About Diomedes Wayfair
Oracle Mystery: Waves
Oracle Curse: Deep One(Corruption): Lvl-4 (You reduce your base land speed by 5 feet. You gain a swim speed equal to your land speed)
Carrying Capacity: Lt 0-76, Med 77-153, Hvy 154-230
Ability Descriptions where needed:
Faith Trait-Irrepressible-You can use your Charisma modifier in place of your Wisdom modifier when attempting Will saving throws against charm and compulsion effects.
Feat:Scion of War: You use your Charisma modifier to adjust Initiative checks instead of your Dexterity modifier. You gain a +2 bonus on all Knowledge (nobility) checks, and that chosen Knowledge skill is always considered a class skill for you.
Revelation:Fluid Nature-You receive a +4 bonus to your Combat Maneuver Defense against bull rush, drag, grapple, reposition, and trip attempts. A creature trying to confirm a critical hit against you has a –4 penalty on its confirmation roll. At 5th level, you gain Dodge as a bonus feat.
Revelation:Water sight-You can see through fog and mist without penalty as long as there is enough light to allow you to see normally. At 7th level, you can use any calm pool of water at least 1 foot in diameter as a scrying device, as if using the scrying spell. At 15th level, this functions like greater scrying. You can use the scrying abilities for a number of rounds per day equal to your oracle level, but these rounds do not need to be consecutive.
Diomedes stands about a hair below six feet tall. He's built like a swimmer, with broad shoulders and a slim, well-muscled physique. His grey eyes have a slightly purple tint to them, and seem to reflect light in an odd way. He has medium length brown hair that always looks a little bit wet for some reason.
Diomedes Wayfair led a fairly sheltered early life. The Wayfairs, what was left of them, were old money, VERY old. Possessing lands situated to the north of Cassomir, the Wayfair family owned some of the finest vineyards and the best timber in all of Taldor. But the family's heyday was some 200 years ago. Now, there were only a handful of Wayfairs left. As the family grew smaller, the holdings were consolidated into fewer and fewer hands, many of whom sold off land imprudently to finance lavish life-styles. As the wealth base shrank, it became more difficult to find suitable marriage partners (you can't just marry someone off the street). Marriage is about politics and influence in Taldor. If you can't marry well, what's the point? Diomedes' father, however, did a brisk business and made sure his family was well-cared for.
Diomedes never really noticed any of that, at least not til he was a young man. Something happened to him. He never directly discussed it with his parents. One day, he simply changed, "almost over night," to hear his mother tell it. He went from being a care-free lad to a serious young man with haunted eyes. "And he started asking all sorts of questions about the family history. Who had been where, when, what happened to them. So many questions! People die, child, it's the way of the world." What his mother, Maxine, left out of her answers to Diomedes was the many who didn't just die. There were some who went insane, some who committed suicide, and some who just disappeared.
His own father, Archimedes, was rarely home, always away on business, "securing his son's future." With his mother unable, or unwilling, to provide suitable answers, and his father mostly absent, Diomedes began to really listen to some of the rumors whispered from the small folk who worked the vineyards. "Trying to find some cure. Racing against time." But never a word about it when they saw Diomedes was near or if he asked directly. If his family wouldn't talk and his neighbors wouldn't talk, he'd just have to find out on his own. So he embarked on his own research project, to learn about the Wayfair family, about the land they held (past and present), about Taldan, anything that might give him some sort of clue. He was never without a book close at hand.
So it was a book he dropped the day he found out his father was missing. A ship being a couple of days overdue at a port was not unheard of, but weeks? Something was wrong. The weeks dragged into months. His father's ship, The Wayfarer, was last seen in Absolom. The cargo had been unloaded, and Archimedes and a skeleton crew had sailed away. Most assumed that his father, his whole ship, in fact, was lost at sea. It happens. But that didn't feel right to Diomedes, and he was learning to trust his gut. He truly believes his father is still alive, and would return home if he was able. As the only heir, it became his duty to run the Wayfair estate. But being only 15, his mother handled many of the day to day affairs until he could be taught how to manage. Not that he had ANY interest in that. Important though it may be, it was a distraction. He could feel his time growing short. Something was happening.
