Bishop Arbriel Conrad, formerly a human cleric of Cardia, sank into a deep depression after the Godslayer's rampage in the Cataclysm. He eventually came to believe that it was his duty to lead people to salvation, and their god, through death. For years, he traveled the world, dispensing his own version of the truth with help from fellow clerics Ansgar Azurespire and Traugott Orthaire. He became involved with the Totenkopfs in Ravensworth in 1016 AE, and the power and attitudes of the dark cult slowly but surely corrupted him. He was responsible for the release of the Plague of Undeath in the Third Battle of Remonton, after which he attempted to poison himself. He has since risen as a powerful undead lord, a Deathwatcher, who is now bent on drowning the world in misery with his horde, the Wretched. Unlike many of his fellow undead, he has retained his sentience and can command lesser undead to do his bidding.
The Calling of CardiaEdit
Arbriel Conrad lived a rather uneventful life in the Aisonian countryside, quietly practicing his white magic, until a traveling group of Cardian clerics happened through his village. Immediately, he knew he had found what he'd been missing in his life.
He said farewell to his family and departed, determined to spread the word of Cardia in any way he could. And for years, this was exactly what he did. He was a faithful, loving, charismatic young man who spread Cardia's love to countless people.
A Dream ShatteredEdit
The Cataclysm marked the end of Arbriel's life as a dutiful servant. Lost without the light of his god to guide him, he sank into a deep depression. He set out on his own, grieving and praying, hoping for any sign of what he should do with his life. He stayed with the Church of the Memory of Cardia for a short time in Remon, but nothing in the Church could ease the emptiness he felt.
He wandered for months, searching for a new path to follow...until one day, weary and emaciated from his travels, the truth came to him. The almighty Cardia would never abandon them, nor could anything ever kill him! Surely this was a sign--no, a command!--that it was time to follow their lord to paradise. The glorious, simple truth brought tears to his eyes as he began walking a new path with more determination than ever before.
The Age of EmptinessEdit
- "We know that you've sent people to a...better place. Our goals are similar: both of us wish to send people into the eternal bliss where Lord Cardia already awaits us. We could use a man of charisma like you to further our cause. If you join us, we can provide you with many things. Wealth? We have more money than we can spend. Disciples? We number in the thousands. A base? Pick any city in any country, and you'll find us there. Power? A man of your status will be given a worthy position, and you'll have the world in your palm."
- —Simon to Arbriel
Arbriel traveled the world with his small group of followers, including his trusty aides Ansgar Azurespire and Traugott Orthaire. They preached the truth and aided people on their path to paradise, and their journeys eventually led them to begin their work in Remon.
It was in Remon where Arbriel mustered his biggest gathering of followers yet, nearly all of a small, remote Remonian village. Using a special balance of poisons he had developed, he singlehandedly guided his subjects to peace and eternal slumber. One subject, however, found herself doubting the path she'd chosen. Arbriel aided her in her moment of doubt, stabbing her in the heart with his ceremonial dagger, holding her until she was gone.
Seeing the charisma and potential that Arbriel held in promoting the cause of Death, a death cult named the Totenkopfs approached him and offered an alliance. Weary, most of his subjects slaughtered by the Proninist Party which had taken over Remonton and the surrounding countryside in a violent coup, Arbriel gratefully accepted the Totenkopf Simon's offer after being assured that his two disciples would be kept safe if he accepted the Totenkopfs' terms. They followed Simon's group to Ravensworth, one of the few cities which still stood against the might of the Proninists.
On Death's TrailEdit
- "From the latest reports, it's likely we'll lose the power we've gained in Remonton, and I refuse to let that happen here in Ravensworth. Once you've regained your strength and been properly initiated, I would like you to pay a visit to the former steward Dylas Theron and his assistant. We must secure a relationship with Theron, as well as find out what his intentions are, and I feel you're our best option. I've already sent a messenger to arrange the meeting."
