The Seven Breathtakers of Valesium
- Parent: Religion
Hob worship exists as a belief that at the end of life, a hob who passes on moves to the tutelage and company of one of the Seven Breathtakers, the hob deities that embody life for a hob and therefore the ultimate attainment of their principles and goals. How a hob carries on while he exists on the World Primordant determines who he apprentices to in the afterlife. Even at life’s end, however, it is said the hob cannot truly know who she will find herself in front of, for gods are always seeing our hidden desires and schemes, and know us deeper than we could know ourselves.
All hobs understand and agree that all Seven of the Breathtakers influence life and, while some hobs lean toward a preference in idioms, epithets and parables, most hobs praise and curse the Seven often during their day and only show favoritism when it suits their needs.
None of the Breathtakers lord over any specific clerical domain, the pantheon working in concert and as a unit for divine inspiration and intervention.
Chief of the Breathtakers is Meriadar, the hob deity of craft. Seen as the leader of the Seven Breathtakers, Meriadar is a male-aspect god who embodies the culmination of effort, whether the end is an object, a plan, an idea, or goal. Meriadar represents the fruits of the work a hob takes on, and most hobs mutter his name in mantra of their effort, especially during the difficult times. Shrines find themselves appearing along work sites, in shops and on work benches, impromptu collections of talismans including sentimental tools, blueprint scraps, sweaty strips of cloth and even spots of a workman’s blood. Meriadar’s name is often invoked during the christening of a ship or a child, during wedding and retirement, and especially at funerals, the songs at each stage of life celebrating a job well done.
Nomog-Geaya is the Breathtaker of authority, a demanding god who seeks obedience to the letter of the law or contract and loyalty to the chain of command. Nomog-Geaya is the elder of the Seven, a throwback to a time when the hobs more closely aligned with the brutal aspect of their ancestors and brethren in Guljak. He is a male-aspect that embodies leadership and power earned through experience and success. He is a favorite of merchant leaders, foreman, ship captains, and the regional governors in Ait. Regalia often shows a hob’s fidelity to Nomog-Geaya, and portraits and sculpture are used as well. His name is never invoked by proper hobs in public, and even private conversations with subordinates should not have his name mentioned, or one risks poor karma from a deity who demands respect for what one has accomplished, and not simply from who one knows or their position in life.
Bargrivyek is the male-aspect Breathtaker of cooperation. Even the gods need a peacemaker, and it is Bargrivyek who hammers out consensus among the gods, thereby preaching by example to his faithful in the World Primordant. He represents the written contract, the amended contract, the handshake, the verbal agreement, and the word of bond. He is popular with merchants who add his name after every negotiation and on every contract, leaving a signature line for the god’s name at the end of the agreement. Bargrivyek is also a patron to mothers and fathers, hobs who find cooperation and compromise essential in raising a proper family.
Pessai, the female-aspect Breathtaker of art, is often show holding hands with Meriadar, her asthetic adding form to the craft god’s function. Most hob’s encourage hers as a positive presence, even to the point of gaudy exhibitionism. She is as at home among the subtle lines of a ship or the cunning colors of a company logo as she is in the ostentacious disply of dignitaries visiting abroad and colorful celebrations of holidays in the streets and along rooftops. Numerous disciplines hold her in regard and festivals in her name find the grounds overflowing with visions of her in media of all types, from paint to clay, with pantomime and cooking.
Critical to hob life, the female-aspect Kenk characterizes hardship, a noble step in hob life and one battled every minute of every day. She is considered the most helpful of the Seven, exemplifying the demands of life, the challenge to reach higher, and the desire to succeed with all effort needed. Kenk hears her name when the second, third, and fourth attempts falter, and she is asked to watch, to judge, and to impart critical knowledge to those trying to pass her many tests. Workers and healers, cooks and athletes, fishermen and lovers, all of them have shook the dice that are called Kenk-stones, never throwing them, always returning them to a pocket or a purse, because "our successes should not be left to chance".
Chalk is a miserable face to be seen in the Seven, the god of failure. Not even death can be considered a failure in a hob’s life, for the goals beyond include entreating with the gods themselves. Imagine the reception failure gains, then, in a society where even death can be measured a success? Chalk is a Breathtaker despised by many, a shadow that looms over everything, even as the population struggles to ignore it. He is a sluggard, lazy and foolish, quick to anger and slow to action. He embodies lackadaisical effort and short-cuts, the use of money and position over skill and desire, and is the prize none want to win.
Ultimately, however, even in death the hobs risk a failure of sorts. Represented by Glesi, the ultimate arbiter of the afterlife, rebirth is a sentence delivered by this female-aspect Breathtaker. Hobs who have been found wanting and need to prove themselves further in the eyes of the Seven are delivered back to the World Primordant, bereft of memory of their past lives and failures, and tasked to improve and garner the attention of the others, lest they spend another life preparing to start the cycle all over again. Glesi encourages charity, humility, and austerity, three of the most important aspects in hobs life. She teaches hobs to go without, to give to others, and to be successful with less. Hers are the only temples in Ait, serving as charity houses that feed, clothe, and train the needy of all races to better succeed in hob life.