1) Describe yourself as someone meeting you for the first time would see you. (Race?, Gender?, Age?, Size? Coloration? Attractiveness?, Dress? Do you try to emphasize or hide any of these features?)
He is clearly a foreigner; dressed in things unfamiliar to most Avalonians and of a quality that marks him of nobility or at least significant wealth. when he is in the city he usually wears close fitting Churidar tied with a green sash, and a embroidered sherwani with matching mojari of any color, but always the darkest shades. The gems of his many rings against the black of scaled hands and black nails, sparkle like stars against the nighted sky, and his turban is decorated a gemmed pin as well. When not wearing his turban, he adorns his head with a circlet of interlaced bone that shines with a cold light, formed by a Crown of The Grave (phb 2). When is out of the city, and on occassion within he will be either barechested or garbed in a Deathward Chain Shirt whose links are likened to smoky glass. This is paired with a kneelength red Cape of Balor's Nimus, emblazoned with a screaming Balor skull, draped over one shoulder and held with a golden clasp and chain.
More than his finery though, what first catches your eye, are his eyes. Sulfurous yellow-black like rotten egg on slightly bloodshot sclera, with speckles of what some will recognize as their former green Within all eyes of the living there is a light, unseen in the dead eyes of sharks, reptiles, and cold blooded things. Within the void of his eyes is a light, a luminescense that twinkles like the stars that bring ill omen and hail the death of princes. Looking into them is like looking up into the heavens of a lost world adrift in alien seas. It is not illusory, his hideously flickering gaze is very real. From his shoulders come slightly atrophied wings, through carefully tailored slits, not all draconic nor mammilian, but something fiendish.
All this is in contrast to his so human face, dark and swarthy and usually with a beard. His face many lines, and there are dark circles under his eyes, giving him the appearance of a man ten or fifteen years older. Present since he was a boy, it may be that his countenance was carved by the chaotic energies that stir within his darkened soul, just as stones are warped and worked by the wind. His lips seem to be permanently twisted into a smirk, that cannotes a smug sense of superiority or perhaps that he knows something one doesn't. The keener of scent like animals or the beastfolk will note the slightest hint of brimstone at his approach, and when shaven the redolance of a metallic aftershave.
2) What other details would someone notice on a closer look? (Distinguishing marks, birthmarks, scars, ect?)
He has small but sharp fangs, neither one of which is natural. He pulled one of his canines and replaced it with a magical one. He met a tribeswoman in the markets, and seeing her tooth modification paid her to file his other canine to a point so it would match. If you look closely, they arent exactly the same.
He has six white tattoos, grouped into three distinct pairs. They appear to use an alchemical method of scale tattooing or coloring that originates from the various reptile civilizations. Each one depicts in tarot like fashion, a different scene in remarkable detail with a small caption in an old common dialect below. (there is a tab on my sheet describing all 6 of these fully, also with pictures on my page) He acquired them from a reputable artist in [The Goblin Market] after returning from The Abyss, when he made the decision to formally become a priest of [The Nightmare King].
The first pair is located on his shoulders.
"Silence is Golden"
"Wasted Breath Keeps A Secret"
On the Left "Silence is Golden" -depicts a Knight traveling up a road on horseback to a castle gate on a grassy hillside. The castle has three turrets, all different. The knight turns to someone unseen and draws an index finger across his lips with a right hand. There is a distinct, mark, a '?' like mark drawn deliberately in a tree up the road, hanging from a branch. It is both a '?' and a snake.
On the Right "Wasted Breath Keeps A Secret" -depicts a common man traveling up a road on foot to a bridge with large gate houses on either side. The two halves of the bridge they protect meet in a sharp peak. The man is oblivious, but birds from the far gate house scatter as the cloud cover parts above. In the sky a man reaveals himself and knocks his last arrow.
The second pair is located on his back, below his shoulder blades and wings. The two are on either side of his spine.
"Open The Closed"
On the Left "Open The Closed" -depicts an old bearded man in long robes that trail on the ground approaching the door to a building; he has two keys in his left hand, his opposite hand is empty and seems poised to open the door. A lamp sits on the ground at his feet, indicating it is night. A black dog accompany's him.
On the Right "In Vain" -depicts a middle aged bearded man on the other side of a door with a huge sack of coins at his feet. The floor has a checkered pattern. He counts them, stacking them on a stool, unaware that a robed skeleton looks over his shoulder. The skeleton carries a pitchfork in his right hand, and an hourglass in his left. All of the sand has run out.
The third set is located on his back, below the second. The two are on either side of his spine.
"Fortune is Not The Same For Everyone"
"The Disciple Outshines The Master"
On the Left "Fortune Is Not the Same For Everyone" -depicts a mummer, a fool wearing a motley and carrying a cane in his right hand. The shape of the crook could easily evoke the imagery of a serpent. Before the fool lies an open air labyrinth at the bottom of a hillside. The door is closed, but on the far side there is an archway that is open. There doesnt seem to be anything forcing one to pass through the maze. On his left on the ground are three dice , each with three faces visible, each depicting the numbers 1, 2, and 3. They have rolled exactly one 1, 2, and 3, so it would seem he has rolled 5.
On the Right "The Disciple Outshines The Master" -depicts a poorly dressed man and a king playing chess on a board with only white squares. A window shows an arrogant moon in the heavens, indicating it is night. Below the window, the two dogs fight, a black one leaping upon a white one. The two men dont seem to notice, completely absorbed in their own struggle. There is a closed door behind the king.
In the middle of his back is a sickly green pattern that is organic, more natural. At would at once invoke the imagery of a cobra's patterned hood, but to keener eyes it also symbolizes the Abyss. A planar glyph of infinity with a downward arrow through the middle. It was not always there, and appeared early in his adventuring career in Avalon. (Image is featured on my page. Drawn in mspaint its design based of a series of planar glyphs taken from Planescape that were originally featured on a poster. Its hard to find these online, but the well known Li Po features all of them as apart of the decor on his DnD page.)
3) Do you have a distinctive way of speaking or any other mannerisms or memorable behaviour?
He has a penchant for stroking his beard, or his chin when shaven, as well as taking 'scholarly' poses, and walking with his hands behind his back. He gives 'pet' names to people he sees rivals or enemies he 'likes', usually some female or diminutive variation on their names whenever he can think of one. Lucius Cassius of Avalon became "Lucy", and a [Robert Winchester] he used to go to school with became "Winnie".
He also likes "banter" in his fights. If some creature is capable of understanding speech he will speak to it. He's compliments people and even enemies on anything he likes-as well as insult them if he's displeased. He has a habit of making off remarks in the face of creatures far more powerful than himself.
"HEY! YOU! You understand my words? I know what you want and I can see that you're very talented at what you do. Why dont you help us finish off the feathered bitch? You can eat them both "
- in Undercommon, offer a pair of Ropers ambushing the party, after killing one of a mated pair of Rocs Ropers are above average intelligence, understand Terran/Undercommon.
"Are you going to run away? Where? Back to your 'Boss'? You can never go back. You and I both know how they think. That HUMAN who's leading your tribe now? He's gonna make a fine example of you. Comming back alone? Sure-but empty handed? Even your sisters will call you a coward. Besides, even if had you actually succeeded-how much power do you think there is to go around? Your tribe wont be sipping on this, no. What makes you think you'll get anything? Come with me, and you'll have a chance to taste The Tears of Heaven. Most of its going to OUR 'Boss', but we're entitled to a thimblefull. He wont miss it, if I give some to you."
- to a female gnoll warrior who was staggered from her wounds, and gripped by supernatural fear and showmanship; he attempted to tap into her dark heart and charm her with The Dark Speech, but she was healed by one of the party members and ran before he had the chance.
" I'm going to be honest, I LOVE what you've done with the place."
-to a band of ogres lead by an ogre cleric, interrupting the paladin was busy arguing why they should surrender. He was complimenting them on all the bodies impaled on the branches of the trees around their camp, feeding flies and blackbirds.
"Aww, she doesnt like it…"
-after the paladin strikes first, initiating combat.
"…Very impressive. Not since I left The Abyss have I been in the bedchambers of so potent and cruel woman. But I'm afraid I'll have put to the quietus to our little soiree."
- to Devil 'Lady Nihil' after his entire party had been paralysed by her Blasphemy. He was the only one unaffected being immune. He removed their paralysis allowing the party to dispatch her. When she was dead he actually considered ravishing her body, but animated her skeleton instead. When the skeleton went to dust, he kept some of it and looted her bedsheets.
"You know, you're pretty smart. So am I. And I have half a mind to DENY you everything you could hope for. You're not afraid to die as long as you can join that Elder Brain of yours. We could leave you for dead, or we could leave you for undead. What happens when your slimy corpse suddenly becomes animate? I dont think they'll take your withered brain. I think they'll leave it all over the floor."
- to a wounded Ulitharid and his attendants after the start of combat; he initially spotted that they were not going to immediately attack and planned on conversing with them first, but he didnt have the chance to speak first when the party leapt into action.
"Where is your 'god' NOW?"
- to a dying lizard man invoking his 'deity'.
"Oh, there he is… You're late!"
- as Silver Dragon Shimmerscale descended from the cloud cover, absolutely furious at the death of his cultists who revered him as divine.
"We killed them. And we culled the weak from your church. That's a favor. You should be offering us their jobs, seeing as we're superior. I THINK we earned them."
-to Silver Dragon Shimmerscale after resisting his frightful prescense and enduring his breath.
"You really should have started making offers. Too late now. You've proven to be a god of NOTHING, or else proven us godslayers. Which is it?"
-to Shimmercale after his wing is broken.
" Tell me something: Some people say my soul stinks of brimstone. You think its true? The answer'd mean a lot more comming from you."
-to a Babau; the creatures slime had destroyed the Paladin's only weapon and laid them out on the ground, the Monk had long since fled with the hostage leaving only him and another spellcaster-whom was on the verge of death. The Babau had offered him the chance to turn on his companions and join him, flee, or die.
B: Birth and Family
1) Where and when were you born? (Also good to include: Do you know your exact birthdate? Did anything unusual (storms, accidents, deaths, ect?) happen about the same time, with which some people might still associate your birthdate?)
He was born on May, 5th XXXX. It was in [Shimin]on which he has written personal accounts.
When his mother went into labor in prison, she complained of feeling as though innumerable icy knives danced about in his insides. She developed a fever, an odd sweat forcing itself from every pore. It was a weighty, deep red, almost black like pooling blood. Her cold feeling turned to devil-chills and her tremble grew into a full body-quake. Retching like a demoniac she heaved up something darker than devilfish ink. Present were three midwive-adepts and a High Priest of Thoth-he knew the woman who had many times visited his temple. For three days she was in labor; each night one of the midwives experiencing a horrible nightmare, and each night one of them fled too afraid to take any further part.
On the first night, the first midwife dreamt of her giving birth to a swarm of bats. She sees the High Priest throw his mantle over his face, just before she has her eyes clawed out. She wakes up -and tells the others, and decides to abandon the delivery, to afraid to take any further part.
On the second night, the second midwife dreamt of her giving birth to black serpents, which after being bitten herself, she sees the High Priest begin crushing their heads with his staff. She wakes up and tells the others that they should flee. She leaves, leaving only one midwife and the High Priest himself.
On the third night, the third midwife dreamt of her giving birth to a rabid black dog that spoke to them in a human tongue, she sees the High Priest cover his ears, but she is not swift enough. When she awakes she tells him what she saw. But when she tries to tell him exactly what it said, the High Priest cannot understand her- to herself she is speaking plain, but to everyone else she is speaking something nonsensical or in tongues. She tries to write it down, but when she tries to think of the words, the only thing that she can put to paper are meaningless scribbles.
On the fourth night, the High Priest was all alone. He knew what to do, but he wondered if the others dreams meant anything or nothing at all. When the Ishtara finally goes into labor, he sees for a momment he thinks, a vague apparition fly by in corner of his eye. Nothing definite can be said, except that it was shadowy and cloak-perhaps likened to a billowing sheet of black sack cloth, or a ray.
From what he can tell a perfectly human child is born - but all those who had the dreams have doubts, that despite all examinations could not be assuaged. He is made to swear an oath by Ishtara, never to reveal to the child that his mother was a heathen, As far as the child is concerned, he must belive his parents are dead notliving and were not heathen cultists.
