Campaign of the Month: April 2012
Elven Mage, Follower of Osiris
Complete character sheet is Here.
Azariel is a fair-skinned elf, just leaving his adolescence for adulthood. His perfect teeth, strong jaw-line, and intense blue-grey eyes make most Human and Wolfen girls swoon, though due to a slightly hooked nose he isn’t gorgeous for an elf.
He has shaggy golden brown hair, and most who see it would call it “Feathery” for the way it swoops out at the ends in random places. He has a long beard, with his cheeks shaved low, accentuating his jaw-line, and the goatee pulled into a tight, sleek braid, mimicking his Lord, Osiris. It is adorned with 1d6 beads and small flawed gems on ornate copper wire wrapping it.
He has an average build for an elf, at 6’2” and 180 lbs. While out of combat, he always has a toothy grin, and is always ready to joke. While in combat, he is harsh, focused, and almost ruthless.
He is never without a polished rounded shield, adorned with the Crook and Flail, and his magical mace, Xama’sconde, which has fire eternally dancing along its two feet of polished Iron, and roaring from its war-hammer-like head. The only catch is that it is invisible to the naked eye, so only those that can see invisible see its beauty. He wears a yellow wide-brimmed hat, starched and oiled to stay out of his eyes, even in rain. His cloak is yellow as well, with a large hood. It is hemmed with leather made from a light-skinned animal, with runes etched into it. He wears a tabard of his guild, black with a white leafless tree with its roots exposed, over a loose white shirt with tight cuffs, tucked into his baggy tan pants held up by a wide black leather belt. His very loose pants pouf at the calves, where they tuck into soft leather boots.
Picture by Peachyco.
Azariel was born in the Western Empire. He lived for a long time with his father Sezar Aleayacta, who was an expert in the lost art of Conjuration, travelling from town to town; his mother wasn’t in the picture, and there were half a dozen stories to explain why, none of which Az believed. Always one for flourish and ostentation, Sezar would perform like a gleeman or bard in inns and for parties. With a conjured flash-bang or two, a dove, butterfly, or a bouquet of flowers, he’d wow crowds. His talent wasn’t purely magic, he had a manual dexterity that even his non-magical ‘conjurations’ and ‘disappearances’ were perfectly believable. He had a voice, too, that could weave a tapestry almost better than the loomiers of kings. He and his lute would finish up the night, and that’s where he got his ‘room and board.’ Az had ‘regular’ ‘aunts’ in every town that they passed more than once. Azariel learned the Cello, and would accompany Sezar when he was deemed good enough.
Sezar taught Az about the world; Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses, Wars, Famine, Peace, Prosperity, The Light, and The Dark. He taught Az to the level of any King’s Heir, with twice the cynicism. Mainly, he taught him of the Elf-Dwarf war. ‘Such a stupid and pointless squabble, so long ago, between our people and the midgets of the north, yet it reshaped the world. So many great things were lost, and so many terrible things were brought forth.’ Magic was a subject all its own in these studies. Conjuration was only half of what Az learned about in his childhood – with the gravity impressed upon him of ever letting the secret out of Sezar’s practice of the lost art. He was taught of all of the different kinds of magical servitude and manipulation; Blood Magic, Summoning, Circle Magic, Ward Magic, Enchanting, Rune Magic, Druidic, Elemental, Sorcery, Wizardry, Alchemy. Though Sezar wasn’t even an apprentice in any of them, he taught Az that all have their strengths, their uses. For instance, you’d be hard pressed to make a Magic Rune weapon with only Elemental or Druidic magic, but you’d also not be able to commune with the elements and elementals themselves without them. Even within each magical school, there are different paths that you may take. Not every Wizard is a crackpot in a lab, and not every Diabolist scroll is defensive.
As a child Az was overwhelmed with the breadth and depth of the world of magic around him; so much vibrancy and so many colors on the painter’s palate. It was then that Az decided he wanted to study it all. He had centuries yet to discover himself, so he had no reason to shackle himself now. He saw such a bright future, for him and his father.
He and his father traveled for most of his childhood. When he reached the age of 60, his father became seriously ill, and couldn’t travel the way they used to. In need of room and resources to support him and his father, Az applied for Guild membership with the Guild of the White Ash. He was accepted, and studied the art of Summoning. He found it came easily, and they were as good a school of magic as any for him to get started in. His teachers were astonished at his aptitude, but they did not advance him in the ranks quickly, as he was prone to mischief, pride, and recklessness – he regularly returned to his guild-appointed rooms penniless and sometimes flogged.
