QUEPRUR, SANTHARIAN GODDESS OF DEATH

Names - Appearance - Mythology - Lore - Importance - Symbols
 Celebrations - Temple Design - Temple Locations
- PRAYERS

Queprur is the Goddess of Death and the afterlife. She is held responsible to give back to Earth what Jeyriall used to create: life. Traditionally Queprur is often interpreted as the Goddess of the element of Earth, of Silence, the Unmoving and the Transitory.

Queprur is one of the Twelve Gods or High Spirits (Styrásh
Aeolía, Aeolía) who sprang from the Dream of Avá the Beautiful according to the elven myth as related in the Cárpa'dosía. Together with Arvins (God of Hunt) and Urtengor (God of the Forge) Queprur is one of the three Gods dedicated to the element of Earth. The eleventh month of the Santharian Calendar, the Month of the Dead Tree (elvish: Coór'Pherán) is dedicated to Queprur solely.

Names. Queprur is also often called the Goddess of Coldness or the Goddess of the Scythe. The priesthood of Queprur even refer to her only as the "Iron Mistress" after the Crown of the Fallen she is said to wear and her cold, unbending rule over the dead. In ancient texts she may also be refered to as Queprpur (an old Tharian form).
 
Another less respectable name
for Queprur is the "Ratqueen" due to the deadly plagues these beasts can bring to the people.
Return to the top

Queprur, the Goddess of the Sickle

View picture in full size Image description: Queprur, the Goddess of the Sickle wearing the Crown of the Fallen. Picture drawn by Enayla.

Appearance. Most of Queprur's statues and paintings show her as a beautiful, yet cold, darkelven woman as these elves feel especially close to her and her rule. With pale skin and black hair she usually looks down at the mortals as the unevitable symbol of Death. She is crowned with the "Crown of the Fallen" which is said to be made of branches from the "Tree of Life". The "Soulcup" is an often seen symbol in her depictions as well: the Cup is said to be used in order to contain the souls that are about to leave their dead corpses. In many ceremonies the Cup is also used to clean the body - and the soul - before its final travel to Seyella and Queprur.

Other -
more human - accessoires for the Goddess are the Sickle (as the honest harvester) or the Scythe (the uncontrolled destroyer). On human paintings she is sometimes also shown as a humanoid rat with the Scythe as these animals are seen as her servants in bringing plagues and hunger to the people.

Queprur is also often represented in the company of
the "Soulgryph" (Kiivosh), the mythical beast that gathers the souls after their death and brings them to her. Sometimes you may even see her with high demons as well. This disturbing aspect of her shows the fear most people have of this Goddess of Death and Destruction but also the antithesis of order and chaos combined in one deity. As a Goddess of the Twelve she is seeking the ultimate order by bringing everything to a halt and thus to death but her closeness to Coór can cause uncontained plagues, death and destruction. Both aspects are combined in her, though scholars may argue that even plagues and catastrophes might be reasoned and only plausibel beyond the scope of human eyes.

Especially in human
belief Queprur is often presented together with allies of Coór and in myth and legend these creatures may obey her orders nearly as well as Coór, the Shadow Itself. At least in paintings and legends the higher demons like the Mhorashty and Khalkaroth appear under her rule.
Return to the top

Mythology. Queprur is known as the antagonistical Goddess to Jeyriall, Goddess of Harvest, Nehtor, God of Healing, and of Baveras, Goddess of the Sea. It is told in the elven myth of the Cárpa'dosía that Queprur fought with both Goddesses already in the first hours of the Dream in order to win Armeros, the God of War, for Herself and Her unforgiving dark purposes to turn Caelereth into a place of silence and coldness, where the living cannot corrupt the essence of the Dream any more with the freedom given to them by the Mother of All. But she failed in her endeavour and Armeros turned to Jeyriall - a union which should prove to secure the equilibrum between harmony and its destruction over the eons.

