The Gods of the North

While many of the Southern gods have made their way into the Northlands, near the edges of the Angrelid, the peoples still follow the path of the original gods. These are the couple, Ustig and Silstig (first mother and first father). As legend has it, Ustig gave birth to the world and followed by bestowing it with 9 fair sons (Vanik, Orstag, Gessig, Urdag, Vorig, Kostan, Yeln, Tura and Grod). Silstig, jealous and bitter over the worship Ustig received, slew Grod who was the youngest and was cast from the Great Glacier by the other 8 sons. He landed in the lowest lands where great beasts tore his arms and legs from him; being a god of sorts, he escaped by taking the shape of a drake and slithered into the long passages of the Gallendaag. The spirit of Grod returned, but since he could no longer walk the path of the Great Glacier, he roamed the lands to guide the dead back to safety.

Ustig – FirstMother
Domains: Life, Ice
Polytheists
Holy symbol: A circle in a pair of hands

She is the mother of all things. Her cult primarily consists of females clerics and doulas, though men are not forbidden to serve. She’s the primary goddess when anyone prays or gives thanks. Her sons are considered demigods, each with his own special trait, but there are few clerics at all that still serve the sons. Her priestesses dress in loose animal skins and ritually paint their faces. Her holy symbol is a silver dagger in the shape of an icicle. (NG)

(Note: Some scholars believe Ustig and Aerthas are the same goddess in a different aspect, But neither religion would admit to such a thing.)

Son Servants – Followers of the Eight
Domains: Varies
Polytheists
Holy symbol: A bone square with the name of the demigod engraved on it

Typically, there are Soncults surrounding nearly every church or community. While they do NOT have any organized clergy, some talented individuals can call on the power of the eight if it serves the right purpose. The Eight remaining sons of Ustig each have a nickname that gives some idea as to what their influence is:

Vanik the Shieldbearer, Orstag the Runner, Gessig the Lover, Urdag the Brute, Vorig the Voice, Kostan the Trickster, Yeln the Puzzler, Turak the Archer. 

Since there is no organized church, there is no central worship site or temple for the Eight. Nor are there any sort of vestments. What passes for a holy symbol among their believers are small totemic representations of the sons, usually carved from some sort of animal bone. (No alignment affiliation)


Grod – The Ever Wandering
Domains: Death, Travel
Polytheists
Holy symbol: A primitive compass rose

Grod’s death is a tragic story, especially knowing that his spirit has no rest. His worshippers and clerics are a very somber lot. They typically handle the dead in the issuance of last rites. They paint themselves in ice and dress in white skins to honor Grod’s ever journey across the ice. The hold a round stone as their holy symbol, eternally rolling and never sitting still. They also consider the followers of Silstig their mortal enemies. (N)


Silssstig – The One Who Crawls Below

Domains: Trickery, War
Polytheists
Holy symbol: A thick, stone snake

There are a number of Northers who not only reject the teachings of Ustig as weak, but they embrace Silssstig, which they perceive to be a survivor. One may notice in the old texts that his name was extended to emulate the hissing of his eternal form. He is represented as a snake, naga-like, who’s skin is hard as stone. His clerics seek only power and to dominate those around them, driving their conquests into servitude. They dress in deep green robes and are adorned with many images of snakes. As a matter of rank, they are tattooed with images of serpents – the more tattoos, the more dangerous they will be.  The holy symbol of Silssstig’s followers is a stone snake. (NE)


The Old Gods – Those Who Whisper Beyond

Domains: Magic, Knowledge
Polytheists
Holy symbol: Typically, a petrified or mummified eye or finger

There are still some who follow the whispers in the darkness, whom they believe to be the Original Gods; formless, twisting shadows who gave form to Ulstig herself. The followers of the Old Gods are pragmatic and can be secretive. It’s unlikely one would ever see a cleric of the Old Gods, because they believe blending in is the most important sacrament. While some would call their worship pagan and barbaric, with blood sacrifice and little regard for life, the followers understand that these sacrifices keep the balance of all things.

It’s thought that the original followers of the Old Gods who pushed South were corrupted by the Spearfolk and it gave birth to the cult of Shta’Nodaen. While this could be true, there is little actual proof, save the similarity in the theme of dark tentacles.

