The Light Empyrean
"Slightly unhinged tiefling seeks morally ambiguous companions for plane-hopping and maybe more"
== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ==
Kadath, level 14
Tiefling, Warlock, Student of Caiphon
Eldritch Blast Option: Eldritch Blast Charisma
Eldritch Pact Option: Star Pact
Crusading Zealot (Crusading Zealot Benefit)
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 9, CON 14, DEX 14, INT 21, WIS 11, CHA 22
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 8, CON 13, DEX 13, INT 15, WIS 10, CHA 16
AC: 27 Fort: 25 Ref: 29 Will: 30
HP: 91 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 22
Arcana +17, Bluff +20, History +17, Intimidate +21
Acrobatics +9, Athletics +6, Diplomacy +13, Dungeoneering +7, Endurance +9, Heal +7, Insight +7, Nature +7, Perception +7, Religion +12, Stealth +11, Streetwise +13, Thievery +9
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Cultist Attack: Master’s Eye
Warlock’s Curse Power: Warlock’s Curse
Feat Utility: Warlock’s Wrath
Warlock Attack 1: Eldritch Blast
Warlock Attack 1: Dire Radiance
Warlock Pact Boon 1: Fate of the Void
Warlock Attack 1: Crown of Stars
Cultist Utility 2: Mad Confidence
Warlock Attack 3: Frigid Darkness
Warlock Attack 5: Fury of Gibbeth
Warlock Utility 6: Dark One’s Own Luck
Warlock Attack 7: All the Sand, All the Stars
Warlock Attack 9: Command Insanity
Warlock Utility 10: Ethereal Sidestep
Student of Caiphon Attack 11: Trust in the Guide Star
Student of Caiphon Utility 12: Steps on the Purple Stair
Warlock Attack 13: Dark Reach of Xevut
Level 1: Arcane Prodigy
Level 2: Warlock’s Wrath
Level 6: Implement Focus (Rod)
Level 8: Superior Implement Training (Accurate rod)
Level 10: Dual Implement Spellcaster
Level 11: Improved Defenses
Level 11: Implement Expertise (Rod)
Level 11: Veil of Waking Dreams
Level 12: Twofold Curse
Level 13: Relentless Curse
Level 14: Arcane Familiar
Skull Mask (heroic tier) x1
Incisive Dagger Dagger +3 x1
Vicious Accurate rod +3
Potion Bandolier x1
Talisman of Terror +3 x1
Shadow Warlock Drowmesh +3 x1
Battle-Pact Accurate rod +4 x1
== End ==
|Cloak of Translocation||19||Neck|
|Eladrin Ring of Passage||14||Ring|
|Ring of Retreat||17||Ring|
|Belt of Breaching||19||Waist|
|Shadow Warlock Armour +4||20||Armour|
One of Kadath’s earliest memories is from the age of around 5 or 6, in the temple of Pelor just outside the quiet town of Innsmouth, situated in the cold-temperate lands of the North. It was the summer solstice and the temple had been crowded all day with people coming and going and taking part in services, celebrations and other activities in worship of the God of the Sun. Kadath hadn’t understood much of it, he had spent most of the afternoon wandering the grounds with a young half-elven boy from the town called Iranon, mostly grabbing as many handfuls of dried fruit and nuts as they could reach from the various tables dotted around the hallways and courtyards. Iranon was especially excited as the summer solstice fell on his birthday and he was sporting an expensive-looking and dazzlingly bright white new tunic, made of thick, soft cotton and lined with a thin layer of pale yellow silk. ‘From my Mummy and Daddy!’ he would repeat, ‘My birthday present!’
Kadath asked if this ‘Mummy and Daddy’ had got him anything and was surprised when the other boy started laughing. ‘No, silly! You get presents from your Mummy and Daddy.’
Now Kadath was very confused. He had been raised by the priests and priestesses of the temple and had lived here for quite some time without ever meeting anybody called ‘Mummy’ or ‘Daddy’. He resolved to get to the bottom of the matter as soon as possible.
