The Saints of Cyrod

Discussion of Elder Scrolls lore and how it will be used in Province: Cyrodiil
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Infragris
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The Saints of Cyrod

Post by Infragris » Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:14 pm

THE COMMUNITY OF SAINTS
The Saints of Cyrod are the largest single pantheon worshiped in the Empire. A saint is a mortal hero who achieved a god-like state, coming as close as humanly possible to Divine existence through a mystic pact known as a Covenant. In practice, the definition of a saint has been stretched by the Imperials to deify just about anybody, resulting in an eclectic hagiography of protectors, patrons, teachers, and examples of virtue.

Each generation of Imperials adds their own saints to the canon, while re-contextualizing or forgetting those of their ancestors. Though there are thousands upon thousands of saints, only a handful are actively honored at a time. The vast majority has been forgotten, and their overgrown shrines and temple ruins litter the wilderness.

Saint worship is popular among the Colovian elite as a way to honor local heroes and affirm (or deny) loyalty to the Imperial center. Saintly Circles, wealthy country clubs frequented by noblemen, merchants, and wealthy artisans, form the basis of Colovian social life. In the Nibenay, saint worship is more widespread, with different factions and guilds working (and sometimes fighting) under the banner of their patron saints. The trade (and counterfeiting) of relics is a lucrative trade in the Nibenay, to the point that the Imperial City has an entire market dedicated to it.

THE PATH TO SAINTHOOD
The Divines created the world as an arena, a forge, and a test for mortal spirits. To live in accordance to the world's tenets is virtuous and edifying for the soul: the purpose of the world's crucible is for mortals to lean from it, outgrow it, and at last ascend and join the Divines in Aetherius. The Saints of Cyrod are those exceptional mortals who have walked this path the furthest, coming closest to the resplendent perfection of the Divines. They have done this through Covenant, the making of a pact in which they act as conduits for the higher powers. The Covenants serve as examples and inspirations for other mortals. In this way, the saints change the very nature of the world, making its challenges easier for others.

In making a Covenant, the mortal becomes a bit more like the Divine, assuming their attributes and acting in their name. Controversially, the Divine also becomes a little bit more like the mortal. A Covenant is considered both resplendent and dangerous: an imperfect vessel may fail and be destroyed utterly, removing the mortal spirit from existence, or causing it to haunt the world as an Un-saint. Though Covenant was originally a pact between a mortal and one of the Eight Divines, the definition has since been stretched to allow Covenant with many other spirits such as Reman, the Empire, the person or institute of the Emperor, the lesser spirits, and abstract concepts like justice, peace, or vengeance.

HAGIOGRAPHY
This list includes all the saints that are currently remembered or honored by late Third Era Imperials. Many more existed at one point, but have since fallen by the wayside.