As the child grew up the first midwife went blind, the second became sickened and paralysed, and the third was committed to asylum. The first occured when Tammuz was eight years old, and then the other two each four years afterward. All three of these conditions are easily explained by cataracts, stroke, and dimentia -common ailments of the aging. Those few who knew of the dreams were convinced that something is wrong. Being of the Thothic Faith, and a man of reason the High Priest vehemently dismisises their "foolishness". Tammuz never learns of the dreams of the midwifery, nor of what befell them, but some of those in the clergy of other faiths-friends or colleagues of the High Priest give Tammuz odd looks.
Later, he secretly breaks his oath with Tammuz's mother and tells Tammuz (now 16) anyway. Another four years later he met his end on Tammuz's 20th birthday.
2) Who are your parents? (Names, Occupations, Social class, Were they married?, Are they still alive? are all good things to include)
Tammuz learned through his adoptive grandfather [Midrashim]that he was the child of [Ishtara] - an ex-cleric of Bast, a cultist , a "compassionate prostitue" self proclaimed and an exile of Shimin. She would be about in her 40's now. Although his caretaker and adoptive grandfather Midrashim knew, Tammuz himself has never seen what she looks like. Midrashim's grand niece [Neelam] might remember. Although she was very young, Ishtara would have visited Midrashim's household several times before she left the city.
"I used to believe in Her. Honor Her. Cherish all children. They said with faithful adherance she would reward us generously. That we shall not want for worldly pleasures, food, shelter, clothing, or protection. That she would lavish Her affections upon us with a warm and soft body, sweet caresses and exquisite pleasures of the mind, body, and soul. Such great promises, and great expectations. I'm sure you can imagine. "
-Ishtara, Ex-Cleric of Bast to Midrashim
Neither Tammuz nor Midrashim know who his father is, and when asked "A compassionate prostitue am I" is all she would reply. However, unknown to any except Ishtara, Tammuz's father was a [Thugee] Jemadar that she fell out with, [Mukul Asaduzzaman Alzared]
3) Do you have any siblings? (If so, it would be good to describe them as you did your parents above.)
Neelam, his adoptive grandfathers grand-niece. She is older than Tammuz by 6 years; living in the same house hold, she became something like an elder sister to him.She was under her grandfathers employ, as a librarian in the temple of Thoth. The last look on her face Tammuz saw as he fled their home, was a look of abject horror that from Tammuz's perspective, was focused directly on him.
4) Do you know any members of your extended family? (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins? Also would be good to describe them as above)
High Priest Midrashim [Deceased @ 87] was his adoptive grandfather and a friend of Ishtara, whom would often come to the temple of Thoth he presided over. Midrashim knew Ishtara was a prostitute, but did not learn of her occultic background until later. Midrashim once had an adult child, a daughter, but she and her husband died unexpectedly in an accident.
5) How did you get along with your family?
He had a healthy relationship with his grandfather and Neelam in his childhood. When Midrashim told him the truth of his origins on his 16th birthday. After that he became less communicative and more distant as he began to brood and became fixated on finishing school as soon as possible to look for her.
C: Education and Work
1) Did you serve an apprenticeship in order to learn your current profession/class? For how long?
2) If you were not an apprentice, how did you learn your trade/skills/ect? Formal schooling? Informal Teachers? Self-Taught?
3) Who was your master or teacher? (Race? Gender? Appearance? Personality?) Is he/she still alive? How were you treated? Are/Were you on good terms with your master?
He went through clerical apprenticeship under Midrashim from the age of 12 until he was 16, and afterwards would attend the University of Shimin until he was 20 in the pursuit of becomming not only a religious scholar but also an instructor in many disciplines. When he started school he was already teaching literacy and mathematics to other adults. The focus of his study own official study was on arcana and the planes, with his private study venturing into demonology, the undead, cult history, and forbidden magic. Expecting to encounter all of these things in his search for his mother he wanted to prepare himself, and at once he was deeply interested in the 'world' his mother had supposedly left behind.
4) Did your teacher have any other apprentices or students? Who were they? Did you get along?
He studied under many professors in university. Midrashim trained many adepts and clerics in his ascension within his church. By the time he studied under Midrashim, the old man had not personally trained anyone in many years. Tammuz would come to know a few of them; that were still in regular contact with their old teacher.
5) Due to the rarity of literacy in this setting, how important are books, writings, letters, ect. to your character? Regardless as to whether or not he/she can read?
He believes that reading and writing are the skills that should be most treasured skills in the world. Though there are oral traditions, writing can transfer knowledge, wisdom, art, and culture across time and across space long after the bones of the author are interred, whether they had disciples or not. When he was in The Abyss, he lamented that while he was surrounded by so much flesh that no man could want for touch of a woman-but what he lusted for was the touch of vellum. He was not provided with any books nor any writing materials he asked for- although he did put his mind to learning [The Dark Speech] which is unwritten. His journal entries [Manifestus Maleficarum], [Good To Be King], [The Oath], and [Refuse The Sacrifice] were all composed (mentally) in The Abyss before being written down when he got out and were immediately followed by [The Past Returns] and [Observation Notes].
6) Do you have a job other than "adventurer"? Who do you work for? How much of your time does this require?
Tammuz supports himself economically entirely by what he has attained through mercenary work, or by what he has plundered from any number of sites. However, he is perfectly capable of acting as an instructor of any of his Knowledge Skills [Profession:Teaching], facilitated by writing and lecture [Perform: Oratory]. He has written one book to date [The Mystery of Darke Cultes], but has periodically submitted short articles to scholarly journals. There isnt a great deal of money in this, and so a life of learning and writing is supported by his adventuring which yields more money than teaching ever could.
1) Who were your friends as a child? As an adolescent? As an adult?
2) How many of these people are still alive? How many are you still friends with?
3) Who is/was your best friend? What is the most memorable thing that the two of you ever did together?
4) What do you look for in a friend?
As a child he was somewhat anemic and weak, as well as more cerebral, and so he didnt play in as much in typical childhood sporting sort of games. He was quiet and read alot for his age, and had more talent imagination sort of games. He didnt have a large number of friends, but always had a handful of people he did things with. Growing up [Ozar](Deceased @ 22) was his first friend since early childhood. Ozar would later marry Neelam, who was like an older sister to Tammuz. While he intended to become a priestly scholar, Ozar was training with the city guardsman. When Tammuz decided he would travel throughout his homeland insearch of his mother and unknown father, Ozar said he would consider going with him; he could not definitely say for sure, because he did not want to leave his wife by herself for months or much longer. Tammuz was fine with him staying, as he did not want to see his cousin alone either. He never knew Ozar's final decision, as he died along with his grandfather.
As an adult, he met many other adventurers he would travel with. He details several of them in [Seven Deadly Sins], most notably Dakheel. He mentions that "-he alone, was the only man I truly feared when I still knew fear, which was why I was glad he was my friend. He was also very wise, and of very sound mind. I cannot express just how much hate rampantly breed in my heart, when I saw him since he returned from the Abyss; how much blood could have dripped from my eyes when he showed me in my mind how he was tortured, and how his kin put under threat.
He would also become friends with Dakheel's Disciple , Yuria Townsend as well as with priestess Servia Cassius a former public activist for the poor who originally took Yuria in and was more than willing to come to the aid of both more than once. He would see a kind of rival in Servia's brother Lucius, and would see a challenger on an intellectual level in wizards like Eisen R. Nephilem and more recently WhiteHawk.
He has a small number of people that work in his home he is on good terms with. [Archibald Murray], being one of them.
( see for details http://therafimrpg.wikidot.com/the-talwar-kadath-townhouse )
5) Have you ever been in love? Was it reciprocated? Do you have (or have you had) a boy -/girlfriend, a lover, or a spouse? More than one? Are you looking for one? What do you look for in a romantic partner?
He finds a certain, almost illicit thrill in exploration of the hidden, forbidden, and the dangerous as an adventurer. He knows no fear, albeit, he isnt stupid. He likes women that are extraordinary, that kind of beautiful, dangerous, extraordinary that your gut tells you should keep away from as he speaks of in [Flirting With Danger] He also has an admiration for women that are strong or cunning.
Currently, he is in love with Evangeline with whom he has a child.
"She's as dangerous as they come, but its not from any dislike of who I am or friction with what I do. I know she's lied to me, I know she'll do it again and I'll forgive her-whats more she did it for my greatest enemy, albeit against her will as a slave to her master-or so I'm told. That much I believe because I know the master under whom she's yoked, and much freedom she must have felt, if for a moment when she was on her own and how she professed being with me was the most selfish and impulsive she's been allowed to be in too long. She isnt afraid to use me or my resources to her advantage in her own plans, as would I her-but we have a child together, and so our interests for now are vested in them and what they need. Truth be told, she doesnt know that should I live long enough, I will become immortal. Not indestructable, for even gods die, but as long lived as she. I know unscrupulous elves will take human lovers as short-lived 'pets' or 'playthings' or else marry them because they know they'll die off quickly and this could be the same. I'm fairly sure I dont chance too much mortal harm from her at least in the forseeable future. In the long term I dont know how far this will go or what will bring, and I dont know that I'll always wake up in the same place, seeing as at least once she's abducted me, but I know the last forty-one times I've lay with her I didnt die in my sleep.
E: Attitudes and Beliefs
1) What are your beliefs about religion and the afterlife? Do you follow any particular god or gods? What appeals to you most about this religion? Least?
2) Where do spirits of nature, the elements and the dead fit into these beliefs?
"The gods of this world are at war. They have their own plans that stretch into strange eons, throughout which alliances are made and broken. They could not exist without the mortals of this world, nor could they war without them. They draw their eternal life and power from their adoration. All life, all light, all souls is naught but their provender nor any ordinary man more servicable or less disposable than a pawn. However, not all are pawns. If they did not love and reward at least some of them, the common man would give up that bitter illusion called 'Hope', that says he as an individual actually means something in the greater scheme of things.This is the Truth. Truth is hard.
Those who die are not 'judged' by the deities, but rather their soul naturally gravitates to a plane most aigned with them, where they will continue to exist among entities that are like minded. If you were a cruel master, a subjugator of men, and adherant to the supremact of One-prepare of Hell. You will begin on the lowest rungs with innumerable competitors in a world of treachery, all aiming to be the most useful and the most obedient, all seeking to rise up, as you are beaten back by an iron hand. If you were governed by your own desire, forever dissatisfied, and a rider of you darkest passions-now begins your descent into The Abyss. You will be thrown into a land of confusion, some say the most dangerous place-a world where even the plane itself hates its inhabitants and revels in their destruction. If you believe that ennui is a killer, you'll never be bored-although you may be eaten. And if you were somewhere in between these two extremes, but concerned with corruption, cruelty, and consumption? So awaits The Grey Wastes of Hades.
Some would ask 'If this is so, why would any who know, do anything than always treat others as they themselves would wish so?'. Who says they do not? Oh yes, there fools who are only accustomed to preying upon others, unprepared to be preyed upon themselves. There are those who are slavers, who are unprepared to kneel. There are those who are schemers, unprepared to be an unwitting pawn. There are those who take what they want, but are unprepared to robbed and be raped. All fools, all doomed. But if you are a firm believer in the dark way, the way of the strong and cunning, then could there be more perfect a world than one of the same? What do you believe that the fiends or the gods, or anyone is doing on the Prime but trying to make this world into a match for their own? The world that awaits you is only a punishment if you deny reciprocality. Otherwise, you are going home.
But beware! Going into the afterlife is NOT the same as visiting those planes in your mortal form. No. When you arrive you shall be stripped of all power that you had alive and perhaps the knowledge that you know. When you arrive in Hell or The Abyss or any other place, your memory may be fragmented or it may not whilst you are unaware that you are dead. Bathed in the primordial chaos of The Abyss, or kept under the of 'care' of Pain Devils -after a few centuries or so, long after the hope of True Ressurection goes, you will attain a new form. You will eventually either become a Lemure, or any type of demon. Yugoloths are an odd exception, as they do not derive from any mortal soul but only with their own. So begins your new existance, and so will you be likely to be conscripted into The Blood War or some other conflict. The transformation will likely erase all memories of your mortal life. Devils never remember, lost souls in Hades will forget, but demons-they're different; there are indeed a rare few that can recount their days in life and say they have no regrets.
