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The Turquoise Tree

Maralda ClearVoice

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Maralda ClearVoice

 

Maralda ClearVoice was an independantly-minded Pathfinder originally from the Balkoth tribe Her mother was an Orventili priestess, her father a farmer who died when she was young. She was raised to be strong and independent, but to prefer discussion to conflict, a trait that served her in good stead in later life.

She initiated into the Pathfinder cult and was assigned to assist Melwyth Clever-callings, a Sword Lady seeking to explore Prax. Melwyth led a small band of Vingans who sought adventure and wanted a guide. She apparently ‘knew’ that the inexperienced Pathfinder would do a good job, and readily accepted her assistance.

The group travelled together for several years, during which time Melwyth and Maralda became best friends. They roamed Prax, fighting bandits and broo, but tried to deal peacefully with the nomads they encountered.

Their willingness to help others won them many friends among the nomads. Maralda was named ClearVoice by the priestesses of the Paps, and won the friendship of several clans for her honest but tough approach and fighting skills. Both Maralda and Melwyth sought an end to Praxian raids on Sartar, but wished to do so peacefully if at all possible. As time progressed the pair began to see this as an attainable goal, rather than just campfire philosophy.

They began to recruit others of a similar mindset to help them with their work, forming a band that they called the Border Voices. The Voices tried to seek peace between the Praxians and the Sartarites but after five years had achieved only limited success.

 Melwyth died in a fight with sable riders, leaving Maralda in charge of The Voices. She devoted herself to her work, travelling Prax and the Wastes tirelessly, negotiating truces, encouraging trading, and seeking the friendship of the tribes. The group achieved some notable successes during this period, most notably negotiating a 10-year truce between the Dundealos and their Praxian neighbours that actually held.

Maralda’s work attracted a small but steady stream of volunteers. They based themselves at Last Cast temple. The group became widely respected among the nomads and most clans began to treat them with the respect that they would normally accord healers. The Voices adopted a white cloak as a symbol of their affiliations and chose to call themselves The Clear Voices to honour Maralda.

The Clear Voices had difficult times in the 1480’s and many members were killed in the fighting between the Pol Joni and the Praxians. When Sartar Peacemaker sought to make peace between the warring tribes, Maralda advised him on how to achieve a honourable compromise and accompanied him to all of the negotiations. The Clear Voices still say that it was really Maralda’s advice and support that enabled Sartar to succeed, having a tendency to give her most of the credit for the peace treaty of 1489

Ingwen ThreeStep, a resourceful and honourable priestess from the Dundealos, had joined the band about six years after Melwyth’s death; Maralda felt that she would be a worthy successor and when she reached fifty, retired, and handed over leadership of The Voices to her. The leadership of The Clear Voices has been selected in this fashion ever since, each retiring leader appointing their successor.

Very few have died in the post, a tribute both to their skills, and the respect in which The Voices are held by many of the nomads. On the two occasions when a leader has died in service, an obvious successor has been available, elected by the cult members and approved of by divination.

Maralda married a widower of the Pol Joni tribe when she retired. This caused much gossip, as he was only thirty years old but they had a long and happy marriage; she served as a priestess for her adopted tribe and raised her husband’s children from his first marriage as her own. Maralda retained a close connection to The Clear Voices until she died at the age of eighty, out riding on the plains of her beloved Prax.

The Clear Voices have continued her work; although the cult has always been small, it is respected highly by both the nomads and the Orlanthi of Sartar. Over time it evolved into a hero cult venerating Maralda for her skill at negotiation and dedication to her people and the goddess. The group built a shrine at Last Cast that is still active today, although the main focus of the hero cult has since switched to Pavis.

The Clear Voices sometimes act as guides but more usually fill the role of intermediaries and negotiators for groups crossing Prax and the Wastes. They assist in trade and peace negotiations, and trying to settle feuds before they escalate. Members of the cult often accompany patrols in Pavis County, acting both as scouts and as intermediaries when patrols encounter nomads. There are normally no more than 100 or so Clear Voices at any time, so they are always busy.

Most Praxian clans respect The Voices (and their reputation for neutrality and honesty), and will often seek to trade or negotiate with any group that contains one of the white-cloaked riders, rather than attacking them.

The Clear Voices enthusiastically supported the establishment of New Pavis and soon established a base for cult members there. This grew until Pavis became the cults main base of operations. A small shrine to Maralda   was constructed at the Vinga temple, and two nearby houses converted into a dorm for cult members (Clear Voice Lodge).

Cult Membership

 

 

Vingans wishing to join the cult must apply at the Pavis temple. Candidates must be initiates or priests of Vinga Pathfinder in good standing, convince the examining priestess of their sincerity and dedication to Maralda’s ideals, and pass a test of their Speak Praxian skill. New members must sacrifice a point of POW at the Pavis shrine to cement their bond with Maralda.

Members must give 20% of their time and income to the cult.  They receive free accommodation at Clear Voice Lodge, and half-price training in the cults preferred skills of Orate, Prax Lore, Ride, Speak Praxian, and Track. They may use all facilities at the Pavis temple and may sacrifice for the divine magic spell Sweet Lips at Maralda’s shrine (it can also be learnt at her shrine at Last Cast).

 Cult service is normally spent either on patrols in Pavis County or acting as guides and negotiators for caravans crossing Prax and the Wastes. Only experienced cult members are allocated as intermediaries in disputes between the Sartarites and Praxians, or to help resolve other disputes.

 

 

Spells

 

 

Sweet Lips

 

Divine, 1 point, stackable, self, temporal.                                               

Pathfinder (Maralda ClearVoice).

Can only be sacrificed for at her shrines at Pavis and Last Cast.

 

This spell adds 20% per point to any one communication skill of the casters choice, but only works if the skill is being used to seek peace, negotiate, or benefit others. (J)

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