“High Priestess” – The Adventure Chronicles of Brightblade – Part 3 (A Dungeons and Dragons Solo Roleplay)

Happy Mani’s Day!

Lief and Elana made it back to the temple without incident and delivered their sad news of Fredica’s death. The High Priestess of the temple was called and she interviewed Elana privately at length. Lief waited patiently for the results and then Elana reappeared outside the private chambers of the high priestess seemingly much calmer. She saw Lief and approached him.

“Thanks once again for coming to my rescue even though you had nothing to gain. The high priestess has told me to get some rest today and I resume my duties tomorrow as a full acolyte. The high priestess asked to speak with you”

“Uhh. Thank you. Do you always talk so rapid-fire?”

“Sorry, I get nervous sometimes with all the importance. My background is not one of high standing, very low in fact. I get nervous around people who are higher born than I.”

“It’s alright, I am just a cobbler in the militia. I went to that cave seeking a fortune, but I now sense the guiding hand of Sensua in it.”

“No doubt, I just wish Fredica would have come home alive.”

“You alright?”

“Yes, I will probably be better after the funeral. Right now I am more in disbelief.”

“It will be OK, with time. If I can, I will find a way to make Barthon pay for what he did.”

“I hope so, he has caused the pain and death of so many.”

She touched his face and kissed his cheek and walked away.

Lief approached the door of the chambers of the High Priestess. He knocked. A deeper female voice came for him to enter. Inside was the High Priestess of the City of Brightblade’s Temple of Sensua. She was sitting at her desk in her white robes trimmed with gold. She was a tall woman with a striking figure that was little concealed by the robes of her office. She looked very much like Fredica with blonde hair and blue eyes. She stood to greet him.

“Hail, brave warrior. Lief Crispen is in not. I am the High Priestess of the Temple of Sensua in Brightblade. In this chamber, however, I am only Erica Gemsmith.”

“Gemsmith? Like the Gemsmiths from the north side of town?”

“The same, I am the second girl of my parents and the fourth child overall. I chose the temple ten years ago seeing my parents already have an heir to their gemstone empire.”

“High Priest…I mean Erica. My condolences on the loss of one of your own people. I only wish I could have done more. It puzzles me that Sensua spared me and not Fredica.”

“Your mother is the answer to that. She had completed the ritual for your protection. Sensua cannot act without a closed circle of the ritual, at least not without great cost to herself. Or at least actions that embody faith in her strength. Fredica for all her bravery was rash in going to find her friend by herself. Had she come to the leaders of the temple we would have sent her out with help and made sure she completed a ritual to protect Herself before she left.”

“I see. So Sensua has limits to her power?”

“More like conditions. Worship of all the gods requires a transaction of faith of sorts. Fredica in her love for Elana forgot that. She acted on her own and paid for it with her life. Gods also favor those who are devoted to them, Sensua is no exception.”

“In any case, I want to donate the gems I found in the cave to the temple in memorial of her. She deserves that much I think for bravely trying to rescue her friend, brash though it may have been.”

Lief handed over the gems to Erica and she smiled.

“Thank you, hmm. a moonstone, a bloodstone, and an amethyst. Small gems but worth a bit to the temple. This is a noble gift indeed. Thank you.”

She turned and placed the gems on her desk.

“I do wish to speak to you about something else. I need an adventurer for a task and I think you would fit what we need given your experience.”

“What’s the job?”

“I need you to return to the cave you found and explore it further. There is something from the temple that I believe Barthon stole. If it is not there, perhaps you will find some sort of clue as to where Barthon might be hiding and find it there.”

“I would like to get another crack at that wizard. He has hurt quite a few people, particularly women. But given the transactional nature of this, if you forgive my asking, what is the payment to me.”

“I have heard from my informants that the Crispen Family is looking to become a noble house. That requires land and title. Given you are the heir to the family, I offer my favor in gaining those things. I also offer you back these gems you gave as well as an opportunity to avenge Fredica. I also will offer one last thing, but I want to hear your answer first.”

“I accept your terms but do ask one thing.”

“Yes, what is it?”

“Fredica came in handy before she died healing my wound. I would like, if possible, one acolyte to accompany me for both support and healing.”

“Done. I will speak to Elana about accompanying you. It would be fitting for her to aid the one avenging her former lover.”

Lief nodded, “so what is your last boon now that I have accepted.”

“Land and title require more than a favor of one of the high priestesses of the gods. It requires actions that lead the nobility to think you belong with them. I offer you this. Become a paladin of Sensua’s vengeance. Strike down those who have harmed her worshippers and earn their favor as well. I offer to bring you into the paladins myself.”

“That’s is a good opportunity, but has a cost to me as well.”

“Your instincts do you well. Yes, the cost is renouncing your previous ties. The guild and the militia would have to be left behind. Although your friends in them would certainly remain. Sensua’s paladins are totally devoted to her.”

“You speak of vengeance and an oath of vengeance. Why this oath?”

“Because for too long I have watched this Barthon and some like him get away with their crimes. They take lives, destroy love, and end lines of fertility. These things Sensua despises. Her worshippers cry out for justice. I want you to be one of those bringers of justice.”

“Let me speak to my mother about this. The decision would affect my family so it needs to be a family decision.”

“Very well, that is proper. Speak to your mother. Fredica’s funeral is tomorrow. I trust you will attend. You can give me your answer then.”

Leif nodded.

“See you tomorrow then.”

Leif went home to the shop and found himself at the same table he had made his decision to follow the map. He had piled the coins he had found on the table. His mother told him she would take half and secure a promotion in the cobbler’s guild for herself. This would allow her to better use the guild’s resources should the family require them. The other half Lief could use to find better equipment for himself.

