The Druids are one of the
most mysterious known orders in
Caelereth, who are especially prevalent at
continent, but are said to exist in similar form
at other continents as well.
The common populace knows very little of the Druids'
beliefs, thus they are often misunderstood and sometimes even
taken for practicioners of so-called "witchcraft". This is due to the fact that
their religious convictions seem to be independent from any known Gods, and thus
they are considered "unholy" by some. This of course has sometimes led
folk to occasionally mob together and harass or even harm Druids
who live near them, although this is growing less and less common.
Druids as a whole are people who believe in the existence of so-called “Primal Spirits” or “Essences”. They are convinced, that such an essence is a vital part of any “being” (thus the name “essences”), be it an element like water, wind, earth and fire or life forms like those of plants, animals or even sentient beings. They claim, that through the use of their magic they are able to come into contact with the essences of any being and even gain power about it. Each Druid is specialized in “contacting” one type of these essences'.
|Picture description. The White Druids, also often also referred to as Wind Druids, represent the most elusive kind of druids. Found mainly in inaccessible forests, deserts, valleys or canyons, they are loners, rarely taking apprentices. Image drawn by BKiani.|
Druids have no real uniformity when it comes to physical appearance, but they do
however tend to follow to a certain extent the general habits of their tribe or
race. Virtually all races and tribes are represented in varying degrees through
the Druidic Orders, although
some races, such as orcs and the minor races,
are represented far less than those of the main races. Age also varies greatly,
although children are next to unheard of. Children only appear as the offspring
of two Druids, usually in Druidic
communes. The children of course are too young to be able to use Druidic
magic, but they usually take an interest in it,
and learn it once they are old enough.
The Druids also do not possess a dress code by any stretch of the term. Their clothing varies depending on the climate (warm clothing for cold, not so warm for hot, covering of skin in deserts) and as already mentioned above depending on the tribe they come from originally. There does seem to be a similarity that many Druids hold to, although not consciously, and that is this: Druidic clothing tends to be cheaply made and oftentimes dirty. The reasons for this are simple, Druids usually have neither the money nor the inclination to buy new clothes or clean the ones they do have. The people who become hermits often find that they do not care what they look like, for very few people will ever see them. Thus, why take time out of one’s day to clean one’s clothes.
A good many Druids have lost all roots of their tribe in the ways of clothing. For instance, Green Druids can oftentimes be seen wearing clothes made of leaves and vines, while Gray Druids will sometimes wear animal skins, although they obviously would not kill any animals to make such clothing, and instead use already dead animals. Where no tribal origin can be found, those are often Druids who lived already in a Druidic community and lost their roots entirely.
Of course, this is all assuming that the Druids even wears clothing, which cannot be guaranteed. In fact, climate permitting, many Druids shed their outer accoutrements and just are in the nude.
Territory. Druids can be found virtually anywhere on Caelereth. They are mostly prevalent in Northern and Southern Sarvonia, but most Orders can be encountered in other continents as well, although they are too rare to really count, and might have other names and different agendas. Water Druids can be found almost anywhere, for they often travel on the sea. In general one can say that Druids of a particular Order are most often seen in their favoured environments, while Black Druids can be found mostly in sizable cities and towns. Few Druids would live in a barren hill land (with the exception of a few Earth Druids), while literally dozens or even hundreds could be living in a large forest in a mountainous region. It all depends on if a Druid would want to live there, as Druids are seeking those places where they think that they are needed the most by nature herself.
There seems to be anywhere between several dozen to several hundred Druids throughout Southern Sarvonia. Note: This is the rough estimate of this Compendium writer, and thus might be fairly accurate, or extremely wrong, as it seems quite impossible to determine concrete numbers. Especially the wilderness of Northern Sarvonia prohibits even a rough estimate of how many there are, although due to the vast amounts of wilderness and forests in that region, it would be safe to assume that quite a number live there. It is thought that there are Druids outside the Sarvonian continent as well, but the Compendium researchers have no concrete and confirmed records of them so far, thus, no account can be given on them as of yet.
People. Druids, with the exception of Black Druids, view themselves as the protectors of the natural world, and more specifically, the protectors of their specific element. They believe that nature is the most important aspect of the world around them, and it should be protected at whatever cost to people. What they do, they do for the greater good of nature and their element, and - a fact that is often misunderstood and frownded upon - NOT for the greater good of the people living with nature, although they rarely, if ever, leave their customs and make decisions which permit to harm non-Druids. The exception to this is the Black Druids, who extort from their element, rather than protect it (see Orders).
