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    Vile Roots
    Posted on Wed, March 23, 2011 by LordCeb
    LeahcimTheLearned writes "What makes a Villain?  What events in a being's past brings it to the point of darkness?  Is it a long slow decline or does it happen with one sudden choice? Can someone be born 'evil'?  In the case of Sym'ar Al-bint Hura the answer is yes.

        An ice cold mountain rain that stubbornly refused to become snow soaked the small group as they tried to work their way down a rain-sodden goat-path.  Orcs moved at night so were unhindered by the darkness however the human-seeming woman that they served had more trouble.  She swore in Abyssal cursing the name of her former slave again for the twentieth time that hour. Forced to run, on foot no less from her kingdom, her own stronghold nearly overrun.  It was an insult worthy of destroying a nation were she not all but stripped of power.  The woman the Orcs called ‘Master’ stubbornly fumbled onward in the darkness unwilling to expend what little power she had left to make a light.  She knew it would draw attention, attention she could not afford to draw.

        The attack came without warning; Men of Ket and Perrenland with priests hurling divine energies broke the orcs like a hammer on glass, forced into another battle the woman unleashed her remaining energies only to see them blocked by the shields of the priests.  Their spells hammered down on her, forcing the once great Queen to her knees.  They locked shackles around her neck, metal gloves enveloped her hands so not one finger could wiggle, and a gag blocked her voice.  The triumphant men had done what none ever had, captured the mighty Iggwilv.  She would be carted back to Perrenland to face justice.

    Hours, days, she lost track.  Constantly moving, never unshackled, the gag removed only to eat cold gruel.  Never once did the rain let up.  It leeched energy from her until she ached, until she felt the weight of her true age pushing down on her.  She was running out of time.   Salvation came in darkest stone.

    The cry of reed pipes filled the pre-dawn air echoing from the walls of the mountain pass.  Horses danced nervously as their riders cast fearful looks past the edge of their lantern light at the inky darkness.  Out of the blackness swooped Gargoyles cast of obsidian stone with claws just as sharp. They tore through armor and shields to spill blood with furious rage.  Priests and Wizards called upon their powers creating a dome of light. Lightning and force shattered the powerful gargoyles. The intense battle lasted only minutes but finally the clattering of shattered stone provided accompaniment to the cries of the wounded and moans of the dying.  The magical light pushed back the darkness until it revealed something that defied it.

    He was dressed in black robes trimmed with golden dragons, a turban of golden cloth set with a large gemstone as black as starless night.  His face was hidden behind a Bakluni Sand mask that matched his outfit.  He did not speak, there was no need, the wizards and priests knew this man meant death.  Where the battle with the Gargoyles had intensity, this battle had inevitability.  It came in remorseless silence.  The black robed man did not speak a word, his spells erupted from his hands without incantation.  Even as the last priest fell, Iggwilv knocked senseless by the battle awoke to find this enigmatic man in black standing over her, his hand held out to her.  Again he said nothing but his meaning was clear to her ‘Come with me if you want to live’.  She did not hesitate.  Seconds later they vanished in a teleport.

    Theirs was a time of running and battle.  The man who saved her could not leave the mountains.  A powerful Censure placed by powers both dark and light prevented such escape but still he moved them within that region adeptly.  The battles were against a bewilderingly diverse array of enemies from Celestials to Demons all seeking her for one reason, because she was Iggwilv and now she was vulnerable.  Her silent champion however did not waver.  His spells struck with devastating effect, when anti-magic fields enveloped them he fought with Tulwar like a swordsman of legend and when she slept he stood vigil throughout the night.   He asked for nothing yet offered what no other being cared or dared to, solace.  The Heartless witch Queen found herself looking at her defender differently, not as a rival or minion but as a woman looks upon a man and one night that look became a yearning.  She saw his face that night, she saw all of him, dark hair, golden eyes handsome in the way that no man before or since has been in her eyes.  The night was theirs and theirs alone.  

    Morning found her alone in their makeshift bed, beside her an amulet and a scroll.  The scroll read ‘We are wizards, you and I, though now there is closeness that would change.  I have seen you at your weakest and you will come to resent that and covet what knowledge I have, as I would covet yours.  I saved you because it was right to do so; Legends should never suffer the chains and punishments of the mundane.  You are greater than that and deserve an end worthy of Saga and Epic not one at the hands of a random patrol of soldiers.  What we have shared this night reminded me of the warmth of companionship that we as wizards are forced to abandon and will warm me when I think upon it throughout my days.  The Amulet will shield you from detection and allow you to escape the censure on these mountains.  There is a group of holy knights from Highfolk off to the south; an easy path leads from this cave to there.  I trust you will lie to them to get them to give you aid.   I will remember you always.’  It was signed  ‘The Black Agate’

    From this darkest of loves came a child, daughter of the Witch Queen and the Black Necromancer. Sym’ar would have been raised by Iggwilv had the vengeance of Graz’zt not taken the Witch Queen away shortly after the child was born in Highfolk.  A gifted child from an early age this only added to isolate her from her peers in the orphanage.  As bitter young woman she learned early on how best to deceive and use people to get what she wanted.  Her gift with magic opened doors and Sym’ar succeeded in one thing her mother never could, entrance to the ancient mysteries of Highfolk City.  As a faceless student eager to learn she moved quietly among the lesser masters, learning what she could, stealing what she was denied.  As her skills grew her thefts grew bolder.  She was caught looting the tower of Targen Starhart (an elven wizard) after slaying him.  She fled the city to the wilderness of the Yatil Mountains but only for a short time.  Using what she’d looted from Starhart’s tower she assumed the identity of Tathariel Starhart, the wizard’s half-elven daughter.  She arrived as his last remaining heir, a fact she proved by providing the proper documents, and claimed the belongings of her estranged father.

