Appearance:

A sturdy man of peasant stock. He has brown hair and dark gray eyes. His stare is disconcerting, but he is clean and well composed. His clothes do not betray his heritage; they are fine and even a touch exotic.

Background:

Marpik was born in a secluded mountain village, the son of a rich farmer. He grew up learning the tricks of his trade from his father. Due to complications at his birth, his mother had no more children. His father impressed upon him the importance of continuing his line, hoping for a vicarious immortality.

His father, he later found out, was embroiled in a secret feud with the local priest, convinced that he was a charlatan who was responsible for his mother's complications and eventual death (when Marpik was in his late teens). His father followed his mother to the grave shortly thereafter, and his last gift to his son was his paranoia and suspicion aimed at the local priest.

Time passed, and Marpik became wealthy in his own right, augmenting the small fortune that his father had left him. His land was well-tended and always just a bit more fertile than his neighbors. Marpik eventually married a woman he had grown up with and was deeply in love with (named Earedia) and they had several children.

The plague struck their village several years later. By the time it was over, nearly half the populace was dead. Once of the first to die was Earedia. Though he dutifully took Earedia to the village priest and sought his help in curing his ailing wife, the priest was unable to help her—she was beyond his power.

When she died soonafter, Marpik's mind took on a strange form of dementia. It didn't slip, it simply grew inordinately focused on what his father had hinted at when he told him of the feud between him and the local priest. He and his sons took up arms to avenge themselves upon the priest, thinking that he was not merely negligent, but had hurried Earedia on to her death (which he had, admittedly, but as a means of ending her suffering).

A pitched battle ensued between Marpik's familiy, the priests of the town, and the town guard. In the end, Marpik's eldest son was dead, as well as two guardsmen. He was captured and subsequently banished, his lands confiscated, and turned loose into the harsh mountains in the dead of winter. Marpik watched his other two sons (now grown) be overcome by the cold, and resigned himself to death shortly thereafter.

As he lay dying, a man dressed in heavy furs spotted him and came to investigate. The man, whose name Marpik later found out was Ertha, saved Marpik and nursed him back to health in a small mountain cabin. They became friends over the winter, and Ertha told Marpik that he too was an exile, bent on revenging himself upon the priesthood by taking up the worship of its evil counterpart. Ertha was very persuasive, and gently led Marpik towards his line of thinking: hatred of the priesthood, bent on revenge of those daring to call themselves holy and wear the white robes.

Marpik's conversion was not yet complete, and as the warm winds of spring began to melt the mountain snows, Marpik considered leaving Ertha and setting out on his own, seeking a new life in other regions. Before making his decision, however, the priesthood made the decision for him: A 'righteous' paladin came to capture Ertha (who refused to submit, claiming he had only his 'dignity' remaining, and would fight to preserve that), and after a short battle, Ertha lay dead, and Marpik had run to save himself.

Marpik wandered for a bit, before finding another evil priest to be his teacher. Marpik was bound and apprenticed to him, but he was not as kind (or at least, not as cleverly manipulative) as Ertha, and Marpik's tutelage was not enjoyable. Like a dog abused by a wicked owner, Marpik became consumed by his anger towards his master, which began to unset his mind. Marpik eventually ended up killing his master in an act of cold-blooded murder and set out on his own...

Roleplaying Notes:

—Marpik's eldest son, Jari, was resurrected by the priestly order that Marpik has sworn revenge on. After realizing the error of his ways, he became a paladin and has heard rumors of his father's slide into evil. He hopes to find him and reform him, maybe with the PC's help.
—Marpik seeks cohorts in an attack on the temple of his birth, hoping to finally kill the village priest responsible for his wife's death.
—Marpik may have already killed the village priest, and turned to greater evil. The PC's might either have to stop his more nefarious schemes, or simply hunt him down and bring him to his final justice.

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