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I have begun running the Rise of the Runelords adventure path. One of the players has chosen to portray a female elven cleric of Shelyn. Rain, as she is called in the Common Tongue, has taken to wandering around Sandpoint in her off time, chatting with the folk of the town.
In particular she has begun telling the children of the village stories and legends from Shelyn. The player has been sending me these stories in between games as he writes them and I thought it would be fun to post them here. They have nothing to do with the adventure itself, other than the fact that they are great role-playing items and they have helped create a deeper and wider game world for us.
So as he sends me these tales that Rain is passing on to the children of Sandpoint I thought I would share them with the community here as well (with his permission). If they help anyone else's game in any way that would be great, too.
I'll post the first two that I have shortly.
|Rain, Cleric of Shelyn|
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Sandpoint town square. Rain sitting with children:
Did you ever wonder why the sea is salty and the rivers and lakes are not?
That is a story told from times beyond times, which is why we tell it like this...
Once upon a time, the sea was as pure as snow, there was not a grain of salt within it. A King of the sea fell in love with a beautiful maiden from a town…oh…very much like this one. She was fair of visage and pure of heart, and she loved a sailor, who loved her as well. The Sea King constantly washed pearls and other gifts from his domain for the girl to find, but she loved more than gifts. She loved for love's sake, and the Sea King grew jealous that a mortal meant more to her than he did, for he truly only desired her beauty.
In his anger, the Sea King cursed the sailor one day when he took his boat out to go fishing. The sailor could never again return to the land alive. The maiden took to walking the docks where the sailor brought his boat as close as he could to her, but the docks were so high, he could not reach up to touch her hand, though she stretched as far as she could. The sailor knew that if she parted from the land, the Sea King could take her, so she could not join him on the boat.
One day, when he saw that she was wasting away in her love for him, he stepped off the boat and walked to shore. She ran to meet him and they embraced for a moment, but then his foot touched the dry shore and he was transformed into the sand that his foot had fallen upon.
The maiden wept on that sand for a day and died there, weeping until the very last. The Goddess looked down and took pity on the maiden, and took her tears and spread them in the sea, all over the world, to punish the Sea King for interfering with the purest love, letting her surround him, knowing he could never have her, but also, that she could always kiss her one true love forever, which is why the waves roll into the sandy beaches.
So remember, children, whenever you walk in the waves, a King has power... but he can still be humbled by love.
|Rain, Cleric of Shelyn|
Love overcomes all, my dears. Come sit at the square and hear...
Once, there was a powerful warrior, who only lived for battle. His name was feared throughout the lands, a mercenary who gave no quarter to those that stood before him. He joined with a company that ravaged the land, and he, of a warrior clan, could only join, and slaughter his way across the realm, for that was all he knew.
There it was, one day, his company fought an army that overwhelmed them, and though he fought to his utmost, his clan abandoned him on the field, wounded and bled almost out. It was then that a maid, a lowly born, found him, and took pity on him, and brought him to her home, though she risked expulsion from the city to do so. She was the only kind soul the warrior had ever met, and he could not understand why she cared for him.
She nursed him back to health and hid him from those that would do him harm for near three weeks. In that time, he fell in love with her, and she with him.
The warrior fought with himself, a mercenary who knew only war, and nothing of heart, and in a moment of desperation, left the woman, for he feared what his past might bring on her.
For seven years he wandered, unable to console himself, lost in taverns and inns. Then the rumors of war roused the mercenaries to join with rebel armies and the warrior found himself drawn into the fray, a drunken soldier in a useless cause.
He was to lead an army of rebels against a small castle with a drawbridge and a fortified city within. He led the charge with abandon, and the city had no time to raise the drawbridge, only to lower the gate. On the other side of the drawbridge, too late to enter the city, a woman and her child were trapped, slamming on the gate to be allowed admittance, but they were denied.
The warrior stepped on the drawbridge and the woman turned in fear. The warrior saw her then, and his resolve faltered. He saw a small pair of eyes peek fearfully from her mother's shoulders, eyes that he knew.
The choice for the warrior was clear in an instant. All the doubts he ever had melted from him, and from the battlements there were those that swore a darkness fell away from the warrior, and his armor gleamed in the murky day as he turned on the rebels, his face set, a look that he had never possessed before.
He turned on the rebels and fought them to the last man. Some say he brought down a hundred men, some three hundred. For you see, he had found someone he would die for. But he found someone else he would live for.
He was a hero to the town, and remained such for many years, protecting them from invaders and rebellions. When they offered him a statue in the town square when he was old and infirm, he told them if they wanted true heroes, to build a statue of his wife and daughter.
