The Paths of Fate
(LAN’-a-ue): The moon goddess is somewhat unique in that she is the daughter of Tyrea alone (instead of being created by Caul) and was reborn in her current form after coming to the celestial court from a place unknown and sacrificing herself so that Tyrea could become fertile and birth the mortal races. She is Tyrea’s hand-maiden and watches over the world at night, when Caul is attending to the affairs of the heavenly court. As a guardian of the natural world and a deity of healing magic she has become the chief goddess of the elves. When portrayed in a form other than the moon itself (which, as the sun is for Caul, is metaphorically her eye watching over the mortal realm), she is depicted as a (usually elven) maiden of incredible beauty with sparkling eyes, pale skin and long, silver hair. She has a special love of sailors (having engaged in a long and dangerous voyage to reach Caul’s court herself); she is their patron as well and is said to sometimes alter the tides to their benefit.
The Story of Lanuie
The following story is told by the priests of Lanuie regarding the origins of their goddess:
In the first days of creation, before even the birth of the forefathers, (indeed, before the birth of any mortal race), Caul summoned to his side his celestial court, calling each from the emptiness of the void and giving them form as was the way of the high gods in those early days. To his side, formed from the dust of creation itself, came Marrucaie the squire and Marus the bannerman, as well Jovian, Sautur, Ursus the Great Bear and all the rest. Most beloved by Caul of all of his court, however, was his cherished wife Tyrea, whose love was true in return. All was ordered as it was deemed it should be by Caul and in this time the gods, still new in their forms, danced and fought and frolicked in the void of the stars, full of the vigor of their youth. All appeared to be as it should be and, for a time, it was.
To the court of Caul came one day Moibeaus, the maiden, for she had been attracted by Caul’s strength and power and had come to seek his favor and to be his consort among the gods. Before reaching him, however; she found Tyrea, mournful and distraught. “Sister, why do you cry so?” she asked “for here you are among the mighty and are blessed to be in the court of Caul who covers you with his warmth and holds you in his embrace. For what cause have you been left in such despair?” To this, Tyrea replied “Indeed, sister, Caul is great and I am blessed to be touched by the warmth of his breath and to be held in his embrace but these things too are the cause of my pain, for Caul is my husband and he greatly desires that I should produce for him children, so they too may feel the warmth of his breath and to know his embrace. Alas, though, I cannot! There is in me no substance from which to bring forth life and my efforts to produce a child have all been for naught; I am barren, now in soul as am I in body!” These words both shocked and saddened Moibeaus, who felt great compassion for Tyrea and said to her “I tell you truly, I came here to be a suitor to Caul, for I did not know until now that he had pledged his love to another. Stricken am I to learn that his love is already given away; stricken even more greatly to know that this love has brought such sorrow! Yet, in my own body do I have the substance with which to bring forth life and…”
“…and so you will take my husband from me and give him the children I cannot!” Tyrea wailed, “Truly am I barren, then, to be bereft of my husband’s love in addition to all else!”
“No!” Moibeaus exclaimed, “That is not the meaning of my words! No, there is but one hope remaining, both for you to produce children for your husband and king and for me to have a purpose to the journey that I have traveled upon for so long. I can give you that which is in me, that which would bring forth life and in so doing heal you that you will be barren no more. But,” she continued, “in such an act you must know that we will both suffer great pain and, at the end, I will likely be no more.”
“Why would you do such a thing for one you have just met and do not know? Why for one who holds the love of another that you so desire?” Tyrea asked. “Because,” Moibeaus replied, “in the act of healing there is great honor as well as great sacrifice, and great nobility in the act also. Besides,” she added after a moment “where else shall I now go?”
With this, the two locked in a tight embrace and the heavens shook with the screams of their agony. The substance of both was spilled across the sky and in the end Tyrea lay covered in her blood, seemingly stricken a mortal blow. Moibeaus, as she had said would happen, was gone and it appeared that she lived no more. The other gods came at the sounds of the screams and Caul cried “Wife! What evil has befallen you? You lay bloodied and, so it would seem, near to your death while around you are the ashes of another; ashes that my fires shall now consume utterly for this affront to you!”
“No!” Tyrea responded, “For this is what remains of one who has saved me!” Then, with the magic now hers by Moibeaus’ sacrifice, she gathered up what was around her (as well as some of her own divine substance which remained there also) and, (though much diminished in form), by Tyrea’s will was Moibeaus reborn. She then explained to the gathered gods what had transpired and the nature of the gift that Moibeaus had given her. Turning from his wife, Caul said “Daughter, for indeed you are now the first born of my beloved wife, what boon can I give you in payment for this great gift?”
