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Saints of the Realms
By Frank Penca
Not every church in the Realms recognizes saints. There are, in fact, only thirty-five accepted saints in the history of Faerun. Some of these include:
St. Yurani of Marsember
Yurani is the only saint accepted by the church of Bane, and recently her sainthood was also recognized by the church of Iyachtu Xvim. She was a paladin and Cormyrean admiral in the seventh century DR. She was involved in a love affair with a merchant marine who was secretly allied with a large group of pirates. The pirates defeated Yurani in several naval engagements and Yurani was made to look as though she had thrown the battles on purpose. Thrown out of the court and emotionally hurt by the charges, Yurani became a mercenary and began to betray many state secrets to the pirates. She lost her paladin-hood (she is a figure in several liturgies of Tyr, her former patron) and took up the worship of Bane. She committed many evil acts, specializing in sabotage. Yurani is said to have won a staring contest with a beholder, thus earning Bane’s eternal favor. She is also said to have walked the deck of every ship from Waterdeep to Ulgarth, and sunk every one that did not meet with her approval. Many older ships often bear "Yurani’s mark," a small notch in the upper mast of the ship which shows the ship meets with Yurani’s favor and was a sign to the gods that it should not be sunk. These are fewer and further between since the death of Bane in the Time of Troubles.
Other stories of Yurani continue to stress the amorous side of her character, with talk of her having many lovers and jilting them all. Canon states that Yurani began to meet with Bane on every full moon, where Bane commanded her to do many tyrannical acts for the next month. She is considered by the Orthodox church in Mulmaster to have actually had an affair with Bane, but this is not widely accepted outside the orthodoxy. All the tales of her end with her being polymorphed into a black dragon, though the "how" of this varies greatly. Most stories say that she died in a fire-fight over Marsember around 1100DR with several (fifty or more) watch wizards (the death of a black dragon did historically happen here, but her name remains unknown). There are some claims that she is still alive, in her dragon form, where she patiently waits for Bane to return and tell her what to do next, though the mere fact that she has been sainted would seem to suggest that she has died. There is a claim among the Church of Iyachtu Xvim that she is the Godson’s mother, and an official proclamation on this matter is soon expected.
St. Hobark the Aged
Hobark was a mage who is considered to be the pioneer in field of metamagic. He is a saint in the church of Azuth and, more recently, Mystra. He learned magic first when he was in his thirties, relatively late by almost every standard. Magic did not come easily to him, and he is said to have struggled with even the most basic spell formulae. His tutor, a wizard named Istan, understood his passion for learning and recognized his brilliant theoretical mind, and refused to give up on his pupil. After years of trying almost everything conceivable to help Hobark work magic, Istan created several new divination spells which revealed the problem: Hobark’s mind processed letters, numbers, and symbols in different ways than they appeared when written. After this realization, Hobark began to approach magic in an entirely different fashion. He, in essence, used his vast knowledge of theory to create an entirely new written form of magic. This magic, like Southern magic, is totally indecipherable to those who do not have a special form of "read magic."
The student quickly surpassed the teacher, though Istan is also considered a genius for his work in "translating" Hobark’s spells. Hobark is also the only person to have created "Amulets of Metaspell Influence" in the Realms, and first created the "Amulets of Perpetual Youth" (Hobark regretted his late start in life, and sought immortality). Almost all metamagical spells are attributed to Hobark by the church of Azuth, regardless of the historical Netherese origin of many of these (some stories say that Hobark time traveled back to early Netheril and unveiled a few spells under the alias Zwei, though there is little evidence to show this). Hobark’s last days are marked by his creation of a new spell which transforms a person’s body into pure energy and allows the soul to merge with the land. He traveled to Arcadia, cast the spell, and forever became a part of the land of Azuth. The church of Azuth idealizes Hobark’s ingenuity and places special emphasis on the ability of one mage to change the scope of magic forever. Mystra’s clergy has only recently recognized Azuth as a saint, because even though his story is more one of magic than of mages, Azuth was his patron. Some members of the church of Azuth want to make Istan a saint as well for his work on making many of these spells available to the public, though this is not likely to happen, and it certainly will not happen among the Mystran faith.
Preskatt is a saint among the churches of Milil and Sune. Preskatt is considered to be the son of the two gods, although he was not conceived, but rather created. The two gods were involved one day in a spirited debate over what would make the perfect human. They decided to see if they couldn’t create the perfect man. Sune borrowed (in some stories, stole) from Lathander the beauty and warmth of the morning’s first ray of sunlight to make the body, and Milil asked a phoenix named Jresadt to sacrifice himself to be the soul and voice of the new man. The ashes of the phoenix were bathed in the sunlight, and from the ashes, Preskatt emerged.
He appeared to be twenty-one years old, physically perfect, and he had flaming red shoulder-length hair which never stopped moving. His skin glowed with a soft, rosy radiance, and his eyes were soft and knowing. Preskatt, as he named himself, departed the planes where he was created and headed for Toril to see the beauties that man could create. He arrived in the Prime in Rashesmen. In his heart, he felt a calling inside of him to journey west. He began to walk on foot ever west. As he did, he composed songs about all of the sights he saw along the way. These songs were so beautiful Preskatt attracted growing numbers of people to his side he followed him on his westward journey. These people recorded his impromptu vocal songs and observed that with each song, his skin glowed more and more brightly. Preskatt arrived in Athkatla two years after first reaching Toril, with over fifteen hundred people by his side.
Upon seeing the ocean for the first time, Preskatt sang a song about the beauty of the site. Observers said that his skin became increasingly bright until everyone present had to shield their eyes. With the last few beautiful notes, his voice faded away. The people opened their eyes, and found that Preskatt was no where to be seen. He had apparently consumed himself in the glory of his own existence. The term Preskatt’s Pilgrims today refers to any person who abandons his way of life in order to peruse an ultimately short-term goal. The body of music (contained within six two-hundred page volumes in the accepted text) left behind by his followers is considered to be among the finest ever penned. None are specifically set to music, though several works are commonly associated with music written after the fact. Though his involvement with music is strong, it should be noted that the vast majority of the people who flocked to him considered themselves Sunites. There is documented proof of Preskatt’s existence from Rashesmen down south through Turmish west to Amn from the years 1009 to 1011 DR.
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