Kine Gather lies in Latter Kairnlaw not far from the Bone Axe Mountains, a northern branching of the Ikons. Like its sister-cities of this area—White Lick, Crossgulch, Bailey’s Yards—it grew from a cattle market on a river, a rough-and-ready sort of place where stock could be auctioned and shipped by enterprising men unwilling to endure tedious inquiries into their herds’ provenance or prior ownership. And, again like their neighbours, Kine Gather’s citizens retain even in the moderate prosperity they currently enjoy all the predilections of their city’s founders: raiding, cattle-rustling, passionate quarrels over boundaries, and blood-feuds.
Most Latter-Kairns share these traits, and this is understandable. Their sparse-grown, harsh-wintered terrain compels their herdsmen to arduous seasonal pilgrimages to keep their animals in pasture. Only the hostility of that land to any other economy—combined with what might be called a very stubborn cultural spirit—keeps them at their historic trade. And yet, for all their pains, they can expect to raise only maculate hornbow and dwarf-ox with any success, while in Prior Kairnlaw both these breeds thrive and four others besides: palomino hornbow, crucicorn, plodd and jabóbo (of which last, more presently). If scarcity alone had not made cattle thieves of the Latter-Kairns, their enduringly bitter sense of dispossession would have done it. Inevitably they have robbed one another, but they have always preferred the richer plunder and the prestige among their fellows to be won by raiding their homeland’s usurpers.
Nift the Lean
The Greater and Lesser Kairnlaws may claim to have many differences, but religion is not one of them. A pragmatic people, they always know what God to speak to for every eventuality. They're not so arrogant to assume that any one being can solve all their problems, so much so that even converts to Vorn or Qadhi will be sure to stay on good terms with the local Gods. It would be a very brave citizen of the Kairnlaw who would go on a journey without a quick word to The Bartlet, or visit his mistress without an offering to Judith.
Holy men of the Kairnlaw are bottomless fonts of knowledge regarding who to appeal to at any specific time. They are one of the few people who are equally welcome in Greater and Lesser, respected for their deep knowledge and god-given skills.
Gods of the Kairnlaw
To gain the ability to meaningfully interact with the Kairnic pantheon one must demonstrate intimate knowledge of their vast family. Every time the player creates a fully realised god for the pantheon they have a 50% chance of gaining the right to ask one favour per day. To use said favour they must complete the appropriate invocation.
Loose these powers if on water (temporary), since the gods avert their eyes.
Our Lady Judith, Sister in Sin, patron of cheating husbands.
Many a man has offered up a prayer to her while creeping out a forbidden paramour's window. However her attention is fickle and she is prone to allowing them to be caught by enraged husbands and vengeful wives. In polite circles a wayward husband is said to be "visiting Aunt Judith"
Invocation: Burn a small amount of your pubic hair. One strand would do.
Gift: Those who have talked to Judith can lie utterly believably to women, getting them to believe the most ridiculous things. However 1 in 6 times it will be an embarrassingly awful lie and get you immediately caught out.
The Bartlet, patron of sore feet and wasted journeys.
No one is quite sure why The Bartlet is named so but they continue to put up a prayer to them whenever they set out their door. The Bartlet is typically pictured as an anthropomorphic cat with a permanent look of disappointment, sitting by the roadside. These images are almost exclusively found in remote roadside inns.
Invocation: Throwing a shoe over your left shoulder while offering up a prayer.
Gift: Ensure an unpleasant journey on a chosen party, unwanted pursuers perhaps. This help is oblique: sore feet slowing them down ever so slightly, taking a marginally longer route. 1 in 6 chance it helps enough to make a difference.
Darrow, god of fish suppers.
Fish for breakfast,
fish for tea,
fish for you and
fish for me!
A variation on the rhyme is heard on the way home from the harbour, sung with no great gusto. Children sick of the fish they've been gutting all season often don't appreciate the gift that Darrow and their mothers have waiting for them at home.
