Sunday, August 31, 2014

[Special Feature] VIII: Alsbeth Rothmann

     After doing some research into the notorious villain Alsbeth, I realized that she didn't exactly have the best childhood ever. But does that justify her treachery and betrayal of Telara and all living beings on it? I hardly think so!

     Alsbeth Rothmann was born to a fairly minor nobles' family and lived in the countryside of the Mathosian Kingdom. Her ancient ancestor, Phynnious Rothmann, was the first pyromancer mage and helped bring down the Age of Dragons. The family line went steadily downhill since that glorious time, ending in shame and dishonor when Alsbeth's father murdered her mother in front of her for adultery. Her father was then executed for murder and young Alsbeth, little more than a child, was left without a home or family when her uncle inherited the estate and promptly kicked her out of the household.
     When Queen Lenia Mathos, husband of Jostir Mathos, learned of the girl's fate, she took Alsbeth in out of pity, ensuring she was cared for and received the best education at court as a state ward. Alsbeth was quiet at court, pale-skinned, dark haired, and shy. She spent her time reading books of magic and enchantment in the library or walking through the castle gardens. After the queen died of an incurable disease, Alsbeth lost her only advocate in court and fell into the shadows, since the king hardly had time for a homeless orphan.

     When she was old enough, Alsbeth and the other children at court were sent to the esteemed Quicksilver College in Silverwood, home of the Elves. There, she quickly won popularity with the professors and other students with her skill at magic and her ability to learn anything put to her. Her accomplishments at school earned her as much a place in everyone's eyes as Asha's behavior, albeit for different reasons. Alsbeth grew slightly resentful of Asha, who never took her studies seriously despite her intelligence and quick mind. Asha rebelled against the rules constantly. Once Asha was expelled, Alsbeth took full reign over the school, rising to the top of the ranks as best student. She returned to the court of Mathos a powerful and skillful mage.
    After conflict arose between Jostir's two sons over the throne, Alsbeth found herself having to choose a side. Everyone was certain she would side with King Aedraxis since Asha immediately sided with her secret crush, Zareph, but Zareph appeared to have won her over and she rode to Thedeor Field in his honor guard. Alsbeth fought bravely and valiantly in Zareph's army and her name, along with Shyla, Borrin, Carwin and Cyril, became songs and legend among the rebel forces. When the rifts swallowed the battlefield, Alsbeth died with everyone else. None were surprised when the Messengers of the Vigil raised her as Ascended with the rest of the heroes of Thedeor Field. Along with other Ascended, Alsbeth helped Zareph lead refugees to Port Scion for safety. There she spent years as a seemingly loyal and steadfast friend and advocate of Zareph's rule, and a defender of the city.

     So it came as the greatest shock when she betrayed them all to Regulos. The stories of Alsbeth Rothmann as the greatest and bravest mage of this age stopped. Instead, she gained the reputation and title of Alsbeth the Discordant. She tricked both the Guardians and the Defiant, setting up such a masterful turn of events that the city fell in but one day. To this day, her treacherous taking of the city is one of the most horrendous deeds done by a Telaran. If not for the heroic sacrifice of Zareph Mathos, the taint of the largest death rift seen yet would have consumed the entirety Silverwood and Freemarch both in a matter of days. After the city fell, the Guardians blamed the Defiants' magitech abominations for the loss of their beloved prince and the Defiant blamed the Guardians for ignorantly or perhaps even purposely harboring such a treacherous snake as Alsbeth. What use were the gods to them if they couldn't even tell the difference between a loyal follower and a hidden cultist? If not for Alsbeth's horrendous betrayal, the two factions could have found common ground and launched an effective joint assault on the planar threat.

     Now Alsbeth is a formidable necromancer of untold power, allied with Regulos and leading his forces on Telara. She is still Ascended and manipulates events from the shadows, making multiple attempts across Mathosia to disrupt the Defiant and Guardian forces and bring her dark master back to the material plane.
     Alsbeth is seen multiple times throughout the Ascended's journey to protect Telara, unleashing death rifts, horrifying hoards of undead and planar monster monsters, as well as powerful and sinister demons from the Plane of Death.

     Alsbeth was finally dealt with by the Ascended when Regulos tasked her with creating a device that would locate and take souls with untold power out of the Soulstream to serve him on Telara. Specifically, he was looking for strong, powerful souls to head his army of undead invaders. After his physical form was shattered, he lost the ability to do it himself and so enlisted Alsbeth's aid, although it's implied by him that her near success at this task surprised even Regulos. Working with Plutonus, the architect of the device, Alsbeth was able to summon a powerful being called Gaurath. Seeking petty revenge against her nemesis Asha, she also summoned Zareph Mathos's soul, binding his will to her. To her surprise though, Zareph's love and loyalty allowed him to fight off her control. Alsbeth then begged her master to grant her the power to destroy the Ascended that had journeyed to the River of Souls themselves to stop her, but he denied her, having grown tired of her failures on Telara and empty promises. After her ultimate defeat at the hands of the Ascended and Zareph, Regulos snatched up her soul before it could enter the Soulstream, promising eternal torment as her "reward".

     Why did she suddenly betray the Guardians in the first place, you wonder? Alsbeth is ambitious, selfish, and narcissistic. She thinks only of herself and her own benefit, believing she deserves what she can get her hands on because of her incredible magical abilities. She enjoys causing trouble for others and winning competitions and it drove her mad that Asha was more skilled and advanced at college although Asha didn't even need to apply herself to study-her abilities came naturally to her. Anytime the two of them teamed up in college, Alsbeth would set the blame for any wrongdoing on Asha. It frustrated her no end that Asha didn't even seem to mind. When it had become known that Asha had been plucked from the Soulstream by their old court tutor Orphiel Farwind, the hatred grew uncontrollable. Seeking plans to topple Asha's new perch, Alsbeth unknowingly opened herself up to the lure of power that Regulos offered and embraced him wholeheartedly. Later, she saw her chance to strike and toppled two birds with the price of one stone, forever causing a rift between the two factions and denying Asha her love of Zareph as the summoning of the rift in Port Scion ended with his death.

References: So, Alsbeth is a rather interesting character, and while it's hard to pin down her true motives, I'm pretty confident I've got her pegged. I was able to gain clues of her early history by reading the books in game on both her and Asha, as well as completing quests in the early zones and by doing a run through of the River of Souls Chronicle. In a way, I kind of feel bad for her. She had a rough life, and it made her into a sour and bitter person. It didn't help that Asha seemed so perfect and yet blew off every effort to actually learn anything. I can't help but wonder what would be different if Alsbeth had actually had a real friend while in court and later in college, instead of just underlings who she impressed with her magical ability. Maybe if she had someone to talk to...? Oh well I guess it's too late now. I think at some point I'd like to write a fanfiction story about that what if though. Could be fun!
     Anyway, you can find information on Alsbeth by reading the Alsbeth book and Asha Catari book, as well as talking to NPC's relevant to her storyline, and of course the raid and the chronicle River of Souls.

No comments:

Post a Comment