Nathan was born an only child; the bastard son of Lady Vera Surtova, Niece of Domani Surtova and Cousin to Noleski and Natala Surtova - the soon-to-be monarchs of Brevoy. He was fathered by Tarathel Everflame, a wandering Elven champion of some repute and apparently not one to be kept from ‘his calling‘ for long stretches of time. Tarathel left Vera only a few months into their lust-filled and sordid relationship to continue on with his quest. All contact with the elf was lost before he ever learned of his illegitimate son.
Lady Vera raised the young Nathan on her own and with little help from the rest of the family for they viewed him as a black sheep and a mar on their social status as a ruling house. Domani, in particular, was opposed to the raising of the child and openly spoke of banishing Nathan and Vera both to “erase the stain the two had smeared upon the family crest”. Noleski, for his part, defended his cousin. True, the boy was a bastard, but Noleski had seen a strength of charisma in the child necessary for a Surtova. Domani grudgingly agreed to allow the two to remain, but still ranted about them in private; even beating the boy in an occasional drunken stupor.
When Nathan was eight, an event known as The Vanishing swept Brevoy. Every member of the ruling House Rogarvia disappeared. Seeing an opportunity to be seized, Noleski vied for the throne by virtue of decent from Nikos Surtova and Myrna Rogarvia, daughter of Choral the Conqueror. The grab at power worked and Noleski Surtova was awarded the position of Lord Regent of Brevoy. Once Noleski and Natala relocated to New Stetvan and Domani was given reign over Port Ice, Nathan (and his lineage) was all but forgotten in the political storm that followed.
When he was old enough, Nathan was given an education. Tutors would travel to his house and instruct him on various subjects. There was one for linguistics, one for history, one for mathematics, one for swordplay, and many others. Nathan was a quick study and took each subject in to it’s fullest. His swordplay instructor, noting Nathan’s frame was too small for the longsword, instead taught Nathan the dexterous fighting style of the rapier, the noble’s blade. Nathan found particular interest in linguistics and speech and soon could speak five separate languages.
Nathan was an only child, and the only one in the manor in which he and his mother stayed. This allowed him much attention from his mother when he desired it but his free time was decidedly lacking in playmates. Most other children of House Surtova were too young or too old to play with young Nathan. Thus, he spent many hours at social gatherings with his mother, studying the intricacies of his favorite subject: People. Though he was a lonely child, Nathan found he had a gift when it came to people. A ‘natural grace’ his mother called it. A sure sign of his Sutovan blood.
To counteract his growing loneliness, lack of real childhood thus far, and increasing anti-social tendencies, Vera bought Nathan a dog for his 12th birthday. Nathan was overjoyed and took to the small beast instantly, naming it Aeruerel, after a legendary elven archer he’d learned about in his history studies. The two bonded quickly and were soon inseparable.
Though he now had Aeruerel at his side, Nathan still found himself lonely and desperately seeking a father figure to guide him through the most troubled and confusing time of his young life. The longer he sought such a figure, the more irritable and moody Nathan became. His anger simmered for a time until one day, while out playing with Aeruerel, it boiled over. Nathan’s faithful hound and sole companion never returned home. Nathan claimed the dog simply ran away and Vera promised to replace the dog and did what she could to calm her sobbing son. However, Nathan’s tears were but false witness to a most vile crime and if Vera ever found the shallow grave in her garden, she never spoke a word of the body lying therein.
For the next few years, Nathan would get a new puppy for his birthday. Each year, his new pet would receive an elven name, and once Nathan and the animal bonded, the dog would disappear a short time later. In secret, Nathan envisioned that each new hound was an incarnation of his father, the elven name signifying it’s connection.
For a time, Nathan would feign interest and earn the pup’s undying love and loyalty before leading it out into the wilderness to be slaughtered. The ritual was the same each time, adding bits and pieces here and there to complete the fantasy playing out in his head. For, to Nathan, ever misfortunate event in his life could be traced back to his dishonorable absentee father.
Eventually, killing loving puppies deep in the woods simply wasn’t enough for Nathan. The fantasy was too far removed from reality and Nathan longed for a way to unite the two further. It was with this plan in mind that Nathan took to the streets of Port Ice. He was soon in the company of a young human woman, Karin and her elven suitor, Elandel. The three hit it off at once and were soon meeting three or four times a week for some outing or another.
It wasn’t long before Nathan invited the couple to spend the weekend at the manor for a gala his mother was throwing. One thing led to another and the couple were soon passed out from inebriation. The next morning, the couple woke to members of the guard rousing Elandel from his sleep. He’d been found in possession of stolen items from the house and was taken into custody.
Nathan soothed the distraught Karin, assuring her that he would help Elandel in anyway he could, but his hands were tied as the items stolen belonged not to him personally, but to house Surtova, the ruling family of Brevoy. Karin would have to pay off a hefty fine in order to free her beloved, which she agreed to do as Nathan’s maid-servant at the rate of two silver pieces a day.
In truth, Nathan had already pardoned Elandrel, claiming it was naught but drunken mischief and the elf was released into Nathan’s care. However, the pair did not return home. Elandrel died during a horrible and best left un-described torture at the hands of Nathan, all the while wondering what he’d done to anger and offend his best friend in such a way.
It was soon to be discovered by Karin that Nathan was not all that he appeared. Though the work asked of her was routine at first, Nathan’s requests soon took a turn for the worse. Nathan became more and more lewd with Karin and when she resisted, he grew harsh. He lashed her and hit her and, after a particular incident, he cut into her flesh with a carving knife. He never touched her face, or any other part of her that publicly showed; but the wounds suffered by the poor woman were more than physical. Karin continued on in Nathan’s service still believing the lie he’d told her about her beloved Elandrel.
Nathan’s plan would soon be unraveled, however. For one day, Karin slipped out from under the ever watchful eye of Nathan and made straight for the nearest city watch post, demanding to see Elandrel. When she was informed that, by their records, her suitor was released the very day after his arrest (now almost two years ago), Karin burst into tears and told the guardsman of her plight. With the evidence -literally- written all over her body, the watchman had no choice but to believe her accusations and a warrant for the arrest of Nathan Surtova soon followed.
As the watchman burst into the Surtova manor, tensions rose. He had seen the scars on the poor broken woman at the station and he was enraged to find Nathan the very picture of shock and disbelief. Nathan’s attempts to insist he was innocent only served to stoke the anger of the watchman and he lunged at Nathan. Nathan’s training in swordplay was enough that he deftly dodged the attack, thrusting a silver serving knife deep into his attacker’s chest. The man slumped to the floor as Nathan stood over him, berating him for his stupidity and otherwise angrily screaming at his failed attempt to apprehend him.
Nathan soon composed himself and called for a manor guard, relating the story with some embellishment before ordering the guard to decapitate the corpse and take the body to the local cemetery of Pharasma for burial. Nathan removed the arrest warrant from the man’s corpse (along with any personal effects) and incinerated the paper. Shortly after, he sent a long and slightly threatening letter to the local watch captain.
The sole witness to the crimes of Nathan Surtova, soon even more
distraught over the news that justice would not come in Elandrel’s name fled the country and was never seen from again.
The devious Surtovan did not stop his crimes, however; and many other vile deeds and offenses, though more carefully planned and more deviously enacted, were committed before his 19th birthday.
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