Council of Tea-Leaves

A New Chapter
The quest to find a temple of Charun

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Nurulamba looked down at the finely woven silk shirt he had bought to honour his dead friend, Prince Erling of Skogaholm, who had bravely sacrificed his own life to save the City of Irilian from the encroaching Deorc! As a paladin, Erling had worshipped his own gods, but privately, Nuru prayed that his friend’s soul had somehow found its way to the River Styx and been guided by Charun Cippus to the very gates of the Underworld, there to be admitted by Charun Lufe, to live in everlasting grace, as his sacrifice deserved.

Taking a burning brand from the Chanterman in attendance, the Elven cultist kindled the incense-soaked garment so that it exploded into bright multi-coloured flames, reaching into the very heavens. After a few minutes, all that was left of the fine item of clothing was dark grey ash.

Nurulamba then turned to Tabby Rot, who stood beside him, a coin in each hand raised to his deity, and said: “The time for travelling has come, my friend.” He turned to look back at Chrun, his ecclesial theurge friend, who had not partaken in the ritual but who had agreed to accompany Tabby and himself on their quest to find a True Temple of Cherun. Since the vanquishing of the Deorc, the Chanterman had been most accommodating, but the half-elf witch, Tabby, had expressed a deep desire to worship in an actual Temple of Cherun. Nuru, a simple elf from the far away village of Estenom, had no knowledge if such a temple even existed in their lands, but agreed with Tabby, that it would warm his own heart to find one.

Bidding fond farewells to Rendar and his dog, and once more to the Chanterman, Nurulamba, devoted Cultist of Charun, accompanied by two trustworthy companions, but with limited knowledge of his own religion, took his first steps out of the City and on to a path that travelled to he knew not where.

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The Sparks of Knowledge
First Rank of Knowledge Religion

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When the auburn haired Nurulamba was born 125 years ago in the small river village of Estenom, his mother took one look at him and declared: “He has the golden hair of a priest”! In a community of Charun-worshipping river elves, that was the beginning of his path toward being a Cultist of Charun.

Throughout his juvenile life, Nuru was given extra lessens with the High Priest. When he finished his official schooling years, he continued to serve as an adept under the High Priest, learning the skills and the rites necessary to become ordained. He excelled in both the use of magic and the innate channeling of harm, while at the same time developing his elven skills of swordsmanship ad bowmanship. However, he had never spent much time studying the theory and tenets of the religion. Somehow, he seemed to have an innate ability to know what was right in the eyes of Charun.

“It’s his magical hair”, said his mother. “It’s uncanny,” said the High Priest. When Nuru left his village to take up adventuring with his new friends, he continued to broaden the scope of his divine magic, using tools and learned spells to augment his healing abilities. But he also started to learn about his own religion. Through his shared worshipping of Charun with his ally, Tabby, he began to learn of the dangers of religious fanaticism, and through his continual fighting against the Deorc and its servants, he began to understand the basic powers of Undead and how to identify and combat them. In essence, his innate ability was turning into knowledge.

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Check This Out...
Boring old Campfire Chat

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The long red haired elf Nurulamba, Level Five Cultist of Cherun, had called an after dinner meeting with his party members, Tabby Rot, Prince Erling of Skogaholm, Chrun, and Rendar, in which he detailed the whereabouts of his personal items, particularly potions (all clearly labelled) in the event that other party members would be required to retrieve them for the purpose of party preservation.

After the group familiarised themselves with these items of equipment, Nurulamba asked if anyone would be interested in some meditational prayer and a sermon on the religious aspects of Cherun. Only Tabby Rot stayed for this, the others all retiring to a common drinking room for ample libation.

Nurulamba tried to encourage Tabby Rot to excercise pragmatism in the pursuit of their religious tenets, and also informed the Half Elf Sanctified Rogue of his new “Speak with Dead” spell ability, and his intention to always ask the subject what he or she experienced on the crossing, hoping by this to learn more of the after life “JOURNEY” towards their shared Deity.

