Rua the Wandering Saint

((Unless specifically stated, All images on this world are by me, Chrispy_0, either created by me, or generated using programs such as Artbreeder and Midjourne))

Article Contents

Rua was a Fevarik Regalti that lived around 2800 years ago. She was a member of the Ateni, a monastic order of orators and musicians that traveled the land and told the stories of the Tari, the Gods and spirits of the Vennek Religion. She spent most of her life doing this. She is credited with saving the Fevarik Regalti's spiritual traditions, defiant in the face of the Nameless Emperors who gradually replaced the gods with themselves and eradicated the old religious traditions, up to their destruction in the year 2429 Before Exodus.

NAVIGATION
Children

Early History

Rua was born in a Monastery in the Crystal Highsands in the year 2453 B.E. to unknown parents. She spent the first 12 years of her life training as an Ateni Monk, learning about the various oral traditions of her religion. Ateni would also learn to play several instruments to aid in their storytelling, and her instrument of choice was the Maral, a lute type instrument associated with the Moon Goddess Sevi. It was said that she could also play several other instruments, but she is only ever mentioned playing a maral.

This monastery was forced to close in the year 2441 B.E. when the Nameless Empress declared an end to the old religion. Over the last several centuries, the Nameless Emperors have been replacing aspects of Vennek religion with images of themselves. Many say this was angering the old gods, but the Nameless Emperors didn't care as they were now the new gods.

The Ateni were competent musicians, so even after they could no longer practice their religion, they still traveled the land, playing music for the locals for donations and shelter. Because it was a crime to publicly describe the old gods, the monks only told their stories through the use of their instruments. Each Tari had a different instrument associated with them, and the Ateni used tempo and tone to convey the feeling of the deity they were playing for, telling a story as their performance went on.

Ateni Monks

The Ateni were one of many religious orders of monks and priests that kept the old Vennek religion running, and were one of the last religious orders as the old religion was destroyed. The responsibility of the Ateni was to keep a meticulous history of events that happened in the nation, and pass them down through written and oral tradition. They used music to aid in their storytelling.

In their monastery in the Crystal Highsands, they had an archive room that was said to have scrolls recording the birth and death of every Fevarik Regalti from the start of the Fifth Age, as well as hand-written accounts of many historical events, both real and fictional. This information was lost when the Ateni abandoned the temple in 2441 B.E.
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by Chrispy_0

Defiant Believer

When in the presence of imperial officials, most Ateni would lie and say their music was about the Emperors, but Rua was defiant, proclaiming her music to be about the old gods. Rua was normally laughed at when she said this, until the year 2436 B.E., when she told the Son of the Nameless Empress what her music was about. The Son was angered by this and ordered that Rua have her tongue cut out. Rua dared the Son to cut her tongue out himself, and the son, so annoyed at Rua, bound Rua's hands and took her away.

Rua returned to the Ateni the next morning, wearing a veil, and was visibly different, almost broken. Satisfied that she had learned her lesson, the Ateni allowed Rua to continue traveling and performing with them. Rua never removed the veil from her face. Unable to speak, her words were now entirely through her instrument, weaving stories of joy and sorrow that were said to be able to touch the hearts of even the coldest of people.
Rua.png
Rua by Chrispy_0 (modified base image from Artbreeder)

An Invitation to play for the empress

In the year 2430 B.E., the Empire of Vefaria was undergoing upheaval in more ways than one. The Sunken Lands were sinking, and the mountain Rensadsra was rumbling. The Imperial Palace and city of Wrethilin was completed on top of this mountain, built as a testament to the power of the Nameless Empress.

The musical prowess of the Ateni were renowned by this time. Rua and her fellow Ateni were invited to play for the Imperial court. At the imperial palace, Rua played a piece with her maral, playing music about the sadness of the moon, at Sevi's sorrow at her people losing their way. The Nameless Empress was utterly unmoved with the piece, though it was reported that several high ranking imperial officials were brought to tears while listening to Rua play.

Another song was played using all the instruments the Ateni had with them, One of the monks was beating war drums, representing chaos. It was drowning out the rest of the instruments, a representation of disrupting the natural order of things, until the drums were destroyed on purpose, and the rest of the music played in harmony.

