Benalian (prime)

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Benalian Gaganta

As you enter the common room, you notice a strange dwarf kneeling in the corner opposite of the hearth. His eyes are closed, and his graying beard fails to hide a serene smile. His thinning white hair is a testament to his age, and the callused hands that rest on his thighs signal a long life of manual labor.

His attire is a mixture of casual clothing; the grays, whites, and blacks meld together, forming a fashionable collage. His various armor devices have been laid out neatly in front of him, and your eye is caught by the firelight reflected off his engraved silver shield.

You are startled when he begins to speak. His words break the silence of the room but do not affect his calm and peaceful state. “What do you seek, traveler? The warmth of the hearth? The taste of fine wine? The companionship of a friend? All are available.” You explain that that you were curious about the members of House Brigatta, and you ask his name.

“Me? Well now...I am Lord Benalian Gaganta, cleric at arms, but I insist that all my friends call me ‘Ben’. Please do not refer to me as Bena or Benal...Those are not my name.

“You probably want to know what I do, right?” You nod your head in agreement, and he continues. “Among my profession, I am quite unique. I have forged my own training path based on the knowledge of the elders. You could say that I am a blending of multiple professions; I have the strength and physical prowess of a warrior, the innate ability to aim a wizard’s bolt spells, and the devotion to a deity that only a cleric can posses.”

“Strength of a warrior?” you ask. “ I thought clerics were...”

“Weak?” Ben opens his grey eyes and stares at you. The unsettling feeling that follows causes you to forget your train of thought. “We aren’t all giant voln-worshipping rezzing machines,” he says with contempt. “A properly trained cleric can hold his own...even against the strongest opponents.”

You quickly apologize and attempt to calm him by changing the subject. You ask how and why he developed his wizard-ish abilities. As he begins to speak, his eyes close and the smile returns to his lips. “Ahh...Yes...The lore came solely from Lord Amery, my wizard uncle. From his many experiences, he knew that the mastery of spells was the key to true power. He promised that he would bestow his most powerful combat spell to me if I allowed him to be my tutor. I have kept up my training over the years, and I constantly amaze my comrades when I unleash a powerful fireball.”

You admit that you are quite impressed with Ben’s versatility, but one last question remains. As you prepare to ask your question, Ben’s smile grows into a large grin. “I bet ya want to know about the god I serve. All clerics have a god, right?” You chuckle and admit that you would like to know.

“Well...When I first donned the robes of a cleric many years ago, I lacked a deity to worship. I was aware of the guidance and protection given to me, but I could not fathom the source. When I finally received my lordly title, I set off on a quest to commune with the god that watches over me. I overcame many perils, but my patience and penitence paid off. I learned that Andelas, the god of cats, was my protector.”

After he finishes his story, the room is once again silent. As you begin to think of your next question, you are startled as the dwarf rises to his feet. He gathers up the various pieces of armor and attaches him to his body. His silver shield is the final item; he quickly slings it over his shoulder as he checks to make sure that his equipment is secure.

“My apologies go out to you, traveler, but I must be underway. My presence is desperately needed elsewhere. It was a pleasure...Be seeing you.” He turns to you, bows with surprising grace, and hastily runs out the door.

“What an odd fellow,” you think to yourself...but then you remember that Elanthia is full of oddities.