Welcome to Bareliin: a land of magik, of good and evil, of prophecy, and The Unity.
Mara Zhayne (LVL 5)
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Basic Attire: White Priest's traveling robes, with a leather utility belt around her waist; iron-tipped leather boots; cerulean headband. Around her neck is a gold chain, with a small, golden Unity amulet.
One (1) coin pouch containing no more than 3 gold
Two (2) flasks of Baelfire
One (1) pouch of fifteen (15) smooth, round stones
One (1) smoking kit, with 5 grams of Blessed Sprig
One (1) ration pouch containing three (3) days rations
One (1) flask of Divine Oil
One (1) Enchanted Slingshot
One (1) Enchanted Steel Bo-Staff/Walking Stick
Cultural Background: Born and raised in Brimrose, Mara Zhayne became an earnest follower of The Unity. On the eve of her 118th birthday, she received a vision of a coming war, the ending of which she would play an integral role. She was tasked by The Unity to travel the world and gain knowledge and experience, and to spread the truth of The Unity. The war would be inevitable, but the length of that war would depend on her gathered skills, and the skills of her compatriots.
Mara Zhayne began her journey from The Unity Chapel of Brimrose. After giving her farewells and receiving many gifts of wellbeing from friends and family, she set out towards Skritchpost, a port town in the neighboring country of Felonia. Apart from her usual equipment, Mara also had a side pack with a blank spellbook and a load of notes.
She had one ideal in mind when she left: to spread the joy and celebration of The Unity. In doing this, and communing nightly with The Unity, Mara would be granted various spells and blessings with which to further her knowledge and skills. Spells that she had not already memorized in her years of study would be written into the blank spellbook, to be passed on to further generations of followers in the future.
Her journey to Skritchpost was basically uneventful. She expected to take five days to reach her destination, but things went so smoothly that she was able to make it in three, and this was after three separate battles against feral foxes, and a two-day skirmish against a band of gnomes.
She entered the city at nightfall, and immediately went looking for a worship hall. The city of Skritchpost did not have a Chapel dedicated exclusively to one god or another, but instead had various worship halls erected throughout. Each hall was usually one or two levels, had beds enough for twenty followers, altars for use in sacrifices, and vendors nearby peddling various sacrificial items. Mara merely needed a bed.
After passing several worship halls that were occupied nearly to bursting, Mara came to the hall nearest the shipyards. She was greeted by a fellow follower of The Unity, and directed to the upper story of the hall. Here, the beds were separated into private rooms, one bed per room. A grand total of ten rooms were found upstairs.
Mara chose a room near the back of the hall, locked the door behind her as she entered. She lay down her equipment, stretched out her body, and sat on the bed. She then pulled her smoking kit from her equipment, and opened it.
Inside was a wooden pipe about six inches long, a roll of thinned flax, a small pouch of matches (unopened), and a bit of Blessed Sprig. She packed the pipe with Sprig, chanted a useful Lighting spell, and relaxed. As she rode the wave of euphoria, Mara slipped into a communion trance, connecting with the Life Flow of The Unity.
Time became irrelevant, and Mara rose with the sun the next day. From Skritchpost, she was to charter a ship and head for South Isle. Once she landed on South Isle, she was to find Grandmaster Elvin, and await further instruction. But Mara had never chartered a ship before; indeed, she had never even been swimming. Good thing there was a port authority nearby that could tell her everything she could ever want to know about chartering a ship.
“I can tell you everything you could ever want to know about chartering a ship,” the attractive male Felonian told the Femelvin. “Where did you say you wanted to go? South Isle?”
“Yes,” came Mara's reply. “Lipton would be preferable.”
“Ooh, well, we don't currently have any ships docked that are going that way. In fact,” the cat said, shuffling around in the various papers behind his desk, “the next ship to dock here that would be going in that direction won't be visiting for another month.”
“Oh,” Mara said, sounding dejected.
“Is there anything else I can help you with?”
Mara closed her eyes and thought for a moment. “Can you teach me how to swim?”
It had been two weeks since Mara had arrived in Skritchpost. No new ships had come in yet, but that didn't discourage Mara from checking every day. It also didn't discourage her from her course, and over the past couple of weeks she had learned various new skills that she never knew before. It hadn't taken her much time at all to learn how to swim; the port authority grunt serving as her teacher had said she took to it like a fish to water.
