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Sandro (Ashan)

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"I am the Shadow of Death, come to harvest your soul."
—Sandro, Danse Macrabre
Sandro is a character in Might & Magic: Heroes VI. He first appears as a protagonist in the second add-on, Danse Macabre, then returns as an antagonist in the expansion Shades of Darkness.

BiographyEdit

If you want something done right, do it yourself, and I wouldn’t let anyone else write my own biography!
So where shall we begin? I was born... some long time ago, in the Bull Duchy. All through my childhood, I had these vivid dreams, these visions. My family believed I was meant to become a priest of the Light. Need I mention they were wrong?
When I was old enough, I decided to leave the Empire, its rigid laws and its blind faith, and find my way to the Seven Cities, driven by an unshakable conviction. There had to be something beyond Life and Death, beyond the Dragon Gods, beyond the reality of Ashan even. I only missed one person, my sister, the only one who understood me. Her passing was a decisive event that put me on the path I’m still following to this day.
I became a student at the Academy of Magic in the city of Al-Betyl. It was a time of great philosophical pursuits, when it seemed the purpose of wizardry was to reveal all the secrets of the universe. This is where I met a man named Belketh. You heard about him of course. He was a respected teacher, having learnt the craft from Sar-Shazzar himself.
In Belketh I met a kindred spirit, one that was seeking answers beyond the rigid dogmas of the so-called “Dragon Gods”. As time went by, we became more than teacher and student, but friends as well. I was there when Belketh found the ancient texts, the seed of Necromancy. And this is where our paths started to diverge. For me Necromancy was a philosophy, a mere step on my quest for a greater knowledge. For Belketh, however, it became the “Truth”.
We had found a way to free ourselves form Asha’s cycle of Life and Death, and the boundaries of our mortal shells. And yet Belketh believed our purpose was only to serve Asha and her great design. This is when I realised I had been mistaken, and that ultimately he and I were not alike.
At first I thought his Spider Cult could be of some use to me. The cult was quickly on the rise, seducing Wizards afraid of their own mortality. I underwent the change as well, of course, although not be drinking the venom of the Namtarus. I gained my immortality by toying with a power more ancient that Asha and Urgash. I almost died, but I did not, and the loss of my flesh was little compared to the revelations I had.
Eventually, the other Necromancers discovered I was not a real believer and expelled me from their ranks. I spent the next years wandering the world, until my plans were ready to come into action...
OffBck

Originally named Alejandro, Sandro was born in the year 444 YSD, and was the only son of Vidal dela Segadora, a count of the Bull Duchy, and his fourth wife. Despite having had numerous daughters, the count was still longing for a son. But right from the start, the shadow of death hanged over the boy. The countess died giving birth, and at first it seemed the baby was stillborn. However, the infant miraculously came back to life after a few moments, leading his grieving father to believe Elrath had heard and answered his prayers. 

Growing up, Alejandro was a strange and precocious child. At an early age, he already knew how to read and write, displaying great intelligence – sometimes frighteningly so. He didn’t get along with his older sisters very well, except one, Alma, who shared his love for books. According to some sources, he also had a deep, reciprocated dislike of his father’s new wife.   

As time went by, his father started to worry about Alejandro. Not only his son seemed uninterested in hunting, fighting, and warring, but the way he was telling stories of strange places and times “like he had been there” unsettled Vidal. At first the count thought it only had to do with the books his son was always seen reading and considered it to the sign of an overactive imagination. But it was obvious the boy was much more mature than he should have been for his age.

Eventually Vidal asked a priest of Elrath to come and see the boy. The priest explained Alejandro had a rare power: due to his near-death experience at birth, he had retained a strong connection with the Spirit World and possessed the “natural” ability to journey in this alternate plane during his sleep. The cleric advised to send Alejandro to the seminaries of Elrath, where they would make him a great priest of the Light.

That didn’t work out well as his father or even the priests had hoped. Alejandro was always debating with his teachers, always putting their faith and beliefs into question with common sense and simple logic. The priests began to fear his insolence would spread to other students and cause more problems. They tried to isolate him, to punish him, to break him physically and mentally, in order to have him admit the greatness of Elrath. Alejandro only laughed, mocking and claiming they were just a bunch of ignorant old fools blindly following the laws dictated by the Angels rather than seeking their own path. One night they found his cell empty: Alejandro had escaped. 