The Alessian Generation
The concept of sainthood originated with Alessia and the heroes of the Rebellion. Cults in their honor developed during the war, inspired by Nordic hero cults and Elven ancestor worship. After the founding of the Empire, a multitude of saints were invented by the Nedic tribes, who, fresh from enslavement, required symbols of unity and identity. These tribal savior-figures mostly reflected different aspects of Alessia.
  • Saint Alessia [Esha, Perriff, Al-Esh, etc. Female, antique robes and jewels, crowned with horns and an orb signifying the world. Attributes: the Amulet of Kings, a sword and/or Elder Scroll. Sometimes accompanied by winged bull or small monkey]. A universal deity, subject of the Esha Cult and many other faiths. Invoked by the poor, dispossessed, orphans, and slaves. Shrines to Alessia are common across Cyrodiil. Major cult centers are in Sancre Tor, Fax Aleshut, Alessiad, and the Temple of the One in the Imperial City.
  • Saint Pelinal [Pell, the Unsectored Man. Male, modern plate armor with full helmet, diamond-shaped hole in chest through which red light pours. Right hand often depicted as a light (white silhouette). Attr: sword, mace, and shield]. Prefiguration of Talos, spirit of force and the will. Once the most revered protector of the Empire, his rabid anti-Elven sentiments have caused him to fall out of favor. His cult, the Pelinati, still hold sway in Pell's Gate.
  • Saint un-Sar: [the Church-Mothers. Female, antique robes and jewels. Depicted either as a group, or as a “many-headed” silhouette. Attr: scroll of law, teaching stick, lotus]. Composite saint of the Eight Church-Mothers or Cyrod, the founders and missionaries of the Great Faiths. Common in eastern Imperial Cult temples and sites of Alessia worship. Individually, the eight mothers are known as Un-Sar-Taka, Un-Sar-Atha, Un-Sar-Sen, Un-Sar-Dibba, Un-Sar-Kitta, Un-Sar-Ara, Un-Sar-Ten, and Un-Sar-Ial.
  • Saint Agdistra [Female, clothed in rags. Attr: a bleeding heart on a platter]. Obscure First Empire saint associated with the Men-of-Khet tribe. Unleashed a minor rebellion in the Ayleid city of Malada, following the example of Alessia. Fertility goddess.
  • Saint un-Sedr [The Thousand. Male and/or female, Nedic armor with Sedor ivory snow-mask. Depicted as “many-headed” silhouette. Attr: Nedic weapons] Composite saint of the thousand-strong of Sedor, a brave martial tribe of the northeast who were betrayed during the Tribal Wars. According to myth, Un-Sedr was the chieftain of this tribe, blessed by the Divines, but martyred by the wickedness of his enemies. The Sedor no longer exist, but Nibenese caste factions often use his example to demonize their enemies.
  • Saint Losha [Female, Nedic tribal robes (hooded), moth wings instead of eyes. Attr: traditional silk weaving tools, Elder Scroll]. Important silk-saint, originally associated with the Orma tribe. Born “moth-eyed”, Losha was a founding member of the Ancestor Moth Cult and one of the earliest interpreters of the Elder Scrolls. Patroness of the blind, moth-breeding, and scholarship. Associated with early Alessia worship and the Ancestor Moth Cult.
  • Saint Niisa [Female, Nedic armor. Attr: ramath (short ceremonial club used to crush enemies' tongues)]. First Empire warrior-saint associated with the Nede tribe. A champion of the Alessian Rebellion and student of resplendent violence under Morihaus.
  • Saint al-Khered [Female, slave robes. Attr: battleaxe]. First Empire warrior-saint, associated with the western tribes. Patron of Nibenese merchants who work or travel in Colovia.
  • Saint Andrea [Female, First Empire robes. Attr: ramath, scroll]. First Empire law-saint popular in the Imperial City and Niben Bay area. Codifier of early pre-Marukhati law. Patron of peace and protection of the innocent, often invoked in courts of law.
  • Saint an-Tasha [Female, First Empire robes. Attr: bowl]. First Empire oracular saint of the Kothri and Kothringi tribes. Directed the reclamation of the tribal homelands with oracular visions that predicted the movements of the remnant Ayleid armies. Patron of soothsayers and fortune.
The Colovian Founders
During the Marukhati period, the Colovians developed their own saint cults inspired by the hero-worship of Alessia and Pelinal. Colovian saints are often called Founder-Saints, revered martial heroes and noble warriors who first conquered the west and created its kingdoms. They have little connection to the Divines or the supernatural (though their actions are said to be inspired by the Divines). This reflects the more down-to-earth, sober nature of the Colovian colonists, and their distaste for Nibenese mysticism. Colovian saints are often revered in Saintly Circles, local brotherhoods and clubs for the wealthy.
  • Saint Periv [Female, Colovian armor. Sometimes depicted as a child, accompanied by bull. Attr: dagger, scrollcase] Colovian mirror-saint of Alessia. Said to be a native of the Falkreath region who rode a bull through hostile lands to bring the pleas of Alessia to the Nordic warlords. Popular warrior-saint in northern Colovia, patron of local Fighters Guilds.