|Picture description. View on PocRotrum ("False Mountain"), a small mountain created by brown druids near the southwestern tip of the Rimmerins Ring. Image drawn by Arbaon.|
Druids are perceived by the rest of the world to be secretive, loners, and show
little care for non-Druids, and all of this is true, to a certain extent. While
not outright secretive, Druids do keep to themselves, away from the main
populace, sometimes being mistaken for greylers or
the elven windsingers
for example, whose purpose also seems to become one with nature again. If asked questions,
answer them truthfully should they want to talk at all, which is definitely
not a guarantee. The exceptions to this rule are the Black Druids, but they have
every reason to be secretive. And while some Druids are loners, there are
sometimes Druids who gather into small groups, or sometimes even small communes,
helping each other survive. It is a definite fact however, that Druids, for the
most part, care very little for the world outside Druidism. They view most
non-Druids as ignorant people mindlessly going about the end of their lives,
fulfilling little to nothing in that span. Thus, they have little respect for
those of the non-Druidic life. They spend most their time either doing what
they need to survive, or if they live near other Druids or a civilization of some
sort, they may spend what little free time they have with their Druidic
Belief. The druidic interpretation of the purpose of life, or their "religion" if you so want, is based on their belief in essences, the "souls which form the world". In this respect they are close to the elven point of view on the world, which is based on the cár'áll, the "auras" of everything existing - an indicator which suggests that the Druids might have their origins in elven nature preserving practices. Druids - quite similar to the elves - work their magic through these Essences, but are more focussed on their specific elements rather than on Styreian universality, which brings them actually closer to the Ximaxian approach, without the scholarly accentuation, that is. Druids meditate, concentrating on the essence, and finally merge their essence with the essence of their choosing. The druids believe that one's magic is proof of one's love for a particular element, and thus, only those who are capable of learning the Druidic way of magic can become part of their Order. To learn Druidic magic, one must find a Druid, who will only teach it if the Druid believes the hopeful has the personality and love for the element to master such power. The druids believe that if one is close to the elemental souls, then one is closer to one's own soul, and thus one is closer to one's self.
Druids do not believe in an afterlife, rather, they believe that when they die, they will be returned to the earth from whence they came. They believe when something dies it doesn’t truly die; it merely changes form. This is because of their belief in the Essences. Their beliefs can be summarized as follows: Essences are born and die at the same time as their corporeal counterparts. When a rock is split in half, its essence can be said to have “died”, but in its place are two completely new essences, one for each half. Thus the essence did not truly die, it merely changed form. When a tree dies, its essence dies, but in its place is the essence of a dead tree, as opposed to a live one. Thus it can be said to have changed, but is not truly dead, as from everything that dies something new develops. Thus the Druids do not fear death in the ways that many other people do, for they merely view it as a change; one they understand and hold no fear for. When they die, their essence will merely change to the essence of a dead body. The dead body will rot, and become the essence of soil. Thus, the druid has gone back to the earth.
This belief is basically the same throughout the druidic orders. The only real difference is the choice of essence group with which the order-members merge.
Joining. The very first part to becoming a Druid is the actual decision of a person to identify with Druidic principles, choose a specific Order and find one's self a mentor. As it must be the person's inner need to become a Druid, Druids never choose their apprentices themselves. If one were interested in becoming a Druid, one would already have an interest in a particular Druidic field. People do not seek out a Druid and say "I want be a Druid." and don't know what element they are attached to. They have to have a love for their particular element, or a Druid would never mentor them. This occurs at many ages, but most often at the early stages of adulthood, when young people try to find themselves.
To join a Druidic Order, one must first find a Druid. Druids are taught through a mentor/apprentice relationship. The Druids figure that if one is not willing to put in the time required to find a Druid, then they also lack the patience required to learn Druidic principles and the magic needed for druidic purposes. Usually who wishes to be a Druid asks the people living in towns neighbouring areas that might hold a Druid of the Order they want to join, and from there, physically search them out. This is assuming the would-be Druid doesn’t already know of the existence and location of a Druid. For if a person loves the element to the degree that a Druid would, then Druid and apprentice probably think alike and are likely to meet or know of each others presence. Thus, a person who wants to be a Plant Druid would live in a forest, and chances are, so would an actual Plant Druid for some time on his travels.
Once an apprentice has learned how to merge his essence with that of his element, then he is no longer an apprentice, and is fully a part of the Order. Black Druids however usually do not take apprentices. They are far too distrusting for apprentices, and unless they need another person as a tool, they'll stay by themselves. The one and only way to become a Black Druid is to be a Druid of a different Order, then figure out how to merge with sentient being essences. This will probably require sentient “test” subjects, those of whom survived are usually mentally deficient the rest of their lives.
Druids generally do not join more than one Order, although it has happened in the past. The reason for this is not for lack of ability - one can learn to merge with all things if one had the time and inclination to -, but for dedication to a certain element. A Druid (with the exception of the Black Druids) joins his Order for love of the element of that Order.
Organization. Druids are one of the least organized orders in Caelereth. Druidic Orders have no hierarchy to speak of, the Orders rarely meet with each other, and never have a complete meeting between the various Orders. Although the latter may happen at some point, the Black Druids for sure would not be invited to such a meeting.
