Overview - Joining - History

Overview

The guild of Dawning is dedicated to the aiding of others. This above anything is the first mission of the Dawn. Following the path first walked by Marlena, we believe the truest way to aid others is to teach them to aid themselves. Our lessons help acquaint the new and young to our land in geography, lore, and history. We impart lessons of survival, and occasionally combat, so that one can further educate him or herself. Guided by the wisdom of Rhian, we seek to defend the innocent, protecting what she has created.

Four factions exist within the guild:

  • Novice
  • Wisdom
  • Initiate
  • Sentinel

Please read 'help Dawning_Ranks' for more information on these.

The Path to The Dawn

To join with the Dawn, one must put aside his or her own personal gains for those of others. This takes both great sacrifice and deep humility. Only those whose character reflects a true goodness of heart and adherence to our beliefs will be admitted, therefore, politeness, maturity, and respect are essential.

* One should have trained him or herself to the twentieth level of his or her abilities to efficiently teach others.

* Before formally seeking the Dawn, one should thoroughly read the histories of Dawning, then pen a scroll to the guild introducing oneself and their intent.

* Next speak with two mortal Dawnings and obtain their support.

* Finally, meet with the immortal leaders of the guild.

The History of the Dawn

Marlena and the Kindred Xemeros, Nabu and Rysher
Nabu Even the Crow Sings at Dawn
The Multi-Colored Cloud The Little Princess

Marlena and the Kindred

Life was simple during the time of Yana and Moran. They were quite old and we were the second generation of grandchildren, after Syrin had changed the first children and made different races. We were a small group and called ourselves the Kindred of the Dawn. We chose this name because each morning we awoke at dawn to explore and learn about our world.

One evening we happened upon a cave, it was nearly dark, so we decided to turn back and explore in the morning. I woke up earlier than the others and found the youngest, Dalin, missing. There were foot prints all around our camp, so I woke everyone else and we set off to follow the tracks. We came back upon the cave we had found last night and the prints led right into it.

At first, we didn't think anything was wrong, perhaps Dalin had tamed a wolf, as he was adept with such arts, and decided to get an early start on exploring. But as we entered, the smell of blood was apparent, and everyone began to worry. I suppose I was the most worried of all, he was my younger brother, my only sibling.

We all split up to search the large cave, the tunnels winding back into darkness. Magic was not an uncommon thing, it was something most of us learned by the our talking years. Watching the balls of light float away, I felt uneasy.

Several hours later, we met up at the mouth of the cave, two people short. Rekan and Marisila had gone through an eastern tunnel. DelGar, a huge ogre, suggested looking for them, and my stomach churned.

As we peered into the small opening, it seemed darker than any other tunnel and more frightening. Summoning a ball of light, we ventured forth. We walked for what seemed like hours into the mountain when I stepped in something. As my white sandal turned a deep red, I began to shiver violently, knowing who this blood had belonged to. At the end of a tunnel was a small cave, there we found 4 corpses, Dalin, Rekan and Marisila and some sort of beast. A tall young man leaned against the smooth cave wall. He nodded in our direction, and spoke.

"I didn't get here in time to save your friends, I'm sorry."

I fell to my knees and let out a wail as I began to cry for my brother and friends. Perhaps it was my sorrow that brought her.

"Do not cry young one," Rhian said, her voice was like the twinkling of the stars.

She helped me to my feet and turned to look at DelGar.

She sighed and said, "My son has tainted this creation." She glanced over at the man leaning against the wall and he smirked. "I wish to make a balance."

She lifted her arms and my brother and friends stood up as if nothing had happened. Walking over to DelGar and I, she began to shimmer with a golden aura and kissed both of us on the forehead. We in turn began to shimmer and I turned into a giant white wolf and DelGar shifted into a large brown bear.

Rhian stood smiling at me and I thought at the time that it was merely my imgaination, but she whispered, "I have plans for you my dear."

