A necromancer by birth, cursed by his father to fulfil a destiny he never wanted.
My Character Clipboard, with its nifty carrying compartments, has gone missing at the home of my sometime DM and brother. Thus, the character sheet for Athelwolf has been lost.
Most of the detailed backstory information has been lost with the last reformatting of my computer. These detail will be filled in the near future, as soon as I can find the documents.
Having dug out the partial backstory sent in a recap email to the DM at the start of Uprising Part 1, I will make use of it to fill this space. Unfortunately, the full version, which was lost even before then, could not be found. The prop Prophecy scroll, about three feet long and one wide, was also discovered, and I will do what is possoble to edit the prophecy section in the Wiki if it is deemed of import. The (abridged)early backstory is as follows. Please be mindful that this copy was typed and sent in haste, and at better than four in the a.m.
“It was a cold night, and the young man pulled his cloak closer to ward off the biting wind; the sun had set near an hour ago, and he could only hope he’d reach town before the nasty thunderheads he’d seen over the mountain reached him. The gusts blew his shoulder-length hair about his face as he glanced over his shoulder; he half expected to see another of the shambling horrors which seemed apt to tail him., always seeking a boon or a feeding from “master”. The filth stalked him night and day, unrelenting, which wouldn’t be so bad if there were any particular reason, or if they were inherently hostile. The consistent supplication, however, was plainly unsettling. Athelwolf Maruccio crested a hill, and looked down on the welcoming lights of a small hamlet, not too far into the distance. He glanced over his shoulder again; the road was still clear. Athelwolf continued down the road, tossing an occasional glance behind him, or up at the stars; he was not the slightest bit aware of the faint rustle in the trees as his newest shadow passed in the night. His own charm and coin should guarantee him a place to stay for the night before moving onto a larger city, preferably one with a wealth of knowledge to be had. Hopefully, this would be a quick respite, and hopefully, there would be no confrontation with the people over those creatures from whom he could find no respite.”
* Athelwolf Thancharnt Maruccio was born slightly over twenty years ago, to Rheusmus Thancharnt and Jacqueline Maruccio-a child of wedlock, though he never had the chance to be ostracized due to his mother’s mysterious disappearance during pregnancy; Rheusmus, to put matters simply, was not a good man, nor were the gods he secretly worshiped wholesome in the least. In seducing the young Vistani performer, the foul-playing merchant was making a single move in a larger game that had spanned centuries- six months into Jacqueline’s pregnancy, Rheusmus arranged for her to be “escorted” from his home by a vampire of some small note. Her previously secure position in his manor house was easily compromised by the unlocking of a single window of the many lining one wall of her room- the plan was for Jacqueline to be Turned, then given over to Rheusmus for the retrieval of the child within her. It didn’t work out that way- the vampire, one Brost Caius, decided to take the child AND the woman from the “puny mortal”; he had no idea what he was getting himself into, clearly. Rheusmus Thancharnt was not a man to be trifled with- between the money provided by his mercantile work and years of arcane study, not o mention the gifts inherent to loyal servants of darkness (force lightning, bitch!), it was a very displeased maniac that went searching for the pair of fledgling vampires. Even with his abilities, divination was not a specialty of his (a restricted school for him, in fact), and consequently it took him nearly 6 months to locate the two, in a crowded coastal city far to the south. Jacqueline no longer carried the child, instead bearing a pair of considerable abdominal scars- the infant had been delivered, and then spirited away. Rheusmus was at the end of both his rope and available resources, and for nothing- in his blind fury, he slew both the vampires- very very thoroughly. Returning home and making arrangements for the management of his business, Rheusmus settled in for the long search after the child- this search was to take him near nineteen years.*
* Performing a C-section on a vampire at her own behest, to SAVE her living child, and not from her, but himself-this was a thing Father Adrostus had never heard of, would not have conceived of in all his wildest dreams. Nonetheless, he took the wanderer’s words for what they were worth. The bard had stumbled into the temple that morning carrying a swaddling babe and raving about the horrors of the dead. Story aside, the babe needed a home, and so he was taken in, regardless of circumstance. It was immediately noted that where its belly button should have otherwise been, the child had only a puckered scar, as if the umbilical tube had left a wound that had roughly healed over. The boy was named Athelwolf, for the wanderer who brought him in. As he aged, he was given to the study of holy matters- it was not uncommon for orphaned children to become priests, for who better to display an unconditional love and compassion but those who appreciate it objectively? However, it slowly became clear that Athelwolf’s expertise was in the undead- their creation, destruction, and all their properties. He knew things he couldn’t possibly have, almost instinctively- the process by which necrotic flesh was nourished by life and unlife alike were fully open to him- he could explain the flow of the holy energy which could stop the undead in their tracks, but couldn’t explain how he knew it. His uncanny understanding of undeath brought first fascination, then mockery, then outright disdain from his peers- this mattered little to Athelwolf- he far preferred the company of the old masters. Over the years, Athelwolf penned a few manuals and treatises upon the properties of the undead, which gradually became a local hit among tomb- tempting adventurers- he slowly earned, if nothing else, the grudging respect of his peers.*
