Liliarian "Lily" Sonder
Counselor of Ielda
Lily is stunningly beautiful, even by half-elf standards. Her flowing blond hair and delicate features are emphasized by the soft pink and pearl silk of her garments. On her head she wears an elaborate mitre pretiosa depicting a scene, woven into the cloth with golden thread, of rabbits as they prance, play, and mate. Her ornate robe, glittering with jewels, portrays a smiling woman wearing a crown.
In spite of the intimidating grandeur of her garb, she exudes a calming aura. Her gentle gaze and welcoming smile have a serene effect. Without words, she imparts upon you the feeling that she cares about you and your well-being.
The tenderness of her attention causes you to slightly relax the tension in your shoulders and your back.
With a tranquil patience, she seems to be waiting for you to speak.
Lily is best known for her nightly vespers blessings. After a brief welcome, she invites all attendees to come close, and through her channel, she fills their hearts with Ielda’s love.
Besides being a very pleasurable experience, her channeling is renowned for its ability to refocus the mind of the recipient, allowing them to cast off any enchantments they may be enspelled by. Considering how often many folk suspect they (or their kith or kin) have been charmed, cursed, or otherwise maledicted, the local clergy of Ielda very often take the opportunity to widely publicize Lily’s presence in town and talk up the strength of her powers of spiritual healing, to attract more comers to the church. After this blessing, she leads a short guided meditation, in which she instructs the participants to visualize an expanding circle of love and wish everyone inside the circle be happy and free of suffering – first enveloping themself, then their close friends and family, then the rest of their neighbors and acquaintances, then including enemies and the difficult people in their lives, then including all of Meier, and finally all of the Outer Planes as well.
After the conclusion of this meditation, Lily gives her individual attention to those who stay, including physical healing, dispellation of harmful magicks, and emotional and psychological counseling. She often uses massage both in her physical examinations, and to relieve the stress from her patients as they regale her with the tragedies and drama of their daily lives. Due to the tendency of these therapy sessions to become quite lengthy, it is not uncommon for her to stay late into the night to see that everyone has been tended to. When possible, a junior cleric often officiates this portion of the evening, to perform triage and collect donations – duties which are, at least in theory, kept separate.
Those who are more knowledgeable about current affairs and Gardish politics may know her better as a negotiator of some renown. Most notably, she was an important diplomat to end the Human’s Revolution in Cadriyal (or as it is known locally, the Self-Determination Movement,) and a mediator in the restoration of the truce between Arcland and Gard in 470 OC.
(The following is an excerpt from a conversation between Lily and Bravo Two.)
“In the meanwhile, I can tell my story, if you’re interested. It all happened when I was just on the cusp of womanhood, only 16 years old. My brother, Vinny, he was a ranger, one of those watching the northern border. We were from a small village in Cadriyal, you see. This time, when he left on his patrol, he took me with him… how many times I had begged him to take me! The woods are so enchanting, and no one knew their splendor and secrets like Vinny. My parents never would let me go, though. But this time they were traveling, visiting my auntie and uncle in Fort Cade.
“So I went out with Vinny, him and two other rangers. At the time, I thought maybe one day I would be a ranger myself. The trip was lovely, at first. He made sure to show me the most beautiful spots the forest had to offer. Splendid waterfalls, majestic trees, the most vivid patches of wildflowers… I think he was hoping to win me over, so I would take up the bow and holly as well.
“We came across tracks. A bear and three men, moving south. The other rangers guessed it was a bear cult, worshipers of the god Uar, come down from Urst. Suddenly, everything became very serious, very real. This was the threat they were sworn to defend against, you see.
“So we followed the trail. What else were we to do? And we came across them, singing, more like roaring, bestial songs around a campfire. There were four – a bear, a middle-aged man, a bearded young man… and Sven.”
Lily goes silent for a moment.
“Silently, the rangers surrounded the Urstish. I stuck close by Vinny. One of them gave a signal, and suddenly arrows started to fly. The roaring song became howls of rage. They went for the bear first. The bearded man, his hands turned to claws, and he went after a ranger. The older man, he kept roaring in a sort of chant, working the others up into a frenzy. The bear… and Sven… charged the other ranger. The bear was a frightful warrior…”
She pauses again.
