The Maetah pantheon is a confused mix of foreign theology, syncretism, and conceptual changes due to evolving subsistence methods and general cultural change. The original pantheon was a selection of deities brought over by the original ethnic stock, and modified by the acclimation to the geography of settlers. The southern (proper) Maetah, who passed this pantheon to modern peoples, also had a great deal of influence from Heteri (and thus Mindat) religion. When the Chlendi moved in the North Sea plateau, we see two differing syncretic trends: The transformation of Thedine/Tegairne into a monotheistic moral entity and the envelopment of Chlendi spirits into the mythology of the region.
Traditional Maetah theology views bodies of water as a source of entropy and oblivion, and is reflect in the depiction of the Storm Mother who brought vicious attacks upon Maetah coastal communities. When the Chlendi arrived from across the North Seas, they were seen as agents of Oblivion, setting the stage for the later conflict between the societies.
Lord of Life The early Maetah saw Musthyoch as one of major deities. All plants and animals (including humanity) were seen as his children and servants, in one manner or another. Particular animals were idolized in beast cults, which were subservient to Musthyoch, and stereotypical qualities of these animals (strength of bulls) were used to represent other gods. For example, Thedine was originally a bull cult, showing the strength and stability of the bull, and the earth with the connection that bulls (and oxen) were used in cultivation. Musthyoch was also known as the ‘Emperor of All Flesh’ and is pictured as a short, bald, blue-skinned humanoid, although this imagery does not pass on to modern times. By the period of the Eschlatli Empire, Musthyoch is idolized as a short, hooded, gray skinned being of undetermined gender.
In later times (early Maetah colonies on the North Sea plateau), two of these beats cults came to prominence. Lob and Ubo, the sons of Musthyoch.
The Tusked God Before the coming of the Maetah to the North Sea Coast, Lob was the Beast God of the porcine animals, which in those lands were primarily pigs and swine. His primary patrons were among the people of the farms and husbandries, the fat and happy overlords of the lands that the majority of the Maetah population worked. Lob’s lineage, the Clan of the Fattened Young, existed in opposition to the agricultural Clan of the Fertile Earth, and its subsidiary lineages, who toiled in the fields. But upon migration, the Maetah found it difficult to adapt their fattened hogs to the rough winters of the northern plateau. Facing a cold response from the budding agriculturalists that followed Thedine, and even colder lonely winter, they turned to the only clan of the interior lands they had not alienated, the hunters. The early Maetah hunters were an odd lot. They were among the most physically fit, but who neither had the interest nor the aptitude to take up the rough and monotonous agricultural life of the farmers. Many other were opportunist who saw the struggles of the tribe in the new environment, and took the chance to gain in status. Many others were low or no status, and both nothing to loose, and no other choice.
The Clan of the Fattened Young saw promise in the study of the hunting community, and still commodities from the homelands, as wells high ranking daughters to offer these clan less populations, in return for their support. The Clan leaders first sought to interbreed the primary prey of the hunters, the hardy Northland Boar, into their dwindling herds of the swine. The plan would not come to fruition for many years, at which point the lineages of the clan which had intermarried with the hunters rose in prominence above the herders, who barely could maintain their lives, much less their status.
While the lineages that followed Lob grew in status, the gained little respect. After facing hardship in their early years, they took bitter glee in extorting fellow tribe members for wealth and goods in exchange for sustenance. The shamans and priest of Lob grew isolated fro the tribal spiritual community, but did not desert the gods. Many of the clan members did however, choosing to solely venerate the Tusked God. The faith did not disrespect or falter in supplicance to the pantheon, but the elements of the Lob became more prominent in the popular culture. The hides, hooves, and teeth, especially the tusk became power symbols, and soon fetishes of the people.
When the Chlendi came, the people of Lob fought with the most resistance, as they had the most to lose. After years of the struggle, ancient families had relearned the place n society, and finally regained lost status. Locked in the servitude among the slave farmers was not the life for them. Their martial and hunting skills were hone for the struggled, but their lacked the numbers and initiative to mount a campaign against the Chlendi. Instead the Clan broke off, and built small, mobile villages in the wilderness, slowly moving the southwest, and closer the expanding Mindat civilization. They lost took with the hunt of the boar, and were forced to expand their forays to include other species. Still the boar, and its lord, was their savior and patron, saving them from starvation, extermination, and slavery.
