Friday, July 27, 2012

Change Yourself, Change the World: Chosen One

Canna’s hands hovered over the collection of holy symbols with a growing hesitation causing her hands to quiver as it floated just above the relics. The symbols of every good or neutral aligned god rested casually on her bedroom floor as the red-haired teen sat pressed up against her bed. She withdrew her hand as she waited for her nerves to settle, but even as she held her hand up to her mouth she felt her skin tingle in fear. For the fifth time since she arranged this set up, Canna took in a deep breath with the expectation being that she’d initiate this test as soon as she finished exhaling. However, once her breath left her she found herself rushing to get it back again, and the paralysis continued.

The brazen teen was never known for her dithering attitude, but when it came to matters of the divine she was left at a disadvantage. Canna would face any challenge if she could grip her hands around a blade or into a fist—even if the odds were highly against her, but this wasn’t a problem that the wayward teen could engage in the usual manner. The lingering sensation from her dream still rested in her muscles, but Canna hadn’t experienced that same foreign presence in her dreams since that night. The image of her body heaped onto a pile of the dead had long since been washed from her mind and was replaced only with the inevitable truth that Canna could one day cross over the wall with this power. She had to know more.

The wounds Cormag opened were still too sore for Canna to bear passing by the usual sights in Arkhosia. She couldn’t stomach walking the same streets she had before as though life were just the same, and thus she decided to return home and use the familiar resources of Southgate in her endeavors. The Corbett family was stunned to see the eldest child return almost a year after her initial disappearance. Keavyn had little to say on the matter, instead deferring to Jude’s relieved sobbing and bitter scolding. Canna was far more accepting towards her little brother’s pestering of her ventures in the Kingdom of Dragons, but Canna kept most of the seedier details close to her chest. For the violent teen it was a strange return to normalcy after just a few short days. Her parents kept a keener eye on her dealings to ensure she wouldn’t be leaving their eyes again, but even that attention began to wane after a few weeks. Now she had the freedom to roam Southgate without much question, and she used the last of her Grash Company funds to purchase a collection of holy symbols that now rested casually at her feet like the assorted dishes served at an aristocratic feast.

All that remained was for the teen to actually clutch one of the holy symbols and see if it would shine as in the legends of virtuous paladins and saintly clerics. That task was easier said than done; in over an hour Canna hadn’t been able to so much as graze one of the artifacts. The entire process seemed so alien for a child who had never considered herself religious before. A few simple prayers filled her head—mostly ones that Leon had taught her to combat the few minor worries a child might have in life. Canna remained relatively sure that a prayer for fair weather and a good meal weren’t going to be much good in this situation, but they were all she knew. She once more stretched her hand out to pluck up the nearest symbol to her, but found her hand stuck as it approached a symbol she barely knew. “Sehanine?” Canna thought to herself, “Isn’t she supposed to help kids fall in love?” The very notion of being called to by the Goddess of Love seemed insane to Canna, and thus she retracted her arm back to her chest where it rested at her side. She likely would have caught herself into another cycle of hesitation had her uncle’s third rule reminded her why she never succumbed to hesitation before.

“Change yourself, change the world.” Canna took in a slow and careful breath before turning her attention towards the assembled artifacts. She looked the assortment over once before locking onto a marble hand tightly clutching a bolt of lightning. Kord, God of War. “If anyone was asking for my help, it would have to be Kord”, Canna thought to herself as baseless pride surged through her body. She quickly snatched the symbol and tightly locked her fingers around it as she expected the natural warmth of the glow to revitalize her body and remind her of the power she felt in her dreams. She closed her eyes in preparation for the no doubt overwhelming light that would soon fill the room, but moments later she peeked just slightly to see the room just as she left it. Disappointed, she stared curiously at the relic, wondering if there was some sort of key word needed to activate the symbol. She sat there, grunting and shouting in some vague attempt to activate Kord’s power, but after several awkward moments passed she sat Kord’s symbol off to the side. “Okay, maybe it’s not Kord.” Canna realized she had perhaps set her expectations too high there; after all, Kord valued those with great strength most of all. Cormag had made it evidently clear that strength was not Canna’s forte.

Canna was dejected, but not defeated. With more modest sense of self she once again scanned the relics only to have her eyes settle on the platinum coated shield emblazed with a bold blue dragon’s head. “Bahamut”, she thought, “God of Protection and Justice. It makes sense he’d be looking for a champion.” Canna carefully picked up the emblem and tightly gripped in her palm as she waited for a response from the Platinum Dragon. Several moments passed by, but the symbol was no more than a decorated rock in the teen’s hand. Canna quizzically stared at the symbol before shaking it a few times. “How the fuck do you work these things?” she wondered aloud.

After a few more unsuccessful tries she placed Bahamut’s shield in her now growing pile of rejections before turning to her guessing game. After just a few moments, Canna smacked her head as the obvious answer sat right in front of her. “Duh,” she muttered as she picked up the bronze sun as she carefully placed her fingers between the finely sharpened spokes that mimicked the sun’s glorious rays. Canna shifted the symbol just slightly in her hand, dazzled by the small bit of torchlight that reflected off the relic’s well polished surface. “Every day I stare up at that shroud and reaffirm my goal. Of course it’s Pelor. The Sun God is the one who has suffered the most from this tragedy.” Canna gripped the symbol and whispered the short prayer to the sun that her uncle had taught her as a child. It wasn’t an elaborate prayer filled with dogma and infallible truths—more so just a rhyme children are taught to give praise to the Bringer of Light, but Canna figured maybe the reason Kord and Bahamut didn’t choose her was because Canna had never really prayed to them. Pelor, on the other hand, was always a constant in Canna’s life, and it was obvious he would be the one trying to speak with her. Or rather, that’s the reasoning Canna’s told herself as she continued to recite her prayer to no response.

