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Cyric (pronounced: /ˈsɪərɪkSEER-ik[4][27][19]), known as Sirhivatizangpo by his Gugari worshipers[3] and as N'asr by the Bedine,[28][29] was the monomaniacal Faerunian god of lies, trickery,[30] and strife,[30] having previous held dominion over tyranny, murder, lies, intrigue, illusion.[4][19] It was Cyric who murdered Mystra and caused the Spellplague, throwing the cosmos into turmoil in an act that cost him much of his following.[10]

It all depends on me, you see. Nothing is certain until I have beheld it and set it in place, until I have placed myself above it or below, before it or after...I am the One, the All, the Face Behind the Mask. I am the Everything.

Description[]

Cyric as a mortal.

As a mortal man, Cyric had a lean athletic build. His dark brown hair outlined a face of sharp angles, highlighted by crow's-feet eyes,[31] a pointed chin and hawkish nose.[32]

As a god, Cyric's avatar took on a similar appearance, but with ghastly pale skin and intense, dark eyes.[19][4][33] He exhibited human mannerisms, and was often prone to wriggling and squirming when he became anxious or impatient,[34][35][36] After a decade of godhood Cyric's avatar began to reflect the horrific nature of his character. His face went so gaunt it resembled a skull and the skin wrapped around his tightly-wound cords of muscle turned red.[33] Cyric's eyes appeared as small flames within his skull, his teeth turned crooked and yellowed,[37] and his fingers were stripped of flesh until only bone remained.[38] With some effort, Cyric could hide this appearance with use of illusion magic when making appearances in the Realms.[39]

Following his descent into madness, Cyric's skeletal visage[40] and bony hands were scarred and scorched by the flaming souls of his wretched faithful. Unlike before, These wounds could not be hidden by any form of magical means.[41] Cyric's fractured psyche caused him to speak in a thousand voices at once.[40] What remained of his heart appeared as a mass of poisonous brown sludge interwoven with white cords, that were in fact remnants of the two gods he had slain.[42]

Personality[]

If you lavish godhood on the pretenders that chained you here, then you're right. I'm no god. I'm very much more than that.
— Cyric, to Kezef the Chaos Hound.[43]

Cyric was a petty and selfish man that believed everyone was truly alone in life.[31] Placing trust in others was folly that would only end in suffering or in all likelihood, death.[31] While he occasionally acted in the interest of others and once famously rallied the Dalesfolk in a terrific battle, Cyric was unfortunately overcome by the worst aspects of his nature. Cyric's selfishness, inability to cope with intense feelings,[44] and unwillingness to rely upon others for support,[31] led Cyric to isolate and withdrawal himself from people that actually cared for him.[45] As a result, Cyric suffered and languished in a state of inner turmoil. His earnest but malnourished desire to do right by others remained at odds with his sense of self-preservation and a yearning to prove himself by appearing powerful.[46]

Cyric wielding Godsbane above his head in a moment of "triumph" within the Bone Castle.

Cyric's experiences as an adventurer accentuated the darker aspects of his persona, namely his perverse fascination with killing,[47] the ease with which he spoke half-truths, his inclination to incite fear in others, the urge for bloodlust he harbored, and the pleasure he felt when exerting dominance over the weak.[48] The worst aspects of Cyric's humanity were only magnified when he ascended to divinity. As a god Cyric was entirely egocentric,[27] and took immense joy from manipulating mortals into ruining or ending their own lives.[27][19] For a time Cyric came to believe himself superior to all other beings in the multiverse.[4][6]

As the youngest god of the Faerûnian pantheon,[22][49] Cyric's self-absorption led to him often acting out like a child. He was irrationally impatient and became restless[50] and moody[51] when things didn't go his way fast enough for his liking.[52] He formed petty, nasty, and sexist nicknames for the other gods and he insisted that courtiers in his divine court only refer to them as such.[53] In truth, Cyric was terrified of the other powers, and was even put at ease by some demipowers,[54] to the point that he became crippled with paranoia.[55][15]

During his descent into madness, Cyric's unpredictability and erratic behavior became much worse.[52] He was overtaken with a myriad of delusions and countless voices in his mind[4] that some speculated were the remnants of the gods he had slain.[24] He would fantasize horrors that could be inflicted upon those that wronged him, conflate those fallacies with half-truths and false memories, then accept the results as new reality that comprised glorious victories over his enemies.[56] Cyric's cracked and chaotic psyche could barely hold back his myriad of conflicting selves.[57][33] Cyric abandoned any precept of a polytheistic pantheon, and came to believe himself the only true god of the Realms,[7] and demanded that all his followers appease and worship him as such.[4][58]

Abilities[]

If I can destroy the love of gods, then I can certainly fill the lives of Faerûn's mortals with strife and discord.
— Cyric, during his trial.[59]

For a time Cyric was among the most powerful deities among the Faerûnian pantheon, having taken on at least partial portfolios of five different deities.[22] He drew much of his own power from the constant in-fighting between the various sects and cells of his church.[60]

Cyric's avatar was entirely immune to the effects of illusion, charm, fear-inducing, or other emotion-altering magic, and was always ignored by undead beings. He could inflict madness upon others with his mere touch. He often appeared as the avatar that resembled his mortal body, but could choose any form he wished,[4] at times preferring those of a terrible spider,[61] or the visage of a skull.[62] Cyric's divine powers were amplified while on Pandemonium, the plane of pure chaos.[63] For a brief time, Cyric was stripped of any and all magical powers by Mystra, when she refused to grant him access to the Weave.[64]

When he appeared as a manifestation, Cyric preferred to take on the appearance of a wraith that haunted the dreams of mortals or that of a poisonous cloud of smoke. When he could be bothered to appear himself, Cyric merely created nightmares of undead in the psyche of his victims.[4]

Possessions[]

As an adventurer, Cyric kept an array of weapons and hand magical items. He kept on his person several daggers, a handaxe, both a long and short sword, and longbow with a quiver of arrows.[31][65] At times he wore a suit of plate mail,[31] and at others shrouded himself within a dark cloak of displacement.[65]

Cyric's unholy symbol on a ring.

