BAVERAS, SANTHARIAN GODDESS OF THE SEA

NAMES - APPEARANCE - PERSONALITY - MYTHOLOGY - LORE - IMPORTANCE
SYMBOLS -
FESTIVALS - RITUALS - TEMPLE DESIGN - PRIESTS - TEMPLE LOCATIONS

Baveras is the Santharian Goddess of the Sea and the Water. She is one of the Twelve Gods or High Spirits (Aeolía) who sprang from the Dream of Avá the Beautiful according to the elven myth as related in the Cárpadosía. Though Jeyriall, the Goddess of Harvest, and Seyella, the Goddess of Time and Destiny, are related to the Element of Water as well, Baveras is the one who reflects Water most, the Water representing the uncertainty in the flow of time, the Water as a blessing, the Water as a threat. None of the other two Goddesses is as close to the Element of Water concerning nature, appearance and whole essence.

The Month of the Passing Clouds (Styrásh:
Salarí'Herín, Salarí'Herín) is dedicated to Baveras solely. Her star constellation is that of the Wave, her mythical animal is the Silffin and the plant connected to her the waterstar. Symbols are the triangle and the circle, her colours silver and all shades of green and blue.

Baveras, Goddess of the Sea
View picture in full size Image description. Depiction of Baveras, the Santharian Goddess of the Sea and the Water. Picture drawn by Sandara.

Names. The following poem of elven origin, spread throughout Sarvonia during the Age of Awakening, is illustrating the nature of the Goddess. From this derive her many names as stated below:

Wild is the sea, the waves are cold, death comes to sailors young and old!
Baveras, oh Baveras, Wild is your soul, cold throbs your heart,
your death reaches all, foolish or smart.

Fish are aplenty, your water tastes sweet, food is provided, you give us to eat.
Baveras, oh Baveras, Full are your hands, kind your smile
you care for us all, the good and the vile.

Sparkling uprises a jet of water clear, joyfully are screaming the children you hear
Baveras, oh Baveras. Sweet is your laughter and glitt'ring your face,
waves you're whispering, thanks for your grace.

The names we gather from the poem and which are commonly used in literature about the Goddess and of course mainly in prayer are the following:

- Baveras, the Wild and Untamed One, the Cold One, the Deadly One
- Baveras, the Helping One, the Kind One, the Caring One
- Baveras, the Playful One, the Joyful One, the Lovely One
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Appearance. Baveras - who can find the the fitting words to describe the wild sea, the calm lagoons, the depth of the waters? There isn't a poet yet capable to describe the beauty, the strangeness and horrendous, yet the supporting, caring and loving demeanour of the Sea Goddess, the Goddess of all Water, be it streaming rivers or calm, hidden lakes!

Her face of a white, marble colour seems to look very young, more like a youthful maiden than a grown woman. Her features are even, her nose straight, the often mysteriously smiling lips finely curved and the eyes large with an enchanting look. Looking in these eyes, one doesn't see a young girl, but feels as if one is falling into eternity without return. These eyes, with the colour changing from the sky blue of a calm sea at midday with sunbeams throwing slivers of light over the surface, to the deep green of the depths of her crevasses, to a tumultuous black of a water world in chaos: One will never forget those eyes.

The hair of the Watery Goddess flows like her creeks abundantly down her slender, youthful body or is floating upon the water like her sea-foam, reflecting her element even more than her eyes. The colour of her dresses is ever-changing, from the white of water tossed at the cliffs to the emerald green of a lovely bay, from the deep blue of the high sea, to the characteristic green of a lake in the high mountains, from the ice blue of young rivers emerging from the mountains to far to the north, to the terrifying black of the drowning sea at night.

