Author Topic: To Serve His Radiance  (Read 8173 times)

Iridni Ren

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To Serve His Radiance
« on: March 05, 2017, 09:47:57 PM »
Barsisa, terrified by this Discourse, says to the Devil, What shall I do to prevent the Publication of my shame?

To hinder the Knowledge of your Crime you ought to commit a fresh one, answered the Devil.

From The History of Santon Barsisa


Once upon a time east of the Prelacy of Almor, two mismatched men and a much younger woman took a short journey into the Forests of Adri. The shabbily dressed of the two men carried on his face an expression as though he intended to steal the pennies from the eyes of someone's dead mother. The other wore the clothes of a well-cared-for curate (which he was). Although their exteriors little resembled one another, both snipes bore souls blackened by evil.

As for the girl…my stars, child, but she had hair the color of a raven’s wing and skin that seemed as though she bathed thrice a day in fresh cream. The tenderest of spring violets bloomed in her 16-year-old eyes. Lo, when she sang, her delicate voice piped like a gentle flute. But if any stranger spoke to her, well, her timid cheeks would ripen with strawberries.

Her name was Iridni Ren, and she stepped through the brush that day like an inquisitive but wobbly fawn. Behind her and out of her hearing, the gray-cloaked rogue—for rogue was the most polite word for him—spoke to the stiff-necked curate: “Ya know, this here marchland is where they say many years past old Firan disappeared.”

Firan was a sort of boogeyman in the region, a dark and powerful wizard whose necromancy some believed was so foul that he had been carried off to Hell without the formality of Nerull permitting him first to die.

“Firan?” the curate replied. Although much distracted by the wicked task ahead, he managed to stare at the lithe shape of Iridni with an intensity that begrudged his eyes so much as a single blink.
 
“Aye…but who knows what’s true about things at happened so long ago? I do know I don’t much like passin’ this way meself.”

The curate, whose name was Anxan Madog, said with a note of regret, “We won’t tarry here.”

“Madog” meant “the Kind.” A more honest name would have been Anxan the Wretch. In truth Anxan had hoodwinked the innocent Iridni into coming with him and the rogue because they schemed to murder her.

His partner in sin nodded. “At’s good. An it’s best we stay out of any mists hereabouts. Never know what’s lurkin’....Meself, I’d prefer we'd do this at night.”

The curate nodded: “But it was easier for me to explain taking her from the cloister during the day. A reward of some fresh air and sunshine for how hard she's worked and studied.”

Noticing how the other's eyes followed the receding girl, the rogue smirked and said, “Considerin’ we got all this privacy, don’t it seem a shame to waste some unspoilt woman flesh like ‘at?”

He gestured toward Iridni with the stiletto he held, then resumed scraping some sort of green grime from beneath his ragged fingernails. For those who have much to be guilty about, cleaning can become a fixation, but the rogue felt his hands so foul he saw little reason even to attempt the washing of them.

“Your suggestion, if I understand it properly, is vile,” Anxan stammered.

The rogue’s smirk turned into a false face of hurt feelings. “Aw now. Don’t gimme ‘at, padre. I seen how you been lookin’ at her meself.”

“Listen. You’ve been hired to do one thing, and I’m only here to make sure it’s done. I can’t do it because…well…a priest of Zilchus should not spill the blood of the innocent.”

The rogue nibbled one of his freshly scraped fingernails and seemed to consider for a moment its taste. “Alright to let me do it, eh?”

Anxan sighed. “Rather than many suffer, it's necessary that one perish. For the good of the land.”

“If ya say so. I don’t care bout the high-falutin' politics of it all, padre. Just as long as I’m paid.”

“You will be, but we must make sure the seer’s prophecy doesn’t come to pass.”

“What's worryin ya? How’s a rabbit like her a danger to anybody? Exceptin’ a man’s self-control!” The rogue guffawed at his own insinuation.

Something like hunger passed over the curate’s face as his eyes followed the even strokes of Iridni's partly bare thighs.

“The seer’s omen marked her, not Eordwick, as most favored by her god.”

“So?” The rogue sniffed his fingers before beginning on a second.

“She must be considered in line for leadership, then. But the girl worships the Sun Father, a god of peace, charity, and mercy. If we allow the prophecy to come true, then we would pin our hopes on a pacifist.” Anxan hissed the last word. “Look at her! Do you think she can stand up to our enemies? In these times Almor must wield a sharp sword with strong muscle behind it.”

“Well, now, your enemies may be far different ‘en mine. But I think I gets your meanin’. This Eordwick, he’s more to your preference?”

“Not to my...preference.” For a moment the curate's face softened as he watched Iridni. “I would prefer my own son. But unlike yon gentle girl, Eordwick is a strong fighter. He knows how to wound as well as heal. With her candidacy out of the way, our future and security are safer. I wish…I wish it didn’t have to be thus.”

“Yer not a follower of this Sun Father yourself?”

“No. The Prelacy is tolerant of many gods. Eordwick worships Zilchus as do I. We’re united with the placid Pelorians only in our opposition to evil.”

“Opposition to evil? Hee-hee-hee! You could of fooled me. Anyways…”

“Look at her,” Anxan shook his head with his second use of the imperative. “If only....As a bride she might have satisfied some man and lived a long and happy life.” She was not meant to be wedded to a god!

“Tis a shame...like I said.” The rogue licked his lips. “I don’t see no harm in us collectin’ a bonus on this job. Takin’ it out in trade, you know? We both could, mate. I'd even let you have her first.” He winked.

About fifty yards away, Iridni had knelt with her back to them to try to discern what the small animal was lurking in a clump of bushes. As the curate watched her he saw her stripped naked of all—her clothing and her defenses—and in his power. He could so easily despoil her and use the pure fountain of her body to slake his burning thirst. He knew she would never give herself willingly to him. Although he was in the full vigor and heat of manhood, she thought of him only in regard to the priestly robes he wore. She saw his outward show of piety, never imagining the fire for her that consumed his loins. He...on the other hand...he could not look at her without envisioning what the rest of her unsullied skin looked like beneath her flimsy frock.

She must die to save many, but she also must die before Anxan allowed his obsession with her to destroy him and his own future. He passed a shaking hand over his face.

“Hee-hee-hee. I sees how you’re tempted, priest. Whaddya say?”

“I say thee...nay!”

The rogue shrugged. “Suit yourself. But I figger the deal I made is to kill 'at girl for ya. What I do before then don’t really affect at does it?” His stiletto assumed a more serious posture in his hand as he began to stalk the unaware Iridni. “I won't use this on her...least ways not yet. Only on her clothes!”

In the rogue Anxan saw the ugly embodiment of his own lust toward the young acolyte. He sprang forward and his grip found the rogue's knife-bearing wrist and held it immobile. The two men wrestled for a moment before falling to the ground.

Iridni turned in time to see Anxan bring a large stone down on the rogue's upturned face. She shrieked, not knowing what had caused the sudden violence, but then Anxan stood up clutching his side. Blood trickled between his fingers where the stiletto had managed a wound that looked to prove fatal without attention.

Her instincts to heal drove all questions from Iridni's mind as she bounded over to aid Anxan. “You're bleeding, Father!” Her hand parted his priestly garments, seeking to touch the injured flesh they concealed.

As she tended him, Anxan looked down at the ebony hair draping the young woman's head and could smell the lavender scent with which she washed herself. He felt the healing caress of her just below his chest as she uttered a small prayer, and soothing relief replaced the burning of his stab wound. Even so, new distress filled the curate as he contemplated Iridni's nearness and the longing her gentle strokes against his skin unleashed within him.

Could she be so ignorant of the effect she was causing? Or behind her mask of innocence was she a callous coquette who enjoyed her power to wrack him between pleasure and pain?

For a moment, gratitude and desire struggled in Anxan, but after brief indecision desire prevailed. “I have killed for your sake, Iridni....To preserve you inviolate! Now...now you shall yield me my prize!”

Anxan seized her by her tender throat with one hand, his other bending one of her arms and lifting it behind her back until her eyes shut in agony. Although Iridni was stronger than she looked, he had the advantage of surprise, position, and weight as he pressed her down, entangled with him, onto the forest bed.

In panic she flailed with all her being against him and called out to her god for help. But Anxan's animal mouth covered hers, and the tightness of his grip choked her screamed prayer into a rasp that Anxan engulfed within his own growled moaning.

As his lips forced themselves against her tearful face again and again, behind and over the two struggling forms, an insidious mist roiled the damp air. It dropped on them like a net of languid tendrils—Anxan oblivious to it and Iridni unable to escape her captor or warn him of their mutual peril.

He released his choke hold long enough to grasp the top of Iridni's shift in preparation for exposing that of her which remained yet hidden from his lechery. He also pulled his mouth away from its continual assault on her so he could look down and better see her soon-to-be-naked bounty, his teeth tearing at her skin as he did so. In that moment she managed no syllable, only a desperate intake of air. But her eyes opened long enough to see Anxan begin to fade from view.

At first she thought she was surely dying, that Pelor had heard her muffled plea and taken her life rather than let her endure the violence and shame of what Anxan intended. Then, however, she realized that although her surroundings had changed, she still felt the pain of her nearly dislocated shoulder and the savage bite the curate had inflicted on her bottom lip. Her scalp also ached because of how he had used her hair as leverage in controlling her.

