The Risen, the Chosen Boy, and the Cart
There are many tales of the Risen, those that Caillech has brought back into the world in a state of half-life rather than restoring them fully. Some say that they are souls that owe Caillech for wrongs done to the dead or dying. Others claim that they are selected for the same mysterious purpose that the Watchers stand their strange vigil. Still others claim that Caillech is so alien to this world that it is the only way that she can directly interact with her followers, and that the Risen state is a side-effect, rather than the direct result. What all do agree to, however, is that every Risen has a task that Caillech has given them to accomplish before their strange addition to life ends. Most Risen do not even know what this task is, they just try to accomplish Caillech’s will to the best of their ability to interpret it. This is the story of one of the longest-lived of the Risen.
Many of the detail have been lost over time, and local tale-tellers tend to fill them in with facts that an audience will accept and relate to. Below is the tale as most bards in Valenci relay it.
Cleordine was never a devote follower of any God in particular. He lived his life quietly and with only modest ambition. When he died of the Yellow Fever his neighbors (for he had never married and had no close family) delivered him to Caillech’s temple for the Rites of Death, as is custom. Everyone (well, everyone except the Necromancers, who just nodded sagely) were shocked when, halfway through the ceremony there was a burst of purple light and Cleordine’s body burst into purplish flames. After burning for nearly 3 hours, Cleordine sat up and looked around. He would not have been recognized the slightly overweight human that his neighbors had brought in just hours before. Instead he was now a skeleton, purple light shining from twin tiny flames burning in his eye sockets and his bone covered in an elaborate scroll-work of runes.
He rejected the Necromancer’s offer to provide him with housing and chose instead to return to his former home, much to the delight (and slight discomfort) of his neighbors. He cleaned out his home of the detritus of a life and began to spend every day simply walking the city, first in areas he frequented in life, but before long he began exploring areas he would never have dared trod before his transformation. In less than a generation he became a common sight in the city, greeted without reserve and frequently asked to bless the sick or newborn, or settle a minor dispute. He did all this with joyous dedication, reveling in every moment of his second life (as he called it). Word of his even nature and deeds spread over the years, and he even graced the Courts of the Nobles from time to time, though almost never when he was directly invited.
His patterns, his life (such as it was) did not change much for the next hundred years, and though he accomplished many great deeds, including once curing the heir to the throne of a particularly virulent curse, none was the mission that Caillech had laid on him, and he remained on Seken. He began to gain a mystique and people came from hundreds of miles to see the Risen that remained. People even began to go so far as to declare that he was an Avatar of Caillech, sent to watch over the faithful and unfaithful alike, to report to her Seken’s readiness (though for exactly what, no one could agree).
And then one day that all came to an end. As he walked the city, much as he did every day, Cleordine witnessed a cart break free from the mule hauling it and rattle down the hill, smashing into several merchant’s stalls and eventually coming to a halt with a young street urchin, one of the countless pickpockets that preyed on the shoppers of the market square. Cleordine rushed to the aid of the trapped boy, straining to lift the cart from off the boy’s leg. As soon as the boy wriggled free Cleordine stood stock still for a moment, let out a contented sigh and then slowly dissolved into a pile of dust. The onlookers were shocked, as he had become a fixture of the community for the last few generations.
How could this be his mission? To save this thief? Impossible!
A small sect immediately threw their hopes and dreams onto the young boy, declaring that Caillech must have plans for this youngster. Of course the child, who had only experienced negative attention from the rich and powerful up to this point, fled into the crowd in a panic. Despite his attempts to go back to a normal life he remained hounded by pilgrims and sycophants until he (some say mercifully) died of the plague less than a year later.
We tell this story to remind people that the will of Caillech is unknowable. Enjoy her blessings while you can, for everything passes in it’s due time.