Glory to the Dawnflower! Today, Sarenrae answered the prayers of fans of Kyra, the iconic cleric! Enjoy the following piece of short fiction from James L. Sutter in the next entry into our series of Iconic Encounters—brief vignettes of the iconic characters showcasing the myriad stories you can tell with Pathfinder Second Edition.
The doors of the refuge shuddered as the monstrosity slammed against it once more. Wood that had protected the townsfolk faithfully for generations cracked and split, the stout timbers no match for the strength of a full-grown troll.
Kyra moved through the cave, tending to the injured in the light of ancient glowworms. She'd long since used up the last of her magic, and now had little more to offer than a kind word and a gentle hand. Yet still she walked among them, head held high—a symbol of Sarenrae's salvation.
"Why don't you fight it?"
The child was small and shoeless, with the unflinching boldness of the very young. Kyra seethed at the question, yet knelt to look him in the eye, careful to keep her voice calm. "We have no fire. Without it, my sword is useless. And I have no magic left."
The child frowned. "But Sarenrae has fire and magic. Shouldn't we pray?"
"Aren't we?" Kyra smiled, reaching out to cup the child's cheek. "Sometimes the best prayer is helping others."
The child opened his mouth, but any further questions were cut off by a final, fatal crunch from the doors as the crossbeam gave way. Kyra turned and drew her scimitar, waving aside the townsfolk who were frantically pressing their backs against the ruined wood.
The doors exploded open, slamming into the unfinished rock of the stronghold's walls. The soft glow of the cave worms spread gentle, syrupy light over the hulking shoulders and shovel-sized claws of the murderous troll.
Kyra stepped forward. Despite her wounds, despite the heaviness of her sword arm, her heart felt lighter than it had since the whole nightmare had begun. She was out of tricks, out of any real hope of defeating the beast—yet here she was, placing herself between the predator and the innocent. Right where she was supposed to be.
As she'd told the child, sometimes that was prayer enough.
"Again, priest?" Wet lips smacked around protruding tusks as the troll chuckled. He spread his enormous arms, showing thin lines of scar tissue that had been gaping wounds an hour ago. "So be it. I'm ready. But are you?"
Kyra said nothing, only angled her blade and slid her rear foot back into Sunrise Wakes the Mountain.
He was right, of course. She'd been outmatched even when she'd been fresh, when her heart-fires had roared with the spells of her faith. Yet the stance still came easily, muscles trained by countless morning prayer forms. Her mind might know she was beaten, but her body didn't.
"You're out of magic." The troll grunted—a boar's wet snort. "Your goddess has abandoned you. But die how you like." He shrugged and reached for her.
That's when she felt it: the familiar warmth, waiting like a hot coal in her chest. She breathed in, letting the embers flare, and sank into the heat like the embrace it was. She raised her holy symbol.
The troll's tiny, piggish eyes shot wide, and then the flames engulfed him, searing green flesh black. He roared, falling backward as he burned.
Kyra let the goddess's symbol fall back against her chest, pain flooding back in as the magic receded.
From the cave floor, the charred mess of the troll glared up with agonized incredulity. His croak was as cracked as his flesh. "How?"
"You were wrong." Kyra stood over him, looking down calmly. "Whatever happens, the goddess never truly leaves us. She'll walk with me until my last breath."
She raised her sword in both hands.
"Or until yours..."
If you liked this week's Iconic Encounter, you won't want to miss next week's exciting entry. Until then, Pathfinders, may you walk in the light and heat of the sun!