Tanil

Tanil

 

Alignment: CG

Portfolio: Animals, freedom, good fortune, hunting, victims, wilderness

Domains: Animal, Liberation, Luck, Plant, Travel, Trickery

Weapon: Any bow (except crossbows)

Symbol: Three parallel arrows of bronze, the middle one pointing opposite the outer two

Description
Tanil, goddess of hunting, travel, music and
freedom, has changed somewhat since the Divine
War. To ensnare her evil father so that Corean could
defeat him, Tanil was forced to employ the cruelest
trickery of her long existence.
Once a laughing maiden, her eyes gleaming with
a mischief that rivaled even Enkili, the cruelty of the
Divine War and its aftermath transformed Tanilforever. She is more serious now, and her songs are sadder.

Perhaps when the land has healed she will
return to her old self, but for now the wounded state
of the Scarred Lands consumes her. The power she
once devoted to frivolity and games is now directed to
healing of the land and to the protection of all that is
good and pure.


Since birth, Tanil has been very close to her
mother, Denev, and from this bond, she gained a love
of nature and all living things. Corean’s worshippers
sometimes complain that Tanil prefers animals and
trees to people, and indeed there may be some truth
to this – she certainly spends more time away from
intelligent beings than near them. All animals adore
her, for though she is a huntress, they know she would
never harm any natural or good creature without the
greatest need or without the creature’s willing sacrifice.
Anyone who needlessly harms the good and the
natural, however, is free sport in Tanil’s eyes.


Tanil’s love of nature is exemplified in her dislike
of cities, which she feels disturb the pristine
peace of her forests and plains. Her avatar manifests
only in cities when absolutely necessary, and some
believe her to be openly hostile toward city-dwellers,
risking the enmity of Hedrada, Lord of Cities. In
truth, Tanil does not hate cities or their inhabitants,
but neither does she harbor much affection for them.
Yet, while Tanil’s compassion has remained unchanged
her birth, the violence of the Divine War
has somehow changed her once mischievous and
rebellious nature.

Today the Huntress suffers from an
aching wanderlust and a deep-seated need for freedom.
She can never remain long in one place, and
rumors relate that her avatar travels to the other
continents of the Scarred Lands on occasion, spending
months at a time away from Ghelspad. The
imprisonment or enslaving of any living thing horrifies
her. Some even whisper that Tanil’s love of
freedom goes too far, and that she and her followers’
plot the release of one or more titans. Given the
anguish that Tanil herself suffered at the hands of the
titans, her followers are likely to react violently if any
such thing is suggested in their presence.


Tanil wears many guises in the mortal world. As
well as being the tireless champion of all animals,
plants and natural places, Tanil also grants painless
release to the old and sick, delivering her chosen
servants or other worthy creatures into the care of
Nemorga, and asking only that the Lord of the Dead
treat each soul with fairness and mercy. Though she
might prefer it if no animal ever had to die, she also
cannot see a living being caged in a body wracked by
pain or disease. Many feel that Tanil’s compassion is
another result of her experiences before and during
the Divine War, when countless innocents suffered
at the hands of the titans -far more thanTanil could
offer succor by herself.

It is not really true, however, that Tanil loves
animals more than people. She is a great defender of
mistreated women and children, and she has been
ever since the unwilling and incestuous union that
produced her daughter, the demigoddess Idra. Hare
mony in the home and family are important to her,
and she is always ready to avenge victims of rape,
abuse or injustice of any kind.


In addition, Tanil is the champion of all misfits
and orphans. This aspect of her being was born of the
shame and sorrow that she felt when her father,
Hrinruuk, slew Hedrada’s daughter. Though Tanil
had nothing to do with Miridum’s death, her remorse
at her father’s actions knew no bounds. As though to
atone for Hrinruuk‘s wrongs, Tanil approached the
elves, who had also recently lost their god, and vowed
herself to succor them in their mourning and pain.
From that point onward, Tanil become an important
protector of the elves and, along with the titan
Denev, a kind of surrogate deity who helps to ease
their grief.


Tanil‘s devotion to the wronged and abandoned
did not cease with the elves. She has also become the
divine protectress of many good and neutral
titanspawn, such as dryads, unicorns, and griffons.
Social misfits often turn to Tanil as well. Ugly creatures,
people with physical deformities, good people
outcast for political, religious or cultural reasons -
all find Tanil’s arms open and her bow ready in their
defense.


Legend has it that long ago, before Idra was
conceived, Tanil was agoddess of sex, fertility, nature
and abundance all together in one glorious aspect.
She had inherited Denev’s powers of nature and the
earth as well as Hrinruuk‘s inherent charm, whimsical
nature and talent for pleasure (though none of his
cruelty). Some even claim that Tanil was the greatest
of all the goddesses in those early days; certainly she
was the most beautiful.


Even though she was his daughter, however,
Hrinruuk found he could not resist Tanil’s divine
allure. In spite ofher protests, struggles and the bitter
scars she inflicted upon him, Hrinruuk gave in to his
selfish lusts and raped his own daughter, the embodiment
of spring, delight and all beautiful living things.
After her violation, so claim the ancient myths,
Tanil disappeared from the land for two years, and all
of Ghelspad was shrouded in winter and darkness for
many months. Countless people, plants and animals
died from cold and starvation, and when spring
finally came again, Tanil herself was changed almost
as deeply as the ravaged land. Though she retained
her powers of nature and joy, and though she could
still provide her followers with food and safety, her
beauty had faded somewhat, as had her ability to
grant pleasure to all those who worshipped her.
Instead, she brought back with her a young daughter,
Idra, who had absorbed from Tanil all the pieces of
herself that would otherwise have been destroyed by
Hrinruuk‘s terrible crime.


