PCs:Moira Celyn Windspar
Dame Moira Celyn Callindraes
- Knight, Defender of the Balance of the Church of Mikon
- Common Housewoman of M'Chek, representing Mikona's Lower East Residences
- Ordained member of Mikon's Council of Balance
- Chair of Twostep Hall of the Avlis Arms and Armor Association
- Master of the AKN
- Member of the ANRA
Appearance and Personality
Moira is a tall woman, somewhat pale, with copper-colored hair and sky blue eyes. Due to her many hours dedicated to smithing, weaponcrafting, and several other arts, her hair is kept in a chin-length, practical cut, her nails trimmed short, her muscles toned and lean. She is graceful, but certainly not delicate, with an air of wary calm about her.
Moira is a student of life, and will sometimes sit and quietly watch as the day-to-day dramas unfold before her. But she will act if the drama turns to conflict, often seeking to diffuse the situation, though not afraid to wade into a fight, take the opposing sides by their respective ear, and bonk heads together - if necessary, of course.
She is a devoted servant of Mikon, recognizing that each philosophy has a meaning and a place on Avlis, and also recognizing her own part in Mikon's highest teaching, "Be disciplined, if you may. But let the present moment decide when discipline evaporates and gets replaced by freedom."
In this freedom, she chooses her place in Mikon's Balance, to be the voice for those who have no voice, to help those she can to be able to live in a harmonious world, come what may.
Moira Celyn is the daughter of Bernart Celyn and Priena Thendrin. Bernart was a caravan leader and merchant who preferred life on the road and traveling. Though considered georgio, he drew on his mother's romini roots for many of his beliefs and customs. Priena was an herbalist and the principal healer for the people who traveled with the caravan. The two met in the large Romini camp near the Fairy Gardens, and were soon devoted to each other.
For most of Moira's childhood she was traveling with her parents, returning only once in a while to the Celyn family homestead found northeast of M'Chek's Finmaegan Keep. But danger pressed in as Sereg attacked M'Chek forces along the border, then in Mikona, then even Elysia. Her parents decided it was for the best that Priena and Moira stay in the relative safety of their small village while Bernart led another caravan to Elysia. It was a decision they would bitterly regret.
When the Spite first made its appearance in a nearby village, Priena made her way there to try to help with this strange new sickness. She contracted the very disease she had hoped to cure, locking herself in her room to try to stop from spreading the disease further, and there she died.
The village was in turmoil as the warnings and rumors of this new illness spread. The village elders moved quickly, and put to the torch any house where the Spite was found. Moira watched in helpless terror as her home became her mother's funeral pyre.
Bernart returned only a few days later to find this disaster. He quietly gathered his best gear suited for hunting in the underdark, gave his daughter his holy symbol, kissed her goodbye, and disappeared from Moira's life.
Moira's village was eventually abandoned by all but the most stouthearted. Heart-sick, she made her way to Mikona, taking jobs wherever she could to try to get by. To escape the city for a while, Moira would often visit the Lifestone, and spend a few hours quietly helping its keeper, a druid of Skern named Drem. Then a single, chance encounter changed everything when she stopped a man to ask him for directions. The man was Darent Webber, then a high journeyman for the Avlis Arms and Armor Association, and not only did he give her the directions she asked for, but a whole new purpose that was yet to be discovered when he offered to take her on as his apprentice.
Striving to do as much as she could to prove herself to her guild and her mentor, she travelled north to Dwarftrade, west to Elysia and Ferrell, into the depths of Deglos, and up to the heights of the T'Nanshi canopies. Contact with her mentor was brief, but always insightful, and she never knew where she would meet him next.
After working hard and witnessing much, Moira thought she had found her place in life with her guild. Then Darent asked her, "have you no faith in any gods?" Bringing her face to face with her dilemma.
With her father's holy symbol in one hand, and her mother's in the other, she spent many days in quiet contemplation. But as much as she respected her mother's love for her god, she did not feel the same devotion. Instead her mind turned more and more to Mikon's precepts. Donning her father's holy symbol, she felt a strange calling for home. For all its faults, for all its troubles, her heart was drawn to Mikona.
Presenting herself to her mentor, Darent formally asked her to join Mikon's Council of Balance. She dedicated herself to Mikon, and swore she would help his people any way she could.
During all this, there was one constant distraction, a red-maned wemic by the name of Kai'Ral Windspar. He was many things she was not, and there were many disagreements and debates, sometimes discussions between the two would continue for days. Amid the growing tensions of the war, the Gentleman at the height of his strength, a strange new power making its presence felt in Mikona, as powerful political and metaphysical forces swirled round the couple, Kai'Ral and Moira fell in love and were married.
