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A Black Jewel has obliterated the longstanding Eyrien rulership of the Territory. As the Rihlanders begin to reclaim their homeland they do so under the stern gaze of their "savior". Three separate peoples struggle to both claim their own identities and become a unified nation, but old hatreds are difficult to shed.
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Author Topic: Rihlander Religion  (Read 1124 times)


Offline Kalvar Elbremov

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Rihlander Religion
« on: Dec 27, 17, 10:59:04 AM »

-This article was written by a collaboration of Dash, phinneas, and Rated Em.

In Rihland, as in other Territories, the Blood worship Mother Night as an avatar of The Darkness. Long ago, before the arrival of Eyriens into the land known as Rih, this was not the case. Now, after two hundred years of Eyrien occupation and the dominance of the worship of Mother Night in the Territory, the old religion of the people of Rih is far less pervasive than it once was. Even so, many of the traditions that most modern-day Rihlanders observe have their basis in the old religion, whether modern Rihlanders know it or not.

The All-Mother and the Tree of Life

All of the Realms (those known to the Blood and those unknown) were said to be held aloft in the cosmos in the branches of the Tree of Life, whose roots drew sustenance from the Well of Destiny below it. The All-Mother tended to the Tree and carved the destinies of her children into its ever-growing trunk. Metaphorically, the well represented the collective amalgamation of everything that had ever happened. It was the past, which was seen as a living and relevant influence on the growth of the tree and therefore affecting the present.
The trunk of the tree itself represented the present, to which the All-Mother actively tended and was interconnected with. Destinies that she carved into the tree were not immutable, and just as the binding or pruning or molding of a plant in the real world can affect how it grows, so too could the destinies of the Blood be shaped by outside influence. Destiny and the future were represented by the growth of the tree, be it barren branches or ripe fruit.
The All-Mother was a single deity, but influenced the world through various unique aspects of herself. Though the old Rihlander religion did not use formal temples like modern Blood worshipers do, small altars were created from wood or stone in glades and groves that were considered sacred. These could be dedicated to the All-Mother, or to one of her “faces” which were known by other names and had narrower portfolios of concern.  The All-Mother was said to have coupled with brave men and made heroic and villainous children who are aspects of her power; Odin, Thor, Loki, Freya, and others are merely shards of the All-Mother made manifest.

The All-Mother is said to have many forms, but the most common depiction of her is that of a tree with a feminine face or shape.

Ancestor Worship

In addition to the All-Mother, old world Rihlanders paid respect to the ancestors that came before them. The Rih believed a person’s life was comprised of a few different parts, colloquially referred to as the heart, the mind, the spirit, and the soul. The heart referred to a person’s physical body, and in the old legends, those of a very strong “heart” were rumored to have the ability to shift their physical shape. The mind referred to a person’s cognitive self, including their personality. The spirit was where the Blood of old Rih believed their connection to the All-Mother (and the power they now call Craft) resided. They believed this manifested in the shape of an animal companion that could only be observed by those with second sight. Often, if a person had a strong affinity for a certain type of animal, it was assumed it was because their spirit took that shape. The soul was believed to be the eternal piece of a person, wherein one’s destiny and purpose were made manifest.

It was believed that when a person died, their soul was passed on to one of their descendants, and their luck, destiny, oaths and spiritual concerns were passed down with them. When someone died with grave matters left outstanding, or if their last rites were botched or some injustice remained unsettled, that person’s spirit was said to sometimes return to the world after death to haunt the living. These restless spirits, known as draugr, could only be put at peace by resolving their outstanding matters. When a spell of bad luck struck a person or a family, often the family would pray to the ancestors to intervene, or to reveal what malady needed to be set aright.

Tattoos are especially important to Rihlander culture. It is common to use one’s body as a canvas for their life and their deeds. At Moots after the tales of the Skalds are told, warriors were to shed their shirts to reveal their marks in pride (and also, after a few beers had been consumed). The practice became less frequent the last couple centuries, though it was never truly outlawed. It has gained a resurgence as of late, becoming more normal for both genders to place symbols of the Rihlander mythos and their histories upon them.

Of special note is a Legend Mark which is a specialized tattoo placed upon a Rihlander’s flesh that is more prominent than others. These marks denote something of great importance in the Rihlander’s life, be it a deed they have done or an event they have survived. They are not born of lineage but of action. Some are inlaid with specialized Craft to serve as wards or as foci for the Jeweled Blood for their own Craft. Usually after earning one, their name is to be changed to reflect that Mark’s importance.

Once extinct and recently resurging in the wake of the Eyrien oppression being deposed, the Godar are a specialized group that serve Rihlander Queens as their personal guard. A Priestess (referred to as a Godi), using very specialized Craft, forms a connection between a Jeweled Blood and a normal animal - usually a cub or a child of the species.

The Godi performs the ritual craft the bonds the animal to the prospective Godar. This ritual takes from sundown to sun up and binds the minds and spirits of animal and warrior together. Such a thing usually coincides with the Offering Ceremony. There are no tales told of Godar without their Offering but there are stories of youths who felt a kinship with a beast that would become their trusted companion.

The animal companion is bonded and loyal to their Godar partner, serving as an extension of that Godar. With the bond in place there is a connection between animal and warrior that gives the Rihlander complete control of the beast. Truly capable Godar do not even have to give verbal commands to their animal partners, instead relying on their unspoken connection and empathic direction. Skald tales speak of Godar who were able to use their animal companions as their eyes and ears, gleaming knowledge and information they would not be able to attain otherwise. Stories of the absolute control a Godar has over their trusted animal companion are nothing to take lightly as they are formidable foes on the battlefield.

Often the Godar take cuts of their Jewels and make specialized jewelry for their animal companions, giving them an extension of their own power. The empathic bond works somewhat both ways, as Godar and beast have an emotional connection and can sense each-other’s moods, the Godar at times taking on certain aspects of the beast into their personalities.

Godar do have to be cautious in regards to their companion animal. There is nothing to fear from their companion after the bond has formed, but they do have to fear harm being done to their animal. It is quite possible for the animal companion to be killed resulting in mental and emotional trauma for the bonded Godar. A new bond can be formed with another animal but it will take time, effort, and an appropriate recovery time before the Godi will perform the ceremony.

Both Godar and especially Godi tend to have a more natural connection with nature and feel more at ease within it. Some aspects of their Craft are said to have come from legendary Elves that walked the land before the Eyriens hovered over the forest.