A narvinda (sometimes spelled 'narvinder') is an Ut'Bharman term for a temple complex and associated monastary/nunnery. Manrupashnar was a woman who lived about 4-500 years ago, now venerated as a sage. She taught a way of life based upon compassion and charity, not strict obedience to the law of the Empire.
The Narvinda Manrupashnar in Llaza is a luxurious island palace just off the north-west shore of East Isle, near the centre of Llaza as a whole. The house is based around two courtyards, each on different islands. It is extensively carved and detailed, and the wooden beams are of the finest hardwood imported from the archipeligo in the Southern Sea known as the Necklace of Plenty. It once belonged to the wealthy Sharimshan family but the family head and his wife were devout followers of the principals of Manrupashnar, and so donated the house (along with a sizable trust fund) to the poor. The surviving scions of the Sharimshan were not happy about this. They decamped to holdings in Fnoi, but they are still resentful of the loss.
One of the courtyard complexes is run as an orphanage and school, the other as a soup kitchen. The 'Beggar’s Bridge' connects the first courtyard to Easter Isle, and the 'Orphan’s Bridge' connects the second courtyard to the first, so the orphanage is not directly joined to any larger landmass. Both of these stone bridges are covered with ornate carvings of pelicans, the family symbol of the Sharimshan.
Work in the Narvinda Manrupashnar is on a voluntary basis and it is common for members of wealthy families, particularly the women, to assuage their guilt for having money in a city of the poor by serving up the lentil stew that is doled out every day in the soup kitchen, or by teaching in the orphanage school. The Sharimshan trust fund provides some of the upkeep for the narvinda, but mismanagement in the past now means that it is inadequate to the task, and the narvinda relies on charitable handouts. Several notable people are based there permanently as staff. Although nearly all are women this is by no means a requirement, nor do they need to be members of a religious order. However, the public perception is that the narvinda as a kind of nunnery.
Ue Ayyim (Ari2/Mnk1) is nominally in charge of the place. She is in her early forties, resourceful, cheery and unflappable. Although she has taken a personal vow of poverty, she can seem graspingly mercenary when funding for the temple is at stake, and many a Merchants League broker has come a cropper through misjudging her financial zeal as she tries to repair the Narvinda’s fortune. She is well trained in the Butterfly School unarmed fighting technique (Southern Style), but age and the onset of arthritis makes it hard for her to practice her form.
'Old Aunt' (Com2) seems to have been there forever. Despite being in her eighties she carries out duties around the narvinda with blinding speed; from scrubbing floors and plastering walls to comforting the less fortunate, Old Aunt is everywhere with her ceaseless chatter. Selectively deaf and charmingly dotty, no-one has ever been able to tell her to slow down.
Tariseema Eshkeril (Exp1) is a new recruit, a young and idealistic teacher. She comes from a family in the war-torn Ashoyin Protectorate north of Llaza who sent her to the narvinda to escape constant warfare. Although comfortable with the children she becomes shy and tongue-tied in the presence of handsome young men. She is saving up to so that her family can come and live with her. She has found that if she is not occupied she worries about them.
Using the Narvinda
The following adventure seeds may be used with the Narvinda Manrupashnar:
- Word reaches the player characters that Ue Ayyim needs someone to help her with a supernatural problem in the narvinda. A strange spirit creature has been wandering the halls at night, frightening the oprhans. It turns out to be an allip, although children under the age of 12 are immune to its Wisdom drain. One of the children, Sasheen, a lanky tomboyish girl of 11, has befriended the creature, in a way. She claims that it is a little boy who is frightened, but she is unable to say clearly why she knows this.
The allip is the spirit of a boy called Dorif who fell from the roof of the narvinda and drowned, exactly one year ago before the disturbances began. Did he fall, or did fear of something drive him to jump? Rumours amongst the children are that the orphans who leave for adoption are being sold to some organisation as slaves. Is there truth in this or is it just childish fancies?
- The Sharimshan family want their legacy back and are determined to undermine the narvinda. Intimidating the volunteers, incriminating the orphans in petty criminal activities, even poisoning the lentil stew are all tactics that their paid thugs use. Heroic player characters can make a stand against the bullies. Evil characters might want to gain a few yen for closing down the narvinda.
(c) 2007 The Creative Conclave.