Kero Fin was born in the Green Age, when Larnste the Soul Arranger rested with Gata the Earth Mother. Even if other mountains had deeper roots, or grew to greater heights, Kero Fin was Larnste's favourite child, for when he looked at her he remembered the one time he had paused in his labours, and was pleased.
In the Golden Age, Kero Fin stood alone, in a great wide land, for when he rested, Larnste had not planted any other mountains to accompany her. Still, she was not lonely, for she had many suitors, from across the world. Many gods met here, and became allies or enemies while they sought the hand of the mountain goddess. Many rivalries started in those days, such as those between Deer King and Fralar, father of Carnivores. But all respected Kero Fin's word, and none fought each other in her presence. Even the mighty dragons loved her, and their first and greatest nest was placed at her feet, giving the area around her the title of Dragon Pass.
When Umath Storm Father was born, he alone did not desire Kero Fin, for he loved another, but was kept from her. At this, Kero Fin was surprised, and spoke to him of this. He described his longing for Asrelia Earth Mother, and when Kero Fin heard it, she knew of this longing as well. She loved Umath Storm Father, and although he could not love her back, they spent many enjoyable ages together.
When Umath left to confront the Evil Emperor, Kero Fin was with child; and when Umath was dismembered by Jagrekriand, the child was born as Orlanth. Kero Fin loved the greatest of her children, and gave him the winds of his father and the changing of Larnste as his birthright. Having nothing to offer him herself, she instead gave him Dragon Pass, or Kerofinela as it would become known, as his to rule. And so Orlanth became Orlanth Storm King.
Kero Fin prospered throughout the Storm Age, when Orlanth made her the Law Rock of his camp, and built his great fort to surround and enclose her. She shared her land with many other goddesses, with her sons and daughters and their lovers, she was accompanied by many, and loved by all.
Then came the Great Darkness, when her children and lovers dwindled and perished. Kero Fin herself, stood strong and remained, even as the land froze, she survived. She covered herself in a robe of snow and ice, and stood there, in the darkness, with Elmal bringing light from her peak, until Orlanth returned with the Sun.
After the Dawn, the worship of Kero Fin was always greatest amongst the Koroltes tribe of Heortlings, where it was often said that there was a shrine to her on every hill and rise in their lands. Although many other goddesses were welcomed into their lands, she was still the foremost goddess in Koroltesland for much of the First and Second Ages.
The Dragonkill ended this, for too many of her cult were slaughtered when they would not flee, and outside of Dragon Pass, it was too difficult to reach her, resulting in a waning of influence and power. Only the Beastmen and Trolls of the Indigo Mountains were still able to reach her during this time, and the goddess slumbered much of the time.
When the resettlement of Kero Fin began, old shrines were once again opened, and the Orlanthi were once again able to reach Orlanth's mother for pilgrimages. Only in Tarsh did the cult thrive, and even then it was never in the numbers she once had.
Nature of the Cult
Kero Fin is the greatest mountain in Genertela, who rises from the surface of the world to reach the Middle Air above. She is the mother of mountains, and of all the living things that inhabit the lands around her.
She is also the power of rule, for all living beings must obey their mothers, and so any who gains her blessing may rule all others in her name.
For most people, Kero Fin needs no depiction, other than the great mountain of Wintertop. Here she is embodied, rising from the bosom of the earth, and touching the Middle Air where her son, Orlanth, dwells.
When called upon for rituals, or other purposes, her representations tend to be simple, showing a motherly woman, swathed in white robes, and always holding a child.
Kero Fin is connected with the Runes of Earth and Mastery.
Earth Rune Affinity
As the goddess of mountains, Kero Fin is deeply associated with the Earth Rune. Her initiates have used her Earth Rune to cause avalanches, climb hills and mountains, endure mountain weather, summon and command lesser mountain goddesses and gods, and find safety in the mountains. As the great mountain Wintertop, she was also mother to many gods and goddesses, including Orlanth, allowing her worshippers to use the Earth Rune to perform great powers of motherhood, such as comforting children, easing births, and convincing their children with quiet words.
Initiates strong in the Earth Rune are maternal and patient.
Mastery Rune Affinity
Kero Fin's association with the Mastery Rune comes from her power of sovereignty over Dragon Pass. This gives her different powers over all who live there, spirit or man, although they do not function when out of sight of her sacred mountain. Some of the effects initiates of Kero Fin have used her Mastery Rune for include: Calling shadowcats, commanding people from Dragon Pass, crown tribal kings, create a covenant between inhabitants of Dragon Pass, and bless marriages.
