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Vecatra High Canon

Overview

No man steps in the same river twice, for he is not the same man, and the river is not the same river.

Like all adherents to religions, those who make their home within the bosom of Vecatra know that they are part of something bigger than themselves. It is taught by the elders that Vecatra is ancient, older by far than any of the cults and small gods that others in the world worship. For Vecatra is not of the world; she is the world.

Vecatra was not made nor born. She simply is. She is the scales upon which all things are weighed, and she is ultimately what all must answer to. Thus, those who worship Vecatra believe that the most important thing that one can do is to serve the balance of the cycle of the world. It is in the design of reality that all things follow a pattern, a path, and it is the responsibility of humankind to be the guardians of that cycle and to ensure that the natural balance is not broken. The overall pattern may be too complex, or have too much variance for most human eyes, but it is there for those who have the sight to decipher it.

She is often given a feminine pronoun, but that is only one of her aspects. For Vecatra is worshipped in three forms and aspects: the feminine face, the masculine face, and the other face.

 

Like all adherents to religions, those who make their home within the bosom of Vecatra know that they are part of something bigger than themselves. It is taught by the elders that Vecatra is ancient, older by far than any of the cults and small gods that others in the world worship. For Vecatra is not of the world; she is the world.

Vecatra was not made nor born. She simply is. She is the scales upon which all things are weighed, and she is ultimately what all must answer to. Thus, those who worship Vecatra believe that the most important thing that one can do is to serve the balance of the cycle of the world. It is in the design of reality that all things follow a pattern, a path, and it is the responsibility of humankind to be the guardians of that cycle and to ensure that the natural balance is not broken. The overall pattern may be too complex, or have too much variance for most human eyes, but it is there for those who have the sight to decipher it.

She is often given a feminine pronoun, but that is only one of her aspects. For Vecatra is worshipped in three forms and aspects: the feminine face, the masculine face, and the other face.

The male aspect is the face of warfare and facing outward, meeting external challenges. The energy of the other, meanwhile, is that of the wild night and those creatures that hunt and prey off

of humans. The female face bridges these two as a representation of inward reflection,sustainment and balance. Upon becoming an adult raised within the Vecatran faith, each person chooses which aspect of Vecatra resonates with them – which aspect they will honor and follow. The majority choose to follow the feminine or the masculine form, the two parts that govern life, human interaction, growth, and protection. Those who choose the Other may not live within the village. For they have chosen a different path than that of humanity; they shall spend their days as a source of death, reminding mankind that they too have predators.

Vecatrans preach that all of us are a part of a great cycle and have our part to play within it. We may not have the same lives, but all lives follow the same patterns. We are born, we kill and consume, we grow, and die that others might be born, kill, consume and grow. Nothing within nature is inherently good or evil, but there are forces that bring balance, and forces that disrupt the balance and sicken the whole. Every action has a consequence and every force has an opposing force. Humans have a special part to play in this great cycle, though they are not at the center of it. After all, animals do not return to life after being slain, and Malefic creatures seem to mostly form from the deaths and actions of humans. Many believe and teach that there is something special about humans which makes them precious to Vecatra and worthy of her gifts – that perhaps humanity has been granted a special status as stewards or guardians of the cycle. But there is a cost that comes with those gifts, and in order to be worthy of them, one must also take responsibility for maintaining balance in the world, observing the taboos, and living in accordance with the path.

All those who follow Vecatra mark the turning of the seasonal wheel and the changes that nature makes along its way with rites and rituals designed to connect themselves to the spirit of the world and the sacredness of the whole. These rituals take place both in their own territory and in sacred spaces around them in which they believe they can communicate more effectively with Vecatra and the spirits of nature.

