Curse of the Crimson Throne 4E
Avenger of Iomadae Zealous Assassin Paragon Path
HISTORY OF ARITH PORPHYRIA
The Porphyria were a major noble family in Cheliax that gained their wealth through trade and commerce. Decades ago, the Porphyria family was devoted to Aroden. Upon his death, the Porphyria family truly lost much of their identity when the god was destroyed in 4606. But they did not wallow in their sorrow, but instead the noble house of Porphyria shifted their veneration to Iomadae as a result of Aroden’s demise. This proved to be an easy adjustment for them as they had always been a fairly honorable lot in their dealings. Unfortunately, the official religion of Cheliax became that of Asmodeus in the year 4640. This massive shift in religious doctrine did not serve to increase the power of House Porphyria and in fact it gained a bit of malice from many of the major Cheliaxian noble houses.
Arith Porphyria has always been a victim of circumstance, but to his credit he has always stayed true to the path of righteousness. Arith was born in Egorian, Cheliax in 4648. Pharlin, his father, and Fiora, his mother, were both well to do humans who did very well in their shipping trade. It came to a huge surprise to both of them when their only child was born half-elf. Their elven ancestors seemed to pass on the elven heritage to Arith. It is well known that elven blood exists in the Porphyria family line, but it had not manifested in many generations. Aside from his obviously elven traits of his golden hued hair and his brilliant blue eyes, Arith was a spitting image of his father in his face and build. This certainly relieved any doubt that Pharlin may not have been the father. Regardless, it was a difficult time for the couple due to Arith’s “uniqueness” and the questions it brought about. Though Arith’s childhood was a bit more difficult than most humans due to him being a bit of an “oddity”, it served in making him strong, both physically and mentally. One thing is for certain, Arith always felt a calling to do something greater than himself. His heart was always one of benevolence and compassion, loving to give and protect. At the ripe age of ten years, Arith was asked by the church of Iomadae to serve in their clergy. Pharlin and Fiora were honored by such a request and left the decision to Arith, who of course jumped at the opportunity. Arith always believed he was meant for the church of Iomadae and this opportunity just validated his thoughts on it. For three years, he studied within the Central Temple to Iomadae in Egorian and they selected him to take the vows and oaths of a holy warrior, knighting him as a paladin.
When Arith was 13 years old, his Uncle Chadris Porphyria III took the throne of Korvosa. His family moved into the palace with his mother and father overseeing much of the trade the new king. To avoid scrutiny, Arith always wore some sort of hat to hide his elven heritage. For six years, the Porphyria House ruled Korvosa, but King Chadris III’s reign was tremendously unpopular and served to sour the name of Porphyria to many. When Domina Arabasti took power in 4667, she banished the Porphyria family from Korvosa. The ill-will of the Arabasti family towards the Porphyria family finally got the revenge they sought. Arith, at the age of 18 years old, had to return to Egorian with his family in shame. Still, the Porphyria family had tremendous wealth and were accomplished merchants, so they remained influential within Cheliax—that did not change. Unfortunately, the state religion of Asmodeus was an environment that Arith could not stomach. Arith finished his training and studies to complete his preparation for service and then made himself available for tasking. Fully vested as a paladin of Iomadae, he traveled Cheliax serving the church of Iomadae as they saw fit for nearly two decades. In 4688, news reached Arith’s ears that his mother and father drowned when their merchant vessel sank during a terrible storm. Feeling nothing to tether him to Cheliax, Arith decided to return to Korvosa, eventhough his family was forbidden to maintain a presence there. The church of Iomadae was pleased with Arith’s decision to return there, despite the risk. Iomadae had very little presence in Korvosa and this was their opportunity to send one of their own there to do The Inheritor’s work.
Arith has been in Korvosa for twenty years serving the will of Iomadae. He has always carried himself with the dignity and presence of a noble, but he never once revealed his house. Many just referred to Arith as “Sir Arith”. Since he was a paladin of Iomadae, no one really thought to identify him as a member of a noble house. When asked of his house, Arith simply replied, “My house is a small insignificant house in Cheliax. My service is to Iomadae, not my house…” Such a statement rings true and no one could argue the point, so his house affiliation has remained anonymous to this day. Know that Arith has always thought it to be an injustice for his family to not be allowed representation in Korvosa. He knows that despite his Uncle’s unsuccessful reign as king, the true reason Porphyria was exiled from Korvosa was House Arabasti’s hate for his family. Arith wishes to reestablish his family’s right to be represented in Korvosa and awaits the time to act on it.
Some amount of negative bias had been thrown his way due to his race, but when they saw the holy symbol of Iomadae prominently displayed around his neck, their tune quickly changes—at least for those of pious and benevolent natures. The criminal element and worshippers of evil gods despise Arith and they seek the right moment to be rid of the nuissance.
