About Byarsh Gyvualinn
Byarsh tends towards heavy clothing, as his features are sometimes unsettling to the weak people of the lowlands. With a crown of thorn-like spurs that adorn his head and uniformly monochromatic eyes that can shed faint light, his is a face that is hard to forget. Even stranger, Byarsh's eyes are thermally chameleonic, capable of changing hues to reflect changes in temperature. Although he typically wears footwear to conceal them, his feet have slightly avian features such as talon-like toe terminations and a vestigial back toe. Thanks to his skills with disguise, Byarsh is able to conceal these features fairly reliably, exercising a degree of control over his eyes to emulate a normal human's appearance.
Role: Although he is primarily a debuffer, Byarsh also bestows boons upon worthy allies in the hope of recruiting champions for his cause. As he regains his powers, he will prove an exceptional seer and diviner.
Male Tiefling Witch 7
Languages: Abyssal, Aklo, Auran, Celestial, Draconic, Infernal, Orcish, Planar Common, Sharrim, Sylvan, Terran, Undercommon
Carrying Capacity: 26 / 53 / 80
Languages: Planar Common, Protean
Native to the Southern lands, Byarsh apprenticed himself to Yagrol, soothsayer to High Chief Maga Yahir, known far and wide as the bearer of the sacred blade Smilodon’s Frenzy. Yagrol, despite his reputation, knew almost no magic, and he prided himself on his capacity to delude, manipulate, and twist his patrons with mysterious words and powerful imagery. Byarsh took to this lessons with gusto, but he did not have the magnetism to perform the deceptions convincingly. What he lacked in charisma, he made up for in guile and ambition. With little more than a few alchemical doodads, a bag of cheap tricks, and a ready supply of fabricated wisdom, he ingratiated himself to Maga Yahir at minor cost to Yagrol’s credibility.
Offended and feeling his cushy position might be threatened, Yagrol retaliated by challenging the upstart to a Convocation of Spirits, a contest in which both participants call upon their wealth of spiritual contacts to impress the rest of the chiefdom. Yagrol felt rightly confident, given his powers of suggestion and persuasion. Byarsh had reason to be afraid.
The evening before the contest, Byarsh sat outside his shelter observing a starling constructing its nest for the imminent spring. Nearing completion, the bird flew away to acquire one last load of thatch, leaving Byarsh alone. He did not wait alone for long, as a ice-white raven, pale with a blue-ish sheen not unlike a frozen lake on a clear day, alighted on the branch from which the starling’s nest hanged. Meeting his gaze, the raven quickly pulled out a few fibers from the nest, leaving its appearance unchanged. It flew off, alighting on the branch of a nearby tree just as the starling returned. As the unsuspecting bird climbed into its nest to weave the last strands, the entire structure fell from the tree. The starling attempted to fly away, but its wings caught in its own construction. The entangled bird fell to the ground, its back – to its misfortune – snapping as it landed roughly on the rocky ground. As its head thrashed in agony, the starling calling out in distress, the ice raven swept down upon it and swallowed the crippled creature whole. Meeting Byarsh’s stunned gaze, it shared a knowing look then flew off, the path of its flight obscured by a haze of ephemeral ice crystals.
The next day, Yagrol’s extolling of his spiritual triumphs was cut short when Byarsh conjured spirits of air to drown out his words. The incumbent’s blessing were swallowed by Byarsh’s command of the Eight Curses – bestowed by a patron unknown. The soothsayer, unaugmented by actual magic, failed to find his voice that day, for Byarsh had found his own.
Since that day, Byarsh has acted as a spiritual advisor to numerous warlords, chieftains, and kings of the South. With the passing of a leader, the hedge magician would move on to other territory, never letting others get a grasp of his actual age while allowing stories to grown about the supernatural seer’s feats. Having grown complacent with his easy life, Byarsh’s skills and mental faculties slipped over the years - though he cannot say how many have actually passed - and the gradual intrusion of the gods into his domain escaped his notice. Recently, as advisor to a descendent of Maga Yahir, Byarsh learned of the new god Ramlor, whose rumored strength appealed to Byarsh’s young throne-holder. Much as Byarsh argued against embracing this new god and casting off the old way, the gravitas of his station and potency of his magic were no long so potent as in ages before. Having been politely exiled, he now wanders the lowlands to the north seeking means of recovering his atrophied power and fortifying the role of the old ways in the hearts and minds of the world.
A few flashy quests and deeds by champions of his did the trick, and he spent several years traveling, meeting other traditional practitioners, and learning to commune with their patron spirits. His journeys brought him to Marduk's palace, where Byarsh divined that despite being extremely powerful, the god's nature was fundamentally different from that of other spirits. Perhaps Marduk and the other gods could serve as allies, but they would forever be strangers in a world so unlike their own.
The prospect of a home world for the gods nagged Byarsh, and believing himself sufficiently trained and prepared, he researched and performed a ritual that would breach the membranous barrier between the two worlds. Whether the ritual worked as planned or not, he never found out; the place into which he stepped was so wild, exotic, novel, and enchanting that he could hardly stay focused on exploring one aspect before another would leap out to amaze him. Writing, a common language, outsiders, and portals - these captured Byarsh's academic curiosity and never entirely let go. He spent years, decades, perhaps longer - who can keep track? - researching, learning, and exploring. Each new plane granted him knowledge of new spirits, even if each place's genius loci were different from the last, and with each journey he found new champions awaiting the spark to aspire to true greatness.
While every hero values a trusted adviser and learned mentor, not every adventurer is so good at heeding advice and following exact instructions (something about improvisation). Byarsh's end stemmed from the foolishness of a protege, who sought out the seer's wisdom so as to sunder the basalt monolith known as Forcaryn's Crest and recover the life-saving elixir rumored to be hidden below (something about saving a dying town blah, blah, blah). Seeing little harm in the distant landmark's destruction, Byarsh taught the adventurer the Invocations of Eternity, three syllables that could strike the target with the crushing weight of countless millenia. Certainly that would weather the rock to the point of it eroding to reveal the treasure within.
Certainly nobody would be so foolish as to say, "let me see if I've got these right..." before repeating the invocation to Byarsh to confirm its pronunciation.
The timeless seer's eyes grew wide before wrinkling shut. His back tensed with dread before collapsing with strain. As his flesh withered and decayed to dust, he could only wonder what afterlife awaited him when his ancestors and patron spirits were worlds away.