The Sundering Worlds
Elzalath the Forsaken
Elzalath is a Hideous Necromancer who Consorts with the Dead
M: 11, Edge 0
S: 12, Edge 0
I: 20, Edge 3
Positive Social Interactions
Origins (D&D 5E):
Elzalath is a half-elf who owes her very existence to the viciousness of the evil dark elves known as drow. Shortly after midnight on a cloudless night, just over thirty years ago, a drow war party advanced silently upon an unsuspecting human settlement. These merciless elves easily overwhelmed the meager town guard before slipping silently into the houses of sleeping villagers. The raiders pillaged the town and raped the townspeople before slaughtering them in sacrifice to the spider goddess Lolth, their diabolical matron. They withdrew only after setting the entire village and its surrounding crops on fire.
Yet, despite the drow’s thoroughness, a young woman managed to survive the attack. She fled the smoldering town and haphazardly made her way to the nearest human community. Here, she was welcomed with open arms and immediately offered sanctuary. Indeed, after sharing the details of her bitter ordeal, and subsequent escape, the town elders celebrated her survival as a miracle.
Unfortunately, the cruelty of the drow’s actions tainted her despite her unlikely escape, and she soon realized she was with child. After spending a feverish winter restricted to her chambers due to illness, the young woman gave birth to a child, the likes of which the townspeople had never seen. The local priest and mid-wife recoiled in horror as a gray-skinned creature with crystalline gray/blue eyes, and pointed ears emerged from her womb. The physical toll of bringing such an abnormal being into the world cost the young maiden her life, and the priest was left with the very difficult task of finding a home for her wretched offspring.
For the first few years of Elzalath’s life, the priest tried his best to shelter her within the safety of the church. However, as she grew older and more restless, the priest’s peaceful designs were met with outrage and animosity from the townspeople who feared the child was cursed. Realizing that the people would not rest until the child was exiled or destroyed, the priest negotiated for her to be smuggled away under the protection of a local merchant. This man was intrigued with Elzalath’s unique physical appearance, and promised the priest that he would raise her himself, and ensure she was well cared for.
The merchant did none of these things, but rather, he went to the nearest city and sold her to the highest bidder. Elzalath became a slave at the age of six. For ten years, she lived a life of squalor and deprivation, learning to avoid drawing undue attention to herself – a task that was easier said than done, as her stone-colored skin, white hair, mesmerizing eyes, and pointed ears made her the target of repeated insults and injury. At age sixteen, Elzalath escaped the estate of a particularly abusive master after killing him in self-defense, and fled into the surrounding hills. For weeks she survived in the wilderness, fearing that contact with humans would lead to punishment, and likely death.
However, Elzalath’s fortune changed when she accidentally stumbled across a shrine dedicated to the Blood of Vol. Something within her surged up in response to encountering this location. Without understanding why, Elzalath sought out a local chapter of the Blood of Vol to learn more about the religion – or cult depending on how one views them. From the other members of the organization, Elzalath experienced acceptance for the first time in her life, and came to view the blood flowing through her veins as a source of strength, not as something weak, or evil. For the next fifteen years, Elzalath trained, learned, and quested as a mercenary under their umbrella. Her focus and dedication have finally paid off, as she recently ascended to the rank of Paladin, swearing eternal fealty to Vol in both life, and ultimately, death…
Elzalath is driven by a desire to destroy evil within the world as an atonement for her violent and dark origins. She is also interested in preserving balance between the cycles of life and death, likely as a result of her mother’s life expiring in order to bring Elzalath into the world. She is intrigued by, yet cautious of necromancy and undeath, although she views neither as inherently evil. She draws on her internal strength – something the Vol cultists encourage – to meet and vanquish evil in the world, by any means necessary. Elzalath has no qualms about doing brutal, and even barbaric things, in order to stop greater evils from triumphing in the world. She adheres to her own code of right and wrong, although protecting the weak or innocent from those that would oppressive or harm them is a paramount priority for Elzalath. She abhors slavery, and will go out of her way to free those unwillingly shackled by the chains of bondage.
Into the Planes (Evolution into the Cypher System):
As Pekeporo released the dark amulet into the ceremonial druidic bowl, time slowed to a near halt. Elzalath watched the amulet’s slow descent anxiously, until it finally touched the bottom of the bowl. Instantly a portal opened below the adventurers, plunging them onto a path to another world.
As soon as she passed through the portal, a feeling of dread washed over Elzalath. Something within her was responding negatively to the planar travel. Abruptly, she experienced a burning sensation inside her chest. The ancestral rage and hate of the Drow, no longer shackled by the confines of the prime material plane, was rapidly awakening within her.
