Vanya and the Green Knight
Abbey of Hengest and Hersa
They have no councils the way the druids do, no stallion of stallions-no mare of mares. One bows to seniority if there is occasion of two abbeys or more in counsel.
It is an arrangement as though each Abbey is an individual Herd. Every abbot must learn the history of Hengest and Hersa, and his own abbey’s history, before taking over. Every Abbey is responsible for keeping annals of their individual herd history. Every abbey has among them two holy horses that are the living bodies of the brothers; they shine more and always have breezes in their manes. If one is ever killed, there is always a white colt just so in the next foaling.
The brothers were born from the foam of the sea, and their coats were warm and cool under the shining sun as that great water. In the passing of their hooves was the thunder and power of the surf, yea, even to shatter stone as the white cliffs and the waves.
They came on the Children of Danu, on the short sons of stone, and on the splintered and frightened tribes of men in the ages earlier than time, and they saw there among all the need for structure to learn happiness. The need for skill in war to give pride and prove strength in the peoples. The need for children numerous and healthy to make it through the black years of plague and sickness after birth.
Duties of the Faith & Calendar Rites :
“Joy in battle, joy in work.”
Uphold the hierarchy of the Lead Mare and the Lead Stallion
Marriage, Atonement, The Festival of Grains (first of spring), Iron & mud (first day of planting) Basket day (harvest) , Grand Circle Races (longest day of the year horsemanship), Confirmation of Adulthood, FoalBlessing (birth confirmations), Funeral, Hunt of the Dark (once every 2 years fast and primitive dress up as horses and drink crazy liquid and go running out into the pastures in search of the Brothers), Purification, Naming, Sacrifice (traditionally grains and apples were offered on altar to the brothers)
Church Trial (conducted in the presence of the herd)
Virtues of the Faith
Priests: Minimum ability requirements: Wis 13, Dex 12, Str 12
+10% exp for 2 of these above 16
Alignments: Lawful Good, Neutral good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral
Races Allowed: any
Common Priestly Spheres for prayers:
Horsely virtues are hard work, patience, valor, knowing one’s place in a hierarchy, killing serpents.
They aren’t much on chastity. Scrumping is a holy art.
The Cardinal Virtues:
Worthing Keep Abbey
The abbey is mid plain, an all wood building in the more traditionally Armagh fashion of mead halls, with open windows high in every bay letting in goodly light, so it is a clean, airy place, very cold —damp when its raining, breezy when its blowing. The two holy horses are allowed to go wherever they want, including inside. Two white stallions who miraculously do not fight, hang out like best friends, but are not above pooping in their chapel.
The pillars would be carved with horses, riderless and in full plate both, and the holy symbol (besides white horses) of the religion is streamers, every color streamers tied to the top of lances like favors, or to the top of poles, or just tied along strings like manes in the manner of Tibetan prayer flags. All around the chapel would be the horses of the Righ, and you are all in charge of breeding, training, keeping them.
Brothers of the Abbey live pretty communally, beds along the wall, a table and fire pits in the middle, everyone’s gear kept in a chest by his bed or on a rack behind it. The abbey is small, with say 3 abandoned kids all too young to have vocations yet, two priests (Brother Finn, xxx), four priestesses (Colleen, Uma, xxx, xxx), the abbot (Cadfael), a full paladin (Glaedrigh) and a very young paladin (Eachann).
The previous senior paladin, Ser Baynton, died while the current was first taking his vows 7 years prior. The current senior paladin, therefore has been paladininng since 13, so he’s an old pro. The junior, 15 year old, paladin hero worships his teacher. He is off on his first tour of the wall now with the son of one of the Worthing Keep High Knights, so he will be gone until winter if he lives.
It is located in the Riocht Seat, the Castletown of Upminster, on the far side of town, on the outskirts with the northern pastures that are nestled against the highland mountains. It is made of local stone instead of wood, but would have the same thatching, high open windows, fields and orchards as the Worthing Keep construction. But this one is more like a castle with small halls to adjoining private rooms and a kitchen adjoining with its own roof. The living bodies of Hengest and Hersa here are not draft horses, however, but longlegged riding horses with faces as noble and sad as borzoi dogs.
Upminster Abbey is led by an Abbess, a woman with hair short and white as a mans and a face much like, noble and narrow and craggy, and somewhat short from age. She is helped by her two priest sons and a daughter here who serve that task, a granddaughter too, and there are three brothers besides that. One paladin, and a granddaughter who is squire to the paladin.
They’ve taken in many refugees, mostly those from north of Inverness, fisherfolk, seafolk. Some from Caerwylln. Also some very strange folks the Abbess couldn’t tell where they are from.
- daughter priestess – a woman who looks much like the Abbess but larger chested and with long scrappy red hair
- 1 priest son
- 1 priest son
- Paladin Hale (missing, sent to Inverness Abbey via ettinsmoor. Neither he nor word of the abbess’ letters inquiring after him have come back. )
- Paladin Justinian
- Grandaughter Rhiannon, squire to Justinian
- Sister Alice – something like the loremaster of the Abbey, she was not counted with the abbess’ descriptions of those serving the faith, but is a daughter of hers and she can heal. She is in her 50s, but still girlish in a way. She is mousey, smaller than her mother, a little grey in her hair, which is sandy and swept in waves into a bun. She hates most people, and seems to have been chaste all her life.
Previous servants of the Upminster Abbey
p. Paladin Alamance,
Small for a paladin of Armagh men, he was the mentor of Paladin Hale. He wore a sturdy set of steel armor on a little stand with claw marks across the breastplate. He was killed by gryphons, his head snapped clean off. His helmet was never recovered.
p. Abbess Hilde,
Two hundred and fifty nine years prior there was a battle of some sort where she donned pieces of armor the abbey had from a knight who’d died in Abbey keeping many years earlier.
p. Abbot Nevare,
Five hundred and twelve years ago – he was abbot at the time of the visit of Ser Belofan, a knight cursed with laughing. They had no one strong enough to cure curses, so the knight eventually died in their care with comfort measures. His armor was kept and later used in part for battles, if not well maintained.
In Caerlewn -
Dartmoor – unusually wicked tempers on those who serve here, and the Avatars are wicked white ponies.
Abergavenny – mentioned for pilgrimmage
Ffestiniog – mentioned for pilgrimmage
Llanybydder – mentioned for pilgrimmage
Tonypandy – mentioned for pilgrimmage
Real life history
Hengist (or Hengest) and Horsa (or Hors) are figures of Anglo-Saxon, and subsequently British, legend, which records the two as the Germanic brothers who led the Angle, Saxon, and Jutish armies that conquered the first territories of Britain in the 5th century. Hengist, through his son (who varies by source), is traditionally listed as the founder of the Kingdom of Kent.