Baveras is worshipped all over Santharia, but is perceived differently according to where she is worshipped. The biggest difference in appearance is between the people living near and of the sea, and those living inland, be it the human tribes or the elven ones. The seafaring tribes depict her as having a fishtail like the mermaids. The inland tribes see her mostly as the Water Goddess as having legs. The Baveras of the Sea is most times naked, the Baveras of the Streams and Lakes is dressed in long floating clothes of her colours, though there exist paintings as well with her coming out of a well naked. The human tribes as f.e. the Stratanians show her as having a fishtail, but otherwise human features, the elven seafaring tribe of the Sanhorrhim have pictures of her with fishtail, but elven features like pointed ears. The elves of the forest however describe her as young elven woman climbing up a tree to greet the falling water of the rain after a long period of drought.
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Personality. And as her appearance, so is Baveras' nature, as is the nature of the sea and all water.

The sea gives from its depths plenitude to all beings living in or near her. There are the human and elven tribes who live off the sea, which provides them with all they need. It is shelter and sustenance to all beings who dwell among her. It offers a path to go, where there are no others ways, bringing wealth to many, as the rivers and bigger lakes do, allowing to travel where dense forests and treacherous swamps allow no forthcoming. A blessing for all beings are the wells and the springs. What makes a flowering meadow or a calm forest perfect if not a little brook running through and making music, a pleasure to every heart?

This is Baveras, as we experience her: Looking after those who live in her element and of her element, giving with full hands to those who are dependent on her, mourning with those who lost loved ones in her depths, Baveras, the Helping One, the Kind One, the Caring One.

But this is only one side of Baveras, as it is only one side of the sea. As the sea itself which may appear to us destructive and murderous, drowning those not careful enough with their meeting of the vastness of water, so sometimes Baveras seems cold-hearted to us, without feeling for others, cruel, dangerous, turning away from those depending on her, Baveras, the Wild and Untamed One, the Cold One, the Deadly One.

Baveras is indeed a force to be reckoned with, dangerous like a tidal wave hitting the cliffs, like a heavy storm on the high sea, like a flood drowning the lands - but as well the font refreshing the thirsty traveller, the stream carrying the many, the deep sea full of wonders. You may find her in the untamed waterfalls rushing down steep mountains sides - or in the untouched mirror of a calm lake's surface. However, there is a third side of Baveras, sometimes forgotten, but present everywhere. So you find her in the waveletts running up a beach, playing with the pebbles, in the water of a rivulet jumping down the hill from stone to stone, in the dew drop reflecting the first light of the Injèrá in the morning, Baveras the Playful One , the Joyful One, the Lovely One.

Baveras is strange and unpredictable:

- kind, helping and caring;
- wild, untamed and murderous,
- playful, joyful, lovely.

She is a mystery, and no sentient being will ever understand her real nature - and though, what makes her so mysterious is not that her nature seems to be difficult to apprehend or even cloaked, no, quite to the contrary: Baveras seems transparent and clear in every respect to everyone, and it is exactly this constant representation of the same clarity in all of her so different appearances why she remains such a mystery.
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Mythology. Though not mentioned in the elven Cárpadosía, the following myth is believed to be closely related to it, revealed to us by the elven woman Viresse of the Ifer'hém tribe. It was written down and saved for the ensuing ages by Artheos M. Federkiel when Viresse visited New-Santhala last year.

"And so the Gods started their work: The creation of the world. Foiros created the sun, and Urtengor united the earths to a single world with the help of Eyasha and Nehtor and then he later on forged the mountains.

Baveras saw the deep pits and the towering hills and loved what she saw. But something was missing. The world was not complete, not whole. After much thought, she knew what to do.

A smile so radiant that it competed with the glare of Foiros‘ sun enlightened her face and she wandered the world. She filled the pits and craters Urtengor had formed, the crevices, every crack and cave with her essence, with a part of herself. The stiff, rocky lands would have a sense of life now; a steady rhythm and a soft touch to rest the eye from the tall hills and flat plains when one looked upon it from afar.

But with giving away her essence, Baveras felt less and less like a living being. Her essence seemed more and more separated from her and she felt only a shell of her former self. Baveras sensed that she could not leave the world with her essence so strayed; she could not be the Baveras that the others knew if she left her essence upon the world.

