February 08, 2006
Balor: God of War, Death, Inspiration, Conquest, Martial Arts, Sky, and Fate.
The worshipers of Balor are a diverse group of people. Among them (and chiefly) are warriors, mercenaries, berserkers, soldiers and warlords. The Skrel'eth also worship him as their Patron god, though many will following the calling of other Gods as well. He is the God of death, war and conquest, those who die in large-scale battle are under his domain. However, he is also the God of inspiration, the sky and fate. These attributes draw bards, storytellers, actors and leaders of various sorts to his worship as well. Fatalist, (those who believe in the Fate of all things) are also counted among his worshipers.
Number of Worshipers
Before the cataclysm, the majority of the Skrel'eth tribes worshiped Balor almost exclusively. While not all followed him, they all at least acknowledged him and his ways. Some nomadic human tribes also worshiped him. He has a number of priests, but also warriors who act as mentors in his ways. The gladiators of Yarsin were known for worshiping him, as well as those who trained in the martial arts. Skrel'eth and warriors of all sorts of course made up the bulk of his followers, and, for the most part, still do.
A smaller number of his followers are improvisational bards who seek inspiration from him. Even fewer than they are the Fatalists. many who worship Balor tend to be many of these things rolled up into one. You will find warriors who are also bards and fatalists. It is rare to find one of his followers who is not a warrior and exclusively following one of His other aspects.
Methods of Worship
Most of Balor's followers practice a type of meditation that incorporates stretching, strength building and stamina training into it. This practice is called the Kavanat Halev. During this exercise, they train not only their strength, agility and dexterity, but also their heart and soul. There are several different levels of this practice and several specific exercises associated with each level. The lowest level is called hasagos and is taught to younger initiates by their master. The final level of the practice is free form and is reminiscent to shadow fighting. The practitioner focuses as if they are fighting themselves, countering and attacking each blow that they strike upon themselves. While they fight, they recite the prayers and meditations to Balor in their mind, focusing upon them as they focus upon each movement.
Arena fighting, duals and sparring are also part of his worship. During such fights, the worshiper prays to Balor, asking for guidance and strength. If they should lose, they accept this gracefully, as it was not their Fate to be favoured in battle. His worshipers honour these things and accept when their opponent is stronger and more skilled.
Like most of the Gods, Balor likes sacrifice. His followers often sacrifice the weapons of their enemies to him or weapons they have broken in battle. They will also offer to him their fallen enemies. To do this, they carve his symbol upon the enemies chest, whispering prayers over it. They give thanks or their victory and, if the opponent is worthy, ask that s/he be taken into Balor's army. If the opponent is unworthy of being sent to Balor's army, they pray that their Fate in Annwn be a cruel one.
Battle, war, conflict, these things are holy to Balor, as such, many of his warriors will cut themselves before they head into it. They offer their blood to him as it lands on the field of battle. they pray to him for a positive outcome of the battle. This outcome, however, may or may not include their lives. All of his warriors aspire to be taken in battle. many believe that if they die in battle, fighting long and hard, that they are worthy to be taken into His army for the afterlife rather than spending it in Annwn.
Dedicated Temples and Priests
Balor's priests are often typically warriors who act as mentors for the younger initiates. These mentors teach the Kavanat Halev to the students. And also teach them to spar and fight in general. they teach them the ways of battle and to accept the Fate of it. Balor's most popular church is known as the "Spear Of Conflict", and there is someone who is at the head for each region of the land. This Priest is said to be closest to Balor, the one whom He has fated to rule over it. The Bechirim gains position by fighting all of Balor's followers in that region and coming out victorious. It is said that the Bechirim may not be the strongest or the fastest of Balor's warriors, but rather, the one whom Balor chooses to win. There are myths of Bechirim winning through 'luck': an opponent's weapon breaking during the fight, a piece of armour breaking at an inopportune moment, strange weather, etc. The Bechirim acts as the go between the warriors and Balor. Any follower of Balor can challenge the Bechirim at any time to become the new Bechirim.
Arenas,gladiatorial rings, these places are often dedicated to Balor, along with a few more 'traditional' temples. Often His temples are build on old battle fields where many died in glorious and worthy battle. These temples are called cellas. The cellas of Balor are where his altars may be found. They are simple, rectangular buildings with no roof. They are open to the air and sky as an honour to Balor. The altar is always in the centre of the building and that is where sacrifice is made to Balor. His symbol is carved upon the altar such that the sun will cross it during the day. Some rare priests of Balor often reside in the Cellas. These rare few are can sometimes divine people's fate from the symbols of the clouds. Whether this is true or not, remains to be seen. Not all of the cellas have a priest in them at all times, but the local Bechirim care for the buildings.
Balor, when he chooses to appear, often does so as a Strong man wields a large, steel tipped spear. Often he appears wearing no armour, but carrying a shield. He changes his appearance from race to race, depending on who he appears to. Often his appearance will mirror the person he appears to, only he looks larger, taller and stronger. He is also said to appear in the clouds by changing their shape most notably into large cats, or a spear.
He revels in war and emotion itself. The primal source of all things will always go back to animalistic emotions. Fate is his to rule over and at times, he can be petty when ruling over it. He'll move the strings of Fate to see a whole army perish to a single squad. Or he'll rescue a single warrior from death to carry out his will. His Fate is the only Fate, though he must occasionally bow to Morhiag in it, something that makes him a touch jealous. To balance this out, he will take warriors from her realm and train them, but for what, who knows. He tries to moves the threads of Fate so that all opposing forces eventually come into balance, though, not necessarily harmony.
The Blue Sun is associated with Balor, as well as spears and occasionally other weapons.
Posted by Mina at February 8, 2006 06:08 PM