Tales of Alentha
“For much of my life, I was beholden to choices made by absent parents. I make my own choices now.”
“I am guilty of seeing the trees instead of the forest, noticing smaller details instead of the bigger picture.”
“The deeds of each person, rather than their name, carries far more weight than the most noble lineage.”
“The blood of a covenant made between friends is thicker than the water spilled by a womb at birth.”
“My patience for riddles and vagaries ends abruptly when the well-being of my companions is at stake.”
Vondulyth wakes up in the morning and quietly gives thanks to the elven demi-power Araleth Letheranil for shepherding the sun through the maze of stars, past the moon, and back into the world again. It is his last moment of complete privacy before he must submit to the rigorous daily purification of body and soul. A loyal attendant, Haley, an acolyte priestess, arrives to cleanse the stain of evil that marks his flesh.
The mark has been there for most of his life, ever since he was suckling babe. As the story goes, he was taken by his elven father at birth and returned to his human mother by a fiend of Hell one day later. The stigma of his infernal journey has never been forgotten by Vondulyth’s noble family. As such, he was sent to the church of Trithereon (the only church willing to take him in), provided monthly payments for his care were regularly provided. The daily rituals, at first galling to the young half-elf, are no longer resisted. They are well known and tolerated now.
As always, Haley repeats the dogma of Trithereon. That slavery and tyranny must be overthrown in all forms. So too must Vondulyth free himself from the expectation of evil that comes with his fiendish mark. To rise above the never-healing brand on his chest. To make his own choices in the world. Vondulyth understands this freedom all too well. He lets his mind wander to thoughts of crusading. Finding a place for himself in the world where he can protect those who are not strong enough to protect themselves. He know that he will not be able to accomplish this goal while still in the church. Not until his training is complete.
For now, the scar still itches, even after Haley finishes the ritual oiling. The branded flesh forms a scab that will gradually flake off throughout the day, only to be replaced by another scab. Vondulyth uses the constant itch to keep his mind sharp. To focus his thoughts and reflexes when sparring with another attendant, Thorn, his personal squire, and possible half-brother if the rumours of his father’s indiscretions are to be believed. He will practice combat manoeuvres with shield and sword until midday before retiring to the church library.
Lessons in engineering and faith will be taught to him by his third attendant, Aster, sage of education and languages, who translated the infernal rune on his chest to mean ‘Restitution’. Another fact known to Vondulyth, but shared with nobody. Indeed, he has been able to speak and write the language of devils since he was old enough to talk. A burden he has always kept to himself, for fear that it would devastate his attendants. At day end, Vondulyth takes food and reflects on his purpose in life before the ceremonial flames of Trithereon.
The young half-elf knows that Trithereon is a good god. A powerful god. A god of love and freedom. But once again, as Vondulyth nods off to sleep, he quietly bids Araleth Letheranil safe journey. He imagines the elven demi-power descending into the dark of night, protecting the light once again from those who would extinguish it. Vondulyth does this knowing — perhaps presumptuously — that Trithereon will understand his divided faith, even if his disciples would not.