A few days before his 17th birthday, Diomedes woke up and felt kind of sluggish. Not quite sick, just off a bit. Thinking that a good morning swim might get the blood flowing, he went down to the small pond near the house and dove in. The moment his body hit the water, he felt a change, like an icy fire spreading though his limbs. At first, he thought he would drown, but instead, he began to swim faster than ever before. He made laps in the pond like a game fish, practically flying through the water like a bird through the sky.
Climbing out, he still felt a little sluggish, but realized that he clearly had some sort of connection to the water. And that's when he felt it... THE CALLING. That's not really the right word. "Call" implies some sort of external source. THIS was IN-ternal, deep down... in his bones, in his soul. A pull, more powerful than gravity, a lure to the sea. He could smell and taste salt, hear waves crashing, feel a light sea breeze. A curious euphoria began to spread throughout his being.
It was in that moment that his recent years of research paid off. He saw himself, almost as if from the third person, an objective view, and told himself what was going on. THIS is what the others must have felt. THIS is what the others must have had to deal with. THIS is the time to make your choice. It was terrifying, but it armored his mind, and brought his willpower to bear. "No. I will not just go," he said aloud. "You hear me," he shouted to no-one at all. "NO!"
He tried talking to his mother about it, this feeling, this insistent drag towards the sea, but she would hear none of it. "Why are you trying to distress your poor ailing mother?" she cried. "I have enough to worry about trying to keep our family legacy intact. Do not speak to me of such things. I've already lost your father to the sea!" That was the last time he ever tried to have a serious conversation with his mother.
After that, he knew he'd have to go elsewhere to seek any real information, any real answers. He boarded one of the family's other ships, The Wayfair Lady, in Cassomir headed for Absalom. That pursuit eventually led him to the Pathfinders (at the time, he thought himself clever to have found his way to them). He believed that their extensive libraries might actually hold the information he sought, and thus the best chance for him to find a cure.
Two years ago:
At a dingy bar in Absolom
... After winning several hands of a card game, and getting progressivly more tipsy, Diomedes is approached by an old man who smells of the streets. "Lady Luck's smilin' on you, eh? Perhaps you could share a bit of yer fortune?" The old man's fingers rubbed together poking out of shabby gloves that barely covered his hands, the universal symbol for money. The other two men playing cards scowled at the beggar, but the man running the game waved them off. "Git! Afore I tell th' 'thorities whatch yer been up to." They would have to run their scam elsewhere tonight. The angry men skulked off into the night muttering under their breath. The dealer nodded to the beggar.
"I seem lucky to you? Ha! That's a laugh. You are looking at the last in the line of a long suffering family. It's true! Every male in the Wayfair line either dies young or... changes. I don't expect you to believe me, let alone understand. No one knows why we're cursed. My theory is some ancestor royally pissed off some god or another." His voice took a nasal, mocking tone, "We don't talk about it," clearly an imitation of some family member. "Hell, I didn't even know about it til I was almost grown. That's when I started noticing odd things about the family. Relatives kept disappearing under mysterious circumstances. Even the ones I knew were alive, I wasn't allowed to see. Like uncle Diogenes. I always thought he was weird... even when I was little. They said he 'moved away' when I was around 10 or so. Lies! All lies! They had him locked up, they did.
"See I had snuck out of the house, musta been 12 or so, gawky young lad, trusting... naive." He snorted derisively and burped. "I just wanted to explore the woods not that far from our house. I'd heard dad talking about some history of the woods; the family still owned them, and maybe still had a few buildings out there, but never logged it anymore. What's the harm to just looking around, right? So it's late at night, I'm in the woods, and I hear these faint noises, like... a distant howl... like some animal trying to, I dunno, get out of hell. No real words, just moans, screams. I followed for a bit, just about ready to piss myself, when I came to a clearing with a stone tower. Not too tall, 3 floors, maybe a basement, right? So I creep up cause that's where the sounds are coming from.
He moved close to the beggar, his eyes fevered, his pulse racing. "First thing I notice is that the stones that make up the tower all seem wet, glistening with water, though there isn't a cloud in the sky. Then I hear the noise again, only this time, I'm close enough to hear words. 'The sea!' a male voice wailed. 'I need to reach the sea!' I musta made some noise, cause he heard me. 'Who's out there?! Free me! FREE ME! I need to reach the SEA!' That's when I recognized the voice. Uncle Diogenes. After sweating there for what felt like an hour, but couldn't have been more than a minute or two, I stepped over to where I could look in the window. Bars, wet with some sort of slime, covered the window, but there were gaps enough to look in.
