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More Personalities of Maganshireby Cab
More Personalities of Maganshire
Bethany, High Druid of Maganshire
Bethany is one of the more adventurous dryads you'll ever meet. At her age (which is hard to determine, she looks 21 but she's known to have been based in Maganshire for at least 60 years), she really should have settled in a tree, but it doesn't seem likely that she ever will. While she's a spirited (and beautiful) true warrior of the wild, she has such obvious affection for the people of the Duchy that she has wide respect, even among the most sceptical loggers. She's short (5' tall), slim, and considered by many discerning individuals to be the most beautiful woman in the Shire. Marilyns sings of her as being the second most beautiful.
Druids play an important role in Maganshire culture, being responsible for refereeing sporting events, overseeing fertility rights, blessing crop sowing, etc. Unofficially, they act as judges in the outlying villages, when two people cannot sort out their differences the local druid is called in. As a result, Bethany is the informal chief judge of Maganshire, and is generally regarded as fair by all.
As a dryad, she is seen as something rather exotic, and her constantly changing appearance (hair that changes colour with the seasons, which she accompanies with radical changes in clothing) is admired by the easily impressed peasants. The local customs are often quite trying for her; for example, the peasants of Orerton traditionally pick the strongest tree in the woods as the Lucky Tree, and 'give offerings' of copper coins, which by tradition are hammered into the trunk. After a year or two of this the tree will die due to copper poisoning. Much of the work that Bethany and the druids do to keep the peace in Maganshire is in alleviating the damage that these customs would otherwise do. Some other druids would probably try to change these traditions, but not Bethany. Hers is the softly, softly approach.
Bethany gets on well with Obsidian, Apophis and Squerglar, and respects Clarissa for the work she has done with Marilyn. She holds Taron in contempt for his incapacity to hold his tongue, and she loathes Augustus for his apparent complete lack of respect for all things not Augustus. If Obsidian does take up a post in the Grand Council, relations between the Ducal seat and the Druids may well be strained if Augustus follows him as duke. Her most constant companion is Singer Soulfriend, her Druidic Knight, enforcer of the Druidic laws. She knows that Singer loves her, but that returning his affection would in all likelihood destroy him (a mortal falling for a dryad can never end well).
Singer Soilfriend, Druiding Knight
Singer should be the dark, brooding right hand man and enforcer to Bethany. And he tries; he is undoubtedly the finest bowman in Maganshire, arguably in Norwold, and his snarling wolf companion Lukie ought to strike terror in the hearts of his enemies. But he hasn't really got enemies, everyone likes him too much.
He's quite tall for an elf, standing at 5'5", has a ruddy complexion, blonde hair, dark eyes, and laughter lines around his eyes that make him look older than his 300 years. That's fitting for an elf who always seems to be smiling. He'll usually be encountered with Lukie, who far from snarling is likely to be panting, tongue hanging out, and is more likely to put a paw on a PCs lap and beg for a snack than to snarl a warning threat. And his other most constant companion is a flagon of good ale. Singer will usually be clad in leather armour, and is never seen without his bow.
He respects and admires (and 'secretly' loves) Bethany, and is her constant companion through dangers (as is his role, as Druidic Knight owing her fealty). When roused to action he's known to be a formidable foe, combining some druidic abilities with almost inhuman capacity with the bow. Marilyn sings a tale of Singer killing over two hundred and fifty Heldannic soldiers who were guarding the main gates of Oceansend, by the timely use of a scroll of creeping doom, thus rescuing the re-capture force otherwise pinned down and defeated back in 1015. A further tale of Marilyns is that Singer killed the King of Frostolme in 1019, taking shelter behind the bodies of his fallen comrades and striking with eight arrow in the Kings heart before he could fall dead to the ground. Poetic license, perhaps, but this does nothing to harm his reputation.
Count Olaf, Baron of Coston, Baronet of Dulse
Olaf was born and bred in Dulse. He's a proper Heldann peasant, he's slow to start talking but when he does his long, drawn out speech can drive more cosmopolitan nobles potty.
Olaf was born to Olaf, the innkeeper of the 'Pigs Ear' the tiny fishing village of Dulse on the mouth of the river Gan and he spent his first 18 years living out a fairly bland existence there. For reasons no one can remember (although Marilyn has invented a few), a mage called Fredegar (who later gained infamy as the corrupt follower of Arik) hit him on the head with a heavy skillet, and Olaf woke up with a renewed purpose in life. He borrowed his cousins rowing boat and rowed all the way to Magan, gained an audience with the duke Lord Spirrel, and tested as a budding mage. Spirrel spotted great potential in Olaf, and he became the junior of four apprentices (alongside and to the annoyance of the other three who were, at the time, Fredegar, Rhodacter, and Mayasurra).
Olaf turned out to be the most gifted of the four. He had a natural affinity for learning magic that ultimately amazed Spirrel, and he had a hard working ethic simply not found in most Alphatian mages. He excelled in numerous adventures, travelling with (amongst others) Squerglars apprentice Gim (the gnomish thief), Marlene (Marilyns cousin and apprentice). Soon it was clear that Olaf would settle down; he had gained name rank, and Spirrel appointed him Baronet of Dulse. Later, the next Duke, Beotach, spotted his talents and promoted him to Count with responsibility for Coston, Sutton and Caddenfoot.
Olaf looks his age; he's about 60, greying blonde, well built for a mage and will be encountered in respectable but common clothing, leaning on an ebony staff (which he copied from that carried by Fredegar, who he always respected). He isn't one of the great mages of the Empire by any means, but he's gained his name twice over, and he has a common, easy going touch with the people of the Duchy that make him perhaps the most popular of all of the nobles, at least with the majority Heldann population. He would be a popular choice as next Duke.
