Parables of the Silver Flame

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The Wicked Preist and the Forgotten Saint

Long ago there was an envious little man who wanted nothing more than to have wealth and power over his fellow man.  At that same time was a righteous man who could do no wrong.  The envious man looked at the wealth of the Church and decided that he must have some of it, and so went to work pretending to be a good man.  The righteous man knew that self aggrandizement was a fool's quest and lived as humbly as he could.

The envious man eventually amassed a great following who gave their money and their devotion to him willingly.  He was no fool though, and realized that in order to keep his flock he had to maintain the appearance of charity and good will, so he invested his wealth into good deeds solely for the sake of appearance.  The righteous man, on the other hand, maintained his humble lifestyle, refusing to take any path that would cause him to gain fame or noteriety.

Time passed and death came for both men, as it always must.  The envious little man who sought nothing but wealth and power his entire life was remembered as a great philanthropist and worker of great deeds, for the money and effort he spent to build himself up helped a great multitude of the less fortunate.  The righteous man passed away in silence, with none to remember that he had ever been.

I ask you, in the end, which of these two men was a greater good than the other?  The one that helped untold multitudes and led thousands of people to the redeeming graces of the Flame, but did so for petty and selfish reasons?  Or the man that lived a life that was beyond reproach, but left no mark upon the world around him?

Remember, young ones.  While it is important what you have in your hearts, it is equally important if not more so what you do with it.  Dark and evil men can do great good, while the most righteous of us all can squander our gifts.
The Woodsman and the Hunter

In a distant village among the towering trees of the Whispering Wood, there lived two devoted servants of the Flame. One of them was a man near as tall as the trees he felled, and twice as mighty. The other was a lithe woman as swift as the wolves she kept away from the village and thrice times as fierce. Each heard of a creature that had been attacking the flocks tended by the local shepherds, and each went separately in search of it.

Stumbling upon an old collection of stones and blackened glass, the Hunter was first to find the creature that had been plaguing the livelihood of the village: a foul serpentine demon of unquestioned evil and an appetite never sated, slumbering alone in the center of the scattered stones. The Hunter, upon seeing the creature, crept away from the site and fled from the forest. The Woodsman, some days after, came to the same site and laid eyes upon the fiendish serpent. A mighty warrior who had felled whole trees with a single swipe of his axe, he was confident that he could destroy the serpent and end its attacks against the shepherds. And so Woodsman crept upon the serpent, striking it with a mighty blow that split the serpents skull, but the beast simply rose again, now awakened to the presence of the Woodsman. With many swings the Woodsman cut the creature down uncounted times, only for the beast to rise again after each blow. Worn and wearied, the serpent struck the Woodsman down with a single bite, and then made its way to the village he had sought to protect.

The people of the village would have certainly been doomed, had the Hunter not then arrived with Templars she had warned of the threat and set upon the creature. Together, the Hunters and the Templars felled the fiend once and for all, and she then led them to the ruins where the Woodsman's body was found and the foul lair destroyed. The Hunter was lauded a hero for saving the village, the Woodsman a victim of the fiendish serpent.

It serves us all to remember that while bravery in the face of evil and self-sacrifice in defense of others are among the highest virtues a servant of the Flame can aspire too, they must be tempered by paitence and an understanding of our own limitations. We need not stand against the evils of the world alone, and we are always stronger with the help of others.
This has the makings of a remarkable thread. Well done, gentlemen! 
(I am not a native English speaker, so I apologize for any mistakes or confusion)

"The two pilgrims

 
There were once two devout purified who were of old age. Since their union with the Silver Flame was approaching, they wanted to visit Flamekeep and pay their respects to the Keeper of the Flame before departing from Eberron. One was a Karrnathi who was forced to worship in secret lest his neighbours killed him, and the other was a rich Brelish merchant. Both old men traversed the "Road of purification", a path that was tread by pilgrims of the Flame for centuries, where travellers met tests meant to make them better persons. Yet, they took different paths. The Brelish merchant saw a band of robbers attack a man and leave him seriously injured, but he said to himself "I am no challenge to those men, and my intervention would make two victims instead of one," so he went on. Later on, he saw a starving child, but being left with just one bread told himself "I am dying and this child has all his life before him. If I leave my loaf, I will die not being able to visit Flamekeep," so he continued on the road. The Brelish man arrived in Flamekeep at last, joining a multitude of pilgrims, and was only able to see the Keeper of the Flame from afar. However, he saw that the Keeper was holding the hand of the Karrnathi purified, who was kissing her hand and hugging her, after which he died.
The story of how the path of the Karrnathi pilgrim was did not differ much from that of his Brelish counterpart in events but regarding his reactions. When the old man saw the victim of the robbers, he said to his soul "my fragile body is not able to withstand attacks from assassins or to protect that suffering man. Yet, I must strive to protect the innocent, so I will hide behind these bushes and help that poor man once the offenders depart." So he did, and he gave water and food to the man, giving much of his money to pay a Jorasco healer, who cured the man, even knowing that by doing so he would lack funds to go all the way to Flamekeep. Yet, he thought "I will go as far as I can." Later on, on the road, he saw a starving child, and the conundrum of giving his last piece of food and risking death given his fragile health or moving on was resolved in favor of the former choice. "I will die soon anyway, and even if I didn't, my heart is moved with compassion." He gave his peace of bread to the starving child, who cried with joy and embraced the old man. Behind the child, an angel embraced the Karrnathi pilgrim as well, and allowed him to visit Flamekeep in his heart before he died of hunger and joined the glory of the Flame. The Keeper was aware of this, and knew that the man whose vision she embraced proved that there was still hope in the world."
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