Below and Beyond Kyvid
Neil was born to a noble family descended of a mage who helped Mathis in his unification of Utaro. His parents had been unable to conceive, so his father, Geofforey, who had studied wizardry (but not as his primary occupation) sought help from beyond the material plane. When no gods would answer his prayers for an heir, he turned to the demonic realm. Vortaan, the minor demon he summoned, easily fooled the eager Lord Emmenthal into a contract to supply a male heir for the family, but failed to specify much more…
Neil’s birth was an arduous one for his mother, and the midwife who delivered Neil cursed him for this and his planetouched appearance; while Lady Criessa Emmenthal survived the ordeal, she lost much of the spark of life she once carried. Both his parents loved Neil as the son they had hoped for, and tried to shield him, but he still felt the sting of society’s derisive stares and snide comments. Geofforey’s younger sister has made matters worse by insisting that her son Phillipe, rather than Neil, should be heir to the Emmenthal title.
Niel blames Vortaan more than any humans for his situation, and has forged his pact in the hopes of someday confronting and defeating the demon, who appears to him nightly, taunting him with visions of Neil murdering his own parents, Phillipe brutally slaying him to gain his birthright, and Vortaan slowly eating bits of his soul in an eternal buffet of torture. He initially saw military service to the king as the best way to support his claim to The Cheeselands (the Emmenthal estate), but has come to appreciate it not just as a meritocracy in which his abilities rather than appearance are judged, but also as a framework within which he can learn the lessons in how best to defeat his enemy.
Neil has been courting Abigail Sporrell, the daughter of the head of the Waxy Wheel Wensleydale Estate, for the past four years. She’s allowed him to continue, but refuses to discuss marriage until Neil proves he is the true heir of House Emmenthal.
Neil carries a locket that belonged to his grandmother, containing an etching of her holding him as a baby—a reminder that his parents are not the only family who love him, despite his aunt and cousin’s current attempt to deny his lineage.