The Ascension of Hillen

A Tale of Sacrifice and Eternal Devotion

The legend of how Gilbert Hillen, a poor preacher who worshipped a relatively unknown lake goddess, ascended to sainthood is a tale known by every young Hillenist. His heroic journey and sacrifice not only saved the people of southern Lethea from slavery and death, but also spawned a heretical branch of the Orthodox Abreanist religion that became far more popular than the old faith.  
Silence! Let me tell the story our most holy Hillen and how he saved your worthless hides from eternal slavery. Pay attention to the story and recognise its purpose. Even useless lazy bums like you can achieve something if you're willing to work for it.
— Preacher Bert the Brazen

Summary

Humble Origin

Lake Amber
Around two centuries after the start of The Invasion, a fisherman's daughter died whilst giving birth to a healthy son on lake Amber. The girl's father refused to feed the child that had killed his daughter, but the Kirijksus of Sentijk intervened and offered to take the child from him. The old man, still grieving his daughter, agreed without a second thought.

The clergy had become the newborn child's new family. They gave him the name Gilbert Hillen and cared for him until his fourteenth birthday when the kirijksus that had brought him in and saved him from his grandfather offered him an opportunity. He could leave and start his own life with a reasonable amount of money from the litskirijk, or he could stay and officially join the clergy. Hillen, although torn on the issue ultimately decided to remain after mulling over his options for over a week.

Preacher and Protector

Lake Amber
After officially joining the clergy, Hillen started working side-by-side with his fellow preachers to spread the news of the Invasion. Every week he saw hundreds of refugees fleeing from the war, and that made him afraid of the future. He, like everyone else in Sentijk, feared that the aberati-infested armies that were hellbent on conquering the world would arrive sooner than expected.
  On the night of his twenty-second birthday, Hillen contemplated his purpose in life next to the holy lake on which he was born. Though doubts had clouded his mind, a voice still spoke to him. Sweet and caring, the omnipresent voice comforted him and told the young preacher about a mountainous land and a small village. Images of a pitch black rock flashed in his mind, and the voice encouraged him to do what he thought was right.

Divine March

The next morning he gathered around the bustling marketplace of Sentijk. What had once been a vibrant place that smelled of spices, pastries, and perfumes, had been reduced to a crowded area for the refugees to inhabit in tiny tents and makeshift shacks. The preacher spoke to the foreigners who had come to his hometown, and in their eyes, he sensed fear and anger. He used their feelings to further his own goals by talking to them and turning them into Abreanists. After several months he had gathered a force of loyal men and women who were ready to strike back and defend their freedom.

Hillen used his recruits to spread the news of what he called a Divine March, a great holy war to liberate the world from the enemies of mankind. Thousands flocked to his banner, but his actions gained the attention of his enemies who promptly renewed their invasion of the Toldenian peninsula. The marchers conducted raids and sabotaged their enemies supply lines all while making their way further north, toward where Hillen believed the goddess had directed him.

Sacrifice

Athe Period Battle
Athe Period Battle
After years of fighting and surviving, Hillen's army had lost three-fourths of its manpower. Out of supplies and demoralised, they conducted a plan to ambush the Invader, and his main force near a small village called Athe. While looking around for the best place to set up camp, Hillen spotted a large black rock the length of a sturdy oak tree and as wide as a typical well. Its edges were sharp and the top pointy. As he approached it, a loud horn echoed from whence he had come.
  Enemy forces had arrived far earlier than their scouts had speculated and all of Hillen's men were out of position. Although it pained him to leave his men behind, Hillen dashed toward the stone and dropped to his knees, begging Abrea for guidance. A bright beam shot out of the top of the obelisk and merged into the vague shape of a human who offered a hand to Hillen. He closed his eyes and placed his hand on hers as the sound of the horns closed in. A sudden flash and a loud screech followed, vaporising the enemy, the marchers, and the landscape itself. As Hillen opened his eyes, he realised that he had died in that blast, but his sacrifice and the sacrifice of his men and the villagers of Athe had saved the world from evil.

