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Faiths of Graecia
The Lord of the Olympians, the thunder and the sky; his temples bestride the highest mounts of Graecia so that nothing can evade the all-fathers gaze. Leaving more mundane matters to the affairs of others (although his reputation for affairs is another matter) he concentrates on the greatest matters of state such as the enforcement of the Olympians rule, dealings with other ancestral pantheons and preventing the return of the Olympians arch-nemeses, the Titans.
His faith is universally respected throughout Graecia and maintains places of worship across the nation. His priests can act as a unifying force in an otherwise divided land. His symbols are the thunderbolt, the eagle and the oak and his priests often weave these symbols into their clothes to identify their allegiance.
The Queen and yet also elder sister of Zeus, the faith of Hera chafes under the restrictive rule of the all-father and in some ways acts as its main rival. Whilst they share the Zeusists love of high places, the Temple of Hera is a committed matriarchy, devoted to punishing men for their sins, although the faith proclaims to be more interested in promoting both marriage and easing childbirth.
Her faith is strong in Argolis, Euboea and Laconia and in these states is sometimes more venerated than Zeus. Her symbol is the peacock and her priestesses maintain great flocks in homage to their mistress.
The great Lord of the Sea, Poseidon claims every ocean, gulf and inlet as his own and also the creatures that dwell within. His priests are approached before any great sea voyage to prevent the great lord from taking offense and scuttling the pesky mortals. Poseidonís faith is often at odds against that of his brother Hades, for they claim all souls as theirs that are lost to the sea, something which is anathema to the Hadians.
His faith is centred in the great naval ports of Korinth and Piraecus, although he is a very important figure to fisherman and sailors across Graecia. His symbol is the trident.
The Earth-Mother, Keeper of the Harvests and Lady of the Seasons; Demeterís faith is an old, secretive faith far removed from the more city-bound faiths. Her priests profess to look after the wellbeing of the countries crops and agriculture, but behind closed doors tales of human sacrifice abound.
Demeterís faithful are distrustful of the faith of Hades, whose ancestor they accuse of kidnapping the Earth-Motherís only daughter and in her sadness, ushering in the cold of winter. Her enigmatic faith is widespread amongst the more rural folk of Graecia, but is centred in western Attika of which her followers partake of a yearly pilgrimage known as the Mysteries of Eleusis. Her symbols are the cornucopia, representing her bountiful harvest and also the poppy, to hide away her pain.
Lord of the Sun, Patriarch of the Oracle of Delphi, Ancestor of Medicine and yet Bringer of Plague. Apollo is a multi-faceted deity with a diverse and extensive following. His faith is centred in the great marble expanses of Delphi and also upon the island of Rhodos, where he is known as Apollo Flamor, ancestor of the Temple of Light.
He fathered Asclepius, the Lord of Healers and sometimes they are said to be one and the same. Asclepiusí faith is based in Epidavros, in eastern Argolis and from there they maintain shrines and hospitals known as Asclepieions to safeguard the wellbeing of the nation. Apolloís symbols are the lyre, the raven and also the silver bow, from which he fires arrows of disease and poison.
Twin sister to Apollo and Maiden of the Moonlight Night, Artemis is the patron of hunters, foresters and (it is said in the hushed tones of frightened townsfolk) werekin. The faith of Artemis is a rustic one, its priests and priestesses are guardians of the wild.
Most of Artemisí faithful can be found in the heavily forested western reaches of Graecia, but in the cities she is sometimes worshipped in conjunction with her twin brother; especially on the Isle of Rhodos, where to the Temple of Light she is known as Artemis Safire. Her symbols are the deer and the cypress tree.
The Lord of War, the Harbinger of Destruction; Ares, in all his violent rage, is the ancestor the Graecians call upon to summon their anger. His priests are brutal and uncompromising and gather around scenes of strife and conflict to whip up the combatants into a frenzy.
Aresí faith is popular amongst soldiers, but less so with their leadership who find him uncouth and uncultured. He is most popular in northern Graecia as his unsubtly appeals to the savage northerners who live in Macedonia, Thrace and Bithynia. His symbol is the boar.
The Lady of Battle and Ancestor of Wisdom, Athene represents order and wise council. Whilst also a war ancestor she has nothing in common with the brash Ares and her priests are advocates of strategy and forethought.
