Wave Temples of Alao
Travelling along the road to Welgis, your caravan stops over in a small village along the Arta River. When you arrive, the people of the town are in the streets, cheering and dancing. You've apparently stumbled on a festival of some kind. You wander the large central plaza of the town, surrounding a large stage. It has large blue banners hanging from it and crossing over the plaza. They flutter in the wind, giving the impression of a flowing river travelling in midair from windows of the inn across from the stage. On the stage itself, there are three chairs, each filled by a person in dark-blue robes. After a few moments, one of the people, a man with long brown hair, gets up from his seat and strides across the stage so that he is in full view of the crowd. He taps a finger to his ear, and the crowded people begin to quiet down. "Thank you all for coming tonight." he says with authority. "I would like to say a few words before we really begin the Spring Festival." A few scattered cheers come up from the crowd, but he barely reacts. "The winter has been hard here in our little village. I know this, as me and my acolytes," he gestures to the two other people behind him, "worked hard to deal with the disease that swept through in Sarquil. But we would not have been able to do it without the cooperation of the rest of you. You have truly pleased Alao this year. The Sea-Shaper continues to bless us, regardless of how much we deserve it." He pauses briefly, then continues. "Remember Alao's mantra!" he shouts, and a few scattered cheers come from the crowd. "When the waters rise, don't forget each other!" You hear at least a hundred people repeat it after him, and you catch yourself repeating the words. Then cheers erupt from the crowd as the priest smiles brightly.
Mythology & Lore
The Wave Temples ascribe to the usual mythology of Orkanis; they believe in the creation of the world from the void of space by the gods, the imprisonment of the Chained Ones, the corruption leading to the First War, etc. More specifically, they have a more complete history of the chief god Alao. They believe that He cured many people of blindness in the deserts of Kahari, that He built the first Wave Temple on the banks of the Arta River and that He places great faith in the De'arian people.
The compassionate nature of the Wave Temples means that they are against corruption, against obscene wealth, and completely for the aid of the homeless and starving. Homeless people often congregate around the Wave Temples, and larger towns usually have a homeless shelter nearby. They are also focused on helping the sick and ailing, and makeshift hospitals in the region in times of war are often run by the Wave Temples. A temple of Alao is a common place to turn to for those seeking medical help in settlements without proper doctors or hospitals, and most temples will perform minor cures and medical care for free.
The organization of the temples is based around each temple's Wavepriest. To become a Wavepriest, one must be in the temple's for a minimum of ten years. Sometime following this period, the truly faithful will be visited by an avatar of Alao, whether that be an image of him, an angel, or some other divine portent. At that point, they are considered a proper Wavepriest, and they can either take over an elderly Wavepriest's role or make their own temple elsewhere. A Wavepriest will be served by many acolytes. They aid him in his daily tasks and provide help to the sick and starving. Many are young men and women from the local area who have taken vows, but sometimes kind-hearted lay folk do these tasks in the absence of the ordained acolytes.
Granted Divine Powers
Wavepriests and faithful acolytes are commonly granted small miracles by Alao, such as being able to cure minor wounds and cure diseases with a touch. This ties into their role as helpers and healers, as they are very commonly in contact with the wounded and the sick. Very rarely, a soldier in the service of the temple will be made a Wave Paladin, a rank that comes with significant powers. Many of these powers reflect the fact that Alao is also the god of the weather, and lightning and thunder powers are not uncommon among these individuals.
Political Influence & Intrigue
Due to the enforced separation of church and state in the Republic of De’ari-Bomsi, the Wavepriests and other religious leaders are not allowed to influence elections for a given town's Throne. However, they have a significant indirect influence on the region, as every local town and village has a Wave Temple in it and they are the major purveyor of festivals and therefore speeches.
(all references to Alao in this article refer to the god Ala'inwë, and the two are commonly interchangeable in temple parlance.)
Tenets of the FaithThe Wavepriests and their followers are guided by Alao's main mantra: "When the waves rise, don't forget each other." It means that even when times are prosperous, they must be prepared to help one another. In addition they also preach the following ideals, among others:
- Be kind to strangers, for they will be kind in return;
- Provide help where you can, and do not turn away those seeking help; and
- Absolution can be attained by aiding those in need.
WorshipWave Temples are open every day, as part of their mandate to help anyone needing it. A service is commonly held just before any major festival and every couple of days otherwise, depending on the availability of the Wavepriest. A given service can include a general prayer to those needing help, as well as a discussion about the power of compassion. Everyday worship of Alao usually looks like helping others, as Alao privileges deeds over mere words. Of course, many people go to a Wave Temple to pray for rain, for good crops in the spring and good health for their family and friends.
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