Profiles in Magic, Volume 4 (book)
Profiles in Magic, Volume Four
Kir Dor'na'torna: Chosen by the Spirits
Heritage Monographs, the official press of the Moon Mage Guild, is proud to present the fourth volume in the Profiles in Magic series. The information within has been researched carefully through personal interviews as well as constant delving through the most ancient of books, and finally compiled by a dedicated staff of scholars and Guild representatives to provide the highest quality of information for readers everywhere.
This volume details the unusual life of one of the original signatories of the Lunar Accord, known by many titles and names: Kir Dor'na'torna, a Shaman, a Skindancer, a Bone Dancer. Through studying his life of hardship and destitute beginnings, we trust that mages can find the understanding to realize that even the humblest and misdirected of souls can have a profound impact on the Guild's destiny.
Chapter One: The Warring Times
While known for his calm and introspective demeanor as much as for his part representing the Skindancers with the signing of the Accord, Shaman Kir Dor'na'torna was not always blessed with the mind of a scholar. Details of his family background are hazy at best, and only a handful of rare utterances on Kir's part have ever been spoken. It is generally surmised that his relatives abandoned him at a young age - not an uncommon occurrence to the Nomads of the Arid Steppe, as self-sufficiency is a valued trait in that harsh tundra. Regardless of the status of his initial familial structure, Kir was accepted by the D'Reathor, one of the more powerful tribes that inhabited the Steppe, as one of their own.
His standing within that tribe was anything but familial, however. At this time in history, the tribes of the Arid Steppe warred constantly and often, using their gift of foresight in various attempts to better the other tribes. Blood was shed on a daily basis as sons and fathers were killed, herd animals stolen, and daughters and mothers taken. This state of continual battle forged these Nomads into a grim, battle-scarred people. It is unlikely that Kir was unscathed by the violence, but there was more than an outsider's axe as a source of strife in the young Human's life.
As is common for the Nomads, the D'Reathor practiced several types of vision-inducing rituals, some bizarre, and others simply indulgent. Kir, against his will, was introduced to many of the more severe rituals by the older members of the tribe in a misguided attempt to make him a better warrior. Struggling, Kir fought back regularly. During one of the repeated attacks to torment the young man, one of the elders was knocked into a bed of blazing coals, and quickly consumed. Out of rage or vengeance, the others tied Kir down and forced more than the usual amount of vision-inducing intoxicants upon his body, sealed him in a tent, and left him to be devoured by his own hellish visions.
Five days passed before a changed Kir emerged from the tattered tent. His eyes vacant and his mind apparently gone, he fell into his new role as the tribe's local idiot. Aside from the occasional prod and snide comment, none bothered wasting time on the young fool. By winter, however, the tribe did take note of him long enough to exile him from the temporary camp, since no food could be spent on someone unable to take up arms. Out wandered Kir, alone and in danger of freezing to death in short order.
Death did not come to young Kir during his banishment. Instead, he returned a few months later, his posture tall and proud, his face calm yet full of expression. In a quick display, he disarmed no less than seven of the tribe's greatest fighters as they tried to eject him once more. Walking with purpose to the chieftain's tent, he spoke, explaining what had occurred during his absence, his words immortalized in the traditional storyteller fashion.
"I walked among the ice, the stones, the trees. I stepped beneath the darkened night sky filled with pinpoints of starry light, and saw the sun rise like a god from the horizon. Lacking food, I had only these sights to fill my belly and my mind, and somehow I found sustenance in that for weeks. There was a truth therein, and I could taste it upon my lips like salt, but I could not speak it for I did not know what it was that I was sensing."
"A vision arose before me on the night of the beginning of the fifth week. A vision of skeletal beauty, so filled with knowledge that but one head was not enough, and it used two tongues to whisper words of truth in my awaiting ears. The truth overwhelmed me. In some ways, I died that eve, yet I rose again the next morning. I died, my purposeless existence over. I rose again, my existence whole, my mind complete with the beauty that surrounds us."
"So I come to you, chosen by the spirits to speak as their emissary."
As the tribe's members stood with Kir in that small tent, taking in his words as though they stung like the burn of the snow on naked skin, he looked upon their faces. As the tale goes, handed down by followers of the Skindancer Sect, Kir's face was filled with so much emotion that the tribe was unable to resist the truth of his next statement.
"We were not meant to unjustly war."
And with that, one of the warriors laid his spear upon the ground before Kir. They were not all convinced so easily, and the following weeks were spent with Kir as teacher and the warriors and chieftain as students as he taught them to see the natural beauty that surrounded them. A handful refused to believe the man's simple teachings, and eventually left. Once the D'Reathor were converted, however, they begin the task of uniting the other tribes. This was no small task considering the importance each nomadic group placed on their separate identities. Years of trials followed, but in the end, the Arid Steppe Nomads were joined, with Shaman Kir their appointed leader.
