Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Gods and Seasons, Part 3 - Fall

(Part 3 of an ongoing series - Part 1, Part 2)

Gods and months of fall, in order:

The Trickster - The beginning of the fall season signals the end of the summer wars, with shifting territorial boundaries and shifting alliances.  This is the Month of the Trickster, a shapeshifter goddess usually portrayed as a masked woman, and a patron of thieves, diplomats, and dishonest merchants.  Festivals of the Trickster are often masquerades for the nobility, with contests of acrobatics, pranks, and petty thefts among the commons.  The Month of the Trickster coincides with the fall equinox, and so the powers of illusion and enchantment wax strong.  It is forbidden to punish a man for theft during the Month of the Trickster, though he may still be jailed and held for judgement during the Month of the Reaper.  The Trickster stands across from her elder brother the Traveller on the Great Wheel, as many thieves end up on the road, and many travellers are thieves.  The Gnomes are the chosen people of the Trickster, who she gifted with quick wits and a penchant for illusion.  Priests of the Trickster are rare, and her temples few, except among the Gnomes, and few of her human worshippers would admit to it if asked.

The Reaper - In mid-fall, the harvest comes in, and the weather begins to grow cold.  This is the Month of the Reaper, a multi-faceted god depicted as a dour man with a scythe and scales, whose domains include justice, honesty, commerce, the harvest, and preparation for the cold winter to come.  He is a patron of merchants and judges.  The Month of the Reaper is a time of hard work for the peasants as they try to bring in as much of the crops as possible.  For the nobility, the Month of the Reaper is for gathering taxes and resolving disputes.  Festivals of the Reaper are usually fall markets late in the month, where people trade their harvests and wares.  During the Month of the Reaper, it is also traditional to judge and punish those who committed crimes during the Month of the Trickster.  The Reaper stands opposite the Maiden, with harsh justice against hopeful innocence and reaping against sowing.  Priests of the Reaper serve as judges, and are permitted even to judge and punish the nobility from their marble courthouse-temples, located in large cities.  These temples often maintain constabulary forces as well.

The Drunkard - The excess of the harvest which cannot be saved must be eaten, and so the Month of the Drunkard is a time of hedonistic festivities.  The Drunkard is depicted as a fat man with a flagon in each hand (or sometimes a court jester), and is the patron of revellers, beggars, brewers, and winemakers.  After the trying Month of the Reaper, the Month of the Drunkard is a welcome return to festivals, celebration, and leisure before the winter truly sets in.  In addition to the expected drinking contests, oaths and boasts made in the Month of the Gallant are called to term during this month, and their makers often shamed and ridiculed.  It is customary to give to the poor in the Month of the Drunkard, and the fall tourneys are also held during this time.  The Drunkard stands opposite the Gallant on the Great Wheel, simple pleasures and ease against heroic ambition, yet the same disregard for consequences.  There are few open priests of the Drunkard in all but the most decadent lands, but many large cities have organized 'congregations' of beggars who worship him.  Many gambling halls, taverns, and houses of ill repute also bear his sign above their doors.

(To Part 4)

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