Rhysalis Eina grew up in the Street Lantern Orphanage in Cauldron. She still remembers the games she played with the headmistress of the orphanage, Gretchyn Tashykk. Growing up with elves and dwarves was heart breaking. Human children seemed to explode onto the great stage, where as their brethren took a very long time to make an appearance. Outgrowing her friends was a hard lesson to learn for Rhysalis. She decided that human life is too short for idleness.
When the child was old enough to be taught letters, Gretchyn presented her at the churches in Cauldron and was happy to see her picked by the servants of Pelor. The girl loved the sunlight, the prayers, and the singing.
She didn’t stay long. When Rhysalis was seven she was sent to Sasserine to work for Kera Gosalar at the Dawnhouse. At first she was assigned stable duty. She learnt how to ride and forgot how to sing. She started accompanying the priests of Pelor on their walks. At night she would cry herself to sleep, remembering the foul injustice she had seen that day. Kera taught her to use this grief to work harder. And work harder she did.
Rhysalis decided that turning the other cheek was not enough. A holy anger burnt in her, and she used it to master arms and armor. It turned out that her future was not to be ordained. She was to join the ranks of Pelor’s soldiers of light. And this she did. She learnt how to defend herself with a quarterstaff, how to trip her enemies with a halberd or a guisarme, and how to disarm bandits at a distance with a ranseur. The various forms and subtle techniques fascinated her. Her mentor Rahrtus Flitox tried to teach her the powerful heavenly strikes with falchion and glaive, but they seemed crude in comparison. She did not want to kill and maim! No, every sinner deserved a second chance. And so she practiced long and hard to disarm and subdue her foes. It was what Rhysalis was known for amongst her peers.
She started to ride on a regular basis, she studied the arts of oratory and learnt how to persuade and preach, how to convince and teach. And when she needed a moment of quiet solitude, she spent hours in the Standing Stones Park near the Dawnhouse, staring at the rocks and the gnarled trees, listening to the seagulls, seeing and not seeing. Time passed.
This is where she met the Knowlern family. The Knowlerns had been tending the Standing Stones Park for nigh three hundred years. One of Aniphastus Knowlerns’ sons by the name of Fardh took an interest in Rhysalis, and she learnt how to read and speak the elven tongue.
She learnt a lot about the history of Sasserine, Cauldron, and the great families whose rule had spanned the centuries both human and elven. Indeed, elven lore often had a lyrical quality to it and was often deeply personal. Many elves had known and seen the mighty commanders and wizards of old. She saw the big genealogy tapestries in the elven halls; she memorized the heraldic colors of all the major houses ruling the jungles and the sea; she knew who had gained power, and how they had done it, and for how long they had kept it.
She tried to share her excitement with Fardh, but he seemed to hardly listen. Their love did not last. She grew older and felt a desperate urge to act where as the Knowlern boy seemed to neither change nor care. Elf is elf and man in man and their meetings are fleeting moments of bliss for mankind.
She did remain on good terms with the Knowlern family however, and when the time came to return to Cauldron with Rahrtus, she got a letter of recommendation from Aniphastus Knowlern to Lady Ophella Knowlern in Hollowsky. Lady Knowlern is the owner of the Drunken Morkoth and offered her long-term lodging for a reasonable rate. Rahrtus, her arms mentor from Sasserine, soon left again, but promised to be back in a few weeks. It felt good to know that she’d keep in contact with the Dawnhouse. Friendship truly is a gift of the gods.
She had been sent to Cauldron because a cleric named Kristof Jurgensen had sent urgent word that his three superiors had died under suspicious circumstances, and that the temple Paladin, Alex Tercival had gone missing. Rhysalis was considered to be well suited for the task. Shalyyssa Lurialar, the half-elven head of the Pelor temple in Sasserine has said that following the investigation she might be able to send in additional support – possibly some replacement clerics, based on Rhysalis’ recommendation. This was a great honor indeed!
Coming back to the city of her youth brought back happy memories of the orphanage and endless stories every night. Gretchyn still told the same stories to elves and dwarves she used to play with but a few years back. That visit nearly broke her heart. Only a heart burning bright with Pelor’s eternal light could make up for the short time alloted to her! And she was here to help the church bring light to the city.
As soon as she reported to Kristof Jurgensen at the Pelor temple she met one of her sisters in faith: Aria, one of the more adventurous acolytes, somehow related to the Aslaxin clan and apparently of elven descent. Rhysalis was fascinated.
