I hear disturbing rumours about you. Lasraí told me you had lit the candle, but I told her she was mistaken. I told her you would not abandon me now, not when we were so close.
Nobody can escape what we have started, not even you.
I will find you, wherever you are hiding. I have even sent Lasraí to the Shaper’s Halls to make sure you aren’t hiding there.
Who are the Leasiar?
The longest lived of all the species, the Leasiar are driven and passionate, and dedicate themselves to making a mark upon the world around them. They are one of the playable species in Five Oaths. If you’re playing a Leasiar you could be centuries old, while still appearing young and vigorous, and decide to take up a new life as a gallóglach after you finished your great masterpiece. You could also play a Leasiar who has just started a new life, waking up beside a crooked tree with a note written in a strangely familiar hand telling you to go the gallóglaigh headquarters at Corroch and report for duty. Leasiar have a lasting effect on the world around them, and see through plans which only come to fruition after decades.
Leasiar are set apart from the other species by their incredibly long lifespan, and many take full advantage of this. A Leasiar might live one incredibly elongated life, and reap the benefits of cultivating alliances with families instead of individuals, of accumulating wealth and reputation over centuries. Others reject this lifestyle and choose not to outlast all around them. For them, there is another way, called the Path of Many Candles.
Those Leasiar that walk the Path of Many Candles do so for many reasons. A particularly egotistical Leasiar might think that they have reached the pinnacle of mortal (for the Leasiar are mortal despite their long years) achievement, and decide to make themselves anew. Another Leasiar who never wishes to become stale in their ways might see their lifespan as a way to experience many lives instead of one long one. They will be one person for the length of a human life, and then let that identity die, leaving their old self behind and starting entirely anew. If a Leasiar wishes to walk the Path, they must seek out the Hearth Shrine, a secret place known only to those who have sought out the Shrine and not walked upon the Path. Legend has it that when a Leasiar is ready to begin a new life, their wandering footsteps will draw them to the Hearth Shrine, even if they have no intention of going there. What happens at the Shrine is not widely known, but when the Leasiar emerges into the world once again it is as a new person.
Leasiar join up with the gallóglaigh at all stages of life, where their stamina and drive can come in very handy. They tend to be eager to increase their standing within a band through acts of martial prowess, though they will acknowledge leadership skills in others they respect.
Origins of the Leasiar
The Leasiar maintain that they were the first born of all the Shaper’s children, made in the Shaper’s own image and brought into this world to emulate the Shaper in their words and deeds. The Leasiar even claim that their ancestors had a role in helping to create the other species, which is why some traditional Leasiar claim to be the natural leaders in this world. The other species inhabiting Tirneach point to the declining nations of the Eastern Reaches across the Shaper’s Sea as examples of unfettered Leasiar leadership, and politely decline.
The Eastern Reaches are inhabited mainly by Leasiar, it’s true, but the Leasiar of Tirneach claim that the dissolute and decadent Leasiar of the Eastern Reaches have fallen in their purpose in this world, and that they share nothing but a name. The other species, particularly the Wildlings, say that the Leasiar left to themselves will shape the world to their liking and then stagnate and rot. They will never admit it, but they need the other species to stir their minds and keep them connected to the real world.
Another theory on the origin of the Leasiar, which resurfaces among younger Leasiar at least once a generation, is that they were in fact the last species that the Shaper brought into this world, and the most perfect. How else to explain their long life when every other species wastes away after barely a century has passed? How else to explain their preternatural beauty compared to the…well you know. Strangely this theory does not get much traction with the other species either.
The origin of the Path of Many Candles is shrouded in mystery, probably because any Leasiar who discover its origins walk upon the Path and forget. It is said that the first Leasiar to walk the Path had lost in love or in battle, and rather than face who she would become with such loss she resolved to become someone else unstained by defeat. She built the Hearth Shrine as a monument to her own determination and as an act of worship for the Shaper, and the Shaper themselves rewarded her piety by granting her wish to start her life again. The Leasiar who start upon the Path now are still making use of the power of the first Leasiar to light the candle, as the practice is known. Some say she still walks among the Leasiar, starting a new life every few decades, and none are the wiser.
Playing a Leasiar
To play the Leasiar in Five Oaths, you will need to don a pair of pointed ears, which should match your skin tone. Leasiar tend to take pride in their physical appearance, as yet another way they can affect the world around them and pay homage to the Shaper, so you might wish to consider how your character approaches this.
