For over 200 years, the sorcerer Eldreath ruled from a tower that stood on the current site of Rhendish Manor. His reign was brutal and absolute, but it also saw a flowering of arts and science unprecedented in Sevrin history. Ironically, it was this very advancement that led to his downfall.
Twenty years ago, alchemists from all the islands of Sevrin united in a single goal: To end Eldreath’s reign. The sorcerer was presumed slain when the alchemists brought down the tower around him. The battered corpse of a tall, white-haired man was embalmed and put on public display in a sealed glass coffin. It remained on display for several years, slowly drying out until it was no longer recognizable.
Of course, some people have pointed out that the corpse was never recognizable.
Eldreath’s death is accepted as official fact, but the possibility of his survival is raised by children frightening each other with midnight tales, and by conspiracy-minded folk of all ages.
Little is known of Eldreath’s life before his rise to power. Most agree that he was born on the mainland and came to Sevrin as a young man. Already a powerful sorcerer, he downplayed his innate magical ability and apprenticed himself to one of the most powerful wizards on the main island of Sevrin. After his master’s unfortunate death (and the theft of the wizard’s books and magical tools), Eldreath moved to another apprenticeship. He was an ideal student: quick to learn, respectful, popular with his fellow apprentices.
Eldreath was handsome and engaging, with a light-hearted, self-deprecating manner that effectively cloaked his ambition. He moved up through the ranks of Sevrin’s magical hierarchy with an ease that, in retrospect, was in itself suspicious. But at the time, no one suspected that the diligent young man who seemed so ideally suited to a wizard’s discipline already possessed raw power beyond that any of his master could command. Eldreath’s innate sorcery was the living equivalent of gunpowder, and his training provided flame to fire it and the knowledge required to focus it into effective weapons.
As a young man, Eldreath was obliged to spend much of his earnings in support of the children he sired upon a succession of women. At the time, this behavior seemed, at worse, slightly irresponsible, but any mention of his active social life was more likely to inspire indulgent smiles than disapproval. Only after he assumed power, only when people began to understand that Eldreath’s magic was something far beyond Sevrin’s understanding of wizardry, did they realize that he was trying to pass along the gift of sorcery.
Some of his children did, in fact, possess a level of sorcerous ability. Several of them were instrumental in Eldreath’s rise to power; some gained infamy of their own. Since all of these sorcerers trained as wizards, the two became entwined and in time tainted Sevrin’s attitude toward magic-wielders of any sort.
After Eldreath’s downfall, the most powerful alchemist formed a ruling Council of Adepts. One of their first acts was to hunt down and destroy Eldreath’s offspring, down to the youngest child in the third and fourth generation. It is believed that Eldreath’s bloodline is extinct, but rumor persist of sorcerers who escaped Sevrin before the Adepts’ purge.