But of course, this is only true of those whom had no faith, or placed their trust in the cults of the demon lords or the diabolic conspiracies. Those eho devoutly serve a deity will be drawn to their gods lordly realm. Depending on the deity a divine agent may appear before them to lead the way, and other times they must prove their worth by making it on their own by a perilous journey. Upon arrival most will be made to forget their mortal life, and live out a new one as a devout servant, and most will retain a form that is as they were in life. Ressurection or any number of spells only work if the departed wishes to return; the family of most common folk cannot afford the spell for those that die violently, and chances are it will be money wasted because the spirit does not wish to return (or should they be consigned to Hell, they may not be able to). People who accept the chance to raised are not common, and are unusual cases as attempted revivals go or else recall some special reason for living. Should they be raised, they lose all memory of their experiences within the realm and regain their old ones. Exceptional souls may be allowed to retain their mortal memories, knowledge, and skills to fulfill some purpose, but otherwise lack any other abilities they had in life, and forget their time in the realm if they are returned to life. The only firsthand accounts of such realms come from divinely inspired texts and those that have traveled their while alive.
But what if you want to keep all knowlege, all powers, everything? Seek eternal life. If you attain it you may yet become a god in your own right."
- The Traitor's Son
(Next Entry to be added to Journal page in the future)
1- Rule of Wax-Wane: Change is inevitable, and everything has its opposite. All things and states begin by rising until they reach a Zenith, and then falling until they reach Nadir; of Waxing until they are full, and then Waning until they are eclipsed. In this way all things are fleeting, but so do they inevitably return. In general these states are cyclical and continue in pattern, while on an individual level they are often linear and end with Final Death.
2- Rule of Perfect Circle: The concept of 'Perfect Circle' exists in the mind, but does not exist physically on the Prime. If you take an octagon and continue cutting the corners off of it, and the resulting forms eventually you will end up with what looks like a 'perfect circle' but it is not. Close enough inspection will show its imperfection. The universe began with Abyssal Chaos from which all forms and states are emanations, the first were perfect forms and states, but the emanations that followed were less, and less perfect. The Elemental planes contain pure and perfect Water, Fire, Earth, and Air forms and states. after In the same way the Negative and Positive Energy planes are perfect night and perfect day. So too is there perfect Law, Chaos, and all other things. Each plane is perfect in some ways , and the Prime is the result of the coalescence of the imperfect or lesser emanations of each plane, like the the Para-Elemental planes. Those beings on the Prime produce things, like iron rings and other things that are emanations from their creative force. An iron band is the culmination of many imperfect emanations, and somewhere there physically exists the reality of all its attributes in perfect form.
Out of the Abyssal Chaos came Law, and with Law came forms and states including the planes of Law and deities. The first deities that came from the Abyssal Chaos were neither good nor evil as such concepts had not derived yet. As they began to create they begot things, and their creations begot things. However, to do such required Positive energy; eventually they all but tapped out the Abyssal Chaos even though it had infinite layers, leaving it empty of all light to twist and decay into its dark state today. So were born the ancient Baernoloths and from them the Obyrith. The Abyss was hungry to reclaim all forms, to devour all life, all light, all souls and return to what it was in the beginning. In the process of the war that would ensue between them, the forces of Law would become 'tainted' by repeated contact, that is to say the emanations of the Abyss flowed through them, eventually creating the Devils and all dark forms in between.
"I watched a man die tonight.
I never expected to discover death. Certainly not for a few gold coins, I understand that in everywhere else in the world it's usually free. Thankfully Justinian, a man I casually met in an inn invited me to come along with him and his friends. He had purchased good seats in advance in The Great Arena, but one of his companions had something suddenly come up. I have seen the dead, but I have never seen death, at least not of a human. I saw grandfather Midrashim only likely dead and my good friend Ozar dying in such a pitiful way. And yet, I did not actually witness a death first hand. Its not as though I knew the man that died tonight, they gave his name “Vuscant" and that of his opponent. Why do I write of him? It's not really even that I feel bad for him. One may ask, of what worth is such entertainment? Except to view violated flesh, to see blood seek new freedom? For me at least, this is what it is: The sound of the body against the canvas. The opening the blade made as it went in the body, and the slightly larger one as it came out. The glow of the flaming sword. The scent of burning flesh and the stench of excrement and urine, as his body heaved and squeezed out the last remnants of life. It was the moment. There was something in it, that I have never seen or felt before.
There is something special, significant about the transformation from one state to another. The only thing as significant is witnessing a birth, which I have done. This is about transformations, from one mode of being to another. I find I am intrigued by this seemingly mundane phenomena , and will likely study it in the future. Sitting there, I recalled Midrashim telling me only the gods had the power over life and death, and that humans could only ressurect the dead this through them. But I know this is not so. Prometheus stole fire from the gods, with only that to aid them wizards and sorcerers and others have plundered much more. Are the divine miracles simply the pinnacle of magic? Might one with study or sheer will enough, speak worlds or whole planes into existence? As I think on it further, I go through my own metamorphosis, and my conception of gods begins changing. They can raise the dead. So what? Perhaps with time so might an mortal. The 'respect' that most people hold for gods lies in their fear of the gods power. Is all that separates us, power? The gods war with one another, the gods hate, the gods envy, the gods lie, they do many, many things no different than us. I have a hard time imagining them to be innately superior to mortals in any other way than strength and knowledge, and I know the latter begets the former. This is why I believe the immortals are vehemently opposed to mortals seeking or gaining any form of immortality or undeath. They fear. That is not to say that the gods and their progenitors did not make this world, nor that none of them of them are respectable.
As I had all these revelations in the Abyss-like bowels of that place , Justinian and his companions were busy with their wine and women, these forming the walls of their 'prison'. He is a fool I think. He says to me, 'Drink and dames are what keeps a man alive, they keep him sane. Join us foreigner, this is the Great Arena's way.' I am sure now that the significance of what I witnessed is completely lost on them. He thinks they keep him alive, but in reality they keep him shackled to the ground. He indulges too much and in all the wrong things. His friends believe him. They are fools too. Alive and dead are not permanent states. But being knowledgeable is “knowledge adheres to the mind like lichen to a rock or moss to a stone.
We are all maggots I think. Yes, maggots. And the world a juicy fruit of succulent secrets. Those like Justinian are alive and ignorant, and feed on false food “stale bread and circuses. Yes, you're alive Justinian- and you're going to die. And stay that way too, lest someone else's whim decides otherwise. Those who seek dig and they dig deep, they mine the apple of the earth to the very core and grow fat on its power. They use this true food, true sustenance to transform, to metamorphose into flies. These flies, they are not earthbound, they are not subject to forces, but command forces. They decide their fates, are free to fly to the moon or the stars, to be in states other than life or death which mortals cannot comprehend. Yes Justinian, you are alive- but that is the highest state of being you will ever have.
I traveled all this way from home, with the intent of searching for retribution. To avenge those close to me who were sent into death, more than likely by sending those who committed the acts into death as well- right after showing my homeland what they are and what I am not. Vengeance will be satisfying. But what ought it to look like? Like this gladiatorial death match? No. Why should those who are subject of my revenge join those I lost in death? They should not be in the same place. I shall search not only to unearth arcana, but also to ˜know thyself'. The latter of those two is actually more important for it is ultimately the means through which I will acquire and accomplish all things. With experience -knowledge of who and what I am, so shall I go into the underworld and raise up those who perished. And so shall I bring them before their murderers, and send the condemned not into death, nor make them fight for our amusement, or imprison them in some wretched place. I will send their eternal aspects into oblivion.
And it will be glorious."
Early journal entry pre-dating his arrival in Avalon, on his journey there; specifically in [The Great Arena] in The [Shatterlands].
(not featured on Journal page)
"To brave the [Arrows] of misfortune, traveling in [Silence] on a secret quest, to find forbidden doors and [Open] them with keys of lore , foregoing no [Expense] is to mock the vicissitudes of [Fate] - to play 'God' and win the Greatest of [Games]."
-Nightly Supplication to Father Styx; His Tattoo's inspiration.
"I beckon you, alone in the dark, in this ancient language-this language* of the sharks: ' Nightmare King who calls me in my sleep, I am yours for eternity. I can never go back. My soul has gone black. I can never stop swimming, I'll always be tracked. As an enemy of the sacred, the gods will hunt me for the rest of my life. I've conquered dark times. May fear devour their minds!'
'So you know then? Go then. Swim on through the cold then.' -I hear your intone then 'You'd hidden away to regain your strength, now deep in this grotto your power is regained.'"
-Another Supplication to regain spells, one of many
*(Usually in Aquan, but also Abyssal or Infernal 'language of the dark')
He instills in all his MADNESS.
He rules all the DEEP.
His tentacles have MURDERED.
His scream can kill the WEAK.
I've hidden away, to gain my strength
Deep in this grotto, my power is regained
So His legacy may be spread, to the deepest of the sea
By me who brings Him vengeance, and fights for His beliefs.
-Brief Supplication to regain spells
He is a priest of The Nightmare King: cryptic deitiy of Sea and Secrets, The River Styx, Hidden and Forbidden lore-knowledge and power that would be kept from Man by the covetous deities or else weak men that could not their bear the implications of their discoveries. As such he has gained a total immunity to fear in the face of the unknown, that greatest and most primal terror, allowing him to go where no others could tread and return with mind and soul intact.
However, he is not simply a cleric but an Eldritch disciple. Unlike a cleric, an Eldritch Disciple's connection and relation to their divine patron who is responsible directly or indirectly for both their divine and warlock powers is very personal-they dont so much choose to serve a god as they are chosen. They also have more freedom, as they are usually not given orders to do anything or carry out anything in particular, and usually do what they want-wherever they go and use their powers, they exult their patron simply by using them.
Long before his first supplication, he felt the Nightmare Lord's call:
"I have become, aware of some other force, some thing just outside of my perception. I cannot say what it is, or where it came from, but I can say with certainty that it is ever present and that it speaks to my soul. I can hear it better in the late hours of the night, or rarely during the day when the sky is overcast. It is a cacodaemoniacal whisper, so easily lost in the cacophony of everyday occurrences in the waking world. I find that it becomes even clearer, when I walk alone in the burning places; centers of true passion and desire, be it the red light district or the arena run red when the crowds have gone. But it is clearest anywhere, where despair has seared away all belief in faith's reward, and happiness and hope been reduced to but bitter illusions. I have heard its voice in the streets and slums as much the arid desert , and heard the echo of its call from without prison walls, as well as in the wasteland. And yet, within all these spaces I could quite make out what it said. That is, until I silenced myself with sleep. Indeed, it was this whisperer in the darkness that taught me how to wield the power of my soul and direct it at my will."
- Early journal entry pre-dating his arrival in Avalon, on his journey there.
(not featured on Journal page)
"-places of high concentrations of dark energy may begin to exhibit various symptoms of supernatural corruption. Those who visit or happen upon these places may have nightmares or even develop serious psychological disorders. Just being in such a place often gives one a ‘bad’ feeling that raises the hairs of the back of the neck, and one may feel an unexplained abyssal chill. The land around such places may become blighted, growing only ghastly pale grass or weeds, or becoming barren altogether; in other cases there may be unexplained outbreaks of disease or befouling of water. What disturbs me deeply, is that I feel right in such places, or perhaps more accurately in similar places. The slums, the forgotten cemeteries, the gallows, and the like. It is there that the I feel the pulse of something I do not understand. Even standing before the altar in the wood with the skinned man, albeit it smelled afoul, it did not disturb me at all which is disquieting to some people in and of itself. I suppose I have simply delved into the unknown, and investigated so much, that I have mastered and indeed savor my fear."
-from The Mysterie of Darke Cultes
An an Eldritch Disciple upon reaching the limits of what it may allow him to become, he will become Ageless and will have proven himself worthy a vessel of divine power, representing his deities eternal prescence on Therafim. Knowing this he refused to partake of The Heavenly Tears when he had the chance, realizing what it would mean if he did. He wrote of this in [Temptation], in which detailed his reasoning and also denounced the gods of light as using the same 'underhanded' tactics as those of the night.
3) What gods, religions, or priesthoods will you have nothing to do with?
He curses [The Dark One] and has many times expressed his grievances with the deity in his writings like his jornal entries [Ripple] and [With Great Power]. He has been apart of the destruction of two temples since he left The Abyss. He wouldnt cooperate with any of his cultists unless he was in mortal danger, had the sole intent of killing them, was required to do so by his own deity, or was requested to do something by Evangeline. In the latter case he would only hear it if she promised that was only for her and no one else.
4) What is your moral code? Under what conditions will you kill? Steal? Lie? Do you have a personal code of behavior about violence? Magic? Sex? Dealing with Evil Beings?