Months later I met a man, Tharin, and fell hopelessly in love. We married and less than a year later I was with child. Two girls were born, both carrying the were gene. My children passed on my gene to their children, some lay dormant, others were not. Mingling with other races, the gene spread.

 
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Xemeros, Nabu and Rysher

Their childhood was joyful. Three brothers, Xemeros, Nabu, and Rysher lived in a small home, with a loving father and food in their bellies. Their mother had died giving birth to them--they were her only children. The family were Kine immigrants to a Draconian village. While they were treated reasonably, there was some tension. The tension didn't stop their father from thriving as a teacher in the local school. The three flourished in school, learning all they possibly could. Their father was a great teacher, knowledgeable and wise, but he was also strict. He graded harshly, but fairly. When the son of one of the richest and most powerful families in the village received a failing grade, his father demanded to know why. The teacher was a man of principles and refused to change the grade after he refused again, he was slain for it.

Word of their father's death reached the boys while they were on a hike in the forest beyond their village, and they immediately knew to run for their lives. Sure enough, a war party left the village in search of them, but they had already made their escape. They traveled together through

mountain and forest, learning to live off the land and what Rhian provided them with. They traveled together for quite a while, learning much on their journey. Unfortunately, a day came when they lost each other in the mist, and Nabu was separated from the other two.

Xemeros and Rysher kept on with their travels, finally arriving at a city known as Arnica. There, they began to impart the knowledge they had acquired during their travels unto the willing inhabitants of the land. Xemeros had been hurt on their journeys, and for him walking was a grueling task. Upon meeting Marlena, once a member of the Children of the Dawn, Xemeros suggested traveling together, spreading knowledge, the belief that life is important and not to be taken from another, and that all innocents were to be protected. They became known as the Dawning, a light in the dark world.

 
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Nabu

For Nabu, life took a decidedly different turn. He journeyed onwards and eventually arrived in a rather large village. He asked the first man he saw there, "Do you know my brothers?" The man turned to him, studied his face for a moment, then shouted "Another one of them!" Nabu was baffled, and stood in confusion as villagers poured out of the tavern, drunk and angry. One cried, "Vampire! Murderer!" Suddenly it all became clear.

Nabu turned to run, but a villager struck him across the head with a barstool. Dazed, and bleeding, Nabu pleaded with the mob -- but no one was listening to his denials of being a vampire. Finally, one of the mob plunged a knife deep within his chest, and everything went dark.

Nabu woke up in a place he had never seen before. He rubbed his eyes in confusion and looked up at the most beautiful creature he had ever seen, and she smiled at him. "Good," she spoke softly, "you are awake." He looked at her in confusion and began to question her but she interrupted him before he could begin." You are probably wondering what is going on," she whispered.

He nodded, and she continued, "You died, Nabu. I am Rhian, the creator of your world." He gasped in disbelief, and she put a finger to her mouth, motioning him to be silent. This is not normally what happens to people when they die. Some are returned to life others are sent off to oblivion, and much else happens to many others. Still, I have brought you here for a reason.

He nodded and suddenly the room changed around him they were now sitting at a finely carved table in an elaborate study. I created this world, but I do not like how it has come to be. Ogre, Draconian, Sylvan, I created them all. Once, they were brothers. Now, they fight amongst themselves and each other, and so many innocents are caught in the middle. She grimaced to herself, then continued: So many are killed for foolish reasons, so many die without first learning how to live. I have given them all they need to survive and flourish, yet so many have forgotten how to use what they are born with. This is why I need your help." She looked up and at Nabu and he staggered before the sheer intensity of her gaze.

You and your brothers are great teachers. Your brothers and a first, Marlena, continue your mission upon the earth, teaching mortals much. Still, there is much they do not know to teach, and much they do not do. I need you to return to the realm of the living, Nabu. I need you to teach those who do not know to help the innocent learn to help my children grow and learn to think of themselves as brothers, to again call themselves my children."

