The Tall Saints of Arc and the Lamenters

Since the era of the Twilight Kings of Arc, when the era of High Aruhvianism went into steep decline and attendence at temples dwindled, a quasi religious tradition of street performance, story telling, preaching and entertainment emerged. The Tall Saints is a collective name given to bands of musicians, actors and preachers that wander from district to district in Arc performing tales from the Aruhviad, often wearing ornate wooden masks and costumes.    Traditional High Aruhvian theology has presented the Tall Saints as a heresy, mocking and ridiculing the stories of the Keeper and the Graces (some plays can be bawdy, and many are fables and stories that never appeared in the original Aruhviad at all). Most Aruhvian priests, now well aware that their religion is in terminal decline, look upon the saints as a nuisance, but recognise that more Arcites watch and enjoy their performances than engage with the actual theology of the Aruhvian church.   Most of group of Tall Saints live on alms and some savvy innkeepers will offer them free food, drink and lodgings in order to keep them around, as the better known performing bands attract large audiences and are very popular. The low levels of literacy among Arc's poorest mean that the Tall Saints are an accessible way for most to hear about the stories of the Keeper, and the appeal of accessible entertainment keeps them away from the Aruhvian Church and Temple.    The stories are known as 'naryshands', an old Arcish term for fable or morality tale, and they are normally told in the vernacular of the Arcish street, Lower Vannic Arcish, which is far more accessible than the High Vannic that is spoken in church.    The one problem that the Tall Saints and the Aruhvian Church both share, is that they have no answer to the event of the Sundering and the reasons for the huge and alarming changes in the world. Most Tall Saints bands view themselves as praactitioners of an ancient craft and many have remembered hundreds of stories, some bands contain performers who have worked and lived together for years and they will often have coalesced around one or two charismatic preachers, singers or actors.   In each play there are five Tall Saints, and the crowds are well acquainted with them as characters:  
  • Hudole: This saint often plays kings, emperors or tyrants, and his purpose in a Tall Saint narrative is to show the folly of hubris and the emptiness of power itself.
  • Trakifari: This is the fool saint, who is both the butt of jokes and the source of wisdom in each play. Learning to play the Trakifari is the hardest task in all Tall Saintdom and no story is complete without a fool.
  • Lesorin: This saint is the seer, and appears as either a voice of guidance to a hero, or a voice of doom  (sometimes even as a ghost) to those who have strayed from the path of righteousness.
  • Sharyn: This is the helpless saint, who must be rescued by the hero.
  • Khoryn: This saint is the hero of the story, whose exploits are always righteous and who works in the service of The Keeper
Throughout the play, different saints will reappear wearing costumes of monsters, knights and famous Arcites, often to great mirth from the crowds. Some Tall Saints bands find themselves prohibited from performing after mocking the Protector, poking fun at the Azure Chamber or even the Aruhvian Church.   There is a distinction to be made between the Tall Saints bands, who are generally well recieved by ordinary Arcites and incorporated into the wider culture of the city, and the less well known Lamenters.   For at least a hundred years in the city of Arc and across the Arclands, lay preachers of the Aruhvian faith, who are equally persecuted by the High Aruhvian Church and the Ashtarian Aruhvians of Skaris have shouted from street corners and market squares relentlessly about the darkness engulfing the world following the Sundering. They are called Lamenters after the final book of the Golan Aruhviad (which is now largely ignored by the Aruhvian Church) called The Book of Laments. The Golan Aruhviad has been interpreted in a variety of ways, but some heretical voices have suggested that it is prophetic of the final destruction of the world and the death of the Keeper himself. Most Arcites hate the Lamenters and jeer at them when they shout from street corners, but a few now listen to them, when they are not being arrested for acts of heresy.

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