Pestilence Xaphan

Half-Fiend Eldritch Theurge

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Pestilence was born to an unwed woman in a small elven community 2,503 years prior to the start of the campaign. Nothing is truly known of his mother, aside from the fact that she was seduced by the powerful Molydeus duke, Baalphegor Xaphan. According to legend (and Pestilence himself), Baalphegor supposedly polymorphed into the form of her lover, who had gone to war months beforehand. A mere twelve weeks away from giving birth, the woman learned that her lover had been tragically killed just a few days after arriving on the battlefield, and that her unborn child was that of a loathsome demon.

Despite the baby’s horrific lineage, she treated him no differently from any other child in the village, but his vestigial horns and pointed nails made it almost impossible for him to be seen as anything but a monster. Indeed, by the time he was three, he was known as Pestilence, as he was blamed for the nasty outbreak of foodborn illnesses that began shortly after his birth.

At six years of age, Baalphegor (who had been keeping track of his bastard son’s progress) saw the massive demonic potential in his half-elven son, and decided that he would raise Pestilence, and that he would take him by any means necessary. Baalphegor stormed the village with a small troupe of underlings, wreaking havoc (mostly) for the hell of it.

When they reached his home, Pestilence felt a chill run up his damned spine, and knew that doom was just beyond the doorframe. In an instant, Baalphegor decapitated the mother with a glittering swing of his prized axe, stole the boy, and disappeared into the Abyss. The carnage that Pestilence saw that night would be only a shadow of things to come.

Treated as a slave by even his own father, Pestilence’s only salvation in The Well of Darkness was his uncle Dagon’s odd interest in him. It even seemed as if Dagon loved the boy, a notion that still brings demons to vomit to this day. Still, no one was about to argue with the Oracle God of the Shadowsea.

Through his father’s training, combined with Dagon’s guidance, Pestilence grew into a rather… conflicted man. Realizing his mistreatment, he strongly resented his father, but feeling a sense of filial piety instilled in him by his uncle’s teachings, he stayed in The Well and acted as marshal in Baalphegor’s army. He committed countless atrocities, slaying both man and demon alike. He took out his wrath on his victims, allowing few to escape. His main targets were the ones closest to his homeland, unable to move on from the bloodshed he saw the night he was dragged into the Abyss. In the village closest to his hometown, Embervale, legends soon formed around him, calling him “The Doombringer” and “Unforgiving Darkness”. Thankfully, the town that held his visage in such fear was destroyed in one of his later raids. Few live from that era, but those who do fear his arrival, for the notion that it would inevitably spell their gruesome deaths.

Loyalty was not his strongest quality however, and Pestilence secretly sabotaged many of his father’s endeavors for his own amusement. After all, what else is there to do in The Well of Darkness? Were it not for Dagon’s input and overwhelming control over his actions, Baalphegor would have turned him into a Mane or Dretch on sight. Thankfully, he decided that Pestilence would be better put to use as an agent on the Prime Material Plane, which not only got him out and about, but also inadvertently introduced him to his wife, Aylthoria Bloodflame.

Aylthoria and Pestilence met in a tavern on the outskirts of (what used to be) Embervale. Pestilence was sitting alone (naturally), when she walked up to his table and asked if the seat across from him was taken. Distracted by a reflection in his Elven Wine, he absentmindedly said ‘No’, and let her sit. She drummed up a conversation almost immediately. As she did, Pestilence looked up from his cup and was lovestruck. That night was the beginning of a long courtship. Unfortunately, his love of Aylthoria would bring even more unrest to his life in The Well of Darkness.

Upon hearing of Pestilence’s marriage to an elven bride, Baalphegor was livid. He knew that not only would she encourage him to leave his unholy service and settle into a quaint, Prime Material existence, but also that she would turn him over to neutrality. When Pestilence retired from the Blood Wars to become co-owner of a potions shop, Baalphegor’s fears were realized. For years, he let his son wallow in the complacency of a Prime Material existence, spending two centuries in wait of his ultimate revenge.

On the eve of their 200th wedding anniversary, Pestilence offered to close up shop for the night. He kissed Aylthoria as she went upstairs to their apartment, locked the front door, grabbed the silver dragon statuette that would be his gift to her, and followed her lead. By the time he got there, Aylthoria was dead. Her throat had been slit by a quasit the moment she walked into the room, and it quietly laid her body down next to the bed and gated back to the Abyss. Immediately, Pestilence went into shock. How could the love of his life be dead?

At first, his grief knew no bounds, and he began to slip into the delusion that she was still alive, merely sleeping until he could find the proper channels to awaken her. Instantly, he realized that he would have to find a safe haven for her to stay, so that she could never be ‘killed for real’. Pestilence brought Aylthoria to the one place he knew she would be safe: The Shadowsea. He asked Dagon to imprison her in a black crystal, where she could never age or (worst-case scenario) rot. Dagon agreed, and has his niece-in-law kept in his secret enclave, awaiting Pestilence’s ultimate return.

At this point, Pestilence searched for anything he could to rouse his own sleeping beauty. That was when he came upon the Church of Evening Glory. He believed the Church would help him in either resurrecting his lost love, or by handling his grief with expert precision. It did assist, but only by allowing him to come to terms with the simple fact that Aylthoria was dead. The Church told him that preserving her corpse was a step in the right direction, but that it was imperative that he follow The Deathless Beauty, lest his love be allowed to expire under the goddess’s rule. To prove his eternal devotion to both Aylthoria and his new deity, Pestilence had his palms and backhands tattooed with black hearts, and compiled a collection of poems, amounting to one per night, dedicated to wife and goddess both. For ten years he followed Evening Glory and her teachings, all the while feeling secretly unfulfilled. He sank into a terrible depression that prevails to this day.

One day, while reciting a poem in Aylthoria’s name, he accidentally bumped into a woman exiting a nearby temple. She commented on how lovely the poem was, and he explained about his being in mourning. Immediately, the woman understood, and dragged him into the Temple to pray. Pestilence soon recognized it as a Temple of Wee-Jas, and was about to leave when he felt a strange calmness and warmth enter him. Sure, he still mourned Aylthoria, he always would. But he realized that death was a natural process, one that was inevitable and did not represent a ‘loss of love’. But he also knew that it was not his wife’s time, and that his new deity would be able to see that. Finally able to ‘accept’ her death, Pestilence still kept Aylthoria’s body in stasis, but only so that one day, he may ‘join her inside the black crystal, as dead as she is now.’

Secretly, he desires to bring her back using Resurrection, but as he hasn’t found anyone capable (who would be willing to risk their sanity for an audience with Dagon himself), it remains a pipe dream. When speaking of Aylthoria’s death, Pestilence prefers to say that she ‘had an accident’ rather than explicitly admit that he knows of his father’s obvious involvement. It would only serve to build a vendetta against Baalphegor, blinding him with rage and driving him to kill his demon parent. Unfortunately, if he ever gets Aylthoria resurrected, his next goal is to murder his father outright.

Pestilence Xaphan

Desmarinn Xaphan