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Iconic Love

Monday, February 14, 2011

For some of us, Valentine's Day is just another day. We go to work, come home, maybe hang out with our significant others a bit or send the kids off to the sitter for a rare night out. For other people, however, Valentine's Day carries more significance, and flat-out demands acknowledgement. They see it as an excuse to truly cut loose, to go all-out with the romance and treat it like a real holiday.

And then, apparently, there's a third type of person: the type for whom Valentine's Day means a chance to go totally insane. Such appears to be the case with Pathfinder Tales author Kevin Andrew Murphy. How else can you explain the fact that he chose the occasion to, without any prompting or warning, write us an entire heroic crown of sonnets immortalizing the iconic characters' backgrounds in prose. (For those of you who've forgotten your 400-level literature classes, a "heroic crown of sonnets" is a specialized form of poetry in which you have 14 sonnets, each linked by their first and last lines, plus a fifteenth which is made up exclusively of the previous sonnets' linking lines, in order. Needless to say, it's incredibly difficult to do well.)

I'd say more, but I'm still processing the whole thing, so I think it's better to just post the sonnets in their entirety. Happy Valentine's Day!

The Fifteen Loves of Golarion


A Heroic Crown of Sonnets for Valentine's Day 2011
by Kevin Andrew Murphy

1. Alain, the Cavalier, "For Love of Glory"
I am the one who lives to tell the tale.
The victor is the braggart of his fame,
The first to know the glory of his name
But not the last. The bards now all regale
The common folk with ballads of my deeds,
The battles won by force of my prowess,
The ransomed kings who've bowed to my duress,
And Donahan, the noblest of steeds.
Sometimes I think he is my only friend.
The men I ride with? Those I can replace.
The maids I bed? Each just a pretty face.
Yet Donahan is mine till journey's end.
If he falls first, then part of me is dead.
I've said the words that needed to be said.

2. Alahazra, the Oracle, "For Love of Truth"
I've said the words that needed to be said,
For Truth is blind, and I am blind in truth.
My clouded eyes see little but forsooth
My inner eye sees clearly. I have read
The fates of men with but the barest glance.
I know the future as I know the past,
Which seeds will sprout and which of them will last,
For Destiny leaves nothing up to Chance.
It was not Chance that burned me with its fire.
The simoom's breath is but the Wind of Fate
That claimed me with its Flame. I now relate
The Fate of Love, if that is your desire:
All present loves become in days ahead
Mementos kept in memory of the dead.

3. Seelah, the Paladin, "For Love of Those Now Gone"
Mementos kept in memory of the dead,
Reminders of what nothing can restore.
The wingéd helm that dead Acemi wore
Now hides my face and my unworthy head.
I feel its weight: part guilt, part gift, part theft.
Part love. She saw and yet forgave her thief,
The child who stole her helm. Ergo, my grief.
Acemi is still dead and I am left.
I have no words to say in my defense.
I know my deeds. I must have faith in grace
So now I wear her helm and take her place.
What Iomedae learned: Inheritance,
A gift of trust from those you must not fail
Now silent in the realm beyond the pale.

4. Harsk, the Ranger, "For Love of Solitude"
Now silent in the realm beyond the pale,
My brother lies–and those who took his life.
I ended theirs with crossbow quarrel and knife.
The giants dead, now I alone prevail.
My kin who dwell below with bended backs
To toil at the forge or in the mines,
Or worshiping our gods at dwarven shrines,
Have my regard, and yet my brother's axe
Is all I bear away from whence I hail.
A hunter's life is love of solitude.
A Spartan camp, a pot of tea fresh-brewed
Will keep him more alert than mugs of ale.
My quarry's tracks are runes left for the sage.
I know the letters written on this page.

5. Ezren, the Wizard, "For Love of Scholarship"
I know the letters written on this page,
My father charged with some impiety
Against our god, some awful blasphemy
Too dire for words, and nothing can assuage
The gossips' tongues, for rumor needs no proof.
And Abadar? The merchant god cares not
Who prospers or who fails nor what is bought.
The Golden One stays in his Vault, aloof.
I spent my youth to clear my father's name,
In quest to save the business that he built,
But in the end I only proved his guilt.
Now scholarship's the only love I claim.
Yet law for arcane law can be exchanged.
Old orders sometimes must be rearranged.