The words at this point were rushing out of the young man's mouth. At first, he was in the shadows, couldn't see anything. But then he saw me and skittered closer, quick as lightning. 'BOY!' he said. 'It's you! Free me, boy!' I backed away in horror. It still had his voice, mostly, but that... thing ... was not my uncle, not anymore. Scales, gills, wide eyes, like some sort of hellish fish-frog chimera. He saw me backing up... and started laughing! 'Get a good look, boy! Good chance, you'll change, too. So either free me or kill me. Either way, don't leave me in this hell, boy. I'm your blood!'"
"Gods help me, I couldn't move. He turned those non-blinking eyes on me, it was like he looked into my soul, and he sighed. 'They never told you, did they, boy?' He sounded so sorrowful. 'I'll make it easy then. GIVE ME YOUR KNIFE.' I'd never had anyone command me like that before. It was like my body moved without my mind telling it to. With me actively trying to stop it! But my hand reached down to my belt, drew out my knife, and tossed it to him. 'Now run on home, boy. Don't you worry none about me. This was all just some terrible dream.'"
"I don't think I've ever run that fast in my life. I'm not sure how I got home, but I woke up in my bed, still wearing my clothes. And my knife was gone."
"So yeah, call me lucky. Everyone knows they're gonna die, right? But not everyone knows how horrible it might be... I'm sorry," he sighed and leaned back in his chair. He wiped some of the sweat from his brow and ran his hand through his damp hair. "I'm rambling. It's the ale. Too much of a good thing, right?"
He pushed himself away from the table, tossed the old man a couple of coins, and staggered out into the night.
The old man sighed and put the coins in with the rest of the money pouch he'd just stolen off of Diomedes. "Dammit, kid. I thought you had more sense than this." The beggar darted out the back door into the alley, stood up straight, and reversed his cloak. Drandle Dreng stepped out of the alley to the main street and nodded to an associate who followed the young man to make sure he got back to the lodge without being further molested. He pocketed the money pouch and shook his head sadly. "He's gonna take some work, Archi," he whispered. "I hope he's worth it."
A few days later:
The older man never even looked up from his papers as Diomedes opened the door. He was shuffling through contents on his desk, clearly looking for something. "Come in and sit down," Dreng said. His voice carried an air of authority. He was not a man who was used to waiting on others. Diomedes quickly did as he was told. After a moment, Dreng seemed pleased with the stack of papers he had organized before him and looked up at the young man. As Dreng looked at him, he paused, and his face softened a bit, making him look both younger, and yet older, at the same time.
"I know you don't remember when we first met. In fact, I doubt you remember many of the times we met." He chuckled softly to himself. "You may not know me well, son, but I've known you your whole life."
Diomedes looked curiously at the old man. "I don't understand. I thought we just met a few months ago, when I came to Absolom. What do you mean?"
"Oh, yes," the old man said. "I'm an old friend of your father's. You were only a few weeks old when we first met. And I ate dinner at your house many times when you were younger. I had fewer responsibilities in those days, but your father was one of them. You see, we worked together."
Diomedes looked shocked. "What would the Pathfinders want with wine and lumber shipments? My father was... is... a merchant. It doesn't make any sense."
Dreng rose from his chair and paced in front of his desk. "Your FATHER was a valuable asset, and a good friend. His ships were allowed almost anywhere. EVERYONE opens the gate for the wine merchant. His credentials were unimpeachable. And while his ship was in dock at various spots around the Inner Sea, he was gathering information, for me, and the Pathfinders. On multiple ocassions, I actually rode aboard his ship posing as one of the crew. He smuggled me into and out of several locations that... aren't overly friendly to some of our exploits." He paused, looking wistfully at the ceiling for a moment. "I don't get out of Absalom as much these days. Archi and I had some good times together, and did some very important work, mind you," he said focusing his attention on Diomedes again. "I've kept tabs on you ever since, and a bit more closely since Archi's disappearance. I've had agents watching over you, from a distance, of course, and paying attention to your comings and goings. When they told me about the research into your family history, I knew that I was right to have them watch you."
Diomedes stood up, his outrage blazing red across his face. "You what? You've been spying on me?!"
