Odyssey of the Meridian Ghost
Male Deva Invoker, In Service to Amaunator
Darah recently lost his right eye, during the Battle for Arabel. An arrow sent from a Shadovar officer wounded him grievously, and though he survived his wound was one of the many prices paid during the defeat of the Shadovar army.
Devas are the unswerving, devoted servants of their deities. They have chosen to enter an endless cycle of mortal reincarnation in order to better manifest the will of the gods on the physical plane. Because of this, devas come to the Realms in adult form with a full sense of their purpose. Occasionally, there are exceptions.
Darah was born in a small village known as Riverbridge on the outskirts of the Forest of Lethyr. He had a loving father, Rhyden, but his mother died shortly his birth. Perhaps it was due to the childbirth, or perhaps due to shock at the sight of her silver-eyed, purple son. Darah would never know.
Skin color aside, Darah found the other residents of Riverbridge to be exceedingly hospitable; his fuschian status never became an issue. Darah grew more quickly than the other children, and was soon significantly taller than they. Regardless, his quiet personality and childlike wonder won him many friends. He adored his fellow villagers, and they he.
In Darah’s teenage years, strange occurrences began to manifest. A small mark on his left thigh appeared overnight, appearing to take the shape of a stylized sun. Darah’s fingers began leaking small amounts of bright energy when he was emotional. With some practice, Darah found that he was able to direct the powers – he could form the light into a protective shell around himself or others, and he could use it to strike objects from a distance.
Darah was unsure of what to make of this mysterious energy. Whatever its origin, the easiest use of his powers was in a defensive manner. Darah hoped that over time, their intent would become clear; meanwhile, the powers provided him with an opportunity to benefit other people. Darah set his eye on the local tri-town militia – The Lions of Lethyr.
While it was termed a militia, the Lions were a sword-for-hire group who assisted any town in the Forest of Lethyr for minimal compensation. Typical duties included defending caravans against raiders. The only pay which the Lions ever asked for in return was a meal and a place to sleep for a given soldier’s assistance. The remainder of their funding comprised donations. As Darah wanted nothing more than to offer his protective services, The Lions’ agenda suited him perfectly. Darah applied for entry.
The Lions don’t accept every candidate. Recruits were subjected to a race through an obstacle course. There were no rules, aside from a stipulation not to kill fellow contestants. The first recruit who made it through the course was accepted into the Lions’ ranks, the last was sent home, and everyone in between was invited to stay for “remedial” training with the promise that they may attempt the course again in the next season.
Overcoming these physical challenges was a task at which Darah showed great aptitude. While he was possessed of only average strength and was not particularly dextrous, Darah was able to succeed by directing his powers in such a way as to hamper the other contestants. Darah got through the obstacle course on his first try, a rarity for the Lions of Lethyr.
It was on Darah’s first mission that the extent of his powers came to fruition. Nervous as he was, Darah fumbled with the rod in his hand and dropped it. The impact resulted in an unexpected release of energy: crackling light poured forth from the point of impact and chains sprouted across the battlefield, hampering the bandits which Darah and the other Lions had engaged. Out of surprise, they surrendered. It was the first bloodless battle the Lions had ever seen.
Months passed, and Darah’s reputation as an adept Lion grew in the other towns and villages of the Forest of Lethyr. He prided himself on the ability to bring low his fellow misguided humanoids without resorting to lethal force. Darah was well on the way to becoming a folk hero – but still, the source of his mysterious powers hadn’t yet come to light. Darah was content in the knowledge that he had found a good use for them, and over time gave less and less thought to their origin.
A year later, the first tricklings of undead came.
They reached the southeastern borders of the Forest of Lethyr while Darah was away from home, on one of his standard missions. One or two survivors whisper stories about ghouls and zombies led by a necromancer overtaking the nominal defenses laid around Riverbridge, laying waste to the town, and disappearing back into the lands of Thay.
News of the assault on Riverbridge came as a shock to the rest of the villages and towns in the Forest of Lethyr. There were no sightings of the undead prior to the night of the attack. While the remaining towns struggled to shore up defenses before another wave of undead came forth, Darah and a troop of Lions made their way back to Riverbridge.
The village was decimated. No building was left standing, and bodies were everywhere. Darah and a few of his accompanying Lions, childhood friends of his, searched for the bodies of their families and friends. A few of the villagers weren’t found; presumably, they were kidnapped and taken by the undead for unknown nefarious purposes. Rhyden was one of the missing few.
Haunted by the images of his hometown and the friends with whom he grew up burned and slaughtered, unable to comprehend why anyone would resort to such lengths, and missing his father, Darah’s previously-innocent view of the world shattered. He lost control.
Other Lions recounted the vivid experience for the history books: rage visibly poured from Darah in radiant waves, even as tears streaked his face. His form rose up into the air and streaked off toward Thay in a brilliant flash of light.
Darah won’t speak of it, but he has an excellent memory of what happened next. He recalls floating over a city somewhere within Thay; blindingly radiant energy crackling down from the sun; bodies and entire buildings flying through the air; the skeletal visage of a lich blasting him out of the sky with a massive wave of dark energy; and finally, regaining consciousness in a dungeon cell.
At first, Darah’s captors simply starved him and left him by himself, cold and alone. After a week or so – it was difficult to tell exactly how many days passed in his dark, windowless prison – two figures retrieved Darah from his cell. Darah could see few details of the monsters, save that they were lumpy and uneven, as if their limbs came from separate… sources.
The disfigured creatures dragged Darah into a small room and restrained him in a chair equipped with chains and straps. Darah attempted to free himself, but was weak from hunger and strangely unable to use his powers. The lich himself entered the room, a permanent grin on his fleshless face, and wordlessly exacted his pound of flesh for Darah’s impudence.
Over the course of many nights in the lich’s tender care – perhaps weeks, perhaps months – Darah endured a series of unspeakable, torturous experiments. He twisted, writhed, screamed out his pain and rage and despair, all to the unforgiving laughter of his tormentor.
Once, when being dragged back to his cell after a particularly agonizing treatment, Darah spotted his father’s face. He was in pain, but clearly alive. Foolishly, Darah called out and attempted to reach for Rhyden, eliciting chuckles from his monstrous captors. One of them retrieved Rhyden and, as Darah watched in horror, the creature hefted a battleaxe and easily split Rhyden in two, shoulder to pelvis. The abominations took the screaming Darah back to his cell and threw his father’s corpse in with him.
Darah had nothing more to give. When in his cell, Darah curled up nearby to his father’s corpse, occasionally reaching out to touch a decaying hand. When taken by his captors, Darah quietly endured the unending experiments. He was broken.
It’s unclear to Darah whether he died in that dungeon. After an indeterminable length of time, Darah suddenly awoke to discover that all of his physical pain was gone, and a light warmed his face. He opened his eyes and looked up to discover the presence of a being who shined with all of the majesty and power of the sun.
The words spoken to Darah at that time were for his ears alone. The being sent him into a dark plane of existence with a renewed purpose – but Darah carries with him both the memory of the atrocities committed against his hometown and an underlying, burning need for vengeance.
In the end, Darah chose to sacrifice his blood and his very life over the phylactery of the Dracolich Sapphiraktar in order to end that evil undead dragon’s existence permanently.