Once Lief laid out what the high priestess had offered to him. Anna looked solemn. She then explained that after doing the ritual for his protection Sensua had appeared to her in a vision. She had told her to encourage him to follow the temple’s wishes. She reminded him that with her rank increase, the guild’s resources would still be his through her. As for the militia, she doubted that they would object to him becoming a paladin. The opportunity presented to advance was just too good to pass up. Lief in the end realized this was the best course for him.

The next day was Fredica’s funeral. Her naked body was on display on the altar. Underneath the altar was wood and oil that would burn for her cremation. Her nakedness was symbolic to all and every follower of Sensua knows the saying about coming into the world naked and leaving it the same way. In death, Fredica was still beautiful. The magic darts had left no mark and so her body was still flawless. The High Priestess herself conducted the funeral giving hommage to Sensua to take their departed sister into her arms. When the funeral pyre was lit the words were simple – “Accept our sister in flame. Flame that represents life, flame that represents the passion of love, and flame that brings new life. She is gone from us but may Sensua hold her in her loving arms.”

The fire burned for some time. It is a moving thing to watch a person be consumed by the flame until their ashes are mixed with those of the wood and oil below. Fredica was gone.

Elana stood on Lief’s right and his mother Anna was on his left. Both were crying although Elana was the tears of grief of a lost love. She was practically sobbing. Lief remained strong for both of them, but he too was moved. He was angry that such a beautiful person had been cut down so young and the one who did it was still alive and probably doing vile things again. Barthon would pay for this funeral on his own. Lief was surprised at his anger, but he then realized it would fuel what was coming next.

The funeral eventually ended and the few in attendance began to move away. The High priestess left for her chambers and as prearranged Lief followed her. She ushered him in and then closed the door behind them and locked it. Looking at Lief’s puzzled expression.

“I don’t wish to be disturbed while we conduct this business. It’s too important.”

“I see.’

“So, you have spoken with your mother. Have you reached a final decision about the opportunity to become a paladin?”

“Yes, we accept your offer. I will be Sensua’s hand of justice.”

The High Priestess looked very happy. Her smile beamed at him.

“Good, then there are a few things to do. The Oath Ceremony is a public thing and only when I feel you are truly ready. You need to finish this business with the cave and recover the item. That is the quest for you to prove yourself worthy to me. But you also must be blessed as a Squire of Sensua. That is not public but is important to close the circle for you to tap into Sensua’s power. I cannot speak about how this will manifest with you personally, Every paladin is different.”

“Close the circle? So I need to perform the ritual?”

“Yes, but you don’t have to leave to do that. I prefer to bless all the squires I commission personally. Are you ready?”

“Yes, I am ready.”

“Draw your sword and kneel”

Lief drew his blade. For the funeral it was the only weapon or armor he wore preferring his better-made clothes for such occasions. He knelt.

“Hold the sword out with both hands.”

Holding it sideways with his one hand on the hilt and the other on the tip of the blade; as he had seen knights receiving a commission, Leif presented his blade. The High Priestess touched the blade.

“Sensua, bless this squire. May his quest prove he is worthy of your lordship and may his conduct please you at all times. Protect him and guide him. May he always know your life and love. Arise, Squire Lief Crispen, paladin of Sensua.”

Lief stood and sheathed his sword.

“Now, let us close the circle and complete the ritual.”

The High Priestess released the shoulder clasps that held her robe and the white and gold robe cascaded to the floor around her feet and she stepped out. Lief caught his breath as the implication of “I like to bless all the squires I commission personally” hit him. Her naked body was beautiful and athletic. Her breasts were small but perfect. She approached him and put her arms around his neck and kissed him. His hand instinctively fell to her waist and pulled her close.

Sometime later he found himself with his naked body entangled with hers. She was cuddled close to him and sighed a pleased sigh.

“Lief, be careful. I don’t want this to be the last time I bless you. Although you seem to have blessed me in return. You are very good at this for someone so young.”

“Mother insisted I learn from the clerics in the house of love how to properly please a woman in bed. I want to make mom happy, so I tried to be a good student.”

Lief grinned, and she grinned back.

“You instructors did well. Are they still here?”

“Yes, one is at least. Adept Rosa, the dwarven woman.”

“She taught you? That must have been interesting.”

“I suppose, there were other assorted Acolytes but she was my main instructor. Lovemaking to her was both a skill to learn and a passion to develop. I learned from her that the package doesn’t so much matter as the desire to love and be loved. Besides, she has nice curves. Shorter and thicker curves but they are nice just the same.”

“That she does. Hmm. You’re going to make a great paladin, Lief. Just don’t get yourself killed before your Oath.”

“Yes, High Priestess. I shall do my best to not let that happen. Sensua willing”

Lief and the High Priestess spent the night together, made love again, and he left early that morning and headed home. He was coming back later to prepare to journey to the cave again.

Writers Notes:

In Dungeons and Dragons, downtime is a simulated time where the results or consequences of the last adventure are engaged or dealt with. There is also the opportunity to grow and develop, invest, build, learn, etc. Lief had the opportunity to decide what to do with the treasure he gained and make a few connections.

NPCs or Non-Player Characters are essential to a good story. They are the player’s family, connections, business associates, friends, etc. Lief has a few, but his moving from being a normal cobbler to an adventuring paladin is going to change all that. Not so much that he loses these relationships. but that they change in nature. Lief may be leaving the Brightblade MIlitia but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t ask them to aid him in a pinch. There is also the tactic of maintaining a connection through family with Anna becoming the lead for the business and guild.

I rolled a temple patron and my second character rolled as a cleric so the connection was obvious as to how to connect these two ideas. Lief catches the eye of the High Priestess (perhaps for more than one reason) and she begins to test him as to his readiness to become a paladin but also starts giving him missions to help the temple as well.

