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    Faith in the County of Ulek - The Church of Yondalla
    Posted on Mon, June 09, 2003 by Legate
    MerricB writes "Additional information on the County of Ulek, this time focusing on the Church of Yondalla in the County, its relationships with the other faiths in the County and the Count himself, as well as its importance to the halfling inhabitants of the land.

    Faith in the County of Ulek - The Church of Yondalla
    by MerricB

    (Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.)

    It is commonly believed by human scholars that the County of Ulek holds the heart of the halfling worship of Yondalla. It is unlikely that the halflings believe so, for they are a practical race who rarely produce great scholars or thinkers, and such contemplations are beyond them. However, it was in Ulek that existed a paladin of the halfling race, and it is there that his legacy continues.

    Both the Principality and County of Ulek are strong centres of the halfling race. Exactly when the halfling settled in the Sheldomar Valley is a mystery to me and other scholars, but it is known that they suffered terribly during the reign of Vecna the Terrible - most fleeing to the mountains to the east and west. The halflings that fled to the east, to the lands we now know as Ulek, made common cause with the gnomes of the hills, an alliance that persists to this day in the County.

    During the Five Year Famine - which is how the halflings refer to this period of flight - one of the tallfellow halflings was given a gift by Yondalla and became her paladin, a most rare occurence for that race. The gift was a horn of plenty, a cornucopia, and it provided for the halflings in their despair. The paladin took the name of Andallos. He fought many battles during his life, but that is outside the scope of this dissertation. Let it just be said that by the end of his life, Vecna was no more, and the halflings had begun returning to the lands that had once been their own. Andallos died in a small trading village on the Kewl River, known as Jurnre. Soon, halflings and gnomes were settling about the area, and living in peace with the Flan people who were already there. The cornucopia of Andallos was kept in a small temple on the outskirts of the village. It has remained there until this day, and forms a central part of the worship of Yondalla in the Tri-states of Ulek.

    At the present time, a husband and wife care for the temple of Yondalla in Jurnre - Dralen and Calina Sheafbearer. Despite their unassuming manner, both are powerful priests of Yondalla (Dralen is a Clr9, Calina is a Clr11). Dralen is more commonly encountered by the "bigfolk", though they conduct services together.

    It should be noted at this point that the morning service is of most importance to the faith of Yondalla. In Jurnre, a large number of halflings will be found at the Temple of Yondalla at this point in the day, sharing in a breakfast provided by both the cornucopia and their own hard work - fruit and bread for the most part. This celebration of Yondalla is extended on Godsday, where it may last until noon. The followers of Yondalla get on extremely well with the followers of Ehlonna and Berei, with some halflings even professing a faith in those deities above that of Yondalla. Relationships with the followers of Obad-hai and Beory are more strained, but should not be construed as hostile - that hostility is reserved for the humanoids that occasionally raid the outlying reaches of the County.

    The church of Yondalla has an advisory role upon the council of the Count of Ulek. Either Dralen or Calina are equally likely to be present at any given meeting. Due to their level of communication with each other, the Count's court barely notices that one may not have been at the previous meeting, both are always well-informed and up to date.

    The existence of the Cornucopia does prove a problem for the church at times; on occasion it has been permitted to travel around the halfling settlements in the Tri-states and sometimes further afield. On those occasions, it has always been the case that several doughty halfling warriors and priests have attended it.

    The only recorded case of someone trying to obtain the Cornucopia - and succeeding - occurred quite recently when priests serving the forces of Chaos obtained the Cornucopia by a combination of magic and stealth. Unusually, they did not want the Cornucopia for itself, but instead as a bargaining tool with the Court Mage of Ulek, Lady Caitlin Ralthaeya, who possessed information they dearly needed to bring about the release of their dark gods. A party of adventurers led by two halflings were able to penetrate the hold of the priests and recover the Cornucopia, bringing an end to that crisis.

    At this point, the priests of Yondalla continue as they have: blessing the crops and caring for their faithful. The actual temple of Yondalla in Jurnre is not the biggest of structures, but has large lawns outside it on which the congregation can gather. Small shrines to Yondalla are common in other villages in Jurnre, often tended by a priest or priestess of the first three levels of experience. Count Lewenn remains on good terms with the church of Yondalla. Upon successfully performing on of the Rigors that the Count needs to remain in office, it has become traditional that the following day, the Count and his court should share breakfast with the halfling population in the Church of Yondalla. Count Lewenn has not abandoned this tradition, and Dralen and Calina have often supported him against the discontent caused by the Church of Beory.

    "
     
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