< 9163, Month 19, Day 18 >
Taer, Sgt. at arms of Gide’s Gallants, lies dying of fever. A raging fever wracks his body, he sweats profusely and clenches his teeth in anger and flails about. The Baron’s personal surgeon has done all he can, but he tells you that he will die before morning – perhaps tomorrow nights end at the latest. Taer was not a religious man, like his father before him. There is no priest, no official to speak for his soul. Gide asks that runners be sent, for some priest to come and speak, or even to cure him. The Gallants include word that a large reward would accompany anyone who can heal their friend. The next morning a woman appears in camp and asks to see Gide. She claims she is a priestess of Fiongala, the fox goddess. Gide summons the Quartermaster, Xar, who brings the treasury of the Gallants. Delpia examines Taer and says that there is something definitely ailing him beyond normal, taxing all his energy reserves. Gide says she can have all their hard money if she can heal him. After praying and reviewing his care, she tells Gide that it not a mundane sickness. She has divined that he has some secret, a deep inner power that has allowed him to survive. “Death is imminent” she says. “There is nothing i can do to stave off the effect of the wasting disease he has been afflicted with.” Relb recons he was ill in Monaides and maybe he was targeted there. Delpia, the priestess of Fiongala, says there is another possibility. “Like the snake, he may shed his skin. Sloughing off one body for a new one – an exchange and a renewal – tricking the death that pursues him”. She tried in vain to explain it – though Geri divines it after Gide brings her in to consult over the issue. Reincarnation she explains – a new body to house the same soul. “He must be receptive though – Fiogala will only transform him if he is open to embracing the ways of the Trickster goddess – to serve the goddess sincerely and faithfully.” The group is pulled together to make a decision. There is well over 10000 silver in the group between personal and group treasure stores. Gide calls for a vote – to give up ALL the hard silver coinage the group has in exchange for the priestess’s aid or not. Theres some grumbling.. but Xar points out that Taer has mentioned his dissatisfaction a few times with the path he has gone down. Perhaps this is a new path, one that holds more answers than the one he is on now. The vote is taken, and predictably the Gallants vote for life for their companion. Gide gives the order and the priestess works her magics.
Delpia tells Gide of a final obstacle to be overcome. She herself is not strong enough to work such a feat of mystic power. She will need a sacrifice… a living sacrifice. Before any of the Gallants can howl in protest, Geri says that there is compromise of sorts. There is one of the Baron’s soldiers – a volunteer from Braddon Bog, who was hurt in the head. There was nothing left, no thought or action – he was alive but planned being transported back to Braddon Bog (with Xar’s caravan) to be a burden to a family that could probably already barely care for themselves. There is some debate as to the prognosis, but Geri settles the issue by declaring that those who would stop her should stand and be counted. No openly stand against her and the body is taken to the Gallant’s tent. Delpia sends her blood sacrifice to her goddess and the skies begin to empty of their rain – pouring it over the camp and washing it clean.
Taer would later tell of strange dreams where a fox spoke to him. It is all unclear to him, though he survives the transformation of death and rebirth. A shadow falls over the death chamber as he breathes his last. Despite the light sources, the fires go dim and the wind blows hard, G\guards report that several foxes were seen at the edges of campfires around the Baron’s camp. A mist covers the tent in which his body lies. The Gallants keep back an angry and frightened mob as the shadows flicker and the trickster goddess’s servant channels great power to fool death and bring their friend through the long dark back into the light.
Exhausted, Delpia reports that the light of the morning has cast aside the darkness and Taer is reborn. Fortunately there is nothing too radical. Taer is still a man, though his outward form is different. He is less strong; though he seems unchanged in most other ways. Still human, still male. His eyes are normal and brown now. His build is much more lithe and thinner, he is shorter and not as robust. She claims that his ghoulish powers have left him, there there is some sort of residual effect – so strong was the bond to his unborn brother. His scars have all vanished and it is an unfamiliar face which greets you. Delpia warns Gide that Taer now serves Fiongala, and that where once stood a warrior alone, his faculties have been changed and now servant of her has emerged. Taer has developed and aptitude for faith, and will be developing his power in service to his new deity.
Fiongala comes to Taer in his dreams. He is wandering, alone, and confused. She travels with him, down a windy path. As they walk, she asks and he tells her of his family, his journey, and his feelings oof ambivalnce of just being another warrior in a band of mercenaries. She asks what he would rather do, but he has no answer. What if i could give you an answer? Taer says he has no tongue for praying. Fiogala says there is not need – that he need not serve in a church, that he is not destined to murmur supoplications before an altar while peasants look on. No, she says his destiny has not changed but she can give him the power to disguinsh himself amongst his peers – his friends – the only flock that matters to him. Though his grace may never know lofty heights, belief in her and her ways will infuse him and bring him to the ways of the Wyld Faith. She will teach hoim the ways of the predators and prey, the natural cycle of life. He will learn of the pack, the den, and how all things have a purpose and place. Having felt adrift and with no place for nearly all his life, this appeals greatly to Taer. She says if he embraces her ways, she will show him to use cunning and guile instead of muscle and force – a new way, a new challenge. Taer agrees to the pact between the two. "You are already on your way to finding your place. Your friends are your family know. Like kits though, they stumble in the darkness. Gide may lead them in battle, but you must guide them in the part they are to play. Many forces at work send their agents to the sleepy fief of Bar-Innis. You will be my agent their. I will be your eyes and you must be the hands – i will help you let nature take its own path instead of being bent to the machinations of death and evil. Your strength will be mine, and my cunning yours as you root out the corruption which seethes in the fiefdom. Your participation in the deception over Dierdre’s death was a masterful stroke, worthy of notice by me. I send you back to your material world, my servant and I your master. There is no reason to loudly advertise our relationship to be, i ask that you sacrifice regularly to me, to bury in the earth items of value, completing the cycle of birth and life. I ask you to defend my people – the foxes; to seek not their harm and to protect them from those who would hunt them where it will not bring you in open conflict. Further service to me will not be to your unliking.. we shall explore such powers as may bestowed upon you as we go.