The only holy symbol for worshippers of the Old Gods is some token taken from nature and blessed by a prayer; a special twig, a phial of dark water, etc. It varies from believer to believer. However, all of them believe in the idea of sacrifice, even if it means to lose one’s self.  (N)

 

 

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Lesser Known Dieties

There are several dieties found throughout the known worlds; several have risen in popularity and worship during the time of Herrasian Era. These represent a few of the more common ones encountered by the players:


Talhannin – The Minstrel
Domains : Good, Healing, Music
ANIMISM
Holy symbol: A golden harp

In many tales of Famil Dandurrin, there is a gnomish bard that is mentioned. Talhannin, a fair faced and light hearted companion is usually there to help bail Famil out or heal him when he is hurt. While he is most often described as a handsome grinning, sandy haired gnome, he sometimes appears as music on the wind, as a kind halfling farmer with a distinctive whistle, or a very clever finch. Those who follow him are usually bards, skalds or poets and serving him as a cleric requires that you know at least one instrument to mastery.  There is no set pattern of dress or worship, but nearly ever cleric of Talhannin wears a holy symbol in the shape of a lyre with a small bird sitting on it.   (NG)


Haggach – The Werewolf
Domains : Evil, Strength, Transformation
MONTHEISTS
Holy symbol: A black claw

A smattering of purist humans have associated themselves with this cult, believing in the superiority of Lycanthropes, representing themselves as stewards to those undergoing the change. Typically, any race of lycanthrope is allowed to join the cult (except elves), but the positions of power are still held by humans alone. The majority of members hold other positions in society and the clergy disguise themselves as something else. They tend to meet in old Elven temples or consecrated sites which they immediately profane. When in ritual state, they wear grey robes and are often tattooed with the image of Haggach, a Werewolf with two outstretched knives. They are the sworn enemies of Eadowyn, who’s wiles in the form of the shapeless moon cause them to lose control.   (CE)


Ransharna – The Master of Djinn
Domains : Magic, Weather, War
POLYTHEISM
Holy symbol: An adorned bottle

In the far south there is a legend of a great warrior who defeated a Rakshasa Prince and retreated to his magical keep, which gave him eternal life and a mastery over magic in the realms of deserts. He rules a court of Djinn who serve him and carry out his will on the material plane. His clergy are almost all from the southern desert, though his popularity is on the rise. Clerics of Ransharna are required to carry a scimitar and lose proficiency in simple weapons to favor only that one.  They are identified by ritual tattoos under their eyes and the most powerful are accompanied by a Djinni. (N)


Shuttaret – The Whirlwind
Domains : Law, Wind, Tenacity
POLYTHEISM
Holy symbol: A spiral of silver on lapis

Sister to Ransharna, Shuttaret left her home in search of her brother when he disappeared into the Dry Realms. Her determination is legendary, as she walked every inch of the desert to find him. So driven was she, that she gave up the need for food or drink. After not finding him, she sat and meditated until she became sand. Only then was she able travel anywhere on the wind and finally came to settle around her brother’s palace. Her clergy pride themselves on feats of endurance. They are most often identified by their covered faces and wearing a cloth tunic belted with a long sling (“Thundersling”) which makes the noise of a desert wind when twirled.   (LN)


Datakha – The Thieving Serpent

Domains : Trickery, Knowledge, Revenge
POLYTHEISM
Holy symbol: A serpent poised to strike

Jealous of the power Ransharna and Shuttaret achieved, Datakha was once a Naga that vowed to find the Hidden Palace and take it from Ransharna. In several stories he fashions a plan to infiltrate the Dry Realms, but is somehow thwarted by Shuttaret’s sand and wind. Datakha represents vengeance and most clerics of the Snake take a vow of vengeance against a people or government (in game terms, they gain a favored enemy as a Ranger in lieu of Destroy Undead). Datakha is accompanied in his dealings of the material world by mummies of fallen priests.  His active clergy carry snake like staffs and wear a headband fashioned to appear as a striking Naga. (NE)


Mamaranda – Mother of the Jungle
Domains : Good, Plant, Healing, Animal
ANIMISM
Holy symbol: A length of bone with a story carved into it

In the jungles, there are few gods or clerical practitioners, many following the path of the druid or medicine woman. However, there are a group of believers that ascribe the birth of the deep jungle to Mamaranda. Her skin is a dark as the night sky, but her eyes burn green like the jungle itself. She is kind, but not gullible; stern but never cruel. Her servants wear a torc of bone and vine. Little else is known about them, but travelers to the southern jungles have sworn her followers can transform into many shapes which have provided them protection.   (CG)

The Breaking of Longbridge

LongbridgeBroken.jpg

It had been a year of treacherous deeds. Under the Reeve of Longbridge the people suffered and with no answer from the King came all out rebellion.

