Heal the children and help rebuild the town
Brother Saul, Sergeant Pyke
|+1 heavy mace||x1||Eleanor||Brother Saul|
|letter||x1||Eleanor||from Fr. Phaeton||delivered by Saul|
|letter||x1||Rua’lanna||from Tiberius||delivered by Ipswitch|
|flowers, dead||x1 bunch||Rua’lanna||from Tiberius||delivered by Ipswitch|
An Excerpt from the Musings of Sister Eleanor Daystar...
as written by Naughtsauce. Bonus xp to the Cleric!
In her seemingly never-ending days spent growing up in the Sun Spire, Eleanor often found her mind wandering during her studies. She was much more likely to be caught staring out the golden paned windows, and in all outward appearances seemed to be romanticizing future adventures she would have whilst spreading the Word of The Shining One to those who needed it. Internally however, she was wracked with strife.
Sister Daystar’s primary fixation was nearly wholly consuming – the chance to seek out and smite the evil that took so much from her – a desire she hid within herself as to not start whispers amongst the other members in her order. The Mother of her Order, however, was never one to allow austere politeness to overcome familial concern and duty, and she found it difficult to turn blind eye to the Sunfire that would fill Eleanor’s eyes whenever studying histories of the Undead scourges and their weaknesses.
Eleanor would constantly replay to conversation she had with to Mother of the Order four days before leaving the Sun Spire, like some Bardic song – always there, never-ending, mind-consuming.
“You will reach a point, Eleanor, where you will need to choose a path,” her warm, strong voice providing heft to her message. “As long as you serve Our Lord Pelor, he will bestow his graces upon you. But be aware of the differences between Holy Retribution and personal revenge, and know that the order of the world outside plays out nothing like heroic deeds of our imaginations.”
Pelorian clerical education and training, while comprehensive, did little to prepare Eleanor for the horrors she had witnessed thus far since meeting her traveling companions. The Mother was too true; the world outside the Abbey was cold, exposed, and brutal. Worst of all, it was in the midst of battle where she felt furthest away from His love.
She recalled an incident in the forest. Behind her, the shambling masses approached, the their stench nearly overwhelming. The calls of her companions seemed muffled, far away. Like some inborn instinct, she quickly turned to face her attackers, her flaxen hair surrounding her head like a halo of His Light. She swung into one ghoul with all her might, her mace obliterating what was left of the abominations’ face. Clutching her Holy Symbol with her other hand, her mental faculties were lost in interminable rage that flowed through her body and outward into the horde of ghouls until nothing was left but dust, and an aching, cold emptiness filling her armor.
Coming out of the swamp into Fenwatch filled Eleanor with an aching relief. At last she was back in society, albeit in a town which had been laid to waste. Here, she knew her purpose, could tamp down the flames within, and serve her Lord Pelor admirably.
Looking around upon arrival, it was clear that most of the townsfolk seemed greatly surprised that the party made it back alive, and even more so upon seeing the rescued children in tow. Rayne, who has taken it upon herself to serve as temporary guardian for the children, was clearly haggard and unwell, but still made her priorities apparent.
“Eleanor, we must get these children to the infirmary,” she said briskly. “Your healing has been insufficient.” Eleanor was still surprised at Rayne’s concern. Until their encounter at the cottage, Eleanor knew not of a maternal bone existing within her companion’s body.
Eleanor felt rebuffed by the impulsive, immolation-happy dragon-blood, wanting to defend herself. “I wasn’t adequately prepared!” she thought defensively. Her studies, her interests, all seemed to focus on the destructive powers of The Fiery One. Instead, she nodded gravely, swallowed her conceit, and replied gently, “You are correct Mistress Rayne, and time is of the essence.” Eleanor’s voice then took a more serious tone, her eyes a look of concern, and as she brushed a stray hair out of her companions’ eye said, “keep in mind as well, you yourself are suffering, as is Lanna, and neither of you will recover until we can all rest, and pray for more healing from Pelor.”
Upon reaching the Wayshepard’s Guild, followed by and increasingly large group of curious townsfolk, it became painfully apparent that Sergeant Pyke had fully taken up residence, and the party even had difficulty gaining entrance despite having the rescued children in tow.
With some brusque transactions between Rayne and the Guards, the party was at last allowed entrance and access to the infirmary. The nurse rushed to the children, questions coming so fast and with such weight of concern, that it took the pair of adventures a good few minutes to calmly communicate their findings.
