Return of the Godspell
Journey Man, The Walker, The Gift-Giver, Taleweaver, The Humble Stranger, The Weary
LESSER POWER OF THE REALMS BEYOND, NG
PORTFOLIO: Travelers, Guides, Adventure, Curiosity
DOMAIN NAME: None
ALLIES: * The Children of the Glades, Aurlarist, Ausarii, Ganlarid, Marlon, Nemaria
*FOES: * The Orphans of the Fens, Lestonises, Ostensis,
*SYMBOL: An open road, the sides of which are lined with trees or bushes, that leads to an open horizon. The trees or bushes may be of different colors depending on the season.
WORSHIPPERS’ ALIGNMENT: Neutral good or Chaotic good
One of the oldest and widely-acknowledged Aldra, Helias is also one of the least understood and propritiated. Called on by travelers and questers across the continent-realm, Helias is very much a seen as a fair-weather friend by the vast majority of humen, even those who claim the path of goodness. However, Helias could care less; although he is perpetually weary for his travels, the Humble Stranger travels eternally, rarely stopping in one place for too long as he quests for the Unknown Mystery of the Cosmos.
Helias believes that existence is a perpetual journey. This journey does not necessarily need to lead anywhere definitive; rather, the journey in-and-of itself is what matters. Of course, some journeys are better than others; occasions in which the traveler either learns something new and fantastic or can in turn teach something new and fantastic to others is what determines the quality of the journey. However, Helias promotes the idea that the journey must be one in which a certain degree of propriety is recognized. Helias frowns upon intrusive behaviors from travelers, and believes that for every kindness a journeyman receives, a kindness must be offered in return. Conversely, those who travel peacefully and without threat must be treated with respect and kindness. Consequently, the Humble Stranger is the bringer-of-gifts and the teller-of-tales; simultaneously, he is ever Weary, always seeking a comfortable place to rest his head and a hearth to warm his hands. Those who would ignore the peaceful overtures Helias offers are, at best, unworthy of his kindness or wisdom; at worst, those who seek to commit harm to those who travel encounter a firm, sometimes deadly, response. Even worse are those who travel the roads to bring woe and misery; these, as far as Helias is concerned, are nothing more than ravenous beast who must be cast down to make the road safe so that the journey may continue unabated.
According to the Cilidian, Helias is a “traditional” Aldra. Indeed, the various passages suggest that he is older than all but Aurlarist, Churarbus, and Thore Mire. He appears in stories in which those Aldra of goodly bend find themselves lost in whatever travails they find themselves, offering (often unintended or at least indirect) advice. What is always consistent in these tales is that Helias is encountered in glades and springs. The learned believe that Helias was originally one of the Children of the Glades, the so-called elven pantheon, before he was subsumed into the Aldra pantheon. This theory is supported by Helias’s historical isolation from the rest of the Aldra. The earliest tales of Helias can be found not in chirpto or sapien lands, but in the earliest written elven and kin records (which date back to the Second Age). Among the elves, Helias is mentioned as friend, or even elder relative, to Talamas; the bulk of these tales emerge from the A’Grabath and B’Ain Kingdoms, who continue to venerate Helias to some degree and certainly more than the other elven groups. Still, Helias is mentioned in a few stories told by the earliest Mandelites, Yahillians, and even in the very oldest Vhendimmothian legends. In these cases, worship of Helias stopped after the various groups settled in one area, which accounts for why he finds very little support in lands dominated by sapiens even to this day. Indeed, his ancient dominion in Worm’s Wood (when the forest stretched from the Bainland peninsula to the Eastern Vale) greatly weakened after the Curoborian duruban settled the area, and all but disappeared among sapiens when the progenitors of the Kingdom of Bainland arrived in the Age of Darkness.
Some find it odd that Helias was not recognized by the earliest Kharsis Desert refugees who traveled through the Great White Blast; however, the oldest Helias tales always place him in forest, woods, and lush savannahs, not arid deserts.
Elves and kin continue to be Helias’s most populous worshippers, respecting the freedom to explore and experience he represents. Aside from Ganlarid, Helias receives the greatest amount of respect from the kin. Sapiens, particularly those of a mercantile bend, go out of their way to pray to Helias in his guise as the defender of their life’s journey. While elves and kin both frown on this interpretation of The Walker, it is this representation that dominates most sapien views of the god. Helias also finds a great deal of support from traveling performers and bards, and is believed to inspire them with his own wander-driven experiences. Rangers are also often drawn to Helias, particularly those who live in the depths of places like Worm’s Wood or the Great Green. Oddly, he is not especially popular with chirpto; some believe this is due to the lack of flight association while others point to his decidedly altruistic, rather than self-centered, dogma.
