Elements of Power
Lord Alistair of House Azari
Noble. Scholar. Diplomat.
Lord Alistair of House Azari, Housemaster of Secrets, Lieutenant of the First Guard, Minister of Inner Sea Affairs and Grand Councilor of Absalom finds himself at the center of an ancient prophecy, charged with defending the whole of Golarion against an adversary of unknown origin and untold power.
Allied with a powerful Water Lord of Thuvia, an oracle of Nethys, a shapeshifting shaman, and a living mountain of a knight, Alistair must not only keep this fellowship bound as one, but unite the entire continent against a planes-sundering army. Whether this scion of humanity possesses the requisite talent, not even the prophecy is certain.
A tall, thin man in his forties. Eyes as blue as the sky. Well-groomed facial hair, an absence of scars, and hands without blemish or callus detail a lifetime of privilege as obvious as any sign. His hair, kept long and unbound, has lightened into a tawny brown with age. The strands are must grow more brittle by the year, but if it has driven him into those mad and all-too-common quests to reclaim some vestiges of his youth, it is not apparent. Indeed, you would take him to be a kindly librarian of sorts, until he draws close.
A courtier’s outfit, with trim and jewelry of greater value than most men’s yearly gains. Iconography of valiant horses, crowns, and what may be the eye of Aroden, clearly a familial crest of sorts. The hint of some perfume, the smell of fresh earth after a thunderstorm. Any lasting doubts as to his lineage are dispelled as he speaks.
The voice is high, the affectation not simply of Absalom, but the highborn of that storied metropolis. There is a confidence, equal parts practice and experience, that put you at ease before you realize it is occurring. He is no recluse, instead clearly active in some social scene.
As you continue to look him over, the reality strikes you like a bolt of lightning. This man sits nearly atop the entire strata of humanity. The entire weight of his knowledge of the common man’s condition would scarce move a feather.
Confidence bordering arrogance, privilege neighboring decadence, intellect nearing pretension: He represents both the best and worst his race has to offer.
Alistair was born to Lord Marcos and Lady Evelyn of House Azari in 4671 AR, within the city of Absalom. House Azari, once powerful and closely bound to Aroden, had fallen in power over the centuries since the god’s death. Even as nobility of a minor house, however, Marcos and Evelyn lived in luxury within the Ivy District. Alistair received private tutelage on the family grounds by Marcos’ brother Toiden, a scholar of minor renown, though predominantly due to his continued worship of Aroden. While Toiden taught most of the nobility of House Azari, he doted especially upon his young nephew, and instilled in him a lifelong passion for history.
As Alistair entered adolescence, the magical power inherent in his blood was awakened. As both Marcos’ and Evelyn’s family trees contained a great number of learned and natural spellcasters, this moment came as no surprise. Alistair was enrolled in the Arcanamirium in 4685 AR, where he was apprenticed to Rafi of House Shamyyid. It became clear to both pupil and master that much Alistair’s magical talent remained latent, and would likely develop slower and to a lesser height than many of his peers. However, whatever was lacking in raw potential was made up for by the boy’s nearly photographic memory. Rafi began to devote more and more of Alistair’s time to the study of lore and the mortal sciences.
III. Young Adulthood
Over time, the boy became a young man, reasonably attractive, bright, and of respectable social standing. He began to make quite an impression both among the student body of the Arcanamirium as well as the aristocracy of Absalom. This was cemented shortly after his graduation, during the Devil’s Night riots. Seeing the commotion, Alistair stepped in to assist the Graycloaks in defense of the temple of Asmodeus. Ultimately successful, he was awarded an honorary commission with the First Guard by Lord Gyr as a result of this selfless act. This would also mark the beginning of a favorable relationship with Lord Gyr for the young noble.
