New Caledonia Gods

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Table of Contents (hide)

  1.   1.  The Old
    1.   1.1  Nanin
    2.   1.2  Nín
  2.   2.  The New
    1.   2.1  Dúr
    2.   2.2  Valleui / Valleuar

Like winding rivers that meet the sea, the four clans of Old Caledonia united to form a single nation. They lost the war, but those that survived have carried their beliefs onto the new realm. As they survived, so too did their gods.

1.  The Old

Traditionally worshipped by the lowland clans of Taur and Lorn, the Old Gods are as ancient as Caledonia itself. Before the clans became divided all worshipped Nanin, eldest of the four. As the rivers began to teem with life, Lorn split from the stag’s realm and fashioned themselves a new god, Nín, out of driftwood and reed.


1.1  Nanin

The Lord of the Wood, The Verdant Stag, The Heart of Vengeance

Born of the deepest forest-shadow, covered in moss and lichen, Nanin is the first and most ancient of Caledonia’s gods. Those who follow the stag-god often refer to themselves as Druids and revere the natural world, above all. They believe Nanin is the spirit of nature wronged, dark and vengeful. It is to him they credit the human’s great fall as they sought to tame what could not be broken.

Druids of Nanin preserve and protect the balance of nature and revere the natural cycle of life, death, and decay: what is born of the earth returns to it in death and from the soil springs life eternal. Druids of the Circle consider carrion-birds such as crows and ravens to be Nanin’s messengers, as they often circle the dead and dying. They gravitate towards the forests of the world, and build their hidden shrines in the deepest recesses of the woods using only what materials nature has discarded.

Acts of worship include offerings of flowers, bones, and under extreme circumstances, blood. A Druid will offer these in exchange for fertility: both of body and soil. They pray for their dead, so that they may take their place in the cycle. They swear vengeance upon their enemies, so that they may know nature’s wrath.

Symbolism: Trees, Circles, Stag horns, Ivy, Crows, Ravens, Thorns, Pre-dawn

Ceremonies

The Cradle of Nanin

To be baptized as a Druid of the Circle of Nanin is to be buried. Initiates are stolen in the still hours before dawn and guided to a shallow grave, where they are buried beneath a smattering of soil. To rise from the grave is to be born again and take their place in the Circle.

The Embrace of Eternity:

For Druids, death is not the end. Funerals are a celebration, the next step in a cycle that never ends. The bodies of the dead are buried beneath nutrient dense soil and seeds are planted along with the corpse, a tree or a bed of flowers depending on the individual.

Tenets and Tales

  • Nature's reclamation of old human cities and ruins are a frequent theme in stories of Nanin. Nature is revered, and its balance protected by Nanin's druids: wood gathered only from deadfall, every part of slain prey utilized, and offerings given back.
  • The darkest of Nanin's tales (and of most comfort to the grieving) speak of vengeance, long-time foes meeting their unwitting (but deserved) end.

1.2  Nín

The Depths-devourer, She of Reed and Wood, The Silt-speaker

Few remember when the clans of Taur and Lorn split apart, and fewer still recall the birth of Nín.

They say she began as a seed within the dark hollow of the great stag’s chest. One day when Nanin stooped to drink the seed fell and was carried to the still waters beyond his sacred forest. Beneath the murky surface she grew and grew, sprouting fins out of reed and slick water-plants. She dwells in the deepest parts of the river, the gatekeeper of her twilight sanctum.

Always depicted as feminine Nín herself is a beast: half bird, half fish with a sharp beak and serpentine body. They say she hides in the river muck watching, waiting to seize the unworthy and plunge them into the depths.

Her worshipers call themselves Reed Whisperers, so named for the sound of their prayers whispering across the still waters. They preach the dangers of the unfathomable depths, the silt beds that swallow unwary children. Often fierce, Reed Whisperers are as comfortable in the water as they are on land. They build floating shrines to their goddess and send their prayers adrift on driftwood and leaves.

Symbolism: Circles, Reeds, Waterfowl, Driftwood, Still waters, Twilight

Ceremonies

The Rite of Nín

To be considered one of Nin's chosen, an initiate must undertake the Rite of Nín. The initiate is instructed to select a pebble from the banks of the river at twilight. They are then taken (by boat) to the deepest part of the river. There the stone is tossed into the still waters and the initiate must dive into the cold depths and retrieve it, proving themselves worthy of Nin's favor, or be dragged to the depths by their river goddess to linger with the dead.

