Protector of the Faith
A cheerful lad he was, so full of life and joy. Then the war came to us, and everything changed.Taepke Juoveni was an Aeth who led a revolt against the Rahyamin Empire in a struggle to protect the Followers of the Oakroot. He was known as a holy warrior and a leader of the faithful who perished valiantly in battle, defending one of the sacred oaks and inspiring further action against religious discrimination which eventually resulted in the freedom of religion within the empire. Several families across Pekkola have claimed to be descendants of the heroic figure as being from such a renowned bloodline is a sign of one's prestige and piety.
FamilyBorn sometime in the year 173 AU to Vootele and Majja, a couple that lived in a shabby hut in Käraste, Taepke spent most of his early life learning to get by with fishing. As he grew older, he and his father renovated their house, extending it to house more people. The additional rooms allowed Taepke to get married without worrying about their previously cramped living space. In 192 AU, when Taepke was 19-years-old, the young man married a girl from a nearby farm named Siiri Seppala. The couple had two sons, Arp and Ihatõiv.
Vootele's EndFor most of his life, Taepke had been aware that a great power had emerged from the south and his parents warned him that one day their armies could arrive in Aethelland. By 189 AU, when he was 16-years-old, the forces of the Rahyamin Empire marched on his hometown. He and his father were called to defend their homeland.
Battle of KärasteThe father and son had spears and makeshift shields as they stood in formation. At the beginning of the conflict, they were able to stick together, but as the imperial cataphracts clashed into their ranks, chaos broke out. The defending formations disintegrated as the battle roared on and all while Taepke looked for his father. He eventually found him bleeding on the ground as the battle drew to a close. With the guardians of Käraste fleeing for their lives, Taepke grabbed his father and hobbled along towards their home.
Final YearsVootele's severe injuries had left him crippled and barely hanging on to life. As his father lay in bed, Taepke sought guidance from the local diviners who tried connecting their spirits with the nearby ancient oak. He had to wait there for half a day before one of the diviners would speak to him. She claimed that the Oakroot knew of ways that could prolong Vootele's life which involved hotpink juniper berries, but his end was still to arrive in the coming years. Taepke cared for his father by feeding him the berries he had foraged until his eventual death in 193 AU. During that period he had also developed an interest in the Oakroot, a collection of massive oak trees scattered throughout Pekkola that are all connected to a joint root system. Such trees and the Oakroot were divine to Taepke and his people, but seeing the seers at work reinvigorated his interest in the faith.
Revolt LeaderIn the year 200 AU, local Rahya authorities began enforcing their laws on the practice of local religions. Guards were posted next to the oak, and all of the diviners faced the flames of the pyre. The actions infuriated the native Aeths, including Taepke. The Rahyamin Empire answered calls for religious freedom with threats of destruction targeted toward the sacred oak. That provocation was enough to convince Taepke to defend his faith.
The Oaken RevoltAfter assembling a band of a few dozen men, Taepke launched his first assault against the foreign conquerors, defeating the guards at the oak. With such an important holy site secured, more and more flocked to him, and soon they were numerous enough to liberate Käraste itself. With over a thousand men mustered into his army, Taepke led the revolt towards Talvela, the Rahya seat of power in Aethelland. He believed that despite their lower numbers and inferior equipment, they would still be able to take the city quickly with the assistance of the locals.
A pest has risen up amongst the Aeth. Crush these rodents, disembowel his followers in front of his eyes to teach him a lesson and then bring him here. The peace our empire brings to the world must be kept, and dissidents who would endanger others shall face the consequences of their selfishness.
Death and LegacyTaepke Juoveni perished in the second battle of Käraste, dying alongside the rest of his men in a valiant fight. Despite the crushing defeat, his death would go on to inspire more uprisings across Pekkola which eventually ended with the Rahyamin Empire granting them the right to free worship.
The Fallen OakThe sacred oak that Taepke had died fighting for had met a similar end as its protector. It was chopped down hours after the battle, infuriating more of the natives and encouraging them to follow in Taepke's footsteps. After the empire's collapse, a statue of Taepke Juoveni was erected beside the stump to honour the deeds he did for the Followers of the Oakroot.
Fate of the FamilySeveral days after Taepke's death, Rahya authorities arrested and hanged his wife, Siiri, but the couple's two young sons had managed to escape with their grandmother. Reports from the period indicate that Majja took her grandsons to Lointen, hoping that they could grow up there without having to fear for their lives.
Aeths are an ambitious people who excel at skirmishing and raiding. They are native to woodlands and fertile fields of Aethelland and Lointen
Followers of the Oakroot
The Followers of the Oakroot worship a collection of massive oak trees scattered throughout Pekkola that are all connected to a joint root system