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Colin Marcus

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Colin Marcus

Post  Thaddeus Medvyed on Sat Apr 11, 2015 2:35 am

My early life has become a blur. I remember the highlights of course. There are some things that you never forget.

I was born in 4585 in Ardis, the capital city of Ustalav. It is not the capital anymore, but at the time it was. I am also a Dhampir.

What this means in its most basic form, is that my mother died during birth and I have no idea which vampiric monstrosity was my father.

It's a sad state of affairs of my homeland but dhampir's are disliked, mistrusted, feared, but not as rare as they should be. Many are killed soon after birth. I was fortunate to be spared by the midwife, though I didn't always think it a mercy.

My youth was spent in anger and bitterness. My childhood was lonely, constantly defending myself from other children or even adults who saw me as smaller weaker version of everything they hated and feared. The fangs didn't help. Nor did the desire to use them...

Blood gives me strength and the taste... is indescribable. My adopted parents were strict and tried to guide me on the right path, but it was a difficult path that still goes against my nature. Still, the lessons are ingrained deep. The benefits aren't worth the reminder of my past. However, I'm not the type to let pride get in the way of my mission either...

4600 was a defining point of my life. It was the year I first started on the journey that brought me here. I failed to appreciate what I had, and when those that raised me passed, I was 15 and not prepared in the slightest. Without their influence I rushed off to meet my destiny.

I've spent much time being ill-prepared. My first adventuring party was a disaster. Being the son of a Vampire, I naturally assumed that I had the strength to fight them... possibly gaining revenge for my existence.

All but two of us were killed, and the other survivor would never be the same. A young man at the time, Syfer Franklin lost the use of an arm that day. Retirement doesn't come easily to those who take up the stake, but the last I heard, he found woman and settled down to raise a family.

I learned an important lesson. There is a difference between not knowing enough, and realizing you don't know enough.

My adopted parents raised me to worship Aroden. Needless to say, 4606 was another defining moment life.

Much has been documented about the time of Aroden's death. I was 21 when the world fell apart. The storms wracked the world (and in places still rage), the land ripped apart into an actual pit to hell, and in time Cheliax went and made 'pacts with devils' into societal standards.

For me personally, the bedrock of Aroden's faith crumbled around me. Our god didn't answer prayers anymore. Gods could die. Humanity was abandoned. From this I learned self-reliance. There were things in the darkness that preyed on the helpless. I had the skill set needed to follow them into the darkness.

When there isn't anymore help, I learned to help myself. Not a particularly great philosophy, but I do find it ironically that to this day I haven't found a religious path to replace Aroden. Torag and Irori held passing appeal and I appreciate their philosophies. However, they don't go the extra mile in monster hunting. Torag focuses much on protecting others and defending the helpless... I was nearly converted once for that reason. However he also focuses on a specific community and homeland... and sadly my life has never been sedentary. There are some I am friendly with, but I'm frankly the least religious inquisitor I've ever met. My power comes from a more personal drive.

I did what I could but stuck to the shadows. Most of my kills weren't the sort that bards tell. Skeletal guardians or minor animated things... Anything larger tend to prefer to work in secret. If I discovered something's trail, I could help others protect their home. Once it was exposed, they tended to scurry off to quieter grounds. For my young angry self, this was very frustrating.

Then in 4640 I faced Ioan Rastavan. A Nosferatu had been attacking the citizens of Caliphas and it came to my attention. What seemed to be a simple hunt turned into an absolute disaster. Not only did I fail to kill the monster, but many people died, and I barely escaped with a vengeance-driven undead chasing me. I never even discerned what goal of his I thwarted... but his threats still haunt my dreams and that feeling of helplessness and failure, I'll never forget. I have exiled myself from Ustalev ever since.

The ship I hopped took me to the elven land of Kyonin. This was an unexpected delight. I had long recognized the gaps in my knowledge, and the going theory was that 'elves knew everything.' Outside of dragons, they were the oldest of the mortal races. If anyone knew the origins of my hated enemies, it was them.

They weren't as forthcoming as I would have hoped though. Greengold is the port city of Kyonin and the only place that non-elves were welcomed. Dhampirs less so, but that was something I was growing used to. I was 55 by the time I arrived in that land.

Greengold is a fairly autonomous city run by humans, under the indirect supervision of the elves. Rumor was that it was an experiment to see if they could trust them. Regardless, the city had many elven design touches, but in practice it wasn't much different than the large human cities I've been to. There was still greed and corruption. They still had petty crime and bullies. The lack of werewolves and undead roaming around still made it a stark difference from Ustalav. There were the occasional chance to hone my combat skills, but in general this was a time of peace and learning for me. It was also a time of frustration.

There were schools and libraries and teachers plenty in Greengold, but I couldn't help but believe that the true knowledge I sought was just beyond the treeline.

The city was run by humans, this is true. However, that shouldn't imply there weren't elves there. Wherever humans and elves cross there seem to be a great quantity of half-elves. As the half-elves are not elven enough to go deeper into Kyonin, there really is no shortage of Elven parents or siblings in the city at any given time.

