Once again we meet to discuss the history of Elhal. Today’s lecture focuses on the early days of the Church of the All-Father, and how two gifts from the All-Father would allow the Church to spread throughout Elhal.
In our last lecture, we talked about the formation of the Church of the All-Father. I explained how Jaalom, the First Believer, united the people under one central religion. I spoke of how the Church made it’s highest priority to spread the news of the love of the All-Father throughout Elhal.
A Hostile Reception
In the first few years after the formation of the Church, their influence was still limited to the region around Ceredome. Shortly after organizing, the Church had sent many eager followers to reach out to the tribes and groups outside of Ceradome. Rather than being welcomed with open arms, they found those areas populated by worshipers of Humanis. The followers of Humanis were hostile to the All-Father, and imprisoned or killed the missionaries.
One of the contacts outside of Ceradome provoked a more hostile reaction. The tribe was located in what is now the foothills of Stammiglin. They sent warriors to Ceradome to attack the city and destroy the Church, in the name of Humanis. The city suffered terrible causalities before turning away the attackers. After that, Jaalom and the First Father agreed to slow down the spread of the church, and focus on the areas around Ceradome.
The city elders, who were also supportive of the Church, began to build walls and defenses in fear that other followers of Humanis may come looking to extinguish the Church. Ceradome became insular and isolated, not what the Church nor the All-Father had intended.
The Return of the Father
Five years after the departure of the All-Father, he returned to Ceradome to look upon Jaalom and his favored people. He appeared outside of town, near where he first encountered Jaalom, and began to walk towards the city.
As he approached and looked at the walls of the city, he was deeply saddened to see them manned by guards who were suspicious and scared. He sought to understand what had happened, and appeared in the home of Jaalom, who was waking from his sleep.
Despite the surprise of his appearance, Jaalom embraced the All-Father with a full heart. The All-Father asked Jaalom to dress and walk through the city with him. The two walked through the early morning streets with the sun rising slowly overhead. The Father used his powers to prevent others from seeing who he was, appearing to be another citizen of Ceradome.
The All-Father talked to Jaalom to find out what happened. Jaalom told the Father of the failed missionary attempts; the attacks and hostility from the followers of Humanis. He told them how they had walled themselves off to protect the city and its people.
The Father was silent for a time, as the two continued their walk along the streets. Their walk had taken them to the Cathedral of the All-Father. It was a grand temple in his honor, and the main place of worship for the city. At that time, it was being rebuilt after the attack on the city.
I had been to Ceradome during my second year of College, to study records of early history. The temple is a grand structure made of sandstone, with ornate carvings. Its size is massive, able to accommodate thousands within its walls. It has three floors, and the dome over the center rises two more. It remains one of the greatest structures that has ever been built.
The two entered the temple, walked to the center, and ascend the central platform. The Father looked around and finally broke the silence.
He spoke the following words, captured in the Scrolls of Jaalom.
The Father then spoke to me and said: “My son, this city has a closed heart. One cannot love another with a closed heart. Just as you cannot love your fellow humans when your city keeps them outside under the points of spears and arrows. This city must be open, made available for all who wish to share in my love, and be brothers with you all.”
He then knelt down and kissed the ground. There was a flash as his lips touched the polished stone. The flash spread quickly outwards, traveling along the ground and throughout the city. As quickly as the flash appeared it was gone, but I could feel beneath my feet that something was different.
He rose up and spoke again, “Upon this ground, the ground of Ceradome, I place my Seal. This Seal protects the city and its inhabitants. No rock or spear will enter this city that seeks to do you harm. And those that try to enter the city who have not taken me into their heart will be destroyed as their foot touches the grounds of the city. Instruct the people of the city to tear down the walls and to send home the sentries. Open the city once again, so that it may welcome all those that wish to be your brothers and sisters, and who have come to know my love.”
Jaalom did as instructed, and the walls did come down; the sentries removed. The city was never again successfully attacked.
