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The Turquoise Tree

Govora SpearDaughter

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Govora the SpearDaughter

 

The hero cult of Govora is Esrolian in origin. She was the warband leader of the Silver Bull clan of the Maranwth tribe, descendents of the Kodigvari, who lived near Pennel in Esrolia.

Govora was greatly respected as a bold war leader, who served her clan devotedly, and was beloved of the Protectoress, defender of Esrolia. Her cunning and mastery of battle tactics were renowned; it is said that she lost “neither battle nor argument”. Govora also knew when to fight, just as important as knowing how to fight; she avoided much death by negotiating where possible, although it is known that she rarely compromised and normally got her way.

Govora’s greatest legacy is the Spear Council; once a warband but now part of her hero cult, it was originally set up to train Vingans of her clan in the art of battle command, strategy, and tactics (the Esrolian equivalent of Sandhurst/West Point). The priestesses of The Old Earth Alliance quickly saw the value of Govora’s work and backed her fully. Originally based at the Vinga temple at SpearPoint Lodge (near Pennel), it soon grew in size and popularity, and lodges were established elsewhere in Esrolia.

After Govora’s death the Spear Council continued her work and she became widely venerated by many Vingans for her achievements. Many Vingans, especially those in the clans of the Daradelli and Maranwyth, began to offer her sacrifices at SpearPoint Lodge, a practice that evolved into regular worship and an organised hero cult venerating Govora (the Spear Daughters). She was also popular among the people, many steads include a household shrine to her as defender of the Earth.

The cult has remained popular ever since; it is normally Vingans who lead clan warbands in Esrolia, and the teachings of her cult were thus useful to all. Many clans remember Govora in their rituals or maintain small shrines to her within their Vinga temple.

The Spear Daughters still maintain the temple at SpearPoint Lodge, other major shrines can be found at Donbry, Ernalda’s Home, Notchet, Sylthi, and Garrel. Many clans also maintain shrines to Govora.

 

 

 

Cult Membership

 

 

Vingans who wish to join the cult can do so at any of the larger shrines. They must be initiates or priestesses in good standing, followers of the DarkStorm or Spearwoman subcults, and pass a test set by a panel of three priestesses (called Spear Daughters). The test takes three days and is designed to evaluate the candidate’s sincerity, aptitude, and character.

The test includes evaluations of the candidate’s fitness, fighting skills, magical aptitude, and knowledge. The cult sees Brains as a virtue, and if would-be members fail to impress in that respect, then they will also fail the test. It should be noted that most cult priestesses can determine the difference between stupidity and a lack of knowledge, the latter is unlikely to harm the prospects of an otherwise promising candidate (knowledge can be acquired easily compared to wisdom and intelligence).

The GM should determine the precise form that this test takes but it typically involves using six skills successfully from the list that follows; Battle Command, Battle Lore, Dodge, Earth Lore, Esrolia Lore, Fist Attack and Parry, Human Lore, Missile Attack, Orate, Ride, Run, Scan, Vinga Lore, Weapon Attack and Parry. Priestesses wishing to join the cult must possess either Battle Command or Battle Lore at 90% or higher ( with the other skill at 70% or higher), as this is considered the minimum standard suitable to qualify as a priestess in the cult.

Candidates who pass the tests are allowed to initiate into the cult and become a Spear Sister. They must sacrifice 1 POW at any shrine of the goddess, and donate 10% of their goods and income to the cult.

DarkStorm members of the cult tend to specialise in guerrilla warfare and scouting.

 

The cult is divided into two types of worshipper.

 

The first consists of Vingans who remain part of their clan or tribal warband. They must spend 10% of their time on cult duties, a mixture of training, rituals, and fyrd duty (priestesses are expected to help train and command their clan or tribal warband, and must spend 90% of their time on cult duties). Twenty percent of initiates income must be donated to the cult, half to their local shrine or temple, the other half is to help support the Spear Council and the training centres. Priestesses must gift 30% of their income to the Spear Council, and 60% to their own shrine or temple.

Members of this group can get training in Battle Command, Battle Lore, Human Lore, and Vinga Lore for free through the cult. Other cult skills can be learnt at half-price at most shrines. They may sacrifice for divine magic at any shrine or temple, and can learn any cult spirit magics at half-price. The divine magic spell Battle Insight can be sacrificed for at the shrines at SpearPoint Lodge, Ernalda’s Home, Notchet, Keltere, and Garrel.