  • Saint Kantus [Male, Colovian armor. Attr: sword, tower, scroll]. Founder saint of Chorrol, Kantus Jeril was a First Era Colo-Nord associated with a momentous battle at Pale Pass. The Jerall Mountains are named after him, and he is considered a patron of those that travel or work in this region. Has a large pilgrim's shrine near the mouth of Pale Pass.
  • Saint Curic [Male, Colovian worker's clothes. Attr: bell, hammer, Akatosh iconography]. Middle Dawn saint of the Kvatch region, said to have abjured the fracturing of time through the making of a bell that could keep time in bounds. Patron of belltowers and time-keepers.
  • The Four Hill-Saints of Kvatch: whereas most Colovian cities have one patron saint, Kvatch has four. Other Colovians tend to make fun of this. The Hill-Saints are buried in four Colovian tombs near the city of Kvatch, and are said to rise up and defend the town in its hour of need.
    • Saint Venhir [male, Colovian armor. Attr: sword, shield]. A Nordic raider credited with the discovery of the hill.
    • Saint Sten [male, klibanion mail. Attr: bow]. The first true king of Kvatch.
    • Saint Infrid [female, Colovian armor. Attr: gilded ringlets, dagger]. The wife of Sten, first king of Kvatch, and instrumental in procuring this title from the Alessian Emperor.
    • Saint Marus [Hill-Born, male, Colovian armor. Attr: mace]. Protector of Kvatch during one of the many conflicts with Skingrad.
  • Saint Rislav [the Righeous. Male, red klibanion mail. Attr: a hunting hawk] Famous king and defender of Skingrad against Alessian encroachment. Patron saint of Skingrad.
  • Saint Ithelsten [male, traveler's robes. Attr: staff]. Patron saint and founder of Mhorlagrad.
  • Saint Wren [female, Colovian armor. Attr: thistle, sword, bridle]. Patron saint of travelers in the Highlands. A famous sellsword and knight of the lost border kingdoms.
  • Saint Naharine [female, robes. Attr: lily]. Patron saint of the Strident Coast. A shield- maiden of the early Shore-King dynasty. Protector of Anvil, local myth claims she is the warden of its canals and waterways.
  • Saint Mukhraeth [male, armor. Attr: sword]. Patron saint of Sarchal. Defender against Redguard encroachment.
  • Saint Potri [male, robes. Attr: drinking horn, wine cask]. A folklore figure, this famous Colo-Nordic warrior spent seven days in a wine-cask in order to infiltrate a besieged town. Adopted as the patron of the Skingrad vineyards, and now an unofficial symbol for merriment and holidays in Colovia.
The Marukhati Saints
The second great generation of saints developed after the Marukhati Reforms. The new priesthood taught that reality consisted of innumerable sentient reflections of the unknowable One, their god. They encouraged the worship of lesser gradients in the shape of animal spirits and saints, as this weakened the then-illegal Eight Divines and provided a way to segregate the developing caste system according to patron spirits. Only a handful of these saints survive to this day.
  • Saint Mem-Sira [female, antique robes, faceless. Attr: a blue star]. Famed saint of the Middle Dawn, said to manifest in times of great upheaval as a sign of warning.
  • Saint un-Ta [female, antique robes. Attr. Nordic axe, arcane flame]. First Era Rebellion saint, credited with the invention of the battlemage combat maxims. Patron saint of the Hierophant caste.
  • Saint un-Lith [male]. Virtuous patron of the priest caste.
  • Saint Delial [female] Virtuous patron of the merchant caste.
  • Saint Kyma [female]. Virtuous patron of the silkmaker caste.
  • Saint Nen [male] Virtuous patron of the warrior caste.
  • Saint Julia [male]. Virtuous patron of the artisan caste.
  • Saint Ra [male, minotaur]. Virtuous patron of the farmer caste.
  • Saint Hestra [Hestra the Red. Female, royal robes with armor and an open helmet. Attr: a sword, cup filled with blood, Amulet of Kings]. Empress and popular Legion saint, patron of roadbuilders and maintainers.
  • Saint Gorea[Gorieus, the Wandering Emperor. Male, traveller's robes. Attr: a walking stick, Amulet of Kings]. Emperor-saint, patron of travellers, story-tellers, and those who have fallen from grace.
The Reman Generation
The third great generation of saints coincided with the Remanite conquests, and codified the concept of the modern saint. Most of these saints are explicitly associated with the divinity of Reman and his sons, weakening the link between sainthood and the Divines whilst strengthening the role saints played in Empire propaganda. Many of these saints are popular in both east and west, bridging the Colovia-Nibenay divide.
  • Saint Sed-Yenna [Female, Second Empire Dibellan robes. Attr: jewelry, ankle bells, bread and milk]. Saint of the Remanists and the Dibellan convents, caretaker and wife of Emperor Reman. Patroness of midwives, temple dancers, and unarmored combat.
