Verminaard of Nidus (Reorxmont 12, 313 AC - 351 AC) was the last of the line of Huma Dragonbane and a Warrior who rose to prominence under the dark shadow of the Dark Queen. It was prophesied by the god Paladine that in conjunction with his true brother, Verminaard would achieve great things and be able to banish the dark forces forever. However, tainted by Takhisis, Verminaard would instead become one of her champions during the War of the Lance, and one of the first Clerics to show signs of the return of the true gods during the Age of Despair.
He was described as a physically powerful man, who had shoulder-length fair hair and light blue eyes. Fair-skinned, nearly seven feet tall and imposing, following the events after Verminaard left the lands of Nidus and East Borders, the dark warrior always wore his Dragon Highlord helmet, never taking it off around other people. He wished to no longer see the features that reminded him of his brother Aglaca Dragonbane.
The young Verminaard was delivered by the druidess L'Indasha Yman in the Khalkist Mountains, when the Solamnic lord Daeghrefn brought his pregnant wife through the mountains. As his wife died during childbirth, the Solamnic Knight raged and seethed, knowing that the newly-born babe was not his. Seeing a cat walk through the cave with a dead mouse in it's mouth, Daeghrefn named the child 'Verminaard', "for he is vermin, dwelling in darkness and filth, like his damned father".
Verminaard grew up in Nidus, as the unwanted second son of Daeghrefn, brother to Abelaard. The young lad did not resemble his father or brother in any way, but rather he did look like the young mirror image of the neighbouring lord Laca Dragonbane of East Borders. When the boy was twelve, Daeghrefn engineered a gebo-naud, in which he would exchange his "son" Verminaard with Laca's son Aglaca, in exchange for peace and a united front with East Borders against the Nerakan hordes. However the young mage Cerestes announced that the gebo-naud must have an exchange of eldest for eldest, and rather than Verminaard going to East Borders, his brother Abelaard was traded instead.
Over the next few years, Aglaca and Verminaard grew up together, becoming promising young warriors, however whereas Aglaca was pure of heart, Verminaard seemed to bear a darker spirit and certainly darker thoughts. Throughout his young life he heard a Voice, of someone whispering to him of dark things and guiding him along a certain path. He was guided by the Voice into rescuing the druidess Judyth from Neraka, aided by Aglaca. On the return journey, Verminaard left Judyth and Aglaca and found himself wandering into a cave. Within the cave, the young warrior came across the magical mace Nightbringer, and the Voice guided him into taking the weapon, with promises of glory and power. Verminaard claimed the power and embraced the power of Takhisis, proclaiming himself as her willing servant.
A Champion of Darkness
On his return to Nidus and wielding Nightbringer, Verminaard killed marauding ogres, saving the soldiers of Castle Nidus, and his father Daeghrefn. Even with these acts, Daeghrefn still could not accept Verminaard, hardening the young man's heart even further. With the aid of the mage Cerestes, Verminaard took control of the garrison at Nidus, and ultimately became the Lord of Nidus, succeeding his father. Aglaca made a desperate attempt to turn Verminaard from the path of darkness, and threatened Cerestes, realising that the mage was actually a Red Dragon and the root of the evil whispers in Verminaard's ear. However when given the choice over who he would aid, Verminaard chose Cerestes, and slew his brother Aglaca.
Cerestes revealed himself as the red dragon Ember, who had been sent from Takhisis to this promising young warrior, to watch over him and guide him towards the dark path. The pair then set off together, blazing fiery death onto East Borders and Nidus, before setting off westwards to find greater glory.
War of the Lance
Verminaard soon became one of Takhisis' first clerics in the Fourth Age, after most people had forgotten the 'old gods'. He rose to become a major power and joined the armies that Ariakas was mustering under Takhisis' banner. After the failure of Phair Caron in the Silvanesti Conflict, Verminaard assumed command of the Red Dragonarmy and governed the mines of Pax Tharkas. His army conquered wherever they trod and always returned victorious to the mines. Unfortunately for Verminaard his reign of terror did not last.
In 351 AC, the Heroes of the Lance infiltrated Pax Tharkas, freeing the prisoners and the senile red dragon Flamestrike. The ancient red dragon attacked Ember in confusion and left Verminaard vulnerable. The dark cleric, believing that his Dark Queen was with him, trusted in her divine aid and fought against the heroes single-handed. However in his time of need, he was abandoned by Takhisis and was overcome by their superior numbers. The mighty conqueror was defeated.
Rumors & Inconsistencies
Following the death of Verminaard at Pax Tharkas there were supposed sightings of both the Highlord and his dragon Ember chasing the refugees to Thorbardin and also within the mountain kingdom, in the search for the Hammer of Kharas. Both of these cannot be true, given his confirmed death at Pax Tharkas.
At later stages during the war, a fallen cleric appeared in Flotsam, by the name of Sevil Draanim Rev. When spelled backwards, the cleric's appeared as Verminaard Lives. The fallen cleric hinted at being the Highlord, however given the villain's death earlier in the war, this is known to be untrue.
- Before the Mask
- Dragons of Autumn Twilight
- DL2: Dragons of Flame
- DL3: Dragons of Hope
- DL4: Dragons of Desolation
- DL12: Dragons of Faith
- Dragons of the Dwarven Depths (PB) p. 3-8, 54, 271, 345-346, 386, 558-562
- Tales of the Lance: World Book of Ansalon, p.107
- War of the Lance (Sourcebook), p.286-287
- 1991 Trading Cards Premier Set, #140