Worshippers of Helias are often called Helians, although the actual clerics have a wide variety of names, the most common being world-walkers and dust-cloaks. They are traveling men and women in every sense of the word, and rarely stay in one place for more than a year. They are particularly rare in anything larger than a medium-sized town, and seek to pass through cities with as much haste as possible, fearful that the wonder of civilization will dull their wanderlust. Consequently, there are few established churches or temples to Helias in the continent-realm. Those that exist tend to be hostels on the outskirts of hamlets, villages, and towns that provide succor to weary travelers. On the open road, world-walkers often establish small shelters and shrines in the hollows of large trees, caves, and springs that only the most knowledgeable can find with ease. Still, the more transient attitude among Helians has been changing with the expansion of modern civilization and, in the Wynding River Valley, the proliferation of the Ministry. In these areas, there is a very small, but slowly growing of Helians who actively promote the view of Helias as the guide to a better life. Such Helians are found only among sapiens and in the larger towns and cities of the Kingdom of Bainland, Sal-Emprius, Carthrons, and Sambs. So far, there has been no real conflict between the traditional Helians and the New View Helians (as they refer to themselves), and some believe there never will be given the very decentered nature of the religion. Given their propensity to offer shelter and aid to travelers, the Ministry has historically turned a blind-eye to Helians of all types despite their infidel status. In fact, there are some in the Ministry who view Helias as an angelic servant of Faeynas, one who escorts those ready to be cleanse of evil to the Eternal Spring. Whether or not this perspective of Helias persists, much less becomes embraced, within the Ministry is uncertain.
Unsurprisingly, Helians do not share many holy days. Indeed, it is likely they share just one: the Great Gift Giving. Tied to the decent of winter and the certainty of a chilly death for those exposed to the elements, the earliest Helians would arrive at the homes of any who hung bundles of wheat, sacks of grain, or some other food-stuff outside their houses. If they were offered solace by those homeowners, the Helians would bless them with gifts and blessings before departing. Clearly a kinder approach to a similar tradition espoused by the worshippers of Lestonises to the far north, this tradition eventually become detached from Helias specifically, and is a ritual followed by almost all sapiens, elves, and kin who live in the Mandelite, Wynding River, and Golden Plains areas Under the Crown. The variations of the Great Gift Giving always include the arrival of a tired, nameless old traveler with a great beard who gives wonderful gifts to those that offer him shelter. The Great Gift Giving is typically practices during the last 21 days of the year.
Helias is allied to all of the goodly Aldra and finds little reason to be at enmity with most of the neutral. He is especially close to Ganlarid, the Son of Summer, and Nemaria, the Falcon Queen. Although he respects Iycarthis and finds himself offering suggestions to make the most of mercantile enterprises, Helias finds the Coinmonger too consumed with wealth to spend any more time with him than necessary. He also has a somewhat ambivalent with the Four Children and Mastrum; on the one hand, he appreciates when they do not cause the elements to threaten his children’s wanderings, on the other hand, he knows how mercurial all of them can be. He gets along quite well with Pyaras, Marlon, and Ausarii, admiring their attitudes, but finds Thore Mire a bit too stodgy and Churarbus as tad too gloomy. Helias is friendly with Aurlarist, appreciating her bounty; still, he occasionally admonishes her for being too considered with what he views as an artificial balance within Nature. Unsurprisingly, Helias is very close to the Children of the Glade, his supposed relations. Many Elven Bards’ Tales represent him as a close friend, or even elder relative, of Talamas to whom he offers guidance and assistance when the King of Elves runs afoul of the Orphans of the Fens, whom Helias counts among his greatest foes. He also despises Ostensis, whom he believes is one of the greatest threats to the open road. He also little love for Lestonises, disgusted with how the Duke of Winter makes the coldest months as terrible as possible.
Depictions of Helias always show him dressed comfortably for long travels; he is often wearing animal pelts and carrying just the right amount of supplies. However, his coloring and appearance change depending upon the seasons. In the spring, he is a preadolescent boy with sandy, red hair and bright blue eyes. In the summer is a healthy, young man with burning red hair and a powerful physique. Come the fall, Helias’s face is weathered, his hair graying at the temples, and he walks with a slight limp. By the winter, he is an old man with white hair, a cane, and a great bag filled with the goods he has found during his journey that he will give to those who give him shelter. In all cases, he bears strong elven features save for the beard he that grows in the fall and eventually flows to the ground in white tresses in the winter; he is always pleasant, ready to tell a tale, and carries some kind of instrument (that changes depending on the society in which he’s represented). Likewise, he speaks with a melodic voice.