Monday, October 21, 2013

Iconic Cleric: Saleth

By John Belliston

The snakeman slithered elegantly through the crowded street. His skin had been meticulously cleaned with a sand bath only this morning with sand he had brought in from his homeland. He lived amongst the barbarians but refused to damage his scales with their soaps and water. “Keep your body pristine. Even if it is illusion, the sand will think more of you.” He smiled at a young minotaur woman laboring in the street. A small bloody wound lay on her arm. As he lay a gentle hand to reassure her that she had the strength, a trickle of shadow energy flowed from his hand and closed her wound. She smiled up at him and thanked him. She would feel indebted to his kindness and refusing a reward would deepen her respect. He had seen her being trained by one of the more influential of the Carpenters. His smile had been wider and the scent of him more masculine as she worked by his side. She would talk of the Lash-ti-nowish that helped her.

And the price of Snakemen glass was about to be debated in the Grand Assembly. But Saleth already knew that.

The Wind Moves the Sand.

Though there are thousands who serve within the ranks of the Priest Caste, it is a truly select and tiny few that bear faith powerful enough to become a cleric. Each one carries with him a sigil to reflect the deeper understanding of the wind and sand, a personal reminder of the moment they found their faith. Saleth carries a copper ladle. When he was young and foolish he found himself abandoned by his caravan. Lost in the hellish heat of the Black Shamshar, days passed. Madness came and went like a wild wind across his mind. His eyes barely open, his skin cracked and bloody beneath the scales, he begged for Daras' sweet release but the Lady of the End refused to come. He was found moments from breathing his last by one of the convicts exiled to the black wastes. The convict offered him a copper ladle. He gave Saleth a drink of precious water and asked for nothing in return.

Saleth holds all that he has become and all his works as the direct consequence of that tiny act of kindness. It is that idea that fuels the flame of his faith in the Ripples of Worth. Each of the priest caste must over time decide how best to manipulate the sand and shape the world. Saleth selected kindness as his weapon, for a kind act creates many after affects, and those who are wise can use those effects to their advantage.

According to the Chroniclers within the Meticulous Bureaucracy, Saleth is the 425th priest to bear the name Saleth. Its previous owner was remarkable only in the manner of his death, having been savagely torn apart in an Unkhan raid. The newest Saleth seeks to bring new honor to his name, but will play by his own rules. Like all Lash he pays service and fealty to the Old Ones though over time that loyalty has become more and more of a charade. He travels the world, as many others do, not to work towards the benefit of the Old Ones in their Tomb Palaces, but to see what ripples his kindness will make. Saleth wishes to change the world… and to watch exactly how.