Book Three: Slouching Towards Eudaemonia
CHAPTER FOUR: Baba Yaga's Hut

Moradina Mentedakarday - Mentesularday

Into the Hut

RIN

Who was your first love and why did it end?

At the age of sixteen Rin fell in love with Tia, a local fishmonger’s daughter. She was a fifteen year old slip of a girl with the most beautiful, big, brown eyes he’d ever seen. And a tongue like a whip. He quickly won her over though with his easy charm and cheerful disposition. They had an exciting relationship. Though a short-lived one. Tia, being a human girl, matured faster than the young half-elf, and simply had to move on. Though they parted in an amiable fashion, Rin was heartbroken.

(Afterward, upon reflection, Rin felt their breakup may have had less to do with his lagging maturity and more to do with his rising social status. Tia never seemed to hold either against him, but perhaps, he thought, she was simply trying to save her own broken heart, by ending it before their increasing social distance ended it for them. And, Rin had to admit, though he loved her dearly, they would have had much more than simple maturity to drive a wedge between them.)
Rin’s heart healed quickly and he holds nothing but fondness for his first love (and only wonders occasionally at what might have been).

Before adventuring, what is the most important thing you ever did?

Rin would say he’s done nothing of real import or consequence before meeting and joining the heroes of Riot’s Gate. This isn’t entirely true however. He’s performed quite a number of heroic deeds growing up in the streets of Selunaport, from defending various kids from street toughs and ruffians, to retrieving stolen coins from local cutpurses and corrupt city guards, to even one occasion when he saved a woman’s life by frightening off a couple of cutthroats. He doesn’t think of these as heroic deeds however, but as just a bit of excitement or adventure.

What was the first thing you ever killed and why?

As a young boy, still living in the Point and Shutter, where his mother works, Rin is employed as a mouser and works alongside a couple of veteran felines. He is paid one copper a week for his efforts (for which he is most grateful- the alternative being a daily saucer of cream- for which his fellow employees are most grateful).

What scares you the most and why?

The thing that scares Rin the most is enslavement, or servitude. (Or more precisely, an inability to fight against them.)
The single most important lesson his mother imparted upon him growing up was his right, his duty, to fight for his freedom. ‘Never let another take away your freedom, Rin. Even in the darkest cell, with chains around your feet, it cannot be taken from you. It can only ever be given. Never give it up.’

(Though more recently, he’s not too crazy about the idea of becoming lost in an underwater labyrinth, with the real threats of dragons and drowning around every corner. But what are the odds of that ever happening again! Not good, right?)

What is your deepest secret?

Rin sometimes fears he will not live up to all that has been invested in him, by those he loves and cares for most (namely Lu Rin, and his mother). These fears are unfounded though, as his parents could not be more proud of him. Though, of course, they always fear for his safety.

Which of your Companions do you trust the least and why?

Rin trusts all of his companions. They’re the Heroes of Riot’s Gate! He is aware of what addiction can drive a person to though, so he does keep a watchful eye on Thalazzar. He is pleased to see the Wizard seems to be fighting his addiction.

Which of the Vile (Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath) is reflected most in your character and why?

Rin would say, like anyone else, he’s susceptible to any and all of the Vile (though he would admit it to be very unlikely to be accused of Gluttony or Slothfulness any time soon).

Were he to give it serious thought, he would probably say he is most guilty of Pride. He is proud of his heritage, he’s proud of his mother and uncle (especially his mother and what she’s achieved for herself), he’s proud of who he is and what he’s made of himself. He takes pride in what he does and how he does it.
He would, however, hope this was a healthy amount of pride, though one can never be too careful when it comes to the Vile.

Which of the Valiant (Charity, Chastity, Generosity, Humility, Patience, Temperance, Zeal) is reflected most in your character and why?

Again, of the Valiant, Rin would say he hopes he bears qualities of each (though again, he would doubt he would be accused of containing an overabundance of Temperance or Patience any time soon.)