  • Saint Shonni-Et [Female, Second Empire Dibellan robes. Attr: jewelry, ankle bells, bread and quill]. Saint of the Remanists and the Dibellan convents. Sister of Sed-Yenna and likewise a caretaker and companion of Reman. Minor patroness of midwives, shepherds, and indecent literature.
  • Saint Pella [Female, Second Empire armor. Attr: spear, moth]. Popular Nibenese warrior saint, said to have wielded the sword of Pelinal in battle. Patron of eastern Fighters Guilds and Nibenese Legion troopers. Associated with the Pelinati Cult.
  • Saint Adri [male, crippled hunchback. Attributes: staff, lotus]. Healer and alchemist on the court of Reman. Honored by apothecaries for his knowledge of venereal diseases and their cures.
  • Saint Kaladas [Male, bearded, Second Empire worker's tunic. Attr: hammer, trowel, Zenitharite iconography]. Popular Zenithar saint, founder of a temple-market at the mouth of the Niben which later became the east bank of the city of Leyawiin. Patron saint of Leyawiin and the EEC, also protector of provincial pacification and acquisition.
  • Saint Jahn male, pilgrim's robes. Attr: staff, mortar and pestle, St. Jahn's wort flower]. Patron of alchemists, herbalists and apothecaries. Legend claims he once cured an Emperor from a poisonous snake-bite, using the plant that was later named after him, the St. Jahn's Wort. Often invoked to ward off snakes.
  • Saint Junia [of the Miseries. Female, oracle robes, wings instead of eyes. Attr: none]. Great oracle and prophet of the Second Interregnum, associated with Kynareth. Junia predicted the end of the Interregnum's tribulations and the rise of Tiber Septim. Patron of the blind and suffering.
  • Saint Udran [Male, robes. Attr: Akatosh iconography]. Minor prophet and compiler of the Covenants, Udran led a resurgence of Akatosh worship after the end of the Marukhati oppression.
  • Saint Cirrha [Female, worker's tunic. Attr: fish]. Minor saint of Zenithar and the upper Niben fishermen. A gifted orator, Cirrha spoke to the fishes and convinced them to jump into her nets for the betterment of all.
  • Saint Daum [Male, wolf-headed, robes. Attr: traveler's stick]. Minor saint of Stendarr, born with a wolf's head. Though he spent many years and outcast in the wilderness, Daum later saw his disfiguration as a test of Stendarr and dedicated his life to helping the meek. Patron of the eastern Mir.
  • Saint Rosunius [Male, traveller's robes. Attr: lotus]. Minor saint of Kynareth, made a pilgrimage to the Imperial City during the Thrassian Plague. Patron of healers.
  • Saint Mors [Male, armor. Attr: spear] Weeping-Saint.
  • Saint Latalia [Female, robes. Attr: lotus]. Mirror-Saint.
  • Saint Latalia [Female, robes. Attr: coin]. Fortune-Saint.
  • Saint Horuscia [Female, traveller's robes. Attr: walking stick]. Silent-Saint.
  • Saint Heceri [Female, robes. Attr: bridle]. Traveler-Saint.
[The Tiberite Generation
The fourth generation was canonized after the Tiber Wars, and reflects modern concerns. Many are associated with the cults of Tiber Imperator, and serve to justify his ascension to the Divines. Most of these saints are generals and military heroes.
  • Saint Osla [female, healer's robes. Attr: potion bottle, mortar and pestle]. Popular healing-saint of the Tiber Wars. Said to have treated Tiber Septim after the Battle at Sancre Tor. Patroness of Legion healers and field hospitals.
  • Saint Amiel [Male, Third Era Navy officer's uniform. Attr: Imperial saber, scroll]. Martyr saint of Stros M'Kai, admiral Amiel Richton is now the patron saint of the Legion's western Navy.
  • Saint Aka-Din [Male, twin-headed man or child. Attr: hourglass, oar]. Prophetic double-headed saint of the Imperial City's poor districts and waterfront. Said to be an incarnation of Akatosh, both head would speak seemingly conflicting prophecies that always came true. Very popular among the poor Nibenese.
  • Saint Elkhorst [Male, Third Era Legion uniform. Attr: mace]. Famous Colovian general of the northeastern conquests.
  • Saint Falx[Male, Third Era Legion uniform. Attr: sword]. Famous Colovian general of the Morrowind incursion.
  • Saint Carvanus [of the Currencies, male, scribe's robes. Attr: coin]. Saint associated with borth Tiber Imperator and Zenithar. Designer of the modern Drake and manager of the first Imperial Mint.
  • Saint Kintyra [the Infante, female, child. Attr: key]. Short-lived Empress and martyr of the Wolf-Queen civil wars. Patron of untested rulers and prisoners.
  • Saint Arianus [Male, Imperial Legion uniform. Attr: sword, wolf pelt]. Leader of the Siege of Solitude in 3E 137, credited with personally slaying the Wolf-Queen Potema.
  • Saint Somutus [Male, scribe's robes. Attr: quill]. Teacher-Saint.
  • Saint Nille [Female, robes. Attr: bowl]. Sailor-Saint.
  • Saint Avita [Female, robes. Attr: lotus]. Healing-Saint.
  • Saint Kaye [Male, worker's tunic. Attr: hammer]. Forge-Saint.
  • Saint Uriel [Male, robes. Attr: Amulet of Kings]. Emperor-Saint.
  • Saint Caius [Male, armor. Attr: axe]. Warrior-Saint.
  • Saint Falced [Male, robes. Attr: bird]. Silent-Saint.

