Thavius Kreeg (pronounced: /ˈθeɪviʌs ˈkrig/ THAY-vee-us KREEG) was a human priest of Torm and the ruler of the city of Elturel and the theocracy of Elturgard in the Western Heartlands in the late 15th century DR, holding the title of High Observer and later High Overseer.[note 1] Once hailed as a hero for saving Elturel, he in fact betrayed it to his true mistress, the archdevil Zariel, causing the whole city and its people to be dragged to the Nine Hells.
In the Year of the Seductive Cambion, 1444 DR, the High Rider of Elturel was discovered to be a vampire, with a vast network of vampire spawn, charmed minions, undead allies, and sycophantic collaborators. Now exposed, the undead infested Elturel, and whatever victories the Hellriders won during the days, they lost sorely in the nights. It was said the Elturians prayed to the gods each night just for the dawn to come sooner.
One, Thavius Kreeg, then a priest of Torm, pleaded to any power to save his city, and in that moment his reckless prayer was answered—by the archdevil Zariel, stepping from a pillar of fire with a deal to make, to which he hastily agreed. Though the city would receive its much-needed aid, it would last but fifty years, after which Zariel would take the whole city and its people. Thavius also swore to serve her in all ways for all time.[note 2]
Then a second sun appeared in the sky, turning night to day, and blasting the vampire lord and his spawn to ashes while the remaining undead cowered from its light. Elturel was swiftly liberated from their dead grip. Taking the credit, Thavius was acclaimed as the savior of Elturel, and few would doubt his goodness or his intent. Only he knew the true origin of the mysterious second sun.
The Companion, as it became known, remained; the "miracle" brought pilgrims: the sick, the curious, and the devout of many faiths, including many paladins. The best of the paladins was appointed ruler of Elturel, titled the High Observer, who then established the Order of the Companion and the Creed Resolute to keep the paladins of different faiths in order.[note 3]
— From Kreeg's contract with Zariel
Kreeg was raised to the position of High Observer himself some years later, following a crisis of leadership in Elturel and the unexplained but convenient disappearance of the likely successor, and his rival, Tamal Thent and her whole retinue near Boareskyr Bridge. One of Kreeg's first acts as High Observer was to order Bridgefort rebuilt and renamed Fort Tamal. While this might've been an honor, in later years a posting to Fort Tamal was apparently a punishment for insubordination by young agitators and zealots in the Order of the Companion. Nevertheless, Kreeg would reign for decades and set Elturel on the road to becoming the nation of Elturgard.
Circa 1459 DR, the High Observer ordered the Reaching Woods barricaded after the discovery of shrines to certain primal entities he disapproved of. These shrines were maintained by humans and elves as well as gnolls and goblins, but the High Observer said the goblins were vicious and the gnolls known demon worshipers, and declared the death penalty for anyone who came out of, or went into, the forest.
When the entire garrison of Fort Morninglord also vanished without cause and under sinister circumstances in the Year of the Fifth Circle, 1476 DR, Kreeg ordered it bricked up and sealed, out of some fear of what evil or contagion it might house. Furthermore, he decreed that anyone who broke in would be declared an outlaw.
Around 1489 DR, Kreeg was aging and another leadership transition was expected soon. He eventually made all Elturians swear the Creed Resolute, in the process binding them to the city and to his deal with Zariel.
— The (potentially invalid) key part of Kreeg's contract with Zariel
However, in the Year of Twelve Warnings, 1494 DR, Thavius's deal with Zariel was set to expire; he knew the exact time and made plans to be out of the city when the Companion ceased to protect it. Thus, in the months before, he coaxed Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard of Baldur's Gate to come to Elturel to resolve several disputes that had troubled the two cities for some time. After greeting the Baldurian delegation, Thavius escaped Elturel in secret, shortly before the Companion changed into a black orb that tore the whole of Elturel and its populace from the Material Plane and spirited it away to Avernus, first of the Nine Hells.
Hiding among the first of the Elturian refugees, Thavius made his way to Baldur's Gate, where his friend (and fellow minion of Zariel) Duke Thalamra Vanthampur covertly gave him access to the city and a hideout in Vanthampur Villa, albeit in its dungeon. There, Thavius examined the Shield of the Hidden Lord, in which the devil Gargauth was imprisoned; he concluded its influence was the cause of much of the greed and crime in the city. Together, they schemed to release Gargauth, so that he might help them take over Baldur's Gate and have it suffer Elturel's fate. However, the young Elturian knight Reya Mantlemorn heard rumors of Thavius's presence and helped adventurers penetrate the villa to uncover the plot and confront the villains. They also retrieved his infernal puzzle box.