Though he has an abundance of enthusiasm and optimism (often manifesting itself in reckless or brash behavior), he lacks the fervor or relentlessness one might require to consider him Zealous.

Again, were he to ponder the question, he would probably answer that Humility was most reflected in his character. Although he is proud of who he is and where he came from, he is also very aware of his humble origins. But for the grace of Plentok Veris, he might be toiling in a field, under yoke and whip this very day. He knows he has been blessed and gifted and seeks to use those blessings and gifts as best he can.

Are you a leader or a follower, why?

Rin is both able to lead, and willing to follow. He is used to relying on himself, however, and thus prefers to be neither leader, nor follower.

Do you believe in destiny? What is your destiny?

Rin believes destiny is what you make it. Nothing is certain or guaranteed. Like Plentok Veris, you have to fight for it. Only time will tell what Fate has in store for Rin. He hopes he will be able to face it on his feet when that day comes.

Does freedom matter? Is there such a thing as free will?

Rin scoffs at the very question. Nothing matters more than freedom, than one’s free will. It is a right you must fight for.

Is Justice possible? What is it?

Again, Rin scoffs at the question. Of course Justice is possible. But it isn’t guaranteed. As with your freedom, you must be willing to fight for it. It is up to each and every person to be aware of it and to deliver it.

Justice must be met to those who seek injustices. More than that, Rin is unsure how to answer.

What is the most important thing?

Freedom. Freewill. A person’s right and ability to fight for these things.

What is a hero? Are you a hero?

A hero sees an injustice and does what he can to make it right.
A hero doesn’t turn a blind eye.
A hero stands for those who cannot stand for them self.
A hero defends that which is precious to him, no matter the danger.
Rin does not think of himself as a hero. He would say, however, that everyone is capable of both heroism and villainy. That he only hopes, should he find himself in such a situation, he chooses heroism over villainy, more often than not. That when his time comes, Plentok Veris will great him with a smile and a nod.

The Universe is made of stories. Tell me a story.

“My uncle’s the storyteller. He could enthrall you for days with a seemingly endless supply of hankuo parables, fables, and legends. My favorite story, though, was one he learned after arriving in Mazari. The story of Plentok Veris. Though it is a rich story, one Old Rin could weave for hours (and often did at my behest), it is also a simple one. It is the story of a man who was a slave, but who wanted more for himself and for his people. He saw and lived an injustice and strove to make it right. He could not and would not turn a blind eye, but instead stood up for himself, and for all those who could not stand for them self. He defended with his life, all that was precious to him, despite overwhelming danger. The story of Plentok Veris is the story of a true hero.”

FRANKIE

Who was your first love and why did it end?

Engineering, and she doubts it will ever end.

Before adventuring, what is the most important thing you ever did?

Acing the family engineering exam to become the Kantankeran legacy heir.

What was the first thing you ever killed and why?

A gluttony cultist in the sewers of Cauldron, to rescue captives being held by them.

What scares you the most and why?

Believing herself to be ineffective, since gnomivation can solve anything... which can lead to self doubt. Self doubt is worse than cancer for Frankie.

What is your deepest secret?

Her clockwork "daughter" that is waiting to have a body created. Frankie is also worried that Cable might have designs on her and/or her daughter, that might have manifested earlier in her life while growing up in Peppershot.

Which of your Companions do you trust the least and why?

Thalazaar for his tendency to be dishonest and his habit of not trusting others.
Frankie does admit that he has come a long way.

Which of the Vile (Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath) is reflected most in your character and why?

Pride can show it's face at times, but Frankie follows the ways of the Kantankeran engineers that have come before her and reflects on things others' and herself have done to "keep things real".

Which of the Valiant (Charity, Chastity, Generosity, Humility, Patience, Temperance, Zeal) is reflected most in your character and why?

Chastity would be the most reflected, since her love of engineering is a big driving force in her life.

Are you a leader or a follower, why?