The free time that he didn’t spend playing tricks and gambling, he spent in the library. He was fascinated with the great Strategists and Warriors of old. He would follow their lives, or as much as he could find of them, from birth to death and study them. It was then that his beliefs in Luck truly came to the surface. The Greats always had Luck on their side, not just Wisdom and Intelligence. He had always had a courtship with Lady Luck, in his pranks and gambling, but he had never truly seen that he was more than a simple thrill-seeker. He truly believes in Luck and Azar, Unluck in the old language. In part, this might come from his name – one of the few things he had of his mother’s. Azariel: Omen of Bad Luck.
His love of history and his hobby of voracious reading led him to the history of a god by the name of Bes. He was the god of Mischief, Feasting, Gaiety, and – of course – Luck. He fought alongside the gods of Light, and had great confidence in Osiris. The God, Bes the Depraved, was truly the representative of all that he held as true and self-evident – at least most of it. Azariel studied and worshipped Bes, and probably due to that was pulled toward Summoning, whose acolytes generally lean toward the Dark.
Az came across a demon by the name of Helgriven, a Night Owl, while studying Summoning. Helgriven became his demon advisor, who was grooming him to be an alchemist zealot to the glory of Bes. The Demon explained the amount of luck tied in to the Enchanted Cauldron; each one was like a whole night playing ‘Carriages’ in the town, without the possibility of a lender beating him senseless. Az was swept away in the anticipation. Feeling that he had learned the basics of Summoning, and spurred by the thought of the Enchanted Cauldrun, He informed his Summoner mentor of his decision, and the Guild assigned an Expert for him to study under, the Wizard Eugene Schpaknel. He learned all he needed to make an Enchanted Cauldron, and after a month or two studying, he set about putting it together.
Azariel travelled to Shandala, more of a walk than a journey, as it lies roughly ten miles to the north of White Ash, the village surrounding the Guild. He’d Purchased an Iron Sword for the ritual, and as he was making his way to the Cemetery at dusk, he walked past the Shandalan Pyramid of Osiris. The priest on duty came running out to meet him. ‘You must stop what you are doing! You are on the edge of a blade, and one false step will plunge you into oblivion! You are destined for greatness, and will be a pivotal part of the Pantheon’s agents, but Bes the Depraved is not worthy of your fealty!’
‘Be gone, friar. I have an advisor, and he is more powerful than you. Bes decides my fate, and if it is his wish to plunge me into darkness, it will be a toss of the dice that reveals my end, not some senile priest.’ As Azariel spoke thusly to the priest, a Ramen descended from the heavens in a column of light.
‘LISTEN TO HIM, MORTAL! He knows more of you than you do. He has been instructed to stop you on behest of The Lady, and you would do well to harken unto his words. Lo, and Behold! This is your fate with the Cannibal!’
Az’s eyes were covered as if by wool, and all went black. Then, a spot of light in the distance sped toward him as if shot from a bow. It stopped ten feet from him, and he saw that there was a form in the middle. He gasped when he saw it was him, ragged and naked, in the center of a globe of light. Blood trickled from wounds under his hair, and poured from lacerations on his back. ‘Yes, master. I wish for nothing more. Please, touch me with thine hand once again.’ With that, a cat of nine tails lashes his back again. A blood curdling shriek of pain laced with ragged ecstasy filled Az’s ears, and suddenly he realized that the noise was coming from his own mouth. He could feel the cuts made by bone and glass in his back, and feel the sickly wet-warm sensation of his own blood running down his spine. He also could feel inside his own head, a festering illness he had never known. He looked at his own blood, and ragged flesh, and became hungry, anticipating. He raised his hand to his mouth, and bit down on the tip of his thumb, and ripped away with his teeth. The same ecstacy-laced pain-filled shriek filled his ears, though it did not come from his mouth, it was an echo, a memory reverberating through his skull. His teeth, which felt shorter than he remembered, ground his nail, skin and muscle into an enjoyable paste.
Azariel-in-the-present felt his stomach lurch and churn. The wool was removed from his eyes, and he was back in front of the temple of Osiris, and the two acolytes. He looked down at his thumb, and saw that the end was red, but the flesh wasn’t broken, not like… not like… His stomach lurched again, and he relieved everything that he had eaten for dinner. He stood back up, looked at the Raman, and lurched again, this time letting out nothing but water. ‘Wha… huh… What was that? What did you do to me, beast?’
‘That was your future, if you continue on this path. The Cauldron you are making tonight WILL alter your mind, and your god will find nothing more enjoyable than to see you as depraved as he. Do not do this, and do not talk to Helgriven again. They are not to be trusted, the Night Owl Demons. They tend to use all others for their own gains, and yours is in league with Bes.’