It should be noted that in 4703, Arith met a young merchant lady by the name of Keylee. It was literally love at first sight and they courted for five years before Arith asked her to marry him. They were to be married as soon as he returned from his assignment in Nidal. The night he returned, all of those hopes and dreams came crashing down around him. As he was making his way to her flat, the Korvosan guard were scrambling by him. When he got to an alleyway next to her dwelling, the guards that had rushed by him were responding to a murder. A stomach began to knot as he moved over to be certain it was not his fiancee. He saw a prone female form bathed in blood. His heart sank as his worst fears were being realized: he knew instantly it was Keylee. The entire alleyway was covered in her blood and entrails. Arith rushed over and knelt over her body, sobbing for many minutes over the love of his life being taken from him. His hands automatically felt for her hands to feel the promise ring he gave her…but it was gone. Whoever did this to Keylee possessed the ring he gave her—grief was rapidly replaced with rage and an insatiable need for vengeance and justice.
For weeks, Arith investigated the murder on his own, unsatisfied by the progress of the Korvosan guard. Eventually, Arith encountered a local merchant that possessed Keylee’s ring for sale. The merchant’s price was far too steep to buy it back, but he did reveal that he was sold the ring by a man named Gaedren Lamm. Arith made it his life’s mission to find this man…
PERSONALITYArith is the consummate paladin: brave, pious, loyal, caring, just and proud. His virtues are unassailable and he makes sure to protect the innocent and those who cannot fend for themselves. Arith is a proud soul and despite his prowess in battle, he is quite soft-spoken. Although lately, he has been struggling with the dark thoughts brought about since his fiancee’s murder. Arith has had many sleepless nights and several bouts concerning his moral integrity.
THE CHANGE OF ARITH PORPHYRIA
Arith had endured a great deal of hardship and frustration in the last few months: his fiancee brutally murdered, the laws of the land ripped asunder by a coup (at least he thinks so), hundreds dead from plague, hundreds more killed in rioting and a conspiracy where laws have no place. His faith in Iomadae had never wavered, not one instant, during all of this. However, that did not mean that his code and vows as a Paladin of Iomadae had not been a source of discontent to him. Arith desired so desperately to bring hope and justice to the people of Korvosa, but his hands had been tied time and time again due to the moral dilemmas that his paladin order placed him in. He wished to uphold the law and see benevolence prevail as a result of the laws that protected the people, but when the laws of the land did not protect the people and there was no clear cut route to bringing the evil elements to justice….Arith felt helpless. There had been times he needed to interrogate malevolent enemies, bring swift and final justice to villains and work around the law instead of inside it for the greater good…but he could not due to the vows he made decades ago. For months, he prayed to Iomadae seeking guidance for his predicament. In the end, Arith had been sending missives to the Central Temple of Iomadae, updating High Priest Himlark on the current events in Korsova and echoing his frustration. Arith desired greatly to travel and see the High Priest, but in the end with so much going on around him, he felt he could not spare the time to make the trip. He received a letter a few days ago that informed him that a contingent of Iomadae Clergy were on their way to Korsova to help with the plague. Also in the letter was a simple statement from High Priest Himlark, “I understand your frustration and your dilemma, so I have sent someone who can give you some guidance…”
The contingent arrived shortly after the “defeat” of Rolf, the ranking High Priest quickly made a “strong recommendation” for Arith to join them in private. He met with his fellow servants of Iomadae at their request within the confines of a private sanctum in the South Shore District. Arith poured out his soul to the ranking High Priest, sobbing with grief, frustration, anger and helplessness. For hours they discussed service to Iomadae and the lengths his chosen must endure to uphold justice, remain valorous, stay honorable and rule with benevolence. The High Priest of Iomadae took this discussion a different direction entirely, which surprised Arith greatly. He began to explain how sometimes in order for Iomadae’s will to be done, it requires a commitment beyond the expected. The High Priest empathized with Arith on his frustration of the situations occurring in Korsova, his noble family and went on to explain to Arith that sometimes in order to bring benevolent law and justice to an evil land, rules must be broken, corners must be cut and that one must understand evil on an “intimate” level. The surprise in Arith’s face turned to one of curiosity as the conversation began to take an unexpected turn…
The High Priest revealed to Arith that there existed an ancient, secret order within the church of Iomadae known as the Daggers of Justice. The Daggers of Justice were a select few former clerics and paladins who were handpicked to be members of the order. Some of those were Iomadae clergy who were beginning to lose faith because they were put into impossible situations to bring justice to the land they called their own. They underwent initiation rites that tore down the previous divine power within them and reformed their divine grace into something altogether different. If the subject had malicious intent or the subject had already lost his faith in Iomadae, then the initiation rites would kill them outright. That is the reason that the “applicants” were never forced into the rites, they had to volunteer. The mere mention of putting their faith to a “dire” test was enough to discourage most…
Arith asked if the High Priest was recommending this change to him and the High Priest simply answered, “It is an option available to you, Arith.” He thanked the High Priest for his guidance and asked to be given some time to think and pray on the matter. The mysterious High Priest answered, “I would usually tell you to take all the time you need, but we don’t have a lot of time…” That night, Arith Porphyria did not sleep a wink. The half-elf prayed all afternoon, all night and into the morning. He knew that he would be sacrificing a part of himself to serve the greater good of Iomadae. Arith knew that morality would become far more difficult to hold close going this route, but he thought of his companions, he thought of Korvosa and what the dark, bleak future that was just ahead. In the end, Arith decided that the decision to undergo this ritual rested on one simple variable: would Iomadae’s will be spread in Korvosa more effectively as a paladin fighting internal battles as much as external battles or as an avenger that worked outside the laws of the land without the internal distraction. Arith believed that his hands were too often tied with his paladin vows and he ultimately decided that in order to create a land free of injustice, he would have to attack the evil in a very different manner.