The Seal is what spared Ceradome destruction during the rise of the Demon King. The Demons had to use other methods to try to bar people from Ceradome. The Seal remained in place for over one thousand years, until Kelven the Vessel lifted it from the ground and transported it to Olmkala. There the Seal removed the curse of the Lich and liberated the city from its nine-hundred year curse. The Seal would protect Olmkala for only a few years before Kelven collected it once again, to use in the final battle with the Demon King. All topics for future lectures.
The All-Father remained in Ceradome for a week, but did not make himself known to anyone other than Jaalom. In his human guise, the Father took the time to get to know the people of Ceradome. As he met people, he measured their spirit and noted to Jaalom those that should go out and spread the word of the All-Father. He selected thirty-nine followers in all.
Jaalom was less than enthusiastic. The Father’s request to return to missionary work caused him consternation. The Seal protected Ceradome, but the lives of the missionaries would be in great danger. The Father could feel Jaalom’s anxiety and had a plan.
From the 5th Sacred Scroll of Ceradome:
“The All-Father walked out into the desert with Jaalom. They talked about the spreading of his word to the other humans; about how the members of Ceradome would go forth across the lands to tell the other humans of the All-Father. As they spoke, Jaalom seemed troubled.
The All Father saw the look on Jaalom’s face and said, “My child, what troubles you? Do you not want to tell the world of my love?”
“I do.” Jaalom responded, “But when you asked me to return to Ceradome to tell the others of your arrival, they wanted to kill me. When we went out to share that word, the followers of Humanis had more violent reactions. In many places our message will be met with sword and stone, and not with loving hearts and open arms. The ones that do not kill us will enslave us and torture us until we renounce you. What you ask is dangerous, and if that is what you ask, it will be done, but if we encounter the sword and stone and are imprisoned or fall, who will spread your word?”
The All-Father said nothing, and the two continued to walk. They as day turned to dusk, the shadows grew long in the sands. The All-Father stopped and pointed to the shadows cast in the sands.
He spoke, “I will not always be here to stop the stones cast against you when you speak of me. Therefore, I will create a host of agents who will act on my behalf to protect you, and guide you to safety when danger engulfs you. I will create them of my will and shadows. When my will is obeyed, my agents will be like shadows, unable to touch and to be touched. When my will is disobeyed they will take form, and will enforce my will. And like the shadows, I will cast them out upon the world, so that they are in all places at all times. They will wander among man, but man will be blinded to them, until it is too late. For when man sees my agents it will be because they have come to restore my will.
As I have said it, so shall it be.”
And from the Father’s shadow, a multitude of ghostly figures surged forth. They spread out in all directions and raced across all ends of Elhal. Witnessing this, Jaalom knelt before the All-Father, his hands open and raised, and said:
“Let it be known that you are a caring Father, who looks out upon his children to protect them, even when he cannot walk beside them.”
Those shadowy creatures are the Kiv’Uli. It is believed that they watch over us all, to protect us from grave danger, and to take vengeance when we are wronged. Stories of the Kiv’Uli are found all through the Sacred Scrolls, as well as stories of the Defenders, those people who were possessed by the Kiv’Uli.
In my travels I have never seen a Kiv’Uli with my own eyes. I have talked to General Kelnn, who was a close friend of Kelven the Vessel, and told me several stories about the Kiv’Uli. He was there when Kelven bestowed Kiv’Uli among two-hundred warriors of Olmkala to create the army which assaulted the Demon King’s palace. I can assure you that they are quite real.
A New Start
As with the Father’s first visit to Ceradome, he had to leave again. This would be the last time that Jaalom would see the Father on this world. Jaalom promised the Father that the Church would spread and flourish.
Jaalom spoke to the First Father, and told him of the Father’s visit and the gifts bestowed. With the Seal of Ceradome to protect the city, and the Kiv’Uli watching over the missionaries, their faith was bolstered. The Church renewed its mission to spread out over Elhal and share the message of the All Father.
The Seal and the Kiv’Uli are some of the most important spiritual gifts given to the faithful of the Father. The divine protection of the Father, be it in the most holy of cities, or for those who ventured out to spread the word, insured that the Church would spread and grow. It proved that even in the darkest of times, during the reign of the Demon King, that the message of the All-Father could not be extinguished.
Next time, we will talk about the spread of the Church and the first Defenders.