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Elyse

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Elyse is a goddess in Reformed Phaelism, Neophaelism, and various forms of Ristarian Phaelism. Her purviews are magic and fatebinding. Worship of her is considered heretical by Orthodox Phaelism, and the practice was the cause of the First Schism War.

History Edit

Elyse is one of only two officially recognized Phaelist deities whose worship did not predate the religion itself, the other being Kelcid. She is associated with a human mage, the daughter of Gareth, a famous commander of the city guard of Jekland from -22 to 16 Reformed. History records that she was targeted by the gods for her magic and set out with a ranger named Hadral to find safety in -1 Reformed. Neither of them ever returned from this quest.

A little over a year later, a sudden meteor strike north of the city caused an investigation by the city guard, led by Gareth. Reports from this point forward vary, but the official report says they returned calling for the priests to investigate, carrying a copy of what would be known as the Book of Lophael. Upon reaching the location of the impact, the priests immediately opened the site to the public. The site included an incredibly life-like marble statue of Hadral, who appeared to be guarding an open field at the top of the hill Axanedar. While exploring the field, a massive mural was found etched into the stones around the crest of the hill, telling the story that would later be known as the Epic of Hadral. The site was studied, mapped, and interpreted for a few years before the Enrelishan king commissioned a temple built on the hill to Elyse, who was believed to have ascended to godhood.

Historians have raised concerns about this story, believing that Gareth or other members of the city may have commissioned any of the things allegedly found at the site after the disappearance of Elyse and Hadral, staging the entire discovery. Adherents to Reformed Phaelism argue that there wasn't sufficient time between the disappearance of Elyse and Hadral and the public access to the site to have given up on them returning and then crafting all the materials found there.

Beliefs Edit

Worshipers of Elyse believe that the Epic of Hadral accurately records the adventures Hadral and Elyse went on after leaving Jekland, and hold its account of her apotheosis as an important religious teaching. Unlike the Book of Lophael, the Epic of Hadral is not considered to have been made available to any gods who could or would alter it, and as such it is taken literally even by Neophaelists.

According to this account, the two traveled to Vortex, where they met Lophael and were given the completed Book of Lophael and informed about the Firmament Nexus, an amulet that contained the power of many of the gods. Elyse then summoned Kelcid, and arranged for him to escort Hadral into Raeshnacht in order to find the Firmament Nexus and bring it to her. Upon receiving it, she was able to unlock and absorb its power, becoming a goddess.

As the goddess of magic, Elyse supports mages in their study of divine arts and defends them from the wrath of the other gods. While gods are still believed to hunt mages who push too far, Elyse is believed to make them suffer much longer than they would like. She is also claimed as the Queen of Fatebinders, and believed to have unparalleled knowledge of fate and how to manipulate it. This epithet is limited in use, however, as many theologians have pointed out that there is very little indication in the Epic of Hadral that either Hadral or Elyse was, in fact, ever a fatebinder - and if either one was, there is little to go on to know which of them it was. Others point out that the only indications of fatebinding in the story happen when Hadral is alone, suggesting that he is actually a fatebinder and manipulated the entire story, consciously or not. Either way, the title is attributed to her in various records and never to him.

Temple Edit

Elyse is the only Phaelist deity who does not have a temple at Erstarwyn. While shrines to her exist across Veşti, her only full temple is on the hill Axanedar north of the city center of Jektan.

First Temple Edit

The basic structure was commissioned by King William II in 3 Reformed, when Phaelism was adopted as the state religion in Enrelisha and Elyse was added to the pantheon. The murals allegedly found on the hill were brought together into the central hall of the temple, and began to be transcribed by local poets. This temple was a basic structure, little more than a hall leading to a shrine of Elyse and two small wings in which priests could work and mages could study.

During the First Schism War, the Order of Branu burned Jekland as part of the largest push into Enrelishan lands of the war. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to reach the temple of Elyse, their actual target. Local legend claims that the statue of Hadral itself stepped forth to defend the temple, returning to its place once the Order was driven back. The continuing wars between the Enrelisha and the Order, and later Pran, exposed the city and the temple to occasional battles. When the nation was finally conquered during the Second Prani War in 1032 Reformed and a puppet government under the Sadine Dynasty installed in Jektan, the worship of Elyse was outlawed and the temple grounds walled off and forbidden. This rule remained in effect until 1126, during the Third Prani War, when the Sadine Dynasty was overthrown and independance restored. While historians to this day argue about why the Sadines didn't simply destroy the temple, the long isolation had much the same effect, as the temple fell into ruin.

Second Temple Edit

When the wall surrounding the hill Axanedar finally came down, much of the temple was unrecognizable, with only the statue of Hadral remaining fully intact. The government lacked the funds to properly restore the temple, so various noble families took it upon themselves to commission parts of the job. This contribution became a status symbol in medieval Enrelisha, with families competing to have their names associated with the best restorations or the largest additions to the temple. By the time of Tennyson's Wager in 1347, the temple had become a massive complex, parts of which extended well beyond the hill itself. This period of rapid growth phased out in the 1500s, when internal strife caused Enrelisha to begin moving away from a monarchy with nobles to a more modern democracy. While some buildings on the edge of the temple complex were repurposed or destroyed during the War of Ascension in 1723, most of the site remained intact and never saw active conflict.

Modern Temple Edit

With the formation of the newly democratic Enrelishan government in 1731, the hill Axanedar was listed as an officially protected holy site that would be considered autonomous from the government in most affairs. Any parts of the complex not on the hill were sold off to help raise funds after the depletion of the treasury during the War of Ascension. The site has undergone cosmetic restoration and technical upgrades since then, but remains largely unchanged.

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