Ruadhna (Ruena) Murchú (Murphy) McClane
Greeting, stranger. Welcome to our town.
I’m Ruadhna (Ru-na) Murchú (Murphy) McClane, daughter of Sean McClane, blacksmith and owner of [[McClane’s Stables & Smithy]] in this city. Call me Rue; everyone does. My mother, Ruadhna Kate Murchú, was a ranger adventuress who took a sword’s blade though her heart hours after I was born. After tracking down and killing the former friend who took her life, my fighter father was forced to choose between continuing his adventuring life with a baby in tow or settling down to raise me in a relatively safe environment. Da chose me, settling down in this city 22 years ago and parlaying his skill with fire and iron into a successful blacksmith and horse-selling business.
I grew up in my Da’s forge. Da taught me anything I wanted to learn and I learned everything he would teach me. Fire and I are old friends. I earned the burn scars I bear honestly, working in the forge. And I seem to have an innate talent for taking care of my hurts and those of others. Healing comes from the heart and taking care of others I learned from me Da. I learned how to handle a sword from him. By 4, I had my own dagger and knew how to use it properly. He wanted to make sure that I would never ever be helpless. Then he taught me to how to handle, break and care for a horse and how to recognize a good horse. And along the way, he taught me that Evil thrives when good people look away, doing nothing and that we McClanes stare it down until it shrivels.
When I was five, Da met my future step-mother, Constance. She tolerated me well enough and she loved my Da so, with my okay, he fell in love and married her. That inn connected to our stables, The Steadfast Inn, is hers. To say she changed our lives is understatement. Constance thought a girl should learn a few things more than the colour of steel when it’s tempered, or the temperature of the flame when you add the secrets to the iron that will let it hold magic. She thought that a girl should be properly dressed in clean linens, skirts and aprons and not in leathers covered in soot and smelling of horses. She thought that a girl should learn how to act like a demure lady with proper manners and etiquette, not act like a tomboy hanging upside down from the barn rafters. She thought a girl should have skills suited for domesticity like sewing and cooking and embroidery, not wrestling with spirited animals and swinging a hammer on an anvil. She also thought that perhaps teaching a four-year-old to fight with a sword wasn’t the best way to prepare her for her future. Since Da loves her, he “saw the wisdom” of letting her teach his wayward daughter some manners and womanly skills. Love does funny things to people, and I guess Da is no exception.
So Constance made certain I had a proper schooling, learning my letters and sums and history. For which I am grateful now, but was not then. She decided that I needed to attend lessons at the local school run by the Sun Priests of Pelor. I didn’t mind that – I loved the soaring white spires of the temple and the lessons were tolerable enough. I will never be the demure perfect daughter that she’s always wanted, but we get along well enough and she’s not evil, as stepmothers go.
My Da did put in his say about a few things. Like taking me traveling with him to every horse auction he attended as well bringing me along to every blacksmith guild meeting he could. He wanted me to know these people and for them to know me. He wanted me to learn from each of them. I learned to speak dwarvish so that I could understand and learn techniques from the Dwarf Masters. (and I also learned that I never want to “quaff a draft” with dwarves!) He made sure I met a wide variety of people because he wanted me to learn about them.
When I was seven, Constance presented us with a healthy baby boy. They named him Liam. Two years later, my brother Dónal was born. Both boys are a handful, 16 and 14 now. My brothers grew up working in the forge with Da and me. They take after Da and Constance in being tall, hearty lads, but as you may noticed, I took after my mother, who my Da will tell you was “small but fierce.” Once my brothers grew bigger than me, they thought that their size made them my equals in the forge and in combat. Let’s just say I taught them the error of that misconception and that I tended to their bruises afterward.