Frankie has had to fit both roles in order to graduate as a Kantankeran engineer.
She doesn't mind following if the leader is up to the task and gets everyone going in the right direction. She also takes on the role of leader quite handily and will not shirk from it.

Do you believe in destiny? What is your destiny?

She doesn't believe in pre-ordained fates. Gnomivation defies destiny!

Does freedom matter? Is there such a thing as free will?

Freedom allows gnomivation, and free will is the choices that each individual makes.

Is Justice possible? What is it?

Frankie accords justice with rules put down by society. However, rules and justice only go hand in hand when they are not abused. Rules are going to be broken, but it is important that authority figures do not abuse rules they set in place.

What is the most important thing?

Gnomivation bab-ee!

What is a hero? Are you a hero?

Frankie follows her family's views on how she relates people to their factual deeds: as an example, "Peppershot held off kobolds to save several families", but would not say "Peppershot was a hero that..."

Coming from a scientific minded family, they tend to prefer non-fiction descriptions of past events in their proper perspective. Heroes can stay in the stories of bards that would occasionally pass through town.

Here is an example based on Frankie's actions: Frankie does not think of herself as a hero, and neither would her family, for saving all of those lives on the tram. She was doing what other Kantankeran engineers that came before have been doing, bettering the lives of others'.

TS’ELF

Who was your first love and why did it end?

T'self has yet to know love.

Before adventuring, what is the most important thing you ever did?

Choosing Manyberries as my first contact with civilization. Encontering a good and generous people was critical in solidifing T'self's moral
outlook on the world.

What was the first thing you ever killed and why?

A shark on an elemental plane of water, intent on eating my companions. It was unfortunate to kill a creature that was merely following it's instincts to hunt, but I could not allow my companions, intelligent and moral being, to come to harm. Sadly no other option presented itself.

What scares you the most and why?

That the writings upon my body might be a tool for evil, or that my companions might come to harm at the hand of others seeking to poses/use/control me or the writings upon myself

What is your deepest secret?

I don't think Ts'Elf has any at this time, his life has been too short and he is too naive. If he learns the meaning of the writings upon his body, he may soon have one.

Which of your Companions do you trust the least and why?

Thalazzar, he is erratic, secretive and distrustful. His addiction may lead him to act against the party.

Which of the Vile (Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath) is reflected most in your character and why?

Pride. The notoriety of my creator and the atypical aspects of my construction lead me to believe I was created to fulfil some special purpose... I just don't know what it is !!!

Which of the Valiant (Charity, Chastity, Generosity, Humility, Patience, Temperance, Zeal) is reflected most in your character and why?

Patience. While my curiosity wrt my creator, the purpose of my creation and of the writings upon my body are boundless, my needs must come second the numerous urgent matter that call upon our time.

Are you a leader or a follower, why?

Follower. There is too much of this world I do not understand.

Do you believe in destiny? What is your destiny?

Yes. I don't know!!!

Perhaps the start a new line of magic powered clockworks, or to convert existing clockworks to the new power source. Perhaps a more long lasting power source, and a facility to work with magic will allow the new clockworks to form a healthier and more independent society. i.e. Less prone to serve as warriors or slaves serving other peoples purposes.

Does freedom matter? Is there such a thing as free will?

Yes! Absolutely! So long as one conducts ones life in a fashion that does no harm, or at least the minimal possible harm while preventing a greater harm. Causing needles harm is grounds for denial of freedom.

Is Justice possible? What is it?

I want to believe it exists, but true justice seems to require perfect knowledge to prevent a miscarriage of justice. Perfect knowledge are rarely possible, and so Justice is inexact and error prone at best. Recognition of the fallibility of justice should concentrate on compensation, and prevention of repetition of harm, rather than punishment that tends to be irreversible.

What is the most important thing?

Minimizing the harm/evil in the world.

What is a hero? Are you a hero?