In my case, Sensua herself is also an NPC. She acts in the world within her requirements and parameters. She has taken an interest in our heroes and seems to be ready to help them.

The next adventure will be used in part the second solo adventure in the 1983 Basic Set, but with an additional character and thus adjustments to the strength levels of the monsters. There are also the conversion issues when dealing with 1st edition basic rules and 5th edition, but it’s not too bad as D&D has not changed that much in its basic form.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


“The Cave” – The Adventure Chronicles of Brightblade – Part 2 (A Dungeons and Dragons Solo Roleplay)

Happy Sol’s Day!

Lief Crispen slowly made his way down the path that was marked on his map to, as it said, a cave entrance. He placed his hand on the talisman of the goddess Sensua around his neck and could almost feel some sort of divine influence. His mother’s prayers probably. Her devotion to the goddess was well known and it was a great comfort to him.

Had it not been for the map he most certainly, even with his good powers of observation, missed the path. It was purposefully hidden by brush and branches. Once on it, the path took Leif up the side of one of the many hills in the area. It was slow going, because of the need to push brush aside at points and the steady incline up the hill. Finally, he found himself at the entrance arch of the cave. It was about noon and five hours or so since he had left his mother. For an arch, it was, crafted of stone. He recognized, as most citizens of Brightblade would, the Old Empire symbol of the dragon head as the keystone and the rest of it simply carved. Beyond the light didn’t show much being overhead and not shining down into the cave.

He slung his shield over his left shoulder and took a torch out of his backpack and lit it with the tinderbox. The flame sputtered to life and he held it aloft and with his spear, in his right hand and torch in the left, he went forward into the cave. The cave had a musty smell to it. People had definitely taken the natural formation of the cave and changed it. Adding stone wall here and chipping away at the rock there so a square hallway arched forward.

It didn’t take long for Lief to discover enemies. As he stepped out of the first hallway and into the first chamber, he spotted an Orc. The average size for an orc, it had grey skin and average-length tusks. The Orc spotted him too and sprung to life brandishing a cruel-looking axe and a round wooden shield. Lief had enough time to drop the torch and slide his shield on his left arm when the Orc struck swinging his axe toward his head. Leif countered with his spear and the blow slid down the shaft. Then the two faced off.

Lief for his part, had never actually been in combat before, but in a few moments, his guardsman training began to take over. Lief had the advantage of being able to keep the Orc at a distance with the spear. This proved to be decisive after a number of missed blows on both sides, Lief struck the Orc on his exposed side and pierced the Orc’s shoulder. Black blood seeped out of the wound. This also knocked the Orc off his feat. Lief closed but the Orc did the unexpected and threw sand from the floor of the cave into his face temporarily blinding him. The Orc stood back to its feet and slashed Lief’s arm leaving a flesh wound and then unexpectedly ran off down one of the two corridors that lead out of the chamber.

Lief cursed his luck and started to run after the Orc. Within a few seconds, Leif slowed and stopped realizing he would lose the Orc in the dark and he returned to the chamber and retrieved his torch which was still burning. He considered his options as he began to inspect the room. He noticed a small sack in one corner and opening it quickly he discovered food rations and not much else. He looked at the other exit beside where he had come in and decided against it. No, he had to follow the Orc and see if there were more of them. Cautiously, torch and spear in hand, he followed behind the Orc.

The path shifted slightly but then opened up into another chamber. Cautiously Lief walked and then froze when he heard and hiss from one of the corners. Shifting toward the sound, the torchlight revealed a large snake. It was at least ten feet long and a foot in diameter. It slithered slowly toward him and Leif dropped his torch on the ground and readied his shield. He noted the gold and silver coins on the floor around the snake. The snake reared up and its head swayed back and forth slightly about four feet off the ground. Lief gripped his spear a little tighter. The snake reared back and it struck, at that moment Lief stepped aside quickly and thrusted his spear at the snake’s neck. He felt the spear point bite flesh and as the snake thrashed its head sideways it pulled the spear from his grasp. Leif backed up and drew his sword. The snake had been wounded badly but it turned to face him again. Leif could see green venom dripping from its fangs.

This time the snake seemed to want to circle Leif. It’s being more cautious. Lief decided to strike himself leading with his shield toward the snake’s head. The snake struck and Lief smashed his shield against its head. stunning the creature. Leif wasted no time and slashed his sword at its neck and with a single blow severed the head off. The body thrashed around and Leif backed up to avoid it hitting him. In a very few seconds, it fell completely still.

Lief pulled off his pack and retrieved a cloth to wipe his blade and then after recovering his spear did the same with the point. He then turned his attention to the floor of the chamber which glittered with gold and silver coins. He looked at them – crowns (the gold coins of Brightblade) and lords (silver). He found a sack on the ground as well which still had some coins as well as a few small gems. He wondered if this was the treasure from the map and then realized the map never really said it was to treasure, but to a hideout. If this was the treasure there were roughly 300 crowns worth of coins and 200 crowns of gems. He couldn’t be sure about the gems as he was no expert.

He collected everything into the sack and as he looked around he saw there was only one route that the Orc could have used. He found his torch which was still burning and returned to the entrance chamber. He placed the sack next to the other with the food and then returned to where the snake lay dead. He was relieved that no Orc patrol party had found him but he was puzzled as to why.

He decided to continue as the wound he got from the Orc had started to sting a little, but it had stopped bleeding. The path continued for about fifty more feet and then opened up into a third chamber. He paused and looked around the corner cautiously and to his surprise he saw a beautiful woman who was sitting in a meditative position with her eyes closed.