6. Sajan, the Monk, "For Love of a Sister"
"Old orders sometimes must be rearranged."
So said the monks when taking twin from twin.
My sister Sajni's gone. I should begin
Describing how we came to be estranged.
We were conceived. Our lives were intertwined
Like threads of web and woof strung on a loom,
So were our limbs locked in our mother's womb.
Though born as two, we're more when we're combined.
We trained with temple swords and so time passed
Till at twelve years we each were sent away
And battle woes lost her to Jalmeray.
I left, deserting all I knew, my caste,
To seek my sister. Far too far I've ranged.
I've changed some facts which never should be changed.

7. Damiel, the Alchemist, "For Love of Change"
I've changed some facts which never should be changed
And yet that is the goal of alchemy:
Quicksilver shifting, mutability.
The philosophic art just seems deranged
To those too dull to grasp aetheric heights
Or dream of fixing one's perfected form,
Not living with the dull and banal norm.
You reach out when the stars are in your sights,
Yet what you grasp may be the fulgent dark
For nightmares ride as well between the stars.
Like Shelyn's smile can hide Zon-Kuthon's scars,
The bright quicksilver sea conceals a shark,
And from the left the villain steps onstage
To let men feel the battle fury's rage.

8. Amiri, the Barbarian, "For Love of Oneself"
To let men feel the battle fury's rage,
The Six Bears tribesmen donned the skins of bears
They'd taken from our totems in their lairs.
Each boy was sent to do it at an age.
We girls were told to sit inside and spin,
Awaiting a barbarian's return.
This never was a name that women earn.
I brought a she-bear's hide back to my kin.
The time came that a warband of my clan
All dared me to bring back a giant's blade.
When I returned, they mocked me as a maid.
The blood rage came. I slew them to a man.
That bastard blade I bear with me. Beware
To taste the kiss of malice and despair.

9. Seltyiel, the Magus, "For Lack of Love"
To taste the kiss of malice and despair,
One needn't know the touch of love or hope–
At very least, not of an equal scope–
And pain is seldom more than one can bear,
And when it is? Well, there is always death.
My mother died the moment I was born.
My sister's cries, those spared my life that morn.
I often think she should have saved her breath.
Sioria, oh how could you divine
The babe you saved would still be here alive
Or on a feast of wormwood one could thrive.
I'll kill your father once I first kill mine.
Foul Lairsaph was a fool to teach his spawn
To walk the road with weapons sheathed or drawn....

Valeros!

10. Valeros, the Fighter, "For Love of Adventure"
To walk the road with weapons sheathed or drawn
Is how a sellsword passes most his days.
That much at least is truthful in bards' lays.
The rest? Well yes, there is a need for brawn–
The same goes for an ox that pulls a plow–
But when your sword-arm makes some villain yield,
That's better than some plowshare in a field.
At least it's more exciting anyhow.
One day I may retire to a farm,
Grow beans and beets or brew a bit of beer,
But now I love my freedom and I hear
A distant village sounding the alarm.
If there's adventure calling, I'll be gone
To greet the hope that rises with the dawn.

11. Kyra, the Cleric, "For Love of Hope"
To greet the hope that rises with the dawn,
The Crown of Our Beloved Sarenrae
Who cast the Beast below to Asmodae,
Is how a priestess prays for I'm Her pawn.
Whate'er the Dawnflower wishes I will do.
When bandits burned my village and Her shrine,
That's when I saw the face of the divine.
Through streaming tears the sun shone and I knew
The Everlight had filled me with Her power
To heal the sick and ailing with Her light
And cleanse those past redemption of their blight
By scimitar, like Dawn's Eternal Flower.
One day I'll join my goddess in the air
To live a life of joy and forswear care.

WAR hottie!

12. Merisiel, the Rogue, "For Love of Freedom"
To live a life of joy and forswear care
Is what I always felt the world should be.
See something that you like? Then take it. Free!
If you don't like your lot, then folk should share.
They call it thievery, who gives a fig?
My knives can teach their tongues to be polite,
And while some think I could be more contrite
It's not like they're not working the same gig.
This knife I got from some Azlanti queen.
This one? From Galt. Belonged to some coquette
And these? From Geb. But most I just forget.
I only care if I can keep them keen.
You make life up like some bard's folderol.
I sing the songs that rise up from my soul.

