The Chaos Scar
A Dragonborn Blackguard.
Zephyrian is 6’6" tall and weighs 272 lbs. He has dark orange scales tinted with hues of gold, emerald green eyes, and deadly sharp black claws. Ever since his conversion to a belief in Tiamat, his green eyes turn to an icy blue when he loses his temper.
- +1 Vanguard Greatsword
- +1 Coruscating Armor
- +1 Amulet of Protection
- Repeating Crossbow
Once a proud paladin of Bahamut, Zephyrian has thrown aside his once sacred beliefs for vengeance. Rumor has it that he and his brother Varrick were a pair of paladin crusaders known by many as the “Crimson Guardians.” They traveled Faerun for years taking up jobs to sustain themselves and help whomever was in need. Their friends and allies knew them as stalwart protectors of the weak and ruthless vanquishers of the wicked. Their enemies dared not endanger anyone under the protection of two. Those who did were often faced with one of of two options: Repentance or death by dragon-fire — hence the name given to the pair.
As children, they accompanied their parents as they traveled all across Faerun as merchants. The family lived peacefully for much of the boys’ early lives until their travels brought them close to the Chaos Scar. One night as the family was setting up camp on the outskirts of Neverwinter Wood, the forest around them came alive. Dark, corrupted treants and wilden emerged from the foliage and bore down upon the Dragonborn family. Their parents, Krisella and Zanril Ragetalon, were not formally trained in battle, though they were skilled enough with blade and bow to defend themselves from bandits and other evil-doers on their travels, not to mention their fearsome fire breath. But when it came to protecting their children, they fought as ferociously and as valiantly as the fiercest warrior. Together, they were able to take down two of the massive treants and several corrupted wilden before they were both brought to the brink of death. With what little strength they had left, they used their fire breath to create a wall of flames between themselves and the boys. Zephyrian shielded his little brother from seeing the worst of the battle, but was unable to look away himself. At that moment, Zanril looked across the flames and shouted, “Go now my sons! Look after one another…” Those were his last words as he turned to face his final battle.
Zephyrian and Varrick, ages 11 and 6 at the time of the attack, were forced to flee through the woods as their parents were slain behind them. They spent the next few days barely surviving off of whatever they could find. Days later, exhausted and near the point of starvation, Zephyrian collapsed on the side of the first road they came to, having carried Varrick the last several miles. When he awoke, a massive dragonborn with crimson scales, golden eyes, and a full set of shining plate armor stood over him. He introduced himself as Xannan Furros, and asked the boys where their parents were. Neither Zephyrian or Varrick would say what happened, but Xannan took it upon himself to take the boys into his care. He told them he was a paladin of Bahamut, and returning from a pilgrimage to the Sword Coast. He offered to take them with him back to their homeland of Tymanther, to which the boys hesitantly nodded their agreement.
It would be many months before they would fully trust the man, but eventually the two Ragetalon boys came to look up to him like a father figure. After their eventual return to Tymanther, Varrick grew up with a fervent desire to become a paladin of Bahamut, just like Xannan . Unlike Varrick, who was too young to remember their parents’ deaths as vividly as he, Zephyrian couldn’t as easily dedicate his life in service to a god that would have let them both be murdered. While Varrick trained predominately with sword and shield, the more defensive style, Zephyrian became a master of the greatsword, preferring the reckless, offensive nature of the weapon. He offered his services as a sellsword, earning a darker reputation than his little brother, who by the age of 19, had become a full-fledged paladin.
From Sellsword to Paladin
After years of mercenary work, Zephyrian was finding less and less solace in the rage of battle. At the age of 25, he decided to follow after Varrick and become a paladin himself. A year later, they began a pilgrimage, much like Xannan had years before, offering their services as protectors and healers to the weak and infirm. As their travels brought them further north, they decided to visit the place where their parents sacrificed their lives for them, both to show their respects and to bury their remains, if any could be found. Much to Zephyrian’s surprise, the area looked almost exactly the same. Whatever had corrupted the forest those many years ago into attacking them had also prevented any further growth. They found the skeletal remains of their parents amid the blackened and charred remnants of the fallen treants. While Zephyrian dug a proper grave for each of them, Varrick discovered something within the hollow of one of the fallen treants. Unseen by Zephyrian, he slipped it inside his pouch, promising himself he would show it to his brother at another time.
After they buried their parents and performed a sacred funeral rite, the two brothers travelled to the relatively nearby fortress of Starfall Keep, where they had heard a goodly paladin of Erathis had sent out the call for aid by any who called themselves heroes. There, they made it their mission to help protect the weak and in Varrick’s words, “Prevent what befell our family from happening to anyone else.”
