- "I have seen more battles than most of you have years. Nothing is more terrible upon this earth, nothing more glorious, nothing more absurd. You may retch. You will not be the first. You may drop your sword, your shield, your lance. Others have done the same. Pick it up and go on fighting. You may foul your breeches. I did, in my first battle. No one will care. All battlefields smell of shit. You may cry out for your mother, pray to gods you thought you had forgotten, howl obscenities that you never dreamed could pass your lips. All this has happened too."
- —Ikeda Cao's speech, just before the Battle of the Blind Forest.
Executor Ikeda Cao is a Xiansai military and political leader who rose to prominence during the Emergence of Evil and led several successful campaigns during the Quiet Peace. As founder of the Eternal Companions, he oversaw all operations, quests and contracts that went through the organization and maintained a stern yet fatherly position among its members. His tenet as their leader was to heal the broken lands of Sanctuary and stand as a bright beacon of hope.
He and his closest allies founded the Eternal Companions in 1265 A.K. to counter the threat of the Emergence of Evil that wreaked havoc across Sanctuary, specially the eastern empire of Kehjistan. After the conflict's resolution, the Eternal Companions grew into a global organization, keeping the peace in a war-torn world. Ikeda also lead the original Eternal Eight strike team that put an end to the Corvus Renegades in 1267.
Ikeda has seen his share of combat, both as a gladiator, and a master of his own team of fighters. He styles himself as a Kensei, a master swordsman, who lives by the codes of valor, justice, and courage. His highly complex legacy continues to stimulate intense debate among his peers, and is known as one of the greatest warriors to hail from Xiansai. Within his organization, he is called by his pseudonym The Eternal Shepard.
Ikeda is the third son of Shingen and Ishii of House Cao. With his older brothers casting tall shadows on his future, Ikeda's initial upbringing by his father was solely to serve his family as a Kensei, a master swordsman, and defend their House. Because of this, his relationship with his father was strained and distant, as the two of them were never close, which later caused him deep regret after his father's demise. He was also constantly bullied by his two other brothers, as they often times beat on or abandoned him. His second eldest brother, Masao, was especially cruel to Ikeda when his parents were away.
To honor his family Ikeda displayed a natural aptitude for leadership and possessed an innate understanding of strategy and tactics. Early in his training to become a Kensei, Ikeda became close friends with Tomaka Jun-fan, who was a training to become an assassin; their friendship, strengthened by the alliance of House Jun-fan and House Cao, allowed the warrior, Ikeda, and the assassin, Tomaka, to strive in a friendly rivalry that eventually stirred into competitive duels. Over the years, neither of them have counted their defeats against one another and both consider their fighting "on par" to each other.
In 1250, Ikeda's eldest brother Kazuki was killed in combat against an opposing clan, making Masao the heir to the clan's Earl. This angered Ikeda, not only for his brothers death at the hands of his enemies but also for his Masao's rise in power.
House that Breaks, House that Bends Edit
The Emergence of Evil Edit
The Eternal Companions Edit
Once in the court of Emperor Hakan of Caldeum, Ikeda told his dire story to everyone who would listen. Ikeda's eloquent pleas ultimately brought the realms of Kehjistan together for an emergency council, where his wife Katheryne's masterful politics created The Eternal Companions. Having been contacted by Katheryne with Ikeda's tale, the normally aloof mages of Caldeum sent a contingent of their forces, knowing that Katheryne's family wealth and ties to the Mage Clans of Xiasai would form an alliance. The holy warriors of Tulisam were attacked by the demons as well and quickly pledged themselves to Ikeda, among them was Jae Karune. The Eternal Companions was later joined by combat veterans of Kurast and exiled warriors of the Zakarum religion, who had been forced out of much of their lands by the Mephisto's rule over Kurast.
Because of his great skill in warfare and experience with slaying demons, and because the lords of the Kehjistan were not comfortable placing their troops in the command of a rival nation, Ikeda - a neutral party - was named the Executor of the Eternal Companions by Emperor Hakan himself. He quickly named Katheryne his second-in-command, and Tomaka Jun-fan, Alec the Dark Templar, Zira Ventress, and Elee Lee Llamas as his lieutenants. Essentially following Ikeda's inauguration, the Eternal Eight transitioned into the leaders of the Eternal Companions.
The War of the Shadows Edit
Imprisoned by Silence Edit
Incognito & Posthumous Edit
Character and Appearance Edit
Ikeda is known for his charm, outgoing and gregarious personality and remarkable ability to turn enemies into friends. In private, however, Ikeda posses a quiet, somber demeanor; some consider his reserved personality a sign of coldness and disdain. Despite his duality, Katheryne claims to have "found that good sweet heart beneath his solemn face". He is fiercely protective of his wife whom he loves deeply. As a devout follower of the Light, Ikeda remains very sentimental about his religious beliefs.
Those closest to him, such as Alec Kylar, note Ikeda's loyalty and honor as his most distinguishing features. Ikeda is seen as a brother to all members of the Eternal Companions and will often times dwell into interpersonal friendships with those who follow him. Most notably, Ikeda upholds an uplifting spirit. Despite his youth, Ikeda holds wisdom that is stretched beyond his years.