Following his coup of 399, Tupelo Cornus delivered the following sermon to his followers.
Brothers and sisters, Cousins in custom and spirit, I thank you for coming here tonight. In the torchlight I see many I call friends- Priests of Atur and the Shamans of the Wild. The light of the moons shine upon the faces of Quill and Islander, Continental and Outcast alike. By it, I call you all my brothers. Our faith has brought us together. In this place, at this time, our faith is as one.
Brothers and sisters, Cousins in custom and spirit, hear me for my cause and attend that you might hear. Believe me for my honor and have respect for that honor, that you might believe. Query me in your wisdom, and awaken your senses that you might better judge the truth of my words
If there be any at this assembly , any dear friend of Amber Regina, to them I say, that Tupelo’s love to Amber was no less than theirs. If that friend demand why I rose against Amber, this is my answer. Not that I loved Amber less, but that I loved our people more. Would you rather Amber live and our souls sold to the highest bidder, or that Amber were dead and our souls be once again ours?
As Amber embraced me, I weep for her; as she found fortune, I rejoiced at it. As she was valiant in the cause of peace, I honored her. But as she was perfidious, I slew her. Here were tears for her love. Hera was joy for her fortune. Here was honor for her valor. And here was death for her faithlessness.
Brothers and sisters, Cousins in custom and spirit, this faithlessness hold the whole world within its grasp. And Faithlessness carries death in its wake. Here in our lands, it brought low a leader well beloved. In the North, a being of rage and fire stalks ravaging the land. Oh woe those leaders who face it, for their faith is weak, and that weakness the very strength of the beast! Bordeaux! Ashenia! The payment of faithlessness has come due.
In the East, callous leaders tear apart a once great faith as vultures on a corpse. They squabble over the prime chunks while the very world burns. Hubris and once again Hubris!
To the south, the very dead rise from their graves. Avenging the pillaging of their resting places by those who refused to believe. Alydaxis! Woe to you who neglect the faith handed to you! For you are the defender of that faith, and to what end? A land of wealth and might, devoid of true living.
Brothers and sisters, Cousins in custom and spirit, do we not live for ourselves? Are not our lives our own? Are we but marionettes dancing to the strings our master’s pluck? No, I say to you here and now, NO! When our masters demand we embrace their falsehood, we must say no. When our kings and queens ignore what is righteous, we must say no! it is our souls that hung in the balance. It is our souls that, even now, hang upon a spider’s thread. The flames of indifference, idolatry, and indifference threaten to burn that thread, and plunge us all into the firey abyss. We must refuse the demands of the wicked. We must refute the commands of the unjust. We must not let ourselves be consumed by the flesh and the flesh peddlers.
Brothers and sisters, Cousins in custom and spirit, this is not easy. Our road is not level, and our burdens great. We are beset upon all sides by the inequities of the selfish, and the tyranny of evil men. They will seek to poison and destroy us, my brothers and sisters. They will strike down upon us with furious anger and great vengeance. For they fear us. Yes, they fear us. They fear those that would seek to shelter their brothers and sisters, to guide them in the paths of faith through the great valley of their darkness. Mark my words, there will come a day when we will be persecuted! There will come a day when we will be condemned. There will come a day when we will suffer at the hands of these creatures of spite and hate.
Brothers and sisters, cousins in custom and spirit, do not despair. We shall be strong during the dark times. We shall be strong, because our faith is strong. We shall endure because our faith is ever-enduring. And we shall overcome, because our faith cannot be overcome.
Brothers and sisters, Cousins in custom and spirit, I too am a dissolute. Cast out by my family, I lived as I could, did what I thought I had to. Those were dark times, filled with dark deeds. But there, there in the swamps, in a time when I had no faith and wanted not for one, my faith found me. I was raised up by this faith, my feet set firmly upon the path that has led me here today, to preach the good news to you.
My first step cousins in custom and spirit, was along the path of Atur. God of my family, He of the Thousand Voices. Yet I found no solace there. For a thousand voices provide a thousand guide points. Brothers and sisters, I came to understand that a point in every direction is the same as no point at all. The Great Father Tree is imply that, a tree. There is no salvation amongst its branches.
My next steps towards revelation, towards redemption, lead me to the Shamans of the Wild. I heeded the call of a simple faith. Bribe the spirits for their good favor. Bribe them again to remove their displeasure. It is a simple faith. It is an easy faith. It is a faith that allows for the most heinous acts to be paid for with treasure. And it is poison for the soul. A poison that masks the pain you feel in yourself, disregards the pain you see in others. It is a poison that whispers its sweet seduction of the end justifying the means.
Brothers and Sisters, those who follow the Cult of the Sky, for a time, I sought salvation within your ranks. The Great Sky Spirit to watch over me. The Great Sky Spirit to send signs and portents to guide me. The Great Sky Spirit, nothing but emptiness and ambivalence. As a child sees clouds shaped to his imagination, so did your shamans see signs shaped to their thoughts, powered by the powerful herbs they ingest. Visions born of the mind, not of the spirit, they cannot save us.
For a time, I despaired. I despaired for my very soul, brothers and sisters. I saw nothing, heard nothing, that in which I could find surcease for my anguish. It was then, in my darkest hour of my darkest night, that I first heard Her call. In darkness, we are created. It is from this darkness that we are born. We move from our mother’s womb to her arms. Then from that shelter into the larger world. We step into the light, and take our place. And then, at the end of our lives, we return to that darkness. Eyes no longer seeing, once again we engulfed by it. I learned of the Mother of Darkness, the one from whom all souls come, and the one to whom all souls return.
Her call is a simple on, brothers and sisters, Cousins in custom and spirit. Her call is one of responsibility. We are responsible for our own soul. Not some shaman, not some seer. Salvation of destruction is in our hands alone. We must always understand why we do what we do. We are simple beings, limited in time and ability. We cannot know what results our actions will cause. All we can know, brothers and sisters, is what is in our heart when we do it. When our end comes, as all ends must come, we will be judged by Her. For She is also known as Khadi, devourer of Souls. She who knows all that has come before, and all to come after. She will take the forthright into her bosom, to rejoin the great wheel of life. Those found wicked, she will destroy utterly.
But fear not, brothers and sisters, Cousins in custom and spirit. Her demands are as simple as they are profound.
The Mother of the Night calls upon us to treat all creatures as we would desire to be treated. Live in harmony with all things, taking only what we understand we need. As we must eat, we must provide. If that means the death of another creature, then it should be as painless as we can arrange. For is that not what we would desire? When we are called back to her bosom, do we not desire to go quietly and peacefully? We owe those that give their lives for us as much.
The Mother of the Night sees all who ponder and think as children. She only wants her children to treat each other fairly. She desires hands outstretched in friendship rather than threat. She desires fortunes shared rather than hoarded. In all dealings between each other, she asks us to consider “Would we trade places with this person?” It is simple, and profound. Elegant, and full of complexity. Her call is one of consideration and attention, care and elevation.
Brothers and sisters, Cousins in custom and spirit, it from that reason that I stand before you today. I seek to reach you, to touch your soul, to lift you up to the endless night sky above and cry out in a loud voice “Kina! Mother of the Night! Accept these who newly welcome your embrace. Khadaratni, The Great Deceiver! Treat them kindly as they tread upon the returning road. Khadi, Devourer of Souls! Accept them as they accept Your truth, and judge their past transgressions with understanding of their futures
Go, my brothers and sisters. Go in peace, with hearts full of compassion and understanding.