Tephra

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Tephra
Tephra.png
Harbinger of Chaos, Queen of Estorium, Exalted of Allabar
Race Human
Gender Female
Lifespan 2939 - 2959
Character Class Wizard
Status Deceased
Alignment Chaotic Evil

Tephra was a human wizard. Formerly a heroic adventurer, she joined the mysterious Allabar after succumbing to her desire for power and opening a planar gateway to the Far Realm.

History

Hero

She trained herself from an early age and, seeking more power, applied to join the Starfire Academy in Silverstone. When she was rejected, she journeyed to Brightstone to look for adventures that could get her the power she so desired. Joining with Nuraya, Ro, Gryff, and Harthur, she investigated the disappearance of a powerful wizard over seven hundred years ago, eventually coming into the possession of a tome covered with faces that constantly stretched and moaned.

Tephra opening the portal to the Far Realm.

Tephra was transported to Estorium along with the rest of her party, and was eventually tasked with finding and stopping a mind flayer who was attempting to open a gateway to the Far Realm. They delved deep into the old temple of Boccob within the ancient city of Derenath, located the gateway, and slew the mind flayer. However, instead of closing the gateway, Tephra opened it fully, claiming the power within and allowing the nightmarish hordes of the Far Realm access to the world. She was last seen surrounded by aberrations, attempting to control them as her former party members fled.

Servant of the Far Realm

Through the portal, Tephra was contacted by a being known as Allabar. Through this entity, she gained incredible power and readily agreed to help him come to Syra. Though the portal was sealed by the now-mortal Boccob shortly thereafter, Tephra managed to defeat him with her new power. She forcibly extracted vast amounts of knowledge from his mind, including the method by which he had sealed the portal: an artifact called the Tear of Boccob. Knowing that the Tear could reopen the portal as it had closed it, she hired a band of mercenaries to locate it.

Herald of Allabar

TephraTentacles.jpg

Tephra was later encountered by the Challengers of the Unspeakable along Duvik Pass, attempting to open the prison containing the primordial Hoshotath. She told them that she now served Allabar, who had given her the ultimate power she had always dreamed of, and who would soon remake the world in his image. Hoshotath would destroy the world's defenders, paving the way for Allabar's arrival. She was defeated by Kalth, but her body erupted into a mass of writhing tentacles, and her telepathic voice told the Challengers that they would see her again.

Harbinger of Chaos

Tephra's next encounter with the Challengers was after they emerged from the Tomb of Horrors with the soul gems of Acererak. She asked for gems, and when they refused she summoned foulspawn and attacked them, but fled when the battle began turning against her. She met the Challengers again, further up the path, and when they again denied her request she summoned more foulspawn and attacked once more, teleporting away again when they began to gain the upper hand. She met them a final time only a few miles outside Silverstone; this time she did not fight them personally, instead summoning the aberration Shoth-Gorag to kill them before teleporting away.

Chosen of Allabar

By this time, Tephra had amassed a small army of fanatical followers, and made her base within the ancient Fortress at World's End. She also made contact with the demon lord Orcus, promising him the Scythe of Nerull in exchange for his help. She also began making plans for an assault on Silverstone. Her minions soon delivered the Tear to her at the Fortress; she used it to open a small, unstable portal to the Far Realm and focus the Tear's magic through it. As the Tear was linked to the dormant portal in Estorium, planar energies from the Far Realm had been steadily leaking through it, and by focusing it back through the Far Realm it would cause the seal on the portal to unravel.

The Challengers interrupted her in the middle of the ritual, however, and after a long battle Tephra escaped through the portal into the Far Realm shortly before Kalth threw the Tear into it. The planar energies of the Far Realm spilling through the Tear into itself caused a feedback loop that destroyed the Tear and collapsed the portal, but Gryff was sucked in and lost.

