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The Gods are Born

 

Scholars have dated cleric invocations as far back as 10,000 years, but no clergy of any religion could channel any elemental power back then.  No one knows for sure when this changed, but a story that involved four elves has been passed down through generations. Those four elves were born on the eve of the new year, a time elves once held very dear and referred to as Archai's Renewal.  The newborn elves consisted of two males and two females, all of whom were born to different mothers in different regions of the world.


     Each began life in a setting made up almost entirely of each of the four elements:  fire, water, air, and earth. It wasn't until some twenty years after their birth that the four were gathered together for the first time.  At the age of twenty, all four of the elves began showing signs of magical ability within.  Each were sent to the capital city, Valar, at the heart of Archai, to receive further training in the arts of spellcasting.  They all showed exceptional talent and a natural understanding of his or her respective elements.  It is not known for sure which elf became the first High Arch-mage of their elemental religion, but is it assumed that all ascended around the same time.  Under their leadership and guidance, Archai was able to thrive amidst nearly three centuries of peace.  Statues representing their elven champions were erected within temple walls and throughout the streets.  It was a time of great achievement, prosperity, and enlightenment among Archai's intelligent inhabitants.


     As the four approached their 300th birthdays, a relatively young age for an elf, they began noticing a deeper connection between themselves and the elements they represented.  It seemed that through their devotion and the power of their emotion, they appeared to summon and control their element.  Until this point all magic was limited to ones' mental capacity and understanding of the arcane language.  Unfortunately, with this sudden surge in elemental activity, each noticed his or her body had begun to deteriorate.  Their fair skin became pale and brittle.  Their smooth straight hair turned dry, losing its vibrant color.


     Precisely 300 years after they were born, on the night of Archai's Renewal, the four elves abruptly succumbed to their ailments.  They were the first elves on record ever to have done so.  Their followers were so overwhelmed by the loss that they all began to pray in concert to the lost High Priests and Priestesses of each of his or her faith.  Each body was taken to the place of birth to be returned to the element in which the elf had been born.  The elf of water was shipped out to the deepest known parts of the northern ocean, his body dropped into its icy depths.  Followers to the elf of fire carried their fallen leader's body to the fiery pits of the southwestern volcano and hurled him into the molten lava below.  The earth elf's body was buried at the center of the southeastern forest so that her bones may rejoin nature and grow anew in another form.  The followers of the last, the female elf of air, did not wish to part with the one who had brought so much to their lives.  They still believed that through prayer and devotion, their goddess could be returned.  Her corpse was set atop the highest mountain in the northwestern region so that all could gaze in her direction at any time.  Days later a group of worshipers climbed the mountain shrine to pray at the feet of their passed priestess, only to find her body gone.  It has been said that even in the cold, thin air, her body must have decomposed rapidly and flown off into the wind, scattered across the lands.


     Soon after, followers of each religion had concluded that it would not suffice to simply worship fire, water, air, and earth for to do so was to not fully utilize the true power of their element.  The elven High Priests and Priestesses had proven that through prayer and devotion, a spiritual connection to the elements could be established, even if at the cost of one's self.  Having witnessed this connection in plain sight, the clergymen of each religion accepted the names of their fallen elf as their deity.  It was learned that one of strong belief could now channel their element's power through devotion to one of the mortal gods that walked the lands as one of them for three centuries.  The four religions were christened:  Aerthane, the Goddess of Air; Kaleith, the God of Water; Pyrous, the God of Fire; and Tetherias, the Goddess of Earth -- the four names of those elves that passed.

 



 
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