Regime of Cold
Physical appearance: At 5 feet 6 for 120 pounds, Shula is a very average half-elf. Her physical particularity lays in her fire red mane.
Traits: Sacred Conduit & Northern Ancestry
Domains: Fire & Healing
On the day of the Burning Blades (10th of Sarenith) 4683, Natharen Safander found a baby half-elf, barely one year old, on the footsteps of his temple. Sitting at the entrance of the small edifice, her fire red hair catching the last rays of sunset, she was playing with a wooden icon of the Goddess Sarenrae, at the back of which the name Shula was engraved. Giggling and babbling, she didn’t seem to mind that she was left to her own devices. A satchel by her side contained some baby clothes and money, outside of that, there wasn’t any identifying documents or objects.
The follower of Estaril took the baby in, realizing quickly that nobody would come back for her and deciding that she was one year old and that the day of the Burning Blades would become her birthday date.
Although the Great Purge of 4528 was long ago, the followers of Sarenrae were still not well seen in Southern Taldor, especially so close to the border with Qadira. Cleric Natharen knew that, but the child was innocent and now part of his community, as such, it was his duty to help it. He could have tried to find a family for her, but circumstances made him keep her at the temple. Although he never hid from Shula who the deity Sarenrae was, he tried to raise her in the precepts of Erastil because this was the right thing to do.
The child grew up fond of the sun, enjoying basking or dancing under the sunlight. Her attitude and smile would emit a soft glow of warmth to those around her. Despite her fondness of the solar star, she was never as happy as the day following a snow storm when the lands were covered in powdered white snow, glimmering under the sunshine. Those were perfect days for her. She could be found playing outside long after everyone was home trying to warm themselves up. Each year, as winter came closer, she was awaiting more and more eagerly for the first frost. She would spend hours looking at the sun rays through a sheet of ice. Her fascination for the snow was only matched by the one she had for fire. More than once as a kid, she burned her fingers trying to grab it.
With years passing, the fiery temper and curiosity of the young half-elf clashed with the traditional ways of her tutor. She never refused to help, in particular when it came to healing (she seemed to have an affinity for that). She was always patient and compassionate, radiating warmth and kindness when she tended to patients. But the life of pure service to the community and self-abnegation lacked the action and traveling she needed. One of the first precepts of the Parables of Erastil is on family: “The first gift you ever receive is your family.” Having been abandoned so young, she found it hard to relate. Even if Natharen Safander took the role of preceptor, guide and shelter, he was never a father to her.
When she wasn’t helping at the temple, with the sicks or the wounded, Shula could be found at the Inn, listening to any tales travelers were willing to share, or on the outskirts of town playing with a wooden stick or trying her hand at magic. That was, when she wasn’t playing hero trying to protect other kids from being bullied. To Natharen’s desmay, she was rarely seen helping in the fields like he hoped. The cleric was starting teaching her some healing skills and it made no doubt in his mind that she was blessed by Sarenrae even though she didn’t fully comprehend her deity yet.
It was only when she was in her late teens, that Shula’s faith in Sarenrae matured into a vocation. That was after she met a couple: Marisan and her husband Kinh, both followers of the Dawnflower. Marisan was a traveling healer and immediately saw some potential in the young half-elf, delaying their departure by a couple of weeks to train Shula and be there for her birthday.
She taught her that health wasn’t just a physical state, but also an emotional and spiritual state. She showed Shula the way of forgiveness and temperance. For the first time in her life, Shula became at peace with who she was and the fact that her parents abandoned her. She had held onto the wooden icon with bittersweet feelings up until then, now she was realizing that it had given her strength all over the years. Without being physically here for her, her parents had still protected her.
Marisan’s words wouldn’t made had such a strong impact on Shula, if Kinh hadn’t opened up to the young woman as well. While Marisan had always been a follower of Sarenrae, Kinh didn’t used to be a good man. His body covered with scars was a memento of the life he used to live and without his now wife, he would have end up locked away in a cell or hanging from the gallows. The man taught Shula that redemption was a reality and a chance that she should give everyone. He also trained her in the art of the scimitar, the weapon of the Everlight.
Shula would always remember her first true celebration of the Burning Blades with Marisan and Kinh. They both performed the dance ritual with their scimitars engulfed in flames, a perfect balance of the two faces of Sarenrae: the healing and the blade, the redemption and the justice.
After that encounter, Shula started praying and grew up more understanding and peaceful, even if she remained very curious and feisty at times. She never shied away from standing up for what she believed was right.
In the last few years, Elder Natharen Safander has been noticing Shula’s absentmindedness, especially in the winter time or after a traveler from the North stopped by in town. He knows that it is only a matter of opportunity for the now 31-year old half-elf to be leaving town and find her own destiny.
With the arrival of the snow in the middle of summer 4713, Shula has been out and about, feeling reckless. Something feels wrong about having this weather in Erastus, yet, she cannot help but feel excited about this unlikely atmospheric phenomenon.
The badly wounded mercenary and his stories of ice fairies only make things worse for the half-elf. She knows that she needs to get involved. She has to find a way to get close to him. If Elder Natharen is asked to tend to the man, maybe she can sneak in with him. Or if the new comer is at the Inn, maybe she can simply go there and listen to what is going on. Or she can offer to help heal him, but that’s a stretch seeing that her current skills in the domain are still pretty basic.
In any case, she can’t stay in the temple and do nothing!