However, there are sometimes organized groups within the Orders. When small communes are formed, working together is required to keep said commune running and surviving. The organization doesn’t take place in actual leadership; the group merely works together to keep the commune going. Everyone has to do the job required of him or her. The jobs are usually chosen via ability, volunteering, or merely at random.
Druids sometimes issue calls to the rest of their Order, for various reasons. They do this the long way. One druid tells another druid, those two tell two more, those four tell four, and thus does the word spread. This usually takes several months and the entire Order is of course not completely convened at a meeting, but a fairly large gathering is usually accomplished. Of course, this is all assuming that at least a few Druids agree in seeing a larger problem, which needs to be addressed by a larger community. If in the very unlikely event that something happens that would affect all Druids of an Order, and they all know of its coming, then they all meet at the designated meeting place, with no need of the call.
Orders. There are all in all seven known Orders of Druids. The Black Druids are not actually an order, but they will be mentioned here. Those not of their order typically refer to them by the colours, while the Order itself refers to itself by the element. Black druids always blatantly deny that they are Black Druids.
The Grey Druids
The Druids of animals are found amongst almost all races, although Eyelian humans have a particular affinity towards the calling. They are usually loners, although sometimes, small groups are formed. These Druids can be found anywhere working with the animals they love, and sometimes they are hired by very rich lords to manage their menageries. However, should the lord mistreat the animals in his menagerie, the druid may oppose it and attempt to free the animals. As children, these people are often sensitive to animals, and may prefer their pets to other company. Their sign is that of a simply drawn quadruped.
Should the call of their Order be issued, it is said that the Grey Druids gather at the secret place near where the Tree of Life is believed to have been located (most sources say that this is somewhere in the deep Thaelon Forest) and discuss the reason for said meeting. Should there be some form of disaster, such as the existence of a cruel zoo or the mass poaching of a single species, the Druids may launch a brief attack to dissuade any further interference. These Druids are usually calm, and are as patient as only one who works with animals can be, but their ire can be quickly earned with the mistreatment of an animal. There have been tales of the Grey Druids merging physically with their animal friends, and becoming half man, half animal. It is said that these transformations differ depending on the animal merged with, but it is believed to be often used to defend the Druid home as a last resort, for it costs a Druid's life to accomplish such a feat. The truthfulness of these accounts is difficult to verify, however, they are persistent part of various tribes' folklore.
The Green Druids (Plant or Tree Druids)
Consisting of mostly elves, with about a fourth being human, these Druids usually live in small groups or communes within forests, although every once in a while you'll find one working in the employ of some lordling as a Master Gardener. These Druids believe that true beauty can only be approached using the endless patience of the natural world, and believe that trees epitomize this. Their sign is that of a four limbed tree, and is usually carved into the ground, or made with rocks, so as not to hurt a tree.
If it is necessary to defend their home-forests, there have been confirmed reports from several witnesses (and victims), that the Green Druids can merge themselves with a tree to form what the Plant Druids call the "half-tree", "half-man", "krói'lón", or "War Dryad". How precisely this is accomplished is unknown even to the most proficient researchers, as the deepest secrets of Druidism are known only within the innermost circle. These creatures are reported to stand over four and a half peds, are capable of uprooting themselves and using their roots as weapons, and generally hold their own against any given small army. Tragically, from all the stories known, the Green Druids must sacrifice their lives to give the tree their mind for a mere three days. Those who do so are honoured by placement in the "Hall of Guardians", a magnicent natural "building" made of live trees and their roots located in the Almatrar Forest. The inside is lined with the wooden statues of these valiant Druids who gave their lives for their forests. This hall is also the place where the Druids call them to meet in times of need.
The Blue Druids (Water Druids)
These Druids can be found near any large body of water, although they are obviously most found at sea. Some can also be encountered in the northern parts of Caelereth, where there is a lot of ice. Made of mostly humans, with a few elves and dwarves, these Druids are renowned for being incredibly random, showing all the unpredictability of the waters they work with. They are almost entirely made up of loners, although there is an occasional ship on the sea carrying Water Druids only. Their sign can only really be found on ships in which they have joined on a permanent basis (or at least as permanent as a chaotic druid can be), or on trees near large lakes and rivers, and it is that of three curves depicting waves.
Water Druids may be calm and serene, then immediately change to savagely angry, or even violent, which endows them with a notorious repute. They may aid a person one minute, and start creating a whirlpool directly beneath them the next. Should their call be issued, the Druids are said to meet at Tyrling, a large island in the middle of Eight Winds Bay in North Sarvonia. They have been known to sell their services to a fleet of ships, causing them to be nearly invulnerable on the water.
