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Beijorn Varicc

Xavier Picture

Guardian of Scyndar (Oath of Devotion)

Beijorn was born the third son of the noble family Varicc. As tradition dictated, his eldest brother was groomed to lead the family line in the event of their father’s death. The second brother was raised to learn the business of trade and mercantilism—to help run the family business. Beijorn was the third son though, he was to be of the clergy. The house of Varicc, like most noble Jotnar, were faithful worshipers of Sivan. But from an early age, Beijorn felt the call of another god—the Keeper of the Sacred Fires, Scyndar.

Even as a young boy, Beijorn heard the intent of Scyndar, sometimes even hearing his voice. But even Beijorn struggled with his calling. He was the strongest of his brothers. When they played at fighting with sticks and planks, he always gave his older brothers more welts and bruises than he received, despite being smaller than they. Despite his struggle, Beijorn’s faith in Scyndar held.

There was no temple to Scyndar where he lived, but there was a priest and a small church. It was there that he was exposed to the stories of Scyndar, Saint Saffi, and the “Book of Hope”. Luckily, Beijorn’s parents understood Beijorn’s calling to Scyndar—they were simply happy that Beijorn complied with his traditional role of service to the clergy since his older brother Mikhail seemed to have no aptitude for business.

Scyndar answered Beijorn’s prayers of confusion about his role when one day, a group of adventurers came into town. Amongst that group was a holy warrior dedicated to Scyndar. The local priest introduced Beijorn to the knight and over the course of several weeks and many prayers, Beijorn and his parents agreed for him to join the knight as her attendant—her squire.

For the rest of his adolescence, Beijorn travelled with Cellina Ko, Holy Warrior of Scyndar. During this time, Beijorn saw adventure, peril, and danger. But he also learned about faith, service, and most especially—humility. Beijorn learned of the Seven Acts of Mercy and how an adventurer could exhibit the Seven Mercies in their everyday lives while destroying evil, travelling to communities, and spreading the warmth—both physical and faithful—of the Hearths of Scyndar.

Cellina Ko retired to live out her later days in a modest town where she could serve as a local Prelate, recording the stories told around the Hearth. She told Beijorn there was nothing more she could teach him and gave him armor and weapons as payment for his years of service. After praying for twenty-four hours straight in front of the Hearth, Beijorn felt the call of Scyndar pulling him home. Saying his farewells to Cellina Ko, he left to return to his family home.

Returning home as a Holy Warrior of Scyndar, his parents welcomed him with proud smiles. But they were smiles hiding a secret embarrassment. Once they were alone and Beijorn had prodded them to open up, they confessed that his older brother Mikhail had run away in shame after a disastrous business failing. This became a subject of worry for Beijorn and something that weighed heavy upon his heart at this time. It was a frequent question in his prayers to Scyndar.

His visit home also coincided with his traditional coming of age ceremony, the Jotnar Water Ritual. The Jotnar of Beijorn’s home town traditionally trekked into the swamp near their village to retrieve something of worth and personal importance that has been placed by an elder on a small island in the center of the large swamp. Tradition and ceremony require that the young one nearing adulthood bring only simple clothing, one simple weapon, and one simple token with them—no armor, no backpack full of survival equipment.

Beijorn wore only sturdy breeches, a simple cloth tunic, and an artistic iron holy symbol. Beijorn’s holy symbol is a simple square of iron with a vertical curved piece of glass set in the center of it. The glass was colored and changed from red to orange to yellow, depending on the light. Along with these items, Beijorn entered the swamp with only a simple spear. He was required to hunt and forage to survive as well as either avoid or fight off the dangerous creatures that inhabited the swamp. After several days journey through the dangerous terrain, Beijorn located the lake and could barely see the island through the falling darkness.

The swim to the island was arduous—a true test of endurance—but Beijorn eventually crawled upon the small island’s muddy shore in the darkness of night, only to be attacked by a pair of dire wolves. In his armor, with his own weapons, the battle between Beijorn and two dire wolves probably would have been in his favor, despite only the low murky cloud-covered moon and starlight. But armed with only a spear and no armor, in the dark, and nearly exhausted, he was fully aware he was about to die. He did not even have the energy to retreat with his back to the shore.

Instead, Beijorn dropped to one knee and placed his faith in Scyndar. He listened as the two large wolves circled him, emitting gravelly growls. Beijorn made a sacred oath of devotion to Scyndar that day, kneeling in the mud. His eyes snapped open as the wolves leapt. Spinning his spear wildly, holy energy was channeled through the weapon, guiding Beijorn’s strikes and parries. The spear even began to glow softly, appearing to give off the warm glow of sacred fire.

Beijorn did not escape injury entirely in the heated battle, but in the end, he was able to hold his holy symbol and feel the healing power of Scyndar’s love wash through him, cleansing and healing his wounds. Minutes later, Beijorn found a small shack on the island where his great grandfather’s maul was placed in a crate along with a pack containing survival supplies. For most of Beijorn’s life, the maul had been hanging above the hearth in his family home. In all that time, even hearing the stories of his great grandfather’s prowess with the weapon, Beijorn had never noticed that the head of the maul had the symbol of Scyndar set into it.

For years, the maul had gathered dust and tarnish, but someone had taken the time to oil and shine the weapon before bringing it to this island for Beijorn to find. Now, it was plain before his eyes the lines of a square window hearth etched into the flat sides of the hammer head with a yellowish stone set into the center of it to represent the flame. Beijorn had heard several stories of his father’s grandfather who had been a great commander both on sea and on land.

Now, staring down at the weapon in the crate, Beijorn remembered the story of the weapon’s origin. Kevimorn Varicc was the admiral in charge of several warships guarding an important convoy during the war. While skirting the shoreline, one of his ships witnessed a small contingent of allied soldiers under attack from an overwhelming force of the enemy. Kevimorn was tasked with protecting the convoy and delivering their supplies on time.

But Kevimorn could not bear to abandon the soldiers who were cornered with nowhere to retreat. He ordered his own flagship to break off from formation and head to their assistance. Moving his ship closer to shore, he was able to order his ballistae to fire upon the attackers and give them assistance long enough for his own boats to reach the shore and for the soldiers to retreat with them.

Among their number was a human cleric of Scyndar who, mortally wounded, gave Kevimorn his two-handed maul. Kevimorn witnessed the cleric use his spells and abilities to channel healing into the soldiers under his command, forgoing his own wounds. In his honor, Kevimorn used the maul as his personal weapon, wielding it one handed due to his size. Remembering all this, Beijorn lifted the maul out of the crate and gave it a single-handed swing through the air, feeling its weight and balance comfortably fitting him and feeling as though Scyndar had placed this weapon of faith and justice in his path.

Returning home, Beijorn completed the water ritual and soon found that he was no longer visually burdened by darkness, either above or below the waves. Several days after his confirmation into adulthood, his prayers and worries about his brother were answered by Scyndar. Packing his belongings, armed with his training and his faith, he said goodbye to his parents and eldest brother, vowing to find Mikhail and return him home. Before leaving, Beijorn’s mother insisted he take three retainers loyal to their family.

Beijorn’s first task was to join the local chapter of the Adventurer’s Guild and talk to his brother’s former friends for leads as to where he might have run off to …