That night, Kadath caught up with a kindly, middle-aged priest named Akeley, who, unbeknownst to Kadath, was the one responsible for convincing the other members of the temple to keep the child they had found abandoned on their doorstep when it turned out he has a developing tail and the beginnings of calcareous horns protruding from his forehead.
‘Where are Mummy and Daddy?’ demanded Kadath, to-the-point as always.
Akeley smiled at him and led him to a low stone bench at the edge of the Western courtyard, before sitting down next to him. After thinking carefully on how to approach such a tricky subject, he explained to Kadath that he was not like a lot of other children – he was special. Where most children had a Mummy and Daddy who ‘brought them into the world’, Kadath was different. With a thoughtful smile, Akeley said to him ‘Not you, though, Kadath – you were sent to us from above. That’s why all of us here at the monastery look after you instead of just two people!’.
For a while, Kadath was satisfied. He didn’t understand, but that was okay, because it was probably one of those grown-up things that were to be put away to come back to. This didn’t stop him wondering, however, about the meaning of Akeley’s words ‘You were sent from Above’. When he was older, around the age of 9 or 10, Kadath approached an elderly priestess by the name of Salla.
‘Salla, did Pelor send me here to the temple?’
Salla, after taking a moment to register the question and compose herself, considered this. From any other child, she would have made do with ‘Of course, dear, Pelor is the creator of all life’ or some similar generic answer. Old prejudices, however, die hard and Salla’s life had not been absent of tiefling influence before now. Kadath watched her face as her eyes betrayed myriad emotions.
Finally, she replied, ‘I’m… not sure, child, nobody is sure where you came from. You’re here, now, though, so we’re going to take good care of you and that’s all that matters.
Salla busied herself with some preparations, leaving Kadath to ponder the meaning of her statements.
Sent from above…but not from the sun…what about the moon? Can’t be, there’s a separate moon goddess and she would’ve sent me to one of her own temples. Something else in the sky…a star? There’s so many of them, maybe they didn’t see which one I came from…Which one did I come from?
That night, Kadath did not sleep. Sneaking out of his room immediately after being put to bed, he found a secluded corner of the gardens and gazed up at the night sky. As he watched, he found his attention drawn to the fine print of the darkness that few ever truly read. Of course some astronomers knew the constellations and names of the stars, but their approach was scientific – Kadath’s spirit on this night was searching, calling out, seeking with a curiosity built on a lifetime of uncertainty.
At first, he would catch mere twinkles and glimpses of flares from the corner of his eye. Never sure whether it was all in his mind, his gaze would wander from imperceptible glint to suggestion-of-a-flare all across the sky, each time ending on the impassive, unblinking shimmer of a purple star hanging on the horizon. Watching. Up to a pinprick of harsh blue light, across to a dimly glowing nebula, further to a patch of inky darkness with a hint of malice, down to a baleful red glow, then back to the purple horizon star. Still watching. The Alpha and the Omega of his cosmic alphabet, it shimmered unwavering, drawing his attention back each and every time.
As Kadath stared towards the heavens, he realised the beautiful stars were dimming as the sky was beginning to lighten. But how? He’d been here, what, half an hour? An hour at the most. Sprinting across the lawn to the water clock at its centre, he realised it was nearly 5am. He’d been here all night, but only an hour…and he certainly hadn’t slept. He hurriedly made his way back to his bed before the early-rising novices began their morning chores.
All that day, Kadath was aware of something distant, a faint noise at the very edge of his hearing, barely audible, but which nevertheless implied melody, like the singing of a distant Siren – calling, inviting, beckoning… He spent the day in a daze, seeking only time alone in the quietest places he could find to try and focus on the frustratingly intangible music. The day dragged on seemingly forever, but finally the night time came around once more. He eagerly slipped away from the cloisters and made his way to the gardens, impatiently waiting for the sky to fully darken so that he could continue his search.