Would he torture, mutilate, or sacrifice people to move his plans along? (although not rape; he's still 'civilized')
Sure. And smile.
At the same time though, he realizes, absolutely UNSWERVING cruelty will eventually drive all people from you. In addition, he's not the type to pick on hapless commoners -really no reason to. Of course, he has no reason to yield against people who outright mark themselves as his mortal enemies or who are real obstacles to whatever he's trying to do. He detailed in his journal entry [Refuse The Sacrifice] how he feels about sacrificing children, and the value of sacrifice.
He's the kind of guy that'd blast the flesh off of your armies bones, and lift your castle a half mile into the air and flip it upside down before dropping the whole thing…on your holiest temple. But he MIGHT give fair warning enough so as to give time for all the servants and maybe priests inside to get out. The soldiers they were prepared to die when signed up for that gig. The other people? "If you kill all the clerics who do you say 'where's your god now' to? Besides, its always good to ingratiate people to you. Isnt it wonderful to be Loved AND Feared?" At least that'd be his explanation to The Magnificent Bastards Society and other "fruity little clubs"; he'd try to show them up, and he'd never join because he'd start his own Evil Council of Doom.
A KEY thing is, is that he is emotionally detatched from everything that happens to other people if he doesnt know them at all. The events and mass destruction of the demon siege of Avalon, didnt phase him, although he did think it made things "interesting" in an otherwise prosaic town.
What TDO did in the demon siege, KILLING thousands he saw as senseless butchery, completly lacking in finesse. (now, why he hates TDO is completely unrelated to all the deaths in the siege.) The only people he cares/thinks at all about of those wo were affected, were the people he adventured with. He thinks about his friends, because they're HIS friends, not just because they're people.
If he saw an evil guy killing tons of people, he could totally watch and perhaps find it a little interesting because its not everyday you see tons of hapless commoners dying like animals or society itself descending into chaos (and he's a student of chaos -of seeming randomness, causality, fate, and as a force in the universe like chaotically aligned Abyss. He's a self proclaimed Chaostician, and in relation to the heavens a Chaostronomer; the heavens are normally quite orderly and predictable-but he's interested in how the ordered heavens seem to influence 'random' events on earth, and also on the rare events like "Black Swan Events".)
Why would he become involved, why would he stop that evil guy? Anything he does that appears traditionally "Heroic" is done for completely unheroic reasons. He doesnt do anything (or at LEAST very, VERY little) out of the "goodness of his heart". Someone (Amethyst) said they didnt know he had a thing for heroics when he told the story of how he slew the dragon Shimmerscale to which he replied "I'm not a hero. I dont have any of the qualities they're supposed to possess. Few people do."
1. To prove he's more powerful than that guy. His ass is certainly worth kicking.
2. If that guy has an organization, he doesnt want to take it over, he wants to take it apart to show fragile it is. Motivated by Chaos-he'd destroy, ruin, deconstruct, or take apart something someone has put together whether its a plan, a system, a kingdom, or even a persons mind, body, or personal beliefs.
3. It ingratiates people aided at least a little, he kind of likes that.
Dahlia the Paladin once mentioned she would rather die in battle facing evil, than live if she knew it was by the aid of any evil power; Inara the Paladin has many times refused magical healing, because she sees her wounds as her mistakes, she deals with the pain and lets them heal naturally unless in battle and it absolutely demands it.
Saving the paladin with a bunch of undead or a summoned demon OR healing the other paladin in and of itself doesnt come off as a "wrong" thing-you helped them. It would be hard for someone to call him out for doing that. But thing is, IF he knew that saving or aiding someone was against their wishes, he would do it JUST to humiliate, humble, dishonor them, or make their powers seem weak.
4. The guy is a threat (be it to him, his friends, his assets, anything he moderately gives a crap about- OR anyone that has money to pay him to become involved when he otherwise wouldnt.)
5. To take what they guy has.
Most of the things he's after arent held or valued by Good who would destroy them. He sees himself as taking them into more worthy hands as well as salvaging them. If a good party is going to destroy some guys lair and his forbidden books-HE could try to stick up for that evil guy and help him fight them off? But it isnt it generally easier and profitable to join the good party? Even if the Evil Overlord fends off the good party, another one will just show up sooner or later to oppose them because there's a lot of people in the world and most of them find the Complete Monster overlord disagreeable. Plus, he probably doenst personally know that Evil overlord or have any reason to trust them -he KNOWS how the overlord thinks after all. He goes with the good party, defeats him, and then takes his stuff "salvaging".
Furthermore, also mind you that evil IS capable of working together towards a goal, but monolithic evil is unrealistic. "Why would we want the Lich to win? What are we-one big, fat, evil happy family?" -OOTs. Gideon made a note about this on the boards in regards to the gods; the gods of good and neutrality are apart of the same "pantheon". While a CLERIC may only serve ONE-most ordinary people worship a number of gods. So worshippers of one are often worshippers of others. An attack on citizens anywhere or on one deities church, is really an attack on ALL OF THEM. So a good or neutral god PROBABLY wouldnt get mad if his cleric helped out people in a church/temple of another.
Now, an evil society might be sort of the same way hypothetically BUT there's NOT many of them, and the ones that exist generally have Racial Deities. The evil gods dont really fit together in a pantheon and those that worship one evil god, generally probably dont worship another one. Killing cultists of a religion different than his weakens that religion and by comparison makes his OWN deity more powerful. But that doesnt mean he's an automatic enemy of every other evil religion. He kills them when its convenient, beneficial, or has a personal reason against that cult or the individuals.
Has he stuck up for others that follow his Deity? In a way, yes. Once when Gideon ran a quest on the High Seas, a lowbie party invesitgated a reef from which Eel Folk were raiding ships, capturing sailors, cutting their faces of, turning them into leather masks, filling the eye sockets with pearls and floating them back in boxes to their home ports. The party found an altar they didnt recognize, and what they didnt know was a holy symbol of a little known god-a crystal foot. They then brought this back, and asked Tammuz if he knew about this kind of thing. He accepted the odd item and examined it, and remarked that it was probably a piece of junk from something the Eel Folk stole, AND that the cult was probably one of Dagon, Demogorgan or Levistus.
But did he give a shit about those eel guys? Those stupid eel guys who obviously were too open with their sacrifices and active, making their existance known?
The bonds of time and experience are stronger than the ties of blood, and until he has such experience with others, they are no "brothers" of his. Seeing them killed straight off without making their lord known was probably for the best. He has no qualms about spying on those who worship his god, stealing from them, OR…should they prove to obstacles to his own goals OR fools who threaten their secrecy, and their lord suffers no fools…kill them. He would never despoil a temple of his deity of course, if he didnt have to.
5) How committed are you to seeing through something (a task, quest, bargain, ect) that you have started?
He'll give up anything if it fails to keep his interest, or ceases to intrigue him. Otherwise as long as there's something in it for him, he finishes whatever he becomes involved in.
6) How important are the following to you?: Power, Wealth, Fame, Honor, Family, Friends, Love, Knowledge, Religion, Your job? To what lengths would you go to aquire or preserve these things?
1.Knowledge (Knowledge IS All. Knowlede of religion will influence one's afterlife and forevermore. Knowledge will make one a better lover. Knowledge will help you know friend from foe. Knowledge will will open the way, to fame, power, and wealth. It is greater than fame, power, or wealth because all these things are but emanations. It is servicable for all things in all endeavours. It can Never be stolen unless you give it away willingly or let it go through your own weakness of will. It is indelible and adheres to the mind like lichen to a stone. Knowledge IS all, and all should be used to attain more of the same. One must not foolishly throw away what knowledge has already provided to have more of the same, however. It is true, one cannot gain without sacrfice, but what is sacrificed must always gain one more than what one started with. Not all knowledge is worth its price, nor are all secrets equal.)
3.Love (Love is to seek and foster the well being and virtues in another. Without love, you cannot have friends nor can they become any stronger, you cannot raise your child or teach a disciple, you cannot neither gain nor keep loyal retainers and servitors. Love is not always kind nor is it desired to be recieved-sometimes comes not with a gentle caress, but with the kiss of a lash. If you have not learned to love, you cannot learn to truly hate and hatred can make you strong. Love is not unconditional.)
4. Fame ( Fame is no different from Infamy. If a man himself is to be great, he will inevitably become Known. He is Known by his passions and his exploits. His enemies and rivals will look on his works and despair. His friends and family will benefit by association. This fame may be restricted to certain circles and so he may not be known by all common folk, but what is important-is that he is Known by all who matter in what he deals in. Those in want of his skill or alliance will know its measure and where to find him. Fame is essentially the measure of Knowledge of the The Self, and its distribution. If he should die, he may remain on the pages of history, while almost all others of his time will fade into nothing.)
5.Friends (The bonds of time and experience are stronger than blood. Few great acts have been accomplished by one mortal hand alone.)
7. Power (The greatest powers are the shortest lived. Raw power be it of ones own hand, or political or social sway may wax and wane.)
8. Wealth (Wealth in land, assets, or coinage can be stolen and destroyed, and cannot follow one into the Grave. While he enjoys the finer things and gold may facillitate many acts, simply amassing it is a waste of time. It should not be the goal, but the means to an end. Ones thoughts should not be dominated by the mere accumulation of wealth, but by what acts or designs one has in mind. Wealth is only attained with purpose of being put to utilitarian things to make acts and designs doable should they require it.)
9. Job (A job is just something you do because it puts coins in your pockets. If you can no longer do one thing, do something else for someone else. Its always better to work for yourself than be servant to anyone. Go not unto others for work, let them come looking for you.)
10.Honor (Of what worth is 'honor'? Most of the titles of nobility arent deserved; the titles he proclaims are only derived his own exploits, not his ancestors or anyone else. Of what worth is playing 'fair' or by the 'rules'? What is the value of such needless limitation?)
7) How often do you remember your dreams? How much attention do you pay to them? Do they inspire you? Guide you? Inspire You? Warn you? Frighten You?
Tammuz recalls his dreams each night whereas most people forget them. He has always had bizarre dreams, and would even dream of going places like the seaside, and awake wet as if by with salty ocean spray or with stones that seemed to be from faraway in his pockets-although he could never really be sure it wasnt only sweat or stray stones from local landscaping. He has on ocassion been known to sleepwalk. Since he gained his eldritch powers, it has been through hideous nightmares that he learns of when he gains new abilites, what they are, and how to use them. He refers to these as 'dreams that are not all dreams', and views them as divinely inspired.
On his first night in Avalon he had another nightvision, one that he would have several times over as he wrote in his first entry in Avalon-
"I had a dream, but it was not all a dream. It was in no palace nor pleasant pavilion, but a barren place that I was received by a Beryl Beauty. She was of such serpentine grace, and her face had the look of divinity. Her dress was of aphotic smoke and her skin of pale viridescent flame. Her lips were of such full and sanguine virtue, that they did make all others seem starved and cadaverous. Her hungry eyes were entrancing , and seemed to drink ones visage drop by ambrosial drop. And my ears did listen to her wisdom drop by dulcet drop. And yet, from her I had the sense of a predator. Was she loved? Was she feared? By me she was both loved and feared. And so did I become drunk on the both amative and abominable absinthe of her persona."
He had never shared his dream with anyone save his landlord when he was renting property, and he had forgotten it until after his experience in the Abyss. It was then that he saw it as prophetic of his encounter with Evangeline, as he described in [The Past Returns]. Although she was not exactly in appearance as the figure he dreamed of, he understands dreams are often full of symbolism.
He met her in the Abyss, in a rock hewn chamber spattered with blood. It didnt become a gilded cage where he was lavished by with the affections of her and many concubines until later. Where there's smoke, there's fire. His eldritch blast and even the eldritch power in his eyes is a distinct verdigri that has the look of flame, and yet crackles unlike a campfire and more like electricity. He sees her as his fire. During his time with her, she taught him the ancient tongue of The Dark Speech, he was not the first, as she had passed this wisdom onto many in her time. He the dream as a sign that she does not truly belong to The Dark One, but that The Nightmare King manipulated causality so that they would meet, and intends to gain from their union.
"It was in no palace nor pleasant pavillion, but in the Abyss that met her. "Seek a whore" said my landlord. Indeed, but I did not search, she came for me and stole me from my bed to know me better. Now I see with fiendish clarity! The meaning behind the portent on the very eve I wandered into Avalon. Who sent me the fever-dream of the mother of my abomination, the dream that proved not all a dream, but prophecy?"
