The Lady of Storms

Spells: Analyze Foe, Armor, Banish, Barrier, Beast Friend (Osprey), Bless, Blind, Boost, Concentrate, Damage Field, Deflection, Elemental Manipulation, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Farsight, Fly, Greater Healing, Havoc, Healing, Light, Obscure, Pummel, Quickness, Smite, Speed, Stun, Succor, Warrior’s Gift,
Trappings: Wind, Lightning, Cold/Ice, Water

On a raise…
Cold: slow the target. It moves at half-pace while the power is active.
Wind: create a gale around the target. It’s ranged attacks take -2 penalty.
Electricity: bounce the power to an adjacent target.
Water: rejuvenate a shaken target of a helpful power.

The Shieldbearer’s Code:

Minor: A Shieldbearer may not lie or steal, except to a Heretic.
Major: A Shieldbearer must never break an oath she has made in the name of Valkyr, including the oath to remain celibate. She may not deny someone a fair hearing, make an arbitrary judgment, or bear false witness against a person in a testament. She may kill an unarmed combatant, but may not do so if he asks for Redemption. She MAY kill anyone who she has defeated in single combat, whether they beg for Redemption or not, provided both combatants agreed to the challenge beforehand.
Mortal: A Shieldbearer’s victim may ask for the ultimate mercy – Redemption – to become inducted as a servant of Valkyr. A Redeemed servant must abide by all of the same laws as a Shieldbearer, but Minor sins become Major for him, and Major sins become Mortal. Even a Heretic may ask for Redemption. It is forbidden to knowingly deny someone Redemption.
Heretics: Free Mages, Ashseers, Cultists, and Followers of the Bloodfire Pact. Eliminating or Redeeming a Heretic erases any penalties from previous sins.

History

In her first life, centuries ago, she was known as Astrid Valkyr. Though the songs of the Skaalds retell her story in countless variations, they tend to follow a certain theme. Forced to marry a drunken, boorish king who was taken by her beauty (and only her beauty), Astrid suffered in stoic silence, and served as queen until the day he died in a failed raid upon the shores of Myrkwold. The raid provoked a counterattack from the sailors of the mainland, and the fleet turned to scramble back to the safety the of The Spine. However, the islanders were blown off course by a storm that left them lost at sea for weeks. When the men finally returned to Havrfjord, they were shocked to see the city, and the Ivory Lodge still standing. Rushing ashore, they shouted in alarm that the mainlanders would be attacking any day, and the city must prepare!

“They have come, and they have gone.” said Astrid, when the men reached the lodge. She informed them that she had challenged the leader of the mainland fleet to single combat – with the surrender of his fleet or her entire city at stake. The leader sailor accepted without hesitation, both because he could not afford the humiliation, and because he could not imagine an easier victory.

The songs differ in their telling of the battle – Some say she had secretly trained from birth to be a warrior, others sing that she fought naked to distract him. Some songs tell of Rotari, a trained osprey that came to her aid, while others yet say that she called upon some ancient magic to secure victory – the outcome was the same; she won.

Relieved, the men congratulated Astrid on her victory, and retired to the Lodge to elect a new king. When they arrived at the Lodge, however, they found a line of women clad in winged armor and bearing spears and shields guarding the entrance to the Lodge. They declared that only a man who could defeat one of them in a duel would be allowed to enter and cast a vote for the next king. Though some did make it past their trial, all who entered the Ivory Lodge would go to cast a vote for Astrid, making her the first and only queen to rule until her own death, even after the death of her husband.

She would go to marry one of the men who defeated her Shieldmaidens, and bear a son who would later become a king. She is the only patron to be immortalized on the isles, and through the years, the prayers that the Skevani sailors once used to direct blindly to the Sea, came to be directed to her instead. Some say that though she never sailed, the Sea chose Astrid for patronhood when it sent the storm that blew the fleet off course. Others believe she could see through the eyes of her osprey Rotari, and sent the bird out to sea to guide the sailors home.

What is known for sure is that since she became immortalized at her island shrine, all enemy ships who have tried to cross the sea to bring war to Skevania have been blown wildly off course. In addition, the women who follow her path and train under the tutelage of the priestesses of Isle Valkyr, rise to great power. Though few are chosen to be Shieldmaidens, many women serve Valkyr and pray to her. The church welcomes male students, of course, but centuries after the legend has passed, men are still men, and few find the pride within themselves to bow the knee to a woman, or keep a vow of virginity.

The Lady of Storms

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