“The elements are no longer our boon and protector, my friends. There walks now one who was born as us, but is not of us. Born under an inauspicious moon to a young courtesan of Tyr and a nomad mystique of the wastes. The small family was as happy as any could be, until the omens began. Nightmares, waking dreams, conspicuous portents that could not be ignored.
“The young boy was cursed, soiled…tainted. Try as she might, his mother could not clean him, could not exorcise his taint. It ended up being too much for her, the thought of bringing such a blight into this world, where there is already so much terror. She stole away one night. Only her husband knows what she did, but it is enough to say that is last anyone saw of her.
“The boy was soon taken to a trusted Wind Priest. The father could not bear his burden any better than his missing wife could. The priest was to care for him, to keep him safe, mostly from himself. And to teach him the pure ways of our kind, to honor and enrich the world of elements around us.
“His blight still reached out to him, in his meditations, it spoke to him, seduced him, told him to open his soul to it, the Plague:
Open yourself to me, give me your weakness, and i will make it your strength.
“The boy could not resist, and soon his body wasted away, and his awareness grew. The Wind Priest who was meant to stop him, failed. The Plague had filled him with life, an awful, virulent life. He feels as if he’s won the fight all of us on Athas fight everyday. He has more life than any of us can hope to, and he is not against sharing it with others.
“I know, because he sought out his father to explain himself, he was expecting his father to be proud.
“He couldn’t be more wrong. My son is no longer a Genasi, he’s a monster, he is a pariah. I bring you this warning, Elders, ensure that that he does not live. Ensure that he does not succeed.”
Shar-Kai stands tall and gaunt. His shoulders are squared, but through his tattered leather armor, you can see the definition of his ribs as they press against his skin. Quick to a good humor, Shar-Kai favors most situations with an easy smile and a confidant look in his eye. If you get close enough, you catch a faint smell, both sickly and sweet that follows him always.
Athas is a world of harsh and unrelenting forces. For most inhabitants, it is a battle to merely sustain life. For Shar, that battle has already been won. He traded his own physical weakness many years ago for the strength of the plague that fills him. He is filled with more life than many city-states.
Perhaps part nihilist, part hedonist, Shar-Kai’s only drive is to push himself to his own limits. No institution, no authority, no individual is holy. What is one life compared to the teeming horde of Plague he can unleash? His father called him a pariah, a bringer of doom. Perhaps he is right, perhaps not. Shar-Kai has a long time to decide.