However, in order to achieve Her goal of letting all things living come to a final standstill, Queprur, together with Etherus and Arvins, took delight in destroying all those creations other Gods have already put into the world. She sowed the seed of the transitory into the beings and made them all mortal, except for the purest elves, who could resist the power of the Goddess of Earth. Being the Xeuá to the element of Wind, Water is the element Queprur as the Goddess of Earth opposes most, an antagonsim which is reflected in the tides of the seas and the fact that Water freezes in winter when the Earth reclaims its reign. The opposition between Queprur (Earth) and Baveras (Sea) is also the reason why the bodies of the dead are blessed with consecrated water by the priests in order to deny Queprur the complete destruction of the soul. According to elven myth the latter is not possible when the element of wind is still present in the dead, otherwise the soul will get lost forever in the Netherworlds.
Return to the top

Lore. Queprur is a silent Goddess, omnipresent, but always hiding in the shadows. She is working hand in hand with all the others of the Twelve especially Arvins, the God of Hunting, and Seyella, the Goddess of Destiny, meant to judge the souls she retrieves from the bodies. As the leader from Life into Death she has great influence on most things in the world but seldom she appears openly but follows darker, more subtle ways on her path.

One myth that contradicts this usual image is the myth of "Feyronn the Drewynn" which exists in various
different version all over Santharia. The legend usually tells that Queprur herself revived the mutilated body of an assassin who was buried in the Seanian Swamps for his terrible crimes. She gave him the mission to haunt the sinners and revenge the souls that would never get their retaliation. In its many variants this myth often explains the sudden and violent death of one or the other evil usurpator of the region and holds the threat that even the Goddess of Death will not accept a disturbance of her order.

Following this myth there's a tradition in many regions of Santharia
to give any victim that died by an unsolved crime a silver coin on its way to pay Feyronn, the Undead Assassin, to retaliate their death when no-one else on Caelereth is able - or willing - to take this task.
Return to the top

Importance. Anyone worships Queprur when it comes to death, the own one or the death of any acquaintances, but while there are priests or monks in any bigger hamlet to serve her needs she is not well-liked by most mortals of Santharia and though tolerated her followers are not as respected as most other temples of the Twelve.

Most people seek her only to plead for the peace of their dead beloved or when
struck by a plague not even Nehtor is able to heal. Some try to seek mercy by the Goddess but few people believe Queprur has the emotion to act with mercy.

As her priesthood is unafraid of the
death as it is only their way of facing their Lady, the priests of Queprur have earned respect only in Nyermersys where the high temple of Queprur stands. When during the devastating Great Plague even the priests of Nehtor failed to find a cure and didn't dare to enter the city it were the priests of Queprur that ultimately lifted the curse of the city and cared for the plagued. In this role the priests are often the only people that tolerate lepers on their ground and the only ones that don't fear their sickness.

The priests
of Queprur are usually called to bury the dead in blessed soil. This is however only the human view on it as they fear that a soul whose body is not buried in blessed soil might escape the grasp of Queprur's gryph and haunt the mortals. While the human burial ceremony strictly buries the dead in the earth to bind the body to Queprur's realm, the elves seek in their rites to free the soul completely from the world.

The priests are also often called to free people or places from the presence of demons in their varied forms.

View picture in full size Image description: Queprur, Goddess of Death, depicted in rat-form. Drawn by Fiorellina.

Symbols. The symbolic animal of the Goddess of Death is the Gryph, at least in the elven interpretation. This has its source in the mythological story of the Gryph of Souls (also called the Kiivosh in some parts of the lands), who is capturing the soul of the dead and carries it to the Mountain of Destiny (Styrásh: Weívoc'Cáey, Weívoc'Cáey) where the dead soul is waiting in the Night of Changing (Styrásh: Méh'Coór, Méh'Coór) for the arrival of the Goddesses Queprur (of Death) and Seyella (of Destiny). While Queprur deprives the soul of its last connection to the world it is Seyella's duty to decide upon the fate of the soul. The latter part is mainly a human interpretation, implying that the soul may eventually be eliminated from the world. In elven mythology on the other hand it is recounted that Seyella, although knowing of the fate of every person She meets at the Mountain of Destiny when the time has come, cannot decide upon this fate, but speaks with every soul and then blesses it in order to make it return to the world of Caelereth in a new form.

