Rift: Travels Through Telara Part 19 - Amardis Mathos
Join Guardian scribe, Padraic, and his trusty, yet slow-witted lackey Bran, as they travel the length and breadth of Telara documenting the people, places, history, and folklore of the world. Before its all gone.
Travels Through Telara
Greetings, dear reader. TodayÂs subject comes courtesy of Bran. Dear, yet-ever-so-slightly-dim Bran. He has been talking to Barik you see, and Barik has been boasting about how amazing the north is, about how if it wasnÂt for the men and women of Iron Pine Peaks, then Telara would already have fallen to the Blood Storm. Now, I absolutely loathe boasting, but even I must admit that Barik has a point.
For instance, just before old Barik grew weary, (actually, annoyed is probably a more accurate term), with BranÂs questions and went off to hunt boar in the woods (IÂm not kidding. They breed hardy, these northmen.), Barik mentioned to Bran that the noble order of paladins had its start in the northlands. Bran chased after Barik for a while, hoping the old man would tell him the story, but after Barik hurled an axe and a spear at him, Bran eventually got the message that Barik wanted some alone time.
So Bran has come to ask if I know the story. I do indeed, and I can think of no better time to write down the story of the first of the paladins, Amardis Mathos.
Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift SliversDuring the Blood Storm wars the tribes of the north were scattered and proud. They fiercely protected their independence, not trusting in any form of unified government. They knew that with that kind of power resting in a small group of people, corruption would soon follow. Besides, there was no need for them to join together. They already met up twice a year for hunting competitions and to allow those newly come of age to take advantage of the more relaxed control of the elders. Mead flowed, inhibitions were lowered, and nine months later new blood was brought into the tribes. These newborn babes were raised by a series of foster families, families of different skills and trades so that the child would be exposed to as many different crafts as possible by the time he or she came of age. Then the cycle began again. So it was, and so it had always been.
But the chieftain of clan Mathos, a giant bear of a man called Alrik Mathos, knew that the times were changing. His seid (seer) read the runes when the Midwinter moon cast her cold light onto the snow of Iron Pine Peak. She warned that Skara (Death) was coming, riding his chariot from the frozen stars to take the tribes of the north under his cloak. She warned Alrik that unless he united the clans they would all be wiped out, enslaved, their blood stories spilled into the snow, never to be sung again.
Alrik took his charge seriously. It took him half a decade to finally convince the other tribes they had to unite and fight the scourge of the Blood Storm. There was much resistance. Most thought the Blood Storm was a problem of the southlands. That it wouldnÂt affect them. But a few border skirmishes with the cult of Regulos finally convinced them that Alrik spoke wisely and they finally joined together to battle the Dragon Gods.
But while Alrik was traveling between the tribes, trying to unite them, he entrusted the safety of the land and people to his daughter, Amardis Mathos. Alas, the effects of the Blood Storm wars were felt even this far north. Planar energy interrupted natural cycles. Breeding patterns were disrupted, homing instincts confused. The migration of the mighty afgar beasts, a migration that the northern tribes relied on for food to see them through the cruel winter, failed to happen. Crops withered, and famine took hold of Clan Mathos.
The people of Clan Mathos cried out for Amardis to accept their offer. But Amardis resisted. She was starving, yes, but she felt that something was not right. And how would she face her father when he came back to discover she had sold of their lands to southmen?
Amardis entered the caverns that held the sourcestone, seeking inspiration, hoping to commune with Thedeor. She moved through darkened tunnels for hours, hours that turned to days. But always, she felt it wasnÂt the right time to stop. So she kept going. Without food, drinking from the mountain springs that cut their way through the caverns.
Until she finally entered a cave that was constructed entirely from the mighty sourcestone. It was everywhere. The floor, the roof. It shone with an internal light and Amardis, knowing she had arrived, instantly fell to her knees and prayed to Thedeor.
When she was finished praying she opened her eyes and saw her fatherÂs shield lying before her. Affixed to its very center was a pulsing shard of sourcestone.
ÂTake it, daughter,Â said the voice of Thedeor. ÂTake it and reveal the truth."
Amardis took the shield and returned to her people. The traders were already gathering. They had assumed she had died in the caverns, and were seeking someone else to negotiate with. Someone who would be more open to their offer.
Amardis strode out of the dark cavern into the frigid, golden dawn of a winter's morn. She struck the caravan master with her shield, sending him flying through the air. Gold coins stamped with the glowing mark of Laethys flew from his robe, and AmardisÂs people saw that they had nearly turned their holy caverns to agents of the Golden Maw.
Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift Slivers Rift SliversAmardis led the charge as Clan Mathos took up arms to drive out the cultists. She intercepted blows meant for her other members of her clan. She drew the enemy away from weaker clan members. People later said that a glowing aura surrounded her, growing stronger each time she cut one of the dragon's agents down.
But then, disaster. The leader of the Golden Maw ran Amardis through with his serrated blade. Amardis fell to the ground, her blood staining the white snow dark red.
But she did not simply lie down and die. She pushed herself up and pressed her hand to the wound. A golden light, brighter than the dawn itself, burst forth from her hand, healing the wound and closing it up. Amardis then cut her attackerÂs head from his body, breaking the Golden MawÂs offensive with one stroke of her blade.
The Mathosians drove the remaining cultists into the mountains. They took all the food from the caravans, but Amardis insisted they melt down the gold they found to forge an altar to Thedeor. This monument would one day stand in the heart of Caer Mathos, the home of many Mathosian paladins for centuries to come.
And that is how Amardis Mathos, daughter of Alrik Mathos, became the first paladin to walk Telara.