Every night at the Drunken Morkoth Rhysalis would exchange a few friendly words with Aria. She had found a friend. When she discovered that Aria had a larger circle of friends that included true elves, she decided that it would do her no good to forget what she had learnd of elvish runes and poetry, and she decided to make it a point to spend some time in elven company every night. And that is how she met the elf Fenyael. A witty fellow, dabbler in the arcane arts of some sort, she wasn’t entirely sure. He seemed to share his kind’s aptitude for the longbow and the longsword. Interesting.
As the party started to investigate the troublesome events in Cauldron, Rhysalis grew fiercer as a paladin, wielding her ranseur and her halberd with mastery approaching her mentors in Sasserine, laying on hands and feeling Pelor’s grace flowing through her into her wounded and exhausted companions, sensing evil and destroying evil again and again. Until that fateful day at the Lucky Monkey… They had been looking for wands of Control Water, expecting to find Sarcem – the high priest of Cauldron’s temple to St. Cuthbert – but finding crazy monkey barbarians and bandits instead. Confusion reigned. Blows were exchanged, baboons died, the bandits fled. Triumph and pride flowed through Rhysalis’ veins like opal dreams from a Sasserine house of veils. Exhilarated, she stepped into the garden courtyard. The fresh air, the wet darkness of rain, thunder rolling in the hills, it was good to be victorious. And in her pride, she forgot to pray, ignored the caution of her elders, and was taught a hard lesson. Baboons fell from the trees & charged her. She died before she could raise her halberd. Aria just barely managed to drag her body back into the inn.
Her soul started on the slow migration to Celestia. She approached the light at the end of the tunnel and merged with it. Turned into light, she floated, sensing a vast sea of calm waters beneath her, and the looming holy mountain before her. This was the original holy mountain of which all others are but pale reflections. Here, at the dark coast of Lunaria her final quest for enlightenment would begin anew. She felt the weight of her pride dragging her down. Her self-righteousness had not been tempered by compassion, her victories had not been tempered by humility. It weighed heavy on her. Already Lunaria was tempting her to stay, to settle, to stop struggling and accept the warm welcome of the lowest level of Celestia.
This was when she felt a strange tugging at her soul. A voice was wispering her name. An image of Aria in a big temple of Pelor. In the distance the faint image of Kristof Jurgensen silently mouthing questions. He was alone, deserted, his elders lost, corruption rolling through the city around him in torpid cloud waves. Indeed, undoing that had been Rhysalis’ mission. Had she forsaken her quest? Was this an opportunity to right the wrongs she had left behind? She turned her thoughts towards her fellow priests of Pelor and noticed the warm darkness of Lunaria fading away as Aria’s face seemed to come closer and closer, whispering her name, invoking charms of binding and recalling, Pelor’s name on her lips. And suddenly Rhysalis opened her eyes and there was Aria, whispering her name, holding her hand, and she was lying in a temple, and she was alive.
The experience changed her. She grew cautious, her brashness was lost and replaced with a humble dedication to her task: To end the corruption infecting this city and to discover the fate of the priests of Pelor. What happened to Issal Phenor, Ember Malach, and Pirius Starshine?
Many weeks passed. She blossomed into her new life as a champion of Pelor. Sure, she was never much of a killer, but she held her ground, accompanying her priestess and the other Golden Lanterns to Occipitus, to the Hall of Heroes, to the Demonscar, to the Wee Jas temple, and into Lord Vhalantru’s manor. The former priests of Pelor were found, killed in the most heinous manner. The former champion of Pelor, the last heir to the Tercival’s was found, corrupted and undead. The temple needed her. The city needed her. It all seemed like a whirlwind, sweeping her away.
She had picked up a love interest, Artus Shemwick. He started showing up at the temple, the two spent long hours walking the city, talking, and maybe more. He seemed interested in Pelor and was often seen at the temple while the relationship lasted. But when they broke up, his faith lapsed. He never quite returned to his old ways, but he could not help but think that maybe Pelor had stolen his love from him. She appeared to need less comfort, her eyes often looked through him, at vistas he was not privy of, contemplating memories he did not share. An inner light seemed to guide her, and it was impressive to see. But at the same time, she seemed less human. Colder, quicker, bolder, even crueler. He could not fathom how Rhysalis managed to reconcile love and compassion with strength and wrath. And eventually, he was left behind.
When the corruption of the Wee Jas temple was exposed, when the foul machinations of Vhalantru were unveiled, people started to shout her name as she walked by, women would send their children to touch her armor, and while she loved the common people and kept visiting the orphanage, she stopped going on the long walks around the crater lake. Silence and solitude was no longer to be found on the streets of Cauldron. Another element of her former life, stripped away.