Dragonlance Sourcebook Edited by Margaret Weis - PDF

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					                                   Mantis Rose
                         To the Prophet of Majere Kalen Weepingrock of the Garden of the Wasted Sands
                                      From Brother Zacharias of the Darkwoods Monastery

         ur faith teaches obedience to those properly set above us. Yet, we are also taught to seek the keys to holiness in the
         order of Creation around us. After two weeks of meditation, I deemed it holy and right that I write to you directly
         on this matter, Prophet. Although High Abbott Thomas disagrees with me about the significance of this matter, I
believe you will understand the gravity of my writings. Know that I do not seek glory for the one of which I will speak, but
only to spread a message of hope.
   Amongst the names penned into the bi-annual census list already sent to you by the High Abbot, you may notice an
oddity in the column headed “New Recruits to the Faith:” Adalgisa Copperthorne, apparently a woman’s name. It is true
that our monastery has given temporary shelter to a woman. However, I believe this woman is special. I believe her to be
the Mantis Rose.
   It is an obscure legend of the church, I know. However, as chief instructor of the Darkwoods Monastery’s Hall of
Prowess, it is my responsibility to be intimately familiar with all our tales of honorable combat – even those believed to
be merely children’s bedtime stories. I have read the oldest illuminated manuscripts of our church, even those kept by
the Aesthetics of the Library of Palanthas that pre-date the Cataclysm. In them I have found repeated references to lone
warrior champions of Majere (known as Manthus to the Ergothians) who, with a combination of fists and exotic ranged
weapons such as whips and spiked chains, battled the undead throughout our history. I believe these are the earliest
mention of the legendary Mantis Rose.
   Many of our brethren have also heard the legends of the Mantis Barb, a holy whip with the power to strip the flesh
from a ghoul in one strike and send an unwilling specter into the River of Souls. There are stories of a strange warrior who
appeared in the days after the fiery rock struck Istar wielding just such a weapon. He is said to have battled the undead
spilling over from the cursed realm of Knightlund into Gaardlund and Hinterland.
   Many people think that the Mantis Rose of this era is nothing more then a folk tale that
was told to help children living along the Vingaard River sleep at night. However, with
the help of the Aesthetics in the Great Library, I uncovered the diary of a Solamnic
rancher from this period in history who wrote of befriending a man he calls “Mantis
Rose.” As you will see from the copied manuscripts I have included with this letter,
the rancher’s account creates a historical record of the months during which
this Mantis Rose lived and fought before he disappeared with the whip into
Nightlund in a failed attempt to vanquish the dread Lord Soth.
   Additionally, and perhaps even more importantly, the
rancher describes the Mantis Barb in great detail. I have
included his drawing and description of the weapon with
the copies of his diary pages.

    The tragic tale of Lord Kolganthus Seinrich is a
well-known tale in the taverns of Gaardlund that
many would not tie to the legend of the Mantis
Rose. Armed with a magical whip, the Solamnic
nobleman supposedly attempted to liberate
his family’s lost holdings in Nightlund from
a group of vampires who had usurped them.
Although Seinrich was killed, the weapon
he wielded is said to have made its way to a
now-lost monastery in the Southern Dargaard
Mountains. A century later, history would reveal
this weapon as the legendary Mantis Barb.
    Approximately one hundred years after Seinrich
died, the Dargaard Monastery was destroyed by members
of a Chemoshite cult centered on the worship of a vile lich

  40                                      Lost Magic & Mysteries
necromancer named Nolyx. Previously unknown personal                As always, seek the wisdom to make your decision in
writings discovered along with the diary of the rancher           Majere’s eternal serenity. Ultimately, I believe you will
confirm the tall tales that a single warrior-monk, well           make the right choice, Prophet.
learned in the art of the merciful strike, survived the
destruction of his cloister. Armed with a weapon whose            Brother Zacharias
description matches that of the Barb, this second Mantis
Rose methodically hunted down and destroyed every
member of the cult, including Nolyx, over the next decade.        Below is an excerpt copied from the rancher’s diary describing the
    The folklore of Gaardlund and Lemish tell of this monk        Mantis Barb:
continuing to battle evil in the lands north of the New Sea
for many years after the lich was defeated. The abrupt end
of the warrior’s journal leads me to believe he was killed            “As my new friend slept as only the tired and wounded
approximately fifteen years after the obliteration of the         can, I couldn’t help but examine the weapon he carried. I
Dargaard monastery. With his apparent death, the Mantis           don’t know why I picked it up considering what I’d seen
Barb disappeared again; it reappeared three months ago            him do to those shambling corpses in the cow pen with it
in the hands of Adalgisa Copperthorne at the Darkwoods            just now. Maybe it’s because I could tell this mystery man
Monastery                                                         and his weapon were something special, that this was my
    I am most familiar with the history of the Mantis Barb.       one big brush with greatness. I don’t know. I do know that
I have studied the relevant manuscripts and committed to          I’d never seen anything like this weapon before. Really the
memory the oldest etchings and long-lost drawings of the          only whips I’d ever seen are used for driving cattle. The
whip. I am certain the weapon that Adalgisa has with her is       whip of this ‘Mantis Rose’ is a work of art.
the long-lost whip-dagger of Majere’s warrior champions.              It was definitely heavier then any bull whip I’ve ever
High Abbott Thomas disagrees with me, and says that               handled, but it was well-balanced–crafted from the finest
I should be more prudent in my declarations before I              materials. The whip’s leather tail was studded with sharp
inadvertently spread a message of false hope throughout           metal blades that ran along the length of the lash to the end
the monastery. The abbot says the gods took their most            of its dagger-like tip. I can’t rightly figure what the handle
powerful artifacts with them that when they left.                 is carved from–it looks a lot like an old bone that’s been
    I do not believe this. Not only do I believe this to be the   sitting in the weather for a while, rough and polished at the
whip, but I believe that with rumors of war brewing with          same time–but there are these really fancy relief patterns
Solamnia that its reappearance is something good that those       of roses and bugs that look like they’re praying trimmed in
of our faith can draw hope and meaning from. Although             copper carved into it.
there is talk of sending the widowed Adalgisa to an abbey,            It felt different too, warm in my hand, but not
I am requesting your permission for her to stay at the            uncomfortable like. It felt good, like maybe if I was a
Darkwoods Monastery so that I may instruct in the proper          warrior I could slash apart the walking dead with a few
use of the whip and the sacred art of the merciful strike.        well-placed cracks of it. I’m not saying that Mantis couldn’t
She has already learned many of our meditation techniques         fight; he fought tooth and nail with his hands and feet.
and has developed a comprehensive understanding of our            Strangest damn thing I’ve ever seen. But I could tell that
faith’s tenets in the short month she has lived with us,          there was something powerful and good in that whip, and
recuperating from the injuries she had when she arrived.          I’m just a starving cattle rancher.”
    I believe with the proper instruction Adalgisa
Copperthorne can be a force for good and a source of
inspiration in the coming months. I believe she is the next
Mantis Rose, and that she will be needed should conflict
come to fruition.

                                   Lost Magic & Mysteries                                                                    41