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Chardastesby Marco Dalmonte
Patron of Medicine and Healing, Patron of Nithia
Level, Alignment and Sphere: 16th (Celestial), NG, Time
Symbol: a silver bell
Portfolio: medicine, healing, health, purification, knowledge, life cycle, eternal life
Worshipped in: Known World (Darokin, Karameikos), Hollow World (Nithians, Traldars)
Appearance: a tall man with a noble posture, high cheekbones, deep black eyes, a receding chin and a snub nose, always clean shaven, wearing a long white linen robe of Nithian fashion, a small silver bell hanging from his necklace, and holding the symbols of the pharaoh's power (crook & flail) in his hands.
LIKELY THEORY: During his mortal life Chardastes was an important kingpriest of Nithys (Protius) that lived in the valley along the Nithia's banks. His stepbrother Apophis, lord of the northern and poorer realm and deeply envious of his brother's luck, devised a plan to eliminate him and take his throne. Invited by Apophis to his palace to celebrate the anniversary of his ascension to the throne, Chardastes and his escort were attacked in the wildlands by a band of mercenaries paid by Apophis to kidnap the king and sell him as slave in some faraway land. After years spent serving a cruel and mean noble in the delta region, Chardastes was finally freed by the heroic paladin Maat, at that time near completing the path of the Polymath. Chardastes revealed her his sad story, asking her help to return to his kingdom and reclaim his crown. Maat agreed and accompanied Chardastes together with the rest of her adventuring group.
Back in Nithia, Chardastes discovered that Apophis had united the two kingdoms, but when he introduced himself to the court and tried to voice his claims, he was rejected and accused of being an impostor and a spy. Apophis tried to capture him, but Chardastes understood his stepbrother's treachery and was able to flee into the desert with his allies. In the following months he visited the neighbouring duchies to make deals with the rulers that Apophis had alienated with his military campaigns. Chardastes created a strong alliance of nobles and troops to back his claims to the throne of Nithia, but he knew he had to act cautiously before striking, because he would have had only one chance. For this reason he sent spies in Nithia before attacking, and he got word that his brother had created a great army of undead with the help of the priests of Thanatos, to face any aggression from the inside or the outside. To counter this move, Chardastes went to the most powerful wizard of the region, Pflarr the Divine, and swore fealty to him in exchange for his help against Apophis and his necromantic troops. Pflarr, near to accomplishing his path of the Paragon, agreed to help Chardastes and Maat in their quest in exchange for an eternal peace treaty with his kingdom and for a public acknowledgment of Rathanos's supremacy over all other gods even in the Kingdom of Nithia.
Thus, armed with Pflarr's magical knowledge and enchanted troops, Chardastes began his campaign against Apophis, and finally defeated the usurper and reconquered his kingdom. Apophis was then bested by Pflarr in a magical duel, but he managed to flee turning into a horrible snakelike creature and digging under the sands, carrying with him Pflarr's curse forever.
To thank Pflarr and Maat for their invaluable help, Chardastes agreed to build the Pyramid of Light, a monument to the justice of the great Ra. This way both Maat and Pflarr became acknowledged deities together with Ra, supreme god of the new pantheon of the Kingdom of Nithia. Shortly after his ascension to godhood, Pflarr gave his permission to unite his kingdom to that of Chardastes, making the restored Kingdom of Nithia more powerful and richer.
King Chardastes, inspired by the example of his allies, continued the unification attempt bringing other duchies under his banner, and was finally able to crown himself first Pharaoh of the Empire of Nithia in BC 1500, building the new capital of Ranak in the heart of the fertile Nithian valley. After creating a set of laws and codes for all Nithian nomarchies, ruling wisely backed up by the nobles and the peasants, Chardastes reorganised also the different Nithian cults, creating an organic religion that considered all the various mysticisms and legends of the Nithians. Chardastes became famous as the most enlightened Pharaoh of early Nithia, and was also remembered for his knowledge in the medical field, always fascinated with the mysteries of the human body and soul.
When he finally discovered a way to become immortal, he sought the patronage of his immortal, Nithys, and left his throne to his son. He then built a monumental tomb similar to Pflarr's and Maat's pyramids as house for his soul in the Afterlife and place of personal worship (a habit adopted by all the following pharaohs). When he died, Chardastes was entombed with a special ritual he had devised following the guidelines found in an ancient secret scroll that had belonged to Pflarr. In fact, this ritual of embalming brought him back to life as a mummy, and this enabled Chardastes to secretly start his quest for an artifact to travel through time. He visited Nithia in three different timeframes to help his descendants and he is especially remembered for his last appearance, when thanks to his medical knowledge he saved the imperial family and the Nithians from a terrible magical plague brought by the followers of Apophis. He then promoted the creation of many different schools to educate clerics and physicians to the science of medicine, so that the Nithians could always count on a valid help to purify both their bodies and souls. He became a legend and an immortal in the sphere of Time in BC 1360, transmitting to the future generations the belief that every pharaoh could come back to life to help Nithia if entombed with the proper mummification rituals.
The corruption brought about by Thanatos and Ranivorus caused the collapse of the Nithian Empire and the vanishing of all the cults associated with it. The few remaining worshippers of Chardastes who lived in the Traldar kingdoms (descendants of the Nithian Traldars who settled the area many centuries before) were definitely killed and massacred by Leptar in the fifth century BC. His cult remained therefore active only among the Nithians and Traldars surviving in the Hollow World. Only around AC 700 Chardastes chose to appear to a peasant woman praying for healing in Marilenev, and he healed her wholly, proclaiming that the Traladarans were on the wrong path and should have prayed to him to get salvation. From that moment his cult bloomed once again and spread in nearby Darokin. It was later added to the cult of the Church of Karameikos when Stefan Karameikos took possession of Traladara and renamed it the Grand Duchy of Karameikos in AC 970.
Personality: Chardastes is scrupulous, patient and completely obsessed by protecting life, which he holds as the greatest mystery of universe. For this reason he hates death and destruction with passion, and the outmost form of aberration to his eyes (and those of his followers) is obviously undeath (which he himself experimented personally when he became a mummy). He teaches his followers to protect life at all costs and to respect the natural life-cycle, and encourages them to study the secrets of the human body and soul to better understand their nature and cure them.
His only true ally is Maat, a faithful friend during his mortal life, and he has a deep respect for Protius (his detached patron) and for Rathanos and Ixion (ancient patrons of the Nithians). Chardastes hates Bachraeus, his envious and treacherous stepbrother become immortal, and holds him together with Thanatos and Ranivorus responsible for Nithia's downfall. He also despises Hircismus, since he destroyed one of his artifacts and the last remaining cult he had on the outer world in the Traldar lands, and he does not get along well with Nyx because of her obsession for undeath and necromancy, the antithesis of life.
Patron: unknown [likely: Protius]
Enemies: Bachraeus, Thanatos, Ranivorus, Hircismus, Nyx
Classic D&D Stats:
Followers' Alignment: Lawful or Neutral; clerics must be Lawful
Favoured weapons: none (allowed all bludgeoning weapons and the knife/scalpel)
Cleric's skills & powers: Lay on Hands, +10% bonus in creating potions of healing (heal wounds, diseases, etc.)
Chardastes's clerics cannot cast the reverse form of healing and resurrection spells.
D&D 3E Stats:
Domains: Time, Good, Healing, Water
Preferred weapon: light mace
Sources: B1-9, WotI