| Videssos |
|Appearance(s):|| Videssos Cycle (as Avshar);|
The Tale of Krispos (as Harvas Black Robe);
The Time of Troubles;
Bridge of the Separator (as Rhavas)
|Nationality:||Empire of Videssos|
Rhavas was born in Videssos the city to a well connected family (his grandmother was sister to the grandfather of the Avtokrator Maleinos II). This helped him quickly rise in the hierarchy of the church of Phos but he also was a brilliant theologian who was widely respected among the senior clergy. While in his mid-twenties, he was appointed prelate of Skopentzana which he reluctantly accepted.
Fifteen years later, while still prelate, a civil war broke out in Videssos. The border and town garrisons of Skopentzana were withdrawn by the warring factions, forcing the city to fend for itself. Rhavas played an important role in preparing the city for the onslaught of the Khamorth raiders from beyond the borders, but they were eventually able to take over the city. During the preparations, he casually cursed the militia commander during an argument. Rhavas dismissed this occurrence as coincidence, but was worried. Because of the violence of the Khamorth in the countryside, Rhavas had argued that Skopentzana should take in the peasants from the outlying farms; the militia thought this unwise, viewing the peasants both as sources of crime and disorder but as potential security threats. During another argument with the replacement militia commander, Rhavas said "on my head be it" should the peasants help the Khamorth into the city.
This actually came to pass; a dissatisfied peasant opened a postern gate to allow the Khamorth to flood in. Just after escaping the sack, Rhavas cursed the Khamorth sacking the city, whereupon an earthquake struck the area immediately. Soon Rhavas found that he could murder at will, simply by pointing a finger and saying, "curse you."
Along the way to the city of Videssos, he used this cursing power to commit a series of increasingly heinous crimes, culminating in the rape and murder of the wife of Skopentzana's garrison commander. He would later kill a priest during an argument over whether Phos or Skotos was supreme. He also cursed the garrison commander to death when he asked after his wife's fate.
Upon his arrival in Videssos, he attempted to convince Maleinos Avtokrator of the supremacy of Skotos, but Maleinos forbade him from causing a public scandal. He ignored this, calling a synod of the priests to discuss the faith, and Maleinos disowned him as a cousin. When Stylianos crushed the Avtokrator's army and marched into Videssos the city, Rhavas attempted to convince him that Videssos' orthodox faith is inadequate, but Stylianos also rejected his arguments. After Rhavas casually cursed the patriarch during a tavern conversation, the patriarch died. Later, during the synod, the new patriarch would make every effort to be fair to Rhavas--but even the suggestion that Skotos might be equal in power to Phos was viewed as heresy by the orthodox majority. Rhavas cursed and struck down a partuclarly argumentative orthodox priest, which caused the others to be more cautious. His curse failed to kill the patriarch, however, and when his power became clear he was captured with a knock to the back of the head. After passing out, he had a vision of Skotos' icy hell, and made a bargain with the dark god for longer life in exchange for service and loyalty. The synod excommunicated and anathaematized Rhavas as a heretic; at the end of his excommunication ceremony, he was able to escape using a spell of darkness. As he looked back on the city of Videssos he called down a curse in Skotos' name, and another earthquake struck the city. He swore to get revenge on the Empire for rejecting him and his new creed.
Rhavas fled into the countryside, where he eventually met up with the Khamorth once again and decided to try to convert them to Skotos-worship. After defeating the tribe's shaman in a spritual duel by calling again on Skotos, he caused another earthquake to strike the city of Imbros.
Skotos granted to Rhavas an unaturally long lifespan, but no eternal youth--Rhavas withered to a near-skeletal state over the centuries. Rhavas learned to master both swordsmanship and magic, becoming extremely dangerous in both. He repeatedly masterminded plots to destroy the Videssian Empire, including a Halogai invasion under the pseudonym Harvas Black-Robe (an invasion ultimately repelledcby Krispos), and the rise of the Yezd nomads, among whom he was known as Avshar. Rhavas's predilection for creating false names by rearringing the letters of his own name may reflect his deep-seated, arrogant confidence in his own intelligence.
Rhavas was not invincible. During his time as Harvas, he was temporarily defeated by the Videssian spiritualist Tanilis, who forced him to abandon his position at the head of the Halogai, though he did kill Tanilis before fleeing. He was ultimately defeated by Marcus Scaurus, leader of a Roman legion that had been transported to Videssos by druidic magic, and by Viridovix, a Celtic chieftain who had been leading the Gallic forces against Scaurus's legionnaires and who was transported to Videssos by the same event.
Rhavas's power to deliver lethal curses was later made even more pernicious by his mastery of magic, allowing him to animate weapons to attack his foes, to summon down sheets of fire and ferocious beasts, and to imbue weapons with a soul-trapping enchantment. Only individuals protected by powerful spells or intense personal faith in Phos could withstand his curses and magic.