Father Leren Benevy was the priest of Astera at Forst Reach manor, under Lord Withen Ashkevron. Leren replaced old Father Osen in the post. He was an extreme homophobe, who disliked Vanyel from the beginning, and worked to keep Withen at odds with his eldest son. He was the force behind the idea to send Vanyel to Haven, though the exile didn't work out quite as he had foreseen.
Numerous others around the keep disliked Leren, including Armsmaster Jervis and Radevel Ashkevron, both of whom took to attending services in the village instead. When Vanyel was still a child, Leren persuaded Withen to build a new temple on the manor grounds, an exact duplicate of the main temple of Astera in Haven. Vanyel refused to set foot in it, and others didn't like it either, seeing the arrogance of the priest in its design.
Matters with Leren eventually came to a head in the wake of the destruction of the Mavelan family. As an exhausted Herald-Mage Vanyel emerged from a Gate he'd constructed to escape the disintegrating royal palace in Highjorune, Leren attacked. Vanyel used the last of his energy to distract him at a critical moment, saving the life of Jervis, who had been assisting Vanyel. Jervis took out Leren with a chair, but Leren had succeeded in knifing Vanyel, who barely recovered.
It was later discovered that Leren had been in the employ of the Mavelans, spying on Vanyel and Tashir. However, it was even worse than that, as Vanyel sensed a dark mage he didn't recognize controlling Leren from afar. Leren himself escaped, and the High Prelate of Astera sent 'finders' through every temple and school, hunting out any other corrupted priests.