"You're damn right I did, boy. And I'd do it again. In fact, I have done it again. I had agents tell you about the Society when I felt the time was right, when I knew your own research would hit road blocks. I had them dangle our vaults of knowledge in front of you like worms for a fish. And it worked. You came to us of your own accord."
Diomedes staggered and almost fell over. "You manipulated me, too?!" He ran his hand over his suddenly sweaty brow and through his hair and straightened himself up. "We're done here, old man. I'm out of here!"
Faster than Diomedes would have thought possible, Dreng closed the distance between them and grabbed him firmly by the left arm, twisting it into an arm lock. "SIT DOWN, BOY. And get your head out of your arse." The old man had all the leverage he needed to break the younger man's arm if he wanted. Instead, he pushed Diomedes down to a sitting position and let up on the arm. Dreng growled deeply and spat. "Everything I have done has been FOR YOU... And for your father. I owe that man a debt that can never be repaid. So I will make DAMN SURE that you will be well-trained enough to possibly succeed where he may have failed." Dreng realized he was shouting, took a deep breath, and lowered his voice. "Damn that Taldoran pride. It gets at us all sometimes, doesn't it?"
"I know what haunts you, son. And so did your father. I know more about your family history than you do. I brought you here to give you that information, to help you, and your family." He smiled and sat on the edge of his desk. "I know about the family curse." He raised a hand to silence Diomedes who was ready to interject. "Now, your father and I never figured out the source of the curse. We have some ideas, and I'll tell you about them. We searched far and wide for ways to fix it. I'll tell you about those attempts as well, the ones that didn't work, and the ones we haven't tried yet."
He strode over to Diomedes and bent down so they were eye to eye. "But first, I need you to do two things. The first is the hardest. I need YOU to learn P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E." He stabbed his index finger at Diomedes' chest, punctuating each letter as he said this, and cut the boy off before he could protest. "I understand you have limited time. We all do, some more than others, I'll concede. But without patience, you'll wind up in far worse straits than you are today. Your father and I have worked on this problem for 20 years, and it isn't going to be thrown away by your reckless and foolish behavior." He puffed out a long breath, went to the cabinet, and pulled out a flask. He took a deep swing before capping and replacing it.
"Second, I need you to do some research for me. This is research that will benefit both of us. Archi and I both came to the conclusion that if there was going to be any cure, short of some serious divine intervention, it would come from the Azlanti culture. As you know, they're understandings of magic and science were very far advanced compared to the resources we have today. We have some books, here in Absalom, a few scrolls, and I have an idea where many more are kept. You'll need to learn to read Azlanti. In fact, your going to become an expert on Azlant."
He sat down on the floor next to Diomedes, who was rubbing his sore arm. "I'm on your side, kid. But you gotta work WITH me. I have too many responsibilities to do this alone. You aren't the only friend's kid that I look out for, ya know." He gave Diomedes a friendly smile and tousled his hair with his hand. "I'm telling you all this so you know where you are and what you're in for. No more lies. I'm giving it to you straight."
Dreng hopped to his feet. "I'll make you a deal, eh? I will give you assignments, you will complete them and report back to me. Then I'll give you another. We'll take the information you find and go from there, pretty much like I do with other Pathfinders. There will be things that I have to hold back from you, for your own safety and for the security of the society, but I will tell you when that happens. If there's a way, kid, we'll find it. Deal?" He proffered his right hand.
Diomedes rubbed at his sore arm. "One condition: I want you to teach me that arm lock trick." He smiled broadly, his cheeks reddening. "I'm sorry for the way I acted. It's... it's a lot to take in. I'll work on it." He shook the older man's extended hand. "Um, thanks. Maybe you could also tell me a little more, from time to time... about my dad?"
"THAT, my dear boy, would be a pleasure," Dreng smiled. "Now, run along. I've sent word that you're to be allowed to borrow a set of books from the library. They should be waiting for you." Dreng helped Diomedes up from the floor and shook his hand. "And here, you may need this," he said, handing the young man back his coin purse. Diomedes left feeling more hopeful about his future than he had in a long time (and wondering where he left his coin purse).
Dreng sighed heavily as soon as the door closed. "Dammit, Archi. If I'm sending this boy off to his death, it's on your head, not mine." The man felt older than he looked, and he looked pretty old. He took out his flask again and took a swig before sitting down at his desk to write out several orders.