There need be no retelling of the terrible tale that set off the revolt. Everyone is painfully familiar with the destruction of the bridge. By late 633 arrows and spellfires have stopped raining across the river and there is a tense quiet gripping the two sister cities, so close and yet so spiritually apart.

The Northwest bank has become High Hold, a new enclave of power for the barbarians of the Spearfolk. Ejected are the new religions and customs replaced by the more animist tradition of the many clans. And the folk of the far bank have embraced this new alliance.

On the side of Glimring, Southbank, seized and secured by the wealth and power of Bannon Bowsprit are the wealthy. His cousin, now guard captain, has bullied remnants of the King’s Guard to serve him, though few understand how.

Powerful magic was expended to carve two great walls around each of the remaining pieces. What remains to be seen is the influence of royal power and the reach of Glimring on this once loyal asset.

Festival Days

While each religion has it’s own specific days associated with worship, there are some universal days that are celebrated in the Edeldale.

BRIGHTFEAST – Origin; Davanic worship
On the First day of Lightsong, a festival celebrating the light returning to the world is held across every major holding. From the highest lord to the lowest born, each family lights a multitude of white candles (in lieu of any magical lighting, torches or lamplight) at sundown and partakes in a meal of four courses; the Bland, the Bright, the Hot and the Tepid. This represents coming from darkness to light, the brightness of the sun (or Dava’s countenance), the warmth of the sun, and a reminder what it is to be without it.

Traditionally the meal begins with a type of round bread (davanloaf), followed by a lightly spiced meal (varies by culture), followed by peppers and a cold soup. At the end of the meal, candles are all extinguished and generally, the darkness of the night is filled with quiet song.

CHAMPION’S WEEK – Origin; Spectacle of the Many Tribes
In further days, the Spearfolk were more autonomous, but lived closely together. Each tribe would elect a champion to compete in what they referred to as “The Spectacle”; a massive series of games and contests to determine the Champion of the Folk. The festival usually begins on the 16th of Newgraze, but over the years has been held at different times due to war or tragedy. In any case, it’s always begins and ends on a Chorseday.

During the week, in memory of the original spectacle, there are contests of strength, games of skill and in the more urban areas, tournaments of magic and wit. During the week, several events will be hosted and culminates on the following Choresday. Champions may hold temporary title, be awarded a great prize or just retain the title and status of Champion until the following year. In all cases, the Champion is given some red mark or article of clothing to show their status.

DRAGONSBLOODOrigin; Herras’ slaying of the last red dragon
In the spirit of Champion’s Week, on the 30th of Newgraze is Dragonsblood (or Dragon’s Eve in some communities). On that night there are reenactments of Herras’ deeds. Children often wear dragon masks and attempt to scare adults (who usually laughingly comply). The festival usually is a night of great boasting and tale telling. At the end of the evening, a large bull’s heart is served and an effigy of the King (or in the case of Glimring, the King himself) is spattered with blood.

THE NIGHT OF HARD BISCUITS – Origin; The Dwarves entry into Edeldale
It is said that all the best brews mature by the month of Lightsong. So on any given Settlesday of that month a city, community or even a humble Dwarven outpost, hosts a NIGHT OF HARD BISCUITS (Sometimes called “Toast’s Night” and other times, just “Biscuits”). The timing varies, as rumor has it, because the ancient kings didn’t want ALL of their vassals to be incapacitated by drink in a single evening. So it was decreed that each region or village would be authorized to have a night of drunken revelry in accordance with a set schedule.

The name of the event dates back to Men’s first encounter with the Dwarves. They exchanged goods and cursed the almost rock-like biscuits the Dwarves gave in trade. That was until the first or Uli’s envoys came down from the mountain to drink and the humans realized that the the biscuits were in fact, designed to only be eaten after being dunked into heavy Dwarven stout. While the two peoples had previous a very formal and indifferent relationship, this drunken feast fostered immense goodwill and was responsible for the alliance the Dwarves and Men now have.

GRANDFEASTOrigin; farm tradition and possibly, Aerthan tradition
At or near the end of harvest, a great feast begins on Choresday through Settlesday. The actual timing is based on the the amount of harvest taken in. But this three day festival features agrarian tokens and traditions. No matter how poor, each community contributes a portion of the harvest to this event. In some towns it may be little more than three days of donated goods to be redistributed among the farmers. But in larger towns and cities it’s 3 nights of bountiful eating and drinking. There are songs that date back hundreds of years, showing of livestock and sharing of rustic traditions.

While it’s just considered a great culinary event in the cities, most who worship Aerthas, treat this as a festival of Thanks and end the evening of Settlesday in prayer and worship.