Into the Fray
Foremost among many of Moira's concerns was the suffering of many due to the lack of food. The harvests continued to be poor, and there continued to be uneasy rumors of certain noble families selling their grain harvests to the Seven Cities and other foreign markets. She tried to see a way to help however she could, but the barriers at each turn seemed formidable. Then circumstances opened a way she could never have imagined.
Various peoples began to draw attention to the Mikona lifestone, a place Moira knew well. She spoke with those druids and rangers learned in such things, including the lifestone's keeper, Drem. He said the nearby fire giants had created an imbalance in the stone, and had weakened it greatly, which in turn affected the lifestone's role of providing natural aid to the people, plants and wildlife in its area of concern.
With this in mind, a new threat to the city of Mikona rose up. Years before, Fulfordis the Frost Giant had tried to intimidate the city into submission by causing it to snow year round. The local crops were ruined, and many died from the cold, weakened by lack of food and illness. The cause of the snow was found to be a machine which had linked to an elemental plane of cold. The machine had been destroyed, the link severed… But now something had followed that link to Mikona.
The Shadow of the Void hid in the Ice Caves, assessing and learning of its new surroundings. To add to the confusion, there were problems in a nearby crypt caused by the return of an undead young boy name Joriah. He ran about the outskirts of the city wanting to play games, but when people disagreed with him, he would unleash startling powerful spells. Though for all his powers this undead was still a young boy, and admitted to certain persons that he was scared of something in the Ice Caves.
The Shadow then manifested itself, sending a legion of winterwights into the city, slaughtering many innocent people. It demanded Joriah be destroyed, or it would send more. The Joint House made a bargain with the necromancer Isamu, who tricked and trapped the young boy. Moira witnessed much of this, and could only be comforted by the fact that now Joriah would be finally be allowed to rest in death.
But the Shadow still had to be dealt with, as it then threatened to attack again unless it's minions were allowed to search the city. Rumors about what it might want spread quickly, and due to the Shadow's nature of being able to control undead, quickly turned to the remains of Sorvanok's deserted lair.
In the meantime, the Shadow was not idle, and set out a horde of undead to attack the Fire Giant Tollgaroth. With the aid of adventurers from Mikona, the undead were driven back, deep into the Ice Caves. There they found a ghastly scene. The bodies who had died from Fulfordis' cold and snow had been hastily buried in the Ice Caves, and were now being called forth by the Shadow as his minions. The spells to create the winterwights had stripped off what flesh and skin had remained on these bodies and left scattered across the cavern floor…
A deal was struck with Tollgaroth, a treaty signed. He would supply the means to create a construct, a ruby golem, which would have the strength to combat the Shadow and keep it from escaping back into the link to its icy plane. Tollgaroth and his ilk had stolen and kidnapped from the nearby farms long enough, now he and his minions would repay their debt by providing M'Chek with a contingent of fighters for the war against T'Nanshi.
And there was one clause of the treaty, one agreement which Moira made certain was completely understood. Tollgaroth and his kind would leave the Hills of Tumult, they would join their brother-giants on the far northeastern edge of the M'Chek Warrens.
And the greatest threat to the lifestone's strength would finally be removed.
Moira was then pushed into the fray when two major events of the M'Chek-T'Nanshi war happened within a short time-period. The neutral hospital in the war-torn village of Blandenberg was bombed by terrorists, killing most of the occupants, healers, M'Chek and T'Nanshi wounded alike. Both sides pointed accusing fingers at each other, but nothing is ever officially confirmed. Moira was asked by Dala Wennen, then a Captain of the Alpha Corps, to represent M'Chek in a series of meetings to be held to hopefully bring both sides in agreement to allow the hospital to be rebuilt. These meetings ran into difficulty when T'Nanshi representatives never presented themselves for the first two meetings. However, there were one or two representatives of various interested groups in attendance that took this time to try to grill the M'Chek military representative as if he were in a tribunal. Moira respected how he kept his even temper throughout. Although materials and workers were promised by both the AAAA and ACE, the two sides simply could not agree.
The second event was the destruction of the storehouse at Nelthrope Keep. The storehouse was conveniently located over a weak point and entrance of the famed Nelthrope mines, found in the hill below the keep. Although later, the Nanshi would swear their intelligence reports showed that no food was stored in the warehouse, they did not take into account that the harvest was brought in for safekeeping after those reports had been written. The food supplies for the winter were destroyed, and those refugees who could walk the distance soon reached Mikona.
