Delia’s children have been fostered out to families around the village – the kinship lines in this village are deep and tangled. Delia’s own line was rather “weedy”, she is survived by a single sister. Delia’s last child was fostered to a particularly prolific family of woodsfolk. The steading is a ramshackle affair, added to over generations it dominates a small valley and creeps up the side of the valley walls to weave among the leafy boles of the surrounding forest. In Hamadryad’s pre-dawn light it takes on a dark green cast. Work has already begun. Smoke curls out from the chimney of what is probably the main hearth – it brings with it the scent of breakfast: baked tubers, frying meats, and other less recognizable aromas. The things folk eat on Damaina are strange to the palate – ranging from slightly familiar to wholly unrecognizable. None of it has killed anyone in the party yet – but everyone’s system acclimates differently and often unpredictably; sometimes unpleasantly. Men are busy in the axe-yard – trimming and shaping trees by hand. As you approach you can make out a familiar figure leaving the steading, leading a large gnarled wose bearing a harness – it is Heinrick. He seems surprised to see you, but inclined to be about his tasks rather than stopping to chat unless pressed. He waves you toward the main doors of the steading with a laugh.
“Breakfast on the table, you are welcome.”
Despite his gruff manner, he seems generally pleased to see you.
Olis and Thorne enter Heinrick’s steading. It would be readily evident that Heinrick isn’t the only male in residence, isn’t in charge, and isn’t the eldest. Holding court at a massive wooden table in the main hall is an enormous woman that looks to have been hewn out of gnarled brown wood — she almost looks more wose than human, complete with a tangled crown of steel-grey hair bedecked with braids and interwoven with oddments that clack when she shifts. She is surrounded by four men ranging in age from late thirties to early 60’s. They could be brothers. They could be her sons. All are eating breakfast. The smells that had drifted on the smoky breeze permeate the hall. Other members of the “clan” scurry about with serving platters and bowls and wooden mugs of something spicy, hot, and aromatic.
The old woman eyes you as you enter, “Strangers come to breakfast at Malog’stead. We have heard tales of yur doing in the village and the savin’ of our boy Heinrick. For that you have our gratitude. What need you with Malogs’kin?”
I’m assuming at this point you explain your vision — even if you don’t and just state you want to see the babe before you depart — she (and those assembled) are fine with this.
They won’t leave Olis alone with the baby though — when that becomes evident you give the blessing of Padoga.
Olis cradles the baby in one hand and speaks, faintly glowing spear in his other hand, Thorne at his side.
“Little one, listen to me. I bring you the Blessing of Podaga. Your name, your true name is Devana. You are the moon. You are the huntress. You are the virgin. You are the first to be blessed on this world, but you will not be the last. You are the storm that is to come. Be brave, and know that you are the Blessed of Podaga.”
Upon placing the blessing upon the babe — her eyes seem to glow with a green flame. Neither of you recall what color her eyes were before…but they are a brilliant emerald green now. The glow of the spear fades, the green fire dims like a dying candle, and is snuffed out.
They seem pleased. And ask more about this spirit that now watches over the babe. The baby was called, Nifta, but calling it Devana seems a small thing to them. They ask what the name means. Malogs’kin really want to know more about what this all means.
“We hail from a distant world, alike this one in many ways, but different too. On Aldamere, in many towns and villages such as these, the people would be protected by a spirit of the hearth. Podaga was such a spirit, grown strong and proud in the centuries of caring for her people. However, a great calamity eventually befell the village of Podaga, an army of demon worshiping fiends fell upon them and laid the village to waste. And though Podaga couldn’t save the village, she made the diabolists pay dearly, cursing them. She did one more thing, too. She left behind a great artifact, her spear. Olis has carried that spear through many miles and years in remembrance of what befell the villagers, in the hopes that someday, Podaga’s blessing might be passed on to a deserving folk.
I think that day has come. Devanna is the spring, she is renewal, she heralds a new chapter for your town and this world.”
“I leave this spear in your care, for one day there may come a day where you will need it to defend Devana. Or she may have need to defend herself. Or she may choose to wield it for her people.”
Malogs’kin appears pleased. To them Damaina is a rough and often unforgiving place — the blessing of any spirit is welcome.