One who, at some personal cost or risk, helps others that can't help themselves, and has the misfortune of gaining notoriety along the way. If Ts'Elf lives long enough, he will likely be known as a hero. It is not his purpose, just a likely consequence of his actions. Sadly, avoiding notoriety doesn't appear to be in the cards for Ts'Elf.

The Universe is made of stories. Tell me a story.

Not tonight, I have work tomorrow.

THALAZZAR

Who was your first love and why did it end?

Thalazzar’s first love was a human peasant girl captured by the Khi’Ganad. As one of the strongest and resilient human slaves captured by the clan, Thalazzar, known at that time as Unj’Kaltigmag, was encouraged to breed the other females to produce higher quality slave stock. Thalazzar recalls that the peasant girl died in a cave in shortly after he encountered her. He does not recall her name.

Before adventuring, what is the most important thing you ever did?

Most of Thalazzar’s work before encountering his current companions took place in the River Baronies with the Bostikan Privateers of Loifen Three-Feathers. Most of his work involved providing some mercenary enchantments and muscle to Loifen’s troupe as they plied the waters and, as such, was mostly inconsequential to the grand politics of the realms. In Thalazzar’s opinion, the most important thing he ever did was assume the identity of Thalla Xevar after escaping the Khi’Ganad. This allowed him to learn magic and make a start for himself. The wizard, however, feels that he has now moved beyond this stolen identify since his own powers have grown such that he has cast off his assumed identity and embraced his own identity as Thalazzar the Conjuror.

What was the first thing you ever killed and why?

The first thing Thalazzar killed was a rival slave. The kobolds of the Khi’Ganad forced a young Thalazzar to compete with another slave for food. Thalazzar pummeled him to death with a rock.

What scares you the most and why?

Thalazzar grew up amongst a deeply evil and sorcerous clan of kobolds. There is very little that scared him by the time he reached adulthood and escaped captivity. Further, his fascination with dark magic and extraplanar devils causes curiousity and not fear. His deepest fear had been being exposed as nothing but a slave with a stolen identity and stolen magic. Now that he has made a name for himself, his greatest fear is losing that which he has fought so hard to build.

What is your deepest secret?

Thalazzar’s deepest secret had been his stolen identity. This secret has now been exposed and he has emerged from this scandal his own man.

Which of your Companions do you trust the least and why?

Owing to his kobold upbringing, Thalazzar has a difficult time stomaching gnomes. Although Frankie has proven herself a useful companion, Thalazzar still looks upon her with disgust. Getting to know her, however, has been enlightening for the wizard since he has observed certain similarities and contrasts between kobold and gnomish culture such as their appreciation for traps and machines.

Which of the Vile (Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath) is reflected most in your character and why?

While many may accuse Thalazzar of greed, his truest vile affiliation is that of pride. It is the pursuit of power that drives him, not greed for wealth’s sake. He seeks to overcompensate for the complete lack of control and identity that dominated his youth as a slave. Thus, Thalazzar acts to gather powerful items, magic, knowledge and wealth unto himself so as to become a figure of great influence, renown and power.

Which of the Valiant (Charity, Chastity, Generosity, Humility, Patience, Temperance, Zeal) is reflected most in your character and why?

Thalazzar perhaps reflects patience the most. He understands that the acquisition of his goals his both a process and a strategy that will unfold over his lifetime. He is also a man of order and balance who understands the often dark way of things that contrasts with a law bound society. His patience is reflected in appreciating both sides of this balance.

Are you a leader or a follower, why?

Thalazzar seeks to lead, but also to dominate, control and inspire. He does this not out of a sense of good or evil but out of a belief that there is a certain order from which some emerge victorious and some drown in their own failures.

Do you believe in destiny? What is your destiny?

Thalazzar believes that the gods have plans for everyone. Equally, there are gods who hold the opposite plans. Overarching both of these is a set order of all things in which both good and evil play must adhere to certain rules. Thus it comes down to the individual to forge his own fate amongst this natural order, for good or evil.

Does freedom matter? Is there such a thing as free will?

