Lance Haug

The Journal of
Konus of Knosa


Young Konus: The Early Days

Lance haug

Entry 6
Lance Haug

"My naive world view matured more slowly than my body"


Cadence, rhythm, structure! Eagle Bluff, the abbey outpost of Etha, had a pulse that infused my earliest memories. Rise at the first bell. Prayers at second bell. Training at the third bell. The midday horn blast marked a meal followed by chores, prayers and sleep. And so it went, day in, day out. In my youth it was a comfort to think that Etha’s order permeated the world, that the monastery was much like a giant beehive or ant colony. A task for all and all for the task. My naive world view matured more slowly than my body.

The dry thin air of the craggy Knosan Hills seemed to carry every sound and the high bluff where the abbey stood gave an eagle’s view of the surrounding valleys of green. The remote stronghold remained detached physically and socially from the small farming and herding communities in the more hospitable lowlands. This region was well past its days of danger and worry. An occasional bandit party or wandering beast were the only likely threats. Those in training at Eagle Bluff had to make increasingly further journeys to prove their worth in combat during these days of plump plenty.

Raised by the order as an orphan in these settled territories, my orc blood was more of a novelty than a hindrance. Now I know better the judgments made and assumptions taken. As youngsters, all the acolytes strove to make a name for themselves, to be seen and chosen for better things in parishes of renown. Those with a strong back and their wits about them were steered towards the fighting clerics. Candidates of a more delicate constitution might be used to support a church property doing tallies and scribe work. Those with thick skulls toiled in the orchards and gardens or tended the livestock. All were at least taught the rudiments of Ethan combat tactics.

Etha, “The Iron Fist”, prized endurance, determination and perseverance in all facets of life. He insisted that all his clergy and warriors learn to fight as a unit. To understand that the whole will be greater than its parts. A Fist is the basic fighting unit of the church and all five members had a role. The point or longest “finger” of a fighting fist was the strongest and best armored warrior, a champion of the Mighty One. To the weak side of the point are two “fingers”; warriors that defend the flank and provide a unified front. Separated to the strong side of the point is the most seasoned combat veteran, who may range some as their judgment declares. And finally, the “thumb” was the ranking cleric, who issued the commands in Ethan battle cant and called upon the power of Etha to strike against the enemy and protect the faithful. My size and stamina quickly had me assigned to the point of the Fist and I remain there still.

The Ethan Fist was a well respected force in the hills of Knosa and tales were told of the battles and bravery done by the "fighting fists" in distant territories. Our clergy piously assured all that Ethans didn’t stoop to mercenary practices and our bishops insisted that we fought on the side of the right. Later I noticed that a shrine or church to Etha would often be established in the province or town recently assisted, and in a favorable location. Just as likely, a senior cleric would suddenly be seen in the role of a trusted advisor of the local authority. The church may not have received coins, but a payment had been made.

Noble families brought their second or third child to the monastery for training, according to their skills. Of course, foundlings like myself did not quarter with them. If your family did not pay tuition, the accommodations were basic. I slept near the massive kitchen ovens on straw bedding and was expected to work for the kitchen staff when not training. My coarse features and tainted blood kept me out of sight of visitors in the main dining halls. It was not much noticed in the drill yards. Common knowledge painted all with a touch of orc blood as savage and stupid. Strangely, that worked to my advantage as the master of the library found it amusing to have a primal looking attendant and taught me letters and tallies. He encouraged me to peruse the tomes and scrolls which seemed not to follow any theme but offered knowledge from many spheres. I took my vows before I was fully grown and three summers later, I was called by Etha to serve as an Unfettered.

The Unfettered were a special branch of the priesthood that was visited upon relatively few of the clergy. After a battle or injury, a cleric was sometimes struck by a debilitating fever, reduced to delirium, and often bound to a bed. This experience sometimes led to spiritual revelations to the afflicted and they would tell of their awe in the presence of our god himself, groveling at his feet in the hall of heroes. During these visions the Mighty One bestowed upon these few a special path. They were directed to leave the comfort and security of the temple and walk alone, following the will of the Mighty One alone. Unfettered priests were always accepted and supported by the local parishes, reluctantly at times, but allowed to move when and where they were compelled. Most temples were happy to see them on their way in short order with full saddlebags and quietly muttered prayers of thanks.

I remembered only flashes of the fever dreams that I had while recovering from a grievous wound, but I woke from them with a powerful wanderlust and a sense of destiny. The church elders cast their auguries as I was questioned closely on the details of my holy visions. What type of material was the throne constructed from? How many windows were in the Lord’s hall? Many more questions of the like were spoken almost as a challenge. I answered quickly and without thought, the responses just appeared on my lips as though uttered by another. Soon the patriarch was summoned and my ordeal was solemnly deemed genuine. To this day I think to myself that it is hard to say if Etha’s message brought the fever or the fever brought His message.

In a day’s time the entire monastery household is gathered in the main courtyard to witness the unfettering. My shield was taken from me and I am forbidden to hoist one again in combat by divine decree. A well-stocked traveling pack, my breastplate and helm, and a serviceable two-handed sword were laid at my feet. A glowing red brand was drawn from a brazier and quickly applied to the back of my weak hand. I remember the odor of my burning flesh long after the pain is forgotten. I am now marked with the rarely seen “open hand” of Etha, a sign to all of the faithful that I follow the path less traveled. The main gate of the stronghold is thrown open and the gathered assembly parts ceremoniously, revealing the well-used road that is the main artery to the lowlands. The shrill cries of eagles circling in the warming mountain air are the only sounds as I hoist all that I own and gaze out at what seems a new world. For just a moment, I consider strolling back to my pallet near the kitchens to fetch water for the midday meal, but unfettered are chosen to follow a different course. After a deep breath I let the full weight of the occasion rest upon my shoulders and stride with a purpose out the gate. I do not look back or utter a word until nightfall.



DM Insights

Etha was a lesser god that championed endurance, determination and perseverance. The bulk of his followers were drawn from the hard working frontier folk on the fringe of civilization. In these areas Ethan clerical orders organized into small parishes that were overseen by a stronghold-abbey. Ethan abbeys were always defensive in nature and well equipped to deal with local threats, giving the abbey influence in the surrounding lands because of its ability to provide protection to the settlements.

The path of the unfettered could not be taken until attaining at least 3rd level as a cleric and most unfettered multiclassed into fighter. Konus became an unfettered cleric at a young age and set off to follow his calling on the road. He was never tied to a parish or abbey and followed the direction given to him by the Mighty One himself. This often put Konus in front of the plans and intrigues of his deity, making him and his allies a lightning rod for the powers that opposed Etha’s motivations.

The symbol of Etha was a clenched fist sheathed in a velvet glove. For the unfettered, this symbol was instead an open hand and this symbol was branded into the flesh of the unfettered. There was no hiding this mark, and it was worn with honor and served as a holy symbol focus for the cleric’s spellcasting. Unfettered could not use a shield, instead relying on the strength of Etha graces to bolster the cleric’s protection.

In areas where the Ethan faith held influence, a fighting unit known as The Ethan Fighting Fist was often encountered. Commonly called “a Fist”, this unit of five warriors patrolled an abbey’s domain, tending to any problems that arose throughout the parishes. A Fist was very effective in defending roadways from banditry or keeping monster incursions at bay, and their presence was welcomed by most. A Fist was trained to fight as a unit and gained several benefits fighting this way. If these warriors fell out of their fist formation they lost many of these benefits so efforts were always made to keep a Fist in close formation. When battle was met, the fingers of the Fist would engage the enemy while the thumb casts protective and healing spells in support.

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