Cyric's throne room within his divine realm was a monument to his victories. It housed twisted trophies that besmirched other gods and degraded their followers, including a painting of a Deneiran faithful, the pigment of which was made of children's blood; the executioner's axe of a crazed king that venerated Tyr; and the nail a worshiper of Sune used to blind himself after receiving a vision of the goddess of beauty.[66] He drank from a ruby-studded silver chalice crafted to resemble a cloven heart. It was said to be filled with the tears of jilted lovers and crestfallen idealists,[27][67] and even held those shed by two lovelorn gods.[68]

Weaponry[]

In his final months as a mortal,[69] and first decade as a god, Cyric wielded the sentient shortsword Godsbane. He was completely enamored with the sword,[56] and revered her as his most prized possession and dearest companion.[5] Cyric nourished her with the blood of the powerful and the innocent.[69] Godsbane was in fact the transformed sentience of Mask, the God of Illusions.[4] While in Cyric's possession, Mask cooed into Cyric's ear, fulfilling the role of his lover and enabler of his worst delusions and most twisted schemes.[70]

Following the revelation of Mask's treachery, Cyric acquired a new blade, the +5 longsword called Razor's Edge[18][71]

Divine Realms[]

Following his ascension, Cyric took over the former realm of Myrkul, the Bone Castle, in the Gray Waste (also known as Hades in the Great Wheel cosmological model).[49] When he lost dominion over the dead to Kelemvor, Cyric relocated to Pandemonium and fashioned himself a warped and changeable realm he named the Castle of the Supreme Throne, known as the Shattered Castle by others.[4][22][23][72] Within the World Tree cosmology, Cyric took the batrachi realm of the Supreme Throne from Limbo and fashioned his own plane from it. The Supreme Throne survived the transition as the cosmos reshaped into a newly-accpted model, though it became a prison for the Mad God.[73][74]

Relationships[]

I have little desire to see yet another godling who might be a possible opponent. If you even have any power worth noting.

With Mortals[]

While operating in the thieves' guild of Zhentil Keep, Cyric was instructed by a ruthless mentor named Marek. Cyric maintained an acquaintanceship with the vicious thief Quicksal, though they could hardly be called friends.[75] Cyric did find true comradery with his fellow adventurer Midnight,[76] and the pair formed a close bond in short order.[77] Midnight attended to Cyric[78] when he was gravely wounded,[79] and the thief was genuinely grateful.[76] That bond did not last long however, as Midnight's burgeoning romance with their fellow adventurer Kelemvor incited fierce jealousy in Cyric.[80] After Mystra spurned Cyric's romantic interests, he grew increasingly impatient and then hateful towards her,[48] a dynamic that continued following their ascension to godhood.[19]

Divine Foes[]

Cyric looked down upon[53] and even hated most of the other deities of Toril, and held particular loathing for Mystra,Kelemvor, and Bane,[19] whose death he claimed credit for divine portfolio he briefly took over.[81] Cyric's hatred for Mystra and Kelemvor originated during their time together as mortal companions, and intensified after his ascension. Cyric lashed out at everyone and everything the goddess Midnight held dear,[82] and scoured the multiverse to enact revenge Kelemvor's mortal soul[83][84] His loathing for Kelemvor intensified after the hero arose as a god himself, and given providence over a portion of Cyric's domain.[85]

Cyric drew the ire of Oghma when he manipulated the god's dominion over the spread of knowledge in an attempt to convert all the Realms to the Cyricist faith.[55]

Over time Cyric became paranoid of the Realms' greater powers, believing they all conspired together to strip him of his divinity,[55] and was ultimately left alone with no allies.[64] Cyric's fear led to making many enemies among the pantheon, Azuth, Tyr, Torm, Deneir, Leira, Iyachtu Xvim, Bane, and many others.[4][19]

Divine Allies[]

During his time as Lord of the Dead, Cyric was dutifully served by his seneschal Jergal,[86] the god whose former portfolios Cyric later claimed.[87] Jergal attempted to advise Cyric, guide him during his dealings with other deities—especially the Circle of Twelve Powers—and help properly govern his divine domain.[70] The former god of the dead was wholly unsuccessful in his efforts.[6][88]

Cyric maintained an partnership with Mask for a time, but believed him a weakling and coward.[89] When Mask revealed himself to be Cyric's sword Godsbane,[4] the two became hated enemies.[19] He later forged a similar alliance with Shar[90]—the divine mother of Mask—[91]but was manipulated by the Lady of Night into carrying out plots that benefited her, and burdening the blame afterwards.[74][92] Cyric lashed out at Shar in revenge, but by that time was too ineffectual to harm her or her following.[62]

In his desperate struggle to maintain power, Cyric resorted to cavorting with at least two of the Seven Lost Gods, Kezef the Chaos Hound and Dendar the Night Serpent. These dangerous otherworldly beings were feared by even the greater powers of the Realms.[93] [94]

Activities[]

Didn't you hear Ao? There was no crime. Leira died because I willed it. Any of you could be next. That's my place in the Balance: To weed out the weak from this pathetic pantheon.
— Cyric, to his fellow greater powers.[95]

As a god Cyric begrudgingly fulfilled his divine duties to a point, but truly focused on his plots to strike out against those to whom he felt hatred.[70] He carried this neglect so far as to disrupt the Balance of the divine powers, and sow discord among the other members of the pantheon.[7]

Worshipers[]

Even before godhood Cyric attracted a zealous contingent of Zhent warriors that devoted themselves to his cause. They followed Cyric during his quest to retrieve the Tablets of Fate and cast aside their loyalties to their former employers and home realms. While Cyric did spare them from inadvertent death,[96] he only traveled with them so long as they proved useful,[97] and completely abandoned them afterwards.[98][69]

Church[]

Unholy symbol of Cyric circa the mid–14th century DR.

