Unlike her dark consort Trost, Vaen has adapted to the changing world of Thrael very well, utilizing the growth to further her ends. In her early begins, Vaen was a benevolent goddess, creating the elfin nation and bestowing them with her gifts. But when her children turned from her, her heart hardened and she became a cruel and bitter goddess. Allying herself with the poisonous and despicable creatures of Thrael, she became the deity of spiders, snakes and the creatures of the night, including the undead. However, since the extreme economic growth in the past years, Vaen has moved practically to the forefront of the Onu pantheon, naturally causing jealousy in her counterparts. As the patron of merchants, commerce, and wealth, she has been able to capitalize on the natural greed of mortals. Her seductive offers to increase one's bank account, or help with shady trades has gained her a large following among the upper class. Her followers, the Lash, delight in the torture of themselves as well as others and many times are hidden among the followers of Jakob, working as prosecutors and barristers.
Scholars have long toiled in the sterile halls of academia gleaming and editing threads to weave the vary natures of the deities that rule supreme over Thrael; thus the leather bound treatises have emerged as the guide to those that are divine.
A face lost in time but a lingering name, Syclis Armbrader did spend a lifetime gathering and inking the manuscript devoted to She that is known as Vaen. What follows is an excerpt:
Seeress of the Night: A Treatise
Possessed of many names, she that is revered as Vaen has proven to be an enigmatic Being of divine status; in one aspect, a loving mother of creation and, yet, in another, the consummate artisan of torture and suffering... a woman of dark beauty and dark passions, to be sure.
Referred to as the Seeress of the Night, Dark Mother, Cold Woman, Torturer and Bitch... there can be no doubt of the dominion she claims as her own. She rules supreme over the domains of cruelty, pain, needless suffering, darkness, night, fear, wastelands, poisons, poisonous plants and creatures, snakes, spiders, insects and empty or abandoned places. Often forgotten domains of the Lady are tyranny, strife, greed, prejudice, invaders, tyrants, wealth, commerce and trade.
In all things she does, her embrace is passionate. And to all things she lays claim to, does she represent its truest most perfected form. Take but the example of torture. A true art honed to perfection by its patroness, a skilled Vaenite can extract a confession from any sentient being. Evolving into artisans of cruelty, an Exquissitor as they are oft called can spend days "exquissiting" information from the subject, maintaining high levels of pain and suffering whilst holding deaths merciful release at bay. So feared in some communities, it has been claimed that doors are bolted and windows barred at the scant mention of the Exquissitor coming to town.
Dwelling in her beloved darkness, it is not difficult to view Vaen as the Mistress of the night; it is her true element. In some more fanatical orders of Vaen worship, the hours between ten of the evening and midnight are considered the holiest and the most potent time for worship and rites. For it is in the velvet embrace of the darkness that the Mistress and her faithful servants can wield their cruelty most potently. Furthering on this concept, it is commonly recognized that the 21st day of Winte is her Holiest of days. Referred to as the Eve of Perpetual Darkness, it is rumored that acts of extreme torture and cruelty are performed in homage to Vaen on this sacred day. Most ardent worshippers fast for a week prior to the High Holy Day so that their bodies will be welcome vessels for pain and anguish.
In attempts to please their mistress, Vaenites or Lashes, as they are sometimes called, favor the colors of black and crimson; they also prefer heid, her sacred metal for accessories and adornments. Common themes depicted on tapestries, engravings and clothing are serpents (which represent her Avatar) and spiders.
It is not surprising that the Seeress of the Night counts amongst her allies the deities Taqe the Manipulator, Aorre the Ice Maiden and Trost the Wyrm. Her sworn foes are her twin sister Serene, Jakob the Sun God, Lyra the Spring Maiden and Ghent the Eternal Bard. True to their mistress, Vaenites do not mingle with those pledged to her foes for fear of the dire consequences. Woe upon the mortal that draws the attention of the Torturer to their frail body.
Maelius Efficuis Vaenae: The Unholy Covenant of the Black Mother
And it did come to pass that she who was the widow named Termara was seized with a wasting disease. Her flesh did tear and ooze, her sight did darken and her nights fill with bleak images. Villagers passed by her tiny hovel, shunning she that had been their neighbor in fear of her affliction, whispers of daemon possession spreading upon the wind. Termara endured alone, until the voice came to her.
"Come to me, my sylvan child."
Rich with wisdom was the faceless voice, filled with promise its resonating chords, she that had been the wife did pack her few belongings, wrapped her diseased body in rags and cloths and did venture out to seek the voice that did beckon to her. Villagers did shrink from her as she passed through the streets of her home, children did taunt and toss rotting cabbages at her as she hobbled out of the town gates. Not once did she look back, her head lowered and eyes intent upon the trail. She but followed the voice and forced her screaming body to travel a nameless path.
