Seeroth the Dark

There have been many arcane figures of renown throughout Drm’s history. From the most powerful wizard, Mammun the Maker, to great heroes like Mycrona the Bright, to those responsible for some of the greatest calamities like Sycolthor the Grand, speakers of The Word have ever played a role in the shaping of the continent-realm. However, for all their power, heroics, and scandals, none of these forebears have reached the pinnacle of recognition as has Seeroth the Dark, the Last Emperor of Vhendimmoth.

Seeroth the Dark occupies a unique place in Drmian history. Although he is one of Crin’s Sacred, Seeroth is often portrayed in myths and legends as possessing a far greater important role in the direction the continent-role has taken than his fellows and his predecessors. From his birth in the final decades of the Vhendimmothian Empire to his actions at the close of The Darkhold, Seeroth is believed to have steered events across the continent-realm to achieve some goal that he has never shared with any, not even his closest allies. From chirpto plays and the Elven Bards’ Tales to the Diary of Drenicus, Seeroth is always represented as an enigmatic figure and these representations seem to resonate with what history says about the Last Emperor. Even vying scholarly factions, particularly the camps of Xpa the Renown and Duke Dentun, tend to agree that Seeroth’s legends seem to match the facts. Still, Seeroth somehow remains the most mysterious of the Sacred. By the middle of The Darkhold, it is known that the various leaders of the Noon Alliance had grown distrustful of Seeroth and began to question his tactics and his ultimate goals. Indeed, even his oldest friends and allies are said to have viewed him warily by the end of The Darkhold. However, Seeroth is one of the few Heroes of Noon believed to have survived the final confrontation with T’Oth Maldran although his whereabouts and current goals are open to speculation. This exposition on Seeroth is based upon his legend as well as upon historical references made regarding his person.

Seeroth was a fairly tall man with a slender frame. His skin was bronze and his pupils were black, although like the rest of the Sacred, the entirety of his eyes would be black after his baptism in the Unholy Pool of Immortality. Often represented as having a small, knowing smirk on a handsome face, Seeroth possessed a deep voice and tended to speak slowly and calmly regardless of the situation. He favored flowing, somewhat intimidating robes and cloaks of rich, expensive fabrics dominated by black and violet; he usually wore some kind of scholar’s cap or crown over his bald head. By the time The Darkhold began to smother Drm, Seeroth had taken to always wearing the famous Crown of Sycolthor and the Robe of the Darks. Like the other Sacred, he had a sentinel’s tattoo, although his was an image well known to the learned: the Seven Spheres surrounded by a black circle.

Seeroth was the only child born to the Emperor of Vhendimmoth, Zytun II, and his bride Sorellia, a princess of Yahilli, sometime in the mid 900s of the Age of Darkness. Sorellia was said to have been a beautiful woman with near onyx skin and alluring, almost black eyes. Legends have it that she was an Ausarii priestess, one of the chief gods of the Yahillians even to this day. As now, Ausari was associated with mysteries and guidance to her faithful, although she was also a god of the night. Even during Zytun II rule, it was said that Sorellia cast a spell on the Emperor who, prior to taking her as his bride, was well known for what we would consider to be womanizing. During their short time together, the Emperor never cheated on his wife and their union greatly pleased not just the Imperial Court, but the entirety of Vhendimmoth. Tradition holds that the two were wed for six years before Sorellia conceived. This is an unusually long time for an imperial pregnancy to occur and Xpa the Renown suspects that here there may be some room for doubt. In any case, Sorellia died shortly after bringing her only son into the world but not before she named him Seeroth. In losing his beloved wife, Zytun II swore never to remarry and, although he continued to take many concubines, it is said that he only revealed an honest smile when he played with his only son.

Seeroth was the only child in the Fortress. This was not particularly unusual since Vhendimmothians, particularly the nobility, were familiar with the idea of contraception. However, not even Sycolthor the Grand, the Emperor’s brother and most trusted advisor, had children. Seeroth would spend a lot of time being raised by both Zytun’s and Sycolthor’s concubines. If the Diary of Drenicus is believed, Seeroth was a mischievous, willful child who routinely outwitted his caretakers, a situation that resulted in at least one of Sycolthor’s mistresses to beg to be banished from Fortens’ Keep. It was for this and the young prince’s loneliness that Zytun ordered that a playmate be found for Seeroth. While the Diary of Drenicus states that the author was brought to Fortens’ Keep through the guidance of Celzar, some suspect that Zytun himself, who was blessed with foresight, told his Imperial Sentinels where to find a suitable playmate. As luck would have it, Seeroth and Drenicus became friends in spite of the fact that Seeroth was Drenicus’ master.

