An admission. I've never played in a Greyhawk campaign. FR either, for that matter. My only contact with Oerth at all came through the books, a few modules plopped into homebrew campaigns, etc.
So, when my wife and daughters wanted me to run a campaign for them, I naturally picked Greyhawk!
My daughter rolls up a Half-elf cleric. I download a list of deities for her. she picks Sehanine Moonbow. I say Sure! The next day, after extensive study and perusal of Ashes, I said Holy Crap! How do I make this work?
There are no canonical references to Moonbow worship! Larethian, sure, but not his wife, daughter, sister, concubine, whatever she is. Even those who walk through the arch aren't talking!
Other than an LG reference, I find no worship of Moonbow outside the cult on Lendore Isle, so, I get an Idea.
I present it for your condemnation as heresy!
Mal’e, Novitiate of Larethian, entered the High Priestess’ chamber with no small amount of trepidation.
Bronzewood trees, planted centuries ago, nurtured and shaped by song, formed the posts and trusses supporting white, translucent ceiling and walls of the home. Adorned with traditional filigree, the walls blazed golden when the sun shone; now milky white, muted in this morning’s misty dawn. The ceiling, appearing delicate enough to break at the slightest touch, arched thirty feet overhead. Ivy growing beneath the walls weaved around pillars and arches. In Her Eminence’s chamber, light and shadow played across the somewhat lower ceiling as if the Lord of Light himself were trying to banish the shadows of the morning gloom.
Mal’e had known Ell’ Rivarien his entire life. She had dedicated him to the Lord of Light as a child. Unusual, if not unheard of, for a half-bred boy. The priestess was the spiritual pillar of the community, his teacher, a surrogate aunt, and his mother’s closest friend. Despite their history, he could not shake the perfectly rational fear gripping his heart as he reached the center of the chamber, and with his head bowed in supplication, knelt on the small, circular rug before Ell’ Rivarien, High Priestess of the Sacred Order, Keeper of Wisdom, in service to the Lord of Light, Corelon Larethian.
“You asked for me, Your Eminence?”
Ell’ Rivarien, barefoot as always, wore an undyed chiffon frock, of simple cut, hanging elegantly from shoulders showing no sign of weakness despite thirteen centuries of life. The fabric flowing around her as water around a rock in a pool, the cuffs of her sleeves tapering to a point above each delicate wrist. She required no ornamentation other than a leather thong about her neck, carrying the quarter-moon symbol of her office, and her shoulder length golden hair, tinged red, framing her face and shoulders.
Ell’ tried to give a reassuring smile to the young novitiate, realizing it didn’t help when his shaking did not abate. Eschewing her writing desk, Ell’ placed a simple folding stool, made of Deklo twigs and canvas, before Mal’e as if she were beginning a lesson and replied,
“I did, Wa’ lien.”
Mal’e, taken aback by the use of her childhood nickname for him, meaning “moon-kissed”, finally met the priestess’ tender gaze with slightly less sense of his own impending doom. Ever since his entering the clerisy, all familiarity with Priestess Rivarien had ceased. She had made it very clear that she would treat him as any other novitiate, and expected nothing but hard work, deference, and obedience in return.
“Tomorrow is your ordination. With the light of the dawn you will be a priest in the service of Corelon Larethian. You should be glad your training is almost complete. You should be happy.
But, you are not. You’ve grown quiet and sullen. You avoid your peers and, other than lessons and official duties, any contact with others. Something is troubling you, Wa’lien.”
Mal’e felt his chest tighten. His own gaze darting around the room, looking anywhere but her. Eyes that had always looked at him with love and belonging suddenly filled him with foreboding and dread. Dread that her continued scrutiny might ferret out his betrayal of everything she held dear and true.
“I’ve known you your entire life. You first crawled on the very rug upon which you now kneel. You and your mother are as precious to me as if you were my own. I’ve shared your laughter, your tears, your joy, and your pain. I sense your pain now, though I know not its source. Please, for this moment alone, you are no longer a novitiate and I am not the high priestess. I am your friend, your confidant, just like when you were little. Tell me your troubles, Wa’lien. I beg of you, let me help you.”