The Brown Druids
(Earth Druids, Rock Druids)
Typically dwarven, but a human can occasionally be found among their ranks, Brown Druids work with the earth and rock. Earth Druids are often loners or in small groups, although the occasional small commune can be found. These Druids are usually calm and steadfast, like the element with which they work with. Some of the Druids may be responsible for the great dwarven architecture in their under-mountain strongholds. The Druids will sometimes call the rest of the Druids to Poc-RotRum should the natural balance of the element of earth be disturbed (which is quite a problem indeed). Their sign is that of a lone, triangular mountain.
Every once in a while, a Brown Druid may be found in a farming community, enriching the soil and guarding the land. These Druids may be encountered doing combat, and will wield boulders and subterranean spikes to utterly crush those who attack them. These Druids do not frequently work with the Green Druids, but there may have been a few that worked together to form some of the most beautiful gardens in Santharia, the Gardens of Santhros at the royal castle in New-Santhala are believed to have been created by such a duo. A few of the exiled Hand psyrpents can also be found in this group, creating awe-inspiring works of art from the bowels of the earth.
Should they feel the need to sacrifice their lives for something, the Brown Druid's are said to possess the ability to completely merge with the earth, making the bodies formed completely out of rock. This ability is called Sfomm-Kereen, or "stone baby" in Thergerim, and it costs the Druid their life.
|Picture description. To the Druids the mysteries of the woods stand higher than the worries of the races. Images by Ingeborg.|
The Red Druids (Fire Druids)
Made up of mostly humans, these druids are the people who work with the essences of fire. These Druids are so random, they seem more like beasts than humans. The Red Druids are also said to possess the ability to "Firedance", allowing them to become flame for a few days, after which, they die. Their sign is that of a three-flamed fire.
The Red Druids are the most community minded of the Druidic Orders. They tend to not be loners, but actually stay together relatively close to each other, in communes, or in their temple. Their call sends the druids to the Temple of the Flare somewhere in the Ráhaz-Dáth near Strata, which they guard zealously. This call is issued far more often than the Druids of other reasons, and what they discuss in these relatively frequent meetings, nobody is quite sure of, but theories have been made, too many to state here.
The White Druids
Wind Druids are so rare, it was not known until recently that they even existed. Made up of mostly elves, the Druids of the Winds can often be found in deserts, valleys, and canyons, and are all loners. The White Druids are even more isolated from society and other Druids than other Druidic Orders, but they don’t mind. Their symbol is that of two intertwining vertical lines, like a twister.
The Druids of Wind are the smallest of the Druid Orders, including the Black Druids. The reason for this is not the difficulty in being a Wind Druid, but the difficulty in joining. Most Wind Druids are incredibly aloof, and thus rarely take apprentices. Thus the Order has grown at an extremely slow rate, or it even shrinks, for Wind Druids rarely take apprentices.
The Black Druids
Black Druids are the Druids that deal with the essences of sentient beings. They use their power for control, and nothing more. They are said to merge with an essence of a sentient being, and from there control how they think. A good many are insane beyond function, for in merging with a sentient essence, the Druid sometimes gains memories or knowledge. Gaining too many bad memories can be very bad for one’s mental stability, and some Black druids lose their sense of identity in the merger. Black Druids have no specific sign in order to show their presence to anyone, other Druids included, as they usually work alone and don't wish to have their machinations revealed.
Black Druids are usually people who have been harmed by other people. Such as Jerick Marconni, the first known Black Druid. He was originally a Grey Druid who was saddened and angered by the existence of a menagerie, yet could do nothing about it, for the order would not rise against it. Jerick then learned Black Druidism as a last resort, and brought an end to the zoo, through merging with the owner's essence, and having him shut down the zoo. From there, the now Black Druid Jerick could control other people as well. At first he believed that he was doing it for the good of the animals, but even that went away, as he more and more lost mental stability. This is a story told among the druids, to warn others that Black Druidism, even if you think it is good for your element, ultimately turns out disastrously.
The Druids of the other Orders know of this kind of Druids only through tales told by older Druids, some even believe that Black Druids are merely a rumour. Although most Druids acknowledge that it is possible for such people to exist - for sentient essences are existent, they just believe that nobody would use this power out of personal gain, as opposed to love. Such naivity is rare though.
The Black Druids are, obviously, found in much more populated areas, although few people know of their power, or even their existence. It is believed that most major cities are home to at least one Black Druid, although they are always hiding their gifts. Black Druids almost always use their powers to further their own ends, and thus, they are usually selfish, power hungry, and extremely intelligent. There is not even a semi-organized order of Black Druids, for they are loners. The reason for this is obvious. If such an organization were found by the other Druidic Orders, it would be wiped out. The other Druidic Orders believe it is evil and wrong to enslave people the way Black Druids do, and that it is wrong to use one’s gifts to extort from one’s element, as opposed to protecting it.