Moira was in the Nelthrope area a few days after the bombing, when she found a small boy wandering in the cold, obviously malnourished and even delusional. She took Jedan to Master McGowan, the blacksmith of the keep, and while taking care of him they soon discovered that the boy's mother had died from a simple illness, but had been too weak to recover. Heartsick, Moira arraigned for Jedan to be an apprentice to McGowan while she saw to the boy's welfare. Soon "Momma Moira" was visiting whenever she could.
|A copper-haired woman looked over the fields of stubble and bit back a groan. The cold wind played fretfully with the ends of her cloak, snapping it against her shins as she struggled to harvest a few more stumpy spikes of aloe and the last wind-shredded tufts of cotton.
She could still smell it. The acrid tang of burned grain scratched at her throat, and she looked over the walls of Nelthrope Keep to where a last curl of smoke was rising from the collapsed hole, full of ash and muddled timbers that was once the storehouse. Wheat, barley, foodstuffs, bandages, healing supplies, winter supplies, all destroyed.
The wounded and the sick had been carried to Bachwood, to Westshore, some had even straggled to the Order of the Way. But the harvest had been meager for everyone, how would anyone survive the winter with this fearsome burden?
A voice called out in the darkness, the twilight faded into the true dark of night. She turned, searching the area, the wind might be playing tricks. No, it was a child's voice, crying out in the night for his mother. Suddenly the child was there, barrelling into her, clinging to her leg. "Where's the food momma? I promise to get some…"
She looked the boy over as she tried to asked questions, he held to her like a burr. "Where do you live, where is your mother?"
"Momma, you were too weak, you sent me for food..."
She bent to get a better look at him, holding her enchanted ring high. The light showed his cheeks were sunken, his skin paper-thin, he was clearly malnourished. His eyes were glazed with delirium. "Your mother send you for food?"
"Why no food momma? Why didn’t you come back?"
"Here," she said, confused and concerned, "take my hand, show me the way home, and we will see what we can find."
The boy slid his hand into hers, but it was a deathly weak grip, and she could feel every fragile bone in his hand.
"Momma, what do you mean, you know the way home…"
The copper-haired woman stared at the boy for a moment, then swallowed painfully. He smiled up at her trustingly, his lips cracking in the cold wind.
"This way… we're going to visit a friend of mine. Not far, come with me…" Her mind raced as she wrapped her cloak around the boy and they made their way through the darkness to the keep.
"We live here??" He asked in awe as she led him through the gates. She stumbled over a reply, too choked up to talk until they entered the smithy.
"Ahh, Lady Moira…" The smith greeted her with a tired smile.
"Master McGowan, please, will you watch of this young one? Just for a little while?"
The master smith's eyes widened as he looked the boy over. "Why, he's just skin and bones!"
She knelt beside the boy, looking into his eyes, trying to smile. "This is a good friend of mine, Master McGowan… Can you tell him your name, show him how brave you are?"
"Jedan" He said promptly to the smith. "I'm going to be a great warrior someday!" And he puffed up his tiny chest, which emphasized his bulging stomach, one of the final signs of long term malnutrition.
"There, you see, you're a good boy. Come sit by the forge where its warm and I'll get you something to eat." She said softly, pulling out a long swatch of soft green and black cloth to wrap the boy in as he warmed his hands by the fire.
Master McGowan then turned to her. "I will take care of the lad for a bit, he is sick and needs attention," the smith murmured. "We don't have much here, our reserves are almost spent, and the winter has barely set in."
"I'll bring back supplies, I'll glean what I can from the fields to the south." She promised fervently. "The harvest is not finished there, I'll beg what I can. And I will find his mother."
McGowan caught her eye and shook his head slightly. "A woman appeared at the gates this morning, barely coherent. She spoke of taking back food for her child. Her fever - she didn't survive the day." He looked away quickly, then raised his voice. "Come son, lets get some something to eat."
"Food!" The boy cried happily, as the copper-haired woman sat on her heels and looked into the boy's eyes.
"Jedan, Master McGowan is going to look after you for a little while."
"You'll come back?" He cried, doubt and fear racing across his face.
"I will be back, oh yes. I swear."
His smile pulled at her, and she held out her arms, "come give me a hug, and promise to be good." He hugged her weakly, exclaiming, "I promise to be extra good!" "Come son," Master McGowan guided Jedan to the living quarters above the smithy as she waved and vainly tried to hide her tears.
