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Goddess Keep is the home of the Sunrunners. It is where most reside and all - until the recent times of Sunrunner Lords - are trained. Most children are sent to Goddess Keep between the ages of eleven and thirteen, their parents having noticed an oddity about them, or a distractedness. If the child does in fact possess the skill to be a Sunrunner he or she is trained. If not, then there are servant, guard, or steward positions available within the Keep.
The Keep itself is located on the coast of Ossetia. Ancient Sunrunners (Merisel, Gerik, and Rosseyn) built Goddess Keep after they left their isolated home on Dorval. Their choice was an odd one for Sunrunners as this part of Ossetia was fog bond through the winter months. Near the Keep is a small grove and a pond in which various rituals are conducted.
Lord/Lady of Goddess KeepEdit
The Lord/Lady of Goddess Keep governs the Keep and all Sunrunners. This Lord or Lady is the 'closest' to the Goddess, who sometimes communes with the chosen Lord/Lady in the form of visions. The Lord/Lady represents the impartiality of the Goddess at such gatherings as the Rialla. He/she stamps all new treaties and laws with the seal of Goddess Keep. It is also the duty of the lord/lady to call a council of Princes in order to confirm a new ruling Prince or High Prince. While the Lord/Lady is required to follow the general laws of the Continent he/she is not directly under the command of any Prince, nor is Goddess Keep itself under the governing of the Princedom of Ossetia, within whose borders the Keep resides, but is held of the High Prince. The position of Lord or Lady of Goddess Keep - contrary to recent history - is not hereditary.
Stewards of Goddess KeepEdit
The Chief Steward of Goddess Keep is the traditional second-in-command position at the Keep. This Steward oversees the training of young Sunrunners among other duties. A chief duty is to create the rings of faradhi. Until Riyan, ruler of Skybowl and half-faradhi-diarmadhi, discovered that his rings burned in response to nearby sorcery, no one knew why Sunrunner gold was special. This special gold was embued with power by Lady Merisel, and Lords Gerik & Rosseyn.
The Second Steward of Goddess Keep assists the Chief Stweard in the everyday running of Goddess Keep. He or she does not have to be faradhi.
Devr'im is a position created by Andry, Lord of Goddess Keep. The term means 'Lords of Light' in the Old Tongue. These Lords of Light were trained to defend Goddess Keep by way of the ros'slath, to use their gifts in combat, and even to kill if necessary - something hitherto forbidden to a Sunrunner. Devr'im also developed the faradhi technique of shape-shifting, an illusion they wrap around themselves to change their outward appearance. Devr'im are also identified in several cases to be diarmadhi. The Old Blood in them helps them to use their gifts to construct the ros'slath and protect the faradhi participants from iron piercing the constructed wall. Devr'im are also the only faradhi that are permitted the use of dranath, an addictive drug that enhances gifts and cures the Vellanti Plague.
Teachers, Masters, and Master Physicians are the trainers of young Sunrunners. After Andry became Lord of Goddess Keep the position of Master Physician was created to teach and administer the Healing Arts. This was done after an incident involving a Sunrunner who accidentally killed a wealthy merchant, Master Thacri. Cabar, Prince of Gilad , and Andry fought over jurisdiction to punish the faradhi and, when they appealed to Rohan to decide, he took the decision from them based on the fact they both had equal claims of jurisdiction. Rohan and Sioned then used this incident to establish the Physicians' School in Gilad.
The Man-making or Woman-making Night is the night after the reception of the first faradhi ring - for Calling Fire - the Sunrunner is cloaked in darkness and visited by trained Sunrunners of the opposite gender in order to learn the pleasures of the flesh and the joy and light experienced in the bedroom. The faradh'im wear no rings, cannot speak, and can only feel a vague male or female form in the darkness. One of the lessens learned in this ritual is the difference between bed sport and love, the latter being much preferred. This ritual enables the Sunrunner to visit the Mantree or Womantree. The visiting faradhi must wear at least six rings. Precautions are taken to ensure no child is born of this night.
Faces in FireEdit
The Faces in Fire ritual takes place in a grove near Goddess Keep, where there is a spring surrounded by five pine trees. Each tree represents Child, Maiden/Youth, Woman/Man, Mother/Father, and Hag/Graybeard, respectively. Sunrunners go to this grove in the hope of seeing a vision of their future. They approach in the nude and kneel before the trees. They take Water from the spring and offer it to the appropriate trees. For example the morning after the woman-making night, the Sunrunner offers the Water to the Child, Maiden, and Woman trees. She then calls Fire, blows Air onto it, and cuts a piece of her hair to represent Earth. She concentrates on the Womantree with her hands in the Water. The Sunrunner's reflection stares back at her, then the Fire leaps and reveals an older version of the Sunrunner. Often the Fire will flare again to reveal the face of the man with whom she will spend her life. However, these visions given by the Goddess can be changed as they can be warnings as well as promises.
Sunrunners Outside of Goddess KeepEdit
- Court Sunrunners: A Sunrunner who has earned six often is appointed to a Court by the Lord/Lady of Goddess Keep. These Court Sunrunners act as communication beacons and are also seen as symbols of prestige to the Lord whose Court houses one. After gathering and sharing information as at a court, a Sunrunner can return to Goddess Keep and either continue their training or help as needed around the keep.
- Itinerant Sunrunners: A Sunrunner who travels from place to place, working as needed. These Sunrunners have at least five faradhi rings, so that they can use both sunlight and moonlight to communicate and perform other duties that befit a Sunrunner.