Savage Tide; Pathfinder
Kinslayer, Pawn of Demogorgon, Death Knight
Description: Treacherous brother of Lavinia, Vanthus was a human male in his early twenties. He had long, well-kept strawberry blond hair, the same color as his sister’s, and also kept a well-trimmed anchor beard and goatee. In his life as a man, Vanthus dressed in finery wherever he went and loved to be flashy, both with his cash and with his personal expression. He was a classically-schooled fencer and favored the rapier and main gauche, and he possessed a set in the same style as his sisters. Vanthus’ first meetings with the party showed him murdering his parents, consorting with criminal gangs to disrupt sea trade in his home city, gutting his parents’ treasury, attempting to kill the men in his sister’s employ, and most horribly, detonating the first of a series of shadow pearls and unleashing the savage tide on a remote beach.
Upon encountering Vanthus some months later, at Farshore, he had changed: his skin was flecked with red scales, his eyes gone yellow and serpentine, a pair of small horns crowning his head, and long, slender, batlike wings sprouted from his shoulder blades. It was unclear what transition Vanthus had taken, but it was unquestionably baleful. It was in this form that Kizziar’s bullet felled him, and in this form that he was buried.
Still another transition awaited Vanthus, however, as weeks after his own death, he clawed his way out of the earth, a mostly-skeletal corpse with eyes of burning coal still recognizable in death as Lavinia’s dear brother. Kidnapping Lavinia, he fled to the Abyss, fi9nding succor in Demogorgon’s prison colony, a placed called Divided’s Ire. It’s here that Vanthus was killed again. The group believed that they had finally dispatched Vanthus for good; the would find themselves proved wrong again.
Vanthus’ final incarnation was found within the walls of Wat Dagon, where he existed as a mewling and pitiful larva, a foot-long, slimy grub with the face he wore in life.
Biography: While all second hand from Lavinia and General Ghorvash, the party’s understanding of Vanthus’ life and story is that he and his sister were good friends as children, but around the ages of thirteen and fifteen, the childrens’ parents sent them out of Sasserine, both to shelter them from the poor social climate the Sea Princes rule created and to provide them with schooling for their future. While Lavinia was sent to an academy where she learned courtly etiquette, how to fence, and how to behave in civilized society, Vanthus was sent to what amounted to little more than a militarized work camp run by his uncle, himself a former adventurer named Kallum. Between the ages of fifteen and twenty-three, Vanthus worked on a plantation where he was ostensibly schooled in discipline, military protocol, etiquette in polite society, and swordplay, but in truth learned only to be a criminal and delinquent, and a very good one. Resentful of his parents’ decision to send him away while his sister learned to dance and write poetry, Vanthus spent years nursing a growing hatred and using the training that was meant to turn him into a competent gentleman soldier to instead become a better crook.
After returning to Sasserine, Vanthus was emotionally distant and taken to drinking and whoring. It is now known that during this time he engineered and undertook the murder of his parents, burning their boat while they were at sea in a bid to steal the family fortune and make partners with one of his many paramours, Rowyn Kellani, the then head of the Lotus Dragons thieves’ guild. With his sister’s hired troubleshooters hot on his trail at this point, he then used the connections of his duped girlfriend Brissa Santos to cross the notorious Crimson Fleet, setting their ships aflame with the intention of stealing valuable cargo, but instead succeeding only in causing a catastrophe; the detonation of the first shadow pearl.
After a string of attempted revenge schemes that pushed the boundaries of his sister’s forgiveness unto breaking, Vanthus eventually fled Sasserine after the dismantling of the Lotus Dragons Guild by the Gang of Five. Lavinia turned her attention away from seeking justice against her brother, and for some time Vanthus’ ambitions went unchecked. Somehow, after the cataclysm at the Bay of Blood, he managed to achieve rescue by a Crimson Fleet vessel and insinuate himself into the crew. Using charm and lies, he managed to convince the captain of the fleet, Cold Captain Wyther, to permit him to join. While Lavinia and her employees traveled to Farshore, Vanthus was climbing the corporate ladder, and by the time of their arrival, had already rallied for and been granted the right to lay siege to the colony.