Initiates strong in the Mastery Rune are dignified, just, and authoritative.
Particular Likes and Dislikes
Kero Fin is friendly with most other deities, for she ultimately does not care for the feuds and rivalries of other deities. She bears a special love for her children Yinkin and Orlanth, and for her lovers who survived the darkness, such as Veskarthan, but she welcomes and accepts any who come to Kerofinela as friends. The exception to this is the forces of Chaos, which Kero Fin despises, as do all right thinking-creatures.
Kero Fin's singular temple and holy place is her material body, the mountain that bears her name (but is also known as Wintertop). Her cult is strongest there, but in each of the peoples in the surrounding lands of Kerofinela worship her in their own way.
The Sartarites of Dragon Pass no longer give Kero Fin the preeminance she once had, but even to this day, they respect her greatly. Shrines still occasionally can be found in tribal lands, and every prayer to Orlanth invokes her power.
Among the Tarsh Exiles, Kero Fin has become a uniting goddess, although the cult has existed since the time of Arim the Pauper. The exile tribes view her as a great protecting goddess, who guards them against the Lunar usurpers, just as a mother hides her children beneath her apron.
The Grazelanders know the great mountain Kero Fin as the incarnation of the goddess Orest, Mother of Mountains, and of the Lady of the Wild and La-Ungariant. They worship Kero Fin under that name, and know that although she is the mother of all that is good, she is also the goddess of those places horses may not go. Thus her initiates are both rare, and respected for their mastery of secrets other Grazelanders do not know. It is said that the Feathered Horse Queen worships Orest, and this is the source of her power of rule.
The half-men of Beast Valley have now been forced almost to the reaches of Kero Fin's influence. Where once they had free roam during the Inhuman Occupation, now they see her only distantly. They still revere her as the Mother in Law of Ironhoof their king, and know that as the mother of the Lady of the Wild, they owe her much.
The trolls of the Indigo Mountains pay great honour to Kero Fin, even though the trolls of nearby Dagori Inkarth view her with suspicion for birthing their great foe, Orlanth. In the Indigo Mountains, she is known to be the husband of Himile, the trollish god of cold and ice, who cloaked her with his wintry cloak, and she in return birthed Inora the goddess of the mountain tops. The troll hags who are her priestesses are the only ones who can climb up to the snowy reaches of the Indigo Mountains, and bring back gifts from the ice demons and snow nymphs who reside at their peaks, and are often rivals with the priestess of Korasting over who bears the greater children.
The Dragonewts are known to acknowledge the mountain goddess, and crown whoever is chosen to be King of Dragon Pass, but if they worship her, and what how she appears in their stories is unknown.
Kero Fin has only a handful of priestesses, who are ritually garbed in white, and dwell apart from others, on the highest point of a tribe's lands.
Although Kero Fin is worshipped as part of all Orlanthi worship ceremonies, her cult perform special ceremonies, on two days of the year. The first is Birth Day, the first day of the year (on Freezeday of Disorder Week in Sea Season), this is also an equinox, when both day and night are of equal length. Here ceremonies celebrate the birth of each of her children, even among those who would normally be enemies or rivals (such as Inora and Orlanth). Priestesses of Kero Fin walk among the people on this day, giving gifts and blessings to all who are the children of the mountain goddess.
King Day (on Winds Day of Stasis Week in Fire Season) is Kero Fin's high holy day, when people come to seek her blessing of rule. the greatest ceremonies are performed at Wintertop, and many come to offer the goddess gifts. In Sartar, this day has almost been completely replaced with Founder's Day, when Sartar became King of Dragon Pass. The priestesses of Kero Fin have accepted this with grace, but have never been seen amongst the festivities.
Kero Fin accepts any domestic animal, although shadowcats are the most common. Such is the power of Kero Fin, that the sacrifice actually volunteers for the task, and dies instantly and without bloodshed, knowing it shall soon be in the bosom of the goddess.
- Initiates of Kero Fin must have either the Earth Rune, or Mastery Rune at 1W or higher.
- Men usually initiate to her Mastery Rune aspect, worshipping her as the granter of sovereignty, and mother of Kings.
- Women instead usually initiate to her Earth Rune aspect, worshipping her as the great mountain, and Mother of kings.
Kero Fin has had many daughters and husbands, as well as secret names and titles known only to a few. These other deities are often worshipped as subcults of Kero Fin.