Historical Basis

Most historians believe that Gilbert Hillen was a real person but how historically accurate the rest of the legend is has remained a mystery. The date on which the explosion happened is considered inaccurate by most scholars as the mid-winter snow would have made Hillen's journey through the mountains nearly impossible.

The explosion itself did happen. Witnesses, many who claimed to be scouts from the army, spoke about the event. The bright beam and high pitched screeching that occurred right before the blast had left all witnesses blinded and severely disfigured. Whatever happened had corrupted their minds, and all of their tales had a different ending.

The black obelisk is also real, but the explosion had damaged it, and by now only a small chunk of the bottom remained. Years after the explosion a massive foarkirijk was built on top of the stone to protect it from the elements.

Date of First Recording
1 AA
Date of Setting
0 BA
Related Species
Related Locations
Related People

Before Athe

Athe - Before Athe

After Athe

Athe - After Athe

Hillenistic Church
Organization | Jan 22, 2019

The largest branch of the Abreanist religion

Hillen's Song
Prose | Mar 29, 2019

Victory and Rebirth

Victory Day is on the 1st day of the year and its for celebrating the end of the year and the start of the new one. Victory Day is focused more on the soldiers who died in the explosion at Athe.

Rebirth Day happens a few days after Victory Day, and it serves a similar focus but unlike the previous holiday, its about remembering the deeds of Saint Hillen.

Survivors and the Schism

After Hillen's death and ascension, the scouts who had survived the event began spreading the tale and what Hillen had taught them on the long march to Athe. Many of the free peoples of southern Lethea felt gratitude toward the man and freely accepted his version of Abreanism.

Hillen's ideas were more militarist and slightly more conservative than what normal Abreanists believed. Not only did he advocate for holy wars to spread the faith to the heathens, but he also said that there should be a single head of the religion who could lead the kirijks of Lethea.

Four years after the explosion at Athe a group of devout followers of Saint Hillen's teachings met the Kirijksus of Sentijk and demanded her to accept the role of the entire religion's leader and Abrea's representative in the land of the living. She refused, denounced Hillen's heretical beliefs, and banned the Hillenist from the Sentijk litskirijk, causing the first Abreanist schism.
  • 240 BA


    Start of the Invasion

  • 37 BA


    Birth of Gilbert Hillen

  • 23 BA


    Hillen Becomes a Preacher

  • 11 BA


    Start of the Divine March

  • 0 BA


    Explosion at Athe

  • 4 AA


    Orthodox-Hillenist Schism

  • 1567 AA


    Current Year

Comments

Author's Notes

Thank you for reading :3 This article was written for the Death of a Legend challenge. I'd love to hear what you think of the article, and if there's something that irked you, please leave a comment.


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25 Mar, 2019 14:06

", has remained a mystery"   explosion had damaged it, and by now only a small chunk of the bottom has remained"     So I only found these two things and its purely a matter a preferences. You can remove the comma in the first and the has in bot, making the remained into remains. This gives it more action abd brings the writing from the past to the present which is what's being referred to. It's not an error at all. just a suggestion. . I like the story and especially like how it evolved.       I noticed you really don't mention an obilisk, I can't spell, in the beginning butlayer its mentioned. I assume it's the black rock? You also mention how poeole belive he's a real person and some question that. It seemed a little sudden to me personally. It's an awesome touch to add that little sense of "well it could be false but something happebed" to the events, especially given how incredible that explosion was. I mean, based on the map alone, thats insane. XD regardless it was reallyninterssting and I love how you handle religions in your setting, I really need to dive in soon and learn more. I like your layout too and the opening quote was very nicely done.

1 Apr, 2019 23:50

Wowzers there is some impressive writing at play here. I got caught int he story of Hillen and truly enjoyed it to the final climactic explosion. You did well portraying what he did in life and how his death made a massive impact on the world even after the war was over. (The schism and the like)   Well done.

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