“Just this,” she replied demurely, “that I be allowed to remain here and reside in your court also; for already I feel in your wife’s bosom the stirrings of life that you have desired of her. Let me watch over her with you and shelter her and your children, for they are now both my children and my siblings also.”
“Indeed”, Caul replied; “You shall watch over my wife and all of my children in the night as I do in the day and the greatest of honor shall be yours; henceforth you shall be Lanuie, first daughter of the court of heaven and the hand-maiden of my beloved; forevermore shall you be welcome here!” With that, Lanuie and Tyrea clasped hands as the dearest of friends; to be as one for all of eternity, and as they did the gathered gods rejoiced.
The Goddess Lanuie
First daughter of the court of heaven; the Handmaiden; moon-mistress; the gentle lady of the healer’s art; guardian of the night
Symbol: A crescent moon
Portfolios: Goddess of the Moon, Healing, Elves and Sailors
Domains: Good, Healing, Magic, Protection, Travel
Favored Weapon: Elven Curved Blade
Holy Text(s): none
Colors: Silver, Dark Blue
Religious Tradition: Priesthood (with some druidism)
Burial Customs: Internment (cemeteries or forested glens, occasionally crypts for noteworthy individuals)
The story above is told by the priests of Lanuie to illustrate the core tenets of the church’s faith as well as to recount the history of their goddess. They teach that the act of healing is one of great virtue and nobility, even (and especially) if the recipient of that healing is a stranger, an enemy or in any other way not one the healer might otherwise want to aid. Also, they espouse the belief that this healing brings benefit not only to the one helped but to the wider world as well (and so, sometimes, to the healer him- or herself, though the nature of such boons might not always be readily apparent; however, the oppisite of this might also be true, as demonstrated in the story of Argeus and Lycanus, recounted below.
While it is Caul and Tyrea who are the sire and dame of all the natural, mortal races (and of most every other living thing upon the face of the land or depths of the sea), Lanuie is the one who made the results of their union possible and so she is seen as the chief care-giver and nurse-maid to the natural world as well as having been midwife to it’s creation. The elves feel a great affinity with her because of this, so much so that she has become the chief deity of this race and their unique, curve-bladed sword has become the favored weapon of her priests, who often wield highly stylized versions crafted to resemble a crescent moon.
Lanuie is also the protector of the world at night, both for the goddess Tyrea herself and for all of the children who reside on the bosom of the earth.
While the sun is metaphorically the eye of Caul watching over the world by day, the moon is the eye of Lanuie watching over it by night. The goddess was greatly weakened by her transformation from the maiden to her current form however, so her gaze leaves the world at times when she is exhausted and must rest, although it always soon returns. The waning and waxing phases of the moon represent the closing and opening of her eye as she rests, this serves as an example to her mortal adherents of sacrifice and fidelity to one’s vows, even at the cost of one’s own comfort.
Worshipers of Lanuie follow a code of giving aid to others even at personal cost to themselves and act as defenders of the natural world, especially opposing those terrors that stalk the night such as the undead, demons and other aberrations. When they channel the energy of their goddess it typically manifests as moonlight or moonbeams. They are individualistic, bound by their own personal sense of right and wrong but, like the natural world itself, follow no other particular set of rules or laws.
Religion and Regalia: As one would expect of the religion of the elves, Lanuie’s faith is very individualistic and its art quite intricate. While there is no one standard form of vestment or architectural style common to the church, images of the moon and stars are, of course, featured prominently and the colors silver and deep (to midnight) blue tend to predominate.
Most followers of Lanuie are elfish but she has a substantial number of human followers (mostly sailors) as well. A few gnome adherents can be found among the laity but it is unusual for halflings to follow her and the dwarves almost never do. The elfish priesthood tends to favor their rich oral tradition over written works and, of course, this long-lived race has relatively less need of a formalized canon though human priests do tend to collect poems and stories important to the religion into a number of different books and essays, small “pocket” versions of which are sometimes carried by faithful ship captains, sailors and other human adherents.
While the elves invoke the lady’s blessings in most aspects of their lives, from blessing newly built structures and other objects to the internment of their dead, the most widespread and recognized of Lanuie’s rituals in human culture is in the christening of newly completed sailing vessels which, if at all possible, are released from dry dock into the water for the first time under the light of a full moon.
