The Rhodene Marches
Physically, Jhediah is slightly taller than most humans, standing 6’2” in height. As a half-elf, his physique is slender and graceful, though he is more muscular than most of his kind. His ears are longer than those of a human, and gracefully pointed, but not to the extent of an elf’s. His eyes are wide and almond-shaped, like an elf’s, and dominated by large violet pupils.
Jhediah’s hair is almost universally silver-blond, worn in long angular bangs over his ears, down the nape of his neck, and across his forehead. The exception to his hair’s coloration is a long shock of jet-black hair which usually sits in the middle of his forehead, stubbornly holding its color despite any attempt to dye it otherwise. This solitary feature which distinguishes him physically from his twin Jhordin is also the source of the appellation by which he is most commonly known: “Ravenlock.”
Though he has no beard to speak of, his jawline seems perpetually outline by a thin line of silver-white hair of about one day’s growth, which never seems to get any thicker.
In combat or while exploring, Jhediah traditionally dresses himself in a surprisingly light and supple leather cuirass, covered by black silk with red piping. White steel plate mail covers his shoulders, shins, and feet, and a long skirt-like set of black leather tassets protects his things and groin. Despite its relatively form-fitting appearance, Jhediah’s armour in no way interferes with his freedom of movement while swinging his blade or casting a spell.
Once jovial, personable, and persuasive, Jhediah’s manner has been changed by his life experiences, leaving him rather hardened, pragmatic, and reserved. He typically speaks only when necessary, preferring to let his actions speak for him. When he does speak, it is not unusual for his words to be tinged by sarcasm. Once inseparable from his twin Jhordin, Jhediah has become a quintessential loner, with few real friends and no true home other than where he lays his pack. His one true constant companion, and the one force capable of softening his hardened heart and restoring him to the affable nature he once put forth, is his love Elspeth, yet even her constant presence in his life is tempered by sadness in the realization that so long as her soul is perpetually bound within his black blade, they can never truly be together as they once were.
Jhediah “Ravenlock” Mallor is generally reluctant to reveal more than broad details about his early life, even to those whom he considers friends. Whether this is due to some shame, fear, or other motivating factor is equally unexplained. From his physical appearance, it is obvious that he is a young half-elf (“young” being a relative term when speaking of that race, of course); what little can be gleaned from occasional offhand references reveals that along with his identical twin brother Jhordin, Jhediah is the son of a human father (a swordsman) and an elven mother (a sorceress), and that his parents were itinerant members of the Pathfinder Society who disappeared on an unknown mission when the boys were toddlers. The twins were left to be raised by their father’s brother, a hard (some would say cruel) man who did all he could to dissuade the twins from following in their parents’ footsteps – more for his own selfish interest than out of concern for his nephews, it would seem.
By his own telling, Jhediah’s story truly begins at the age of 16. Upon the death of their uncle (the mysterious circumstances of which are still the subject of local rumours, years later), Jhediah and Jhordin fled their small village to put their innate talents to good use as travelling swordsmen and gentlemen adventurers before presenting themselves to the nearest Pathfinder Society lodge for membership six months later. Their brief but notable reputations, along with the recommendation of a Pathfinder by the name of Marcus Kheyne, who had worked with their parents, led to the twins’ swift induction into the Society, where they served with distinction for nearly a decade under Marcus’s watch, uncovering lost artifacts, exploring untamed lands and facing untold dangers side by side.
Approximately two years ago, Jhediah and Jhordin began to express some dissatisfaction with the Pathfinders’ altruistic goals of exploration, research and discovery. Claiming that time had jaded them to the beneficent nature of the Pathfinder Society, the twins openly expressed a desire to put their skills and expertise to more profitable ends. This declaration put them at odds with their mentor, Marcus Kheyne, and ultimately led them to leave the Society and join a rival faction, the Blackwolf Coalition, a small but growing collective of formers Pathfinders, mercenaries and profiteers set on making a profit from their explorations, often in direct opposition to Pathfinder agents. Unknown to anyone outside of the highest echelons of the Pathfinder Society (with one exception), Jhediah and Jhordin were secretly assigned to infiltrate a Blackwolf cell which called itself the Blackwolf Claws on behalf of the Pathfinders, gathering information and undermining their efforts where possible. Jhediah and Jhordin took on the role of the team’s weapons experts and finesse fighters, weaving in and out of combat to clear a path for the others when needed.