Slowly, Iridni gathered herself up and found that her tormentor was nowhere to be seen. She was in a dark and misty place somewhere far from the Prelacy.


Spoiler: show

« Last Edit: March 06, 2017, 01:33:23 AM by Iridni Ren »

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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Re: To Serve His Radiance
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 07:54:31 PM »
That the brutal transformation of and assault by Anxan quickly receded from the young girl's thoughts might surprise you. Although terrifying at the time—the loss of control, her helplessness to resist whatever the curate's intentions—Anxan's violence had lasted only moments and not inflicted its depraved objective. Iridni was young and impressionable, but also resilient. In the next few days and nights fresh horrors pushed Anxan down only into memory, once she was certain she was no longer anywhere near him.

About that: The mist of the Forests of Adri enveloped the two because of their bodily entanglement, but the target of the mist had not been Iridni at all, only Anxan. Whatever Dark Power sent the mist, Anxan's evil alone attracted its notice. Although the fog claimed Iridni as well, perhaps it had a spark of mercy about it in that through its device Anxan was separated from his innocent prey. He still lived, however, and unknown to Iridni had been deposited elsewhere in the Core.

Meanwhile, the acolyte of Pelor endured a more lasting and transforming change. Anxan's brutality was a dangerous bridge she traversed without falling. The land in which she found herself once across that bridge, however, was also a new life completely unlike the gentle days of joy she had known until now. Strangers surrounded her, most of them with manners and motivations distinct from the kind Pelorians who had filled her society previously.

Whereas she had grown to womanhood among people who almost to a soul had sheltered and provided for her—yes, even loved her—now she must begin to make her way without a single companion or kind face. She had no survival instinct for this new environment. Whether she could adapt at all and how much that adaptation would transform her into something completely unlike herself, only the days to come would reveal.


Spoiler: show

(Thanks to YA for creating the video.)

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

  • Priestess of Pelor
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To Serve His Radiance
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2017, 05:30:33 PM »
For too long she had hidden behind others and relied on their strength. First Medea, then Master Yunon and the Kin, then Alistar. She had taken so much pleasure in the tranquility of the Lodge, interviewing recruits and welcoming new members. It was a place of ceremony and innocence within the cold and ugly cruelty of the Gray City. To her there could no superior use of one’s time than healing others and performing works of mercy and charity. Never having felt deprivation herself—her needs had always been minimal—she had little fear of want and thus no greed or the ambition it instilled.

Medea told her she had enjoyed too much happiness in her young life.

A time came to stop acting like a wide-eyed girl, and once she had killed—as much as she repented of it—she could never feel as pure in Pelor’s light as before. She craved the chance to make amends besides the penance Father Miklos gave her. She listened in horror to hear one after another of the Kin fall in defeat before the Death Singer, even Alistar, Anya, and finally Sir Audric—all of whom she knew to be mightier warriors than she.

Finally, there were the stinging words of Rodica, who accused the Kin of treating the vampires with too much caution while her fellow garda died defending Vallaki. The one-eyed corporal charged Iridni with changing the demeanor of the Kin, making them pursue the vampires when weak, and altogether becoming more serious and aggressive in their approach.

As though Iridni did not take the Death Singer seriously enough: an undead abomination that had shown a macabre obsession with Iridni’s beloved and promised to deliver her decapitated head to him. Now both the garda and the Death Singer had threatened her life, although Master Zephyr’s intercession had succeeded in removing the executioner’s noose before it slipped too tightly around her neck.

It was of little import except to make her put away one more childish belief: that through her own effort she could build a bridge to anyone, no matter the chasm between. Despite her overtures toward Rodica, despite the Kin’s gifts to support garda families and buy garda equipment, Iridni was nothing more than an expendable pawn to sacrifice even unto death in games of power, status, and revenge.

Nevertheless, Iridni promised Zephyr not to judge but only to redouble her efforts at understanding the point of view of a woman who had given so much to her duty.

She could, after all, appreciate Rodica’s loyalty to her fellows, but for her the ring of companionship encircled and drew others to her through the bonds of fondness and love. It was not bestowed simply by belonging to an organizational structure that then regarded everyone outside it as worthy only to be suspected and even despised. She could never love the garda—especially those who abused and bullied anyone weaker than they—as Rodica did.

It was not for their sake as garda she would risk the night again. No, she grieved for anyone who perished because the Kin had failed so many times to stake these two devils. That she had fallen before the Death Singer and left Master Yunon to face the nightmare bardess alone—her aged teacher the only barrier between her prone form and the beast’s desire to feed—that was enough incentive to spur her again into the darkness.

It was time for her to defend rather than be defended.


My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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Re: To Serve His Radiance
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2017, 12:58:30 PM »
The Lodge was quiet except for the slow crackle of the fire and the clicking of Adeline's nails on the hardwood floors as she paced back and forth with her old dog's intuitive concern that something troubled the young woman. Only the fire brightened their shared darkness in the expansive room.

Iridni gazed at the indifferent fire and thought how misunderstood both darkness and light were, negative and positive energy. The undead could go on forever, draining from the living what they needed. But she like other living creatures of light was the wood the fire consumed to warm and brighten the room. Once the log had been a seed, then a young sapling as she was, then—as she hoped to some season—it had borne fruit. Yet now it blackened and turned to smoke, allowing her to see for a time and protecting her from the chill of a Barovian winter that engulfed all of Vallaki in ice and snow.

Although through the Dawn Father she each morning revived stronger than the day before, it was only for her light for a time to glow brighter and serve others more. Over the course of her life her service would wither her and leave of her nothing but dust.

She felt this truth so keenly as her heart ached for her quarreling Kin. Not so long ago voices filled with high-flown ideals had echoed in these walls and beloved faces had brightened the darkness for one another. Those same voices now spoke from hurt and pride and with anger. Trying to balm them left her spent, seeking Adeline's undemanding company.

Those older than she—Masters Yunon and Zephyr—had often warned her about not allowing the land to change her, not letting it seep into her. She was learning that preventing that was much harder than she had expected. In her naiveté she believed she must subdue only her own ego and live a life of complete personal sacrifice to thwart the realm's corruption. Yet evil was insidious, turning one's positive affections to its hateful purposes. Even the love she felt for so many of her Kin could be used to twist her own soul.

Must she choose sides? She would not because—even though she felt in her heart who had the wiser argument—it was more important to her not to leave any she loved abandoned to the shadows. Even if one served an absolute truth as she did, having the last word was not worth severing the bonds between them.

You're a coward who wants to have it all, the darkness said to her. You compromise your most treasured values for fear of losing friends and affection.

No...choosing would be the easy, less painful path. To see things in black and white was not difficult: loving the perfect goodness of Pelor and destroying mindless, unredeemable undead had never been a challenge to her. Trying to stretch herself over the widening gaps that were tearing the Kinship asunder—that was what threatened her soul with despair.

If her voice was too young, weak, and inconsequential to bring peace, yet she also would not choose sides. She would let them war among themselves...and conserve what light she had for the healing that would be required in the aftermath.

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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Re: To Serve His Radiance
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2017, 11:57:54 AM »
Peace of a sort had come to the Kin, but it was the peace of ashes once a fire burns itself out.

All these angry egos with their loud voices and need to assert their dominance....

They would have their way for a while and in doing so believe they had triumphed, but only watery wine and stale bread would fill their voracious mouths. Just as Anxan had thought that if he could but conquer her body he would enjoy her in full, force would never win them the feast that remained hidden in the heart of the Kinship.

If being right and having the last say were what they most valued, let them have it. To Iridni such baubles were worthless. She would reserve the treasure she valued in secreted places until the barbarians lost interest, believing they had pillaged all, and only then would she reveal its sparkle once more to the Dawn's holy light.

You play on every weakness that you see in me
To make you strong...you were all along.


Spoiler: show

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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Re: To Serve His Radiance
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2017, 04:24:28 PM »

In Alistar's absence, Iridini could feel Medea reasserting herself over the young priestess. The wizard had grown ever more powerful until Iridni worried now whether the influence of that power would begin to corrupt her secretive friend. Already Medea thought nothing about stomping around the Western Outskirts in dragon form. Iridni knew that it was still Medea inside the ground-shaking beast, but only through much effort could she control her young fear, both of the thundering reptile that loomed over her and what might happen if Barovians saw the shape-shifted wizard. Had Medea learned nothing from her trial in Port-a-Lucine?

Because so much came easy to Medea, she was dismissive of all of Iridni's difficulties. She made no effort to hide her glee that Alistar had disappeared, and she had resumed her casually imperative tone with Iridni. Even on the subject of faith Medea--to whom all gods were equally useless except as comparative studies--asked that Iridni be similarly indifferent.

Why, for example, should Iridni care about stolen Ezrite artifacts? She had found much common ground between Pelor and the Morning Lord, but she did not wish to engage in a manhunt that might end in having to kill more Invidians, only to recover statues that to her were idols and anathema. Warden Agnes was Kin, true, but many Ezrites despised Outlanders such as herself, and "Inquisitors" seldom have tolerance for adherents of other faiths.