That is where Alejandro dela Segadora disappears from history. A few years later, one can find the first vague mentions of a disfigured Necromancer named “Sandro” among Belketh’s closest and first disciples. It is to Jorgen's belief that Alejandro and Sandro are one and the same, although no one could find much information regarding his arrival in the Seven Cities and how he joined House Eterna.

During his time in the Seven Cities Sandro became increasingly rebellious towards the Dragon Gods, and resented the transformation of House Eterna into a Spider Cult, similar to Belketh's dismay. Having had visions of other worlds and never doubting their reality, he started to believe the whole of Ashan was actually a prison, built to retain souls for eternity, much like Sheogh was for the Demons and Urgash. Sandro saw the Dragon Gods as little more than parasites, sustaining themselves with mortal souls and faiths. Sandro even went as far to believe that Asha herself was a hypocrite and was no better than her insane brother and children. Sandro believed Undeath was the first step to escape this cycle, but he refused to drink the venom of the Namtarus, the sacred spiders, since he feared it would turn him into Asha’s puppet.

As a result, Sandro turned to the Void, older than the Primordial Dragons themselves, which he considered a much better source of power, if much more dangerous. It is believed that his meddling with the Void caused his current appearance, and that Sandro only “survived” by binding his soul to his own bones. Sandro even noted that while the process seemed terrifying, he found absolute clarity and great power. Sandro even attempted to do the same to his beloved sister Alma, but failed. Alma's death left Sandro in deep regret that he couldn't save her and furious that Alma's soul will forever be a part of Asha's cycle and therefore a slave to the Dragon Gods. This would be the start of Sandro as the Nethermancer.

Faking obedience to Asha, Sandro started working behind the scenes to take control of the Spider Cult. But his coup was foiled by Vein - the oldest Necromancer "alive" and Belketh's right hand - who had once been his best friend, and had become suspicious of Sandro’s behavior, especially in the light of one of the Mother Namtaru’s prophecies. Arrested, Sandro was put on trial, while his disciples and accomplices were executed. Out of respect for the one who had been at his side from the beginning, Belketh requested clemency for Sandro. Condemned to exile, Sandro disappeared from the Seven Cities in 505 YSD. He only reappeared six decades later. 

Danse MacabreEdit

Sandro was once a part of the Spider Cult, among the first of Belketh's students alongside Vein, until he was banished by Merikh under Belketh's orders after the Mother Namtaru revealed his involvement in Void magic. Sandro left the Seven Cities and began plotting to rebuild his power and reclaim his most powerful artifacts. To this end, he spread rumors that led to the ostracization of Lucretia dela Segadora so that the young woman would look to him for aid against Duke Ovidio of the Bull Duchy. The Duke was in the possession of the Staff of the Netherworld, an artifact Sandro desired in order to claim an artifact hidden within the Ring of the Unrepentant, to reach the hidden dimension within that had been created by a Shantiri priest of Malassa during the Elder Wars.

After he and Lucretia had slain the duke, they were caught by Lucretia's brother Giovanni and had to flee. Lucretia, without anyone to turn to or anywhere to go, joined Sandro in his quest to access the dimension within the Ring. Sandro traveled back to the territories of the Seven Cities, in full knowledge that he would be attacked by Belketh, who sent his agent Merikh after him. Sandro defeated Merikh and not forgetting the role he played in his exile, Sandro bound Merikh's soul to a ghoul as an act of revenge. Within the ancient Shantiri ruins, Sandro was able to penetrate the dimension of the ring and claim the artifact hidden within it - The Mask of the False Face, which allowed him to appear in any shape he wished, concealing his skeletal appearance. In the real dimension, Belketh sent a Dragonwraith to stop Sandro, which mortally wounded Lucretia after revealing to her the full extent of Sandro's treachery. Sandro, though impressed by Belketh's ability to summon an undead dragon, was able to defeat his former teacher's Dragonwraith. Sandro then approached weakened Lucretia, convinced her to become his first disciple and resurrected her. Then she became the first of his disciples in the Order of the Void, a group that sought to break Asha's Veil by slaying the Dragon Gods.