- —Cain Highwind to Arbriel
After agreeing to Simon's terms, meeting Lord Cain of the Totenkopfs and swearing a blood oath, Arbriel, Ansgar and Traugott were given all they needed; power, wealth, and more potential disciples than they could've hoped for. Arbriel quietly set to continuing his holy work, feeling he was on the right path once more.
He was asked by Cain to meet with a steward named Dylas Rin Theron to figure out if Dylas could be a potential candidate for the Totenkopfs to use. Arbriel agreed to do so and left to rest before heading out to meet with the ambitious steward.
A Game of DeceptionEdit
- "These...these beasts...they're not worthy of Cardia's salvation. It's just as you said, my lord."
- "This is but a small taste of what humanity is capable of. From now on, it shall be your duty to judge them as you see fit. You will lead the worthy to their salvation. And the rest..."
- "The rest can be disposed of."
- —Arbriel and Cain Highwind
Seeing just how brutal men could be when he witnessed thieves from the Ravensworth Thieves Guild killing a child in the alleys of Ravensworth, Arbriel began to realize that not everyone was worthy of a Cardian salvation. This was a turning point in his life, and marked the beginning of his corruption.
Now calling himself Bishop, he managed to worm his way into a position of power in Remonton following the attack of the ice elemental which had ended the Proninist takeover of the city. It was here, in the old capital of Remon, that he first met the black mage Shyralis and began to see her as a valuable ally, despite their different goals. Arbriel continued working in the background to bring salvation to the worthy while showing himself to others as a respectable and charming cleric. He participated in the Remonton Summit and witnessed the forming of a new Grand Alliance which set out to free Maar Sul from the Proninists who had set their eyes on it.
Echoes of WarEdit
- "Steward Alek and the dwarven steward approve of your idea. After seeing you aid the people during the rebuilding, they agree that it would further inspire unity to have you by their side as a spiritual leader for the city. Greenlight seemed suspicious, though I highly doubt he's aware of your...business connections. Still, even without Greenlight's vote, your plan seems to be progressing smoothly."
- "Very well. The unity of the city...is more important than anything. I'll have to speak with Greenlight myself, as he seems to have misinterpreted my motives. Such a pity...I would've liked to have his cooperation."
- —Ansgar Azurespire and Arbriel
As weeks passed, Arbriel was nested deeply in the powers of Remonton and staying at the Palace of Justice, acting as a chaplain for the representatives of the three Remonian races in the Stewards' Council--the human Adram Alek, the dwarf Aronus Kinlith and the elf Seize Greenlight--whom King Marcus Sarillius had tasked to administrate Remonton while Marcus himself was leading the army of the Grand Alliance abroad against the Proninist menace. Working through his two trusty aides Ansgar and Traugott, Arbriel began arranging his biggest gathering yet.
A Crimson DawnEdit
- "We've received word that the variant is nearly ready. Our superiors would like our help in testing it before its grand introduction."
- "Of course...the newest gathering will make a lovely test group."
- —Traugott Orthaire and Arbriel
The dawn truly was crimson, as Arbriel finished his first ceremony for the people of Remonton. It was a small gathering, but a promising start, and Arbriel was pleased with so much progress in such a short time. He and his aides made certain that the stewards of Remonton knew nothing of their actions of guiding people to paradise.
Just a few weeks after, Arbriel received word that the Blood Fever variant his Totenkopf masters had been working on for over a year was near completion. Eager to prove himself, he offered his newest congregation as test subjects for the virus. A small vial of murky fluid was substituted for his usual blend of poisons, and the test was underway.
Fast-acting and incredibly lethal, the virus took effect immediately, dropping the entire congregation at an amazing rate. The bodies were burned shortly after, which may have masked the unexpected effects of undeath that would be witnessed later.
Tears of the SunEdit
- "Before this day is through, all here shall perish. Someone needs to be alive to tell the tale. Let the remaining countries know what awaits them."