She was dressed in chain mail armor with a small helm. He didn’t see a shield but could see her mace laying on the ground in front of her. Around her neck was the holy symbol of Sensua much like his own. She was wearing a red tunic with silver trim under the armor. An Acolyte, but what was she doing here? Acolytes usually never travel alone or too far from the temple. But then he realized he didn’t really know much about the clerics of Sensua other than his own experiences with the priestess at the altar and the dozen or so acolyte females he had competed the ritual with over the years. He knew they were great healers but what else did he really know?

He rounded the corner wondering what to do and the woman’s eyes fluttered open. They were lovely blue to match her blonde hair. He remembered seeing her in the house of love but had not ever completed a ritual with her, so he didn’t know her name,

“Oh my Sensua be praised, my prayers have been answered. I was afraid I was going to have to rescue my friend alone. OH, you’re hurt, Let me help with that.”

She stood and Leif saw she was only a half head shorter than him. She approached and touched his arm where he was wounded. The wound closed completely and then disappeared altogether. Lief was not shocked as he had seen something like this before when a few of his mates had been hurt during practices. They always kept a cleric of Sensua nearby for such things.

“Acolyte, why are you here?’

“Trying to rescue a friend. Elana and I were praying in the garden when we felt very strange. A strange man walked into the garden and he was chanting. I realize now it was a spell. Both of us fell asleep. When I woke up, Elana was gone and a note was left on my chest. It demanded ransom for her or the person would kill her in a week. So, I set out to the place is said to leave the ransom – this cave. The problem is the man who took her has no intention of letting her go.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because the man who took her is Barthon the Vile. He would more likely be interested in taking any money I brought and then capturing me as well.”

Lief had heard of Barthon the Vile. He was a wizard with a criminal past. A very vicious and, as his name suggested, vile past.

“You are probably correct with Barthon. His tastes would not involve letting female prisoners go alive.”

The acolyte nodded.

“My name is Fredica. I see the symbol of Sensua around your neck. Will you help me?”

“Yes, but I was chasing an Orc. Have you seen any?”

“Yes, one ran by some minutes ago. He was wounded. Your doing?”

“Yes, so Barthon is here and at least one Orc.”

“So it would seem, but there are two of us as well.”

Lief nodded.

After some moments the two of them headed down the passage that Fredica has seen the Orc run. After about 50 yards they heard voices and could see the light up ahead. Lief put out his torch and the two silently went forward. The voices became louder.

“Get up Orc. Who else did you see? Just a warrior with a spear and a cleric of Sensua.”

“That’s all Master. Just those two. I ran here as fast as possible after the warrior wounded me in combat. Please don’t hit me again. We could trick them.”

“Perhaps. hmm.”

Fredrica touched Lief’s arm.

“That’s Barthon’s voice. They are not expecting us, we should surprise them.”

Then Lief heard the chanting of someone casting a spell. It was Barthon’s voice. When it finished the Orc spoke.

“Oh, that is good master. No one can see you now.”

Fredica whispered quickly, “Now before they can prepare more.”

Lief moved into the chamber ahead with his spear and shield ready. All he saw was the Orc which let out a surprised cry and then charged with his axe. For a few moments, Lief lost concern for where the wizard was having to deal with the Orc.

In that battle that followed Leif and the orc struggled to get an advantage, but eventually, Lief got the upper hand and with a strong thrust drove his spear into the orc’s belly. He tried to pull out his spear but it was stuck and as he looked around he saw Fredica swinging the mace seemingly at the air. Lief abandoned his spear and drew his sword.

Then the chanting of a spell began again and Barthon appeared.

He was younger than you would expect being a wizard. His black eyes, black hair, and short small frame appeared about 50 feet away on the other side of the chamber from where both Fredica and he were at. He had a cruel smile and wore black clothing with a hood over his head.

Barthon’s magic caused four glowing darts to appear in front of him. He waved his hand and two of them streaked toward Lief and the other two toward Fredica. They were so fast that there was no time to react. Fredica fell to the floor and didn’t move. The two that flew toward Lief suddenly struck something like a magic wall a couple of feet away from him and disappeared. Puzzled but angry, Lief moved forward toward the spell caster. Barthon moved backward toward the wall and then seemingly dropped out of sight through the floor. When he arrived where the wizard had been standing he found a trap door, He grabbed the handle and pulled but it wouldn’t move being locked from the other side.

Try as he might, the door wouldn’t open. He cursed in frustration. Then he remembered Fredica. Running back to where she lay prone on the ground he saw her face and knew at that instant she was dead. Her vacant eyes told him all he needed to know. Sadness filled him. He fell to his knees with grief and closed her eyes. After a few moments, he rose to his feet.

It was at this moment he realized that there was a side chamber to this larger one and he entered into it. It was there he found Elana. She was naked, tied, gagged, and laying sideways on the sand floor. She seemed very confused but relieved to see him, once she spotted the symbol of Sensua around his neck. Her grey eyes were sparkling under her long brown hair. He couldn’t help but notice her figure which was slightly buxom and athletic. Her skin was dark olive. He knelt beside her and removed her cloth gag. She coughed for a second and then spoke in a light beautiful tone.

“Thank you, sir. I thought for sure I was to be the next victim of Vile.”

“You are welcome, here let me untie you.”

Lief finished releasing her and they both stood to their feet, Despite being completely naked in front of him she showed no embarrassment or shame.

“Do you have any clothes?”

“No, Vile burned my novice robes in front of me. He said he couldn’t wait until my stupid friend brought the ransom so he could…”

Her voice trailed off and she looked away. Despite not being shaken up about being naked, this idea seemed to frighten her.

“I have bad news, Elana. Your friend did come but not with a ransom.”

“Fredica, where is she?”

“Out there in the other chamber. She didn’t…we fought Barthon and his Orc and she…”

Elana’s eyes watered slightly and then she rushed from the room. When Lief caught up to her she was kneeling next to her friend and sobbing. He knelt down beside her.