Her eyes glowed with a fierce intensity as she looked off into the distance. "Will you help me Nabu?" She looked him in the eyes and again he staggered under her gaze. I will, he whispered, and then everything went black again.

 
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Even the Crow sings at Dawn

It is growing dark and so I must light a myriad of candles that I might continue to write this saga that so haunts me. From my shelves a strange lamp, one I collected on an adventure through the elemental canyon that through some magical means harnesses the light of lava within, glows a dull red. As the liquid stone pulses through the glass, so pulses the pain through my hands. I look down at the deep cuts that slashed their way across my palms, near to the bone, and flex my hands as the healers advised. If I exercise every day, and perhaps this writing will be an exercise, I might, may, perhaps, regain the ability to play again...

How this came to be I must explain to the Dawn. But this is not the place to start. While hardly the beginning, it is a more fitting place to begin.

'Sing-ER!' The harsh shrill tore through the liquor-hazed remnants of sleep. 'Sing-ER!' Isri rolled over, clasping her hand over her head and burying her face in the moldy straw. A stick poked hard at her boot and then harder into her stomach. Slowly Isri turned her bleary gaze up to blink at the sour face of the tavern keeper's wife.

'Giddap, crow. Ye've 'ad yer night's rest now giddout.'

Isri groaned as the tavern wife's shrieking voice renewed the pounding in her head. She cast a longing look at her brief sanctuary - the barest scattering of straw so infested with vermin that the grime- covered floor would have been inviting were it not so cold. Cheap beer, cheep bed, the rewards of her music. Isri stood and stretched with a catlike agility and grinned impishly as she grabbed her bag and her lute. She sketched an elaborately mocking bow then headed toward the door, deftly pinching a bottle of the finest swill the establishment had to offer.

Sunlight glared down at Isri as she stepped into the city street. Even at this wickedly early hour the streets busied with people moving from here to there. Muttering at the poor sots about her with their work-ladden lives, Isri slipped into the shadow of a building and took a long pull on the stolen bottle. After a few drinks the pounding in her head dimmed as the growling in her stomach became more persistent.

Hitting the street Isri looked longingly into shop windows and the backs of passing wagons. Her attention was caught by the vision before her of a wayside inn. The smell of stew and baking bread lured her closer to the door. With no coin in her pocket and her shabby appearance, she had no chance at scoring a meal or employment at an inn catering to adventurers. A wine-soaked crow like herself would be tossed out on her rump in seconds unless...

Isri's eyes lighted upon a man making his way towards the door of the inn. His appearance was common, his clothing plain, but her sharp eyes took in other details: the cleanliness of his gear, the immaculately trimmed nails, the healthy way his golden hair caught the sunlight. She regretfully touched her own matted locks then grinned. A man wanting to appear poor and humble was either excessively good or delightfully foolish. She watched him enter the inn, taking a last pull on the bottle, and sauntered through the doorway herself.

She was momentarily assailed with a wave of warmth to all senses. The heat, the scent of food, the light, the pleasant chatter, all made her pause for a wistful moment. The reverie was broken when the bard in the corner broke into a simpering ballad. A slight sneer crossed her expression as she experienced what the rich called talent. Recalling her mission, she quickly turned her attention to the golden haired man. Schooling her expression, she pulled up a seat beside him.

The man nodded to Isri then turned his attention to the steaming plate of stew and bread the serving woman had brought him. Isri carefully watched as the man pulled a few coppers from a pouch at his belt. He handed them over to the woman and tucked eagerly into his dinner. The woman's pleasantly warm expression hardened as she caught a look at Isri. She asked, 'May I bring you anything,' in a tone that made clear she'd best order or vacate her pristine establishment.

As the golden-haired man besides her bent down to take a large bite of stew, Isri deftly reached into his pouch and procured a few coins. Isri asked, 'How much for the stew?'

'Four coppers,' replied the woman suspiciously.

