|Ashen Lord Rada al-Saran|
|Ashen Lord Rada al-Saran|
|Resided in||Leki's Blade, Grayhome, Greymoor Keep|
Rada al-Saran was an ancient warrior who claimed to match the gods in the way of the sword. Born in Yokuda, he ventured to the bloody shores of Hammerfell to dedicate himself to perfecting his swordsmanship, and would first manifest his Shehai there. His commitment to perfection was necessary, as to gain glory back in Yokuda, where "peerless swordmasters were as common as grains of sand", he would need nothing less. According to legend, to challenge himself, he dueled Leki to a standstill. He would later go on to join the Gray Host in the First Era, and was responsible for the group's resurgence when he became a Vampire Lord by the title of the Ashen Lord during the Interregnum.
Rada al-Saran was born in Yokuda and it was there he strove to attain perfection in love, art, and above all else the ways of war. Rada was among the Ra Gada Ansei Warrior Wave who migrated to Hammerfell to escape the sundered Yokuda. Rada took place in the various pogroms of the native races to claim Hammerfell as the undisputed homeland of the Yokudans. After the conquest of Hammerfell, Rada who by this point claimed to match the gods in the way of the sword confronted the goddess Leki, who was known for teaching new ways of wielding the blade. Some say that Leki herself drew him to the school to challenge and humble him. When he arrived, he found Leki had taken the shape of a warrior of sand, wielding a blade of the hardest rock. Rada al-Saran bowed to his opponent, and when it bowed back, he knew he found an opponent worthy of his skill.
For three days and three nights they dueled with neither gaining the upper hand. Rada al-Saran grew tired from fighting, so in a last ditch attempt to finish the fight, he struck the weakest point of his opponent's sword. The blade broke in two, and a great sandstorm split the horizon. When it cleared, Leki had erected a shrine from the sands and the surrounding oasis was said to have held the purest water in all Alik'r.
As a perfectionist of his craft, the duel being settled as a draw Rada interpreted as a failure, and he ultimately lost his ability to manifest his Shehai. Rada felt a deep resentment, which would lead him into Molag Bal's clutches.
At some point after the founding of the school, Rada Al-Saran had left the area and ended up joining the Gray Host, an army of werewolves and vampires led by King Styriche of Verkarth. Thanks to a deal Styriche made with Molag Bal for power, he and his army were sworn to serve him upon death. Following the Gray Host's defeat at the Bangkorai Garrison circa 1E 1029, many of Rada al-Saran's fellows became trapped within Coldharbour, Styriche included. Rada was among the few members to survive, and spent eons of calculation looking for a way to return the twelve of his Exarch siblings who fell. The thirteenth Exarch, Verandis Ravenwatch, was loved by Rada as the greatest of his compatriots, however, his betrayal broke Rada's heart with grief to the point that he only sought to exact revenge upon him.
Sometime before the death of the Red Eagle in 1E 1030, Rada met his friend Faolan who helped him manifest his Shehai once again by helping him in shedding his perfectionism. To do so, Faolan taught Rada a song that he himself had originally sung to have an epiphany which made him realize he had to fill his heart with the thing he loved most. For Rada, this love was his Gray Host. His Shehai was reforged in bitter blood.
Around 2E 582, Rada resurfaced as a Vampire Lord and the new leader of the Gray Host, an army of vampires, witches and were-creatures. Called the Ashen Lord by his followers, Rada sought to free his brothers and sisters-in-arms from the clutches of Molag Bal using the Harrowstorms, supernatural storms created by the Icereach Coven which sucked the life-force from anyone caught in them, and exchanged it for the life-force of their fallen brethren. Through the use of Stone Husks, he managed to resurrect Exarch Tzinghalis, who sped up his progress by working on obstacles Rada spent millennia on, and solving them within days.
Rada's plan began in earnest in Skyrim. In Eastern Skyrim, he had the Icereach Coven abduct Jorunn the Skald-King in an attempt to turn him into a vampiric sleeper agent, but this plot was foiled by the intervention of the Vestige and Lyris Titanborn. In Western Skyrim, Rada personally approached High King Svargrim of Solitude, offering him incredible power in exchange for his servitude. Eager for any power to finally prove his superiority to his hated rival Jorunn, Svargrim eagerly accepted Rada's offer, allowing his agents free reign across Western Skyrim. Rada's ultimate goal was to unleash a massive Harrowstorm within Solitude, but this was foiled when the Vestige, with the help of Lyris, the Altmer vampire Fennorian, and Svargrim's own daughter Svana, exposed the High-King's treachery and slew him. Rada al-Saran had already left by this point, seemingly unconcerned with whether Svargrim would succeed or fail.
Subsequently after, Rada al-Saran and his Gray Host encroached on the Reach looking for the Dark Heart to sever their contract with Molag Bal, slaughtering any Reach clans that stood in their path. Seeking to revitalize her Nighthollow Clan, Lady Belain, who had made a pact with Rada centuries before, joined al-Saran. She was planted as an advisor to Ard Caddach and convinced him to encourage the fearful Reach clans to take refuge in Markarth. This was, in actuality, a ploy to gather mortals to be sacrificed to fuel the reawakening of the Dark Heart.