Queen of Estorium

With the Tear destroyed, the portal quickly unsealed itself, allowing Tephra to return to Estorim - her body now considerably warped by the chaotic energies of the Far Realm. Not dwelling on her defeat, she summoned thousands of aberrations from it and renewed her efforts against the Brightstone Heroes, who had established a base in the ruins of Terastra. One of her first actions was to conjure a massive, miles-wide forbiddance zone around Derenath, preventing any teleportation or planar travel into or out of the area and causing searing pain to any enemies who crossed into it.

While she built up her forces, she also took the opportunity to torture the paladin, Gryff, assaulting both his mind and body until, at last, he expired. She was pleasantly surprised when he reanimated as an icewight, and gleefully utilized the fartouched, undead paladin as one of her generals. She also found the angel Karadrach wandering the ruins of the Temple of the Mind's Eye; he had gone mad when Boccob appeared to have died at the conclusion of the Deity Wars, and Tephra was easily able to convince him that she was the Unacring One's true successor. As recompense for helping him find renewed purpose, Karadrach taught her the secrets of the Words of Creation, which she used to increase her power dramatically. Seeing further potential in them, she tasked the angel with finding a way to modify them into Words of Destruction, with which they could destroy even the gods.

A month later, the Challengers of the Unspeakable led an assault on the city of Rathna, which was filled with Tephra's forces. Seeing an opportunity to dispose of them personally, she took the field alongside Gryff, taunting them with their twisted former companion as well as her nigh-invulnerability. However, something happened that Tephra did not expect: when the corrupted paladin was struck down, his goddess, Nalindra, intervened, blasting the city with radiant power. Tephra only barely managed to teleport back to the temple as the entirety of her forces in Rathna were vaporized.

Exalted of Allabar

As before, Tephra quickly made new plans in the wake of her defeat. She contacted the demon queen, Oublivae, promising to bring ruin to the world in exchange from her aid. Then, drawing upon the knowledge she had acquired from Boccob, she used her minions to summon a massive fragment of the plane of Limbo, imbuing it with energies from both the Far Realm and the Abyss and bringing it crashing down to Estorium like a meteor. The force of the impact, combined with the energies imbued into it, tore a rift in the planar boundaries and allowing a shadowy being known as the Hungering Dark to enter the Material Plane from where it had been trapped between the planes and opening a gateway to the Abyss. Though the Challengers of the Unspeakable defeated the Hungering Dark and closed the gateway, Oublivae was able to use the opportunity to distract them while Tephra worked to stabilize the portal to the Far Realm in order to allow Allabar to enter the world.

Unfortunately, Tephra's plans hit another snag as a result of what would come to be known as the Chaos Meteor: Orcus had grown impatient and personally entered Syra to claim Lifecutter for himself. As a precautionary measure, Tephra was forced to hide it within an ancient Estorian vault, guarded by a living sphere of annihilation known as Entropy. Though disappointed that it was no longer being wielded as a weapon against her enemies, she had no intention of letting the unpredictable demon lord claim the artifact; she was even less pleased, however, when the Challengers of the Unspeakable successfully reclaimed it. Though she couldn't help but feel a twinge of satisfaction that they destroyed Orcus in the process, she was annoyed that the demon lord had dispelled her forbiddance zone in the process.

The Final Battle

Despite all of her plans, the armies of the Brightstone Heroes ultimately began a major assault on Derenath. Sending Karadrach to delay them, Tephra focused all of her efforts into the portal, ultimately finishing the stabilization ritual just as the Challengers of the Unspeakable arrived. Her confidence faltered somewhat when the angel Zohar used her own Words of Destruction against her, but she remained resolute in the knowledge that Allabar's arrival could no longer be stopped, and that even if she fell in battle, he would restore her to life. She was ultimately slain by the dragonborn Elytra, claiming even as she died that "Allabar comes... And I will... be... reborn..."

Allabar entered the portal only moments later, but he did not resurrect his favored servant as she so fervently believed. As her body was pulled into his massive bulk, one of his many mouths snapped out and simply devoured her, leaving only a messy splatter of blood on the floor.