Through old friendships, Moira sought to pull together what aid she could for the people of Nelthrope. But her opponents were fierce, accusing her of lying about the terrible conditions in order to have donations redirected to the army. Two dear friends stepped in to pledge that they trusted Moira, and the food would reach the people in need. These friends were Tanmar Stronghammer, the Lightforger of Gorethar, and Thror Stormhammer, another respected paladin of Gorethar. Along with the help of Grandmaster Jade of the Order of the Dragon, members of the Order of O'Ma, and other interested parties, Moira was able to purchase a large shipment of food supplies from Ferrell, which were then delivered to the people at Nelthrope Keep.
In the meantime an agreement had still not been finalized for a peaceful withdrawal from the village by both factions so that the hospital could be rebuilt.
Commander Dala Wennen of the M'Chek Alpha Corps then hit upon a bold proposal. Proceeded by a series of carefully planned diversions, a full scale assault was mounted on Blandenberg. At the same time as the attack, several neutral parties, including the Healers of Cha'reth, Mikon's Council of Balance, the Wardens of M'Chek and the ANRA, had been invited to attend a meeting concerning a proposed farming settlement that was meant to be in the M'Chek Warrens. After the village was secured by the M'Chek forces, the attendees of the meeting were instead escorted to Blandenberg village proper. Then while still in field command, Wennen offered the village and its lands to these neutral parties, to be a farming settlement between the two warring countries, a small oasis of calm in the midst of war.
Sadly, the representatives of the Healers of Cha'reth pointed out their only concern was for the Blandenberg Hospital, and refused to take responsibility for the village proper. Moira Celyn Windspar, the representative of Mikon's Council of Balance was alone in accepting the governance of the settlement on behalf of the Church of Mikon. The ANRA offered whatever help they could to revitalize the lands for farming.
But the village of Blandenberg were still under threat, as the terms of the first treaty drawn up at this meeting were rejected by the T'Nanshi's Council of Nine. What they did not recon on was the friendship of Darent Webber of Mikon, and Celedor Dedwend of Dru'El. These two met in a series of informal meetings, away from the posturing of the army representatives. Both Moira and Darent realised that the both armies had paid in blood and death for the years of battle, but Blandenberg had been given to the Church of Mikon, and the church would see this through.
Darent Webber drafted what is now officially recognized as The Blandenberg Accord, giving joint authority of the village to the Churches of Dru'El and Mikon, to be protected by the holy warriors of these two faiths.
In the midst of these negotiations, the lands of M'Chek and T'Nanshi were wracked by a terrible plague that had spread from the city-state of Elysia, where it had first presented itself. Many witnesses swore they recognized the T'Nanshi soldier who intentionally brought the plague from Elysia and poured it into jugs of water at the Inn at Dunster Commons. Whoever he was, he took the plague back with him when he turned tail and ran back across the lines to the north.
The plague swept through both armies, T'Nanshi and M'Chek, and fighting was brought to a standstill. Those in Elysia who had sat out most of the fighting over the years had finally been given a taste of the devastation of war brought on them by the Second Fairy War, and they did not want to continue their involvement.
Also, a new opportunity of immense proportions was then offered. Melonius Mennallin, High Priest of Andrinor, bought an entire valley from the nation of Galdos in order to build Andrinor's Capital and Seat of his Trust, the City-State of Visimontium. Melonius then made an offer to the people of M'Chek to migrate there, farm this new land, and start again. Thousands took up this offer, and a series of planned marches through T'Nanshi, through Deglos, and to their new homes in Visimontium.
Moira kept a close eye on all these developments as she worked with a taskforce to find the cure for the plague. This proved to be elusive, as the plague had changed subtly from that of the original Elysian plague. Yet the cure was finally found, and quickly administered throughout the nation.
Pressure grew quickly on both sides to finally end the fighting once and for all. A cease-fire agreement was drawn up during the final meeting concerning Blandenberg. Both the Blandenberg Accord and the cease-fire were ratified by the Joint Houses of M'Chek and the Council of Nine of T'Nanshi.
Due to the dedication shown by this, Moira and Darent were chosen to be two of the four person representation of M'Chek at the final negotiations. A final peace treaty was signed between the two nations in the village of Blandenberg itself. This treaty called for the area now known as the Blandenberg Protectorate to extend from coast to coast, and reserved these lands as a neutral entity to help relieve the famine of M'Chek.