 

The second group of followers is the Spear Daughter warband. This is the route most often taken by those who wish to devote themselves fully to the cult. They guard the holy places of the cult, and act as trainers and advisors, both to other members and clan warbands.

Initiates are called Loyal Spear Sisters; priestesses have the title Loyal Spear Daughter. Members train and work hard, most hoping one day to reach the exalted rank of Spear Lady (senior priestess), and possibly even join the Spear Council itself.

Loyal Spear Sisters must devote sixty percent of their time to the cult. What this involves depends on the experience of the initiate. Junior initiates tend to get minor duties, such as grooming horses, equipment maintenance etc, whereas experienced initiates normally help with training, act as assistants to a priestess, and perform tasks with a fair level of responsibility. Many are sent to foreign lands to observe their military practices and report back to the Spear Council, this is especially true in the case of Sartar and Heortland, as the Council is gravely concerned by the Lunar threat.

Priestesses must devote all of their time and income to the Spear Daughters, but are in return fully supported by the cult. They spend most of this time training other cult members, leading everyday rituals, and acting as military advisors to cult allies. In some cases they act as warband leaders for allied clans without their own Vinga priestess, but this is increasingly rare. At the moment many are absent from SpearPoint, away fighting the Lunars.

Senior priestesses normally spend their time supervising the other priestesses, and performing cult rituals, but are frequently assigned to Queens as military advisors, although this duty is typically reserved for members of the Spear Council in times of major war.

Members of the Spear Daughters can get accommodation and training in cult skills for free (at any shrine or temple). All members of the warband can learn up to three points of cult spirit magic for free each year, any other such spells can be learnt at half-price. They may sacrifice for divine magic at any shrine or temple. The divine magic spell Battle Insight can be sacrificed for at the shrines at SpearPoint Lodge, Donbry, Ernalda’s Home, Notchet, Sylthi, and Garrel.

 
 

Spells

 

 

Battle Insight

 

Divine, 1 point, stackable, self, temporal.

DarkStorm/Spearwoman (Govora SpearDaughter).

Can be sacrificed for at SpearPoint Lodge, Ernalda’s Home, Notchet, Keltere, and Garrel (all in Esrolia).

 

The Battle Insight spell increases the casters Battle Command or Battle Lore skill by 10% per point stacked in the spell (their choice). It provides minor insights into potential tactics, enemy deployments etc, which can be translated into potential advantages in battle (on a successful skill roll). This spell cannot more than double the skill to which it is applied.

 

 

 

 

The Spear Council

 

 

The Spear Council is the ruling body of the Spear Daughters. It consists of senior priestesses only, each an experienced military commander, headed by the Spear of Govora, high priestess of the cult. The Spear Council does not have a set size; there are as many members as there are suitable candidates. New members of the Council are selected from the ranks of the senior priestesses of the cult.

The Council collates information on all things military, using it to develop and assess tactics. This is seen as especially important given the overall failure so far of Orlanthi military tactics against the Lunars. The Council realises that this is partly the result of battles on the heroplane, and a lack of unity among the tribes, but recognise that it is a problem that applies equally to Esrolia. The strong pacifist element of Esrolian society is seen as a divisive element; although peace is necessary in life (and indeed preferable), at the present time pacifism can only need to disunity at a time when Esrolia needs to be united. The situation has worsened following the death of many warriors at the Lion King’s Feast.

The precarious military situation has persuaded much of the Spear Council that they must optimise their military resources and minimise casualties. This has led them to favour the guerrilla warfare tactics of the DarkStorm as their principal form of offensive warfare, meeting the Lunars in the field will prove to be a costly and ultimately unsuccessful tactic. They are limited by the need to defend the homes and holy places of the people however, and aware that Lunar manpower will tell in the end. The Council do not want to see Esrolia ravaged like Sartar (especially since they are aware that it is the martial clans that the weight of the oppressor would fall upon, clans to which most of them belong).

The Council are well aware of the Rebellion in Sartar and have provided what aid they can. This has mainly taken the form of equipment, food, and shelter for refugees. The Council has recently begun to take a more active role in the rebellion; the recent conquest of Heortland has added impetus to their efforts. Several priestesses have been sent to help train and lead rebel warbands, and small groups of volunteers sent to bolster rebel numbers. They are also working closely with the Six EarthShadow Sisters, a secretive DarkStorm cult specialising in espionage and assassination. The Council hopes to draw Lunar troops from Heortland, delaying any potential invasion, or at least diminishing the forces that the Esrolians will face.

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