Dania is the goddess of nature, the harvest, fertility, weather, and the patroness of benevolent potion makers and herbalists.
Titles: The Druid Queen, Lady of Nature, The Patient Mother, Elf-Mother and Earth-Mother
Dania is counted amongst the Lords of Light, and rightly so. She typically appears as a wood elf woman with dark hair wrapped in leaves and vines, wearing a flowery crown upon her brow. She has striking blue eyes and a voice that makes bards weep. Dania is the patroness of the elves, particularly wood elves, though she considers all elves her children. More than a few fae follow the Lady of Nature as well, though they do not deign to consider themselves her children.
Dania tends to be kind, understanding, patient, and nurturing. But, when she is roused to wrath she is as fierce as a mother bear and as unforgiving as a blizzard. Dania represents all parts of nature but prefers to be kind and temperate, like a perfect spring day, or a beautiful flower. She does not hesitate to act or call her followers to action when nature is threatened, even if it means standing against other good-aligned powers. She is not evil, she just requires that a balance in nature is preserved and understands that good and evil need one another to thrive. She is a fierce and protective mother, particularly towards the wood-elves, and all the creatures of the forest.
Dania rarely manifests to her followers and when she does, she always appears as an elven woman dressed simply in natural colors and wearing at least a few flowers. It has been speculated by her priests that she visits her faithful more than they think- but that her simple and unassuming nature has kept her well-hidden when she does. She may regularly walk amongst the elves without their knowledge, enjoying the beauty of nature and listening to the music of the birds and babbling streams.
Much like Aranayan, Dania’s followers are broken into two branches. The Branchwraiths and the Handmaidens/ Stewards of the Druid Queen.
The Branchwraiths epitomize the vengeful and unpredictable fury of nature. They are the early winter storms and furious mother bears. They seek out those who would despoil nature and harm that which their Lady holds dear and end it. They abhor large settlements and consider them to be dangerous. Any town larger than 250 people will be avoided at all costs. Many Branchwraiths train in stealth as well as nature or spirit magic and strike unseen from the trees only to fade away before being seen by their foes. They particularly dislike anyone who sees nature as something to be tamed and exploited for natural resources. They are rare, and tend to be nomadic, seeking out injustices against the natural order, righting them, and then moving on.
The Handmaidens/Stewards of the Druid Queen are representative of the kind, gentle side of Dania. They tend to be healers, diplomats, peaceful druids, and herbalists. They seek a peaceful and harmonious balance between cities and nature and advocate for bits of nature, like nice gardens and well-tended parks. They are not pacifists for they all understand that even the smallest animal has teeth and claws. But, they represent the kind, gentle, merciful, and loving side of the Lady of Nature. They outnumber the Branchwraiths greatly and comprise the majority of Dania’s followers.
If one of Dania’s followers truly pleases her, they are rewarded with the rarest of gifts- the chance to look upon a unicorn, the rarest and most beloved servant of Dania. As they are so rare and beautiful, they are coveted by many. If a unicorn is killed, even the most peaceful of Dania’s servants will be moved to violence by their Lady’s wrath. Possession of a unicorn horn by anyone other than a high priest of Dania is a crime against the Lady. These few horns that are held by the priests of Dania are sacred relics, offered willingly by unicorns upon their deaths, representing the bond between Dania, nature, and the wild untamed places where no man ought to tread. Myths and fables of long life and curative powers drive desperate and greedy men to seek out the creatures in the heavily guarded groves and glades that they call home.
Approbation and Displeasure
Actions/ideas that please Dania:
- Growing or tending to plants, whether in a garden or in the wild
- Healing or aiding an animal that has been injured or fallen ill
- Slaying a menace to nature (undead, fel beasts, magical creatures or the like)
- Offering mercy, and through kindness aiding in the redemption of an evildoer
- Successful harvests
- Reveling in the beauty of nature
- Offerings of fragrant herbs, polished river stones, or fresh flowers
- Protecting the weak or young who cannot defend themselves
- Aiding in the birth of a child
- Offering aid or assisting creatures of nature (Dryads, Treants and the like)
Actions/ideas that displease Dania(and may result in the loss of magical abilities):
- Despoiling nature or wantonly destroying nature (cutting trees needlessly, unleashing undead, burning a healthy forest)
- Trampling crops or destroying fields
- The use of dark magic by her followers
- Wastefulness, gluttony, and wanton excess
- Killing animals for trophies or sport
- Needless deaths of mothers, children, or youths
- Harming or killing dryads, treants, or other creatures of the forest
- Killing elves, unicorns, dryads or treants.
- Using fire as a weapon
Holy Places and Holy Days
Dania has few temples, if any. Her followers keep personal shrines, and large elven communities might have an open air shrine dedicated to her. Anywhere nature is respected is Dania’s temple. Mountaintops, forest glens, riverbanks, carefully-tended herb gardens, caves covered in moss and numerous other natural locations are all considered holy and sacred. In fact, if you ask a Branchwraith they will tell you that anywhere outside of the innumerable and blighting towns is sacred and holy land. Her followers keep the solstices and equinoxes holy as well as days of planting and harvest. Many devout followers will pray outside in a great storm, hoping to experience the majesty and fury of their Lady or potentially, beg her indulgence and spare their town from the wrath of the mighty winds and storms.
The worship of Dania is as old as the very world. Some of her most stubborn followers refuse to name the Earth-Mother and simply call their worship “keeping to the old ways.” They tend to offer sacrifices of their own blood in addition to other more common gifts, like grain or flowers. Dania does not spurn them- she realizes that memory and tradition are powerful and sometimes offers bits of wisdom to those who remember the oldest ways of paying respect. She is widely worshipped by the Wood Elves and also by woodsmen, farmers, and humans in remote areas throughout Garesh, Hazon, and the Wild Plains.
Correct Worship and Rites/Rituals/Requirements
Followers of Dania typically engage in:
- Every day, followers of Dania must stop and enjoy the beauty of nature for a few moments and say a small prayer of thanksgiving to the Lady of Nature.
- Caring for mothers, children, expecting mothers, and elderly widows. Dania’s followers respect women in all the stages of life as bringers of life and often become midwives.
- Protecting virgin, unspoiled nature from unnecessary incursions.
- Opposing those who follow Odara as her blights and plagues are unnatural.
- Learning to play musical instruments, to bring song to places where birds cannot go.
- Aiding in harvest and planting, either with their hands or their magic and blessings.
- Using at least 3 natural elements in any major magical ritual that they perform (bark, root, fur, petal, herb etc)