Istus

istusThe goddess of destiny and precognition, Istus was known as the Eye of the World, able to not only see the future, but the threads of destiny that connect all life. Istus was there at the creation of the world and wove the web of destiny that connects all creatures. She is represented as an old woman with a spindle, constantly weaving the threads of destiny, her long grey hair pooling around her feet. She is distant and rarely connects with other gods or her followers, and it is said that if Istus involves herself in the lives of the mortals the situation is dire indeed. Those who gain her favor have little in common, her chosen ones being of importance on such a large scale it is impossible for individuals to see it. She seeks knowledge to better awaken and understand her visions of the future, and her followers do the same. They do not hoard knowledge, but they do not give it as freely as followers of Oghma do, feeling it prudent to ensure the knowledge is being sought for the right reasons. When she leaves her cave upon the Great Mountain to visit the mortal realm, she must bring her spindle with her, if it is lost she will immediately return to her cave.

Her priests wear robes of grey and carry a spindle as their waist held with golden thread (and protect it fiercely), and those high-ranking clerics have their robes covered in golden spiderwebs to represent the web of destiny. Her temples are libraries of local history, the books preserved and remade when they become too damaged. Her worshipers are often weavers themselves, and often temples support themselves making both practical blankets and cloaks and beautiful tapestries depicting past events. Some high ranking priests of Istus are gifted in the skill of prophecy and are sought out by kings and rulers to assist in major decisions. Her holy days are the first day of the month, and once a year on the first of April the temple seer will give forth their prophecies for the year ahead. Followers are believers in predestination, although the threads of fate are sometimes slack enough that destiny can be altered in some small way. Because the future is for the most part foreordained, it can be permitted by those with the skills to perceive how the threads are linked. Clerics of Istus teach that acceptance of one’s fate is the only honest approach; those who strive too hard against Fate will only meet their own foreordained ruins. The one day in which priests of Istus allow themselves a reprieve from the seriousness of their tasks is midsummer, where a lively celebration called Srinshee takes place alongside the temple of Oghma’s worshipers. Participants from each church compete to produce beautiful calligraphy and illuminated texts, tell stories, and demonstrate magical skill. The day ends in a feast of traditional foods. The bards perform at this festival, and sometimes have song-battles in which they tease and goad the other temple’s worshipers in improvisational song. These battles are usually performed after dark when the children are asleep as they can get quite raunchy. Seeing this side of the order’s priests can sometimes be a shock to those familiar with their usual sombre tone. It is said worshipers of Istus must preserve their sense of humor all year to prepare for Srinshee.