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House of Ellis

Ellis walked the Land of Still Waters before it bore that name. A thousand years ago, she was a rare traveler, braving the dangers of the wild and the fear of the towns to bring news and healing to those in need. Little is known of her origin - she came out of the west, slowly and circuitously making her way across what would become Jorvik, into the fortified and frightened villages that bore the seeds of Acadia, then south, out of the lands and into memory and legend.

Where she walked she was lodestone drawn to heal the pain and woe of others. Those she helped and those she saved were grateful and asked how they could repay her, to which she replied either "Help another" or, rarely, "and walk a while". With this she doubled and re-doubled her efforts, sending ripples of hope and legend through those secret times.

She did not record her exploits, but others did, in story and song and rare scraps of written record. As the long gray years passed, and those she bid walk did so, they shared tales of the woman who'd touched them, their parents, their grandparents, and found them the same. Slowly, slowly over the land there came a realization that one person had walked its treacherous length to heal it. Some stories differed, and some conflicted, but at their core they told of a woman who walked and talked and taught and mended, who built home and hearth out of path and prayer. The stories were written, studied, and, mercifully, emulated, and well by the time the Treaty was signed, the foundations of House of Ellis were solidly laid.

Three books form the touchstones of the House of Ellis. The Bible, which she carried, has changed remarkably little since her time. The Miles records the deeds which can be attributed to her and her followers without reasonable doubt. Finally, the Mysteries collect stories from before her and miracles ascribed to her and contradicting tales and songs - it is the official apocrypha of the House.

The Miles have been strongly codified over the past thousand years or so by Walkers who took in Ellis' honor. Their research and devotion describe a person of deep faith and conviction with extraordinary powers over the bodies and minds of herself and others who nevertheless struggled to retain her faith and humility along her long journey. Clearly, from these writings, Ellis was a scion of the healing and seeming arts - she slipped unhindered through the hinterlands to touch those who lay sick and afraid, at times even against the will of those who watched over them.

There begins the the struggle of her followers. If you disobey to right, is it right?

Ellis never took payment but she once accepeted a ruby necklace for healing the last child of a dying bloodline - and later paid a mercenary force in shards of ruby to defend a beleaguered village.

She never killed, but once came to a town beset by depraved bandits. She walked towards their camp, and that was the last the town saw of she or them. The Mysteries, though, tell of one who followed in her path and found only ash and bones.

At a hundred deathbeds, she shed no tears, only prayers. Yet at the digging of a well, and at several births (depending on your Mysteries), she wept openly and drank wine.

Her flower is the dandelion. Her bird is the mourning dove. Her house is built of books and horizons and hope.