In gameplay terms, Leasiar characters have the Well Travelled Feat, depicting their many years of living in the Five Realms and the lessons they have learned there. This gives them access to a total of three Realm Feats, including their automatic Realm Feat. This gives Leasiar characters the ability to be immune to more effects than others, as well as having extensive knowledge of the geography of their chosen Realms.
Leasiar are found most often in Siabhal, where Leasiar masons and architects built the great city of Iomra in ages past, and adorned the city of Barr once it became the capital of Siabhal in the years following unification. Traditionalist Leasiar are common among the highland clans of Baol too, where they refuse to forget their old allegiances and ensure the other species keep the troth.
The Lifespan of the Leasiar
Average life expectancy: 300-400
Maximum life expectancy: 550
Common causes of death: Incredibly varied. Illness, assassination, and accidents are the most common.
How Leasiar view other Species
Creidhe: They also recognise that the past needs to be preserved, they make good servants and workers.
Drakeblooded: It is good to remember the past, even if they have fallen very far from it.
Fathach: Loyal footsoldiers made of rock, not born. Keep the Vartach out from under your lands, lest an army spring up overnight.
Firetouched: The candle that burns bright, burns quickly. Enjoy their company while they are here.
Humans: If you have something valuable, keep it far away from a human.
Krieger: It is nice that they don’t let their short lifespans hold them back.
Vartach: They will never equal us. They don’t have enough time.
Wildlings: Always look a wildling in the mouth, not all of them are as tame as we would like.
Some Leasiar You Might One Day Meet…
Gurbhan the Bold is the Rider of Cheilg, which is located in the border marches between Siabhal and Uasa, an area called the Grey Lands. He is an artificer of some renown, though his nickname comes from his much-decorated service as a gallóglach. These days he spends very little of his time on his Riding, since his craft takes him so often among the Ruby Families of Iomra. He has been sequestered for months now in his townhouse, working on a project which he knows will bring him even greater fame. In his absence from Cheilg, he ensures the safety of his people by keeping a large militia, who keep a careful eye out for Gwyllt and raiders from across the border with the Crown Realm.
Gadhra is one of the leaders of Clann Aonghusa in the Baolach highlands. She has served the Clann for most of her three centuries, and it has been the fulfilment of her life’s work to see the Clann rise in prominence in recent years. She has led them in battle against their bitter rivals in Clann Donnchadha, and she has raided with them to take the ill-earned wealth of the lowlanders. Lately she has been leading kerns of hand-picked warriors on missions among the dells and valleys of the highlands. Her fellow leaders say that she has their complete confidence, but others wonder what Gadhra expects to find among the heather and gorse. Surely she does not seek the Amber Halls?
Cunór has decided he likes the name Cunór, and will call himself that from now on. He recently woke up just outside the town of Béalcaoch in the Realm of Uasa, with nothing but the clothes he stood up in and a pouch with a single pingin in it, walking along the Réig’s Road. He remembers nothing of who he was, and reasons that he must have embarked on the Path of Many Candles. Since he finds himself in Uasa, he has decided to set out upon the road to Corroch. After all, he’s never seen the Réig’s palace or the Citadel of the Shaper. At least he’s certain he doesn’t remember seeing them.
The Path of Many Candles
Without a doubt the most mysterious aspect of Leasiar life and culture is the Path of Many Candles. Those who are walking the path cannot remember why or how they came to do so, and those who oversee the the ritual are often less forthcoming than inquiring minds would wish them to be, leaving fertile ground for wild rumours and speculation.
Who embarks on the Path of Many Candles?
Most will take their first candle relatively early in their lives. This can partially be attributed to the personalities involved; someone willing to make such a radical change in their lives will rarely wait until their middle years to begin. Of course there are counterexamples, particularly when an older Leasiar has undergone some traumatic or otherwise transformative experience, or have been released from some responsibility which had held them back from considering it previously. This is not the only reason. An older Leasiar who has slowly amassed wealth and land, or has made a name for themselves over many years will have a great deal more to lose by starting again, which often dissuades them from the Path.