The High Canon rituals are preferably done with at least two cultists of Vecatra performing them, one representing the Male face and one representing the Female face, but it is not unheard of for a solitary cultist to lead these important rites. They are available to all cultists of Vecatra no matter their orientation

Rank 1 

Saining

Bless new followers into Vecatra and welcome them into their chosen role. This requires a cultist from both the Male and Female Face.
Great Vecatra, I speak inward and within these words of prayer you,
To your messengers buried in the deepest roots.
Let it be known that this one heals and grows while doing what you teach us.
While I have lost my bindings in exchange for boots,
I am still a creature of this earth and will grow from within and spread your message true.
Constellation: Tariq
Orthodoxy: 4
Observances:

Act – The cultist builds a fire that is roaring at Dusk or Dawn. The cultist is to gather those who are to participate, as well as at least two cultists of Vecatra to represent her faces.
FocusSilvered Water is poured into an open bowl and placed before the fire by the cultist.
Focus – An herb with the euphoric quality must be thrown into the fire by the cultist and the smoke allowed to permeate the space to cleanse it.
Liturgy “Seeds must be buried before they can grow, and in you we have seen the results – for you have all passed the tasks that have been given to you.

Our lady has three faces. A face to save,” gesture to the cultist who represents the female face.
“A face to shield,” gesture to the cultist who represents the male face.
“And a face to surround,” gesture toward the woods.

The sacred Three
To save,
To shield,
To surround
The hearth,
The house,
The space without,
This eve,
This night,
Oh! this eve,
This night,
And every night,
Each single night”
Act – The cultist asks the target to take a step forward if they accept the path of Vecatra as their own.
Act – If the target accepts, they shall kneel on bare soil and tilt their head back. The cultist will pour the Silvered Water over their forehead until the bowl is emptied.

Mechanical Effect
This rite does not suffer vulgarity from any target that is Faith in Self.

The target becomes Faith in Higher Power if they weren’t so already.

The target may choose to replace one or both of their cultural sins with Bias or Weakness.

Afterwards, the target must use the Vecatran variant of the Blasphemy sin.

Dedicate the Sacred Tree

Designate a tree as a holy area where one may go to pray and contemplate.
The moon illuminates the tree with wondrous silver rays, Illuminate me through the night and through the sun-lit days.
Constellation: Tanin
Orthodoxy: 6
Observances:

Focus Three witnesses that have sworn a solemn oath to the cultist must be brought along for this ritual. The cultist is not included in this number.
Focus – The group must locate the oldest tree closest to the settlement (the biggest tree one can find)
Offering – The cultist places five Foxglove flowers in a circle around the tree.
Act – All must kneel in a circle outside of the wildflowers and hold hands in silence for a minute of contemplation before speaking the liturgy in unison.
Liturgy“As the winds rustle the boughs, as the leaves fall to the ground, we feel you around us, making the world turn. We dedicate this space so that you may have somewhere to call home.”
Act – After one minute of contemplative silence, feeling the earth beneath and the stirring of the air, every participant must rise and place their right hand on the tree in unison.
Focus – The cultists take a Dagger and slice the left palm of every person in attendance in the shape of the rune. This includes the cultist.
Offering – Every person in attendance must clench their fists and squeeze a droplet of Blood onto the roots of the tree.

Mechanical Effect
The cultist is now able to perform rituals that require a Sacred Tree.

Any faith in higher power individual may trigger the Shrine by leaving an offering of Duck’s Egg, a Fairy Ring Cap, Brown Witches Butter, a Raven’s Eye, or a straw doll with five different animal bones placed within and using the Prayer ability at the Sacred Tree.

If triggered, the area immediately around the shrine (within 20 feet) becomes safe from arcane energies for an hour. No magic can take effect within that space and enchanted items fail.

Holiday Rites

Introduce the holiday to the community
“Blessings have I to give you, for crops, family and lover
Blood shall be your offering. Fail this, and you will discover…”
Constellation: Ghazal
Orthodoxy: 6
Observances:

