Article written by Joe Mashuga
Cathan MarSevrin (ca. 58 PC – 0 PC) (ca. 905 IA – 963 IA) is better known throughout the Holy Empire of Istar as Cathan Twice-Born, the man returned from death by the Kingpriest, Beldinas Pilofiro. Cathan becomes the first Knight of the Divine Hammer and the order's second Grand Marshal, but he leaves the knighthood after his attack against the Tower of High Sorcery in Losarcum causes the city's destruction. Nearly twenty years later, Beldinas convinces Cathan to return to the city of Istar. Cathan sees the fearful and paranoid man Beldinas has become, gives his aid to a failed coup, and is captured. Cathan escapes Istar and heads for Xak Tsaroth with the Disks of Mishakal and one of Fistandantilus's spellbooks. As the Cataclysm strikes and Xak Tsaroth crumbles, he hurls the disks and the spellbook into a gaping whirlpool before joining the rushing waters. The disks and the spellbook will be found centuries later by the Companions.
Cathan was the second of three children born to Utham and Luska. The family lived in the village of Luciel in Taol until a plague known as the Longosai killed his parents. Cathan and his older brother Tancred made a vow to spare themselves and younger sister Wentha from further pain. When Cathan was eighteen years old, Tancred caught the plague. Cathan prayed that Paladine would save his brother, but his prayers went unanswered and he put Tancred out of his mercy rather than have him suffer. Cathan developed a hatred for the god and his religion, and broke his family's holy symbol to Paladine.
After taking Tancred's body to a pyre, he joined a group of bandits led by Baron Tavarre of Luciel. Tavarre had lost his wife and son to the plague and had turned to banditry for not only his own survival, but the survival of those who still followed him. Cathan learned fighting and survival skills from Tavarre and his men, and used the broken pieces of his family's holy symbol as sling stones to attack men of the cloth. About a month after Cathan joined the bandits, Wentha caught the Longosai. Cathan prayed to Paladine again and vowed to serve Paladine if his "Blossom" would be spared. When no miracle occurred, he returned to Tavarre's bandits, who then joined a larger group of bandits led by Lord Ossirian. Under Ossirian's leadership, the bandit army snuck into the city of Govinna and conquered it from within. Cathan was instrumental in capturing Durinen, the Little Emperor of Govinna, though his friend Embric was slain in the fight. Cathan recognized his misguided desire for vengeance and returned with Tavarre's band to the hills near Luciel. There, the bandits captured the lady Ilista and the monk Beldyn. Beldyn displayed a miraculous healing ability and was brought to Luciel. He cured Wentha and others suffering from the Longosai, and Cathan pledged himself to Beldyn.
Meanwhile, word of the attack on Govinna reached the Lordcity of Istar, and Kingpriest Kurnos sent imperial soldiers to retake Govinna. Tavarre's band happened upon the soldiers and returned to Govinna to warn Ossirian. Beldyn's reputation preceded him, and he picked up the alias of Beldinas. Durinen entrusted Beldinas with the knowledge of where Pradian hid the Miceram, or Crown of Power, nearly a century ago. Cathan accompanied Beldinas to the catacombs beneath the Pantheon of Govinna and acquired the Miceram, though Beldinas was comatose and unable to use it. The ghost of Pradian urged Cathan to wear the Crown of Power, but Cathan convinced Pradian to wake Beldinas. Beldinas shattered Govinna's gates, allowing the Istarian soldiers to enter. Cathan fended off an attack by the demon Sathira using the pieces of his holy symbol, and Beldinas used the Miceram to heal the entire population of Govinna, stopping the war.
Beldinas, Cathan, Tavarre, and the imperial soldiers returned to the Lordcity of Istar, where they demanded Kurnos's abdication. Kurnos attempted to kill Beldinas with lightning by way of a magical ring, but Cathan was able to intervene at the cost of his own life. Angry and saddened at the loss of his friend, Beldinas performed the impossible and returned Cathan to life.
Cathan's resurrection left him with two white orbs for eyes, a scar on his left side from the lightning strike, and the nickname of Cathan Twice-Born. Cathan was to become a Knight of the Crown but on the eve of his reflection Brother Jendle gave him a strange dream about a burning hammer that fell from the night sky upon Istar. He explained his dream to Beldinas, who determined that a new knighthood should exist in Istar. The pieces of Cathan's holy symbol were used in the forging of his sword Ebonbane, and Cathan was less than twenty years old when he became the first knight of the Order of the Divine Hammer in 40 PC (923 IA). Cathan would have the dream many times before he understood its full meaning.