To stay connected with Caelereth and her tumultuous essence, she found the largest chasm that Urtengor had built and laid her near-lifeless body within it. Each strand of flowing hair left a creek or a ravine behind, and as she lowered herself into her resting place she ran her fingers through the soils of the earth to make rivers to the seas, connecting the large landlocked places she had tread during her travels back to her lying place. And thus Baveras, the Goddess of the Sea, Baveras the Goddess of the Water had given herself to the World and would reside within it.

That was not the only impact Baveras had on the world. She felt that though she was a Goddess among the creation, her own essence should not be the only thing within her. She wanted to fill her waters with life like she saw the creation thriving on the dry land.

So Baveras reached out with waves upon the land and when the creatures of the land were caught in her tide they became changed when wrapped in her essence. Snakes became eels, and beasts who saw the power of the Goddess revelled in her might and truend to water to sustain them.
 
So is said, that the Sea Horse was created when Baveras saw a landlocked horse. She pushed a heavy wave ashore, scooping up a herd of the magnificent beasts, then dragged them back to the ocean. With her power, she twisted their hind legs to form a fishtail, ran her webbed fingers through their manes to make it finlike, and breathed sea-water into their lungs. This gave the half-horses the ability to breathe underwater. Baveras called them the capricorn and set them free along the ocean floor, where she could watch them.

The races that lived upon the land and encountered her essence became creatures of Baveras as well: Men turned to dolpholk, free to pursue their playful nature. Those men that were not wrapped in Baveras' essence but were touched by it only became the merfolk, half of the land and half of the sea.

The dwarves became the beasts of the deep; despite the touch of Baveras they still craved the dark.

The majestic whale and its mournful melody were once elves; they lament every day of their existence for they cannot be with the forests and the wind.

The orcs became the vicious monsters of the deep, beaks and claws, poisons and deterrents of all kinds.

Only the fish were made by Jeyriall and given as a present to Baveras; a gift for giving selflessly to the world. They pleased Baveras so much that she promised Jeyriall to keep the wells within the land filled with water at all times to serve Jeyriall's creations.

And so resides Baveras. Not above us. But around us."

Baveras with her unpredictable nature is not an easy Goddess to have. So her relations to the other Gods has not always been without conflict.

Jeyriall, related to the water as Baveras, is so different to her in appearance and character as it can be. And though she seems to be the wiser one and appearing older, Jeyriall nevertheless is bound to Baveras as being dependent of water for the well being of her creatures and the growing of the crops that sometimes causes major differences concerning the flooding of land and destroying crops and other disturbing events. Jeyriall hates the wild and murderous side of Baveras.

Not so Seyella, the third Water Goddess. Her relation to Baveras is a better one. She sees the common things between them, the passing of time in the streaming of a river to the sea, the timeless moments of waves hitting the beach again and again and the ones drowned are guided by her with special care. Seyella sees in Baveras' untamed side an instrument to fulfill destiny. And Baveras, admiring the wise Goddess, chooses sometimes her colour grey to please her abandoning her greens and blues.

Apart from her kin deities, Baveras has three special relations to other Gods, that is Queprur, Foiros and Grothar.

Baveras admires Queprur's cold, distant beauty, but she gets angry when she is sometimes mistaken by drowning sailors for the Goddess of Death. While Baveras' relation to Grothar is always described as very good and they are indeed depicted as loving pair sometimes, Foiros is the god she dislikes most, not wanting to see the blessings he brings, but only his negative side of burning the land. Many lore arose from this conflict.
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Lore. There are several legends told by different tribes connecting Baveras with special places:

Gean Firefeet, the Santharian historian collected the one which describes the Scattersands Shoals as a bathing place for Baveras. The Shendar refer to the islands as Baveras’ Garden, the place where the Goddess enjoys her time alone with animals. She is, as the legend tells us, often accompanied by Silffin, a mighty white sword whale. In the shallow waters, circulated by the isles and protected from any storm or wave, she plays with her pets and baths.