“I am sorry for your friend.”

“She was more than a friend, she was my lover before we became novices.”

Elana reached around her lover’s neck. She removed both her holy symbol and another necklace which had a small rune stone on it. She put both around her neck.

“She died trying to fight Barthon. He killed her with some sort of magic missiles. Two of them would have struck me, but some sort of magic preserved me.”

“Sensua’s magic. Response to your prayers. Have you done the ritual recently?”

“No, but my mother probably has just today. She promised to pray for me.”

“Protectin of the goddess. Your mother must be very faithful.”

“She is. But what are we going to do with Fredica?”

In the end, Elana took off all of Fredica’s armor, clothing, and equipment and put them on herself. This left Fredrica naked but Leif found a blanket in the extra room along with some more coins and gems He wrapped her in the blanket. Elana and he divided the treasure to carry among them and then he threw Fredica over his shoulder. Going back the way they came, they exited the cave after recovering the other rations and treasure at the door. It was night but the two agreed that they needed to get back to the temple so they walked on. Lief noticed the tears streaming down Elana’s face. He could feel her grief and soon a single tear formed under his right eye as well.

Writer’s Notes:

In keeping with the story as presented in the 1983 Basic Set of Dungeons and Dragons, I had to make some changes to the story. Leif still fights, but I made his foe an Orc and not a goblin. He also fights the snake but in my play, he didn’t get wounded there but by the goblin instead. I also was faced with the dilemma of the cleric’s death in that story and the fact I wanted to introduce my second character who is also a cleric. So I had the one be killed like in the story, and then I had the other one rescued to join Lief.

What random die rolls have determined so far is that the adventuring party’s patron will be the temple itself. Lief and Elana will be the first two and you will see in the next part of how that comes about. If you haven’t guessed Lief is not a regular fighter. What he is I will let you guess as the story unfolds.

In the Basic Set, the wizard is Bargle, but I have decided he will make a great first villain for my heroes, so I have renamed him Barthon the Vile. To make him Vile, one need only understand that there is little he will not do for money and to slake his peculiar sensual cravings. He is a magical assassin for all practical purposes with a taste for rape and murder.

The Goddess Sensua is actively involved with her followers. Her clerics (all of them) gain an advantage in any spell that is touch-based and if a person performs the love ritual (ritual sex) with one of them after praying and paying the cost, that person will receive any effect that cleric could do with their spells that can also be rituals. The problem is that this only works when the person is alive. Once dead, only truly powerful clerics of Sensua raise the dead. Sensua’s portfolio is Life, Love, and Fertility. She is a popular goddess and thus quite powerful.

There is a hierarchy of ranks in the temples of sensua:

  1. Novices: These are those new to the call of Sensua. They take care of the guests at the houses of love by making them comfortable while they wait for the clerics to see them. It is required of them to be naked at all times except when they are working in the house of love when they don their red robes to serve the guests. They practice the ritual on each other so that they are ready for their time to serve in the houses of love.
  2. Acolytes: These are those that have taken their oath of devotion to Sensua and have learned what is expected of them in the houses of love. They are the temple prostitutes if you will. They also can be commissioned for other tasks the Temple High Priest or Priestess might have planned as support. They wear red robes with silver trim.
  3. Adepts: The adepts become managers of the Acolytes at the Houses of Love. They wear robes of red with gold trim. Adepts are reserved for rituals involving special clients.
  4. Priest/Priestesses: These wear white robes and there are only six of them per temple, (three women and three men) at each temple. They are the altar keepers who pray for the parishioners, take their coins, and send them to the houses of love. These are reserved for very special season rituals and rituals involving the swearing of Oaths to Sensua.
  5. Curates: These Wear White with Silver Trim, they are reserved for very special rituals involving the Priest. Priestess levels and higher. There are only four of them per temple. (two women and two men).
  6. High Priest/High Priestess: Wear white with gold trim. Only High holy day rituals are involved. There is only one of each sex at the temple.

It should be noted that training in religion, duties, channeling divine spells, combat, etc. starts the moment a cleric of Sensua becomes a Novice. Training in healing art (medicine) is available as well as sexual training for the purpose of performing the ritual sex that is required for many things in the practice of the religion. It should be noted that Sensua is about sensual love and not just ritualized sex. One should enjoy the ritual for maximum effect. Just going through the motions of sex might cause the goddess to not work her magic for those involved.

Clerics of Sensua are trained very early to be comfortable with their bodies and the bodies of others. Novices are required to be naked on temple grounds at all times except when working in the house of love. After that, the bathhouse and common areas are clothing optional for all other ranks. Nudity is still required for all ranks to enter the inner prayer chapel. Each temple has dorms for the Novice through the Adept class. Sleeping areas are also considered common areas for the purpose of nudity. Once a cleric reaches the Preist/ Priestess class they are given private quarters.

It should be noted that disease is also a healing specialty for the clerics and this includes sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, pregnancy is not considered a curse or negative but a blessing because Sensua is about fertility. Children born to clerics are raised by the community although pregnancy does not happen as often as you would think. Sensua’s will is that her clerics perform their duties above all, so the focus is on fertility in the worshipers who are not clerics. If a female cleric gets pregnant, it is actually both very rare and considered the will of Sensua. It is however not uncommon for female worshipers who are praying for a child to get pregnant after a ritual and one must wonder if it is her husband or the male cleric who ‘blessed’ her.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


Valentine’s Day – Mixed Feelings

Happy Tyr’s Day!

Now that I am divorced and single, Valentine’s Day gives me a lot of mixed feelings.

Of course, I wish I could celebrate the love I have for someone on this day, but that isn’t going to happen so being the follower of Stoic philosophy that I am I am focusing on the positive.