Even so, she had subdued, bound, and led the Invidian lookout back to Vallaki, little understanding anything he said or even what Master Yunon asked him. There she turned him over to Rodica, knowing it very likely the man would die for his "crimes," but what were his crimes except being a soldier? The Kin obeyed local law. In Invidia that would mean they, too, would have to obey a command to march to war. Or at least it seemed to her.

Perhaps if she could have understood the discussion the right path would have been clearer to her, but she relied on Master Yunon that what they were doing was just. She at least healed the lookout of the wounds she herself had inflicted on him, though he seemed to appreciate that little.

She and Medea ended the night searching for the missing Invidian captain. To do so required her to fight undead until her shoulder ached from swinging her weapon--worse when she awoke the following morning--but even this was less satisfying to her than in days past. Perhaps it was because they seemed to come from the Keep's walls as fast as she could kill them, so that the task appeared to have no end, but Iridni felt less certain she was doing Pelor's will for her than when she had stood against such hordes before.



My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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To Praise His Radiance
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2017, 02:09:12 AM »
And so she dreamed.

Did the Sun god she worshipped with all that remained to her send the vision of blessed solace to this young maiden who had endured one loss after another? Or was it yet one more delusion of the land she had been ensnared by?

I cannot answer, Beloved. I can but relate the tale as best I know.

She dreamed of Elysium...of Light's Blessing--of forgiveness for sins she never knew she had committed but must be the cause of her loss of her family, her home, her innocent belief in universal human worth and virtue...and now her holy captor, Alistar. What great wrong had she perpetrated that some dark power wished to cut at last even her faith from her fair bosom?

An orchard of golden apples...each luscious fruit having absorbed within it the brilliant bounty Pelor bestowed every morning without fail. She perceived a serpent-like worm would fain corrupt this harvest unless by her hand its vile canker was stayed.

She bore from a stately tree an apple to her mouth and greedily devoured it, the sweet juice running o'er her lips and even down her dainty chin. Although her short life before now had been one of utter restraint almost to deprivation, a voice in the dream bid her eat, and she did eat her fill. A fervor strengthened her limbs, her lithe arms that could embrace either a companion or her weapon and shield, her slender legs. The apple's sacred flesh caused her abdomen to swell with contentment.

She awoke, her ivory skin covered in a damp sheen upon which the moonlight danced. She was not in Elysium but in her small cot in the Lodge. And yet the dream had seemed more real than her present surroundings.

Youth of delight, come hither,
And see the opening morn,
Image of truth new born!


Spoiler: show

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

  • Priestess of Pelor
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  • Dark Power
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  • Posts: 2880
  • When all other lights go out
Re: To Praise His Radiance
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2017, 11:08:45 AM »
Death drew nearer to her than at any time since she had felt Anxan's fingers around her throat and the descent of the Mist over her flailing form. With the evil curate the shock had been sudden—a realization of her own helpless mortality to an almost child who had seen little violence in her then 16 years.

Now she had watched life extinguished, often with indifference, until it was commonplace. Even a newborn infant would not draw breath for reasons she would never understand but she suspected were rooted in cruel feminine jealousy. That baby: Once she had practiced and planned for delivering new life into the world as part of her service to Pelor. Instead she prayed the ill-timed journey of the lamb's soul to Elysium, her healing powers helpless to restore the life taken or joy to the lives of the mourning—and now vengeful—parents.

She had wanted a flock of such to tend: believers to marry, heal their wounds and sicknesses, and help raise their children—along with her own. To nurture and lead gently into the light, rather than spend her days in gore-encrusted armor that weighed down her small frame while she wielded her over-sized weapon again and again, so often ineffectually, against the recurring tides of darkness.

She feared—yes, feared—to go to Port-a-Lucine. Three times vampires had defeated her and would have fed on her, and three times she had survived only through the help of her allies. In Port there would be two to face.

In Port-a-Lucine there would be no Medea, no Alistar, no Master Yunon, nor any of the others she believed would die to protect her as she would they. The City had refused the Wayfarers a charter and bristled at the prospect of the Kinship's interference. The locals would not welcome her presence: her armor, her clunking metal boots, her inability to speak their language. Her only friend was to be Mainane, and she was not sure that Mainane even liked her. Perhaps if Sora were to come...

Hestiana had warned her of ill portents and omens. But she had already been filled with foreboding every time the Kinship had sent her to Port-a-Lucine for far less dangerous reasons.

Iridni looked around the small area reserved to her in the common bunk of the Lodge and considered how little she would be leaving behind if she never returned. Had this land even ever been hers? She once felt so, in those heady days when the Kin had grown with friends like Valentine, and she had experienced the reassuring warmth of first love through Alistar.

She swept the room and made her cot as tidily as ever before kneeling by it:

In this as in all, Thy will be done, Father of Light.
I yield back to Thee all the gifts I owe and for which I have ever been unworthy,
Grant Thy servant only the courage to face this journey without fear,
Steady my trembling arm and still the coward within me that would undo my soul,
I ask this not to make Thy servant's path easier,
But that she might not sin against Thee and betray Thee...her undying Love.



Spoiler: show

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

  • Priestess of Pelor
  • The Wayfarer Kinship
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 2880
  • When all other lights go out
Re: To Serve His Radiance
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2017, 11:52:25 PM »
She was happy to be alive.

As she trod the lonesome road of winter back from the Tser Pool to Vallaki, the blood still flowed through Iridni's veins and warmed her heart. The cold caused it to flush her cheeks as it so often did when she felt embarrassed, and she smiled to herself at the thought of how she must look. In fact she nearly giggled aloud so great was her relief at how matters had turned in Port-a-Lucine.

She had barely reached the city gates when Mainane called to her and said they must go now, they had found the lair of the vampire Marcel Delacourte, and it was close by. Although Iridni's heart began to race in her fair breast, and she once more felt herself shrink within her bulky armor, yet she was also thrilled that the action had come so soon. She would not have to spend her days and nights in dreaded loneliness in this sophisticated city, a bumpkin blundering about while everyone sneered at her rustic dress and inability to speak or understand them.

Descending into the darkness, she found herself face-to-face with Alistar's one-time mentor Zachary, the warrior of Ilmater. He had with him his beloved Ravenna, and for a moment the recurring expressions of love between the two pained her, but then Iridni's better nature prevailed. After all, a love such as she had experienced ought not cause any hurt even when forced to memory, for was there a single shared moment she remembered spent in any emotion other than joy? No matter the turmoil within the Kinship, she and Alistar had never quarreled, spoken a cross word, or met the other's gaze except in mutual adoration.

The danger the group presently faced did not for long brook such nostalgic distraction. Added to their force's number was another woman whom Iridni learned only the first name of: Temperance. They scarcely had time for introductions before their foes were upon them, foul undead with chilling auras that caused Zachary to warn all against death magic.

One wave of the creatures seemed to blend into another, and before long their cold began to weaken and numb her. Two of her compatriots--Mainane and Temperance--disappeared beneath the onslaught, and Iridni felt herself giving in. She tried to back up and seek warmth, but it was too late. She could think of nothing but yielding herself over to the overwhelming cold.

Moments later, Ravenna hissed to her, "Don't make a sound," as she rubbed the fallen servant of Pelor's limbs to restore her circulation. Iridni stirred to find Zachary was upright as well, but both Mainane and Temperance had been carried away. In another moment, Iridni would have joined them as a captive of the depraved Marcel Delacourte.

They dare not tarry, knowing that Delacourte possessed their friends. The nearer they pressed to his secret chamber, however, the stronger his guardians proved. The last was the most fiendish of all, nearly felling Zachary many times, and it was all Iridni could do to use Pelor's healings on the knight rather than herself. She perceived that if the paladin died she and Ravenna would last alone but a moment. The loathsome undead seemed to realize this intelligence as well, focusing most of their energies on Zachary when but a fraction of their effort would have finished the small priestess.

Ravenna, in fact, instructed Iridni to flee, should she and Zachary perish, in hopes that the young maiden could at least bring aid back to them and ensure that the knowledge of the creature's lair not be lost.

Yet at last they had breached Delacourte's final defense. To Iridni's horror, the monster revealed himself to have been decapitated. He was plainly proud of his separated head as he thought it proved him to be invincible. He tried to parley by using the two women as hostages, but Zachary would have none of it.

Snarling, Delacourte slew Mainane and then used his dark magic to send her corpse against her band of would-be rescuers. More happily, Temperance remained bound and alive while Delacourte attacked.  As the monster and Zachary rushed upon one another, Iridni hasted the paladin, hoping that this small magic might provide the difference between the two terrible foes.

At last the dread fiend succumbed to the sword blows of the relentless knight. With its passing, the atmosphere of the dank lair immediately brightened as evil retreated from the place. The remaining band of allies burned all traces of the devil and his undead cohorts, then took Mainane's body into the city in hopes of restoring her to life.

Spoiler: show


So now Iridni could return home to the Kinship Lodge. Or at least it was as much of a home and family as remained to her. She did not even care when Medea met her and made fun of her dishevelled appearance...or that someone--Medea?--had left a dirty, dark ring around the bathtub she had so carefully scrubbed the day before leaving.

