Curse of the Crimson Throne
Rhoa Zhani was born in 4682 AR as a member of the Sklar-Quah of the Cinderlands. As a child of the Shoanti he was taught the ways of his people, including traditional weapons, horse riding and the history of conflict between the Shoanti and the invading Chelish. He was taught the glory of his Quah, of how their territory used to stretch from the Mindspin Mountains and the Cinderlands to the Gulf of Varisia. He was taught how everything they once held sacred was trampled under the feet of these southern invaders . Despite these teachings, Rhoa never felt the same kind of hatred for the Chelish that his clansmen held, but he certainly held no love for them either. To him, the past was the past, and he was more concerned with the future than seeing that the grudges of his ancestors were fulfilled. Rhoa loved his clan, but wished for a life beyond his family. He fell in love with the stories of heroes fighting villains, of men fighting monsters, of seeing that good always overcame evil; he wanted to be a hero.
Of course such lofty dreams had to remain just that; dreams. He had responsibilities to his clan that he couldn’t abandon, not when people were counting on him. He was meant to become a great warrior of the Shoanti who would act as a shield to defend them from further incursions or to strike as a weapon to reclaim that which they lost. The spirits of the land had already decided his fate; or so he thought. One day his Quah was visited by a group of travelers from Korvosa. Such visits were abnormal given the shared history between the two peoples, but not so rare as to cause alarm. What was odd was the purpose of the visit; to promote unity between them. For the Shoanti it was assumed that hostilities with the city-states of Varisia would continue again one day, and that talks of peace were idle words from silver-tongued devils. Rhoa didn’t doubt that there was a grain of truth in his elders’ thinking. After all, talks of peace never lasted and had always eventually led to war. But despite this, he was intrigued by what these humanitarians had to say; intrigued and perhaps a little enamored. For among them was a young, beautiful woman with jet-black hair and fair skin whose passion to achieve peace enraptured him. In time, Rhoa got to know this woman; a young Chelish missionary named Natalia who left everything behind to come to the Cinderlands and achieve her dreams. Rhoa admired her courage and was fascinated by the stories she told of the cities beyond the Quah’s territory; and in time these feelings turned to love.
But such happy times must always come to an end and Rhoa knew these visitors couldn’t stay forever. As such, it was time for the Quah to pack up and move on as they always had. Their next stop was far into the Cinderlands, in a place the missionaries couldn’t follow. But before they left, these missionaries made it known that they were looking for any Shoanti who would be willing to leave their home and travel Varisia to help promote unity. His people by-and-large were uninterested in such things, but Rhoa longed for the chance to leave his home and see what the rest of the world had to offer. He had often spoken to the missionaries about such things and his desire to see the world, but ultimately he knew he couldn’t go against the wishes of family and was prepared to turn down there offer. But before he could give his answer, he had to speak to Natalia one last time. They talked about a great many things, but most importantly she finally made him realize he needed to seize his own fate.
The next morning the two groups went their separate ways, and for the first time in his life Rhoa saw his family riding in the opposite direction of him. His decision wasn’t without consequence, of course, but all-in-all things went better than he had expected. His family wasn’t shocked by his decision, but he could see their disappointment. Even though he had tried to hide his wanderlust, most everyone in his clan knew of his desire to see the world. Even so, abandoning his people to pursue his own dreams wasn’t something to be taken lightly and he knew that things would never be the same if he decided to return someday.
He adventured with the humanitarian party for several years, but eventually he and Natalia (who was now his lover) decided to leave the adventuring lifestyle for a time and settle down in Korvosa. Rhoa loved Natalia and wanted to help her achieve her dream in any way he could, and by integrating himself into Chelish city-life he could serve as an example to both other Shoanti and the Chelish citizens. He found a job as a blacksmith apprentice and eventually started his own shop. He got to know the people around them and became a model citizen. Not to say things were perfect, of course. Between the discrimination and city’s corruption, life wasn’t always easy, but he knew that as long as Natalia was at his side he could make it through anything.
Everything changed one fateful evening when Rhoa found the love of his life knifed to death in a dark alley near their home. Crushed, he withdrew from his city life to mourn her death and contemplate his own future. Still unsure of his future, Rhoa only knows one thing he must do; kill the person that did this.