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Archistrategos Arcadius Drax is one of the most highly-decorated and notorious military commanders of the Imperium of Sidhae, the leader of the infamous Alpha Legion and a prominent (and controversial) political figure in Sidh politics. Known for being one of the most accomplished military commanders in the history of the Imperium and Mankind, as well as his often-extreme ruthlesness, Drax is admired and feared by his fellow Sidhae in equal measure, and feared and reviled by Imperium's enemies even more.

Background

Drax is the embodiment of the concept of career soldier. Having spent literally his entire life in the military fighting almost incessantly for the glory of the Imperium and risen the entire way from bottom ranks to the very top, he embodies the very essence of a Sidh strategos - experience. With literally centuries of war and hundreds of campaigns behind him, there are truly very few if any things in the Universe left about warfare that he is yet to master.

Drax's military service began literally before his birth - he was one of those numberless Sidhae bred and conditioned explicitly for combat during the height of the Age of War, being sent to the boot camp straight from the progenitory upon his activation in 2238. Ever since then, he hasn't lived a single day as a civilian, always fighting at the forefront of the Imperium's bloodiest campaigns.

Already in boot camp, the young man demonstrated considerable martial aptitude and was promoted to decurion already by the time his unit shipped out to the frontline. In the coming years, he would quickly rise through the ranks, serving in several different legions and surviving against seemingly impossible odds despite his legions being wiped out almost to a man. Eventually, the new prodigy soldier was noticed by his superiors and offered a place among the Emperor's best - the Alpha Legion.

It was here that Drax would spend most of his future career, spearheading Imperial assaults in many of the Imperium's bloodiest and most legendary battles, surviving the near-complete destruction of his legion several times. By Battle of Hades Gates, his fame already reached well beyond his own legion despite him still ranking only a Lochagos.

After Imperium's withdrawal into a Second Pilgrimage, Drax would fight in the various colonial wars as the Imperium rebuilt itself beyond the reach of it's enemies, battling various xenos species and also pirates and insurgents that threatened the new Imperium. Having seen everything and everyone he held dear destroyed by humans and the Skargh, Arcadius burned with seething hatred and thirst for revenge, eagerly awaiting the day when he and his fellow Sidhae could return to exact a terrible vengeance upon enemies of the Emperor. It was also during this time that he mastered naval combat tactics, serving a period in the Alpha Legion's naval arm that was required to be eligible for promotion to the highest officer ranks.

When the Imperium embarked on it's campaign of retribution in 2549, the Reconquest Wars, Drax was at it's forefront as he had so long desired, the Alpha Legion spearheading the Sidh invasion. In the coming years, he visited unspeakable atrocities on numberless human and Skargh worlds, to the point that his superiors deemed it necessary to reprimand him for excessive brutality, and that is saying much, given the general vindictiveness and savagery that characterized Sidh forces during the Reconquest Wars.

By 2560's, Drax had become one of the legion's Tagmatarchs and next after the strategos in the chain of command. Despite his legion having a service record that few units besides the Imperial Guard legions could hope to match, Drax felt that his fellow Alpha Legionnaires had been giving in to carnal pleasures far more than was becoming for warriors calling themselves the Emperor's First. Disgusted by what he perceived as indulgence of weakness and lascivity on part of his strategos (namely the habit of keeping human women as sex slaves), Arcadius Drax publicly challenged his commander to a duel of honour and killed him in single combat, assuming the mantle of strategos (his first order as the acting commander of the Alpha Legion being to blow the slave-girls in question from airlock). In the following decades, Drax forged the Alpha Legion from simply another dreaded elite legion into the downright nightmarish super-efficient killing machine whose mere mention strikes terror into enemy hearts today. A particular reform he takes great personal pride in was the restoration of good moral principles in his legion - under Drax, every form of murder, rape or depraved torture would come to be practiced strictly as instruments of vengeance and terror against the enemy rather than for legionnaires' own twisted pleasure, although the degree of his success in this is somewhat disputable.

Among the most notorious achievements of Drax during 26th and early 27th centuries is the Purge of Pnakotas, the genocidal suppression of a pro-Federation revolt on the occupied Fed world of Pnakotas in 2583, the entire human population of over 250 million being put to death under his orders, and the Desolation of Hyracor, also known as the Slaughter of the Foxes in 2610, when the Alpha Legion exterminated over 8 billion Vulpines, a pre-stellar civilization of fox-like humanoids.

Drax has since led his infamous legion against humans in the Altoris Campaign, notable for uncharacteristic lenience towards the conquered populations by his legion - according to Alpha Legion records, the entire campaign spanning five years and seventeen worlds saw only 2 568 327 summary executions and 6 833 092 sessions of flogging and/or non-lethal torture to members of subjugated populations. Drax himself has denied any merit of his own in this respect, stating that it was only because of the Empress's explicit order to exercise leniency and restraint that his men demonstrated such unusual mercy.

His latest, ongoing assignment is the liberation of the Commonwealth of Altoris, which has since become a vassal state and an ally of the Imperium, from a massive Skargh invasion. Drax was briefly distracted from it by a personal assignment from the Empress - a diplomatic mission to the Mechanocracy of Russia in the newly-discovered parallel universe known to Sidh researchers, diplomats and military planners as A-1. Despite his own misgivings and suspicion towards Mecharussians and other residents of A-1, Drax would carry out his assignment to foster good relations with stalwart determination, personally battling rogue Judicator Alain and his henchmen during the 15th July Plot, saving the life of Elena Trotskaya and thus befriending her in the process.

