Exiled Cleric of Ioun
Standing at an average height of 5’6" with dark brown hair cut to a short length with hazel eyes and a light complexion. Sorren wears chain mail armor that is blackened beneath a charcoal gray robe that reaches just below his knees with the sleeves ending just above his elbows. In his right hand he carries a simple, but sturdy enchanted mace and in his left a heavy shield of dwarven make inscribed with dwarven and draconian runes. A holy symbol of Ioun hangs about his neck upon a chain of metal and wood beads. His countenance is stern but holds no malice and his eyes have the haunted look of someone who has seen too much in such a short life.
As a boy, Sorren grew up on his parents’ farm in the land known as Allundra. He was a quiet boy often found with his head in a book. Seeing that their son was intelligent, his parents would spend some of their coin as a donation to a traveling cleric named Oswald to teach Sorren in order to improve his reading and writing. One season, the farm’s crops began dying out. It spread throughout the land they owned.
Fortune smiled upon them as a group of traveling clerics arrived within a few days just by chance. They were able to call upon their divine power to halt the disease, but they were unable to heal the land and save their crops. The clerics spared what coin they could, but there was little more they could do for the family. Without crops to sell at the markets, and none to spare to feed their family, Sorren’s parents were forced to sell their one horse and cow. Eventually they had to sell the farm.
Penniless and unable to find work, Sorren and his parents were in some dire straits. They often went cold and hungry. When Sorren became deathly ill, his parents came to a hard decision. They brought him to a Temple of Ioun. Knowing that they could never provide for their son, Sorren’s parents made the ultimate sacrifice: they gave up their son to the priests of Ioun.
The priests eventually healed Sorren of his illness after many days. Later the Head Priest Viddar informed Sorren of his parents’ decision to give him into their care. As Sorren cried with grief, Viddar went on to tell him that his parents were very noble for making such a difficult choice. The Head Priest also informed Sorren that he would be trained by Brother Oswald, the same priest who had taught Sorren at his family’s farm. Soon after, Viddar left Sorren to take all this in and come to terms with his parents’ decision.
Oswald gathered Sorren in his study. The priest knew of Sorren’s intelligence form teaching him and informed Sorrent that he would be trained as a scribe. For the next few months Oswald worked with Sorren to improve his handwriting. “If you are to copy the texts in our library for future generations, they will have to be able to read them clearly,” Oswald would say whenever Sorren complained about the work.
Within a few years, Sorren became the temple’s youngest scribe much to Oswald’s approval. Being a scribe, Sorren had access to most of the meager library’s texts including histories, philosophies, and tomes of Ioun’s teachings. In addition to being a scribe, Sorren had his fair share of chores around the temple including helping with the cooking, cleaning, and going to market for food and supplies. Sorren attended his duties with a dedication that belied his youthful age.
Noticing with growing approval and admiration of Sorren’s dedication, Oswald began to groom the young boy for priesthood. He began teaching Sorren the daily and nightly prayers and personal rituals that all the clerics of Ioun observe. Being a small religion, the followers of Ioun held no great mass, but all gathered on certain days or nights for a group ritual that strengthened their faith. Oswald made sure that Sorren had a part to play in the communal ritual no matter how small or insignificant the part seemed.
On the day of Sorren’s coming of age, where he would no longer be a boy but become a man, Oswald requested that Sorren be inducted into the Ioun’s order. Head Priest Viddar, hearing and seeing first hand of Sorren’s dedication to the temple, concurred with Oswald. “Sorren would make a fine cleric within our order. Perhaps he could spread the Word of our faith through knowledge and bring the light of knowledge to the dark places of this land,” Viddar said. Oswald had a feeling that Viddar was right, more than any of them could foresee.
For Sorren, the next couple of months past by in a blur of intense training that tested his mental, physical, and spiritual endurance. He went through rigorous lessons of memorizing prayers and rituals ranging from both simple and complex. Sorren underwent martial training that included the use of staves, clubs, maces and shields that lasted several hours a day. He had to learn to move in chainmail armor as fluidly as though wearing light robes. Sorren also had to endure fasting while speaking the holy prayers and litanies of Ioun, sometimes in solitude and other times in the wilderness with Oswald. Oswald also taught Sorren the art of divine spellcasting using his faith and prayers to heal and protect the innocent and devastate his enemies.