Main article: Church of Cyric

The Cyricist church was hated across Toril with good reason: Cyric's church was pledged to spread strife and work murder everywhere in order to make folk believe in and fear the Dark Sun. It supported cruel rulers and indulged fostered fear and intrigue while avoiding the spread of outright war. The church was often beset by internal feuds and backstabbing for some time before eventually waning.[19][99] Many outside the church viewed it as a twisted den of madness, trickery, and death. Cyricist clergy condemned this outlook, preferring to see their religion as one of enlightenment. It purportedly revealed that all societal bonds of friendship, family, and love were nothing but weak ties that always withered away, and were therefore useless, weak, and pitiful.[30]

Cyric's clerics prayed for spells at night, after moonrise, and often trained as rogues or assassins.[19] His specialty priests were known as strifeleaders.[100] They celebrated few holy days and did not acknowledge the date of his ascension to divinity, due to it coinciding with that of Midnight. Whenever a temple acquired something, or someone, important enough to be sacrificed, its high priest declared a Day of the Dark Sun to signify the holiness of the event. Eclipses were considered holy occasions, and were accompanied by feasts, fervent prayers, and bloody sacrifices.[19]

In addition to the worshipers Cyric claimed during his ascension, he also garnered those of the Leiran faith after slaying the Lady of Deception.[101] Cyric's faith spread across some unlikely groups, including the insular Bedine people of Anauroch,[102] Tethyrian cultists of Ao that remained unaware of their true divine patron,[103] some of the more malevolent tieflings of the Realms,[104] and renegade githyanki that forewent worship of their lich-queen.[105]

Center of Worship[]

In the early year's of Cyric's divinity, Zhentil Keep[106] and the surrounding lands of the Moonsea were considered the center of his worship in the Realms.[107][108] During this time the Zhentarim served as an extension of the Cyricist church.[109][110] Following the decline of Cyric's influence, his religion endured throughout Amn and the Lands of Intrigue.[111][112] The tenets of Cyricism fit in well with their culture of ambition, lack of reliance on others, and "buyer beware"–type contracts.[30]

Deceased[]

Cyric's immortal servants were known as the 'denizens'[113] or 'shades', souls that dwelled within the Bone Castle and the surrounding City of Strife. He also held dominion over the False—souls of the dead that lied about the god they worshiped—and the Faithless, whose tortured forms composed the Wall.[114] Cyric considered his denizens to be servile minions whose only purpose was to appropriately fear their god and cater to his needs.[115] Cyric had their immortal forms changed to grotesque and powerful monstrosities that better suited his liking.[116] He offered protection from his terrible plots in exchange for their eternal service, but only upheld his end of the bargain when convenient.[67]

Notable Worshipers[]

Temples[]

Notable temples to Cyric included:

History[]

The Mortal[]

Though men may try to wrest the reins of their destiny from the gods they are all born at the mercy of Nature, bound in a hundred ways to those around them. This is how the gods insure mortals are tied to their world of toil and sorrow. Cyric of Zhentil Keep was no exception.
— Opening lines to The True Life of Cyric.[122]

The mortal Cyric was born a bastard to two of Zhentil Keep's most unfortunate souls sometime around the early 1330s DR. His mother unsuccessful and destitute bard that lived in the poorest part of Zhentil Keep, and his father was a low-ranking Zhentilar officer that refused to acknowledge Cyric as his son. Cyric's mother resorted to prostitution and depended on the good will of others to keep her son alive, successful until the day she was slain by Cyric's father. The illegitimate Cyric was sold into slavery by his father, as recompense for the inconvenience of his existence, and shipped off to the southern nation of Sembia.[31][122]

The infant Cyric was purchased by a childless merchant-class couple as an heir to pass on their wine-making business. Astolpho the vintner and his wife raised Cyric in the lap of luxury for years, catering to the young lad's every want and desire. At the age of ten, circa the Year of the Lion, 1340 DR, Cyric uncovered the truth of his birth and dramatically ran away from his family's estate. While he was promptly returned home by local guardsmen, Cyric boisterously asserted to all that his true home was Zhentil Keep and word of his origins spread rapidly across the Sembian elite. Over the course of the next two years, Cyric's parents became pariahs among their peers and their businesses came to ruin. The young man's growing mistrust of his parents turned to derision and outright hatred of them. At the mere age of 12 years old, Cyric murdered his parents in their sleep and left Sembia north for Zhentil Keep.[31][122]

Believing the death of his parents would grant him peace, Cyric set out to make a life of his own. The reality of surviving in the Realms quickly set in with Cyric. Within a tenday he found himself near-starving, stricken with fever at the border of the Dalelands. In a strike of twisted fate, the dying child was captured by Zhent slavers and taken north to Zhentil Keep in the Moonsea.[31] He eventually escaped from bandage, lived on the streets for a time, and eventually joined the local thieves' guild.[123]

The Adventurer[]

Circa the Year of the Morningstar, 1350 DR,[124][note 2] Cyric attempted to steal the Ring of Winter from a powerful tribe of frost giants led by Thrym, but was unsuccessful and became trapped in their cave. The opportunity to flee only came when a band of adventurers, including the mercenary Kelemvor Lyonsbane, attacked the frost giants' lair while also trying to find the Ring of Winter. Kelemvor's entire party, save himself, was slain and only he and Cyric managed to escape.[125] Once back in Arabel the two eventually joined Adon, a young cleric of Sune, and they took work for the local city watch to uncover a traitor.[126]

During the Gods War in the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, Cyric went went to make offerings to avatar of Tymora when she appeared in Arabel. Cyric was doubtful about the gods' arrival to the mortal realms and postulated that a divine being would have no use his gold.[127] Some time later, Cyric, Kelemvor, and Adon met Caitlan Moonsong,[128] a mysterious young girl. Caitlan beseeched the trio to help her on a quest to free the now-mortal Mystra, who had been imprisoned in Castle Kilgrave by the avatar of the god Bane.[129] They were soon joined by Midnight,[130] a charming adventuring magic-user to whom Cyric felt an immediate connection.[77]

Kelemvor, Midnight, Adon, and Cyric standing before Castle Kilgrave.

