A Hymn to Vard

I wrote this to the tune of Das Jahr ist gut, a German song about (surprise!) beer.


The Lord of our brew is kind to His people
When we come together, He eases our speaking
He makes it so easy to talk one to one
The veriest stranger might pass for our mum (might pass for our mum)!

The barrel is full of treasure abounding
Drink deep of His beer, prayers and belches resounding
Let all of His people be stout in their hearts
And pray that their alewives possess His great art (possess His great art)!

When I look upon my friends and my family
I know that the Brew-Lord thinks of me quite highly
He gave me these gifts and a place to belong
Alone we are weak, but together we’re strong (together we’re strong)!

Vard Worship

Since he’s the god of beer, you’d expect Vard’s ceremonies to involve a good bit of it — and you’d be right. His temples are almost always humble affairs, usually in a communal, tavern-like style. Though He has His dedicated priests, more important is the god’s teaching that community is king, and services, generally held in the evening, always include at least a small mug of beer and a supper. Often, in a small village, the tavern will double as the temple.

Vard’s priests tend to know everyone, as much as Knights of the Air, with whom the god’s Church is closely aligned, even more so than the official Church of Akeere. The leaf of the white oak, Akeere’s sacred tree, is displayed in every tavern belonging to the Brew-Lord, and in most way stations of the Knights, Vard’s priests will staff the tavern.

No major schisms have affected Vard’s Church. A close-knit Order, the Tappers, travels together as a military unit. They work as engineers and specialize in the breaking of sieges, from either side.

Vard the Brew-Lord

Vard is one of the more popular gods of Rothganar. As you can imagine — people like beer. He’s usually worshiped in conjunction with others, especially Akeere, because it takes at least two to make a party. In addition, His worshipers value laughter, connection with others, comfort, and home. Beer brings us together, they say.

He is almost always pictured as a man with a beer belly and strong arms, for better hugging. In most depictions He wears a beard, but the god doesn’t care much about the details of His supposed appearance. Vard loves a good prank, and many of His stories involve some trick He’s played on one or another of His fellow gods.

In the wake of the destruction of magic, Vard has become especially important. In many places, beer is safer to drink than water, and as a result His church has seen a distinct upswing in popularity, even more so than before.

Vard’s church is the most united of any in Rothganar. His teaching requires empathy and understanding of others in pursuit of connection, and thus, no large schisms have historically troubled it, and every order of the church is accepted and endorsed by it. More on Vard worship next week. 🙂

Approaching the Throne

from The Book of the Sun

To approach the Queen of Heaven on Her Throne, the ways are three: Right doing, right speaking, right thinking.

Right thinking is the way of Her chosen, for from right thinking flows every blessing of the right path. Therefore, let no blot of unkindness, nor of ungratefulness, nor of unclean things, appear upon the brightness of your mind. Instead dwell upon your Queen, that you may come to Her arrayed in all the soul’s glories.

Right speaking comes from right thinking in the way that a stalk of corn comes from the seed under the light of the Queen’s face. If the seed be blighted, so too will be the product of it, should it grow at all. Though fair words may spill forth from the lips, if the mind is tainted, so will be the speech.

Right doing floods from right thinking like the rains the Queen sends to the ground. Just as sometimes She must hide Her face, so too does right doing sometimes appear as wrong, but every one in his mind must adjudge his own actions, and find them correct. Even if the action is correct, it cannot be considered a step toward the Queen unless it springs from rectitude of mind.

To approach the Queen of Heaven on Her Throne, the ways appear three, but in truth there is only one way, which is right thinking.

Naheel Worship

Worship of Naheel is, for the most part, conducted by two different groups: Her official church, and the Order of Aurelius. Of late, the Order of Aurelius has done its best to distance itself from the church proper, and a schism doesn’t seem far off.

However, some things are still the same, and both the Church and the Order of Aurelius always include an oculus in their temples to the Queen of Heaven. Sanctuaries both tend to be opulently decorated with art and statuary, featuring the largest throned statue of the Queen of Heaven a particular church can afford at the apse. The richest churches will gild and jewel the statue. Only the High Priest or Priestess may put their back to it.

Aurelian worship is always conducted from bended knee on a bare floor. In the Glorious Kingdom of Muscoda, as the Order has gained power, more and more of the Queen’s churches have been converted to monasteries, and the public strongly urged to attend services there. The Queen’s official church allows worshipers to stand, sit, and kneel throughout the service, and places less emphasis on the ascetic traditions. Instead, for them, serving the Queen means enjoying Her blessings.

Many women serve as priestesses of the Queen. However, no women are admitted to the Order of Aurelius, and the Order is known for its self-denial and celibacy. Each monk is paired with a Brother, so there are always two, and the Mendicant and Militant are meant to check and support one another in carrying out the Rule.

With the founding of the Aurelian Security Prelates, after the destruction of Rothganar’s magic, came the gradual, but general, acceptance of corrupt teaching throughout the Order. Emphasis on service and care of the people was replaced with legalism and expansion of some dictates of the Rule to include those who hadn’t taken the offices. The Order of Aurelius has become the largest religious organization, other than the Churches of various deities, in Rothganar.