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by Marco Dalmonte

(Sif, Yarella)
Patroness of Warrior Maidens and Amazons, Patroness of Cynidicea and Kerswig, Patroness of Fertility

Level, Alignment, Sphere: 19th (Empyreal), NG, Energy
Symbol: a sickle and a short sword crossed under a woman's visage
Portfolio: amazons and fighting women, courage, life cycle, fertility, Cynidicea and Kerswig
Worshipped in: Known World (Cynidicea, Darokin, Northern Reaches, Thyatis), Davania (Pelatan), Isle of Dawn (Helskir), Hollow World (Traldar), Midlands (Kerswig), Norwold
Appearance: a woman with an indomitable gaze wielding a short sword and wearing a green tunic under a chain mail and bronze helmet that hides her face, something that prevents telling which ethnic group she belongs to (this way she is regarded as the typical "warrior woman" by many different cultures).
History: LIKELY THEORY: Madarua was born in 525 BC in the Nithian Empire during its moment of greatest turmoil. Daughter of a high ranking scribe, she distinguished herself for her courage and her indomitable will, as well as for her spite towards the male dominated Nithian society. At the age of 16 during a moment of forced intimacy she killed her promised groom, a wicked and powerful nobleman. She was thus forced to escape from Ranak, the imperial capital, in order to avoid her parents' punishment and the groom's relatives' revenge. She found shelter in one of the southern cities, where a devout cleric of Maat decided to protect her after hearing of her troubled vicissitude. She was thus introduced to martial arts to be able to defend herself, and she became one of the few warrior women of Nithia. Together with her teacher, Thanaat, she fought a hidden war against the Pharaoh and his corrupt officers for years, trying to help the commoners and avenge the injustices committed by nobles and politics. Unfortunately, their efforts were not enough to save Nithia from its doom. Chased by the city guards for an assault against the palace of the Prince which ended up in Thanaat's death, Madarua and her companions fled in the desert and here they were caught by the storm sent by the immortals to sweep away Nithia once and for all. Madarua was saved by Maat because of her virtue and good heart, and when she awoke the only memory that remained her was that she and her companions got lost when her tribe was attacked by desert raiders. Madarua became the leader of the party and led them across the desert, turning his band into nomadic shepherds. Because of her proud character she always refused to accept the marriage proposals she received from her followers, and thus she was renamed the Virgin Warrior.
During a particularly violent sandstorm the now elderly Madarua was separated from the rest of the tribe, and forced to find refuge in a cave near the mountains to survive. Here she was helped by a good willed sphynx, which tested her qualities and judging her pure, allowed Madarua to drink at the fountain of youth she was guarding. The water healed all her injuries and returned her to her twenties. The enigmatic sphynx also foretold that Madarua's destiny was still long to be fulfilled, and that she needed to brave the dangers of the desert once again, heading west, if she wanted to accomplish what the immortals had planned for her. Madarua followed the sphynx's prophecy and thanks to her blessing she eventually stumbled upon the hidden reign of Cynidicea in BC 454, where she settled. She quickly was admitted into the elite brigade of the royal guards because of her fighting skills, and in BC 446 she saved the royal heir of Cynidicea from a conspiracy. This feat earned her the eternal admiration of young prince Tyrsus as well as his father's (King Gorm) trust. Once ascended to the throne, Tyrsus proposed Madarua to become his consort, helping him to rule the kingdom wisely and protect it against the external and internal threats. Thus Madarua became Queen of Cynidicea. Later she discovered by accident the ancient scrolls that belonged to King Gorm, which he had used to unveil and pursue the path to immortality in the sphere of Energy. Coming to the conclusion that Gorm had indeed succeeded in his path, Madarua became focused on following his tracks and become a deity herself. After Tyrsus's death, Madarua took the reins of rulership in her capable hands and instructed her only son, Kallikrates, until she deemed him ready to succeed her. In BC 415 Madarua abdicated in favour of her son and vanished in the desert, looking for a place to begin her quest. She ended up in the Midlands of Brun, where under the name of Yarella she founded the nation of Kerswig and under the sponsorship of Thor, she became immortal in the sphere of Energy seventy years later. Once immortal, she returned to Cynidicea and sent omens to some wise men that introduced her cult in the kingdom, becoming the second immortal patron of Cynidicea after Gorm. She is also revered in Kerswig as Yarella, by some amazons in Davania, and in the Northern Reaches as Sif, wife of the Thunderer.
Personality: Madarua is bold, self-confident but not boisterous. She promotes equality among men and women, and teaches her followers (females above all) to fight in order to show males they need to be treated with respect like equals the males. At the same time she also warns women not to gain all typical male defects, praising instead the typical female virtues like temperance, sensitivity, wisdom and faithfulness. Madarua embodies the classic figure of the warrior maiden and she is also worshipped as bringer of fertility and renewal of the natural cycle of life and death (her holy days are in fact the solstices and equinoxes). Madarua is a faithful ally of Thor, to whom she is tied by a strong passion, and of Diulanna, who shares the ideals of Madarua, and she has sealed a pact of alliance with Gorm and Usamigaras in order to protect Cynidicea, even if she resents Gorm's male chauvinism.
Patron: unknown [likely: Thor]
Allies: Thor, Diulanna, Usamigaras, Gorm
Enemies: none
Classic D&D Stats
Followers' Alignment: any; clerics must be Lawful o Neutral
Favoured weapon: short sword (allowed short spear, sickle, and all one-handed bludgeoning weapons)
Clerics' skills and powers: +1 bonus to Strength, free Fighting Instinct general skill, +2 to any one skill tied to agriculture or nature (not free). Madarua accepts only female clerics.
D&D 3E stats:
Domains: Energy, Good, War, Courage, Fertility
Preferred weapon: short sword
Sources: B4, WotI, Dungeon magazine #53 (Yarella)