Bess Carita (4e Deity)
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Bess Carita is the goddess of seduction and trickery.
Her symbol is an inverted triangle with a small circle at each point, representing the desires of sensuality, gluttony, and greed.
She came into being the first time a mortal desired another. She was spawned in the Malebolge, deep under the surface, and quickly grew to prominence through the appetites and longings of the little beings above her. She is the mother of the succubi.
Her demands are:
- The chosen (clergy, aristocracy, military officers, landowners) must indulge in hedonism.
- The lower castes must always desire these pleasures.
- Encourage elaborate contracts, clauses and other written agreements, with smallprint that always favors her temples.
- Destroy revolting creatures: undead, sewer-dwellers, the diseased
She is primarily worshipped in Byzantae, a nation stifled by bureaucracy and hedonism but rewarded with glory in battle. Byzantian dogma ignores her demon heritage: this knowledge is considered heretical and punishable by death.
The High Temple of Bess Carita is the dominating structure in Adrianople, in south-east Byzantae. After Bess Carita's ascension, the city and temple was fiercely defended. The clerics feared that the demon spawn below would rise and take it, in an attempt to reunite with their mother or otherwise convince her to return to the depths. As centuries passed it became clear that the succubi queens had no means to access the surface: as belief in the demons eroded, so did the city defenses, leaving a wall and garrison merely typical of a large city.
The clergy are divided into three branches: temple clerics, battle clerics and council clerics.
Temple clerics do not generally make healing spells, holy water or suchlike available for the public. Revenue is generated from the crafting and sale (at profit) of alchemical items, including special incense sticks and narcotics.
Battle clerics are attached to military decharcons, providing advice on how to gain advantage through trickery or supporting front-line troops with healing. During war, her servants wield heavy maces. A deity of the flesh, she abhors the undead, and her clerics seek to destroy such creatures first.
Council clerics help with the running of the city, designing complicated forms and seducing visiting officials.
Senior members of the clergy are chosen from the most beautiful adepts, and dress in provocative garbs. Each priest and priestess has a cult-like throng of lovers that act as enforcers.
Her clerics are not without compassion, and will occasionally provide healing and protection to those in need. However, there are situations in which they are expected to be brutal: the spread of disease is dealt with by killing those infected and burning their bodies. Similarly, the spread of heretical views is handled through public executions, and redemption through torture.
In paintings, statues and other works presented to the public, she is depicted as a young woman dressed in flattering garbs, with long straight hair. She holds a coin in her left hand and a contract (presented to the viewer) in the other. Her skin tone and facial shape varies depending on culture. Her hair is often splayed out to the side, in the shape of wings, although this detail is often omitted from statues for practical reasons.
Her true form is only revealed to those who have died under a contract that promises her their soul. Her physical body presides over her palace in the Endless Night. She is a fleshy quadrupedal thing, between 300 and 400 feet long. Giant aromatic flowers resembling aquatic lotuses bud and open across her flanks, with near-black petals. Her four legs are smooth and long, and branch out into multiple feet at the ankle. Minions constantly manicure and paint her hundreds of toenails. At her head she has a large mouth with several pairs of thick, nested lips which consumes the souls she deems the most decadant. This maw is framed by a giant pair of slender humanoid arms; like the legs the skin is immaculate with the fingernails groomed and painted. Her throne room is thick with the sensual aromas she exudes. The rare mortals that have found their way to this chamber have all succumbed to this immediately, collapsing into a coma of eternal longing.
See also Bess Carita (4e Creature)