Mal’e’s eyes clouded. The tears, unbidden. Surrendering to her, he crawled quickly to Ell’ Rivarien, and laid his head on her lap as he had done so many times before. The Olven priestess continued stroking his hair, remaining silent as Mal’e sobbed, heedless of the tears soaking into her dress. Mal’e slowly gathered himself and confessed his soul to the one person he knew would either exonerate him, or condemn him.
“I’ve tried, Aunt Ell’. I swear I tried. I have failed you, as I have failed our Lord. I know the rites, performed them. I know the songs verse by verse. Committed the histories to memory. Everything you’ve taught and asked, I’ve learned and done.” When she said nothing, he continued, “Yet, I feel nothing. The Lord of Light does not speak to me. He grants me no power.” And then, finally, “I am lost.”
“I feel the potential in you, child. It is unmistakable. The preparations have made you an empty vessel, ripe for His Glory to fill and dispense.”
“Then why does he deny me? I pray every morning, perform the rites, open myself to the Lord of Light, but never have I felt His Glory, only emptiness.”
Ell’ considered her next words carefully, stroking his hair, rubbing his shoulders to calm his mind and aching heart. “Tell me of your dreams.” she said.
Fear, again. “She knows.” he thought. “M - my dreams?”
“Wa’lien, never, in all my years dedicated in service to the Lord of Light have I met another more suited to the clerisy than you. You are kind, perceptive and strong. Possessing a keen intellect and a love of learning and service. If our Lord does not send his servants to guide your dreams, and invest you with His Glory there must be a reason.”
Instinct telling her she may not like the answer; she took a deep breath, exhaling slowly to steel her own nerves. “Speak to me of your dreams.”
Mal’e lifted his head from Ell’ Rivarien’s lap, wiping his eyes, and knelt at his teacher’s feet.
“My dreams”, he began, “have been very troubling of late. I’ve always wanted to follow you into our Lord’s service, you know that. When I began my novitiate, the dreams were always the same. Just dreams, untouched by the Divine.” The first divine dream came well before the other initiates. Weeks before. I thought this meant our Lord saw me as first amongst us. The dreams came regularly, gaining in clarity, almost visions. Dreams of service, healing the sick, comforting the dying and bereaved, serving the community.”
Mal’e took a deep breath, realizing it was too late to stop, even had he wanted.
“About one month ago, I was given a particularly vivid dream. In it, I saw myself reflected in a mirror. I first noticed the moon on my vestments was wrong. Indeed, I looked down, at the full moon on vestments! Only then did I notice the moon was not the azure hue of our Lord Larethian, but silver! After that, the visions came every night. My sister Meira and I packing for a long trip, leaving the Dimwood. Traveling and fighting with companions, human, dwarven even a gnome! Fighting horrible beasts, all the beasts from the tales. Undead, corrupted forest creatures, a frail old man of unimaginable power! Looking into a silver bowl filled with water, I saw an orcish mother crying, holding the hand of her dead child, a sea voyage fleeing from a fleet of ships commanded by a man in red robes.”
”Fearing the answer, the priestess asked, “And last night? What did you dream last night?”
”A moonlit glade,” he answered, “the face of Luna full above. Standing in the center, a silver arch, and within the arch, a silver haired Olven woman of unsurpassed beauty, beckoning to me. The most thrilling, and frightening vision yet.”
Pleading, Mal’e asked, “Teacher, what do the dreams mean?”
“I do not know, child, but one thing is clear. Your destiny does not lie with Corelon Larethian.” Seeing his crestfallen face, she quickly added, “Do not fret, Wa’lien, a cleric you shall be, and powerful, if dreams can be taken at face value.”
Mal’e could not believe his ears! Not only was the High Priestess not angry, not disappointed. She looked intrigued! As if presented with a puzzle of surpassing interest. “If not the Lord of the Dawn, then who?” he asked.
Ell’ thought for a moment, and whispered, “Coincidence, or destiny?”
Returning her gaze to his, she quickly asks, “When a cleric prepares himself for the blessings of his lord and the unexpected happens, is it coincidence or destiny? Quickly, do not think!”