Eluus is the Maetah Goddess of Vegetation and Fertility. Her colour is red, sacred number 4, and scared animal the goat. In modern times she is seen as the source of the wild, chaotic, and dangers of the world by the priests of Argaevaligne. She is the sister of Ubo and Lob, and the adversary of Thedine. Eluus is said the be the favoured child of Musthyoch, the God of Blood and Life. Priests were almost always specifically devoted to Eluus, though they would inherit the duties of Lob or even Thedine if none of their devotees were present. It was common for women, especially widows and those who lost their children to serve Eluus, and many would act healers and midwives for the village. Women who were pregnant, hoping to become pregnant, or had ill children would keep an idol to Eluus hidden below their (or their sick child’s) bed. This is still in practice in Argaevaligne, as is the tradition of burying an idol below the ground upon a house is built. Children born with red-hair are considered bless by Eluus and to bound for strength and good health.
Prayers to Eluus are said at dawn, and weekly worship is done before dawn at the beginning of the work week. Annual feasts are held at the beginning of spring, midsummer, and at harvest time. The central act of the spring celebration is for worshipers to have sex in their fields the night before planting. It is common for priests and priestesses of Eluus to participate, usually in exchange for an offering to the temple. During the summer celebrations, sacrifices of a young calf are offered to the god, slaughtered by the local priest, and left in the center of fields to be devoured by birds. If the whole carcass was gone by morning, the field was especially blessed by the goddess.
Ubo is the Maetah God of Wolves and Winter. The sacred number of Ubo is 6, and he blesses are births of twins or triplets. He is considered the son of Musthyoch and twin brother of Lob, God of the Boars. Ubo’s worship evolved from the beast cult of wolves and is the patron deity of hunters. With the transition of Argaevaligne to a monotheistic religion, his worship is official outlawed, but still usually honoured in smaller towns and rural areas. Shrines to Ubo are built in hunting blinds and markings left at the edge of woods and overgrown fields. In old times, Ubo was honoured at the beginning of winter, and his shamans would emulate the hunting styles of packs of wolves in order for small tribes to survive the harsh winters of the northern Rhiat.
Ubo is still worshiped in Maetah lands outside of Argaevaligne, and in Ramush, Nipend, and parts of Ghikarn’ngai. Only in rural or hunting communities do many dedicated priest exists, but his shrines are common. Shrines and temples are built in great conical structures of stone, often covered in moss or sheets of peat in damp or colder climes. The outside of the structure is hung with bones and skeletons of hunting kills usual deer or other large beasts. Inside the shrine, a central fit bit is kept continually burning, even in the hottest months of the year. Hunters and rural folk consider it unlucky to come across a shrine without the fire pit burning, and will usually call off any hunts for the day and tend to the fire, even if the no priest actively monitors the shrine.
Priests of Ubo are usually skilled hunters, and often leaders in smaller towns or villages. In tribal times, the priest of Ubo was the most valued adviser of the chief, and also skilled in the arts of war. Priests dress in heavy white or grey robes or furs and wear jewelery from the teeth of wolves and other beasts. Daily prayers are said at sunset each day, with no fixed weekly celebration. His annual feast is upon the start of winter or first snowfall, when huge quantities of food are consumed with faith that Ubo will provide for the lean winter months. Other worship activities include a fast the night before a great hunt, the donation of a leg of any kills to the priests, and the burnt sacrifice of the runt of the litter from any lairs found.
Thedine is the Maetah God of the Earth, Labor, and Strength. He is the patron of workers and farmers. His colour is black and his sacred number 4. In modern times Thedine has become the focus of a monotheistic faith in the feudal nation of Argaevaligne. The Society of the Black Earth, it’s scholarly branch, sees other deities as false gods at best, demons as worse. This includes the other Maetah deities. In traditional Maetah communities, Thedine is still honoured, and his shrines still maintained, though dedicated priest are rare. Much of Thedine devotion has been shifted to Eluus, the patron of farmers.
Hilinavyu, the Coal God, is an import from the south. He governs mining, metals, fires, and construction.
The Storm Mother brings the rains and the storms. She controls the seas. It is her dictate if there shall be a drought this seasons, and if the ships will make it past the North Sea Point. The Storm Mother is not worshiped, but placated. Unlike most Maetah worship, human sacrifices are still offered to the Storm Mother. Her inland shrines are built in Maetah fashion but feature domes ratherthan peaks, and commonly have a large pool or well prominently displayed in front of the structure.
Uzhidhomi is another imported deity. He rules the sky, the nights, and the stars. He keeps secrets and taught magick to mortal men. He binds the spiritsof the Otherworld in place and guards children while they sleep.