Spirituallity in Occupied Hallow
Spirituality in Occupied Hallow
Since the emergence of Illister the cosmology of Hallow has been in upheaval. Prior to Illister attaining godhood there were three recognized powers within Hallow. However it was often difficult to tell which of the three actually oversaw what, and there was often crossing over. A warrior may have prayed to Helios during a daytime battle, Luna during an evening battle, or Fenir while fighting in the forest. On top of all of that, while the Lich-kings were in power, they had attained a type of godhood as well, and it was not uncommon for their people to pray and make offerings petitioning their undead monarchs’ favor.
In Occupied Hallow there is officially no gods, save Vol the War Lich. The irony being that, although massively powerful, there are no accounts to support the actual divinity of Vol. All the other gods are seen as lesser beings. Their worshipers and veneration are seen as heretical, and dealing in the occult. The actual severity of that view, like everything in Occupied Hallow, varies drastically based upon who or what has chosen to act upon it. Every decade or so a charismatic Descendant will whip others into a fervor and seek to rid Occupied Hallow of followers of other gods. These bloody, malefic, events are called “Inquisitions”. These events are short lived, as horror and violence are common currency amidst the squalor Occupied Hallow, and the Descendants themselves are not traditionally a disciplined or spiritual people. The last Inquistion was just four years ago, but passed with minimal amount of malice compared to some of the more famous Inquistions, specifically the Question of Fire and Knives.
What the modern people of Hallow have in common with their ancestry is that very few align themselves with any one god. Instead they offer prayers to the gods whom they feel need appeasement in order to receive whatever boon or protection they may be seeking. Among the established gods, it is highly uncommon for non-clergy to have any more allegiance to one god than another. Still another direct effect of Hallows ancestry is the fact that even though it is commonly accepted that gods are brothers and sisters, early depictions of these New Gods have them all looking strikingly similar to one another, almost as if they are the same being, only in different regalia.
Celese the Life Giver- Often depicted as a matronly and curvaceously beautiful woman of middle years. Celese has stark white hair like that of her bother Thom, but she is always depicted in homespun or natural garments, or very little clothing at all. Celese’s favor or misfortune is often sought for matters growth, fertility, and healing.
Helena the Light Bringer- Helena, while commonly referred to as “she” is depicted as a fair and lean golden-haired androgynous figure that radiates beauty. Helena is the ruler of the sun and light. Although she is the patroness of many knightly orders that claim to bring light to darkness., these claims are not always benevolent. As was the case in the aforementioned Question of Fire and Knives Inquisition. Wherein Inquisitor Blaze said that it was Helena herself that begged him to root out her and her followers and wipe them from Hallow in order to let Vol’s true light shine. Helena is sister to Gideon.
Gideon the Protector- Where as many of the cults within Occupied Hallow are tolerated or ignored, save in times of Inquisition, Gideon’s worship is vigilantly banned and purged with unimaginative violence. Perhaps it is due the fact that Gideon does not initiate bloodshed without a cause. Whereas, Vol’s worshipers seem to exonerate bloodshed and war-like violence for its own sake. Gideon is regularly portrayed as a lean, well muscled man of indeterminate age, with ready eyes and determined jaw. He is always seen wielding a bastard sword and huge spiked gauntlet. The gauntlet itself has become a point of scholastic discourse and curiosity, as depended on depiction, the gauntlet might bear the symbol of Luna, Helios, or Fenir, powers now known as the Old Gods. Gideon is brother to Helena.
Thom the Trickster- Almost every discourse on Thom eventually devolves into some jest about what a luck luster name “Thom” is for a god. In fact Thom is seldom mentioned without some kind of other nickname. Black Thom, Bastard Thom, Cruel Thom, and Fox Thom are some of the most common mentions, and curses. Followers of Thom the Trickster say the name is just another of Thom’s tricks. The capricious entity is just another mischievous face in the crowd. Thom is often depicted in many forms, including animals, and tales of Thom often have him changing shape. Even still ,no matter his shape, Thom always has shimmering silver hair, fur, feathers, etc. Thom is brother to Celeste.
Vuma the Warrior- Vuma’s cults are fairly recent, not only in Occupied Hallow, but across the land of Hallow. It is difficult to often discern Vuma from Gideon in the beliefs of their followers, but Vuma ‘s followers seem to focus on martial matters over moral ones. Whereas Gideon is known as The Protector, and his followers include some the finest fighting men in the Land of Hallow (See my early treatise, Life Within the Grasp of Gideon, A Comprehensive Look at the Martial Order Known Simply as The Fist.) Vuma tends to garner prayers in the name of the elements of martial combat and soldiering. Interestingly enough, Vuma appears to be the only non-anthropomorphic deity venerated by the men of Hallow, land or city. Vuma is always shown as a fierce dragon, color varying, as the form of the dragon is the perfect combat form, or so say his followers.
This section would not be complete without mention of Fenir and his supposed followers. Fenir dates back to the old gods, and was known as The Beast Lord. By all accounts he was a dangerous, primal diety who was feared more than venerated by civilized people. Mention of Fenir has all but vanished save the most primitive of cultures, until recently. Lately his glyph, slashes as if made from claws, have been appearing in conjunction with some violent crimes. The Hallow-folk say that they hear whispers that the Beast Lord has returned. That Fenir sees Hallow as a hub of corruption that threatens the wild places where he holds sway. If there is a Fenric cult, its members have not come forward, and most think it is the usual business of occupied Hallow, murder and mayhem, done with an old fashioned flair in order to create recognition.
-An excerpt from Into Madness. A Scholar’s Study and Death Defying Journey Into Occupied Hallow by Varger Slenim.