Shades of DarknessEdit

Prior to the events of the Second Necropolis Campaign, Sandro spent another 60 years gathering his powers and practicing magic of the Void. Some tie him or his followers to the theft of the Throne of Renewal, the incident of the Five Towers and even what occurred in Shanriya around 570 YSD. The fact several accounts of these events exist, with nobody able to tell with clarity what really transpired, give us a clue that the power of the Void must have played a significant part, even if Sandro wasn’t involved in person.

In 624 YSD, using the Mask of the False Face, Sandro was able to sneak into the Dark Elf capitol, Konos. Disguised as the Clan Lord, Raelag, he was able to get access into the Faceless' Invisible Library, though was discovered by the Faceless. Using his powers of the Void, Sandro easily defeated the Faceless and stole a piece of the Library's knowledge, also removing the Faceless' knowledge of what he stole. With the knowledge he had obtained, Sandro had a chance to remove the Mother Namtaru from existence forever. However, doing so made every Vampire and Namtaru that was turned into so by the Mother Namtaru fall into a deep sickness that had some trace of void magic, giving them a suspicion that he was involved. Only individuals who became undead before the discovery of the Mother Namtaru were unaffected but only for a time.

With little time, the Necromancers joined forces with the angry Dark Elves to combat Sandro, but in order to heal the Mother Namtaru, they had to bring it into the spirit world to "remember" the events of Wars of Creation. Now Sandro had to face off against his former brother-in-arms turned nemesis, Vein, The Reaper of Souls. After Vein succeeded in healing the Mother Namtaru, Sandro summoned an Avatar of the Void to destroy his hated enemy and the Mother Namtaru. Despite its powers of the Void, the avatar was destroyed and his enemies returned to Ashan. Far from displeased, Sandro felt he had made tremendous progress in his en-devour to destroy the veil over Ashan, as he came close to destroying a manifestation of Asha herself. Now confident that his plans are moving forward, he believed that the Dragon-Gods themselves are not far from his grasp. In addition, Sandro's void curse destroyed many of the Namtarus in Ashan, leaving only a handful left. This forced the Necromancers of Heresh to re-purpose the Namtarus in warfare as support and long-range units, and only rarely could the sacred Namtarus be found directly in the battlefield.

Later Journeys Edit

All these years of wandering had in any case only strengthened Sandro’s purpose: with the power of the Void, he would “liberate” the people of Ashan from the so-called Dragon Gods once and for all, allowing their souls to ascend to a higher, purer state, essentially becoming gods themselves. Of course, that’s assuming that anything would continue to exist if Ashan was returned to the Void, which, in itself, is either a leap of faith or dangerous insanity.

With his new found Order of the Void, Sandro has already tried several times to put his plan into motion, although fortunately these attempts were thwarted every time. Unsurprisingly to some, his targets of choice have been the Mother Namtaru and Elrath. There are some who claim he was somehow involved in the attacks against the Dragon Knights and their Hidden Houses during the Third Eclipse, truly threatening the balance between Order and Chaos. 

During all that time Sandro had successfully raised both his best disciples, Markal and Lucretia, to become powerful necromancers. Lucretia shared, unlike Vein and Anastasya, some hard to explain bond with her master, one that could be considered romantic. Her return to the newly-found Heresh in the late 770s YSD coincided with Sveltana's disappearance and Anastasia's exile after the death of Vein. Markal, a shadowy figure, continued to sustain the Order of The Void during his master's absence.

FateEdit

Sandro was killed when fanatic Holy Griffin Empire Knights under King Oleg destroyed Lorekeep. Sandro's death and the subsequent imparting of Lorekeep to the Wizards made Markal long for revenge against the Silver Cities, which he successfully executed during Queen Isabel's War. Despite this, many like Jorgen doubt that Sandro was actually killed and believes that he will eventually return.

GameplayEdit

Heroes VI Edit

Abilities Edit

Hero Trait
Prophet of the Void
Prophet of the Void
Increases the effectiveness of Prime Magic by 10%.OffBck


AppearancesEdit

Sandro appears in Might & Magic: Heroes VI add-on, Danse Macabre, Shades of Darkness, Elemental Guardians and is mentioned in Heroes of Might and Magic V and in Might & Magic: Heroes VII.

TriviaEdit

  • The Heroes V artifact Sandro's Cloak is a reference to this Sandro.
  • Sandro is the only character in Heroes: VI that wrote his own background.

GalleryEdit

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