‘But Bes once was jovial, a free spirit. He was the god of Gaiety, Luck, and Feasting! Can you not see that in him? Do you judge so harshly?’ Az asked, putting forth a strong effort in voice, but distraught from his experience, and broiling with uncertainty within. Surely Bes couldn’t be that evil? Could he really deserve his name, ‘the Depraved?’ Everything he studied about the original Bes pointed to a god after his own heart. As he pondered, memories flooded through him, of bits and pieces of the current Bes, pieces he shut away unwilling to accept; stories of wanton blood and destruction of innocent people; blood sacrifices; dark rituals. He remembered what he was about to do, and what Helgriven had asked that he do to make the cauldron: murder two humans for the six pints of blood needed. He started to shudder uncontrollably, and felt as if something inside him deflated.
He felt numb, and before he realized it, he was shambling his way into the Temple, into a prayer room, ushered by the Priest. He was vaguely aware of irritation toward the man, herding him so. He hit his knees, and started to sob uncontrolled into the pillow. Hidden, suppressed histories flooded into his mind, depicting the True Modern Bes, the Depraved. He prayed, though something stopped his tongue when he tried to utter his God’s name. Without the name to use, he resorted to, ‘O GOD! WHY HAVE I BEEN MISLED BY THEE?’ His mind was overwhelmed by thoughts of The Father, and a love from Isis herself calmed him. He looked up, and the Ramen and Priest waited, watching him.
Neither the Ramen nor the Priest needed to say a word, nor did they. ‘Tell me: How do I Redeem My God?’ Az demanded of the two. ‘There must be a way!’
‘There is no redemption for the Gods of Dark. They have chosen their path. You must stay away from them, lest they lead you to their destruction. Come unto the Lord Osiris, He Who Slumbers, He Who Shall Wake; He Who Is. The Father.’ The Ramen’s voice appeared as a crash of thunder, or a wave hitting a rocky shore. Az did what he could to stand his ground.
‘I need to think.’ Azariel said finally, and started shambling down the road to White Ash, not bothering to ride his flying shield. The Guild tower filled his vision step by step; fluted pillars and walls molded to look like a giant white ash, reaching over the small village surrounding it. It was the work of Earth and Fire warlocks, who were ironically refused entrance to the Guild, due to their methods. His eyes didn’t caress the illuminated granite branches tonight the same that they used to, though, as he was lost in his thoughts. Hours later, he arrived at the convalescent home that held his father. Despite the late hour, his father was awake, and they talked for hours about Gods, Ramen, Demons, and Magic.
It was then that Azariel Aleayacta truly wondered what it was that turned his god to the Pantheon of Dark. Bes was close to Osiris, but when he died, the god broke. In his state, Anubis provided him with his daggers, which Az was positive poisoned his mind. Azariel and his father that night decided that they would do everything in their power to resurrect the Lord Osiris. Az founded a temple of Osiris in White Ash, and any money he earned above the needs of himself and his father went into the Temple. Due to his diligence, the small, one-room temple to the Pantheon of Light grew to the size of a large house, or a small manor. It has a room for each of the major gods of the pantheon, with a small room in the back with a room dedicated to ‘the Lost Gods.’
His hunger for knowledge, and desire to resurrect his God… Osiris… resulted in an extensive religious library in his little church. He became a regular at the bookstore in Shandala near the Pyramid, and purchased all he could find.
In the last few years of Az’s search for solutions to the Osiris Problem, he stumbled upon a series of journals called ‘The Books of Crisis.’ It all astonished him. The Lady Herself taking an active part in his own mortal quest was too perfect for him to overlook. He has been following their exploits since the fateful day that the Sea Titan crash-landed on the Island. With every chapter, his faith in Luck and the Gods increased. There are times that any ‘unlucky’ person in CrIsis’ shoes would not have gotten through. He has lost count of the times that things that were strategic and statistic improbabilities were overcome and outright ignored by the unwitting champions. Oh, how they take their own luck and their gods’ hands for granted. The Dwarf that should have spent the rest of eternity as spackle for a Dragon’s armor stood up without so much as a batted eye lash (and no first-hand account, either.) That was more than any amount of physical or spiritual prowess could account for, and it is but one of the dozens of examples.
I wasn’t planning on including him in this Bio, but Bungo seems to have joined our little 6-man army against the Dark! So it must needs be that I verify the claims to friendship between Benji and Azariel. They met when Azariel was in the tower, studying Wizardry, as Mr. Wz. Spacknel and Benji’s Master Wizard were close friends. They had plenty of fun together, though Azariel was sent off to the dice games from time to time so that Benji could ‘Get his Wand cleaned,’ using Azariel to help ‘Swoon,’ the dirty little scamp. He left the Guild shortly after his master passed, and came back few years later, thinking himself a freedom fighter, and spurring in Nipshanks, Azariel’s warder, a desire to do the same. When Benji returned Azariel tried to settle him down a bit, and give his life a bit more direction, by introducing him to the Deities. Though, every time Az brought Benji by the small Temple of the Church of Light, he spent all his time with the parishioners of Bast, so he suggested Benji catechize into her fold. Little did either of them know it would change their lives.