Companion, listen to my story.
My name is Cara. I was given the nickname of Redheir when I was still a baby. My surname is unknown, as the exact day and place for my birth.
The place I grew up is called “Long Meadow”, a nice, quiet, and peaceful place. This is a temple – many would call it a fortified farm – near the little village of “Holy Stone”, in the hilly countryside of Cormyr, between Arabel and Tilverton. Over the hills, chestnut trees are spreading their shadows over blueberries and flock of sheep. A river called “Glueyre” is running down the valley, always clear and fresh, even in the hottest days of summer.
This place will always be in my heart. I will never forget its beauty.
The farm of Long Meadow had been transformed into a temple years ago by Mother Myra Dundang, after she inherited the place. At first, Mother Dundang had not dedicated her life to work earth to gain her grain : she wanted to study the arts of magic. Reading books, casting spells, and so on. When Myra came to Long Meadow for the first time, she immediately felt in love with the place. For the first time in her life, she was feeling “like a tree having found where to plant its roots”. The first night she spent in the farm, she made a dream inspired by Mystra: this place would become a temple. But Myra was not feeling deeply religious. And during her former travels, she had been considering different religions as making a whole. Not all religions, though, as some of them could not fit with others. So, she mixed her feelings for the place and the message from Mystra: the farm of Long Meadow would become a “temple of temples”, where many deities could be worship. Gods and Goddesses seemed to agree her idea, and soon many different people went knocking at the door, wanting to “plant their roots” too and to elevate altars for their deities. Those travelers became known in the country as “the Community”, and many people from the land nearby came to pray and to ask for favors, advice, and care.
If you would know them, my friend, you would certainly be happy, as I was. The Community was more than that: it was a family. My family.
Maham Granowah was one of the first members of the Community. She adored Chauntea. Every day Sister Maham thanked Chauntea to have guided her steps to this place. And every day, she was the first to awake and to step out the temple to meet the nature around. The light of a new summer day was still faint this morning when Sister Maham went out of the temple to get fresh flowers for her potions. As usual at this hour of the day, she could smell sweet perfumes coming from the ground, and listen to the animals awakening too. Suddenly she eared an unusual sound near the gate: the faint cries of a baby. She found the baby in a basket, barely dressed. The baby was a girl. She was cold and blank. Maham feared the baby would die soon. She returned to the temple asking for help. Sister Yanhee was devoted to Lathander. She prayed the God to have mercy for the child, and unexpectedly, she was soon able to breastfeed the girl. Mother Myra, who had dreamed of the coming of the child, called her “Cara”. The Community unsuccessfully searched for the parents of Cara for many weeks. The girl received cares and love from all the members of the Community. Love, grace and beauty seemed to irradiate from the child, and joy was with those who care of her. A few weeks after her arriving to the temple, very thin, sweet and beautiful red hairs started to grow on the head of the baby. It was soon obvious that Cara was a messenger from Sune.
And indeed, as Cara grew up, she developed the abilities that Sune was spreading over the world. Beauty was on her, and in her dance and paintings. Cara loved to paint: at any time she would draw and start painting to show people the beauty of the world.
As you stand close to me, I will paint your portrait one day, when our adventures will let us some time for this. You will see how beautiful people can see you.
The girl was happy, and so were those she met. In the village, there was a young shepherd, Hanek. He was 2 years older than Cara. It was obvious he liked Cara very much. And the girl seemed even happier when Hanek was around. The two would spend much time together. Hanek had very little knowledge, but was a very nice boy, and he had a gift: when he played his flute, the time seemed to stand still, and the burden of life would lift over. Cara invited him to play the flute not only when he was in the hills with the sheep, but also when he was with people. Cara found beauty in Hanek’s behavior and in his music. Sune encouraged Cara to find beauty in other people too. So Cara had the idea to organize a beauty festival in Holy Stone. At first, the idea seemed weird to peasantry, but Cara was able to portrait many of them to reveal their interior light and beauty. During the festival, she also honored love, and the beauty of it. Some people even found they were good at singing love or declaim it in poetry. She organized the festival for several years then.
You should have meet those people then: they were so surprised they could love themselves and others. It was very touching.
Cara had found her way. She was 16. In love with Hanek. And then came the terrible year of the Dark Plague. In one year, many beast, people, even trees and plants felt ill and died. The Community had hard work in helping the country around. But their efforts seemed useless. Death was spreading around, hitting more and more lives, as a mad and blind serial killer. All felt desperate, and Cara felt useless. Winter was coming, and the weakest would undoubtedly die very soon. An evening a wizard knocked at the door of the temple, pulling more than carrying a heavy wounded warrior. The wizard was wounded too, but with the help of powerful potions, he managed to stay alive and saved his mate. During the next two days, the wizard was too weak to speak, and the warrior was still unconscious. At last, the wizard recovered from his wounds and told his story. He was from a group of adventurers, coming from Baldur’s Gate in the far West. They were 5 when they left the Sword Coast. After sharing many adventures and wandering where gold could be found, they heard about the Dark Plague afflicting the country. They quickly learned that the plague came from the work of mad Banian priests who wanted to strike Cormyr once again. Those fierce adventurers did not fear death, and thought they could defeat the Banians, heal the country, and get great rewards from Cormyr. Unfortunately, the Banians were far much stronger than the adventurers had imagine. All the members of the group were soon wounded or killed. Only two escaped. The wizard had just had time to use a teleportation spell for his friend and himself. In panic, he didn’t know where to go. So he prayed the Gods to send both of them to a place where they could find help. They landed in the temple. The Community was a peaceful group of priests, clerics, druids, and wizards. They never used their lore and arts for war and death. But they decided that when the warrior would be fully healed, they would destroy the Banians, and restore health all over the country. Cara thought they would need help from the villagers. After all, there lives too had been destroyed by the mad cultists, and they had the right to seek revenge. And also, she feared to go to fight without Hanek aside. So, a few days after the wizard and the fighter arrival, a group of about 30 people took arms to go fighting a group of Banians.
If we had time, and if I had the will to tell it, the story of the fight would be a great one to share with you, with many heroes to sing about. But, the wounds from Bane and his minions are deep, foul, and take long to heal. 2 years after this dark day, my heart is still bleeding, as my Hanek would not come back from the battle. And I could witness only a very few of the combat myself, as I was stunned at the very beginning of it. Maybe this blow on my head was a gift from Sune, or I would not be here to tell you my story.
Many lost their lives during this terrible day. But the Banians were defeated, and the plague ended. Less than half of the Community came back alive. After the death of Hanek, Cara felt into a deep sadness. She even thought Sune had abandoned her. During one whole year, she wandered around the temple, under the trees who had been witnesses of her love for Hanek. On the anniversary of the fighting, she received a small box, from an unknown sender. In the box was Hanek’s flute. She knew then that, wherever he was now, he would still care for her in his way. This gift gave back to Cara will and strength, and she decided to learn to fight for love and beauty, with the help of Sune.
And now, here I am, Cara Redheir, standing in front of you, sharing my love and beauty, still fragile but already willing to give death to my enemies : hate and destruction.
Many times in my life, Sune came to me and talked to me, in a manner only I can know. I know I can trust her. She is my guide and my confident. Her gifts to this world are dear to my heart, and I will fight for them until death.
Love me. Or fear me.