We found the cleric, half-dead, in a recessed hallway inside the tomb of Delera Omaren I. She told us (after some rehabilitation) that she had survived alone after her party abandoned her only through her ability to periodically turn the hordes of undead that would amass by the door she had locked.
The strain of so defending herself had greatly and steadily weakened her. By the time I and Lynncletica had arrived (and by accident–I was reviewing Lynn’s skills in eliminating undead), she said she had perhaps one turn ability left before she would have succumbed or became one of the undead.
The cleric called herself Arcangela.
That was about as much explanation as we were able to get from the woman before she collapsed into unconsciousness for three days. We returned her to the dojo to recuperate.
On day four, I found myself out in the meadow. Seated along our pond was the cleric. I approached and sat, but Arcangela seemed to barely notice me.
After several minutes, she asked, “If I cannot defend myself, how can I do as my faith asks?”
I thought a moment and said, “What do you wish to know?”
Arcangela sighed. “I want…I need to know something beyond armor. Yet I need to be the best destroyer of the undead hordes. You’ve heard of the terrors in the old necropolis. And yet, I cannot manage the filth that has corrupted Delera’s tomb.”
“You could join the Path of Harmonious Balance,” I said.
“I know of it,” she replied. “It isn’t as effective in controlling many mobs of undead.”
“It isn’t,” I admitted. “But you become extremely good at destroying them one at a time.”
The cleric shook her head. “There must be a better way.”
I stood up. “Perhaps for you the path must fork. Perhaps a…fusion 0f the skills of martial art with the divine art.”
Arcangela didn’t answer for several heartbeats. “But I may never live up to my full potential in a single vocation.”
“And yet, you may be the stronger cleric for it. What you cannot outgun, you may outrun,” I said.
The cleric stood up, shakily. “What would I have to learn?”
“It’s what you would have to unlearn that may be more important,” I answered. “For one, the heavy armor slows you greatly. Your protection would come from agility. While the martial arts would be very helpful in direct defense, your powers of destroying undead would not be greatly diminished.”
“And what might be the disadvantages?”
I shook my head. “Highest level spells may be forbidden to you. Healing spells may not be as robust as you would like. Your martial arts skill may be too weak in some places. I know of a few in Stormreach that have learned the fundamentals of the martial art–perhaps only two levels of training–and then continue in their primary vocation.”
I sat back down. “I challenge you to consider the third level, to accept two paths, that of Harmonious Balance as well as your clerical path. Many of my skills are similar to yours but not as potent. And yet, I will survive longer, for the monk renews herself through ki, which doesn’t require rest or potions to renew.”
The cleric nodded but said little else except, “I will consider what you said.”
I left for my quarters to think a bit more about Arcangela’s plight. She seemed–angry that other adventurers sometimes saw her only as a tap to survive themselves but cared little else for her skills. For my part, I wish I knew more on how to fuse the realm of cleric and monk. How much training in one may weaken the other training?
Perhaps Arcangela and I will learn together, once she decides.