'Anyone can take up arms,' he said, 'but truly, it is in what you wish to protect.'
It is said those were the old warrior's last words. He slumped with a smile on his face, content in his final days.
Rain leans forward to a small boy, propping her glaive on the ground. "This... this is just a weapon. Metal and wood."
She leans to a small girl, feathering her chain mail through her fingers. "This... this is just armor. Protection from harm."
She points to the boy and girl's chests. "This is what truly matters. Fight for love, and it will be your blade, it will keep you from harm. Arm yourself, by all means, with all the weapons and armor of the world, but fight with and for love."
She sits back, smiling. "Now... who wants muffins?"
I wish there were players like that in every group.
And if I may, I suggest that player to join the Pathfinder Chronicler, if he/she didn't publish them somewhere already. Even if his/her tales aren't Golarion-specific, surely some quick escamotage can be used to make them so (or appear to be so). Like: "In the town of Sandpoint, once a wandering champion of Shelyn told this tale to an audience of joyful children..."
|Tamago RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16|
Just a little backstory for the next one.
I am running the Rise of the Runelords AP and the party has nearly finished the first adventure, Burnt Offerings. I'll spoiler the rest since there may be some spoilers...
Orik and Lyrie were taken back to Sandpoint as prisoners. The group spoke for Orik and Sherrif Hemlock decided that his crimes could be paid by service to the town. Orik now serves as a provisional town guard, always watched over by a few others to make sure he stays on the straight and narrow path.
Lyrie was unapologetic and has been turned over to Justice Ironbriar in Magnimar for trial and judgement.
|Rain, Cleric of Shelyn|
"Remember, children that all the best stories begin with...
Once upon a time, there were two friends, a man and a woman, who went out into the world to make their fortune. They were fond of each other, and worked well together. They found work as sellswords and quickly gained a reputation in the business.
As they gained notoriety, their pay increased and they were eagerly sought for their skills, and they lived comfortably. The man began to realize he was falling in love with the woman, but she, with the gleam of gold in her eyes, started to care less for him. Where once, they would watch out for each other in combat, it became increasingly more apparent that he was the one keeping an eye on her than she him.
Then, one day, they were hired by an evil force to safeguard a castle while the force's army ravaged the land. The man did not wish to serve, but the gold shone in his companion's eyes, and he would not abandon her, for he loved her too much, as cold and uncaring as she had become.
It came to pass that a group of heroes besieged the castle and gained entry. Seeing that they were in mortal danger, they decided to escape, but the adventurers dogged their every move, and it soon became clear that they would have to fight. But at the moment the battle was joined, she turned and fled, leaving him to face the heroes alone.
He watched her flee, but did not retreat with her. He held off the adventurers alone to give her time to escape, willing to give his life so that she might live. There happened to be a priestess of Shelyn in the heroes ranks, and she saw his grim determination, and how bravely he fought, giving the woman he so loved time to get away, and when he finally fell, she took mercy on him and healed his wounds through the grace of her Goddess.
The man was taken prisoner, but he was grateful for the sparing of his life, and when he was taken to town, the group spoke for him and he was freed. There are some who say he stayed in the town, to help atone for his role in the evil force's ranks. Some say he found contentment in his new life, and that he became a farmer, or maybe a blacksmith. It is even said he might have been a town guard.
But still, there are days when, content as he is, he looks wistfully at the sea or at the rolling hills, and a small smile forms on his lips. Maybe he is thinking of her, and wishing her well, for he still loves her.
And who knows? Maybe one day she will hear the sound of a coin clinking in an empty room, a very lonely sound, and realize it is her heart, which can never be filled with coin if a dragon's hoard were poured into it. And... maybe she will realize that she had her heart's desire already, and left it to bleed for her sake. And maybe... just maybe she will wander, rich but lonely, until she finds a small little village. And maybe...." here, she looks wistfully around for the proper effect, "....juuuust maybe, mind you... she will bump into a farmer... or a blacksmith... or a town guard.... who still bears the scars of one who has loved and lost. And then, she will be rich in the way that truly matters. And he will be rich again. Rich beyond their wildest dreams."
She smiles at her young audience. "Now, scuttle on home, my little ones, it's nearly dinnertime."
When the children have left, Rain walks until she finds the guardsman she is looking for and flips him a silver. "Ameiko is having suckling pig on her menu tonight. You should have some." She gives him a friendly smile and walks on.
|Rain, Cleric of Shelyn|
Rain was admiring a particularly odd ivory carving when the children approached her in the Square.