The group freed Mystra from the clutches of Bane on Midsummer, and accompanied her to the Celestial Stairway where she confronted still-divine Helm, the God of Guardians. Despite Mystra's insistence that she deliver to Ao the message that Bane and Myrkul had stolen the Tablets of Fate, Helm would not let her re-enter the planes. The avatars of the two gods fought a brief but terrible battle, one that excited Cyric's bloodlust it never had been before, and Helm slew Mystra on the steps of the Stairway.[131]

After passing through Tilverton,[132] the group journeyed eastward to seek out Elminster in Shadowdale.[133] While passing through the Spiderhaunt Wood they encountered the Company of Dawn adventuring band,[134] and Cyric uncharacteristically became fast friends with a young, naïve thief named Brion. Their connection was tragically cut short however, when giant spiders attacked the two adventuring groups and Brion was violently killed before Cyric's eyes.[135] Cyric was clearly traumatized by the experience, but did not speak of it to others.[44]

The Hero[]

You wish glory? You wish to lay down your worthless lives? Alright. But will you seek it at the cost of their lives? Leave this place and who will protect them?...Stand with me and you stand with Shadowdale!
— Cyric to the Dalesfolk during the Second battle of Shadowdale, 1358 DR.[136]

The troupe arrived at Shadowdale on the eve of a Zhentilar invasion. Seeing the Dalesman confronted with overwhelming odds, Cyric's old mentor Marek suggested they leave together and defect to the Zhent's cause. Marek claimed they were both born for a life of murder and theft. Cyric refused, insisting that he would fight for his honor among his new friends. Marek forsook his friendship with the younger thief and walked away from his pupil. Cyric stabbed Marek in the back and justified his murder by claiming his former teacher was a Zhent spy.[137]

Riders crossing the bridge over the Ashaba.

Cyric and the rest of the adventuring party joined in the defense of Shadowdale as the Zhents marched down from the north. He demonstrated great bravery when he confronted Dalesmen that would abandon their duties for bloodless, and convinced them to help the town's refugees leave for safety by means of the Ashaba River.[136] During the actual battle, Cyric led the ambush against the Zhentilar cavalry as the mounted soldiers crossed the Ashaba bridge, and even scored a direct bow shot against the Zhent commander and Banite priest Fzoul Chembryl.[138] He was celebrated as a champion of the town by many of the local Dalesfolk.[139]

Unfortunately, Cyric had little time to bask in praise as Midnight and Adon were accused of killing Elminster in a magical explosion in the Twisted Tower during the battle.[140] The pair were brought before judgement by Lord Mourngrym Amcathra and after a brief trial, were sentenced to death the following day. Cyric had to suppress his instincts to immediately murder Lord Mourngrym,[141] but rather set out that night to free his companions from captivity. Overcome by indifference and bloodlust, Cyric silently slaughtered many unsuspecting guardsmen as he 'rescued' Midnight and the near-catatonic Adon.[128][142] In the dead of night the trio set out east down the Ashaba en route to Tantras, where one of the Tablets of Fate was rumored to lay in wait.[143]

The Traitor[]

During their travel downriver, Cyric's cynicism and dark nature took over. He tormented the troubled Adon and tried to convince Midnight to abandon any hope of reuniting when Kelemvor. By this time Cyric saw Midnight and the arcane power she demonstrated in the Twisted Tower as his means to acquire the Tablets of Fate for himself.[48] After some time the trio came to Blackfeather Bridge, atop which stood Kelemvor and a group of Dalesman charged with their apprehension. Cyric panicked, capsized their skiff and plummeted into the waters of the Ashaba.[144] He was recovered by the Dalesmen in short time and managed to lie and deceive his way into being taken captive rather than immediately killed for his grievous crimes in Shadowdale.[145]

Cyric's time as a prisoner was short-lived, as the Dalesmen were soon stopped by a superiorly-outfitted band of Zhentilar soldiers, the Company of the Scorpions. A fight broke out between the two groups and the Zhent company emerged victorious. Cyric expertly maneuvered the subsequent conversation to his advantage and secured himself a spot within the company by killing the last remaining Dalesman in a twisted game.[146] He traveled with the Zhents across the eastern Dalelands for some time,[128] learned more about their history and hierarchy[147] and eventually took over lead of the Company of Scorpions as his own.[148]

In short time, Cyric and his company were granted audience with Bane in Scardale. In an ironic twist, Bane's avatar remained in the body of Fzoul Chembryl, the Zhent priest Cyric had wounded during the Battle of Shadowdale.[149] Cyric offered nearly all he knew about his former companions and their quest for the Tablets of Fate to the Dark Lord, but held back offering freely Midnight's true name. Bane tasked Cyric and the assassin Durrock with killing Kelemvor in Tantras, and apprehending Midnight,[149] but unfortunately they proved unsuccessful.[150] The Company of Scorpions and their leader were designated as Bane's personal guard,[151] protecting him as he received the benefits of a Myrkulite ritual that cost the lives of Bhaal's assassins across Faerûn.[152]

The battle of the gods Bane and Torm.

