Count Haserton Lowls IV
Ustalav Count of Versex
f ever noble blood ran in the veins of the Lowls family, its richness spoiled long before the birth of Haserton IV. The fourth consecutive Count Haserton Lowls to rule Versex, the middle-aged count was long known for a near-crippling social awkwardness that he transformed into arrogant introversion. Having ruled Versex for 14 years, he finds governance tedious, leaving most of his responsibilities in the hands of grasping mayors and magistrates.
From his family’s Thrushmoor estate of Iris Hill, Haserton used to apply himself to a rigorous but erratic curriculum of history, theology, antiquarianism, philology, poetry, and occultism. Refusing to tolerate tutors—considering such instruction beneath his grand intellect—he spent hours daily corresponding with peers and rivals at the University of Lepidstadt, Korvosa’s Academae, the Sincomakti School of Sciences, and Absalom’s Forae Logos. Considering himself an expert on many matters above the minds of lesser scholars, Haserton penned numerous rambling treatises extrapolating upon dubious and under-researched theses. His “Minds of the Azlanti,” “A History of the History of Versex,” and “The Stars Are Not Among Us: An Undeniable Refutation of the Works of the Doomsaying Pseudo-Scholar Dr. Henri Meirtmane” (the latter ending his tempestuous relationship with the Sincomakti School), can be found at many centers of scholarship in Ustalav, but more due to the count’s generous patronage than scholarly merit. Although his combination of sophomoric erudition and social ineptitude painted Count Lowls as a fool to be ignored, indulged, or exploited, in recent months a shocking change has transformed the physically and ostentatiously bloated academic.
Royal guards recently barred Count Lowls’s from entering a meeting of the Ustalavic court, and only a stunned recognition by Bishop Senir eventually saw the lord admitted. Such suggests the thoroughness of the count’s change. In the past year, Haserton has aged radically, his once sanguine complexion fading to an unhealthy pallor and a perpetually haunted countenance.
Over the last 8 months the typically withdrawn count completely sequestered himself within his library, testing the abilities of Thrushmoor’s booksellers by demanding load after load of varied and specific tomes. Midway through his retreat, he dismissed his entire house staff, replacing them with a retinue of strange and silent foreign assistants. He also ended the majority of his ongoing patronages, reaching out to a number of varied and little-known scholars across Avistan, offering them sizable grants to continue research regarding ancient history, astronomy, folklore, and metaphysics.
Along with his dramatic changes in appearance and scholarly interests, Count Lowls’ personality has also changed. Suspicion, muttering preoccupation, and the occasional furious outburst now overshadow his social awkwardness. What it is that now weighs upon the mind of Count Haserton Lowls, or what he learned or encountered to so radically change every aspect of his life, none can say.
Lowls once employed several members of the party including Bolverk Deathbane, Costin Dragos Negrescu, Galig Deathbane, Malech Demoneye, & Taelumi “Tae” Skyre. This group acted in several different regards for him, from research assistants, to muscle, to experimental subjects.
At some point in his quest for power Lowls betrayed the party, separating their memories and personality from their forms. This left the part as shambling brain dead husks.
Rather than dispose of the party he dumped them at Briarstone Asylum bartering them as a way to gain access to the mad artist Ulver Zandalus.
Following the party’s escape from the Asylum they discovered that the Count had used his treasure and position to research dangerous lore, but that shortly after dropping the party in Briarstone, possibly a week before they awoke, he had set sail for Cassomir in search of a book called the Necronomicon.
While pursuing down the Sellen Passage the party has discovered that Lowls used their memories as a sacrifice for his goals. In doing so he left a fragment of himself, the Yellow King behind.