Seeroth was often visited by the famed Crin the Sacred, the elderly hero of the Demon Wars. Now one of the greatest Sentinels in the Empire, Crin had trained both Zytun and Sycolthor in the ways of The Word and now turned his attention to Seeroth the Dark. What Crin saw in Seeroth has been a source of much speculation over the centuries. According to the Diary of Drenicus, once Seeroth was seven years old, Crin often took him away for days at a time. What transpired during these times is unknown. It is widely believed that Crin, who possessed a powerful form of foresight, knew that Seeroth was destined to shape the world, although not even his keen intellect could determine if this would be for good or ill. In any event, the Diary of Drenicus writes that in Seeroth, Crin found a depth so profound in the child that it frightened him. One thing is clear from this: Seeroth was receiving arcane training well before the other Sacred.

As is the case with the rest of the Sacred, it is unclear when Seeroth officially entered Crin’s Academy. What is known is that Seeroth was the star pupil of the school. The Diary of Drenicus paints Seeroth as simultaneously arrogant and modest. On the one hand, he was not afraid to show off his exceptional skill with The Word; on the other hand, he did his best to help his classmates without belittling them. Of the Sacred and probably of most of his classmates, Seeroth concentrated exclusively in The Word. Legends, plays, and the Diary of Drenicus indicate that Seeroth believed that through The Word, mortals could not only achieve true immortality (rather than that found in art), but that they could eventually rival the power of the Aldra themselves. While it is known that of all the various Imperial Lines that the Darks were the least religious, not even Sycolthor the Grand would blatantly make such comments (indeed, Sycolthor made heavy use of divine insight). Seeroth was apparently not afraid to make this attitude clear, occasionally causing scandals in the Empire with his words. He believed that the gods, while powerful and immortal, were not the Ultimate. They were “divine” in a sense, but he did not believe they were perfect or all-knowing and certainly not worthy of wholesale commitment from strong mortals. The gods, in Seeroth’s mind, were for the weak, for those in need of something greater than themselves, for those who could not find the greatness in their own being. If there was anything that routinely frustrated both Anninarcus and Drenicus about their friend it was this one element. Although Drenicus never uses the term, it is clear that he perceived Seeroth as a blasphemer.

Seeroth’s relationship with his father and uncle has been a source of much speculation. According to legend, Seeroth rarely interacted with his father and, if some of the Elven Bards’ Tales are believed, he had a very adversarial relationship with Sycolthor. The Diary of Drenicus pointedly contradicts these positions. According to Drenicus, Zytun possessed a great deal of pride in his son, although he rarely showed it. He was often occupied with other thoughts and concerns and Seeroth is said to have felt this neglect strongly. While Seeroth viewed Crin the Sacred as a alternative father-figure, in Sycolthor he found a friendly competitor. Seeroth’s goal as a young man was to be as great an arcanist as his uncle and Sycolthor was aware of his nephew’s goal. Drenicus writes that Sycolthor was very fond of Seeroth and often took him aside to show him magic well beyond his range at the time. Sycolthor is not believed to have had any children and Drenicus all but states that the Fallen Emperor viewed Seeroth as his own son.

Some scholars have jumped at this possibility that Seeroth may well have been Sycolthor’s son rather than Zytun’s. Afterall, Zytun and Sycolthor were twins and Seeroth was said to strongly resemble them. However, Duke Dentun of the Valernus Library has issued a number of particularly scathing retorts on the suggestion, noting that throughout the Diary of Drenicus, legends, plays, and Elven Bards’ Tales, Zytun II is always recognized as Seeroth’s father. On one occasion, Dentun wrote that to “… seek out conspiracy where none exists is childish and unworthy of historical scholarship.” Xpa the Renown, although not as direct as his usual rival, has issued agreements to this line of thinking.