Invocation: Singing or humming Darrows rhyme while preparing your fishy supper.
Gift: Can prepare even the most foul and rotten fish, turning it into a barely tolerable meal.
The Turnsmith, God of shoe repair and thresholds.
Nemesis of The Bartlet, The Turnsmith is often depicted quietly fixing shoes just inside the door of his house or chasing cats out of his workshop. In Kairnish society cats are considered to be lazy and pessimistic, traits which can rub off wherever they sleep. Cats almost exclusively live outside in Kairnish society, and are most certainly not allowed to sleep where people work.
Many small industries operate from the home. These are advertised by performing the trade by the open door to your house. Thus The Turnsmith is often associated with cottage industry.
Invocation: Leaving a small amount of leftover material from the repair by someone's front door at the earliest possible opportunity. Not doing so will see your work undone.
Gift: Can perform small repairs on mundane items and always seems to have a needle and thread handy.
The Kairnlaw has innumerable gods dedicated to every possible aspect of livestock care. Understandable for a people who derive the vast majority of their food and wealth from their panoply of domesticated creatures.
Lusta-Fi looks after the young ones, who are traditionally set to watching the goats, the least important and most annoying of herds. While they sleep or play, Lusta-Fi is said to be keeping an eye on the herd. You'll often hear parents chiding their boys for letting Lusta-Fi watch the goats, that they told them not to listen to him.
Invocation: Build a small pile of rocks, a few inches high or more, on top of a small denomination coin or sweet treat. Then paint a pair of eyes on it facing what you want watched. The offering will be gone when you return, and the eyes will be closed.
Gift: They can leave one mundane situation per day and it'll be fine while they attend to other things. The situation must be low stakes (such as watching a herd, a small child, or a boiling kettle) and not require great intervention to be okay. He would not prevent the goats being stolen, but he could prevent them from walking off a cliff.
The Augot, god of drowning, broken fishing lines and loneliness.
No gods hold sway over the oceon, if one believes the Kairn. Indeed, they do not rule but some live there, such as Augot, spurned lover of Judith. Once he was the god of brotherly love but that all changed when She chased him into the sea. Now he may not break the surface out of fear of Judith getting her hands on him.
The gods are known for their narrow sight which may account for The Augot's new portfolio. Desperately lonely, this god of fraternal love drags fishermen to their deaths in a desperate bid to find company.
Invocation: You must speak into a body of salt water for no less than ten minutes in a friendly manner (a large bowl will do). Keep it light.
Gift: Though the gods lose sight of you over water The Augot can still pull you down. If he is placated before a sea voyage you may ignore the first mishap that afflicts you.
Vockachella, goddess of hunger and children
"I'm so hungry I could eat my husband!" you'll hear the herdswives exclaim as they sit down to another slim meal. The story of Vockachella is a reminder for all good husbands to provide their families with the milk and meat of the herd and to treat them with a gentle hand.
Violent or lackadaisical herdsmen will often find their lives unravelling, piece by piece.
Invocation: Spit milk in the target's face (this is a dire insult in Kairn society)
Gift: For each favour the gods owe you, you may cause the target to fail at an action.
Invocation: Snap an arrow over your knee and with it cut the hand that will slay the beast
Gift: Once Destur is tricked into believing the hunt has already failed you are free to pursue your quarry without interference. The hunter whos hand was cut may reroll one bushcraft test per caster's level.
Destur, god of traditions and failed hunts
The Kairn rarely hunt for food, they consider it to be beneath them. The civilised man has his meat quietly sitting in his grasslands waiting to be eaten. However hunting is still required when a white ape tribe descends from the mountains, or a panther wanders too far from the shade of the Fern Court.
Destur would disagree with this. His remit is of consistency and cultural bureaucracy. In his eyes everything is judged by how it relates to proper Kairn values, and hunting is not one of them. To spare you from the shame of eating filthy wild creatures he ensures you never find them.