* Shortly following his nineteenth year at the temple, a spare, balding man appeared, looking for him- who insisted that he was Athelwolf’s father. With a short magical confirmation of their relation, Athelwolf was borne away by his father, who seemed feverishly pleased to have found the boy-Rheusmus referred constantly to Athelwolf’s ‘purpose’ or his ‘potential’, ignoring Athelwolf’s inquiry as to what exactly he referred to. Proudly, his father brought Athelwolf under the tutelage of a university of magic-many leagues hence from the small temple where he had come to reside. Again, Athelwolf was found to possess startling proficiency in the arts of Necromancy-general practice soon gave way to specified tutelage. Athelwolf was fascinated by what he learned, applying his knowledge to the composing of a few more instructive texts. Some few years passed, and, absorbed in his studies, Athelwolf made few friends. Secreted in his father’s manse, he saw little of the old man, who seemed occupied with business of his own. Even now, Athelwolf had never been told about his ‘purpose’, and hadn’t seen the majority of the house; he began to feel like a prisoner in his own home. Athelwolf longed for a taste of the outside world, but tied to his studies, felt no inclination to wander far- instead, he took it upon himself to explore the vast reached of the subterranean level of the house. Athelwolf was surprised to discover such a wealth of magical artifacts- it became apparent that his father dabbled in the arcane arts as well. His father had never hinted at such a relation, and as Athelwolf dug deeper into the basement, he began to suspect that his father was not a benevolent mage in the slightest. He slowly came upon more and more clearly dark items; rune-carved human skulls, bone wands and long scrolls daubed in what appeared to be blood- few of the symbols were intelligible, but Athelwolf copied down a few of the sigils for later study. These ventures were many, and he spent many hours in the basement, before discovering a door, far in the back, that was locked-bringing tools to remove the hinge-pins, Athelwolf stumbled into his father’s gruesome laboratory; body parts lay dismembered on various tables, in various stages of decomposition, and a withered figure stood erect before him, swaying on its worm-eaten legs. The zombie turned in the greenish light (shed from crystals inset along the walls) toward the sound of the door dropping against the frame, and started to shamble toward Athelwolf! Hastily, Athelwolf drew forth his small holy symbol and held it before him, channeling the energy of his faith- expecting to see the zombie halt, or flee in horror as he had been prepared for, he was shocked to see the monster back away and kneel, obeisantly, at his feet. He mustered a little power, and used magic to disrupt the lines of negative energy supporting its unnatural existence- Athelwolf replaced the door carefully and returned to his quarters- he’d dispatched the creature, but the look in its eyes, almost of adoration, had unnerved him.*
* From that point, Athelwolf was almost loath to study upon his previously favored subject- but even as he attempted to avoid the arts of necromancy, he found that facts jumped out at him from the pages- he inexplicably came upon new vistas of such knowledge in the subject that he had to wonder whether this was being arranged. Rheusmus never mentioned any disturbance of his lab, nor did Athelwolf see him often until the evenings leading up to his twenty-first birthday, when his father seemed to be ever-present; at breakfast and supper, or idly wandering the halls, his path often coinciding with that of his son, though he never uttered a word. Athelwolf often thought he saw his old man observing his across the way-curiously, or perhaps hungrily. On the eve of his birthday, Rheusmus entered Athelwolf’s room during his studies; he carried a large scroll over his back, which he rolled out over Athelwolf’s present reference sheets. “You were interested in your purpose, correct? It’s time.” Athelwolf glanced over the scroll, not a little suspicious- The entire affair was penned in blood, with additional watermarks suggesting layers of text below that which lay inked upon the page. The language was unfamiliar, but seemed somehow sinister, as if it writhed on the page with malevolent intent. Some few symbols were recognizable- and incomparably foul. “What am I looking at, exactly?”*
asked Athelwolf. “Destiny,” replied Rheusmus with a fiendish smile “The purpose for which you were born and bred will be fulfilled, and you shall reign in the darkness at the side of the Lord.” It was an unnerved and moderately confused Athelwolf who spoke next; “you’re talking over my head, old man- what exactly is this about?”
