Lady of the Lake Myth in Lethea | World Anvil

Lady of the Lake

Ascension to Divinity

We may disagree on certain aspects of the ascension, but the common tale is a story held sacred to all branches of the faith. At least all the ones that matter.
— Greta Rattewichen, Alstiseria of Athe
  The Lady of the Lake is the tale that forms one of the core foundations of the most influential religion in the world, Aprēaq Hūril. It tells the story of Aprēa of Setaik, a compassionate girl who improved the lives of those around her, only to end up dead under suspicious circumstances. Her followers believe that her hlāreis, a spirit of her will, was beyond that of all others. While lesser ones would have gone to rest in the afterlife, her’s would choose a different path, one that led her to become god of all mankind.  

The Common Tale

Over two thousand years and a hundred years ago on the shores of lake Clēqhuap there stood a crumbling town, torn apart by unrest and poverty. Setaik had been is a state of fear and distrust. Neighbours had no love for one another, parents deserted their helpless children, and corruption was rampant among those who promised to save the settlement from disaster.   Many of the wise men and women who had tried fighting for their homes had the fires of their passion extinguished. Through either the corruption of wealth and power or the dagger of an envious rival, few of those with good hearts and benevolent intentions survived.  

Birth of Hope

Years of misery had engulfed the decaying town for nearly five years, when a woman gave birth to a strange child. The girl’s eyes and locks were golden, a colour akin to the amber in the lake. This newborn girl had been unwanted, and people saw her as an oddity. Her mother, like all the Brelish, had dark hair, but few knew anything of the father for he had gone missing months before the birth and was otherwise a stranger from distant lands.    
The mother reluctantly looked after the amber girl, but after the 14th winter had passed, she abandoned her, hoping that the girl could look after herself. After around half a week of following her daughter in secret and making sure she was capable of surviving, the girl's mother left Setaik, never to be seen again.   The girl had suffered immeasurably under her mother’s roof, and despite being without home and hearth, she welcomed her newfound freedom. While physically healthy, the emotional trauma sustained during her childhood would continue to affect her.   From that day on, the amber-haired girl would go on to introduce herself as Abrea, the Galdic word for hope and a fairly unique name among her people.
Orange Pumpkin by Jessica Lewis

Waters of Amber

Here lies the water that has washed the skin of many a great man and woman, giving them hope and the strength to stay true to their hearts and to carry on against all odds. As our great god soaked the uninitiated before her ascension, so too shall I immerse you, daughter of the lake, in its loving water.
Ulea, Kireseria of Setaik
  Left without a home and with no possessions, Abrea wondered on the shores of the lake, contemplating her options. All her life she had known only the cruelty of others, and a part of her was tempted to live such a vindictive life, but her will was strong. In the soothing waters of the lake, a vision had come to her. She imagined her ideal society, one where the chaos of rulership could be organised in a way as to reduce the backstabbing and treachery that had left Setaik in shambles.    

Abrea's Gifts

All who attended the ritual were given an amber pendant which Abrea had crudely crafted from the golden amber she had collected on the shores of the lake. She believed that the lake’s amber would tie its wearer to the lake’s power.   Those first to wear the pendants did so in secret as to protect themselves from those who would wish to steal the amber from them.   Wearing the pendants became a core aspect and a display of one’s faith after it was popularised by Gilei Hillen during the War of the First March. He openly wore it at all times, and many of the men that followed him to battle did the same. As the Hillenist branch of Abreanism grew in popularity, so did the religious jewelry.
Abrea would live close to the lake for several years, miraculously surviving with nearly nothing at all. Every other day she went to the town market, hoping to bring about change through positivity and kindness. While many were too fixated on their daily struggles to be cheered up by some random urchin, there were some who found joy in Abrea’s compassion. A pair of struggling weavers, a carpenter, and a smith’s young son all listened to her and looked after her in return.   On the day of her 15th birthday, Abrea told the people who had learned to love her about the remarkable powers of the lake.   One by one, she guided them all by hand into the water, letting them feel the lake's warmth. In its waters, she spoke words of hope and defiance. After all was done, her companions had a sense of determination that nothing could shatter.

