History of the Ru'atin Peri'el (book)
History of the Ru'atin Peri'el
As Written By Oracle Laricra Milaeshi, Devout Student of Our Lady Faenella
I shall write this eve of the Ru'atin Peri'el, at the behest of My Lady Faenella, who was always viewed the Ru'atin Peri'el fondly, owing perhaps to their veneration and adoration of the musical arts. After all, the Ru'atin Peri'el are among the land's finest singers -- the text "The Singers of Aesry Surlaenis'a" extensively notes the musical style of the order. My own text, however, is more concerned with who the Ru'atin Peri'el are, and their origins.
The name "Ru'atin Peri'el," when translated, means "Sisters of Peri'el." But it has far more meaning than that alone, from a cultural standpoint. In S'Kra Mur society, a person divides others into two groups, "ru'at" and "q'alri," a concept which is at the very core of S'Kra culture. The ru'at includes whoever the individual designates, be they members of the family or extremely close friends. But regardless of who he includes in his "ru'at," it creates a bond, one of absolute trust, loyalty, and closeness. Those outside the ru'at are considered "q'alrin," which, in S'Kra Mur society, means the person is not worthy of trust or consideration, a category most outsiders would fall into. So when a group is denoted as the "Ru'atin "Peri'el," or "Sisters of Peri'el," it does not merely indicate their nature as a religious order, but rather is a statement of intimacy and family with the goddess herself.
The Ru'atin Peri'el were founded many centuries ago -- millennia, even -- on the island of Reshalia. After Sarkhhl Smo'neh had firmly established his rule over the island and made himself King, he ruled for a number of years. But about fifteen years into his reign, Reshalia Island was set upon by tremendous earthquakes. The island's foundation trembled, its structures were shaken to the core. King Sarkhhl feared his palace might fall down upon his head. He was certain the quakes were an augury of some sort from the gods, but was of course incapable of deciphering their message himself. For that, he called upon the High Priest of Hav'roth, the god of the earth.
The High Priest, a wizened and elderly S'Kra Mur man, came to the Island of Reshalia. He spoke with the king, and then observed the shaking fury of the earth himself. The priest wandered about the island, listening to and watching the earthquakes, and meditating. Finally, he returned to Sarkhhl's Palace.
"I know what is causing your earthquakes," he said.
"Please, Wise One, tell me!" beseeched the king. "Have I displeased the Great Hav'roth? Tell me what I have done and how I might atone, that I may appease His anger and continue to rule His people?"
The old S'Kra smiled, and shook his head sadly. "No, my son, it is not the case. Hav'roth is not angry."
Puzzlement from the king greeted these words. "But if Hav'roth is not enraged at us, then what could be causing such horrible shaking?"
The High Priest sighed. "I am afraid it is much worse than that. I believe these shudders of the earth are caused not by Lord Hav'roth, but by the bane of the gods, the wicked slumbering beast."
"Do you mean that the earthquakes are being done by the World Dragon, Wise One?" asked the king.
"Indeed I do. I believe Our Lady of the Songs, Peri'el, is weakening from the many thousands of years she has kept the World Dragon captive. I believe he is in the throes of awakening, and these quakes are being caused by that."
"But what can we do to stop this?"
"That," the High Priest said wistfully, "I do not know. I will return to my order, and we shall think of a way."
And so, the High Priest of Hav'roth departed Reshalia Island. Poor King Sarkhhl remained there, to continue his rule without divine aid or guidance, hoping to keep his people calm, and hoping the priests could find a way to fix this problem.
The elder consulted with other priests of his order, as he promised, but he also met with and discussed the matter with the other High Priests -- after all, an awakening of the World Dragon was something which by necessity concerned all of them.
It was the High Priestess of Peri'el, though, who devised the solution to this problem. "If Peri'el is weakened," she reasoned, "then perhaps we mortals may assist her."
The priestess commanded the Clerics in her order to scour the lands, to seek out those S'Kra Mur women, both priestly and bardic, who possessed a veneration of the goddess Peri'el and a voice to rival her own. Once they had found sufficient number, the Ru'atin Peri'el had been formed. It should be noted that the High Priestess herself, a woman by the name of Maligen Shanati, met the criteria laid out. She resigned her position as the High Priestess of Peri'el and instead became the first leader of the Ru'atin Peri'el -- a position called the "First Singer."
The group was formed with a singular purpose -- to strengthen and aid the goddess Peri'el in her efforts to keep the World Dragon asleep. The Ru'atin Peri'el would, with their powerful voices and divine inner strength, sing the songs of the goddess, to supplement her own powers and enhance her own songs.
