. The Phaenesian forces were not defending the city alone; they were being assisted by alchemists from the blue kobolds of Azr. However, the defenses were not ready and, being magical and scientific in nature, clearly needed careful preparation. Though he did not fully understand what he was up against, Barcas acted decisively and assessed that if the Xyphonaean forces waited until dawn to attack, they would suffer heavy losses. He sent the youngest of the Praetors in his lance back to warn Nephrax and call for an early strike, but knew that even the time lost sending the message could lead to a greater toll.
Without hearing further word, Barcas led a series of hit-and-run attacks against the ill-prepared defenders. The Praetors would make a shallow charge into the partially-constructed defenses, cause as much chaos and fear as possible, then dart back into the desert night. They knew the kobolds could see into the darkness, if not very far, and made sure to kill as many of them as possible before each retreat. The maneuvers involved progressively greater risk as Barcas rounded the city, and by the time reinforcements arrived he had been badly burned and only six other men remained. The chaos Barcas caused, however, left the city's defenses in poor shape to received the massive charge that came much earlier than originally planned, and the Phaenesian forces at Ba'Hashang were brutally crushed.
For his action Barcas received the honorific Bellatoras, "Ardent Warrior." This distinction and his excellent record put him in line for promotion once enough Praefecti fell in battle. As Barcas recovered from his burns (which would leave permanent scars on his left arm and the left side of his face) he was approached by a halfling musician from the Myxolydian territories who had come to Xyphon to find a performing troupe. Upon landing, the halfling, Djando, had heard of the deed of Bellatoras and wanted to meet the man. Djando told Barcas that he could sense Barcas' potential for greatness, and that he would like to be the chronicler of Barcas' tale. Barcas dismissed the halfling, saying that he was the same as any other Praetor and deserved no special treatment. Djando gave in, but got Barcas to agree that, should he become a Praefectus before Djando left Xyphon, that he would appoint Djando as musician to his cohort and unofficial chronicler of Barcas' deeds.
The promotion came in just a few weeks. In the long and bloody second half of the Fourth Expansion Barcas' reputation as a terror on the battlefield and a fearsome field leader came to precede him. He rode alongside his old mentor and developed an intense rivalry with fellow paladin and fellow Praetor Desidras Cantor.
Praefectus Praetori to Magister Praetorium
Following this promotion were some of the most intense battles of the fourth expansion. As the leader of the newly formed Outrider Cohort, Barcas would lead his men far ahead of the Sultan's main army and often had to fend off enemy troops for hours before support could arrive.
The Fifth Expansion