She drew the tub full of hot water, threw some of the lavender-foam-making beads Valentine had once stocked her with into it, and eased her brutalized body into the happy heaven. As the wet heat enveloped her, she thanked Pelor for sparing his timid servant this small piece of Elysium.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 12:00:58 AM by Iridni Ren »

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Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2017, 11:19:33 AM »
Weeks passed, yet the euphoria Iridni experienced after the destruction of Marcel Delacourte lessened not. She was the happiest she had been since her abduction into the Mists—happier even than when she had first joined the Kinship. Truth be told, her serenity was greater even than when Alistar had courted her.

Not that she diminished that time, regretted it, or was certain, if Alistar reappeared, her passion for him would not break the dam she had constructed brick by brick against it to once more overwhelm her: no, the difference now was that her mind and heart were undivided. Loving Alistar so much had caused her worry. Did he feel the same about her? Would he always feel the same about her? Would she know how to please him? Although he was patient with her and reassured her that she contented him, she knew whatever her visible form's promise she was not by her knowledge an exciting woman—a woman practiced in the skill of bringing a man's blood to boil.

She also could see Alistar's effect on all the women around him and not only her alone. She had no wish for a life poisoned by her own insecure worry of either a shattered heart or that he deprived himself of a more satisfying love only out of his paladin's sense of duty to her.

The more her feelings grew for him, the more these pangs of her own inadequacy had thwarted her bliss from being pure. Just as she felt undeserving of a god's love, she felt undeserving of a man she had come almost to idolize. She could not bear ever to see anger or disappointment toward her in Alistar's eyes.

In the warmth of the all-merciful Pelor, she knew her failures were forgiven, for well her god understood no flawed and unfinished girl could achieve His divine perfection. With Alistar in contrast, she had always worried she would transgress in a way that no mortal love could overlook and forgive. Perhaps she unknowingly had.

The nearness of her own death and escape from it, however, had centered her again, a lens focusing sunlight into a burning flame. For once in her young life, she bore something akin to confidence—not anything self-satisfied, arrogant, or egotistical but only a belief that her slow and steady steps did not stray, that the path she was walking was the one Pelor intended for her. She felt pure in heart, without jealousy or enmity toward a living soul—and without trepidation at any burden with which her god might task her.

A kernel of wheat is dry, barren, and hard until it falls into the earth. Only by surrendering its life does it rise from darkness, mature, and return the sunlight's love with many children.

Guide me, O Thou great Father,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Lift me with with Thy powerful hand.


Black hopelessness covered Barovia, but such was the soil in which Pelor had planted her. She would not tire until her sweat, blood, and sacrifice proved to her god she was fertile.


My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2017, 12:41:41 PM »
The vampire in Port-a-Lucine postponed Iridni’s search for Lauel Martovich. Iridni sensed that Medea, in suggesting she seek out the blind woman, might finally agree with her that, despite the wizard’s vast knowledge and eagerness to teach, she (Iridni) could not learn more of her own calling from more lectures on arcane magic. Although the trip to Hazlan with Medea to hear Mr. Kelter, for example, had been informative, she perceived that those who dealt with the Weave in this fashion did so from intellect. They sought to understand and control, rather than to offer themselves up as servants.

From Medea’s description, Iridni expected Lauel to be a high-ranking priestess of the Morning Lord. She also came to understand how Lauel had lost her eyesight, a horror made more believable when Iridni heard rumors of what the garda had now inflicted on Erzsebet, a widow of one of their own. (Worse from Iridni’s personal perspective, Rodica had apparently stood by and consented to the mutilation of Erzsebet.)

All of Iridni’s disciplined efforts at seeing the garda in a more positive light were extinguished like a newly lit candle buffeted by a harsh gust of wind. She felt her stomach sicken now whenever they drew near, always travelling in packs and always with their cudgels at the ready, smacking their own sweaty palms in anticipation of the cruelty they looked for any excuse to unleash.

Both the unfinished business of Lauel and the unfinished business of Hjorta converged one night outside the Morning Lord Temple. Iridni came upon the two near the city gates. She identified Lauel at once by the scooped-out eye sockets and her yet undeterred confrontational demeanor with the heartless wight. Although Medea had told Iridni of Lauel’s strength, the Pelorian could not help but fear for her as her sightlessness made her appear so unaware of the danger by which she was menaced.

Likewise, Iridni felt guilt when she saw, finally, what Hjorta had become. Although she knew the woman had caused the death of a complete innocent, to see the gaping hole in Hjorta’s chest where her heart should be and to be aware that she was cursed with undeath drew pity from the young priestess. For in her own heart Iridni knew she had never tried to understand the troubled Hjorta before the witch’s descent into madness. In truth, the woman’s dark ways had frightened and repelled Iridni when they might have motivated her to bring Hjorta into the light. Whereas Iridni had experienced acceptance and love since coming through the Mists, Hjorta had endured only betrayal, rejection, and loathing.

Now it might be in the Pelorian’s power to help set right this evil.

“Hjorta, do you remember me from when you lived? Do you remember Net’lia and Cassandra?”

The fiend let drop the tiny humanoid from which she had just drained all life. She moaned and might have cried but her eyes could no longer produce tears.

Iridni was close enough now to Lauel to whisper to her and reassure her that no fresh enemy approached. “I come to you without weapon or shield, Hjorta. I come to tell you there is a way to lift the curse and have your heart restored.”

The wight’s demeanor changed completely…”Too much life!” she grunted.

Others gathered: Iridni’s old friend, Borval Skullbreaker, and a male Morning Lordian came out of the temple and stopped with open mouth.

[Omitted pending resolution of IG events.]

The negotiation complete, Borval hurriedly departed to his task. Hjorta seemed relatively calm, although she continued to cackle manically from time to time and mutter to herself.

Iridni waited only to make sure the wight would return to the shadows without harming anyone and in hopes of talking to Lauel, but then a thunderous sound shattered the night’s tenuous truce: something began to summon one undead after the other. Was it Hjorta? Was this the significance of her muttered laughter?

Iridni retrieved her weapon, and she, the male Morning Lordian, and Lauel took to battle. Although unprepared and facing a strong enemy, the three prevailed easily. Yet even before they could relax their guard, huge stones erupted from the ground and a still louder noise such that they were almost knocked off their feet split the night air.

In terror Iridni saw a mighty Balor rise over her like a tree over a blade of grass. Thanks be to Pelor, it was for the moment disoriented by its new surroundings. “Inside!” she yelled to the others and ran for the safety of the temple. Looking behind her, however, she saw the blind figure of Lauel being pursued by the now alert Balor and observed that the woman’s sightlessness made her helpless to find escape. Though on the threshold of the church, Iridni did not hesitate but turned about to challenge the towering monster.

She flung herself at the demonic evil with all the strength contained in her small body. In response, she felt it unleash a blast of necromantic energy more deadly than she had ever before experienced and that wracked every young cell of her with overwhelming pain.

Without uttering a sound the destroyed Pelorian crumpled face-down on the earth.

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2017, 01:35:49 AM »
As much time as it had required Iridni to develop self-confidence, it did not take this land long to undo it. The Balor's easy crushing of her she might have consoled herself past. Could anyone expect a 17-year-old girl (who, without Pelor's aid, could barely support the weight of her own armor) to defy a great tanar'ri from the deepest pits of of the Abyss...and live? Blessed by Pelor in preparation for its assault, Iridni might have withstood its necromantic death magic, but that would have led only to an equally one-sided physical beating.

She came to with Constantine (the male Morning Lordian who had joined her in battle) hovering over her. He had been able to heal her while she yet breathed because the Balor had left her to continue its pursuit of Lauel. They staggered inside the temple, Iridni in pain and bleeding as they sought shelter.

After but a few moments, a battered Lauel pushed the door open with her one good shoulder and joined them. Her other arm had been almost ripped off, and her eye sockets ran with fresh blood. "The Balor did this, but Hjorta...preserved me," she managed almost ready to collapse yet from her injuries.

Seeing Lauel's condition and hearing of Hjorta's  actions, Iridini forced herself to stand. "I must perform the errand I promised Hjorta. This will reassure her of our good faith, and what I have sworn to her about the curse is true."

Constantine stayed the Pelorian. "Please don't leave at least until Dawn."

She tarried that much, appreciating the wisdom of the Light Carrier's words: "I don't want you to have to drag me in here again," she smiled.

As soon as Pelor's light greeted the land, however, she set about writing a message to the rest of the Kin--particularly Anya--and trying to convey to Net'lia and Cassandra the wish of Hjorta to take leave of them before the wight was delivered of her heart.

And to her eternal rest.

After posting the summons, Iridni--exhausted and her young body still in agony--sought healing sleep in her small bed at the Kinship Lodge. She barely managed to unclasp the metal of her armor before crawling between the cot's thin sheets and falling into the most innocent of deep slumbers. When she awoke, night had again descended, and she was unsure of how much time had passed.

Oh, Iridni, you lazy girl....Stir your bones, or you'll let the world burn!

She dressed, patted a whimpering Adeline, and hurried to the Outskirts, only to hear that Hjorta had struck again, this time murdering an Elven woman.

At that description, Iridni's heart sank, and all her new self-confidence drained from her body.

What kind of naive fool trusts an undead abomination? Certainly not a wise servant of Pelor!

The Elf had been taken into the Lady's Rest. Iridni's trembling hand reached for the inn door in the darkness and pushed it open, her violet eyes fearful to gaze upon the evil deed her good intentions had wrought.