Afterwards, they shared a sip of religiously strong elixir and took a walk down to the graveyard for some peaceful meditation.

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"Bring out your (un)dead!"

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Many miles Nurulamba had travelled without the comfort of a gravesite to attune his thoughts and prayers. His fellow believer, Tabby, provided solace, but his seeker instincts perhaps blinded him to the innate power of the burial mound the party now approached. Such was its power over Nuru, that he immediately knelt and prayed, allowing the rest of the party to investigate the new environment.

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He was soon disrupted from his prayer, as a black eyed Barrow Wight attacked the party with its terrible gaze and its cold dead hands. Prayer would have to wait. A creature killed and prevented from its natural travel was a creature that needed attention. The same creature attacking the party demanded that attention to be urgent!

In his reverend prayer after the battle, Nuru gave thanks to Cherun, and blessed the undead creature, as it made its rightful journey through the Dark Path to its own “Heaven”.

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Livin' on a Prayer
Moribund speaks to his Goddess

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Moribund Shine, Battle Mystery Oracle of Desna, waited for the crack of dawn before uttering the first words of his prayer. Although he had never seen the sun, Desna had always granted him a slight feeling of warmth on his skin as it rose, like the delicate wings of a butterfly carressing him as a dream."

“Oh, Lady of the Sky, Goddess of Dreams, thanks be to your guidance in this strange land. Praise the mighty arms of Tarkus, the healing strength of Davok, the arcane power of Trevarric, and the weird powers of Arthus. I pray you engage with Cayden Cailaen to divine a road to the perfect beer that we all seek as nourishment.”

“In this great land of giants, on the very boughs of Yggdrasil, I, your humble servant, give thanks for victory over Coleoptera and Vespula vulgaris, and indeed over the great lizard of cloud and swamp. By the ever-twinkling stars described in the Eight Scrolls of Your Word, please also grant me the boon to witness great Lepidoptera as a sign of your love.” And with that, the oracle looked to the night sky he could not see, and chanted the names of many stars. When he had finished, he bowed his head one last time and stood up, ready to proceed.

With a last look at his comrades, he placed his new helmet over his head, and prepared to walk with the others toward their glorious future.

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A Matter of Perspective
The musings of a devotee.

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All things are relative. Even time is relative, Moribund had once thought in a semi-lucid thought experiment that had, at a time, appeared to offer some sort of major enlightenment, but in the end had managed to extinguish itself by travelling over sixty feet away in some awful nightmare metaphor that clouded his perception.

But out here on the enlarged crevasses of Fraxinus exelsior (a common ash tree to most), the lines of relativity were clearly redrawn by two different artists from two different planes. Of those two, Moribund’s world artist was the lesser, if the measurement of relativity were to be taken as size.

Out here, on the cold gravity defying bark…. Gravity? A term one of his tutors had developed for the reason things fall to the ground. Even that was different here, as he and his companions seemed to wind their way through a crack in the bark as if it lay flat on the ground. But to return, out here on the cold bark, all things were clearly unusually large, relative to the interplanar travellers he and his companions represented.

Moribind thought back to his early Entomology lessons. Coleoptera (Beetles to most) were supposed to be small things. Sure, there were occasional giant specimens, but here on this otherwordly bark, it seemed their giant size was the norm. His budding theory of having been transported to a land of giants was further supported by a later Insecta attack from creatures of the order Hymenoptera, specifically, as he thought, Vespula vulgaris (Wasp to the common man). Praise be to Desna for her divine protection against those giant aggressors. Give me Lepidoptera anytime thought the Oracle, particularly of that gracious Family of Desna, Nymphalidae (Butterflies to most). Moribund’s spirit was lifted, just thinking of the possibility of such a glorious sight. Well, Desna WAS the Goddess of Dreams!

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A Prayer to Desna

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Honoured Desna, thank you for the strength to decline the bribes of Mammon, for the power to survive the wisdom draining allips and for your aid in smashing the evil construct. I also pray on behalf of my brother Trevarric of the Black Isle that you grant him the foresight to deliver a killing blow to his nemesis, that treacherous Githyanki.

