Young, idealistic paladin of Sarenrae
Lvl 1 Stats:
STR: 12, DEX: 7, CON: 14, INT: 10, WIS: 10, CHA: 20
AC: 14 (8 touch, 14 flat-foot)
Fort: +4, Ref: -2, Will: +2
Melee: +2, Ranged: -1, CMB: +2, CMD: 10
Skill Points (3): Diplomacy, Intimidate, Religion
As I sit and think on my life as I journey to Dardano, I can see the innumerable ways that Sarenrae has blessed me. Who would have thought that the goddess would have been pleased to send me forth through her agent, the church, into the wilderness to the south to establish a new mission, to spread her light? I feel so unworthy to attempt to accomplish this task, but I know the Dawnflower’s light will guide me as I seek to please her.
I wonder if my parents ever imagined that I’d be making a trip like this when they first presented me to serve in the church as a child. I know they thought it was the right thing to do, and I’m glad that they honored the goddess in that way. I hope that they have been blessed by being in Sarenrae’s presence. The Rovagugian destroyers never even considered that by their act of destroying my family and home they were sending my loved ones straight into the presence of their beloved. I do so miss them though.
This saddle is making my joints stiff. Perhaps it’s time to get down and walk for a bit. In the Dawnflower’s mercy, she allowed me to survive the attack of destroyers who chose to follow Rovagug’s destructive path, but I wonder why my scars couldn’t be completely healed. It certainly makes the cold mornings I’ve been experiencing a little more difficult, and the further south I travel, the colder it seems to get. This place is certainly in need of Sarenrae’s light and warmth. Perhaps the goddess allows me to carry the scars to remind me of the pain unchecked destruction can cause, or perhaps as a reminder that those who follow Rovagug are to be banished from this world without hesitation or remorse.
I’m told that I had laid unconscious for days before they found me, based on the state of my family’s remains. We’d all been outside enjoying the warmth of Sarenrae’s light when the destroyers attacked. I was just coming from the cellar with some food for a picnic when I opened the door and saw my parents cut down. Suddenly a darkness covered my sight and I too was struck down by what should have been a mortal blow. I know it was the goddess’s hand that pushed me back inside the house and up against the wall as I collapsed and sank into unconsciousness.
My parents and siblings had already been given last rites and buried when the brothers found me in the remainder of our collapsed home. Apparently the destroyers had pushed the home over from the outside after striking me down and then they set the roof alight. Somehow the location I’d landed prevented me from being crushed or burned to death. It was a miracle, I’m told, as had I been a few inches further away from the wall, they would have had to bury me with my family.
Fortunately the destroyers of Rovagug were more interested in destruction than they were about searching my family’s home for the wealth it hid. Perhaps it was because it looked like a hovel on the outside, rather than the home of those who possessed a wealth much greater than could have been guessed. I managed to get the chest of valuables from the cellar. The bulk of the wealth was donated to the church, as I know my parents would have wanted, since all my brothers and sisters were killed; the dowries and bride prices would no longer be needed; I kept mine, as I may still have need of it some day.
The magic healing that had been granted me was unusually powerful they told me; it was like the goddess had imparted a bit of herself into my body. To think that I was almost killed while visiting home between the two largest festivals of the year. Had I not had a part to play in the Sunwrought Festival, the priests may not have missed me, and I likely would have passed out of this world and into Sarenrae’s presence.
It is a bit ironic that I was to play the part of the Dawnflower, herself, in the festival and I was almost destroyed by Rovagug, or at least his followers, but I’m still among the living. It did feel quite good to strike down his effigy at the end of the festival though, especially after the pain his followers caused. And now, here I am, having been charged with carrying the goddess’s light to all the dark hearts in the world and to destroy followers of Rovagug and others who cannot be redeemed, wherever I may find them.
I think it was perhaps the vision of the Dawnflower I saw while in my unconscious state before the brothers found me that has put me upon this journey. I know that since that time I’ve had a connection with her unlike any I’d ever had before. She bathed me in light and opened my mind to be able to see and understand the hearts of the wicked. I think it was at the same time that she granted me one of her most treasured gifts; she imparted to me the ability to allow people a glimpse of their eternal reward, and have the knowledge that by the edge of my blade they could be sent there immediately. For the impure and unrighteous, the very knowledge of their eternal destination often causes them to tremble. May I use my gift wisely to help others learn to repent before it’s too late for them.
I understand from the warriors of the order who taught me of the use of the blade for mercy, and the use of the blade for quickly ending life, the use of shield, armor and mount, that as I grow in faith and as I please the Dawnflower, she’ll bestow upon me even more gifts, gifts that I can’t possibly imagine possessing and won’t presume to be granted. My only prayer is to be found faithful to the Goddess of the Dawn with my life and with my death.
Alister Copthorne was his name. He was a man in his sixties with a patch of grey, receding hair and a haggard face. He’d clearly been exposed to the elements for a good portion of his life and the elements made him appear at least twenty years older than he was.
He was returning home to Dardano, his cart stacked with crate after crate and cage after cage of “exotic” animals to sell. When we first met along the road, he was quite keen on trying to sell me a hippogriff; the sad looking creature appeared a bit sickly. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the funds to purchase the creature to free it, even though he’d dropped the price over 100 gold from his initial asking price of 500 gold pieces. His cart contained animals of every shape and size – monkeys, parrots, dogs, lizards, and other creatures. Most of them were in quite poor shape.
Over the days we traveled I spoke to him of the light of Sarenrae and the life that she gives. During the evenings, I shared what bits of meat I had with the hippogriff, hoping to provide it a bit of peace. Perhaps it was a combination of my actions and words, but as we traveled the goddess enlightened his heart, giving him hope for a better future.
