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Cult of Veles

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The Cult of Veles was a priesthood in honor to the Slavic deity Veles. The priests of Veles tell omens from the spirits of nature, and therefore have an interest in protecting the land, though they concerned themselves almost exclusively with the wilds.

OverviewEdit

Many thousands of years ago, some Gangrel must have started the Cult, but it's name hardly matters. Indeed, most of the priests of Veles go nameless but to their most intimate associates. However, the majority of the Cainite courts in Slavic lands revere Veles, at least superficially. They receive his priests, pay due homage and sacrifice at the appointed season invoking his name when swearing the most sacred oaths.

The Gangrel make up the greater part of Veles' priesthood. The female Cainites who serve him are called Veela. However, not all who serve the god are Gangrel - he does sometimes choose Tzimisce to attend him, and more rarely Cainites of other clans may show the marks of destiny. Cainite worship of Veles originally began in the Slavic lands, but journeying Gangrel soon brought it to other places as well.

VelesEdit

Veles is the god of the Underworld, magic and hunt, of horned animals and also of trade and oaths. He sometimes wears the head of a wolf; sometimes the horns of a stag, ram or bull; and yet in other occasions he appears as a great water-serpent. He is hunter and prey in one. The followers of the Cult believe that the Baltic god Velnias and the Norse god Odin are echoes of Veles (in fact, priests of Veles often treat the Einherjar as a lost outgrowth of their faith).

In the British Isles, Hu Gadarn, Gwynn ap Nuad and Herne the Hunter were masters of wild; in Gaul, Dispater and Cernunnos; in the Mediterranean, Pan and Faunus. Wherever they went, Veles' chosen found new cults, taking on the local names and folkways. Their traditions mingled - not always easily - with those already established by the natives.

During the Dark Ages, the Christianization of the pagans identified Veles with St. Blas, and appealed to him to protect their herds and flocks. Other now equate him with the Devil. Although the followers of the Cult are used to infidels insulting their god, they sometimes take personal offense at the turning away of their mortals, and exact suitable punishments.

The Wild HuntEdit

The Wild Hunt follows no discernable logic or justice. It obeys no law or wish of man, it simply is.

Though Veles' priests are not the only fell creatures who practice the Wild Hunt , it takes uncommonly central role in their faith. The quarry might be friend or foe, mortal, Cainite or Lupine; for the Hunt's most sacred rule is that the prey may only be chosen by divination.  To use any other method it would be to impose judgement where there should be none.

A priest of Veles, usually a male Gangrel who can take the shape of a wolf or a bear, embodies the god in his hunter aspect during each Hunt;  once a year, in a special version of the rite, another male priest assumes the shape of a stag, boar or fox, and embodies the god in his prey aspect, "dying" to ensure the cycle's continuation.

Rarely, in times of great need, prey-priests may even give their heart's blood in sacrifice. In any case, the prey always senses the Hunt from the moment it starts. If it can survive three days and nights, then it will be spared; holy ground and holy relics can also sometimes put an end to the Hunt.

The Tzimisce AntediluvianEdit

The priests of Veles also found a welcome of sorts with the Cainite lords of their own homelands. Ancient legends claim that the Tzimisce Antediluvian, in return for secret wisdom, struck a bargain with Mother Earth herself and paid the price for it out of his own flesh.

He swore himself and all his progeny to the eternal duty of protecting the land that empowered him and the mortals whose blood and lives sustained him. Though dead himself, he would be a humble servant of life. The Tzimisce Koldun became the self-appointed guardians of this pact, reminding the voivodes of their duties and reading the omens.

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

Players Guide to Low Clans, p. 31-32

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