The next sunrise would find her feeling more uncertain than ever of herself and her ability to serve Pelor's mercy in this unmerciful land.


Spoiler: show
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 01:53:01 AM by Iridni Ren »

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« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2017, 01:37:09 PM »
Father Miklos was dead. The weathered Morninglordian would counsel the young Pelorian no more, he who had helped Iridni regain her footing and purpose after she took a human life and who had also hinted to her of an unspeakable truth drawn from a forbidden book. Often when the Kin argued and warred among themselves, she thought of removing herself for good to the Village of Barovia, where the need for light remained so unfulfilled. Now, regardless of the rumors about Father Miklos's dissolution in his waning days, in his absence that want would be all the greater. Perhaps she could persuade Brianna to join with her so that the two servants of Pelor would not have to labor alone in such an overgrown vineyard.

Iridni would remember the priest full of fire and righteous rage after the Rittmeister's ghastly assault on Anya and was heartened at least not to have that vision clouded by this servant of the light reduced to a mindless undead husk. She wept.

As one by one those she loved—those who were lights in her life here—vanished from her sky, she felt continually colder and alone. She became more dependent than ever on Pelor and her faith, but she was still human, and she could not have her need for a helpmate met by a being to whom all her troubles must seem insignificant and her thoughts and feelings childish.

Master Yunon at least had returned from his scholarly pursuits in Port-a-Lucine. Speaking with him, however, was only a measure better than praying to Pelor. He was human, of that there was no doubt, he and his bad leg, his anger and impatience with sloth and error, his often bawdy humor. Yet the man's gaze was always on the celestial, and his mind strode easily over paths she could not even manage to crawl. Moreover, as a man, despite his power, he could and would die. Time and again she warned him about the chances he took, which made her feel all the sillier given their relative ages and power.

Still, she could not help thinking of him when she first heard the news of Father Miklos. No one was safe from this tide of darkness as it rolled toward zenith in Vallaki.

Would it drown her as well? Perhaps. She hardly knew whom to trust anymore. Of late she had taken to Medea's trick of moving about in the ethereal for both safety and a desire to be alone with her thoughts. In such a state, however, she also learned more and more of human nature when it believes it's not being observed.

If Father Miklos in private was different than Father Miklos in public, he, like Iridni and so many she observed unseen, was only human, frail...and mortal.


Spoiler: show
« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 01:40:28 PM by Iridni Ren »

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Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2017, 01:58:04 AM »
Her love had returned to her.

In calmer moments when she reflected upon it, Alistar's appearance at the lodge had been almost unremarkable, but then did the presence of any person signify much to those who did not love? How often a soul departed this land with little notice, when for a husband, wife, parent, or child that life meant all light extinguished. In an anonymous crowd, the person observed serving no present function but to slow a line's progress may well be the difference between bliss and misery to someone unseen.

The graves beyond the Morninglord church or behind the Lady's Resting place, many eyes passed over them and noted nothing but the names on the tombstones. Yet once upon a time each body buried there bore a universe within its mind: just as girlish Iridni could reflect on both the terrestrial and the celestial, a light that from one small and somewhat ignorant youth touched (at least) the shores of all human knowledge. Could she understand the books that Master Yunon read and spread before her? She could barely understand the titles.

Nonetheless, she could absorb something of them--some significance or meaning. Apart from her and other consciousnesses those books were artifacts: unintelligible ink blotches on tree pulp. To view life solely in material terms was to reduce all to meaninglessness.

She pushed this wisdom of morbidity from her. Alistar had returned. That must be the object of her focus. His absence had made life simpler, her will undivided as she could serve Pelor without distraction or even any part of her in reserve. Yet...

She was so very lonely in her service. And seeing Alistar again she was certain once more that her love was a thing of light, not of darkness. Not for one moment was she angry at him as he stood in the Lodge at a loss for words, confused as though having awakened from long sleep. Although she had suffered for so long without comfort herself, she wanted only to rush to his embrace and offer him her protection and her certainty. He seemed her own boy who in the confusion of blackest night needed her reassurance that some pure light only his remained to him, something that would always encompass him with unconditional love.

Words and even action failed her. If only...if only he could perceive her and her depth of feeling for him, her capacity for love, from gazing into her eyes. If there were some way for mortals to meld their spiritual essences as did the gods, then...then there would be no chance of misunderstanding.

She rested in her cot that night intoxicated with something stronger than schnapps. O my Divine Father, Thy servant praises Thee for Thy many gifts and blessings. I ask a boon: that Thou let me forget all the pain and sadness this love has wrought. Renew it afresh as Thou renews all at Dawn. Make my heart uncalloused and unscarred...mended and  ready to be broken once more. For only then is it worthy to receive what Thou hast provided me.


Spoiler: show
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 02:18:12 AM by Iridni Ren »

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Re: To Endure His Radiance
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2017, 12:34:37 PM »
The soapy water ran across the worn hardwood boards of the Lodge in rivulets before and behind the thrusts of the bulky sponge. In her loose, fading frock and on her hands and knees, the ebon-haired girl little resembled that priestess of Pelor who struggled to fill a suit of steel and wield—instead of a mop—a massive war hammer. The fumes of the cleaning solution made her slender throat itch and her violet eyes tear.

Even so, she remained cheerful in her labor for here and now she felt mistress of her small domain. Wiping her forehead with the back of her hand, she could see the steady improvement her perspiration wrought and the immediate fruits of her exertion, although most would consider her accomplishment small.

The mindlessness of cleaning also granted her time to think. She was not brilliant, she knew, but she did have wisdom beyond her years, and this wisdom increased daily with her life experience and under the influence of her many teachers.

One of those, Father Miklos, was missing forever now. Even in his death, however, he had taught her a harsh lesson. Despite all the threats and boasts of the garda, his convicted murderer was alive and free. Justice in Barovia—the good rewarded, the evil punished—would never come through civic means. It would come only from the continuous, relentless, and thankless work of those willing to roll up their sleeves and endure kneeling in the grime and chafing their own hands to wipe the filth from the purity it would otherwise corrupt.

Often now, she thought of how she had come through the Mists, Anxan, and what the prelate had attempted—above all the fearful feeling of his grip constricting her breath from her. The brutality her Kinswoman Anya had endured at the hands of the Rittmeister naturally brought her own assault to mind.

In her eulogy at the funeral of Father Miklos, Iridni had described his rage that night. That recollection necessitated she visualize also the incitement of his righteous anger: a face of virtue and beauty pulverized, all of Anya’s teeth smashed from her mouth until she could not speak without gurgling blood. Anya had been so ashamed of what had happened to her—nothing that she had herself done—of her broken body, that she had not wanted Sir Audric to see her.

These streams of memory mixed inseparably—like the dirt, soap, and water as Iridni cleaned—with her own encounter thereafter with the Storyteller vampire. She recalled how he had in his etherealness snaked between her legs, seeming to caress her sensitive thighs, and how he had disparaged her for being a woman. She knew from when she and Agnes had fought him that he sought some particular female prey for something vile and unholy.

She paused and looked at the disagreeable puddle spreading out in front of her to think of this poor unknown woman who might even now be in his clutches. Simultaneously, she hated herself for valuing her appearance, of wanting to preserve the face that when seen reflected in a mirror contented her. She believed she was willing to die in service to her god; why did vanity make her a trembling coward?

If it came to it, would she be as strong and resilient as Anya had been? What of Lauel who had lost her very eyes? Had the Storyteller disfigured Iridni or should her service wither and even maim her, did she possess the inner beauty to inspire and preserve love?

Her small, delicate hands were red from the water’s heat, yet they had lost none of their girlish smoothness as between them they wrung her sponge over the bucket and resumed their scrubbing.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 01:32:23 PM by Iridni Ren »

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Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

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To Endure His Radiance
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2017, 05:08:37 PM »
Iridni's tongue clung to the roof of her mouth with the taste of iron, her head ached, and within the shell of her breastplate her lower abdomen twinged as though a dull spear pressed hard against her. All of these omens bid her stay in rest and privacy at the lodge, rather than attend the Fifth Day Services. Yet she felt that to grow in and strengthen her own faith she must observe the practices of others who strove toward the Light, regardless of the differing aspect of it they perceived. Her Kinswoman Agnes Gauthier, after all, was an Ezrite, and Pelor charged His believers with serving all creatures of goodwill—not only those who worshipped the Sun Father.

The opulence of the heavenward-reaching cathedral overwhelmed her, as she moused to an inconspicuous seat from which to observe the sacred ceremony with as little intrusion upon the Ezrite faithful as she could manage. She much appreciated the steadfast protection provided by the steel boots Master Yunon had forged for her, but on occasions such as this they made her feel all the more uncoordinated and graceless.

How she missed participating in the plain rites of her girlhood in Almor before she had ever donned a warrior's garb! At least the service was to be in Common. Looking about those in attendance in their distinctive finery, she could not help but contrast their strange and reserved faces with those of a welcoming Pelorian throng—the latter's simple but colorful clothing celebrating the flowers that were the bounty of their god's light. She visualized also her smiling mother and father and wondered if they could still be as joyous in their service now, without her, or if their young daughter's inexplicable disappearance had left them as forlorn as she.

