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Mistress of The First and Last Breaths, Lady Rejuvenation, The Midwife, The Shrouded One, Mother Korthjach
Holy Symbol: A weathered and cracked skull with a tree taking root and springing forth from within.
Portfolio: Life, death, birth, rebirth and renewal
Cleric's Alignment: Mostly neutral, but any may serve.
Domains (Subdomains): Air, Death, Earth, Fire (Ash), Healing (Restoration, Resurrection), Plant (Decay, Growth), Repose, Water, Weather (Seasons)
Blessing: Self-sufficient feat at 1st level; +2 divine bonus to Knowledge (Nature) skill at 3rd level; Detect Undead 1/day as a spell like ability at 5th level; Hide from Undead 1/day as a spell like ability at 7th level; Gentle Repose 2/day as a spell like ability at 9th level; further +1 divine bonus to Knowledge (Nature) and the skills from Self-sufficient feat at 12th level.
Favored Weapon: Kukri
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Vivlorean symbol by Dan MacKinnon (Unlicensed)!
When a mortal first enters the world of Merisyl, Vivlorean is there. When that same mortal passes on to the afterlife, Vivlorean is there as well. In between those two moments that every mortal experiences are others, including those that lead to renewal or rebirth, whether literal or figuratively speaking. Vivlorean presides over those instances as well. Unlike most of the other major deities of Merisyl, Vivlorean is not of draconic origins. Indeed, she is uniquely tied to the korthjach race and their origin stories all point to her as being the progenitor of their race.
Legends tell of an ancient time when a draconic deity controlled the portfolio that Vivlorean now claims. This deity, whose name has been lost to time, pursued a number of errant souls who failed to cross over into the afterlife and instead struck off to an unknown area of the Astral Plane and passed through a portal to a dark dimension heretofore undiscovered. After a time, this deity's absence was noticed by a number of the others and they went to investigate. When they arrived at the portal their compatriot had disappeared through, they discovered a strange insect-like creature of immense power awaiting them. This being introduced herself as Vivlorean and told the assembled deities that she was assuming this position in the pantheon. This did not sit well with the other deities, but she offered proof to them of their compatriot's fate and that she had in actuality tried to prevent it. Then she also showed them that she had repurposed the errant souls and they had been reborn as the first korthjach. The other deities accepted this, somewhat grudgingly, as proof that Vivlorean was indeed one of them. Add to this the fact that Vivlorean had promised to keep the Unmaking which lay beyond the dark portal from crossing into Merisyl's dimension, and the draconic deities had dared not turn her away.
When she appears, Vivlorean always appears as a solemn, matronly female korthjach.
Centers of Worship
Vivlorean is paid respect by most every mortal on Merisyl. Her position as the arbiter of life and death causes mortals to respect if not love her. This is of course not true of the korthjach race. They look upon her as an adoring mother and view death as merely a return to her loving embrace. This does not mean that the korthjach look forward to dying, they simply acknowledge that when they do, Vivlorean is there to welcome them into the afterlife in a manner akin to a mother welcoming a long lost child returning home. Thus, while most major metropolitan areas have at least one temple to Vivlorean, she has many places of worship devoted to her in lands primarily controlled by korthjach.
Vivlorean's church is organized around celebrating birth and moments of renewal, as well as providing an organized means for mortals to say farewell to their loved ones when the time of death inevitably comes. Her adherents teach that while birth itself, as well as life that follows is to be enjoyed and celebrated, death is not something to fear, as it is merely a part of the natural cycle of things. Indeed, those that look to cheat death through the auspices of undeath are to be shunned, as they seek to cheat the natural cycle of things. Critics of Vivlorean point out that her clergy will, at times, bring mortals back from death through the use of powerful divine magic. Her followers point out that this is a part of her portfolio in the form of rebirth, and that those who come back to life thusly will still inevitably meet their demise through old age if nothing else. Thus they are still part of the natural cycle of things, even if they took a small "detour" as it were.
Vivlorean does not have any paladins or anti-paladins.
Temples and Shrines
Vivlorean's temples are a contradiction in styles. They are generally large buildings with different areas dedicated to particular aspects of her portfolio. One area may be decorated in bright yet soothing colors to facilitate childbirth. Another area will be decorated in darker colors, more suited for mourning as the clergy preside over memorial services. Many of Vivlorean's temples also contain a garden area as her clergy take delight in the growing/renewal cycles of plant life. Shrines to Vivlorean differ depending on the vocation of the shrine tender. Those in the houses of midwives or others that facilitate childbirth are of course dedicated to Vivlorean's aspect as The Midwife. While a shrine in the workshop of an undertaker would be dedicated to her aspect as The Shrouded One.