Act –  A group of all who want to participate in the holiday at noon on the day of the holiday must be gathered for the ritual. This must include a cultist of both the male and female faces who are both barefoot, so as to be in constant contact with the earth.
Offering –  The cultist of the male face cuts open the corpse of an animal, so that its blood drips into a wide bowl.
Offering –  The cultist of the female face crushes the leaves of an herb with the Addictive effect between their hands and adds it to the bowl.
Act – The cultist of the male face paints the cultist of the female face with the on their forehead and a line from the bottom of their lip to their chin, and the cultist of the female face paints the cultist of the male face with the  rune on their forehead and a line from each eye to the chin using the blood from the bowl.
Liturgy –  The cultist of the male face stands in front of the crowd and lifts their hands to the sky while speaking, “We celebrate the peak of the sun as we stand once again bathed in its sweet light. The eye of the sky opens to see us, to greet us, to welcome us all on this day of holiday.”
Liturgy – The cultist of the female face stands in front of the crowd next to the other cultist with their hands open at their side. “How lost we would be without such light. We, blessed by Vecatra, ask for the spirit of the season to grace us with its presence so that we may grow and change and begin anew.”
Act – Each cultist brings their hands to shoulder level with the palms upward towards the sky and asks all present to raise their hands similarly in prayer.
Liturgy – Each cultist says in turn.
Female face: “In this season Vecatra blesses us in our humanity.”
Male face, “Flawed for perfection yet perfect in its imperfection.”
In unison, “Today we bless the sin of . Go forth without guilt, and revel in what it means to be alive.”

Mechanical Effect
If the ritual is successful, any Sained individual who participates in the named sin as part of the holiday does not gain any depravity for it. Any Sained individual can only take the benefit from one of these rites during a holiday.

Sin Eating

Take sin upon yourself or on the world
Many a calm river begins as a turbulent waterfall, yet none hurtles and foams all the way to the sea.
Constellation: Tariq
Orthodoxy: 4
Observances:

Act – The target of the ritual must be brought before a Sacred Tree. They must be a Sained individual.
Offering – The priest lays the target upon the ground and places a meal upon their chest. If the target of this rite is the cultist themselves, they sit cross legged and place the meal between their legs.
Offering – The cultist places a bowl filled with one gram of salt upon the target’s forehead. If the target of this rite is the cultist themselves, they hold the bowl of salt in their hands above the meal.
Liturgy – The cultist holds one hand above each item on the target, or holds the salt above the meal if alone, and says the following, “May that which burdens the soul enter this, the fruit of the land and of our hands. As salt leaves the body through our tears may too the sin enter into this salt, this meal, and into a new body. What is it that burdens you?”
Act – The target of the ritual confesses a single sin that burdens their soul and explains what happened.
Liturgy“Let Vecatra hear this, and bless the burden.”
Act – The cultist adds the salt to the meal and moves it above the target in the shape of a rune before consuming it. If the cultist is using this ritual on themselves to get rid of sin acquired from a previous sin eating then they add the salt to the meal before burying it in the ground next to the sacred tree and etching a into the earth above it.

Mechanical Effect
If the ritual is successful, the target loses the depravity for the sin they confessed and the cultist gains it instead. The only way for the cultist to get rid of depravity earned in this way is to perform the ritual upon themselves. However, when they do so, one Malefic creature in the area gains one Instinct for each level of Depravity of that sin. Inform staff when you perform this ritual on yourself.

Group Blessing

Bless a group of followers with the spirit of Vecatra. The liturgy is different depending on the sect of the cultist. Should cultists of more than one sect be performing this Rite together, all appropriate Liturgy is spoken.
Help us remember that we are made of bears, blossoms, and sunbeams, and they of us. Weave a protective web connecting us, guard both our form and our spirit, watch over us until we return to your encompassing embrace.

Constellation: Ghazal
Orthodoxy: 3
Observances:

Act – The cultist gathers with one or more targets who have undergone their saining and all bow their heads as the cultist greets them each by name.
Act – The cultist speaks in praise of Vecatra and the group’s duty to honor her. Every person in attendance, including the cultist, must bow on their hands and knees. Hands must be bare, as to make contact with the soil. The witnesses must also place their foreheads to the ground for five breaths.
Act – Every kneeling person must exhale five breaths against the earth to share breath with it.
Offering – A wild vegetable for each person who wishes to partake in the blessing is presented. They may be cooked or raw, and passed around to be consumed.
Liturgy – Male – “May the stars align to guide us forward and may the Father shield us from the storm.”
Female – “May the firm hand of the Mother give us peace and plenty.”
Other – “May the creature in the woods give us the power to learn from our trespasses.”
Offering – The cultist anoints each target receiving the blessing with oil on their wrists and brow.