Freedom does matter. Thalazzar is adverse to slavery but yet has natural inclinations to become his own master of others. The order of the multiverse is set. Some make themselves free, some fail. Such is the way of things.

Is Justice possible? What is it?

Good and evil are in balance within the order of things. There is justice for good, but likewise there is justice for evil. It comes down to a man to determine whether he follows a law or falls into chaos. Thalazzar believes that those who fall into chaos fail and those who learn the laws of the world rise above them.

What is the most important thing?

The afterlives offered by the gods are but competing versions of eternal servitude to those who have acquired the most power in the multiverse. Thalazzar’s lifetime is the one thing he possesses to make his own mark in the world. For better or for worse, Thalazzar will make his life his own. The most important thing is that his life is not forgotten as a nameless slave but remembered as a figure of history and legend.

What is a hero? Are you a hero?

Heroes are the champions of good. Villians of the champions of evil. Thalazzar is his own champion.

TIBERIO

Who was your first love and why did it end?

My first and only love is music. It has never left me and I have never lost it. It will not end. All other love is mercurial and slavery has taken it from me.

Before adventuring, what is the most important thing you ever did?

I gave voice and music to the soul of my family and country.

What was the first thing you ever killed and why?

My innocence. To survive.

What scares you the most and why?

Losing my freedom. I have regained it at great cost. It is all I have.

What is your deepest secret?

This, I will not reveal. Too much dear to me has been taken from me already. I will clutch to my breast that which remains.

Which of your Companions do you trust the least and why?

Frankie. Tool and technology are to be valued for their utility only. They do not replace Spirit.

Which of the Vile (Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath) is reflected most in your character and why?

Pride. That which has been wounded the most leaves the deepest scar on the soul.

Which of the Valiant (Charity, Chastity, Generosity, Humility, Patience, Temperance, Zeal) is reflected most in your character and why?

Temperance. Nothing is a virtue unless it is bound by temperance.

Are you a leader or a follower, why?

Neither. I follow when appropriate and lead when I must. I neither seek nor seek to avoid responsibility.

Do you believe in destiny? What is your destiny?

Destiny, yes. But destiny is not fate. Fate is pre-determined; destiny is shaped and forged. I do not know my destiny, but I shape and forge it with every moment, every action, and every choice. As companions, we shape our destinies through each other. When the fires of suffering and struggle have cooled, the shape that has been forged may be revealed.

Does freedom matter? Is there such a thing as free will?

Freedom matters above all. But freedom is not license, nor is it the absence of external impediments such as duty. Freedom is binding oneself to a law that one has proscribed for oneself – the same law that everyone else has also proscribed for himself or herself. We are freedom. Will is free, but bound by freedom as described. Freedom binds.

Is Justice possible? What is it?

Justice is the advantage of the stronger. Justice ought to be giving to each his due. The Federation is justice as it ought to be. The Federation is possible.

What is the most important thing?

Freedom.

What is a hero? Are you a hero?

A hero is someone who answers a call to adventure, journeys through his shadows, and emerges into the light with the freedom to live. A hero journeys within as well as without. I am not yet a hero. I am deep in the belly of the whale. The shadows still have me.

The Universe is made of stories. Tell me a story.

The Universe is matter in motion. It cares not for stories because it cares not.

MOHADIR

Who was your first love and why did it end?

First love was Shandhra, the daughter of the Tale Weaver. The Tale Weaver took a liking to me and began to teach me the secrets of the Weave. Unfortunately, I had a natural talent for Tale Weaving and was forced to join the Order. I had to renounce my love for his daughter when taking the 17th vow, which is the vow of chastity and detachment.

Before adventuring, what is the most important thing you ever did?

I was an acolyte of the Pantheon, assisting the elders in the ceremonies of our society.

What was the first thing that you ever killed and why?

During the ceremony of the 17th vow, I was obligated to sacrifice the person that meant the most to me to the serpent God of Death and Rebirth.