If killed there, Thavius's damned soul would descend to the Hells itself, and crawl from the River Styx in the form of a devil—a wretched lemure. By the terms of their contract, instantly alerted to his fate, Zariel would promote him to an amnizu as a reward for his service, but imprison him in a dungeon in her flying fortress until Elturel was finally destroyed. Here he cried, but only for himself, apparently surprised to find himself in Hell after only half a century of power. If he was slain in Hell, he would be dead forever. However, Thavius's death, while satisfying, would not break the contract binding Elturel; adventurers questing to save the city by voiding the contract would need to destroy the original or else slay the archdevil Zariel herself, which was no small task, or seek some other means.
Aided by a paladin knighthood, the Order of the Companion, the High Observer made certain that order was maintained in the city and the realm, with the aim of bringing righteous judgment to all the Realms and "setting Faerûn aright". They ensured the city and countryside remained safe and well-policed and that trade and agriculture were run efficiently. It was reported that Kreeg ruled wisely and well, yet he presided over harsh and rigid laws, intolerant attitudes, banning of disapproved faiths, and inquisitions, with wrongdoers sent to the Dungeon of the Inquisitor, circa 1479 DR.[note 4]
By the 1490s DR, Thavius was an old man. However, his shadow was not of a man but of a horned fiend, pudgy with small wings—a very real shadow of his guilt and one he could not cover up with a lie. This was to be his form as a devil: a paunchy horned amnizu with small wings.
— From Kreeg's contract with Zariel
Thavius was skilled in deceit and hungry for power and the rewards of the devils he served. Yet he was a coward who avoided battle and doing violence, at least with his own hands. He would feign grief at the plight of Elturel and lie about his involvement if pressed. Sylvira Savikas met him once and thought him a charlatan, and grew to suspect his involvement with devils. Even as a devil, for all his power, he remained a coward who'd rather beg for mercy and lie to save his hide.
- ↑ While the ruler of Elturgard was titled "High Observer" in Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide and Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, this was changed to "High Overseer" in Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. It is unclear if this is an error, a retcon of existing lore, an alternate title, or a late in-universe change. Similarly, Kreeg is renamed from "Thavus" to "Thavius".
- ↑ Curiously, Thavius surrenders the city in his "capacity as High Overseer of Elturel", yet signs it at a time when he is not the High Overseer, and in fact the vampire High Rider is still the legitimate ruler, and he had no right to surrender the city. This implies this part of the contract is actually invalid.
- ↑ The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide makes it clear that the name "Companion" was given to the second sun some time after its appearance; the first, unnamed, paladin High Observer established the Creed Resolute; and that Kreeg took office a few years later. However, Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus has all these established in Kreeg's contract with Zariel, written beforehand. This is presumed to be in error, or at least updated, as the text of the contract also implies Kreeg is ruler of the city before he actually took power. In any case, DiA does not quite contradict SCAG, and Kreeg may have inspired these things from behind the scenes before taking power.
- ↑ While this religious zealotry and inquisitions are made explicit in the write-up of Elturgard in the 4th-edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, they are not mentioned at all in the more extensive and very positive description in the 5th-edition Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (albeit with some subtly hinted villainy). The two versions are difficult to reconcile. As such, this more positive vision may reflect a retcon, either out-of-universe or in-universe with the Second Sundering; the narrator for this section, Aedyn Graymantle, being mistaken or unaware of the extreme elements; or propaganda one way or the other. The negative version is supported by the story Thavius's betrayal of Elturel and service to devils in Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus, but no elements are linked to it. Regardless, this wiki endeavors to present both versions for the reader to make their own judgement.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 80. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 35, 41–42. ISBN 0786966769.
- ↑ Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 0786966769.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 132. ISBN 0786966769.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 4. ISBN 0786966769.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 124–125. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 5–6, 7–8, 10–11. ISBN 0786966769.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 47. ISBN 0786966769.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 81. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 74. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 152. ISBN 0786966769.