One, a brave girl who always spoke her mind, asked, "Why does the Goddess allow hate, if she wants love?"
Rain laughed softly and gently. "Oh, my dears. One might as well ask why we need the sun but not the moon. Come, sit with me. Now, as I have told you before, my little ones, all the best stories are begun the same way, because they are timeless, but have a beginning...
"Once upon a time, in a small village, there lived two artists. One was very pleasant to look upon and his canvases were sights to behold, with colors and textures unknown to many, but he created these things with regard only to selling them. His grace and charm gained him renown thorough out the realm, and he was very rich as a result.
The other artist was a very large man, who was not pleasant to the eye, nor was he as skilled an artist as the rich man. He was poor, but he cared much for his sculptures, crafting them with infinite love and when anyone admired what he created, he gave the work to them.
The rich artist spoke ill of the sculptor, for he did not see the point in such crudity without the slightest profit, and how shoddy the sculptor's work was, but the poor man never raised a frown or ever spoke against the artist.
One day, it so happened that a renowned Lady with a taste for beauty was looking for an artist to serve her. She had wandered the land for months and had not found what she sought, and word was spread that she would visit the village soon and that all those of talent were to display their works for her.
The day came, and the artist and the sculptor, who happened to live very close to each other, displayed their works for her on tables and easels. The artist had many beautiful paintings, in colors that dazzled the eye and drew attention, made to impress the Lady. The sculptor had few works to show, simply the things he had crafted from his care and love of the art, but he displayed them as was the Lady's command.
She entered the town regally, adorned in finery that shone like the sun and stars and saw the two stands. She approached the artist's display first and admired the raw colors and beauty of his work, then turned to the sculptor's small table.
With nary a glance, she took up a small carving of a rose and looked to the sculptor, who bowed his head in deference to her.
'This one,' she said, 'will be my servant, if he desires to be so.'
The artist burst out in defiance at this perceived insult to him. He shouted that the sculptor was nowhere near his talent and that he would never be able to capture the Lady's beauty as the artist could.
The Lady gave the artist a soft smile. 'I could find a thousand artists to capture my beauty,' she said, 'but there are so few that could capture my soul. You have talent, but no true love for what you create. You should not be jealous, dear artist, but grateful for what you have to learn from."
Rain smiles to the girl who asked the question. "Now, my dear heart, why would the Goddess allow hate when she is Love? Hmmm."
She reaches down and scoops up a handful of clay. "Maybe there is no answer. Or maybe..." She looks at the clay, then at all the children with a mysterious smile, "Maybe your answer is already there."
|Rain, Cleric of Shelyn|
Rain was feeding a stray cat, a scruffy old tom that was still affectionate, and saw a couple of the children wrinkling their noses at the poor creature. She stroked the top of the feline's head as she favored the children with her kindly gaze.
"Sometimes, my little ones, the most raggedy door opens into the most beautiful room."
Once upon a time, and not so far away, an elderly housekeeper for a great and powerful family was walking along a lakeside near the estate when he found a lizardman child, not much older, he supposed, than a human child. It had been laid upon by adventurers who believed all lizardmen were monsters, and attacked the creature, leaving it near dead.
The old man, a compassionate soul after Shelyn's own heart, took pity on the poor beast and took it home. He nursed it back to health and so found himself fond of it. The old man discovered it was a male and named him Sl'zyk, a name in the creature's own tongue. He kept Sl'zyk in his own quarters, teaching him the common tongue so that he would understand the other servants. Sl'zyk himself could not speak, due to one of the grave injuries he had suffered. He was taught respect and compassion, and took the old man's lessons to heart. The Lord and Lady of the house found the lizard to be an odd addition to their staff, but out of respect for the old man and his own abilities to protect the house and keep it vermin free, allowed him to stay.
In time, the old man's days were shortening, and he knew it was near time to pass and leave this world. He asked his Lord and Lady to keep Sl'zyk as their servant until the end of the lizard's days, for he was faithful to the house and all that dwelled within. The Lord and Lady swore to do so, for in truth, the would have already done. The creature had proven faithful and trustworthy, and they had also grown fond of him.
So it was the old man passed, and a shadow was cast on Sl'zyk in the form of the new housekeeper, a man with a silver tongue to his Lord and Lady and an iron rod for the lizard. He treated the kindly creature with scorn and contempt, punishing him harshly and cruelly for the slightest or imagined offenses. The creature was made to suffer, but in his heart, the old man still lived, and he bore the stripes and insults laid upon him.