The very next morning, Arith went to go see the High Priest of Iomadae and he professed his decision to undergo the initiation rites to become a Dagger of Justice. The High Priest nodded grimly and said, “We have prepared the rites in the event that you decided to go this route. Let us begin immediately.”
A dozen priests of Iomadae, including the High Priest himself, performed the ritual. Arith Porphyria felt memories from distant pasts flood back to him. He realized these memories were not his own, but memories from his ancestors, both elven and human. Visions of his elven ancestors stalking through the forest hunting their enemies became so vivid, so real that he remembered the very techniques they used. Visions of his human ancestors, some a bit unscrupulous, turning tumblers on locks, connecting to underworld elements for information and much more that directly translated to Arith into real experience and as a result, learned traits. One memory stood out the most: the memory of one of his ancestral elven progenitors—once a Dagger of Justice himself. The impressions of this elf are the memories he clung to the hardest…
The initiation rites also drove into the very core of his being. The concern and fanaticism for the strictures and vows he made as a paladin washed away and were replaced with a concern and fanaticism to do what must be done for the greater good in the name of justice. New vows were made as a Dagger of Justice. These vows required him to do anything and everything it takes for the greater good, for justice, in a valorous way, honoring his vows and fighting tyranny and evil by any means necessary. The changes that overcame him were substantial , changing him in far-reaching ways. A side effect occurred that Arith did not anticipate: he lost the some of his strongest proficiencies. Though he remembered all of the skills and powers he once had, he simply could not call upon them like he once did. That little amount of time he was given was really spent rediscovering himself….
After a few hours of discussing the finer points of the ritual with the High Priest, he thanked him for his help and made his way back to help his companions…
ARITH PORPHYRIA TIMELINE
- Pre-4606 – The noble house of Porphyria enjoyed great wealth and prestige as a major house known for their skills in trade and commerce, devoted to the worship of Aroden
- 4606 – Aroden dies, leaving the Empire of Cheliax without a divine mandate; House Porphyria squabbles over the loss of their god, but ultimately decide to embrace Iomadae as their patron deity
- 4640 – House Thrune wrests control of Cheliax, brutally ending three decades of civil war, but in so doing proclaim Asmodeus as the state’s official religion; House Porphyria looses significant influence and power by not converting their worship to the Prince of Darkness
- 4658 – Arith Porphyria born in Egorian
- 4658 – Arith enters into the clergy of Iomadae as a Squire paladin and trained in the Central Temple of Iomadae in Egorian
- 4661 – Arith’s uncle, Chadris III takes the throne in Korvosa; most of the Porphyria family move to Korvosa to support the monarch, including Arith and his parents
- 4667 – The unsuccessful reign of King Chadris III comes to an end; Domina Arabasti takes power; House Porphyria is exiled from Korvosa; the Porphyria family leaves enmasse, returning to Egorian, Cheliax
- 4668 – Arith completes his training as a paladin of Iomadae; begins his service to Iomadae within Cheliax and the far reaches of Golarion
- 4688 – News reaches Arith that his parents drowned when their ship was lost in a storm; arrive leaves Egorian and does not return; Arith returns to Korvosa on his own accord, but supported by the church of Iomadae; Arith does not reveal his Porphyria heritage
- 4703 – Meets Keylee
- 4708 – Asks Keylee to marry him; Keylee murdered by Gaedren Lamm as Arith returns from being overseas; CAMPAIGN BEGINS