Bane took a new avatar in the form of a towering obsidian colossus and marched across the Dragon Reach to Tantras with a fleet of Zhent ships—among them The Argent that passaged Cyric and his company—following closely behind.[153] The colossal Bane was met in battle by the equally mighty avatar of Torm, and the two god's battled until each destroyed the other's mortal form.[154] Sensing his moment to once again gain the upper hand, Cyric ordered his ship away from the dueling gods and avoided the destructive magic Midnight and recently-returned Elminster delivered unto Bane's army. The Argent then sailed west in pursuit of Midnight, who had reunited with Kelemvor and Adon.[155] Despite what was written in a certain book that detailed Cyric's life,[156] he had no hand in the god's death but merely survived it by means of treachery.[155]

Cyric and the Company of the Scorpions continued in pursuit of Kelemvor, Midnight, and Adon over the following tendays,[157] determined to retrieve the tablet they recovered from Tantras.[96] During that time, the company slaughtered the halfling village of Black Oaks[158][159] and Cyric obtained Godsbane, an intelligent blade inhabited by the god Mask[4] that guided him to give in to his murderous instincts,[160]

The Godslayer[]

Having established themselves in the Haunted Halls of Cormyr, Cyric's company abandoned all ties to the Zhentarim and dedicated their lives to his quest for the Tablets of Fate. During this time, horrific murders appeared across the Heartlands, with all signs pointing to the avatar of Bhaal, the Lord of Murder. Unable to stay in one locale for too long,[161] they continued tracking Midnight and the others until they refuge in the fortress of High Horn.[162] When the adventurers left under Cormyrean escort[163] west through Yellow Snake Pass, Cyric saw his moment of opportunity to act.[164] As Cyric as snuck upon their camp, Kelemvor took notice and confronted him, with their former fellow companions, the Cormyrean soldiers, and Cyric's own company looking on. Despite Midnight's protests—and lingering hope Cyric would rejoin their group—Cyric and Kelemvor fought a vicious battle. When Kelemvor took the upper hand and held Cyric at the mercy of his blade, Cyric took advantage of Mystra's sympathy, got out from Kelemvor's grasp, and murdered their halfling companion before fleeing into the night.[165]

Cyric raising Godsbane to slay the avatar of Bhaal...

Distraught after witnessing Cyric's true cruelty, Midnight went off to confront him alone,[166] but was kidnapped by Bhaal in his most recently-claimed avatar.[167] The god of murder confided that only she held the power that could best Helm—despite Mystra's previous failure—and recover the second tablet from the Realm of the Dead.[168] Putting their past aside for a moment, Kelemvor, Adon, and Cyric agreed to work together to rescue Midnight from Bane and rode off to Boareskyr Bridge. Fighting alongside each other once again, the former companions wore Bhaal down and Cyric delivered a final killing blow through Bane's chest.[128][169][170] A great blast of white energy engulfed the bridge along with everyone atop.[97]

...and the resulting explosion that enveloped Boareskyr Bridge.

Cyric awoke to hear his former companions discussing what should be done with him. Ultimately they decided to leave him to his fate and continue on to Dragonspear Castle. Most importantly to Cyric, he retained possession of Godsbane.[98] Cyric stalked after the trio as they stole into the ruined castle, struck out at them as they descended into its basement, and—while aiming for Kelemvor—killed Adon with a single shot from his bow. He was turned away by Mystra's magic,[171] and forced to flee west from the castle towards Daggerford.[69]

Cyric bided his time and tracked his companions to the city of Waterdeep in mid–Marpenoth. He infiltrated the city's sewer system, and shadowed the avatar of Myrkul to the entrance beneath Blackstaff Tower, where the God of the Dead deposited one of the tablets.[172] He ascended the tower and found Elminster, Midnight, Kelemvor, and a resurrected Adon on the roof, all in possession of both Tablets of Fate.[173] As Myrkul's army of the dead descended upon Waterdeep, Cyric gravely wounded Midnight, slew Kelemvor, and took the tablets[128][174] to the Celestial Staircase atop Mount Waterdeep. There Cyric presented himself before Lord Ao, and pled his case to the overgod. He would be granted godhood, but could only use those to serve both Ao and his newfound faithful throughout the Realms. Cyric would never again feel any satisfaction or joy, and would forever have to contend with the Midnight, the restored incarnation of Msytra and new Goddess of Magic.[82][175]

The God[]

Cyric as a god.

On Marpenoth 15 in 1358 DR, Cyric ascended to godhood,[103] taking on the portfolios of Strife, Murder, and Death,[175] and took on nearly all the worshipers of Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul.[4][22][49]

Some months after his ascension,[101] Cyric conspired with Mask to kill the goddess Leira.[95] Cyric took over her portfolios of Deception[176] and Illusion,[177] and along with Mask, successfully withheld this information from the rest of the pantheon.[178]

Over the following decade, Cyric ordered his faithful to scour every corner of the Realms to uncover the soul of Kelemvor Lyonsbane.[83] Unbeknownst to Cyric, Kelemvor's eternal being was being hidden away by Mask.[179] At the same time Cyric directed his clergy to scribe the Cyrinishad, a tome that would magically convert anyone that read or heard aloud to Cyric's faith.[180][181][182]

On Marpenoth 30 of Year of Maidens, 1361 DR,[183][note 3] Cyric directed his patriarch in Zhentil Keep to carry out an inquisition against the lingering faithful of Bane in Zhentil Keep, in a series of killings known as the Banedeath. Banites in the city were forced to convert to Cyricism to explain to the new God of Strife in person as to why they should be exempt of his worship.[184][185]

Cyric commissioning the Cyrinishad from the scribe Rinda.