Within the year, the Lady was delivered of a child, a beautiful fair haired girl. Sl'zyk swore to himself upon seeing her that he would protect her until the end of her days. He guarded her room without being ordered to do so. He watched from shadows when she played outside to be sure she would be safe. He gathered the proper herbs for medicines, balms and potions when she was sick. However, she, like the housekeeper, felt nothing but contempt and disgust for the scaly monster, and noticed not all that he did for her. He was ordered by the housekeeper and the girl that he was never allowed to touch her, for she found his skin repulsive. She wondered how her parents could care for such a beast and allow it to live in their home, confiding only in the housekeeper these thoughts, and he added fuel to the fires of her hatred. She came to believe the housekeeper to be her only friend in the estate.
One day, a short time after the girl had turned twelve, she was traveling by coach to visit faraway relatives with servants. Three days later the family received word that the coach was found smashed to pieces, and all the servants dead. The little girl was missing. The distraught Lord and Lady immediately went to find her with all the servants they could spare, but as soon as Sl'zyk heard, he took off to find her on his own. He could find her quicker, and smell her out better than a hound could. And from watching her all those years, he knew her best. He was a beast, and that was going to save her.
Indeed, after seeing what had happened to the coach, he saw that she had run into the forest and was most likely lost. He tracked her for two days, seven days after she had been lost. She was dirty and crying, in a shallow cave. She had fallen in the cave the day before and had broken her leg. Her mouth was stained with berries, the only food she could find, and these, along with being outside all this time, had made her quite ill.
She was still full of venom for him. 'Have you come at last to make fun of me, monster?' she cried in her pain. 'Come to gloat because I am weak now? Or maybe to eat me like the vile, detestable beast you are?'
It is hard for lizardmen to show compassion with their faces. Their lot is not normally to do so. But Sl'zyk did feel compassion. He left the cave, but returned less than an hour later with berries and herbs, food and medicine for her. She was confused when he set the berries before her on a broad leaf, but she tentatively ate them as he prepared a mixture of herbs for her, a skill learned from years of watching the old man. He set it before her, still honoring her wish not to touch her.
"'I don't understand.' the girl said. 'Why are you helping me?'
Sl'zyk smiled, as much as a lizardman can smile, and supplicated himself before her, much like a faithful worshiper prostrates herself before a Goddess.
After she had taken her medicine, he wrapped her leg with his own tunic, although he was not supposed to touch her, and picked her up. Without a break, he carried her back toward home. He was slowed by her weight, and when dark fell, he made a fire and built a shelter for her, then found her food to eat, not just berries but also meat. He prepared it and she ate. For three days he did this, carrying her all day, until finally they entered the Lord's search party camp in the mid-afternoon. The Lord and many servants were away on the search, but the housekeeper was there. He stormed up to Sl'zyk after he had lain the girl in her father's tent and covered her up and began to swear and curse the creature, bone weary from the jaunt. The angry man raised his stick to strike the lizard when the girl's voice rang out, sharp and clear.
'Leave him be!'
The startled housekeeper turned to see the girl, tears in her eyes, sitting up in the bed, still sick but furious.
'That creature has shown me more care and love than any other in the world aside from my mother and father! I am shamed that I have treated it... him... so cruelly, when he has spent his life for mine. I have treated him like a monster when it was me, and you as well, who were the real beasts. I will see that my father knows what we have done to him, and I will accept my punishment for my hatred, and I will never treat him as a lesser again. In truth, he is better than me. Better than both of us. Do not bother going to your warm and cozy tent, sir. It is yours no longer.
She looked to Sl'zyk and pointed to the tent. 'Rest now, Sl'zyk. And come to me when you are better. That is your tent now.
So it was that the Lord returned and was overjoyed to see his daughter safe. She was sternly punished later for her misdeeds, and the housekeeper was sent away and a new one installed, a kindly one to all the servants and masters of the estate. The girl was better than her word to Sl'zyk. He was no longer a servant in the keep, but rather the closest thing to a brother she could ever have, and they never lost their affection for each other. When the girl married and was to be moved into her Lord's house, it was her express wish that Sl'zyk live with her. It was even said that when the woman bore her first child that Shelyn sent her own gift to Sl'zyk. He found a golden rose on his bed and when he touched it, his voice returned, and although it was the voice all lizardmen bore, it was the loveliest sound the woman had ever heard.
Rain looked at the children for a moment and smiled. "I am afraid I might have told a little falsehood in that tale." she admitted. She gave it a moment, looking into their expectant faces. "I started off by saying 'Once upon a time'. But, truth be told..." she leaned closer making them listen harder as she spoke lowly,"...not far from here is a small city, and outside that city is a sprawling estate. In the garden, there is a statue. It is of a beautiful lady... and a lizardman. If one looks very close, one can see a faint scar on the lizard.... right about..." she draws a soft finger under one boy's chin, across his neck, "....here."
