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Clearcrown

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Not far from Adrast is the home of a group of Swan Maidens that live in and protect a small idyllic lake in an isolated section of the Verduran Forest. These fey are benevolent protectors that procreate by finding noble-hearted women who willingly wish to be transformed into Swan Maidens. These women must vow to stop the encroachment of civilization into the wilds and stop evil whenever it would threaten the natural environment. Flocks of such creatures are present across Golarion protecting similar lakes and ponds.

The Feather-Leaf flock, as the one near Adrast calls themselves, is a small group of six Swan Maidens that protects the small, pristine lake they call the ‘Clearcrown.’ Their ancient stories tell that this lake is where the first Swan Maiden of the Verduran Forest settled and thrived.

With the building of Adrast in the last decade, the Feather-Leaves have felt extremely threatened, as the town is predominately under the influence of the church of Abadar, who’s faithful are tasked with advancing civilization against nature. Shortly after the settlement was established, trappers, foresters and adventurers have steadily made headway into the surrounding forest, drawing ever near to the hidden Clearcrown. Although firmly on the side of good, the Swan Maidens began subtly diverting these individuals away from their home. These humans found themselves suddenly waking in a different area of the forest after falling asleep with no memory of how they moved, entangled within thick vegetation or potentially wandering in random directions or attacking their friends. Many began to consider this part of the forest as cursed. However, this did not stop a curious young priestess of Abadar named Marleana from investigating; the strange occurrence where all the more reason to tame the area and bring it under the civilizing influence of Abadar.

Despite the befuddling attempts of the Swan Maidens, Marleana was able to find the Clearcrown. There she was confronted by several of the fey at angry sword point. The young priestess bravely said she desired no fight; only to find out what was wrong with the forest.

An uneasy dialogue was opened between the fey and Marleana, each arguing for the sake of the wilds or civilization. Although at first neither could make headway against the other, but Marleana eventually became receptive to the words of the Swan Maidens and promised she would keep their secret. For their part, the fey could detect that Marleana was a pure soul, but with different outlook on life. Despite this, they began to think she would make a fine Swan Maiden, if she could see on the side of nature.

For a month or two, Marleana ventured to the Clearcrown and learned more about the Swan Maidens and their charge, becoming more fascinated in the process. Just as the human woman seemed on the verge of joining them, she disappeared. Her fey friends wondered if she had lost her newfound desire and where worried both for her safety and their own secrets. In a bold move, two of the Swan Maidens eventually left their secluded home and tracked Marleana to Maiden's Loss and found her as an "undead spirit." Horrified, the Swam Maidens tried to slay end her suffering, but they did not know that the real Marleana was killed by a canny Rusalka looking to steal her identity to deceive the local humans. Unforunately the Rusalka was too powerful, slaying one of the creatures, forcing the other to retreat, but without her feathered cloak. Declaring the Swan Maidens as enemies, using the Feather-Leaves as pawns in her game with Adrast; the humans would consider the goodly fey as enemies, given her subtle manipulations.

Meanwhile, the rumors of the ‘cursed’ vale also made it to the ears of the faun Bramal? who temporarily resided in the gnomish city of Wispil, deep within the forest. Knowledgeable regarding the habits of other fey creatures, the good-natured faun decided to investigate these rumors in case the town of Adrast was besieged by his more malevolent fey kin.

As a fey himself, Bramal? had an easier time of finding the Clearcrown and its Swan Maiden inhabitants. They were not as suspicious of him given his good-aligned fey nature and he spent a short time of merriment and joy with them, as they explained their goal was not to hurt anyone, simply keep civilization at bay and their home pristine. ((Bramal?)) also learned of the presence of the Rusalka masquerading as Marleana and she was the true threat to the safety of both the Clearcrown and Adrast. Seeing a kind of symmetry, the goodly fey then proceed to Marleana’s lair and stop her depredations on both communities, hoping his use of song would put an end to the matter.

Unfortunately for Bramal?, the false Marleana was too powerful and skilled to fall against Bramal?’s attempts. Instead, she took too keen of an interest in his melodies as a treasure of their own. As a creature born of song and susceptible to its lure, Marleana instead used her power to charm and control Bramal?, as she did the real Marleana, forest animals and citizens of Adrast. Seeing Bramal? as too valuable a treasure to simply let wander, she took the charmed fey to her underwater cave where he plays music at her leisure.

This continued for several more months until the arrival of the Crimson Rose? who were looking for Bramal?. With their assistance, the false Marleana was defeated.


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