The music of the Ateni hasn't changed in years, and the beating drums was supposed to represent the arrogance of the Emperors, but the Ateni had lost their way. Instead they told the Nameless Empress the drums represented the Gods. They were destroyed so the true beauty of the Regalti could shine through. The Empress was impressed with this, thinking her legitimacy as a goddess was further cemented with the support of the Ateni. She invited them to stay in the capital, and play music for the imperial court. All of the Ateni agreed, except Rua, who removed her veil and spoke for the first time in years.


Instruments of the Tari

Each of the Gods has an instrument that represents them best and is the instrument most often played by Ateni when telling their stories to evoke the feeling of those gods. For example, Vala, the Sun Goddess, is represented by a Spike Fiddle, an instrument that can evoke feelings of the rising and setting sun. Halana, Goddess of Ice, is represented by standing bells, which can mimic the intensity of an ice storm, or the eerie calm of cold nights. Mintar, God of Force, is best represented with percussion instruments like drums. Kellentar, God of the Land and Sea, is represented by flutes carved from shells or rocks, most often obsidian or jade.
"You doom yourselves by abandoning the gods. You doom yourselves by enabling false gods. Your music is soulless and your stories empty. Your doom will be the same as Wrethilin, and the Empress's doom will be the worst of all!"
Rua

The Judgement of the Gods

In the year 2429 B.E., The wrath of the gods came when the Volcano Rensadsra erupted, obliterating the imperial city of Wrethilin and the imperial palace, killing the Nameless Empress and most of Vefaria's government. The Sound was heard around the world, and the resulting volcanic winter killed countless Regalti.

Rua was eventually credited with receiving a vision from the gods and predicting this doom. In their arrogance, very few from the city of Wrethilin listened to her until it was too late. After the disaster and after surviving Regalti admitted Rua was right about the gods, Rua took advantage and started to reteach the old ways.

Secrets and Later Life

How could Rua still speak? Was it some sort of miracle? She'll tell you that, but she actually escaped having her tongue being cut out by playing her music to the Son of the Nameless Empress the night she was handed over. The son was entranced and convinced by her that the Fevarik had angered the gods and their doom was coming. After this night, the Son rarely traveled to Wrethilin, and construction of his future Imperial City was started near an old Shrine to the Goddess Vala, in the mountains, out of view of the sea. Rua covered her face with a veil and didn't speak for years after this, until she decided it was time.

She never met the Son of the Nameless Empress again after their encounter many years ago, but her impact on him that night was felt. The Son had the shrine to Vala rebuilt, then built the imperial palace around that. Even before the Nameless Empress met her end, the Son was so scared of what the gods were going to do, he ordered the construction of a Thousand Temples, and Ten Thousand Shrines, all across Vefaria to honor the Tari.

Rua traveled the land in the years after the disaster, playing her instrument and telling the stories of the Tari, traveling from temple to temple. She is credited with getting the Fevarik to worship the old gods once again, and for convincing many priests to come out of hiding to administer the faith. Her version of Vennek Mythology was passed down to her from thousands of years in Ateni traditions, and this version of Vennek Mythology was what was finally recorded, changing very little after this.

Rua also restarted the Monastic Order of the Ateni, recruiting fellow musicians and what few Ateni remained, having them also travel the land and use their talents to teach.

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by Chrispy_0

Legacy and Influence

Rua's influence on Vennek religion was so great that every Temple in modern Vefaria has an Ateni monk that can play the instrument of the god the temple represents. This is often done at specific times of the day, and all the time during religious festivals. Once a year on the Winter Solstice, all of the Ateni from all of the major temples in the Capital city of Barun Deth get together and they play a concert of sorts for a full day. No words are spoken, and using only their instruments, they tell the story of the world, from the start of the Fifth Age when Regalti opened their eyes to Sevi playing a Lute, all the way to the modern day.