To return to the tale of King Sarkhhl, though... First Singer Maligen returned to Reshalia Island with the beginnings of her Ru'atin Peri'el. There they established their first Great Sanctuary, and they began their Songs of Renewal and Sustaining, powerful songs to resound with those of the Goddess Peri'el.
It was not long before the earthquakes of Reshalia came to an end. With the renewed strength Peri'el was given by the Sisters, the World Dragon was returned to the tight grasp of sleep inflicted upon him by the Dreamer, Phelim.
The group is in some ways remarkably similar to Bards; in others, it more closely resembles the Cleric Guild, as a religious group is wont to do. The Sisters are divided into several groups. First, there is the Kapo Peri'el, or the "Song of Peri'el." The Kapo Peri'el are the general members of the order. They are the initiates and those who attend to the most basic chores and tasks to be attended to. The Kapo Peri'el deal with the society outside the Sisters. They provide aid and comfort to the sick and the poor, and they take in and raise lost orphans. The Song also seeks to gain information from the outside world, that they may know of the waxing and waning of the gods' power. This division of the Sisters also performs many lower level rituals, such as those songs which do not require the greatest level of skill. But make no mistake -- even a member of the Kapo Peri'el is likely to possess a voice far superior to anything outside of the Sisters.
Above the Kapo Peri'el is the Sara'pon Peri'el, or the "Voice of Peri'el." It is these women that have earned the Ru'atin their vaunted reputation as the greatest singers of all the lands. Most of the rituals of the Sisters are performed by this division; the Songs of Renewal and Sustaining are carried out by the Voice of Peri'el. While the entry requirements for entering the Ru'atin Peri'el at all are quite strict, they are yet more daunting should one wish to join the Voice.
The Sisters are led by the First Singer, who is more formally known as the "Ur'Kapo Peri'el" -- the First Singer of Peri'el. It is her task to cultivate the order, to lead it in the most challenging of rituals and the most powerful of songs. She serves, figuratively speaking, as the lifeline between the Sisters and their Goddess Peri'el. Beyond these three main divisions, there are also whispered tales of the Qi Peri'el, or the "Soul of Peri'el." The Qi Peri'el are not a unique division within the Ru'atin, per se, but they are actually, according to rumors, intermixed with the other groups of the order. So, assuming there are Qi Peri'el, one imagines that only the First Singer knows who precisely they are. It is said that the Soul of Peri'el exists for one goal, which would be to stop any who seek to awaken the World Dragon or harm the Goddess Peri'el. How they stop such individuals is a matter best left undiscussed.
In order to gain entry to the Ru'atin Peri'el, one must pass a number of quite stringent tests. More accurately, there are four ways to join. The first is to be selected personally by the Ur'Kapo Peri'el, the First Singer. Those who demonstrate utterly remarkable talents or a particularly strong devotion to the Goddess Peri'el will often be offered a place within the Sisters by the First Singer. Next, one may take and pass the first test. The first test is only available to a daughter of a member of the Ru'atin Peri'el. It is the easiest of tests, and any daughter will be granted admission to the Sisters should she possess even the slightest aptitude. I should point out that the fourth daughter of a fourth daughter is always thought of as a divine sign, and these women generally possess the greatest talents of all, and are thought quite highly of by the other Ru'atin Peri'el. Next, one may pass the second test, which is only available to orphans who were taken in and raised by the Sisters of Peri'el. It is more difficult than the first test, but slightly less strenuous than the final test, the third test. Those who are members of outside society, with no connection to the Ru'atin Peri'el, who seek to join the order, they must pass the third test, the most difficult of all.
Because of its role in serving the Goddess Peri'el, the Ru'atin have always been held in the highest esteem in S'Kra Mur society. Of course, the Sisters were admired by other peoples, as well -- they were viewed as an integral part in the struggle to keep the World Dragon asleep; the World Dragon is a threat to all the peoples of Elanthia, and so all venerated the Sisters for the protection they gave. But the S'Kra truly admired them the most. Peri'el is, of course, the goddess who granted the most important attributes to the S'Kra Mur people -- their heart, the soul, their compassion. She is their true patron, and the Ru'atin are her sisters and daughters; the respect and accord granted them by other S'Kra Mur has always reflected that. They had great political influence.
Until, of course, the Dragon Priests came. The Dragon Priests, though S'Kra Mur, did not think highly of the Ru'atin Peri'el, and they slaughtered them wherever possible... they killed the singers, and burned down their beautiful sanctuaries. Thankfully, many of the Sisters survived the assault by Dzree's fanatics, and they fled to the isle of Surlaenis, where they reside to this day, continuing their rituals and songs.
By my hand,
Oracle Laricra Milaeshi
May These Words Be Blessed By the Grace of Faenella.