The Way of the Wicked - It's Good to be Bad
Despite his great strength, Karlat appears surprisingly thin, a likely product of his elven blood. His blond hair hangs neatly just past his ears, and his skin is a similar, softer gold. If he wasn’t wearing shackles and in prisoner’s rags, he would give off the appearance of any affable young man on the street.
(Obviously, Karlat doesn’t look like the picture to the right entirely. Yet, anyway)
Karlat is the product of many different bloodlines intermingling. The most obvious ones are human and elven, but his bloodline has seen both the purity of a metallic dragon and the corruption of a demon. Given his life choices up to this point, it seems like the demonic part of his heritage is coming out on top.
Karlat is the second of three children in a minor noble house of Barca. His older brother (Callen) is a paladin in the service of Mitra, his younger sister (Giselle) a cleric. Though close as children, the three had drifted apart as each found their true calling. It was in his childhood that the first seeds of his obsession with House Barca’s near elevation to monarchy were planted.
Karlat’s grandmother, Lilien, had been a bard of modest success in her youth. She would often spend an hour or two with Karlat before bed, regaling him with tales and songs. His favorite was the story of how House Barca nearly became rulers of Talingarde. Karlat dreamed of what it might be like to become king – never mind that he was the second son of a minor noble house.
In his adolescence, Karlat remained close with his grandmother. She took more of an interest in his schooling and training than with his siblings; likely because he struck her as most likely of the three to leave Talingarde and do some adventuring, as she had done. Lilien urged him to explore the different possibilities that were open to him as a middle son. Karlat learned at this point in time that studying to become a paladin or cleric of the Church was not for him – especially since it seemed the House played second fiddle to House Darius in any court.
This rankled at Karlat’s pride. What had House Darius done that Barca could not? Indeed, House Darius had been infiltrated by agents of Asmodeus, and many had suffered under the mad king’s rule. House Barca was made of sterner stuff, he thought. After all, elves as a whole seemed to come across a lot better in the history books than did humans, and House Barca was half-elven. They would likely have not succumbed to the god’s influence.
Karlat began looking further into the fall of the mad king and the purge of the Asmodean faith in Talingarde. As he learned more about the tenets of the faith, he found himself identifying far more with its philosophy of power to those willing to take it than the blind charity of the Church of Mitra. In his mind, he saw the purge as an act of fear; fear on the part of the monarchy that the Asmodeans posed a threat to their power. This intrigued Karlat even more.
In relatively short order, Karlat found himself immersed in the Asmodean faith. He became so engrossed that even the rest of his family noticed his withdrawal from their affairs. Though he had never been extremely talkative, he used to be affable and sociable. Now, it seemed every meal he had he took up to his room, or when that wasn’t an option, he left early. Perhaps his grandmother might have turned him from the path he was treading down; but she had fallen ill to old age, often repeating herself, forgetting what she was doing, and other such ailments. Perhaps if she had not fallen ill, his family might have also intervened. Alas, not the case.
Karlat’s devotion and potential proved sufficient to attract Asmodeus’s attention. Through a ceremony he had found in his research, Karlat anointed himself an antipaladin in the archdevil’s name. With that done, he sought to increase the archdevil’s flock in secret until there were enough to challenge the Talingardian status quo. Unfortunately for him, Karlat was eventually discovered in his heresy by Sir Balin of Karfeld. “Mitra may forgive you yet for your lies. Talingarde will not,” the knight said.
None were more surprised at Karlat’s actions than his own family, who could only watch in horror and disbelief as he was tried and convicted. Callen condemned him on the witness stand, stating that such evil needed to be purged from the family, even as a garden must be pruned. His mother (Surana) and father (Zeran) gave wooden testimonies, their faces still blank with shock. Giselle wept for him, and even pleaded to the judge to show mercy and allow Karlat the chance to repent. But as Karlat showed no signs of repentance, the judge ruled him guilty of heresy, and sentenced him to wait for three days in Branderscar Prison before he would be burned.
For better or for worse, Karlat’s family did not inform Lilien of his fall to darkness. Her moments of lucidity were sporadic these days, and they did not wish to have any of them marred by sorrow.