Knight of the Divine Hammer
Cathan faithfully served Istar, Kingpriest Beldinas, and the Divine Hammer for the next nineteen years, rising to the rank of Senior Marshal. The death of Marwort the Illustrious, white-robed envoy of the Orders of High Sorcery and part of the Kingpriest's court, sent Cathan back to the Lordcity at Beldinas's request. There, Cathan was introduced to the orders' replacement, Leciane do Cirica. Leciane wore the red robes of neutrality, which angered many of those in the Holy Empire. Cathan was assigned to protect Leciane, as the people of Istar held no love for most wizards.
The Kingpriest's court, including Cathan and Leciane, left for Lattakay to attend a celebration and tournament held in Beldinas's honor. Cathan lost the tournament to Tavarre, who had become Grand Marshal of the Divine Hammer. As the tournament ended, its participants were attacked by scores of quasitos – otherworldly demons. Tavarre perished in the attack as did many others. Cathan reluctantly asked Leciane for assistance in finding the quasitos's master. With Leciane's help, the Black Robe wizard Andras was revealed as the man behind the attacks and was to face Istarian justice. Instead, the wizards intervened and claimed him for themselves, furthering the tension between the Orders and Istar and complicating the relationship between Cathan and Leciane.
Unfortunately, Andras escaped the Conclave of Wizards with the help of the archmage Fistandantilus. Shortly before Cathan was dubbed the new Grand Marshal of the Divine Hammer, the wizards and the Kingpriest agreed to a peace conference. Andras infiltrated the meeting and nearly slew Beldinas in the guise of Suvin, an act which began the war between the Holy Empire of Istar and the Orders of High Sorcery. As Beldinas healed himself, he realized that Cathan had been a partner to sorcery, and he grew suspicious of his long-time friend. Cathan was sent to distant Losarcum, to lead Istarian forces against the Tower of High Sorcery located there. The wizards destroyed their own tower in Daltigoth rather than let it be sacked, and the Kingpriest agreed to let the same fate happen to Losarcum.
During the attack, Cathan realized that his forces were to suffer the same fate and tried to retreat, to no avail. Lecaine teleported Cathan, fellow knight Tithian, and herself away from Losarcum before the blast shattered the tower and destroyed the city. A month later, Cathan returned to the Lordcity and renounced both the Kingpriest and the knighthood. He strode out of the city of Istar and vanished for eighteen years before he was found again. The dream of the burning hammer vanished as the city was left behind.
Cathan and the Disks
Cathan headed home to Taol, but was disgusted at the people who only saw his milky white eyes. He made his way to the ruins of Losarcum, where he became known as the Staring Ghost. He protected the ruins until his identity was discovered by a scholar named Varen in late 2 PC (961 IA). Varen informed Wentha, who informed Beldinas and Tithian (the Grand Marshal of the time), and the group found Cathan in early 1 PC (962 IA). Shortly after rejoining them, Cathan discovered that Wentha and her sons were part of a plan to abduct the Kingpriest in an attempt to make him see the error of his ways. Hearing of the Kingpriest's latest edicts, such as the acceptable use of slavery, he reluctantly joins them.
Back in Istar, Cathan discovers that the Istarian church has been persecuting all faiths that Beldinas claims are not pure, including the Gods of Light. He also learns that Beldinas means to command the gods by way of the Disks of Mishakal. Beldinas asked Cathan for help in recovering the Disks of Mishakal from the Vaults of the Kingpriests. They journey to the Vaults, and Cathan helps Beldinas acquire the Disks before drugging him with Bloodblossom Oil. On their way out, Cathan and the other rebels are stopped by Istarian soldiers, who were tipped off by Wentha's son Tancred II. Cathan is placed in the imperial dungeons for nearly six months before Ilista's spirit appears to him and explains that he was meant to be Kingpriest instead of Beldinas. It was Cathan's touch that opened the doors beneath the Pantheon, and it was Cathan who was supposed to don the Miceram.
She also explains that it is too late to save Istar, but that Cathan must save the Disks of Mishakal from the coming Cataclysm. As Cathan is leaving the Great Temple, Fistandantilus appears to him and they make a deal: Fistandantilus will transport Cathan out of Istar, while Cathan will take Fistandantilus's spellbook and the Disks of Mishakal to the same place. Cathan agrees and is teleported out of the city, with Tithian on his trail. Tithian finds Cathan but is killed in an honorable duel. Cathan continues on to Xak Tsaroth whereupon Brother Jendle, an emissary of Paladine, reveals that Cathan was the true Lightbringer.
Cathan convinced his remaining pursuers to leave Xak Tsaroth and left Ebonbane with one of them, a knight named Bron. He made his way to a nearby island and watched the burning hammer of his dreams strike the Lordcity of Istar. As the Cataclysm struck and Xak Tsaroth began crumbling, he hurled the Disks of Mishakal and the spellbook into a gaping whirlpool before jumping in after them. Cathan was presumably drowned or crushed.
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