A Priest's Role
Vivlorean's priests serve many roles. Most commonly they serve as midwives or undertakers/funeral directors in non-korthjach dominated areas. In korthjach areas they also often serve as community leaders, as they are the ones with the most direct connection to Mother Korthjach. Though it is true that very few non-korthjach worship Vivlorean, they do often avail themselves of her clergy's services when there is a need, often quite literally when it is a matter of life or death. They are also there to teach community members about renewal and rebirth. They teach that even when a person reaches what seems to be an ending, there are ways to go forward, to reinvent themselves and continue to thrive. They also are there to counsel against the aspects of necromancy that lead to undeath. Undead are outside the natural life/death cycle and this is anathema to Vivlorean. Those few scholars that know of the legend of Vivlorean's arrival on Merisyl attribute her attitude towards undeath as a result of her interactions with whatever dwells beyond that dark portal on the Astral Plane.
Most of Vivlorean's clergy are korthjach clerics or oracles. She doesn't generally garner the support of the more combat oriented types of clergy except for inquisitors that seek out undead to destroy them. Though there are very few non-korthjach clerics or oracles that serve Vivlorean, they are not unheard of. Generally speaking though, most non-korthjach clergy that follow Vivlorean are druids that revere Lady Rejuvenation for the renewal/rebirth aspects of her portfolio.
The Gravestalkers are an order dedicated to Vivlorean that track down and destroy undead wherever they find them. Undead are outside the natural cycle of things, and thus are anathema to The Shrouded One. Primarily made up of inquisitors (though they do number clerics and warpriests amongst their group), The Gravestalkers share their mistress's hatred of undead and do whatever it takes to find them and usher them into the afterlife they've sought to cheat.
Most adventurers pay lip service to Vivlorean at the appropriate times, given her portfolio, but few actively dedicate themselves to her service. The primary exception to this of course being those that are members of The Gravestalkers.
Vivlorean's clergy dress depending on the service they are providing. Muted, brighter colors for those working as midwives or other types of healers, and dark, somber colors for those helping with or officiating at memorial services. A silver medallion with Vivlorean's holy symbol engraved on it is standard.
Living With Death. This text is the primary holy work of Vivlorean's church. It teaches that birth, life and death are all part of a natural cycle and that death is not to be feared. It comes to all mortal eventually, even the might draconic rulers of Merisyl, and thus, while it is normal to avoid it as long as possible, in the end, it can not be avoided, so one should not live in fear of it. This text of course rankles some of the more vain dragons that bother to peruse it, as many of them see themselves as being above such "petty" things as dying.
The Reborn Merchant: This text is an apocryphal tale of a wealthy landowner who loses everything to a foolish toss of the dice. He eventually rises from the ignominy of his situation and reinvents himself as a merchant who rises to the very same heights he previously fell from, thus being "reborn."
Death to Undeath: This book is basically an "undead hunter's handbook" and is filled with tales of various adventurers hunting down undead creatures and how they disposed of them.
Suffer not the ghoul, scourge the wight, burn the vampire. Daily aphorism of the Gravestalkers. Different types of undead are often substituted.
The Shrouded One Comforts. Do not fear death, Vivlorean is there for the departed.
The Midwife Smiles. An aphorism that conveys that bother mother and child came safely through childbirth.
Relations With Other Religions
Vivlorean has a somewhat strained relationship with most of the other deities of Merisyl, given how she entered into the pantheon. This isn't to say that she is antagonistic towards them, or they towards her, just that most of them prefer to keep her at arm's length and deal with her only when absolutely necessary. She does, however, have a more cordial relationship with Ator and Khirr as her fire and his storms often serve to kick start the cycle of renewal that Vivlorean oversees. Likewise, she gets along well with Premyzic due to his portfolio concerns of hunting and agriculture, both of which are part of the natural cycle.
Unlike most of the deities of Merisyl, Vivlorean maintains a domain on the Astral Plain. Here she oversees the transfer of souls into the afterlife as well as the creation of new souls that are then born into the material plane. Those aware of the dark portal also maintain that Vivlorean dwells on the Astral Plane to keep an eye on that to make sure that what dwells on the other side doesn't come through.
Zorda'dath: A Yamaraj Psychopomp with levels in the magus class that dwells on the Astral Plane. Zorda'dath serves as Vivlorean's first line of defense against what dwells beyond the dark portal.
Selrina V'tothan: A female korthjach with numerous levels in the inquisitor class. After her family was slain by a vampire, Selrina dedicated her life to serving Vivlorean through joining the Gravestalkers and hunts for the creature that killed her family still.