The man known as the Inquisitor began to wave a censer, and the scent of ritual filled the air of the cathedral. The pungent odor disagreed with Iridni, and in addition to her other symptoms she began to experience nausea.

Viorela, the Inquisitor’s wife, stood to speak. This marriage was a blessing: two oxen pulling in the same yoke. Thinking of Alistar, Iridni felt a small pang of envy of the Ezrite priestess, made worse by the present flux of her own weepy emotions. Was her discomfort not a reminder of her own unfulfilled womanhood and childlessness?

Iridni became aware she was wringing her hands together in her lap and stopped. She listened.

Yes, this doctrine was sound, and she found no fault in Viorela’s appeal to join against the dark host of the legion—although for the Pelorian that host included the many other agents of evil like suffering, disease, poverty, and famine, not only those that took a monstrous form. Her gaze once more swept over the massive cathedral and the many resplendent attendees.

Now Viorela extolled Ezrite creeds and Ezra herself. Such dogma was a bridge too far for Iridni. The Pelorian could not worship another human being or believe one could by her own will and choice elevate herself to godhood. Iridni was certain Ezra was not her guardian or advocate, but only Pelor. Likely Ezra had been but a woman much like she wished she could be: a self-effacing, self-sacrificing servant to the Good. Those who had benefited from Ezra's service had in their gratitude no doubt made the all-too-human mistake of turning her into an idol.

In a way, the Ezrite faith was a tragedy because it venerated the instrument of light—the lens that had brought the light into focus—rather than the light itself.

Here, then, was a lesson for Iridni. Although her two human arms ought never to tire of the present work needed, her mortal eye must cast its gaze always on the horizon and the rising sun, on the immortal. The hungry must be fed, but they would grow hungry again, and the bread she might provide them would nourish only their bodies. The poor would always be, their needs waiting to be met. This ceaseless labor was not an end but the means of eternal service, hers and of the servants of Pelor who came before and would follow after her. It was provided to them so that they could learn the infinite nature of love.

Love alone endured.

Ezra had passed away, and some day Iridni would as well. All that would remain of her would be that light, that inextinguishable love, that had burned within and through her while she lived.

Viorela called the congregants forward as the service became more participatory, each believer expected to offer up a request in prayer. Iridni wished neither to dishonor their faith nor her own. The point of the unseen spear pressed deeper and with more severity into her entrails, and so she departed the cathedral to hasten back to the solace of her quiet lodge.

« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 05:11:26 PM by Iridni Ren »

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Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2017, 10:33:37 AM »
When a woman makes an altar cloth, so far as she is able, she makes every flower as lovely as the graceful flowers of the field, as far as she is able, every star as sparkling as the glistening stars of the night. She withholds nothing, but uses the most precious things she possesses. She sells off every other claim upon her life that she may purchase the most uninterrupted and favorable time of the day and night for her one and only, for her beloved work....If another, in the endless distance of the separation, above his own self, has completely forgotten the needlewoman and what was hers to do—it was allowable, it was proper, it was duty, it was a precious duty, it was the highest happiness of all for the needlewoman to do everything in order to accomplish what was hers to do; but it was a trespass against God, an insulting misunderstanding of the poor needle-woman, when someone looked wrongly and saw what was only there, not to attract attention to itself, but rather so that its omission would not distract by drawing attention to itself.
—Sören Kierkegaard, "Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing"

Alistar had left the Kinship. Iridni was unsurprised: despite her age and lean intellect, empathy was the wisdom with which her god had blessed her beyond her years. She could not love Alistar so without understanding him as she did. When told of Roland’s latest offense, she had known with immediacy and cruel certainty how her beloved would react.

She also in love could not hold his personal loyalty against him, though it cost her own happiness. When the garda had sentenced her to death, Alistar had, after all, encouraged her to flee with him from Vallaki. He had been willing to give up much for her sake and become an outcast, even when their love was coltish in its early spring, whereas Roland was Alistar’s boon companion of many seasons and years. Steele was Alistar’s only connection to a life before the Mists. Whatever justifications Alistar might write in his resignation letter about Tyr and oaths, they were only secondary she felt sure to his need to stand true to his friend.

She was resolved not to fault him in her solitary hurt, but she nonetheless feared for him. She and Alistar balanced one another and mended the other’s flaws, but Roland would reinforce Alistar’s hot temper and zeal for justice. Iridni recalled, for example, how she had secreted the maimed prostitute away to Port and provided her money to start a dress shop in hopes Alistar would not give in to his urge to kill the madam abusing her. Roland would only have encouraged Alistar that the two paladins take matter into their own hands.

As Steele’s influence ascended, Iridni's ability to protect Alistar from himself and those qualities this realm would twist to work against him would wane. Already it had used his unflinching loyalty to deprive him of a safe haven of companionship.

She wept at her own weakness. She was no Ezra, no goddess. She could not be a guardian of men or even one man, no matter her devotion to him.

She was but a woman.

Create in me a pure heart, Pelor, and renew a right spirit within me. Thy sacrifices are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart that Thou, my God, will not despise.

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2017, 04:42:43 PM »
The dread realm did not delay in giving form to the maiden's fears.

Blessed dawn found Iridni in the company of Dextan, the druid who believed in a hierarchy of life between predator and prey but who was investigating the vampires terrorizing the Outskirts, as was she. She still felt uncertain of the savage figure, having helped him when he first came to the Mists, although repelled by his brutality toward wildlife and his complete lack of the more tender emotions. The two were looking for Argali when Iridni received the news: the garda had arrested Alistar and imprisoned him in the Citadel.

She repaired to the Lodge with her friends and Kin to learn the details in private. Hearing the charges, she recalled all that Father Miklos had revealed to her and understood at once the tenuous position in which her beloved had placed himself. When she was told that he was not under death sentence but only to be mutilated--his tongue cut out--she looked skyward to thank her god for Alistar's life and felt a cold composure coming over her. She knew what she must do.

Spoiler: show


Dextan began to promise Iridni that his healing arts could restore a man's tongue, but she could not countenance that image of her strong Alistar bound and suffering under the knife of some sadistic garda. The brute would no doubt derive a perverted cruelty from having Alistar in his power and listening to her paladin's cries of agony. Nor could she trust in the blessings of some unknown nature deity whose worship seemed otherwise to her barbaric.

She left the others to go upstairs and change from her armor into the softest garments she possessed. To plead for Alistar she would need to look as non-threatening and even helpless as she was capable.

When they arrived at the gates, they met Rodica going in, and Iridni's hope grew by some small measure. She knew Rodica was ruthless, but they were no strangers to one another, and however Rodica might comport herself on the outside, she was still a woman like Iridni on the inside. She must have at some point in her life experienced powerless fear for someone she loved. Moreover, at least Iridni would not be called upon for Alistar's sake to flirt and pretend to find some male garda attractive and agreeable when he only disgusted her.

She told Rodica whom she sought, and the Corporal went inside. After a few moments, Rodica came back to peer at them through the gates: "He's not here."

Iridni prayed again in muted thanks to Pelor. Surely if Alistar were punished, the garda would have done so publicly so as to make of him an example. If her beloved were free, he must also be safe and whole.

She looked upon those who had accompanied her with relief and immense gratitude for their support. Her heart was not free of its burden, however, as she knew that for now this was to be her lot in life: always between the peaks of despair and in the valley of fear for what rashness Roland's influence might bring. She could hope only that while Alistar was imprisoned, he had not felt alone and abandoned to his fate.


« Last Edit: June 23, 2017, 04:51:17 PM by Iridni Ren »

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2017, 01:41:06 AM »
The hour was late when Iridni returned to the Lodge. She felt uncharacteristically giddy, in part from the easy triumphs over the undead in Har-akir. She enjoyed how fearlessly smashing her hammer into the ancient mummies of Anubis took her mind off her sea of troubles...and ended them.

Sora informed her that Alistar had been absolved of all charges: some anonymous Banite had falsely accused her beloved. Damn that lying heathen to the darkest and most painful circle of hell!

Oh my Alistar!...how I would shelter you if it remained within my power. Yet Iridni knew of truths that would bring much worse judgment upon herself if she uttered them within hearing of the wrong ears, much more fatal to her, in fact, than the sentence Alistar had faced.

For tonight, however, it mattered not. She rejoiced to gaze upon all her loyal Kin and others who together moved easily and in triumph against the undead hordes. And she gave thanks that Alistar—whether or not he still thought of the youthful maiden who loved him beyond her own self—was safe.

Yes, she put her loneliness out of mind and thought only of Pelor's will. In modesty she undressed to her sleeping gown and retired to her narrow cot to pray: “My heavenly Father, Thou blesses Thy servant beyond her worth. Though I cannot repay such munificence, I swear myself to slavery. But command, and know that Thy most wretched and humble of servants shall perform Thy will to her utmost...even unto death.”


Spoiler: show

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2017, 07:29:36 PM »
Although Iridni had no desire for elevation and asked not to be set against her beloved Sorayanna in such a contest, she lacked the temerity to refuse the united opinions of Sir Audric, Master Yunon, and Sora herself that she stand for Audric's Second. Still, she voted for Sora, believing not from personal affection alone her sister more worthy but also because Sora had been in the Kinship far longer and accomplished far greater deeds of both bravery and generosity than she.