Tanil’s avatar now appears as a boyish and athletic
humanoid huntress or bard. Her dress, race and
features generally reflect whatever culture she encounters.
As a huntress, she carries the mighty Hunter’s
Longbow that she stole from her father before Corean
slew him, as well as the bronze shafted and silver
tipped Arrows ofthe Huntress that she used during the
Divine War. Several hounds of Tanil often accompany
her. As a bard, she carries a magnificent set of
panpipes and usually one or two other musical instruments.
Her singing voice is extraordinary.

Tanil’s Worship and Worshippers
Two main factions exist among Tanil’s worshippers,
who call themselves Tanil’s Chosen and the
Handmaidens of the Huntress respectively. While no
violence has ever been recorded between the two
organizations, it is well known that they dislike each
other. The Chosen are more widely spread than the
Handmaidens, with their largest concentration in
Vesh. The Handmaidens, by far the more radical
faction, while slightly more numerous than the Chosen,
have a larger concentration in a few areas,
including Darakeene, the Ganjus, and the forested
foothills of the Kelder Mountains.


All over Ghelspad, but in Vera-Tre and Vesh
especially, Tanil is worshipped equally by the men
and women of Tanil’s Chosen. Her clergy in these
areas are celibate and usually neutral good or chaotic
good ranger-clerics. The Chosen believe that Tanil
possesses so many scars from Hrinruuk’s mistreatment
that she can no longer bear the thought of
sexuality in any form. Her clergy have vowed to share
her pain and abstinence, believing that this grants
them wisdom, focus and a closer connection to their
goddess. They tend to be a sober group that is very
conscious of freedom and the healing and protection of the land. In many ways they resemble the more reserved aspect Tanil has taken since the Divine
War. In Vera-Tre, vegetarianism is popular among
Tanil’s followers, though most will eat meat rather
than starve during the winter.


The Handmaidens of the Huntress, appearing
mostly in Calastia, the Heteronomy of Virduk, and a
particularly extreme sect in Albadia, believe that
Tanil was indeed scarred by the outrage her father
committed against her. However, they feel that rather
than an aversion to sexuality, Tanil has developed an
aversion to men. No fertile males are allowed into the
clergy, and even eunuchs rarely gain any real standing
in the religious community. These women believe
that men are spiritually polluting, and that if enough
women all over Scam rid themselves of all male
influence in their lives, Tanil will bless them with the
ability to bear children asexually, as well as great
wisdom and long life. Most are, like the Chosen,
neutral good or chaotic good, but a few are of chaotic
neutral alignment.


The Handmaidens show less interest in healing
the land than the more widespread Chosen. Instead,
they celebrate nature by exploring their own natural
drives. Many of them revere either Enkili or Tanil’s
passionate daughter Idra alongside the Huntress. The
Albadian Handmaidens are known for week long
passionate revels and for seducing happily married
wives away from their homes and husbands. Some
Handmaiden cults even go so far as to become militant
in their rejection of all that is male, though this
usually occurs only in areas where women are oppressed
or mistreated. These savage, nomadic bands
tell an especially brutal version of Tanil’s vengeance
upon Hrinruuk, describing certain sensitive (and
disturbing) body parts that Tanil took from him and
kept for herself when he was finally defeated and
dismembered.


The Handmaidens are disliked and sometimes
even hunted in any area where men dominate the
social order. They are not all vengeful madwomen,
however. Some of the more diplomatic Handmaidens
have greatly improved conditions for oppressed
women by working with the local governments,
establishing care temples for beaten wives, and adopting
orphaned girls who would otherwise have been
abandoned to die. These less frenzied Handmaidens
have sent missionaries to any areas where women are
not respected – even to other continents, or so it is
rumored.


Tanil has never indicated which of her factions
she favors, or even if she cares for either of them, but
the recent appointment of Kevi as her page has marked the first fertile male follower of Tanil to ever be accepted by both factions without qualm. As a
unicorn, he apparently does not offend even the
Albadian wild-women. Some find it interesting,
though, that Tanil’s pages are only rarely clerics, and
have been both men and women, none of whom have
taken a vow of celibacy.


As can be guessed from this, many of Tanil’s
worshippers do not follow either of her two main
factions. Indeed, a majority of Tanil’s followers practice
their beliefs in very small eclectic groups or in
solitary rites. By nature, her believers tend to be
wanderers and loners, and that includes only the
divine races. Intelligent creatures also worship Tanil
extensively – some say from all over Scam.


In spite of all this, Tanil’s followers observe a
number of common practices. Worship is always out
of doors, and careful attention to the cycles of
Belsameth‘s moon is nearly universal (like other
followers of the good deities, Tanil’s worshippers
shun the nameless orb and consider it ill-omened).
Also, most of her followers always say a prayer before
any hunt for food, asking Tanil’s permission to go
hunting and requesting that she lead the hunters to
animals willing to sacrifice themselves to the
community’s need. After every kill, followers offer
up another prayer and bury a small portion of the best
meat as an offering to the earth. Many of Tanil’s
followers pride themselves on using every part of
every creature they hunt, thus honoring the creatures’
sacrifices by making certain they were not m
vain. At puberty, it is typical for followers of Tanil to
spend a few days in the wilderness by themselves,
learning survival skills and appreciating the peace
and beauty of nature untouched by civilization or the
death of titans.

Tanil

Bloodhollow and Beyond - A Vigil of Vesh Campaign WiHa05