The Ritual of Returning

The dead are as coveted by Nín as the living. Only the most devoted of her followers are returned to the cool embrace of their goddess. The dead are dressed in a ceremonial cloak stitched with numerous pockets of varying depths. Friends and family gather around, each bearing a stone which is then placed in the many pockets. A priest of Nín bears the body in a boat to the middle of the river where the body is cast down, sinking to the bottom to be feasted upon by fish and various river dwelling creatures- and sometimes Nín herself. Thus continues the cycle once more, a return to the waters that first gave life.

Tenets and Tales

  • Protection of rivers and the life that flows through them are important to Nín, who guards the realm's waterways. Those who care for life's balance may find her favor. Though she does not share all of Nanin's realm, they equally revere nature.
  • It is said that a current runs through all living things, linking people together in this life and the next.
  • Many stories caution those who would take dangerous waters for granted. Many an unfortunate soul has been swallowed by Nín's depths.

2.  The New

As Caledonia flourished, new clans began to form. From the Highlands came the clans of Aegas and Menel who fashioned themselves New Gods from the high towers of stone, and celestial bodies above.

2.1  Dúr

The Heart of the Mountain, The Steadfast, Heart-forged

Traditionally worshiped by the great smiths of the clan Aegas, Dúr reflects the mountains where the clan used to dwell. Dúr, heavy-set and hardy, takes the shape of a plains bison made of stone and dark metal. His horns are comprised of metal twisted and forged by the fires of the abyss and his back rises in peaks and valleys of craggy rock. Long-time worshipers of Dúr, known as Stonecarvers, carry tokens of him on their person, passed down from generation to generation. Dúr appreciates crafted offerings of metal and stone, regardless of purpose.

Symbolism: Tokens of iron and stone, hammers, hearth-fire

Ceremonies

The Longest Night

Those of the Stonecarvers who believe themselves to be the most hardy and devout undertake the vigil of The Long Night. On the eve of celebration, they and they alone scale the highest peak of Caledonia’s claim to meditate upon the state of their soul, and the deeds they have done and will do to venerate their god of iron and stone.

The Mountain’s Call

As we live, so do we die, and in death the mountain calls us home. In the event of such a passing, Stonecarvers of Dúr encase their dead in elaborate stone cairns at the base of the mountains. In their cold grasp they place a hammer, so they may work beneath his steady gaze and raise the mountain ever higher.

Tenets and Tales

  • Many stories tell of Dúr forming the world -- cracking it open with his hooves, siring mountains, stamping valleys to make way for the sea.
  • A worshiper of Dúr should be like the mountains: strong, tall, impervious. Many tales allude to feats of strength and overcoming adversity through great trials. They also tell of Dúr lending his strength to those who need it most.
  • While his most devout are often smiths or stonemasons, Dúr appreciates Luperci's hard work and creation in all aspects.

2.2  Valleui / Valleuar

The Souls of the Cosmos, Dual-Spirit

Dual-headed, dual-named, and genderless is the god worshiped by the priests of Menel since the founding of their clan. Valleui bearing the face of an eagle with sharp eyes and sharper talons represents the sun. While Valleuar, bearing the serene countenance of a wise barn owl represents the moon. Traditionally, worshipers of Valleui -- called Sunweavers -- were most active during the day while Moonweavers (those who worship Valleuar) were active at night.

Symbolism: Sun and Moon, Owls feathers, Eagle talons, Fire, Tides

Ceremonies

The Trial of Eventide

Two ceremonies, one for each face of the Dual spirit can be undergone by their most worthy disciples. The Trial of Eventide requires that the Sunweaver fast from sunrise to sunset on a cloudless day, so they may soak in every purifying ray with a clear head and body free of toxins.

The Trial of Zenith:

Similarly, Moonweavers undergo the Trial of Zenith. They set out for the beach when the sun begins to fall, forgoing food and drink to witness the moon’s splendor.

The Heavens Rest

No one lives forever. Sooner or later death comes for us all. The Sun and Moonweavers know this to be true. The Heavens Rest is a ritual burial styled in the ways of the ancient priests. When a Sun or Moonweaver falls their body is carried to the highest scaleable peak of New Caledonia's claim by those they cherished in life. Their body is then set upon an altar of stone and after all have said their farewells the deceased's remains are left to be devoured by the birds and beasts of the land-- for a dead body is an empty vessel. The soul lives on.

Tenets and Tales

  • Freedom of choice is important to the dual-spirited god -- after all, their worshipers choose which aspect (sun or moon) calls most to them.
  • Worshipers should demonstrate pride and conviction, flaunting their faith through social rituals and fine clothing. One should strive for grace and beauty in all that they do. Valleui the eagle's warriors often make battle an art form.
  • Knowledge is valued by Valleuar the owl's worshipers especially, but this knowledge is to be shared rather than hoarded.
Category: New Caledonia