This was a peculiar change for me. My advanced age and my youthful body were one of many things that kept me feeling on the outside of society. Here, there were many people who still remembered the time before Aroden's fall quite clearly and still had many years left to go.

There was still distrust of course. While I may age like an elf, I was obviously not one. Still a few open-minded citizens became close friends. Chief amongst them was a half-elven ranger named Kymil NiTessine. He had also been wronged by undead and immediately recognized me for what I was. Which, to be honest, I prefer over people thinking I am actually a full vampire and trying to either stake me or run away screaming.

We shared stories and techniques. I'd like to think I taught him as much as he taught me, but I think that would be an exaggeration.

Llyndrathyl was another pleasant memory I took from Greengold. She was an Elvish sorceress who was... very dear to me. There had been girls before and after her, but she was different. She helped to teach me many things, not the least of which was how to manage the years in front of me, and how to shed the bitterness of the past. I spent a life-time with her, and it was perhaps my favorite. At least so far.

By 4672, I had grown restless. I had studied all the lore I could find, but still the gaps were large. Greengold had started to feel like a cage and for every book I read, I could only stare at the treelines and wonder what was denied me.

Kymil suggested leaving. It was he who first mentioned his desire to travel south of the Inner Sea. Osirion could well have the answers that I sought. Kymil was insistent that is where the curse of Undeath started from. If that is where it was started, then perhaps that is where it can be ended. The elves had failed in providing ancient magics, perhaps Osirion would not.

The three of us set out with high hopes of grand adventure. I still felt the responsibility to protect and fight the darkness, and it felt good to get back to work.

We traveled south through the Five King's Mountains. The dwarves weren't particularly hospitable, nor did they have any deep knowledge I desired. We didn't stay longer then we had to, and took a trading ship through Andoran and into the Inner Sea.

We traveled for months before we even found passage to a ship heading to Sothis. Passage aboard the Glistening Pearl was expensive, entirely too expensive. A storm struck us off the coast of Qadira. The ship was destroyed with only a few of us washing up on shore. Llyndrathyl and Kymil were not among them. I held out hope for months that they perhaps survived and would meet me in Sothis as was our plan. I arrived a few months later, but I never saw them again.

My time in Sothis only went from bad to worse.

First of all, while I don't dwell on it much, my eyes are extremely sensitive to bright light. I have perfect night vision... but in the sun I tend to keep a wide brimmed hat or hood handy. Needless to say, me and deserts are not a great combination. Secondly, we already talked about my thirst... dehydration is not my friend either. I get... cranky when I'm dehydrated. Finally, the city itself was not a pleasant memory. It is the capital of Osirion and a sprawling metropolis... however it was built around the discarded shell of a titanic beetle, the earthly remains of Ulunat... a Spawn of Rovagug. A city grown out of a bug's shell... This alone should have told me everything I needed to know about the culture.

Most places I traveled, undead and Wizards were tied together on some level. Necromancers have a special place reserved in hell by my opinion. Here however, Priests seem to rule the day. There was much more focus on tombs and cults and priesthoods then I had expected, and again this caused roadblocks, as did the language themselves.

That was where Kashif came in. I met him in 4692. Kashif ibn Hassan was a rather high ranking member of the Cult of the Dawnflower; the local church of Saranrae. A scimitar swinging madman half the time... and a generally decent fellow the rest. It was unusual for people like me to get along with a paladin, however it seems the Dawnflower is rather open-minded goddess. Kashif and I disagreed on many things, but at our cores we shared a goal. Methods... were a different matter altogether though. Still, we could settle most disagreements with a bottle of brandy and I never crossed a line he could smite me for... It was a good arrangement.

With his access I spent a great amount of time hiding from the sun in dark catacombs reading and studying. Of the languages I've learned now, Osirani is my least favorite. It is a very complicated combination of pictures and letters. I muddled through somehow. With some luck I can decipher ancient Osiriani too. There's an evolution to the language but not as much as I've seen elsewhere. Still, the ancient dialect can use similar pictures for multiple words and concepts and my work was very frustrating. Kymil had been correct about one thing, with all these priests and ancient temples, Osirion had it's share of undead issues. There were some vague mentions of creating mummies, but not what I was hoping for.

Kashif had pestered me before about joining his society; the Silver Crusade. Personally they seemed a bit strict for my tastes, though like Kasif himself, I do approve of their goals. More importantly these connections would benefit me to joining the larger group. The Pathfinder Society itself.

I had read the little chapbooks but hadn't really believed them to be as true as the author's claimed. Tales of excitement and adventure and seeking lost treasures... The first two were irrelevant to me, but the last...

I had seen their lodges in both Caliphas and here in Sothis. They were a stingy group that collected ancient lore and plundered ruins and locked their knowledge up... Till now it had been inaccessible to me. If even half the stories were true, I wanted access to their libraries.

Three years ago, I left Sothis with a letter of introduction and set sail for Absolom. The city at the center of the world, and the headquarters of the Pathfinder Society.
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Thaddeus Medvyed

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