Lesser Goddess

The Ice Lady, the Winter Witch

Aliases: Kriestal (Brechtür), Karesha (Rjurik), Kriesha (Vosgaard)

Symbol: White hand

Alignment: LE

Portfolio: Winter, hardship, beasts and other horrors of the cold wastes

Spheres Major: Animal, Combat, Elemental (Water, but spells affect ice), Necromantic, Protection, Summoning
Spheres Minor:
Healing, Sun, Weather

Domains: Evil, Law, Suffering, Winter

Favored Weapon: "Winter's Touch" [Ice mace] (light or heavy mace)

Kriesha (KREE-sha) is the goddess of winter – long, bitter, harsh winter – the sort of season in which the cold seeps into the warmest homes and in which the wolf packs sate their terrible hunger on those foolish enough to brave the storms. Prior to her ascension, Kriesha was a high priestess of Azrai. Kriesha is without mercy; the harsh winters she sends against the Vos work to strengthen them as a people, for none but the strongest survive. Belinik teaches the Vos males to attack their enemies with fire and fury. Kriesha teaches the Vos women to plot. The Winter Witch shares the patronage of the Vos people with Belinik. Although the worship of Belinik seems to dominate the church of Vosgaard, the Vos women believe that Kriesha holds the true power. Kriesha's worship extends from Vosgaard across the breadth of northern Cerilia; she is known in any land where winters are long and brutal.

Kriesha's clergy are almost exclusively women, often the "wise-women" of their clans. It is difficult to wield power without the support of a clan's circle of wise-women and few dare to cross them, for their revenge is slow, thorough, and nearly always fatal. Priestesses are trained in matters of money and trade from early on in their service, and they manage a clan's wealth and supplies. The wise-women know that wealth has power, and they use their financial power to encourage others to become more pliable to the whims of the church. The church buys information, causes underlings to betray their superiors, and handles matters of external trade. Priestesses also protect their clans from internal enemies by constantly testing the loyalties of members of their tribe. They enforce loyalty, where necessary, through fear tactics. Punishments are especially harsh against women who betray the church. The punishment may not occur for several years, but when it does arrive, it is final.

Midwinter month (Faniele) is the principle holy time of Kriesha's church. In Vos lands, it is a time fasting (for game is scarce) followed by a feast at month's end filled with tests of strength, endurance, and loyalty. Priestesses of Kriesha pray for their spells in the pre-dawn hours, when the night is at its peak of cold.

Dogma: Kriesha demands complete loyalty. The ties and family and clan are secondary priorities. Be willing to betray anything and anyone you hold dear if necessary. Friendship and love are dangerous luxuries and must be forsaken. Destruction awaits those who lack the discipline to obey. Ensure that the clan remains strong. Be patient and ruthless when dealing with foes. Nurse your hatreds and launch your attack only when you can destroy everything your foe values, for only then can you truly exult in your victory.

Allies: Belinik's rages draws attention to him and thus allow us a free hand. He is, like all men, a valuable tool. Permit him his vanity, for he serves well, but do not allow him to meddle in women's affairs.

Foes: Avani is our most hated foe, and thus her suffering shall be the greatest on the day of our triumph. Plot carefully against her, for she is observant, and be patient; not even the light of the Sun will stand against winter's breath. Cuiraécen's pride is his folly. His love of battle makes him dangerous in open conflict, but his touchy honor and concern with glory make him a predictable foe, easily avoided. Haelyn teaches that the strong should risk themselves to protect the weak. Fool! Such order is against nature. Unculled, his people degenerate into fools and weaklings. In time his people will be our chattel. Laerme inspires nothing but sloth. She is a parasite that feeds on the labor of others and provides nothing of true value. Such weakness must be culled.

Others: Erik understands the might of nature and the need for the weak to die so that the strong may continue. Avoid open conflict with him, and plant the seeds of future alliance, for he nearly understands the truth. Eloéle is young, but can be taught. Her plans are subtle, but without purpose; she has no true steel. In time she will put away her children's dolls and take up the tasks of a woman; then she will be a worthy ally. Sera is selfish, fat, and weak. She seeks only wealth and decadence. When winter comes, she will be among the first to starve. Nesirie is weak-willed, hiding behind her son and husband and letting them do as they please. She serves us by weakening our foes with her timid babbling. Ruornil is a traitor to our people, clinging to the tricks of Vorynn rather than the truths that Azrai taught us. His punishment will come.

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