Perhaps the most felt influence that Rua left behind is in the vows of silence that many Regalti take. The version that all Fevarik Regalti take is a six day vow of silence on their 17th birthday (about 23 Earth years), meant to evoke the sacrifice Rua made to stay silent for six years. During this time, they cannot speak except for emergencies and they wear a veil over their faces. They can only write and play instruments if they need to communicate. This is part of the rite of passage in becoming considered an adult.

A much longer vow of silence is practiced by Ateni Monks, which lasts for six years, the same as Rua. During this time, they communicate solely through music. They often end their vow of silence by traveling to a location known as the lonely rock, a crumbled boulder on the mainland, said to be a piece of the Nameless Empress's greatest statue, broken beyond recognition and thrown hundreds of kilometers in the volcanic eruption. While many insult long dead people as the first words they speak, others say a prayer to Rua instead.

Extras

Vusinor Research Log
VMN 23
It's amazing that the Fevarik Regalti have held onto their religion so far into their Space Age. Most sapient species lose their faith shortly after discovering there's aliens out there besides them, and those that cling to their religion slowly fade away compared to the rest of the species...

But not the Fevarik! They number 25 Billion Regalti spread out across the whole of the The Delvi Star System, fully a quarter of all Regalti. While I am not yet sure how this could be, I think it is due to their extensive music and religious traditions that have remained unchanged for thousands of years and refused to change even when their beliefs were challenged. Compare to us Vusinor, who have become so...let me say, scientific, that we no longer have religion and our music is positively dull compared to less advanced civilizations like the Regalti.
- Zilda Marn, Class B Researcher

 
Historical Basis
There wasn't any intervention of the Gods that wiped out the City of Wrethilin. In fact, the entirety of The Sunken Lands slowly sank beneath the waves over a period of several centuries due to plate tectonics. Even after several cities were flooded and destroyed, the Fevarik built up the Imperial city on the side of a mountain, and ignored the signs of that mountain coming to life. The Volcano erupted shortly after the Nameless Emperors had attempted to eradicate the old religion, and this is where the belief came, that abandoning the gods caused the disaster.

The event is so ingrained in the memories of the Fevarik that when Rua traveled the lands retelling the stories of the Gods, she was seen as a messenger of the Gods, as a saint. Whether she had a vision or predicted the downfall of Wrethilin is up for debate, as anyone should have seen the coming destruction of the city, but the Imperial Feverik were so centered around themselves at the time that they thought themselves invincible. Whether it was Nature or the Gods, the Imperial Fevarik were proved wrong rather quickly.

 
Story Connections
  • Elya Sarai turns 17 (23 earth years), and is planning to take the six day vow of silence as part of her rite of passage to being considered an adult. She technically doesn't have to because there are exceptions for military personel, but it's important to her.
  • Kaline Serna has a meditation room on the Starship Void Chaser, a quiet place to drink tea. She mentions to the humans that the music played in the room is the same played by Saint Rua thousands of years ago.

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    Cover image: by Chrispy_0 (modified background from Artbreeder)
    Character Portrait image: by Chrispy_0 (modified base image from Artbreeder)

    Comments

    Author's Notes

    If you liked the article, please consider leaving a comment or clicking that like button. If you didn't like the article, please leave a comment and tell me your criticism so I can improve as a writer.   UPDATE: 2/15/2022 - Minor spelling and grammar fixes. Also removed youtube video link. I had permission (more of a handshake in the comments section) to use the video, but the video was copyright claimed by someone else. Writing challenge is closed so it wouldn't be right to find a replacement. It will just be a blank space for now.


    Please Login in order to comment!
    Sage George Sanders
    George Sanders
    16 Jan, 2022 05:23

    Amazing progress already! I like the twists of Rua's story. Plus, it seems she was a visionary or a natural disaster made her seem to be epic visionary! Belief that the gods directly intervened certainly would keep their religion around longer.

