sea_goddess_by_james_face-d56lstq

Artwork by James Zapata http://jameszapata.deviantart.com/art/Sea-Goddess-313425710

Mistress of the upper oceans and the sandy coastline, She-Who-Swims-In-Light embodies the undine’s ability to adapt. For millennia she and Plthunlos, her mate and partner, guided and protected the undine race together. The Goddess of Light saw to it that the harsh storms of the upper oceans did not threaten her followers, that the rich coastal loams brought forth bountiful crops, and that her people lived in harmony. But as his madness grew, Celundynn repudiated her mate, and after a bloody internal conflict she had her priesthood turn out those still faithful to Plthunlos and led the rest to new lands in the shallows where they would worship only her. Only there could there finally be peace.

 

Celundynn changes between land- and ocean-going forms at will, with none of the effort and time it takes mortal undines to make the transformation. Her forms are lithe and graceful, with skins of shimmering silver-blue and large amber eyes. The top of her head is topped with luxurious turquoise fronds that resemble no mortal plant; at times of great holiness or celebration they bring forth a multitude of colored blooms, wreathing the goddess in an enchanting scent. Her shrines are light and airy—those in the water have no ceilings so as to let in the maximum amount of light, while those on land have high, arching windows. They are built from pale stone in flowing, almost natural curves and are decorated simply but elegantly with silver and diamonds. Shrines on land have a statue of Celundynn in her bipedal form as their focal point, while those underwater have a sculpture of her aquatic shape at their center.

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As goddess of light, Celundynn has particular dominion over physical art and beauty: particularly gifted artists or beautiful youths are said to be “blessed by Celundynn,” and are often selected for the priesthood. Beaches and other lands by bodies of water are also her domain, and undines making the transformation to their bipedal form will float on the surface in the shallows while they change, exposing themselves to as much sunlight as possible to receive her blessing. She oversees the crops grown around the lakes and seas that provide food for her faithful, and in times of hardship is known for her willingness to bless the crops and make them swell with supernatural vigor.

 

As the Great Mother of the undine race, Celundynn’s priesthood traditionally held supporting roles in running mortal society while the priesthood of Plthunlos took more active roles in warfare and rulership. With the ousting of the latter, the priesthood of She-Who-Swims-In-Light has assumed all roles over government. Since taking total control, they have instituted more and more rules governing every aspect of undine life, some commandments handed down by Celundynn, some strictures of their own devising, all to keep their people safe and productive. After centuries of such reforms, most undines now lead deeply regimented lives, with little room for risk or choice. Those who are unwilling to submit to the system are disciplined calmly but firmly, all the while being assured the constraints placed on them are for their own good; the few who continue to rebel are eventually cast out of undine society, forced to live with the stragglers, renegades, and remaining faithful of He-Who-Waits-In-Water-Dark.

 

Under this new regime, the undines have had time to recover from their bloody past, a peace broken only by fitful raids, skirmishes, and the occasional minor war. Art and architecture have exploded: the general exodus to shallower waters necessitated the construction of new towns and cities, and the dominance of the priesthood of the Goddess of Light ensured enormous care was lavished on the new buildings. Carved mostly from pale stone over the course of decades, and with the water supporting much of the weight, the result are cities of breathtaking grandeur, with massive, curved domiciles that can house dozens or hundreds of undine.

 

But this period of calm has also marked a time of isolationism: few undines now venture far beyond their farms and cities to trade, parley, or fight. Ancestral lands that had been under undine control for millennia were abandoned as the salamander empire continued to spread and the priesthood made concession after concession in return for a stable peace. The remaining undine communities are increasingly isolated from one another as fewer and fewer of them are willing (or allowed) to make the long and sometimes dangerous ocean journeys between them. Few can be found who object to this new lethargy though; most are willing to trade isolationism for peace, and those who feel otherwise say nothing for fear of being cast out.

 

Since the schism in which her priesthood ousted those loyal to Plthunlos, She-Who-Swims-In-Light has thrown herself into the care of her race. Where previously she had been light-hearted and optimistic to offset her mate’s dour seriousness, now she has taken upon herself both roles. Most of her time is spent in watching over her people, listening to her high priests and issuing commandments where she sees the need, taking little time to swim with the souls of undines who inhabit the celestial ocean of Ansyllar or to visit other deities.

 

Her attention does have some recompense, however: with the undivided worship of virtually every undine Celundynn is more powerful than she has ever been. In most matters she prefers to use her powers directly, invoking the Miracles of Creation to help her people. But she still shies away from warfare; though the past century has been mostly peaceful, at times her mortals must fight and in such cases she invariably empowers a mortal or artifact with a portion of her majesty rather than intervene directly.