In contradiction to pictures drawn by elves where Queprur in general is a figure which is not depicted in corporal form, human artists very often emphasize the dark side of Queprur when depicting the Goddess. Not only do they give her a face, but they also show the destructive and fearful part, the horror of her very being and the horror she brings upon the world. One such famous image is the picture of the Goddess in rat-form in the Queprur sancturay west of Nyermersys at the Gravehouse of the Plague. The Gravehouse represents a mass grave of all those who died during the Year of the Great Plague in Nyermersys in the fateful year 602 b.S. It is said that it were the rats that brought the Black Death through the sewers to Nyermersys and thus the image of Queprur in rat-form developed in the heads of the artists of this town. Today the rat-picture in the Gravehouse drawn more than thousand years ago still exists, and everytime the pale colors are re-newed at the painting it seems as if the Goddess wants to give a new warning to remember what could happen if she'd decide to exert her enormous powers again...

The colors attached to Queprur are black and white, expressing death, night and the coldness the Goddess also stands for. Though these colors seem to be contrary, the two colors also reflect the fact that death is ever present, whatever road life takes, be it one of darkness or of light.
Return to the top

Celebrations. In every major city there's a "Day of the Dead" when the dead bodies are brought in a procession from the Shrine and put to rest in the graveyards. At this day the taverns are closing earlier and many people participate in the procession to grant the dead a last honor before completely leaving this world.

The eleventh month is completely dedicated to the Goddess and the people believe that this is the time when it is possible to gain contact with the dead so the temples are open all day to help relatives to get messages from the afterworld.

Also it is believed that the souls of
someone is slipping easier into the afterworld than at any other date in the year because of the closeness to the Goddess.
Return to the top

Temple Design. The main objective of the temples of Queprur is to watch over the cemeteries, prevent thefts and protect the people from the revenge of the dead souls and thus they're built close to the graveyards but to provide also a place for the people to pray. Additional shrines are usually erected within the cities.

Most temples of Queprur are decorated with black obsidian or sometimes precious black marble. Sculptures of
demons on the outside of the temples are meant to protect the place and so most temples look dark and unpleasing to most people.

Beside priests there are also temple guards who are meant to protect the places and the peace of the dead against thieves and grave robbers but are
also have the reputation to be assassins in the service of Queprur.

In the Shrines in the cities the dead are usually prepared for their last travel and
then are led in a holy procession to the graveyards. The priesthood tends every man equally as in their tellings in death everyone is equal (however the people who accompany a procession differ much depending on the dead person's reputation).
Return to the top

Temple Locations. The biggest and most famous temple of Queprur is the Hightemple of Queprur in Nyermersys that was built at the vast necropolis of this city and possesses a main sanctuary of the Goddess of Death. The temple is more built like a fortress than a holy place which is mainly due to the history of this region. It guards the sanctuary of the "Well of Queprur" in the cave of Destiny in the southern hillside which is one of the most popular oracles in Santharia. Return to the top

Prayers. There are many prayers worshipping the Goddess of Death, which often are sung or recited at funerals or during the last hours when people are expected to die. Among these poems the following is one of the most well known throughout Santharian lands:

HEAR MY SILENT CRY
by Lucirina Telor Vevan

Hear my silent cry,
heed my quiet prayer,
while I wait for you in darkness.
Nothing can I say,
nothing can I do,
nothing but expect your mercy.
Queprur, mother,
mother of night.
Take away sorrow,
relieve from fright.
Queprur, mother,
don’t let me suffer,
take me away tonight.
In my final hour,
to you do I pray,
to prepare me for my journey.
Open up the door,
smoothen out the way,
take my hand and guide me though it.
Queprur, mother,
mother of night,
take away sorrow,
relieve from fright.
Queprur, mother,
don't let me suffer,
take me away tonight.
   

Information provided by Artimidor View Profile and Koldar Mondrakken View Profile