Other Shendar lore about places tell us how Baveras made the Seven Jewels in the Ráhaz-Dáth or how Baveras fought Foiros and made the Nirmenith Waterfalls and the Oka‘Seri Swamp. Below is the myth on how Baveras brought water to the Ráhaz-Dáth:

How Baveras Brought Water to the Desert. In the days when the gods were young and the lands not yet finished, Baveras looked at her seas and the fish, dolphins and other animals within. She smiled when seeing the Sarvonian wells sputtering, the Nybelmarian rivers rushing to the sea and the big lakes of Aeruillin glimmering in the light of Injèrá. She was very pleased with what she saw, till her gaze fell on a piece of land at the very south of the Sarvonian continent.

And we all know, what she saw, and what made her heart bleed.

Baveras was stunned, she didn't believe her eyes. There, south of a huge forest and a vast plain, was an endless sea of sands. No animal roamed the land, not a single plant could be spotted, there was no drop of water. It was all so dry that life was not possible.

The vast lands of sand, the endless dunes, the winds forming golden landscapes had their own beauty, but it was a dead beauty, without the blessings of life. And Baveras loved the life as she does it today. So she went to Jeyriall and asked her if she could not help these sad lands, and fill them with life, but Jeyriall only shook her head and said that without water nothing would grow, and that it was her, Baveras's task to bring water to the desert. But she saw no way how she could achieve this, so she went to Grothar and asked him to send his rain clouds to the hot lands and with them the needed water. And Grothar, though doubting that he could help effectively, sent his winds to blow the clouds from the sea over the sands. But Injèrá, Foiros's work, was mercilessly burning the land. And so the clouds simply vanished when reaching the coast, so great was the heat towering over the south. Baveras pleaded with Foiros to send Injèrá farther away, but her request was not heard. The southern lands stayed beautiful, but dry and dead. This was the first time that Baveras felt a cold distance to Foiros.

Baveras was distressed, and she didn't want to give up. After some time she made a decision. She didn't like much what she was planning to do, but she had done it once when the world was in the making, and she would repeat it.

So, she, the one who loved to dive with the dolphins, to dance in the waves rolling onto a beach, to rush down a mountain's side with a rivulet and to take pleasure in tossing down in a waterfall, she reminded herself, that she was the goddess of the wells, the hidden lakes, the underground rivers as well.

Grothar, the god of cloud, rain and wind helped her to fulfill her desire. He brought heavy rainfalls to the forest we know now as the Sharadon and the plain north of the dry desert, the Narfost Plains, and Baveras made rivers which crossed the plain. Their waters fell over the edge of the cliff and brought life to the desert, but only to a small part in the north. For the rivers couldn't cross the huge sand dunes. The two in the west just turned away from the hot lands and their water was lost in the vast ocean we now know as the Aetryam Sea. The river in the east just vanished into the sands, as it does today. And therefore it was called Délran'már, the Vanishing Waters. But Baveras wasn't angry about that, as we could suspect, with her rivers turned away from the desert, but exulted secretly, because the Délran'már should be her gate to the desert.

She dived deep into the waters of the river, and with them into the depth of the earth, and filled there all the crevices, every crack and all caves as she had done it when the world was in the making. New passages were opened for the water to progress under the surface. And where the waters of the Délran'mar were running still strong, a lake deep in the ground formed.

And it went well.

Finally she touched the salty waters of the ocean in the south and she knew she had won. She pressed up through the masses of sand and rocks and nothing could withstand her will. It didn't take long, and in many places in the vast desert lands the water came to the surface, forming wells and springs and even small ponds, allowing plants to settle down and with the plants came the animals. Even where the water didn't get to the surface, it was not far away. Most wells and water holes were fairly small and though some lovely ponds came into being, they could not be seen well from above. But at one place Baveras created the loveliest image one can imagine, the Seven Jewels.