Isri dropped four of the five coins onto the table before her. 'How much for an ale,' she asked, fingering the last coin in her palm.

'Two coppers.'

'The man bit off a hearty chunk of bread. Whilst he chewed, Isri slipped another finger into the pouch and withdrew another coin. Smiling, she dropped the two coins on the table. The coins spun and clattered as they fell from her hand. Through a disbelieving daze, Isri watched one of the coins glinting dangerously as it spun. A warning screamed through her mind - GOLD! - and she quickly snatched the incriminating coin before its gleeful dance stopped. Tightly clasping the coin, Isri murmured, 'Just a glass of milk with that, please.' Scooping up the coppers, the woman nodded and bustled off.

Isri leaned back, breathing deeply, and tried to calm her rapidly beating heart. Damn. Gold. That would have got her locked up for good. She cast a glance at the two law officers idly lounging by the fire, sighed, and cursed her luck. She'd never held gold before and now that she had it, she'd never be able to spend it. Not daring to look, she lightly ran a finger over the coin then slipped it back into the man's pouch as he took a long drink. As she stared dejectedly at the table, the man beside her smiled into his dinner.

Finishing her meal, Isri again shouldered her bag and lute and left the inn, her thoughts full of dark muttering about adventurers and their ilk - and their cursed gold. Before she could step into the crowd, a calling voice caught her attention and she turned. The golden-haired man stepped hurriedly into the street after her.

'I couldn't help but noticed the lute you carry,' he said. 'My name is Xemeros. I had thought perhaps you might share a song and in return, I would tell you my tale.'

I was inspired by Xemeros' tale. I, who had lived merely for myself for all those years, suddenly felt an empathy for others, a desire to touch them. I think I'd felt it in my music long ago when I could render the meanest crowd of tavern scum into thoughtful patrons of the art if only for a few moments. And remembering my own childhood on the streets, I felt the need to put my talents to use for others, that they not suffer the harsh fingers of hunger in their bellies or the harsher fingers of lust tugging at their skirts.

Crouched on the rooftop at midnight, clad in black leathers, Isri couldn't help but grin. Tense with excitement she moved closer to the dark window three stories above the city streets. She had spent weeks trailing this man, watching as he swindled young innocents. For the past five years since her encounter with Xemeros she had worked to do good in the city, right the land from evil. Many innocent had been fed from her filching from those who misused their wealth and power. And she was proud of her work.

At the window a long greased lock pick made short work of the complicated locking device and her gloved fingers slipped under the frame and raised the glass. Bending her lithe frame, she too slipped through the glass and into the lush bedroom. Quick sylvan eyes brushed over the sleeping man to rest on the small carpet set at a clearly unfashionable angle. Dropping to her knees, she lifted elegant rug to reveal a small door. Quickly she opened the locking mechanism and pulled the large sapphire from its resting place.

She smiled with deep satisfaction. This noble would loose not only the immense value of the gem itself, but also his position in the merchant's guild and his political standing dependant on possessing such an artifact. She closed the compartment, returned the carpet, and slipped out the window. Scaling part way down the wall, she leapt neatly to her feet in the alley below.

'Very nice indeed, lady,' a deep voice behind her chuckled. 'Almost a shame to lock up an artist like yourself.'

Isri moaned, muttering something most unladylike and a massive figure emerged from the shadows. One hand rested on the large halberd at his side but his blue eyes sparkled with amusement. 'I'll be taking that sapphire, Miss Isri, if you don't mind.'

Dropping the gem into the officer's large hand, Isri smiled faintly, 'Ah well, do have a nice evening, Officer,' and began to walk down the alley, whistling to herself.

'Nice try, really. My name is Officer Sethdil. I have a feeling we'll be getting to know one another a little better. Why don't you come with me?'

Sethdil leaned back in his chair and put his boots on the desk before him. Isri glowered through the bars of her cell, pacing angrily. Sethdil said lazily, 'We've been tracking you for months, you know. This is the first chance we've had to catch you. Quite a merry chase you've lead us, but when we caught on to what you were doing, well.' He trailed off and smiled with satisfaction.