I came by my calling through happenstance. Da and I were on a horse-buying trip to a nearby town. On the way there, we came across a caravan being ambushed. Raiders had already killed a number of the caravan guards and, as we arrived on the scene, gravely injured a Sun Priest of Pelor. My Da assessed the scene before him and then he waded in with his bastard sword singing and his temper on simmer, tearing into the bandits much to their regret. I ran for the cleric and found him sorely in need of succor, which I gladly rendered to him. About that time, my Da took a crossbolt to the shoulder and I grabbed up the priest’s fallen mace to hammer down the fact that you don’t hurt my Da into the brigand with the crossbow. I think I went a little crazy then, but Father Ríoghán (Ree-awn) says that the Light of Pelor covered me. I will have to take his word for it – I don’t feel any different or ‘holier’ than before. My Da and I had at them then, rallying the remaining guardsmen, and, at some point, I pulled my broadsword and put myself between the wagons with the women and children and the evil bastards trying to kill them. Long story short, we won.
We helped the caravan pull itself together. We buried the dead, with Father Ríoghán guiding me through the rites so that the dead were well and truly dead and would stay that way. Then Da and I repaired their wagons. We stayed with the group until they reached the safety of the next town and there we parted company, mostly. Da reported the incident to the local constabulary and then headed for the horse sale. However I never made it to the faire because Da sent me to escort Father Ríoghán to the local Pelorian church. The older man had taken hold of my hand and wouldn’t let me go. Da told me to catch up with him when I could and so it was that I found myself embraced by the Pelorian church. Father Ríoghán said that I have a gift. That Pelor has called me to his service. He said this gift needed to be trained so that when I find myself facing Evil (and I will), I would be ready. Da said only that the Sun Priest would know best and that if he said that I was called, I had a duty to go. Which was weird, since Da isn’t particularly religious.
That was four years ago. I study off and on with Father Ríoghán now. He’s moved to our local temple. He’s an older man and not as healthy as he evidently was before we met him so I have found myself being sent off on the missions that he would have undertaken for the church. He has ceded me that mace of his, but I much prefer my sword. Father Ríoghán’s a good man and I don’t mind filling in for him. The boys are old enough to help Da in the forge now and as long as I get to spend time in the forge with Da and spend time with the family, I don’t mind. I have to say, Constance is very proud to have a cleric of Pelor as a step-daughter. I think she feels it gives her a bit of community prestige. Da just says be careful. He’s re-crafted my mother armour for me, handed me her helmet and given me his second-best shield. I know he’s proud of me, but I know he also worries. I have a feeling that he might be seeing my mother in me.
I still live at the inn when I’m not out taking care of adventurers and dealing with evil-doers. I practice swordplay with my father and brothers every chance I get. I continue to train my horse Rory. I still work in the forge, shoeing horses, banging out swords, repairing armour, fixing the odd iron pot. When I can, I still help out Constance with chores around the inn, which gives her hope that I’ll settle down sometime soon in a proper Pelorian church hospital and find a good man. But I seriously doubt that will happen.
Living at an inn, working with horses and in the forge, you meet a lot of people. As Constance said to Da before they built the inn, a forge brings in people in need; an inn gives them somewhere to stay while those needs are being met. A lot of those people are adventurers. Those kind of people frequently need a meal, a place to stay, the odd bandage or two, a weapon repaired, a horse shod or just a new horse. That’s how I met Gideon and his friends. Over the past few year, they’ve been known to have the odd meal here or a room for the night or three. We’ve reshod their horses, repaired a weapon or two and I’ve done a bit of healing for them from time to time. I like them. Especially the little guys, most of the time. They are all good people. They fight the Darkness and the Evil that walks the world. And who can complain about that?
Rue is female, 5 ft. 130lbs, with long reddish-blonde hair generally worn in two braids, blue-eyed, freckles and a ready smile. She’s Chaotic Good and can have a bit of a temper if you get her riled up. But she’s generally good-humoured. She’s good with horses, perhaps a bit more so than with people. She can be rather blunt, but is being coached in diplomacy by Father Ríoghán. She’s strong and strong-willed. She wears her mother’s modified armour and helmet. Her broadsword she forged herself once she started adventuring, cooling it in blessed holy water to give it bite. She raised and trained her courser, a roan Percheron stallion named Rory, from birth by hand. Much of his barding, she crafted herself with the help of her father.