Raylin was born to a family of greengrocers. Her family was decent, loving and large – quite well-to-do, selling apples and oranges to posh people’s servants.
From a young age, she cherished a deeply-held belief that she was better and more important than everyone around her. Her parents, seeing opportunities for their children’s social advancement, sent them to a nearby temple school to be educated. Raylin soon realised that her classmates, in general, did not have to spend their spare time weighing vegetables, and became determined to scale the social hierarchies. She learned to imitate her classmates’ upper-middle class habits and learned the cut-throat arts of psychological manipulation in the brutal killing-fields of an all-girls private school.
Her initial plan was to marry a rich man in order to enjoy a life of leisure. She enjoyed some success with her “friends”’ brothers and started an affair, aged 17, with the young scion of a patrician family. She was already having doubts, however, about submitting herself to even the nominal authority of a husband, when she encountered her paramour’s formidable mother. This lady made it quite clear that her son would not be affianced to a greengrocer’s daughter; Raylin, meanwhile, noticed that even this clever and scheming woman, having tied herself to one man in marriage, had limited herself to rising to the rank of minor patrician, and no further.
Raylin therefore started casting around for other opportunities. The solution, in the end, seemed obvious – who is more powerful, or more respected, than the gods?
On leaving school, then, Raylin applied to enter the temple of Sehanine. She had always felt an affinity with this deity, who did not demand that her followers sacrifice any particular material comforts, or dedicate themselves to the service of others; rather, they contract loyalty to the goddess alone, who in turn will protect the interests of her representatives on the earthly plane.
Raylin’s parents were pleased when she told them that she had been accepted by the temple, as it seemed like a good outlet for their challenging daughter; it also helped clear the way for her elder brother and his wife to inherit the shop. She is fond of her family, but she has only seen them once a year since she entered the religious life; they don’t have very much in common.
The years of her novitiate suited Raylin; well-trained by her years at school, she established her dominance among the other aspiring priestesses. However, she did not look forward to her spell as a journeying cleric, when she, along with the other newly-minted priests, would be cast out to wander among the lands, their exploits demonstrating to everyone they met Sehanine’s pre-eminence among the gods; and when those who were especially-favoured by the goddess would be marked by the exceptional success they achieved and the renown and wealth that they brought with them back to the temple.
Raylin is a human cleric of Sehanine hailing from the duchy of Phedes in Thelos. Her journeying has taken her to the distant northlands of Perag, on the pragmatic basis that she can retain full control over reports of her exploits, so any embarrassing failures can be minimised, the inevitable successes emphasised, and her pivotal role in every adventure appropriately highlighted. Enduring the miserable climate, widespread ignorance and frustrating paganism of the north is, so far, an acceptable trade-off. Besides, everyone approves of spreading divine wisdom to the heathens, but most are curiously reluctant to attempt it; walking the walk brings some serious cachet.
The Peragians are a little bemused by the priestess and her strange notions of "hygiene", "democracy" and "science", but accept her with reasonable grace; she is, after all, nobody's serf.