“Pain racks my body, I cough up blood, my vision is blurred, and I have not been able to keep any food down all day. Truly does Odara love me.” – High Priest Anthellon, shortly before his death.
Odara is the goddess of disease, poison, suffering, and revenge.
Odara is one of the lesser powers aligned under Belendor. Where sickness lays heavy upon those already suffering, her hand is at fault. Suffering for something gives it meaning. Venomous animals and those that spread sickness are sacred. Vengeance for wrongs that have been dealt to them is every creature’s duty.
Odara’s followers generally get along well with the followers of Misigoth and Belendor. Misigoth because the undead often carry foul diseases within their rotting bodies, and Belendor because they both appreciate the destruction caused by the other. The only source of contention between followers of Odara and Belendor is the use of fire as a weapon, it tends to cleanse the sickness that Odara’s followers cause.
Odara during her rare appearances, manifests as a tall thin woman. Her beautiful face is marred by pox scars and a sneering disdain. Her hair is thick, long, and dark and seems to move on its own. The most consistent feature of her’s in legends is the sickly shade of green that her eyes always are.
Followers of Odara share the following basic tenets of the faith:
- Without suffering life has no meaning.
- Take vengeance against all who slight you.
- Disease brings about the greatest suffering.
- Bringing suffering upon others is a prayer to Odara.
- A quick, painless death is no mercy.
- Animals that bring disease or carry poison are to be treasured.
- Each sickness is a child of Odara.
The most common of followers of Odara are apothecaries that sell more poison than anything else, as well as those that are already afflicted with a disease and seek to spread it to others. Priests of Odara often keep their faith secret and often are the instigators of mobs against Houses of Healing when sickness strikes a settlement. Devout followers often ritually ingest small amounts of poison, this often has the side effect of rendering them immune to most types of toxins.
The most favoured of Odara’s servants carry many disease, but suffer none of their ill effects. Templars that serve her often refer to themselves as Plague Knights and seem to feel no pain. Their weapons are often coated in powerful toxins. Some of the braver priests of Odara try to tame a hydra to protect her temples. Not only are these fearsome beasts venomous, but their venom causes extreme, debilitating pain. Other creatures that are sacred to Odara’s faithful include: plague rats, venomous serpents, and a variety of insects that are known to carry disease.
Approbation and Displeasure:
Actions/ideas that please Odara:
- Taking revenge for any slight against yourself or Odara
- Releasing plague animals into a settlement
- Embracing your own suffering
- Murder by poison
- Giving someone enough aid to postpone but not stop their death
- Contracting a disease and purposefully spreading it
- Befouling a House of Healing
- Breaking a quarantine
Actions/ideas that displease Odara (and may result in loss of magical abilities):
- Failing to take revenge when it is deserved
- Curing any sort of sickness (even your own)
- Showing mercy to any
- Easing another’s suffering, unless it is to cause them greater suffering
- Killing a sacred animal
- Abiding by a quarantine
Holy Places and Holy Days
Temples and shrines to Odara are always hidden away. Usually in larger cities shrines are disguised as apothecaries or potion shops. Temples are much rarer than shrines and always smell faintly of sickness and are usually dark places lit only by a few candles.
No day of the week is particularly holy to Odara, save in times of plague or great sickness, then everyday is treated as holy by her followers. Odara’s holiday is in the heart of summer just a few weeks before midsummer. It is known as Withermorn. Devout followers of Odara will find a sacrifice to slowly poison to death over the course of the whole day, trying to get the death as close to midnight as possible. Common folk observe the Withermorn by asking that Odara spare them any sickness in the coming year.
Sickness and the desire for revenge have existed almost for as long as creation itself. The last true temple of Odara that was found out and destroyed was in the Hazon empire nearly fifty years ago.
While Odara has many children, her favorite and most lethal contagion is called Odara’s kiss. Rare and feared across the land, villages have been known to burn down the houses of those that might be infected, with the occupants still inside. Just the rumor of this disease has caused widespread panic in the past. Very rarely, when a person suffering a sickness prays to Odara for relief, the symptoms and sickness will seemingly vanish overnight. Only to be replaced by a driving wanderlust. A person such as this has become a contagious carrier and will infect almost any that they come in contact with. This is known as Odara’s Mercy.
Correct Worship and Rites/Rituals/Requirements
Followers of Odara typically engage in:
- At some point in the evening reflect upon the suffering that you have enjoyed this day, while whispering prayers to Odara.
- Ingest a small amount of poison or take care of one of Odara’s favoured animals.
- Attempting to foster sickness in an otherwise healthy settlement.
- Ritual sacrifices are done by binding the victim to a shrine or altar of Odara and slowly forcing them to ingest small amounts of poison that will eventually cause their death.