8) What is your attitude towards magic? People who use it? Fearsome monsters? The unknown in general?
He views magic as a path by which all things are reachable, and all obstacles or impediments might be circumvented. Magic comes in many forms, from the deific emanations that flow into mortals, to the mortal beings with innate personal power, to the old arcanists that learned how to change time and space from watching such beings, and the primal creative energy that suffuses Therafim regenerating mineral veins.
He believes that Knowledge is the key to opening 'the way', whether that knowledge is gained through intense study, divinely inspired, or that Knowledge is innate. Those who are 'Openers of The Way' are superior to those who are not, and on an entirely different level of understanding of-, freedom in-, and intimacy with the Universe. They are at once the alchemist and the laboratory, the agent and patient, the most gifted craftsman and the most interesting workshop.
A once prominent wizard, Lucius, remarked to him that he did not trust sorcerors or warlocks, likening them to 'children playing with fire' who didnt understand how dangerous they were to themselves and others. The warlock was quick to correct him. He believes all forms of magic are equal, all servicable for different things at different times. Divine magic is umatched in healing, restoring, and strengthening and carries the weight of deific force, but is gained only with supplication. Its source being external, it can be taken away leaving one powerless. Arcane magic is unmatched in sheer destructive power, and the ability to infuse the mundane making it forever magical. It is at once accesible by any, but the most difficult to master and almost impossible to get started without a teacher. Its power must be passed on from master to student or else be lost to time. Innate or sometimes called 'Sorcerous' or 'Eldritch' magic has many abilities that are varied and can never be taken away, its as personal as magic becomes. Its powers however are often limited, and its origins are not always understood which often inspires prejudice in the societies populated with the weak and ignorant masses. As an Eldritch Disciple, he sees his practice as unifying the forces, Divine, Arcane, and Innate.
He is enamored with the Unknown be it the mysteries of life or secrets ancient lore. Even walking the earth, descending into a canyon or a cave, with each step one passes over strange eons of geologic time. He is an adventurer, a delver, and a thrillseeker-often encountering things and places that to ordinary men would be madness. He would compare like minded people with maggots, and the world with an apple. They bore and dig deep into the earth feeding and growing fat on its power and buried secrets. When they have enough power they may metamorphosis into Flies to leave the world behind and fly away.
F: Edges and Flaws
1) What are you especially good at? What sets you apart from the rest of the world? A skill? An unusual knack? A certain flair of style or wit?
He has a vast wealthy of knowledge with an analytical mind to match. He is also very charismatic, very sure in himself, and able to play diplomat or intimidate others without raising his voice (although he's admittedly better at the later). He's a good writer and on ocassion poet, although it ocassionally comes off as a touch dark and purple, like a bruise.
He generally tries to be helpful; and has willing to offer advice or information to new adventurers, and has attempted to gain some rapport with them. He's complementary and though sometimes intrusive or boastful, still relatively polite. If he sees something he likes, or think someone did something well-he lets them know.
He is willing to accept anyone-even people rejected or outcast by people or societies who call themselves "good". He's not prejudice nor hateful of people unless they make themselves his adversaries. In his mind all races/creatures are fit to wield power. His deity says that knowledge is power, and that power should be used to acquire more power. Albeit-this does not mean you should tell everyone, everything. There is a great value in secrecy, although he acknowledges its pitfalls in his journal ["The Two Edged Sword "] Tammuz has a strong sense in what he believes in, as well as a sense of entitlement. So what if some powers are evil? If those are your powers, you should use them. If you aren't using them, you're being less than what you can-indeed what you ought to be. He tries to frame them in a positive light, because he wants acceptance-and freedom to do as he pleases.
2) What flaws do you have? Bad habits? Obsessions? Terrible (or embarassing) secrets?
The driving force behind his travels aside the eternal quest for knowledge, is to find his mother, and through her his father two. He has a deep seated desire to know what kind of person she really is. He also has a great deal of hatred, both for the government that exiled her, the cult which he believes vented their anger upon on him-framing him for the murder of his best friend and his grandfather Midrashim, as well as The Cult of The Dark One and the deity himself who tormented his companions and keeps the mother of his child in slavery. He has told very few about the latter though he often mentions he and others having escaped from The Abyss.
It also remains unknown by any where he keeps his true faith. He very rarely carries his Holy Symbol on his person in the street, and when he does it is always concealed. When out of town its contained in his spell component pouches among other foci and reagents. He never uses it if he doesnt have to, relying entirely on a repotoire of divine spells that do not require it. He has never been asked about his religion. If pressed to answer he would admit to Cipactli.
He has come to preside as keeper over a small unholy shrine to his deity. The place has been hidden away, trapped, and protected from scrying by lead lined walls.
He has learned to suppress his spiritual aura, and so he does not register as anything other than 'neutral' to divination school spells or abilities, nor does he show any aura that would indicate he is a cleric of any deity at all. Despite this, by his general attitudes and areas of experise it has become an 'open secret' or else assumption that he is Evil.
He has been known to seem somewhat arrogant, upon first meeting he usually introduces himself by rattling off his exploits. Although he isnt greedy he has become wealthy and so he dresses like it and flaunts his money when he feels like it. He also has a particular strong of being bored, he's ennui like grief can kill a man. Bored magicians have probably been the source of much of histoy's troubles and things that should not be; long lived Liches with nothing left to learn from millenial study have been known to become insane. If something or somebody does not personally interest or intrigue him he cannot invest any time in it at all, except with great effort.
3) Do you have any enemies? How much trouble do those conflicts cause you?
Firstly, he believes the nameless cult once that was once presided over by his mother and two others in triumvarate violated his cousin Neelam, killed his grandfather and teacher, and attempted to implicate him as revenge for his mother's betrayal. He does not know who or what their order represents, or how many are left, most of them however were executed. He may or may not have encountered them already, but he is certain he is not actively hunted by the.
With the murder of High Priest Midrashim in Shimin, surely there is likely a bounty on him in Bazram. He does not know how much it is, nor whom or how many are pursuing it. He has not been to his homeland since, albeit he visited the jungles of Heaven's Tear. When he brought up his past once, swordswoman Raesa asked "Is there a price on your head?" to which he only remarked, "Probably. You want to go all the way over there to turn it in? If you can?" He has not encountered any bounty hunters yet, although with his rising noteriety in the world this may change.
His knowledge of the hidden and forbidden has increased dramatically since his arrival in Avalon. He has encountered The Syndicate before, and is knowledgable to know that they are an Infernal Order. Furthermore, while it was not original research, mostly compiling it from scattered and obscure sources, and personal accounts in other works- The Mysterie of Darke Cultes was (OOCLY) in the words of the GM still"- a lot of very dangerous information for a fifth level character."* To fully complete the work it would take him 2 additional levels of experience, more knowledge ranks, and the learning of two more languages. The work draws together many things that otherwise would remain scattered, in many languages, and in many rare books-many of which were not even dedicated books on the subject -making it much easier to learn about the cults of the world, and the workings of similar organizations. The book also features a 'suggested reading list' which details many rare and banned texts unknown to most, albeit he notes he himself has never read any of them, but knows they exist and the value of what lies withitn.
Thus far he has not encountered anyone seeking to prevent the work from being spread, or take vengeance on him for gathering it-but the possibility remains. The Great Library was donated one copy, as have been several individuals listed in its Wiki Discussion Page.
*(From: Gideon Kalve Jarvis Subject: Re: The Mysterie of Darke Cults Date sent: 5 Feb 2010, 20:06 -0-600)
He is an enemy of The Dark One and all his cult. However, though he has despoiled two temples, it remains to be seen whether The Dark One has really noticed, or if he regards it as an attack or merely as the weak being culled from his order. The Dark One likely has the same expectations of him as he does of Perada. Come the night he is to be confronted, he would probably not be nearly as uncomplient-but not all submitting as he notes in [With Great Power] .
"What was more, as I had predicted, The Dark One's hands had come for Perada and stolen the pregnant half-drow away once more. I told her to be careful when we escaped The Dark One's prisons in the Abyss. In her belly is the child He hopes to be one of his Generals, the one he wants her to bequeath all she knows. Of course, I am sure in due time He will come for me as well, for in the womb of another doth reside my seed, and my own half-fiend progeny. I have not forgotten. Even if he should hold me to being the dark tutor of that elven child yet born, or my own child whom I could not deny- I am no servant of His. I am not His Disciple.
They knew one day would break,
my endless waves of hate upon them.
Watch now, two temples down,
how I bring them hell
and in a deep sea of loathing, how I drown them.
This deluge they cannot escape,
the tides of terror are upon them.
Under a diamond heel,
and with great power, have I ground them."
G: Likes and Dislikes
1) What do you love? (People? Places? Creatures? Kinds of Food? Activities? Subjects?)
He drinks fine wine, but has been known to order Witch Vomit, Wild Druid (anything with Absinthe really). He often has plain black coffee preffering it over tea, save for a Sexy Hag or Mordayn tea -the latter of which isnt drunken at all, and used sparringly, sometimes for pleasure and sometimes in his solitary worship. He has tried Agony a few times, usually adding the dose to a glass of wine.
He frequents the [Cantibile], but often shows up in the [Arcadia] because of the constant flow of sellswords to listen to travellers tales. He has been known to be found in seedier places as well in the Undercity, including The Goblin Market-which he visits often anyway, able to buy exotic or questionable things, as well as speak with [Darkland]ers from the other side who may be mages, cultists, or other sorts.
2) What do you hate? How do you typically react to these hated things?
He despises milk finding the smell of it foul for some reason, and will not drink it. Albeit, it is sometimes tolerable if apart of some other product or confection.
He has a dislike of nobles and the very concept of nobility. While accepts the ideas of fame and prestiege, he does not believe respect should be simply passed on to ones children-it should be earned. A merchants son may be born wealthy, but he will only be great if he masters his father's ways in bussiness. While people should have great expectations of the merchants son, and he is entitled to inherit what wealth his father amassed in life, he should not be honored simply by being such. Furthermore, he does not believe in the rule of Kings, and holds that leadership should always fall to the most capable whoever that person should be. When in the precence of nobility he usually does not use honorfics or style-nor does he address them by their given name. He speaks directly to them without address, sometimes without even a 'you'. When writing of them however or reffering to them to other people, he will employ a title to avoid confusion. He only really respects those that have personal achievements.
By extension, he also hates the Caste system of his homeland, even though he spent his life at the top of it.
3) What do you fear? What is your worst nightmare?
Blessed by the Nightmare King he knows no fear, by his very supplication he cannot be shaken by the demons, devils, undead, unnamable horrors and all things that might greet him. But this blessing is no protection from personal horror.
He recalls from time to time his flight from his homeland. How he woke upright murder-stunned and wondered if he really could have killed his family all in a somnambulitory murder-spree. But there was the note with "You'll Pay What You Owe Traitor's Son" writ in their blood. It was evidence enough to him, he was sure he was innocent, he was sure he knew who wrote it-his mothers former cult come for revenge at her betrayal. They could not find her in her exile, he reasoned, and so they found him instead. The Traitor's Son, that was what they called him, and so he began to call himself the same.
Why was he in such a state to begin with? It must have been magic. Why was the city guard already at his door, looking for him when he awoke from a stupor standing upright? They must surely have framed him, it was all apart of their plan. Surely.
That is what he has accepted since that night. However later in The Abyss, Evangeline would try to convince him that she KNEW he did it, and said that it was done out of his true nature. He rejected this and later, she retracted it saying that she didnt know who killed them, but that her master believed that he could make a servicable assassin and convincing him that he was a natural born killer was a push in the right direction. But…
What if Evangeline was wrong, but not all wrong and there were a darker truth than simple revenge by his mother's cult? There is a second possibility, Tammuz has considered.
What if, he had done it himself?
What if he was possesed by a fit of madness as he was chosen by his then unknown Divine Patron that night, the same night his eldritch power awoke? And how much of it was just confusion and how much was some inner dark laid bare when hid sanity was peeled back like flesh in clinical autopsy?
What if he had written the note himself?
What if 'Traitor's Son' was not whom was going to 'pay what they owe' but was the signature of the assassin? His signature, his secret name, as it is today on his every personal entry?
What if it was meant as a messege that Midrashim High Priest of Thoth had paid what he owed to that rival god of Knowledge with his death?