When a messenger arrived from the far east to seek counsel with the Shaman, few were surprised. Rumors and tales had spread even there of Kir's wisdom and leadership, and Kir slept only one night on his decision before leaving to join this group calling themselves "Moon Mages." His experience had taught him the strength of unity, and he would at least join their company to discuss coalition. The rest, as they say, is history.
Chapter Two: The Enduring of Peace
Time passed, and Kir's leadership and teachings became a powerful force across the Arid Steppe. Even the Dwarves who lived in the mountains nearby heard of his words, though, being Dwarves, they were content to leave Kir's Skindancers alone. Yet Kir was strangely unsatisfied. He had learned and taught so much in his lifetime, but there was something unfinished, something missing. Over the course of sixty years, the Skindancers had gone from a violent, warlike people to becoming a simple, mostly peaceful group. Abandoned were the old ways of using a fallen foe's bones to divine the future. Nearly forgotten was the fact that their spears had once been turned on each other rather than deer and elk. Kir pondered that this, as distasteful as it may be, might be what was missing.
Cautiously, he asked the handful of elders who still remembered the old ways to bring out the divination bones for consultation. They did as he asked, yet there were no clear answers revealed from their usage. Thinking to search another way, he requested the old bones be put back in their secluded hiding spots once more, fearful that the younger members would take too quickly to the old violent means. To his surprise, one of the elders - the same who'd first placed his spear before Kir's feet - refused. Kir was even more stunned as the elder explained why he denied his request.
"I remember all those years ago when I took this man's head, Shaman. It was a long fight, and I nearly died that day with him. He was a Windwalker, and I was a D'Reathor. These days, those names mean nothing, for we are all one. His death was but one of many in our violent past, and without that violence, we would not have been able to change. How does one change to a new state if the old state never existed? We owe them their names, their memories. We owe them remembrance. I will keep these simple tools in my hand, and I will go out and teach my granddaughter how to use them."
Kir could not argue the man's wisdom, but the fear of a returning to the old violence plagued his dreams that night. With little explanation, he left the next morning, saying simply that "the spirits asked him to return, such that they could ponder together." So ends the last reliable account of Shaman Kir's existence, for he was never seen again. Without his presence, peace did manage to endure.
Chapter Three: The Bone Dancers
Long years later, a man claiming to be Kir came forth from the wilderness. His words were not the calm and well spoken phrases of the previous Kir, but rather the rantings of a lunatic. He spoke of finding the beauty of death and bones, reveling in the idea that since bones once held life, they embodied perfection. Some believe that this Kir was a descendant of those who had fled the first Kir's naturalistic teachings. He was accepted in the traditional way of the Skindancers, mainly because the name Kir still carried much respect.
This proved the start of a most strange series of events. After the current chieftain met with a questionable end, Bone Dancer Kir somehow managed to convince the elders to allow the role of Skindancer leader fall upon his shoulders. No records of this meeting are known to exist, and few who still live today are willing to speak of it. Nonetheless, Kir became leader.
Under his guidance, the Skindancers began to delve into macabre rituals, and a few of the young warriors became obsessed with violence after a night discussing philosophy with this new Kir. Angered by what was occurring with her peaceful people, Council Member Cherulisa D'Shari'sendal - the then current Skindancer representative - returned to the Arid Steppe. For several days and evenings, Cherulisa and Kir spoke behind closed doors.
Upon their egress from the discussion tent, Kir flew into a fit of rage. Proclaiming that Cherulisa had stolen his leadership away from him, he gathered a handful of loyal followers, stormed out of the camp, and was never seen again on the Arid Steppe. Cherulisa, when asked about this, only smiles and makes a cryptic comment regarding "things learned from the Fortune's Path representatives." Cherulisa later returned to Throne City to place her resignation from the Council of Moon Mages, and is currently residing in the Arid Steppe as Guildmistress to make sure her people are aptly trained in the ways of nature and foresight.
Kir's splinter group of followers is now generally referred to as the Bone Dancers. Dedicated to Kir's philosophies that all bones were sacredly beautiful, they soon vanished into obscurity, the mark left on the Skindancers nothing more than a simple schism in opinions.
The Guild of Moon Mages places no belief in this second Kir's statements, but it is an interesting footnote to the life of the real Kir. With study, as all things require, may this tale enlighten youthful Moon Mages for as long as these pages remain intact - especially those who prefer to follow the simple and shamanistic ways of the Skindancers.