The Eighteen Blades of Vode Nulan
Title: The Huntress
Portfolio: Travel, Hunting, Forestry, Music, Archery, Freedom, Good Fortune
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Cleric Alignments: NG, CG, CN
Domains: Animals, Chaos, Luck, Missionary, Plants, Travel, Trickery
Holy Symbol: Three bronze arrows lying parallel
Favored Weapon: Longbow
Typical Worshipers: Rangers, hunters, many Veshians, vigils, wood elves
Tanil, goddess of hunting, travel, music and freedom, has changed somewhat since the Divine War. To ensnare her evil father so that Corean could defeat him, Tanil was forced to employ the cruelest trickery of her long existence. Once a laughing maiden, her eyes gleaming with a mischief that rivaled even Enkili, the cruelty of the Divine War and its aftermath transformed Tanil forever. She is more serious now, and her songs are
sadder. Perhaps when the land has healed she will return to her old self, but for now the wounded state of the Scarred Lands consumes her. The power she once devoted to frivolity and games is now directed to healing of the land and to the protection of all that is
good and pure.
Since birth, Tanil has been very close to her mother, Denev, and from this bond, she gained a love of nature and all living things. Corean’s worshippers sometimes complain that Tanil prefers animals and trees to people, and indeed there may be some truth to this – she certainly spends more time away from intelligent beings than near them. All animals adore
her, for though she is a huntress, they know she would never harm any natural or good creature without the greatest need or without the creature’s willing sacrifice.
Anyone who needlessly harms the good and the natural, however, is free sport in Tanil’s eyes. Tanil’s love of nature is exemplified in her dislike of cities, which she feels disturb the pristine peace of her forests and plains. Her avatar manifests only in cities when absolutely necessary, and some believe her to be openly hostile toward city-dwellers, risking the enmity of Hedrada, Lord of Cities. In truth, Tanil does not hate cities or their inhabitants, but neither does she harbor much affection for them.
Yet, while Tanil’s compassion has remained unchanged her birth, the violence of the Divine War has somehow changed her once mischievous and rebellious nature. Today the Huntress suffers from an aching wanderlust and a deep-seated need for freedom. She can never remain long in one place, and rumors relate that her avatar travels to the other
continents of the Scarred Lands on occasion, spending months at a time away from Ghelspad.
The imprisonment or enslaving of any living thing horrifies her. Some even whisper that Tanil’s love of freedom goes too far, and that she and her followers’ plot the release of one or more titans. Given the anguish that Tanil herself suffered at the hands of the titans, her followers are likely to react violently if any such thing is suggested in their presence.
Tanil wears many guises in the mortal world. As well as being the tireless champion of all animals, plants and natural places, Tanil also grants painless release to the old and sick, delivering her chosen servants or other worthy creatures into the care of Nemorga, and asking only that the Lord of the Dead treat each soul with fairness and mercy. Though she
might prefer it if no animal ever had to die, she also cannot see a living being caged in a body wracked by pain or disease. Many feel that Tanil’s compassion is another result of her experiences before and during the Divine War, when countless innocents suffered at the hands of the titans -far more thanTanil could offer succor by herself.
It is not really true, however, that Tanil loves animals more than people. She is a great defender of mistreated women and children, and she has been ever since the unwilling and incestuous union that produced her daughter, the demigoddess Idra. Harmony in the home and family are important to her, and she is always ready to avenge victims of rape,
abuse or injustice of any kind.
In addition, Tanil is the champion of all misfits and orphans. This aspect of her being was born of the shame and sorrow that she felt when her father, Hrinruuk, slew Hedrada’s daughter. Though Tanil had nothing to do with Miridum’s death, her remorse at her father’s actions knew no bounds. As though to atone for Hrinruuk‘s wrongs, Tanil approached the
elves, who had also recently lost their god, and vowed herself to succor them in their mourning and pain. From that point onward, Tanil become an important protector of the elves and, along with the titan Denev, a kind of surrogate deity who helps to ease their grief.
Tanil‘s devotion to the wronged and abandoned did not cease with the elves. She has also become the divine protectress of many good and neutral titanspawn, such as dryads, unicorns, and griffons.
Social misfits often turn to Tanil as well. Ugly creatures, people with physical deformities, good people outcast for political, religious or cultural reasons – all find Tanil’s arms open and her bow ready in their defense.
Legend has it that long ago, before Idra was conceived, Tanil was a goddess of sex, fertility, nature and abundance all together in one glorious aspect. She had inherited Denev’s powers of nature and the earth as well as Hrinruuk‘s inherent charm, whimsical nature and talent for pleasure (though none of his cruelty). Some even claim that Tanil was the greatest
of all the goddesses in those early days; certainly she was the most beautiful.
Even though she was his daughter, however, Hrinruuk found he could not resist Tanil’s divine allure. In spite of her protests, struggles and the bitter scars she inflicted upon him, Hrinruuk gave in to his selfish lusts and raped his own daughter, the embodiment of spring, delight and all beautiful living things.
After her violation, so claim the ancient myths, Tanil disappeared from the land for two years, and all of Ghelspad was shrouded in winter and darkness for many months. Countless people, plants and animals died from cold and starvation, and when spring
finally came again, Tanil herself was changed almost as deeply as the ravaged land. Though she retained her powers of nature and joy, and though she could still provide her followers with food and safety, her beauty had faded somewhat, as had her ability to grant pleasure to all those who worshipped her.
Instead, she brought back with her a young daughter, Idra, who had absorbed from Tanil all the pieces of herself that would otherwise have been destroyed by Hrinruuk‘s terrible crime.
Tanil’s avatar now appears as a boyish and athletic humanoid huntress or bard. Her dress, race and features generally reflect whatever culture she encounters.
As a huntress, she carries the mighty Hunter’s Longbow that she stole from her father before Corean slew him, as well as the bronze shafted and silver tipped Arrows of the Huntress that she used during the Divine War. Several hounds of Tanil often accompany
her. As a bard, she carries a magnificent set of panpipes and usually one or two other musical instruments. Her singing voice is extraordinary.