Sitting with his gaze focused just above the horizon, Kadath felt the distant music begin to get louder, sounding as if it came from inside his head. The purple star swam slowly into view on the horizon as he gazed, enraptured by its iridescence. Kadath stared unwavering as the last sunlight faded and the purple guide star shone unimpeded. The music continued to grow louder until Kadath could clearly hear its howling anti-rhythms and glorious discords drowning out any other sound. Louder and louder it grew, so as to fill nearly his whole consciousness. His vision swam and before him all he could see was the guide star in the distance. Between him and his distant master stretched unfathomable space and time until slowly, slowly, there materialised a staircase made of the thinnest strands of woven purple starlight, bridging the unconceivable gap.
Utterly captivated, Kadath didn’t even hesitate for a moment and took his first footstep upon the purple stair. Then another, and another. And another. Time lost meaning, space was naught but the narrowing distance to his goal, his calling, the answer to the one question he truly craved an answer to. The question wasn’t one of parentage, or belonging, or origin, it was the question that would be answered with glorious certainty and it was within reach so long as he kept on climbing the purple stairs… And he did. There was nothing else in his world, his body immaterial and his mind empty of all but the guide star. An unspoken mandate prevented him from breaking his steady, determined pace – to rush or run would be tantamount to blasphemy, to stop or delay would be unthinkable, callous! And so did Kadath climb the purple stairs.
Year upon timeless year did Kadath steadily and devoutly climb those shimmering steps of light, onwards and upwards towards the embrace of the Guide Star. His mind, in trying to make sense of the scale of the void and of the perfect steadiness of his gait, began to withdraw, his presence of mind slipping away. He was no longer sure if he was real, physical, mindful, present in time, space or even existence. For countless ages his ascension continued until at last he entered the glow of the great entity and stood before its awe-inspiring light. No question needed to be asked and no answer needed to be given, for Kadath was willing to pledge his soul and his essence to the intangible, unknowable mind that he could feel all around him in the presence of the Guide Star. An unspoken deal was struck – the power to take his rightful place in exchange for his very life force that the being required to continue its silent observation over the mortal world.
The Guide Star suddenly swirled away into the inky black as Kadath felt himself flung through space. Into his field of vision swam a striking ice-white star, seeming to suck the warmth away from Kadath for a moment, but then suddenly its influence changed and he could sense it growing in power, but not from himself. He then felt a sudden influx of new sensations into his body and mind as some new and hitherto unknown presence made itself known inside him.
The white star recoiled from sight as quickly as it had arrived and was replaced by a green, swirling celestial body which again seemed to overwhelm him for a moment. He could barely stand to look at the thing, but sensed it reaching unknown psychic tendrils into his consciousness, implementing, altering, improving…
Gone again was the unnerving green star replaced once again by a smouldering red-black haze of light, which simply released a bizarre flood of energy into his torso before vanishing from view.
Nothing but the lightless reaches of space.
Then, the Guide Star. Swimming into view, whirling around behind him. The purple stairs…
And many years later…
Awakening at last from his slumber, Kadath sat upright. Immediately he noticed he was no longer in the gardens. He was in the temple infirmary, golden light filtering in under the curtains, drawn to allow patients to doze. One or two other beds were occupied with peacefully slumbering individuals, the latter having a deathly pale pallor about him. Kadath wasn’t overly concerned – it was the temple’s policy to conserve funds by only using expensive healing rituals on the critically ill – the patients here must be suitably low-risk if receiving mundane care. What he was concerned about however, is how he ended up in a hospital bed after a night of…stargazing.
