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Session 78 - The Once and Future Goddess

posted Apr 10, 2013, 11:52 AM by Will McCain
Now that the Maladroits were sailing through the Astral Sea on Dibs, Beletsirana kept her promise to tell them her story...

Years ago, when Callon and Beletsirana still lived in Morend, an expedition was called to explore newly discovered ruins beneath the capital city. Beletsirana was among those chosen to go, as well as her fiancee Horrel. The ruins turned out to be a city in excellent condition. It was also not entirely abandoned. The expedition party came across a group of immortal psionic beings called Elan, and it was their race who had built the city. While it was capable of housing the entire Elan population, it rarely saw more than a handful at a time. The Elan were a nomadic race, unconcerned with building a settled society since each of them could outlive a nation. They traveled across the planes freely, and had been waiting for the expedition party with an offer.

As elan are psionically born from humans, they offered to turn each member of the party into elan so that they could have the time to explore the multiverse as they did. This was an offer that Beletsirana could not refuse, as she was still plagued by the death of mother and sought an answer to why good people must suffer and die. She readily accepted the offer, as did the rest of the group. Horrel, however, thought the agreement a ruse and the elan their enemies. When it came time for Beletsirana to undergo the transformation, he thought that it must be time to act (or was unable to wait any longer and risk her). He leaped into the ritual to try and stop it, and paid for it with his life. The ritual was not stopped, but it was disrupted. Miraculously, Beletsirana survived. However, it left her soul fragmented and somewhere between human and elan.

Beletsirana carried Horrel's body out of the ruins and eventually returned home. Her soul and body were slowly completing the process, but were not yet whole. She discovered that when she dreamed, she now had the power to astrally project her soul. Not only that, but her thoughts were clearer and less alien when her mind was separate from her hybrid body. She took advantage of the opportunity and started to explore the Astral Plane in hopes of finding someone who could give an answer to the question that prompted her transformation in the first place.

Time did not pass the same way for Beletsirana's astrally projecting soul as it did for her on the Material Plane. This allowed her to go far and wide meeting new beings. Each did their best to answer her question, but none could produce it. She was warm and likable, though, so each referred her to someone else they thought would be able to help. This led her to the Astral Council and eventually to the Outer Planes and Heaven itself. Once there, she spent time talking with archons, angels, and eventually with the gods themselves. As she was a cleric of Heironeous, she sought him out and through long talks won over his friendship, as well. However, even the god of valor and war could not tell why bad things happened to good people. He explained how the gods are not omnipotent and only have jurisdiction over certain areas. They knew more than most, of course, but not everything. They were also not as powerful as they could be. For reasons unknown or unrevealed to her, there were many gods who had gone missing from their pantheon. This diminished divinity as a whole and limited their scope of power. It also afforded a rather unique opportunity to Beletsirana.

Because she was somewhere between elan and human, Beletsirana was a unique being in the cosmos. She could not be counted among any race, and therefore could not be assigned a place in the cosmic order. That meant that she was free to assume the position of a goddess who had gone missing long ago. She would not be a goddess, but removing the vacancy would fill the pantheon a little more and increase the manifold power of the gods. However, because she was not a goddess, she could not simply assume the mantle on her own. To provide her with the power and authority to assume the office, Moradin produced a staff for Beletsirana to wield. It was actually the Shard of Conjuration, immeasurably powerful and given to Moradin for safekeeping by the forgers of the Magic Sword when it was broken apart ages ago. Thus empowered, Beletsirana became Avanna, known also as the Lady.

Although she had achieved something that no other created being could have dreamed of, Beletsirana was still haunted by problem of suffering. Why did bad things happen to good people? Why did her mother, who was so loving, have to die so horribly? With her new position and the power of the Shard of Conjuration, she thought that she might have a chance to find out. She journeyed far and wide, even across different cosmologies. Still, there was no answer. The gods eventually grew tired of her wanderings, fearing for the safety of the Shard she wielded. They eventually contracted the outsiders known as Inevitables to track her down and return her to Heaven. Not wanting to be so restrained, Beletsirana tried to evade them by using the Shard to merge her partially deified soul with her elan/human body. It did not go well.

Madness consumed her. She sought out those close to her, and appeared at Callon's wedding. She terrified and assaulted those present and slew many soldiers and sailors. She caused Callon's wife to fall into magical slumber before departing. She wandered after that, trying to put herself back together. Years later, she was whole. She had also come to terms with the fact that she would likely never get a satisfying answer to her question. However, she was still being hunted and had not lost her distaste for the idea of being shackled to Heaven. She began searching for a way out. She also raised Callon from his first death and gave him both visions and Avanni, the language truth that once belonged to Avanna. When he requested to speak with her, Moradin arranged it. She grew weary of being harried by the Inevitables in her search and needed both a way to hide and time to find a way out of being hunted for good. So she took the Shard and cast her soul back in time. A human cannot host two souls, so she only went back to the point when she was being transformed into an elan.

As it turned out, having her complete and unified soul inhabiting her body when the ritual was disrupted was what had kept her from dying. She was still not the primary soul, though, and had to be a whisper in the back of her mind during the years her psyche was still fragmented. She was still without an answer to her problem when she came once again to the point when she had gone back in time. So, she cast her soul back in time again. Eventually, she lost count of the iterations.

On this time through her time loop, she ran into the Maladroits while searching for an answer at the Astral Vigil. She despaired of a solution and was tired of the search at this point, so she opened the floor to the Maladroits. She would give them the Shard that she knew they sought if they could find a way for her to die without having her soul dragged back by the Inevitables.