Some kind of student in a temple full of white-robed monks. (For some reason, he is wearing a blue robe when the whole place is entirely greyscale). Someone, presumeably the head of the order, or Ajathar's mentor, sends him on the staff quest so that he can "leave the temple and discover the world." Ajathar is enthusiastic about the quest. Although the order of monks was not explicitly given a notice, one of the others brought one in to them. The superior also asks Ajathar to investigate the quest because it seems suspicious, suggesting that his order is one of those "Protectors of Good" things. As Ajathar is leaving, the white monk dude says "Fare thee well" in a warm sort of way, suggesting that he and Ajathar are close.
Primary motivation: Ajathar is mainly following orders, but he also seems anxious to get going. Maybe he feels that he has to prove himself to the white-robed monk people.
Primary ability - Prayer - this has one of two effects. If any of the enemies are undead, Prayer will attempt to destroy them. If there are no undead present, Prayer will cure the party members a bit.
Secondary ability - Any weapon used by Ajathar gains the elemental power of "White" (unless it already has an elemental type).
PeterHull: I like to think that Ajathar is only just starting out, and this is his first mission. He somethimes wonders whether he's doing the right thing, and gets a bit upset when he has to fight so much - he expected a life of quiet, monkish contemplation.
JoshBolduc: I've combined some old and new ideas here with regards to Ajathar.
Ajathar was a survivor of a deadly blaze that killed his parents and most of the people of their family estate. Ajathar was only two years old at the time and was rescued by a boy (age 14) named Alcuin who had also lost his mother in the fire. Alcuin (with Ajathar) travelled to a monastery where he believed his father was. Alcuin's father was no longer there, but the monks took in both children. Ajathar was raised by the monks and lived at the monastery until early adulthood.
When Ajathar was old enough to officially join the order, he began asking questions about why he wasn't allowed to take part in ceremonies and such things. He was told that he was not a high enough rank and the only way to rise through the ranks was to serve the order faithfully and be patient. Then came the offer from Nostik, and Ajathar was given a chance to prove himself. The chance came from his old friend Alcuin. Alcuin knows the truth about the order (more or less) and he uses this opportunity to send Ajathar away before he too becomes ensnared in the order's nefarious plot. Ajathar does not know that it was Alcuin who saved him all those years ago, but Alcuin has spent most of his time at the monastery watching out for Ajathar while trying to maintain a low profile for himself.
The main idea here is that this order is actually not-so-nice. The ceremonies they perform are in honour of a dark god and the group is actually a clandestine order of miscreants and evil-doers attempting to secure the ancient daggers of Irblane to empower their god. In fact, it was members of this order that burned down Ajathar's family estate in order to acquire one of these daggers.
Alcuin eventually leaves the order (in secret) after discovering that they were the ones that killed his mother. Assassin's are sent to dispatch Alcuin after it is discovered that he has fled... and taken a dagger with him. Ajathar should meet up with Alcuin one day, and perhaps it could be the same day that the assassins catch up with him. Ajathar could then help Alcuin fight off the assassins. It's then that Ajathar learns about the order and how they are the one's responsible for killing his parents. Ajathar is not a rash or foolish person though, and he would see the reward from Nostik as his best chance of being able to deal with the order of monks.
ChrisBarry: Here's my take on Ajathar. It's very simple, and by very simple I mean not overly complex like backstories sometimes become. Not to bash the above, but not every character needs parents who died under mysterious circumstances by organizations with hidden motives. ;)
Ajathar's background, if I had my way, would have been very simple. The "order" is simply a religous school where monks are raised, taught, and trained. Ajathar was a student who graduated with high marks who is basically done his training and has begun working at the school himself as a teacher's aid. One of the school departments deals with hiring out some students to outer agencies for a limited time. Some leave as priests, some as teachers, some as medics for military organizations. It's not a required part of the curriculum though, and Ajathar has never left the school, choosing simply to concentrate on pure academics.
One day the mission for the staff passes over the department's desk. It's not really an assignment for a student, but the department decides to bring it to Ajathar's attention as something he might be interested in (Ajathar's name would have come up because he's well known as an excellent ex-student and respectable staff member, and he's never been on an assignment outside the school). Ajathar continues to resist the idea, and says as much to his favorite ex-professor (we'll call him Cid ;). Cid's point of view is that Ajathar is stunting his own growth; by choosing to go out into the world, not only will he learn more than the school alone can show him, he can also bring his gift and talents of wisdom and healing to people that might need them. Ajathar still isn't comfortable with the idea, but he admits that Cid makes sense. And so, reluctantly, he sets out.
Ajathar's character is somewhat naive and "green", but he's also very intelligent and possibly the highest educated member of the team. He sometimes has trouble dealing with dealing with some of the realities he encounters (like kidnapping a small girl to sacrifice her) but he always works to do what's right and defend people. If this were more of a team game like Final Fantasy (where your team consists of several members, and changes at key points where the plot can make most use of them) he would be the type who's religous training and upbringing makes him a little too trusting and naive, he gets a fast dose of reality thrown at him which confuses him and makes him question some of his teaching, and in the end has strengthened his beliefs through his experiences and ultimately emerged a better person than he could have staying at the school alone.
I suppose that's the type of backstory you'd expect from me (being a Christian) but I think it works. :)