What if by manipulation of causality, he was even born for the purpose. That Ishtara and his father be of so exactingly the lineage that he would become what he is; that Ishtara would rise to lead and betray her order; that Ishtara would befriend Midrashim and in her exile leave her child in the priests care; that Ishtara would leave him the rite-knife, which could have carved the jaw from Ozar's face and at once violated Neelam who was still alive?
What if all this were truth?
It would mean that he had been used in the worst way by his Divine Patron. That his initial quest for vengeance was a lie. And yet, divine is divine. This would be Godly wrath. If this was the vengeance of Father Styx, then it would mean it was Midrashim's own folly in her younger days that damned him. But why did Ozar, his best friend have to die? Why did Neelam who was like his sister have to be violated so?
Could he accept their suffering and death, as the sacrifices to attain all the knowledge and power he holds now? The power that may yet bring him into the arms of his true mother, to free his demon lover, and punish The Dark One who crushed the souls of all his friends leaving them utterly gnawed within? An Eldritch Disciple has no commandments, no orders, they are more free than clerics. Is this power gained then, 'just' compensation?
And if this were truth, how much of it did his mother know?
Even if its not the truth there is a third possibility that Tammuz has considered. Perhaps 'Traitor's Son' refers to him as being like Midrashim's son. His origins were secret but not all secret, and it may have been that raising Tammuz as his grandson, offended some beneath him within his own order of Thoth or other faiths. This child who was born of a heathen woman whose cult had struck out against the high born children of their nobility, who herself was of a low caste had been raised up from his station. This combined with the events surrounding his conception may have made Midrashim a 'traitor' in the eyes of some, who may have conspired to murder him. What would make this particularly dangerous, is that it would make his TRUE adversaries hidden within a legitimate church, whose temples and followers are found everywhere. What is more, they between he and they, who are people more likely to believe? It does not invoke fear exactly, so much as paranoia.
1) Describe your first encounter with a nonhuman monster. (Not counting player races, animals, ect that you grew up with, but feel free to mention them too)
His first encounter with a true 'monster' was with a 'Forestrati' a form of corrupted treant. The creature had been badly blackened in the fires of a battle in its forest. Gripped by despair over its deformity and the loss of the old growth it cried out, and some power heard its lamentations. Calling itself 'Dreadwood' it began preying on unprotected farmsteads, dragging men and women into the deep woods where it laid them upon a large rock that served as an altar. Breaking their limbs, it tore off their skin, leaving them to die in anguish and rot. The tree branches around the site of its offerings twisted together forming a natural peaked 'tree-thedral'.
He traveled alongside wizard Lucius and his slave-warrior Luna, Cherwind the druid, a bounty hunter Lyle, and Cho-Li man, Su'ShengLi. This was his first mercenary outing, and he had only really come because he was interested in the goings on. When they approached the site he was witness to the treant at work with a new sacrifice as well the remains of an old one unnaturally buzzing with flies even in the dead of night. This was the first such rite he had been witness to, as well as the most extreme scene of gore (the death of his friend Ozar would be a close be an exception, his jaw torn from his face as it was). It was the first time he experienced battle, and seeing what it did to Luna all the while he wondered if he would experience his own death.
When the creature was felled, he inspected the site but found no signs of what thing the creature worshipped. It may have been The Frenzy or Zuggtmoy as best as he could speculate. He took a branch and a fresh full human skin, in which he would later bind his personal copy of The Mysterie of Darke Cultes in which he would mention the encounter.
2) If you are a spellcaster, describe your first experience with using magic. What were the circumstances? Were you expecting it?
Tammuz first experienced what it was to cast a spell under Midrashim's guidance. Living with him, he had seen the man make daily use of many small 'miracles' Creating Water out of nothing, Mending things, and a few times restoring a limbs of people crippled in accidents. Tammuz wanted to learn all of these things.
"The knowledge which I impart to you is not to teach you how to make magic happen. I cannot teach you that, this magic is not something to be learned like Wizardry. I will teach you, but what I teach you is how to pray with your Heart, and how to open your Mind to divine insight. Before you can learn to heal with the touch of a hand, you must learn to quiet yourself, and listen to the little Ibis in your ear."
-Midrashim Talwar-Kadath; High Priest of Thoth
Tammuz took Midrashim's wisdom to heart, and through meditation was able to place himself in the precense of his god. Elevating his conciousness to a level such that he could make the most basic connection with the deity, he recieved the divine knowledge of the Orisons and divine spells of the first degee. The first spell he cast was Light.
He was [Chaotic Good] until he was forced to flee his home. Murder-stunned, homeless, alone, and with his thoughts set on veangeance, he closed his heart. Concerned only with what he could do for him he became [Chaotic Neutral] The faint divine prescense that was always just over his shoulder faded away.
It didnt matter that he had unknowingly become completely out of alignment with his deity, he was only focused on Eldritch power now. It wasnt power recieved throug of quiet introspection, it was loud, like screaming without making a sound. The knowledge of the power and its working was innate, instinctual, and bringing it forth was an act of sheet will, and most of all, desire.
Over time his sorrow and anger fed his desire, and his desire turned to hatred- a desire for destruction, desire to see pain and fear in his enemies to, desire to reclaim what he had lost. His desire for knowledge and natural curiosity never diminished, albeit that knowledge often served the purpose of fulfilling his other desires which at times would seem to relieve him from his dark moods…for a little while. He became [Chaotic Evil].
In the Abyss, his lover Evangeline taught him The Dark Speech. He had no fear of dying from invoking its words. The fact that he was willing to try means he must have at least been suspect of his own nature, and the fact that he succeded removed all possibility of doubt, or it should have. After leaving the Abyss he penned the [Manifestus Maleficarum]. Very few people who are Evil believe themselves to be such- it takes a special kind of mind to call oneself 'Evil' and glorify it. Every person believes what they are doing is right, what is justified even if its only 'good' for them.
In it and other writings he has a preference for the phrase 'The Dark' and only ever uses the word Evil in quotation marks. He sees himself as colorfully pragmatic and a believer in a philosophy of passion, power, and freedom and in his Manifesto extols all of the virtues of The Dark Way or Left Hand Path. He notes that some "Evil" is civilized, and some is not, and that it has many, many varieties.
3) If you have an animal companion or familiar, describe how you aquired it. Describe this ally's personality, and its attitude towards you. (Loyal unto death, mischievous, lazy, ect)
4) If you have any unusual possessions, describe how you aquired them. Is their value practical, monetary, sentimental or some combination of these?
He originally had Twelve 1st edition copies of The Mysterie of Darke Cultes, his first major work. He has given many of them away, and also donated one copy to The Great Library. The copies in circulation are tracked here:
Shopping around for a bookbinder in The Goblin Market, he had his personal copy bound in soft human skin, which he keeps on the lectern in his library. There is great significance to this in that the skin is from a human sacrifice, which he actually describes within the book.
He has no memento's of his mother, save an ivory sacrificial knife whose handle is carved in the shape of the torso of a nude figure raising a knife above her head; Her upper arms intertwined with snakes. He doesnt know whom or what its modled after, if at all. The hilt is carved in the form of a jawless skull with two thigh bones, from which extends a wavy, flammered blade with distinctive patterns of banding and mottling reminiscent of flowing water, characteristic of Damascene steel, overlayed with alchemical silver. He is unsure how old it is, or how many if any died by it in ritual sacrifice. It holds great sentimental value to him, and is always on his person when adventuring and often when not.
It has also acquired monetary value (18Kgp) as well, as it was later enchanted into a +1 Eager Silver Dagger of Warning. He had the blade engraved with the name "Indra" -a Bazrami spirit of War, Storms, and Rainfall said to be a demi-deity by some, and by others a greater-demon, and still more only a myth. Indra is said to have went to a great sage's home, and seduced his wife in the sages guise. When the sage found out he cursed the lustful Indra to be covered with 1000 female organs and made hideous. It was only by the mercy of the sages god, that the curse was lessened after 1000 years by transforming them into 1000 eyes. The eyes of the figure on the handle and the skull on the hilt have a light of their own, and the blade quivers in hand or in sheathe as if with anticipation.
He has a great collection of nick-nacks in a 'Private Collection'. The room has many shelves on the walls, and what doesnt fit on them is laid out on a number of tables. Some of the items are labled or mounted, but Master Kadath is the only one who can readily identify the origin of all of them-his servants know some very well for he has told the tales over and over; they are small tokens and relics from his many expeditions all around the world.
He has derived an experimental pseudo-divination from his dreams, as recorded in his journal, the [Hypnagogia]. It is an entirely mundane rite or ceremony, that requires no magical ability of the practicioner or celebrant's part. He has never attempted it, but he has shared it with one other.
5) Please describe your characters general background, this may be any length you wish, but at least one paragraph. You may use any or all of the information above, or new information not covered. (Encouraged)
The Ancient Past (approx. 520 years ago)
Somewhere in the depths of the Abyss, resides a Marilith Mercenary Queen, a leader of a mercenary army that has been involved in many underworld campaigns in the never ending Blood War with the Devils. Her name is [Za‘red], a corruption of a loanword from The Dark Speech- an ancient, unwritten language of the dark gods and entities that was translated into the High Tongue script, and later split into the individual fiendish tongues of Abyssal and Infernal. The Dark Speech is a potent thing, and it cannot be spoken by mortal creatures, for fear of death by the overwhelming power in those words -albeit some invocations, such as Baleful Utterance use a single syllable. It is not trully spoken among the fiends, though most of them know a few phrases, and their Abyssal or Infernal accents mangle the words. It cannot be written, for as such grimoires as The Book of Vile Darkness have noted, when anyone attempts to do so they lose all their power, that and The Dark Speech cannot be adequately represented so as to preserve its meaning. The word Za’red in many Abyssal dialects is understood to mean "Lapidation" or in the simpler words of the less educated lexicon, "Stoning". The original Dark Speech noun from which it derives carries more weight. It does not mean "stoning" itself, but the sound of or something like "the sound of stones on stones and the screams of a multitude", or specifically likened to "the sounds of women and children thrown upon a gravel bed and executed in a vicious lapidation at the hands of an angry mob." Of course, even this is a very rough translation. To grasp the true meaning requires that the word proper, not its Abyssal corruption to be spoken to a listener that understands, and for that listener to feel the impact of that word. Only a mortal listener with the most iron of wills could lie to themselves, deny the meaning in the word, pretend it was only noise for the sake of their sanity. Any less, and they would be unable to shut it out or ignore it. The true meaning would be savagely beaten into their brains without mercy or humanity, not unlike the imagery of the dying innocents that the word called to the imagination. Thankfully, the name the mercenary queen took as her own is not the words true form.
Za‘red does not serve any particular Abyssal lord. In truth, not all demons do, in the abyss there are many independents. She has neither designs to become a demon lord nor plans to upset the rule of Shaktari, Queen of Mariliths and Queen of Poison who rules Vudra-531st layer of the Abyss. Rather she desires only to wage war for pleasure and profit, under any banner. The forces she commands are her own, and their services are offered to any (well, any except The Devils of course) , for any purpose provided they can pay or she feels the mission would be entertaining enough. Of what value is coin to fiends, when most have their own natural weapons and armor, and no want of food or supply? Amongst the Devils, coin is paid as wages to every legionnaire, even though thet have no need of it. Because each Lord of The Nine only has so much gold, each can only have no many troops, so it acts as a means of self imposed regulation-as tomes like the legendary Fiendish Codicies explain. Amongst the Demons, it usually serves more base purposes, and many greater demons keep personal hordes out of vanity. Lesser demons often plunder or extort out of senseless cruelty and let the goods be discarded, for them its the shakedown and not the rewards that’s all the fun. Za‘red herself keeps a sumptuous horde, and a collection of magic weapons, amongst which are several sets of spiked chains, her favorite weapon of war and wanton violence. Gold can be used to corrupt mortals, many planar travellers, dimensional warriors and wandering wizards have been employed by both sides-it has also been used to fund many demonic cults and devilish conspiracies. Za`red takes a distinct, and illicit pleasure in corrupting mortal souls, or furthering those already corrupt further down the path of depravity. She also uses her funds to have her alchemists and mechanists develop the vile drugs and implements of pain her mind devises. Wheras most mercenary groups would seek to kill as many of the enemy as possible, forces under Za`red ’s command try to cripple and capture as many victims as they can for her dungeon-palace ["Carnarium"], a veritable playground, where all sadists are welcome and more than a few masochists out of their minds end up.
