Born in the slums of Zhentil Keep, Cyric (seer-ick) is the son of a Zhentarim officer and the young woman who adored him. The officer openly denied the woman's charge of paternity and cast her into the streets. The homeless of Zhentil Keep cared for the woman, and helped her through delivery. After learning of his son's birth, the officer killed the young woman and sold Cyric into slavery.
A short time later, Cyric was purchased by a rich Sembian family, who raised him as their own in a life of luxury. A highly intelligent child, Cyric always felt that he was different from the other children he grew up with. His suspicions were confirmed at age 10, while overhearing his parents arguing over him. Cyric immediately ran away from home, but was stopped and returned by a civil patrol. Cyric's complaints at the patrol's actions caused his true origins to spread throughout the city, forcing his parents to become social outcasts. When he again left home at age 12, no one stopped him.
Alone in an unfamiliar world, Cyric learned survival skills in the wild before moving on to life on city streets. Becoming adept at thievery, Cyric drew the attention of the Thieves' Guild. Earning their approval and support, Cyric remained with the guild for four years. At 16, Cyric left to spend the next eight years pursuing his love of travel, and learning that people were the same no matter where he went. At the end of his travels, Cyric secretly returned to Zhentil Keep to further explore his origins. He may have met his father there, but the man was killed before Cyric could question him.
Convinced that a life of thievery was wrong, Cyric became a fighter of little consequence. However, during a quest in the Jungles of Chult, he crossed paths with one Kelemvor Lyonsbane. It was Kelemvor who convinced Cyric to join the guard of Arabel, where he met Adon, cleric of Sune Firehair. Together, the three worked for Myrmeen Lhal, protecting her lands, until confronted by Midnight. Thus began Cyric's path to greatness.
Cyric continued to follow the path of goodness until Lady Mystra's rescue. Mystra offered the group anything they wished in appreciation for her freedom. Kelemvor asked only for fresh horses and rations. Mystra found it strange that they did not request god-hood. Upon hearing this, Cyric began to think.
Following the battle against Lord Bane's forces at Shadowdale, Cyric left the party and struck out on his own, leading a small group of Zhent warriors on his yet unseen quest to become a god. During his travels, Cyric came into the possession of a rose-hued, vampiric sword, which came to play a significant role in Cyric's career. Crossing paths with his former companions several times, Cyric was responsible for the death of Bhaal, Lord of Murder. Having tasted the blood of a god, Cyric's new weapon hungered for more, thus increasing Cyric's desire to destroy his one-time friends.
Concluding the Avatar crisis, Cyric faced his final confrontation as a mortal atop Blackstaff Tower in Waterdeep. There, he not only destroyed his second God, Lord Myrkul, he also found his revenge against the hated Kelemvor Lyonsbane. (It has been pointed out that Midnight actually killed Myrkul; a fact which Cyric denies.) The sword drank eagerly of its victim's blood, and Kelemvor was no more, for now... With the original quest of recovering the Tablets of Fate, Overlord Ao, creator of the Realms and of the gods themselves, descended upon Toril and spoke to its inhabitants. Lord Ao declared that all gods become servants to their followers, that Midnight take Mystra's place as Goddess of Magic, and that Cyric shall take control of what was left undone by the deaths of Myrkul, Bane, and Bhaal. And, while Cyric found this responsibility quite an honor, Lord Ao was unsure he'd continue with that reasoning.
Some time later, Lord Ao returned to resurrect the Lord of Murder in the Moonshae Isles. Bhaal's second coming was short-lived, and Cyric became the official caretaker of the Church of Assassins. Meanwhile, Cyric joined forces with Mask (Lord of Shadows) to murder Leira, Lady of the Mists, giving Cyric the powers of Deception and Illusion.
Ten years passed since the Time of Troubles, and Cyric grew restless. His latest scheme involved a tome he called The Cyrinishad. Three hundred and ninety-seven versions were created until Cyric was satisfied. The tome, dubbed "The Book of Lies" by other gods of the pantheon, outlined the "true" history (in Cyric's mind) of the "One True God." But Cyric did not stop there. The Cyrinishad was a magical creation, with the intention that anyone reading the tome would believe, without question, that all other gods were false; even the gods themselves...
Many gods could not abide by these actions. Midnight, with the help of Oghma (The Binder) and Mask, The Cyrinishad's final version was placed in protective custody, but not before it had been read by Mask. Cyric had gained yet another follower.
