Greyhawk: Return to the Classic
Paulina Hersilia Marina
After the fall of the Occluded Empire those that had been bound by desperation and a blind need for hope began to fracture. After one thousand years of darkness to emerge into the light they began to find fault in the path they where forced to walk. Why had their shining guardian not given them more aid? Why had he not come to them? Defended them? Why did so many thousands have to die, or those not so lucky live under the vile rule of the Whispered One? They had stood before the maw of Vecna’s evil and endured his omnipresent wickedness, they had ended the night. What did they get from their god other then a messenger at the end of their struggle to speed the news of the Lich God’s death? How worthy is such a self aggrandizing Lord of their worship that only takes credit for their victory?
Fifteen years after the second departure of Saint Marius the Glorious(PBUH) these questions, and stemming the tide of anger that was driving worshipers from the church whole cathedrals at a time, became the primary focus of the Church of Pelor. These troubling questions threatened to do what the whole of Vecna’s force had been unable to, collapse the organization that had been fighting him since his first days.
The then Bishop Judith Yemina, later High Sun Keeper Paulina Hersilia Marina, devoted her life to finding not just the answer to these questions but why this faith shattering anger was spreading so virulently. Born during the last decades of the struggle against the empire she had seen both the best and worst of the struggle. She had always been an optimistic person determined to see the best in people and situations; as a vicar during the struggle Judith became known as ‘decorus rutilus sero’ beautiful shining lily for her ability to bring cheer to even the most down trodden of camps. Renown for her keen and logical mind Judith was vicar to Nerva Romulus during her days as a Primate. Working deep behind enemy lines for her ecclesiast Yemina saw the deep depravity of the Lich Lord first hand, and while understanding the desire to have seen the Whispered One removed sooner could not understand the anger and in some cases hatred that was building up against the church.
Having maintained a close personal relationship with her now Sun Keeper and former mentor she asked for permission to set up and lead a special council on, what she described as, the greatest threat to the long term survival of the Shinning Lords church. Her officially sanctioned inquisition worked tirelessly for the next ten years, engaging the wisest minds to answer the peoples cry for satisfaction. They did not just engage tomes they spread out into the world engaging people, seeking understanding from old ruins of the first days of the resistance, and delving through the strong holds of the One Handed God still alive with evil magics. Near the end it was thought that her and all in her party had perished as all contact was lost. Then on the last day of Oris Sane a bright light reached out from the Sun and touched building, hovels, dens, and structures of all sorts. A cooling blue burst forth from the center of Flaness and lightning seemed to jump forth from the sewers, tunnels, and from underneath the very ground itself. As the light reseeded back into the sun it left burnt upon them the hand and eye of Vecna. As suddenly as it had come the anger that had built so blindingly vanished. Suddenly Judith had returned bringing word of the apotheosis of St. Cuthbert, and the origin of the Doubting Curse of the Whispered One.
Two years later Judith was named High Sun Keeper and, returning to an old tradition, took the name Paulina Hersilia Marina. Though her reign only lasted two years she wrote the “Address to Our Lasting Doubts” Oratio ut Nostrum Perpetuus Nuto, which was a compilation of the work done by her council and the theories that they had arrived at. When asked why she devoted so much effort to answering a questions that had been implanted as a curse by the agents of the Wicked One, she responded that if those doubts hadn’t needed addressing the curse never would have worked.
Her Theory on Divinity
The theological theory exposed by High Sun Keeper Marina is that in their early divinity gods are still tied to the world do to an inability to understand the true extent of their influence. As seen with Vecna, and later Iuz, they use there power as a broadsword swinging wildly and dealing large swaths of damage but with little understanding of the long term implications. But a deity that refrains from acting directly in the affairs of the Flaness are still shaping events, indeed much as a surgeon with a scalpel, they are shaping things with an eye to the whole. The theory is comparable to the workings of a factory. The blacksmith shaping the weapons has an immediate effect on the way a weapon will turn out, much as the young god acting on the plain might. But the floor supervisor, having removed themselves from the hands on crafting, has far more influence on the overall quality, shape, and design then the individual blacksmith ever will. What is more the Mercantile Family that owns the factory has even more control over the long term destination of where things will arrive and how they will shape events. If they desired to the head of the house could walk into the factory and pick up a hammer and effect the product directly, but that would mean taking their eye off of the big picture; which if done for even just a second can be disastrous.
This telephoto view of divine power was as controversial during Marina’s day as it is today, possibly why it has never been adopted by the church of Pelor as cannon. Many scholars feel that it was simply a vain attempt on the part of a bishop to put words in the mouth of her deity and placate a mob that had been lead to heresy by evil. Yet many scholars hold that the Marinian school is not only the most logical approach to the question of divinity but, as it was written during her time as Sun Keeper, has the tacit approval of a god. (It is worth remembering that Marnia herself stated that she had never consulted Pelor on her theory and was simply publishing the story and results of her and her colleagues life work).
Despite the controversy surrounding her work it seems that her eventual saint hood was inevitable. She remains one the fastest beatified saints in the history of the church. Before the end of her successors reign, High Sun Keeper Hilaria Victoria Pax who followed her example and took on a new name, she was declared St. Marina demigoddess of thoroughness, logical thought, and good cheer.