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Mayaheine on Oerth, Part 2
Posted on Fri, April 25, 2008 by Dongul
smillan_31 writes "Second in a series giving an account of the manifestation of the goddess Mayaheine on Oerth and of her vessel and Prophetess, the so-called Maiden Knight.

Mayaheine on Oerth, Part 2
By: smillan_31

The first part of this series may be read here.

“When she had finished speaking, she employed a species of divination, letting a hare escape from the fold of her dress; and since it ran on what they considered the auspicious side, the whole multitude shouted with pleasure, and Boudica, raising her hand toward heaven, said: ‘I thank thee, Andraste, and call upon thee as woman speaking to woman...’ ” – Lucius Claudius Cassius Dio

It had been three years since the siege at Safeton, and the girl he had known as Phaedra Rillidor was the last person Blackwell expected to see enter Belvor’s grand tent, but as the rumored Maiden Knight was led in that is exactly who he saw, though he recognized someone else first.

“Oddly enough, though every other eye in the court was drawn to the Maiden Knight the first thing I noticed was one of her guard, whom I immediately recognized as the hulking brute of a Hextoran who had mocked Phaedra Rillidor years ago. The surprise of that recognition was lost in the following moment as I looked on the form of the rumored Maiden Knight. I could not have been more stunned than if Grand Admiral Rosen (1) had clubbed me aside the head with one of his giant fists. For there before me was that half-mad girl from the siege of Safeton. Her once-brown hair now shone like spun gold and her once-green eyes were a startling blue that seemed to glow from within, but the features of her face were the same, though somehow now possessing an unearthly beauty and power that made one attend to her.”

Despite all this, in the presence of King Belvor she seemed at first still very much the shy girl Blackwell had known years before, looking down at the floor even as she stood after paying her courtesy to the king. Her answer was barely above a whisper as His Majesty asked her name, and one of the Heironean paladins, Sir Hugh Astik, took the opportunity to make light of her. He laughed and asked if she intended to defeat the Old One’s soldiers by straining their ears. Laughter erupted in the court until the Maiden Knight looked up, sweeping the crowd with her gaze.

Her gentle, girlish voice was gone and she roared for the entire court to hear,

“My name is Phaedra Rillidor, and I come bearing the message of the Shield Maiden who sits at the right hand of the Shining King of Heaven!”

Muttering and cries of “Blasphemy!” followed the stunned silence, but were quieted by the upraised hand of the King. He bid her to tell her story and so she did, telling the story of her vision at Safeton, as described by Blackwell in part one of this history.

Since her disappearance after the siege she had spent a number of years in the Wild Coast, Verbobonc, Veluna, and Bissel; fighting evil, preaching the word of Mayaheine, and gaining a handful of converts, who formed the core of the small army that now followed her. The voice of the goddess in her head had finally drawn her to High Chapel in Hardby, which is dedicated to Pelor.

There, before the people of Hardby and the priests of the temple an angel had appeared, bowing before Phaedra and gifting her with the sword and shield of Mayaheine. There, the spirit of the goddess at long last had entered into her, transforming and filling her with divine power. Lastly, the voice of the goddess in her head had told her to come to Brancast to counsel the king (2).

When she had finished her tale the king had asked her what this counsel was, to which she replied that the people of Chendl suffered greatly under the siege, and that the poor suffered a double evil, starving while the rich hoarded what food there was. She said that His Majesty must lead his army north against the besiegers.
Many voices were immediately raised in the court in outrage at the accusation of unkindness attributed to their fellow nobles and gentlemen, and others mocked her for her call to battle, saying that it was insane to try and break the siege in the dead of winter when food was scarce and troops could not be easily supplied.

The king pondered her words as many of his advisors hotly urged him to banish the prophetess from the camp if not the kingdom. Sir Hugh Astik was foremost and loudest amongst these. Others disagreed with that view, though they did so primarily for fear of losing the many fighting men Phaedra had brought with her, and so they advised the king to keep the girl at court, but put off her counsel until she or her captains could be brought to heel.

To all these clamoring voices Phaedra answered loudly that the goddess was impatient and would give them proof of her power upon the morning. The king dismissed her and she withdrew from the court. Debate and talk in the court and camp raged through the day, and many went to bed that night troubled of mind, not least among whom was King Belvor himself.