What scares you the most and why?

My visions, because I have no control over them.

What is your deepest secret?

I don’t understand my visions. I often make up their significance. I was ousted from my society for uttering false visions.

Which of your companions do you trust the least, and why?

Trust? I know they saved my life, but who are they really?

Which of the Vile (envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath) is reflected most in your character and why?

Pride. I became one of the most popular Tale Weaver and Visionary of my society and was addicted to the fame.

Which of the Valiant (clarity, chastity, generosity, humility, patience, temperance, or zeal) is reflected most in your character and why?

Zeal. I am the voice and vehicle of the Gods of the Pantheon of my people.

Are you a leader of a follower, and why?

I was a leader guiding my people through my visions. Now exiled, I wander the lonely vast without purpose.

Do you believe in destiny? What is your destiny?

Destiny is the story that best reflects what is happening to us. Although the ending is already written, it is unknown to us. My destiny remains untold to me since my fall.

Does freedom matter? Is there such thing as free will?

We are all born free; however, once we join society, we become part of the whole. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Those that go against this, must be punished and in the worst case, separated from the one.

Is justice possible? What is it?

Justice, when properly executed, is the suppression of the Vile, the upholding of the Valiant for the greater good. It is something that in it’s purest form is unattainable and yet something that we must always strive for.

What is the most important thing?

Myths. They are the songs of the universe. They tell us who we are, how we got here, how to live our lives, and where we are going. Without them, the one becomes many and chaos triumphs over order. Without them we would wander from the cradle to the grave without a sense of purpose.

What is a hero? Are you a hero?

A hero is an ordinary person who when faced with extraordinary circumstances prevails and is transformed by that experience. A hero is destined to follow the path of a hero. Even in death, a hero shall overcome any obstacles. He is one who follows the path less traveled, taking help along the way from those who will guide him through the abyss until he emerges on the other side imparted with knowledge and wisdom needed by those who saw him leave. He will be made to look inward and slay that which he fears. Mohadir is definitely on a heroic path. He was imparted with the wisdom of his teacher and the blessings of his Gods. Far from his people, he now wanders through the abyss of his soul. Whether or not he survives this path and is transformed by it, returning to his people to explain what he has learned will decide if he is a hero.

The Universe is made of stories. Tell me a story.

Once the Gods had created the world, and populated it with a multitude of creatures, they set about their finest creation: our people. In the beginning, we lived in bliss, without distinction of good or evil, right or wrong. The many and the one were united in purpose. As the eons rolled by, the others created rules, naming this or that to be right and this or that to be wrong. And so the Gods looked upon their creation and saw what we had done to it. And so they proclaimed:

Where once you shared things, now you covet and envy them.
Where once you all ate together, food has become hoarded.
Where once nothing was owned, everything now belongs to someone.
Where once you desired nothing, now you want that which you do not have.
Where once you were all equal, you have become competitive.
Where once you all shared in labors, you have become lazy on the backs of others.
Where once there was peace, you now boil with rage.

And so our people were punished and driven out of the garden, into the caves below. They were made to know poverty, hunger, humility, slavery, and anger and suffered for a long time. The elders tried everything to appease their Gods. They prayed and made sacrifices to them; however, nothing they did returned them to the bliss of the garden. Our people were made to suffer until the Gods sent their avatars amongst us to teach us the path of redemption and the seven wisdoms.

Now our people contemplate the seven wisdoms and await the one who will lead them from the desert.

NIMBUS

Who was your first love and why did it end?

Nimbus has not been romantically involved. As a youth he was enslaved and later when he found his freedom he pursued the teachings of his master. Nimbus has however gained a deep love for life and Sentar.

Before adventuring, what is the most important thing you ever did?

Before adventuring the most important thing Nimbus did was to come to terms with his harsh past. He could not have done this without the guidance of his master Rif T'Ling-os. Listening to his Master’s many teachings and meditating on the shores of Lake Sular, Nimbus began his attunement to Sentar that has leaded him on his current path.