Personality

Arcadius Drax is the living embodiment of an archetypal military man - gruff, grizzled, straightforward and speaking his mind with the softness an subtlety of a thunder hammer. He has risen all the way from private to archistrategos solely by his own merit rather than influential patronage and pandering to one's superiors, and hence isn't afraid to speak his mind or voice his disapproval to anybody, even the Empress herself. Consequently, anyone who annoys him can expect a rough berating regardless of rank and station, and few things does Drax despise more than sycophants.

Possessed with a rough charisma and the reputation of a living legend, Drax has the talent of inspiring fanatical loyalty in his troops. He never uses his rank to secure himself any advantages, readily sharing the same hardships with his men, and makes it a point of pride to command his troops from the very frontlines, at times even seizing opportune moments to partake in the battle personally (the casualty rate of his staff officers consequently being the butt of many jokes in other legions).

Arcadius Drax tends to come off as haughty and arrogant on first glance. He is keenly aware of his reputation as arguably the best military commander alive, and doesn't hesitate to rub it into the faces of those he deems his inferiors if he feels they show less deference than is his due. He feels he deserves this deference, having earned every bit of it with his own sweat and blood, and it takes truly impressive accomplishments to leave him impressed enough to regard someone as his equal. His haughty attitude is further compounded by the centuries of elitist attitudes cultivated within the Alpha Legion, who look down upon pretty much everyone other than themselves, and his own strong Sidh supremacist sentiments.

While known Imperium-wide for his xenophobic views deemed extreme even by Sidh standards, Arcadius Drax is far from a simple-minded bigot. If anything, his expressions of radical xenophobia and seeming general lack of political savvy and tact are themselves carefully-calculated, Drax actually capable of being a deviously-cunning politician as well as a general. Since the Altoris Campaign, he has somewhat tempered his xenophobic rhetoric, however, even declaring his personal support to the Empress's limited human emancipation plan and other liberal and pro-human reforms, such as the formation of the Human Auxilliary Legions, first-ever in the Imperial armed forces.

Being born and bred a soldier, Drax evaluates everything through the prism of war. For example, humans of at least the Altorisian variety have as of late earned his grudging respect, having proven themselves both worthy foes and reliable allies in many battles. Likewise, Elena Trotskaya has managed to impress him primarily with her martial virtues.

Drax is notorious for having personally ordered some of the worst atrocities on record that would make the likes of Hitler and Stalin look like juvenile delinquents. To call him a depraved sadist, however, would be entirely unfair. He derives no joy from slaughtering and tormenting enemies of the Imperium beyond simple malicious delight that the enemies of the Emperor are made to suffer - for Drax, like for the majority of his men, visiting various atrocities upon the enemy is simply part of the job, one that nobody else is willing to do, yet one which must be done as a part of a carefully-calculated scheme of demoralization and terror. Indeed, Drax has refined the application of terror tactics to a form of art. Consequently, there have been occasions when the mere rumor of the Alpha Legion's pending arrival has caused entire worlds to surrender without a shot in hopes of sparing themselves their wrath.

In other words, Arcadius Drax can best be characterized as extremely ruthless, but not innately cruel. While he does have no qualms whatsoever about consigning the population of an entire world to the flames, neither will he decree such acts lightly, simply out of his own fancy - to him, cruelty, like everything else, must serve a purpose.

While not shying away from even the most underhanded methods if they serve his purpose well enough, Drax does have a certain rough sense of chivalry - he will, for example, refrain from harming innocents unnecessarily, if only because he deems weaklings too feeble and pathetic to fight back unworthy of his wrath and the ammunition expended to kill them.

Drax is known to despise slavery strongly, though his disdain is meted out towards the enslaved at least as much as the enslavers. In this respect, his beliefs are no different from those of the majority of Sidhae, that someone who accepts enslavement rather than resisting it to death and taking one's own life if necessary to avoid it is too weak and pathetic to deserve freedom. Drax, however, takes this belief even further, viewing slaves with such contempt that he refuses to even allow any in his presence, refusing to even speak to a slaveholding Sidh until he has removed them out of sight. Slaveholders in turn must deal with his thinly-veiled contempt in dealings with Drax, who believes that anyone who relies on the services of such pathetic and unworthy creatures in any capacity is a corrupt and decadent betrayer of proper Sidh ways.

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For all his brash and haughty personality, Drax does also have a soft spot for his personal assistant and companion D'Anna and his bodyguard and long-time battle-brother Darius. While many rumor of an ongoing affair between D'Anna and the old strategos, in truth their relationship is more a father/daughter one than anything else, Drax having little interest in romantic involvements (them being way more trouble than it's worth, in his own words). Drax is fiercely protective of his protegee and an affront or threat to D'Anna is the surest way to invite his wrath even while the centurion is more than capable of taking care of herself.

As for his relationship with Darius, the two men have fought together for the better part of their long lives, Darius invariably remaining at Drax's side as he rose through the ranks. As Drax explains, Darius has "taken enough punishment to bring down a dreadnought" in protecting him. Consequently, Drax keeps Darius around not just as a loyal bodyguard, but also as his most trusted retainer and advisor.

Trivia

In spite of a relative lack of opportunity to pursue any hobbies, Arcadius Drax is an avid hunter, keeping many of his hunting trophies on display in his office aboard the Fenrir along with various trophies taken in battle. He makes it a point of pride to face his prey, invariably the most dangerous to be found on any given world, without armor and only a melee weapon. His direwolf-pelt cloak that he gives to Elena Trotskaya as parting gift in Blood Debt is said to be procured in just such a manner.

Like many other Alpha Legionnaires including D'Anna and Darius, Drax habitually takes bloody trophies from the battlefield. The Alphas are believed to have adopted this habit from the Skargh in their extensive campaigns against them.

Drax seems to feel a certain degree of personal attraction towards Elena Trotskaya, though does not make any overt advances. That being said, the two still part ways on amicable terms.

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