Tales of the Sword Coast
Rillifane Rallathil (RILL-ih-fane RALL-uh-thihl) is the elven god of protection of woodlands and the guardian of the harmony of nature. His priests liken him to a giant ethereal oak tree so huge that its roots mingle with every other plant, which stands in the heart of Arvandor. The great tree draws into itself all the ebb and flow of the season and the lives within the woodlands of the green elves. At the same time it defends and protects those lands against disease, predation and assault of all kinds. The Leaflord is the patron of the Sy’Tel’Quessir and revered by many voadkyn.
The Leaflord is quiet, reflective and enduring over eons unchanged. He is the least flighty of the Seldarine, the least likely to act on a whim, and often grave and self-absorbed. Rillifane’s avatar manifests only rarely, disliking direct action and preferring to act through his priests. When he does, it is usually in response to an attack on an elven (usually Sy’Telh’Quessir) habitat, and is heralded by sudden gusts of winds shaking leaves from trees.
Rillifane Ralathil is said to be a very old deity, older even than Labelas Enoreth, for the great tree would endlessly continue its life without need for eventual death. When the Sy’Tel’Quessir settled in the Yuirwood, the Seldarine merged with the ancient gods of the Yuir, taking them on as aspects of the various powers of the elven pantheon. Magnar the Bear and Relkath of the Infinite Branches became a part of the Leaflord. As a result of these changes, over the centuries since, the Wild One has once more become more primordial in spirit.
The Leaflord is on good terms with the Seldarine, as well as most sylvan and faerie deities, in particular Eldath, Mielikki, Silvanus, Oberon and Titania as well as Baervan Wildwanderer, Cyrollalee, Eilistraee, Emmantiensien, Sheela Peryroyl, Skerrit, Osiris, Verenestra and various Animal Lords. His foes include Malar, Talos and the evil drow gods.
The Great Oak draws energy from all the living creatures of the world and nourishes, sustains and protects them from outside threats. Live in harmony with the natural world, allowing each living being the opportunity to serve out its natural purpose in life. As the Leaflord’s countless branches, his faithful are to serve as mortal agents in the natural world. Defend the great forests from those who seek to ravage their riches, leaving only destruction in their path. Contest the quick and slow death of Rillifane’s bounty and hold strong like the great oaks in the face of those who can see only their own immediate needs.
The church of the Leaflord is generally isolationist, extending itself only to help fellow elves or other sylvan beings. The heirarchy is organised regionally and split into branches, with different types of priest serving different roles. Druids make up the largest numbers of the clergy and tend to the health of the forests and their inhabitants, fiercely fighting against any attempt to further diminish the woodlands. Clerics often serve as representatives of the faith, working away from from Sy’Tel’Quessir communities to educate other races, including other elves, on how to better dwell in harmony with nature. In times of war, however, the leaders of each region unite the branches of the faith with Sy’Tel’Quessir warriors, into a single force.
Novices of Rillifane are known as Acorns. Full priests as known as Oakhearts. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by priests of the Leaflord are Felsul, Silverbark, Laspar, Hiexal, Blueleaf, Phandar, Duskwood, Shadowtop and Weirwood. High-ranking priests have individual titles, while druids also have a title which reflects their position within that branch of the faith. Certain kinds of druids who have elected to follow a particular path of Rillifane are known as Skinwalkers.
The vernal and autumnal equinoxes hold special meaning for the followers of the Wild One and they gather together at these times to hold wild dances in large groves of oak trees in the hearts of their forests. The spring celebration is known as The Budding, and honours the Leaflord’s bounty. The period of fasting which leads up to this day is broken by a ritual hunt of an elderly and noble hart, marking the breaking of the fast. This is then followed by dance and song and reminds Rillifane’s followers of the natural cycle of life beneath his all encompassing boughs. The autumn celebration is known as The Transformation, and is particularly important to those who seek a change to the lives or spiritual rebirth. Marking the arrival of autumn and the change of colors in the leaves of the forest, it is a celebration of Rillifane’s promise that the trees will bloom again and that life is eternally renewed.
The ceremonial garb of the Great Oak’s clergy includes a laurel wreath worn on the head and armor fashioned from tree bark. The latter is rubbed with green dyes, the hue showing rank within the church and the darkest being reserved for the most senior. When in non-ceremonial situations, priests prefer armor and weapons made from natural materials such as wood or animals. The holy symbol of Rillifane is an acorn enclosed in amber.
The priests of Rillifane pray for their spells at dawn, when the first light of the life giving sun spring over the horizon to nourish the woodlands.
Rangers do not serve as part of the hierarchy of the church, but many do form loose fellowships affiliated with the druidic circles and act as the militant arm of the faith. The various bands have their own local names, but are known collectively as the Order of the Oakstaff.
The temples of Rillifane are in truth huge oak trees with platforms and vine bridges built between their boughs, often incorporating a number of such trees into an arboreal complex. Shrines of Rillifane are single oak trees, which while grand in size are too small to form a full temple. They are marked with the carving of a small canary about two feet from the ground and chosen by dream visions which guide the priest to a given oak.
Major centers of worship for Rillifane include the Moontouch Oak, the name of both the gargantuan oak tree and the temple nestled in its branches. It is found in the heart of the Tangled Trees region of Cormanthor on the north bank of the Elvenflow where Moontouch Creek joins the Duathamper and is believed to be the largest living oak in all of Faerûn and is documented as being over nine thousand years old and is said to be the remnant of an avatar of the Leaflord which led several clans of the Sy’Tel’Quessir east, away from the destruction of the Crown Wars. It is the centre of power for the Circle of Emerald Leaves, which is lead by the Great Druid of the Tangled Vale, the aged green elf Katar Oakstaff, who was a child in the final years of Coronel Eltargrim’s reign before Myth Drannor fell.
Other documented temples include the House of the Leaflord in Relkath’s Foot and the Pantheon Temple of the Seldarine in Waterdeep.
Though not a temple, Rillifane’s Grove in Leuthilspar on the island of Evermeet serves as a sacred place for wood and wild elves to conduct marriages, funerals or other ceremonies, as well as a place used to contact the Seldarine by moon and sun elf priests.