  1. I don’t have to spend money on gifts and that means saving for me.
  2. I can focus on the possibilities of who I might get to be my new life partner.
  3. I also can smile at how feminine this holiday is.

Going to be blunt this is about romance and so is more of a female holiday. I have long been a supporter of a more masculine holiday in March My favorite is using March 14th as Beer, Steak, and a Blowjob Day. This lines up with more masculine wants. Valentine’s Day is not going to get you beer, or a steak spending your own money and while sexy time might happen on Valentine’s but it’s going to be romantic sex which is OK but sometimes as a man you just want the girl to do the work to show you how much she loves you.

Not to mention this is a Christian holiday, named after a Christian ‘saint’. Freya doesn’t mess too much around with Romance. She once was accused of fucking every god in Asgard. She never denied this, but she did say Loki had bad manners for accusing her in front of everyone. The fact she was sexually active with more than one partner was not considered a shame in that she did it. I tend to take this view about sex as well. It’s just that society frowns on this attitude, and I just don’t want the hassle.

Maybe that is why when I look at holidays that are supposedly secular and know the religious origins, I just have trouble getting into the ones based on Christian holidays. Most of the rest are pagan holidays that Christianity stole so you can convert them back.

Maybe next Valentine’s I will be with someone special and my feeling will be more on par with normal. But today, I am just mixed about the whole thing,

Goals for Today:

  1. Settling up my shelves when they arrive – hopefully. This is two shelves and represents a lot of time so it is my only goal for today

Yesterday’s goals were both achieved. Hoping to start therapy soon and waiting on on landlord.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


The Flexible Nature of Pagan Philosophy

Happy Thor’s Day!

A commenter recently asked if I would explain where I am now to help understand my journey from Christian Pastor to the present. I would and have been classifying myself as a Pagan Atheist for some time now. The Atheist part is easy to understand or so you would think so. Simply put I do not believe in gods, goddesses, or even spiritual beings or forces because I do not find the evidence for the existence of these things to be at all convincing.

The pagan part is more difficult to define outside the spiritual side of it. Paganism throws around terms like “sacred, divine, etc: but my previously stated lack of belief in such things as spirits and gods or even sacredness throws a lot of that aside. In this expression of spirituality, one does find a philosophy based on a genuine and real world. People looked at the world around them and came up with observations that still hold today but wherever they didn’t understand the why or how – they made things up like religion and gods.

Of all religions, paganism is grounded the most in real life to me. It upholds the virtues of mankind as central. For me, the Nine Noble Virtues (NNV) has become my code of life and there is really no requirement to believe in the supernatural to follow after the NNV. It could also be noted that the NNV provides a connection between most people as things like ‘courage’ ‘truth’ or ‘self-reliance’ can be discussed between people regardless of religion or philosophy.

I can easily sit down at a table with a Muslim, a Christian, and a Pagan and discuss what it means to have honor. We all would have differences in what honor is, but the basic idea would be there for all of us as a starting point. The differences would be in how ‘honor’ would be expressed. Those differences would be obvious, but what honor is would be understood. at least at a core level.

I chose paganism because of its practical truths such as the NNV. But also the viewpoints tend to be grounded in reality. That said, how the reality I interpreted can vary from pagan to pagan in very different and unique ways. There is really no right or wrong way to be a pagan. Most do have as a core three central cornerstones, but some of these cornerstones include the belief in things that are not proven, but a kernel of truth is still present that I can uphold because I think the philosophy works.

It should be noted here that I have looked at where ethics and morality come from and I don’t find that religion is the source of these things, but rather humans create ethics and philosophy as a society for the purpose of mutual benefit for all. Religion comes along and simply gets created to uphold the virtues and philosophy of life that already exist. Religion is a preserver of traditions but often has nothing to d with creating those traditions in the first place. It also has a tendency to pervert those traditions in the name of acquiring power for both the ruling and religious classes in society. Taking the good functioning element and seizing control of it and claiming divine origin is a classic religious staple.

Perhaps an example is in order. Marriage and in particular the nuclear marriage of one man and one woman. From an evolutionary standpoint, this works. You don’t need to be religious to see that. This issue is what came first. I believe people were living in nuclear arrangments for literally millions of years before religion came along and claimed the origin of marriage and the nuclear family that followed was of divine origin. It simply worked and became something valued because it worked.

But back o the cornerstones of basic pagan belief. 1) There is a belief in the importance or sacredness of nature.2) Reverence for ancestors and 3) acknowledgment of the divine within ourselves. If I were to take the spiritualized nature out of these things it becomes 1) The understanding of the importance of the natural world. 2) Respect for those who came before us and 3) recognition of the value of each human being including myself. I want to do a post on each of these things, so I will leave these cornerstones for the moment.

The point of this post is this is my interpretation of these and that is perfectly OK in paganism. Paganism is flexible and its philosophy is malleable. It can be shaped more specifically for each individual. That to me is more realistic that a philosophy that dictates terms to the individual they are forced into. Pagan philosophy is a tool for understanding the world and our role in it, not a dictator telling us what to do.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


Yes, I Still Follow the Nine Noble Virtues

Happy Odin’s Day!

I still follow the Nine Noble Virtues (NNV). I feel that following a system or code of virtue is far more valuable than following a religion or spiritualism because the results are far more tangible. Real-world application to life is far more important to me than it used to be when I was religious. Application to every day is what matters. The NNV provide that, as they transcend religions and theoretical philosophies. Simply put, they work.

Every Virtue has a real-world expression. They also combine to provide different expressions. Industriousness needs courage at times to lead to success as one faces risk while working at something with a good attitude about work. Can anyone not see the connection between honor and truth? For me, by following the NNV I end up with a life that expresses itself with love, justice, and wisdom. Qualities that no decent person should fault anyone for.