“Complete bed rest,” the matron demanded, “for the both of you.” She gave Rua’Lanna and Rayne both such a steely gaze that both women could do nothing in protest.
Still, while Rua’Lanna was dressing her wounds and bedding down, Eleanor was sure she heard her grumble softly, “’Tis nothing but a scratch…” and then something she couldn’t quite make out. She couldn’t help but think, out of all the things Lanna had learned prior to her return to the party, why she still couldn’t admit to the mortality of things – the laws of nature, of life and death.
Eleanor felt Lanna was the closest thing to a friend she ever had, that is, before she was called away. Rua’Lanna provided Eleanor with her first chance to proselytize – she felt as if someone cared for what she had to say, wanted to learn from her, and the feeling was intoxicating.
“Tell me what I should do,” her companion once asked her, clutching her arm upon entering a tavern. Never before had anyone asked Eleanor for spiritual guidance or opinion.
“I will let tell you as I see a need arise,” Eleanor said, in a voice she thought sounded sagely. The truth was, she was stunted by her cloistered upbringing – Eleanor knew nothing of survival, dungeoneering, and even lacked the basic outward geniality required to befriend others. She loved Lanna, because she seemed as insecure as herself, and yet still, for some reason, looked up to her. But not anymore, not since her return. Something was different about Rua’Lanna now – she was a true paladin. No longer did she feel the need to confer with Eleanor on spiritual matters. Since Lanna’s return, Eleanor knew she was tightening up, closing off. She knew others viewed her as judgmental, but she was hardly herself a decision maker – it was the only mask she knew to use to cover the pain she carried with her always. The pain of loss, of inferiority.
Rayne, still exuding what Eleanor saw as unnatural, familial compassion, insisted allowing the afflicted children into her bed to sleep. “What does she hide?” Eleanor wondered. “Has she not always been childless? Self-serving? An arsonist?” Suddenly, scripture came back to her:
“Passing undo judgment clouds the sky of His Day. The Sun shall rise and fall. Those who judge will lose the Light to find their way.”
“I must rest, I must pray to help my comrades,” resigned Eleanor. She shuffled tiredly out of the infirmary, only to see Daethin, Piruk, and Master Ba’art, having what appeared to be a heated discussion with Sergeant Pyke.
“That Pyke, how insufferable!” Eleanor said to herself. “I’d like to see how haughty his attitude would appear when faced with the trouble end of the dwarf’s maul.” Eleanor liked Piruk the moment she met him in the infirmary, when he resigned himself to join their party to make right a situation he could not even recall. He carried within himself a lawfulness and strength of will she herself lacked. Their encounters with the hag and jester only solidified those opinions. His protectionist instincts toward the children seemed neither contrived nor out of place, and he was a fighter of the highest quality.
She stopped, pressing herself behind a pillar, and waited for the argument to subside. Eventually, the dwarf turned to head in the direction of the infirmary, presumably to check on the state of the children. Eleanor stepped out, but the dwarf hardly seemed to notice, his eyes far away, tinged with sadness, as he trod on.
“Piruk!” Eleanor called out. “Master dwarf, wait!” She stepped quickly to catch up him, as he slowly turned around meet her, eyes on the floor. “I see the sadness in your heart, but I want you to know I think you performed admirably. Those children, all of us, we are all indebted to your bravery and skill.”
She slid her right hand up and down her left bracer in a nervous gesture. “Whatever your plans are, I hope they include joining us.” Eleanor was blushing at this point, and she desperately hoped the dwarf’s eyes were still fixed on the floor. At this point, however, his eyes rose to meet hers, and the pain she saw caused her own eyes to moisten.
“Sister Eleanor, I have failed.”
“No! Sir Piruk! You are a hero!” Eleanor was adamant, tears coming now.
“In whose eyes? In the eyes of parents whose children didn’t return? The empty sockets of the children’s skulls we found in the garden?” The stoic dwarf trembled now, and Eleanor knelt slightly to meet him face to face.
“In my eyes, sir. I am a good cleric, Piruk, but I am not a skilled one,” she said through a whimper. “I have neither the determination of will you have, nor the strength, nor the control. I do, however, believe I have a little compassion, and I think you outshine me in that area as well.” She placed her hand on his armored elbow, and with a gentle tug said “let us go check on the children.”