Both Moira and Darent were knighted for this, and given the title "Defender of the Balance."
Light to Balance the Dark
Mixed up within all the tumult and destruction of the war, Moira had two focuses that raised her spirits. The first was the building of the Shelter of Hope Hospital. Often when she was depressed or angered from bad news, Moira would visit the Shelter and help bake bread, so she was excited to help the Shelter in any way she could.
The combined sponsors were the Healers of Cha'reth and the Council of Balance, with aid from many generous donaters. Moira designed the plans for the hospital and saw to its construction. The work was slow, but the result was well worth the wait.
The second focus was and still is the Mennallin Schools. Melonius Mennallin approached Moira about raising funds to build schools all over the south, where any child could attend. She gladly threw herself into this work, raising donations to pay for the schools. She then designed the school buildings herself, and the first of the schools was opened in Visimontium. The second school to be opened was in the village of Blandenberg Ferry. This school was very important to Moira, for the building used was Darent Webber's family home. The third school was built in the Southern Residential District of Mikona.
Due to her work with the schools, Moira also helped finalize the building of the Goodhope Orphanage of Dra'Nar, located in the Northern Residential District. This was built only a block away from the school, so that students could travel quickly between the two.
Trouble Below the City
Though the war was over, the reasons that caused the war were not. Though the treaty with T'Nanshi specified that food deliveries were to be made, and although the Healers of Cha'reth had worked out promises of more food deliveries from Ferrell and Deglos, Moira was adamant in her arguments that these deliveries did not solve the fundamental problem. M'Chek must find a way to feed itself, not rely on the vagueries of food production and delivery from hundreds of miles away.
While discussions were just starting on how to deal with that matter, a summons came to the Council of Balance that they were to be present at a meeting at Lord Grumbald's residence. The other attendees were the M'Chek Guards, members of the Order of Valok, members of the Order of Gorethar, members of the Keepers of the Cycle, and of the Council of Dagath.
Moira was overjoyed as Lord Grumbald revealed a plan for the City to purchase the Dwarven Quarter from the Church of Gorethar in order to use the lower caverns, known as the Mikona Underdark, for Deglossian Farming. The Church of Gorethar had agreed to sell the area as long as the souls were freed first, and that the OoG oversee their release from their curse. Lord Grumbald had called the groups together to ask if each of our groups would help in freeing the cursed.
These cursed souls were the dwarven workers who helped build the foundations and walls of the city of Mikona. What little information can be gathered from the time of the curse related that the dwarves dug deep under the city to quarry for rock and metals. Strangely, priests of both Valok and Mikon had strange dreams, telling them that the dwarves must be stopped. The valokian priest was able to gather a crowd, and accused the dwarves of trying to take over the city. The mobs attacked the dwarves in their homes and murdered them, while the priests of Mikon and Dagath did nothing to stop it.
Hundreds of years had passed, yet still the souls of the slain had never been taken to their place in the cycle.
The combined groups set out to explore the lower caverns, and to try to discover what held the souls to the place.
Trouble was, these lower caves were the abandoned lair of the lich Sorvanok, and as they soon discovered, more than a few remaining worshipers were still lurking in the caverns, including a dracolich named Draxithrax, that was searching through Sorvanok's belongings.
Through many weeks of work and research and more work, and the distraction concerning a ring from the days of the demonwars, the dracolich was destroyed (Moira found his phylactery hidden behind a bookshelf in Sorvanok's library,) and remaining followers of Sorvanok were killed in the 'surprising' collapse of the cavern roof of Sorvanok's phylactery chamber.
Then, in a touching and beautiful ritual led by Thror Stormhammer and others of Gorethar's faith, the souls of the cursed dwarven workers were released.
Yet the city and the Order of Gorethar seemed very reluctant to finalize the clearing of the Dwarven Quarters. Moira found herself constantly reminding various government officials that the belongings of the long dead dwarves were to be returned to Galdos as promised. She made quite an irritant of herself until the city and the Order finally gathered the belongings and cleared the grounds of traps so that work could finally begin. Eventually the great hall of the Dwarven Quarters was refurbished into a Temple of Gorethar, and a secure entrance was built for the farms in the Underdark.
In the meantime, under the auspices of Lord Korrington, who had been placed in charge of the project, Moira and her husband Kai'Ral traveled to Deglos and spoke to many different farmers and rothe herders. Several were persuaded to move south to Mikona and start the work on the farms below the city, while farmhands were recruited from around the neighboring countryside.