During times of peace, her faith is instrumental in developing the fortification of Graecian cities and towns to better protect the nationís citizens. Her temples are universal across Graecia but Athene is particularly venerated in Attika, Argolis and Laconia, with the centre of her faith based in Piraeus. Atheneís symbol is the ever vigilant owl.
The Guardian of Magic, Lord of Merchants and yet also the Prince of Thieves; faith in Dark Hermes is a multi-faceted thing, as hard to pin down as the Ancestor himself. He is popular in the great cities of Korinth and Troy and yet also in the rural states of Achaea and Messinia.
His faith include a great number of magi who call themselves the Hermetics and guard ritual and transport circles in supposedly the nationís interest. However, with their monopoly of magical travel within Graecia complete, they have been known to drive a hard bargain in coin or services for their use. Hermesí symbols are the Tortoise and the Caduceus which, in Hermetic Lore, is said to bring peace to the dead.
The Lord of Wine and Merriment; Dionysusí drunken following of satyrs and other layabouts crash around Graecia upsetting festival after festival and causing chaos in their wake. His priests dedicate their lives to whipping up the faithful into an ecstatic frenzy of dance and song.
The only true temples of Dionysusí are the tavernas and drinking holes where his following can get closer to their Lord at the bottom of a glass. Dionysusí symbols are the grapevine and the Thyrsus, a pine cone-topped staff covered with ivy leaves.
The Patron of Artisans and the Lord of Fire, Hephaestus is worshiped by the weapon smiths, sculptors and armourers of Graecia. They claim their Lord to be greatest smith who ever lived, capable of crafting the greatest of arms and armour within his divine forge.
His priesthood try and emulate their Lordís prowess and are nearly always weapon smiths and armourers themselves. They provide the very best weapons in the land and are highly sort after for their work. Hephaestusís symbols are the hammer and the anvil.
The Lady of Pleasure, Aphroditeís faith promotes the Graecians basest needs and revels in them. Aphrodite is said to be so beautiful that upon seeing her men pluck out their eyes in desiring her to be the last thing they ever see.
Aphroditeís priesthood build Temples in her name amongst all the great cities of Graecia, but the centre of her faith is within debauched Korinth. There they offer courtesans to the rich, whores to the poor and themselves to those who can afford it. Her symbol is the Dolphin, said to have guided the great Lady to Graeciaís shores.
The Mistress of the Eternal Night, Patron of Witches and Matriarch of the Restless Dead, the tripartite Hekate is distrusted and despised. Her worshippers are secretive and often work to undermine the faiths of other ancestors to further the glory of their Lady. Hekate stands apart from the Graecian pantheon and it is whispered, sometimes all too loudly, that her true loyalty lies with awakening the Titans.
Hekate maintains no public temples in her name and her followers gather unseen far away from prying eyes. She has an affiliation to crossroads which are somehow important to her faith. Her symbols are a dog and a set of keys, some say to unlock the way to the underworld.
The Lady of the Hearth is quiet and reserved compared to her compariots, but is still considered amongst the greatest. Her domain is to tending the eternal flames of Olympos so that they are never put out.
The cult of Hestia is small, but Graecians believe that every hearth and campfire to cook and keep warm at night is dedicated to her. She takes a special interest in the protection of virgins. Her symbol is the eternal fire.
Pan, the son of Hermes and Lord of the Deepest Woods; in times past Pan was ridiculed by the other Graecian ancestors for being weak and so plots and plans their downfall. He has a large following amongst the Pelasgi and the Satyrs, but no organised religion. His faithful live in the most obscure groves and glens of Graecia, locked deep within the forests and for the most part keep to themselves.
His symbol is the panpipes, said to bring madness and death to those that hear them.
The Dark Lord of the Underworld; Hadians, as his followers are called, are mostly violently opposed to the Unliving, as they stand accused of literally cheating their master of his subjects.
As Hadesí underworld realm is often associated with mineral wealth, he is the patron of miners and the accumulation of fortunes. His priests, despite or perhaps because of their macabre outlook, have a deep respect for truth and order and are valued as judges. His faithful sometimes also worship Cerburus, a great dog said to defend the gates to Hadesí realm.
The faith of Hades is in schism for some Hadians do not follow the central tenents of the faith and consort with the unliving, so Hadesí faithful are split between two opposing Temples. His symbol is the helm of darkness, which grants invisibility to its master.