We crossed the plain and were coming to Lands End, the small port city on the southernmost coast which crosses the sea towards Dardano, when I heard the small, weak cry of one asking for help. Looking around, I didn’t see anyone, and I asked Alister if he’d heard the same cry.
The man, suddenly broke down in what I can only describe as a deep sense of remorse and regret. He admitted that he was carrying a pseudodragon amongst his other exotic animals. While he knew that the sale of such creatures was tantamount to slavery, the opportunity was simply too good to pass up – 200 gold for a tiny creature. He’d purchased the animal from trappers much further north and hoped to use the gold he received from it to finally retire in Dardano.
Alister seemed genuinely penitent for his actions and asked what he must do to make amends for the wrong he knew he’d done. I told him the immediate action needed was to release the pseudodragon. After that, if he was truly penitent, I suggested he give of his time helping those less fortunate than himself, as the light and enlightenment of Sarenrae are received to be used to spread that knowledge in love.
We stopped and I helped him unload his cart. The pseudodragon’s box was in the center at the bottom. The creature was very nearly dead. When Alister opened the box, I realized that even with magical and medicinal help the creature may not survive the remainder of the trip. The tiny lizard had been injured by the trappers’ snare and had a broken wing and front forelimb.
Quickly taking a potion and some bandages, I carefully tended the creature, doing my best to provide some amount of comfort. I then made a sling, which I slung around my neck and under my arm, and I gently laid it in the sling, creating a type of hammock for it.
Alister was deeply moved at seeing the creature in such a poor state. He’d only been thinking of the gold he’d receive instead of the pain that had been and was being inflicted on the creatures he was transporting. He admitted to being too cheap to purchase food enough to keep the animals properly fed. It was doubly disgraceful, since this particular creature was clearly sentient and well beyond the standard intelligence of a mere animal.
I suggested that along with his penance of helping others less fortunate than himself, he should ensure all of the animals on his cart were provided good homes, rather than simply selling them to people who would use them for sport or experiments, and that he should consider providing shelter for stray animals in Dardano, if that was where he was to retire. He agreed that he felt that was the right thing to do. I told him that if he was serious about it, I would even provide a pledge to help him in his endeavor.
We crossed the sea and landed in the capital city of Dardano on its island. Alister invited me to come and stay at his home with his wife. I agreed, as I didn’t know anyone in the city and Alister did seem to be the first convert to Sarenrae’s grace. I used his home as a base from which to minister and spread the Goddess of the Dawn’s light. His wife, Gerta, immediately took to the teaching of Sarenrae and found that her husband was truly a changed man.
True to his word, Alister helped those less fortunate than himself and he also took in all of the stray animals from the neighborhood and made sure they were taken care of. His cartload of animals had successfully been sold to people who promised to take proper care of them. The hippogriff went to an exotic animal trainer at the carnival, where he was to be one of the star attractions of aerial feats; we saw him perform once – a magnificent performance, to be sure.
Within a relatively short time, we had a small group of devotees meeting at their home; one of them was even a local magistrate. Those who seemed most interested were people who’d known Alister and Gerta before they’d begun following the teachings of Sarenrae. Time and time again, I heard that the change that was exhibited in the lives of these two was more than words could adequately express. Soon it was friends of friends that were coming, all saying the same thing – the hope and joy that was clearly evident in the lives of the Dawnflower’s followers was desirable.
When not spreading the light of the Dawnflower amongst the populace of Dardano, I spent time nursing the pseudodragon back to health. As he grew in strength, his appetite grew as well. Soon, it seemed like he was eating nearly as much as I was; though I know that isn’t the case. He did have a keen interest in cheese and butter, I found out. I also learned his name was Attor.
Often I would sit and talk with Attor about Sarenrae’s mercy and grace and the need for giving and receiving forgiveness, even for those who’d wronged us, and on occasion I would sing to him; he would sit and chirp and click and make other sounds in accompaniment. He didn’t initially get on too well with Alister, often hissing and bearing his fangs at the man as he passed by the room, but over time I think he forgave the old man. Of course, it helped that Alister would often provide blocks of cheese to my room.
Eventually Attor’s wing healed up, as did his front limb. All told, I would guess that I spent around 100 gold pieces in nursing him back to health. He was soon darting around the house and barns, hunting mice and other vermin. It was a joy to see him scurrying around, and when he wasn’t darting from one place to another, he seemed to always be with me.
The call to go out and settle a northern frontier area that seems particularly in need of knowledge of the Dawnflower has been issued. Several groups of adventurers have responded and I feel the leading to go as well. I’ve told Alister and Gerta that I’m being led to leave; Attor has decided to come along with me, for which I am very grateful.
The horse which I’d rode to Dardano on became lame, but Alister said that he’s always got a place with him. I purchased a mule and some supplies and have even given Alister the pledge that I’d promised him; 100 gold should help him to take care of the needs of the animals and people who so desperately need it. The past winter was hard and the farming was poor for the most part; many are in need.
The magistrate from our fellowship, upon hearing that I was to leave, assigned a roguish halfling, one Bingo Bracegirdle, to my charge. I’m not sure if he did it for Bingo’s sake or for mine, but I’m sure his wit and humor will be much appreciated in the days ahead; I already love the fact that he smiles easily and is genuinely pleasant to be with. The magistrate has also suggested I check with the city watch to see if there are any newly released guardsmen that may be of service.
I’m hopeful that we can get a group together soon that will be able to bring light to the otherwise dark land before us.