|Symbols||Saint Karas is symbolized by the sling, different ropes, threads, and materials woven together, the apple blossom, wooden ships, and rustic leonems.|
In order to enter the Prayer state an adherent to Saint Karas may do one of the following:
Despite the Benali faith not having the firmest foothold in Heshan lands, the shrines dedicated to Benalian saints are some of the more popular sites of worship in the Mirror Reef, with Saint Karas being one of the most well-known ones in the region. Known as the Saint of Lost Causes, she is a popular figure to pray to before particularly dangerous voyages, risky ventures, or when it appears all luck has run out.
The Scriptures are primarily from stories and songs, and while the details vary, the tale itself remains the same. Saint Karas was a faithful Benalian woman of barely twenty summers- left alone to care for the children of her village while every other able adult went to help a neighboring community that was under attack from raiders. The first warning came when what had been a calm blue sky filled with smoke, and a call went up that the fields were burning. The invaders did not want to simply kill and steal – they wanted to destroy.
The neighboring community was overrun and unprepared, and every person within it was put to slaughter, including every adult from Karas’ village who came to their aid. The fires spread, carried on an ill wind, and Karas’ village, perched against a cliff looking an ocean, was quickly surrounded by burning fields on three sides. It was not long before the monstrous forms of Triumverati warriors stalked through the smoke, with no aim in mind beyond ruthless murder.
Thinking quickly, Karas set the children to gathering every bit of cloth, rope, and net that they could find, in order to tie them together into a large lifeline. Anchoring the knot against the flowering apple tree outside of the church, the children started down the rope and to the safety of the beach far below. But there wasn’t enough time, and Karas knew it.
She was not a warrior; she was barely even a farmer, having spent most of her life as a musician in service of story and song. But she did know how to use a sling to drive off wild animals, and she did have access to the tavern’s full store of bottles of flammable liquids.
Not everyone survived, but those who did passed on the story of how Karas held the monsters at bay, and any fear she may have felt was masked behind the glorious Benalian hymns she sang as she fought. She sang as she lit the enemy on fire. She sang as she slung rocks at them. She sang even as her body was pierced and driven through with weapons. And as she cut the escape rope with the last of her breath, so that none could follow those children who had escaped, they heard her sing even as the Triumverati tore into her fragile form and then cast her body, along with hundreds of other Benalian relics and religious items, into the cold ocean to sink and be forgotten, like garbage.
However, some years later, when the children she had saved had grown, her body washed ashore, miraculously preserved despite all the time that had passed. Even more amazing was the fact that all of the religious items which had been defiled and thrown away with her washed up alongside her, held together on a bier of seaweed with her at the center – as though she was the most precious relic of all. Those who witnessed it declared it a miracle, venerating her as a saint, and declaring that she, and the religious artifacts, should be buried on a special island far from where she had fallen – a place now called Sanctorium Cay within the Mirror Reef.
On that small island today, there is a burnt ship which stands as a further testament to the miracle of St. Karas, and the power of her faith and bravery in the face of insurmountable odds. Its hulking carcass juts from the middle of the island, forming the rough shape of a Benalian chapel, with its prow pointed towards the sky like a cathedral. Inside, fused to the ship, are the destroyed relics that were buried with Saint Karas on that island. For an unknown number of years after she was interred, a thief with a large crew and well-equipped crew attempted to desecrate the grave and steal the relics of St. Karas. The identity of the ship and crew is lost to time, but theories do abound. Whoever they were, they did not get far, for the ship was struck and set aflame by a bolt of lightning. Rather than sink into the deeps, the shipwreck washed right back onto the island of St. Karas’ grave, and became her primary temple.
Though none have dared disturb her grave again, it is believed that St. Karas’ body is still preserved well enough that it appears she is merely sleeping. And many believe that she is listening still, hearing the pleas and prayers of those in desperate situations, and at times intervening on their behalf. To pay homage to her, her followers will send off tiny ships into the water around the island, setting them alight before pushing them into the surf. They serve as a reminder that even the mighty can burn, and that even when all hope is lost, there is always a chance – like a lightning bolt in the vast sky. It is also common practice for worshippers to touch the melted relics within the shrine as they pray, asking for aid in hardships in their lives – the obstacles and problems that they cannot face alone. If all of the rituals are observed, it is said that Saint Karas will smile upon you and grant you help. In return, she expects you to never give up on your cause, even in death, and to always be honorable to your word.
