The Heretic of Landowe
The one and only mortal to betray his goddess and attempt to usurp her power. Cursed to hobble the wilds for eternity for his transgressions.
OriginsThe Heretic of Landowe (sometimes simply referred to as Landowe) was originally an evangelist proselytizing Treoism in what is now known as the Northern Reach. At this time, very little divine activity was happening in this area. Drovka, the god that currently inhabits the area, had isolated himself further north, and most other gods and worshipers preferred the more habitable areas to the south. This created a pocket of territory not claimed by any god. A temple in current Mederi selected a few young priests to travel north to spread the word of Kaika. Once they had reached a population primed to hear their message, one priest whose name has been lost to time separated from the others. The priest from Landowe found a pocket of individuals to preach to several days' travel away. They saw how he healed their ill and injured and began to pray to him, not Kaika. At first, he tried to correct the village. However, they began to offer him delicacies, land, furs, and the teeth of wolves, which served as a sort of currency and jewelry at the time. Soon, the priest stopped promoting Treoism, but instead attributed miracles and stories to himself.
As he amassed wealth, the goddess Kaika watched and grew more angry. Those he preached to adored him and catered to his every command. Soon, the faith of the villagers following the other priests grew strong, and Kaika was able to appear there. She had grown weary of the priest from Landowe's heresy. Together, the priests and the villagers they preached to traveled to the settlement of their former brother. And there he stood, dressed in luxurious furs, wolves' teeth strung around his neck, dining on the flesh of pigs.
"You have stolen my glory and use it to grow fat? If you desire the powers of a god, I shall bestow them upon you."Furious, she turned on the former priest. The written records do not note the man's name, for they were all preoccupied by the horror that took place then. The creatures warming his body and filling his stomach returned to life and his flesh began to meld with theirs. Course brown hair sprouted from his back. Several conjoined wolves' jaws tore through his collarbone. Cloven hooves punctured his belly. His left arm fused to his left leg. Eye witnesses report it was like his flesh had been made of candle wax that had melted somewhat into the limbs of animals. He grew as large as she. His face elongated; tusks like that of a boar grew through his upper jaw. He screamed in agony, but his voice was no longer human. In shame, in horror at what he had become, he limped on three legs toward the treeline. Kaika beheld her true worshipers, who still stared after the monster as it fled.
"I proclaim this the holiest of hunts. The mortal that brings me that beast's head will be granted never-ending life."With that, she vanished, leaving the mortals behind with his story and her command.
The HuntThe Divine Hunt has been in progress for well over half a millennium. Currently, no mortal has been able to kill the heretic and deliver his head to Kaika. It did not take long for the beast to realize he was the most sought after of quarries. Weapons of every era soon pierced his hide and remain to this day. It is said he has been hunted with spears, arrows, and nets, all of which have been permanently embedded into the heretic's body. He learned to hide, and he learned to strike first. He is said to inhabit the endless forests of Dereko where few dare to venture. Some still pursue him in search for eternal life. Interest in the hunt has wanted over the past centuries, and many question if this had happened at all. However, with Kaika's disappearance, more travelers have ventured into the wood in hopes of finding the heretic and call their goddess back to them.
Lately, all who pursue the heretic have not returned. It has been years since a mortal has last reported seeing the heretic who has survived to tell the story. However, inexplicable pig-like squeals can be heard deep in the wood. Those from the area say if you hear the cries of pigs to flee the area immediately. After all, there are few things more dangerous than a cornered beast.
Hart-hunting with Greyhounds and Raches by The Hunting Book of Gaston Phebus
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