“He ripped the throat of the ranger right out. I’d never seen such a horrible sight in all my life. But Vinny and the other kept their resolve, they kept sinking arrows into its hide. The other ranger shot a shaft through its back, and as it dropped to the ground, it morphed into a man.
“But now the bearded man was upon the other ranger, and savaged him furiously with his claws. Even as the ranger fell to the ground, he didn’t stop tearing into him…
“And Sven started running towards us, Vinny and I. Vinny loosed an arrow into his leg, and Sven had to prop himself against a tree. Vinny’s next arrow punctured clean through his shoulder, pinning him to the tree. With Sven now stuck, Vinny turned his attention to the bearded man, dropping him with an arrow to the chest.
“But Sven, though weakened from his wounds, still had the strength to pull out a throwing axe. And the strength to hurl it at Vinny, burying it right between his eyes, killing him instantly.
“Now it was my turn to howl in rage. My dearest brother was dead. All I could think of at the time was vengeance. I had to kill the man who killed my brother. And it would be so easy, for he was still pinned against that tree trunk, wounded, barely hanging onto life.
“So I took up my brother’s bow, my mind filled with murderous intent. I grabbed an arrow from his quiver, ready to sink it into my brother’s killer.
“But, as I was about to nock the shaft… the bow bent, and cracked in my hand. The string went slack. And suddenly, my heart filled with compassion. It dawned on me that the boy pinned to the tree fought out of ignorance, and fear. He deserved death no more than my brother did. I felt not only mercy, but a deep and sacred love for this boy, and for all living things. I suddenly realized that he was his own complete person, with his own dreams, and fears, and loves, and troubles, and that ending his life would do no good for anyone.
“The older man was still singing his wild song, and moving closer. From somewhere inside me, I called upon a new source of power, and shouted out my first magical incantation, telling him to run away, back to Urst. And run he did – but as his song came to a halt, Sven’s body slumped against the tree, as his eyes fell closed.
“I rushed over to tend to him. Seeing him there, bleeding, limp, I felt an upwelling of love within me, and that love radiated out into his body, healing the worst of his wounds. His eyes opened, and he looked at me. I could see his gaze was softer now, even though he still bore a scar over his left eye, and one on his cheek, from battles long ago. The rage that had filled him during the fight, spurred on by the growling song, was evaporated. And he spoke to me:”
“Why? Why did you save me?”
“I didn’t even know what to tell him. I simply told him not to worry, that I’d take care of him. I looked into his eyes, and again I felt a wave of love sweep over me, and I channeled that love into him, taking away more of his pain. I took the shaft out from his shoulder, and spoke words of healing, words that I had never heard until they escaped my lips. The gash on his shoulder closed up. I did the same from the arrow in his leg, allowing him to walk again without pain.
“I offered to take him back to my home. He told me he wouldn’t be able to find the way back to his own, and so he came with me. So we started on the way back to my house. On the way, he told me about himself. I found out his name was Sven Haroldsson, named for his father, Harold… the bear. The bearded man was his brother, and the singer, his uncle. His clan had always told him that ferocity was the most important trait one could possess, and that proving your worth in battle is what made you a man. They pushed him to fight, although he didn’t care for battle himself. Only when his uncle sang the wild songs did the rage of Uar take him over.
“Over the next few days, I got to know Sven very, very well. I tended to his wounds, but more than that, I listened to him, his thoughts and his stories. His life had been troubled, for his family knew no kindness, believing only savagery kept one alive up north. He didn’t have their lust for blood, but he did share their passion. He felt emotions deeply, and had a sensitive nature.
“His true passion was for painting, although none of his clan ever appreciated his art. But he was quite gifted – he had his own unique style, that evoked emotion rather than trying to capture an image itself.
“We fell deeply in love. I had never met someone so passionate… or so hairy. We spent two weeks together, just the two of us. Both of us mourned our losses privately, but we comforted each other. It was the hardest time of my life, but also the most enlightening. Through my conversations with Sven, I learned so much about myself. I had never allowed myself to be so open with anyone, and never felt the liberation that comes through openness.
“But, our time together was cut short. When my village found out he was staying with me, they held a meeting. It was decided, unanimously, that he should be exiled back to Urst.
“So, he was sent back. I never heard from him again. I still wonder…”