Rhiannon

Description:

Rhiannon is a human druid whose beast form is not that of a predator. Instead, she takes the shape of a gray pony (if you’re familiar with The Innkeeper’s Song by Peter S. Beagle, she’s a Mildasi).

Pony in vegetation

In D&D 4th edition, she favors powers used in human form. Her beast-form at-will power is Pounce, though in her case it’s more like a Pummel (what with having hooves instead of claws). She might take a few feats or powers that would go well with a charging attack, but not many.

In other game systems where she might fit in, she will favor spells and abilities that control the terrain, or boost the effectiveness of her allies, with only a few real “attack” powers. She’s also lacto-vegetarian by choice. While she respects the circle of life and the nature of predator versus prey, she feels the need to walk on the herbivore side of life as a means of balancing out the blindly rapacious nature of other humans – hence her Primal Beast aspect of Equus.

Bio:

Rhiannon Whiteoak grew up on a farm that bordered on a woodland region. Her parents raised all their children to be frugal and not wasteful, only taking or asking for what they needed and keeping their “just-wants” to a minimum. This was not just an important principle of responsible farming; it helped downplay the fact that they weren’t terribly wealthy.

One year when Rhiannon was a little girl, her mother accepted a pair of rose bush cuttings as payment for a batch of pear butter, and they bloomed the next summer into some of the most beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers Rhiannon had ever known. Unfortunately, they were also irresistible to the deer living in the woods, and usually by any given morning there was nothing left but a few nibbled petals. The summer after Rhiannon turned ten years old, she woke up early one morning and watched from her bedroom window as a young buck came to breakfast on the pink blossoms. Which meant she was also watching when an arrow thumped into the deer’s side. The deer ran, but Rhiannon saw it fall just a few steps later. Her older brother Sean had killed it.

Rhiannon was a farm girl, and had not avoided seeing when the occasional pigs and chickens had been killed for the night’s dinner. She was not simply upset that the deer had been shot. What she did resent was the fact that Sean didn’t seem to get into any trouble for having done it. In her eyes, it had been a wasteful act. Yes, what meat they didn’t eat soon could be smoked and salted, and it meant the pigs could get a little fatter. Yes, the skin and antlers could be put to use. But they hadn’t needed any of those things, and they hadn’t needed the roses, either. She was now very confused, and couldn’t help feeling something was unfair, though she didn’t know what.

That night, Rhiannon did the only thing she could think of to do that was right. She slipped out of her room, picked all the roses she could find on both bushes, and walked into the woods in her pajamas. There was only a little bit of moon out, and even that was mostly blocked by foliage, but she was headed to her favorite clearing and she felt confident she could find it even in the dark.

She did find it eventually, but she’d never been there before at night and it never occurred to her that she might not be the only one who liked that spot. As she began strewing flowers so the deer would not need to come so close to her brother to eat them, she heard a low growl. She turned quickly, dropped all the flowers she still had, covered her face with her hands and tried to scream. Her throat was too tight with terror, though, so she could only watch silently as the wolf padded toward her…and began melting and flowing upward into the shape of a thin man with pointed ears and a similarly pointed nose. The man introduced himself as Phaelanopsis, and asked Rhiannon what she was doing. After a couple of squeaking attempts to tell him, Rhiannon burst into tears and couldn’t stop for several minutes. The crying jag helped, though; she was finally able to work her voice again and tell Phaelanopsis about the deer and how it had been eating the flowers and her brother had killed it and she didn’t think that was right, and she also didn’t think it was right that her parents had seemed to be okay with it, so she was bringing the roses here so the deer could eat them safely.

Phaelanopsis smiled at Rhiannon and told her that she and her parents and her brother were each right to feel the way they did. This made no sense to Rhiannon, but the man made no attempt to clarify. He simply said that he would see her back to her house, and he would teach her more when she was ready, and she would not remember until she was ready. That didn’t make any sense either, but she did get home safely – and completely unnoticed even by the farm’s dogs. When she woke up the next morning, her anger at her brother and parents was gone. Her memory of Phaelanopsis was gone, too. Farm life went on as it always did in the summer, and for ten seasons after that.

Then, the night before her thirteenth birthday, her mother pointed out that Rhiannon would be entitled to a “just-want” as a means of celebration, and asked Rhiannon what she wanted for her birthday.

Rhiannon spoke before she could even think.

“Holly and mistletoe.”

Rhiannon

The Fantastinomicon FemmeLegion