Rote memorization having drilled the answer into him, “Destiny! In such circumstances, given no obvious alternative, the cleric always assumes the handiwork of the divine.”
Smiling, the High Priestess of Corelon Larethian says, “I’ll not be the one to stand in the way of divine work.” With that, she stood and moved to her desk. Opening the center drawer, she retrieved a thick scroll, sat in her sablewood chair, and began unrolling it. “This scroll came to me from an old friend I had not heard from in decades. He was born in the Dimwood, across the river when it was still safe. It arrived just two days ago”
“With the trader from Verbobonc?” Standing, he stepped to the desk without first obtaining permission. A punishable offense for any novitiate.
Too preoccupied to notice, “Precisely so.” she stated. “My friend’s name is Ehl’rhynor Lothander. He is currently working as a sage in the Free City of Greyhawk. He used to write every 5 years or so with news of the realm, but I hadn’t heard from him since just after you were born.” She took up her stylus and pointed out a passage. “This is the news of interest to us at the moment. Read it, aloud. My eyes aren’t what they once were.”
“Mal’e read, “The elves of the Spindrift Isles, always an exclusive bunch, exercised their option per their contract with the human settlers of the southern isle, regaining exclusive rights of hold and use over the entirety of the island. As such, they gave everyone three days to pack and leave. Three days! Only elves were exempt. At least they arranged for transportation to any eastern port on the mainland, Lordship, or the Baronies. Apparently, our brother elves have again become quite adept at sailing! Imagine!
It has come to my attention that the elves are motivated by a new cult. A cult dedicated to Sehanine Moonbow, the silver-haired consort of Corelon Larethian. Worship of Moonbow all but died out before you and I were born! I doubt anyone outside Olven sages even remembers her. My own references are scarce enough. It begs the question, is Sehanine Moonbow truly returning to Oerth and the Flanaess, or is this cult simply using her name, and making it up as they go along?”
“Sehanine Moonbow…” Mal’e intoned.
“The silver haired woman from your dream. What color was her skin?”
Mal’e grinned, “Pale as yours, Teacher.”
“Good, good. We don’t need the Spider Queen putting thoughts into your head. What does your heart tell you when you speak the name?”
“It is a deep, bronze bell sounding in the distance. Comforting, and right.”
“Child of my heart, you are prepared. And it seems she is already sending dreams to entice you. If we are correct, now that you have named her, the dreams should begin to teach you rites sacred to her worship. Learn from them. I will scour what records I possess to glean clues about how best to serve your Lady.” Smiling she added, “I think you will know her power soon enough.”
Laughing and throwing his arms around her in an awkward hug, “Thank you Teacher. I feared anger or disappointment! Your understanding has lifted the weight of the world from my soul.”
Taking Mal’e by the shoulders, holding him at arm’s length, “Mal’e, know that I have always expected greatness from you, but this? To be the harbinger of a most holy thought long gone from this world? I stand in awe.”
Stunned, Mal’e could only utter, “Thank you Mother.”
“One warning. Your path will not be an easy one. I know of no temples or shrines dedicated to Moonbow. And, if the dreams are to be trusted, you will walk the path of an adventurer. You will know heartache, and loss beyond measure, but it is also a path to greater accomplishment than most can dream. Go now, and wash your face and hands. It is almost time for the noon meal, and you are serving, if memory serves.”
Suddenly recalling he was still a novitiate, at least until tomorrow at dawn, Mal’e leaped to his feet, “Certainly Your Eminence! I do your bidding!” and raced from the chamber.
Rerolling the scroll from her old friend and setting it aside, Ell’ Rivarien, High Priestess of the Sacred Order, Keeper of Wisdom, in service to the Lord of Light, Corelon Larethian, laid her head upon her desk and wept silent tears.
Hey, not bad, Osmium. It's a fun backstory for your daughter's character. Even gives her several long-running quests - establish shrines to Sehanine, search out and recover objects sacred to Sehanine, travel across the Flanaess to discover the truth of the elves of the Spindrifts.
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