Ulfkell,The Battle Father, Forger God of Conflict, Smithing, War, Honor, and Warriors
Worship of The Battle Father began in the warring nation of Richtcrag, a place where there was bound to be at least several gods of battles and conflict – in a nation filled with nothing but conflict, this position is a coveted one, after all. His worshipers are mainly warriors and Íoclaochra, but others often pray to him for reasons other than war – while his primary portfolio is that of war, he has many adherents amongst the Richtcrag, such as those wishing to persevere through hard times, a man or woman looking for the honorable choice in a decision they must make, blacksmiths forging weapons or armor, or even the sick so that they may become strong again to do battle once more. As one might expect, not all battles are physical amongst his worshippers, and followers are urged to understand the conflict necessary in the world.
The Battle Father takes a somewhat active role for those who pray for his aid, but never directly intervenes with the affairs of mortals. Rather, he often helps to steel a warrior’s failing resolve, boost morale, show worshipers the most honorable path, and help hasten the recovery of the ill. However, if he were to show favoritism, it would be for Íoclaochra due to their constant fighting and codes of honor.
The Battle Father is usually depicted as a large, broad-shouldered man with long black hair, burning red eyes, a large hat with three large feathers (Red, Green, and Silver), and wearing well-crafted, heavy armor. His hands always bear the tools of his office; a heavy warhammer in his off-hand and a long blade in his main – although his adherents disagree as to which is which, with the Valinate believing it to be his left, and the others his right. The world is riddled with conflict because of him, and it is because of him the races of the world are that much stronger. He will continue to watch over the conflicts of all mortals and urge them in the right direction to grow stronger.
His image is usually found out the outsides of temples, in the form of a statue or stone anvil with his personal sigil carved, painted, or inlaid into it: a larger silver triangle, with a smaller red one on the interior. Tradition holds that the symbol must be drawn with conflict – in many shrines, his symbol is made from silver melted from the pay of mercenaries. Outside of the temples and holy places of man, it is acceptable to use blacksmith as place of worship, treating the anvil as the shrine.
Worship of The Battle Father
The Battle Father’s worshipers traditionally pray before and after battle, usually requesting the steeling of resolve or giving thanks for the opportunity to become stronger. Their prayers are quite simple; one must take their weapon that will be carried into combat, kneel before a fire, and say their thanks to the Battle Father.
There is but a single holy book for his worship, called The Code of Honor. In this short book, there is a honor code that is to be followed to the best of the worshipper’s abilities – for the Battle Father, more than any other, understands the struggle inherent in living. It is also in this book that the few surviving rituals are revealed to his worshippers. These books, however, are few and far between, and so more often than not, The Code is copied by hand for the worshipper and given to them. Parts of The Code, usually those concerning the strengthing of life through the fires of perdition, can be found etched into the anvils in most blacksmiths in Richtcrag, since his worship is quite prevalent there. Even those who do not directly worship him tend to add this to their anvils, as it is seen as a sign of good luck to the Richtcrag – better to have more gods on your side, after all.
As for meditation, one simply has to sit before a fire, weapon in hand or readied on their lap, and silently contemplate the tasks that are before them – whether that task might be a dangerous battle, the struggle to heal an illness, or the rigors of forging a new, beautiful blade.
Rituals of the Battle Father
• Duel of Right: This is a coming of age ritual given to youths who are just entering adulthood. They must face hardship by facing down an Íoclaochra without backing down, usually for about two minutes – it is here that the Richtcrag tradition of Academic Dueling may have originated. Should they face the task with honor and without fear, they are deemed an adult and given the rights and status of one in the eyes of society.
• Forger’s Hymn: If a blacksmith is preparing a weapon that is to be used for battle the next day, they must sing a song to the weapon that is being made ready. Depending on the situation, the blacksmith may sing one of many songs – each according to the traditions and blessings.
• Festival of the Great Scar: On the first harvest moon, the worshippers of The Battle Father meet outside of their dwelling places during the night with only candles to light their way to the square. It is here that a Warpriest of the Battle Father recites The Code of Honor, detailing the legends of the Battle Father. At the conclusion of this recitation, the town is lit up and festivities begin, carrying on throughout the night. Drinking, games, mock duels, feats of strength and bravery, and feasting all take place this night, in celebration of surviving and becoming that much stronger from the previous festival.
• Birth of Battle-Born: This ritual is not performed in a temple, but rather on the battlefield – and it usually does not happen according to the worshipper’s will. It is said that when this happens, it is considered one of the holiest of blessings one can receive from the Battle Father. During a fight, when the worshipper is filled with rage for his enemy, they will go into a blood rage. While this happens, the worshiper is said to be “reforged,” – which wouldn’t be far off, as when this rage ends and their enemies slain, the worshipper usually feels the urge to continue fighting and to see more of their foes die under their blade. Every Battle-born will tell you the exact same thing – it is like being born anew in a baptism of blood.