The Cyrinishad[]

In the Year of the Banner, 1368 DR, Cyric attempted to create the Cyrinishad himself by means of his magic,[182] but was cut off from the Weave by Mystra.[64] Shortly thereafter Cyric was informed that the spirit of Kelemvor could be found somewhere within the City of Strife, its exact resting place obscured by magic.[186] He immediately ordered the city's denizens to scour the city.[114] With the search underway, Cyric took personally commissioned the Zhent scribe Rinda, daughter of Bevis the Illuminator, to pen the Cyrinishad herself.[187][188] He rapidly became frustrated with the fruitless search for Kelemvor however and ordered to Jergal to completely annihilate one denizen within his realm each hour until it was uncovered.[67]

At the same time Rinda worked with Fzoul Chembryl[189] and the gods Mask and Oghma to craft a second book, the True Life of Cyric. Used in the place of the Cyrinishad, The True Life would demonstrate to Cyric's faithful just how deranged and treacherous he actually was.[187][181][122]

Cyric's Inquisitor carries out the Second Banedeath.

Cyric focused all his attention on the Mortal Realms and ignored his denizens, leading to growing unrest in the City of Strife.[70] He then initiated an inquisition against the heretical Bane-worshipers in cities across the Moonsea.[190] Armed with powerful Gondar suits of armor,[186] Cyric's inquisitors began in Zhentil Keep,[181][191][192] and continued the slaughter throughout Darkhold, Mulmaster, Teshwave, Yûlash, and the Citadel of the Raven.[85][193] This tragedy later came to be known as the Second Banedeath.[194]

After his success with the inquisition, Cyric manipulated the god Oghma into sharing the rites to bloody Gargauthan ritual that could grant insight to the whereabouts of Kelemvor's soul.[84] He presented the rites before his patriarch Xeno Mirrormane in dramatic fashion and forced his faithful to prepare for it's performance.[195] Cyric then raised an army of dragons and frost giants from Thar to the north and directed them to march south in an invasion of Zhentil Keep,[196] with the intent of saving the city and emerging as its savior.[181] Finally, Cyric retrieved the final draft of the Cyrinishad from Rinda, and revealed that he was aware of her treachery and took the book for himself. He compelled Fzoul Chembryl to read from the tome and then murder the young scribe. Unbeknownst to Cyric, Mask had taken of Fzoul's mortal form, faked Rinda's death and together they were poised share the True Life of Cyric with all the god's faithful. However one complication remained:[156] Mask's reading of the Cyrinishad lessened his divine power, transferred to Cyric his dominion over intrigue,[197] and left him believing Cyric was the one true god of the Realms.[197] The Cyrinishad worked on deities just as it would with mortals.[156]

Mystra garnered support from the Circle to stop Cyric's abuse of dark magic, turned his former inquisitors against him and spurred full on rebellion in the City of Strife.[181][198] Fzoul Chembryl completed the reading of The True Life of Cyric in Zhentil Keep,[187][199] inciting riots in the city[6] just as Cyric's monstrous armies broke though its northern walls[200] and ran rampant through its streets.[201] Cyric returned to the witness the denizens storming the Bone Castle.[88] While Cyric was weakened and his faith waned across the Realms, Mask revealed himself as Godsbane and professed his 'revelation' of Cyric's singular divinity.[6] In response, Cyric broke his beloved weapon in two and greatly weakened Mask.[202] Kelemvor arrive to lead the denizens to the throne room the Bone Castle,[6] ran Cyric through with broken half-blade of Godsbane, and threw his Cyric's diminshed body to the Burning Men.[203] The City of Strife's denizens ascended Kelemvor as the new God of the Dead,[204] transferring a major of Cyric's divine power to his most hated foe.[202][205]

The Crucible[]

As for Cyric, now he sits alone in his Shattered Keep, lost in delusions of grandeur and absolute power, leaving his church of Faerûn to grow ever more fragmented and weak...Cyric was the first to read the Cyrinishad; his own lies drove him mad.
— Excerpt from The True Life of Cyric.[206][207]

Cyric the Mad God.

After his defeat, Cyric reappeared in the plane of Pandemonium where he constructed his new realm,[208] the Supreme Throne.[4] Having read from the Cyrinishad himself Cyric was driven entirely mad.[24] He believed himself superior to the entirety of the pantheon,[208] with power that rivaled that of the overgod Ao.[7] In truth he was left with greatly diminished divine power, and only held onto the portfolios of Intrigue, Murder, and Strife.[209]

Over the next few years Cyric abandoned his divine responsibilities and peace and serenity spread across much of the Realms. By the Year of the Unstrung Harp, 1371 DR, this became apparent to even the gods and Tempus grew with ire. The god of war was eventually convinced by Mask[209] to formally accuse Cyric of neglecting his faithful and disrupting the Balance. Cyric was brought before the Circle of Twelve and officially changed innocent by Tyr, by reason of insanity.[7][210] On the eve of the trial, Cyric commanded his loyal follower Malik el Sami to recover the lost Cyrinishad from Candlekeep, so that he may read it before the other gods at the trial and inflict upon them the same delusion it had on Mask.[156][8]

During the initial stages of Cyric's trial, the former God of the Dead turned the attention to his accusers. He alleged that Mystra did not allow the morally upstanding individuals to die by means of magic, and Kelemvor offered such great rewards to the virtuous after death, they no longer feared their own mortality.[211] Tyr decreed that the charges of incompetence and disrupting the Balance against Cyric would be linked to those put forth against Mystra and Kelemvor.[212]

In the city of Elversult, Mystra's new patriarch Adon was performing last rites when he became became possessed by a forced appearing to be linked to Cyric.[213] In truth, mask forced Adon[214] to view Mystra as Cyric did, and the mortal priest driven mad in the process.[215] Mask carried out this plot in an attempt to take back his portfolio from Cyric,[216] and compel Mystra to withhold magic from Cyric's followers.[217] Meanwhile, Malik el Sami continued on towards Zhentil Keep, determined to cure Cyric of his madness, by once again replacing the Cyrinishad with The True Life.[218]