[more to come]

Timekeeping

Edelrend’s calendar is fairly simple and straightforward. It consists of 12 months, each with 30 days divided into five different six day weeks. The typical (and most ancient way to refer to the date was to call the number of the day, month and season, then the year; for instance, “The 12th day of the fourth month, in the Season of Warming, in the year 632.”

As recently as the last 400 or so years humans have fallen into the habit of using a translation of the Elven calendar which has a name for each month in the year and they use an elder system of day naming, dating back to the first Court of Glimring.

Calendar months (beginning with what we would know as March) were previously referred to by the translation of their Elven name:

Newchant, Dewfall, Newgraze, Lightsong, Longsun, Windgasp, Fieldturn, Lastreap, Longwind, Darkeves, Icegale and Breakthaw.

However, currently among men, the months would be called by a shortened version:

Chant, Dew, Graze, Song, Sun, Breath, Work, Reap, Wind, Eves, Ice and Thaw.

The seasons are called Waking, Warming, Slowing, Freezing corresponding to Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

And so too the six days are referred to as MansDay, ToolsDay, WhimsDay, ChoresDay, FieldsDay & SettlesDay. It is traditional for any feast or holy day NOT fall on WhimsDay, which is the day for one to follow one’s own pursuits.

The days refer to the cycle of man’s conquering the dragons: Mans is to commemorate the triumph of humanity over the dragons, Tools to honor the swords they used, Whims to commemorate Herras and the time he rested when the deed was done, Chores for the days of rebuilding, Fields for those that fed the masses and Settles to commemorate the cities and the calm they hold against the wild.

Those born at certain times of the year are supposedly prone to specific traits, but most think of this as pure superstition. But it serves a purpose much like astrologic symbols do in our world.

Kingdom : ELDWYD

CREST_Eldwyd


SERVANTS TO THE GREEN


Eldwyd extends from South of the Greybarrows, out to the wood line East of the Lady’s Lakes and contains the lowest extents of the Old South Road.

It’s current rule is Eostra, the ancient Elven (former) princess of the First Kingdoms. Her rule is unquestioned due to her status as a powerful wizard. However, the Elves of the Eldwyd defer to her and no other lord desires to try tame the old forest.

It’s capital is in Birch haven, the home of the Ash Elves (so named for their white skin and hair). A number of wild elves also make their home in the Eldwyd, but they remain free and owe nothing to the crown. The only truly human settlement inside the boundaries of the kingdom is Spurweed, so aligned because it’s magister offended the Lord Southwatch and has petitioned protection from Eostra.

Any criminal trespasses, especially that of poaching deer or trees from the forest, are swiftly met with retribution by Eostra’s “Edowith Naestur” (Green Defenders), a small but efficient of Elven ranger/warriors who patrol the lands. They answer directly to her and occasionally can be seen outside Eldwyd to do her bidding.

The kingdom itself is as old as the forest and holds all things Elven sacred. However, they do assuage to the ideal of the Six Kingdoms, since Eostra remembers the times of war and doesn’t wish to repeat them.

 

 

Kingdom : SUTHERS

CREST_Suthers


EYES IN THE DARKNESS


Suthers stretches from the South of the Sutherhills between the two great Elven forests. Not actually a kingdom, it’s a confederacy of ex-pat noblemen who didn’t fall into line with the Glimring King.

Currently, they are headed by a council of five, the leader of which is a calculating and shrewd, pale lord named Daedolid. Some rumor that he is actually a vampire or that he is actually the puppet of a vampire lord hiding in Blackhold, but Daedolid himself was presented to Valen III by daylight to disprove such talk.

He sits at Southwatch and has a small force willing and able to defend their Northern border if pressed. Also in his charge are a group of Beastmaster that patrol the land with Dire wolf companions, further fueling the rumors that he himself can become a wolf (many suggest the wolves that are spotted on patrol are actually Daedolid, leading the charge in animal form.

Other lords of note are an old and frail descendant of Ezreth, Count Ildarrim, whose holdings include the Blackhold and Ashmire. Similarly ranked is the Captain of Rangers at Fort Greenbow, Berres Brannan, who has dominion over the Fort and the two villages north of it (Bannerreach and Huddlestead). Finally, Banehold is overseen by the Contessa Harin, a talented sorceress and old friend of Daedolid.

While the Confederacy seem to constantly be preparing for invasion, the land itself is fairly peaceful and is soldiers of the banner are mostly responsible for the safety of travel and trade along the Rangers Road.