High Priestess Khaelyn Ren'Lenar, Favored of Meraud, an Elven Cleric.
A diaphanous length of nightmare-black silk adorned with tiny brilliant diamonds is folded to obscure Khaelyn's face, hiding all but a narrow strip of flawless porcelain skin around her eyes.
When you catch a rare glimpse of her with her face showing...
She has a delicate face with elegant arched eyebrows, pointed ears, sparkling crystal blue eyes and a classical nose. Her blonde hair is long and thick, and is worn in a deceptively careless-looking arrangement of upswept locks held in place by some diamondique raindrops. She has flawless porcelain skin and a slender figure. Her face is decorated with a bounty of tiny melir blooms. Clustered around her left eye, the white glaes flowers glisten with delicate rosy pink hues. Tiny petals trail downwards, whirling along her jaw as though scattered by an errant breeze. Her right wrist has a tattoo of a pure white geshiloira flower blooming on a seaside cliff.
She is wearing some diamondique raindrops, an ornate platinum eyebrow ring adorned with a black diamond, a delicate glaes choker suspending a huge blue tear-shaped diamond, a celeste-blue spun glitter cloak with an Elven snowlace overlay and sweeping train, some white glaes beads, a snow-white geshiloira flower, a curious timepiece suspended by a thin bronze chain, an anloral wolf pin, a pilgrim's badge, a white Elven silk duffel bag beaded with icy blue crystals, a strapless sparkling white cire party dress with a short flirty skirt, a black onyx ring brushed with starry diamond dust, a double-wrapped leather belt with brushed steel buckles, a twisted glaes anklet displaying a soulstone, a silver-bound dark leather ankle sheath and some heavy ice-veined leather boots reinforced by steel sabatons.
Stronger Than She Thinks
Gazing out into the night, an elven woman watches as the heavy storm clouds roll in, obscuring the stars, the air thick with the scent of summer storms. She pulls the curtains closed and gazes across the room at the feather bed, dreading the dreams that come with a storm. She lights a lamp on the bedside table and slips between the covers, devotion book in hand, but her resolve to wait out the storm with a little studying gives way to exhaustion as she drifts off to sleep.
Outside, the wind picks up as rain begins to fall, pelting the window pane and invading her dreams…
"Is it over," asks the tiny girl as she gazes up at the man beside her.
"No little one, there is more to come." Worry lines etched across his face, the man lifts the child into his arms as he picks his way across the deck of the great ship. Broken riggings hang precariously as battered crew members struggle to repair the them and secure what was left of their sails.
"But the wind stopped," the child says softly, burying her face in her father's neck, trembling in the chill of the sea air.
"We are in the eye of the storm, it is calmest in the center."
"Sir," a weary sailor calls out as he approaches the pair. "We could use a couple more hands to push some of this debris off the deck, if you don't mind. We should have some more time before the next wave hits."
Nodding slightly, the man places his daughter the deck near the foremast. He strips off his cloak and wraps it around her shoulders, speaking softly into her ear. "I am going to help them, then we will go back to your mother."
"But, I am scared," the child whispers, clinging to his arm.
"Be brave, my daughter, you are stronger than you think." Planting a kiss on the top of her head, he sets his shoulders and follows the other man towards the bow of the ship.
Rolling thunder peals across the night sky and rattling the walls of the house. As she tosses and turns, a soft cry escapes her lips as she fights an unseen battle...
"Daddy!" The child screams as she is thrown across the tiny storeroom just beneath the bow of the ship. Boxes crash to the floor around her as the shelving breaks away from the wall and falls against the door. The storm rages on, sounds of howling winds breaking wood, pummel her senses as she wedges herself into the corner away from the door. Alone in the dark, the little girl sobs.
The ship continues its violent dance, the child hears the screams of the crew as they struggle to hold it together. As it dips and turns, boxes slam into her little body, she pulls hers legs in tight and covers her face with her arms, trying desperately to protect herself.
Suddenly it feels as if the vessel is being lifted out of the sea and tossed. A deafening crash rings out as it slams into the rocky shore, wood splintering as the tall masts snap and crash into the deck of the ship.
<br.> The wind howls, blowing salty water through a crack in the side of the ship, the child tries to move but searing pain in her arms and legs holds her in place. To exhausted to cry out, she drifts in and out of consciousness.
Outside her window the guards call out to a group of men, staggering down the walk. The sound of heavy rain drowns out the shouts as they move further away. She rolls away from the sounds, curling up into a tight ball, her face tense, betraying some memory of pain...
