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Everlaen:Story:Religious Ponderings

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Date Uncertain - best estimate, late Ches or early Tarsakh, Year of the Staff

Kerkstra

The lean elf kneeled in the serene glade. He had been awake all through the night, meditating. He had been praying for divine inspiration on the new temple which would soon occupy the site. The Archer, had granted him no vision this night, but with the dawn he felt peaceful and at rest. As his dark eyes surveyed the glade his eyes fell upon five small white flowers, petals open and in full bloom despite the fact the sun had yet to touch them this morn. They were all growing in a single line, direct from the greying dawn towards him - an arrow!

A sign, he thought in exultation. My god has rewarded me with an omen, and a good one at that. The plans for the temple shall go ahead and this place shall be hallowed in his name, for has it not already felt his blessings.

Kirkstra stood fluidly, scooping up his longbow from beside him. Both the symbol of his office and a deadly weapon in his hands, it never left his side. He quickly strung the bow, notched an arrow and let it fly into the West, safely away from the village in silent salute. This would be the first temple to be built in Everlaen and the first temple of the Seldarine. There was much to be done.

His plans were simple, yet elegant at the same time - as so much that is elven attempts to be. The forest itself would form the greater part of the temple and lacking powerful enough magic of his own, he would have to talk to the Tree Folk and ask them to manouver the trees into the needed positions. He had met one of their kind a mere couple of months ago. Currently living close by, he felt sure that he could pursuade the being, almost a sentient tree itself, to shepherd the right trees to the right places. Once that was done, the rest would be easy. Then the Seldarine would have their own temple in this place, at last - and the Archer would have the first - such honour.

As he left the prospective temple site, now only housing a small dedicated shrine, his mind wandered over the flock that were his fellow villagers. A small doubt entered his mind. Tanith Sweetvine had strayed from the arms of the Seldarine and had become infatuated with a non-elven diety, albeit an allied one. The korred goddess Shiallia had promised fertility and had delivered. Tanith had born not one child, but twins - doubly blessing the first birth of the village and showing without a doubt her power. A very real and necessary power in a small and new community.

He dismissed these thoughts from his head for the time being. They could be discussed later with Per Nighteyes, recently returned from the North and his investigations of ancient ruins and the only other representative of the Seldarine in the village.

Kirkstra Sartori, priest of Solonor Thelandiran, councillor of Everlaen and guardian of their faith strode home. He had much to plan...

Kerkstra and Per - Priests in a Poke

It was late afternoon when Kerkstra caught up with Per, watching the fading light fall through the leaves in a dappled pattern to stain the forest floor. He hung back, unwilling to disturb his colleagues meditations. Sunset was an important time of day for priests of Labalas Enorath, god of time and longevity, amongst other things. The setting of the sun symbolised the path of life into death and the fading of a cycyle which was eternal and in fact merely the beginning of a new turn of the wheel. In the deep forest and so at this time of year however, the sun was difficult to observe sinking below the horizon and darkness fell swiftly.

The Lorist noticed Kerkstra though and turned and beckoned him. "Come, my friend. You are not disturbing me. How does this day find you?"

Kerkstra smiled thinking of the sign he had witnessed that morning. "Things are good and the Seldarine smiles upon us. We are in their hands."

Per simply nodded and smiled. He was by far the more patient of the two - time being something that priests of Labalas had in abundance. He could tell the Bloodhawk wanted to discuss something and decided to simply wait and let him broach the subject himself. He didn`t have long to wait. After the usual pleasantries and some casual conversation, Kerkstra raised the issue on his mind.

"I am concerned about this cult of Shiallia gaining a foothold amongst our people." Like an arrow from a bow, he was straight to the point. "She is not one of the Seldarine and we are few in numbers - we do not need such divisions confusing the hearts of the faithful at this time. Councilor Silverstream`s position on the matter is obviously rather... influenced by his recent joy of two sons and seems to be encouraging his wife in this nonsense. Tanith has been only too vocal about the blessing that the goddess has bestowed upon her and her husband - and that has not fallen on deaf ears. There are other couples in Everlaen and these are the first children to be born here. Even Mydran, who is normally more cautious of outside influences, seems to accept her wholeheartidly, saying that `it is good for Everlaen to grow`."

"Is it not good for Everlaen to grow?" asked Per mildly.

"Of course! But not at the expense of faith in the Seldarine..."

Per held up a hand. "I think you worry too much, my friend. While Shiallia the Golden may not be part of the Seldarine, it is to be sure that she is an ally of theirs and has the same interests at heart. This is her domain and she is strong here. However, the Seldarine are strong within the hearts of all elven peoples - and that is no less here. I understand your burden here as sole representative of the Seldarine. I wish I could be of more help to you, but as you know I have only been detatched for a time from Silverymoon and my main duties take me to Mhilamniir - perhaps to stay there for a time. I am honoured to be numbered as one of Everlaen, but in truth the power of Labalas is small here. You know He is more oft honoured by the Ar`Tel`Quess and since the Lady Selene`s departure there are none here. My place is to the North, amongst the ruins of the past. You must guide the Seldarine, leading the way... Seek allies though and not foes. There will be too many of those."

Kerskstra nodded. He knew that Per Nighteyes spoke the truth, but he still didnt like it. About a third of the population were followers of the Archer - more than when they had arrived three years ago - and the rest venerated other members of the Seldarine, mostly Corelon or his concort Sehanine. As the only priest initially, he had lead services for both the Seldarine as a whole and for the Archer specifically, but lacking experience in managing such a varied faith and so many he was worried that he was not doing his job properly and failing in his task to his gods - for the Archer would not be happy if his Lord, Corelan Larethian, head of the elven pantheon were to find that there was discord amongst his people`s hearts. Kerkstra was responsible for their souls and it was a heavey burden upon him, not eased by foreign goddesses and their promises of fecundity...

The new temple would help he knew, but he had hoped to persuade the Lorist to stay in Everlaen and help him as a brother rather than reurn back to the ancient dusty ruins. He still did hope - it was just the matter of putting it in the right way. Of course, it didnt help that Labalas had not a single specific follower in Everlaen...

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