What was the first thing you ever killed and why?

The first thing Nimbus ever destroyed was his misconceptions of himself and his surroundings. By destroying his false conception of self he was able to embrace the Web of Life that is Sentar and become a conscious part of it.

What scares you the most and why?

Nimbus fears that which exists within each thing that is. That is to say that he fear the End of all that Was Is and Will be, the all encompassing void of nothing, the very last story forgotten, the threshold to which nothing can exist into, the One.

What is your deepest secret?

Humility has taught Nimbus to be free from secrets. He is not afraid of shedding light on ignorance and has lies have no hold on him.

Which of your Companions do you trust the least and why?

Each of the Companions is different and yet shares a common story. Each simply is and has their effects to produce.

Which of the Vile (Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath) is reflected most in your character and why?

Although each of the Vile temps Nimbus, he tries to recognize them for what they are at let their influence on him pass. Those that follow the path of Union must consider the dualities the Vile and Valiant together, mitigation the effects of the Vile while at the same time promoting the effects of the Valiant.

Which of the Valiant (Charity, Chastity, Generosity, Humility, Patience, Temperance, Zeal) is reflected most in your character and why?

Through his connection to Sentar, Nimbus tries to practice each of the Valiant as often as possible. Those that follow the path of Union must consider the dualities the Vile and Valiant together, mitigation the effects of the Vile while at the same time promoting the effects of the Valiant.

Are you a leader or a follower, why?

Nimbus is both a student and a teacher. Having gained the benefits of his Master’s teachings he now wishes to spread wisdom and compassion to others, helping them attain geo-transcendence. He does prefer action over inaction.

Do you believe in destiny? What is your destiny?

We are all influenced by the infinite effects of the web of life; these effects present us with what we consider to be choice. By making certain choices we influence not only our own future but that of everything else. Choices we make are like ripples on the lake of life. Nimbus’ destiny is unknown to him.

Does freedom matter? Is there such a thing as free will?

Free will is the result we allow the effects of the web of life to have on us.

Is Justice possible? What is it?

Justice is the rabbit being eaten by the wolf. Both benefit from the act. Only Undeath and the “End of all” should be avoided. This being said, certain actions are more desirable to Life on Sentar and should be promoted over more harmful actions.

What is the most important thing?

Life, Sentar and the Innate intelligence that is existence.

What is a hero? Are you a hero?

A hero is distinguished by their ability to take selfless action for the benefit of another. A true Heroic act is free of the Vile and strengthened by the qualities of the Valiant. Nimbus strives to act heroically whenever possible.

The Universe is made of stories. Tell me a story.

In the beginning there was a simply small seed. This seed like any other contained all of the Wisdom of the Universe. Existing within it was the endless potential of Life and Creation. Luckily, this seed was sowed in a fertile place and cared for by our Great Grandchildren. As the seed sprouted and grew, so too did its fertile grounds. With time the seed had been transformed into an enormous tree of glorious magnitude. As far as its branches reached, so too did the Garden of stunning variety.

AREK

Who was your first love and why did it end (did it)?

Arek has never fallen in love. It is also forbidden for Clerics of Moradin to court or marry before they have fulfilled their initial rites. Ever since laying eyes on Lake Dakar, however, Arek has found that love can take many shapes and can be found in all things.

Before adventuring, what was the most important thing you ever did?

Besides representing his clan in the Claimers, opening his heart and soul to Moradin was Arek’s proudest achievement before adventuring.

What was the first thing you ever killed and why?

While on a long-range patrol in the Bithtal foothills with his uncle Ulgar, Arek killed a Goblin. A raiding-party had attacked the dwarven campsite on a moonless night. Arek had received Moradin’s first combat blessings during this confrontation.

What scares you most and why?

Arek is afraid to fail his clan. Failing to serve the clan and the Maddock, would be failing Moradin.

What is your deepest secret?