In his final battle as Lord of the Dead, with Bone Castle crumbling about him, Cyric's rose-hued sword (now dubbed Godsbane) revealed that there was a traitor in his castle. Realizing that it was, in fact, the sword who had betrayed him, Cyric took the sword above his head and snapped it in two. Chaos ensued, and the soul of Kelemvor Lyonsbane, trapped those ten years within the accursed sword, escaped to exact revenge against his one-time ally. Another form also emerged from the sword: The spirit of the sword itself Mask, Lord of Shadows. Begging for forgiveness as Cyric attempted to salvage what he could of the situation, Mask followed his new master out of the castle. The City of Strife was no more.
As the aftermath was sorted out, the tormented souls of Cyric's former kingdom looked to Kelemvor for new guidance. Lord Lyonsbane looked out across his new lands, and declared a new era of Law and Justice in the Land of the Dead.
In the following years, Cyric became despondent, neglecting his godly duties. Sadly, he was also driven mad by the powers of his own Cyrinishad, completely believing everything contained within, unable to distinguish lies from truth. Several of the gods, led by Tyr, placed Cyric on trial, charged with Innocence by reason of Insanity. Around the same time, Cyric's precious chronicle The Cyrinishad was stolen. Upon hearing this, one of Cyric's most devout followers, one Malik el Sami yn Nasser sought out the tome, in order to return it to his god. For this service, Cyric bestowed upon Malik the status of "Seraph of Lies."
In a cruel twist of fate, Malik became the target of a truth spell cast by the goddess Mystra. As such, Malik is completely unable to tell a lie. Using this curse as a tool, Mystra called upon Malik to read The True Life of Cyric as written by several good gods and set to paper by Oghma. Naturally, Malik had no desire to do such a thing, so decided to tell the tale of Cyric as all worshippers had heard it since childhood. Unfortunately, this also counted as lies, and Malik was forced to read the book as printed. Cover to cover. Upon completing the text, Cyric became calm, and his sanity was once again restored. This, however, does not make him easier to deal with.
Malik el Sami yn Nasser, Seraph of Lies, continues to travel the world, spreading the influence of Cyric, within the confines of his curse.
With the introduction of Forgotten Realms 3rd Edition rules, Cyric now has the following statistics:
Portfolio: Murder, lies, intrigue, deception, illusion, strife
Domains: Chaos, Destruction, Evil, Illusion, Trickery
(For a detailed look, visit this page at Wizards.com. They previewed the Cyric entry from the new 3rd Edition book.)
Of important note in the continuing history of Cyric: The return of Lord Bane. Some 600 years before his death, Bane spawned a half-demon child, Iyachtu Xvim. For many years, Xvim was trapped beneath the city of Zhentil Keep. Cyric's destruction of the city freed Xvim, and a new church was formed, led by Fzoul Chembryl. For the next three years, the church grew, as did Xvim's power, even taking control away from Lord Cyric.
On the night of Midwinter, 1372 DR, all of Iyachtu Xvim's priests received a vision of their god torn apart by an armored warrior covered in green flame. It was then that Toril knew the return of Lord Bane. Bane has reclaimed the portfolio of strife, hatred, tyranny, and fear, leading strong tension between Cyric and Bane. It is yet unclear how the balance of power will shift as a result.
In a hope-forsaken tunnel at the heart of Pandemonium, Cyric awoke... There was a new kingdom to build. After all, Cyric was still a deity — God of Strife and Intrigue, Patron of Murder. As such, he deserved a palace of suitable size to accomodate his horde of worhipers, a mammoth treasure house to store the spoils of his victorious war against Mystra and the Circle of Greater Powers... As always, the pantheon had been puppets, playing the parts Cyric created for them.
For an instant, the Prince of Lies heard the babel of voices in his head chime harmonious agreement. None of them could deny his absolute supremacy over all the gods in Faerûn. The Cyrinishad
proved the truth of that, and Cyric himself had read the tome very carefully.
All across the mortal realms, a disembodied smile appeared in the most squalid alleys and haunted, shadow-draped woods. Broad and sharp, glinting like a straight razor in the moonlight, it hinted at the mad god's pleasure with a world well-suited to become his earthly kingdom. The true meaning of the apparitions eluded even the most gifted oracles. They wove dire but vague prophecies around the chilling visions, but, as was their wont, the men and women of Faerûn heeded them little and went on with their chaotic, mundane lives.
In the hope-forsaken tunnel at the heart of Pandemonium, Cyric began to laugh. The world was doomed, but it kept running anyway.
–Epilogue, Prince of Lies, by James Lowder