13. Seoni, the Sorcerer, "For Love of Magic"
I sing the songs that rise up from my soul
And write the runes appearing in my dreams.
The ones I walk with talk about my "schemes,"
If schemes they are, or just an unknown goal.
I'd like to say I like just who I am,
Yet who can say just who they are? Not I.
Or what I am, or how I am, or why.
That statement just might be my epigram.
I only know when spells wish to be wrought,
The way they say that love pulls at the heart.
Just so I feel the call of arcane art.
It springs to mind like any other thought.
I'd work alone, but I lack that control
For love and friendship are what make one whole.

14. Lini, the Druid, "For Love of a True Companion"
"For love and friendship are what make one whole."
So spake the norn who whispered in the wood.
She vanished but her fey advice is good
And with it I can talk to mouse or mole.
The purest love is love you get from beasts.
My friend Droogami taught me this is true.
It's something though that I already knew.
I never bought the nonsense from the priests
About the love of gods as the most pure.
Who can believe a love you never see?
My love is for the leopard next to me
And she for me and that's what shall endure.
She's great and strong where I am small and frail.
I am the one who lives to tell the tale.

15. Lem, the Bard, "For Love of Happy Endings"
I am the one who lives to tell the tale.
I've said the words that needed to be said,
Mementos kept in memory of the dead
Now silent in the realm beyond the pale.
I know the letters written on this page.
Old orders sometimes must be rearranged.
I've changed some facts which never should be changed
To let men feel the battle fury's rage,
To taste the kiss of malice and despair,
To walk the road with weapons sheathed or drawn,
To greet the hope that rises with the dawn,
To live a life of joy and forswear care.
I sing the songs that rise up from my soul
For love and friendship are what make one whole.

James Sutter
Fiction Editor

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Alahazra Alain Alchemists Amiri Animals Barbarians Bards Cavaliers Clerics Community Damiel Druids Dwarves Elves Ezren Fighters Gnomes Halflings Harsk Iconics Kevin Andrew Murphy Kyra Lem Lini Magi Meet the Iconics Merisiel Monks Oracles Paladins Pathfinder Tales Rangers Rogues Sajan Sarenrae Seelah Seltyiel Seoni Sorcerers Valeros Wayne Reynolds Web Fiction Wizards
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Andoran

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Wow... Just Wow!

Great Stuff Kevin!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Missing in Action:
- summoner gnome - "For the Love of Myth"
- antipaladin (identity unknown) - "For the Love of Destruction"
- magus (identity unknown) - "For the Love of Best of Both Worlds"

Regards,
Ruemere

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ruemere wrote:

Missing in Action:

- summoner gnome - "For the Love of Myth"
- antipaladin (identity unknown) - "For the Love of Destruction"
- magus (identity unknown) - "For the Love of Best of Both Worlds"

Regards,
Ruemere

Seltyiel is the Magus

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

Made of pure awesome.


Bravo! BRAVO!


Nice.

Greg


God. I gotta draw all these schmoes.

DAMMIT. :P


AWESOME.


Well done! Very cool.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

*applause*

Bravo! ^_^


It's spelled, "Magish."

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

::Golf clap.::


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I'd like to inquire, Doesn't Imrijka have a lot of love to give?

KAM: There's some fun stuff going in those sonnets!


Awesomesauce.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Crowning Sonnets of Awesome.


Great stuff! Thanks, KAM!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Enlight_Bystand wrote:


Seltyiel is the Magus

Thanks. :)

Regards,
Ruemere

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

Wow I don't know what else you can say. Just WOW


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Dragnmoon wrote:

Wow... Just Wow!

Great Stuff Kevin!

+1

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

OK, I've had my two coffees. Is this sonnet for real?

Yes it is.

KAM just outdid his legen...wait for it...dary post on virgins, brothels, radishes and Vecna.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Fantastic! Very well done! Thank you so much for sharing this!


So, is Seoni seeing anyone?


The fifteenth one is Lem.

That is beautiful.

Lem is my favorite iconic. Every book should have 100% to 200% more Lem.

Lem on every page.


To quote another iconic type..."you need to find yourself a girl mate."

...chicks love sonnets...

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

These are wonderful.

Excellent work, KAM.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Fraust wrote:

To quote another iconic type..."you need to find yourself a girl mate."

...chicks love sonnets...

He has/had one. Penny was her name.

*sigh* I think she's one of the things I miss the most from the WoD (and I lost my PDFs of the novel they had on the website)


Excellent work - well done!

Osirion

Well done!

I'd applaud, but the people around me might think it odd.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Tales Subscriber

Wow! Thank you for this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In a word...daaaaaummn.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Respect.


A masterpiece. I love that it ends with Lem. ;D

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

That was epic.

