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Oran Helting

Oran Helting was the only child of a scribe from Lomont, the capital of Areia in the far north west of The Prelates. From an early age he took to his letters and would read everything he could find about the history of his country and of the land.

He became fascinated by the various beliefs known as Oelcraeft and from a teenager took to riding for many leagues making notes about how people paid tribute to the spirits, who believed in the idea of a one god and what effect belief had on society. His early notes on Oelcraeft probably make up one of the most thorough records of that ancient, rural belief.

In his mid-twenties he returned home and headed on a personal pilgrimage to the North Hoar Ridge and attempted to walk to Hoar North, not realising how far distant it truly was. He was to write later that the folly of youth needed to be guarded against as he realised how nearly he had died.

He was caught in a deadly ice storm and took refuge in a cave and it was here that he claimed to have his first revelation. In this "moment of clarity" as he described it, he said he looked upon the true thought of god and realised that humans had lost their way over thousands of years.

After the storm abated, Helting decided to remain in the cave in thought and "with a sense of urgency fueled by my own mortality," as he would write,  built up a huge stock of wood and hunted animals to sustain him.

He then remained in the cave for a full year.

On his return he would say little of what had occurred during this period except that he had been left with many answers and no remaining questions. Asking his father to take him in, as he had missed the death of his mother, he locked himself in his room and wrote the first of his works, the Gielefa Sinde, or Belief in the Origin.

In this work he formulated a creation theory and stated that humans were the original species and all others, including all animals and plants, came after. 

After he completed this work, he started touring local villages, reading out the confusing stories in exchange for food. However, he proved to be a master storyteller and though many did not fully understand his words, they enjoyed his performance and his reputation grew.

During this time he says that he was plagued by questions from others, questions he himself had either not thought about or had discarded as irrelevant, and he began to feel inadequate and that he had misunderstood his own visions. He returned to the mountains and this time was gone for three years.

When he returned, he was thin and starving and his eyes were said to be dark. But he was amazed to find that even with his absence his stories had continued to be told. His father had died and a neighbour had found Helting's writings and he and friends had copied them out and travelled the countryside reading them. They had travelled considerably further than had Helting and his reputation was now reaching halfway across the continent.

Helting, far from pleased, locked himself in his father's house and refused to meet anyone.  The house was in terrible condition, was cold and leaked and Helting was near starvation. Eventually the neighbour, a man called Riceman,  persuaded Helting to let him in and the two spoke for many hours.

Oran Helting then decided to complete his Mantras, a work he had started in the cave. Riceman took Helting into his own home, gave him a study and said he would feed him.

On completion of the works that would later make up the Gielefa Geth, the Belief in Words, Helting once again started touring the villages.  This time he would simply read out the mantras in a quiet voice while the few would listen and let the words wash over them "like a wave."

Under the protection of Riceman and a growing number of supporters, Helting travelled widely, but his time in the north had left him scarred and he found socialising with others difficult.

During this period he declared the existence of the True God, saying that the Oeling was false and an invention of the lesser creatures like dragons. Riceman had insisted the Helting rewrite his original work, the Gielefa Sinde, simplifying the stories.  The two men argued long over the need for clarity and eventually fell out. Helting continued to read his stories from his original manuscript, but Riceman rewrote what he thought of as the key stories of creation and the True God and these he distributed without Helting's knowledge.

It is not clear whether Helting ever really understood what Riceman had done, but modern scholars have commented that Ricemans simpler retellings were surprisingly close to the originals.

Much to his puzzlement, Helting was gaining almost god-like status, even being declared as a prophet or the "loved one" of the True God.  In his later years, Helting wrote a further book called the Edimed Bern (pron. ay-dee-med bairn), The Humble Warrior. In it he described that humans were the first of creatures, but they had been wanton in their ways and it would take a millennia to atone.  He said all, be they priests, lords, serfs, slaves or even himself, must walk with heads lowered at all opportunity. He said that the other peoples of Dirt, the Dragons and the Callistons would never walk so and this would condemn them.

This declaration cause schisms in the already difficult relations between Humans and the Hexapod peoples and he was forced by some of his followers to say that all could be equally humble before the True God.

Shortly after this Helting became ill with a water sickness. He asked his friends to return him to his cave in the the mountains of the north. They left him with provisions and plenty of firewood and he insisted that they leave and never return.

The three men, often referred to in the church as the Bisgen, those who cared, never revealed the location of the cave and they took the secret to their death. Helting was never seen again.

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Character Details
  • Name: Oran Helting
  • Pron: o-ran hel-ting
  • Skill: Priest / Philosopher
  • People: Human
  • First Appearance: Bloody Dirt