Many tales are about Baveras' relation to other gods, especially to Grothar, the God of the Weather. So one elven legend tells us how Grothar and Baveras came to love each other, another how Baveras climbed a tree and called Grothar to bring rain. A third which is widespread under humans as well reports how Grothar asked Jeyriall for a flower for Baveras and the waterstar came into existence.

Worth mentioning is as well the legend published by Artheos M. Federkiel: How Baveras asked the other Gods for Guidance of the Stars.
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Importance. Baveras as the Goddess of the Water in general is one of the most worshipped gods throughout Santharia. So many people are depending on the sea or the rivers, on the water in general like the desert tribes, that she is the one worshipped by nearly everyone in southern Sarvonia. Death may seem far and if peace reigns the lands, men tend to forget that it is a valuable good for which one should pray every day, but the water, especially the sea, is a force which people encounter daily. And because the rituals are easy and the lower ones are allowed to be performed by everyone, they are in use daily and frequently.

However, Baveras' degree of respect varies greatly from tribe to tribe and is mostly depending on the occupation of the people.

The merchants of all big seaports like Strata, Varcopas, Milkengrad or Carmalad try to abate her dark side, fear her, see in her mostly the one who endangers their endeavours. Especially in Thalambath, the temple is not done in her usual light colours, but the black stone from the Norong‘Sorno is used to a great extent. And it is not only the fact, that the stone can be found locally here, that such a temple was built. In some respects Baveras resembles here Queprur, as she is said to be responsible for the deaths and losses on sea. Baveras' Wills (their representative) have there a hard life and are worshipped with love only by the some of the poorer women.

The fishing tribes however see this side as well and fear it, but they prefer to worship the giving, helping Baveras. If one of them drowns, it means grief for the relatives of course, but they prefer to see it as inevitably, as Baveras taking the dead in her loving arms.

River people are similar to the fishing tribes, but the aspect of Baveras as the Water Goddess is stronger than by the seafaring tribes.

Desert tribes adore her as the Bringer of Life, opposite to Foiros, whom they worship, but fear. Here Baveras is the Water Goddess, the Goddess who enables life in a hostile landscape. There her dark side is rarely seen. Even when a well doesn‘t give water anymore in dry times, this is not seen as her fault. In this case it is just Foiros who is stronger than her. So worshippers ask Baveras to fight for her right to provide the desert with water. One of the most important tasks a priestess of Baveras has to be able to fulfill is the finding of water.

Inland tribes see only the Goddess who gives life through the water, worshipping concentrated on the fonts, wells; especially on the plain land and by the farmers who mostly appreciate the water more than the people living in towns. Sometimes Baveras is seen along with Jeyriall as protecting the unborn child- which is kept safe by the surrounding water in the mothers womb.

A special kind of worship however has developed in the towns and places, where the people have lost the direct contact to growth and death like the people have who live from and on the land. Though the playful aspect of Baveras can be found in rural places as well, as we see from the numerous toy water wheels in gardens, which are a pleasure for kids and adults alike, the most impressive and sophisticated trick fountains are found in bigger towns like New-Santhala, Marcogg, Voldar, Milkengrad, Nyermersys. Even Strata, where water is scarce and expensive, trick fountains can be found in the smaller of her temples at the central marketplace. So Baveras' importance lies here in enabling pleasure and recreation for all people.
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Symbols. Baveras' colours are ranging from all kinds of green to blue with even a hint of purple, more important is the quality of the colour, which is always pure and more translucent than opaque, again reflecting the essence of the Element of Water. Those artists who manage to give the tiles or wall paintings the impression of depth and transparency are most praised, like the contemporary Halfnin Grould who is famous for his diaphanous paintings of the high sea representing Baveras in the town temple of Strata. And opposite to Foiros, the God most controversial to the Goddess of the Sea, silver is part of all the ornaments in a temple. Very often pearl father is used for the ornaments. In this she is very close to Grothar, and his colours grey, white and silver are going well with her green-blues and are often used as well.

