Ashenii'Norel Vas Manetheren
Cleric of Sarenrae
A handsome dark-skinned, green eyed man. He stands about six feet tall. His shoulder length black hair conceals a nasty ear wound and a deep scar.
All Ashen knows of his birth is he was found by a group of traveling entertainers, the leader of which “adopted” him as a child. His adoptive family consisted of an older brother and his parents, the joint leaders of the troupe. Ashen grew up with this group, eventually learning the secret to the remarkably good living his family made. The entire troupe was also a gigantic roving band of thieves. They would entertain, of course, but many, if not all, of the entertainers were also talented pickpockets. People would end up drunk and penniless. One day though, they made fools of the wrong people…
One stormy night, raiders attacked the troupe. Turns out the latest group of “customers” caught on and were none too happy about what had transpired. It was a massacre. The raiders robbed, raped and pillaged the rather large caravan. As Ashen and his family hid inside their tent, a gigantic ox of a man entered with a menacing grin. Ashen’s father jumped into action, but was swiftly cut down by the raider’s axe. Ashen’s mother screamed and clutched onto his brother. They both slowly crept away from the approaching mad man. A moment of intense emotion gripped Ashen. He was distraught over his mother choosing not to protect him as well, and angry about what had just happened to his father. In a moment of pure instinct, he grasped for his father’s dagger and lunged towards the attacker. The blade sunk deep into the raider’s thigh. Ashen was immediately swatted back losing his grip on the dagger. The raider roared as he reached down and pulled out the dagger… sealing his fate. In his rage, Ashen had managed to nick an artery. A moment of furious attacking from the axeman was all Ashen had to endure before the mountain of a man collapsed before him. He couldn’t believe it. He had just slain a man bigger than anything he had ever seen. He looked around for his family… they were gone. His mother had taken the chance to escape to freedom out the back. As Ashen turned back around, he saw a new face enter his tent. The leader of the raiders…
Fast forward a few years, Ashen has now taken up a position of power among these bandits. He was trained by the leader of the bandits himself, Belin’Norel. Impressed by the child’s ability to take down his most feared lieutenant, Belin’Torah took it upon himself to train the boy to take his place. It worked out beautifully. Ashen proved to be a capable fighter, but the boy made an even better leader. He made good decisions. Something many bandits simply cannot do. He spent many of his days robbing, pillaging and murdering. Until that day…
The raiders had been pillaging the coast of Osirion to quite a profit. The desert coastal villages were rather wealthy for their small size. The lack of any real resistance meant daytime raids were even possible, speeding things up quite nicely. Things were going quite well until they met some resistance outside of Oorla. A heavily armored man with a flaming sword led some traditional soldiers from Sothis to rout the bandits. Infuriated, Ashen waited until nightfall before attempting again. He personally led the assault. It was to be obliteration. Nothing was to be left, not even a single dog. As they worked their way through the village, Ashen burst into a house short swords drawn. He saw a mother clutching her two children, hiding beneath a dining table. A harsh realization hit him as he hesitated.
“What’s wrong, vermin?” A bellowing voice called out from behind him.
Ashen spun around, ready to charge… but held himself as he saw who was before him. His appearance was remarkable. The white gold armor that should have killed the man in the desert sun, but somehow did not, glittered in the moonlight. His clean shaven face, his well kept short hair. His muscle tone clear even beneath the armor. If ever there were a more defining example of what a Holy Knight should look like, Ashen could not think of it. On his hip, a sword. Sheathed.
“You will pay for the death’s of my men, …sir.” Even in his defiance, he dare not insult the man. The man’s aura, his mere presence commanded respect.
“I highly doubt that, Ashenii’Norel. Your bandit’s reign of terror on our coasts has come to an end.” At that, the man drew his sword. Immediately the sword was engulfed in a magical, impossibly bright flame. “I, Balthazar the Second, chosen of the Everlight, shall see to that.” And he charged…
The battle was quick, but not instant. The wounds Ashen received instantly cauterized by the holy fire. He managed to get a good blow in between the plates of Balthazar’s armor, a bit of blood flowed from his side. But ultimately, Ashen stood no chance. He lay beaten, burned and defeated at the feet of the paladin. His eyes open, he sees the man above him looking somehow even more dignified with the battle wound. His flaming sword pointed straight at his neck, inches away.
“You are defeated, Ashenii’Norel. As are your men. And soon, even your leader shall feel the Dawnflower’s justice. Do you have any last words before I send you to your judgment?” His piercing stare seemingly looking right into Ashen’s soul.
Ashen coughs up a bit of blood. “Only regrets. Kill the bastard. He made me into this…” His once buried true feelings slightly surprise Ashen.
At that, Balthazar raises a brow “If I were to let you live, Ashenii’Norel, what would you do?”
Shocked, Ashen quickly responds “I’d kill Belin. And then… I don’t know.”
“Hmm,” Balthazar ponders, “I cannot let you do that. It is not up to you to judge whether Belin lives or dies. But…” He pulls his sword back, sheathing it as the flames expire. “I can have you accompanied back to Sothis. There you will be held prisoner in the Temple of the Eternal Sun until I return. We will see what to do from there.”
Ashen reluctantly agrees.
Many years later, Ashen emerges as one of the more competent battle clerics of Sarenrae. His old life completely behind him. Belin’Norel managed to evade Balthazar, but that is barely even a concern for Ashen anymore. At the encouragement of Balthazar, Ashen ventures forth to the north to spread the word of the Everlight to the peoples there. And hopefully, show people like him there is much more to life than banditry…