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Anumaril
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Post by Anumaril » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:16 pm

Great work, as always, Infragris. Really love how you've differentiated the saints over their respective generations. Thought I'd throw one into the mix, as I specifically liked your treatment of Gorieus, the Wandering Emperor, in your Line of Emperors texts.

Saint Goriea [Male, Swaddled in First Era traveling silks. Attr: Bindle]. One of many perspectives of the historically divided Emperor Gorieus. Known as the Wandering Emperor, he stands as patron of vagrants and vagabonds; especially those who've left greater lives behind them.

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Infragris
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Post by Infragris » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:36 pm

Thanks. The saints were one of the biggest lore pieces that still needed to be filled in for Colovia, and I think it will be tricky to depict them in a way that is suitably distinct from both the Dunmer saints and real-life catholic saints.Good call on Gorieus, I think it makes sense that a lot of the Emperors are deified after their deaths.

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R-Zero
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Post by R-Zero » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:00 pm

I would love to see more info on Alessian "god-animals". Maybe some connection to Skyrim's planned Totemic Religion? Did Alessians worship the Divines in their old, Atmoran animal form?

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Infragris
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Post by Infragris » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:45 pm

The totem-spirits are an entirely Nedic belief in origin, based on local jungle fauna, and do not have (explicit) parallels to the Divines - they are believed to be spirit entities arising from the combined aspect-soul of a certain caste of interest group within Nibenese society.

While Alessia founded the pantheon, the Marukhati-Alessians did not worship the Divines - in fact, it was illegal to do so. The Marukhati had the greatest trouble to convince the common people of their god, the One - monotheism being a completely foreign concept to Nibenese society - so instead they promoted a wide variety of lesser spirits, in the hopes that clandestine Divine worship would fade away in public consciousness. These spirits also served to define the caste system, which the Marukhati used to control the population.

Today, the totem-societies still exist as a sort of triad: a mix between political parties, cults, crime syndicates, and representative unions. Societies are especially powerful in the Nibenese hinterland, where membership determines who marries who, where people can work, with whom they can eat, etc. They are organized by profession and class: there are specific societies for fishermen, rice-farmers, soap-cutters, oilpressers, perfume salesmen, etc. Their main purpose is defending their business interests and petitioning the Elder Council for privileges.

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