Iridni was now a Second even so and would (with Pelor's blessing) do what she could to earn her undeserved honor. What she lacked in brains and talent, she would try to make up for with elbow grease or gentleness—depending on which the situation demanded.

In the meantime, she at last saw Alistar again and discovered that, in spite of all her fears for him, the paladin was little changed. His experiences with the garda and departure from the Kin had not darkened the light she knew shone within him. He sought only to comfort and reassure her, never giving voice to any anger at the injustice he had suffered from the Banite's false accusation. He asked of her not her understanding but her forgiveness, the solitary boon she possessed in abundance, and so she lay bare her heart to him once more. To her delight, Alistar also spoke well of the Kinship to their new recruit, Ionathan Arna, and encouraged the reserved local to join.

All in all, then, Iridni was much happier than she had been in recent times, watching new Wayfarers come to the Lodge to replace depleted ranks. She was no longer one of them—gazing for the first at a place of safe repose in a land marred everywhere by evil. Nevertheless, she well remembered what it was like. Medea hardly seemed interested in her these days, but Iridni would always think of the eccentric wizard as that vigilant soul who had pulled a floundering girl from waves that were beyond her strength to navigate and into this homey harbor. She was no Medea, yet she could extend a like hand that would form a new link in the Kinship's growing chain of aid to those misplaced by the Mists.

Similarly, she had not seen Master Yunon face to face in a long age, although she always asked after him of the others and giggled when Sora reassured her “the old man” was well. It was clear he still busied himself in the archives from his reports and how the files were as organized and neat as Iridni tried to keep the rest of the Lodge. She would need to mention to him the powerful herbalist, Sadie, who wanted to become an Erudite, when they next met.

The single continuous thread winding through the Lodge's chain was Adeline. Medea might joke about replacing the dog with a cat or even a pig, but without a doubt Adeline had seen Wayfarers forged long before Medea and would welcome them long after both she and Iridni were rust. For that—a devoted, unchanging companion she could love unreservedly without the fear of ever having to mourn her loss—Iridni was grateful.

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2017, 01:23:14 AM »
Sleep was sweet welcome release after serving Pelor to exhaustion at Richfest. Although the discovery that a deacon of Iridni's god preached in these abandoned realms had been a restoring bath in the holy light of the Dawn, she yet found that she pushed herself more and more beyond her capacity to serve. Those who had been her human bulwarks receded from her it seemed: Alistar, Master Yunon, Sora, and often even Medea.

There was Argali and from time to time Master Zephyr, both keeping her from feeling completely on her own. She also knew that she was developing an attraction that she must and would suppress. Perhaps Pelor was testing her, for so little wrong in life had ever tempted her before now. Without temptation, how could virtue prove itself?

The Lodge...always the Lodge. She relied on the simple cot it provided her to restore her body and soul, craving it yet depriving herself because she knew its respite was what she had come to most value for herself. For that reason, it was the most arduous and therefore most pleasing to sacrifice.

She would stand for the Lodge's sanctity just as it sheltered and protected her, holding her within its solid yet freeing walls—until she drifted off to safe dreams of Almor, her mother, her father, her small sister. Dear Pelor, how she missed them! As for this new dream, what of it? She strove to live in purity all her waking hours: when blessed light receded and she found herself alone in the darkness, her mind beyond her ability to control, must she still sear from it even the tiniest of weaknesses?

She shook herself. Let the night keep to its own and not intrude on the day. Thinking too much on the false fantasies of dreams, giving them too much importance, that would turn temptation into risk.

Her days—and often her nights—were too busy for such dalliances and silly musings. The Gaping Wound...why had she crossed the threshold of such a place? Pelor had healed many through her hands and restored Merna to life, but even the memory of all the senseless violence made her want to wretch. To see Argali pummeled like insensible meat by that flesh-worshipping cad hurt her as though she herself had endured the savagery of his blows.

The hope that Desdemona would appear there and could be questioned about Merna proved a false one.

While Iridni slept, Rodica had destroyed DuValle. That should make the corporal content for now and relieve some of the external pressure on the Kinship. Within, it already had as many challenges as her young wisdom could manage.

She would pour the balm of herself out on these troubled waters as only a Pelorian could, always holding close to her those who most needed comfort and pleading against any who would injure them. Pleading. Yet if it came to it, she would turn, stand, and fight for her den against any who would despoil its holy sanctity. For it was the only home, the only temple, the girl had.


Spoiler: show

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2017, 07:02:13 PM »
Iridni removed her clerical robes and held the sacred garment for a moment in front of her slight but comely form. She had recently dyed the leather apron to a golden yellow more befitting a priestess of Pelor, and the compliments she had received since gladdened her more than they ought because she felt so keenly her lack of any creative or artistic skill. Only she knew who had first stitched her holy robes—a prostitute Iridni had helped to, as a seamstress, redeem her life.

The raven-haired Almorian hung the ceremonial attire next to the other two outfits she possessed: her casual frock (for when she was caring for the Lodge or receiving guests here) and her heavy steel armor that always seemed to overmatch her and make her feel and look like a turtle. Beside her sturdy armor leaned the new shield Master Yunon had made for her to replace that destroyed in pique by the Storyteller. Again she beamed, appreciating the symbol of Pelor with which Yunon had so kindly emblazoned it.

Her three outfits encompassed all there really was to the young woman: priestess, domestic, and warrior. Soon she must don her armor and go to Port-a-Lucine once more to face the vrolock threat. Today, however, was an occasion for wearing her frock and cleaning. She slipped it over her bare shoulders and let the muslin fabric cascade down the length of her. It was snug about her hips but otherwise perfect for the chores she faced.

As was her wont, she aired her mind while airing the Lodge, including the bearskin rug so many of her Kin—including Adeline—seemed to favor as a place of rest.

She thought of how gentle and humble the Lance Corporal had acted when Pelor joined him to his bride, only to sink immediately back into ugly cruelty toward his fellow man. She was glad not to have been there to witness the beating he delivered. Men…men were all such divided creatures, divided against themselves most of all perhaps. The more she knew of them, the more she understood this self-contradicting impulse that was in Sir Audric and even her beloved Alistar.

It was so much more serene to have a unity of purpose as she did, to desire only to serve Pelor. As she watched those around her, even those she loved, time and again she observed in her youthful wisdom how enslaved they were to conflicted desires. Dextan had once asked her how was it she alone remain so unchanged by the Mists, by Barovia, by the darkness…so lacking in temptation. She could not answer him then, but now she thought she knew: only by willing but one object, having one goal, could a heart remain pure. Because she desired nothing more than to serve her god, nothing could fracture the diamond soul that was at the core of all her soft and vulnerable exterior. Though often still timid in her conduct, day by day, night by night, she grew less and less to fear that which could destroy the flesh as long as her spirit remained whole.

Having secrets…that was a mistake, because then one feared to have the secret revealed. She would have none. Nor would she seek power because, once gained, one feared to lose it. Romantic love? How many had such feelings undone?

She would, finally, not lust any more for companionship, the greatest temptation to her in her loneliness when she had first felt Pelor’s absence. Whatever as a woman her desires for love, marriage, and family, she would forever set those aside now, having realized that nothing else she had ever forsaken had truly been a sacrifice. Alistar’s absence made the decision easier, naturally, that and that the only other man she had ever felt the slightest attraction to was happily taken. But unless she gave up that which was most dear to her—becoming a wife and mother—she could not offer her god what he most desired: her utmost. She would marry others in His name, but she herself would never marry. She would bring many babies into the world and care for many children in His service, but none of them would be her own.

Once outdoors, she relished beating the rug with all her strength and seeing the wisps of dog hair, lint, and dust fly away on the Barovian wind. Though the effort seemed to make the twin turquoise seas of her eyes to water, yet it was but for a moment. Then..then the ivory-skinned maid was content as she watched the nothings of the past vanish.


Spoiler: show

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2017, 09:34:02 PM »
I have no thought of leaving...I have no fear of time.
Spoiler: show

At the darkened crossroads a bone-tired Iridni Ren held her warhammer aloft and, using her weapons' glowing light, tried to make out the wording on the weather-beaten sign. If she proceeded east, she would travel to the Village of Barovia--an idea that returned to her whenever she felt the oppressive suffocation of Vallakian tyranny crushing the air from her young lungs. That remote, accursed hamlet had great need of Pelor's mercy, and it could be a fresh start, once she finished her current quest in Port-a-Lucine. Since Father Miklos's death, no one at all knew her in the village.

Yet her tiresome path for now must continue north, to the Tser Pool and the caravans. Her slender feet ached in her clunking boots, and the top of her breastbone felt tender where the rim of her armor had rubbed her flesh raw from too much walking. Though she wanted to do nothing but lock herself in the Lodge and mourn, she could not avoid her present duty: both Warden Agnes and Mainane expected her in Port-a-Lucine.

She had not planned to travel this slow, dreary way alone. She had hoped that Ionathan and Argali would be with her to make the miles more pleasant and full of their shared laughter. O Argali...where do you spend this night, my Elven sister? She took a deep breath to push the sadness down within her and keep her eyes dry. She knew Argali could take care of herself and was stronger than she, yet nevertheless she felt inexplicably anxious and fearful for her exiled Kin. Inside her breast her heart hurt worse than the chafed flesh above it to feel Argali cut off from their mutual family.

