Kithairien: Hierarchy

Each tribe has several priests of the Runner. They are often referred within the tribes as the Falcon's Feathers, when spoken about. There is little formal education of the priests of Kithairien. The dogma of Kithairien is well recited in the tribes and all the children of the wild elves learn it in their first years. When one of the tribe priests identify young wild elves who show potential, the young are given a few years training in certain practices unique to each tribe. They are also trained in the basics of healing with herb and salve, along with knowledge of plant and animals. However, as soon as the young prove competent, they are called priest by the elder priest and set to learn the rest of Kithairien's teachings in the land on their own.

A small tribal ceremony is conducted followed by a celebration, which often, but not always, includes tattooing of the new priest with symbols representing that which is close to his heart. In addition, the priest will sometimes take a new name to represent this new stage in his life. These newly ordained Feathers take a pilgrimage out into the wilds. For some it's communion with their patron, for others it's a quest for acceptance by Kithairien. The only thing that each pilgrimage has in common is that the priests vanish out into the world's wild places, sometimes as long as several decades. In life, Kithairien held the open plains closest to his heart. However, his people have spread out across the world and now travel mountains, deserts, woods, and plains. Guided by nothing but their curiosity, it is these pilgrimages that sometimes led to splinter groups moving into new areas. It is also during this time that the priests of Kithairien begin to carve their ceremonial spears for the rare occasions that they might be needed.

Few outsiders ever see wild elves or the solitary priests of the Runner, as they tend to roam far from places inhabited by those not of their race. From time to time however, solitary explorers have stumbled across small settlements or even roaming bands of migrants. As a result, there are a few non-wild elf followers of Kithairien. At first glance, these followers might be treated as less then equals. But if they prove themselves true to the dogma of the Runner, they can achieve respect among the tribes. These followers, however, tend to be extremists to the call of living free. Most converts to the Runner become priests rather then just simple followers. Much of what they learn is from the land itself and rarely from an actual teacher. These zealots to the cause tend not to dodge the non-believers as much as a wild elf might. It is not unheard of for them to stop and share their faith with those who would inquire.

In addition to their outspoken behavior, non-elf followers change much about themselves upon their conversion. They may take up new names and sometimes tattoo themselves as the tribes do; though, the symbols are generally not elvish by nature. Their style of dress also shifts, taking on colors that blend them into the land they inhabit. All of these things in defiance against what ever boundaries held them in their previous life.

There are a few records of supposed wild men living in the more dangerous regions of Layonara who are actually solitary priests of Kithairien. They do not appear as lithe elvish followers, instead these solitary priests are seen as shaggy, unshaven illdressed ruffians.

Elections and Organizations

It is unknown exactly, even to his own people, how Kithairien became a god. Though they were delighted at his ascension and have widely varying legends, they have no explanation. He worked most of his life to establish what he called the old ways for his people. His establishment of the wild elf tribes was an effort to bring the race back to what it was supposed to be in his eyes. He was opposed by many in his mortal life, but a slow trickle of elves began to hear and agree with his message. His life's work resulted in the forming of a large tribe of elves seeking out these old ways. In those days it is said that he called no one higher or lower then himself, that all were brother, sister, kin. It is due to this that his devout consider themselves equal to the rest of their people. While the priests of the Falcon are afforded respect, they never demand better status. Since it was started before the splintering of the first tribe, this tradition is one of the few that remains constant amongst the tribes. When inhibitions are frowned upon, and personal freedom made a tenet of religion, many disagreements occur. However, because of their belief system, they simply splinter and move to new areas rather then dissolving into civil war or other such tragedies. The original tribe, called Runner's Children, led the way for many segments to eventually stretch out and explore many of the continents. Though these elves left the continent of Voltrex, after the destruction of their first, last, and only city, they are still called kin and often referred to as cousins.

Those who pledge their lives to the Falcon are looked upon as great achievers within the tribe and believed to have the Falcon's prowess. No priest is respected more or less than the other unless he himself has achieved some great feat or folly in his life that the tribe may judge him for. Occasionally, the feat or folly will be known to several of the tribes. A final duty of the Falcon's Feathers is to attend to the tribe's well being. There are times when they are called upon to be more than hunters and act as diplomats'this happens when disagreements occur and the tribes turn to those who have the Runner's ear and call upon them to settle differences.