Now we need someone to stat up a wondrous item called the heroic crown of sonnets.

Benicio Del Espada wrote:
So, is Seoni seeing anyone?

Nope. No one succeeded in freeing her when I took her hostage back in 2009.

Shadow Lodge

Epic Level +'s to KAM!

Go Lem!

Lantern Lodge

It kinda sucks that they couldn't have bent the rules to fit in the three iconics they left out, Inquisitor, Summoner, and Witch (six if you include the three from the Ultimate Combat, Gunslinger, Ninja, and Samurai) but it is still really good.


“For Love of Kewl Posts”

For love and friendship are what make one whole
And song, and rhyme, and tales, proclaim – what’s next?
For such fits of madcap verse, I’ll requite, a little vexed
& Must scrawl out a snatch of doggerel, light and droll
If merely to bemuse, and pause the pixilated screen
For us readers, however brief. I’ll challenge-- friends
Take out your papers, mouse, ink and quill, or pens!
And offer lines, for fun, or even craft a scene
For our Un-paladin, or might the Eidolon’s old man
Sing of love?, or Feiya’s fox, and crazed Damiel?
We’ll fake histories, invent, revise, concoct a tale…
As generous Kevin gave to us, gift back (for I’m a fan)
A proper tribute, to our paizo scribe, a clever ‘wow’
And leave the poets’ give and take, to clever scribblers, now.

Qadira

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Deep respect!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sgmendez wrote:
It kinda sucks that they couldn't have bent the rules to fit in the three iconics they left out, Inquisitor, Summoner, and Witch (six if you include the three from the Ultimate Combat, Gunslinger, Ninja, and Samurai) but it is still really good.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe those are the 3 iconics that have yet to get a full write-up yet, which appears to be the info that the writer primarily drew from.


Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
These poems are awesome,
And I mean like crazy-awesome.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

NICE.

Mairkurion {tm} wrote:

I'd like to inquire, Doesn't Imrijka have a lot of love to give?

With what little we know of the last three...

Imrijka - "For Love of Acceptance/Peace"?
Balthazar - "For Love of Creation"?
Feiya - "For Love of Wonder/Mystery"?

Maybe "Family" could be tagged by one of them, but Sajan touched on that in his.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Holy f~@&ing s@$#...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Eldritch Mr. Shiny wrote:
Holy f&!#ing s*!@...

I'll echo that sentiment.


Truly amazing, thanks for taking the time to write all of these!

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Joseph Wilson wrote:
Sgmendez wrote:
It kinda sucks that they couldn't have bent the rules to fit in the three iconics they left out, Inquisitor, Summoner, and Witch (six if you include the three from the Ultimate Combat, Gunslinger, Ninja, and Samurai) but it is still really good.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe those are the 3 iconics that have yet to get a full write-up yet, which appears to be the info that the writer primarily drew from.

You're correct. Those write-ups are still to come, when we have a little more breathing room at the office. And fortunately, this way Kevin didn't have to pick and choose or bend poetic convention.

Qadira

Wonderful!

Contributor

James is right--the selection was made based on the iconic write-ups to date. I have thoughts for Imrijka, Balthazar and especially Feiya (and Mikaze guessed correctly that "Love of Mystery" is something that bounced through my head for her), but not inventing new canon is important, and having an established history gives me material to work with for versification.

I'm extremely gratified that everyone has enjoyed these so much. Reading such responses is one of the true pleasures of being a writer.

(And for Matthew and anyone else interested: The complete "Penny" stories are on my website, along with a link to an archive of the pdfs for the novel.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For love of happy endings? How fitting that it's from the charismatic bard.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

KAM: I did not intend my little comment to be critical, but humorous. I was too busy enjoying your work to criticize what was left out for pretty evident reasons.
Cheers!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

James is right--the selection was made based on the iconic write-ups to date. I have thoughts for Imrijka, Balthazar and especially Feiya (and Mikaze guessed correctly that "Love of Mystery" is something that bounced through my head for her), but not inventing new canon is important, and having an established history gives me material to work with for versification.

I'm extremely gratified that everyone has enjoyed these so much. Reading such responses is one of the true pleasures of being a writer.

(And for Matthew and anyone else interested: The complete "Penny" stories are on my website, along with a link to an archive of the pdfs for the novel.)

and there would be a link to your website where???? :)

and I just want to toss in my great appreciation. That truly was awesome.

+100,000,000


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

That would be a great addition to one's profile, no?

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