A warm, sunny day in the fair city of Aellin Ren. Brightly coloured pennants waft in the cool afternoon breeze and jubilant throngs of people line the streets to shout praise to their queen. With the royal entourage are similarly adored public figures; the princes and princesses, the royal advisors and the Queen's Council. With them is a figure as feared as he is respected; the Master of the Royal Circle of Arcanists. In the midst of these, the Royal Champion and her fellow guards are arrayed in white and silver. The Champion's loathed glass blade is, as ever, peacebonded with white cord and hidden behind a voluminous cape of sky blue.
At this moment, a blight within the otherwise polished city reveals itself. An assassin slips past the guards, killing two in the process, and strikes at Queen's Archmage. The assassin's movement is swift and sure; even the feared Royal Champion has no time to react. The target is given no time to invoke any magics before it is all over. But he is not dead.
No magical words spared his life. No slip of the assassin's skill. No heroic guard. Just a simply dressed, pale, woman stopping the murderous blade with naught but her palm. Her clothing is tastefully decorated with the signs of death and arcane power. At her throat is a symbol that few had ever seen before but that would come to change your life forever: a ruby skull wreathed in flame. She came from nowhere, a vision of perfection and power, and acted with a grace and speed that none present could have matched.
"It is not his time yet," her lovely voice informs the would-be murderer. "It is yours, though."
The assassin's weapon clatters to the ground and he is overawed by the presence of this beauty before him. The thought of defending himself against one such as she is the furthest thought from his mind as she speaks a few words that cause the arcanists to retreat further from her in shock. The words tear the assassin's mind and flesh and, in an instant, he lies torn to bloody ribbons on the floor. The woman's robe is still immaculate, composed of crisp, fine, layers of alternating black and grey silks. Her hood still just obscures her eyes.
That was over ten years ago. The herald of Wee Jas appeared before the assembled peoples of Aellin Ren to save the life of one of the few people in the world who knew of her mistress. Rumours abounded of the grey-robed angel and soon a burgeoning church to Wee Jas had been formed. Her herald spoke at length of the goddess and presented the Royal Arcanist with an ornate copy of The White Book, one of the holy texts of Wee Jas. Almost two years later, the herald was called away by her mistress but, as her last act before she left, she personally consecrated the new cathedral of Wee Jas.
You were inspired, that day. The vision of power and grace that stopped a killing blow with a mere touch drove you to join the church of the Stern Lady. For the last decade you have worshipped, learned and trained in the temple complex that was build in gratitude from the personal wealth of the Royal Arcanist. The temple welcomes all kinds of people, provided that they follow the laws of Wee Jas and pay due reverence to the Ruby Sorceress.
Over the years, the work of the temple changes the public attitude to magic. Previously, it had been thought cursed and heretical as it had no god to govern over it. This lead to wizards being hated and driven away and sorcerers, the living incarnations of magic, being burned alive in the streets. The mere presence of a god of magic has stripped away much of these hard feelings though there is still some prejudice left behind. The church has led investigations into the arcane arts, greater research than any previous work, and has begun to collect the assembled knowledge of wizards and sorcerers through the ages.
The success of the church in Aellin Ren has given the Ruby Chamber the impetus to look beyond the city. Rumours and folk tales of the church are spreading across the lands and it is felt that this is the right time to expand the influence of the church. The Ruby Chamber has, therefore, created several small groups to go forth and establish outposts in other parts of the realm. The Chamber decided that the best ones to spread the word would be those who witnessed the herald's arrival. Looking around at your new companions, you feel that there is an unbreakable bond between you. All of your companions saw the same scene you did. All of them were drawn to the Stern Lady's service. You are all siblings in the faith of the Ruby Sorceress and, with her blessing and the wisdom of your ancestors, you can spread knowledge and build the power of the church.