Services to Lanuie are always conducted at night, either under the open sky or at least with windows and sky-lights providing moonlit-illumination for the sanctuary. Most important rituals are conducted during times of a full moon, while the very faithful will actually avoid even praying to the goddess during periods of the new moon so as not to disturb the lady’s rest. Some human followers of the faith, in fact, consider it ill luck to do so though amongst the elves this belief is considered silly superstition.
Most of Lanuie’s priesthood are clerics though a few druids can be found, mostly in Sindareal itself where they act as guardians and stewards of their sylvan homeland. Their scimitars and scythes are nearly indistinguishable in style from the clerics’ elven blades and they tend towards animal companions and the Plant, Animal and Weather domains over those of the elements. While it would not seem that Lanuie would have many inquisitors among her priesthood there is, in fact, one elite sect among the elves, the Midnight Guardians who patrol and protect the elven homeland, seek out undead and other evil intruders and act as bodyguards for other members of the priesthood. Among Oracles, Lanuie’s hand is seen mostly among those following the Heavens and Life mysteries and the Clouded Vision oracle’s curse is considered distinctive of Lanuie’s influence though the goddess dislikes the necessity of forcing her divine powers upon unwilling or unknowing mortals and does so only at great need. Finally, there are a number of (mostly elven) good-aligned witches who take the goddess as their patroness, receiving the benefits of wisdom patron spells in their communion with the goddess.
Relations with Other Gods: Lanuie is particularly close to Tyrea and Ursus and her priests often work closely with those of these two religions. Druids of the three deities are especially close and sometimes train together with enclaves occasionally consisting of members of two or even all three gods. Priests of Caul and Lanuie hold each other in mutual respect but despite their historical ties do not often find common needs that lead them to work together. Similarly, while their respective races are close both geographically and in outlook, Lanuie and Marrucaie rarely interact directly and Vineaus’ “everyone for them selves” attitude leaves her faith with very little in common with Lanuie’s gentle, egalitarian philosophy. Though there is much open animosity between their races, Lanuie and Maurs remain staunch allies in the fight against the forces opposing mankind and it is not uncommon either in the stories of the court of Heaven or in the histories of Arereth to find tales of Lanuie healing Maurs as he fights to defend her or of the dwarf-lord’s warriors defending priests of the elf goddess even as they tend to their fallen comrades on the battlefield. Saytur and Lanuie remain closely linked by the creation of the fey and they and their worshippers remain kindred spirits and close friends though seemingly not with the same degree of mutual cooperation that the goddess shares with Ursus and Tyrea. Finally, the elves remain in constant conflict with the races Jovian created (especially the orcs), leaving the two gods and their religions in fierce competition. Similarly, the priesthood of Nept and the dark god’s undead minions are mortal foes of Lanuie’s, who pursue a vigorous defense of the natural world against their depredations.
Argeus and Lycanus
The followers of Lanuie frequently tell of two ancient priests who were confronted by a plague in their homelands. One, Argeus, went forth to help as many as he could while the other, Lycanus, feared that he might become infected himself and so refused to help any save his own family and friends. In the case of Argeus, his efforts over time led him to gain a great understanding of the disease so that by the time he eventually did become infected himself he had learned enough to devise a cure. Lycanus on the other hand, restrained by his fear, had no such knowledge so when he inevitably became infected his death was seemingly assured and he knew that his reticence – which had allowed the disease to continue to spread unchecked – had led to his doom; not protected him from it. By coincidence, he soon after learned of Argeus’ cure and wrote to him, begging his brother priest for aid. It was only when Argeus did indeed come, (at great personal risk), that Lycanus begin to realize the magnitude of his sin. So great was his horror upon realizing that he had allowed thousands to sicken and die because of his fear that the thought of standing under Lanuie’s gaze shamed him, so much so that when the next full moon rose the plague and his own tainted magic transformed him into a wild beast, as cruel and violent a killer as he had once been a benevolent healer. Thereafter, with the rising of the full moon he would turn into a ravening wolf and the few whom he had treated beforehand were transformed into other beasts as well. While some of these others were mere innocents (and became the first of the good- and neutral- aligned lycanthropes) others, like the errant priest himself, became the ancestors of the evil were-beasts that still haunt the world to this day. Argeus’s cure, it turned out, involved the use of a medicine which had silver as a main ingredient and silver is still, to this day, a lethal poison to lycanthropic creatures.