Korax the Annihilator is a decorated adventurer whose legend spans the Three Continents. But there was one adventure even Korax didn’t think he was ready for: marriage.
“When you’re living this kind of life, marriage is the last thing on your mind,” Korax tells me as he settles into a a large, dragon-scale-upholstered armchair that he jokingly calls his throne. “It’s all, you know, ‘kill a troll’ here, ‘shatter an unholy artifact’ there. There’s not a lot of time to look for love.”
He’s being modest, I know; his romance with Princess Arastesia was once the talk of the Scarlet City, to say nothing of his famous fling with Norg Blood-Hand.
“Oh, sure,” Korax admits, waving a hand dismissively. “I’ve gotten involved with a few folks over the years. Stesia and I, I thought we really had something for a bit there, but it wasn’t meant to be. And I just figured–you know, that’s the way it goes. She’s got a country to look after and I’m off slaying demons. I didn’t think I’d ever settle down, really.”
And yet settle down he has, as is plain to see from the well-appointed living room we sit in during this interview. It’s a cozy space; the walls are decorated with trophies from some of the Annihilator’s most famous adventures, but there’s a certain something, an air of hominess, that’s undeniable. Perhaps it’s the deep-cushioned couch I’m sitting on, lined with warm owlbear fur, or maybe it’s the beautiful paintings of Korax and his wife that adorn the mantelpiece.
So what changed?
“What changed is, I met Alx’thrsha,” Korax replies, placing his large, sun-tanned hand over his wife’s delicate purple one. He gives her a look like she’s cast a permanent charm person spell on him, but there are no arcane tricks in this room–just love, pure and simple.
The mass of tendrils that make up Alx’thrsha’s mouth begin to writhe, and a noise like a thousand screaming souls chanting “ia, ia, ftaghn” issues forth–but in my mind, I can hear her speaking Common as clear as day. [We fell for each other right away,] she says.
It all started, it seems, when Korax began hunting for whatever was killing people in the small town of Hog’s Bellow.
“People kept getting their brains slurped out,” Korax explains. “I couldn’t let that stand, obviously, so I went on patrol. I had a pretty good idea what was doing it–not my first rodeo, I’ve killed a lot of illithids before–” He pauses and casts a worried glance towards Alx’thrsha, but she merely shakes her head and waves him on.
[It’s quite alright, dear,] she says. [I’ve killed more than my fair share of humans, too!]
“Right,” Korax continues. “So, I found this, uh, what do you call it? A warren, or a lair, I suppose, out beneath the woods near town. And I’m just business as usual, right? I charge in, greatsword swinging, the whole nine yards.”
[He looked very heroic,] Alx’thrsha interjects. Korax blushes–not a look I’m used to seeing on adventurers, and I’ve interviewed a lot of them for this column!
“Ah, but you were ready for me, dear,” Korax counters. “I wasn’t more than five paces in before you had overwhelmed me with a psychic blast and grabbed me from behind.”
[I was all set to suck out his brains,] she says to me. [But when I looked at him, I just… couldn’t do it. He was so handsome! And so brave.]
“And that’s when I knew,” Korax resumes. “As soon as I felt those tentacles wrap around my face, and it wasn’t immediately followed by a drill-like proboscis piercing my cranium, I thought to myself, ‘uh-oh, Korax. You’re in it now. This is the big one! This is love!'”
[It’s true, he did think that,] Alx tells me in a conspiratorial whisper. [I was inside his mind and heard every word. So romantic!]
After a meet-cute like that, it didn’t take long for the couple to get serious. I asked them what the hardest part of navigating their burgeoning relationship was.
“Well, now, the people of Hog’s Bellow weren’t exactly thrilled when they found out,” Korax admits with a chuckle.
[I did eat their mayor, after all,] Alx giggles. Once my ears stop bleeding from the sound of her laughter, she continues, [But it all worked out. I have vast psionic power, far beyond the pathetic understanding of your worthless race, so it was a breeze to reprogram the townsfolk to love me.]
“The real tricky part was meeting Alx’s parent,” Korax jokes. “I was so nervous, I think I’d rather have fought Drelzegol the Arch-Lich again than walk into that elder brain chamber!”
[I wasn’t worried,] Alx’thrsha says, as she fondly runs a tentacle down Korax’s cheek. [I knew Ska’lthrax would love you!]
Speaking of parents, I ask, is there a chance of any little illithids in the pair’s future? They exchange a glance, and for a moment I’m worried I’ve offended them. But then Korax gives me a smile.
“We’ve certainly talked about the possibility of ceremorphosis,” he admits. “Right now, I’m just not sure I’m ready to commit to that. But it’s an ongoing discussion, for sure.”
That just about concluded my interview with Korax, but I had one more question for the happy couple: what was their secret to a long-term, healthy relationship?
[Honestly, Breezee?] Alx’thrsha responds. [No secrets. That’s our secret. Right, honey?]
“That’s right,” Korax agrees, nodding firmly. “We tell each other everything. I couldn’t keep a secret if I wanted to!”
There you have it, folks: the key to happiness is open, honest communication. That might be the best advice D&D&D has ever given!
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