Blackwell tells what occurred on the morning,

“The dawn brought a clear, freezing day with the rising sun burning off the mist on the river and a large group of people gathered on the bank. As His Majesty and the court exited the Royal Pavilion to observe what the matter might be, a small boat could be seen leaving the shore, rowed by a lone fisherman, and a figure that could only be Phaedra standing resolutely in the bow.

Many of the ladies of the court gasped as they realized her destination on the further side of the river, for the troll champion stood in his accustomed place, stalking back and forth, working himself into a rage at having someone taken up his challenge after weeks of going unanswered. The foul orc and goblin soldiers on the far shore behind him jeered, hooted and banged their shields in anticipation of the fight to come. Even Sir Hugh was shocked, for I heard him say as he gazed in horror upon the scene – ‘I swear by the Axe, the poor girl is mad and a heretic, but I would not have her come to this end.’

As the boat neared the shore Phaedra stepped off into the islet’s shallows, her small armored feet breaking through the thin ice at the waters edge. With a bellowing war cry the troll charged, raising his spiked and bloody mace above his head, the skulls of champions swinging from his belt. But as he swung downward to crush the slight figure, she stepped quickly to one side. The sweep of her stroke could not be followed as light erupted from the blade of her sword, reflecting like a thousand tiny mirrors off the river’s rippling water and half-blinding me so I averted my eyes. As I looked back upon the scene I saw the troll, who had stumble three great paces past Phaedra slowly fall to its knees. Then as we all watched in wonder its head toppled forward into the shallows and a wisp of smoke floated upward from the stump of his neck. The heat of the Maiden’s sword had cauterized the cut.

The hosts on both sides of the river stood silent, one in fear, the other in awe as the girl waded out to the boat, climbed over the gunwale and collapsed out of sight. The fisherman brought his vessel around in the current and made for the safety of the nearer shore. By then the crowd around me had begun to raise their voices in celebration. Knights slapped each others’ backs and embraced as if they had just won a great battle. The voices of the Peloran priests rang out in thankful prayer, and even a group of younger Heironean templars began to sing their god’s paean of victory.

When the boat reached the shore Phaedra’s guard lifted her out of it and bore her to dry land, setting her before the king who embraced her and kissed her on both cheeks as one soldier greets another. She seemed less even than the lowly knight she was at that moment, much less the fiery prophetess of the evening before. She shivered and her hands trembled as I have seen do those of so many men soon after the fray. His majesty swept off his own cloak, lined with pelt of the winter wolf he had killed in his youth in the Highvale and wrapped her in it, leading her back up the hill to his pavilion.”


At dusk the king returned to the court with his decision. He said that he would do as the Maiden Knight bade him, gathering the larger part of his cavalry to strike the besiegers suddenly before they could have word of his approach. Though some of the priests of Hieroneous and a number of his councilors protested, they were few, and His Majesty would not deviate from that course. Brancast erupted in a frenzy of activity, preparing to march north to break Chendl’s besiegement.

References:
1. The Grand Admiral is described as a barrel-chested monster of a man, and given a Strength score of 18/32. The Marklands p. 41.
2. I give this angelic visitation as the reason that Hardby is the center of worship for this demigoddess, though official sources locate the largest temple and training house dedicated to her in that city in “Paladins of Greyhawk” Gary Holian, Dragon 360/Living Greyhawk Journal # 20.
"
 
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Re: Mayaheine on Oerth, Part 2 (Score: 1)
by Pat_Payne on Tue, April 29, 2008
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"I give this angelic visitation as the reason that Hardby is the center of worship for this demigoddess"...

Although another reason that could be given is that Hardby, being a gynarchy/matriarchy, would naturally gravitate towards a female deity (as go the political leaders in religious worship, so [normally] do the subjects/citizens), particularly one with a protective aspect, which would appeal to a citizenry not terribly far from the Pomarj and Slavers.




Re: Mayaheine on Oerth, Part 2 (Score: 1)
by Wolfsire on Fri, May 09, 2008
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An excellent follow up to part 1.  Thanks.





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