It was in this same timeframe that Alistair managed to finally win the hand of Lady Desdemona of House Candren, one of the most influential within Absalom. In truth, Desdemona carried his child after the passions of young love, and the two wed to avert impropriety. Nevertheless, this served as a strong potential bond to a house ascendant, and generated much favor within House Azari. They named their child Apollonia, and shortly thereafter were moved to Alkenstar for Alistair’s new position as diplomat to the city-state, a selection said to have been made by Lord Gyr himself.
While the term of service itself was relatively uneventful, Alistair learned a great deal about the creation and operation of firearms and siege weaponry. Presented with a token dueling pistol as a welcoming gift by the government of Alkenstar, he spent the next two years learning the construction process and creating a working replica out of mithral and darkwood. Alternating elven and dwarven runs run along the sides of the octagonal barrel, serving as an amplifier for any magic cast upon the weapon. He named this weapon The First Law, taught to him as, “That most necessary for the rule of law is an effective threat of force.”
Marcos Azari passed away in 4703 AR, and at personal request Alistair was recalled from Alkenstar to take over the family estate of Baldurgard Manor. After moving his family in alongside his mother Evelyn and resolving the affairs of his late father, he was appointed to serve as liaison to the Grand Lodge of the Pathfinder Society. It was in this way he met and befriended Kreighton Shane.
During these years, Alistair also began to serve as a guest lecturer both to the Arcanamirium as well as the College of Mysteries. Topics were wide-ranging, but would often involve world history, Aroden (when Toiden was unable), international relations, and engineering (particular the developments of Alkenstar).
In 4710 AR, Housemaster of Secrets Lady Ursula Azari passed away, and the formal search for a new Housemaster of Secrets began. In reality, Ursala’s passing had been guaranteed months prior due to the nature of her wasting sickness, and a council of House Azari’s elders had met to consider a successor. Alistair, given his connection to House Candren via Desdemona, his positive (if distant) relationship with Lord Gyr, and his remarkable talent for consuming knowledge was a near-unanimous decision. Within a week of her funeral, Lord Alistair of House Azari was also made Housemaster of Secrets, and given the twin duties of keeping all house secrets undiscovered while also maneuvering whenever possible to improve the standing of the house within Absalom.
V. Middle Ages
In 4712 AR, the death of Lord Maxwell of House Morilla left an opening on the Low Council, specifically the role of Minister of Inner Sea Affairs. With growing dissension from hidden Lord Avid supporters, Lord Gyr needed to select a trusted outsider to take the role, rather than any of the diplomats directly connected to a single Inner Sea nation. Alistair’s work with the Pathfinders left him well suited, liked, and objective enough to be a relatively easy nomination. Gyr forced the vote through, and Lord Alistair found himself even busier with the work of Absalom, now as a member of its Grand Council.
The faith placed in Alistair was quickly rewarded when an event known as the Cataclysm unfolded in Ustalav’s Avalon Bay. Accompanying a contingent of Absalomic and Pathfinder mages, he was involved in a series of high-level talks that resulted in the Erasmus Accords, the agreement which produced the wards still found from Caliphas to Thornstep to this day.
While his marriage was never more than a respectable partnership after the initial years, and thus able to weather the time from home, Alistair’s continued absences had a substantial effect on his daughter Apollonia. Shortly after the age of 16, Apollonia left home with the signed approval of her mother (over her father’s objections) to join the Tempering Hall, training to occupy a relatively new role within the church of Iomedae as a warpriest.
VI. Current Day
Alistair’s work as Minister of Inner Sea affairs has paid off nicely for Absalom thus far in 4714 AR. Not playing favorites, he has focused more on the nations of Garund than has been afforded attention in the past, and received notable gains in trade and overall diplomatic relations as a result.
His work as Housemaster of Secrets has been passed off increasingly to his wife Desdemona, who has begun to accept a wider realm of actions to occur without punishment than under her husband’s more legalistic enforcement.
He maintains a sincere, if damaged, relationship with his daughter Apollonia, who is soon reaching the point where she will be sent to the front lines where the church needs her most.