After the first week spent at Starfall Keep, Zephyrian noticed a change in his younger brother. He became less outgoing, preferring to spend much of his time in the private apartment they were renting. At first Zephyrian assumed he was simply praying for guidance, but one day when he entered the room unannounced he found Varrick looking over what appeared to be a map. When he noticed Zeph entering, he hastily rolled up the map and in an uncharacteristic outburst, angrily asked his brother why he had not knocked. He quickly regained his composure and apologized for shouting, but asked that he be left in privacy for the remainder of the afternoon. As Zeph left his brother alone in their room, he noticed that he was clutching some sort of crystalline object in his claw.
Zephyrian tried to put his concerns to rest that evening, assuring himself that his brother was simply upset at having so recently visited the site of their parents’ murder. But he couldn’t stop asking himself, what was that object his brother held clutched in his hand? When he returned to their apartment that night, he found his brother sleeping soundly. Deciding that he would wait until the next morning to talk to Varrick about his concerns, he went to bed.
Sometime later that night he awoke to the clamor of his brother donning his plate armor.
“Varrick, what is it? Was the town alarm raised?”
Growing concerned, Zeph sat up and asked again what his brother was doing. After a few more moments of silence passed while Varrick finished strapping on his gauntlets and sword belt, Zephyrian stood up and walked over and put his hand on his Varrick’s shoulder, which caused him to swiftly turn and stare at his older brother.
“Go back to bed Zeph; this is none of your concern. I have to do this.”
He removed his brother’s claw from his shoulder and made for the door. Feeling a mixture of concern and confusion, Zephyrian swiftly moved to the door and slammed his fist against it, holding it shut.
“Varrick, I’m your brother, you know that I can’t let you go out there alone. Not to mention Lord Drysdale’s curfew. Let’s go back to sleep, and we can leave tomorrow. Together.”
Zeph noticed that Varrick’s eyes were glazed over, and his voice sounded distant, as if his mind were already miles away. He also saw that he was once again clutching that strange shard.
“I’m sorry, Zeph. I can’t explain it but…I have to do this alone.”
Zeph reached out for the shard in Varrick’s hand, thinking that it might be the cause of his brother’s behavior. Suddenly, Varrick swung his arm across at Zephyrian’s chest, the force of which flung him nearly 10 feet to slam against the wall on the opposite side of the room. His skull slammed against the wall and he crumpled to the floor. His vision blurring, he only vaguely saw the silhouette of his brother appear outlined by faint moonlight as he exited the apartment.
It took Zeph several minutes to regain his senses and don his own armor before racing after his brother. Despite his need for haste, he had a feeling his brother was heading for the Chaos Scar, and only a man with a death wish would enter that cursed place in nothing but a tunic. When he arrived at the gatehouse he found two night guardsmen standing by the exit animatedly discussing something. They told him that his brother had just left the Keep before they could stop him, despite the strict orders of Lord Drysdale that no one was to enter or leave between midnight and sunrise. Refusing to let Zeph follow, the guards insisted he wait until the morning. Against his better judgment, he was forced to use his brute strength to barrel through the guards and make his own exit.
He made for the road, and discovering his brother’s distinctive claw prints, felt his heart sink, as his worst fears were confirmed. He had headed directly into the Chaos Scar. Following the footprints, Zeph ran as fast as he could, making it a full two miles into the Scar before noticing his brother’s prints veer off the path to the north. He ran for another mile, trying his best to ignore the occasional movement he noticed in the shadows.
Eventually he caught sight of a figure in the distance, plate armor gleaming in the moonlight. His brother appeared to be walking determinedly northwest. As Zephyrian sped up his pace and began to close the distance he approached a ruined tower, his brother now only about one hundred feet away on the top of a small ridge. Just then he stopped, surprised as his brother turned and looked in his direction. Despite the low light and the distance, Zeph could swear he saw his brother shake his head and then hold up his hand. At that moment, the air shimmered around Varrick and an arc of purplish energy burst from his hand, widening as it spread directly toward Zeph, blackening everything in its path.
Bracing himself for the impact, expecting to be flung back, or even worst, killed, Zeph dug his talons in to the ground as the wave approached. Much to his surprise though, the wave stopped a few feet from him. Thinking that perhaps the event was merely an effort by his brother to frighten him off, he charged across the blackened ground in the direction of his brother. He only made it a few steps however, before something stopped him in his tracks. He had noticed something moving amidst the branches of a nearby fallen tree. As he attempted to discern what it was, two rotted hands burst forth from the ground and grabbed his ankles with supernatural strength.