When Vanthus arrived, two months after the Gang of Five, he was changed by his time in the Fleet; something more than a man and less than a demon, he had clearly accepted a number of demonic investments into himself, and the forces he lead reflected this, as well. It was during this eventual mass battle that he met his end, after which Lavinia laid him to rest in the Farshore cemetery. This, too, however, seemed barely to slow Vanthus down, and mere hours after the party had departed for the mad city of Golismorga, Vanthus burst out of his grave, body aflame, and riding a nightmare steed, proceeded to kidnap his sister and take her perforce back to the Crimson Fleet. With his newfound demonic powers, Vanthus overwhelmed Cold Captain Wyther, commandeered his ship, stole his crew, and – with the help of a magical artifact, the wakeportal – set sail for the Abyss, where he was hunted down to Divided’s Ire.
There, as a newly-christened death knight of Demogorgon, Vanthus’ spirit fell to Socothbenoth, the Demon Lord of Incest and Deviant Sexuality, who exploited Vanthus’ carnal lust for his sister and his feelings of despair and helplessness over having lost her to a rival thug upon reaching the Ire. As a death knight, he proved puissant, but not so much that he could stand before his sister’s friends alone, and again, he fell.
This, it was believed, would finally be the last of Vanthus, but this, too, turned out to be too soon to call: as the final siege on Wat Dagon began, the first gatekeeper standing between the Gang of Five and the master pearl was General Ghorvash, known as the ‘Hunter of Mortals’, who at last revealed the source of Vanthus’ fall: when he had been sent to the plantation of his uncle, Kallum, as a boy, he had eventually found the secret chamber Kallum kept beneath his home, a shrine to his adventuring days. Within that shrine was a book of infinite spells that, Vanthus, upon finding, proceeded to tear through at a wasteful pace, finally coming to the portion of the book that would allow him to summon a demon. Vanthus called, and it was General Ghorvash, supplicant of Demogorgon, who answered.
This, too, was part of Demogorgon’s overarching plot: as far back as the corruption of John Wyther, the Prince of Demons had been searching for one such as Vanthus, and it was in the Vanderboren line, with seeds he planted in the life of Kallum Vanderboren, that he found fertile soil for such a man. As expected, Vanthus made his “wishes”, which the General had been instructed to entertain: wealth, power, and eternal life. Ghorvash instructed Vanthus to murder his uncle in payment, which he did, in his first of many acts of fratricide. Laughing, General Ghorvash then disappeared, leaving Vanthus to assume he had been duped.
But he was wrong: in the months that followed, the General and his demonic patron ensured Vanthus achieved all that which he requested: he became wealthy by murdering his parents and stealing their fortune; he became powerful by insinuating himself into the Crimson Fleet; and he became immortal after being raised in Demogorgon’s service as a death knight. In all this, General Ghorvash’s hand, while invisible, was present, ensuring Vanthus’ victory against tremendous odds.
However, by the time Vanthus reached Divided’s Ire, he had become a liability to his demonic patron, much like his spiritual predecessor, Cold Captain Wyther. Left to remain in Divided’s Ire so that he may be forgotten, it is ironic that had he not been murdered within the Ire, it is likely he would have remained there until Demogorgon fell. Instead, he was returned to the Abyss as a larvae, the base form of petitioners to the plane. It was here that this vestigial fragment of Vanthus’ being was recovered by General Ghorvash, who took great sport in tormenting and torturing the grub-like Vanthus with tacks both physical and emotional.
When General Ghorvash was defeated, Vanthus was recovered by Dorian, from whom he begged forgiveness and forswore that all his wickedness and deceit was behind him, and that he had been corrupted and influenced by Demogorgon. Dorian, ever skeptical of Vanthus’ intentions, nevertheless pitied him enough to carry him along to determine his ultimate fate later.
In this, however, Dorian would find himself robbed of the opportunity to be the final arbiter. As the members of the Gang of Five and their assorted compatriots stood before the fallen form of Demogorgon, discussing who would accept the mantle of the Prince of Demons, they found Vanthus – squealing, wormlike – crawling towards the fiery, black crown that would transform him from a disgusting maggot into the Prince of all Demonkind.
Before the assembled men and women could react to this knowledge, however, Orcus landed, arriving from his domain in Thanatos, intent on capturing the crown for himself. As he arrived on the masterless shores of Wat Dagon, he crushed the grub-form of Vanthus beneath a cloven hoof the size of an anvil. Having already reached the bottom of the chain of being already, Vanthus, thus destroyed, simply ceased to be.