The House of Strahd
Beautiful and lithe, contained within the vestments of the clergy
Tall and lithe, taught with muscles from hard work in the clergy and a rough childhood, Darius often conceals most of his features in an attempt to appear as human as possible. Perfect fairer skin despite years of toil in the field, baby blue eyes, and near platinum hair, Darius is often hooded or wearing a helmet to conceal these slightly off-putting features. He can most often be seen donning his clerical vestments, a suit of ring mail tinted with bronze and smatterings of red(from blood and/or rust), a tunic that is white and trimmed with red, with a hastily embroidered yellow sun over the heart, and a white hood gilded with yellow and red. A small weathered shield emblazoned with the Morninglord sigil is often strapped to his back, rarely used in combat, as his tendency has been to lead with his haughty mace and retreat to seek recovery from The Morninglord.
Darius ALWAYS wears a skull cap to hide his hair, from all but his closest allies. Unless respectfully addressing or responding to trusted allies, he also keeps his heavy hood on over his head, as he has noticed that his appearance can be off-putting or entrancing to others, which often distracts from conversation or other interactions.
Darius knows very little of his early childhood, though there are odd moments where he has flashes of the faces of his mother and father. He was barely older than a toddler, perhaps five or six years old, when he was stolen away from his parents by a Hag named Morgantha, who planned to use him as a spell component in some mysterious food item imbibed by her coven. Daily, he would be forced to watch, starving and ignored, as the Hags would dismember the others they had taken, alive, drawing out the life of the poor innocents as long as possible before grinding up the body parts to be used in the most despicable baked goods. Even now, he is haunted by the hunger he felt for the abhorrent pies, though he was so malnourished none would condemn his mouth from watering.
After witnessing the atrocity of at least a dozen children being defiled, baked, and consumed, he managed to slip through the shackles constraining him and fled during an unseasonably sunny day. Without food or water, he blindly ran for what seemed like days on end until finally falling unconscious at the edge of a clearing in the forest on an inky-dark moonless night. When he came to, a stern but concerned face stared back at him. A wolf hunter from the outskirts of a neighboring city had found him near the treeline not too far away from a small temple and took mercy on Darius, quickly carrying him to this small branch temple of the Morninglord. The clergy quickly and willingly adopted Darius, curing his ills and raising him as a child of the light(as Morninglord clergy are wont to do, for those truly in such need).
After several weeks of recovery, the clergy took to him as if he were sent to them by the Morninglord himself. Darius was unsure why exactly, but they seemed to revere his visage, and often spoke barely within earshot of his radiant appearance. Over the years, he studied with the priests, learning with a ferocity that surprised the clergymen…although their charge seemed to mumble to himself an uncommon amount. Despite his constant studying, it seemed as if he were talking to other children that were not there, discussing his studies sometimes even loudly in the evening. At first it was dismissed, because of course a lone child in a temple of mostly elder men would make imaginary friends that he would one day grow out of interacting with. Infrequently, though…seemingly with the peak cycle of the moon…Darius would be overcome with seizures, speaking in a tongue foreign to the priesthood. From his perspective, the Hags had somehow retained a hold over his mind, and at their fullest power they strove to drive their escaped spell component completely mad. After each of these experiences, Darius would delve even more deeply into his studies of the Morninglord, hoping to find surcease from the invasions to his mind. Though he became close with the clergy, he never related the horrors he witnessed(except to his mentor, “highest father”[to Darius specifically, “father” to most others] Lucian) ashamed of the hunger he felt for his inability to help the other children, and indeed the hunger he felt from seeing and smelling the child-pies.
Were it not for the acceptance and almost-parental mentorship of father Lucian, Darius would likely not trust a sing soul, save the Morninglord Himself.
At the age of 14 ‘highest father’ Lucian approached him with the offer of being the most holy of clergy, a Morninglord’s Cleric. At first he was very uncertain of the honor being offered to him, but quickly determined that the best way to seek redemption for his guilt was to serve the Morninglord as best he could. He relented to the request of his human savior, and on the next dawn’s light was christened as a Cleric of the Morninglord. During this ceremony he was honored with the temple’s highest artifacts, a mace fashioned to look the same as the Morninglord’s sigil at the end, and although aged from over a century of existence, still polished and sparkling as if new. He was also gifted the only shield of the temple, fashioned as well with the shining sun of the morninglord sigil, though tattered and dented from years of practice(and defense against small bands of roving creatures). His final christening gift, as the clergy were very superstitious about numbers, particularly threes and sevens, was a small hand carved wooden sigil of the Morninglord, weathered smooth over countless generations, and hung from the end of a silvered chain, kept polished daily by the clergy.
His charge, now, was to bring the light of Morning to every corner of Barovia, and to bring as many as possible into the light. Despite the welcoming nature of his charge, Darius is still very wary of any new faces. Though willing to help those in apparent need, he is seasoned by the best strategies available to his temple, and intuitive beyond his years. A man of few words, Darius is still young and often headstrong, but rarely brash in his actions(mainly due to the strict regimens enacted by the clergy throughout his childhood).
It has been six years now since his christening, and though his deeds have begun to be whispered in smaller outlying settlements, he has had very few opportunities to truly account for the guilt of his inner demons, nor find redemption yet from Hags who plague his mind. His personal goals involve finding this coven of Hags once again, to bring justice for the children they have devoured, and punish them for the evils they commit(as well as to finally find respite from the maddening intrusions to his psyche).
His most notable recent adventure involved a run-in with a Vistani wise-person, who confirmed his clergy’s suspicions that Darius did indeed have “the blood of the morninglord”, though not to what end,
potency, or literal relevance.