“Everything! Your mother’s death, and rising, your studies, your slow conditioning, have all led to this! You are to be the living Lord over all death, who shall bring about the glorious time of new darkness, as it has been written!” Rheusmus searched for some trace of excitement, or support in his child’s face, but was met with only shock; disgust, even, registered in Athelwolf’s eyes. His lip curled into a sneer of contempt.”Cleary, you’re not ready to embrace this responsibility- you will be in the future, though, boy. Of that, I assure you.” (obviously, there was much more to this conversation; angry retorts and denials from Athelwolf, and the insistence of Rheusmus, but I think it’s hardly necessary to reiterate it all here.) To simplify, Athelwolf carried no interest in this ‘prophecy’, and was ashamed and disgusted by the way he had been manipulated and modified, almost from birth-he was unwilling to fully forsake his studies, but couldn’t bear the presence of his father. He soon made ready to leave the house, to continue his studies and make his own fortune. His conditions, a now obvious explanation for his odd affinity for undeath, seemed a boon rather than a burden- Athelwolf’s knowledge could be put to use against the very monsters his father sought to see him rule, and knowledge could serve as a source of income if necessary- above all Athelwolf plotted; having faced humiliation (omitted for the sake of space and mystery) at the hands of Rheusmus, he was determined to not only deny his role in this prophecy, but stop its occurrence altogether. This would require research, cunning, and a little luck- Athelwolf sought out the largest stores of knowledge available.
* Having been absent from his father’s house for over a year (yes, a significant time skip- he departed in the night, taking a great deal of equipment with him), moving from place to place, finding out what he could, Athelwolf began to notice minor traces of undeath in the world around him- he slowly began to suspect he was being followed.*
Here is the point where we become foggy; it gets closer to present day, and starts to drag; Athelwolf has been traveling for just over 5 years- trying to simultaneously balance his arcane and divine prowess, while searching for whatever ways he can to thwart his father- in this last respect, he has had little luck, as he doesn’t even quite know what to look for. He has been pursued across the continent (of whichever large area of land you prefer) by myriad undead, most of which he has dispatched, and all of which expected to serve him in one way or another. Unbeknownst to him, he’s had a shadow for most of the path-(this would be the cohort from the leadership feat; I imagine something between a ghoul and a vampire-something that could be a suitable cohort at higher levels, who Athelwolf couldn’t handle in a fair fight right now. A stronger intelligent undead, perhaps sent by his father, or perhaps just free-willed. Whatever its nature, the undead may seek to aid Athelwolf in the hopes of turning him to the darker path, or to strike a deal with him. Whatever it is, it could prove an interesting NPC for the other side.) That’s mostly it, to the simple version. What is now missing may be improvised as you see fit.
The rest of the Campaign has, as a whole, been summarised, and so I shall not duplicate Athelwolf’s part in it here. Following the fulfillment of the prophecy, Athelwolf retired from the adventuring business and took control of his father’s not inconsiderable estate. He has continued to pursue his painting and other hobbies over the last two years, and has resumed his relations with the University of the Arcane, where his father was both donor and erstwhile instructor.
It occurs to me now that the overview of the campaign did not mention precise details of the Teatime (read: Tey-ah-tah-mey) with shade, and as this was a solo session separate from the rest of the group (to catch up Athelwolf on the previous session, which I missed) I can see why. I shall elaborate here.
Now I don’t remember rightly what our destination was in out mysterious cavern setting, but with the arrival of the Shadow, Athelwolf found himself absorbed into the shadow’s form and held in a partial state of suspended animation; sharing space with the shadow’s body, but unable to move for himself. It traveled overland for an extended period of time (I’m led to believe it was a matter of days, but Athelwolf was not fully conscious of time during the journey, so I don’t know), eventually ending up at a small, remote cabin. Athelwolf was led inside and dropped into a chair across the dining table from none other than his Father. Naturally, the Shadow-servant was a tool of his father’s. We had a bond-villain style chair spin moment, there.
An argument ensued about which of us was to benefit from the prophecy, and who would serve whose purposes. Father issued an ultimatum; Athelwolf would join him, or he would be killed then reanimated, serving father’s will beyond the veil of death. With a rather sketchy double-bluff on whether Athelwolf would have to participate of his own will, (and so, be rendered safe from death until he had fulfilled such a role) Athelwolf stood with doubt about his ability to avoid or counter-spell his father’s attack.
Before the attack went off, Shade’s blade sprouted from father’s chest, diffusing the spell and ending his life, while, ironically, not improving Athelwolf’s situation at all. The prescribed Teatime occurred, before Athelwolf found his way back to the party. Anywho, now that that’s finished, we can conclude the present day.