First Principal

The Rayvahnite Church is run by one man and that man is Helphak Velde but he is not what you would expect of a Church leader. Before his story is told it must be understood that he is not a Pilgrim as such and that he is not a Politician at all and that whilst he signs the pieces of paper that make the church go round he is not truly in charge of it. Behind him the Faith of Rayvahn get on with their business and the Church ticks over with Helphak busy as an administrator rather than anything else. But that is not to say that he is the object of ridicule or that he is not respected, Velde commands the respect of every member of the faith and is a commanding if occasionally ill informed member of the Church and the Clergy.

Helphak was born at some point in the late 60’s or early 70’s as the Eleventh of Fifteen children born out of poverty in the back streets of Mallierunne. His mother was a prostitute working in horrific conditions for a criminal group called the Jackdaws, nothing more than a slave. His father was one of the faceless many that took advantage of the cheap prices offered by the Jackdaws who would not care if a whore fell pregnant. There was other work for them. Helphak was seen in his torment by a Pilgrim of Rayvahn called Milly Velde who spoke with the beaten and half starved child as to his circumstance. She asked him if he believed that he deserved his punishment and his answer was clear: He did not but he knew of those that did. Milly decided to return with the boy to the Temples and saw her way to cleaning him up feeding him and asking the boy a question: What kind of man will you be?

The next morning twenty Jettatura and a boy kicked down a door in Blades Street and entered a building in which foolish people drew quick blades against them. Slowly they began to mete out punishment to those deserving and freedom to those that did not. Some tried to flee but found their way barred by Woundbringers desperate to demonstrate the virtue of their title. Helphak saw his mother freed but no recognition in her eyes and felt no despair, she had suffered so that others, later, would not. Instead he returned to the task that he had set himself. Milly watched the boy recording the confessions, goods recovered and statements that were being made in his notebook with great efficiency. When she enquired who had taught him to write and what he was doing he replied with three answers: They did which is justice because I am recording their sins so that they can be punished to the full extent the law allows for every, single act that they committed. That is the kind of man I am, although kind should not be used in a sentence used to describe that man.

More than impressed Milly took the boy into the church and adopted him as her son intending to train him as a Jettatura as she was. Helphak was a boy and later a man of extreme faith, moulded by his youth and she respected that but a PIlgrim he was not. Despite her training efforts he returned time and again to his books; record and account keeping, not just for his temple but as weights and measures of the souls of those that had committed sins and deserved punishment. The level of spite that was directed at those that crossed swords with Emily Velde were in for an exact and horrific level of punishment that was truly deserving of their crimes. Sadly Helphak learned the next lesson of hopelessness when his adopted mother was murdered in 1987 whilst the Churches were still in flux by hands still unknown save the mark of the Jackdaw burned into her forehead and any chances to return her to life removed. Helphak swore revenge but his talents and skills did not lie in the area of one gifted in hunting down his enemies and time moved on leaving the murder unsolved and his mothers soul lonely and lost. This has weighed on him.

Helphak was promoted through the quiet and unobtrusive path of the scribe and record keeper slowly and methodically doing his job and keeping much of the Church ticking over on his own. He was a loyal defender of the faith of Rayvahn during their long exile from the Royal Basin, speaking openly, clearly and with fervour in defence of the sanctity of his Goddess to the unbelievers. In truth, after the death of his mother, his role in the Church had become little more than a custodians one, keeping track of religious texts and artefacts as the faith moved from hidden location to hidden location. However he became instrumental in the return of the Church into the Duchies; brokering the deals and arrangements that has seen the clergy slot almost seamlessly back into the position that it now holds. The senior members of the Church acknowledged his role and rose him in rank once more but moved him to a similar role only this time without the need for secrecy and a drive to endure the survival of the faith.

Once they were ensconced once more in the politics of the Royal Basin and the Clergy the End of Hope soon realised that they were out of their depth. Too long away from the cut and thrust of the established churches they found themselves losing ground, underfunded and underrepresented wherever they tried to achieve anything. Several transitions of power took place which almost threw the church apart until someone remembered the man that had bought them to their rightful place in the first place. When the transition was complete Velde seemed to naturally retain the reigns of leadership and has continued to organise and maintain the Church on a day to day basis. The council make their choices and decisions regarding religious matters and the direction of his church and if believes they are correct he will sign off on them if not then he will seek out those responsible for the considered errors.

Velde has very little ambition of his own so it is generally suspected or known that he is a figurehead for the Church. His position is one of maintenance and of the government of the resources at the Churches disposal. He is served by a ceaselessly shifting council of pilgrims and politicians who represent the Church at Clergy and at Court, a notable member of this council, for example, is Sebastian Blackthorne who is the mortal host for the angel Bloodtear. It is well known that they serve the ambitions and of the Mistress and protect her faith and belief in the arenas that have become their new home. That is what is suspected but behind the calm demeanour and the sharp eyes there is a Rayvahnite, a boy born to a nameless slave on the streets of Mallierunne but who turned out to be the son of Emily Velde who was of the line of Velde who served at the leisure of the Mistress since the first days.

Last updated byHolly Goodall