The Weeping Mothers

This is one of the stranger foci of divinity in Na Essad.
Scattered throughout Na Essad, there are hundreds of enigmatic statues of a woman in the vestments of a unknown cloisterd priesthood. Her features are indistinct and her clothing does not signify any particular order. On the cheeks of each statue there are a pair of stone tears. There are at least 400 known Weeping Mothers in Na Essad, with nearly two thirds of them in isolated chambers and hidden nooks far from any established population. Each of the statues is made of white marble, which is not a native rock in na essad’s basalt walls. They each seem to have grown out of whatever surface they rest on. A weeping mother can only be moved by breaking it free of the surface it sits on, which is no harder than breaking any other similar piece of marble. Inevitably, a relocated Weeping Mother will disappear from the possession of the person who took it, sometimes returning to the place where it was taken, sometimes just disappearing.

Occasionally people thought long dead and items long lost are found resting at the feet of a Weeping Mother. This happens much more frequently in the case of newly arrived Weeping Mothers than in ones that have been in their place for a long time. The people found thus are always in a deep but escapable sleep. They never remember how they got there, and frequently believe it to be shortly after they disappeared.
Another, more grisly aspect of the weeping mothers is that corpses are found beside them from time to time. Some die in their sleep of dehydration and starvation, the found who were not found quite soon enough. Others died a more active death, pummeled or crushed, strangled or cut, rent asunder, bitten, poisoned, drowned, these and more are among the causes of death of those found beside the statues. No matter what signs of struggle there are in the place where they are found, they leave no mark on the Weeping Mothers. A room bathed in the blood of a dozen corpses will leave the Weeping Mother unstained. Blood poured onto a Weeping Mother stains the stone as usual, but when it next goes unobserved, the blood will dissapear.

There are few discernible patterns in who lives and who dies. Elders and children, saints and monsters, all have been found in the presence of the Weeping Mothers, some dead, some alive. The one group of people who are more likely to be found dead than alive is those who would steal or hire someone else to steal a Weeping Mother. They are occasionally found messily dead at the feet of the statue. A person found dead at the feet of a Weeping Mother can not be raised from the dead nor can they be contacted by speak with dead and other similar spells. They are just gone.

Though much is made of the mysterious appearances and deaths associated with the Weeping Mothers, far more common are minor uncanny happenings. Things change around a weeping mother, the contents of a room may be moved, items that are broken repaired and those that are whole sundered. These things never happen while a Weeping Mother is being observed, at least no one has ever told a reliable story of seeing these things happen. The Weeping Mothers themselves are usually stationary, resting in a single spot for years or centuries before suddenly dissapearing, though there are a few cases where a weeping mother has slowly moved through an area, relocating by a few inches at a time , again, never while anyone is watching. Sometimes these events happen while people are present, though never while they are paying attention to the statue. Some believe that the Weeping Mothers do move while being watched, only to slay those who have seen them.

No divinations seem to work on a Weeping Mother. They detect as regular, non-magical stone, and the gods themselves remain quiet as to their nature and purpose. No wards, spells, or fetishes have been proven to keep a Weeping Mother out of an area or locked in that area.

There are several cults devoted to the Weeping Mothers, each believing something different about the Statues. Those cults which believe in the Divinity of the Weeping Mothers often have priests who are granted spells by the object of their faith. No one, save the cultists of the Weeping Mothers, is sure that the magic is granted by the Mothers or by some other entity. The domains associated with the weeping mothers vary with the tenants of the particular cult.

Introduction to the Gods of Na Essad

Though the followers of nearly any god or primordial power throughout the multiverse have at one time or another been stranded in Na Essad, the majority of the people of the cavern worship one of the trapped gods. The gods of Na Essad come in four broad categories: The trapped gods, deities from outside of Na Essad. They seldom last long there. Either they act too overtly and are ensnared by the cavern, locked up eternally, or they become desperate and surrender their godhood so that they might die a mortal’s death and have a chance to pass back into the multiverse. Dozens of gods and primordials have tried this, it is unknown how many have succeeded. The Ascended are gods and primordials who attained divinity while living in Na Essad. It doesn’t happen often, but they do tend to be better at avoiding the attention of the demiplane. Most of the gods with significant followings in Na Essad are Ascended. The third tier is Aspects. Aspects are powerful mortal followers of a deity who, upon death, were offered a chance to house a fragment of the deity’s power and act as a channel of awareness. They lack the full divinity that triggers the traps of Na Essad, but they speak for their gods, and when they die, they are drawn through the realm of death to report on what is happening in the demiplane. Aspects often seem to be normal people until they are called upon to do exceptional deeds. Often, an aspect is revealed when their mortal guise is struck down. The fourth sort of object of worship is trapped supernatural creatures. Powerful demons, unattached angels, a few trapped fey, and other sorts of powerful creatures that can grant their followers boons. The worship of mortals empowers them, and in response they can gain the abilities to grant the same sorts of boons as a deity.