Saint Karas appreciates offerings of leonems, simple weapons, music, burned wooden ships, and holy water. She also desires that those who pray to her have a mission or cause which they have dedicated themselves to.
Followers of Saint Karas vow to always say yes to long-shots when asked. Should a follower refuse to assist someone when presented with a half cocked plan or a seemingly doomed-to-fail proposal, they suffer from a state of Despair for the next three event days, or until they properly atone for their broken vow and make an appropriately impressive sacrifice, whichever comes first. This Despair cannot be remedied through normal means.
Should the follower accept their punishment and end the event days without rectifying their broken vow, they are no longer considered a follower of Saint Karas, and will be unable to gain a benefit from offerings until they have made amends through atonement and a precious offering.
Make an Offering
Saint Karas promises the following gifts to those who leave offerings at her dedicated shrine. Anyone can trigger the shrine by presenting the proper offering and using the prayer ability, so long as they have sworn the following oath to the Saint:
“I do not have the strength to move earth and sky. But in my chest beats the heart of a hero. I may be weakened by time and fate, but I am still strong of will. I will strive, moving forward and never yielding. I pledge to you, that until the day I meet my final rest, I will never give up.”
This oath is completed by placing an offering on a Shrine or Altar to Saint Karas. Swearing this Oath places them under the Vow of Saint Karas.
The following must be written into the dedications book as if it was a prayer. The use of an Altar or Shrine spends the user’s daily prayer ability:
Common Offering – By presenting an offering of tallow, oil, or something that symbolizes a lost or failed endeavor, a follower may gain one single refresh of either an Obey, Believe or Discipline call from a skill they possess, to be used before sunrise.
Advanced Offering: Dedication – By writing a pledge on a piece of paper, sealing it with wax, and placing it in a small wooden boat and setting it ablaze, a worshipper is able to temporarily gain a second Devotion associated with their pledge. The pledge must be something substantial, such as a pledge to defeat the bandits who are raiding the village. Until this pledge is fulfilled, or the end of the next three event days, the worshipper has two Devotions and they may use their temporary Devotion to achieve a Personal Victory. However, this is a double edged sword, and they also run the risk of gaining Personal Failures if they fail to live up to their pledge or from both Devotions.
Precious Offering: Angelic Blessing – By making an offering of a music box, a vial of active holy water, or the last breath of an innocent to St. Karas on the Shrine, a follower may gain some protection against death. Until the next dawn or once this ability is used, they may spend their Prayer to extend their last rites allowing them to say their last rites twice instead of once before dying if downed.
Requirements of an Altar
In addition to offerings at a Shrine, one may make a common offering to Saint Karas at an Altar dedicated to her. The Altar must contain a representation of a burnt vessel, lightning struck wood, any combination of two cloth fabrics, with a leonem inside and an image of the Saint.
Dedicate Shrine to Lost Causes
Build and dedicate a Shrine to the Saint of Lost Causes.
“Oh ye who travel the roads of the Throne
So far from comfort, hearth, and home;
No matter the distance you may roam
The Angel of Roads hears the words you pray
Every step, every mile, and every day
Hold strong in faith though you fumble and sway
Your feet may be blistered, bloody, and raw
Yet your fate’s held tight in the Lion’s Paw
Melandiel guide these souls home once more
Deliver this wayfarer safe to your door.”
~Benalian hymn believed sung by Saint Karas
Focus – The Shrine should be formed on a raised surface that is protected from the elements, ideally under a wooden or woven shelter. An artistic depiction of the Saint is then placed upon the surface.
Focus – At least one uncommon item associated with the Saint is placed before the image.
Offering – The item is annointed with a vial of holy water.
Offering – Incense is lit and wafted over the item and the image.
Offering – A Leonem is placed next to the relic and a song of the Benalian faith is sung in honor of Karas’ defiant acts of bravery.
Creates a Shrine to a Saint that may be used to trigger offerings. Anyone can trigger the shrine, as long as they swear the Oath and use their daily prayer ability.