Isri turned to face him, her hands grasping the bars. 'If you know what I'm doing why are you stopping me?'

Sethdil frowned slightly, 'You broke the law.'

She stared at him in disbelief. 'By taking that man down from power, I'm saving hundreds of innocents from his abuse. And you're protecting him with the law?'

Running a hand through his white hair, Sethdil sighed. 'Do you really think your methods change anything? Sure, you sell your loot and few people get to eat for a few days. But how does that stop other people from coming in to power and doing the same thing?'

Isri stared at Sethdil then turned and stood in silence for a long moment. 'I see your point,' she said softly, 'but do your laws do this? I don't see you arresting that man for his crimes.'

He shrugged slightly, 'We try. But it's a long process that tries to be fair to everyone. We're not going to change the world over night.'

Isri looked at Sethdil a long time then nodded slowly. 'You've still locked up the wrong criminal.'

'As I said, we have to apply the law equally...'

The door to the jail opened and a tall, lanky man stepped into the warm jailhouse. 'Evenin' Sethdil,' he said with a smile. 'Burglary, this one?' Sethdil nodded as the strange man considered Isri for a while. 'Alright, she wants this one, so I'll pay her fine.' Sethdil nodded again, pulling out some paperwork. The stranger dropped a bag of coins on the desk and signed the paper with a flourish...Malificent.

Sethdil stood and unlocked the door of the cell. He said softly,

'Think on what I said. And listen to Her.' Returning her possessions, he slipped something into Isri's hand. She nodded, mouthing the words, 'Thank you,' and followed the other man from the jail. Standing in the faint light of the early morning, she looked in her hand to see the large sapphire glinting against her palm.

Malificent lead me to Marlena and the Dawn. From there, my story is like that of any other Initiate. Training was painful, long, and inevitably rewarding. I served my fellows and those around me and earned my rank as Sentinel. I sought to change the system slowly by teaching others to help themselves, by inspiring others to do the same. My life was interesting, unlikely, perhaps, but hardly a product of divine inspiration. I came to lead the Dawn because my particular skills were needed at the time rather than due to any supernatural selection. And so things went as I continued my studies of the world around me.

At the first word of the 'prophesies' I felt this was not another madman spouting of false visions. And I was terrified. Evil thus far in this land was concentrated in the power hungry individual, in hatred between persons rather than as an active entity. But I did not act. Syrin, too, is the son of Rhian and in my opinion, people had created as cruel acts of evil in the name of Tyrin as in that of Syrin.

And so the Dawn watched.

On the foretold night, the moon began to block out the sun. This is not an unusual phenomenon or particularly marked by evil. Likely Syrin is as logical in his workings all any other wishing to stage a production and chose such a night for exactly that purpose. But as the sky darkened, I could not help but shiver.

As prophets cried into the day-come-night, mists rose from the earth, voices cried from the mists, and then the earth itself began to shake in upheaval. The words of prophesy echoed in my mind, that the earth herself would birth the physical form of the god. And so did these mists form together and gain substance and the laughter of Syrin echoed in the hearts of all.

Some rose against this manifestation, others for it, and battle raged. Again, the words taunted me, that only with great blood would this birth occur. And I watched while others died. The souls who tried to stand against the physical reappearance of the god fought with valor but fell, one by one, as the manifestation grew in strength. Syrin's victory seemed assured. As the moon finally blocked the entire sun, then was I moved into action.

In a daze, I walked from my high vantage point to the altar of the gods. My voice was not my own as I commanded the manifestation to appear before me and face the Mother. Snarling with hatred, this mist did appear. In a cold voice, it stated, 'You have no power over me.'

'I speak with the voice of the Mother, she who birthed you and she who banished you from walking this earth. I shall not allow this.' In Her voice, I commanded, 'Thus are you again banished.'

