Maercus Brand

"I have spoken with the Repentant Fool, He who tore the Weave asunder. He knows much…"
-Maercus of the Masks

Maercus Brand, or Maercus "of the Masks" as he is more commonly known, is a Red Wizard of great power and prestige. Maercus led a group of like-minded Thayans in establishing the very first Thayan Enclave in Telflamm. His life before his mercantile existence is unknown. It is assumed he silently climbed the ranks of the Red Wizards, making and breaking alliances as needed. Once he attained archmage status he formed the Thayan Merchants' Collective and established the first enclave in Telflamm. Szass Tam has been said to speak highly of Maercus. However, the Zulkir of Illusion, Mythrellaa, hates him with a passion. Maercus is very close to her in power and could be, some surmise, more powerful. The Zulkir of Evocation, Aznar Thrul, also dislikes Maercus. Though his enmity stems from his opinion on Thayan Enclaves in general, and his lack of revenue from the Enclave venture. He feels no threat from the "doddering old merchant".

Having devoted his life to maintaining the Enclaves, Maercus was responsible for assigning the duty of ambassador to Khalia, and is currently in talks with Sembia on establishing further Enclaves within their borders. He devotes what little time he has left to his creations; potions, scrolls, weapons, armor, and other such wondrous items. Anything Maercus can't make (which is a short list) he can easily access through his connections. Though outwardly a calm and accommodating merchant wizard, it is rumored that Maercus has strange interests and disappears for tendays on end in their pursuit. It was through one of these pursuits that he came into contact with the Children of Netheril, a mysterious group of fighters and rogues that practice a strange magic. It can be said that Maercus has plans for Faerun beyond selling magical trinkets. His Feud with Mythrella is increasing and both are making vies for power. The zulkir of Illusion has ties with the Church of Shar, and as the dark goddess rises in power so does she.

The PCs encountered Maercus at his Enclave in Telflamm after escorting Khalia from Two Stars. He hired them for a delicate mission in Velprintilar concerning a fragment of the Karse Stone. He sent his apprentice, Nimmik, along with them to ensure their success (and keep an eye on his investment).

Maercus Brand (Illusionist 5, Red Wizard 10, Archmage 5) appears as he wishes. Most of the time he assumes the guise of a middle aged wizard in a red kimono. He has a hairless head and body save for a neatly trimmed red goatee. His head and neck are covered in tattoos of arcane symbols and stylized eyes. He is tall and a bit gaunt but exudes a formidable presence and his face is crossed with laugh lines making him appear approachable at the same time. His familiar is a snowy white owl.

The name Lailaomun Zerad should find no familiar ears in this age, except two pair; the Simbul, Queen of Aglarond, and Mythrell'aa, the Thayan zulkir of Illusion. Centuries ago the young mage Zerad was a promising talent, his renown reached as far west as Candlekeep on the Sword Coast and as far east as the Great Waste.

This was before the dread coalescence of the Thayans and their zulkirs. The land of Thay was still under the rule of Mulhorand, though tentatively. And so Mythrell'aa was not yet the great zulkir she is now but still formidable, and trained apprentices all the same. Zerad was one of these said apprentices, and Mythrell'aa's star pupil. She was as petty and jealous as she is now and kept a devastatingly short leash on her proteges. Still, it was some time before she discovered that Zerad had taken another lover; another female mage that went by the name Alassra Shentrantra. Alassra was a mage of similar fame, making a name for herself and her exceptional, wanton, and often destructive spellcasting.

Mythrell'aa was furious, and confronted Zerad in a mage duel, or at least whom she was led to believe was Zerad. The young mage, "Zerad", was destroyed in the battle and Alassra received a frozen rose on the bed of their love nest. Fury fueled the capricious young witch's heart, though sadness surely also welled deep within her. She vowed to the utter destruction of the 'bitch Mythrell'aa'. Alassra searched the multiverse for the power to make Mythrell'aa pay, but in her pursuits she was approached by a goddess; Mystra. From there the story of the female mage now known as the Simbul is well known. But it is Zerad's name that slipped into obscurity, and thats exactly what the young mage wanted.

The "Lailaomun Zerad" that Mythrell'aa had destroyed was, in fact, a cleverly augmented simulacrum. Lailaomun had learned early to show others only what they need be shown, and so his mistress was grossly unaware of his true power. The simulacrum took the fall and the name "Zerad" died with it. He lamented the loss of his relationship with Alassra, he truly did love her. But his destiny laid not dozily in the bed with Shentantra, but with arcane might, ageless power, and knowledge reaching beyond the borders of this existence. Zerad found them all; the power of an archmage, a timeless body that never aged, and pacts with supreme otherworldly powers, neither malevolent nor benevolent. In the coming centuries, and the formation of the nation of Thay, Zerad saw his chance to get close to his adversary. He assumed a new identity and climbed the ranks of the Thayan hierarchy to a place of prominence. "Maercus Brand" became the leader of the Thayan Merchants' Collective and a powerful master of Illusion. Mythrell'aa is still unaware of her former protege's deception but fears Maercus' power. Ultimately, the utter destruction of his former mistress is 'Zerad's' goal. But he is patient and knows his time is coming soon.

The Simbul is still unaware that her former lover is still alive. Though if she were ever to discover this secret, her resulting turmoil of emotions would most likely cause a cataclysm in her beloved Aglarond.

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