As Zeph pulled out his longsword and hacked at the hands, he noticed a swarm of fist-sized maggots emerging from cracks in the ground behind him. At that same moment, three shambling corpses dug their way out of the earth ahead of him. Finding himself surrounded, he put away his longsword and pulled out his greatsword. With a prayer to Bahamut, he called forth a burst of holy light, disintegrating one of the ghouls completely before bringing his greatsword down in a great arc, slicing another cleanly in half. As the maggots swarmed around his feet and more ghouls emerged from the ground, Zeph took several steps back, drew in a great breath and released a deadly blast of dragonfire, incinerating the swarm and several of the ghouls.
Soon though, Zeph realized that there were too many of them. He was bleeding from a dozen different wounds, his fire breath was expended, his holy spells exhausted, and his sword felt heavier and heavier with each swing. With one last massive swing he cut down three more of the zombies, but it took the last bit of energy he had left, and after he fell down to one knee. As he looked up, he saw for a moment between the multitudes of zombies bearing down upon him, he saw his brother turn his back and walk away.
In that moment, Zeph begged to Bahamut for the strength to stand back up, cut down the undead horde, and rescue his brother from whatever thing had a hold of his mind. But he heard nothing from his god. As his death approached, it was as if time slowed.
What kind of heartless god are you?, Zephyrian thought to himself as he coughed up blood on the ground beneath him I wouldn’t have turned to you if not for my brother…and now you won’t even grant me the strength needed to save him? To the Nine Hells with you. You’re no god of mine…
As his vision faded to black, Zeph heard a serpentine and feminine voice in his head, both sensuous and powerful, which felt as if it slithered into every crevice of his mind.
Do not lose hope, Zephyrian Ragetalon. My brother Bahamut may be a blind fool, but I am not. I see the potential for greatness in you, and I know of the power you seek. I can grant it to you, for as I am sure you have already figured out, I am Tiamat the Avaricious, Queen of Dragons. In exchange for this power, all I ask is your willingness to assist me from time to time when I call upon you. Now tell me my child, do you accept this great gift, or will you leave your brother to his fate?
Without the slightest hesitation, Zephyrian replied with one word: Yes.
A supreme sense of satisfaction emanated from the divine presence in his mind, and suddenly Zephyrian’s vision returned. As he opened his eyes he felt the once warm presence of Bahamut disappear from him completely, replaced by a cold sense of vengeance and fury, as if ice was coursing through his veins. He stood up with renewed strength and vigor, noticing his previous wounds had all but mended completely.
With a power unlike any he had ever felt before, he exhaled his dragonfire to vanquish the undead that stood before him, and was surprised to see that not only were the once-crimson flames now a frigid blue, but also that they consumed heat rather than exuding it, freezing the zombies into solid ice.
After dispatching his immediate foes with his newfound powers, he finally saw what it was that had moved amid the fallen trees: a robed skeleton, levitating a foot above the ground, with glowing red eyes. Realizing it must be the source of the reanimated corpses, Zeph charged towards it, taking down another ghoul in his path with a powerful upward slice. Before he could completely close the ground however the skeletal mage fired an icy dart at him, pushing him back and slowing his muscles.
Gritting his teeth, Zephyrian shrugged off the effects of the spell and continued his charge, but not before the mage reanimated the skeleton of a nearly 15-foot tall cyclops. Calling upon the fury of Tiamat, Zeph hit the cyclops with such force that it flew a great distance and crashed upon the skeleton.
Although Zephyrian fought with an unprecedented fury and rage, destroying the Cyclops and several more of the weaker zombies, he was ultimately unable to finish off the devious skeletal mage and its seemingly endless horde. He would have perished in that ruined field if not for the intervention of a druid he would later come to know as Echo. She was able to distract the mage long enough to help the weakened dragonborn make his escape. He tried to stop Echo from taking him away as he looked desperately for any sign of his brother on the horizon. Soon after though, Zeph finally passed out from exhaustion.
He awoke what felt like hours later, inside a room he did not recognize. He came to learn that it had actually been two days since he passed out, and Echo had helped to heal his wounds after bringing him to her room in the village of Briarwood, a few miles from Starfall Keep.
Furious at his inability to find his brother, his apparent abandonment by Bahamut, and his own decision to submit to the Dragon Queen herself, he stormed out of the small house and headed for the nearby woods, hoping to gather his thoughts and cool his rage. As he walked, he felt a familiar weight on his chest; the insignia of Bahamut his brother had given him the day he officially became a paladin. Tearing it from the chain on which it hung, he angrily ran his claws along its blue and silver front, gouging the metal. He thought about tossing it in a nearby well, but as he turned it over and saw his brother’s name etched there, he decided to keep it as a reminder of what he had given up in order to save his brother.
In that instant he knew that no matter what, he would find his brother. And he would use his newfound powers to destroy anyone who stood in his way…