Without warning, Elzalath was assaulted from within by a violent surge of vengeful energy. She tried with all of her willpower to keep it from overwhelming her, but her efforts were futile. She was suspended in stasis and at the mercy of the terrifying forces rising from within. She watched helplessly as Peke, Kot, and Corvus, drifted further along the recently created tunnel of spacetime towards their unknown destination.
Elzalath thought of the Blood of Vol’s emphasis on one’s ability to balance and channel the forces inside oneself. She tried to center herself; to focus her mind on regaining control of her body. However, no such harmony was possible, as the chasm widening inside her was threatening to rend her corporeal being into unidentifiable matter.
Elzalath began to writhe in agony as her blood started to boil, her skin started to blister, and her lungs started heaving desperately for air. The maelstrom within her was growing more and more furious by the moment.
Quite suddenly, Elzalath became aware of another presence near her. Horrified, she tried to identify the source. It was coming from her sword! Yet, the rapier she had acquired in Waterdeep was no longer recognizable. Where the steel hilt, sheath, and blade had once been, she now saw only opaque blackness.
Tendrils of shadowy energy slowly emanated from the weapon and wound their way up and around Elzalath’s suspended body. Everywhere they touched, the fiery pain subsided; replaced with a bone-chilling cold. The tendrils found their way to her open mouth and nostrils, and she gasped as her lungs drank in the frigid air. Finally, they covered her eyes, flooding Elzalath’s vision with darkness.
The silence was absolute. Elzalath no longer felt any pain, although her whole body felt numb as a result of the cold. She noticed a tiny dot of grey-blue light off in the distance. She watched, transfixed, as the light slowly came closer and grew larger. After a short time, Elzalath was able to identify the shape was a thin humanoid gliding towards her. As it got closer, Elzalath could make out its wispy white hair, shining blue eyes, and taut grey skin. The creature halted and hovered in front of her. It was much taller than she had originally realized, and sickly thin.
Welcome Elzalath. I see that your mind is intact.
It spoke no words, yet its raspy voice echoed inside her head. Elzalath tried to respond but found herself incapable of speech.
I am Nhalgos the Eternal. How did you come to possess an artifact from my domain?
Elzalath envisioned the town of Waterdeep, and remembered her immediate obsession over the blade she had discovered there. Artifact? Domain?
Ah, by pure chance then. How amusing it is, the things that slip through the void.
Elzalath shuddered at the creature’s ability to effortlessly pluck thoughts from her mind.
You have a great hunger inside you. Its words made her feel hollow. She had failed to serve the Blood of Vol adequately by learning to harness her inner strength to further their cause.
Vol? The creature’s eyes shone intently as it stared down at her. So you have met others of my kind before? It paused momentarily. No… you have no idea the forces you’re beholden to… Can you truly be that naive?
Elzalath tried to keep herself from thinking any thoughts at all. The creature emitted a hoarse sound that may have been laughter.
Well, either way, now you are here. And now you are mine. With that, the creature moved with extraordinary speed and its face was suddenly inches from Elzalath’s. Its slender and icy fingers grasped each side of her head and forced her gaze upwards. It reeked of carrion.
It is time for your feeble existence to conclude. I extinguish you, Elzalath the Vengeful, unwitting servant of Vol. Rise instead as Elzalath the Forsaken, Acolyte of Archlich Nhalgos the Eternal. Your life-force now belongs to me.
Nhalgos opened its mouth unnaturally wide and once more the putrid and icy shadow tendrils emerged from within its gaping maw. For the final time, Elzalath was submerged in complete and utter darkness. Her thoughts and emotions become more and more distant as she relaxed into the shadowy cocoon that was enveloping her mind.
Elzalath the Forsaken:
Archlich Nhalgos’ corruption has eradicated Elzalath as she existed previously in Faerun. Gone is the the vengeful paladin who combated evil in the world, upholding justice for the enslaved and abused alike. Elzalath is now, literally, a shadow of her former self, and her new identity is much more insidious. Elzalath primarily serves as a vessel to spread Nhalgos’ pestilence throughout the worlds she may come in contact with. She serves as Nhalgos’ avatar on the planes that it is unable or unwilling to enter.
Unfortunately, the group’s first foray into planar travel took a heavy toll on Elzalath. Her once beautiful features have been irreparably warped by the journey and subsequent encounter with Nhalgos. She is now so hideous, so horrifyingly disfigured, that she must veil her face and hide her skin lest she be identified by society as the abomination that she truly is. Charisma is no longer an asset for Elzalath, although intimidation has certainly been added to her arsenal. Additionally, she is even better at sneaking and disguising herself than she was before, and she is now highly perceptive of the world around her in order to prevent accidental exposure and/or persecution.
In combat, Elzalath is a highly formidable opponent. She no longer utilizes physical weaponry unless she has too, as her mind is a much more potent weapon which functions as a conduit for Nhalgos’ dark energy. And for every enemy that falls, Elzalath grows that much stronger…