After learning the basics of swimming, Mara sought out the city's learning halls and library. Her propensity for learning made her a quick student. She picked up compass navigation, which walked hand in hand with her having already mastered astral navigation. She also had an interest in herbology, and was able to learn how to mix a couple simple healing potions that worked twice as well as their base components.
She also spent some time teaching in the worship hall, and spreading the joy and celebration of The Unity. She inducted two new followers in two weeks, which was a far better percentage than she had expected.
On the fifteenth day, while on the way to the town apothecary to view their supplies of meditational potpourri, Mara Zhayn had an encounter with a Trollkin, which was an odd thing. Trollkin usually never strayed very far from their homeland, and almost never visited port cities.
This one was a giant of a man, nearly seven feet tall, with wild red hair pulled into a ponytail and bound with green-dyed leather. He had two silver longswords strapped across steel armor that looked like it had seen better days, and only had one boot on. He stood in the center of the city, his left hand on his hip, and his right hand scratching his head.
Mara couldn't help but to offer her services to this giant, who obviously looked lost. She casually strolled over to him and tugged on the bottom of his cuirass to get his attention.
“Hello there.” She smiled up at him. “My name is Mara. You look lost. Can I be of assistance?”
The Trollkin blinked and looked down at the diminutive female. He unsheathed one of his swords and held it out in front of him, then made a gesture and a grunt, pointing at the blade.
“I'm sorry, could you repeat that?” Mara had a hard time understanding the Trollkin, since very few of them could actually speak Common. Mainly, they spoke in grunts and gestures.
This Trollkin was no different. He huffed, then grunted and pointed at the blade of his sword, holding it low so that Mara could investigate it. The blade was chinked and dulled, and part of it was missing; it looked as if it had been cut by another, sharper, higher quality blade.
It took a minute, but Mara finally got the idea. “You're looking for a blacksmith?”
The man nodded, and sheathed his weapon. He then looked expectantly at the Elvin.
Mara pointed away from their position, due north, down an alleyway. A person with sharp eyesight would have been able to pick out the plumes of smoke rolling out of the blacksmith's shop. Mara reached out and took the giant man's hand and led him to the blacksmith's shop. Once they reached their destination, Mara looked up at the man and smiled.
“You can find me at the worship hall near the docks if you need any more help. May the peace and joy of The Unity bless all your days.” Mara shook the Trollkin's hand, then turned heel and skipped away, leaving the giant thoroughly confused.
This was his first time in any kind of city. It wasn't his fault that his party got destroyed by a band of maulers. He just needed his armor and weapon(s) repaired so that he could go back out there and claim vengeance for his fallen comrades. But everyone in this city ignored him, save for that cute little female.
Mara resumed her journey to the apothecary, though now she was twice as far away as she had been previously. She didn't really care, though. Part of her basic tenets was to treat others as she would like to be treated, and if she was lost in a strange city, she would like to have someone show her where she needed to go, too.
It didn't take very long for Mara to reach the apothecary. A bell rang lightly as she walked through the door into the shop, and from her right, a cute female Felonian appeared out of the back room.
“Why, hello there! What can I do for you?”
Mara smiled and asked for help in finding their meditational herbs. The Felonin shopkeeper grabbed her by the hand and excitedly pushed her towards the back room, through the same door from which she herself had exited. When they finally came to a stop, Mara breathed a sigh of relief and smoothed out her robes, then look around.
The back room had been filled with comfortable pillows, and on every wall there were shelves upon shelves of herbs. Everything from Amaranthine to Zheba, including some herbs she had never seen before. Mara whistled in admiration and wondered why she had taken so long to visit this place.
Resting in the center of the room was a female Felonian, a male Elvin, and a male Fieroson. In the middle of their prone bodies was a tall smoking device with four hoses. They beckoned to mara to join them for a while, but Mara respectfully declined.
“I'm only here to purchase some herb,” she said. “But there is so much variety here. I would be glad of your help in choosing.”
While the Fieroson never moved from his spot, the Elvin and the Felonian couldn't get up quickly enough. All three gave her advice, suggesting various strains and explaining their different effects. After twenty minutes of conversation, Mara felt confident in her purchase of more Blessed Sprig, along with some Euphoric Voice and Questionable Morals to try out later. She thanked each of the beings she had met here for their help, and vowed to come back in a couple days to join their meditation ring, if they would let her.
The Bareliin sun was setting as she exited the building, and Mara had to shield her eyes against the glare. She set off against the sun's light towards the docks, and as the last lights were peeking over the buildings of Skritchpost, Mara reached her lodging. She kindly greeted her fellow Followers, then ascended the stairs towards her chosen room.
