Al-Sedexus (4e Deity)
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Al-Sedexus is the goddess of the Rapax. Despite her influence over that proud martial race, her powers are only that of a lesser deity, as her powers, while considerable, are far less than that of most gods, and she relies on the Rapax for protection and shelter as much as they rely on her to be the central figure of their religion. The truth that most Rapax do not realize is that Al-Sedexus was originally just a powerful demonness who resided inside the volcanic rift in which the Rapax came to dwell. She managed to convince them to worship her, and given their then-simple state of mind, they did so, and have continually worshiped her ever since. Al-Sedexus is also worshiped as The Dark Demonness and The Birthmother. Rapax worshiper her, as well as clerics and paladins.
Standing about 10 feet tall, with horns and hooves, Al-Sedexus towers above even the tallest Rapax, and even farther above humans. Each hand has two claws, with no thumb. Her magic is powerful, mostly revolving around offensive spells, but she can use her powers to shield or heal her followers, as well as summon some of her many Rapax children should she need help in a fight.
- Serve the Rapax cause, even if you are not of their blood.
- Do not betray a fellow Rapax.
- Remember that once you join the Templars, you belong to Al-Sedexus.
- If she chooses you, stay close within her walls, lest you suffer her curse.
All Clerics of Al-Sedexus are female, and this is one of the few positions of prestige granted to females among the Rapax. Her priestesses train in offensive and healing magic, and study in a seminary in the volcanic rift. All priestesses of Al-Sedexus start out as initiates, and train for several years before becoming a full priestess. The most skilled cleric is made the high priestess, and she is given a magical flaming staff made by Al-Sedexus as well as the beckoning stone, which is the only key to Al-Sedexus' sanctum.
In addition to the female clerics, there is an all-male order of Paladins known as the Rapax Templars. This order undergoes its initiation at the Temple of the Initiate in the Rapax castle, and binds itself to the order in the adjoining temple of Al-Sedexus. Both temples are located near the throne room of the Rapax king. The templars are as much mage are they are warrior, and are skilled at both combat and spellcraft. In addition, some of the templars, known as the templar knights, are heavy armored, and all of the know how to wield a sword; some even wield polearms, and a few use longbows with poisoned arrows.
The quests given by Al-Sedexus or else undertaken in her name revolve around war and the continuation of the Rapax blood. Most templars are busy constantly fighting wars in the name of their king and goddess, but a select few chosen by Al-Sedexus cannot leave the Rapax territories. These Rapax are her guards and are thus bound to her. One who is bound to Al-Sedexus cannot leave the Rapax lands without being cursed and dying slowly. The only way to rid oneself of the curse is to kill Al-Sedexus.
As she is the predominant deity among the Rapax, most prayers by them for any reason are directed to her.
Al-Sedexus has few temples, but each one is opulent, complex, and serves a very specific purpose. Her temples in the rift serve as places of sanctuary and study for her priestesses, where her clergy are trained. In the Rapax castle, she has two connected temples; the Temple of the initiate, where those seeking to serve her learn what she needs of them, and the Temple of Al-Sedexus, where she comes to them and binds them to her service if they are worthy.
Almost universally feared and hated outside of the Rapax lands, Al-Sedexus rarely recruits non-Rapax into the ranks of her Templars and Priestesses, and yet it has been known to happen from time to time. Those who are judged worthy of her are treated as brothers by the Templar, even if they are not of Rapax blood.
Al-Sedexus chooses her priestesses and templars by merit. This merit is based in their devotion to her and by their ability to perceive what she requires of them, as well as a willingness to pay for their initiation. This requires gathering a ceremonial robe, helmet, and dagger, all of which are paid for at the start of the initiation.
The initiation requires obtaining the three canezou items, and coming to understand that Al-Sedexus requires that her subjects pledge to her their flesh, minds, and hearts. When this is understood and the items acquired from the temple of the initiate, the initiates go to the temple of Al-Sedexus next door, where they pour dark nectar onto her altar. If they are worthy, she appears, and once they correctly answer what she demands they pledge to her, she asks for a male sacrifice, if there is one with the initiates. If she judges the male up to the task, she takes him as her own, mates with him, and curses him to be bound to stay in the Rapax lands, lest he be cursed and slowly die.
Upon completing the ceremony, all males taking part in the initiation in the temple are made into templars and all females into priestess initiates. The females can study to become full priestesses in the rift.
Heralds and Allies
Al-Sedexus has a guardian, known as El Dorado. This construct has the appearance of a golden male Rapax with wings, and can cast powerful spells. Seated atop her sanctum, El Dorado will defend its mistress with all its being, even to the point of its destruction.