With a scream the mist evaporated and its servants howled and wept in anger. Tyrin's servants looked on with smug pride. I turned to all assembled. 'Rhian will not allow Her sons to walk this earth to wage their war again. But She sees the need for balance. And so does She allow that an Avatar be born, a physical body with its own soul that might bear the will of Syrin.'

I crouched before the altar, reaching down to touch the dirt and dust upon the stones. My palms were torn open to the bone and blood rushed to mingle with earth. And heaving again, the earth spat up the figure of a lich before the altar.

Gasping, I collapsed into a dark corner of the temple. A Novice knelt beside me to bind my wounds, but I felt nothing, nor did I hear the words the avatar spoke to those crowded about him. Rhian's presence left me and as pain threatened to overwhelm me, so too did my consciousness.

The candles have long flickered out this night. The effort of writing has again opened my wounds and left this page stained. I look from my balcony to the world below with trepidation and wonder. I was not meant for the struggles of the divine, despite what part I have been made to play. I fear the horror I have brought into this world, fear the bloodshed this act may cause, those innocents who would perish. But I must trust in the Mother's balance. And so will the sun continue to rise, so it will always set. So shall we servants seeks to find our way in the darkness and so shall we smile at the returning light. light.

 
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The Multi-Colored Cloud

The fire was crackling as the warmth teased the moisture out of the logs. The smell of pine drifted through the inn, mixing quite pleasantly with the smell of the venison stew steaming before me. Overall, keeping my place at the bar seemed like a pleasant way to spend the evening. True, it would be an uneventful evening, but uneventful is a certain improvement over unpleasant or unbearable. I had just turned my attention back to my ale and the rather comely barkeep when a singular event captured my attention.

A cloud of every imagined color appeared in the middle of the room, and a strange looking person took shape within it. The cloud receded, leaving a reedy fellow in its place. I turned on my stool to have a good look at the stranger; his white hair, black skin, and pointed ears made it clear that this one was Drow. I thought it strange that a Drow would find his way into these parts; very few of any race find their way into these parts. His hair was pulled into a ponytail, and he was wearing a crimson robe with a wide band of black cloth tucking in the waist. After gaining his composure (knocking over two empty chairs in the process), he made his way to the bar. 'Hello hello hello! I'll have a belt if you would.' His manner was as strange as his entrance, but the barkeep gave him a smile and filled a mug with the house special. The drow smiled and passed a few coins to the barkeep. She looked strangely at the metal disks, then looked up at the stranger again. 'I've not seen coins such as these before'.

The stranger replied: 'I haven't the slightest clue where I am, I'm afraid. Silly wild magic, you know. Once, I spent a week as a turtle...lucky that the spell wore off. A most interesting experience, but I never did get used to the smell.' The barkeep shrugged and swept the coins off the bar before disappearing into the kitchen.

One of the men lounging by the fire made his way to the stranger at the bar. My eyes were drawn to a piece of metal (bronze, maybe) that was styled into the shape of a sun. The firelight danced off the metal, giving it an interesting, almost magical glow. The man shouldered up to the bar and introduced himself as Nabu. 'Why, hello hello hello! Kesavaram here. Pleasure pleased and nice to meet you. That's quite a nice badge you're wearing. It looks delightful in the firelight. What is it?'

The kine fellow, Nabu, said: 'That, my friend, is a very long story. If you'd like to hear it, my companions and I are resting by the hearth. You are most welcome to join us.' With a wave, he returned to his seat by the fire. Kesavaram smiled, consumed the rest of his drink, and went to join Nabu. I couldn't hear what they discussed from my seat, but I did notice that Nabu and his cadre left soon, that Kesavaram fellow in tow. Seeing nothing more than the usual crowd, my attention returned to my ale. Perfect timing, for that charming barkeep just returned from the kitchen, and I had more important things to capture my attention.