Within a year, the day of Sorren’s induction had finally come. The ceremony was simple and replete with prayers, litanies, fare words of good deeds done and a small feast (by cleric standards). The clerics gave to Sorren his robes, one for everyday wear and his ritual robes worn only on holy days and special occasions and a book containing prayers and rituals. Oswald also gifted Sorren a book from his personal collection called the Book of Wisdom, a simple book containing Ioun’s core teachings. Sorren was humbled by his teacher’s generosity and continued friendship.
Weeks later, Sorren received terrible news from Viddar: his parents had died. Sorren took the news stoically, but with a mixture of emotions washing through him. It had been nearly two decades since he had last seen his parents and what memories he had were blurred by time and a child’s mentality. He had come to think of Oswald as his parent and the clerics of the temple as his family. Still, he felt compelled to attend the service the priests were going to conduct since his parents had since moved far away in another part of Allundra. Oswald, knowing his parents from when they hired him to teach Sorren as a child, gave a respectful eulogy that tugged at Sorren’s memories. By the end of the service tears fell freely from Sorren’s eyes at the memories of parents he barely knew. He prayed to Ioun for forgiveness for not thinking to stay in touch with his parents even though his duties at the temple did not grant him the time or luxury of doing so.
Oswald gave Sorren the time he needed to grieve and mourn, but life had to move on. Sorren, quiet and mournful, went about his duties at the temple as a fully fledged cleric. After observing his personal devotions, he went about the temple’s library sorting through various volumes and listing those in need of restoration and those that needed to be recopied. Days came and went and eventually Sorren’s mood improved. His mournful aura slowly faded and Sorren began to live his life again. Sorren took to his duties with the vigor and dedication of his old self again to the relief of Oswald.
Two months after Sorren’s parents’ service, Viddar and Oswald came to Sorren with a very important request. They told Sorren of a rare relic they had at the temple: Ioun’s spellbook. “Not all of Ioun’s followers know of this book,” informed Viddar, “and we have come to trust you implicitly.”
“Normally this task is reserved for the senior clerics at the temple,” said Oswald, “but through your services to the temple, you have shown that you are more than ready for such a great responsibility. We want you to stand watch over Ioun’s spellbook. Though we do not expect anyone to steal it,” Oswald continued sternly, “we would rather not take any chances with such a rare and valuable relic.”
Sorren understood the importance of such a task even though it sounded so simple. He vowed not to let Oswald or the Head Priest down and prove that their trust was rightly placed. That very night, Sorren stood in a small room that contained only one chair, a small table for a candle, and an ornate pedestal that held Ioun’s spellbook. After several hours of uneventful “guarding”, Sorren’s curiosity got the better of him.
He approached the book atop the pedestal and looked over his shoulder as though expecting to see Viddar’s disapproving glare. Seeing nobody Sorren reverently touched the book and then ever so slowly lifted the aged dark leather of its cover. He gently leafed through a few pages and found the text to be utterly illegible. It was not a language he had ever seen. However, it occurred to him that the spellbook might be written in a cryptic cipher. Perhaps the words of the text were warded so that only Ioun herself could read it. It was the goddess’s own spellbook after all. His curiosity sated and peaked simultaneously, Sorren closed the book as reverently as he had opened it.
Sorren paced the small square room as though expecting thieves to burst through the walls and steal the book at any moment. Hours passed and Sorren sat in prayerful meditation. He then went about the room practicing his martial forms with a small stick used to light the candle since it would be too risky to use his actual mace he placed by the door. Sorren did not want to accidentally hit the pedestal and knock the most holy relic to the floor. Eventually Sorren settled down to read the Book of Wisdom by candlelight.
One moment Sorren was reading contentedly, occasionally looking up at Ioun’s spellbook, and the next he felt a sharp pain in his head. His world spun, tipped and the floor rushed up to meet him. Sorren was unconscious before he even hit the floor.
