An oracle of Shelyn looking to find her destiny
Physically, Isadora is the embodiment of natural beauty. Her amber-gold hair falls in a cascade over naturally bronzed skin, covering the subtle points that stand up at the tips of her ears. Her skin is smooth, her lips are full, and her eyes wide and welcoming. She has a well-proportioned figure, full of gracious curves and long planes that could be the very model of the ideal feminine form. Her movements are usually slow and measured, and when her voice comes it is light and airy, with notes of laughter singing behind her words. When Isadora smiles the clouds seem to part above her and flowers spring into bloom at her feet. Isadora is more than an oracle of Shelyn, she is a vision of her beauty given mortal form.
Isadora prefers to dress in bright colors and flowing robes, wrapped tight enough to flatter her figure without revealing too much. Whether her hair is pulled up or let to flow down, she prefers to keep her neck and shoulders bare down to the line of her bosom. She carries with her a silver glaive etched with feather imprints along the face of the blade, and wears a holy symbol set with a rainbow jewel around her neck. Isadora has never had many possessions of her own, save for the gems and jewels she gathers as a way of making ends meet. These she keeps in a secret pouch within her waistline, safely away from the reach of pickpockets or cutpurses.
Isadora’s beauty and charm has always allowed her to make friends easily, even in environs that would normally spurn her mixed blood. If anything, Isadora finds that she captures hearts too easily, and as a consequence finds herself the subject of the affections of many a crooning young man or heartbroken old soul. Because of this, Isadora has mastered the diplomatic art of the gentle let down. It is not that Isadora wishes to avoid love, but rather that she would be ready to embrace true love when it comes to her. She longs for the life-changing love that existed between her mother and father, with all of the courtship, romance, and heartbreak that came with it. Isadora quests then not only to find the love of her life, but to find her place within love and life as a whole.
For a hundred years, the elf Tillesrene was a wanderer. Her journeys through Golarion took her up distant mountains and down forgotten valleys, across tossing seas and arid deserts. She sought out rare gems as she traveled—buying, selling, and trading the most beautiful and unique she encountered. And though this trade furnished her travels, it was never her passion. For Tillesrene was a devotee of Shelyn, and her passion was passion itself.
When she was in the North she met a handsome human paladin named Samuel. They journeyed together for some time, with Tillesrene leading them to beauty and Samuel to valor. Samuel courted her over the period of several years and numerous adventures, and after many sweet words and loving poems, they became lovers. Tillesrene had experienced the joys of love many times in her service to Shelyn, but she had never known bliss. To lay in Samuel’s arms was more than even that.
She lost him on a day of low clouds. The rain had gone, but the air was still damp, and as they enjoyed one another’s warmth beneath a flimsy tent, a troll came out of the woods looking for blood. They rose with only seconds warning, and Tillesrene took the first of the monster’s attacks. She fell with blood gushing from her side. As she used Shelyn’s magic to seal up the wound, Samuel took up his blade against the beast and beat it back. He wounded the creature badly, but could not sustain the attack. As his strength failed, the troll snatched Samuel in one clawed hand and bit him hard at his neck. Tillesrene screamed in horror and rage, and focused her remaining magic in a searing beam of piercing light. The monster fell, and Samuel fell with it. She collapsed over him as his life drained away, and her anguished cries followed his spirit to the next world.
Tillesrene mourned for several weeks, until she discovered she was with child. Tillesrene did not know if she was ready for a baby, but she took her good fortune as a sign, and resolved to devote a new life to raising the child. She settled in New Stetven, and turned her trade of jewels into a viable profession. Every free second she had, she gave to her child, a golden-haired girl with her father’s eyes. Tillesrene named her Isadora, meaning ‘heaven’s gift’ in the elvish tongue.
The change was not easy for Tillesrene. Though her beauty and skill won her friends in Brevoy, she was not human, and therefore remained a conspicuous outsider. She raised Isadora with all the love she had, but found the task of raising a child to be difficult at best. Isadora seemed to cry more than Tilleserene remembered from elvish children, and she grew like quickvine, gaining inches even as Tillesrene watched. What’s more, every time Tillesrene looked down on Isadora she saw Samuel’s spirit within her, and her heart broke anew. Tillesrene was lonely, she was lost, and the only solution she saw to heal her heart was to return to her wandering.
So when Isadora was fourteen, Tillesrene left her in the care of a human family in New Stetven and journeyed South and away. Tillesrene left a considerable fortune in gems so that Isadora was well taken care of, more than enough to see that she was looked after through the time she came of age. Tillesrene promised to return in time, but how long she could not say. Isadora was old enough to accept her mother’s decision, but not to understand it. As they said their final words, Isadora’s eyes filled with tears. Though Tillesrene had never said it, somehow she knew that it was her fault that her mother was leaving. Isadora accepted her choice because she wanted her mother to be happy.
Isadora was not one to let such feelings weigh her down. So to refocus her attention, she took to rigorous study of her mother’s writings. Her mother had used the small hours of the morning to write at length of her knowledge of the magical arts, and with practice Isadora found that she could invoke some of her minor spells and incantations. Soon she was practicing her talents on the streets, bringing healing and comfort to those in need.
