18: Lenara, Priest of Etia


Lenara is a 39 year old kahlnissá scholar–a priest who follows in the path of Etia, the god of love, compassion, and loyalty. Priests who align themselves with Etia believe in non-violence; their philosophy of pacifism forbids them from ever attacking someone unless they are forced to protect their own life. Priests help those who need spiritual guidance and counsel, provide knowledge of history and direction, and have been known to unite whole communities around the common threads of civilization and the will of the gods. Lenara’s experiences as a priest earned her much respect in her home district within the city of Dunaajii, but her two brothers and sister have not shown as much support for her life choices. Lenara had a near death experience when an animal attacked her in the grasses north of the city, and since that time she has gone on her meditative walks with a thin, curved stick to accompany her. On one such walk she happened on a crestbrook that revealed to her a pale stone trinket and the blessings of the gods who kept her safe and brought her to a strange, distant location deep in a forest where they spoke to her.


Like many kahlnissá in the northern district of the city of Dunaajii in Wendajii, Lenara was born into a small family from a proud lineage of makers and intellectuals, artisans and scholars who have helped shape the north of the city into a wholly unique settlement that reflects the distinctive tendencies of the Children of Kalmor. Lenara’s mother and father had no siblings of their own, and so they wanted nothing more than to have a large family who could share with one another the benefits of civilized life. Lenara is the youngest of four children, but in the past several years her two brothers and sister have wanted little to do with her. Her siblings believe that the life of a priest is an antiquated one, and that Lenara would have fit in much better with her family if she had joined their business and lived the life of a tracker. But while she has enjoyed wandering through nature and reading the signs of the elements, she has long followed her grandfather’s path of pursuing the divine.

When she reached the age of twenty, her grandfather performed her Rite of Conscription, and Lenara chose the path of Etia as her charge. She found work with two local temples and began her focused studies with the scrolls that explored the role of the gods as far back as the Duchy of Torland. One summer while on a meditative walk in the northern grasses outside the city, Lenara stopped to behold two great hyenas fighting over a morsel of rodent that smelled faintly of rot. One hyena was larger than the other, and dominated the fight before long, and the weaker of the hyenas meekly licked at the ground. As Lenara watched the beasts from a distance, she was moved. It seemed like the gods were showing her the state of her city, that the strong prey on the weak, but despite their fighting, they both were eating rotten meat. As she thanked Etia for her signs, the weaker of the hyenas caught Lenara’s scent, and turned to run her down. The hungry canine tackled the young priest, mauling her shoulder and head. It would have killed Lenara, but a local hunter ended the creature’s attack with his crossbow and carried Lenara back into the city where the temple brought her back to health. The attack left her scarred and missing her ear.

Over the next several years Lenara grew to be widely respected in Dunaajii as a wise and thoughtful guide and interpreter of the ways of the gods. The story of her hyena attack and the scars it gave her was an evocative draw for people who might hear her message of guidance. Her focus in the central part of the city was to help the poor and challenge local ringleaders to look out for their neighbors and people of lesser means. Lenara’s vision brought a growth of morale and an atmosphere of cohesion into the city. She continued to serve Dunaajii for many years.

During another morning meditative walk, Lenara was in the northern grasses when she had another profoundly divine experience. It came in the form of a crestbrook, a sudden waterway that forms in the grasslands of Wendajii following the wet rains of autumn when the peat fields tear open to the ground soil below to allow water to trickle past. Crestbrooks form quickly, and when the clear waters run their course the earth swells to close the gaps. Lenara always viewed the crestbrooks as evidence that the gods give life and water to the earth, and so when she found a newly formed crestbroom along her path she stopped to gather water and wash her hands and feet. But just beneath the surface she saw an oddly shaped trinket of bone and crystal. It glowed faintly, dancing the surface of the flowing water with orange lights.

She knew that the gods created Lakriah’s Tears, a dangerous substance to most–after all, what mortal could hold the divine in their hands without succumbing to its raw power? The trinket she retrieved from the water felt powerful enough to be pale stone, yet she was able to hold it with no ill effect. She was even drawn to the trinket, as if it was calling her to keep it close. Lenara had scarcely retrieved the pale stone before she stood up fro the crestbrook to find herself suddenly surrounded by trees. She looked around and was in a dark forest. There was no crestbrook at her feet, no grasses surrounded her, no city lie to the south. She must have been miles to the east. How did she get here? It was a gift from the gods.

Lenara had only her few belongings in her light pack while on her meditative walk that morning, but she knew the gods would provide. She was determined to follow Etia’s path wherever it led, even if that meant leaving behind her city. Lenara knew she was brought here for a reason, and she vowed to find the source of pale stone’s divine power.


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Fractalform is the gaming handle of Bret Woods--ethnomediologist, author, and lead developer of Augur's Lore RPGs. Bret is Thing 1 at http://descrypt-studios.com.

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