Saviour of Setaik

Along the shore of the lake, Abrea continued to tell her followers of her hopes and dreams for a better world. The numbers of attendants grew slowly which each passing month, but there were some who believed that the effects of her sermons would be more impactful if they were held in the town itself. Abrea was resistant to moving back to Setaik as she was hesitant to move away from the lake. It had become as close as family or a loved one to her, and Abrea felt better in its proximity.    
Potatoes by Marco Antonio Victorino
Aulaci, the blacksmith’s son who had been one of Abrea’s earliest followers, eventually agreed with those who wanted her in Setaik. As he was one of those closest to Abrea, Aulaci managed to successfully appeal to her sense of compassion by making her realise that through her teachings, Setaik could be saved.   Without a coin to her name, Abrea found shelter with Aulaci and his father in the attic of their home. Her other followers had assembled a list of people who they considered good, but in need of guidance. They were men and women who in their hearts were good and kind folk, but a lack of purpose and belonging was leading them down the wrong path.   Abrea instilled them all with a strong sense of core values and made them determined to save their settlement from the cycle of decay that was slowly killing the town. Some had found their goal quickly, while others took more convincing, but after a while most of them had sworn to save Setaik and to build a better future for their children.

Return to the Lake

Through Abrea’s actions, the town’s situation had begun to heal. Many of her followers ousted the corrupt tyrants who had bled the settlement’s denizens dry with their excessive taxation, and the newly established order followed the value of the teachings. Despite their success, Abrea felt melancholy and exhausted. A few weeks before her 18th birthday, Abrea snuck out in the early hours of the morning and ventured to the shores of the lake. While she had intended to go there unnoticed, Aulaci realised she had left and went looking for her as he sensed her troubles. By the time he had reached the site where Abrea once lectured him and the others on her ideas, Aulaci had seen no sign of her.  
He searched for over an hour, but to no avail. Eventually, as he was considering calling for aid or going home, the rising sun glinted off an anchor lodged into the mud.   Aulaci moved closed to investigate it, only to discover Abrea’s unmoving body close by. He ran toward her to see if she was still breathing, but before he could reach her, a colossal wave emerged from the water.   The aquatic entity towered over everything in the vicinity and as its height stabilised, it fell gently on Abrea. The wave had covered her and dragged her body back into the lake.
After realising what was happening, Aulaci tried running and swimming after Abrea, but the water was quick and it dragged her into the depths of a lake that was depthless. He yelled for aid and dived beneath the waves, but he was slow in the water and soon Abrea was out of sight.   When the nearby townsfolk who had heard Aulaci’s calls for aid rushed to the lake, they bore witness to a golden light emanating from deep under the water. In awe, they looked as the light moved around and whirled up to the sky. This, the witnesses believed, was a sign of her ascension. Abrea had left behind her mortal form to become god of all mankind.

Date of Setting
608 BA
Related Ethnicities
Related Locations
Related People
Related Organizations
Aprēaq Hūril
Organization | Jul 8, 2023

Aprēanism is a divided monotheistic religion that is split between three major branches.

Character | Jul 7, 2023

Aprēa was a human woman who ascended to divinity and became Goddess of Aprēanism

The Ascension of Hillen
Myth | Jul 7, 2023

The legend of how Saint Hillen sacrificed himself and his army to save the people of southern Lethea

Cover image: by Tom Gainor


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Master Brinsmead
Caitlin Phillips
11 Jul, 2021 16:18

This is such a beautiful tale. The ending in particular gave me chills, especially the line, "Abrea had left behind her mortal form to become god of all mankind."

Cait x
6 Aug, 2021 21:26

Beautiful myth. <3 This is really well told and well written, and also very sad.   *squints slightly less suspiciously at Aulaci*

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
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