As the prayer began to wind down Canna’s grip grew tighter and tighter. The last words left her lips and the edges of Pelor’s sun began slicing into Canna’s fingers from the amount of pressure in her squeeze. Sharp pains shot through the teen’s hand, but she kept squeezing in the hopes that maybe the symbol remained static because Pelor hadn’t recognized her presence yet. It wasn’t until she felt the cold sensation of blood running down her palm that she relinquished her hold and dropped the symbol to the floor. It didn’t make sense to Canna. These were the gods most likely to need her help, so why is it that they ignored her? These thoughts raced through Canna’s mind as she studied the remaining artifacts again with the expectation of a more obvious answer. Most of the symbols were so foreign to her. Some she barely recognized, and others seemed just so unlikely she never paid them any mind. Eventually her reasoning became more desperate and her eyes fell upon the silver star of Corellon.

“Corellon’s main enemy is the Drow”, Canna reasoned, “So it makes sense he’s looking for a champion. I may not be an elf, and I don’t really know anything about art, but these are desperate times.” Once again she picked up the symbol and held it in her hand, but just as before it was nothing more a meaningless weight in her palm. She didn’t gently set this symbol off to the side, instead Corellon’s star fell gracelessly her hand as the desperate teen struggled to grasp the situation. This had to be some sort of joke, right? None of the remaining gods made much sense as a patron to Canna’s cause. In desperation she snatched the mighty iron hammer of Moradin from the ground as her rationale became thin and nearly baseless.

"Moradin is the God of Smiths. Dad’s a blacksmith, and maybe because of his blood…” Even she stopped listening to her own pathetic argument at that point and let her mind focus entirely on her dimming optimism. When it became evident that all that rested in her hands was a chunk of steel Canna hurled it across her room with a guttural gasp. The artifact cracked against the wall; likely only surviving due to its superb craftsmanship. The teen, on the other hand, had her foundation shattered as a surge of panic filled her head. “This can’t be happening. I know that dream meant something—I felt a power in that moment! I still do!” Her voice reeked of desperation, though not as much as her face with was quickly draining of its color. This was not a path Canna would have pursued without a good reason to, but now she had to face rejection from the gods in addition to those she held close.

She swept her hand across the floor, knocking the remaining relics across the room without any regard to the sacrilege. She didn’t care about blasphemy at this point as she was fed up with being judged by beings who felt themselves too mighty to give any reasoning. Her anger got the best of her as it often did, and she drove her fist into the floor with a sickening thud. Canna heard a crack, but she couldn’t tell if it was the floor or her fingers as her hand became numb in the confusion. She sat with her first pressed against the ground and her eyes locked closed so as not to bear witness to the eyes of these disinterested gods.

She withdrew into this motionless state as her emotion poured out of her through thick heaving breaths. Slowly her anger began to subside to a point where her senses began to notice the warmth being soaked up by her knuckles, and the faint light barely shielded by her sealed lenses. She opened her eyes to be welcomed by a weak white light radiating from beneath her fist. She moved her hand aside to a small silver medallion emblazoned with three winding lines of forest green. These were the winds of change; symbol of Avandra, the Goddess of Luck. The light faded away as Canna stared at the relic, but it returned it’s weak glory as Canna scooped the medallion into her hand. This light was the same light that enveloped her that evening, and she felt the same presence fill her muscles with a rejuvenating power.

Canna clutched the medallion close to her chest as she stared up at the ceiling in a comforted disbelief. She didn’t know very much about Avandra, but it was clear that Avandra knew a lot about her.

A quick rap on the door shocked Canna into attention as it was followed by her mother’s voice. “Canna, it’s time to start making dinner.” Jude didn’t wait at the door for a response knowing her daughter wouldn’t be brazen enough to deny this simple request so soon after returning home. Canna contemplated it though. With a satisfied smirk she slid the medallion into her pocket, and followed after her mother. She could tolerate one last night of complacency before starting her new life as a servant of Avandra.


  1. How do I keep missing the post that you put up a new one of these. Anyway I really felt Canna's frustration in this piece, the build up to her discovering Avandra was great (I liked her trains of thought about the other gods possibly being her patron). I'm both excited for the next pieces because I have a feeling they will be my favorite and dreading it because then I know these will be over.

  2. really great as always really missed your "authors notes". that behind the scene look is probably favorite part of all of these, it's a writer thing like knowing how other writers process work.

  3. Part of me is wondering if maybe some of Canna's reasoning behind each god potentially being the one calling her into action comes from your own personal process of decision-making before deciding on Avandra when you first created Canna, or if Avandra was your choice from the start, knowing the backstory of Peter's campaign setting.
    Catching up on the final parts of CY,CtW tonight, and looking great so far!