One of the mystical beasts that serve Baveras in order to rule the waters and oceans of Caelereth is the Silffin. It is often presented as a huge white sword whale with silver scales and an iron horn. In many illustrations Baveras is riding him like a horse or he is pulling a wagon of silver and nacre often escorted by dolphins or other creatures of the sea.

The Wave

The constellation of Baveras, the Wave, consists of a group of six stars, forming the sign of an irregular triangle with the tip lying a bit far off. It represents movement, the impetus which is contained in the nature of Water. The Wave stands for the tides, the unceasing fight between two opposing forces - of light and darkness, good and evil, of life and death.

Derived from the Wave, the triangle is associated with Baveras and thus can be found in the floor tiling of temples or as a sign of apprenticeship at the temple of Baveras' Will. The number three and its higher multiples are therefore also often used in ornamentation and rituals.

Besides the triangle the circle is the other shape which is found in Baveras symbolism.

There is one plant which is closely related to Baveras and maybe seen as her most important symbol, which is the waterstar. Though triangle and wave are of greater cosmological importance and the Silffin the most impressive symbol, the waterstar is present everywhere and reminds the people day in day out not to forget Baveras.
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Festivals. Most Baverian festivals and feasts are held in the Month of the Passing Clouds (Styrásh Salarí'herín, Salarí'herín). They are generally filled with various rituals of giving symbolically back what Baveras donated a year long. Around those rituals eating and drinking, dancing and singing are common. The people enjoy one day or longer a free careless time.

Most times each profession or tribe celebrates its own festival, or signs at least responsible for it. But others members of the village or community are invited and welcome. So it is possible to attend several feasts for Baveras during the Month of the Passing Clouds.

A few exceptions are found, where fishermen and farmer celebrate together or where the festivals are held at another time of the year. In northern Santharia feasts are more commonly celebrated in spring, but in southern Santharia this happens only very rarely. We find both exceptions in the Bay of Smoke, where the "Blessing of the Sea" is celebrated on Midyears Day by the whole community.

Because of its importance we especially have to mention the sea festival the Sanhorrhim elves celebrate every century. During three days, called Baveras Gifts, Baveras Arrival and Baveras Blessing the elves gather at the coast praising Baveras. More details are found in the Santhalian Library in the scrolls about the Sanhorrhim elves.
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Rituals. Baveras may be the Goddess with the most rituals performed and prayers spoken throughout the day and the year. She is part of every day's life of most people living in Santharia. Some of these rituals are known throughout Santharia and practised from Strata up to the Tandala Highlands. These are mainly the daily rituals or those covering childhood or maturity. Others are only know in specific places or regions like the one performed by the northern elves when the ice on the rivers is breaking up. Or they vary with the occupation like the rituals of the seafaring merchants differ from those of the coastal fishermen.

Temple Design. Coming to one of the temples of Baveras delights every heart, be it the splendid one in Strata or one of the tiny floating reed places on a calm lake in a forgotten forest. The temples' beauty, their symmetry, their whole architecture is a pleasure to see. There are many different types of temples, however, depending mostly on their location.

The Baveras Shrine Floor
View picture in full size Image description. The actual Baveras shrine floor, all complete with a waterleaf plant and fishes. Picture drawn by Talia Sturmwind.

Most Baverian temples are constructed round, either perfectly round or fitting in a circle. Those not exactly circular have three, six or twelve corners, following her symbols, the circle and the triangle. All have slender pillars, occasionally topped by a capital resembling two waves curling outward, and standing on a matching foot, in this respect very similar to some of Grothar's temples.