Light begins to creep through the crack in the wall of the ship. Quiet voices call out to one another as the child begins to stir.
"There is not going to be much cargo," a man calls out to his companion. "She is, or was, a passenger ship."
"There doesn't seem to be much in the way of passengers either," a woman responds from just above the girl's head.
"Mother," the child whispers, her voice laced with hope. She tries to move but can only whimper as pain overcomes her.
"Someone should call for a cleric," the man says as he joins the woman.
"What for? We haven't discovered any bodies, it is not like we can raise what is not even here."
A heavy sigh is followed by footsteps as the pair begins to walk away. Summoning all of her strength the child calls out for help, searing pain ripping through her tiny body.
"Did you hear something," the man asks, stopping short.
"No," comes the hesitant reply. "Yes? Maybe?"
Footsteps above her once again, the little girls steals herself against the pain and calls out once more.
"There!" The woman cries. "Below us!"
"Get something to pry the boards away!"
The wood of the deck splinters as they pry up the boards with the blade of a greatsword, light spilling into the tiny room. The man lies across the deck and pushes the shelves back up against the wall. A slight human woman smiles reassuringly as she carefully drops into the room, moving the fallen supplies away from the child.
"She is just a child," the woman says quietly as she rests her hand on the girl's arm.
"Don't heal her in there," the man reprimands, his brow furrowing with concern.
"We can't move her like this,” the woman says softly, as she sits down near the battered child. Bracing herself for the influx of pain, she smiles up at her companion, “It will be fine."
Rutilant sparks of light float around the woman as wounds blossom across her skin and then fade away. Whispering gently to the child, only the slightest grimace gives away a hint of pain as she works.
"Okay," she says with a nod as she rises to her feet. She scoops the exhausted child up to her companion. "She is a strong little girl to have survived all of that."
Pale as the ivory linens, the elven woman almost disappears into the bed. Tears stream down her face from behind closed eyes. A glacial white Illithic cat hops onto the bed, burrowing underneath the coverlet, she presses against the woman's side and purrs gently...
Crystal blue eyes blink open, glaring white walls and the smell of bleach assaulting her senses. Sitting up slowly, the child looks around the unfamiliar room, eyes wide with fear.
"About time you woke," came a woman's voice from somewhere behind her. "I was beginning to think that empath forgot to put sssome partsss back together."
Walking to the side of the bed, an aging S'kra woman rests her hand on the child's arm in an half-hearted attempt to comfort her.
"Don't worry, child, you are safe here."
"Where am I?"
"The orphanage, in Rivercrossing," the woman responds matter-of-factly.
"I don't understand, my father was getting my moth..." the child's voice trails off, the look of pity on the S'kra woman's face stopping her mid-sentence.
"I am sorry, child. They only brought you from the ship. There were a couple crew members that they were able to recover, but no one else was found."
"He said he would bring them to me, that we would be safe." Tears flowing freely down the child's face, she looks to the woman for some sign of hope. "We were going to be safe from the storm..."
A door across the room swings open and a stern looking human woman bursts in. "How lovely! The sleeping one awakes!" Charging across the room the woman stops just short of the foot of the bed, hands on her hips, appraising the child as if she was a bauble on a trader's table. Pulling a muslin dress from a bag at her belt she tossed it on the foot of the bed. "You are what, about 6, maybe 8? It is hard to tell with you elves. That should fit you though."
"I am..." the girl begins, staring in wide eyed confusion.
"You are what I say you are," the woman says, cutting her off. "If you are 6 the province gives me more Kronars for your care, if you are 9, you are more useful to me."
Nodding at the S'kra woman across the room, the human orders, "Write down 6 on those papers, but put 9 on her bracelet. Barantha here can be doubly useful to us." Patting the child on the leg, the woman smiles. "Isn't that right, Barantha? You can be a useful orphan."
Shaking her head, the child wipes the tears from her face. "I am not an orphan, my father said they would come to me."
"Sweetheart, they all say that," the woman says, a cruel scowl marring her face. "I suggest you get over that and be a good little girl, it will make your time here much easier."
The woman pushes the dress towards the little girl. "You can earn shoes by completing your chores, socks, and a sweater the same way. Fall is coming, so you best get to work if you don't want to be cold. You understand, Baran..."
"My name is Khaelyn," the little girls says firmly, cutting the woman off.
