Wisdom, knowledge, balance, justice, the unknown, secrecy.
The Core Religion
The people of Veisea revere the god Gharilaon as the keeper of wisdom and knowledge—especially esoteric knowledge—which leads to understanding and, of course, justice. Gharilaon is primarily referenced as a male entity, but his divine energy is one of balance—neither male nor female in expression. The numbers five and ten are representative of that balance: five on its own is unstable, but doubled brings balance, and balance is achieved by the pursuit of knowledge. For this reason, plant representations of Gharilaon are typically flowers and herbs that bloom their petals or leaves in groups of five. A manifestation of wisdom and justice, Gharilaon’s other symbols are things that bring balance—like weighted scales—and representations of knowledge: owls and books, for example. He is also commonly represented by things that are hidden, or things that grant access to that which is hidden: fish are cloistered away beneath the surface of water; snakes and wolves make themselves unseen; keys open secret doors; fireflies illuminate; etc. Representations of or offerings to Gharilaon are placed on the east side of any altar, property, or place of worship in which they appear, or on bookshelves.
Offerings & Tithes
In warmer months, any associated herbs and flowers and/or fish scales. In cooler months, any available associated plants, dried versions of plants from warmer seasons, almonds, and/or feathers. Offerings of feathers, vodka, or ginger beer may be made in any season. Offerings should be made on the first Friday of each month in the midnight hours, or under the new moon—whichever occurs first in the month. Offerings sit for the full month, or until Gharilaon either accepts them or they begin to rot. Offerings that are not accepted are to be disposed of in a body of water, and a small coin or owl feather replaces the rotted offering for the remainder of the month as a placeholder until the new offering time arrives.
The Feast Day
Named Gharnacht, Gharilaon’s feast day is October 31, the official end to the harvest season. It is customary on this day to wear either black, gray, navy, or purple. Dark face paint is common, usually either an eye in the center of the forehead, half the face obscured by paint, water droplets, or feathers. Dark-colored veils and shrouds are also typical. Celebrations and rituals include: storytelling around a fire, performances of plays and music, illusion tricks, the making & wearing of masks, inducting new members into the Order (see: THE ORDER OF THE SAGE). In times of plenty, a large feast is prepared; in times of scarcity, potato bread is baked and eaten symbolically. Celebrations begin in or shortly before the midnight hours and last until dawn. Alcohol, especially potato-based alcohol, is consumed in large quantities.
The Order of the Sage
The Order of the Sage, or the Gharinthrong, is a highly selective group of people who believe that knowledge is sacred and must not only be sought after, but protected—and Gharilaon is both the Teacher and Guardian of that knowledge. The Gharinthrong believe that without knowledge, there can be no balance, and without balance there can be no knowledge, and so as a means of worship, they live their lives striving for control and moderation in all things—except in the pursuit of knowledge itself, which is the most holy thing they believe one can do. Rather than a typical “temple,” the Gharinthrong’s sacred building is that which holds the most information. They refer to their temple as the Library, and they are the stewards of all records, books, and knowledge the Valley (and Veisea itself) has to offer. The building is constructed of very dark, almost black stone that has been smoothed to the point that it shines.
The Order of the Sage, valuing moderation, does not necessarily believe in the concept of evil—only a counterbalance for good. As such, though they don’t condone harming others, neither do they explicitly condemn it, viewing everything as a balancing of the cosmic scales. Justice, to the order, is a matter of factuality, pragmatism, and equality—an eye for an eye. The great Sins, to the Gharinthrong, are the destruction of information, the withholding of knowledge that improves the lives of others, imbalance, and deceit.
People of any gender, race, and age are accepted into the Order, provided they pass tests of knowledge and undergo secret rites and rituals. Ranks are likewise open to all, provided they pass further examinations. The five ranks of the order are: Disciples, Scribes, Keepers, Elders, and the High Sage. Every member of the Order wears, in some fashion, a black or navy robe.
rosemary, rue, sage, violets, willow, yarrow, life everlasting, iris, thistle, hyacinth, cornflower, bluestar, salvia, larkspur, chamomile, mint, hollyhock, calendula, horehound, elderflower, almond, aquatic plants (but especially lily pads), potatoes (vodka), root vegetables, ginger (ginger beer), gourds