“He is of Uruk, He, the butting bull
He leads the Way, He, the Foremost.”
The Epic of Gilgamesh
For over 4500 years the city of Uruk lay silent, undiscovered amid the shifting sands of the Mesopotamian desert. It would have been better for the world if Uruk’s secrets had remained hidden. It would have been better if the Tahazi had never existed. The cult was created at the heart of ancient Uruk in the tomb of Gilgamesh. There its founders, a small group of archaeologists dedicated to a united Eastern Europe discovered the answer to all their prayers, a single tome of clay tablets. Contained within were the secrets of the very gods themselves, the key to power beyond the wildest dreams of mankind. Before his death Gilgamesh had sworn a dark pact with Lamashtu, the demonic goddess of wrath. In return for the route to godhood Gilgamesh would sacrifice his soul. Now, on the very sarcophagus of the warrior king lay his one aim, immortality. If the true descendant of Gilgamesh could be discovered eternal power would be within the grasp of this small group of archaeologists. The most ruthless of the group, Elsa Von Rode turned upon her erstwhile companions and sacrificed them in return for guidance from Lamashtu. With the demon’s help she was guided to the true inheritor of Gilgamesh’s infernal knowledge.
The Sarrum, or leader and descendant of Gilgamesh, is none other than Colonel Isidor Krahl, chief liaison officer between Emperor Franz Josef and Kaiser Wilhelm. The fact that a man with such control over the political security of Europe is head of a destructive and violent cult does not bode well for the future. Isidor Krahl has a long and distinguished career as an Imperial Hussar, famously being the only survivor of the Red Hussars after the fall of the Austro-Mexican Empire in 1867. For his actions against Dacian rebels Krahl was awarded the Order of The Golden Fleece and given a personal audience with the Imperial family, becoming personal friends with the Emperor’s mistress Katarina Schacht. After he was put out of action by a Jezzail bullet when fighting the Bosniaks he was transferred to the Imperial staff. While working in the court Krahl was approached by Von Rode. She showed him the tome, which her was meaningless and suddenly Krahl saw the universe. Every secret, every piece of knowledge was revealed to him. He left an utterly changed man, more powerful, intelligent and wrathful than ever before. When the former liaison officer was found drained of blood on the banks of the Danube, Krahl, with his half German heritage and in depth knowledge of European politics, was his natural successor. Now the Sarrum is one of the most powerful men in Europe and a deadly threat to civilisation.
Elsa Von Rode, renowned archaeologist and mistress of countless European aristocrats, is the Gala, or high Priestess, to Krahl. She is a brutal sadist who takes pleasure in any destructive work. She has begun to dabble in the ancient Mesopotamian Occult and has become an expert at mesmerism, combining her natural beauty with a spell from forbidden Mudutu Codex. She is not a born warrior but has been toughened by years of artefact hunting in the most remote and dangerous places on earth. Her ancient armour was recovered from the burial mound of the priestess Shamat and is built for freedom of movement as well as excellent protection. Rode has a deep hatred of the Spanish after her family were murdered by Spanish soldiers in Cuba.
Chief of Krahl’s personal guard is a Hungarian, Victor Lazlo. He is fanatically devoted to a neo-Babylonian empire and fully supports the cult’s agenda of destruction and the unification of Europe. He is immensely strong and favours a two handed machete and a shotgun which he took from a Wallchian retainer during an engagement on the banks of the Danube.
The Nasaru guard are Krahl’s bodyguards. They are a mixed bunch of soldiers, hussars, mercenaries and anarchists, all “forcibly converted” to the worship of Lamashtu through Rode’s mesmerism. They are equipped with Shudaku. These swords use a terrifying blend of Babylonian mysticism and modern technology to create blades that launch a burning jet of energy at any enemy unfortunate enough to get within range of these devastating weapons.
Each Nasaru must work their way through the ranks before actually being allowed to fight. On a night of the full moon the aspiring cultists are sent into the wilds surrounding Krahl’s secluded mansion in Transylvania. There they must hunt one of the great wolves that live in the forests and crags, surviving completely alone. Ruthless violence is encouraged and the survival rate is extremely low. This results in only the most savagely brilliant cultists making the Nasaru Guard.
The Tahazi’s hunt for artefacts has put them into direct conflict with several major powers. They have a particular rivalry towards The Servants of Ra and have duelled over several antiquated relics in the past. More recently the Tahazi have been attempting to recreate the old Mesopotamian legend of soldiers rising from the dead. They have attempted to steal the Tod Truppen revivifiers from the Society of Thule and even led a zeppelin mounted assault on Dr Frankenstein’s castle in a bid to steal his life giving science. Thankfully for civilisation as we know it, they are yet to succeed in their mission.
On a much lower level the Tahazi have been preying upon inhabitants of Transylvania, abducting civilians from their homes and pillaging trade convoys that still travel along the old roads. They accompany their attacks with the cries of wolves and have terrified even the sturdy villagers, hardened by long years living in the shadow of horrific monsters. Some locals realise that their greatest chance of safety is to pledge loyalty to the cult and it is not uncommon for some of these unfortunate souls to fight in battle for the cult. They are often used as little more than cannon fodder and their life expectancy is decidedly short.
The Austro Hungarian military and the nights watch have tried to catch these mysterious raiders but have all but given up after sustaining shocking casualties. Many that are captured are sacrificed to Lamashtu in one of the many stone circles across Transylvania. Those who seem particularly strong are mesmerised into become fanatical members of the cult.
|ColonelIsidor Krahl||2+||5||4||1||Ld+2, terrifying, berserker, martial artist||Chainmail, Sword of Gilgamesh*, pistol||78|
|Elsa Von Rode||3+||2||2||1||Ld+1, mesmerism||Chainmail, sword, pistol||42|
|Victor Lazlo||4+||4||2||0||Ld+1, tough, berserker||Brigandine, two handed sword, shotgun||39|
|NasaruGuards-man||5+||2||2||0||Shudaku**, brigandine, sword||21|
|Wardum||5+||1||1||0||Matchlock, lined coat, Combat knife||14|
*The Sword of Gilgamesh counts as a sword except it has a pluck penalty of -2. It costs 5 points.
**The Shudaku counts as a military rifle.
Any member of the company may take a Murton Maritime Life Preserver (+1), the swimming talent (+2pts) or Siberian furs (+5pts)
Isidor Krahl may swap his pistol for a military rifle (+6pts) or a shotgun (+2pts)
Victor Lazlo may swap his shotgun for a pistol (-2pts) or a Sawn off shotgun (no change)
Any Nasaru Guardsman may swap his sword for a hand axe (no change) or a two handed axe (+1pts)
One in every three guardsmen may swap their Shudaku for a machine gun (+17pts)
Any character may take a riding horse (+4pts) or a Cavalry horse (+9pts) and the cavalryman talent (+3pts)
If a named character or Nasaru guardsman takes a horse and the cavalryman talent they may take a lance (+5pts)
Any Wardum may take the stealthy and/or tough talent (both +5pts)