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Author Topic: whisper adepts  (Read 1927 times)
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smeagol
Bane of Legates
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Spell Energy / Taint +9/-2
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Posts: 635


Hiding from Shadow


« on: August 10, 2006, 12:22:35 PM »

Whisper Adepts (By Wil Upchurch)


Origins

At the end of the first age as the elves of Erethor were repelling Izrador's first invasion of their land, a powerful elven druid known as Umann-Ul became the first spirit to merge with his forest home. Umann-Ul was in the midst of performing a powerful ritual spell when a bolt of eldritch energy from a powerful legate destroyed him and caused his spell to go awry. Because of the nature of his magic, Umann-Ul's essence was transferred into the trees of the forest around him. The elves could hear him speaking to them from the trees that evening, and his guidance helped them win a major victory over the dark lord's forces.

In the ages since this catastrophe-turned-blessing, thousands of elven souls have merged with the forest in a similar manner, causing the phenomenon known as the Whispering Wood. Through this wood, the elves were able to defend their homeland against invaders from both the north and south. The elven kingdom of Erethor grew to be the oldest and most significant civilization on Eredane-although its true power would not be understood until the Shadow's victory at the end of the Third Age.

The ongoing war with the armies of the Night King has changed the nature of how the elves see the Whispering Wood. Many now believe it is their duty to become a part of the Wood when they die. Companies of elven warriors have been heard screaming "For the Wood!" as they were cut down by orcish vardatches. As the Whispering Wood has grown, so too has the elves' ability to listen to its warnings and heed its wisdom. There have always been those who were better able to hear and interpret the whisper, but in the past two centuries the Witch Queen has ordered that these individuals be trained to further hone their abilities.

The great Danisil druid known as Suruliam now heads up the magical academy where these whisper adepts are trained. Hidden deep within the Druid's Swamp, this academy graduates about half of its students-the process killed those who do not graduate the Academy. The whisper adepts are seen as invaluable allies in the war against the dark lord's forces, able to give the elven armies advance knowledge of invading forces of any size, as well as provide incredible intelligence through their ability to move unseen through the very trees of the forest. Should Suruliam or the academy be destroyed or the flow of the whisper somehow disrupted, there is no doubt in the Witch Queen's mind that Erethor would be lost within a single year's time.

Organization

Whisper adepts who are trained in the magical academy in the Druid's Swamp are given their assignments by Suruliam, who receives her orders directly from the Witch Queen herself. If a particular whisper adept proves his loyalty and usefulness time and again, Aradil might take a personal interest in the individual and begin to assign him his duties herself. This happens only once a decade or so, and Aradil's personal cadre of whisper adepts numbers only about a dozen at any one time. For the rest she relies on Suruliam to provide them their missions and to distill and distribute the information they provide.
Not all whisper adepts are trained in the academy in the Druid's Swamp, however. Some come upon their abilities naturally, meditating on their ability to hear and translate the whisper until their connection to the Wood grows stronger. These renegade adepts are no less committed to the protection of their homeland and the defeat of the shadow and his minions than those trained and sanctioned by the court of the Witch Queen. In fact, Aradil watches these individuals closely to see how they use the power of the Wood.

Individuals monitored in this way can sometimes feel the Witch Queen's scrying, and they may find themselves the recipients of mysterious aid when they find themselves in dire predicaments. While the Witch Queen does not interfere often in such ways, she considers even renegade Whisper Adepts incredibly important to the defense of Erethor. She eventually approaches such individuals through her agents in order to offer them positions within the sanctioned group of adepts. Although she does not compel them to join in any way, she does everything in her power to convince them that they must join her to prevent the Shadow from falling across their ancestral home.

Personalities

Yonel Esenni

Yonel Esenni is one of the oldest whisper adepts in existence, having been speaking to the forest for well over 300 years. He sits now at the heart of the woodland kingdom, so in tune with the whisper that he can reach out with both his mind and body in an instant to any part of the Wood. The whisper itself, some say, has become accustomed to Yonel's thoughts and questions and communicates to him personally when it has information it knows he will want.

Yonel's long association with the whisper has taken its toll on him both physically and mentally. He no longer has the ability to move much farther than the confines of his chamber, which is adjacent to the Arbor of the Witch Queen in the great homewood tree at the center of Erethor. He finds speaking to anyone but the whisper to be painful, and the only person he suffers to speak to anymore is the Witch Queen herself, who soothes his pain as he relays the Wood's messages.

Craigth Galeck

Craigth Galeck is a rogue whisper adept who had given up the fight against the forces of the Night Kings, resigning himself to a life of quiet meditation in a hidden grove on the smallest of the Isles of Ernan. During his meditations he began to hear the quiet roar of the Whisper, and it was almost as if the voices were speaking directly to him. He could see orcs on the edges of the Great Forest, smell the blood of his brothers, and hear the anguished cries of all those who fell under an orcish vardatch or arrow. He did not know what all this meant, why he had been chosen to see these visions, but he had committed himself to a life of meditation and he would not be deterred.

The Witch Queen took notice of this exile and she was immediately intrigued. Here was one who had turned his back on the elves, yet his ability to see the conflict that took place in Erethor clearly meant that his heart was still with his kin. Soon she came to realize that what he saw was not the present, but the future. With this revelation Aradil began to speak with Craigth, attempting to convince him to help aid the elves in their cause. At first he resisted out of shame at his cowardly actions, but soon he saw this new power as a way to redeem himself for the mistakes of his past. Now Craigth uses his gift to aid the elves, predicting the outcome of military maneuvers and closely watching the orc armies that skirt the edges of Erethor.

In Your Campaign

The Whispering Wood and those who can hear it are an integral part of the mythology of the world of Aryth. Even if the whisper adepts never make an appearance in your campaign, the wood can be used to convey information as well as a sense of something larger at work within the Great Forest. As NPCs, the whisper adepts represent the closest most adventurers will ever come to contact with the Witch Queen. They are her personal servants and have a connection so close to the history of the elves that they are revered as holy figures by the majority of the elven population.

If an elven PC wishes to become a whisper adept he can either undergo the rigorous training at the school in the Druid's Swamp or he can simply explore his connection to the whisper on his own. If he chooses the latter option he is not free from the watchful eye of the Witch Queen, who will never allow one who is not completely dedicated to saving Erethor from the dark lord to command such power within its borders. Any elf attempting to do so, whether he is a collaborator or merely a mercenary, will be hunted down and stopped at all costs.
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"Il n'est pas besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre ni de réussir pour persévérer" - Devise de la famille d'Orange
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