chatdemon writes "In ages past, Wee Jas ursurped the position of another goddess, stealing her power over death, and casting her rival aside to be forgotten. Today, this former goddess of death has been forgotten by most, although a few still remember this fallen goddess and pay homage to her.
Forgotten Gods of the Suel: Madarua
by Chatdemon (email@example.com)
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Credit notes: This goddess is the second in my group of deities adapted from Module B4: The Lost City (TSR9049) by Tom Moldvay. Special thanks to Sam Weiss, who's 'Restorer' theories regarding the suel gods of death inspired my ideas on the relation of this goddess and Wee Jas.
Master Clerk of the Royal Academy of Wizardry, Gradsul
I was intrigued by your queries regarding the warrior saint Maruda, in response to my lectures on the faiths of the Old Empire ealier this year at the Wealsun Congregation of the Divinity Council. I have reasearched the matter to the limits of the archive, and have included a summary of my findings with this dispatch.
Praised be Lendor for the timing of your inquiry, for I also had the chance to speak with a young lass in the Yeoman town of Fort Kendall who is by all means the only likely living adherant of the Saint's faith in the great Sheldomar valley. 'Third', as she insists on referring to herself, offered great insights into her religion to me, the most important being our errant translation of her matron's name. It seems that Madarua is the actual translation from the old tongue, not Maruda as has been established over the years. I have added my notes on my conversations with her to my findings, and I trust you will find it of great use in your research.
Be sure and send word of my best wishes to your father for me, my years as a colleague of his in the capitol are among my fondest memories of my service to the Academy.
Hesitate not to consult me further in your study, the doors of the archive are always welcome to the brothers and sisters of the Academy.
Candles bright and words warm,
Librarian Corypheus, Royal Archive at Cryllor
-- From Dispatches & Diversions; collected letters, by Ilbrysis Noltheod of Cryllor, 592 CY
The Warrior Saint, The Midwive's Shield, Maruda (in the modern yeoman parlance)
NG Saint (hero goddess) of Birth and Seasons (and formerly Death)
The Warrior Saint Madarua is an often misunderstood figure in the religion of the Suel Empire. Her stalwart clerics appeared as guards and militia captains as often as midwives or pallbearers, and were treated with a sense of mystery and respect by their peers. Their goddess' (for she was once a full fledged god, as will be explained below) cyclic nature of life, death and rebirth led her clerics to be important functionaries at festivals held to commemorate the changing of the seasons, as well as at birth ceremonies and the wakes held for the deceased.
Being a goddess of both life and death, it felt natural to her that the souls of the dead be reborn into new bodies to walk again in the gardens of Oerth, and some of her fellow gods agreed, Wee Jas however, did not. The Ruby Queen decreed that death was law, and law cannot be broken, the souls of the deceased must be sent to their eternal homes in the realms of their partron gods. Wee Jas and Madarua argued this before the Suloise Pantheons Celestial Court for ages, until The Ruby Queen felt that logic and reason were not going to win the decision she hoped for from Zaliira, the matron of justice who was selected by Lendor, the father of the gods, to preside over the debate. Wee Jas lashed out in a fit of jealous spite and cast Madarua into Beltar's pit to rot for all eternity. The other gods watched in horror as the Ruby Queen absorbed the aspect of death for herself, but were shocked and horrified at how mighty they assumed Wee Jas had become, now holding a triumvirate of powerful aspects, death, law and magic. No punishment was given, and the gods allowed the Bardess Lydia to tend the aspect of birth until a more suitable god was chosen by Lendor to hold it.
Madarua was not content to waste away in the pit of Beltar however, and eventually the unchanging cycle of birth and death on Oerth combined with the confused pleas of her faithful, granting her the strength to climb forth from the pit and return to the Celestial Court, to beg Lendor to restore her rightful place in the pantheon. Lendor considered her request, but was bound by the law of ascension they all lived by, Wee Jas had defeated Madarua, and was entitled to keep her aspects. Since Wee Jas had no desire for the birth aspect however, and Lydia was glad to see her friend Madarua return, Lendor decreed that Madarua would become the first Suloise Saint, a being af divine essence, but with no voice in the Celestial Court, and would be allowed to tend her aspect of birth to ensure that the balance of life and death was maintained on Oerth.
After these events, Madarua's followers shifted their focus toward protecting their communties and tending to expectant mothers, and watched somewhat bitterly as Jasidan' clerics began to assume their old role as pallbearers and undertakers. In the times since the end of the empire, the clergy remains strong in the handful of enclaves of people that somehow survived the Rain of Colorless Fire, living on the fringes of the Sea of Dust, or beneath the desert itself in small, dark communities. Their primary duty in these post apocalyptic strongholds is still tending to the bringing of new life into their community, but they have also taken on a limited role opposing the growing cults of Zaragon who seek to control the scattered pockets of society through lies and treachery.
With each new life comes a new ray of hope for our people, tend to the infants and their parents, and ensure they grow into strong members of their community. Protect your home and the homes of your peers from the evils of the Oerth at all costs, and seek out and destroy the minions of the Horned Prince whereever they may hide
Clerics of Madarua are always women, but are extremely rare in the Flanaess, and when found they tend to take on one of two roles. The most likely is that of a trusted midwife and healer, offering her Saint's blessings at births and tending to sick children. Less common, but perhaps slightly more visible, are the Warrior Maidens, followers of Madarua who are sworn to protect their communities by bearing arms in times of need.
In the rare event there are multiple worshippers of Madarua present in a community, they are arranged in a heirarchy known as a Cycle of 3. One matriarch, bearing the title Madarua's Chosen, leads 3 senior clerics, known as Shields, who oversee the lay clerics, known simply as Maids. It is forbidden by the clergy of Madarua for a cleric to ever reveal her true name to any not of the faith, in order to hide their weaknesses from the everpresent threat Zaragon's cult offers them, and all clerics must be proficient in the Ancient Suloise tongue.
A small faction of Madaruans in the Yeomanry has begun to make its presence known, led by a cleric who calls herself 'third'. Third is a refugee from the fallen temple enclave of Caynidis, a mysterious ruin populated by depraved Suloise survivors in the outskirts of the town of Zeltra, in the western foothills of the Crystalmists, near Zinbyle.
Domains: Healing, Protection, Community
Garb: Madaruan clerics wear green tunics or tabards marked with the sickle shaped Suloise rune meaning birth, their goddess' symbol. During religious functions, they accompany this with bronze masks resembling a vibrant young woman's face. All Madaruans bear a tattoo on the inside of their left wrist of their Saint's symbol.
Note: Forgotten Gods, Suel"