Several centuries ago Za‘red met a female Blackguard whose name is lost to the ages. She sought her services, acting as an emissary of The Nightmare King. This nameless champion of darkness became deeply infatuated with Za‘red, and she the object of Za’red's obsession. Given that demons are creatures of evil incarnate, it goes without saying that they cannot really love, and even slaking their lust is not an end in itself, but a means to creating more evil and chaos. Tomes which cover demonic physiology, like the Fiendish Codices will tell you that the vast majority of fiends do not breed, however, all fiends are capable of producing offspring with female mortal creatures regardless of their ’apparent' gender, or whether they have reproductive organs or not. Fiends can impregnate creatures through supernatural power with their essence, as Za`red did to the Blackgard, who would return to the material plane.
Somewhere in the lands of Crescent, where the nameless Blackguard was said to hail from, she took refuge in a caravan where she was in labor for many months. Finally she gave birth-not to 'children' as we know them, but twin half-fiends that left her most of her body cooked from the inside out or charred entirely, which they devoured as they matured in moments. Such is not typical of half fiends, but rather a result of their particularly potent blood. Her thighs were slick with molten metal that dripped into sabres, with which the twins slew most of the caravan save a handful they took as slaves.
Half-Fiends or 'Cambions' are 'Native Outsiders', these creatures have mortal ancestors or a strong connection to the Material Plane and can be raised, reincarnated, or resurrected just as other living creatures can be and are native to the Material Plane Unlike true Outsiders, Native Outsiders need to eat and sleep. The gods of Matra and Umnos ensured that no Outsider could remain on the material plane for longer than the lifespan of whatever mortal that summoned or called them to the plane, such is the law of the material world. However, Half-Fiends subvert this divine edict by virtue of the fact that they are mortal if long lived, and are not Outsiders. For this reason Half- Fiends are vital to demonic cult and devilish conspiracy alike they spread their dark virtues to other mortals, corrupting them and their world while, dark entities convey mad schemes and dark plots through dream, vision, commune spells, and divination from worlds away.
The Half-Fiend Hero Twins (or villains if depending on your perspective, and whose telling the story) took singular names, as full demons do with no last names. They named themselves after the demoness they regarded as their one 'true' mother, and not the female Blackgard that served merely as the vessel to transfer their mother's demonic essence into the material world. The male of the pair added the prefix Al- to his name as was custom of some peoples in that land, while his sister took the suffix -iel. Each of them came from different traditions, but both of them had similar meanings "of (the) god(s)". So their names both meant something akin to "Lapidation of (the) god(s)". However this was not intended to imply a stoning from divine forces but of divine forces, specifically of the gods divine consorts and children. From then on were they [Alzared] and [Zarediel].
The twins would go their seperate ways, but not before they shared one eve in incestuous union. Zarediel would remain in Crescent, while Alzared headed to the East, where he would eventually settle in the lands of Heaven's Tear. The two of them would have many black exploits and dark adventures, mostly mercenary work for those who would overlook their fiendish blood, but also quests into hidden forbidden unholy grounds in search of relics craved by cults who would pay large amounts of gold. When they werent in employ of others they stole and pillaged whenever and wherever they could get away with it. The twins were lusty and hot blooded, Alzared and Zarediel raped many women and men respectively. In addition, many dark cults they came across were full of priestesses hungry for fiendish seed, or priests lusting to have theirs accepted. Naturally, Alzared, being male, spread Za'red’s blood more easily, but Zarediel would in time just as quickly through her male children. Alzared left the mothers of his children where he found them, while Zarediel had a habit of canibalizing her mates while her slaves were made to watch. Neither one of them had any desire of forming any lasting bonds with anyone, nor to care for any children much like cold blooded reptiles- the one exception being Zarediel's first child fathered by her brother, whom she named ["Demona"]. Zarediel instilled in her first daughter all of her 'virtues', and ensured she learned them well, until Demona left to pursue her own exploits at the age of twenty.
Those who inherited their blood would preserve, maintain, and spread demonic taint in the world through their blood, by their very existence as 'tieflings' or those with fiendblood in their lineage. The Za‘red Lineage is by no means the first time fiends had gained some sort of ’foothold' as it were in the material world, indeed over millenia, many times have fiends bred with mortal creatures be they beasts or humanoid races. The Za`red Lineage is simply one of the few fiendish bloodlines or Abyssal Heritages that can be traced to a source, whereas most begin only with nameless demons or devils. Most of those who are of the Za`red Lineage do not know, or if they are aware of their fiendish blood they do not know to use the name of the clan to which they and other families. Most of the children sired by priestesses of dark gods or demon lords, were abandoned to grow up hard, and live desperate lives knowing no love, so as to breed hatred in them -watched from afar, to be one day sought out and initiated into the cult never knowing they were joining the very people responsible for much of the misery in their lives. However, there exist handful of those were raised in secret societies or born into the worship of vile darkness. These few were taught the origins of their fiendish lineage, and brought up on the forbidden lore of their ancestors exploits, tales preserved by the Twins slaves, and their slaves children who were often of the blood, or else the by the dark cults they encountered.
Throughout the history since the bloods inception in the material world several centuries ago, the descendents of Za‘red have been involved in all manner of fell schemes and evil plots, mostly of others-though quite rarely The Devils as their chaotic nature and individualism worked against them - but also a few of their own devising. Thus far none of the lineage have been Kings, Queens, or Players in the cosmic game for the souls of Therafim, but more frequently pawns. Albeit a rare few have become Knights, Rooks, or Bishops. These few tend to be those who experiened a greater manifestation of Za`red’s essence, gaining traits more like half-fiends later in life, Abyssal Heritors of Za`red. These particular Abyssal Heritors always manifested a black Demonic Skin with serpent like traits, and cobra hood like markings on their back which took the form of ancient glyph that stood for the Abyss itself.
The First Scandal (21 years ago; Oct 17th XX88)
Mukul Asaduzzaman Alzared was a shrewd and calculating man, who like his father before him became a Thugee Jemadar. He knew of his families distant demonic heritage and in time met Ishtara, a sensuous, ex-cleric of Bast that had established herself as a priestess of and later high priestess among the leadership of a cult. His father decided he wished to make her his wife, and they were wed. HOWEVER, he later decided he would not consumate their marriage until his first son was born. His firstborn son would inherit his Thugee status, and so he wanted his first sons share in the blood to be as potent as possible-so rather than give himself to Ishtara he used erotic magic to create a Playmate (see E-Spells) of demonic appearance out of raw shadowstuff. Infusing it with fertility magic and mating with IT (it had no free mind of its own) any children would be born of his flesh and magic. He would use magic to hasten its term and continue to spawn children until a son had been born and ONLY a year and a day after his sons birth would he give himself to Ishtara and sire children with her.
The priestess was silently outraged by this, feeling she was more than deserving of bearing his seed and the firstborn son of his demonic lineage than an automaton. Using erotic magic to determine the sex of the child, the Thugee aborted several daughters until finally his "Shadowhore" carried a son.
Early in the Shadowhore's pregnancy a vengeful Ishtara used a Theft of The Unborn spell, and stole the child in the Shadowhore's womb and transplanted it into her own, BUT ALSO reworked and augmented the spell to transplant something…else into the womb of the Shadowhore so her childs absence would not be noticed. Since the Jemadar would not have her she spent most her time away, 'waiting' for him. Given that she had always been a loose woman, it would not be too strange that she had become pregnant by another man in the meantime. In reality, she had been with the other two High Priestesses of her order; they had planned for months to kidnap and sacrfice the children of nine of Shimin's noblity. Finally, the night of the offering came…
Three dozen souls chanted, their voices and their music reverberating throughout the underground. His mother, Ishtara lead the rite, one of several high priestesses of a nameless cult, who revered a nameless one. Of it there were no graven images, for it was said to be without form. Of it were no written pages, but it was said amongst them to be a light. It was not like the light of a golden dawn, but more reminiscent of the twilight of a civilization, just before the last clean soul slips into the inky black of iniquity or the last monument crumbles into dark debris. It was darkbrite, corpse light, a black luster, a sinful shadow sheen. The kind of light that gives way to darkness, darkness that gives way to hideously winking stars that flicker like weak candles in the wind. Was it some daemon sultan that bid them dance to such mad piping? Was it some elder thing that made them indulge in strange drugs to gain starry wisdom? Was for some whisperer in the darkness that they offered blood? Few of them even knew with what they made their pacts.
In their strident revel they never noticed the City guardsmen creep up on them, never saw them levy their crossbows, nor heard them prepare their spells. Within less than a quarter hour nearly every one of them had been rounded up, with only a few escaping- including two of the three High Priestesses. In the last month nine of the nobilities children had disappeared abruptly and mysteriously. And in the depths were nine found, bound and consigned to starve to death, and mummify in the dry cave air. And so were the lot of them charged with kidnapping and torture, swiftly tried, and sentenced to death or enslavement for their crimes…save one, Ishtara herself.
She was with child, and so was only imprisoned. Her trial would be delayed until after the birth. For legal reasons and the well being of the child to be, they demanded to know who its father was, to which she only replied , "A compassionate prostitute am I". Through the cults perverse sacraments and her own debauchery, many could have fathered it. She confessed to being a priestess of the cult, but also to being the one that unveiled it –quoting a letter word for word written directly to the head of the City Watch, and the pseudonym it was written under, claiming to be its author. When asked why she would betray her sisters and brothers; she claimed that while the other high priestesses desired to give greater offerings, specifically the young of sentient beings. She could not do so, and so she wrote a letter informing the City Guard as soon as she was certain she could do so without being seen. Some of the interrogators believed her. However, others were highly skeptical.
Their interrogation of the other cultists revealed there was division amongst them and the looming possibility of a potentially violent split, as well as a definite threat to Ishtara's life and position as one of the high priestess. It seemed that by penning a letter revealing the time and location of their next gathering, she had sacrificed all of her loyal in a gambit to destroy all of her enemies. Furthermore, by allowing herself to be captured and delaying her trial through her pregnancy she was infinitely safer , jailed and under watch from any enemies that might escaped capture than free.
Her pregnancy also demanded better than slightly average accommodations and meant that she could not be put under forced labor . It seemed she was as cruel and calculating as she was wayward. They brought this idea before her, but she would not confess to it and vehemently denied it. Eventually it was agreed that she would not be held any longer than was necessary for her to have her child. After that she would have freedom, but at the cost of being banished from Shimin, Bazram. To return, was to be sentenced to death.
Weeks passed.Then more weeks passed without result. And even more. The healers began questioning whether the child was alive, and many were certain had died and become calcified. Ishtara protested her womb was not a tomb, and the child was very much alive. Finally, late in the 10th month of her pregnancy, Ishtara went into labor. She complained of feeling as though innumerable icy knives danced about in his insides. She developed a fever an odd sweat forcing itself from every pore. It was a weighty, deep red, almost black like pooling blood. Her cold feeling turned to devil-chills and her tremble grew into a full body-quake. Retching like a demoniac she heaved up something darker than devilfish ink. Present were three midwive-adepts and a High Priest, Midrashhim-he knew Ishtara who had many times visited his temple. He was stunned at the scandalous revelations, and her secret worship, but he believed in her change of heart and agreed to take care of her child where they would live with him and his little grand niece Neelam. Ishtara did not know where she would go, but believed that her child ought to stay within Shimin.
For three days Ishtara was in labor; each night one of the midwives experiencing a horrible nightmare, and each night one of them fled too afraid to take any further part. He knew what to do, but he wondered if the others dreams meant anything or nothing at all meant anything or nothing at all. In the end, she gave birth to a human boy, whom despite her shortness of breath, she managed to name Tammuz. From what Midrashim could tell a perfectly human child was born - but all those who had dreams had doubts, that despite all examinations could not be assuaged. Ishtara made the cleric swear an oath, never to reveal to the child whom his mother was. As far as the child was concerned, he must believe his parents are dead not living. Conveniently Midrashim had an adult child who had died in accident with their spouse not long ago. The incident was a private matter, and was not made well known to most. They had been expecting a child, and so he would say that Tammuz was his grandson. As Tammuz grew he was somewhat anemic and weak, but he had a strong spirit and a sharp mind, and proved a capable scholar.
The Second Scandal (18 months Ago; May 5th;XX09)
He was weak, tired, physically and spiritually exhausted. He was paralyzed as one is right before waking from night terror, unable to move and yet somehow fully aware. Through half lidded eyes he was barely able to make out the dark room. His field of vision was hazed, fogged by an enervating mist made worse by the fact that the only light came from a equally clouded moon. He wasn't lying in his bed and he wasn't looking up at the ceiling; he was standing upright and looking over his kitchen table. A fine birthday spread: sweet bread, cheese, boiled beef, root vegetables, and fruit preserved in the lees of the wine was strewn all over.
