Eleia

Death and life and life and death, circle round with baited breath. Born in spring to die in fall, winter’s wrath comes to all.

Eleian children’s rhyme

Eleia of the Harvest

(the Spring Maiden, the Green Maid, the Grainmother, the Harvest-mother)

Intermediate Goddess, NG
Portfolio: Spring, Rebirth, Midwifery, Fertility, Farming
Aliases: None
Domain Name: Valingas (one half the year), Nullä (the other)
Superior: Haeron
Allies: Avauna, Eminiea
Foes: Akem, Dinismayl
Symbol: A blooming oak tree
Worshipper Alignment: Any

Eleia (el-EE-uh) is the goddess of the harvest, of fertility, and of grain. Myths record her presence amongst the rolls of the first Aeliö and, as Eminea made the lesser beasts of the world, Eleia fashioned the plants that now grow upon it. She is the lady of Spring and the mistress of Rebirth and she is said to die each year and pass into Nullä at the fading of summer; thus, the world mourns her until she is reborn in the following spring.

Eleia is a kind goddess, who’s servants seek to ease the burden of the farmer and the orchard tender. While she is technically subservient to Haeron, she is less concerned with laws and rules than he is. Eleia consecrates marriage, and she is the goddess that people pray to when they want a child. Her temples can be found amongst villages the world over.

She appears as a beautiful maid of auburn hair wearing garments appropriate with the seasons; in the spring she is resplendent in a crown of flowers and a brilliant dress of many colors, in summer she wears a crown of hay and barley, in autumn she is depicted in earth tones with no crown at all, and in winter she wears a crown of twigs and icy colors. Her presence is heralded by a train of animals who follow in her wake and it is said the very trees and flowers bow and debase themselves before her. Her touch can return a withered limb to life and can cause a tree to blossom. She is the Spring Maiden.

The Church
Clergy: Specialty priests, druids
Clergy’s Alignment: LG, NG, CG, TN, LN
Turn Undead: No
Command Undead: No

The Temple of Eleia, also known as the Temple of Grain, has its roots in the ancient fertility cults of the pre-imperial north. Her worship has always existed at a simple level amongst those who are close to the earth. While hunters and trappers have traditionally worshipped Eminea, the same goes for Eliea and the farmer. Her rituals have changed little in the Ages since then, and her power remains steady. While her cult is not overtly political or immensely powerful, it is certainly deeply rooted in all Arunëin societies.

The cult itself is based from the Altar of Earth and Grain in Llyris where the chief priestess of her order resides. The indigenous peoples of the north have ever had more respect for her power, and it was only with the coming of the southmen that other cults ever reached the same status and widespread worship that hers had. Llynder and Llernea worshipped her at the head of their pantheon. She was a strong goddess then, who descended into the underworld to destroy evil each year while the winter months beset Arunë. Yet, in the modern Age her mythology has somewhat changed; she is said to be slain by Dinismayl, the Winter Bitch, and only renewed by the love of the other gods and their yearning come spring.

The Pythia is the chief priestess of the Eleian temple who resides at the Altar in Llyris. She is a powerful figure, and believed to be able to communicate directly with the Goddess herself and to bring visions of the future, to foretell crop failures, and to speak with the dead. She resides alone by the altar in the cave called Pythos, though a small city (Péthea) stands below to service the great temple.

The Pythia’s pronouncements are sacred, but go unrecorded. She is attended at all times by a cadre of virgins who serve their posts for five years before they may return to the priesthood. Only virgins may be seen in the temple-complex of Pythos when the sun sinks below the horizon, or so the myths say.

Other than the Pythia, the temple has no real structure or canon (though the incantations and rituals have remained unchanged since time immemorial). All clerics are expected to travel to Pythos at least once in their lifetime in order to kneel before the great Altar of Earth and Grain and receive the insights of the Pythia. However, no formal structure has ever truly developed. There are no councils, reports, or committees of oversight. Everything is organized at a local level, and no formal titles exist beyond those who are ordained and those who are not.