She watched the children leave and turned back to the cat... and saw it in the arms of a little girl. The girl looked up almost pleadingly and Rain smiled. "I've already opened this one's door." she said."The room inside is quite lovely. You should see for yourself." She watched contentedly as the tom was carried away to its new home.
|Rain, Cleric of Shelyn|
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Rain sat on the beach, looking out to the vast and seemingly endless ocean. Her legs were pulled up so that she could rest her chin on them. She felt a bit lonely and sad at the conclusion of her latest adventure, but she knew it would soon pass. She had missed her rounds about town, but she did not feel up to it. As she sat, a little elven boy and a half-orc girl came to sit with her. They were wondering if she was all right, for they missed her at the fountain. She smiled gently at them, her heart buoyed by their concern. She drew them to her and hugged them.
"I am fine my, little ones." she said. "I shall return to the fountain tomorrow, I think. And I will have more tales."
She looked at the two of them curiously. "Perhaps," she said, offering them to sit with her, "I may have a story just for the two of you." They eagerly sat, attending to her words raptly. She smiled. "It may sound like a sad story at first, but if not for the depths of grief, how can we truly measure the heights of joy?"
Once upon a time, in a land far away and remembered only in song and verse, there was a beautiful elven kingdom whose spires sparkled in the sunlight. In its castle lived a prince, fair of visage and good of heart, who loved to walk about his kingdom and visit his subjects. One day he happened upon a group pelting stones at a cloaked and huddled figure and stood between them.
"Here now!" he commanded. "There will be none of that in my kingdom!"
"But My Lord, she's an outsider! A half-orc!" The group called.
"I care not." Said the prince. "She is in my kingdom, and I'll not have her treated so poorly."
When the mob had dispersed, the prince went to the huddled figure. "Come with me." He said gently. "I will take you home."
The half-orc looked up from under her hood. She was a fierce looking creature, from her orcish bloodline, but her features also held a delicacy, a gentle look in the eyes that also held sadness and loneliness. Such hurt touched the prince's heart when she answered, "I 'ave no home, master." she said, averting her eyes from him.
"I am born a prince, but I am no ones master." He said. "Very well, if you have no home, I shall install you in my house as my guest, until such time as we have healed you of these sores from the rocks and you have forgiven me and my people for disgracing you in such manner."
"I... I am not disgraced, Prince. 'Tis me lot in life. Me people's lot in life." She said humbly.
"Nonsense." said the prince. "Now come along or I shall have the guard carry you up there." He smiled.
So it was she stayed in the prince's castle, and although he discovered that beyond the wounds of the rocks that she was bent and lame, he invited her to stay as his handmaiden, for he felt her gentle spirit. In the fullness of time, she served him well, and when he married a woman of genteel nature as his own and bore children, the half-orcess was as good as the children's second mother.
Time passed, and the half-orc grew old and feeble. She did not have the long life of an elf, and it broke the elf's heart, who by now had become king, so that he was always at her bedside when she took ill. She had served him faithfully and lovingly for near half a century, and now her time was nearing. He held her hand and wept as the hour neared, when suddenly there was a brilliant flash of light in the room and a small girl was standing there, as beautiful a visage as the king had ever seen.
The small girl smiled at them and looked to the half-orc. "I've come for you, handmaiden. It is time for you to walk proudly through the garden of the Eternal Rose."
The king stood agape as the little girl took the handmaiden's hand and guided her out of bed. She stood tall now, erect and straight, not a glimmer of her former discomforts, and behind the little girl, a round portal opened into the most beautiful garden the king had ever seen, so that he was brought to tears yet again. The half-orc embraced her king one final time and they exchanged their last goodbyes, then she entered the paradise.
The little girl looked at the king with kindly eyes. "You have glimpsed eternity this day, heartful king. It is my gift to you, as well as an eternally fruitful tree in my garden. Live your life as you always have, and you and your family will walk under its branches one day. She will be waiting for you there." She reached up on her tiptoes and kissed the king's cheek, then walked away into the portal and closed it.
The king mourned for the loss of his friend, and planted a tree on a beautiful hilltop for her. It was always said that tree bore the ripest and best fruit that had ever been, and in his own time, the king went there with his wife of many ages, where he lay under its shade and slept. When his wife returned alone, she was weeping but smiling. "I have seen him cross the bridge and rest under the shade of the tree." she said, and never mentioned that she had met a little girl there who had been waiting for him for such a long time.