The twins’ infiltration seemed doomed from the start, as the brothers began to genuinely sympathize with their new compatriots’ views; compounding this, Jhediah fell in love with Elspeth Solanwynn, the human sorceress who served as the group’s expert in all things arcane. Nonetheless, Jhediah and Jhordin were able to maintain their cover and regularly report back to the Pathfinders’ on their findings.
Though they were successful in most of their endeavours and outings over the next year, making a significant profit for themselves and the Blackwolf Coalition, it is for their last, tragic, mission that the Blackwolf Claws will best be remembered. The group was assigned to explore and plunder a newly uncovered desert tomb from the Tethisian Dynasty, an age of sorcerer-kings who ruled much of the world millennia ago before being brought down by the world-changing event known only as the Cataclysm. Deep within the bowels of the underground tomb complex, the group came upon a seemingly power-mad and immortal mage who wielded the might of the last sorcerer-king. Hopeless outmatched (and knowing it), the team attempted to hold their own long enough to engineer an escape plan, but the results were disastrous. Several of the group’s members were slain or grievously wounded, and Jhediah’s brother was drained of much of his life force by the mage (though he would later recover). Jhediah found his will was dominated by the mage, and he was forced to watch from within his mind’s eye as the mage used him to slay Elspeth with his bastard sword, an act which inexplicably caused the sword’s blade to turn from shiny steel to coal-black crystal. In a final act of desperation, the group’s cleric used the last of his magics to cast a teleportation spell which transported the Blackwolf Fangs, alive or dead, to “safety” far from the tomb, sacrificing his life in the process.
In the wake of this disastrous mission, the remaining Fangs drifted apart thereafter. While Jhordin returned to the Pathfinders to heal, Jhediah took his first steps in life without his brother, setting out on his own as he tried to come to grips with the death of Elspeth and his own unwitting role in her murder, as well as the fact that he now seemed irrevocably bound to the black blade which had killed her.
Over the next several months, Jhediah wandered far and wide across the continent, never content to settle in one place long. He also learned two important secrets about his black blade. First, it seemed to have awoken in him the spark of magic inherited from his elven mother’s sorcerous bloodline, allowing him to cast a limited number of spells. Second, and more importantly, he learned that the black blade actually houses the spirit of Elspeth Solanwynn, the blade’s own innate magic having interacted with Elspeth’s own to unexpectedly draw in her soul at the moment of her physical death. Jhediah has learned that so long as he is in physical contact with the black blade, he can communicate telepathically with Elspeth’s spirit.
Heartened by the revelation of his lover’s ultimate survival, Jhediah has begun to emerge from that place of despair and darkness he had consigned himself to in the wake of her “death.” With Elspeth’s guidance and strength, Jhediah is also learning to wield his newfound magic directly through the black blade, in a manner reminiscent of the ancient elven art of the duskblade (which humans bastardized into the tradition of the magus). At this point, Jhediah’s own grasp of magic is still relatively weak and unrefined, and while he initially needed to prepare and cast his spells in the manner of a wizard, he has recently overcome this limitation, and now casts spells in the spontaneous manner his sorcerous heritage makes him heir to.
Three months ago, Jhediah returned at last to the Pathfinder Society’s base of operations in the Silver Millennium kingdom, only to find his brother gone, with conflicting stories as to where and for what purpose. From what Jhediah has been able to piece together, Jhordin was assigned to a dangerous expedition across the Sea of Stars to the Rhodene Marches. His last report to the Pathfinder Society also included an encoded message to Jhediah himself:
“Find me, my brother, when you can. I will be waiting.”
Armed with the knowledge of his brother’s last know location in Ragnarok and his apparent destination, Jhediah has set out on a mission to find his lost brother, which he refuses to consider a “rescue.” Along the way, he has become caught up in the political intrigue of Ragnarok and fallen in with a group of adventurers who have been tasked with exploring the Marches and establishing the royal demesne of Kynnys therein, centered on the growing port town of Winterhaven Crossing. Not entirely happy to be distracted from his task of finding Jhordin, Jhediah is at least assuaged by Elspeth’s growing insistence that this is all part of some greater destiny, and the fact that Winterhaven Crossing itself serves as an adequate base from which to continue his search.
Initially tasked with taking on the role of the Magister of Kynnys and its environs, Jhediah has recently left that post, feeling himself truly more of student of magic than a teacher. Instead, he has taken on the role of “Kingdom Champion.”
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