Brother Thomas didn’t know much about the various planes of existence. He didn’t even know much about the world of man outside of the monastery. Inside these protective walls, however, was the complete opposite. Thomas knew exactly who he was. He was a true disciple of Chauntea; goddess of agriculture, he was a ‘versed farmer’.
To the uneducated outsider, the worship of growth, crops and grain may seem a rather mundane and benign belief system. A humble believer, like Brother Thomas however, is reminded daily that agriculture warrants (nay, requires) constant sacrifice. The best crop springs forth from waste, excrement and the decay of long dead corpses. There is no evil hidden in this recollection, rather the acknowledgment that life is cyclical and that all the mother’s creations must die, so they may be reborn a new.
Thomas had never met his father. He’d heard later, however, that the seed of his life was spat forth by a brash young heir to a local dukedom. Story has it the young duke shacked up at a local grain yard during a rather heavy storm and made ‘full use’ of his host’s giving nature.
The good Brother Thomas’ first memories were of his mother. He recalls glancing up from the teat into the doe eyes of a red haired woman with an obvious affection for him. He recalls she wasn’t a beautiful woman though maintained the sturdy appearance of a farmer’s daughter. She was thick of thigh, heavy of arse, and ample of breast; a fitting bearer of a true soldier of the All Mother.
His mother’s inability to keep him fed saw Thomas delivered into a local monastery at a very young age. Since he could stand he has been marked with the various protective incantations of the monastery. His entire body was now marked with inscription and verse. From young the children of Chauntea’s ‘versed farmers’ have protective scripts tattooed into their skin. A compound consisting of Red Oxide is used by the older priests to tattoo various wards and chants directly into the skin of the brothers. At Thomas’ age there wasn’t anywhere left on his body to continue the procedure. His entire body, including his face and the sole of his feet, was now marked with the reddish brown letters of his order.
Though it’s not discussed openly, some have pondered that metal oxide used for the tattoos may not be as healthy as it should. Though, in the somewhat famous words of Grand Brother Nathaniel; “if it’s your time to return to the mother then it’s your time”.
Thomas was no longer a young man. He had seen 35 summers and now, on the eve of his 36th, it was his turn to pass the mantle of ‘memory’ onto the next oldest brother. He would then pick up his mace, strap on his armor and venture out into the world of man. Growth, after all, required compost and he has heard many a story of the wretched souls of Faerun, deserving of such a position.