    Using her new standing in the city Tathariel insinuated herself into both the magical and elven communities and with honeyed word and smiles gained access to things little orphan Sym’ar would never receive no matter how adept at magic she’d been. Years passed and thanks to the supernatural lifespan gained from her eldritch parents ‘Tathariel’ slowly wormed her way into the confidence of many of the powerful in the city even earning herself peerage in the Knights of the Hart. Seen as a scholar of ancient languages she was often sought out by adventurers to help divine their findings.

    During the chaos of the Greyhawk Wars Tathariel used the connections she forged with the minions of Iuz to sack the tomb of Quaal in Quaalsten during their attempted invasion.  Her crowning achievement involved luring several powerful knights of the Hart into the ruins of Delvenbrass and tricking them into slaying the powerful guardians of good within that stood watch over numerous Nerullian artifacts.
    Abandoning her half-elven identity Sym’ar joined the forces of Iuz for the remainder of the Greyhawk Wars.  Climbing the ranks of the Bonehart she learned her mother’s identity quite by accident when she walked unscathed through the Witch Queen’s wards on her rarely used quarters.  She had mixed feelings on this, both elated that she knew her mother but angry that she was abandoned (Or so she thought).  Stealing what she found there she abandoned the Bonehart and her half-brother to the whims of fate and traveled into the remains of the Bandit Kingdoms, seeking and finding the legendary Flan Citadel of Veralos.

    Spending nearly two years within the shadow-infested halls of Veralos she discovered much including the ways of the Ur-Flan Necromancers and their secrets of ‘red’ necromancy.  She read of the time of the Spawn of Thazirdun and saw a means of impressing her distant mother, the destruction of Ket.  Leaving Veralos as she found it she traveled to Ket.  Taking the surname of ‘Al-bint Hura’ Sym’ar found a nascent cult to Iggwilv and insinuated herself into it.  Using it to solidify her presence in the kingdom that cast out her mother she claimed the ancient Giant fortress of ‘Demonroot’ in the northern edge of the Barrier Peaks and has started her search for the key to unleash one of Thazirdun’s Spawn.

    Sym’ar in her normal form is a tall beautiful woman with black hair and dark skin.  She has her father’s amber eyes.  Despite being nearly 110 years old she has the beauty of a woman a quarter of her true age.  She rarely is seen in her true form however preferring to hide herself behind falsehoods.  Her most commonly used forms are a blonde vixen of Flannish descent and a half-elven woman with red hair.  She uses a host of aliases but most commonly she uses the names Temoria, Serinde and occasionally a descendant of her own alias of the Starhart clan.  When she meets with the Cult she regularly assumes a form very similar to her mother’s known form, long black hair, golden skin, and black eyes without irises or whites.

    Sym’ar is very skilled at Disguise and Impersonation.  She rarely travels using any of her regular aliases or faces.  While usually very careful in disguise she has used her skills in the past for petty revenge against those she, for whatever reason, cannot directly confront.  A recent innocuous encounter in Greyhawk City brought the Daughter of Iggwilv and Jallarzi Sallavarian into contention over the same tome at an estate auction.  While Jallarzi had no clue who the young woman was against whom she was bidding Sym’ar took an instant dislike of the woman when Jallarzi successfully outbid her for the tome in question.  Since this Sym’ar has taken Jallarzi’s likeness a few times to sully the woman’s reputation.

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    Re: Vile Roots (Score: 1)
    by Argon on Wed, March 23, 2011
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    I like the amount of detail you where able to put into your submission. I wonder if you have a lair or sidetrek planned for the current post fest. Well done not one word wasted in telling us of Sym'ar Al-bint Hura.

    Re: Vile Roots (Score: 1)
    by mortellan on Wed, March 23, 2011
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    Bad ass! Anything Iggwilv related is up my alley, but this has added a whole new dimension to the family. I Love it!

    Re: Vile Roots (Score: 1)
    by Mystic-Scholar on Wed, March 23, 2011
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    Very nice, Leahcim. Well done indeed.

    Re: Vile Roots (Score: 1)
    by tigger1tom on Thu, March 24, 2011
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    How can any normal person read this mindless DRIVEL!!!!????


    OK, who said I WAS normal? :D

    Re: Vile Roots (Score: 1)
    by SirXaris on Sat, March 26, 2011
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    Excellent Leahcim!  Sy'mar is a great NPC to add to Iggwilv's history.  Another way for PCs to hurt her without being strong enough to confront her directly. :)


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