The Desired One
The Desired One is the name of a shared aspect of Kero Fin and Ernalda, the ruling power of the Earth. She is the power of sovereignty, who chooses who rules the land of Dragon Pass. Ambition is what she craves, and she chooses only the greatest to be her lover, and wear her necklace. This subcult is the rarest of all, with barely a handful of members at any time, and only one being publicly acknowledged, usually the Feathered Horse Queen of the Grazelanders. This subcult provides the Sovereignty Feat.
Ganval was the most beloved of Kero Fin, and the first to be granted her necklace of sovereignty. He won friendship with everyone in Dragon Pass with his good humour, and has many oaths of friendship and obedience with the elemental gods and spirits of the land. The only god who did not treat him with kindness was Hrognar, son of Telmor the Wolf God. Hrognar and his spawn slew and devoured Ganval's children, and Ganval now counts all wolves as his enemies. Members of this subcult must swear an oath to never befriend wolves, wolf runners, or wolf spirits. In exchange they may use their Mastery Rune to summon and command elemental spirits.
The Lady of the Wild
Known as Velhara to the Orlanthi, and Tara to the Grazelanders, the Lady of the Wild is the mother of the wilderness which surrounds Kero Fin, her mother. She is a fearsome goddess, clad with a necklace of her unworthy suitors' skulls, and armed with nature's fury itself. She is a favoured goddess of the half-men of Beast Valley, as she was the mother of their king, Herjeen; but she she receives sacrifice from all hunters in Kerofinela, to avoid her wrath. Her worshippers are able to use their Earth Rune to command natural animals.
Inora is the goddess of the mountain tops, daughter of Kero Fin and a god of cold and frost. Also known as the White Lady, she is worshipped even in far off Prax and Halikiv, where her mother is visible only as the most distant of figures. Inora cloaks herself in snow and ice, and her every step brings a flurry of cold to the lowlands. She is counted amongst the winter gods, who ride out every dark season to blanket the world in frost, and forces people to hide within their steads for protection. She is said to be the lover of Valind, god of the Glacier, although all agree neither is faithful to the other. Her few worshippers are able to use their Earth Runes to freeze the ground.
Sorana Tor is Human Sacrifice, the power to use the life and breath of a human to empower magic without strengthening Chaos. Often known by the name Ana Gor by other Orlanthi, Sorana Tor is hated and feared by most Orlanthi, except among rare cults such as Humakt and Ty Kora Tek. Kero Fin knows that sometimes horrific deeds must be done to safeguard the world, ans so allowed Sorana Tor to build her temple at Kero Fin's foot. Here she waits, despite the attempts of others to drive her away, and was found by Arim the Pauper, who took her as his bride. This subcult provides the Sacred King Feat to men, and her female worshippers can use their Mastery Runes to perform human sacrifice.
- A Kero Fin initiate with a rating of 11W in either the Earth Rune or the Mastery Rune may dedicate themselves completely to Kero Fin and become a devotee of their goddess.
- Devotees of Kero Fin are subject to the usual restrictions.
Devotees of Kero Fin may perform magic feats, repetitions of their goddess' mythic deeds. Some feats are universal to the Kero Fin cult; others are associated with specific subcults.
The Great Dance
Kero Fin is the dancer at the centre of the land, who caused the great dragons to circle her in fascination and lust. While she dances, all draconic beings will stop their actions to watch her dance, and gaze at her in love and wonderment. When the dance stops, the dragon is freed from the enrapturement, and may react in dangerous ways, such as when Drathdaw the Stone Dragon sought to mate with Kero Fin.
Sorana Tor, although a terrifying goddess, is generous with her rewards. Those she accepts as her lovers and champions become great warriors and wise leaders. This greatness is touched with sorrow, for Sorana Tor will not relinquish that which she loves, and her chosen ones will never have children with any other than her. Worse yet, is the knowledge that a day will come when Sorana will claim their life, either in peacetime, such as when Arim or Illaro Blacktooth died in her arms, or on the field of battle.
Kero Fin is the great power of sovereignty, the Law Rock, and the maker of kings. If someone is successful at wooing her, she can grant him her necklace, and hand in marriage, so that he might rule her lands of Kerofinela. None who live within her borders can gainsay the words of the person she has appointed as King of Dragon Pass, and all shall respect him as the one true king of the land.
Lesser Mountain Goddesses
Kero Fin is the great mountain goddess, and her daughters are the nymphs of mountains and hills, the Oreads (also known to the Grazelanders as Orestiads.)
In addition to her daughters, she also commands the loyalty of the Little Mountain Spirits, a group of Earth Elementals who appear as small bearded men formed of pebbles and stones. They are responsible for many rockfalls in the mountains of Kerofinela.