- acolyte of Ioun – Unaligned Goddess of Knowledge, Skill and Prophecy.
Riona went to live with a monastery dedicated to Ioun when she was a mere slip of a thing, hardly big enough to operate the bellows at her mother’s forge. Her mother was a sensible, hard working dwarf, dedicated to the art of smithing and to the god Moradin, but when Riona was quite young her father, a much less sensible dwarf, had gone off to slay dragons over the summer months as he was often want to do. (Her parents had fallen in love over a delivery of dragon scales and what remained of a skull.) He made a few miscalculations and indulged perhaps too much in the special family recipe of beer the night before his battle, and he was slain, leaving Riona’s mother with a house full of little ones and not enough commissions to keep sufficient food on the table.
Being the sensible sort, her mother began to find apprenticeships and placements for those who were old enough for such a change. Her marriage had been passionate; there were many children for whom she had to find positions. All but her 3 very youngest had happily settled into life with a skilled artisan, dedicated to Moradin. Two were showing great promise as smiths themselves, but her little Riona truly stumped her mother. Though Riona was sweet of disposition and always helpful around the house, she never quite seemed to fit any apprenticeship her mother found. After a week or two sometimes after a day or two, Riona would be home again, returned for some mistake or misunderstanding or simple misfortune. She would return to the family kitchen and return to her favorite pastime of pouring over the family recipes or simply brewing up something to sooth her mother’s displeasure.
Finally, being desperate beyond measure, Riona’s mother gave her into the care of a wandering monk of Ioun who promised to care for Riona and take her to his monastery in the misty mountains — not to be confused with The Misty Mountains– far to the north. The travel was pleasurable for Riona, especially since the monk, Finnegan, seemed to be as enamored of herbs and brewed concoctions as Riona herself. Though she hated to leave home and to go so very far away, Riona knew that this was her last chance to ease her mother’s burden and so she dedicated herself to being the best acolyte of Ioun that she could be.
At the monastery, she was the only dwarven acolyte but her thirst for the knowledge of brewing and her dedicated skills in the apothecary and distillery meant that her square peg fit a little bit better amongst her peers. Besides, her experimental brews were always a hit at the Friday night sing along and all monastery barbeque. She never visited home, rarely received letters from her family, but at last she knew that she was doing her mother proud and upholding her family honor. Also, she thought her father might have even enjoyed one or two of her concoctions. It was a happy time and she made a new home among the monks.
But happy times never seemed to last for Riona. As she was approaching 30, her mentor, now the master of the monastery, came to Riona and announced it was time for her to go amongst the people of the world again, to search for a deeper connections to Ioun by seeking out new knowledge and honing her skills as she traveled. If Riona happened upon a prophecy or two, that wouldn’t go amiss either. She was sent on her way with the traditional wooden bowl and mug, a bed roll, and a few of her better tools and brewers yeast. She did wander for quite some time, alone, saddened, and confused by the wider world. She missed those Friday nights.
Fortunately, or at least she thought it fortunate at the time, she might a charming and learned young human who was dedicated to some god or goddess or something of fire. They enjoyed a few pints and he convinced her to come spend some time with him and his fellows at their compound, as he called it. It sounded so much like a monastery, that Riona thought he might simply be using new words for the same thing. She was never so wrong in her life nor so devastated when she learned that she had inadvertently joined up with a cult of evil. It was no small feat keeping herself hale and in one piece, convincing her new roommates that she could be a good cultists all while plotting her escape and their doom. She spent most of her time brewing increasingly interesting ales in their kitchen and perfecting her drunken fighting techniques. Sobriety was just too painful to endure. A few well placed exploding barrels, a cheeky prank and one falsified death later, Riona was free to wander the world once more, to atone for the evil she had unwittingly aided and to continue her search for knowledge and skill… oh, and a prophecy or two.