Individual temples, of course, have developed their own ways of handling hierarchy and ranks. Most commonly, there is a single Grainfather or Grovemother who autocratically makes all decisions pertaining to the temple’s welfare and their own subordinates backed by a trio of elder priests: the High Victualer, the Almoner, and the Sewer. Temples which follow this rule are considered “traditional” Eleian establishments and the force of history lies with them.

Dogma: Nurture and grow, for all things that grow in the earth grow for the Spring Maiden.

Day-to-Day Activities: Eleians busy themselves in the every day lives of the people with whom they live. They assist in plowing fields and sewing grain, they officiate over plantings and harvests, they perform sacred marriages and serve as midwives at births. There is rarely a down moment for the Eleian priest, as farmers and foresters are in constant need of blessings, ceremonies, and comfort.

Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: Laefheart and Barleywend are the two most important festivals in the Eliean calendar. Laefheart marks the beginning of spring and the rebirth of the Spring Maiden (Thaw 1, first night of the year) and Barleywend marks the day she is killed, plowed into the earth, and taken to the World Below (Reaping 10, also called Harvesttide).

Affiliated Orders: None.

Priestly Vestments: Priests of Eleia frequently wear yellow robes trimmed with brown or green. They rarely dress themselves in jewelry: even their holy symbols are generally wooden rather than gold or silver. They tend to wear their hair long: the women in plaited braids, the men uncut with their beards unshorn.

It is common for those who have attained full priesthood to wear a laurel of oak or olive leaves and the olive and grain sheaf are very frequently used to represent her.

Adventuring Garb: Priests of Eleia who are out on adventures (rare though they may be) tend to prefer simple garb while keeping their holy symbol displayed prominently. For this reason they frequently do not wear helmets (that their olive-leaf laurel will be apparent at once).

Priest of Grain
(Specialty Priest)

REQUIREMENTS: Wisdom 9, Constitution 9
PRIME REQ: Wisdom
ALIGNMENT: LG, NG, CG
WEAPONS: Bill, flail, sickle, scythe, fouchard, staff, club
MAJOR SPHERES: All, Animal, Creation, Healing, Plant, Summoning, Sun, Weather, Necromantic
MINOR SPHERES: Charm, Guardian, Protection, Wards
MAGICAL ITEMS: They cannot use written magical items, nor can they use any weapons that are primarily metal; the same goes for armor.
REQ. PROFS: Religion (Eleia)
BONUS PROFS: Agriculture


The priests of grain are the clergy of Eleia; they tend to the needs of the farmers and may also be present as midwives during births. They are the only priesthood qualified to preside over a marriage (if it is performed in the presence of the divine and not simply done privately) and thus all royal marriages require the witness of an Eleian priest.

Clerics of Eleia may cast the spell shillelagh once per day for every three levels of experience they have attained in addition to other spells prepared for the day.

At 3rd level, priests of Eleia may repel insects as per the fourth level priest spell at will. This requires the cleric to concentrate and extend his hand and the action itself has a speed of 1.

At 5th level, the priest’s healing spells will not only raise a downed person to 0 hp, but then perform their healing IN ADDITION. This means that people brought back form below zero will not be crippled when they rise.

At 7th level, the Eleian cleric may choose to pass without trace across any civilized countryside at will.

At 10th level, the cleric may cause any plant that normally bears fruit or food to immediately blossom forth regardless of season. The fruit has magical qualities bestowed by Eleia, and each individual fruit will heal 2d4+2 hp of damage when consumed. Any who consumes even a piece of the fruit will be blessed for 4 hours. Any plant affected this way bears between 2-20 fruit at this time and then will never bear fruit thereafter. These fruit never spoil. The cleric loses 2d4 CON upon performing this feat, which return at the rate of 1 point every 2 hours.

At 15th level, the priest may choose to temporarily imbue a carried staff, walking stick, or bough with the withering power equivalent to a staff of withering. The priest must spend one round concentrating to do this, and when the round is complete he immediately loses 1d4 CON which recover at the rate of one point per day. For every point of CON lost in this manner, the staff stores 3 charges. These can be released exactly as per the magical item of the same name.

Eleia

Abridged History of the 10th Age Idabrius