The roofs are sometimes half spheres, but if it is a cornered temple, it has as many sides as the temple itself has. The most famous example here is the temple in Varcopas with its twelve grey pillars of broken stone from the Nirmenith Mountains and its steep pointed roof with twelve sides, covered with the silvery grey slate found near Varcopas. The floor of every stone built temple - and if there are any walls - are tiled. Beautiful and artistic inlays or other ornaments are showing the water life, animal and plants, and Baveras herself, accompanied by the Silffin or merfolk. Where it is available like near Strata, corals are part of the inlays, while Varcopas is famous for its ornaments mainly out of the pearlfather found in the oysters and trysters in the Gulf of Maraya. Perlfather is used in nearly every inlay - who could resist this glimmering and the light reflecting material? It is sometimes described as "water frozen to stone".

Situated very often outside the towns and abandoned to the sometimes rough weather, no other decoration is found as numerous in these temples as these mosaics. They are at most times the only adornment a temple has.

If there is no proper floor like in some temples build at or in rivers, the roof carries the load of all artistic desire to praise the Goddess. The best example of this is the temple in Marcogg. It is unique, as it is the only temple known which shows a major masterwork of the nearby living Thergerim.

As for colors: Baveras‘ colours - blue, green and silver - are dominating in every temple, though others are found as well.

The slender pillars found in Baveran temples are of a light coloured, often white stone, depending on the region. Sometimes however they are tiled with a great number of very small pieces, showing a waterplant growing up to the roof or little fish dancing round the pillar rising endlessly like in the three level building in Bardavos. Especially the inland temples with the water plays tend to be more ornamented and in need for care than the others.

The most magnificent temples to Baveras are found at the coastline. Here the floor is at a height that it is daily flooded when the tide is high.

Many temples are situated in rivers and aren't capable of such a display. They therefore have a lowered floor, lying beneath the water level and closed openings in the wall. At special occasions or festivals, these gates are opened and the water is allowed to flood the floor. In other temples they have a partial floor to allow the contact with the water in the temple, be it only to see the water or for bathing rituals. An extreme is the temple in Marcogg with no floor at all.

Temples on lakes don‘t have streaming water, so they take a different approach to create "moving water". Here trick fountains of every variety are found, little rivulets running from one basin to the next, little waterfalls representing the playful and joyful side of the Water Goddess.

In some places, where no suitable island is found, like in river deltas or on flat coastlines, the temple is sometimes situated on wooden logs or on circular boats, anchored near the coast. But these temples are constructed differently, their building materials is wood and other materials. Instead of flooding them, they have a circular opening in the floor which serves the same ritual purposes as the flooding. They are often used by not so civilised tribes.

Somebody who looks for the more severe side of the Water Goddess has to visit the only kind of temple of Baveras that has only a small, symbolic amount of water running around the building. These are the well sanctuaries, which are build around some of the major known wells, but above many smaller as well. Every spring, every place where water is emerging from the earth is holy to Baveras. These places have a special meaning to everyone. The water of the well is guided into a basin and from there to an opening in the wall and around the whole building till it is allowed to flow away freely.

Baveras' Retreat. There are some constructions however, which are very different to previously noted Baveras temples, but maybe as important as all her big buildings and present everywhere, especially where no temples are found. They are called Baveras' Retreat . They are built of a circular raft floating on the water, to the rim fastened branches of the willow, bound together at the top, big enough to allow a human to lie inside outstretched. These branches will eventually grow roots and develop leaves. Everybody, one who is simply looking for a rest or hunted by his persecutors, may enter one of these and have sanctuary by Baveras. Nobody is allowed to do any harm to somebody who is inside. Violation will cause death through drowning, may it be sooner or later, so is said.

All temples are cared for by the community they belong to. However if there is a Baveras Will living in this village, she is responsible to a certain extent. She will go to the major of the village or town and ask for tending and caring the temple. She tells the helping people, what has to be done. Every spring and autumn a small temple cleaning ceremony is held, and all those who have helped are blessed. During the year most temples don‘t need any attention. If there was however a big storm and lots of debris was left, f.e. in the temple of Strata, there will be always some worshippers who are glad that they are able to serve their Goddess by cleaning the temple floor.
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Temple Locations. Baveras temples can be found in any place with water, and all temples are surrounded by water. Temples therefore can be found in the sea - near the coast like the one in Strata being the most southern building on the Sarvonian continent; in or even above rivers like the famous temple over the waterfall in Marcogg or in the middle of the Sharadon river in Bardavos. Even on an island in the middle of a lake; like the small, but beautiful temple built on a tiny island in Ephirn's Lake just opposite to Holmstedt fortress.

