The Fkashdad War
Dragonborn Paladin of the Raven Queen
Male Dragonborn Paladin
Human age equivalent: 19
Deity: Raven Queen (Unaligned)
Paragon Path: Justiciar
Born and raised in the town of Reddell in Pembrosia, Rostam grew up the son of two average, Pelor-worshipping Dragonborn. He has one younger brother by a year, Betzalel, who is a cleric of Pelor in a town near Reddell and to Rostam he is the favored child.
At an early age Rostam became fascinated with the tales of the ancient Dragonborn empire that once ruled the world. What started as imagination-fueled fascination turned to genuine scholarly interest as Rostam got a little older. At first, Rostam idolized the old civilization, seeing it in his mind’s eye as a magnificent utopia which benevolently guided the world into enlightenment. It became almost like an imaginary friend for him, and he acted very antisocially as a result (preferring to sequester himself with a history or learning a lesson rather than play with friends). However, in spite of this, Rostam was always well liked and seen as a respectable and charming, though very odd, child. As Rostam matured he began to see the discrepancies between the modern world, and the state of the dragonborn people with the way they had once been. Rostam began to look at the dragonborn as a fallen people; and he became angry and sorrowful over the loss of stature and prowess the dragonborn had sufferered. And so, at an early age (about human equivalent 11) Rostam was already an outspoken advocate for a return to traditional Dragonborn pride and that they should unite as a people and bring back the empire to help guide the world into a new golden age.
For the most part, people reacted to Rostam’s ideas postively. It seemed almost novel to them that this child was so knowledgeable and opinionated on a subject. There were also Dragonborn who were proud of Rostam for having such ideas and who agreed with him, though they were few. Most people saw Rostam’s ideas as a kind of quirk, though there were some who found it annoying and perhaps even an early sign of bigotry and racial superiority. In particular, as Rostam got a little older, he became even more fervent about this idea until his parents told him that he was getting out of control (prosteltyzing in the streets, etc.) Rostam became very angry, and in typical teenage rebellion saw his family as some kind of race traitors. His anger quickly turned to despair and depression, and Rostam (with raging teenage angst) began to see his entire endeavour as folly. People were too complacent and the dragonborn had fallen too far to ever reclaim such a glorious past; perhaps the dragonborn were unworthy, or perhaps Rostam himself was the one who was unworthy and thus unable to convince others.
Soon, when Rostam was human equivalent 15, he met Aranhrod, a tiefling cleric of the Raven Queen. Rostam had always been a devotee of Pelor, like his family, with a strong interest in Bahamut as well because of his studies. One day, a fire in the marketplace of Reddell broke out and a building collapsed, causing about a dozen casualties and many injuries. Not a catastrophe by most standards, but for a fairly quiet town like Reddell it made a big impact, and for Rostam it was very frightening, especially since 2 of his schoolmates were killed in the incident. One of them, Manash, was actually one of the few people Rostam called a friend and had shared some of Rostam’s interest in the ancient empire. Aranhrod was summoned to Reddell to perform special Raven Queen funeral rites to help give easy passage to the underworld for those who had passed. During the funeral, Rostam listened closely to her words and found himself deeply moved by them. Aranrhod spoke of the cyclical nature of life and death, that those things that were gone were simply existing in a new way. That life was simply a natural passage into death, and that to shun death was to disrespect the beauty of both.
Rostam approached Aranrhod after the funeral, confused by his first real encounter with death. He asked Aranrhod if it was also natural for towns, ideas, and whole empires to die as well, to which Aranrhod responded yes. She took up a residency to help council and guide the families of the dead for 2 months. During those months Rostam visited her everyday and discussed his ideas about the dragonborn, as well as the nature of death. Aranrhod found Rostam to be a strange but intriguing youth, as many of the town had felt about him, and indulged his love for telling tales of the old empire. She saw it as a kind of grief, and soon Rostam began to understand his love of the empire and lamenting of its loss in the same way. The same teachings that Aranrhod used to help people accept death she used to help Rostam understand why he had to accept that the kingdom was gone. Rostam began seeing things Aranrhod’s way, and by the end of her two month stay Rostam knew he wanted to become a devotee of the Raven Queen. Although, Rostam always wondered secretly about the parts of the Raven Queen’s teachings that spoke of cycle, thinking that perhaps it was only a matter of time or revolutions before the empire could actually return. His family never quite took a liking to his new devotion to the Raven Queen, but were glad to see that Rostam was at least interested in something new. Rostam left Reddell at 15 for a nearby Raven Queen temple and studied to become a paladin there, where he approached the Raven Queen’s teachings with the same vigor that he approached dragonborn history.
