The World of Pandeias
An elf cleric in exile.
Dunsava was once a humble craftsman, lending his sculptor’s expertise to many artistic works in the elven city of Selthevryn, but he favored commissions of statuary as his skills and the demand for his work grew. As the decades marched on, his creativity wandered and he soon developed a fascination with the human art of taxidermy and how it and his own art intersected. This fascination grew to obsession and subsequently into insanity. Flirtation with death as art culminated in turning his cousin Breleth’s funeral into an art installation with the taxidermied corpse as the centerpiece. Dunsava simply could not understand why his masterpiece was thoroughly reviled, why his family and the community shunned him, and why the commissions had stopped flowing like water. He escaped any kind of punishment because Selthevryn simply had no law against such a bizarre act. Society handed down the punishment in bureaucracy’s stead.
The deranged Dunsava’s inability to grasp the reason why his work went unappreciated festered within him until he resented everyone but his still loyal fans. He turned to the gods for help in furthering his art and avenging himself, and his prayers were answered by Rajuk Amon-Gore, The Last Dancer. With the guidance of his dark god, the artist became a Doom Priest and slowly transformed his artistic following into a death cult that celebrated the creation of undead as an art form. After years of preparation, planning, and sculpting a small army of undead horrors, Dunsava’s cult rose up and conquered Selthevryn in three days of sudden and precise bloodshed, striking specifically to capture city leaders and spellcasters.
A twist of fate, or perhaps divine providence, would prove to be the Doom Priest’s undoing, however, as the plan did not account for the quiet arrival of a party of adventurers headed by a famous Paladin hero. The adventurers led an uprising that blasted through the cult’s pall of darkness like the break of dawn. Not even Dunsava’s most powerful undead servant, the frostfallen necrocraft of Breleth and two winter wolf corpses, was a match for the Paladin’s holy power and the battle tactics of his veteran troupe.
Dunsava was defeated and taken alive, as per the custom of elves when dealing with traitors to elfkind. A tribunal handed down the most severe punishment that elves can imagine, to no longer be an elf at all. Dunsava and the other surviving cult members were branded with a magic mark that only elf eyes can see and banished forever from Selthevryn. Elves live long lives, but rarely believe in forgiveness even in the fullness of centuries. This much was true even for Dunsava, who turned his hatred inward and decided that some fault must lie with him that he could fail so utterly, but lacked the wisdom to see it. He admitted himself to a Nemyth Vaaran insane asylum called Shriekreach, hoping to find answers among the ramblings of the mad.
Years dragged on, and the shell of the once powerful Doom Priest languished in his self-induced prison. He roared with night terrors instead of sleeping, crafted tiny effigies of those who had defeated him, petty bouts of weakness and contempt he could not seem to help. But, he did want to get better, and that willingness gave Nemyth Vaar’s clergy a foothold into his imperiled psyche. Even still, the Irreverents were eventually startled to find that not only had they rehabilitated the elf villain, but he wished to lend his clerical powers to the cause of shepherding outcasts like himself. After the customary rituals and neophyte training, Dunsava converted to the worship of his new god and felt the rush of divine energy surging through him once more.
Though he departed Shriekreach a changed man, Dunsava’s old habits did not die entirely. The new Irreverent used Nemyth Vaar’s granted spells to resume his research into the creation of undead artwork. Now, however, mercenaries tell tales of being saved by the charge of a hulking zombie or the terrifying hilarity of enemy spellcasters buried under a pile of cackling, fiery skeletons. They tell tales of fatal wounds healed by a dark-haired elf with a ready smile. These tales are starting to drown out the stories of Dunsava the Tyrant, Dunsava the Traitor, the mad necromancer who betrayed his people.