The Baverian temples are built on a rock or small island just outside the main coast line, on a small island in the middle of a river or bigger lake - preferably the whole island is covered by the temple - or floating on a river or lake like a boat or built on a wooden construction. In every case a bridge or a boat is needed to reach it. The river around the temple should never fall dry, this would be seen as a bad omen for the future. Only exceptions are the temples on rocky islands near a coast where the tide may withdraw the water. But in those cases, the temple can‘t be reached at all, not by boat and most times the ground is too treacherous to make it to the island by foot. The floor of the temples are always at or near the water level and are sometimes flooded.

Every place where water emerges from the earth is holy to Baveras. Every well is a place to worship her, but very often there is a building covering and protecting the well.

The little flooding boats called Baveras' Retreat can be found on the lakes, be they big as the Ancythrian Sea, or as small as any tiny forest lake, along the seacoast or near the river benches, tied to any suitable anchor.

There are other holy places apart from the wells where Baveras is worshipped without any building: Waterfalls like the Ravenwing Falls or especially the Cloud Falls. People gather at a place near the water, possibly where the they are covered in the mist coming from the falling water and hold whatever ceremony is common within their tribe.
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Priests. The water has no defined form, it takes it of the form it is held in, it is not tangible, it escapes the hands - thus is Baveras, changing, flowing, mysterious - and no one can tie her up in any respect. Therefore Baveras doesn‘t have a cleric like other gods have, but numerous priests, well known, proud and distant. No priests care for her temples, no priestesses are always there to help and advise the seeking. Baveras, though present in every water drop, is not always easy to find. This would be against her wild, untamed nature, unwilling to allow any restriction or boundary.

There are of course individual persons, who act as ambassadors, as deputants of the Goddess, women mostly, who live either within the community, without any wish to be separated from the others through their service for Baveras, or wander around from place to place to help those who are in need for Baveras' aid.

Though most times well integrated in the society of the village or town, those serving Baveras are nevertheless special persons, recognised as "wise women" from the community, though they might still be quite young. Their official name is "Baveras' Aid" or "Baveras' Will"; but they are addressed however as "Mother" as sign of respect. The younger, still learning women kept by the Mothers are called "Sisters". On their forehead or the left temple they have a small tattoo, the complexity is depending on their grade of apprenticeship. The very beginners have just a simple triangle, the ones who have learned nearly all they have to know a circle within this triangle. When a Sister leaves her teaching Mother she gets the final tattoo, a stylised picture of the waterstar placed in the circle.

Tasks and abilities of Baveran priests are numerous:

Baveras' Wills are chosen ones. One day a wandering Baveras' Will will come to a village and tell the parents that her daughter - very rarely their son - is "chosen" to become one of her apprentices. This is most times no surprise to the young woman or girl - they may be as young as 15 summers - for dreams of water or a special affection for water may have signalised the closeness to Baveras already. Having to follow the "Mother" is nevertheless hard for the girls and not everyone will obey her destination. A Mother may have up to three apprentices at a time, of different state of knowledge though. After several years of wandering, the mother feels that the time has come to settle down and live for the rest of her life in a village. Her apprentice girls will stay with her, till they have finished her education and then become wanderers for themselves, looking for other girls to teach and follow them. Not all of them will be Baveras' Will their whole life long, some prefer a husband and family life, for it is forbidden for a Baveras' Woman to bind herself to a man. That doesn‘t mean that she has to be celibate, and some have even a child, though this is very uncommon.

A young girl might have the wish to become a woman of Baveras and go to the local Mother and ask her, but unless the Mother confirms her wish, it is not possible. Return to the top


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