Druids of the Fallen North
Before the Seven arose, the Old Faith was practiced throughout the world. It recognizes the spirits which exist in every place—forest, field, mountain, and marsh—and seeks to live in balance with them. These spirits are largely local guardians, but there are a few who approach the level of the Seven.
Though druidic priests recognize each other throughout the world, they do not belong to any larger order than their immediate circles. Most druidic circles are tied to specific geographical locations. On the other hand, the Circle of the Moon has initiates in nearly every country where the Old Faith is remembered, and the Circle of Dreams considers itself a universal body. Even within those circles, however, druids tend to work independently; a druid of Urlaen is unlikely to answer to a higher-level druid of Umbria, for example. As a result, the politics and power-struggles within the druidic faith must be analyzed on a region-by-region basis.
The druids of Umbria, the Rimelands, and Fallen Kalevala are in close communion with each other and have in fact built a separate “church” from the druids of Urlaen and Westerlin. Where the druids of Urlaen remain in close contact with the secular rulers and continue to openly advise them (to the irritation of the Church of the Law), those of Umbria have wavered and debated on their involvement with the affairs of the world for generations. Those of the party of the Hand advocate direct involvement and guidance like their Urlaenish counterparts, while those of the Cold Balance demand that the Circles withdraw from politics altogether to focus on re-establishing the Old Faith.
Most recently, Jelena of Dorn has risen to the office of Hierophant of the North, pushing the balance of power entirely in the direction of the Cold Balance. Jelena has upheld and strengthened the excommunication of Sylwia, the Lady of the Wolves, and has almost entirely withdrawn the druids from the day-to-day lives of the Umbrian commonfolk except for officiating religious rituals. This extreme view has generated an enormous amount of disaffection among the younger initiates.
Leaders Known by Caeside
Jelena of Dorn – coldly calculating and arrogant. She normally resides in the sacred grove just outside of Kingsreach, the traditional seat of the Heirophant.
Par’Tsalia – fiery of hair (though starting to show signs of white) and temper, but beloved among the shepherds of the Greensward. Much to Jelena’s irritation, Par’Tsalia is the one ordained to conduct the rites at the Covenant of Stone.
Neven – The Old Man of Willow Marsh is a stately, if grumpy guardian who keeps watch over the Plain of Swords. Of all the elder druids (save perhaps Sylwia), he is the most unhappy with the Cold Balance, having seen the destruction caused by several Surtan incursions over the decades.
Daro – a relatively young elder druid who has not yet become comfortable with his role, Daro is Jelena’s loudest supporter among the elders. Daro makes his home in the Finroth Swamp, a domain that Jelena appointed in order to have a loyal subordinate keeping watch on the Temple of the Phoenix and the Wyrm.
Aatos of Kalavala – a man of grim and craggy face, Aatos makes his home with his people west of the Last Hills and rarely comes to Umbria. He deals with Jelena the same way he dealt with her predecessor—by ignoring her as much as possible.
Suoma – Aatos’s half-sister lives in the Qlahn Highlands, and is a bit more active in Umbria. She is respected by the dwarves, though not exactly warm-and-fuzzy. She supports the Cold Balance up to a point.