Arek is the lone male descendant of Clan Bithtat, the original settlers of Axes Bithat.

Which of your companions do you trust the least?

Arek trusts his companions as they have earned their trust many times over. If he must choose one companion who gives him cause for concern, Arek chooses Thalazzar. He sees Thalazzar as a lost soul in need of direction. Dream only adds to his desperation.

Which of the Vile (Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath) is your greatest weakness and why?

Pride is Arek’s weakness. His desire, above all things, to see his and his clan’s destiny fulfilled, as well as his fear of personal failure, can blind him from time to time.

Which of the Valiant (Charity, Chastity, Generosity, Humility, Patience, Temperance, Zeal) is your greatest virtue and why?

Temperance. To be prudent, strong, and just, Arek strives to moderate his passions. Through hardship and meditation, Arek has learned self-control.

Are you a leader or a follower? Why?

Arek is becoming a leader. He has been trained to lead if he must but has had little opportunity to do so until recently. Arek is also a follower because knows his place within the clan, under the Maddock, and under Moradin.

Do you believe in destiny? What is your destiny?

Arek has always believed that Moradin has designs for all his children and he has accepted it. Recent events have led Arek to believe that even Gods have destinies. Arek’s destiny is to serve Moradin as best he can.

Does freedom matter? Is there such a thing as Free Will?

Arek believes that freedom matters very much. Freedom allows us to choose our paths. Arek, however, believes we have several paths drawn before us. He believes in Free Will exists inasmuch as we are free to choose when, where, and how we go down these paths.

Is justice possible? What is it?

Arek believes justice is possible, but it is a constant work in progress. Justice requires constant effort and vigilance. Justice is both fairness and proportional punishment to wrongdoings.

What is the most important thing?

Arek believes that compassion for others is the most important thing.

What is a hero? Are you a hero?

Arek believes a hero is someone who discovers his true destiny and willingly follows it on a daily basis, to the end. Arek accepts his destiny and believes everyone can be a hero if they choose to be one.

The universe is made of stories. Tell me a story.

One of Arek’s first lessons as a young dwarf was thought to him through a story. The legend of Istvaldir chasm is a lesson of faith and patience.

During the Dwarven Civil War, a small war party of Lake Dwarves were designated to hold an outpost on one side of the Istvaldir Chasm. They were supposed to hold that position and delay any Steel Dwarf attack while civilians on the other side of the chasm, most of them family relatives, would retreat back to a secure position. A few days later, a lone human shepherd claiming to have lost his sheep because of the skirmishes around the grazing fields, appeared in front of the outpost and warned the Lake Dwarves of a Steel Dwarf party that had crossed the chasm, further upstream. He had seen their torches heading towards the unprotected settlements. The worried dwarves wanted to cross back and protect their kin. A young cleric of Moradin prayed to the Soulforger for counsel. In his dreams later that night, the cleric saw a vision of the opposite side of the chasm, quiet and peaceful in the moonlight. He told this to the rest of the warriors. He believed it was a sign from Moradin meaning that all was well. Others believed that it meant that they had to cross back to make sure their land was kept peaceful. They decided to cross back and establish a position the other side of the chasm. Only the young cleric decided to remain at his post.

As they were crossing the rope bridge, the shepherd reappeared at one end of the bridge. The young cleric saw him transform into Gruumsh’s avatar. He heard him cry “Damn Moradin’s children! Let the war between brothers burn you all down!” and with that he saw the avatar raise Bloodspear. The bridge collapsed like an old cobweb in a storm. The dwarves fell their deaths.

The sole cleric waited for the Steel Dwarf attack for days. It never came. Only later did he learn that his friends had fallen on the day of Ajukit Shadow. The civilian dwarves had never been threatened. Gruumsh, relishing in the Dwarven Civil war, had decided to intervene in this remote area to further the divide.

Many travellers have claimed to have heard the disctinct echo of dwarven cries on moonlight nights as they cross Istvaldir Chasm.

Next!
Fear & Justice

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