To prevent Mystra from interfering with Malik's quest, Cyric manipulated Mystra into attacking Mask, and she was temporarily interred within Helm's prison.[219] After Mystra was released, she visited Kelemvor in his newly-formed Crystal Spire in the City of the Dead. Mystra came to witness a dramatic change that Kelemvor had undertaken: Cyric's machinations had forced the new God of the Dead—who remained as her longtime lover—to disregard the morality of subjects. While wholly dedicated to his new divine duties, Kelemvor became cold, indifferent and passionless. He was no longer the man or god Mystra fell in love with.[220]

At the trial, each of the accused gods presented their cases before the Circle of Twelve. Kelemvor demonstrated his newfound commitment to fair and neutral judgement of the dead, and Mystra offered a similar revelation, that she would no longer unjustly wield access to the Weave to suit her own desires. When time came for Cyric to offer his defense—by having Malik read from the Cyrinishad—some members of the Circle intervened and chaos broke out. Malik was allowed by Tyr to present his god's defense, and dutifully acted in Cyric's best interests by reading from The True Life. The process was excruciating for Cyric but by the end of Malik's recitation, the Mad God had recovered his senses and offered his final defense: even when in the throes of madness he was the only one worthy to be the God of Strife. Though all his plotting and scheming Cyric had finally managed to strip Kelemvor and Midnight of their passions and destroy the love they shared. The same love that incited feelings of jealousy and rejection in Cyric,[80][48] and led to him break the vows of friendship in his quest for ultimate power,[96][128][174] was reduced to twin teardrops that swirled around his silver chalice. Cyric was found guilty and allowed to remain as the God of Strife, with Mystra herself casting the final vote in his favor.[210][68]

Freed from his madness, Cyric and Malik pursued a plot to chronicle their time together and unite the fractured Cyricist faith.[221] This new tome that would document and glorify Cyric's feats would be entitled: An Honest and True Account of the Trial of Cyric the Mad, or How Our Dark Lord Saved Faerûn (Again). Cyric demanded that this book be published before a sect of Waterdhavian Oghmanytes published their own accounting of the events.[222]

As Cyric's insanity led to his decline in power, Bane's immortal son Iyachtu Xvim was able to take back some portion's of his father's lost portfolio from the Mad God, including Hatred and Tyranny.[223]

The Prisoner[]

The more Chosen you murder, the more powerful the effect. Kill Joelle and Kleef, and my magic will drown Toril in strife and betrayal...it must be in the moment of their triumph. Do that, and it won't be Shar who rules supreme. It will be me.
— Cyric, appearing before Malik el Sami in 1486 DR.[62]

In the Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373 DR, a new and more capable champion of Cyric named Zasian Menz arose to carry out his will throughout the Realms. Zasian managed to open a pathway to Celestia from the City of Brass,[224] a plot that claimed twelve years of the priest's life.[225] In the years that followed, Cyric forged an alliance with the goddess Shar, working together to weaken Mystra's hold over the Weave and lessen her influence in the Realms.[90]

Over a decade later, in the Year of Three Streams Blooded, 1384 DR, Cyric carried out his wrath on Helm by orchestrating his death at the hands of Tyr.[226]

The following year, Cyric's priest Zasian freed the Sharran 'shadow mystic' Kashada from imprisonment in Celestia.[227] Kashada was in fact an aspect of the goddess Shar the Goddess of Night.[228] Shar had manipulated Cyric's Zasian to help her supplant the Weave with her own Shadow Weave.[229] Cyric himself accompanied Shar to the Hall of Petitions,[230] and Shar distracted the god Azuth long enough for Cyric to recover his arcane staff. Cyric used Azuth's Old Staff to finally Murder Mystra, and exact revenge upon his former companion and one-time friend.[231] Mystra's death wracked the bonds that held together the Weave, and brought upon the Spellplague,[229][232] a calamitous event that was felt across the multiverse.[233][74] Once again, Cyric broke the heart of someone dearest to Mystra, her former lover and longtime confidant Elminster.[234]

In retaliation for his murder of Mystra, Lathander, Tyr, and Sune trapped Cyric in the Supreme Throne for 1000 years.[74][92] Cyric's power continually waned over the next century, and Bane's grew in it's place[235] as the Banite became the state religion in the realm of Thay.[236][237]

Cyric would not appear in the mortal Realms for over a century, and even then only as a mere manifestation. In the Year of the Nether Mountain Scrolls, 1486 DR, during the world-shaping Second Sundering, Cyric ordered his long-faithful servant and newly-designated chosen Malik to foil Shar's faithful from securing the Eye of Gruumsh to bring initiate the Cycle of Night on Toril. While Malik and his companions—chosen of Helm, Sune, and Siamorphe—ventured through the Chondalwood, Cyric manifested before Malik as the visage of a skull in a dead tree. The imprisoned god ordered Malik to slay his fellows at their exact moment of triumph.[62]

Rumors & Legends[]

A small group of scholars of the Realms theorized that Ao possessed advanced knowledge of Cyric's ascension to godhood.[183]

The play entitled The Curious Tale of Wisteria Vale supposed there was a very old crystal touched by Cyric that could turn others to commit evil deeds.[238]

It was speculated that the divine Cyric finally acquired the Ring of Winter he originally sought after in Thar as a mortal.[239]

While nothing was ever proven, there were rumors among the gods that Cyric killed Hoar,[240] claimed a portion of Waukeen's divine power following her disappearance,[241] and played a part in the death of Helm at the hands of Tyr.[74] The allegation regarding Waukeen's was false,[242] while the one about Helms's death was confirmed to be true.[226]

After Cyric's imprisonment, it was alleged that seven black iron keys that could be used to free Cyric from the shackles of the Supreme Throne. Such keys fetched prices upwards of 50,000 gp.[10]

According to the doctrine of the Tormite church, the God of Duty would sacrifice himself in a ultimate battle between the gods, one that would save the Realms from ever again falling victim to Cyric's influence.[243]

Appendix[]

Notes[]

  1. See FRCS Errata page 3; Bane does not have Strife, Cyric does. Please see also the discussion before hastily changing it back.
  2. While an exact date is not given, Cyric remembers the event taking place around 15 or 20 years before 1368 DR.
  3. Page 21 of Forgotten Realms Campaign Set: Running the Realms states this occurred in 1360 DR.