Midrashim lay facedown in his bowl. He couldn't tell whether the old man was breathing or what injuries he may have suffered. Neelam's husband, also his good friend Ozar lay on the floor painfully trying to grasp at the knife in his back. Ozar tried to make words, but only moans came; his mandible had been carved from his face and lay in a corner. Neelam herself leaned against the mantle of the cold fireplace, holding herself as she bled profusely from under her dress. On her face was an expression of abject horror and grief he had never seen before. He thought it was a reaction from the terrible scene at first, but quickly realized it was directed directly at him. The thunder crack of maces upon the wooden door and the baying of dogs shook him from his stupor. Cries of "We know you're in there! Out with you!" from outside were answered by Neelam's pleas of "Come swiftly!"
It seemed he was trapped, but in an instant he knew what to do, taken by a vision of a corpse buzzing with carrion insects, its face twisted into a death grimace. Unable to explain what had happened or prove his innocence, he climbed out a window like a spider, and took to the darkened streets. As he ran for his life he realized he was carrying something, a sheet of bloodied parchment clenched in his fist. Opening it he read aloud the single phrase scribed on it in red and was immediately overcome by black body-breakdown, inner red–ache, violet sorrow-squall, a violent prismatic spray of scintillating colors and terrible sensations.
"You'll Pay What You Owe Traitor’s Son."
He was sure he knew what it meant. That phrase was a death sentence …
Awakening & Wandering (18 months Ago; May 6th;XX09)
The next day after his escape from the city, some news reached him of the murder of Midrashim Talwar-Kadath and the prime suspect: Himself. Under the alias "Ahriman" Tammuz was furious,driven by a need to discover what kind of people his parents were, and desire for revenge against the people who slaughtered his adoptive family now. For him, getting anywhere in his life would surely mean use of his mysterious new powers. But to try to do so in his homeland would mean being damned to the lowest caste of their society, and so he has quit Bazram, likely forever. If he could somehow return to a scholarly life in another city, under another name, he would have to hide his abilities, but to do so would deny his new potential. It was this strange Eldritch power that had saved him in his bleakest instant, he could have very easily been killed on the spot, or perhaps thrown into prison for a lifetime, or executed. More confident in the Eldritch mystery than his faith in Thoth, he threw away his holy symbol and determined he would rely on them alone. Eventually he decided to travel to Avalon, but With next to no money on his person he couldnt afford to sail to her port. Instead he booked passage on a cargo ship heading for The Shatterlands to the far south, and would over a long seven month journey make his way north.
Avalon (1 year Ago; November;XX09)
He arrived in Avalon, late in the year on a cold afternoon, the ground slick with rime and the barren trees thick with frost. He was garbed in thick robes then; his fashions were drab, all charcoals, slate grays, and awful duns; quite different than his trappings today. Exploring the cities markets he would run into Eisen Regis Nephalem, a wizard that would show him to the Arcadia inn. Spending the last of his funds on loging, he briefly find work as a clerk-but that quickly ended a few weeks later when he signed onto his first mercenary contract, one involving looking into a cult preying upon the surrounding farmsteads. He had already taken some interest in the subject matter, and was sure he could learn much about their workings with firsthand knowledge. The job would fill his purse with three-hundred-fifty gold, far more than he could ever make in any ordinary profession, and would feed his curiosity to explore the unknown. He would one day have his vengeance, one day he was determined to confront those that had sundered his family and his whole way of living. With gold paid or plundered, experience gained firsthand against similar foes but of lesser degree, and knowledge of the forbidden-he would command all the forces, all powers, from all sources to make it possible. He had to. For he believed his adversaries to be the two High Priestesses who had escaped, and knew they had no limitations. No fear. No mercy. No honor. No morals that said any act or magic was 'too dangerous', 'too taboo', or 'too cruel'. He would face all of this, and he would expect it. They would never expect the same.
He would live through several near death experiences early in his career. He would have nearly all his life blood drained by a fiendish dire weasel snake after surviving an explosion in a storeroom; he would be stung over twelve-hundred times trying to rescue a man and his servant from a cave filled with magically altered wasps; he would nearly be killed by a Babau in his first encounter with a demon, as his party of four was reduced to two making a last stand alongside another severely wounded spellcaster; and he would have nearly all the flesh blasted off of his bones by the thunderous roar of a Steel Predator that had killed its master and gone wild.
Over his first two months in the city, he would have a second awakening, as his eyes changed, and then his skin. It only took a little research to determine that these were the signs of an Abyssal Lineage. A heritor of ancient blood, his interest in his parents and their own heritage only increased. With more money, he would move out of his room in the Arcadia inn, and begin renting a basement apartment in the Undercity. In the months that followed, he would begin an intense period of study and research to compile his first work The Mysterie of Darke Cultes. Over the course of its creation he would begin solitary prayer to The Nightmare King, asking for aid in the endeavour. It would challenge him by making him master two new languages, draconic and infernal,in addition to greatly expanding his in every field, and consuming thousands of pages of source material with vague or conflicting accounts.
40 Nights In The Abyss (7 Months Ago; April; XX10)
It was in was in May, several months ago that Tammuz and many others were swept up in the machinations of The Dark One. Locked alone in chains and in a stifling hot, lightless, chamber of stone soaked in blood, he was held for several days.
…until he met her…
His Eve, his Eventide, his Night Angel, Evangeline.
A succubus slave, she had served The Dark One for untold ages. She loathed her bondage, but found a measure of freedom in The Dark One's plans for Avalon. While she did not participate in the siege on Avalon, she and her six "sisters" were sent to collect, corrupt, and copulate with their assigned targets to produce Half-Fiends from the most powerful warriors and mages of Avalon, perhaps in all the world. They were to be instructed by their mortal parents in their individual skills, and lead their fiend bretheren in The Dark One's ongoing campaign on Therafim.
Evangeline explained her master's grand plan (or at least part of it), informing him that she would have him, whether he liked it or not-but asked if he would accept her willingly. Finding this a novel experience and rather entertaining he accepted his position (although he felt himself of far more worth than a prize stud.)
Over the course of "The 40 Abyssian Nights" as he has come to call the experience, he spent weeks in what he calls "The Bordello of Blood" -a lavish hall into which the the rock chamber was transfigured into by his Mistress. The hall was hung with tapestries of pink, purple, black, and red. It was lit by a surreal ambience and the air was almost unbreathable with sweet smoke. Everything that was cloth was silk, and everything that could be gold was.
He treated with everything one could eat, sweet music, and in her absence-provided with so much flesh marked, painted, tattooed, pierced, or otherwise modified in every way known to mortal men…and in ways not known to them; exotic beauties of every race trained in the ways of sex, whose faces changed everyday. Of course Tammuz, by his keen observations recognized that they were not women at all, or even other succubi-but Maurezi whom had devoured the corpses of many slain maidens. The fact that they were in truth a harem of fiendish ghouls did not disturb him, but rather the deviancy under a veneer of beauty amused him.
Unable to breed, they were not meant to carry his seed, only to keep him comfortable in Evangeline's absence. She would leave for man hours at a time, but each day to him return and dismiss all the other demons to have the chamber to the two of them for various purposes to lie with him, but most important to Tammuz- to speak with him at length and listen to ideas, his thoughts, and feelings.
She also entertained him with vile games. The two tried devising tortue implements-together they came up with a metal box open on two sides with a movable basket inside, which Evangeline dubbed 'The Kadathic Cube' or 'The Talwar-Kadath Configuration'. The top would be filled with hot coals while the open bottom would go over a subjects belly trapping a rat (prefferably fiendish) underneath. The coal basket would be lowered via a handcrank on the side of the box or by timing mechanism, causing greater panic in the animal as it approached. Eventually fear would drive it to scratch and claw as it burrowed into the subjects insides. He was also once offered "live targets" to practice his Eldritch magic upon, though he declined at the time.
They enjoyed each others company, though still-Tammuz was restless, he wasnt allowed to go "outside" or to walk whatever passed for grounds in the stronghold nor was he provided with any of the other things he desired, there was no shortage of flesh, but very little vellum to upon which to write or read from. This was slightly alleviated by Evangeline agreeing to teach him The Dark Speech.
Tammuz promised he would be a father to their child, and that one day he would build a great stronghold and a legendary library on a world of his own to be visited by like minded people from across the planes-which he would later write of in his entires ["Good to Be King"] and ["The Oath"] He would teach them well-indeed, he had been a teacher before the catastrophic events upset his normal life and set him on the path of the adventurer. It didnt matter what their child became, he would apt to let them be whatever they wanted to. This touched her very much-but she informed him that he had to go. Servia Cassius whom was being spied on, had already began to plan a return trip as the other six had already escaped together some weeks ago, and The Dark One had deemed that he no longer needed to hold him.
She returned with him to his apartment in the Undercity, everything left as it was the fateful night he went to sleep, only to awake in the Abyss. He looked in a mirror, and saw that his left eye had changed color and that it stung a little. Before he left her, they share done last embrace, and he asked that the child be named Ozar after his deceased friend if a boy, or Neelam, after his cousin, if a girl. Concieved in May- June, he would expect their birth in Febuary or March (or perhaps early April). She told him that she would be watching over him, and that if he needed her, all he had to do was call her name and she would come as soon as she was able. By her nature she was a sexual creature, and so she didnt expect him to him to keep himself only to her, but she promised him that no other demon would ever bear a child of his, and asked him not to make her go out her way to kill some other demoness, at least while she was pregnant.
She kissed him and fell under a powerful sleep, but when he awoke in the morning he knew the experience was real -for his eye was changed just as he had seen it the night before, and so too was the other one. The experience had accelerated the evolution of his abyss blood, and in the days to follow he would (painfully) grow wizened wings. Tammuz became convinced that the whole thing was prophesised in his dream as he had writ of in his first journal entry within the city walls. Indeed, all his innate knowledge of his powers and how to use them has been derieved from his dreams, always very disturbing. This seemingly prophetic dream stood out from the others, because it was the only one that was beautiful.
This was not the last time he would see her, she would suprise him unexpectedly in a dark alley of the undercity. He asked if he might buy her freedom eventually but she told him never to request or ask such a thing of The Dark One, as she feared for his life. Hearing this Tammuz began to loathe The Dark One, for keeping her against her will, and for his seeming lack finesse resulting in the death of many thousands in Avalon, just as it had in his failed attempt to take over the famed city of [Les Innocents], not too far from Avalon.
"I accept that sometimes people simply have to die. But what happened was senseless butchery; in contrast theres actually an art to breaking a populations will. What's more, he failed to accomplish any of his goals, and exhausted tremendous amounts of resources. Who is this fool? This clumsy butcher-god who masquerades as something more than a mummer? He wears the motley well."
-Tammuz's own words.
But he also began to hate The Dark One for what happened to the others who were taken, and even those he knew that weren't abducted, but affected all the same. They were his 'friends' to him, even if he wasnt not always on the best terms with many of them.
"Although- I cannot say we escaped without leaving some things behind: A bard gone fireless, chill; a psion positively GNAWED -as if he were a corpse upon which clinical officials performed mental autopsy and removed all that mattered and left it strewn over darkened hills and fields of ruin; an overzealous priestess torn seeing her temples destroyed from within, and her husband stolen from their wedding chapel, and her friend slaughtered; a soldier of Bahamut left feeling violated, and cheated out of giving himself for the first time to a woman he loved; a witch born of two cultures and forsaken by both left to bear children that like her too will likely be rejetected. Some of us are sleepless, some of us are mute. We are mostly consigned to become a shutins or recluse. I dont see many of those people anymore. Some of them may have left forever, or might take forever to gain a measure of what they were before. It seems only I am left seemingly all intact. Although some would argue before I went in, that I had nothing to lose."
-Tammuz's own description to David, bartender and proprieter of the Arcadia Inn
It was shortly after seeing Evangeline again that he would formally commit himself to veneration of The Nightmare God. He began to practice Divine magic again, though he did not forsake his sorcery and would learn to blend the two in ways unimagined to him before then. He recognized his god as his Divine Patron, the one whom had suffused his soul with Eldritch magic and aided him unseen time and again.
He was chosen.
And yet he was free.
Free to do as he pleased. Free to put his power to any ends. To find his mother, free his lover and their child, to avenge his friends, and his family.
By any means necessary.