Olaf gets on well with Clarissa and Augustus; Clarissa admires his honesty and Augustus admires the smuggling cavern underneath his fathers Inn. He's popular with Bethany (who was for a time his lover), and Obsidian holds him in great respect because of how much affection he has from the peasantry. There has always been a little tension between Olaf and Paige, Baron of Hamsterley (and Squerglars nephew), who Olaf considers to be a work shy fop. His biggest bugbear is Squerglar, who Olaf just doesn't understand. Olaf considers Squerglar to be a fool and a phoney.
Taron Rastin, High Priest of Ixion in Maganshire
Taron was born and raised in the fishing village of Glomsfjiord, in Soderfjord. He was always what you'd call 'different'; moral, upstanding, willing to stick up for the underdog, but above all restless. No man hates fish as much as Taron does.
He's about 40, looks a little younger, blonde, blue eyes, and a clean complexion. He's not heavily built, but he's almost invariably heavily armoured and armed with his flail. Taron is a long term friend and ally of Clarissa, Augustus and Della, having adventured first under the command of Duke Obsidian (who he distrusts), and later fulfilling quests for Gasan Otiluke, Admiral of the Alphatian Red Fleet (who he distrusts), and later the Emperor himself (who he distrusts). His highest honour was being granted kingship over Hule by the Emperor of Alphatia, after he and his comrades finally defeated the Master. His colleagues gave his wife the good news, that she would be a Queen, on the same day that Taron gifted the kingdom to elves displaced from Alfheim. His wife will forgive him, one day. None of the servants in any noble house in Norwold like him, he has insulted someone in each and every household.
He resides in the hamlet of Head, built around the remains of the head of Earthshaker*, which he and his wife (a priestess of Valerias) have made their home. He's not so much a misanthrope as an occasional grump, a moral grump too. He'll stand, alone if necessary, against a horde of undead because its the right thing to do, or he'll stand alone against a lone peasant girl flower seller who he believes has stolen produce on her, for exactly the same reason.
For years, Taron has been collecting minor magical items. He won't tell anyone why, but all of the once and twice enchanted weapons and armour that a Masters level party of adventurers should really leave behind have fallen into his hands... His armoury must now be impressive, sufficient to equip a small army. He has never shown any real interest in political power.
His arch nemesis has been always Leucretia. Taron discovered that she was secretly learning the arts of necromancy, and confronted her; she was forced to admit that she had kept this hidden because she was trying to determine why a fallen comrade could not be resurrected, and the two formed a kind of truce. It was when another party member, a gnome, had fallen in action and his body stripped to the bones that Leucretia animated the skeletons to sort out which of them was their comrade, and Taron immediately destroyed the undead monstrosities (ruining any chances of sorting out the bones again), that the two finally couldn't remain together. Leucretia gained her revenge after the incident with an elaborate plot in which she abducted and drugged Taron, placed him at the centre of a pentagram in her cellar, with chilli powder rubbed into each of his sensitive body parts that he'd feel when he woke up. She greeted him with 'Don't worry Taron, that's only your body dying, it'll stop hurting soon. Here, drink this, its blood. You'll be wanting a lot of that from now on..."
The two are both members of the Order of the Lighthouse, which means that they still come in to contact. Clarissa has commented that such times are "always a real joy" for those around them.
Della Stormhaven, Clanholder
Della, a Dwarf of Clan Stormhaven*, is undoubtedly the single most damaging thing in the Duchy. Barring none. In a fight, armed with a sword and shield each of which is as intelligent as her, it is quite common for her to end up completely under the control of the multiple personalities occupying her space, and said personalities are frighteningly efficient killers.
She's every bit an average dwarf in appearance and attitude; dark hair, a short beard, loves ale, gold and bashing orcs. But in her travels (to the farthest planes and nations, along with Augustus, Clarissa and Taron) she has learned a thing or two. She has a canny business brain and a long standing commitment to her clan, and she has bought inns across the Duchy, which are served by the largest brewery and by direct shipments of fresh food from Butchers Cross. She has paid for the construction of a second clan complex near to Sutton, cleverly placed on the main overland trade route, thus allowing the dwarves a second line for export of their goods (which otherwise are shipped from Stormhaven down to the river Gan, and taken downstream to Magan and Coston on barges).
Perhaps her defining characteristic is an absolute inability to keep her mouth shut. Whenever she and her party have been in the presence of major political players, she has always seemed to put her foot in her mouth in some way. For example, a mere month after the dreadful loss of Everast's army, obliterated by Shadow Elves as the dwarves tried to take Oenkmar, Della walked straight up to a shadow elf patrol the party encountered and said 'Its ours you know, we will get it back eventually, however many shadow elves we have to butcher'. But worse than that, she has no capacity to keep a secret, and this has frequently landed the entire party in trouble.
In her defence, it is rare that she has ever started trouble that she cannot solve. So rare, in fact, she is almost feared by her comrades as much as she is respected. Marilyn recently started telling a tale of how Della lost an argument with her magical items, which then teleported her to the lair of a great old dragon close to immortal ascension, picked a fight, killed the dragon within ten seconds, and left her waiting for the rest of the party to catch up.
Della is haunted by visions of Keithsara, the former priest of Kagyar who eventually became a demon in the service of the new immortal, Morphail. The two have a turbulent history stretching back to Keithsaras mortal days, and their battles since then have been dramatic and destructive.
All of this said, Della is an honourable and loyal dwarf, and one who if she is not on your side, you really want to make sure you're not on the side of her enemies.