Mechanical Effect
The cultist and the witnesses have the option to perform two Dedications for their daily Prayer if they have Faith in a Higher Power. As a result, the target’s first use of the Hopeful state granted by Prayer refreshes the Hopeful state, allowing them to use it twice rather than once.

Reveal the Spectre

Determine whether or not the dead have come back as Night Malefic.
Silver flowing, moon is growing, growing, showing, what cannot be seen.
Constellation: Tanin
Orthodoxy: 2
Observances:

Focus – The cultist carries a piece of Moldavite in a pocket as this ritual is conducted.
Act – The cultist builds a fire in a Hearth where there is safety from any attacks.
Offering – The cultist burns a bundle of Lavender in the fire, taking care to only light the flowers.
Focus – The cultist takes a glass vial and traps a portion of the smoke from the burning Lavender inside. Cork it to make sure it does not escape.
Liturgy“Vecatra, Vecatra, make naught concealed, so this soul’s nature may be revealed.”

Mechanical Effect
When the vial is opened in the presence of a target and the smoke is inhaled by the cultist, they will know if the target is influenced by Malefic forces. This could mean they are possessed, a Malefic, cursed, or touched by Vampiric influences.
If the target this is used on is actually a Malefic, the cultist may ask them for one of their superstitions.

Talisman Crafting

Make charms that can be used in other rituals to create blessed effects.
To be a Vecatran is to embrace death, to smile at it from the moment we are born, dance with it for a while, and finally fall prey to it. Our ways are ancient, our ways are true.
Constellation: Jabal
Orthodoxy: 1
Observances:

Focus – The cultist holds one piece of Soft Wood in their non-dominant hand and presses a kiss to its surface. If making a runestone, hold one piece of Stone in the non-dominant hand and press a kiss to its surface.
Act – The cultist will carve the Soft Wood into the semblance of a man, woman, or Night Malefic with a Blade that has Killed, depending on the face the cultist serves. If making a runestone, carve the relevant story onto one of its surfaces.
Liturgy
“Upon this wood I lay a charm,
Be it to heal, change, or harm.
I ask of all the faces three,
Bring Vecatra’s will to be.”

Mechanical Effect:
This rite creates either a Talisman that may now be blessed in rituals relating to specific faces, or a Runestone for a specifically named individual.

Rank 2

Counsel

Give a rousing speech to inspire and elevate the faith and spirits of a congregation.
Preparation for the ritual is indeed the ritual; where our intention goes, so too do our energies, and thus the earth may hear us.
Constellation: Saqir
Orthodoxy: 2
Observances:

Act – The cultist will gather a group of at least three witnesses that have undergone their Saining. The cultist may be included in this.
Act – This ritual must be conducted early in the morning on the day of rest (Saturday).
Focus – The group will proceed to a Sacred Tree and it must be ensured that every participant is standing under its branches.
Act – The cultist will make a speech proclaiming the virtues of Vecatra and their faces. Discuss the current season and any upcoming holidays. Include such things as keeping balance during the current state of the land, and to lead virtuous lives and follow their rules in order to keep balance against other sinners and blight in the world who wish to destroy Vecatra’s creation. Optionally, a specific person or group may be identified as disrupting the environment, and a call to action against them may be made. This must be for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Mechanical Effect:
After the ritual, each of the participants, including the cultist, gains an additional Devotion chosen by the cultist until the next dawn.

This removes the Traumatized condition from all the Faithful who have participated.

Funeral Rites

Lay the deceased to rest for their final, and hopefully only, time. This is a time for loved ones to come together to celebrate the dead and their accomplishments. While the cultural observances for this may take up to a week or more, these are the steps for the ritual that the cultist must perform.
Oh Vecatra, You of three faces, we all grow in your forest and share a common root. We dedicate this body to your cycle. We beseech that you guard this spirit and allow this body to meld with your earth.
Constellation: Ghazal
Orthodoxy: 6
Observances:

Act – On the day that the departed has died, the cultist cleans the body.
Focus – The cultist wraps it entirely with five linen.
Act – The cultist builds a wooden structure around the body
Act – Someone who was close to the deceased must stay with the body at all times while offerings are placed with the dead.
Offering – The cultist places a Clay Pot on the chest of the corpse so that others may throw in offerings for the dead.
Act – The cultist will bury one of the deceased’s favorite possessions alongside them wrapped in Oiled Leather
Act – The cultist or a Skald recites the legacy of the deceased either aloud from memory or from a carved runestone in front of an audience.
Act – The cultist burns the body inside of the structure built around the corpse and then buries the remains.

