Berestha Elmessene was of the Renolfing Clan of the Stravuli, a farmer and follower of Vinga the
Spearwoman. Shortly before her twentieth birthday, raiders struck homesteads on the Renolfing tula; the victims included her
entire family, brutally abused and killed, as well as most of the neighbouring families. The raiders, ex-mercenaries, were
never caught. The young Vingan was devastated, and became filled with a burning desire to avenge her family. Realising that
she could not do anything to attain revenge at that time, Berestha spent long hours planning what to do.
She entered the Avenger cult, trained relentlessly, and studied ancient myths. The Earth Avenger
was not her life path, but she sought the Dark Earth’s aid in her quest for revenge, and diligently sought a way to
gain the powers she desired. After eight years, several heroquests, and lengthy rituals in which she swore powerful oaths
to the Earth Avenger, and undertook numerous geases, she gained the power she sought to attain her revenge.
The next twenty years were spent hunting down
her foes. Her revenge was cruel; one of the raiders took two weeks to die. She was almost 60 by the time she tracked down
the last of them, a swordmaster named Janos of Pent. The two fought on a narrow mountainside track. She was fatally wounded
but took Janos with her, using the last of her strength to knock him from the track to his death on the rocks below.
Berestha is said to have hated men so ferociously that a look from her could render a man
impotent for life. This is based on truth, Babeestor Gor granted her the power to do so (among others) as rewarded for her
devotion to revenge and the powerful geases she had sworn.
Those who would follow her path can join her hero cult to do so. It is based at the Vinga
temple in Notchet, although several shrines to Berestha exist in other areas of Esrolia. The hero cult is generally joined
only by Vingans with an incredibly intense desire for revenge, but who are not drawn to the veneration of Babeestor Gor (many
do not hate or distrust men in particular, or have no intention of spending the remainder of their life as an axe-wielding
New members must be from the Vinga the Avenger subcult, and convince a priestess of the cult that their desire for
revenge justifies taking this extreme course of action. They must then sacrifice 1 POW at Berestha’s shrine and another
point at a Babeestor Gor shrine or temple.
The new member of the cult must spend the next year as an apprentice to a Babeestor Gor priestess. They perform everyday
tasks for their mentor, who teaches them of the myths and rituals of the Earth Avenger. This first year is often tough going,
it is used to test the new initiates resolve and commitment to the path they have chosen. At the end of the first year they
are tested to see what they have learned (Babeestor Gor Lore, three out of five attempts). If they fail they can either leave
the cult or continue for another years an apprentice.
If they succeed, they become full initiates of the cult, known as Blood Sisters. Their
hair becomes blood-red in colour, changed by the will of the goddess (one of the reasons that they are called Blood Sisters),
and they must take three geases; two selected by the will of the goddess (i.e. randomly), and one in consultation with their
mentor. They must also take a geas never to reveal any of the secrets they are taught. An ancient and powerful ritual that
will slay those breaking it enforces the latter geas; the Earth Avenger takes such things very seriously.Cult members normally remain with their mentor for several more
years, enacting rituals, heroquesting, and learning dark secrets best left hidden. They will normally take at least one additional
geas each year, symbols of their growing closeness to the goddess. As they do so, they gain powers and abilities that will
draw them nearer to their goal. Many dedicate themselves fully to Babeestor Gor during this period, using the Blood Sister
ritual to leave Vinga’s service without rancour or the attacks of spirits of reprisal.