Sitting up, Kadath was immediately disconcerted – his head felt…weighty. Reaching up, he was shocked to discover his horns had inexplicably grown to full-size overnight! How ridiculous he must look being a child with such oversi… Then it hit him. Scrambling out of bed and looking around wildly for a reflective surface, he started towards the huge tapestry of Pelor’s healing light at the end of the infirmary, encased as it was in an ornate frame with a layer of protective – and somewhat reflective – glass. As he started to run, his legs buckled and he fell hard on the polished stone floor. Wasted away…his legs had not enough muscle strength to support his own body weight… What cruel trick was this? How long had his dream quest lasted? If it had been as long as it seemed, his body should surely have crumbled to dust by now, so… did time work differently there? Scared, confused and panic-stricken, Kadath crawled and shambled desperately towards the glass at the end of the infirmary. Clutching onto a heavy oak table, then a wall-mounted cabinet, then a torch sconce, he pulled himself upright and gazed into the reflective surface at his own baffled features, the age of a chraek – a tiefling word used to describe a young male of roughly 18-25, not a youth, but not a man. Wait… how did he know such a word? How ha…
A black stellar gulf
The rushing of billions of points of light
the crushing darkness between stars
worlds so far apart that to visit one would be to endure a lifetime of darkness between.
Vestigial sanctuary in a world of formless, maddening, perfect lawlessness.
Three swim into view, Three that could have been worlds, three that could have fought away the darkness.
A crown of stars, as was agreed.
Agreed with purple Caiphon, the Guide Star whose path and purpose cannot be known.
Agreed with brilliant white delban, whose freezing light brings no comfort and whose great flares snuff out dreams and drive the sanity from the minds of mortals and immortals.
Agreed with unholy green gibbeth, the visage of whom none dare behold and whose secrets none dare dwell upon.
Agreed with ravenous dark hadar who eats light and drinks warmth, whose hunger can never be sated.
And so it was when the stars aligned.
Vision swimming, mind reeling, Kadath felt all manner of sensations rise within him. A shaft of multi-hued light bathed him in its glow, disregarding the solid stone ceiling above his head. His consciousness flooded with memories, thoughts, likes, dislikes, songs, a cacophony of sensations.
Then he understood it all. And screamed. And screamed.
When the ward sister came rushing in from a nearby room, she found Kadath snatching an emergency healing mixture from a broken drawer, desperately trying to pour it into the mouth of the half-elven patient.
‘Iranon! Iranon, wake up!’ Oh gods…
Inside Kadath, the aspect of Iranon, the locally famed half-elven bard and the last child he had spoken to all those years ago, stirred. One of the three sacrifices, one of his three gifts… Delban had fulfilled its part in the pact, impartial in the way only found in true chaos. A surge of self-confidence, a surge of magnetism, the nurse broke away from her flurry of activity for a moment, staring into his eyes…
Kadath staggered back, a flicker of that unconceivable green star, Gibbeth, filling his field of vision for the briefest of moments. The aspect of an unfamiliar eladrin sage awakened in his soul, his mind instantly sharpened, seeing clearer than ever. Yes, this was his gift of intellect from Caiphon and the heavenly crown of stars, and another being had been sacrificed to grant his power in that brief moment when the stars were perfectly aligned to exercise just enough worldly influence to seal this pact.
…and regained his footing. Rock-solid, breathing slowly, brimming with energy. A dwarven warrior now surely lay expired. Yes, one who had only recently come to town to trade…and now his vitality served Kadath. That earthly stoicism centred him, granted by ravenous Hadar, for whom the fallen dwarf’s soul was but a morsel to feed its never ending hunger with eternal screams of agony.
Power. Power like he had never felt before. The pact was made and nothing else mattered.
The ward sister screamed and tried to run past Kadath towards the infirmary entrance. As she did so, a baleful shaft of starlight lanced down and halted her tracks.
‘No closer, sister, I warn you. For your own sake. Tell nobody what you saw here and in return I swear I will never again return to this place. A twofold pact.’ Kadath spoke thusly, allowing himself an inward smile. ‘Your day will be busy, three in this town are deceased, know this was not my plan. Know this and say nothing. Heed the Guide Star’.
That very minute, Kadath fled the temple and the town of Innsmouth. Nauseous from surges of power and guilt, he laughed frantically. His pact, his gift, his power, his Answer, his Path. His Guide Star to unite reality and dream. The way home.
It had begun.