After being discovered as an ally of Rada by The Vestige and House Ravenwatch, Lady Belain hurried to rally the Ghostsong Clan to enact the Prophecy of the Dark Heart. Those who deserted the clan were quickly killed, while the willing were sacrificed to the Dark Heart. Arana, a dissident of the Ghostsong clan, aided the hero in discovering the Ghostsong's hideout, and discovered that Nathari had primed the reawakening of the Heart. Many shades came forth, and Nathari herself was transformed to a voidmother and was slain. The victory brought the Heart to a temporary stasis.
House Ravenwatch then assaulted Lady Belain's Nighthollow Keep under Blackreach, and discovered the Heart deep within the keep's depths, as well as the ongoing ritual to fully reawaken it. It was too late, and the Heart was reawoken, pulling the souls of Markarth's denizens into it, and resurrecting the Nighthollow clan from its ashes. Lady Belain unsealed the doors of Nchuand-Zel, catching those at Understone Keep off guard and almost killing Ard Caddach. The Vestige followed Arana into the Nchuand-Zel, and recovered the keystone within the ruin's depths to gain access to the Orrery of Arkthzand, which al-Saran required to harvest the Heart's power to its full potential. There, Lady Belain teleported the intruder's to the Dark Heart's chambers, and bathed in its power. Despite this, Namira intervened through Arana, and gave her the strength to press on despite her wounds. Together, the duo slew Belain, striking another blow against Rada, though Arana succumbed to her wounds after the battle.
The Dark Heart remained a lingering threat, as it was awakened but not at full capacity, and Arkthzand's orrery remained charged with Void energy. With the heart's newfound power quickly draining, time was of the essence for Rada, and he conducted a meeting with some of the other leaders of the Gray Host north of Markarth, near the Druadach Mountains. Although Belain was gone, she managed to buy time for Rada to tie the heart's energy to the Gray Host, further laying down the foundations for his plans. After intercepting a letter at the Gray Host's meeting place, the Vestige learned of Rada's intent. The letter was written as a final act of desperation, and written on it was Rada's plea for Verandis to rejoin his Gray Host, and House Ravenwatch would come to realize Rada's plan in full. Rada had opened a gateway into his sanctuary realm of Grayhaven, using the Orrery as a map, and the Dark Heart as a power source and gateway for this endeavor. Grayhaven itself is "a piece of land sundered from the Reach" during the Planemeld, and is caught in the Void "between Mundus and Oblivion". Using the Dark Heart, they could anchor their souls to this sanctuary realm, leading to their contract to be severed with Molag Bal. Additionally, "Death [would] become as much a petty inconvenience to them as to any Daedra", thus the Gray Host could potentially go on never ending conquests.
While House Ravenwatch were at his doorstep, Rada was inside his sanctuary realm, conjuring an apocalyptic storm from within known as the Darkstorm that would consume all the souls in the Reach to complete his goals. Despite Rada's skill with the Shehai, and his mastery over his Vampire Lord form, Verandis outwitted him and turned the power of the Dark Heart against him. Rada in his final moments lamented that his old rival Leki was laughing on the Far Shores and dancing with her mocking blade to the tune of his demise. Verandis comforted his old friend's diminishing spirit, however speculated that some part of Rada perhaps remained and hopefully had some measure of peace free from the clutches of Molag Bal.
Rada al-Saran despite his failings, was remembered as a Sword-Saint to even match the likes of Leki, and the story of his epiphany via his meeting with Faolan helped one aspiring Sword-Saint, Sai Sahan form his own Shehai thus reviving the long dead martial tradition and securing Rada's legacy as one of the greatest swordsman from the Yokudan Warrior Wave.
- For game-specific information, see the ESO article.
- Rada's character takes inspiration from Baron Blackmoore, an antagonist of the Dark Brotherhood from early drafts of the game, who guarded Blackmoor Keep with his army of vampires, werewolves, and abominations.[UOL 1]
- ^ a b c d e f Rada al-Saran's dialogue in ESO
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rahama's dialogue in ESO
- ^ a b c Sai Sahan's dialogue in ESO
- ^ a b My Beloved Siblings, the Exarchs — Rada al-Saran
- ^ a b Red Eagle's Song quest in ESO
- ^ Svana's dialogue during The Gray Host in ESO
- ^ Arlof's dialogue during The Lady of Blood in ESO
- ^ Gray Host Orders — Rada al-Saran
- ^ Events of ESO: Greymoor
- ^ Gray Host Communique — Rada al-Saran
- ^ Events of The Coven Conundrum in ESO
- ^ Events of The Gray Host in ESO
- ^ Events of Greymoor Rising in ESO
- ^ Events of The Despot of Markarth in ESO
- ^ Events of The Awakening Darkness in ESO
- ^ Events of The Dark Heart in ESO
- ^ Events of A Feast of Souls in ESO
- ^ a b Count Verandis Ravenwatch's dialogue in ESO
- ^ Events of The End of Eternity in ESO
- ^ Events of Kingdom of Ash in ESO
Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.
- ^ ESO Cut Content - Dark Brotherhood maps