Although Iridni was alone for the moment, she knew if she desired she still had a place of warmth and welcome, a home to lay her head. Not so, Argali.

Iridni had left before Audric met with Argali to strip the woman of her amulet and key. Iridni told herself she had done so not out of cowardice but out of respect for Argali's pride so that she, Iridni, would not have to bear witness to Argali's yielding to the trustee her friend had come to despise. As much anger as Iridni felt toward the paladin now, if she had seen him in triumph humiliating her beloved comrade in arms while depriving the Kinship of one of its most valuable blades, she might never have been able to forgive him.

And a Pelorian must forgive.

What of Audric and Argali? Were they not both Christians, believers in many of the same tenets of Pelor? How could two sharers in a similarly mercy-filled religion have come to such an impasse? Iridni supposed she would never understand the faith of any but her own.

She recalled how her friendship with Argali had evolved--how when she had first seen the woman in the Lodge with Medea she had found the coldly chuckling and sophisticated Elf off-putting and even frightening. Argali had seemed to sense this, in fact, enjoying teasing and pressing the timid young Pelorian. Then, over time, Iridni had come to trust Argali so that whenever she most felt threatened she was reassured by the warrior's presence. Argali had been Iridni's encourager, her mentor, when Medea and Alistar both lost interest in her and Yunon had needed to spend time with the Erudites. The Elf's ready and generous praise had made Iridni more confident so that she could assert herself at the wedding and at the Moot.

They could disagree--about Jacob Dumerite and Master Zephyr, for example--but such was the honesty of their friendship: their respect and love balmed such differences.

Most of all Iridni wanted to weep from sadness that Argali might hurt with more severe pain because of her. The pleasurable company they had provided one another was simply another means of wounding them through enforced separation.

Iridni ground her teeth and pressed on.

Once at the Mist Camp, she was surprised that Io had neither waited for her nor gone to Port to meet Bri either. Instead, the gruff Half Vistani had taken a caravan to Har'Akir to raid the undead for stray treasure. He had not returned. She was also surprised at her level of concern upon hearing this last news, as she hastily veered from her intended route and boarded a caravan for Har'Akir herself, along with another priestess who seemed, if possible, even more soft-spoken than she and lacking Iridni's considerable presence.

After additional miles of trudging through the desert night, the two holy women found Io's body on the sand, his bow and arrows scattered about him. Whatever had killed him had left the remnants of her Kinsman to the jackals and the rising of the blazing desert sun. The two placed diamonds around Io, and the other priestess knelt to pray while Iridni stood watch in case his slayers returned.

Though she was not kneeling, nevertheless Iridni appealed to Pelor in whispered prayer, asking her god why she must continue to lose everyone and be cut off from any and all she developed affection for. Not Io, too! For despite the man's ugly appearance and coarse manner, despite the knowledge he was betrothed to her Pelorian sister, she had come to feel him more even than an adopted brother.

Why, my Shining Father, must I always pass through such troubled waters?

Within the unapproachable recesses of her mind's fortress, Iridni heard her god's words of comfort: “Because, my child, your foes cannot swim.”
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 09:51:54 PM by Iridni Ren »

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2017, 01:01:58 PM »
Ionathan and Iridni sat by the warm campfire in the Mist Camp while she waited for morning and the next caravan to Port-a-Lucine. The gods had granted him new life in response to the supplications of the two priestesses. Then he and they had fought their way back across the desert, putting many undead to rest and slaying a few of the devils that whipped up the sand to blind victims and strip flesh from bone.

Now, the night was peaceful, and the two Kin shared solitude together for the first time Iridni remembered. Always before at the Lodge and elsewhere they had been with others, whispering asides, rather than able to speak in complete freedom and without distraction. She opened her heart to him about Argali, Alistar, and so many of the other concerns weighing on her mind. Likewise, he spoke to her of Bri, and she hoped she helped him understand not only Pelorians but why Bri would find in him a lasting companion, a soulmate for life—though he doubted his own longterm worth to a woman and feared Bri only pitied him. Men...because their own attraction was so often inspired by physical appearance...even as fine a man as Io struggled to believe that Bri could love him easily for those qualities the eye would never see.

When a man's ego deceives him about the reasons he is loved, he will throw away a pearl of great price to grasp after dross. Iridni thought for the moment of Lexington, Aileen, and Merna.

Another Barovian, a formidable man whom Iridni found oddly menacing, approached and sat down at the fire, interrupting the two friends' intimate talk. Io knew him and called him Teodor. At first the three continued somewhat in the same romantic vein, discussing the subject of marriage, which Iridni always enjoyed and found a distraction from all that presently disturbed her. Teodor, however, gradually perceived Iridni's world view as much in conflict with his own—particularly her religious faith and valuing of mercy.

“Do you know of the Invidians?” he asked, and Iridni's paleness indicated little doubt she did.

“Yes,” she answered him. “The first human being I ever killed was an Invidian. I retched afterward and did forty days of prayerful penance.”

Teodor found this reaction incongruous. “You should not hesitate about killing them, as they would not hesitate to do the same to you. Or worse.”

“I have also had to turn an Invidian prisoner over to the Vallaki garda. What they likely did with and to him, I don't want to think about.” Iridni shook her head and then added when she saw his growing disdain for her merciful impulses, “But I'm not as soft as I once was.”

He continued to look at her with a critical eye and proceeded to describe in graphic detail his own history with the Invidians—and the numbers he had slaughtered without qualm. She had no desire to know whether the horrific body count he ticked off included women and children.

Iridni noticed that Io was dozing, doubtless fatigued from the healing of his wounds and the struggles thereafter. She used her companion's state as an excuse to cut short the uncomfortable drift of the conversation: “As soon as the morning caravan to Port-a-Lucine departs, I have a long journey to a dangerous destination, sir. Please excuse me if I take a bit of rest now.”

Teodor nodded but then whispered of a matter so that only she could hear, “When you return to Vallaki, I will certainly call upon you, Iridni Ren.”

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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His Consuming Radiance
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2017, 08:55:12 PM »
For all that the Kinship fell out among themselves when idle, they set those disagreements aside when faced with external enemies. In Iridni's experience they always performed on a mission as a cohesive team, exhibiting genuine affection for and loyalty to one another and enjoying each other's company. Their sworn Code, after all, ordained they never leave another Kin behind. For that reason, the grumbling and bickering among the small group that approached the nobles' crypt made her uneasy. It did not help that much of the arguing took place in a language she did not understand or with passersby she had no idea who were.

The main source of friction seemed to be the gendarme with them, Sergeant Saskia Niederhauser, who Iridni gathered both Mainane and Agnes had no use for. Mainane was even less pleased when a higher ranking member of the gendarmes accompanied them for a while, but thankfully he was called away by a female civilian. Thus, only five of them arrived at the crypt they suspected of housing unspeakable horrors: Zachary Dalensbane, Warden Agnes, Mainane, Iridni, and Saskia. Although Iridni had little desire for the Inquisitor Martel's personal company and his heavy-handed manner on their previous foray against the creatures of the night, she did regret having one less ally as they made ready to enter the locked place of death.

Warden Agnes inspected the heraldic crest and pronounced, “This is the manor of Porthos Vernier, Vicomte de Guisse...at least if my heraldy lessons don't fail me.”

A noble guard saw their intent to breach the tomb and rushed at them with questions: “Whoa now...might I ask what it is you lot think you're doing near the crypt?” He relaxed slightly when he saw Officer Niederhauser with them. The two conversed in Mordentish for a while, with Warden Agnes chiming in now and then, but Iridni watched in frustration as the crypt keeper refused to relent. For once she wished that the gendarmes of Port were as authoritarian and disrespectful as the garda of Vallaki.

As the arguing continued and dusk fell, a man of royal bearing approached. His good looks and charm compelled Iridni to lower her eyes lest she gawk at him in a manner less than decorous for a priestess of Pelor. Master Zephyr was the only other male she had ever met who equaled the man's instinctive polish and aplomb. Listening as best she could to the others and he talk, she understood him to be a baron and by his authority the group at last received permission to enter the crypt.

They descended into the vault of the dead.

They had barely reached the bottom of the stairs when something exploded and struck several with grievous injury, including the sergeant. Warden Agnes tried to use her healing powers on the latter, who seemed to have taken the brunt of it, but the stubborn woman resisted: “Don't touch me with any of that!” Now Iridni recalled why the sergeant was so disliked: she disregarded the evidence before her eyes and clung rigidly to her Lamordian beliefs until it handicapped her ability—the team's ability—to function.

Zachary spoke: “It is time we changed.” He meant they should gird themselves in their armor.

The sergeant said, “No one is stopping you.”

The young priestess looked around in some panic at the prospect of disrobing in mixed company but saw a column behind which she could find some privacy. Thankfully, she also had her cloak to use as a curtain. She prepared quickly for battle. In the meantime, she offered the precious holy water Father Dmitru had long ago given her to Warden Agnes to use in warding and sealing the crypt's entrance; whatever foul undead resided here would not escape the holy light of Pelor this night by flight.

« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 09:05:32 PM by Iridni Ren »

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.