As she grew into adulthood, her girlish features matured into striking beauty. With these changes, Isadora began to experience new feelings, longings and desires that she identified from her mother’s writings. When she was eighteen years old, a stumbling courtship with a stableboy resulted in Isadora’s first kiss. Wondrous and new, the experience brought about what felt like a surge of warming fire from somewhere deep within her. But when Isadora tried to speak, she found her tongue was not her own. Her voice spoke instead in the words of the angels, the celestial tongue. The boy was shocked, but Isadora was something more. She had known that she had power, but this…
Isadora retreated from the scene, rushing into the night. She found the voices on the street were foreign to her, as if the peoples’ words had been twisted into a foul mockery of mortal language. Isadora ran on, and as she did the warmth got hotter in her chest and the earth felt weaker beneath her feet. Soon her heart was beating so fiercely that it felt pinned inside her chest. Lost, and horribly alone, she plunged into a darkened building to escape the gibbering madness that surrounded her.
She found herself in a small temple on the edge of the city, and wandered in just far enough to collapse at the foot of a great altar. When dawn broke, one of the clerics of the temple found Isadora and asked her what was wrong. Isadora found that the woman’s words were foreign to her, and when she tried to reply, her own voice came again as a celestial song. The woman’s eyes went wide, and then she spoke a spell to let her understand Isadora’s speech. She said warmly, “It’s alright my dear…just calm down…just breathe deep. Let the tension fade.”
Through slow breathing and the woman’s calming words, Isadora’s heart finally slowed its thunder and the heat within her bosom dissipated. When they were gone, she found she could speak again in the common tongue, and understand the cleric. The cleric told Isadora her name was Seraphina, and asked Isadora how she came to be at Shelyn’s temple.
Isadora then related her story, not just the kiss, but the secrets of her birth and lineage. She expected a reaction of fear or judgment, but what she found instead in Seraphina’s face was an expression of joy. “Don’t you see?” she asked Isadora, “You are gift from heaven—a gift of love.”
“A gift to whom?” Isadora questioned.
“To all of us,” she answered through joyous tears, “To the world.”
Seraphina took Isadora to the most splendid of the temple’s stained glass reliefs, and pointed up to a mural depicting a beautiful young woman surrounded by angels and songbirds. “I believe you are what we call an oracle,” Seraphina explained, “A mortal born of divine inspiration. You were granted a great power at your conception, but your mortal body struggles to contain it. That is why, at times of greatest stress, your voice or actions may not be your own. At those times, the angelic spirit within you may manifest. What you have felt to this point is only the slightest hint of what is to come. Clerics may be the servants of the gods, but oracles are their instruments. Shelyn will have use for you, this I am sure.”
Through hours of talking, Seraphina explained to Isadora that with time and training her mastery of magic would grow. With new spells would come other powers, and possibly other curses as well. “The nature of an oracle’s power is a mystery by its very definition,” Serphina continued, “It will be up to you to discover their cause, meaning, and use in service of Shelyn’s will.”
And there was another catch. “You must venture out,” Seraphina told her, “You must take your gift to the people. You have begun your journey already, by giving your healing to those in need. But you must go further. You must follow Shelyn’s signs wherever they take you. It may not be an easy journey…but know that it is the one you were meant for.”
Isadora was overwhelmed by the task before her and her sudden importance in the world. She asked weakly, “Must I go now?”
“Not right now,” Seraphina replied gently, “When you are ready. When the time is right. Shelyn will mark the day.”
Isadora swore herself then to Shelyn’s service. She spent more than a year in and around the temple, before a vision sent in a dream told her it was time to begin her journey. In her dream, Isadora stood with her back to another girl she knew to be Shelyn. They watched the sun dawn together over a wild land to the South, a place Shelyn named as Ursandova. Shelyn spoke through Isadora’s lips, saying: “This is a land of wealth and beauty, opportunity and discovery. Go there, and show them their gifts. Show them that their lives have meaning.”
Isadora’s voice trembled as she answered, “I will.”
“But before you go, you must free yourself from doubt,” Shelyn said gently, “Ask your questions…I will answer.”
“Well I see my mother again?” Isadora asked.
“When your gift has been repaid,” the voice of Shelyn replied through her, “You will be reunited. Give me three thousand dawns and three thousand dusks in my service. When they have passed, I will guide your mother to you. Do my work, and I promise your reunion will be glorious indeed.”
“But will she love me on that day?”
Isadora felt her own lips smile, “That day, and every other of her life. For there is no love like a mother’s love for her daughter. Tillesrene loves you as no other ever will, and will stand with you at eternity’s end. End your doubts about her and accept what was meant to be.”
Isadora bowed her head, “Thank you.”
“Go now Isadora. Your task awaits.”
She woke with grateful tears in her eyes. As Isadora brushed them away, the morning sun swept across the room, filling the temple with light and warmth. Songbirds sang in the windows. Rainbows bloomed in the leaded glass of its windows. And in a single moment, Isadora’s life changed.
Isadora said good-bye to Seraphina and her adopted parents, and gathered what little she had from her time in the temple to help her on her way. This is included a small number stones left from her mother’s collection, most of which mixed monetary and sentimental value. Other than these gems, her possessions were few—a number of colorful robes, a light pack, and a silver glaive used primarily as a walking stick.
Isadora journeys now to the lands South of Brevoy, drawn ahead by instinct and divine providence. She knows not where her adventure will take her…but she knows that wherever it is, she will be ready for it.