Mechanical Effect:
Anyone who defiles or robs the grave who is not related to the inhabitant will gain the Cursed condition.

The deceased may now choose to undergo a final journey of the soul as if they had died with a Devotion Win.

If the deceased falters in their final journey and chooses to come back as a Night Malefic, they gain an additional positive instinct and a superstition that they cannot harm any who invoke the Summer Crescent for protection so long as they don’t take aggressive action.

Wisdom of the Woods

Ask Vecatra for her bounty
The divine will always smile, on those who bear her light- and she will show them love, on any a given night.
Constellation: Saqir
Orthodoxy: 2
Observances:

Offering – At sunset, the cultist creates a small fire using hard wood.
Liturgy“Oh Vecatra! Mother and Father to us all, world and weft made whole. Grant us a gift of your bounty so that we may do your will.”
Act – The cultist takes a burning branch from the fire and heads into the woods using a source of light to represent the burning branch.
Act – The cultist finds a branch blocking the path or a piece of trash and brings it to staff.
Mechanical Effect:
Staff will exchange the item the cultist has picked up for a single specific herb, plant, or animal.

Rank 3

Sprid Oíche [sprid ee-heh]

A ritual where the dead come close enough to the living to communicate for one night.
Over our lives bend the skies, against our fallen and lost lives, the great winds utter prophecies, with our faint hearts the mountain strives, and to our age’s drowsy blood still shouts the inspiring sea.
Constellation: Arnab
Orthodoxy: 3
Observances:

Focus – The cultist goes to a Sacred Tree at noon.
Offering – The cultist makes a slit in the back of a Mandrake Root and peels back the skin.
Offering – The cultist inserts a piece of Quartz into the cavity made in the back of the root.
Act – The cultist buries the Mandrake on the north side of the Sacred Tree between the roots. The cultist etches the mark of the rune in the dirt above where it is buried.
Liturgy“Hail and well met, old friends. I bring an offering of a vessel so that we might speak. Come, stay, and watch the stars dance across the sky with me. I call to thee, oh (insert true name of spirit you wish to summon here) that I may see you one last time before the cycle starts again.”

Mechanical Effect:
After the ritual is completed, the cultist may summon an NPC/deceased player who will appear at the tree at sunset, and may be asked three questions about their death, or events surrounding it. The questions may only be answered by “yes” or “no”.

Only the cultist may ask the questions.

The spirits summoned in this way will manifest visibly and may act physically.
The priest must submit the name of the spirit they want to contact to staff as soon as possible.

Ascension in Faith

Raise another cultist to one rank higher than their current cult rank. The performing cultist must follow the same face as the cultist they are performing the rite on.
We are not the architects of the world. We are but one root within it. Whatever you do to the roots, you do to the tree.
Constellation: Tanin
Orthodoxy: 4
Observances:

Act – The officiating cultist brings the cultist who wishes to ascend to the nearest Sacred Tree. Have them kneel in front of it, facing the tree’s trunk on the North side.
Focus – The officiating cultist grasps a Stag Antler in both of their hands.
Offering – The officiating cultist grasps two Cedar Wands in their hands as well, bundling them with the base of the Antlers.
Offering – While they remain kneeling, the ascending cultist lights a Candle, and then lights the tips of the Cedar Wands until they begin to smoke and smoulder.
Act – The officiating cultist waves the bundled Antlers and Wands around the other cultist, making sure to waft smoke all over their body in the shape of the  rune.
Liturgy“And as the wind gives us our first breath, so too will it give our last gasp. And now the cycle turns again, encouraging growth and zeal. Rise, so that you may look upon the face of Vecatra, and you will see that they are rejoicing.”

Mechanical Effect:
The target cultist may now be considered one higher rank, and perform rituals of their new rank, in addition to their lower ranking rituals.

The acting cultist can not raise another cultist higher than their own current priest rank.