Monday, February 6, 2012

Gods and Seasons, Part 2 - Summer

(Part 2 of an ongoing series - Part 1 here)

The summer gods and months:

The Sage - With the summer solstice, the power of light magic peaks during midsummer, ushering in the Month of the Sage, a goddess depicted as a white-robed, wizened woman with a book.  The Sage is the patron of many practitioners of magic, particularly oracles, as well as those who value learning and planning.  In a lesser guise, due to her presence at the beginning of the war season, she is a goddess of strategy  also.  Festivals of the Sage are often contests of poetry and the recitation of epics, but are more subdued than the festivals of many gods.  During the Month of the Sage, the destruction of books, scrolls, and other inscriptions is forbidden, and mortal sages are often treated as protected as well.  The Sage is across from the Keeper on the Great Wheel, representing the duality of knowledge, that it can be used for good and evil, and of knowledge versus secrets.  Priests of the Sage are learned scholars who maintain her temple archives, often located in the great cities.  The Elves are the chosen people of the Sage, blessed with long lives, long memories, and a talent for magic.

The Smith - In the height of summer, the world is rendered hot as a foundry.  This is the Month of the Smith, a god depicted as a burly, grey-bearded blacksmith with hammer in hand, and the patron god of skilled craftsmen and engineers.  This month is a time of sieges, when engineers build and deploy fearsome siege weapons, and the defenders reinforce their walls and dig deep.  Festivals of the Smith are competitions of craftsmanship, with craftsmen presenting their greatest works of the last year to their lords to win his favor.  Craftsmen also traditionally choose apprentices during this month.  The Smith is opposite the Elder on the Great Wheel, representing the duality of fire and ice, as well as aged strength against aged decreptitude.  Priests of the Smith are rare among humankind, but common among his chosen people, the Dwarves, who learned their skill in steel, fire, and stone from him.  Many a human blacksmith keeps a shrine to the Smith in his forge, though, or wears his symbol on a necklace.

The Warrior - As the season of war draws to a close, savage last-ditch engagements are fought as sieges are broken and castles fall.  This is the Month of the Warrior, a scarred and tired god in scratched armor and armed with a pike, who is a patron of peasant warriors and those fighting to protect their homes.  Many peasants pray to him to protect their crops and livestock from armies, and it is terrible luck to kill civilians during his season.  The festivals of the Warrior in peaceful lands are contests of skill of arms with blunted swords, as well as archery.  In war-torn lands, festivals of the Warrior are instead cease-fires where opposing sides gather food, entrench, and rest, or sometimes even mingle.  The Warrior is opposite the Savage on the Great Wheel, representing the choice inherent in the use of force, between protection and destruction.  It is said that the Warrior is the elder brother of the Gallant.  Most priests of the Warrior are old peasant soldiers who took up the cloth, and they are often drafted to serve as leaders of peasant formations.  There are also a few knightly orders dedicated to the Warrior, and they are dedicated to helping commoners rather than the pursuit of glory common among the knightly orders of the Gallant.  They often maintain refugee camps and hospitals in areas of war and serve as neutral brokers of peace.

To Part 3

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