As she reached her door, she noticed it was ajar. She cocked her head sideways, trying to remember if she had closed it before she left, and slowly pushed it open.
The room inside had been ransacked! Her notes were strewn everywhere, her blank spellbook was ripped apart, and the three days worth of rations she kept had been devoured. Carefully, cautiously, she stepped through the doorway.
A rustling sound to her left caught her attention. She spotted an orange and white furred Felonian on her knees, busy devouring her rations, and completely oblivious to Mara's entry. She was dressed in a leather skirt and rags. The cat's butt was up in the air, tail waving back and forth in happiness.
Mara attempted to close the door silently, but the click of the lock against the doorframe alerted the cat. The Felonian quickly twisted her head around. Her eyes met with Mara's and she leapt to her feet in alarm. She brought her hands up in a defensive posture, but Mara remained calm.
“Can I help you?” she asked the feline, her eyes showing nothing but peace against this panicked potential foe.
The Felonian said nothing, and rushed the Femelvin, intending to bowl her over and run out the door. She swung a punch at Mara's face, but Mara countered, and soon the Felonian was lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling. Mara then proceeded to sit on the female's chest, effectively pinning her to the floor.
“I mean you no harm. Can I help you?”
The Felonian whined pitifully, staring at Mara for a few minutes. Then she started crying.
“I was just so hungry! I'm so sorry, please don't hurt me!”
Mara smiled, then got off the cat's chest and helped her to her feet. She pulled the girl to the bed in the back of the room and set her upon it, standing in front of her. There was no malice in her actions, only kindness and forgiving.
“I understand what it's like to starve. I've been homeless and hungry before. I vowed to help all who were hungry, so that they aren't engulfed by the same pain it brought me,” Mara said. “But the bread offered here on this mortal plane is nothing compared to the bread offered by The Unity, which can fill your belly for eternity. If you'll stay and listen to The Unity's message, I promise to buy your next meal.”
The Felonian sniffled, then nodded. She attempted to smooth out her worn leather skirt, placed her hands on her thighs and perked her ears in rapt attention.
For the next hour, Mara explained the history of The Unity, the creation of the Bareliin, the influence of the Unblessed, and the sacrifice of Elvin that lead to the blessing of the Life Flow. Mara spoke the truth from her heart, and answered firmly and confidently the questions which the Felonian thrust at her.
Finally finished with her message, Mara offered her hand to the Felonian. The female took the offer, and stood next to the Femelvin. Her stomach rumbled, but she ignored it, instead insisting on helping to clean the room that she had completely ransacked. Mara shook her head no, and lead the cat out of the room, and downstairs to the mostly empty worship hall. There, she set the cat down on one of the makeshift beds.
“What would you like to eat?” Mara asked the girl, ready to make due on the promise of food.
“I'm not really all that hungry anymore,” came the reply. The cat's stomach rumbled, betraying her real feelings.
“I insist,” Mara urged. “Let me pay for your meal.”
The Felonian started crying again. “I can't possibly pay you back for all your kindness. I don't deserve anymore food.”
Mara knelt and warmly embraced the girl, and whispered into her ear. “None of us deserve the kindness shown to us by Elvin and The Unity. I am here because The Unity loves me, and it is that love that I share with you.”
She broke the embrace. “If the only love I can show you is by speaking to you the truth and filling your belly with bread, then I will. The only repayment I ask of you is to spread the love and joy of The Unity with all others with which you interact. Spread the good news of Elvin's sacrifice and the gift of the Life Flow. It is through His Life Flow that we can defend against the snares of the Unblessed.”
The Felonian smiled, the first smile she had shown since being caught in Mara's room. She wiped her eyes with a paw, took a deep breath, and sighed. “My name is Quixar. Quixar Purre Ze'Felonia,” she said.
Mara smiled. “If you stay here, I will return shortly with food.”
Quixar nodded, and Mara rose. “I promise to return soon,” the Femelvin said.
Mara left the hall and walked down the street to a nearby food vendor. She saw him packing up his cart, and asked if she could purchase a little bit of food before everything was put away. He nodded, and Mara bought some meat and cheese for a couple pieces of gold. She thanked the male profusely, and returned to the worship hall.
Quixar was still waiting patiently for Mara's return. Mara asked for a blessing on their food, then the two shared a meal. When they finished, Mara insisted that Quixar sleep in the worship hall. Satisfied with her work, Mara returned to her room, cleaned up the mess that had been made, and then retired to bed.