In 959 ADR, the unthinkable occurred. Zytun II abdicated the emperorship and exiled himself from Vhendimmoth. To his stunned brother he handed the Scepter of Vhendimmoth and the secrets of the Empire and disappeared, never to be seen again. According to the Diary of Drenicus, Zytun fled Fortens’ Keep without seeing his son; however, there are a number of Elven Bards’ Tales that report that Zytun did speak and visit with his son through dreams until the beginning of the Dragonhold. It is known that Seeroth was devastated and angered by his father’s abdication and that he never forgave him. However, Seeroth did read ancient texts written by his forebears, particularly the writings of Zytun the Dark. Within these pages, Seeroth is said to have learned that through his family, the Seven Spheres would eventually be gathered and The Godspell eventually cast. With this and whatever else Zytun the Dark wrote, Seeroth seemed to be more than prepared for what occurred shortly after his father disappeared.

The events that led to Seeroth stealing the Dracovomica and going on his Quest have become legend. The Great Red Wrath, Morganshium Maximmuth, had been released from his centuries long cursed slumber due to Sycolthor’s use of the Dracovomica to power his ascend spell. Although released, the effects of the curse still lingered and kept the Named One from his true target, Fortens’ Keep. Instead, Morganshium destroyed cities and towns in the southern and eastern sections of the empire as the curse slowly wore away. In a feigned attempt to show that he wished the attacks to end (which were simply feeding his ascend spell), Sycolthor issued an Imperial Call to Quest. When Seeroth offered to go, his uncle forebade it. So, possibly with advice from Crin the Sacred, Seeroth stole the Dracovomica and convinced his friends to join him. With this powerful artifact, Seeroth and his friends survived a number of misadventures as they tracked Morganshium. Along the way, Seeroth would meet later luminaries including Dalan the Wanderer and Zyxzrxzy the Ebon Rage. Although he and the surviving Questers managed to kill Morganshium over the city of Tetholas, this did not prove to be Seeroth’s greatest accomplishment during the Dragonhold. In defeating Morganshium, Seeroth awakened the imprisoned soul of Naseus Soulsunder who had been imprisoned in the artifact for over two hundred years.

The Named One convinced Seeroth to release him in his lair in the Moog. In return for his freedom, Naseus promised to not only let Seeroth and the other live, but to provide them with the truth behind the Dragonhold. Naseus explained that Sycolthor used the Dracovomica to summon dragons from across the continent-realm to help him empower his ascend spell (see The Dragonhold). Naseus promised Seeroth that both Sycolthor and Fortens’ Keep would fall for the Emperor’s actions. Somehow, in spite of Nasueus’ intentions to destroy his home and his uncle, Seeroth took a liking to the evil creature. The “affection” was apparently mutual, for Naseus would come to Seeroth’s aid thousands of years later. The nature of this “friendship” has been the source of speculation even in the Diary of Drenicus, but no answers have been provided.

After receiving the information he needed from Naseus, Seeroth rushed back to Fortens’ Keep to confront his uncle. While legends portray Sycolthor as enraged at his nephew, the Diary of Drenicus reports that the Fallen Emperor was more bewildered than upset. In any event, Sycolthor was unapologetic in his actions, claiming that his success would forever change Midlorr. Bequeathing his most prized possessions to Seeroth and Drenicus, Sycolthor magically removed them and the other Sacred from Fortens’ Keep. Seeroth, Drenicus wrote, knew that he would never see Fortens’ Keep as it was again the moment he and the others appeared in Mordrain’s Keep. Seeroth the Dark would become the Last Emperor of Vhendimmoth when Sycolthor fell in the cavern of the Unholy Pools.

After the destruction of his people and the end of his family, Seeroth parted company with his friends for a time. No one knows what Seeroth did between the Fall of Vhendimmoth and his sojourn to the Unholy Pool of Immortality. The Diary of Drenicus presumes that Seeroth traveled throughout the Wynding River Valley, possibly spending time in Worm’s Wood and perhaps in Quasii as well. There are plenty of legends told by the people of far away Tetholas that he traveled into what is now known as the Desolate South, apparently using the material he found in his ancestor’s writings to seek out the location of the Seven Spheres and possibly one of the Seven Oracles. The Elven Bards’ Tales say that he traveled back to the Moog in the Eternal Forest where he met with the Naseus again, hoping to learn more secrets from the green dragon. Whatever he did, something sparked Seeroth’s interest in traveling to Noon Woods. All of the legends and Drenicus’s writings agree that Seeroth was in the enchanted Woods for at least a while before he sought out his friends. Drenicus suspects that he may have been looking for the remains of his uncle or that he was retracing the footsteps of Zytun the Dark before he recovered the Dracovomica. No one knows for certain, but when Drenicus meets his friend again for the first time after the Fall of Vhendimmoth, he writes that Seeroth could barely contain his excitement and commitment to the plan he had.