    Check out my World Ember progress! Completed Articles

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    16 Jan, 2022 18:44

    Thanks for the comment! Also, yeah, Mythologically, Rua saw the wrath of the gods coming in a vision. Historically, she just saw the writing on the wall, with the sinking lands and the mountain coming to life, and took advantage of it (still trying to find the best words to describe that in the article)

    Current project: WorldEmber 2022
    AzounIV
    Luca Poddighe
    16 Jan, 2022 17:43

    Quite interesting character. I would like to know more about how she looked, although don't feel obliged if this wasn't in your original plans (I hate to write things just to please someone else :D)

    16 Jan, 2022 18:40

    Thanks for the comment!   Describing how she looked isn't a top priority for me because she's a historical/semi-mythological figure. I am working on several more images of her for the article. Hopefully it will give everyone a general idea of Rua's appearance when I'm done.

    Current project: WorldEmber 2022
    AzounIV
    Luca Poddighe
    16 Jan, 2022 18:43

    Yes, that will certainly do!

    AzounIV
    Luca Poddighe
    23 Jan, 2022 10:03

    New images are very useful to understand how Rua looked like, thanks!

    18 Jan, 2022 17:00

    Great article. I especially like how she saw opportunity for using the impending doom that the Empress chose to ignore to spread her message. Also a quite fun twist that her tongue was not cut at all, that must really have taken people aback :p

    Feel free to check out my WorldEmber 2022 page if you want to see what I am up to!
    19 Jan, 2022 23:20

    Thanks for the comment and I'm glad you liked the character!

    Current project: WorldEmber 2022
    18 Jan, 2022 17:08

    Great article. A well deserved Like.   Aemon

    19 Jan, 2022 08:00

    Thanks for the kind words!

    Current project: WorldEmber 2022
    21 Jan, 2022 07:04

    Such a complex character as this, who used deception and foresight to change history in a setting to bring back old gods while resisting new changes! That is the method of the stereotypical bard, but not the objective of one. The result: such lasting beauty given over to religion! This would make a beautiful setting in fiction, both a good story to encounter and a beautiful kind of founding legend with which to empower scenes of later art.

    24 Jan, 2022 00:04

    Thanks for the comment and kindness!

    Current project: WorldEmber 2022
    25 Jan, 2022 13:50

    Beautifully done, Chrispy_O. I found this through Kummer Wolfe's digest, so be sure to give him praise and cookies. :D I really, really like Rua's backstory. Not only is it haunting, but believable, which just makes the suspension of disbelief all the more poignant. I want to believe, though, that losing her tongue wasn't enough to kill her spirits. Her lasting influence on the Regalti is just... <chef kiss> (I think there's an emoji for that somewhere, but I'm so behind the times...)

    25 Jan, 2022 16:09

    I will make sure to let Kummer Wolfe know!   Thanks for liking my article and thanks for the kind words!

    Current project: WorldEmber 2022
    29 Jan, 2022 02:54

    I really enjoyed this article for the mood, design and overall character. I like how you bring in how her contributions would come to affect the people of your world through the ages. While the title of the youtube music is inaccurate the ambiance that it sets for the article is quite nice. This article stands quite well on its own in describing a bit about your world and Rua's story which I like. It makes me want to know more about your overall world.

    9 Feb, 2022 08:47

    Thanks for the comment and kind words, and showing an interest in my world!

    Current project: WorldEmber 2022
    8 Feb, 2022 20:52

    Nice article, I somehow liked how it ended with the monkes swearing or praying at an old rock that may or maynot be an old statue.

    9 Feb, 2022 23:07

    Its odd because I swear I have read this before today, but I dont remember any of the art, which is AMAZING! The twist that happened with the prophesy of the Nameless Empress' fall was very well done.   A well done and detailed story.

    As always, it would be appreciated if you would stop by my challenge article The Storm Giant Empire and leave some feedback.   If you are looking for things to read from summer camp there is also my Summer Camp 2022 Reading Challenge.. Happy worldbuilding.
    Eternal Sage AmélieIS
    Amélie I. S. Debruyne
    15 Feb, 2022 10:20

    Great article :D I like that they have found ways to represent each god with a musical instrument and a style of music. Did everyone is the population know what style represents each god and could understand the story being told? I'm also wondering about the Nameless Emperors and how many of them they were. It seemed to have been a long period, but at the same time it all seemed to have only happened during Rua's life. Unless it started before the religion was banned and the monastery closed? Was there some smaller form of repression already before that?

    To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.