Character Race: Leuian
Character Profession: Fighter
Character Religion Affiliation: Elindale
Born the fourth of six khits, Juniper was no stranger to large families. She got along well with her siblings and loved the excited chatter around the dinner table each night, listening to how everyone's day went. Growing up in Leuia she learned the Leuian ways and came to value the honor and truth of the Precepts. Inquisitive and full of boundless energy she explored her surroundings, taking an avid interest in the breathtaking beauty of the forest and rivers; it came as no surprise to anyone when she dedicated herself to Elindale. For her birthday her father brought home a sparrow as a traveling companion, through whom she could enjoy Elindale's gifts even more. She named him Espiritu.
As she grew older, Juniper felt a restlessness growing inside her; a dull ache at first, it soon spread to occupy her thoughts most of the day. Her siblings had all found a purpose to their lives: her elder brothers had become sailors for a Leuian merchant company; her older sister had dedicated to Sa and became a fire mage; even the twins had found their paths, one taking the extremely unusual route of a bard, the other becoming a healer for Rinanni like their mother. Nothing Juniper tried seemed to work out well, however. She considered joining the Temple as a cleric, but after she accidentally rained holy water down on the front porch and drenched everyone, the family heartily agreed she should try something else. Someone suggested she try out for the Psion's guild, but her concentration was never focused enough to be effective. No matter what she tried it didn't seem to work out, causing depression to settle in.
Sitting in Elindale's temple alone on the altar, as she often did, she sighed and spoke her troubles out loud. Her eyes were downcast, her usually spring-like tail dragging on the ground. Seeming to know her thoughts (and she knew he did) Espiritu perched on her shoulder and chirped comfortingly. Suddenly, a growl came from the shadows. Alarmed, Juniper leaped from the altar. "Who's there?" she called out. She saw a hulking form outlined in the dark recess of the temple and was terrified. Slowly the shape crept forward, and she found herself face-to-face with a bear...a huge, angry, drooling bear.
Juniper was confused. Wasn't the bear one of Elindale's avatars? Why wasn't it at peace here, in Her own temple? She didn't have any more time to ponder as it lunged for her, its jaws aimed straight at her throat. Espiritu flew from her shoulder, screeching an alarm. Juniper screamed, her claws extending reflexively as she ducked away, leaving the bear to smash into the altar. She heard a crack as the wood splintered from the impact. "Please, just go!" she implored. Looking around, she noticed she had accidentally trapped herself between the tree branches lining the temple walls and couldn't evade the next attack. Sensing her distress, the bear lunged again. Closing her eyes, her arm shot out instinctively---and connected with the side of the bear's head, sending it sprawling a few feet away. Juniper opened her eyes in surprise: had she done that?
The bear shook its head in an attempt to clear it, then reared up and attacked again. A little braver this time, she took aim and struck, knocking it off balance. "I don't want to hurt you," she tried again, but it only came back, snapping its jaws near her face. Again and again they clashed, both Juniper and the bear growing exhausted and bloody. Lying on the floor trying to catch her breath, she looked up to see the bear's gaze turn upon Espiritu. The bear began lumbering towards him at a fast pace, and Juniper felt her fear turn instantly into anger and grim determination. With agility unique even to Leuians, she jumped up from the floor and ran towards the pair, praying to Elindale that she reached Espiritu first. In her mind she saw the bear devouring her dear friend, and lunged to place herself in front of him with a claw aimed at the bear's head. She knew either she or the bear would die, perhaps both, but felt a responsibility towards Espiritu and blocked out everything but that feeling as she pushed forward. She could feel her claw meet the bear's fur, could see its jaws closing around her throat...
She hit the floor with a thud. Her head buzzed from the impact, but she was more confused by the fact she was still alive. It seemed impossible, but it was almost as though she had gone through the bear. She glanced at Espiritu, who seemed equally confused. Her gaze turned to the bear, who was watching her silently; the hateful stare was gone, its eyes now quiet and serene. "Am I going crazy?" Juniper asked out loud. Before she could question further, a light came down from the sky onto the bear, lighting up its eyes in a gentle green glow. As Juniper stared in wonder, it opened its mouth and a soft feminine voice was heard. "Faithful child, through me you have found the meaning to your life," the voice said, and Juniper immediately recognized it as Elindale's. "You have the strength and courage of a Leuian warrior within you, and have displayed a willingness to sacrifice yourself for my creatures when death was certain. With patience and training, your path will take you places you've not yet dreamed of. You came into this temple a lost and woeful child, but you will leave here a warrior in my name."
Trying to let the words sink in, Juniper nodded slowly. In her heart she knew the Lady spoke truth, but she couldn't understand why this sudden revelation still didn't make her feel at peace. "Lady Elindale, why am I still so restless, even now?" she asked.
"Because your life in Leuia has drawn to a close for now, which your soul has known for a long time," Elindale responded through the bear. "Seek out the land called Spur, for I desire the knowledge of my ways to be spread and defended there and in its surrounding lands. Take Espiritu with you for guidance and companionship, and your trip will be blessed. Go now, my child, and you will see my words fulfilled." The light suddenly vanished, along with the bear; glancing down at her fur, Juniper noticed the blood was gone as well. As she and Espiritu left the temple, it struck her: this had all been a test, to prove her abilities to Elindale...and herself. She relayed her tale to her family that evening, who agreed the Lady had tested her and was pleased with the results. While her father had hoped to see her join the Pride in Leuia, he understood the circumstances and booked passage to Spur for her on the ship where her brothers worked. Two days later, Juniper left her family on Leuia with Espiritu at her side, the words of Elindale fresh in her mind: "Your path will take you places you've not yet dreamed of..."
ack To The Character Page