With the help of Pandrila, Seeroth convinced Anninarcus and Drenicus to travel with him to the Unholy Pools where they would bathe in the Pool of Immortality. Drenicus writes that Seeroth’s argument for the act is that they now had a chance to rebuild Drm and possibly all of Midlorr; he believed that the reason they survived the Fall of Vhendimmoth was for them to live until the Great Reckoning. These comments fall in line with Seeroth’s attitudes regarding Humenity’s place in the Cosmos, his belief in mortal hegemony.

As all know, after bathing in the Unholy Pool of Immortality, only three of the Sacred escape the wrath of the enraged guardian of the cavern, Staunch the Covetous. Seeroth was trapped within. What happened to Seeroth during this time has never been determined, although a number of scholars have concocted several scenarios based upon what Seeroth supposedly hints at centuries later. Most believe that Seeroth somehow found himself in a chamber in which all of the Unholy Pools save the Pool of Ascension and the Pool of Oblivion were accessible. Through these Pools, Seeroth was privy to the answers to numerous mysteries, had access to the possible future of the world, and was able to not only look into but enter realities beyond the Mortal Coil. A minority also believe that Seeroth found “things” within the cavern, things that would prompt almost every decision he would make once he escaped the cavern. It is known that at the very least, Seeroth was able to leave the cavern with vials filled with the “liquids” of every Pool, including the Unholy Pool of Oblivion. The magical might necessary to accomplish such a feat has historically believed inaccessible to Seeroth and some believe that other hands may well have been involved. Still, these are all guesses and clues and Seeroth never divulged to anyone what he learned during his time in the cavern.

Seeroth also never explained how he escaped, although most believe that he simply used the Unholy Pool of Paths to reenter Drm. The amount of time Seeroth was trapped within the cavern is a subject of much debate. Some chirpto plays purport that he remained in the cavern for hundreds of years while other suggest that he was trapped for no more than a year. Duke Dentun has recently issued a succinct claim that Seeroth was trapped for precisely seven years.

Between his escape and The Darkhold, Seeroth traveled extensively, although only rarely was he seen in populated lands. He was apparently drawn to the most remote corners of the continent-realm. Legends have him as far north as the Isle of Knowledge, as far west as the Forest of Ages (this may be a confusion between him and Anninarcus, who is also associated with the legendary Forest), as far east as the Ash Mountains, and as far south as the Desolate South. He became associated with quests to find not only the Seven Spheres, but the Venom Fount of Demogorgon, the Burning Husk of Brymstone, the Lake of Eternal Dawn, and other fantastic artifacts and locations. On at least a few occasions, Seeroth was accompanied by Pandrila and possibly Anninarcus and Drenicus. These travels apparently proved fruitful for in 1154 AG, Seeroth and Pandrila arrived in Bainland with the Sphere of Power. While the Sphere became the focus of the Kingdom’s anticipated return to glory, Seeroth had other plans. In order to protect the Sphere, he and Pandrila created the Sacred Fortress, four towers that together created an almost impregnable maze within which they hid the Sphere. Seeroth also created the Sacred Eyes which he bade the wizards of Bainland to use in defense of their Kingdom. Seeroth left Bainland at that point and would only be rarely seen in the Green Kingdom thereafter. He relocated to the fledgling nation of Valdeze where he would remain for centuries and would be named the country’s official advisor by Archlord Orthus III in 1740 AG. While in Valdeze, Seeroth would design much of the architecture in the capital city, including the Aquaducts, the Silver Blood of Valernus, the High Court of Valdeze, and the Valernus Library. Until the not so distant past when the High Court forebade the practice, these locations drew a great deal of adventurers and treasure hunters vainly hoping to uncover any hidden rooms or paths.

During this “calm before the storm,” Seeroth’s activities are said to be that of a man in calm anticipation. Drenicus writes that Seeroth often had an especially annoying smirk on his face on the rare occasions they met. It is now believed by some that Seeroth likely knew what was happening and had been happening across the continent-realm. As T’Oth Maldran’s power grew, more lands witlessly became his ally as the Foreboding Order took shape. In Curoboria, the duruban, long angered at the losses they suffered over the centuries from Bainland, quickly fell under the control of Maldran’s “priests,” the Toths. Across the Zalphan Sea, places like Xyl and Asnan became havens of darkness, and the five “Demon Princes” were secretly returned to Midlorr through the intentional destruction of the Talismans. While there is no way to be certain, it is widely believed that Seeroth not only knew what was happening and did nothing to stop it, but that he knew it would happen long before the events occurred.