When morning came, Sorren regained consciousness in time to be roughly picked up off the floor. He groggily understood that there were many clerics in the small room and someone was yelling profusely. Sorren was tossed into the chair and Viddar was pointing accusingly at him. For the first time, words penetrated his aching skull as his eyes found the empty pedestal. Ioun’s spellbook was gone! “We trusted you,” Viddar roared, “we took you in and this is how we are repaid!?” Viddar gesticulated to the empty space the holy relic once occupied. “Our most holy and sacred relic STOLEN!”
Sorren endured the rest of Viddar’s accusations and the other clerics’ angry stares in a daze. How could he have let this happen? The Head Priest put Sorren under house arrest with two armed clerics at his door at all times. Hours had passed and still no one came to bring him food or water. Requesting such provisions only gained Sorren an angry silence from his guards. At some point just passed noon, Oswald came to see him. His mentor brought him a meager meal of cold bread, hard cheese, and water.
“Viddar is holding council with the other senior priests,” Oswald informed Sorren, “They are debating what to do with you.” Sorren could think of nothing to say and so he said nothing as he ate, but he found he had no appetite despite not eating all day. Oswald encouraged him to eat and retain his strength. After awhile in companionable silence, Oswald left to attend his duties and await the Head Priest’s decision.
Viddar called a gathering and ordered that Sorren be brought to him. Sorren stood before the seniors and the Head Priest disheveled, but at least they tended his head wound. For long uncomfortable moments, Viddar said nothing and only stared daggers at Sorren. “My anger at you has not diminished. We trusted…I trusted you and this is where that trust has brought us. Our order had that relic in our possession for hundreds of years. We are a small order and our relics are few. Do you understand the gravity of the situation, Sorren?”
Sorren bowed his head in shame, embarrassment, and anger at himself. “I do. I understand the great shame I have brought upon myself and the trust I have lost with those I have called family for most of my life.” Sorren bowed lowering his body until his forehead touched the cold floor. “I accept any punishment you feel appropriate, Head Priest.” Sorren’s voice quavered with raw emotion.
Out of the corner of his eye, Sorren saw Oswald looking with pride and sorrow upon his student. Sorren’s eyes filled with hot tears. “You are banished,” Viddar pronounced, “Henceforth, you are exiled from Ioun’s temple.” The Head Priest’s voice was drowned out by all the clerics talking at once some calling for a more stringent punishment and others calling for some small mercy after years of penance. Viddar spoke over all of them, “Once out in the world, your life in your own; however, I offer you this one chance at redemption, Sorren. Find Ioun’s spellbook, return it, and you may regain your honor, but I doubt you will ever be welcomed back into this temple. May Ioun show mercy upon you.”
Again all the gathered clerics save the seniors began talking over one another at this pronouncement. Sorren gathered his courage and rose to his feet. He gave the Head Priest another deep bow of respect and gratitude for such leniency. Oswald came forth and ushered Sorren out of the main hall and back to the living quarters. Sorren’s mentor silently helped him pack all the things he would need: provisions, clothes, money, and a few books containing prayers, litanies and rituals of divine spellcasting as well as his copy of the Book of Wisdom that Oswald recovered.
Oswald also gave Sorren chain armor, a hooded travel robe that fit over the armor, a mace, and a shield. “You may need these in your travels, Sorren. The world is a dangerous place and I fear that you will face many of them before this is over…” Sorren dressed in his armor and robe, hooking the mace to a belt loop at his side and fitting the shield upon his back over the travel pack. “Remember your training and always look to Ioun’s wisdom and guidance whenever you are in doubt. She will always be with you.”
Oswald gave Sorren a holy icon. “Take this as well. Your faith and knowledge in Ioun will become your greatest weapon…and your greatest burden at times.” Oswald looked saddened, but pushed on. “You are no longer my student for there is nothing more that I can teach you. You are your own man…and you are the son that I never had.”
Sorren was overcome with emotion. Not knowing what to say that felt appropriate, Sorren embraced Oswald the way only and father and son could. They parted and Oswald nodded in understanding at Sorren’s silence as they gripped each other’s forearms. Oswald walked Sorren out of the temple in silence and made their final farewells for neither knew if they would ever see each other again.