And as she spoke, the prophet opened a mouth in the darkness,
"You who call attention to your prosperity, it is hollow like a tree of rot.
The cycle of Thrael is wealth built upon the manyfold backs of those who would seek to take away thy means.
And so sayeth you, 'Stop?!' Would you say to the ravenous Haigi, 'Stop!'
... The oldest law of all is to preserve one's own, and thus Vaen does confirm the teachings of thine soul.
Triumph is the sound of crushed bone under your sole, and comfort is knowing the bone is nae your own."
For days did she wander alone. The voice her only company. Pain her only companion. Up from the flatlands, to the hills and finally to the very steps of a temple of crimson stone. Upon the steps did her legs collapse, and she slumped to the ground.
"Come to me, my sylvan child."
From within the massive black marble doors did emerge a man, a frosty smirk upon his face. He regarded the broken woman upon the steps and no warmth spread across his cold visage. He but nodded and offered a hand.
"Welcome to your tomb, sylvan child. Shed no tear for Termara is no more. Come inside Anchoress Flaye, your sepulcher awaits. Rise Anchoress for the task awaits."
Slowly she that had been the widow Termara did rise and followed he of the shrine out of the light and into the gloom. The great marble doors did slam shutting out the sun's warm glow. He did not pause but walked deeper into the cloying darkness, and she did but hobble after. He came to a halt in a small antechamber and regarded her coldly.
"Welcome home Anchoress Flaye."
His bony finger did point to a hole within the floor. His cold gaze did not waiver. She opened her mouth, but he shook his head and did but indicate the hole in the floor with a determined finger. Slowly she advanced and when she drew close he did give a callous shove sending her falling through the gaping hole into the darkness. She slammed in excruciating agony upon a cold stone floor. The screech of a grate being slid into place from way above, the answer to her mournful wail. From above, the cold words of he of the shrine did float downwards.
"Anchoress Flaye, she has chosen you. Dance in the agonies, revel in the pain. Blessed Anchoress of this her Shrine, bring forth the word of the Dark Mother as she has so ordained."
A few quills did tumble through the grate and then his footsteps did fade away, leaving she that had been the widow alone within her grave.
"Welcome home, my sylvan child. Come let us begin."
And the Anchoress did scream and scream and scream. Her shrieks did fill the shrine from sunset to sunrise. They sounded the vespers and they sung the evensongs. For nigh on nine days the Anchoress of the Shrine did shriek and then without warning all grew silent.
He came again to the antechamber he had vacated days before and lowered his head in solemn prayer. Only then did he slowly draw away the grate and lower a lamp into the gaping maw. A pool of waste and spent quills did clutter the floor. A tangle of snakes did writhe upon a skinless corpse that did clutch a manuscript to a flayed bosom. With caution did he descend and pry the writings away and return to the surface. Drawing into place the grate for a final time.
"Welcome home Anchoress Flaye, writhe for eternity," his solemn words as he walked away.
Upon the altar did he place the manuscript. Written in blood upon the smooth vellum of sylvan skin, the revelations of Vaen were recorded. Born from visions and recounted by the widow's hand, thus did Anchoress Flaye bring to the world "The Unholy Covenant of the Black Mother."
Exquisions: Book 3
"And he said, to the dying man.
"What cry you out, of this fear, this torture, this blood, this searing flesh?"
The subject of grand exquisitor Theil thrashed in his shackles.
The exquisitor lowered his voice, "What say you of this? A circle, pure and white."
Theil held up a burning "O" shaped brand.
"What say you to pain. Child. You will never realize."
The brand is pressed against the subject's abdomen, searing the muscle, as a short rope of long intestine spills out, like freshly quarried rubies.
"Pain, child is nothing more than a stop to pleasure. And so, the line becomes a circle."
The brand burned brightly, reflected in the dazed victim's eyes.
"And thus, the circle completes."
With that, Theil did end the subject's life, the head landed with a sharp noise, and as one, the crowd cried out.
"Ande the dark lady dyd saye, 'Lo, as you worship me, worship the creatures that do my works. Those wyth venom, those that strike frome below. Beware thy soul the thyef that slithers, and never wythout an envenomed kyss at hande. The study of (indecipherable) by whych those wythout can enter, what see you wythyn thy own worlde! Venerate thy spyder, thy snake, thy vyne of bloode so foul! 'They are created yn myne ymage, and are thy brother, thy keeper, and thy death." — Of Vermin, unknown
And so he did leave the village. All that was, reduced to shambles. All that he loved destroyed in betrayals so vile that the mere thought of them brought the sting of bile to his very lips. Anger hastened his footsteps, hatred fed his soul and purpose granted him direction.