The Darkhold officially began when Curoboria attacked Bainland in 1966 AG. While Pandrila stood alone defending the Sacred Fortresses from the onslaught of Masteronus, Seeroth did not come to her aid. Although Drenicus does not state it, many tales state that Pandrila may well have tried to contact him and that he ignored her calls. Once the Sphere was taken, Seeroth continued to be slow in reacting. As Maldran’s forces quickly coalesced across the north and the west, defeating all those that stood in his way, Seeroth would advise Valdeze to remain neutral as long as possible even in the face of Curoborian aggression on the nation’s northern border. It was only when word came from Ashtur that T’Oth Maldran had been seen in 1972 that Seeroth became committed to the fight against the Foreboding Order.

When the nations in the Wynding River Valley formed an alliance, Seeroth called their leaders and powerful adventurers from across Drm to meet in the Noon Woods. There, Seeroth revealed that Maldran was not interested in simply dominion over Drm but that he wished to take the Seven Spheres. The war was nothing more than a decoy to draw the powers of Drm into conflict while Maldran’s greatest servants hunted down the Spheres. Seeroth declared that he would do the same. While the alliance, which he christened the Noon Alliance, fought against the Foreboding Order, he and others would fight against Maldran and his Forbidden Circle. These heroes would become known as the 13 Heroes of Noon.

Throughout the remainder of The Darkhold, the Heroes of Noon would battle against the Forbidden Circle. Some of the Heroes, including the other three Sacred, Arien Shadow, and Silverwood Vine, would fall by the end of the conflict. Throughout, Seeroth was present at each of his friend’s deaths (save Drenicus’), but was unable to help them. He was unable to save Pandrila when she was buried with Hallucimain in Agra Gura. He and Anninarcus were alone in the Halls of Screaming Blood when the latter trapped himself within a portal to The Abyss. Seeroth had no idea Drenicus had planned to confront Cabernasus alone. However, in 1991 AG, Seeroth and the remaining Heroes reached Mount Oblivon. Although his forces were shattered by the Noon Alliance, Maldran had acquired the Seven Spheres and was prepared to use them. In an act of foolish pride, he allowed Seeroth to reach the antechamber wherein he planned on taking on the power of the Seven. However, before Maldran could absorb the Sphere’s power, Naseus Soulsunder startled him, giving Seeroth the moment he needed to splash Maldran with the “liquid” from the Unholy Pool of Oblivion he had kept from this entrapment all those years ago. Maldran was annihilated and at least three of the Seven Spheres were sent hurtling into the sky, scattered across the continent-realm of Drm.

Victorious, Seeroth met the remaining Heroes of Noon on the coast of the Zalphan Sea near the Barren Peaks. To three of them, he gave a Sphere he managed to keep after Maldran fell. Bidding his allies to secret these away, Seeroth did not celebrate the defeat of T’Oth Maldran and the end of The Darkhold. In those final moments with his allies, something happened that strained his relationship with most of them, particularly the holy knight, Xisten Ironledge. Nevertheless, his allies complied to his wishes and hid at least three of the Spheres (traditionally held to be the Sphere of Power, the Sphere of Reality, and the Sphere of the Mind). Seeroth was seen briefly in Quasii when he retrieved Drenicus’ child. As Drm slowly recovered from The Darkhold, Seeroth returned to Valdeze and, over the course of few years, was seen with fewer and fewer frequency until he disappeared altogether.

Seeroth is believed by many to be the only Sacred still alive. His whereabouts are unknown, but some suspect that he may have returned to whatever remains of Fortens’ Keep in the Vhythalimos Sea. A confederacy of adventurers known as Seekers claim Seeroth as their guide in their search for the truth of the past. To date, the validity of their claims is dubious and Xpa the Renown scoffs at the notion that Seeroth the Dark would bother with such people. However, Dentun of the Valernus Library suggests that Seeroth may be simply manipulating events through the young and bold in pursuit of whatever it is he learned in the cavern of the Unholy Pools. Whatever the Last Emperor discovered, it is almost guaranteed to be tied to the Seven Spheres and The Godspell.

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