This is also a reason why those who stand to inherit are likely to decide against it. Some Leasiar, particularly those who actively disapprove of the Path, are very insistent on sending their younger offspring to the Galloglaigh when they come of age. Becoming a Galloglach gives them a career where they can gain wealth and recognition independently, which might prevent them from lighting the candle. Leasiar who have had children early in life and are of a suspicious bent might send all of their children to Corroch on the grounds that that a child who stands to inherit but has a century to wait, may choose to hasten their parent’s death rather than lighting the candle or dutifully standing by, and if military life doesn’t distract them, it will at least keep them far from home.
Very few will take their first candle after having children. Most who plan to live this life will delay having children until comparatively late in their lives, knowing that it may be more difficult to start again afterwards.
How does one take the path of many candles?
The ritual is overseen by the Shrinekeepers, a group of Leasiar who have taken the Path themselves. Not many of them make themselves known to outsiders, but they have links to the Order of Counsellors and there are some within the Order who know how to contact them at need. All the Shrinekeepers who have made themselves known are in their elder years and some say that they are all on their last candle. The Shrinekeepers themselves make no comment on this. There are many things about which the Shrinekeepers make no comment. The few things that they are prepared to say about the ritual are; that it will not work for someone who has something in their life that they cannot let go, and if you feel the need to bring any treasured possessions or detailed messages with you that means you’re not ready to let go yet, although short messages to let yourself know about any peculiarities of your body are seen as a reasonable precaution.
To undergo the ritual one must seek out one of their Hearth Shrines. It is not generally known how many of these exist but it is rumoured that there is one in each realm. There are no maps to guide you there, you must rely on scant rumours and persistence. Over the years some enterprising individuals have attempted to sell enchanted accoutrements of various kinds which will supposedly point in the right direction to Leasiar seeking to light the candle and curiosity seekers of other species alike, but they never seem to last too long. It is unknown whether this is because word gets around that their “enchanted” rods are merely nicely polished sticks, or whether they are silenced.
The first part of the ritual is known, as there are some who remember it and will speak. The Leasiar decides that the time has come to light the candle again and searches out the Shrine. They are welcomed by the Shrinekeepers. They are given a meal and a place to lay down their goods and gear, bathe and sleep. They pass a night there before they are called.
They go into a room where the walls are lined with many bottles, each containing a roll of paper. The Shrinekeeper explains that these are the testaments of all that have passed through this place. They light a candle and as it burns, the Leasiar speaks, the Shrinekeeper writes.
And this is where knowledge of the ritual ends, because it is at this part of the story that anyone who can remember it says that the Shrinekeeper looked up from their paper and said, perhaps with a hint of sadness or pity or even exasperation, that they are not ready. The Shrinekeeper handed them the unfinished story that would have been their testament, brought the candle, still lit, into another room. They offered some advice about their problem and sent them back out into the world. Those who attempt to retrace their steps and return to the shrine cannot find it, so cannot give more than a general idea about where to search.
Presumably something else happens if you are ready, but you won’t remember it, and the Shrinekeepers will not say.
Many ask whether those on the path of many candles retain anything of who they were before. Some will argue the toss over whether some aspects of personality persist, but almost none of them have any information to go on. We know that basic skills are retained, from walking and speaking up to reading and writing but after that it’s harder to tell. Some who have recently undergone the ritual show great natural aptitude for certain things that they don’t remember doing previously, but how precisely that maps to things they did before is unknown.
Leasiar who have lit the Candle do not recognise anyone that they knew before, however, there is something worked into the weave of the magic which means that they will know instinctively if someone they meet is a close blood relative. They will not know how they are related, but it is unmistakable. Of course they have no idea whether the other person remembers them or not, or what their relationship was like, and speaking to someone in that circumstance is almost universally at least a little uncomfortable for all concerned.
Both the Order of Counsellors and the Shrinekeepers are very clear that the Oath of Peace will bind a Leasiar through all of their candles. It is rare to find someone who is both so firm in their convictions as to swear the oath, and so willing to change utterly as to walk the Path of Many Candles, but there are some who have, and the Shrinekeepers ensure that a member of the Order of Counsellors is nearby to explain to the individual just what their past self signed them up for when they come back to themselves.
They are equally insistent that the stain which comes from killing one who is sworn to peace cannot be washed away by the ritual, as that is soul-deep. Of course, there are always rumours, the idea of secret murderers who have forgotten their crime walking among us unseen is great fodder for tavern tales, but these are of the sort where someone’s nephew’s spouse’s dog might have seen something, and one would wonder how the church could tolerate such a thing if it were true.