 
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The Little Princess

The child watched with wide and wondering eyes as the man clasped her mother to him and kissed her deeply. This man her mother had said to call Father was a stranger to the child. Few came to call at the cottage where she and her mother lived, perched on the edge of the Sea of Mathias. It was only recently that the child realized there were other people in the world, beside herself and her mother.

The child's gaze drifted behind the man to his mule, a laden animal with a swaying back and dull eyes. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a sudden flash of movement down the road, nearly out of sight. The child's mother had shown her how to watch a wild animal, how to tame birds out of the sky. The trick was in pretending not to notice them, until they decided to be seen.

Pretending to stare at her doll, the child watched the road patiently, hoping for another glimpse of whatever had darted out of sight with such nimbleness. She started imagining it was a giant bear, tamed out of the wilderness by her father, who would turn out to be a great magician and wise man, and the she and the bear would become the best of friends, like sisters, and...

"Sidonie!" The call of her mother's voice startled the child out of her day dream. Whatever had darted behind the rock had not yet moved, but Sidonie reluctantly left her vantage point and went to her mother to meet this strange man, her father.

Later, the child crept out into the darkening night and looked around. A strange shadow where none should be told her that the animal she had glimpsed in the afternoon had crept its way toward the house, and was now hiding just behind the woodpile. Sidonie began to whistle softly under her breath, a soothing sound, to let the animal know she was drawing near, so as not to scare it.

"Hey you," came a harsh whisper in the common tongue. Sidonie gaped in astonishment. The animal wasn't a bear at all, but a girl, maybe twice her own eight years, scrawny and filthy, with matted hair and a small dirty face. The pointed tips of her ears, so like Sidonie's own, seemed the cleanest part of her.

"Whatever are you doing there?" asked Sidonie, with frank amazement. This was much better than a bear.

"I'm starving here, that's what," said the bear-girl. "Got anything to eat?"

Sidonie nodded soundlessly and pulled a large piece of cheese and a small loaf wrapped in cloth out from under her apron. She handed it to the girl, who snatched them from her and began to bolt them down so ravenously that Sidonie gulped a little, thinking "Maybe she truly is a bear, after all."

"Knew I was here, did you?" the bear-girl managed to ask between bites. Sidonie nodded, fascinated by this strange creature. "Who are you people, anyway?" the strange girl demanded around a mouthful of cheese, "and how do you know him?" she asked, jerking her head in the direction of the cottage.

"That's Father," Sidonie said dutifully. "Mother said he was coming and that it would be a great event, and that he would bring me silk to wear and ribbons and toys and perhaps a new pony, and that I must be very good so that he would want to stay and live on with us, instead of forever travelling, and then we should be the most happy we have ever been, and he didn't bring a pony but the silks are very lovely, and Mother seems very happy, and I am trying very hard to be good."

The older girl listened to this outpouring with an increasingly sour expression on her face. She threw down the remaining crust of bread. "So my mother, he leaves to sink or swim in an alehouse, and yours he treats like a queen. What's your name, little princess?"

Sidonie named herself in a whisper.

"I'm Isri," said the bear-girl. "I'm your half-sister."


The next morning, Isri was gone. She had left behind a single crow's feather to say goodbye. The girls had stayed up half the night talking and comparing stories about the sylvan man they both knew as Father. Isri had soon warmed to the younger girl; Sidonie's instant, unconditional, and unwavering love for her newly found kin was infectious.

Sidonie was awestruck to realize that such an exotic creature was her own flesh and blood, and for the first time, she began to realize that she might leave the quiet cottage at the edge of the world where she had been born and raised.

Over the years, Isri checked on her half-sister many times, leaving Sidonie many small gifts and letters, tales of wild adventures which inspired Sidonie to follow in her half-sister's footsteps first as an explorer, and later as a leader of the Dawn, called to teach by Rhian herself.

Sidonie divides her time now between helping those in Dawning serve the people of Rhia, and in unearthing and exploring new lands.

 
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