Karsh is a towering mass of strength and sinew – a lion-maned colossus, broad-featured, dusky-skinned, crisscrossed from head to toe with the scars of a thousand battles. He is brooding and silent, due to either the ennui of immortality or the sheer self-assurance cultivated through centuries of solitude. It suits his purposes to be perceived as simple; when he speaks, however, his words are curt and carefully chosen. The stoic silence into which he retreats is interrupted only by the killing machine let loose whenever he takes the field. This bloodthirsty side, unconquered and uncontrolled, leads many to whisper that he is becoming that which he most despises.
Karsh is an elder Gangrel who held the unique title of Warlord of the Camarilla from the inception of the Camarilla until the Final Nights.
He was originally a Janissary named Hassan al-Samhir, a man who sided with Sultan Murad IV when the Janissaries revolted on 1631 and fought for years in the Ottoman–Safavid War. When the war ended in 1639, he spoke loudly against the peace and some of his resentful rivals had him framed for the deaths of three Persian diplomats. The Sultan came down on him and ordered him executed in a cruel fashion: by throwing him to the wolves.
From what little can be pieced together, others believed him to be the Seljuk Hassan al-Samhir, conqueror of Manzikert, greatest of generals, who served two sultans of the fledgling Ottoman Empire, he whom the Turks exalted in the verse "Samhir, great Samhir, inexorable Samhir, mightiest of warriors beneath the ancient blue sky."
Although undefeated and unwaveringly faithful, Hassan's pride was his single, unforgivable shortcoming. His heroic standing among the people, coupled with his lust for battle, earned him the mistrust of Murad I, his second lord, who was not half the man his predecessor had been. This friction, fueled by the general's incessant protests against the corruption for which the sultan's reign became known, ultimately exploded into enmity when Hassan's rivals betrayed him. Hassan was branded a traitor, sentenced to death, and forced to stand before the empire he once protected for confession and eventual execution.
But the warrior did not die easily. Calling upon Allah to defend his innocence, Hassan met the sultan's torturous trials. Stoned, subjected to single combat, even pitted against the fangs and talons of animals — all these tests and more he endured in the name of Murad's "justice". At length the ruler, who could no longer continue his persecution against a hero of the Turkish nation, condemned his once-enforcer as "no man, but a savage creature wearing flesh as does a man, lean and hungry as are the beasts of the wild for the blood of children and innocents." With this final curse, Hassan al-Samhir was exiled, left without shelter or sustenance in the great erg, there to find his death, only to find the Embrace.
Unbeknownst to all but a select few, the Warlord has retaken more than one Sabbat-held city through covert political and paramilitary methods, rather than the brute force for which he is typically known; he is possessed of and equally proficient with a wide variety of weapons, ranging from traditional counter-guerilla warfare to contained "industrial accidents", inner-city police death squads, and quarantines fronted by the Fort Collins Center for Disease Control.
The Time of Reckoning: 2017 CE
Camarilla Imperator Karsh takes a group of Myrmidons to Africa to investigate rumored activity. They have not returned.