I simply remind everyone who reads this blog that much of what it means to me to be The Grey Wayfarer is to follow this philosophy – the Nine Nobel Virtues. It is something that guides my decisions and thoughts and I will write on it fairly often.

Thanks for stopping by.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


“51st Birthday” (Plus DNA Stuff) – The Rabyd Skald

Happy Woden’s (Odin) Day!

So I am 51 as of today. I can think of a lot of things to say but I really have no words other than to be very appreciative of life, family, and friends. I enjoy my life as much as possible and I find that having gone around the sun one more time hasn’t made me feel too much different at this point.  Age creeps up on you in a slow relentless bastard way.

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Historically speaking – March 18,1969 was the day Richard Mixon ordered the secret bombing of Cambodia to start.

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Barbra Bates commits suicide at age 43 – she was actress and because her day of death is the same as my day of birth, I won’t forget her. She is hauntingly beautiful.

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The world was a very different place. Led Zepplin has one of their supershows that day.

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For me, I entered the world at lunchtime and so far I have to say it been an interesting bittersweet ride but getting much better each day.

Genetics Test Results:

Recently I did a DNA test to gain a new understanding of my heritage.  It was a nice early birthday present when the results were reported a couple days ago. The results are in and I will do things in order from largest to smallest.

  1. 69% – England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe – Not surprising as this includes the Netherlands.  By studying the family tree, I can more specifically say I am English, Welsh, and Dutch for the most part.  Dutch would be about a third of this.
  2. 24% – Germanic Europe – In particular I have traced this to Bavaria. This is my father’s biological lineage for the most part on his father’s side.
  3. 4% – Ireland and Scotland – My mother back a bit does have an Irish ancestor.
  4. 3% – Norway – Yep, There is some Viking blood in there.  I haven’t been able to track this down but a lot of people who have English heritage can have this as the Vikings did spread over large parts of Europe. It’s actually unusual for anyone not to have this if you are of Northern European descent. The Viking legacy is that there is a little Viking in all of us.

I now have a list of countries to visit: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Netherlands, Bavaria, and Norway.

Of course, then my religious heritage would be Odin/Woden/Wotan. The All=Father had many names and was worshiped throughout this area.

In a case to get more specifics I still have to keep plugging at the family tree, But now I have a more positive lead toward my actual direction.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


“Religion, Sex, and Deconversion” – Freya’s Chambers – Sex


Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day!

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.  Given the nature of some subjects be prepared for nude images as there may be some.  I avoid genitalia as a general rule but is not always possible.


When I was a person of faith and religion, sex was an uncomfortable topic for me and those around me.  Mostly because there is this whole notion of sin that is injected into the picture. Plus there was a lot of shame associated with being found to have a sexual attitude that differed from the acceptable norm.  Certainly, my sexual education really didn’t have a chance to get anything factual unless it was by accident. Being the rebel I have always been when it comes to social mores, I found myself at odd on the subject of sex and nudity in the Christian context more than once. The real issue for Christians is keeping the desire for sex inside their so-called god-given boundaries. That being one man, one woman in marriage for life. This avoids the deadly sin of Lust.

When I realized that the whole sin thing was made up, this caused me to change my attitudes about sexuality quite a bit.  Mostly things get really basic as I think that the whole ideas of faith and religion actually complicate the matter of sex quite a bit. In religion, everyone argues nuances to see how far they can push their own sexual proclivities. The discussion, if it is had at all, is one of arguing small details of ‘how far is too far’.  I mean it really comes down to looking at each sexual issue and asking does the Bible or the religion allow it?  In my own faith, the issues of masturbation and whether in marriage oral sex, anal sex and BDSM were allowed. The one thing for sure was no one is allowed to think for themselves on the subject.

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This leads to all kinds of secret behavior that in many ways is far more erotic, unsafe and in many ways weirder than outside the church when it comes to sex. The most common being that religious teens are often told little about birth control if at all, but sooner or later the young couple gets alone and things happen. Unwanted teenage pregnancies anyone?  Not to mention that while abortions are opposed by Christians, the people who actually get them the most, probably because of the unwanted pregnancies, are Christians.

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If only birth control were taught in a proper manner, then fewer of these abortions would take place.  But that is the kind of logic that religion causes you to not even consider.  Sex before marriage is a sin and so is abortion.  You don’t need birth control because its a sin to have sex before your married and you will thus never need an abortion.  If only human behavior conformed so nicely into such black and white terms.

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This, of course, leads to the hypocrisy of the public maintenance of certain standards while at the same time privately not even at times being remotely close to those standards.  Divorce, infidelity, and abortion are higher among the religious than the irreligious and I understand now why.  There is an incredible power to guilt to keep control but at the same time, such guilt produces curiosity.

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I experienced this over and over myself as people would tell me such and such behavior was harmful and then I would start thinking about the behavior and why it was harmful.  Sooner or later I would engage the behavior and then discover it wasn’t that harmful – let’s just say if masturbation makes you blind, I should have been sightless a long time ago. If there is some physical malady that arises from watching or looking at porn, yeah, I would have that too.  So far all I could say was I developed a lot of guilt for nothing.

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Since deconverting, I have no hell to worry about, no wrath of a god that doesn’t exist.  The guilt aspect has diminished quite a bit.  Sex has become a part of life, nothing more or less.  Much more rationally approached.  I enjoy making love to my wife; we have a good time.  but, I don’t get guilty about it when I find myself sexually attracted to other females though – it’s normal.  What I do consider is consent, safety, and maturity which includes societal consequences.  In the case of my wife – fidelity as a virtue is actually much more important than it was as a believer.  Because I don’t assume it anymore and look at it as something to strengthen and improve because that is what you do with virtues.