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Lissandra Glissander, wherefore art thou Kobold?
with a nod to Billy the Bard

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Well met again, bright angel! For thou art
As glorious to this troubled oracle, being lower than my chops,
as a winged butterfly of Desna
Unto the dark reaching starless eyes
Of a mortal that falls back in golden gluttony,
touched by dwarven magic cast from puffy clouds
That sail upon the bosom of the air.

Lissandra Glissander, wherefore art thou Kobold?
Deny thy race and refuse thy treachery.
Or, if thou wilt not, be but human in my eyes,
And I’ll no longer hate your fellows.

Thou are thyself, but tainted by thine own,
in deed complicit, in league with snakes.
Lissandra, what’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.
But Kobold is as Kobold does, Dragonheart,
and heart so rendered, now broken bittersweet.

How blind I was, bescreened in lust
So stumbled on my innocence, thou dost
revile me to my very soul, that I must turn from thee,
and in the treasured bowl now trust.
Lissander Glissander, wherefore art thou Kobold?

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The Heart of the Mountain
A Prayer to Desna

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Oh Great Dreamer, Queen of the North and Goddess of the Starry Night, hear the prayersong of your humble servant from the confines of a dark and dreary mountain, closed from your natural starlight and the only butterfly, a crude symbol worn by your loyal subject. Bless this group of ours with your Holy Favour. Show us your good will and restore us to our noble path, out of this mountain and into the cool night air where stars unseen can yet be felt through your gracious power.

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The diary of Lord Travarric
The ^%^$&££ magic portal

Lord Trevarric of Black Isle
The narrative of the adventures of a nobleman and his faithful companions; the memoirs of a gentleman explorer, adventurer and arch-mage.

Sunday;
We have returned from the dark underworld of the mountain having fought armies of ravenous monsters. Under my command we reinstated the ingenious ventilation system invented by the dwarfs to working order. The catacombs again fill with fresh air and the denizens of the mountain were saved from harm. On returning from the depths we happened upon a Slyph lord of the air that I immediately engaged in diplomacy with the aid of an interpreter. As the party had been plagued by the evil backstabbing of a Gashenki I agreed to a pact to exchange this villain in the shadow realm temporary with Aaron Glaw one of my party in order to bring him to justice. I explained carefully to the rest of my troop the plan for the morning to ambush this assassin.

Monday
I have no desire to cast reflections upon any of the parties engaged in this Expedition, and in these pages have simply stated facts, for the truth of which I can positively vouch. For all future leaders it is a prudent warning that no plan is ultimately fool-proof. The assassin appeared as commanded in the summoning circle in plain sight. But ill fortune struck as every bolt, arrow, blow and spell went wide. The fighters failed yet again to follow simple instructions to form a shield wall, how many times must I explain they have one job, one simple job,. So unimpeded the Gashenki charged me and I stood firm in mortal combat, blade against my wizard lore. Dodging blows I struck him down with one shocking blast. Davok, bless him, missed the killing blow against our prone foe. We might have won the day there but Moribund charged. The brave but impetuous fellow in his haste charged through the still open portal and disappeared in the shadow realm. It is a simple rule never to run into the mysterious magical portal by accident. To cut a long story short I had to cut another deal with the Slyph to exchange my trapped fellow(s) with the unconscious Gashenki. Still they are brave companions and I do not regret my decision. Aaron Glaw bid his farewells to spend more quality time with his steed Godsfear, a valuable lesson to future leader that love and loyalty can bind companions together tighter that glue of feudal bondage or mercenary payments. Aaran and Godsfear we salute thee.

But now I have to still keep a watchful eye other my shoulder for that shadow dancer; fornicate, fornicate, duck buggery, excrement, merde, retardoes… ^&$%&^&£^%…(*)&^..apologies I forgot to turn off the auto-scribe spell.

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