The woman’s eyes widen at the child’s defiance, before a cruel smile curls the edges of her mouth. “Okay, Khaelyn, we will see.” ’’
The rain on the window begins to let up, thunder rolling in the distance. A soft sigh escapes the woman’s lips, as the tension in her face eases. Sensing her calm the cat slips back out from under the covers to curl up near her feet…
Dressed in cleric’s robes a young woman stands in front of her guild leader. Idly picking at the charkel amulet around her neck, she quietly gives a report of her current skills and achievements. Gazing hopefully at the man behind the desk, she waits for him to consider what she has said.
The guildleader eyes the young woman carefully. “The gods honor you, Khaelyn! You have been deemed worthy to train for your next rank!"
Smiling warmly, Esuin barely stifles a laugh as a wild haired elf bounces next to her friend, trying to contain her excitement. The young clerics eyes dance as he continues, "Persevere constantly, for your work is pleasing to those whom you serve and they will be swift to reward one who remains true and steadfast in all their ways. Continue your diligent work, and you will continue to advance in our guild!"
Breaking into a bright smile, the Elven cleric grabs her friend’s arm and drags her through the office door. “Shhhhh,” she admonishes as the pair breaks into giggles.
“See,” the woman exclaims, catching her up in a fierce embrace. “You are the best cleric ever! I heard him say it!”
“He did not,” she responds, laughing at her friends antics. “And, you really have to stop saying that!”
Morning light breaks through the curtained window, birds announcing the dawn of a new day, and the end of the storm. The woman begins to stir, a hint of a smile playing across her lips.
“Khaelyn!” A voice calls from outside the door. “I am coming in!”
The lock rattles and the door crashes open, an Elven woman tumbles inside. She quickly turns and pushes the door closed, snapping the lock back in place. “I told you that you would regret giving me that key!”
Sitting up in bed, Khaelyn stares at her friend across the room. Muffled voices of the city guards on the hunt for some ne’er-do-well. “I haven’t even had coffee,” she says with weary smile.
“Oh right!” Synamon bounces across the room and plops down on the big feather bed, grinning happily. She reaches in the pouch at her hip and pulls out a chocolate cupcake, plopping it into the clerics hand. “Chocolate and coffee in a cupcake! It is a two-fer, but better because no spilling, just crumbs.”
Khaelyn takes a bite of the decadent confection, laughing as her friend reaches out to pet the disgruntled cat who was awakened far too early by lazy cat standards. “Ms. Kitty is not a morning cat,” she says with a chuckle as the cat takes a swipe at the empaths out stretched hand.
“You should get dressed,” Synamon says, giving up on petting the cat.
“What are we going to do,” Khaelyn asks, smiling in spite of her lack of real coffee.
“Sendi said we need to try to stay out of trouble.”
“I still have a warrant, you know,” Khaelyn responds, disappointment lacing her voice.
Nodding solemnly, Synamon tries to hold back a grin. “So we definitely should bring extra bail money while we try to stay out of trouble.”
“Bail money,” the cleric begins, her voice trailing off as her friend breaks into a fit of giggles. “This sounds like the opposite of staying out of trouble!”
“But, good is so boring,” the Elven empath responds with a whine.
“Fine!” Khaelyn admonishes, giving her a solid shove off the edge of the bed, laughing as Synamon falls to the floor and bursts into laughter.
“We can bring sticks and you can carve things in the Keep. It must be hard to be the best cleric ever!”
“You -HAVE- to stop saying that,” Khaelyn cries, chucking an overstuffed pillow at Synamon’s head. “People are going to start believing you!”
Bouncing up from the floor the giggling empath leans in close to the cleric’s ear and whispers, “No,” before dashing across the room towards the door. “I will get bail money, you get sticks,” she calls as she slips out onto the street closing the door behind her.
Khaelyn rises to her feet, changing from her nightclothes to a dress, she walks across the room. Pushing the curtains aside, she opens the window, the scent of the Elamiri roses that fill the window box flood the room as she closes her eyes and takes in the morning sun. Her body stiffens, her heart aching as the memories, fresh from her dreams, threaten her peace. Taking a deep breath she pushes the thoughts from her mind, clinging only to the sound of her father’s voice.
“Be brave, my daughter. You are stronger than you think.”
The preceding has been approved by the mind behind THE BEST CLERIC EVER! and brought to you by the player of Synamon, who refuses to stop saying that and thinks that some people just need to accept greatness. <3