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I personally am much more open to a polyamorous relationship, but my wife is not, so I honor that and respect it as long as we continue to choose to be together.  Because all those vows made before God, don’t mean shit to me anymore.  My religion was discarded a long time ago and with it the attitudes it has concerning sex and marriage.   What matters is fidelity and honor. For those, I stay true but rationally realistic about my own sexual desires.  I see religion colors the lenses so badly, it leads to more trouble than it is worth.

My Two Cents,

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


“Slaying God” – Odin’s Eye

Happy Woden’s (Odin’s) Day.    


I love the sentiment of killing gods when it comes to Star Trek’s Lt. Worf and the Klingons, in general. ‘They were more trouble than they were worth.” is one of the best lines in the whole thing. The idea of killing gods seems far fetched until you realize that the battle isn’t against all-powerful beings of various types or a single omnipotent one, but rather these gods only exist in our minds.  It is simply the process of getting rid of those imaginary beings from the way we think and views the universe.

I am still going through this process.  We tend to use the divine to fill the gaps in our knowledge.  As an atheist will tell you though those gaps are getting smaller and smaller. It is also a famous fallacy of logic to say ‘if I don’t know or understand something, therefore god.”

The god of the gaps fallacy is well documented as just because there isn’t an answer yet or something seems mysterious, that doesn’t mean the explanation fo ‘god or gods’ doesn’t have to prove itself as well. God as an explanation for anything still should be subjected to the same scrutiny as everything else that offers up a solution and not just automatically given a nod simply because it seems at the time to offer the only explanation.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

“To see the truth, change one eye for another”


My own mind is still dominated at times by theistic thinking.  I find that this is the longest part of the deconversion process, coming to terms with the fact that I cannot assume god after so long assuming his existence.  It begins to permeate your life how many times the ‘god of the gaps’ fallacy is employed to provide a form of lazy answers and lazy morality.  My current state requires that every moral issue and every question now requires investigation rather than the assumption of the divine is a long work in process. My meditation time seems to focus here a lot.


Yes, there are mysteries in life, but no god really can provide a true answer.  To invoke God is not trying to solve mysteries or discover knowledge. rather it closes off inquiry and leaves an empty space in human knowledge that someone will look at later and show that in that empty space is actually knowledge and no god is required.  This probably the reason the belief in the divine and the religions that go with them is more trouble than its worth.  It retards our growth as human beings.  It causes us in our ignorance to fear that which we do not understand and engage in fearful tribalism that leads us to kill one another over what we believe fills the gaps. Mystery accepted as a god rather than an invitation to an honest inquiry will always do this.


Perhaps we should take from the ficitonal Klingons the call to action to kill these gods which have been, in my opinion, more trouble than their worth.  They were at one time our first and worst attempt as a human race to uncover the knowledge around us. But spirituality is not divine, but rather very human and for that, we can only look to ourselves to uncover the truth about it. Given the amount of plundering, raping and killing done in the name of religion, it is perhaps time to revolt in our minds and kill the gods and discard them as more trouble than their worth.


I find that the god I once built in my mind is not so difficult to slay as it is so large and touches areas I hadn’t thought of before. It is more ways and methods of think that need to be changed and having the courage to face my life alone and discover the mysteries of life through following after what I need and want while listening to the caws of reason and wisdom.  The mysteries of life are there to be discovered not feared as some ‘god of the gaps’.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


“Conclusion” – (Asatru – Part 26) – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!


We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: “And Winter Came” – Enya


Image may contain: 1 person, possible text that says '"To me, the main thing about living on this planet is to know who the hell you are and to be real about it. That's the reason I'm still alive." -Keith Richards'


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If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.


The rest of Diana Paxton’s book is mostly about the current state of Asatru in the world with its various associations. If you are interested in that sort of thing, I recommend getting the book and looking into it for yourself. I want simply to close this series which I will probably put under its own page in the Pagan Pulpit.

Today day I simply want to reflect on a journey through this series which took many months and was interrupted by various events. I basically do the pagan pulpit because I needed a platform to express myself in writing and I am finding this and my Youtube channel makes me feel like that aspect of having a lecture and pulpit is returning.

I have enjoyed this close up look at Asatru, I feel that as a religion it is far superior to most although the only parts I follow personally are the Virtues and some of the Northman ethics.  Whatever I do next will be in reflective contemplation of this.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this series.

Parting Thought:

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I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


“Asatru Virtues” – (Asatru – Part 25) – The Pagan Pulpit

Happy Sol’s Day!


We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Theme Song: “Pagan Fire” – The Dragon Fire Drummers



Image may contain: one or more people, text and outdoor


See the source image

If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.


If you have followed this blog for any length of time, then you know about the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru.  Honor, Courage, Truth, Self-Reliance, Industriousness, Hospitality, Discipline, Perseverance and Fidelity are very much a part of this blog and my life as a whole now.  My becoming an atheist did not affect that negatively.  If anything it highlights the need to have some sort of system to think and evaluate each moral decision.  The virtues serve this capacity well.

Living Tru is about following the virtues most of all.  They will be a part of everyday decisions.  Rituals and practices occupy a space of time. but the virtues are at all times. There is no time of not living virtuously.

When people ask me why I didn’t just follow Christian virtues and just be an atheist Christian, my answer is almost always the same- the pagans have better ethics.  Sorry, Christianity has done a lot of evil in the name of its faith and justified it in name of doing it for Christ.  In paganism, the virtues offer no such excuses nor faith in the gods. You follow the virtues or you are not virtuous. No excuses or exceptions.

That said how the virtues can be interpreted has some grey area as life is not black and white. Rather life is a mess and the virtues try to offer some way to sort that out and stay on a stable path. To live Tru is the goal. Waling Tru the mission of The Grey Wayfarer

Parting Thought:


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I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.