PARAGON YEAR OFF
Rostam decided to celebrate his party’s victory by finally acting on his interest in the dragonborn agent Sarani whose path he had crossed multiple times on his adventures. He and Sarani both had feelings for each other, and they quickly became very serious about their relationship and Rostam stayed with her for 2 months (though it seemed much longer to both of them). However, despite the happiness Sarani brought him, Rostam felt unfulfilled and hollow.
One night, Rostam found himself having a vivid dream. In it he was wandering through a graveyard searching for the tomb of his family who had somehow died. He found himself lost in a maze of headstones and sepulchres, until he came across a gigantic canyon. At the bottom of the canyon was the body of a huge elder golden dragon. Rostam climbed down to the dragon, hoping to help it, only to discover it was a rotting corpse. Rostam saw the twisted dragon cadaver stretching almost beyond his vision; there were jutting bones and exposed maggot ridden rotting flesh. All across the body, crows and ravens were feasting. As he stared at it, the body became a collapsing ruined city: bones became buildings and meat became rubble and the crows picked at the ruins themselves. He wandered amongst the ruins, still looking for a grave, but instead of his family’s grave he was now looking for his own. He came to a huge, ominous tomb covered in ravens and knew it was his. He heard a great roar, and the ravens fled to the sky in panic. He glanced up and at the top of the canyon saw another elder dragon, only this one was living and black. A figure stood with the dragon. And then Rostam awoke.
The dream was so real to Rostam that he knew it was some kind of vision from the Raven Queen. The next day he told Sarani he was leaving her. Furious at him, she called him a coward and betrayer. Rostam left in silence, left a letter to be delivered to his family containing his intentions, and, mourning the loss of his happiness, made his way to FORGOT NAME OF TOWN WILL CALL RAVENFORT FOR NOW in order to further his studies of the Raven Queen.
Rostam eventually arrived at Ravenfort after a long journey and announced his intentions to further his training and become a Justiciar of the Raven Queen. He had renounced his ties to the plane of the living by leaving Sarani. After the dream, Rostam felt that he had to renounce all true ties to the living world to truly serve the Raven Queen best. At Ravenfort, Rostam ran into another familiar face, Dylanthien, an Elven Ravenqueen worshipper whose devotion had also taken him to Ravenfort. During his stay, Rostam would often exchange thoughts and stories with Dylanthien and they became good friends to one another.
However, the most important relationship Rostam would develop would be the one with his mentor Manai, a deva priestess of the Raven Queen. Manai was a strict teacher, and Rostam studied with her for close to 9 months. Manai took an interest in teaching Rostam when he revealed his dream to her. She confirmed that it was a vision from the Raven Queen, though seemed uncertain about its cryptic nature. During his 9 months of training Rostam learned religious rites and texts, studied histories, performed rituals, meditated on death and mortality, and, most of all, practiced defending others against the undead and protecting the living from unnatural dangers to maintain the balance. Manai and Rostam acted strictly as pupil and mentor, but on Rostam’s last day of training to become ordained as a Justiciar Manai became briefly open and sentimental. She expressed her belief that Rostam would do well in the world and would serve the Raven Queen righteously, and she gave him a parting gift: a ring with the ancient Dragon Emperor’s insignia. A genuine artifact of the old empire. She said that she had held the ring for some time, but that Rostam’s devotion to the Raven Queen and to his people made her feel he deserved to receive it. Surprised, Rostam accepted the ring. Shortly after this, he was summoned to return to Sentinel City to regroup with his old comrades to fight a looming threat…