See Also[]

Appearances[]

Adventures
ShadowdaleTantrasWaterdeep
Referenced only
Halls of the High KingDoom of DaggerdaleThe Ruins of Undermountain II: The Deep LevelsFour from CormyrPool of Radiance: Attack on Myth DrannorInto the Dragon's LairShadowdale: The Scouring of the LandUndermountain: Halaster's Lost ApprenticeStorm over NeverwinterRise of TiamatWaterdeep: Dragon HeistCandlekeep Mysteries: "The Curious Tale of Wisteria Vale"
Novels
The Avatar series (ShadowdaleTantrasWaterdeepPrince of LiesCrucible: The Trial of Cyric the Mad)The Fractured SkyThe Sentinel
Referenced only
The Harpers series (The Parched SeaThe Ring of Winter) • Return of the Archwizards (The SiegeThe SummoningThe Sorcerer) • The Empyrean Odyssey (The Gossamer PlainThe Crystal Mountain)
Fiction
Realms of Infamy: Laughter in the FlamesDragon magazine 245: "Honest and True"
Video Games
Baldur's Gate II: Throne of BhaalNeverwinter Nights: Tyrants of the Moonsea
Referenced only
Baldur's Gate series (Baldur's GateBaldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear)
Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
Referenced only
Adventurers League: Elemental Evil (Embers of Elmwood) • Adventurers League: Rage of Demons (Assault on Maerimydra)

Further Reading[]

Gallery[]

References[]

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  2. Troy Denning (February 1998). Crucible: The Trial of Cyric the Mad. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 60. ISBN 0-7869-0724-X.
  3. 3.0 3.1 David Cook (August 1990). “Volume I”. In Steve Winter ed. The Horde (TSR, Inc.), p. 57. ISBN 0-88038-868-4.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 51–52. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  5. 5.0 5.1 James Lowder (August 1993). Prince of Lies. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 143. ISBN 1-56076-626-3.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Troy Denning (February 1998). Crucible: The Trial of Cyric the Mad. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 1–2. ISBN 0-7869-0724-X.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Troy Denning (February 1998). Crucible: The Trial of Cyric the Mad. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 30–40. ISBN 0-7869-0724-X.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Troy Denning (February 1998). Crucible: The Trial of Cyric the Mad. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 47–51. ISBN 0-7869-0724-X.
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Connections[]

The Faerûnian Pantheon
Major Deities
AzuthBaneBhaalChaunteaCyricGondHelmIlmaterKelemvorKossuthLathanderLoviatarMaskMielikkiMyrkulMystra (Midnight) • OghmaSelûneSharShaundakulSilvanusSuneTalosTempusTormTymoraTyrUmberleeWaukeen
Other Members
AkadiAurilBeshabaDeneirEldathFinder WyvernspurGaragosGargauthGrumbarGwaeron WindstromHoarIstishiaIyachtu XvimJergalLliiraLurueMalarMililNobanionThe Red KnightSavrasSharessShialliaSiamorpheTalonaTiamatUbtaoUlutiuValkurVelsharoon

Deities of the Post–Second Sundering Era
Ao the Overgod
Faerûnian Pantheon
Akadi | Amaunator | Asmodeus | Auril | Azuth | Bane | Beshaba | Bhaal | Chauntea | Cyric | Deneir | Eldath | Gond | Grumbar | Gwaeron | Helm | Hoar | Ilmater | Istishia | Jergal | Kelemvor | Kossuth | Lathander | Leira | Lliira | Loviatar | Malar | Mask | Mielikki | Milil | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Red Knight | Savras | Selûne | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talona | Talos | Tempus | Torm | Tymora | Tyr | Umberlee | Valkur | Waukeen
The Morndinsamman
Abbathor | Berronar Truesilver | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Deep Duerra | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Dumathoin | Gorm Gulthyn | Haela Brightaxe | Laduguer | Marthammor Duin | Moradin | Sharindlar | Vergadain
The Seldarine
Aerdrie Faenya | Angharradh | Corellon | Deep Sashelas | Erevan | Fenmarel Mestarine | Hanali Celanil | Labelas Enoreth | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Shevarash | Solonor Thelandira
The Dark Seldarine
Eilistraee | Kiaransalee | Lolth | Selvetarm | Vhaeraun
Yondalla's Children
Arvoreen | Brandobaris | Cyrrollalee | Sheela Peryroyl | Urogalan | Yondalla
Lords of the Golden Hills
Baervan Wildwanderer | Baravar Cloakshadow | Callarduran Smoothhands | Flandal Steelskin | Gaerdal Ironhand | Garl Glittergold | Nebelun | Segojan Earthcaller | Urdlen
Orc Pantheon
Bahgtru | Gruumsh | Ilneval | Luthic | Shargaas | Yurtrus
Mulhorandi pantheon
Anhur | Bast | Geb | Hathor | Horus | Isis | Nephthys | Osiris | Re | Sebek | Set | Thoth
Other gods of Faerûn
Bahamut | Enlil | Finder Wyvernspur | Ghaunadaur | Gilgeam | Lurue | Moander | Nobanion | Raven Queen | Tiamat



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