A Death in the Family

I’ve seen much of death. But when it comes to a close friend, death seems all the most closer to you.

A few weeks ago, the cleric that called herself Arcangela was found alone and lifeless in her quarters we gave her, here in my dojo. She never overcome the distress in what she believed was a futility of saving the ungrateful, the hostile, even those who were evil. Despite our talks, it appeared that the cleric simply appealed to her god to cease fighting. My physicians found no marks, no poisons, no traces of magic foul play. She simply surrendered her will to live.

The cleric was buried in a solemn service. Many of my acolytes and a few from the city come to bid their respects. I picked a quiet location under a large, sturdy oak, near a small stream with a pleasant trickling sound.

After the burial, one of my acolytes, a young halfling named Krena, remained standing  by Arcangela’s grave.

“I don’t understand. Why was it so hard for her?” the halfling asked.

I took a moment to consider before I spoke. “Clerics have much to manage. Few other adventures consider the innate stress of gathering and channeling divine magic.”

“Is it…painful…to heal people?”

I nodded. “In a sense. You sacrifice your ability to fight, sometimes, in order to ensure that your mission is a success. But some adventurers, ill-tempered, ill-trained and ill-equipped, often take advantage and abuse a cleric’s power. They see them as little more than a walking healing potion vendor.”

“I see,” the halfing said. I could see my answers had only generated more questions. I stood in the quiet and waited.

“You said that clerics sacrifice their ability to fight in order to heal. But could they improve on their fighting skills?”

“Yes,” I said. “An adventurer could train in multiple schools, one in fighting, and one in the divine arts. The downside to this is that the adventurer can ultimately not attain mastery in either school and thus be unable to perform the highest abilities that either class could attain.”

Krena’s face began to blush, her mouth opening slightly to show her clenched teeth.

“It wasn’t fair what those…pick-up groups did to her,” she said, her voice shaking.

“No. No, it wasn’t.”

“Master…I feel that…I feel I could learn the fighting essentials and begin study of the clerical arts.”

I knew this was coming. “What could you offer that Arcangela could not?” I asked bluntly.

Krena’s posture straightened in response to my challenge. “I know that even the basic unarmed attacks and evasive training will make me faster and more durable than some clerics I have read about. I won’t need heavy armor. I can heal myself through ki and perform more damage through ki. At the same time, the clerical arts will improve my skills in fighting as well as serving others in their healing.”

“But aren’t you worried that others will take advantage?”

She shook her head. “I think that Arcangela let herself become consumed.”

“How so?”

“As you have taught us, there is a difference between aiding during battle and contributing to an adventurer’s weakened state. It would be better, for both healer and adventurer, if mistakes in training or preparation are not disguised through temporary treatments.”

I smiled. “How would you say this in a less formal tone?”

Uh…stop healing the stupid?

“Better,” I said. “So what can the dojo do for you?”

“I need to complete my unarmed training. I need two more things: The name of a healer trainer in House Jorasco and permission to choose a name based on my new profession.”

I began walking back towards the compound. “I can help you in both. What name do you choose?”

“Gwencletica,” she said, after a beat.

The young halfling just became our first Cleric Monk. I plan to watch her progress with great interest.

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