- —Arbriel to Shyralis
Using the newly-built Church of the Memory of Cardia as his base of operations, Arbriel continued to gather the worthy to himself. It was here that he first saw a larger use of the virus...the worthy would come to him and follow the path he laid out for them. And the rest...the rest would get what they deserved.
With the civil war between the Stewards' Council and the ambitious former Steward Dylas Rin Theron's forces finally upon them while King Marcus was absent from the kingdom, Arbriel called for Shyralis and urged her to flee, knowing that she would die otherwise. He and his faithful aides prepared the last rites. The battle was raging hard when Arbriel's Totenkopf allies finally showed up, accompanied by ten large barrels of the new plague ready to launch.
At Arbriel's order, the plague was unleashed upon friend and foe alike. However, unlike the small test group in his church, these victims died quickly, then rose again as the walking dead. Shocked by the sight of these undead, but still eager to die, Arbriel drank his poisoned vial as Ansgar and Traugott drifted to sleep next to him. He fell to his knees and then collapsed altogether, preparing to finally see the face of Cardia.
The Winds of WrathEdit
- "Misery. That's all that's left in this forsaken land. There is no hope of salvation."
- —Arbriel to the Wretched
To his horror and utter disgust, Arbriel woke to find himself still attached to the cursed world of flesh. He screamed in anguish, enraged that his chance at peace had been stolen from him. The reflection he saw was not his own, but of a twisted, monstrous undead thing.
Unlike the mindless, shambling undead he saw around him, he could still think, though he could not escape one thing: the hunger. He hungered for flesh, just as his mindless brothers did, and more than that...he hungered for vengeance. He would drown the world in misery, if only to make others feel what he felt. Ansgar and Traugott, his two ever loyal aides, swore to help make his vision of wrath come true.
Arbriel's forces took Remonton by storm, forcing both Dylas's and the Stewards' armies to flee and thus putting an end to the brief but brutal civil war. After he had taken over Remonton, Arbriel began focusing his efforts on ending all life in Remon one city at a time with his ever-growing undead horde.
Aliases and NicknamesEdit
- Used by those who respect him.
- What he has come to be known by the survivors in Remon. His haunted gaze watches their every move as he waits for a chance to strike.
- Used by those who knew him as a child.
Longish blond hair, blue eyes, medium build, nice smile. Usually wears white robes. His appearance has been tainted by undeath, and his once-fair skin is now gray and decaying, his hair has turned gray, and his eyes have taken on an inhuman red glow. His white robes are beginning to become tattered and bloodstained.
Personality and TraitsEdit
As a human, he was young, attractive, charismatic...and all the more dangerous for it. He truly felt it was his duty to bring peace to the people, and in his own words, "death is the only true peace." He believed that Cardia died to show them the true path...and to follow their god's example was the only way to find salvation. Following his rise to undeath, he is extremely bitter and ruthless, wishing only for the suffering of others.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Arbriel was once a skilled white mage. He is now a powerful undead lord, a Deathwatcher, with the ability to control lesser undead and even weak-willed living creatures. He, like all undead, hungers for the flesh of the living...though unlike his brethren, he finds pleasure in prolonging his meals as long as possible.
Ansgar and Arbriel have been companions for years, seeing each other through thick and thin. Ansgar would do anything for Arbriel, and Arbriel in turn is very thankful for such a devoted follower.
Arbriel knew Abel better as Cain, and served him loyally. Though the two didn't converse much after their initial meeting, Arbriel respected the man and was very grateful for his help.
Traugott, like Ansgar, would do anything to serve Arbriel. He has looked up to the man for years, seeing him as a father figure despite the small difference in their ages. Though Arbriel doesn't keep Traugott as close as he keeps Ansgar, he still looks at him as a worthy and much appreciated follower.
Though the two knew each other for a relatively short period of time, Arbriel came to respect the half-elf mage quite a bit, and found her unique features beautiful, though he never let his feelings get in the way of his mission. Had Arbriel taken a different path, he might've come to care about her as more than a friend.