Across the flatlands and through the glens did he wander. Until he came upon his destination. And he, Craelon Mirtros, did drop to his knees upon the steps of her ebon home. Head lowered, he uttered a prayer to She of Endless Agonies.
"Dark Mother, hear my cry. Aid what is left of this sundered heart. Let me please you."
And if in answer to his despair ridden call did the great crimson doors silently slide open allowing him access to the hallowed hall. With head lowered, he rose and passed beyond. His footsteps on the cold marble tiles echoing like the moans of the forsaken within the sepulcher.
Following a voice of dark seduction did he find his way into the bowels of her black thoughts and find the tome he had both yearned and feared. Upon a table of polished jet, bound in crimson leather rested the infamous "Maelius Efficuis Vaenae". With trembling fingers did he caress its cover. With heart pounding did he spread the spine of the volume exposing its dark contents to his hungry eyes. With a famished soul did he begin to devour its macabre teachings.
For months did he toil upon his studies. A pile of decaying creatures the mute testimonial to his diligence. And with the passing of every lesson so did the kindness bleed and drain from his being. Perfection of each lesson hardening his heart to the screams of the injured yet opening his ears to the sounds of her divine pleasure. And as his craftsmanship grew so did her passion until the climax of her revelation.
"He that but remembers a being's hunger to live is its master. For the hunger of pains can the master slowly starve; for he that rejoices in the agonies dines upon a feast of plenty."
With lessons learned his now pale and ashen face raised to the likeness of she that did own him and smirk in victory. With great respect did he close the living tome and prepare it for its next pupil. And with a final prayer, he left her shrine forever.
Cloaked in black with features obscured did he begin his journey back. In his wake he left nothing but fear and speculation. Back to the village did he slowly creep. To his brother's home did his footsteps lead. In the dead of night did he walk through the door and find them lying together. She that had been his wife with he that was his brother. And he did smirk coldly.
And he bent his trained fingers to the task. For days his brother did endure the pains and when his mortal shell crumbled did he turn his attention to her. Slowly extracting the answers to all his questions, smiling with exquisite pleasure all the while. And when they both lay dead, he left the home closing the door behind him, a look of satisfaction stretched across his face. He walked into the night, seeking questions that required tortured answers. An Exquissitor with a thirst to quench.
|Aliases||The Cold Woman, The Torturer, Seeress of Night, The Bitch|
|Portfolio||Prejudice, Tyranny, Strife, Tyrants, Invaders, Invasions, Racism, Racists, Money, Wealth, Greed, Trade, Commerce, Spiders, Insects, Abandoned Places, Wastelands, Cruelty, Torment, Pain, Needless Suffering, Poisons, Poisonous Plants and Creatures, Snakes, Darkness, Night, Absence of Light, Fear, The Undead.|
|Corporeal Domains||The Realm of Night|
|Physical Avatar||Giant serpent, spiders|
|Animal Symbol||The Serpent, The Spider|
|Gem Affinity||Mordant Gems (Diamond and Emerald), Bloodstone|
|Holy Book||The Unholy Covenant of the Black Mother|
|Primary Dominion||Dark (negative)|
|Spell User Type||Pure|
|Spell Style||Uses strictly astral effects.|
|Time of Day||10pm - Midnight|
|Month(s) of the Year||Winte|
|Religious Holidays||Winte 21, The Winter Solstice – The Shortest Day of the Year|
|Seasonal Holidays||Winter Solstice|
|Allies||Aorre, Taqe, Trost|
|Enemies||Ghent, Jakob, Lyra, Serene|
Lesser Power of Essential Evil, Tyranny, Strife, Tyrants, Invaders, Invasions, Racism, Racists
Tirith appears as an il'lthye female in her 400's.
Lesser Power of Money, Wealth, Greed, Trade, Commerce
Vagwyn appears as a female dwarf in her 100's.
Lesser Power of Spiders, Insects, Abandoned Places, Wastelands
Buuduk appears as a gargantuan spider of indeterminate age and gender.
Lesser Power of Cruelty, Torment, Torture, Pain, Needless Suffering
Messeth appears as a female demon in her 800's.
Lesser Power of Poisons, Poisonous Plants and Creatures, Snakes
Ogriyth appears as an enormous snake of indeterminate age and gender.
Lesser Power of Darkness, Night, Absence of Light, Fear, The Undead
Chammud appears as a tortured spirit of indeterminate age.